1941

Aug

7

1941

Exercises on Salisbury Plain

the wide open spaces of Salisbury Plain in southern Britain have long been used for tank exercises , here watched by the King in during the summer of1941

Next, he ran fifty yards and, as the target came up again for twenty seconds, threw himself on the ground, loaded and fired another five rounds. With the eyepieces of the respirator steaming up and the bayonetweighted muzzle waving around as you struggled for breath, it was quite a feat to get the shots on the target at all.

Aug

5

1941

A stay in ‘the infamous, bombed Tobruk Hospital’

One of the famous images of the 'Rats of Tobruk', Australian troops sheltering in one of the caves in the besieged area.

“Jaundice. Get your kit and report to the MDS. They’ll probably send you to the Base.” I was driven down to the MDS by Tiny Plane, in a typical Tobruch dust storm. I felt foul. Bumpy, dusty road. Past the wrecked German tank, past the ruined buildings, past the broken Iti guns and past the wrecked British plane with grave alongside..

Aug

4

1941

A German soldier’s view of the Russians

German infantry passing a burning Russian village, during the 1941advance.

Having encountered these Bolshevik hordes and having seen how they live has made a lasting impression on me. Everyone, even the last doubter, knows today that the battle against these subhumans, who’ve been whipped into a frenzy by the Jews, was not only necessary but came in the nick of time.

Aug

3

1941

The first Condor shot down by a Hurricat

The Hawker Sea Hurricane being catapulted from the catapult armed merchant (CAM) ship at Greenock. Note the long flame from the rocket assistors.

Apart the hazards inherent in such a procedure there was the problem of recovering the pilot after he completed his task of defending the convoy. There was no way of recovering the aircraft to these merchant ships – these were single use planes. The pilot was expected to ditch in the sea and hope to be picked up by one of the convoy escorts.

Aug

2

1941

Life in occupied France

We only know about the fate of Louis Berrier because the Germans chose to make an English version of this poster for use on the Channel Islands.

And then, well, I decided to call him “Hitler” — well, how was I supposed to know that there was a law against calling your pig Hitler? Anyway, that’s why they brought me here. And whatever’s to become of me now?’ But answer came there none, as we were all doubled up with laughter. She found out soon enough, poor woman. Calling your pig ‘Hitler’ still only gets you nine months.

Aug

1

1941

RAF bombers intensify attacks on Libya

An RAF raid on a German ammunition dump in the desert. Each of the dots in the sand is a pile of around 50 bombs.

During the week under review, our bombers made two successful daylight raids. On the 1st August, nine Blenheims, escorted by Hurricanes, attacked a concentration of enemy M.T. vehicles at Sidi Omar and inflicted severe damage and, on the 3rd, twenty-one Marylands bombed enemy gun positions in the Tobruk area, while our fighters carried out a covering sweep over enemy forward aerodromes.

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.