June 1941

Jun

25

1941

The Blitz on Britain continues

The above ground blast from parachute mines caused extensive damage, as here in Southampton.

Bombing throughout the week was on a minor scale except on the nights of the 21st/22nd and 25th/26th June, when slightly heavier bombing occurred at Southampton and the surrounding district. The feature of these two nights was the greater number of parachute mines dropped.

Jun

24

1941

Tobruk – the siege goes on

A British 25-pounder in action on the perimeter of Tobruk.

We found several German propaganda leaflets which had been dropped by plane. They bore an amusing resemblance – both in type and context – to the British leaflets dropped on Tobruch for the benefit of Iti [the Italians], last January.

Jun

23

1941

The Germans encounter the KV1

The Soviet KV1 heavy tank was more than a match for any German tank in 1941.

They hit the steel monsters from the three sides, but the attempts to destroy them were unsuccessful. By the contrary, it was our tanks who were knocked-out. After a long struggle with the Soviet giants, the German armoured units began to withdraw trying to avoid the annihilation.

Jun

22

1941

Barbarossa – The invasion of Russia begins

A Soviet BT7 tank - a 'cavalry' or fast tank - burns as the Germans approach. Soviet resistance was often determined but was very badly co-ordinated at a strategic level.

The noise and sight were indescribable, the earth seemed to tremble, all the batteries came alive out of the darkness of the pine trees. Flames shot towards the border followed by the explosion of the shells on the other side. All around us were what appeared to be great sheets of lightning, torn through by flames while thunder crashed and boomed.

Jun

21

1941

Guderian makes some final checks

Heinz Guderian during the invasion of France, May 1940, in a command vehicle equipped with the 'Enigma' encryption machines.

I visited the forward units of my corps to make sure that all preparations for the attack were satisfactorily completed. Detailed study of the behaviour of the Russians convinced me that they knew nothing of our intentions. We had observation of the courtyard of Brest-Litovsk citadel and could see them drilling by platoons to the music of a military band.

Jun

20

1941

‘Exercises’ on the Russian border

German artillery on exercises in eastern Austria, then part of 'Greater Germany', summer 1941.

“You are each to send a work detail of men in civilian clothing to load three hundred rounds of ammunition for your guns into farm wagons and take the rounds to your assigned gun posi- tions,” he said. “Your men are to look like farmers doing farm work, and your ammunition is to be camouflaged after you unload it.”

Jun

19

1941

Roden Cutler wins the Victoria Cross

British armoured cars advancing into Syria, June 1941.

He had been ordered to establish an outpost from which he could register the only road by which the enemy transport could enter the town. With a small party of volunteers he pressed on until finally with one other he succeeded in establishing an outpost right in the town, which was occupied by the Foreign Legion, despite enemy machine gun fire which prevented our infantry from advancing.

Jun

18

1941

The sinking of U boat ‘U-138’

Admiral Doenitz, commander of the U-Boat fleet watches the U-94 return from patrol at the French port of St Nazaire, June 1941. He was about to award the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross to her commander Kapitänleutnant Herbert Kuppisch.

According to prisoners the U-Boat sank on two occasions to a depth of about 210 m. (689 ft.). The presence of chlorine became increasingly oppressive. There were still 50 kg. of compressed air available. “U 138” rose to a depth of about 30 m. (98.4 ft.) and would have attempted to torpedo the “cruiser,” but for the fact that everything in the U-Boat was flooded, and the pumps could not be made to work …

Jun

17

1941

Rommel counter-attacks in the desert

Crusader tanks moving to forward positions in the Western Desert, 26 November 1941. The Mk I only had a two pounder gun and was unreliable.

Next morning, the 17th June, the 5th Light Division set off at the appointed time [4.30am] and after a headlong advance reached the neighbourhood of Sidi Suleiman at 06.00 hours. The 15th Panzer Division had become involved in heavy fighting against an armoured force which the British had sent to parry the danger menacing their army. But it soon reached is objective. Great numbers of destroyed British tanks littered the country through which the two divisions had passed.

Jun

16

1941

Churchill addresses the U.S.A.

The moment before a Blenheim bomber from No 21. Squadron crashes into the sea, having clipped its wing on the mast of the ship it was attacking.

Strong tides of emotion, fierce surges of passion, sweep the broad expanses of the Union in this year of fate. In that prodigious travail there arc many elemental forces, there is much heart-searching and self-questioning; some pangs, some sorrow, some conflict of voices, but no fear. The world is witnessing the birth throes of a sublime resolve. I shall presume to confess to you that I have no doubts what that resolve will be.