July 16th, 1943 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: London: Free secondary schooling for all children up to the age of 15 - and ultimately 16 - was today foreshadowed for post-war Britain. Mr. R. A. Butler, the president of the board of education, promised that the whole education system will be remodelled. Secondary schools will be divided into grammar, modern and technical ones, with selection at 11. The provision of school meals is envisaged. Fee-paying, non-state schools - the so-called "public" ones - can continue.
USAAF's VIII Air Support Command flies Mission Number 1. Sixteen B-26B Marauders are dispatched against the marshalling yard at Abbeville, France; 14 hit the target at 2000 hours without loss. With this mission, the VIII Air Support Command begins combat operations, having acquired the 332d, 323d, 386th and 387th Bombardment Groups (Medium).
Patrol vessel HMS Kilbernie commissioned.
Sloop HMS Lapwing launched.
Corvette HMS Rushen Castle launched.
GERMANY: The bishop of Wurttemburg, Theophil Wurm, writes a letter of protest against the mass killings in the camps to Hitler.
ITALY: A joint broadcast to the Italian people, calling for surrender, is made by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Glenn Steinberg)
Allied pilots drop leaflets containing a plea by Roosevelt and Churchill urging Italians depose Mussolini or face Allied attack.
During the night of 15/16 July, Northwest African Strategic Air Force Wellingtons bomb the dock, marshalling yards, and airfields at Vibo Valentia, Sicily and Crotone, Reggio di Calabria, and Villa San Giovanni, while Northwest African Tactical Air Force (NATAF) light and medium bombers carry out numerous missions against Randazzo, Sicily and roads in Sicily.
During the day, USAAF Ninth Air Force B-24 Liberators attack Bari Airfield; Axis fighters attack persistently and three B-24s are shot down; they claim 11 fighters destroyed in combat. B-25 Mitchells bomb Randazzo and Valguarnera, Sicily while RAF heavy bombers hit Reggio di Calabria Airfield.
NATAF fighters, light and medium bombers bomb Valguarnera, Sicily and targets of opportunity in north central Sicily.
On the ground in Sicily, British troops establish a bridgehead across the Simeto River.
U.S.S.R.: Commander of 9 Armee, Generaloberst Walter Model, assumes simultaneous command of 2 Pz. Armee. There are two reasons for this. 1) The Soviets have launched heavy attacks to wipeout the "Orel Salient" where both armies are neighbours and one commander can better co-ordinate the defense, and 2) the former commander of 2 Pz. Armee, Generaloberst Rudolf Schmidt has been arrested by the Gestapo. (Jeff Chrisman)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Light cruiser HMS Cleopatra was torpedoed and heavily damaged off Sicily by Italian submarine Dandolo. She was patched up at Malta and left for the United States for permanent repairs in October 1943. Their repairs were completed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in November 1944.
INDIAN OCEAN: At 1558, the unescorted Fort Franklin was torpedoed and sunk by U-181 SW of Reunion. Two crewmembers died. The master, 43 crewmembers and nine gunners landed at Manajara, Madagascar.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: 30+ Thirteenth Air Force B-24 Liberators and B-17 Flying
Fortresses pound Kahili Airfield on Bougainville Island with fragmentation bomb clusters.
CANADA: Frigate HMCS Beacon Hill laid down Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Destroyer USS Stembel commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Dionne commissioned.
Submarine USS Apogon commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Vance launched.
Frigate USS El Paso launched.
ATLANTIC OCEAN: TBF Avengers of Composite Squadron Thirteen (VC-13) in the escort aircraft carrier USS Core (CVE-13) sink German submarine U-67 in the Sargasso Sea, at 30.05N, 44.17W, by depth charges; only 3 of the 51 submariners survive.
At 2115, the unescorted Richard Caswell was hit by one torpedo from U-513 about 150 miles SE of Florianopolis, Brazil. The torpedo struck on the starboard side at the after end of the engine room, destroying the engines and killing three men on watch below. Most survivors among the eight officers, 34 crewmen, 24 armed guards (the ship was armed with one 4-in and nine 20-mm guns) and two passengers on board abandoned ship in three lifeboats and two rafts. The master and a small party stayed on board but ten minutes after the hit a second torpedo struck at the forward end of the engine room. The explosion blew a few men over the side and caused extensive damage to the amidships deck and the superstructure. Just as the ship broke in two and sank after about 15 minutes, the U-boat surfaced and questioned the survivors. The commander told the men that he had lived in Brooklyn for seven years and asked how the Dodgers were doing; the Germans gave them cigarettes and then left the area. In all, the master, two officers and six crewmen were lost. The 26 survivors in two of the boats were picked up on 19 July by the Argentine steam merchant Mexico and landed two days later at Rio Grande, Brazil. On 22 July the 16 survivors in the third lifeboat made landfall at Barra Valha, Brazil. The 18 survivors on the rafts were picked up by seaplane tender USS Barnegat on 22 July and landed three days later at Rio de Janeiro. (Jack McKillop and Dave Shirlaw)
U-306 shadowed Convoy SL-133 from grid EK79 to EK49 and reported two days later four ships of 27,000 tons sunk and one other ship of 5,000 tons probably sunk. The U-boat attacked two times; the first attack was carried out at 0352, firing five single torpedoes. Trotha reported one ship sunk, one probably sunk and three torpedoes missed due to great distance. In fact, only the Kaipara was torpedoed and damaged at this time. At 0801, the U-boat fired two spreads of two torpedoes and two minutes later the stern torpedo. U-306 observed three hits and could not see the targets anymore, but none of the reported hits are confirmed by Allied reports.
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