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September 8th, 1944 (FRIDAY)

UNITED KINGDOM: London: The first German A4 (Vergeltungwaffe 2 or V-2)  rocket lands on Staveley Road, a quiet suburban road in Chiswick, West London, at 6.43pm,  killing three people, seriously injuring 17, destroying six homes and leaving a massive crater. This is one of Hitler's vaunted "vengeance weapons". 

It was fired, minutes before by Mobile Artillery Section 485 from a mobile launcher from the Koekoeslaan (Cuckoo's Lane) a suburban road of The Hague, in the Netherlands, The explosion, and a second, just 16 seconds later (which lands in open countryside in Epping (north-east of London), but causes no casualties) are heard over much of London. Each sounded like a double thunder-clap followed by the rush of an express train. 

It had been aimed at the Fire Station in Southwark Bridge Road but missed by eight miles. To avoid panic, and against the advice of scientists, no announcement of the new weapon was made. There are rumours that exploding gas mains were  responsible. This morning, another rocket landed on the outskirts of Paris. By coincidence today Britons were told by Duncan Sandys, a junior minister, that the attack by V1 flying bombs was virtually over "except possibly for a few last shots". The launching sites near Calais have been captured, but a small number of V1s are still being air-launched by Heinkel bombers over the North Sea. In the 80 days since they began, 2,300 V1s got through to London, killing 5,475 people, injuring 16,000 and destroying 25,000 houses.

"The London Gazette" describes the deeds for which Wing Commander Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, D.S.O., D.F.C., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve has been awarded the VC. Article

US Eighth Air Force in England flies two missions. 

- Mission 611: 1,070 bombers and 349 fighters,in 3 forces, are dispatched to hit industrial targets in the Mainz and Ludwigshafen, Germany area; attacks were visual at the primary targets; 10 bombers are lost. 
(1) 348 B-17s attack the Opau oil refinery at Ludwigshafen; 5 B-17s are lost; escort is provided by 88 P-51s
(2) 247 B-24s hit the Karlsruhe marshalling yard and 1 hits a secondary target at Ludwigshafen; 4 B-24s are lost; escort is provided by 82 P-51s
(3) 386 B-17s are dispatched to hit an armored vehicle factory at Gustavsburg (167) and oil depot at Kassel (166); 23 others hit targets of opportunity; 1 B-17 is lost; escort is provided by 144 P-51s

- Mission 615: 7 B-17s drop leaflets in the Low Countries, France and Germany during the night.

Other missions include:

- The VIII Fighter Command flies 2 missions. 
(1) 160 P-38 Lightnings strafe and bomb rail transportation east of the Rhine River; they claim 7-0-1 aircraft on the ground.
(2) 194 P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51s strafe targets in the Heidelberg-Darmstadt-Wurzburg and Frankfurt/Main-Koblenz areas; 1 P-47 and 1 P-51 are lost.

- A C-47 Skytrain flies a CARPETBAGGER mission in France.

- 110 B-24s fly TRUCKIN' mission to Bricy Airfield at Orleans, France.

BELGIUM: The US VII Corps captures Liege. The Canadian 1st Army captures Nieuport and Ostend.

In a stunning ten-day display of style and vigour, British Canadian and Polish forces have raced across northern France and into Belgium to liberate Brussels and capture the key port of Antwerp. Today they stand on the Albert Canal; behind them lies a trail of devastated enemy tanks, guns and trucks, and cages crowded with PoWs.

The task of leading the assault was given to Lt-Gen Brian Horrocks, who triumphed in Tunisia with his famous moonlight advance to take the Germans off guard. On this occasion his jumping-off point was a Seine bridgehead at Vernon; he stormed German defences and kept the enemy on the run with his moonlight manouvres. After a 40-mile drive to Amiens, he captured its German commander, General Eberbach, seized the town and secured the bridges over the Somme. Arras and Douai followed. The Guards Armoured Division entered Brussels on 3 September; Antwerp fell to the 11th Armoured Division the next day.

Hitler is desperately scrambling together new infantry divisions by drafting the elderly and disabled whic have been carrying out guard duties in rear areas. Sailors and airmen are being turned into foot soldiers. The Fuhrer has recalled to active service the man he sacked only two months ago for failing to repel the Allied landing in Normandy. Field Marshal von Rundstedt returned as C-in-C West with orders to halt the Allies until winter arrives, with fog, night and snow, to give the Third Reich a respite.

The Belgian government, exiled in London for the past four years, returns to Brussels. 

NETHERLANDS: The U.S. 113th Cavalry Group (Mechanized) drives almost to Maastricht and patrols the Albert Canal in Belgium.

     During the night of 8/9 September, two of three RAF Mosquitos bomb Havelte Airfield at Steenwijk.

