1941

Jul

3

1941

The horrors of the Russian front

A German soldier approaches the body of a Russian soldier in front of his burning tank.

In a hollow we discover Russian cavalry, which the flak begins to fire at. You can see clearly through the binoculars the ruin that the flak is inflicting on the Russians. Horses and men lying about in wild disorder. You can see one of the Russians trying to raise himself up, and then his strength ebbs away and he collapses like a sack. It’s frightful.

Jul

2

1941

Still stuck in Tobruk

A patrol around the seaward side of the Tobruk perimeter, summer 1941.

Haven’t shaved for a week or more; only three razor blades left. However the tobacco issue has arrived and once again it is not “Chess”. This time it is the old favourite “Capstan Navy Cut” There is a 4oz tin here which will be divided, very, very carefully (shred by shred!) between Bombardier Tiny Plane and myself.

Jul

1

1941

Germans learn of the reality of the ‘Ostfront’

Whatever the propaganda images said some German officers were complaining that they had not prepared for the scale of casualties they received.

He says it is absolutely beastly. Hardly any prisoners are being taken by either side. The Russians fight and torture like criminals, not soldiers, putting up their hands and then, when the Germans come up to them, shooting them a bout portant; they even shoot from behind the German medical orderlies who try to help their wounded.

Jun

30

1941

Some Germans are welcomed

A German motorised column advancing along a Russian road during the early stages of Barbarossa.

My eyes ache from looking at so many vehicles, one after the other as far as you can see. We arrive about 15.00, after travelling along these impossible roads, in Busk, where there’s still fighting going on. The western entrance of the town is jammed full of our vehicles, and all you can see there is dust, but the Russian guns are still barking away at the eastern end.

Jun

29

1941

The interrogation of a U Boat crew

Some of the U-boat men felt that fraternisation with the French was not good for security.

Nevertheless, some officer and Chief Petty Officer prisoners suspected a hidden subtle and organised opposition on the part of the French, which they feared as likely to become dangerous. It was noted by the Germans that in spite of the polite and obliging attitude of the French officials and workmen, something important always went wrong with the German arrangements in which any reliance had been placed on French co-operation.

Jun

28

1941

‘Circus’ raids are stepped up

A daylight raid on Comines power station in north east France by Blenheim bombers on 28th June scored a direct hit on but killed six workers.

We lost 11 bombers and 24 fighters, but the pilots of 2 Spitfires were rescued. Ten aircraft were destroyed by our bombers, who probably destroyed 3 more and damaged 7. Our fighters shot down a total of 39 Messerschmitts, including a number of Me. 109 Fs, probably destroyed 15 more and damaged 18.

Jun

27

1941

The Lietukis Garage massacre

Crowd views the aftermath of a massacre at Lietukis Garage, where pro-German Lithuanian nationalists killed more than 50 Jewish men. The victims were beaten, hosed, and then murdered with iron bars. Kovno, Lithuania, June 27, 1941.

In the middle of the yard, in broad daylight and in full view of the assembled crowd, a group of well dressed, spruce intelligent looking people held iron bars which they used to viciously beat another group of similarly well dressed, spruce, intelligent people.

Jun

26

1941

The Germans arrive in town

The last image in the sequence shows the Soviet officials as prisoners under armed guard.

Here we see German troops arrive in a small Russian town for the first time. We do not know what town, we do not know the exact date. We can have a pretty good idea of the fate of the Soviet officials who have been arrested, following the Commissar order.

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.