September 2012

Sep

20

September 1942

Operation Musketoon – Commando raid on Glomfjord

After the operation, which took place successfully on the night of 20th September, we climbed up to the huts behind Glomfjord power station. Captain Black then told the rest of us to climb the hill as best we could and get away. We divided into two parties, Smith, O’Brien, Christiansen (Granlund), Fairclough and Trigg going up to the right and the others to the left. However Captain Black called Smith back to administer morphia to a man who had been wounded.

Sep

19

September 1942

An Officer adjusts to life in the Desert

As in other things military, the Australians were very unorthodox in their patrolling methods. They hardly bothered about compasses but went from point to point by means of battle landmarks, utilising everything from broken-down tanks to unburied corpses. One company had a skeleton whom they affectionately called ” Cuthbert,” who was propped up with his arm pointing to the gap in our minefield.

Sep

18

September 1942

The fight for the Stalingrad grain elevator

Soon after that enemy tanks and infantry about ten times our strength attacked from south and west. After the first attack was beaten back a second began, then a third, and all the while a reconnaissance plane circled over us. It corrected the fire and reported our position. Ten attacks were beaten offjust on September 18th

Sep

17

September 1942

Bomber Command steps up the attack

As the aircraft crossed into Reich territory, air raid alarms were given for vast areas, sending people down into the shelters for hours at a time. This brought a damaging loss of production, particularly serious for the armaments industry, in its train. Quite apart from the damage and casualties inflicted by the bombing itself, these alarms imposed a great strain on people.

Sep

16

September 1942

The Battle for Voronezh continues

The one thing that we are unable to get used to though, is the nasty flies. They are drawn to all the dying corpses under the rubble, and have multiplied to form large swarms too countless to grasp. Birds are also circling over the battlefield; thou- sands of crows screech above the ruins and fields of death. Again and again, they dive into the depths of the rubble when they see the horrific harvest of death.

Sep

15

September 1942

The launch of Operation Muskatoon

At 2115 we surfaced to disembark the commando team, but encountered a few problems blowing up the two inflatables, for it was cold out there and the compressed air air lost pressure. Some buckets of hot water sorted that out, There was calm all around us and the silence was broken by the barking of dogs, the familiar sounds of the countryside and even the ringing of bicycle bells. The wind brought the scent of the pine forests to us: it was so serene.

Sep

14

September 1942

Arctic convoy PQ 18 fights back

One of the crew of another ship watched the death of the casualty, describing how the plane ‘came in to about 300 yards .. before dropping its torpedoes and then swept on. As it passed, the ship’s gunner raked it fore and aft and bright tongues of flame flickered from its starboard engine. It dipped, recovered, dipped again and seemed just about to crash, when its torpedoes reached their mark and the ship simply vanished into thin air’. It took the plane with it. A lone steward survived this ammunition ship’s explosion.

Sep

13

September 1942

Torpedo bomber attack on Convoy PQ18

Suddenly there was one of the most horrifying sights of the war. Along the whole horizon were aircraft flying just above the waves wing tip to wing tip and below radar cover. This was the German ‘Golden Comb’ attack in which all the planes released two torpedoes each at the same time. Records show there were forty-two Heinkel torpedo bombers and a number of Junkers 88’s.

Sep

12

September 1942

U-156 torpedoes the RMS Laconia

06.00
Transmitted radio message twice on 25 meters:
If any ship will assist the ship-wrecked LACONIA crew, I will not attack her, providing I am not attacked by ship or air force. I picked up 193 men. 4 52 S 11 26 W.
German submarine.

Sep

11

September 1942

Escorting a ‘resettlement train’ to Belzec

The ever-increasing panic among the jews, caused by the intense heat, the overcrowding in the wagons, the stink of the dead bodies – when the wagons were unloaded there were about 2,000 dead in the train – made the transport almost impossible.