FRANCE:  The Canadians are besieging the Channel ports of Boulogne and Calais, where the Germans are clinging on in order to deny the Allies port facilities close to the front lines. The Canadian 2d Division captures Dunkirk while the 4th Armoured Division reaches the outskirts of Bruges and Polish armor reaches Thielt. The U.S. 2d, 8th and 29th Infantry Divisions of the U.S. Ninth Army begin an all-out assault on Brest at 1000 hours local. The German 106th Panzer Brigade counterattacks the troops of the U.S. 90th Infantry Division but becomes disorganized and is virtually wiped out losing 30 tanks, 60 half-tracks and almost 100 other vehicles. The enemy pocket in Briey surrenders to units of the U.S. XX Corps.

Besancon is liberated by the US VI Corps in the south of France.

     In southern France, the 1st Airborne Task Force captures Menton and drives to the Italian border. The French 1st Armoured Division captures Autun. The Germans are beginning to withdraw from the Baume-les-Dames area to avoid being encircled.

The newly organized U.S. Ninth Army attacks Brest, a French naval base in Brittany. 

Weather prevents US Ninth Air Force bomber missions; fighters fly cover for troops in the Brest area and for the US 2d, 5th, 8th, and 29th Infantry Divisions, and the XX Corps area, escort troop movements and fly defensive patrols; several hundred C-47s fly supply and evacuation missions.

     In southern France: USAAF Twelfth Air Force A-20 Havocs fly supply missions to an airfield near Lyon; fighters strafe the Belfort area, hitting 10 trains with good results, and blast a horse-drawn vehicle convoy near Strasbourg.

     During the day, RAF Bomber Command dispatches 333 aircraft, 304 Lancasters, 25 Mosquitos and four Stirlings, to bomb German positions at Le Havre but the weather is bad, with a low cloud base, and only 109 aircraft bombed, with indifferent results. Two Lancasters are lost. The four Stirlings of No. 149 Squadron on this raid are the last Bomber Command Stirlings to carry out a bombing operation.(22

LUXEMBOURG:  German troops withdraw from Luxembourg to positions behind the Seigfried Line. 

GERMANY: Roland Friesler's 'People's Court' sentences Carl Friedrich Gördeler to death. (231)

     During the night of 8/9 September, RAF Bomber Command dispatches Mosquitos to two targets: 44 of 45 Mosquitos dispatched bombed Nuremberg and four of six bombed Emden.

U-2507 commissioned.

U.S.S.R.: Baltic Fleet, Ladoga Lake and Chudskoe Lake Flotillas: MS "N-175" - lost at storm, close to Vidlitsa in Ladoga Lake (later supposedly raised and went into service) .  (Sergey Anisimov)(69)

YUGOSLAVIA: Three hundred and fifty four USAAF Fifteenth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators escorted by P-38 Lightnings bomb transportation targets: 103 bomb the Sava River railroad bridge in Belgrade; in Nis, 56 bombers attack the West marshalling yard and 48 hit the North marshalling yard; in Sarjaevo, 54 bomb the West marshalling yard and 15 hit the main marshalling yard; 41 bomb the Sava River railroad bridge at Brod;

ROMANIA: Mediterranean Allied Tactical Air Force C-47 Skytrains fly evacuation missions to Bucharest, Romania, and return  to Italy carrying Allied POWs.

BULGARIA: Soviet troops cross the border into Bulgaria, ostensibly because of Bulgaria's refusal to declare war on Germany.

GREECE: German forces begin to withdraw.

Soviet troops are now 26 miles inside the country.

ITALY: Units of the U.S. Fifth Army cross the Serchio River and enter Vecchiano without opposition. The flooded Arno River prevents the South African 6th Armoured Division from crossing reinforcements.

     The British Eighth Army continues its attacks on Gemmano and Coriano ridges in Italy. Two days of rain have seriously interrupted operations. These attacks are heavily fought and the positions remain in German possession.

     USAAF Fifteenth Air Force P-51s escort RAF Beaufighters to Trieste, Italy

     During the night of 8/9 September, 71 RAF Liberators of No. 205 (Heavy Bomber) Group bomb the canal at Ravenna.


CHINA: Chungking: Operating for the first time in daylight, 90 Chengtu-based B-29 Superfortresses of the US XX Bomber Command bomb the Showa Steel Works at Anshan, in Japanese-controlled Manchukuo. 3 others bomb other targets in Anshan, 5 hit Sinsiang railroad yards, and 3 others hit various targets of opportunity; Major General Curtis Emerson LeMay, Commanding General XX Bomber Command, accompanies the mission. Tokyo Radio claims three B-29s are shot down, but in fact the USAAF suffered no losses. During the night of 8/9 September Japanese bombers attack HQ, storage areas, and parked aircraft at Hsinching (near Chengtu) damaging a B-29, a C-46 Commando, and wounding 2 soldiers. 

