1941

Dec

4

1941

The British reinforce Singapore

The new British battleship HMS prince of Wales in Singapore Harbour, 4th December 1941. She had arrived with HMS Repulse, together forming 'Force Z' designed to deter Japanese aggression.

Bizarrely each day between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. the whole camp came to a standstill for a compulsory Siesta. Every man had to be in his bunk during that period. I disagreed with this from the start. The enemy seemed unlikely to suspend hostilities to allow us time to rest during the hottest part of the day.

Dec

3

1941

British tanks still outgunned in the desert

There had been high hopes for the new Stuart 'Honey' tanks when they arrived in the desert in August 1941

Closer and closer the German tanks came, and miraculously our line held. Again, somehow, the enemy had been able to muster almost fifty tanks. Against the inferior armour and gun-power of our only slightly more numerous Honeys it was almost enough to give victory.

Dec

2

1941

German families learn of their sacrifice for Hitler

German Panzer III assault gun and tank in the snow on the Eastern front, December 1941.

His heroic death occurred when he was fighting bravely for Greater Germany in the front lines during a heavy battle with Russian tanks. The entire company and I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to you for the terrible loss which has befallen you.

Dec

1

1941

The end of the Jews in Lithuania

Jews being rounded up in Vilnius - Wilna - under the escort of a Lithuanian policeman, earlier in 1941.

Today I can confirm that our objective, to solve the Jewish problem for Lithuania, has been achieved by EK 3. In Lithuania there are no more Jews, apart from Jewish workers and their families. . . I am of the view that the sterilization program of the male worker Jews should be started immediately so that reproduction is prevented. If despite sterilization a Jewess becomes pregnant she will be liquidated. . . .

Nov

30

1941

Hitler rants and raves over progress in Russia

Hitler continued to urge his Eastern Front commanders to advance even as it became  obvious that that German army was ill prepared for the arctic conditions.

The Fuehrer is in a state of extreme agitation over the situation. … The interview appears to have been more than disagreeable, with the Fuehrer doing all the talking, pouring out reproaches and abuse, and shouting orders as fast as they came into his head. Regrettably, ObdH yielded to the Fuehrer’s insistence and has issued the order not to fall back to the aforementioned line in one move.

Nov

29

1941

The torture and death of Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya

The Germans often made a public spectacle of partisans that were executed in an attempt to deter the local population from supporting them.

The threat to Moscow now seemed desperate. Many Soviet citizens were mobilised to build the city’s defences. Many volunteered for more dangerous duties. Eighteen year old Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya was still in college in Moscow when she volunteered to join a guerrilla group that would operate behind enemy lines.

Nov

28

1941

USS Enterprise prepares for war

The USS Enterprise, sometime known as the 'Big E', pictured in 1939, put to sea on the 28th November, prepared for war.

The importance of every officer and man being specially alert and vigilant while on watch at his battle station must be fully realized by all hands. The failure of one man to carry out his assigned task promptly, particularly the lookouts, those manning the batteries, and all those on watch on the deck, might result in great loss of life and even loss of the ship.

Nov

27

1941

The Russian winter arrives on the Eastern Front

The German Army Group Centre had been able to resume their advance in winter conditions but much worse was to come.

The snow blew almost horizontally in blizzards that some- times lasted all day long, with the wind piercing our faces with a thousand needles. The cold numbed and deadened the human body from the feet up until the whole body was an aching mass of misery. To keep warm, we had to wear every piece of clothing we owned to achieve a layered effect. Each man fought the cold alone, pitting his determination and will against the bitter winter.

Nov

26

1941

Panzer attack causes confusion in North Africa

A British tank passes a burning German during Operation Crusader, November 1941.

Prisoners became gaolers. Men were captured and escaped three or four times. Half a dozen isolated engagements were going on. Field dressing stations and hospitals were taking in British and German and Italian wounded impartially, and as the battle flowed back and forth the hospitals would sometimes be under British command, sometimes under German.

Nov

25

1941

The sudden loss of HMS Barham

The moment when HMS Barham's magazine exploded after being torpedoed in the Mediterranean.

I saw water pouring into her funnels. There followed a big explosion amidships, from which belched black and brown smoke intermingled with flames. Pieces of wreckage, Hung high into the air, were scattered far and wide, the largest piece being about the size of my writing-desk.