April 2013

Apr

30

1943

John Keneally’s second attack from the ‘Bou’

Sergeant J P Kenneally, VC - 1 Battalion, Irish Guards. Artist: Henry Carr 1943

The air was full of the chatter of machine and the ground we lay on trembled with the explosions of grenades. There was no time for fear; a strange ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ feeling took a grip — something every infantryman feels when he is constantly exposed to death in brutal and violent forms. Two German figures loomed over us and I cut one of them in half with the Bren. Pollock shot the other in the face

Apr

29

1943

Conditions inside the burning Warsaw ghetto

The original German caption reads: "Destruction of a housing block". A housing block burns during the suppression of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

After their attempts to penetrate the Ghetto had failed, they decided to to spare themselves casualties by destroying it from outside with cannon and aerial bombings. A few days later the Ghetto was totally destroyed. Those who survived continued living in bunkers. Apparently the Germans concluded there weren’t many Jews left in the Ghetto and decided it was safe to enter during the day.

Apr

28

1943

John Kenneally’s one man attack on German positions

Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vbs of No. 417 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force, flying in loose formation over the Tunisian desert on a bomber escort operation, April 1943.

I achieved complete surprise. I hose-piped them from the top of the gully. They were being bowled over like nine-pins and were diving in all directions. I had time to clip on another magazine and I gave them that too. Enough was enough, and I fled back to the boulders and safety. The remaining Germans had scattered and were firing everywhere, even at each other. Bullets were shattering off the boulder in front of me.

Apr

27

1943

Another posthumous V.C. In Tunisia

Men of the 2nd Sherwood Foresters firing a captured German MG42 machine gun, Tunisia, 27 April 1943.

So quickly had this officer acted that he was in among the crew with the bayonet before they had time to fire more than one shot. He killed a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself. The few survivors of the gun crew then left the pit, some of them being killed while they were retiring, and both the heavy machine gun and 88 millimetre gun were silenced.

Apr

26

1943

Last letters from an unknown Holocaust victim

Tarnopol, Poland, German soldiers next to bodies, July 1941.

In Petrikow it looks like this: before the grave one is stripped naked, then forced to kneel down and wait for the shot. The victims stand in line and await their turn. Moreover, they have to sort the first, the executed, in their graves so that the space is used well and order prevails. The entire procedure does not take long. In half an hour the clothes of the executed return to the camp.

Apr

25

1943

The battle of the Warsaw Ghetto continues

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - Photo from Jürgen Stroop Report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943. The original German caption reads: "Forcibly pulled out of dug-outs". One of the most famous pictures of World War II. People identified in the picture:
Identity of the boy in the front was not confirmed, but is possibly Artur Dab Siemiatek, Levi Zelinwarger (next to his mother, Chana Zelinwarger) or Tsvi Nussbaum.
Hanka Lamet - small girl on the left
Matylda Lamet Goldfinger - Hanka's mother next to her (second from the left)
Leo Kartuziński - teenaged boy in the background with white bag on his shoulder
Golda Stavarowski - in the background, first woman from the right, with one hand raised
Josef Blösche - SS man with gun, was executed in 1969

274 Jews were shot, and as on other days, uncounted Jews were buried alive in the blown-up bunkers and, as near as can be determined, burned. With today’s bounty of Jews, a very large portion of the bandits and lowest elements of the Ghetto has, in my opinion, been captured. Immediate liquidation was not carried out due to the onset of darkness.

Apr

24

1943

Manhattan Project calculates the effects of The Gadget

In March 1943, DuPont began construction of a plutonium plant on a 112-acre (0.5 km2) site at Oak Ridge. Workers load uranium slugs into the X-10 Graphite Reactor.

The effect of the radioactive fission products depends entirely on the distance to which they are carried by the wind. If 1 kg of fission products is distributed uniformly over an area of about 100 square miles, the radioactivity during the first day will represent a lethal dose (=500 R units): after a few days, only about 10 R units per day are emitted, If the material is more widely distributed by the wind, the effects of the radioactivity will be relatively minor.

Apr

23

1943

Two V.C.s in fierce Tunisian battles

Priest 105mm self-propelled gun of 11th Royal Horse Artillery (Honourable Artillery Company), 1st Armoured Division, 22 April 1943.

On the first objective and still under continual enemy fire, Major Anderson re-organised the Battalion and rallied men whose Commanders, in most cases, had been either killed or wounded. The Commanding Officer having been killed, he took command of the Battalion and led the assault on the second objective. During this assault he received a leg wound, but in spite of this he carried on and finally captured ” Longstop ” Hill with a total force of only four officers and less than forty other ranks.

Apr

22

1943

German Me 323 transport plane fleet shot down

The Me 321 glider was developed into the Me 323 Gigant transport aircraft with the addition of 6 engines.

The following film shows the Me 321 glider in operation in Russia, including extraordinary footage of the take off when it is pulled by three aircraft flying in formation. There was no room for error here. It concludes with a short combat sequence of a Me 323 plane being shot down by a USAAF P-38, […]

Apr

21

1943

Spitfires versus Focke-Wulf 190s over France

An armourer of No. 3101 Servicing Echelon uses a periscope unit to adjust one of the .303 Browning machine guns on a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXB of No. 341 (Free French) Squadron RAF, jacked up before a gun harmonization board at Biggin Hill, Kent.

I identified it at once-it was a Focke-Wulf 190. I had not studied the photos and recognition charts so often for nothing. After firing a burst of tracer at me he bore down on Martell. Yes, it certainly was one – the short wings, the radial engine, the long transparent hood: the square-cut tail-plane all in one piece!