July 2012

Jul

31

1942

Home leave in Germany

Under the new Armaments Minister Albert Speer, German war production was being stepped up.

Though I did not tell any lies, I did not tell the whole truth either, I kept the more negative aspects of my experiences to myself. It struck me that much of the questioning contained a measure of querying doubt as to the outcome of the whole war, – especially amongst those who had experienced the 1914-18 war – and I always ‘jumped’ on the querying questioner and made it clear that, whatever the difficulties, for me the final victory for our Germany could be in no doubt.

Jul

30

1942

German thrust continues on the Eastern Front

A German armoured column advancing in the summer of 1942

The German offensive has now been in progress for a month and, in its swing south-eastwards, has made progress at an average of 12 to 13 miles a day – a rate only slightly slower than the fastest advances of last year. The Germans have made no claims to large numbers of prisoners and the Russians themselves state that their withdrawal has been orderly.

Jul

29

1942

Battle of the Kokoda Track erupts

The remote Kokoda airfield high in the tropical jungles was the only airstrip for a hundred miles - the only way of getting troops in and out apart from a long trek.

This was a campaign that would be fought out in “a vast , primitive, almost unknown wilderness of towering mountains and steaming coastal jungles, burned by the equatorial sun and drenched by tropical downpours”. It was in these impossible conditions that Australian and American forces would endure some of the bloodiest and most desperate fighting of the whole war.

Jul

28

1942

The USAAF start to arrive in Britain

Boeing B-17Es under construction. This is the first released wartime production photograph of Flying Fortress heavy bombers at one of the Boeing plants, at Seattle, Wash. Boeing exceeded its accelerated delivery schedules by 70 percent for the month of December 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo)

I thought I’d seen everything but this place takes the cake. The people are so backward it is pitiful. This seems to have been a wealthy place at one time. The homes and buildings are just like the pictures. The streets are narrow and very crooked. bicycles are the main means of transportation. There are very few cars the and traffic is left-handed.

Jul

27

1942

Canadian Spitfire Ace scores four over Malta

Flight-Sergeant G F "Screwball" Beurling of No. 249 Squadron RAF, standing by a sandbag revetment at Ta Kali, Malta, with the rudder and unit emblem cut from a crash-landed Macchi MC.202 of the Regia Aeronautica, one of four enemy aircraft which he shot down over Gozo on 27 July 1942.

They saw me coming and pulled into a climbing turn to the right. As they did I came up on my man’s starboard quarter and let him have a burst. It was a straight deflection shot which went into his engine and radiator. He flicked into a spin, but managed to pull out and crash-landed on Gozo, able to walk away from the mess.

Jul

26

1942

SAS raid hits German airfield at Fuka

A Special Air Service jeep patrol is greeted by its commander, Colonel David Stirling, on its return from the desert. 18 January 1943.

“Right lads, we haven’t got much time. At the edge of the aerodrome form a line abreast and all guns spray the area. When I advance follow me in your two columns and on my green Very light open fire, outwards at the aircraft – follow exactly in each other’s tracks, 5 yards apart – speed not more than 4 mph. Return to the RV independently moving only by night.”

Jul

25

1942

‘Routine’ mining flight off the French Coast

Avro Lancaster B Mark I, R5626 'OL-E', of No 83 Squadron RAF taking off for Bremen, Germany, on the third 'Thousand-Bomber' raid, from Scampton, Lincolnshire.

I tried to rotate my turret but the hydraulics had been shot away. So I tried operating it manually. This time succeeding, I opened my turret doors and was met with intensive heat and flames. The sparks from the fire burnt holes in my scarf. I reached for the fire extinguisher, which was situated just outside the turret on my right. Ammunition was exploding all around me.

Jul

24

1942

Air attack on the Eastern Front trenches

German infantry manning a trench on the Eastern Front, 1942

The light singing transforms into a rattling howl, which now fills the air for hours. Each night is the same awe-inspiring picture; hundreds of lightning flashes burst into the air. Shades of white, green, and red splatter the sky; long yellow-orange streaks shoot into the air, and are accompanied by the hard knocking of 2cm anti-aircraft artillery.

Jul

23

1942

The ‘Gross Aktion’ begins in the Warsaw Ghetto

Numerous workshops and factories had been established in the ghetto - supplying goods for the German army. The workers were promised that they were not be deported - a lie that the Nazis maintained for as long as possible

This is no more than a curiosity of history. The Jews aid the Nazi victory so that the Nazis can expel them from Europe and destroy them. Their cynicism is such that the Nazis say this bluntly. Sometimes a labourers work pleases them; then they praise him and say, ‘May you be recompensed by being the last one to be shot.’

Jul

22

1942

A narrow escape in the Desert

A Vickers machine gun team 'in action' near El Alamein, 17 July 1942.

About 5.30 a.m. when our guns were knocked out, the Panzers rolled down the bank and over us. Under cover of the heavy smoke and dust, some men tried to make the break, but on foot, across open desert, it was hopeless. One or two vehicles attempted running the gauntlet. Dick Pemberton, having been badly sand-blasted when his mine-truck exploded, had come across and was sitting by me.