March 1940

Mar

13

1940

Armistice ends the Winter War

Russian troops lie dead in the snow with their tank convoy behind

I got into the car beside him, and gradually it dawned on me that there had, in fact, been an unusual quietness in the air that morning. No air raids, no guns thundering in the distance. Outside I could see people running about and stopping to talk in groups. It was difficult to imagine what had occurred. It seemed unthinkable that Finland had capitulated.

Mar

11

1940

Blenheim Pilot wins Empire Gallantry Medal

Bristol Blenheim aircraft

Realising, however, that his passenger was still in the aircraft Flying Officer Tollemache, with complete disregard of the intense conflagration or the explosion of small arms ammunition, endeavoured to break through the forward hatch and effect a rescue. He persisted in this gallant attempt until driven off with his clothes blazing. His efforts, though in vain, resulted in injuries which nearly cost him his life. Had he not attempted the rescue it is considered he would have escaped almost unscathed.

Mar

10

1940

Hitler meets veterans following Memorial Day Parade

Hitler inspects troops at the Memorial Day, accompanied by Keitel,v. Brauchitsch, Raeder and Göring

Mar

9

1940

Inside a Maginot Line fort

maginot

The fort cost as much as the Battleship Queen Elizabeth. The B.B.C. and every journalist in the world have tried to describe the Maginot Forts, and I can’t hope to improve on their efforts. The things which fascinated me most were the mechanisms of the cupulas, the way rate of fire can be speeded up when in a fixed emplacement so that one gun equals almost two, the arrangement for machine guns with all round traverse to be traversed at night with an adjustment of elevate and depress them in conformity with the slopes of the ground …

Mar

8

1940

Air Reconnaissance over the Western Front

The Fairey Battle fighter bomber

British Movietone News from 8th March 1940 showing early Air Reconnaissance techniques using Fairy Battle aircraft escorted by Hurricanes.

Mar

8

1940

Examining French anti-tank guns and mortars

British-anti-tank-gun

The anti-tank Gun had rubber tyres, a split trail, a telescope sight, and very light and quick gears, and it seemed that you couldn’t miss with it. I thought it much better than the one we saw in the Maginot which you aim from the shoulder, It was 25mm calibre. They said that you could fire 17 r.p.m.

Mar

8

1940

Jews are forced into a ghetto in Lodz

Jews are permitted to take limited possessions into the ghetto area

The ghetto. Tiny, narrow streets. Little houses without conveniences. A well in the backyard. A refuse dump infested with rats. A stinking toilet full of melting snow, impossible to use. A leaking roof, dilapidated walls. One little room and a small kitchen for seven people.

Mar

7

1940

British infantry positions on the Western Front

British trenches dug by the BEF on Western Front

The shell holes were pretty bunched which shows that the concentration was pretty accurate, and they were no mean holes – about 6 or 7 feet across and about 2 or 3 feet deep.
The British Infantry tie tin cans on all their barbed wire and on the trip wires in the vicinity of their posts. These shine well in the sunlight and can be seen a long way off, they were quite glad to be told about it but hadn’t noticed it. The Germans probably know every one of our posts by this and other means; they are very enterprising and clever with their night patrolling and use dogs trained for police work.

Mar

6

1940

U-48 Captain awarded Knights Cross by Donitz

schultze_thumb

German Newsreel footage of the return of U-48 and the award of the Knights Cross to Herbert Schultze:

Mar

6

1940

With the French artillery on the Western Front

155mm_Field Gun

we looked over the position of a 155mm (6inch) gun section in action in the edge of the village. It is a most impressive gun with a split trail. …. It shoots up to 25000 meters and has a traverse of 30 degrees each way. This means that at extreme range it covers 25 Kilometers (about 15 miles) in breadth of the enemy country, which makes you think.