U.S. Major General Patrick J. Hurley assumes his post as U.S. Ambassador to China.

     Lieutenant General Joseph Stillwell, Commander in Chief U.S. China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater of Operations, agrees to a War Department proposal that the CBI Theater be split and that he be relieved of responsibility for lend-lease matters in order to concentrate on support of Pacific operations from China. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek proposes to Stillwell that Chinese troops from Myitkyina, Burma, be employed in the battle for Lung-ling, Burma.

     Japanese ground forces overrun the USAAF Fourteenth Air Force airbase at Lingling. A second force is advancing on airbases from the south.

BURMA: On the Salween front, the Japanese, having assembled strong reinforcements, begin attacks on Chinese positions north of Lung-ling.

23 US Tenth Air Force B-24s haul fuel to Kunming, China; large-scale troop carrier operations to many CBI terminals continue.

Nine USAAF Tenth Air Force B-25 Mitchells bomb Katha.

FRENCH INDOCHINA: 18 US Fourteenth Air Force B-24s attack 5 railroad bridges at Giap Nat, Dui Giang, Hue, Trach, Duc Tho, and Quang Tri, knocking out the Quang Tri bridge. 3 B-24s claim a destroyer sunk south of Hong Kong. In China, 100+ P-40s and P-51 Mustangs on armed reconnaissance hit a large variety of targets of opportunity including troops, river shipping, bridges, airstrips, supplies, trucks, and railroad targets over the vast southeast China areas at Lingling, Kiyang, Tunganhsien, Hengyang, Lingkuantien, and Leiyang.

EAST INDIES: In the Netherlands East Indies, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Langoan Airfield on the northeast tip of Celebes Island. On Halmahera Island, B-25 Mitchells hit Galela and Tobelo while B-24s bomb Lolobata and P-47 Thunderbolts attack Kaoe Airfield and antiaircraft positions, Djailolo Airfield and barges at Point Lelo. On Ceram Island, P-38 Lightnings hit Boela Aerodrome while B-25s hit small shipping.

NEW GUINEA: In Dutch new Guinea, USAAF Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb airfields at Langgoer, Faan, Letfoean, and Toeal; fighter-bombers and A-20s hit airstrips and targets of opportunity at Efman, Samate, Babo, Urarom, Manokwari, Moemi, and Ranski; and P-39Airacobras strafe the Wewak coastal area.

BONIN AND VOLCANO ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Iwo Jima in the Volcano Island and two cargo vessels are damaged off Chichi Jima in the Bonin Islands.

CAROLINE ISLANDS: USN carrier based aircraft of Task Groups 38.1 and 38.4, plus surface ships, bombard targets in the Palau Islands.

     USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators based on Saipan bomb Pagan Island while B-25 Mitchells from the Gilbert Islands hit Ponape Island .

MARIANA ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Pagan Island.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: USAAF Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators bomb Wotje Atoll.

PACIFIC OCEAN: USN submarines sink five Japanese ships: USS Bashaw (SS-241) sinks a transport west of Mindanao, Philippine Islands and USS Spadefish (SS-411) sinks a transport, an army cargo ship and two merchant cargo ships east of Formosa. 

CANADA: Frigate HMCS Royalmount arrived Halifax from builder Montreal, Province of Quebec.

U.S.A.: The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) issue a directive to General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area. and Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander Pacific Ocean Areas, for the invasion of the Philippine Islands.

Ed Wynn resumes his radio career after 7 years off the air. Wynn's new show, "Happy Island," debuts on the NBC Blue Network on Fridays at 1900 hours Eastern. Wynn plays King Bubbles, ruler of the mythical Happy Island, where good humor and joy are the order of the day. The show remains on the air until February 1945. The show is sponsored by Borden's Milk and during the commercials, Hope Emerson plays Elsie the cow.

Submarine USS Kraken commissioned.

Destroyer minelayer USS Shannon commissioned.

Destroyer USS Wallace L Lind commissioned.

     The USN commission the light cruiser USS Springfield (CL-66) at Boston, Massachusetts. This is the 37th light cruiser in commission.

Coast Guard-manned Army vessel FS-266 was commissioned at New York. Her only commanding officer was LTJG J. D. Legon, USCGR. On October 2, 1944 she departed New York after a trip to Daviaville, RI, for the Southwest Pacific, where she operated during the war. On 25 November 1945, Coast Guard crew was relieved by a civilian officer and crew.


ATLANTIC OCEAN: U-482 sank MS Pinto and SS Empire Heritage in Convoy HXF-305.

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