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July 15th, 1943 (THURSDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: Frigate HMCS Loch Morlich (ex HMS Loch Morlich) laid down Wallsend-on-Tyne.

Frigate HMS Calder commissioned.

Frigate HMS Musk launched.

Destroyer HMS Zephyr launched.

Minesweeping trawler HMS Steepholm launched.

Escort carrier HMS Thane launched.

Minesweeper HMS Welfare launched.

GERMANY: U-988 is commissioned.

ITALY: US General Patton forms a provisional corps to advance on the west in Sicily. Bradley's II Corps drives north.

Italian (transport) submarine Remo was torpedoed and sunk in the Gulf of Taranto by submarine HMS United.

In Sicily during the night of 14/15 July, Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) light and medium bombers bomb Palermo, and fly armored reconnaissance, attacking roads and convoys, over extensive areas of Sicily. During the day, Ninth Air Force B-25s bomb Palermo, Cape Gallo, Salina Island, and Cape Zifferano; and P-40s patrol over the Licata area while NASAF medium bombers bomb Vibo Valentia, and fighters fly numerous strafing and bombing missions against trains, road junctions, radar installations, truck convoys, railway stations, and targets of opportunity throughout Sicily. Northwest African Coastal Air Force airplanes fly sea patrols, reconnaissance, convoy escort, and hit shipping off the west coast of Corsica and east coast of Sardinia.

During the night of 14/15 July, Wellingtons of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force (NASAF) hit airfields and docks at Naples; during the day NASAF heavy bombers hit Villa San Giovanni and USAAF Ninth Air Force B-24s strike the main airfield and two satellite fields at Foggia.

U.S.S.R.: The Soviet Central Front begins an offensive toward Orel.

PACIFIC: The submarine USS Narwhal (SS-167) surfaces and shells an airfield on Matsuwa Island in the Kurile Islands with her 6-inch (152 mm) guns. This is the first shelling of the Kurile Islands by a U.S. naval vessel in World War II.

US General Griswold replaces General Hester on New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands.

In the last Japanese attempt to mount an air attack against Allied forces in the central Solomon Islands, the IJN dispatches an estimated 27 "Betty" bombers ( Navy Type 1 Attack Bombers) and 40-50 "Zeke" fighters (Mitsubishi A6M Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters) to attack shipping and ground targets between 1430 and 1530 hours; they are met over Rendova Island by USAAF P-40s, USMC F4U Corsairs and USN F4F Wildcats. The U.S. forces shoot down 15 "Bettys" and 30 "Zekes" with the loss of just three U.S. aircraft.

AUSTRALIA: Frigate HMAS Culgoa laid down.

TERRITORY OF ALASKA: ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: A B-24 Liberator and two P-39Airacobras of the USAAF's Eleventh Air Force fly reconnaissance over Kiska and Segula Islands. Nine B-24s and 14 B-25 Mitchells bomb Kiska Island targets including AA batteries at North Head, Jeff Cove and Gertrude Cove. Fires are started. one B-24 turns back after losing an engine and jettisons bombs, another crashes on return. AA fire damages a B-25.

CANADA: Corvette HMCS Sea Cliff renamed HMCS Guelph while under construction.

U.S.A.: President Roosevelt orders the creation of the Office of Economic Warfare. It will be headed by Leo Crowley.

The USN establishes new designations for aircraft carriers. The 10,000 ton class aircraft carriers built on light cruiser hulls, formerly designated aircraft carriers (CVs), are redesignated light aircraft carriers (CVLs); auxiliary aircraft carriers (ACVs), classified as auxiliary vessels, are redesignated escort aircraft carriers (CVEs) in the combatant category; and a new category, Aircraft Carriers, Large (CVB) is established for the Midway Class carriers.

Minesweeper USS Graylag laid down.

Submarine USS Blower laid down.

Destroyer escorts USS George, Savage, Spangler launched.

Destroyer escorts USS Day, Rudderow laid down.

Minesweeper USS Gadwall launched.

Frigates USS Covington, Shreveport launched.

ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-135 sunk in the Atlantic, in position 28.20N, 13.17W, by sloop HMS Rochester and corvettes HMS Mignonette and Balsam and a USN VP-92 Catalina. 5 dead and 41 survivors.

Two German submarines are sunk by US Navy aircraft. - U-759 is sunk in the Caribbean Sea, south of Haiti, in position 15.57N, 68.30W, by depth charges from a PBM-3C Mariner of Patrol Squadron Thirty Two (VP-32) based at NAS Guantanamo, Cuba. 47 dead (all hands lost)

- U-509 is sunk in the mid-Atlantic north-west of Madeira, Portugal, in position 34.02N, 26.01W, by aerial (Fido) torpedoes from a TBF Avenger of Composite Squadron Twenty Nine (VC-29) in the escort aircraft carrier USS Santee (CVE-29). 54 dead (all hands lost)

SS Twickenham damaged by U-135 at 28.36N, 13.18W

At 2043, the unescorted Harmonic was torpedoed by U-172 620 miles east of Rio de Janeiro. The vessel was sunk by a coup de grāce at 2116. One crewmember was lost. The master, 38 crewmembers and six gunners were picked up on 22 July by the Portuguese merchantman Inhambane and landed at Bahia, Brazil two days later.

At 1801, the unescorted Empire Lake was torpedoed and sunk by U-181 about 240 miles east of Madagascar. The master, 24 crewmembers and six gunners were lost. Five crewmembers and two gunners landed at Farafangana, Madagascar.

Sailing ship Gilbert B Walters sunk by U-572 at 09.40N, 59.50W.


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