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April 27th, 1939 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The House of Commons votes to introduce conscription for 20 year-olds. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain says he hopes that this might act as a deterrent to the advance of Hitler. Opposition leader Clement Attlee speaks against conscription, 'It is very dangerous to give generals all they want.'

Light cruiser HMS Ceylon laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: Germany denounced the Anglo-German naval agreement of June 18, 1935 . (Dave Shirlaw)

LIECHTENSTEIN:

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LIECHTENSTEIN JAILS NAZI FOR ATTEMPT AT UPRISING

(The New York Times, April 27th, 1939 ; page 8, column 5)

(Associated Press byline, Vaduz, April 26)

The leader of Nazis in the principality of Liechtenstein , Theodore Schaedler, has been taken into custody on a charge of treason as a result of an attempted revolt last month, authorities confirmed today.

Herr Schaedler is alleged to have attempted to lead an uprising on the night of March 24. He and his followers, it was charged, occupied bridges over the Rhein separating Liechtenstein and Switzerland at Schaan, and attempted also to take over public buildings.

The citizens of Schaan, however, routed the Nazis in a hand-to-hand encounter [my italics for emphasis..must have been quite a brawl! GAK]. Herr Schaedler's arrested followed. (Greg Kelley)

U.S.A.: Joseph Stilwell is promoted to a one star general in the United States Army. (Marc James Small)

The USAAC orders seven YB-24 service test aeroplanes, before the final design of the XB-24 is complete. (Ron Babuka)

Submarine USS Thresher laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

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27 April 1940

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April 27th, 1940 (SATURDAY)

NORWAY:

The commanding officer of 46 Sqn. (Hurricane) arrives in a Sunderland flying boat. He is to visit the Setnesmoen landing-ground currently in use by the Gladiators of 223 Sqn. and report on its suitability for use by Hurricanes. He recommends that a Hurricane squadron should be sent immediately with ground staff and servicing equipment accompanying them in flying boats. It is too late though as the damage to Aandalsnes has seriously reduced the capacity of the port to handle the supplies needed for the Allied Expeditionary force.

Pellengahr reaches Paget’s line at Kjorem. The British hold stubbornly, but once more the Germans circle up over the snowy ridges, outflanked the defenders and inflict heavy losses; one 700-man British unit suffered nearly 400 casualties. Paget urgently asked London for another brigade of infantry, more anti-aircraft artillery and effective air support. Without that he radios that he can’t hold any position for more than two days, and he would be lucky to manage a delaying action back to Åndalsnes  on the coast.

(Mark Horan adds): 

HMS Furious, escorted by HMS Isis, HMS Ilex, HMS Imogen, HMS Imperial, HMS Delight, and HMS Diana and maintaining a constant A/S patrol with her Swordfish, continued their course to the Clyde in the face of steadily worsening weather. At 1012, Imogen picked up a strong asdic contact and attacked it with three patterns of depth charges, but obtained no visible results. At 1800, having passed the Orkneys, Delight, Diana and Imperial were detached to Scapa Flow. Meanwhile, off Norway, Vice-Admiral Wells' intentions were to provide fighter patrols over the Allied bases throughout the day.

At 0820, with the carriers in position 64.40 N, 04.48 E, Lieutenant R. L. Strange, RN led one section of 801 Squadron on the first fighter patrol over Åndalsnes . They intercepted two He-111">He-111s of 4/LG 1, forcing one down with its port engine afire.

Meanwhile, German snoopers find the Task Force, and HMS Glorious begins standing patrols with 802 and 804 Squadrons Sea Gladiators at 0935. At 0940, Lt. R. M. Smeeton's Blue Section of 804 Squadron (three Sea Gladiators) engages a He-111">He-111 of 1(F)/122, damaging it in a long chase, though the pilot managed to successfully crash land back at base. At 1030, HMS Glorious dispatches the four operational Skuas of the battered 803 Squadron, one section to Åndalsnes , and the other to Aalesund. Yellow section (S-Lt.(A) G. W. Bronkensha, RN, engages a He-111">He-111 of 7/KG 26 and forces it down. These aircraft are recovered by HMS Ark Royal on their return, HMS Glorious having a serial of nine Sea Gladiators ranged to meet the expected German air attack. 

At 1130 both carriers came to action stations and Glorious began "double banking" her fighter patrols, keeping two sections aloft over the fleet and two more sections ranged on deck ready to take off immediately if needed.

