January 2013

Jan

31

1943

German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad

The Red flag is raised over Stalingrad, finally the bitter struggle was over.

Von Paulus confirmed, through General Schmidt, that he was no longer in command of the army, that he was a private citizen and would therefore not sign the capitulation order, He refused to receive our delegation, but asked that, as a field marshal, he be personally taken prisoner and escorted by one of our generals.

Jan

30

1943

Hitler ‘only survivors and annihilated’ in this war

Hitler addresses thousands of Nazi Party members and 'fellow soldiers' at the Berlin Sports Palace on 30th January 1943. After approaching the lectern "such was the roaring hurricane of jubilation" that he was unable to speak for sevral minutes.

In days to come it will be said thus: when you come home to Germany, tell them that you have seen us lying at Stalingrad, as the rule of honour and the conduct of war have ordained that we must do, for Germany’s sake. It may sound harsh to say that a soldier has to lay down his life at Stalingrad, in the deserts of Africa or in the icy wastelands of the North, but if we soldiers are not prepared to risk our lives, then we would do better to get ourselves to a monastery.

Jan

29

1943

Christmas for U.S. POWs on the Philippines

American POW of Japs giving his buddy a drink at Cabanatuan prison camp on the Philippines.

First of all, there was coffee – a concentrate which tasted better than any steaming cup I had ever drunk to cheer an icy night on the bridge of a ship at sea. It was the first I had tasted since a smuggled sip in Old Bilibid Prison, back in Manila. There were chocolate bars, there was cheese, there were tinned meats and sardines, there were cigarettes, and there was a portion each of tea, cocoa, salt, pepper and sugar. Best of all, there were sulfa drugs and precious quinine!

Jan

28

1943

Montgomery battles on, Rommel bows out

A piper of the Gordon Highlanders plays from a Valentine tank as it drives into Tripoli past crowds of cheering locals, 26 January 1943.

When he first stepped on the stage he told us to cough and blow our noses and then be silent. We would later on be permitted to cough at intervals. The pride he showed in the Eighth Army – ‘my army, my soldiers’ – just escaped self-flattery. His aggressiveness in the field was carried into his talk. It allowed of no modesty, mock or real. He was enthusiastic about what had been accomplished but only in so far as it was a stepping-stone to what he now intended to do.

Jan

27

1943

‘U.S. bombs, from U.S. airplanes,’ hit Germany

The B-17 Flying Fortress was the U.S. bomber most closely identified with the bombing campaign against Germany.

Germany, for the first time, was bombed with U.S. bombs, from U.S. airplanes, with U.S. crews. … Ten to fifteen ME-109s were observed by the crews and about 30 encounters ensued. There were many claims for aircraft destroyed, and gunners were credited with one destroyed that crashed into the sea and one damaged. All aircraft returned safely with only a few battle scars.

Jan

26

1943

Desperate fighting in Stalingrad but no surrender

Soldiers from Bezdetko's mortar battery firing at German positions. 22 January 1943

Troops are without ammunition and food. We have contact with some elements of six divisions only. There are signs of disintegration on the southern, western and northern fronts. Unified command is no longer possible. Little change on the eastern side. We have 18,000 wounded who are without any kind of bandages or medicines at all.

Jan

25

1943

The desperate Italian retreat struggles on

Soviet troops advance during an attack somewhere on the Eastern Front early in 1943.

I’m hungry. When did I eat last? I don’t remember. The column passes between two villages a mile or so apart. There’s sure to be my something to eat there. Little groups detach themselves from our column and set off towards the villages in search of food. The officers shout at them, tell them there might be partisans or Red patrols there.

Jan

24

1943

Roosevelt calls for ‘Unconditional Surrender’

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at the Villa in Casablanca where the conference were held.

We had so much trouble getting those two French generals together that I thought to myself that this was as difficult as arranging the meeting of Grant and Lee – and then suddenly the Press Conference was on, and Winston and I had had no time to prepare for it, and the thought popped into my mind that they had called Grant “Old Unconditional Surrender”, and the next thing I knew I had said it.

Jan

23

1943

The ‘Battle’ of Marseille

German troops seal off the old quarter of Marseille, the harbour side community.

The French administration worked hard to avoid mixing up the two operations. Sizeable police forces carried out numerous searches in the quarter. Entire neighbourhoods were surrounded and identity checks were made. More than 6,000 individuals were arrested and 40,000 identies were checked.

Jan

22

1943

On the road to Tripoli

A lorry carrying infantry leaving the outskirts of Tarhuna during the advance towards Tripoli, 25 January 1943.

He was taken as you know by an armoured-car patrol, sent back to Afrika Corps HQ and lodged in a tent next to Rommel’s. He asked to see Rommel but he was away. He had a big talk to his Chief of Staff and was extremely impressed not only by the smartness of the Germans but by their kindness and charm.