Air War, Italy
A round-the-clock naval and air bombardment of Pantellaria Island forces it to surrender on the 11th. Italian propaganda had falsely hailed it as an impregnable fortress and, consequently, the Allies had considered it an obstacle blocking their plans to invade Sicily and the mainland.
Politics, Free French
Rival leaders General Charles de Gaulle and General Henri Giraud agree to share the presidency of the Committee of National Liberation.
Air War, Germany
Operation Pointblank is launched. The offensive by British and US bomber forces will last until the 1944 cross-Channel invasion. US strategy concentrates on daylight precision raids to destroy Germany’s aircraft industry and its air force. British attacks focus on night saturation bombing to undermine Germany’s economy and civilian morale. Aircrews are assisted by the ‘Pathfinder’; system, whereby targets are fixed by radar and marked by flares.
Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell becomes Viceroy of India. General Sir Claude Auchinleck succeeds him as commander-in-chief of India although a new East Asia Command will reduce his importance. Churchill has made these appointments as he has lost confidence in their capabilities and wishes to limit their military roles.
Air War, Germany/Italy
The Allies launch their first ‘shuttle’; raid. British bombers attack Friedrichshafen in Germany and then fly on to refuel in North Africa. On their return flight to Britain, they attack La Spezia naval base in Italy.
US forces begin an offensive against the New Georgia Island group. Munda airfield is the first major objective. The Solomon offensives are aided by vital reconnaissance information provided by Allied ‘coastwatchers’; based on these little-known islands and equipped with high-powered radios. New Georgia airfields sustain air and sea bombardments while US warships mine the surrounding seas to destroy ships bringing reinforcements and supplies.