At 1230, HMS Ark Royal dispatches Yellow section of 800 Squadron (Capt. R. T. Partridge, RM) to Åndalsnes . The three Skuas engage an force down a He-111">He-111 of 9/KG 26 near Grotli, but the COs 6A:L2940 is hit by return fire cutting his petrol line and force-lands as well. The crew, Partridge and his observer, Lieutenant R. S. Bostock, RN after several adventures, get to the landing sites and finds their way back to Scapa.

At 1515, Ark dispatched two further sections of five Skuas to patrol over Åndalsnes, three from 800's Red section, led by Lt. G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RN, and two from 801 led by Lieutenant-Commander H. P. Bramwell, RN. They arrived just as a large scale air attack was developing on a British convoy below. At 1600 they drove off two Ju-88s of KG 30 with minor damage and then, at 1610 found themselves attacking a formation of 15 Heinkels of KGr 100 following up. In the wild melee that followed the Skuas expended all their ammunition, hitting several bombers, one badly, and although none were brought down, their attacks on the ships below were not pressed home. 

At 1645, Ark dispatches another full section from 801, under Lt.(A). Lt.(A) William Coutenay Antwiss Church, RN. They sight and engage a single He-111">He-111 of 2/KGr 100, shooting it down into the fjord below, but return fire sends Lt. Church's 7L:L2931 down into the sea in flames. He, and observer Acting S-Lt.(A) David George Willis, RN perish. The others return safely, ending the days aerial activity.

Soon thereafter, Glorious is detached to return to Scapa to fuel and gather in replacement aircraft. Ark Royal now has 18 Skua (800 = 7, 801 = 7, 803 = 4), and 5 Roc (800=2, 801=3) fighters on board.

GERMANY:

Berlin: Germany officially declares war on Norway.

The German employment ministry today drafted a confidential programme to make registration compulsory for all women aged from 15 to 40, as a result of which many women never before employed and thus not registered with an employment office will become available to work in industry. How women will react to the measure is uncertain, since a woman’s pay for any given job is on average only 80% of what a man would get. And the idea of general compulsory employment for women is opposed by some senior Nazis, such as Göring , because it runs contrary to the Nazi doctrine of women as domestic creatures.

U-102 commissioned.

U-567, U-568 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.S.R.: Soviet submarine SC-136 launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

SINGAPORE: A conference between American, Dutch and British military officers ends in Singapore. They have reached an agreement on combined operations of defence forces in the event of war with Japan. (Jack McKillop)

The "ADB" Plan is developed here, but both US War and Navy Departments recommended it be rejected as they felt it was defeatist and compromised US interests by insisting on defence of trade routes over offensive actions against Japanese. So, the agreement reached at Singapore came to naught. RADM "Speck" Purnell, Chief of Staff to the US Asiatic Fleet, had been the US naval representative. The meeting was chaired by Air Vice-Marshal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham. (Marc Small)

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Nanaimo laid down Esquimalt , British Columbia. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Destroyer USS Walke commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

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April 27th, 1941 (SUNDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Churchill warns that if Egypt is not held, blood will flow and he will "shoot the generals."

Destroyer HMS Farndale commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

GREECE: The Wehrmacht High Command announces:

In a bold aerial assault, paratroops seized the isthmus and the city of Corinth on the morning of April 26. Large numbers of British were taken prisoner; the rest fled south.

Following violent attack and pursuit fighting, German armoured division spearheads pursued the fleeing British and marched into Athens at 9:25 A.M. today.

The swastika flag has been hoisted over the Acropolis.

The Leibstandarte "Adolf Hitler", in a turbulent advance, has reached the Bay of Patrai west of the Pindos mountains, forced its way across the bay and penetrated the Peloponnese.

As units of the Mediterranean Fleet carry out the evacuation, destroyers HMS Diamond and HMS Wryneck rescue troops from the bombed transport 'Slamat' Shortly afterwards, both are sunk by more German Ju87s off Cape Malea at the southeast tip of Greece. There are few survivors from the three ships. 148 are killed on Diamond. There are 42 survivors from the Wryneck including eight soldiers coming from the Dutch Slamat which had been carrying 700 troops.

The 4th NZ Brigade have fought off the Germans and embarked this night but some groups at Kalamata and Nauplion have been captured. (Anthony Staunton)

MALTA: Operation Dunlop: 24 Hurricanes delivered from carrier, HMS Ark Royal: 23 arrive in Malta.

