July 11th, 1943 (SUNDAY)
ITALY: British troops advance on Sicily almost unopposed. They take Pozzallo. US advance is resisted by the Hermann Göring Panzer division.
Weather has contributed to problems with the US landings. Naval bombardment was necessary to assist with the German counterattack.
Gunfire of USN cruisers and destroyers stop a German attack on the landing beaches near Gela; the gunfire destroys 13 of 50 German tanks.
In the air, Ninth Air Force B-24s hit airfields at Vibo Valentia, Sicily and Reggio di Calabria, Italy and B-25s hit airfields at Trapani, Milo and Bo Rizzo, and areas between Sciacca and Enna, Sicily. P-40s escort bombers and provide beach cover as invasion forces push inland.
During the night of 10/11 July, Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) planes hit Milo and Sciacca Airfields and numerous tactical targets during the day, including town areas, vehicle convoys, bridges, trains and roads; NASAF B-17 Flying Fortresses bomb the Catania marshalling yard while B-26 Marauders hit Milo Airfield and Gerbini satellite airfields; and B-25s and P-38 Lightnings hit Sciacca Airfield and the town of Caltanissetta.
Throughout the day NASAF fighters attack truck convoys on Sicilian highways, and hit gun positions and targets of opportunity.
A mixed force of 16 Fw-200s and He-111s attack the DIME invasion force and blow up the ammunition ship Robert Rowan. (Henry Sirotin)U.S.S.R.: The Battle for Kursk continues. It is confined now to almost exclusively tanks. Visibility is poor due to dust and smoke, this limits the German advantage in long range gunnery.
NORTH AFRICA: The Fifth Air Force supports American and Australian ground troops in the Nassau Bay area by dispatching A-20 Havocs and B-25s to blast positions in the battle zone from Nassau Bay inland to the Mubo area, hitting the trail between Logui and Kennedy's Crossing, the Bobdubi and Bobdubi Ridge areas, Salamaua, Kela Point and villages scattered through the area.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: The Japanese continue to attack Allied forces in the Solomons. During the day, US Army Air Forces P-39Airacobra and US Marine F4U Corsair pilots shoot down 10 A6M "Zekes" and 2 G4M "Bettys."
TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Five Eleventh Air Force B-24s take off from Attu Island to attack the Kataoka Naval Base on Shimushu Island in the Kurile Islands and fly a shipping search but are turned back by a heavy cloud front extending from the surface of the sea to 6,000 feet (1,829 meters); this is the first attempt to bomb Japan by heavy bombers in World War II. ]
A shipping search by 5 B-25 Mitchells finds nothing. 6 B-25s and 6 B-24s in 3 missions (one by radar) attack North Head and Main Camp on Kiska Island sighting new excavations near Sredni Point, strafe a tent near Haycock Rock, and also fly over Segula Island.
The destroyer USS Mongahan (DD-354) bombards Japanese installations at Gertrude Cove on Kiska Island.
U.S.A.: Black troops at the Shenango Personnel Department in Greenville, Pennsylvania, upset at the treatment they have received, break into the weapons supply building and fire on white fellow soldiers. One black soldier is killed and four others are injured in the ensuing battle. (Drew Halevy)
CANADA: Destroyers HMCS Iroquois, HMS Douglas along with frigates HMCS Moyala and Swale were escorting the troopships Duchess of York, California and Port Fairy from Plymouth to Freetown, South Africa when they were attacked by 3 German Focke Wulf 200 'Kondor' high-altitude bombers at about 2100 hrs 200 miles off of Vigo, Spain. The German bombing accuracy was excellent and both California and Duchess of York were hit and burned furiously. The consorts evacuated both ships and the 2 damaged liners were sunk by gunfire and the convoy continued on to an unscheduled stop at Casablanca. Twenty-seven lives were lost in this incident. 680 survivors were rescued from Duchess of York by Iroquois. Duchess of York was the 2nd and last of the 4 CPR Duchess-class liners lost during the war. The 1st was Duchess of Atholl on 12 Oct 42; several other CPR liners were also lost.) She was a veteran of the evacuations from Norway and France and had travelled widely on hazardous routes. She was regarded as a lucky ship. During one of her 6 voyages to North Africa she had survived a hit by an unexploded bomb. The Duchess-class liners had been designed with a flat-bottomed hull for travelling up the St.Lawrence River, which gave them a significant roll. This characteristic trait caused them to be dubbed "The Drunken Duchesses". The 2 survivors, Duchess of Bedford and Duchess of Richmond, were renamed Empress of France and Empress of Canada after the war. The CPR lost 14 of its original 22 ships during WW II. Empress of Britain (42,348 tons) was the largest Allied passenger liner to be sunk and the biggest merchant ship loss of the war.
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