July 2012

Jul

31

July 1942

Home leave in Germany

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

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

July 1942

Battle of the Kokoda Track erupts

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

July 1942

The USAAF start to arrive in Britain

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

26

July 1942

SAS raid hits German airfield at Fuka

“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

July 1942

‘Routine’ mining flight off the French Coast

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

July 1942

Air attack on the Eastern Front trenches

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

July 1942

The ‘Gross Aktion’ begins in the Warsaw Ghetto

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

July 1942

A narrow escape in the Desert

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.

Jul

21

July 1942

Churchill: “severe, ruthless bombing of Germany” needed

We must regard the Bomber offensive against Germany at least as a feature in breaking her war-will, second only to the largest military operations which can be conducted on the Continent until that war-will is broken. Renewed, intense efforts should be made by the Allies to develop during the winter and onwards ever-growing, ever more accurate and ever more far-ranging Bomber attacks on Germany.