LIBYA: General Paulus arrives in North Africa on an OKH inspection tour.
He is also to control Rommel.

SINGAPORE: A conference between American, Dutch and British military officers ends. They have reached an agreement on combined operations of defence forces in the event of war with Japan. However, the US War and Navy departments recommend the rejection of the plan as they feel it is defeatist and compromises US interests by insisting on defence of trade routes over offensive actions against the Japanese. (Jack McKillop and Marc Small)

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Rimouski commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN:

At 0130, the Henri Mory, dispersed from Convoy SL-68, was hit by one torpedo from U-110 and sank about 330 miles WNW of Blaskets Islands, Ireland. A Russian survivor was picked up by the U-boat, questioned and later put into a dinghy with a bottle of spirits. The Germans identified the ship as Andre Moyrand, but this is not possible because she survived the war and was not at sea on this date. 26 crewmembers and two gunners were lost. The master and two crewmembers were picked up by destroyer HMS Hurricane and landed at Gourock on 1 May. One crewmember was rescued after 8 days by the British merchantman Lycaon.

At 0242, the unescorted Rimfakse was torpedoed by U-147 east of the Shetlands and sank in two minutes. Eleven crewmembers were lost. The master and seven survivors managed to get on a raft, but they were not able to help others that were crying for help in the dark. At dawn they reached another raft by paddling, distributed themselves on the rafts and tied them together. Later that day, the survivors were picked up by Hengist and taken to Scrabster.

At 1612, the unescorted Beacon Grange was torpedoed and sunk by U-552 south of Iceland. Two crewmembers were lost. The master, 73 crewmembers and eight gunners were picked up by Belgian trawler Edouvard Anseele, transferred to corvette HMS Gladiolus and landed at Londonderry.

ASW trawler HMS Commander Horton sunk by U-552 at 62N, 16W.

 (Dave Shirlaw)


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April 27th, 1942 (MONDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The first operational sortie is made by the de Havilland Mosquito night-fighter. Armed with four 20mm guns it can reach 407 mph. (22)

Minesweeper HMS Fitzroy is mined and sinks within 10 minutes 40 miles ENE of Gt. Yarmouth at 52 39N 02 46E. It is believed that she may have struck a British mine, although this area was extensively mined by both sides. (Alex Gordon)(108)

Destroyer FS La Combattante (ex-HMS Haldon) launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

NORWAY: U-657 was damaged in an Allied air raid at Trondheim. One crewmember was injured. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: The RAF bombs Rostock for the fourth night in a row. 70% of the city has now been destroyed and 100,000 are homeless.

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Theresienstadt: 1,000 Jews are deported to their deaths at Belzec and Sobibor.

U.S.S.R.: (Sergey Anisimov)(69)Baltic Fleet, Ladoga and Onega Flotillas: Shipping loss. TS "Svir" is sunk by aviation, at Leningrad.

MANCHUKUO: In the worst mining disaster in history, 1,527 miners have died at the Honkeiko colliery.

CANADA: In the House of Commons in Ottawa, a plebiscite was held to determine the necessity for conscription. After much discussion and political infighting, it was decided that conscription would be implemented "if necessary." The RCN was almost entirely a volunteer force and the conscription issue played no part in the history of the Canadian Navy.

Patrol vessel (ex-fishing vessel) HMCS Camenita commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Washington: Roosevelt places the US economy on a full war footing.

Minesweeper USS Candid laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

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27 April 1943

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April 27th, 1943 (TUESDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: The "Ground Grocer" device, based in East Anglia, starts jamming the German early-warning system.

Submarine HMS Utica laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: U-806 laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: At 1426, U-371 attacked a small convoy consisting of Merope and the French SS Cevennes, escorted by ASW trawler HMS Rothesay about 10 miles ENE of Cape Bengut. The Merope was hit by a torpedo fired from a distance of 3000 meters, settled with a heavy list to port and sank in a short time. The master and nine men from the crew of 28 crewmembers and six British gunners were lost. The survivors were picked up by the other two ships of the convoy and landed at Algiers. (Dave Shirlaw)

TUNISIA: Djebel Bou Aoukaz falls to British forces.

Capt. Lord Charles Anthony Napier Lyell (b.1913), Scots Guards, led a group which silenced two heavy guns before he was killed. (Victoria Cross)

INDIAN OCEAN: U-180 met the Japanese submarine I-29. Two Indian Nationalists transferred to the Japanese submarine, which continued on its way to Japan. (Dave Shirlaw)

AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Benalla commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

CANADA:

Tug HMCS Glenada laid down Owen Sound, Ontario.

