June 1941

Jun

10

1941

Flies, fleas and bombs in Tobruk

A Bren gun used for anti-aircraft defence in besieged port of Tobruk.

Oil bombs and thermos bombs were dropped amongst other things, but all, as far as I could see, with no effect at all. When ‘A’ site were heavily bombed by Stukas recently about sixty bombs were dropped on them, and very few went off. A large 250 pound bomb fell in a small L.A. A. pit and did not go off – one member of the crew got hurt when they all made a rapid bolt for it – that was all! There must be some good fifth column work in some of these bomb factories!

Jun

9

1941

Commando assault at the Litani River

Artillery on the move, part of the main land invasion of Syria, advancing from Palestine

I dragged myself into a bit of a dip and tried to get fairly comfortable, but every time I moved, they opened up on us. I could hear an NCO yelling to me to keep down or I would be killed. I kept down. After a time (when the initial shock had worn off) the pain in my legs became hellish. My right calf was shot off and was bleeding, but I could do nothing about it, and the left leg had gone rigid.

Jun

8

1941

Britain invades French occupied Syria

The invasion of Syria was probably the last time that cavalry units of the British army were engaged on operations - mainly in a reconnaissance role.

The campaign in Syria attracted relatively little attention, partly because it was overshadowed by the invasion of Russia. The Australian 7th Division which led the invasion started to refer to itself as the ‘silent seventh’ because of the lack of publicity it received. Unexpected resistance was received from French forces loyal to the Vichy regime in France. Fighting was especially bitter when they confronted Free French troops who were part of the invading force.

Jun

7

1941

German forces mass in the east of Poland

A German motorised column on the Russian front, June 1941.

Because of unusually heavy military traffic, all civilian movement was halted for several hours. You can see many different types of troops. … The situation is the same as during a war when large fighting units begin to move.

Jun

6

1941

Hitler orders all Soviet Commissars to be shot

When the invasion of Russia came prisoners who were identified as being part of the Soviet system were singled out to receive 'special treatment'.

The originators of barbaric, Asiatic methods of warfare are the political commissars. So immediate and unhesitatingly severe measures must be undertaken against them. They are therefore, when captured either in battle or offering resistance, as a matter of routine to be dispatched by firearms.

Jun

5

1941

Thousands die in Chungking raid

One of the worst ever single incidents in any air raid occurred when over 4,000 suffocated when air raid shelter tunnels were blocked during the raid on Chungking.

One of the most destructive raids was on 5th June 1941 when Japanese planes launched successive sorties against the city for more than three hours. When some of the tunnels became blocked during the bombing they became a death trap, asphyxiating as many as 4,000 people in one incident.

Jun

4

1941

Blitz on Britain continues

Hundreds of people were still being killed and injured every week in air raids up and down Britain. Thousands more were made homeless.

Enemy bombing has not been on a heavy scale, although it shows a considerable increase on the previous week. Raids were made on Merseyside on the nights of the 30th/31st May and the 31st May/1st June. A sharp raid was made on Manchester and Salford on the night of the 1st/2nd June. A few bombs were dropped at Hull and Tweedmouth on the night of the 2nd/3rd June.

Jun

3

1941

Holiday plane shot down off Isles of Scilly

The de Havilland Dragon aircraft shot down off St Mary's, Isles of Scilly on 3rd June, pictured before the war.

The de Havilland Dragon aircraft had just taken off from St Mary’s on the Isles of Scillies for the short 25 mile hop back to the mainland at Penzance when it was intercepted by a Heinkel III, apparently returning from a raid on the north of England. The forward guns easily dealt with the unarmed Dragon aircraft which crashed into the sea with no survivors.

Jun

2

1941

Massacre of civilians at Kondomari, Crete

Trebes gives the orders to the parachutists in the firing squad at Kondomari

Trebes had the men form a half circle, gave the order to fire, and after about fifteen seconds, everything was over. I asked Trebes, who was quite pale, whether he realized what he had done, and he replied that he had only executed the order of Hermann Goering, ann avenged his dead comrades. A few days later he received the Knights Cross from Goering for his “braveness” in Crete.