September 1941

Sep

20

1941

Escape from occupied Europe

One of the fast launches employed by the RAF for the rescue of pilots who had to ditch in the Channel.

I turned, leading my three comrades. I was surprised to see men on board it. There were five of them, all on their feet, at the risk of upsetting the frail skiff waving everything they had, handkerchieves, coats, etc. One whom I saw distinctly was wearing a mackintosh and waving a soft hat as high as he could.

Sep

19

1941

German pincers meet around Kiev

Among many historic buildings virtually destroyed was the 11th century Cathedral of the Assumption. It was not re-built until 2000.

All around, wherever you look there are German tanks, sub-machine guns or machine gun nests. Our unit has already been defending on all sides by the fourth day, within this circle of fire. At night the surrounding ring is clear to see, illuminated by fires that light up the horizon, which here and there give the sky a wonderful yellow hue.

Sep

18

1941

Siege of Leningrad consolidated

Nurses helping people hit during the first bombardment of Leningrad.

Petersburg — the poisonous nest from which, for so long, Asiatic venom has spewed forth into the Baltic — must vanish from the earth’s surface. The city is already cut off. It only remains for us to bomb and bombard it, destroy its sources of water and power and then deny the population everything it needs to survive.

Sep

17

1941

Another suicidal Soviet assault

German troops with the MG 34 heavy machine gun in Russia during september 1941.

We allowed the enemy infantry to get within about two hundred meters of us before our machine guns reaped a bloody harvest. The result was horrific. Within minutes countless brown dots covered the sparsely grassed area whilst others staggered toward our positions with arms raised.

Sep

16

1941

The trap closes on Kiev

The situation in the south of the Soviet Union in mid September 1941 as the encirclement of Kiev was completed and the Crimea threatened.

In August Hitler had decided to break off the main thrust towards Moscow and divert forced from Army Group Centre to assist with operations in the North and South. Army Group North now almost completely encircled Leningrad in the north. In the south a vast encirclement of huge numbers of Soviet troops was now taking place.

Sep

15

1941

‘Jewish Star’ introduced

From 19th September Jews in Germany and occupied countries were required to wear the Star of David in public.

The newspaper justification: after the army had got to know; through Bolshevism, the cruelty etc, of the jew; all possibility of camouflage must be removed from the Jews here, to spare the comrades of the people all contact with them. – The true reason: fear of Jewish criticism because things look bad in the East or at least are at a standstill.

Sep

14

1941

Hurricat attack on a Focke Wolfe

A Hurricat - a catapult adapted Hurricane fighter is prepared on the launch rail of a CAM ship in port. The pilot had to be prepared to launch at very short notice, whatever the sea condition. If he was far out at sea he could only expect to ditch the aircraft or parachute out and then hope to be picked up by one of the convoy escorts.

12:00 – The aircraft turned towards the convoy and appeared to be coming in for attack, so a Hurricane was flown off. The pilot, Sub Lt. C. Walker, R.N.V.R. saw the enemy immediately as he left the ship and went straight to meet it, carrying out a head-on attack until at point blank range. He saw that his ammunition entered the nose of the German aircraft.

Sep

13

1941

Russian POWs arrive in camps in Austria

Russian prisoners of war at Wolfsburg. These were the lucky ones - having been transported back to the Reich to work for the Germans.

They were reduced to eating grass and weeds at the side of the line. At the stops the guards had just thrown the bodies of those who had died out on to the side of the railway. When they arrived at Wolfsberg station scores of dead bodies were still in the wagons and these were left there, when the survivors were marched off to the Stalag.

Sep

11

1941

Roosevelt attacks Nazi ‘piracy’ in the Atlantic

The incident involving the destroyer USS Greer prompted Roosevelt to change US terms of engagement at sea.

If the destroyer was visible to the submarine when the torpedo was fired, then the attack was a deliberate attempt by the Nazis to sink a clearly identified American warship. On the other hand, if the submarine was beneath the surface and, with the aid of its listening devices, fired in the direction of the sound of the American destroyer without even taking the trouble to learn its identity – as the official German communique would indicate – then the attack was even more outrageous. For it indicates a policy of indiscriminate violence against any vessel sailing the seas, belligerent or non-belligerent.

Sep

10

1941

HMCS Moose Jaw sinks U-501

The Canadian corvette HMCS Moose jaw was still in a period of training when she was ordered to sea to intercept a U Boat wolf pack.

I managed to go alongside the submarine, starboard side to, and called on her to surrender. To my surprise, I saw a man make a magnificent leap from the submarine’s deck into our waist, and the remainder of her crew move to do likewise. Not being prepared to repel boarders at that moment, I sheered off. The submarine altered across my bows and I rammed her, increasing to 185 revolutions to do so, and altering course in order to hit her forward diving rudders, so as to prevent her submerging.