Sunday, May 19, 2024

80 Years Ago Today, Friday, 12 May 1944

As I model the WWII era, it's appropriate to provide some context.  The following entries are extracted from the official combat chronologies of the US Navy, Army Air Forces, US Army and US Marine Corps

12 May 1944 Friday



Submarine Tautog (SS-199) attacks Japanese convoy, sinking merchant collier No.2 Banei Maru off northeast Honshu, 40°01'N, 141°58'E.

Japanese transport Kasumi Maru is sunk by mine (probably Japanese) in Straits of Malacca, 03°50'N, 99°30'E.

Japanese river gunboat Saga is damaged by aircraft, South China Sea.


Eighth AF

800 B-17’s and B-24’s operating in 3 forces, bomb oil plants, other industrial tgts, M/Ys, A/Fs, and some unidentified T/Os at Merseburg, Lutzkendorf, Zeitz, Bohlen, Zwickau, Gera, Chemnitz, and Brux. An estimated 430 ftrs offer intense opposition. 46 HBs are lost.

Ninth AF

IX TCC carries out EAGLE, a full-scale exercise of the tactics and techniques of paradrop, glider tow, parapack in resupply, air landing of supplies, and medical evacuation as a dress rehearsal for the airborne invasion of Normandy. More than 450 MBs attack coastal defenses, A/Fs, bridges, railroads and railroad guns, and V-weapon sites in France and Belgium. Thick haze impedes visibility and causes many aborts.

Twelfth AF

A-20’s blast cmd posts along main battlefront as Allied ground forces seek to break through Gustav Line. MBs hit concentration near Fondi, attack forces at Vallecorsa and Pastena, and bomb numerous positions along main front. FBs pound cmd posts, guns, bridges, road and rail traffic, and troops along assault front and in rear areas, concentrating especially on the Monte Cassino Benedictine Abbey and surrounding area.

Fifteenth AF

Around 730 B-17’s and B-24’s (largest HB force used by Fifteenth AF on any day to this time) attack German HQs at Massa d’Albe and Monte Soratte; town of Civitavecchia; A/Fs at Tarquinia and in surrounding area; M/Ys at Chivasso, Piombino, Marina di Carrara, Viareggio, and Ferrara; Orbetello I; Piombino harbor; docks and comm at San Stefano al Mare; harbor, M/Y, and railroad bridge at Chiavari; La Spezia M/Y and harbor; and several T/Os. 26 P-38’s strafe Piacenza A/F. Other ftrs fly over 250 sorties in spt of bombing missions.

Tenth AF

24 A-31’s hit positions at Labawa and SSE of Maungdaw. 36 A-31’s hit villages around Bishenpur while 4 B-25’s strike at Tiddim road NNW of Tonzang. 50-plus B-25’s and FBs knock out railroad bridge at Pinbaw, pound gun positions and supply area at Myitkyina and hit defensive positions near Kazu-Tiangsup. 4 B-25’s damage Myothit bridge while 8 P-38’s bomb Kyaukye. 21 P-51’s hit A/Fs at Meiktila and Heho, claiming 8 interceptors downed. 4 B-25’s knock out bridge at Daga while 2 others bomb camp at Taungbaw.

Fourteenth AF

16 P-40’s and 11 B-25’s hit several tgts in S China and in Indochina. Military installations, arty positions, and tank concentrations are pounded in Yoyang area, a bridge and several trucks are damaged at Sienning, a naval vessel is attacked at Hong Kong, a radio station on Cat Ba I is bombed, and railroad yards, supply dump, and river junks are blasted in Phu Lang Thuong area.

Fifth AF

B-24’s bomb Mokmer A/F and attack tgts on Ceram, Amboina and Timor. A-20’s, B-25’s and FBs blast villages, coastal bridges and roads, vehicles, airstrip at Boram, and other tgts throughout WewakHansa Bay region.

Thirteenth AF

12 B-25’s and 20plus P-40’s and P-38’s pound Tobera airstrip and nearby personnel areas; some of the B-25’s returning from Tobera bomb Sohano I. 12 P-39’s and about 70 Navy SBD’s and TBF’s sink numerous barges throughout Rabaul area, especially at Simpson Harbor and Keravia Bay. Gun positions in Matupi area are also attacked.

Seventh AF

12 Makin-based B-25’s bomb Nauru. A single B-24 from Kwajalein bombs Jaluit.

Eleventh AF

1 B-24 reconnoiters and bombs Matsuwa I installations, concentrating on the A/F on Tagan Cape.


NEW GUINEA—Charov outpost is withdrawn in order to strengthen base at Nyaparake. CBI—In NCAC area of Burma, K Force clashes with enemy near Tingkrukawng and is soon pinned down by superior numbers. Ch 38th Div is now able to maintain communications between its 114th and 112th Regts; 113th is approaching West Wala and Maran.

On Salween front, 198th Regt begins clearing Mamien Pass. 36th Div, Ch 53d Army, which is to clear Tatangtzu Pass, surrounds enemy outposts at E end of it; night counterattack forces 36th Div back to the Salween.

ITALY—AAI: Aircraft join in battle for Rome at dawn.

In U.S. Fifth Army’s II Corps area, enemy is resisting strongly and making determined counterattacks. Elements of 339th Inf, 85th Div, withstand attacks on S. Martino Hill and are passed through by 1st Bn, 337th, which completes capture of this feature. Co F, 339th, is isolated on M. dei Pensieri during enemy counterattack. 338th Inf makes another vain effort to drive up draw between S Ridge and S. Maria Ridge but takes Solacciano. Stiff opposition slows progress of 351st Inf, 88th Div, toward S. Maria Infante; Co F is isolated and wiped out. 350th Inf takes Ventosa village with ease and halts to await forward movement of French. In FEC area, 4th Moroccan Mtn Div, reinf by regt of 3d Algerian Div, tanks, and TD’s, clears Castelforte on left and assists 2d Moroccan Div on right. 2d Moroccan Div is unable to advance. 1st Motorized Div is committed on right flank; 4th Motorized Brig assisted by armor pushes N toward S. Andrea but makes little headway. Mtn Corps, consisting of 1st, 3d, and 4th Groups of Tabors, 1st Moroccan Inf of 4th Mtn Div, and 2d Bn of Algerian Arty Regt, follows 4th Moroccan Mtn Div into Castelforte.

In Br Eighth Army’s 13 Corps area, Ind 8th Div gains firm bridgehead on W bank of the Rapido and puts 2 bridges across the river, but Br 4th Div is unable to expand its small bridgehead. Pol 2 Corps, in Cassino area, seizes Phantom Ridge, NW of the Monastery, but is forced back to line of departure, where it remains for several days.

GERMANY—In powerful experimental blow at oil fields in central Germany to test enemy reaction, more than 800 heavy bombers of Eighth Air Force, escorted by U.S. and RAF fighters, attack oil plants at Zwickau, Merseburg–Leuna, Bruex, Leutzkendorf, Boehlen, and other points with 1,718 tons of bombs. Damage at Bruex, Boehlen, and Zeitz is so severe that the plants are temporarily put out of operation. Excellent results are also achieved at Merseburg–Leuna. German Air Force reacts violently and 46 bombers of Eighth Air Force and 10 Allied fighters are lost. Almost 200 enemy aircraft are claimed destroyed.

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