July 1941

Aug

16

1941

First experiences of a German POW camp

Moosberg would later become a transit camp for United States POWs captured in Europe.

We were not left in peace for long and soon heard the now familiar shout of eraus: eraus: schnell: schnell: which mean get out and fast. We were given our gefangenen number and photographed; then we were deloused and all our hair removed. We knew what it felt and looked like to be convicts, but wondered what we had done to deserve the treatment, and how long it would have to last.

Jul

31

1941

Watching the ‘fireworks’ over Tobruk

A British anti aircraft gun crew in Tobruk using a captured Italian Breda 20mm gun.

Thousand pound bombs and big ack’ack’ guns with accompanying loud bangs, did their best to rival an outback Aussie thunderstorm; while long inquisitive fingers of light from the searchlight batteries wove fantastic mathematical designs against the clear sky. Order amongst chaos!

Jul

30

1941

Night patrol out of Tobruk

One of the forward defensive positions on the perimeter of Tobruk manned by Australian troops.

The day, often after a spectacularly beautiful dawn, usually began with the first of four or five dive-bomber – Stuka – attacks of the day on Tobruk harbour, 12 kilometres away. There were several Bofors light anti-aircraft guns in the area firing non-stop to add to the crunch of exploding bombs. Every now and then a Stuka was hit and began to lose height. Everyone cheered.

Jul

29

1941

Dawn breaks over the Russian battlefield

Motorcycle troops from the Waffen SS Deaths Head Division, operating in the north of Russia in 1941

Thin smoke blew across the roadside ditch. The driver was sitting upright behind the steering wheel. His uniform had been burned from his body; only black ashes concealed his charcoaled chest here and there. The blackened skull with its empty eye sockets was still facing in the direction of travel.

Jul

28

1941

Hitler in two minds over Barbarossa objectives

von Runstedt, commander of Army Group South during Barbarossa, which included a number of Italian Divisions. Here photographed in Russia  during 1941 with Mussolini  and Hitler.

Politically he would say that the two principal suppurating boils had to be got rid of: Leningrad and Moscow. That would be the heaviest blow for the Russian people and the Communist Party. Goring had assured him that it could be done by the Luftwaffe alone, but since Dunkirk he [Hitler] had become a little sceptical. Economically speaking there were quite different objectives.

Jul

27

1941

The last pictures of the Jews of Mogilev

It is likely that these women and children were being marched off to a nearby ghetto on this occasion. however by the end of August 1941 the entire Jewish population of Mogilev had been shot.

About 50% of the inhabitants were Jewish, part of an ancient community that dated back to the 14th century. The Germans undertook a series of measures against them – and in the early stages a German photographer was on hand to take a series of photographs for propaganda purposes.

Jul

26

1941

The Kremlin bombed

One of the iconic images of the war, captured by Margaret Bourke-White on 26th July 1941.

She had arrived in Moscow at the outbreak of war with Germany. On the 26th she took these striking images of the German air attack on the Kremlin, pictures that were soon received world wide attention.

Jul

25

1941

Bomber Command target Hanover

An RAF Whitley bomber undergoing maintenance earlier in the war.

Our Whitley leapt about 200 feet with the release of tons of high explosives. Now we flew straight and level for 30 seconds, the longest 30 seconds anyone will ever know, so that we could get the required photo of the drop for the intelligence officer back at base. Picture taken – now let’s get the hell out of here.

Jul

24

1941

A busy week for Coastal Command

The crewman of a Focke Wulf 200 Condor stands on the wreckage after being shot down by a Lockheed Hudson from 233 Squadron

Several attacks on enemy shipping were made during the week by aircraft of Bomber and Coastal Commands, which were highly successful in spite of intense A.A. fire from Flak ships.

Jul

23

1941

Torpedo attack on Malta convoy

the royal Navy cruiser HMS Manchester was hit by a torpedo while escorting a convoy to Malta on 23rd July 1941.

One, just skimming the sea, burst out of the haze and flew between HMS Eridge and her neighbour. [Leading Seaman] Rayner managed a short burst with the pom-pom. He could clearly see the pale, strained face of her gunner, a man with only seconds to live, as he swung his weapon and peppered the upperworks with a few ineffectual rounds.