July 4th, 1945 (WEDNESDAY)
GERMANY: Berlin: Watched by several thousand Berliners, the British occupation force arrived in the former capital of the Third Reich this afternoon. Women and children clambered over heaps of rubble to gain a better view as the 11th Hussars of the 7th Armoured Division appeared after a 14-hour, 120-mile journey from the British occupation zone. They had been held up for three hours at Magdeburg waiting for the Russians to give them permission to enter their zone.
They passed lines of Russian infantry riding in horse-drawn carts. Beside the gleaming fresh paintwork of the Hussars’ tanks, the Russians looked shabby and tattered. Berlin seems populated almost entirely by women and thousands of them are employed by the occupation powers clearing the rubble, brick by brick. At first they worked 13 hours a day; that has now been reduced to seven. There are long food queues, fuel is scarce and most buildings lack glass.
Berlin: Rumours that Hitler is still alive start to spread.
BORNEO: Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Japanese defensive positions near Balikpapen, Borneo in support of Australian troops. Meanwhile, the Australians capture Manggar Airfield which will be needed because the three escort aircraft carriers supporting operations, part of Task Group 78.4, begin retiring to Leyte.
BURMA: RAF Republic Thunderbolt fighter-bombers of No. 42 Squadron, knock out three 105-mm field guns which are hindering the British Army’s advance. (22)
COMMONWEALTH OF THE PHILIPPINES: General MacArthur announces the complete liberation of the Philippine Islands.
Mindanao: US and Filipino guerrilla forces sweep Sarangani Bay, to try to clear a stubborn pocket of Japanese resistance.
JAPAN: The USAAF’s XXI Bomber Command dispatches 159 Iwo Jima-based P-51s to attack the Yokosuka naval base, and airfields in the Tokyo area (Imba, Tsukuba, and Kasumigaura); they claim 9-25 aircraft on the ground; one P-51 is lost. At the same time, Okinawa-based Far East Air Forces P-51s fly a massive sweep along the west coast of Kyushu .
General Spaatz will command the US Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF) when it is activated in mid-July .
(Jack McKillop adds) On 16 July 1945, General Carl Spaatz assumed command of the U.S. Army Strategic Air Forces (USASTAF). USASTAF will have administrative and operational control of all B-29 units, plus supporting fighter units, in the Pacific, i.e., the Twentieth Air Force in the Mariana Islands and the Eighth Air Force which is transferred without personnel and equipment from England to Okinawa on 16 July.
To celebrate the 4th of July, 8 Eleventh Air Force B-24s radar-bomb the Kataoka naval base on Shimushu Island, Kurile Islands, with napalm.
Corvette HMCS Baddeck paid off Sorel, Province of Quebec.
HMC ML 085 paid off.
The Prince-class auxiliary anti-aircraft cruiser HMCS Prince Robert departed Esquimalt for duty with the British Pacific Fleet. The ship arrived at the RNs main base at Sydney, Australia, on 10 Aug. It was intended that Prince Robert would help to provide escort in the forward operating areas for troop convoys carrying invasion forces for the final assault against Japan. (DS)
U.S.A.: The keel of the USS SALEM is laid down in Boston. (Russell Folsom)