April 18th, 1944 (TUESDAY)
UNITED KINGDOM: In preparation for Operation Overlord; the British Government issues a ban on coded radio transmissions and telephone calls. Diplomatic bags are to be censored. (The only people, apart from armed forces and spies, with the privilege of sending coded messages were embassies — allied and neutral. The ban on coded telegrams referred to ALL traffic from neutral embassies and, I believe, “consular” traffic from allied ones. The security service — MI5 — was responsible for monitoring messages and diplomatic bags. (Cris Whetton))
Incitement to strike is made a criminal act.
Invasion stripes are ordered for aircraft. These stripes are to be applied to all aircraft except four-engined bombers, transports (not troop carriers), gliders, night fighters and sea planes. (Ron Babuka)
125 Luftwaffe bombers, including five He-177A-5s take off for an attack on London. The Greifs climb as high as possible while over German territory and then make a shallow dive at high speed and return at low altitude. Even the speedy Mosquito has trouble catching the Germans when using these tactics. (Jack McKillop)
FRANCE: RAF bombers tonight raid Rouen, Juvisy, Noisy-le-Sec and Tergnier killing 1,383 French people.
The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 306 Part 2: 12 B-24s hit V-weapon sites at Watten; escort is provided by 36 P-47 Thunderbolts without loss.
277 Ninth Air Force B-26 Marauders, including 24 dropping Window, and 37 A-20 Havocs bomb gun positions and marshalling yards at Dunkirk, Calais, and Saint Martin Airfield at Charleroi. (Jack McKillop)
GERMANY: Hitler forbids all exports of weapons to Finland. This comes as a further retaliation for the Finnish peace feelers earlier in this year, even though Finland just recently decided to reject the Soviet terms for peace. (Mikko Härmeinen)
The Eighth Air Force flies Mission 306 Part 1: 776 bombers and 634 fighters are dispatched to hit airfields and aviation industry targets; they claim 33-5-19 Luftwaffe aircraft; 19 bombers and 5 fighters are lost; due to poor weather, several units bomb targets of opportunity in the Berlin area:
- 275 B-17s hit aviation industry targets at Oranienburg, Perleberg Airfield, Wittenberge and targets of opportunity; 3 B-17s are lost.
- 210 B-17s hit Oranienburg, Brandenburg, Luneburg Airfield, Rathenow and targets of opportunity; 14 B-17s are lost.
- 248 B-24s hit Brandenburg, Rathenow, Cuxhaven, Wittenberge and targets of opportunity; 2 B-24s are lost.
Escort is provided by 119 P-38s, 296 P-47s and 219 Eighth and Ninth Air Force P-51 Mustangs; 1 P-38, 1 P-47 and 3 P-51s are lost. (Jack McKillop)
NORWAY: During Eighth Air Force Mission 307, 5 B-17s drop 2.56 million leaflets on Stavanger, Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim between 2336-0041 hours without loss. (Jack McKillop)
U.S.S.R.: German forces attack around Buchach.
General Feodor Tolbukhin’s 4th Ukrainian Army reaches the outskirts of Sevastopol and takes Balaklava, scene of the charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War. The 17th German-Romanian Army is trapped in Sevastopol and awaiting evacuation by ship. (Jack McKillop)
ITALY: Twelfth Air Force P-47 fighter-bombers cut several rail lines in the Florence and Arezzo areas and strafe trains and motor transport; P-40s and P-47s hit Itri and a rail bridge and fuel dumps as the campaign against communications continues.
Fifteenth Air Force P-38s and P-47s strafe Udine and Aiello Airfields and targets of opportunity in the Basiliano, Sant’ Andrea Island, and Cervignano del Friuli areas and in Golfo di Panzano; other fighters fly cover for the strafing missions. (Jack McKillop)
BURMA: 7 Tenth Air Force B-24s bomb an oil plant at Yenangyaung while 5, along with 7 P-38s, hit Ywataung; 6 B-25s score numerous hits on the Mandalay-Shwebo railroad; and 15 B-25s and 4 P-51s bomb Kamaing and hit the Myitkyina-Bhamo road. (Jack McKillop)
JAPAN: 3 Eleventh Air Force B-24s fly armed reconnaissance over Matsuwa, Onnekotan, and Paramushiru Islands in the Kurile Islands; cloud cover and lack of moonlight permit only bombing of Kashiwabara Airfield and the Banjo Cape area. (Jack McKillop)
NEW GUINEA: Fifth Air Force B-24s bomb Manokwari and Babo while fighter-bombers attack the Madang area. (Jack McKillop)
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Seventh Air Force B-25s from Abemama Island bomb Jaluit and Maloelap Atolls, using Majuro Atoll as a shuttle base between strikes. (Jack McKillop)
CAROLINE ISLANDS: Seventh Air Force B-24s staging through Eniwetok Atoll hit Truk Atoll while B-25s from Tarawa Atoll bomb Ponape Island.
Twenty two Thirteenth Air Force B-24s bomb Woleai Atoll and Mariaon Island. (Jack McKillop)
PACIFIC OCEAN: Seven PB4Y-1P Liberators of Photographic Squadron Three (VD-3) and Marine Photographic Squadron Two Hundred Fifty Four (VMD-254), take off on a 1,252 mile (2015 km) flight from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, to Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The next day, the aircraft take off, escorted by 5 Seventh Air Force B-24s, which bomb Saipan, and fly over 1,000 miles (1609 km) to Momote Airdrome on Los Negros Island, Admiralty Islands, via Saipan, Tinian and Aguijan Islands, in the Mariana Islands, obtaining complete photographic coverage which will be used for the upcoming invasions.
The submarine USS Gudgeon (SS-211), CO Robert A. Bonin, is sunk, probably by Japanese naval aircraft (901st Air Group), southwest of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands. All hands lost. (Jack McKillop and Joe Sauder)
Submarine USS Tambor (SS-198) sinks a Japanese guardboat 300 miles (483 km) northwest of Wake Island.
Seventh Air Force B-24s from Kwajalein Atoll bomb Wake Island after failing to find shipping reported in the area. (Jack McKillop)