Corvette HMCS North Bay launched Collingwood, Ontario.

Corvette HMCS Shediac arrived Liverpool , Nova Scotia for refit. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Destroyer escort USS Barber laid down.

Destroyer escort USS Neunzer launched.

Submarine USS Puffer commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-174 sunk south of Newfoundland, in position 43.35N, 56.18W, by depth charges from a USN VP-125 Ventura. 53 dead (all hands lost). (Dave Shirlaw)

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27 April 1944

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April 27th, 1944 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: From midnight tonight all travel abroad from Britain will be banned. Exit permits granted to would-be travellers are no longer valid, unless they have been issued during the past week. Some visits to Ireland will be allowed after strict scrutiny.

Similar pre-invasion moves are being made by the enemy. Civilians are being removed from coastal areas, and German families evacuated from the Ruhr when the heavy bombing began are being sent back. Vichy France has cut communications with neutral countries in an effort to prevent military and political intelligence from reaching the Allies. In a hunt for Allied sympathisers, diplomatic bags for French military attaches in Madrid, Lisbon and Berne have been seized.

Frigate HMCS Valleyfield departed Londonderry with Convoy ONM-234. (Dave Shirlaw)

BALTIC SEA: U-803 sunk near Swinemünde, in position 53.55N, 14.17E, by a mine. 9 dead and 35 survivors. (Dave Shirlaw)

FINLAND: The Finnish Chief of General Staff jalkaväenkenraali Erik Heinrichs starts his three-day visit in Germany. At Berchtesgaden he meets with the highest German military leadership, and there's some tension because of the recent Finnish peace-feelers. Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel states bluntly, that in Germany there's no mercy for traitors and complainers. Generaloberst Alfred Jodl is more friendly, but demands that Finland give a proclamation ensuring that the weapons Germany has delivered to Finland would not end in Soviet hands. (Mikko Härmeinen)

BURMA: Air Commando We did not fly again until the 5th of May. No one tells us much but think it is weather problems in Burma. Will pick up our combat flights on that date. Our food is a constant diet of powdered eggs, dehydrated potatoes with Spam or Vienna sausages. No bread but crackers and chlorinated water from canvas lister bags. We managed to appropriate a 10-in-1 ration on occasion and cook it up at our aircraft.

From 1946 until very recently no Spam was ever permitted in my house. A month or so ago I saw a travel TV on Hawaii and learned that Spam was the one biggest imports from the mainland. I broke down and purchased a new version that is called hot and spicy. Hate to admit it but it was great as my wife and I both like spicy foods. Still lack the nerve to try the W.W.II style. (Chuck Baisden)

CANADA:

Frigate HMCS Kirkland Lake (ex-St Jerome) launched Quebec City, Province of Quebec.

Corvette HMCS Stellarton launched Midland, Ontario. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: The motion picture "Going My Way" is released in the U.S. Directed by Leo McCarey, this sentimental musical film stars Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Rise Stevens and Frank McHugh. Crosby is a young Catholic priest assigned to assist aging pastor Fitzgerald at a New York church. The songs include "Going My Way," "Swinging on a Star," "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral," "Silent Night" and "Ave Maria." The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won seven including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Crosby) and Best Supporting Actor (Fitzgerald, who was also nominated for Best Actor). (Jack McKillop)

Submarine USS Corporal laid down.

Destroyer escort USS Heyliger laid down.

Escort carrier USS Makassar Strait commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Submarine HMS Untiring (Lt. Boyd) sinks the German UJ 6075/Clairvoyant. (Dave Shirlaw)

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April 27th, 1945 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Submarine HMS Teredo launched. (Dave Shirlaw)

GERMANY: Himmler's peace feeler sent through the Swedish Red Cross is refused by the Allies.
The Soviets occupy Tempelhof Airfield in Berlin.

Berlin: Hitler's optimism evaporated today. Wenck has been stopped 15 miles short of Berlin and a breakout attempt by General Busse's trapped Ninth Army has been foiled while the Russians inexorably occupy Berlin, house by house, street by street, looting and raping as they go. Tonight the garrison is penned into a corridor three miles wide and ten miles long running east/west across the city. The SS rules there by way of instant execution.

