April 2013

Apr

20

1943

Indian and Gurkha troops attack Germans in Tunisia

Ghurkas advance through a smokescreen up a steep slope in Tunisia, 16 March 1943.

I was challenged in a foreign language. I felt it was not the British language or I would have recognised it. To make quite sure I crept up and found myself looking into the face of a German. I recognised him by his helmet. He was fumbling with his weapon so I cut off his head with my kukri. Another appeared from a slit trench and I cut him down also. I was able to do the same to two others, but one made a great deal of noise, which raised the alarm.

Apr

19

1943

The first Warsaw uprising – a desperate Jewish rebellion

The original German caption reads: "An assault squad". SS men on the Nowolipie street of Warsaw Ghetto during the uprising.

I wait at my post anxiously but not for long. I cock my ears and hear the heavy tread of the uniformed killers. A detachment of murderers is marching down Zelazna toward Leszno, into the ghetto: one-two, one-two, more blood, more blood. But then comes the most beautiful moment in my life. A tremendous explosion rends the air. Crash! They’re falling to the ground. Again, Crash! All of a sudden the Ukrainians are rolling in puddles of blood. Blood for blood! The murderers disperse in a wild panic, seeking shelter in the entranceways.

Apr

18

1943

An English girl’s love letter for the Gestapo

HMS Seraph, the submarine which delivered the correspondence.

Bill darling, do let me know as soon as you get fixed and can make some more plans, and don’t please let them send you off into the blue the horrible way they do nowadays – now that we’ve found each other out of the whole world, I don’t think I could bear it.

Apr

17

1943

USCGC Spencer’s mid Atlantic attack on U-175

COAST GUARD CUTTER SINKS SUB: Coast Guardsmen on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter SPENCER watch the explosion of a depth charge which blasted a Nazi U-Boat's hope of breaking into the center of a large convoy.  The depth charge tossed from the 327-foot cutter blew the submarine to the surface, where it was engaged by Coast Guardsmen.  Ships of the convoy may be seen in the background.

On 11 April 1943, Spencer departed St. John’s in company with Task Unit 24.1.3 consisting, in addition, of Duane, two British and two Canadian escorts, and rendezvoused with the 56-ship east-bound convoy HX-233, relieving the local escort on the 12th. One straggler was reported. The convoy proceeded due east to avoid submarines reported south of […]

Apr

16

1943

Parachuting out of bomber shot down over France

Handley Page Halifax Mk II W7676 'TL-P' of No. 35 Squadron in flight, circa May 1942. This aircraft was lost on an operation to Nuremberg on 28/29 August 1942.

Then the pilot came on pleading, “Please get out!” and so forth. We went down to about 7,000 feet I think at that time. And so I quickly unbuttoned my intercom and my helmet and I just stood up and I jumped on the edge of the door and out it went and I went out too. And my first impression was just the black tail of the aircraft going over the top of my head.

Apr

15

1943

Eisenhower tours the Tunisian front line

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, right, commander-in-chief in North Africa, jokes with four American soldiers during a recent inspection of the Tunisian battlefront, on March 18, 1943.

When we reached the scene of destruction of twenty-seven tanks, many of which could still be seen on the hillsides, we had to take a one-way dirt track across a field. The track was marked by white tape and along it were signs, ‘Mines-Verges.’ Because of possible presence of booby traps, there was a noticeable reluctance to prod into the innards of the Tiger tanks or to touch the articles lying around them.

Apr

14

1943

U.S. troops on the lessons from combat in Tunisia

A United States soldier advances cautiously at left with a sub-machine gun to cover any attempt of the German tank crew from escaping their fiery prison inside their tank following a duel with U.S. and British anti-tank units in Medjez al Bab area, Tunisia, on January 12, 1943.

I got my men used to the German flares by getting all I could, including those I could borrow from the British, and we fired them all night at Jerry. Now we take flares with us and fire them at Jerry at night. We do this on all the nights that we don’t use them for signals, then we use them only for signals. But my men now pay no attention to the enemy flares.

Apr

13

1943

Nazis announce Katyn massacre of Polish officers

A German poster purporting to show the murder of the Polish officers in 1940 by the Soviet NKVD. The Soviet union had invaded half of Poland in 1939 with the agreement of the Germans. Now the Germans tried to distract attention from their own crimes by publicising the massacre.

He told me that he had proofs that the Soviet Government had murdered the 15,000 Polish officers and other prisoners in their hands, and that they had been buried in vast graves in the forests, mainly around Katyn. He had a wealth of evidence. I said, “If they are dead nothing you can do will bring them back.”

Apr

12

1943

General Morgan is asked to draw up some plans

US Ranger Goes To British Battle School: Americans Train For Battle In The UK, 1943

During an obstacle course as part of their train at this battle school, somewhere in Britain, soldiers drop to the ground after having cleared a ditch full of barbed wire by travelling hand-over-hand along overhead bars. Smoke and 'thunder-flashes' are used to create a more realistic battlefield atmosphere.

The object is to defeat German fighting forces in Northwest Europe; The CCS have decided to appoint a Supreme Allied Commander (SAC) in the future; They have decided to appoint you Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC) pending SAC’s appointment; You will prepare plans in the following order of priority:

Apr

11

1943

No respite from the war on the Home Front

Sergeant Bill Davies, a colliery fireman from Gresford in North Wales, and the leader of a platoon of the colliery's Home Guard unit, bids goodbye to his wife as he leaves home to travel by bicycle to evening parade, 15 April 1943. Sgt Davies served in 13th Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers during the First World War

I suggested ‘The Cheshire Cheese` for lunch, not bombed. We poked our way up an alley. No lunches on Saturday. … But we found ‘Ye Old Cock Tavern’ in the Strand. … We had Fish and potatoes and Xmas pudding. Not much of anything, but we enjoyed ourselves. 3/- each. Walked through the devastated Temple. The most serious scene of ruin concentrated on one set of historical buildings, just appalling!