September 1941

Sep

8

1941

The siege of Leningrad begins

The heavy armour of the Russian KV1 tank was more than a match for any German tank at the time.

As I watched with fascination, the crews manning the 88s quickly scored a hit on the lead tank. Unable to maneuver or to elevate their barrels high enough to hit targets on top of the cliff, the remaining Russian armor was in a helpless and hopeless position. Over the next 20 minutes, the deadly 88s proceeded to pick off one after another of the KV’s and T-35’s trapped on the street below.

Sep

6

1941

Red Army assault on the German lines

A German soldier keeps watch from his trench with a Panzerbüchse - an anti tank rifle - at the ready.

Our observation post is quickly altered into a defensive position. The camouflage tarp is removed and a step is dug into the wall in order to bring the machine gun into place. Hand grenades are lined up, ready to be used. The bayonet is attached to the rifle to prepare for one- on-one battle. The Reds have managed to break through to the right of our position. Quite a few are torn apart by the mines, but the Red devils don’t mind a few hundred casualties.

Sep

4

1941

United States destroyer attacks U Boat

Reports that the US Destroyer US Greer had been attacked by a German U Boat caused alarm in the United States.

The Greer proceeded then to trail the submarine and broadcasted the submarine’s position. This action, taken by the Greer, was in accordance with her orders, that is, to give out information but not to attack.” The British plane continued in the vicinity of the submarine until 1032, but prior to her departure the plane dropped four depth charges in the vicinity of the submarine.

Sep

3

1941

British Home Defences under inspection

Alan Brooke, centre, en route to yet another exercise in Britain. Senior officers still wore cavalry uniform.

Left Hendon 8.45 am, flew to Duxford where I inspected 70 Welsh Young Soldiers’ Battalion. Dirty but not a bad lot of boys. Then flew on to Debden to see A Coy of 70th KRRC [King’s Royal Rifle Corps], quite good and should make a good battalion. By car to Castle Camp aerodrome to see B Coy 70th KRRC. Back to Debden aerodrome where I lunched with Churchill, the aerodrome commander. Left at 2.15 for Martlesham, to see A and B Coys of 70th Suffolks – a good battalion.

Sep

2

1941

Life in wartime Germany

The Nazi party were still celebrating the purity and superiority of the German race, even if life for the average German was taking turn for the worse.

The plebes are feeling the full fury of a German food industry gone chemical-crazy. Sugar is now made out of fir-wood pulp, sausage out of beech-wood pulp, and the beer is a stinking brew made of whey. Yeast is made out of a chemical, and marmalade is coloured to fool people into thinking it is the real thing. The same for butter, except that the colouring matter here also contains a vile and indigestible substance poisonous to the liver and doubtless responsible for the biliousness so common today.

Sep

1

1941

Fighting off a heavy bombing raid on Tobruk

The bombing of Tobruk harbour on the 1st September 1941, the port was littered with sunken ships.

After that they came in thick and fast, bombs landing continuously all round us. Three guns went out of action but the fourth (Sergeant Edwards) went on battling magnificently, fighting them off as they came in. The L.A.A. gun fought gloriously, fighting back with 120 rounds until a bomb landed within three feet of them wounding all of them and putting their gun out of action. All were taken off in an ambulance. One lad was killed and six wounded.