March 3, 1944 – CBS World News Today – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
March 3, 1944 – News for this day was upbeat and somewhat optimistic. Starting with reports of Daylight raids by Allied planes over Europe, focused on the French Coast ahead of the largest Daylight raid on Berlin. On March 6, 1944 America launched 814 bombers and 944 fighters from bases in southern England in the first maximum-effort daylight raid on Berlin, then the world’ s largest metropolitan city. Symbolically, it was also the 250th combat mission for the vaunted U.S. 8th Air Force, operating out
of a hundred-odd bases leased from our British allies in an area of southeastern England known as East Anglia. It was the largest aerial armada ever assembled up to that time and more American aircraft and airmen were lost that day than any other during the Second World War. Few would have forecast that such grievous losses actually constituted a victory, but the activities of that afternoon spelled the beginning of the end of the German Luftwaffe.
Meanwhile, further East – The Red Army launched the Uman-Botosani Offensive. The operation began on 5 March on a 175-kilometre (109 mi) sector of the front between Dnipropetrovsk (Dnepropetrovsk) and Bila Tserkva (Belaya Tserkov) after a powerful artillery barrage and developed successfully. In order to increase the force of impact and develop the offensive in the main direction, the 2nd and 5th Guards Tank Armies were introduced into the offensive on the first day. Already on the third day of the offensive, they conducted a river crossing of Hirsky Tikych (Gorny Tikach River) without pausing, overcame the last defensive line manned by German troops on the way to the Southern Bug river, and began to pursue the retreating German forces. The 6th Tank Army advanced following the 2nd and 5th Guard Tank armies. After Uman was taken on 10 March, the advance detachments of the armies reached Southern Bug. Crossing the river was accomplished on a 100-kilometre (62 mi) front, again, without pausing, via seized crossings, and also on pontoon bridges, boats and other improvised means.
And the news from Italy was relatively quiet, owing to bad weather bogging down land as well as air operations. Ahead of the third battle of Monte Cassino, mud was the issue as well as zero-visibility for allied planes. The quiet wouldn’t last for long.
And that’s a small sampling of the news for this March 5th in 1944 as provided by CBS Radio via their weekly World News Today program.