Thursday, March 21, 2013

March 21, 1945; SAAR BATTLE WON:


Germans Lose
70,000 Men,
Big Cities
First Army Attacks;
Allied Troops Mass
for Mighty Blow
ARMY, Western Front—(U.P)
—American troops entered
Ludwigshafen today.
Thousands of Allied planes bombed
and shot up freight yards, air
fields, and other targets before
the Western front today
In a softening assault that
may set a new record.

United Press War correspondent)
American armies today almost completed finishing off two German field armies of
80,000 men after their decisive victory in the Saar-Palatinate  pocket, and in the Rhine bridgehead plunged northward 3l miles in a new thrust against the flank of the Ruhr.
Berlin reported that the German command in the West had taken precautions against airborne landings, and it "remains to be seen whether the Allies will throw
into battle their replenished airborne divisions to form new bridgeheads."
A United Press correspondent reported from Marshal Sir Bernard L. Montgomery's front that an air of expectancy was evident. "It is obvious to tens of thousands of Allied troops in Belgium and Holland that "the forthcoming blow" will be one of the heaviest of the whole war," he said.
Aim at Reich's Heart
"The whole area behind the northern front is crammed with the biggest arsenal Europe had seen, and it is obviously intended to surge across the heart of Germany as soon as possible,'' the dispatch said.(insert Map)

Mitscher Finds
Fleet Hiding
in Inland Sea
Our Losses: 1 Ship
Seriously Damaged;
Others, Slightly

GUAM — (U.P) —
Dispatches from lamed Task Force 58 today boosted the toll of two days of daring air attacks on the Japanese fleet in its home bases to at least 17 warships damaged and 600 or more planes wrecked.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz said the raids Sunday and Monday on Kobe, Kure, and other bases in Japan's Inland sea had crippled the surviving remnants of the Japanese fleet at a time when it was rushing repairs to meet an anticipated invasion of Japan.
The carrier-borne fleet of 1,000 to 1,400 U. S. navy planes broke off its attack late Monday. A Japanese communique said the task force, including its escort from the Fifth fleet, was "fleeing southward" toward the Marianas
with Japanese aircraft in "close pursuit."
Japs Fear Return
Radio Tokyo said, however, that there were "plenty of possibilities" the task force might renew its attack. Nimitz's communique on the attack listed 15 to perhaps 17  warships as damaged, but late radio dispatches from Task Force 58 said at least 17 and possibly more warcraft were hit.
The toll included a minimum of seven aircraft carriers, probably all that remained in the Japanese fleet, and two or more battleships, dispatches said. In addition, six freighters were sunk and seven damaged.
Nips Hopes Smashed
The number of Japanese planes destroyed or damaged was revised by late dispatches from 575 to at least 600.
Japan's hopes of rebuilding her crippled air force and fleet were smashed," United Press War Correspondent Lloyd Tupling reported from the flagship of Vice
Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, commander of Task Force 58.
Nimitz's communique reported the specific results on the basis of preliminary reports:
Japanese Ships
Sunk—Six small freighters. Damaged — One or two battleships, two or three aircraft; carriers, two light aircraft carriers or escort carriers, two escort carriers,
one heavy cruiser, one light cruiser, Jour destroyers, one submarine, one destroyer escort, and seven freighters.
Japanese Planes
Shot down—200.
Destroyed on the ground—275. Damaged — More than 100 in first day alone.
Japanese Ground Installation Destroyed—Hangars, shops, arsenals, oil storage facilities, and other installations.
American Losses
Ships sunk—None.
Ships damaged—One seriously, others slightly.
Aircraft---Extremely light.
The toll of enemy warcraft was the greatest since the second battle of the Philippine sea last October, when 24 Japanese warships were sunk, 13 possibly sunk,! and 21 damaged. Later reconnaissance may reveal that some of the warships hit in the Inland sea later sank.

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