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July 9th, 1943 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Frigates HMS Kingsmill, Lawford, Louis laid down. Minesweeper HMS Rosario commissioned.

GERMANY: Heidelberg: Goebbels vows that Allied bombing will be avenged by a new secret weapon.

ITALY: General Guzzoni is now in command on Sicily with the Italian 6th Army.

In Sicily during the night of 8/9 July, Northwest African Strategic Air Force Wellingtons bomb the airfields at Catania, Gerbini, and Comiso and Northwest African Tactical Air Force planes hit Sciacca and Milo Airfields. 

During the day, Ninth Air Force B-24s bomb airfields at Maleme, Crete, and Comiso and Taormina while B-25 Mitchells hit Sciacca landing ground and Biscari Airfield and dispersal areas and P-40s escort bombers over Castelvetrano, and Milo Airfields. Northwest African Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses, B-25s, B-26 Marauders, and fighters attack other targets, including Sciacca and Biscari Airfields, Gerbini satellite field, and Cape Passero Island radar stations. This pre-invasion air bombardment of Sicily provides air superiority over the enemy.

The Allied forces for Operation Husky are gathered around MALTA. The invasion of Sicily will begin with airborne landings tonight. These will include the US 505th PIR landing at Gela. (Mike Yared)

2,590 Allied ships headed for Sicily to mount the first amphibious assault on Occupied Europe - Operation Husky - while transport aircraft and gliders from North African bases inserted troops from the British 1st Airborne and US 82nd Airborne Divisions, beginning half an hour before midnight.

U.S.S.R.: The Battle for Kursk continues. The Germans are becoming bogged down. 

Operation Citadel, Hitler's desperate attempt to change the course of the war by destroying the Soviet armies in the Kursk salient, is grinding to  a halt as Soviet tanks, cunningly constructed defences, and swarms of Sturmoviks blunt the pincer attacks of General Hoth from the south and General Model from the north.

Citadel has been off-balance from the start. Hitler postponed it three times in order to introduce his new Panther and Tiger tanks and the huge Elefant tank destroyers. But the delays simply gave the Russians time to deploy their own T-34s and build formidable anti-tank defences. Surprise, a vital element of the Blitzkrieg, was entirely missing. From spies - particularly "Lucy" in Switzerland - from Enigma decodings passed on by the western Allies and from deserters the Russians knew everything about Citadel. Two and a half hours before German tanks were due to crash over the start line, four days ago, they were hit by a storm of fire from Russian guns.

There were heavy casualties among the Germans caught in the open, and the start of their attack was disrupted. Model's men were hammered by Katyusha rockets.

The Elefants, with only one defensive machine gun each, proved themselves useless without infantry support, and the untried Panthers and Tigers broke down and caught fire. On that first day Model gained only six miles, and on the second day only four, and on the third he was fought to a standstill only 12 miles from his starting point. And there he is stuck. Hoth, with a six-to-one advantage in tanks, made better progress, breaking through the first Soviet defence line. But now he is stopped dead by a line of dug-in tanks.

BURMA: The RAF bomb Maungdaw.

COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: A USN submarine lands men, equipment and ammunition on Negros Island.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: US forces on New Georgia are now advancing on Munda, in the Solomon Islands. Aerial support for the operations on New Georgia continue. During the night of 8/9 July, Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Kahili Airfield and Buin on Bougainville Island, and Poporang Island.

Marine SBD Dauntlesses bomb Japanese ground defenses at Bairoko Harbor on New Georgia while B-25s and several fighters sent against forces near Vella Lavella Island, fail to locate the target and strafe Buki and Ganongga Islands, and a destroyer beached on southeast Kolombangara Island. At least 4 A6M "Zekes" are shot down by a P-39Airacobra and Navy F4F Wildcat pilots in the early afternoon over Rendova.

Four USN destroyers shell the area near Munda on New Georgia Island. Later in the day, 18 USMC SBD Dauntless bomb the same area.

AUSTRALIA: Minesweeper HMAS Kiama launched.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: The 159th Regimental Combat Team arrives on Attu Island to relieve the 17th Infantry Regiment of garrison duty. The 17th ships out for Adak where it begins training for the invasion of Kiska; during the Kiska invasion, the 17th is designated Landing Force 16.8. 

The destroyer USS Aylwin (DD-355) shells antiaircraft gun positions in the Gertrude Cove area of Kiska on the night of 8/9 July. Approaching her target under an overcast sky, she manoeuvred into range guided solely by her SG radar. Utilizing director-controlled indirect fire the destroyer made two passes at that island, firing 46 rounds of 5-inch (127 mm) on the first run and 38 rounds on the second. Meanwhile, two Japanese cruisers and 8 destroyers attempt to evacuate Japanese troops from Kiska.

The USN submarine USS Permit (SS-178) mistakenly shells a Soviet oceanographic vessel believing it to be a Japanese trawler. Realizing the mistake, the sub comes alongside and rescues the Soviet crew and takes them to Akutan Island, Aleutian Islands.

U.S.A.: Louisiana: The US Navy orders a version of the Consolidated Catalina from the new New Orleans factory. This mark will have two 0.50-in nose guns, search radar in a radome above the cockpit and amphibious undercarriage. They will be designated PBY-6A and 900 are ordered.(23)

Destroyer escort USS Cabana commissioned.

Minesweeper USS Zeal commissioned.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0243, U-508 attacked Convoy ST-71 60 miles SW of Lagos in the Gulf of Benin and torpedoed the De La Salle and Manchester Citizen. The ships were sunk by coup de grâce at 0425 and 0452. The master, 129 crewmembers, 12 gunners and 97 passengers from the De La Salle were picked up by corvette FS Commandant Detroyat and the British SS Calabar and landed at Lagos. Eight crewmembers and two passengers were lost. Twelve crewmembers, two gunners and 14 Krooboys from the Manchester Citizen were lost. The master, 44 crewmembers, eight gunners and 23 Krooboys were picked up by Commandante Detroyat and landed at Lagos.

The unescorted Samuel Heintzelman was torpedoed and sunk by U-511 in the Indian Ocean. The U-boat dived after firing torpedoes and not observed the results, but they heard underwater explosions and found no trace of the ship after surfacing, only debris floating in the water and lying on deck. All eight officers, 34 crewmen, 27 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 5in, one 3in and eight 20mm guns) and six passengers on board were lost. The Samuel Heintzelman was reported missing after being seen the last time in 20°S/103°E on 4 July and it was first believed that she had been sunk by a Japanese surface raider. On 30 September, wreckage of the ship was found off Minni Minni village, Maldive Islands and two empty lifeboats had been spotted the day before.

U-953 attacked by an aircraft killing one and wounding two of its crew. [Matrose I Egon Döring].

U-642 shot down an RAF 210 Sqn Catalina.

U-435 sunk west of Figueira, Portugal, in position 39.48N, 14.22W, by four depth charges from an RAF 179 Sqn Wellington. 48 dead (all hands lost)

U-590 sunk near the Amazon Estuary in position 03.22N, 48.38W, by depth charges from a USN VP-94 Catalina aircraft. 45 dead (all hands lost).

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