January 6th, 1944 (FRIDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: The RAF and USAAF announce their joint development of jet aircraft.
London: The master plan for an Allied invasion of north-west Europe, which has been codenamed "Overlord", is being drastically revised after examination by General Montgomery, the ground force commander under General Eisenhower.
The plan was prepared by an Anglo-US team led by a Briton, Lieutenant General Frederick Morgan, the chief of staff to the supreme Allied commander (COSSAC). Because of the lack of landing craft, the assault force to be put ashore in Normandy was put at only three divisions. They would land north of Caen and, after consolidating the beach-head, swing north-west to capture the port of Cherbourg. Each flank of the landing force would be protected by an airborne division. Two seaborne divisions would follow as immediate reinforcements, leading to a build-up of 18 divisions.
In Churchill's view, an operation on such a limited scale could only be mounted if German forces in France were held down to 12 mobile divisions and enemy fighter strength was reduced.
On first seeing the COSSAC plan, Montgomery said that the Germans would have no difficulty in containing such a small landing area, and severe congestion would follow when reinforcements were brought in. He took his objections to Eisenhower, who agreed with him.
In three days this week at St. Paul's school - his old school in West London - his 21st Army Group HQ, Montgomery hammered out a plan for five divisions to land on a 50-mile from the river Orne to the Cherbourg peninsula. A third airborne division will join the two already assigned to flank protection. The new plan calls for a greatly expanded force of landing craft, so D-Day will be delayed for a month, to the end of May.
Minesweeping trawler HMS Wallasey sunk by German MTB off Mounts Bay, Cornwall.
During the night of 6/7 January, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 57 aircraft to lay mines off Bay of Biscay ports: 12 lay mines off Gironde, ten off LaPallace, six off Brest, Lorient and St. Nazire, five off Bayonne, four off St. Jean de Luz, two off LeHarve,
GERMANY: During the night of 6/7 January, RAF Bomber Command dispatches Mosquitoes to bomb three cities: 11 bomb Duisburg while four hit the Vereinigte Stahl steel factory at Duisburg and one each bomb Dortmund and Dusseldorf.
U-878, U-1207 launched.
POLAND: Thrusting west in a great salient from Kiev, General Vatutin's First Ukrainian Front has crossed the pre-war border of Poland and has chased the Germans to the gates of Sarny, an important junction on the railway from Kiev to Warsaw.
Vatutin is giving the Germans no chance to recover. He is pushing on in overwhelming strength, and in a special communiqué this morning the Soviet High Command says that his men have killed more than 3,000 Germans and knocked out 83 tanks and 68 field guns. Many prisoners have been taken.
The Germans are making no attempt to hide the extent of their retreat in the Ukraine. A spokesman in Berlin said yesterday: "The German high command will make no effort to hold Russian territory purely for reasons of prestige."
"Should the Germany Army be compelled to retreat altogether from Russian soil, this would be only a secondary question compared with the importance of maintaining the front intact all along the line."
This announcement seems to presage a full-scale retreat by the Germans. The Russians have advanced 400 miles since the opening of their campaign last July. If they achieve similar results this winter, then they will be in not only Poland but East Prussia, the heartland of German militarism.
ITALY: In the U.S. Fifth Army's II Corps area, Task Force A of the 1st Armoured Division reaches the crest on the north end of Mt. Porchia and holds firm against a counterattack. The 135th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, completes clearing St. Vittore by 1700 hours local and drives closer to La Chiaia while the 168th Infantry Regiment continues an outflanking movement to the north, making slow progress. 1st Special Service Force is reinforced by two battalions of the 133d Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, to temporarily continue operations as Task Force B. Task Force B attacks toward Mt. Majo from Mt. Arcalone, during the night of 6/7 January. Regimental Combat Team 142 is detached from II Corps and returns to the 36th Infantry Division as reserve.
USAAF Twelfth Air Force B-26 Marauders bomb Pontedera hitting the marshalling yard and Piaggio aircraft factory, the Lucca marshalling yard, and the railway north of Follonica; P-40 and A-36 Apache fighter-bombers attack gun positions in the Cervaro-Monte Trocchio area and near Aquino, the town of Cervaro, the railway at Civitavecchia, trains north and east of Rome, the Velletri train station, and the town of Fondi.
CHINA: Lieutenant General Daniel Sultan, Deputy Commander-in-Chief US China-Burma- Indian Theatre of Operation, warns General Joseph Stilwell, Commander-in-Chief US China-Burma-India Theatre of Operations, Chief of Staff to Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek Commander-in-Chief Northern Area Combat Command and Deputy Commander-in-Chief South East Asia Command (SEAC) that SEAC planners want to bypass Burma until Germany is defeated, then mount a major offensive beginning with invasion of Sumatra, Netherlands East Indies.
Two USAAF Fourteenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb a troop ship on the Yangtze River, northeast of Tungting Lake; the vessel is reported as sunk.
BURMA: Since all remaining landing craft are recalled to the Mediterranean, Admiral Louis Mountbatten, Commander-in-Chief South East Asia Command (SEAC), cancels Operation PIGSTICK, the proposed operation on the southern Mayu Peninsula.
U.S. Brigadier General Gen Frank D. Merrill is assigned command of the GALAHAD force, whose designation is made "unit." The GALAHAD force is the U.S. long-range penetration groups.
The Chinese make another unsuccessful attempt to reduce the Japanese strongpoint on the Tarung River.
USAAF Tenth Air Force P-51 Mustangs and A-36 Apaches carry out ground support missions at Sumprabum and Taihpa Ga and hit a cavalry bivouac and dumps at Kamaing; 12 P-40s attack a supply dump south of Sahmaw Junction and strafe Pahok.
NEW HEBRIDES ISLANDS: On Espiritu Santo, Major General Hubert R. Harmon takes command of the USAAF Thirteenth Air Force.
NEW GUINEA: In Northeast New Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators and B-25 Mitchells bomb the Alexishafen and Bogadjim areas; A-20 Havocs attack targets along the road from Bogadjim to Yaula; B-25s attack targets of opportunity on the Huon Peninsula and others hit the Borgen Bay area; and P-39 Airacobras strafe barges at Borgen and Rein Bays.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: USAAF Fifth Air Force B-25 Mitchells and RNZAF Venturas bomb and strafe targets in the Choiseul Bay area of New Georgia Island, including jetty areas and buildings at Tarekekori, targets on Morgusaia Island, and gun positions on Kondakanimboko Island.
NEW BRITAIN: US troops press southwards from Cape Gloucester to the Aogiri river. The ADC Group (7th Marine Regiment reinforced by a battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment and supporting units) renewing their southward attack, clears Hill 150, south of Target Hill.
Brigadier General Julian Cunningham, Commanding General Task Force DIRECTOR, reports to Lieutenant General Walter Krueger, Commanding General Sixth Army, the presence of Japanese positions near the Arawe beachhead.
USAAF Thirteenth Air Force P-38 Lightnings sweep the Rabaul area on New Britain Island, claiming nine "Zeke" fighters (Mitsubishi A6M, Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighters) shot down during a running battle over the Cape Gazelle area.
AMC Prince David completed conversion to infantry landing ship.
The USN gunboat USS St. Augustine (PG-54) is sunk about 86 nautical miles (153 kilometres) south of Atlantic City, New Jersey, in position 38.01N, 74.05W, after being rammed amidships by the merchant tanker SS Camas Meadows. Her seams were split by the collision, and the gunboat sank in five minutes. The rough, wintry seas claimed 115 of her crew; only 30 survived. The ship had left New York City this morning leading a convoy of ships bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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