Hitler announces, "On the occasion of my death Ferdinand Schorner will take command of the German Army. (Gene Hanson)

Berlin: General Weidling's diary (90) courtesy of Russ Folsom: 

At 0500 hours, after a violent bombardment and with very strong air support, the Russians attacked on both sides of the Hohernzollerndamm. Defence Zone HQ was under heavy fire. The account for the sins of past years had arrived.

The Potsdamer Platz and Leipzigerstrasse were under heavy artillery bombardment. Brick and stone dust hung in the air like a thick fog. The car in which I was driving to General Barenfanger (1) could only make slow progress. Shells were bursting on all sides. We were showered with splinters of stone. Near the Castle (2) we halted the car and walked the last part of the way to the Alexanderplatz.

Everywhere the streets were full of craters and broken brickwork, and streets and squares lay desolate. To reach cover from a Russian heavy mortar bombardment, we had to cross the Alexanderplatz to the Underground in short rushes. In the spacious, two-level Underground station the populace had taken refuge. Masses of scared people were standing and lying packed together. It was a shattering sight....

 

During the day we lost both Tempelhof and Gatow airports, and that put a stop to the landing of airborne supplies. Although an emergency landing strip had been prepared in the Zoo, only small machines could land there. (3) By the 28th we could no longer use this landing strip because of deep shell-holes. In my afternoon situation report I spoke of the sufferings of the population and the wounded, and about everything I had seen  with my own eyes during the course of the day.... 

Bergen-Belsen: Leaders of communities near concentration camps, including Belsen and Buchenwald, are being forced to see for themselves the horrors in their own backyard: the souvenirs of human skin; half-burnt and sometimes part-cannibalized corpses. At Belsen, where hundreds still die each week, town mayors protest that they knew nothing, in spite of continuous transport activities to this transit camp. At Buchenwald, 1,000 women marched in singing, but left in tears.

Elbe: A momentous announcement, revealing that Allied troops advancing from the west have linked up with the Russians on the river Elbe, was released simultaneously in London, Moscow and Washington this evening.

In a short broadcast, Churchill spoke of the "inflexible resolve" of the Allies "to fulfil our purpose and our duty". Stalin read his message on Moscow radio and paid tribute to "the valorous troops of our Allies." Truman said "the great triumph of Allied arms" was a tribute to the courage and determination of Franklin Roosevelt.

The official version of the meeting places it at Torgau yesterday afternoon, when news cameramen were present to show American and Russian troops shaking hands on a wrecked railway bridge, and the commander of the US 69th Infantry Division, General F. E. Reinhardt, clasping hands with an unidentified Russian general of the 58th Guards Division.

In fact the first meeting had occurred on 25 April, when a US patrol, led by Lt. Albert Kotzebue of the US 69th, spotted a solitary Soviet cavalryman near the village of Stehla. A few hours later, Lt. William Robinson met other Soviet soldiers at Torgau. In a radio message to his command post Kotzebue reported: "Mission accomplished. Making arrangements for meeting between commanding officers." The message ended with two significant words: "No casualties." - a reflection of western fears that a meeting with the Russians might lead to clashes.

With Hitler's Reich now slice in two, the end must be fast approaching. Roads are filled with ex-PoWs, German soldiers and civilians pushing handcarts, all trekking west to escape the Russians.

In the run-up to the Elbe, the American patrol passed through villages where white sheets hung from windows and faces hovered behind lace curtains. In Torgau they encountered wandering slave labourers, German nurses and a dozen or so men carrying piano accordions; others were wheeling carts loaded with tinned food. Further along, the Americans came to scores of Germans queueing up to loot a store.

NORWAY: U-1231 sails on her final patrol. (Dave Shirlaw)

FINLAND: The last German forces leave Finland around Kilpisjärvi, the north-western most tip of Finland. (Mikko Härmeinen)

ITALY: US forces liberate Genoa, Italy which has been controlled by partisans.

Dongo: Russell Folsom on the capture of Mussolini. The former dictator is travelling north from Como with a number of his "Salo Republic" Fascist toadies and their hanger-ons, only to meet up with a German column also heading north commanded by Luftwaffe Flakartillerie Lt. Hans Fallmeyer at Mennagio. Seeking the safety and anonymity of the larger group, Mussolini and his followers joined the Germans. As far as I know, there were no explicit orders by higher command for Lt. Fallmeyer or his unit to escort or protect the Duce from the partisans or the Allied forces during this general scramble north to the Tyrol. Unlike the rescue operation by Skorzeny from the Gran Sasso in 1943, Mussolini was this time very much on his own, and his meeting and joining of the German column was apparently, entirely coincidental. The column was stopped at a Partisan roadblock at Masso, where Lt. Fallmeyer negotiated passage with the leader of the 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, Count Pierluigi Bellini delle Stelle (aka: "Pedro"). It was there agreed that all Italians among the column would be left behind with the partisans before the Germans were allowed to move out. At this point Fallmeyer surreptitiously suggested to Mussolini that he should bury himself in a German private's greatcoat and pull a steel helmet over his head and continue on with the column.

