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Today 75 and 100 years ago and daily World War Report:

Diary August 19, 1942

beach of Dieppe after the raid

The beach of Dieppe after the raid with killed soldiers and destroyed landing crafts.

WW2 War Diary for Wednesday, August 19, 1942:

Western Front

France – DIEPPE RAID (Operation Jubilee): 6,100 Canadian troops and British Commandos (including elements of an US Ranger bataillon) with 30 new Churchill tanks carry out trial invasion, but are pinned down on the beaches and are unable to capture any important objectives. The secondary aim of the operation – to force the Luftwaffe in the West into a decisive battle and destroy its 500 bombers and fighters – is also a failure. 60 RAF fighter squadrons claim 91 destroyed and 44 probably destroyed (but Germans admit only 48 destroyed and 24 damaged). Destroyer Berkeley crippled by German fighter-bomber and finally scuttled; 33 landing craft lost.

Dieppe Raid Losses
Soldiers Tanks Ships Small craft Planes
British and Canadian 4,340 (1,179 dead, 2,190 POWs) 30 1 destroyer 33 100
Germans 591 (311 dead or missing) - 1 sub-chaser - 48
Eastern Front

Stalingrad: Paulus and Hoth attempt to storm the city.
Siege of Leningrad: Garrison establishes small bridgeheads on German-held left bank of river Neva.

Diary August 19, 1917

British tank was stuck in the mud

A British tank was stuck in the mud during the Ypres battle.

World War One Diary for Sunday, August 19, 1917:

Western Front

Ypres: Slight advance by British troops on Ypres-Poelcapelle road in which 12 tanks (1 ditched) capture pillboxes at St Julien for 26 casualties; Germans retake briefly on August 25.

Eastern Front

Galicia and Bukovina: Germans claim 22,000 PoWs in recent fighting.
Rumania­: Mackensen attacks at Marasesti (until August 20) with 4 divisions and 3-hour shelling but Averescu regains lost ground when General Popescu’s 47th and 51st Regiments (13th Division) bayonet charge through Razoave Forest, lull till August 28.

Southern Fronts

Isonzo: 12 Italian battalions across river; Hill 300 taken by Badoglio’s II Corps and many advances uphill. Italian Third Army attacks on Carso (until August 23) but operations suspended after minimal gains (except to Diaz’s XXIII Corps) for heavy losses.

Chinese Air Force, Fleet, Communist Forces

Chinese Air Force

Pilots of the Chinese Flying Tigers are running to their planes.

Pilots of the Chinese Flying Tigers are running to their planes.

During the 1930s, the Chinese Air Force was composed largely of foreign volunteers, at first Americans but later Italians. By 1937 the strength of the Air Force stood at 500 aircraft, but few of these were serviceable, and the remainder were destroyed by the Japanese in the air battles of 1937.
Chiang Kai-shek and his wife Madame Chiang called for further foreign aid to form an international force to fight the Japanese. At first an international squadron was established of mixed membership, mainly British, American and Dutch pilots. It only had 36 aircraft and had been destroyed by 1938. The international squadron was replaced by six Russian squadrons, two of bombers and four of fighters provided under a clause of the Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1937. The Russian force was totally self-contained and provided all its own supplies and ground crew. It allowed the Chinese Air Force to regroup in the north around Kunming and the Russians sent it 400 aircraft, and a number of new and more efficient flying schools were set up. The kernel of the postwar Chinese Air Force was very largely Russian-trained.

Although efficient, this Russian contribution was too small to provide an overall air defence of China, and in January 1939 after extensive Japanese raids on Chungking, Madame Chiang searched for reinforcements. The American Volunteer Group (AVG) filled the breach. In October 1940 Major-General Mao Pang-tzo the Director of the Operations Branch of the Chinese Air Force, was sent to the United States to buy aircraft. Though the Chinese wanted 650, they eventually got 100 P-40s discarded by the British. The recruitment of pilots was much more difficult. Chennault enthusiastically agreed to head the AVG. To get round the Neutrality Acts two corporations were set up as go-betweens, the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) and China Defence Supplies. All AVG recruits were considered as ’employees’ of CAMCO, and General Chennault was named as their ‘supervisor’ .
In June 1941 the AVG consisted of 100 pilots and 150 mechanics. The following month the AVG was allotted 269 new fighters and 66 bombers and a scheme was considered to extend the AVG to a second group equipped with Hudson bombers, though the entry of the US into the war after Pearl Harbor preempted this.


Chinese Navy

In 1937 the Chinese Navy was very small by Western standards and totalled 59 vessels. The largest vessel were six light cruisers, none of which exceeded 3600 tons. Supporting these were 30 gunboats and a miscellaneous collection of 23 gunboats, sloops and transport vessels.

Most of these were sunk in the Yangtze, at Shanghai, Tsingtao and Canton during the Japanese attacks of 1937 and fell easy victim to Japanese bombing and artillery fire. Some vessels that were beached were salvaged and repaired by the Japanese, but for all intents and purposes the Chinese Navy had ceased to exist.


Communist Forces

In north China, the communist forces of Mao Tse-tung were the main opponents of the Japanese. Like the Nationalists, however, they preferred to maintain a low level of operations, saving themselves for the coming struggle for the control of China. After Pearl Harbor, they decided that Japanese defeat was inevitable, and in any case the major communist offensive of the war, the ‘Hundred Regiments Campaign’ of 1940, had been very costly.

After the losses of the Long March, communist forces had begun operations against Nationalists from their new base in Yenan in 1936, but in 1937 a truce was patched up to meet the Japanese menace, and the three communist Front Armies under Chu Teh were designated the 8th Route Army; this had an official strength of 45,000 men but was probably 80,000 strong, including guerillas.

The basic organization was quite standard: three squads (each of 10 to 16 men) made up a platoon, three platoons a company (with its administrative troops about 120 men strong); three companies a battalion; three battalions a regiment; three regiments a division and three divisions an army.Support weapons were whatever was available, and the communist forces were woefully lacking in machine guns and artillery.
The cohesion of this ill-equipped army was enormous, however. Often short of equipment and heavy armament, the communists made up for this with the discipline of their organization.