February 2nd, 1944 (WEDNESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Destroyer HMS Gabbard laid down.
Rescue tug HMS Emulous commissioned.FRANCE: Paris: The German film The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen opens at the Normandie Cinéma on the Champs-Elysées and draws such a crowd that the police are obliged to form it into separate lines.
Vichy French leader, Pierre Laval, has agreed to extend the age limits of French workers liable for forced labour in Germany, it was reported today. Any male between 16 and 60 may find himself deported; and any childless female between 18 and 45 will also be liable.
Under the compulsory work service code which has been in effect since 1943, Laval is obliged to send one million men to the factories in the Reich by June. The new agreement has been signed with Fritz Sauckel, the Reich plenipotentiary for the allocation of labour. The development thwarts plans by Albert Speer, the Reich minister of armaments and war production, who wants to stop the recruitment of French workers and sees more profit in using French factories for the production of consumer goods and weapons. Speer has forbidden the deportation of workers from factories in an order named Speerbetriebe.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailing vessel Yahia rammed and sunk by U-453 in eastern Mediterranean.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Glen Borens diary:
Talk about a rough day, we launched our first strike at 1000 hrs. One TBF, after taking off, went out about a mile and spun in. No reason given and no one was rescued. Bad luck wasn't finished with us yet, over the target, two TBFs ran into each other, killing all aboard. VT-17 skipper Lt.Cmdr Frank M. Whitaker and war correspondent Raymond Clapper were both aboard one of them.
During the many attacks on the Bunker Hill, Clapper would stand in the hatchway to the island superstructure with his large camera and take pictures and I would stand behind him looking over his shoulder during many of these raids.
The word we received aboard ship is that we have completely taken over "Roi". Kwajalein is about over with. Fighting is still going on at Nauru..
On one of the strikes, our fighters dropped their belly tanks on a jap position and then strafed the tanks setting them of fire. The pilots reported that it worked very well.
So went 2 Feb. 1944
War correspondent Raymond Clapper killed in a collision between two Avenger aircraft from USS Bunker Hill.
NEW GUINEA: US landings at Saldor.
U.S.A.: Light cruiser USS Oklahoma City launched.
Destroyer USS John D Henley commissioned.
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