This ruse worked briefly until the next roadblock at Dongo, where Mussolini was discovered, apparently by the mis-match of the incongruous red-stripe on his grey riding trousers with the German private's coat.  Partisans arrest Mussolini. Urbano Lazzaro, the Partisan leader halts a German truck in the village of Dongo and discovers Il Duce in disguise.
"His face was like was and his stare glassy, somehow blind. I read there utter exhaustion, but not fear," Lazzaro says in his memoirs.
"Mussolini seemed completely lacking in will - spiritually dead."

Under such circumstances, Lt. Fallmeyer was in no way either able or obligated to fight for the Duce's continued freedom. He had done what he could, and left the rest to what was most assuredly (in his self-interested view concerning the safety of his men) an internal "Italian affair" between the partisans and the former dictator.

Lazzaro, a member of the largely Communist 52nd Garibaldi Brigade, then found Mussolini's mistress, Clara Petacci, and high officials of his rump fascist republic hidden in the retreating column of Nazi troops heading for Switzerland.

 

JAPAN: Off Okinawa, kamikaze aircraft sink the U.S. freighter SS Canada Victory and damage the destroyer USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390), destroyer escort USS England (DE-635) and high-speed transport USS Rathburne (APD-25). Japanese demolition boats are also active damaging a large support landing craft [LCS(L)] and the destroyer USS Hutchins (DD-476); another boat is sunk by an infantry landing craft (rocket) [LCI(R)]. Japanese shore batteries damage the heavy cruiser USS Wichita (CA-45). (Jack McKillop)



SOUTH-WEST PACIFIC: Admiral Berkey leads a squadron of 3 US cruisers and 6 destroyers in bombarding targets on Borneo, near Tarakan.  These will continue through the 30th.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: Baguio on Luzon is taken by US forces.

AUSTRALIA: Frigate HMAS Diamantina commissioned. (Dave Shirlaw)

U.S.A.: Henry Ruhl is executed by gas chamber at Wyoming State Penitentiary for murder on a government reservation.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: Frigate HMS Redmill is attacked by U-1105 (Oberleutnant zur See Hans Joachim Schwarz) and loses her stern and propellers, but is able to be towed to Londonderry where she is paid off and not repaired. Location: Irish Sea 25 miles NW of Blacksod Bay at 54 23N 10 36W. There are 22 casualties. (Alex Gordon)(108)

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(1) General Erich Barenfanger - according to Read and Fisher in "THE FALL OF BERLIN," Hitler had promoted Lt. Colonel Erich Barenfanger, who had acted briefly as his deputy during the one day he had personal command of the Berlin garrison defences before appointing Weidling. The thirty-year-old Barenfanger, a holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak leaves and Swords, and a keen member of the SA since 1933, was now a major-general, and was given command of defence sectors A and B." James O'Donnell, in his seminal work THE BUNKER, mentions an apparition appearing on the Humbolthain on the 2nd of May to the members of SS-General Mohnke's "escape group." There they saw before them a "host" of new "Tiger Tanks" and "artillery pieces" arrayed around the Flak-tower, as if "on Parade." The young General Barenfanger was allegedly seated in the turret cupola of one of these "Tigers."

(2) The "Castle" - probably refers to the Hohenzollern Palace from the Wilhelmine era in the same area near the Alexanderplatz, which Berliners may have called "The Castle" - ( not sure about local idiomatic descriptions of the time.)

(3) Emergency airstrips in the Zoo/Tiergarten - Though airdrops of supplies to the encircled garrison of Berlin were made or attempted from April 25th to April 29th from Rechlin airbase - no "emergency airstrip" that I know of existed in the Tiergarten proper. General Weidling may have been alluding to the "emergency air-strip" on the "Ost-West Achse" (east-west axis) boulevard (which runs through a section of the Tiergarten), starting at the Brandenburg Gate and leading to the Siegesaule or Victory Column.