February 15th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: Corvette HMCS Giffard departed Londonderry escort for convoy ON.224.
GERMANY: General der Panzertruppen Friedrich Kühn, is killed in an air raid on Berlin. General der Panzertruppen is three star rank, equivalent to an American Lieutenant-General. He is the highest ranking officer of the Heer to be killed by enemy action in the war. (Jeff Chrisman)
ITALY: 142 Fifteenth Air Force Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses dropped 353 tons of bombs on the monastery at Monte Cassino.
This was the first heavy-bomber attack on Monte Cassino Benedictine Abbey in support of the New Zealand Corps assault to establish a bridgehead across the Rapido River south of Cassino. Also bombing were Twelfth Air Force North American B-25 Mitchells and Martin B-26 Marauders.
It was Lt-Gen Sir Bernard Freyberg whose newly-formed New Zealand Corps has the task of assaulting the heights, who asked for the monastery to be bombed on the grounds that it was being used as an observation post for German artillery. US generals were against the bombing; and the decision was taken only when General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, the supreme Allied commander in the Mediterranean, flew out over the monastery and thought he saw radio aerials. He was wrong. The monastery was not occupied by the Germans, though they may have been there to help the monks remove books and manuscripts for safekeeping in the Vatican.
After the aerial bombardment the New Zealanders and the 4th Indian Division began their assault tonight - only to be repulsed by German paratroopers. Ironically, the Germans are now moving into the wrecked monastery, which makes a better defensive position.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Submarine HMS Upstart sinks German auxiliary minelayer Niedersachsen (1794 BRT, former French Guyane) off the Italian Riviera.
At 1522, the Fort St. Nicolas was hit by a Gnat from U-410 and sank east of the island of Capri. The master, 48 crewmembers, 14 gunners and four passengers were rescued by a RAF crash launch and landed at Salerno. The Fort St. Nicolas was participating in the Operation Shingle, the landings at Anzio-Nettuno.
AUSTRALIA: The RAAF forms No. 7 Operational training Unit (OTU) at Tocumwal, New South Wales, to provide operational training for B-24 crews.
SOLOMON ISLANDS: US Marine Torpedo Bomber Squadron One Hundred Thirty Four (VMTB-134) flying TBF Avengers against the Japanese at Rabaul, New Britain, Bismark Archipelago, make the first combat use in the Pacific of forward firing rockets.
PACIFIC OCEAN: Japanese submarine I-43 is sunk by the USS Aspro (SS-309) east of Guam. (Mike Yared)(144 and 145)
Submarine USS Gato sinks the Japanese guardboat Taiyo Maru No.3 (36 BRT) off Rabaul, New Britain in position 04.00S, 150.10E.
Submarine USS Silversides departs Pearl Harbor for her 9th war patrol. She is ordered to patrol west of the Mariana Islands.
Submarine USS Angler departs Midway for her 2nd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South China and Sulu Sea.
Submarine USS Tinosa torpedoes and sinks Japanese army cargo ship Odatsuki Maru (1988 BRT) east of Dinagat Island in position 09.30N, 127.00E.
CANADA: Submarine HMS L-26 commenced ASW training Halifax.
USS PC-788 commissioned.
USS PCS-1465 commissioned.
Destroyer escort USS Solar commissioned.
Destroyer USS Stormes laid down.
Minesweeper USS Surfbird laid down.
Minesweepers USS Specter and Staunch launched.
Net tender USS Satinleaf launched.
Destroyer escort USS George E Davis laid down.
Minesweeper USS Sprig laid down.
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