July 1941

Jul

22

1941

Mussolini plays at war

German soldiers manning an anti aircraft gun overlooking an Italian port.

Dummy air raids continue at Rome. It was the Duce who personally ordered an air raid in the capital every time there is one in Naples. He does this because he wants to give the country the impression that a war is taking place. He has also ordered that at the first opportunity anti-aircraft guns should fire in order to make it more exciting.

Jul

21

1941

First German Air Raid on Moscow

A Russian Anti Aircraft position in Moscow, July 1941.

The main objectives were apparently the railway station, industrial areas and aerodromes. Several large fires were caused by enemy aircraft which flew over at a medium height. The Soviet A.A. defences, of which a large proportion were light anti – aircraft guns, put up what was described as ” an impressive show.”

Jul

20

1941

‘V for Victory’ widespread across Europe

Churchill enthusiastically adopted the 'V sign' apparently unaware that this version had different connotations to some people.

Use of fingers is a good idea – and on the 6 p.m. news they gave us a vivid account of how it is being exploited in thousands of ways . . . Morse code signals can be used on typewriters, trains etc. What an annoyance for the Germans.

Jul

19

1941

Trapped in the sunken HMS Umpire

A submarine of the same class as HMS Umpire - a U class British submarine from 1941 proceeding on the surface.

Even if they had not yet left the submarine, they might already have started flooding the compartment in preparation for an escape, and if the flooding had gone beyond a certain point it would be impossible to get that door open again. I listened, but could hear nothing beyond the monotonous, pitiless sound of pouring water.

Jul

18

1941

‘Birthday Greetings from Adolf’

The Blitz was far from over for many people - salvaging possessions from bombed out homes.

Estcourt Street was in a terrible state. The school had been burnt to the ground along with the Cussons shop at the top and pile of rubble was all that remained of 2 terraces of houses. The main shoping area was in ruins and it was deprived of gas, water and electricity so we had to rely on mobile kitchens for food and drink.

Jul

17

1941

Minister for Occupied Eastern Territories appointed

This German photograph of the ' deportation of the Jews in Russia' is dated 17th July 1941 and shows barefoot peasants being escorted by Romanian troops.

Hitler stated that they were faced with the task of “cutting up the giant cake according to our needs, in order to be able: first, to dominate it, second, to administer it, and third, to exploit it,” and he indicated that ruthless action was contemplated …

Jul

16

1941

Low level attack on Rotterdam

The view from the dorsal turret of a Blenheim bomber as bombs explode in the docks of Rotterdam during the raid on 16th July 1941.

The Blenheims passed over Rotterdam, where two warehouses and a factory were set alight, so low that one aircraft severed the cable of a derrick. Heavy anti-aircraft fire was encountered and four of our bombers were lost, two of these having scored direct hits before being shot down.

Jul

15

1941

A Uranium bomb is possible

The MAUD committee produced two reports - one on the production of power from Uranium, the other on its potential as a military weapon as an explosive.

We have now reached the conclusion that it will be possible to make an effective uranium bomb which, containing some 25 lb of active material, would be equivalent as regards destructive effect to 1,800 tons of T.N.T. and would also release large quantities of radioactive substance, which would make places near to where the bomb exploded dangerous to human life for a long period.

Jul

14

1941

“Do your worst …and we will do our best”

The end of the most intense period of the Blitz in June 1941 provided an opportunity for restoring essential services.  In many bombed out residential areas there was no rebuilding, just  the removal of debris.

But there was one thing about which there was never any doubt. The courage, the unconquerable grit and stamina of our people, showed itself from the very outset. Without that all would have failed. Upon that rock, all stood unshakable.

Jul

13

1941

The march into Russia continues

A German transport column in Russia, summer 1941. Some argue that it was the condition of the roads that saved Russia - because they slowed the German advance so much.

A vivid picture which remains of these weeks is the great clouds of yellow dust kicked up by the Russian columns attempting to retreat and by our infantry hastening in pursuit. The heat was tremendous, though interspersed with sudden showers which quickly turned the roads to mud before the sun reappeared and as quickly baked them into crumbling clay once again.