August 2012

Aug

21

1942

U.S. Marines at Hell’s Point – Battle of the Tenaru River

Dead Japanese soldiers, killed assaulting United States Marine positions, lie on the sandbar at the mouth of Alligator Creek, Guadalcanal after the battle on August 21, 1942.

They finally succeeded in getting a machine gun across, which was set up right below. Len Beer threw a hand grenade, which silenced it… The 37 MM gun did plenty of damage with its canister shot. The Japs brought up their field pieces and started laying them into the line and point. Following soon our 105’s silenced them. Japs were using rifle grenades and mortars.

Aug

20

1942

Jacob Vouza escapes to warn the U.S. Marines

Sergeant Major Jacob Vousa of British Solomon Islands Constabulary, as he first appeared to U.S. Marines. He volunteered to assist them  when they landed on the 7th August.

He was in an awful mess. I could hardly bear to look at him. After he chewed free of his bonds, he set off to try to contact the Marines, but after a bit, he became so weak that he had to crawl on all fours. He must have crawled nearly three miles, right through the whole battle [area].

Aug

19

1942

Operation Jubilee – the raid on Dieppe

A German prisoner, Unteroffizier Leo Marsiniak, being escorted at Newhaven. He was captured at the gun battery at Varengeville by No. 4 Commando.

In the initial assault Major Porteous, working with the smaller of the two detachments, was shot at close range through the hand, the bullet passing through his palm and entering his upper arm. Undaunted, Major Porteous closed with his assailant, succeeded in disarming him and killed him with his own bayonet thereby saving the life of a British Sergeant on whom the German had turned his aim.

Aug

18

1942

SS man spends a day at the Gas Chambers

Jews are forced into boxcars destined for the Belzec extermination camp. Lublin, Poland, 1942.

In fact the first train arrived after some minutes, from the direction of Lemberg. 45 wagons with 6,700 people of whom 1,450 were already dead on arrival. Behind the barred hatches children as well as men and women looked out, terribly pale and nervous, their eyes full of the fear of death. The train comes in: 200 Ukrainians fling open the doors and whip the people out of the wagons with their leather whips.

Aug

17

1942

The USAAF makes its first raid on Occupied Europe

Exactly a year later the USAAF would be attacking the heart of Germany.  Boeing B-17F formation over Schweinfurt, Germany, on Aug. 17, 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)

When the last of the three 190′s broke off combat, I moved to the other side of the waist gunners’ station and observed at least a dozen puffs from exploding shells. They were deadly accurate as to altitude but several hundred yards to port. Meanwhile there was fighter activity overhead and to our rear. The RAF wing covering our withdrawal had climbed above us and passed somewhat astern as we left the target area.

Aug

16

1942

British POWs ‘entertained’ by the Germans

Stalag VIIIb (Lamsdorf) Prisoner Of War Camp. A watchtower with searchlight (one of six encircling the camp) photographed in summer. In the foreground, prisoners are sunbathing between lines of clothes and bedding hung out to air. The photograph also shows the dense forest which surrounded the camp.

The first film was a short extolling the virtues of the Hitler Youth Organisation. It showed a “troop” in camp in a rock climbing district; a slight story seemed to be woven into the film to give it interest but the effect of the rather good photography was spoiled by “wordiness” of the dialogue and the theatrical scenes of camp life showing much (too much) of the flag and the youths “devotion” to duty, leader and country. What the “big” picture was about only the Lord and the Germans know — it seemed to me to be one long chatter.

Aug

15

1942

Montgomery makes his mark in the desert

Lieutenant General Montgomery, the new commander of 8th Army, discussing troop dispositions at 22nd Armoured Brigade headquarters, 20 August 1942. The brigade commander, Brigadier 'Pip' Roberts is on the right (in beret).

At the same time, Monty made it very clear that all belly-aching was to cease. This was a favourite phrase of his, by which he meant that orders are orders, and not a basis for discussion. Since General Ritchie’s days, the tendency had crept in for subordinates to query their instructions when they thought they knew better; with Monty this was an anathema.

Aug

14

1942

The battle to save the Ohio

The damaged tanker OHIO, supported by Royal Navy destroyers HMS PENN (left) and HMS LEDBURY (right), approaches Malta after an epic voyage across the Mediterranean as part of convoy WS21S (Operation Pedestal) to deliver fuel and other vital supplies to the besieged island. OHIO's back was broken and her engines failed during earlier German and Italian attacks. Because of the vital importance of her cargo (10,000 tons of fuel which would enable the aircraft and submarines based at Malta to return to the offensive), she could not be abandoned. In a highly unusual manoeuvre, the two destroyers supported her to provide buoyancy and power for the remainder of the voyage. The OHIO's captain was subsequently awarded the George Cross. The OHIO itself was sunk outside the harbour after discharging its cargo.

The KING has been graciously pleased to award the GEORGE CROSS to Captain Dudley William Mason, Master, SS Ohio. During the passage to Malta of an important convoy Captain Mason’s ship suffered most violent onslaught. She was a focus of attack throughout and was torpedoed early one night. Although gravely damaged, her engines were kept going and the Master made a magnificent passage by hand-steering and without a compass.

Aug

13

1942

Attacks on Pedestal from every quarter

13 August: Italian MAS (Motor Torpedo Boat) boat attacks: A DIDO class cruiser firing at night against Italian MAS boats.

We steamed towards one of the crippled ships, the SS Empire Hope and we saw some of her crew struggling in the water and others were in the boats. Lifeless and mutilated objects that had once been men floated past on both sides and our bows struck two corpses as we steamed forward to assist the remaining survivors. Some of our crew shouted to them to hurry up as we all had the jitters by now and we wanted to feel some speed under us.

Aug

12

1942

Pitched battles all around Pedestal convoy

12 August: Evening Air and Submarine Attacks: The Italian submarine AXUM's torpedo strikes the tanker OHIO on her port side.

I decide to carry out a second depth-charge attack and the ship is just turning when a roar goes up, ‘There she is.’ It was a successful attack, and the U-boat has come to the surface, but the job is not yet finished. Perhaps she will crash-dive and try to escape. We can take no chances. So, ‘Full ahead both engines; prepare to ram.’ The guns need no orders. They have already opened fire and the U-boat is getting seven bells knocked out of her.