August 1942

Aug

11

1942

HMS Eagle sunk as Pedestal comes under atttack

HMS Eagle in the Mediterranean in February 1942 during Operation Spotter. A Supermarine Spitfire flies off HMS EAGLE to reinforce the air defence of Malta. Fifteen Spitfires, flown by replacement pilots for the much depleted No. 249 Squadron RAF, reached the island successfully during this operation.

Taking a deep breath I blew up my inflatable lifebelt which was a permanent part of our dress when we were afloat. Remembering our survival lectures, I hurriedly kicked off my deck shoes, pushed myself away and before I could think I was upside down 20 feet under the water and frantically holding my breath whist I looked around for a lighter colour in my surroundings that would indicate the surface. The next few seconds seemed like a lifetime and as I broke through to the surface my throat and chest seemed to explode with relief.

Aug

10

1942

Operation Pedestal gets under way

Photograph taken from the after end of VICTORIOUS' flight deck showing HMS INDOMITABLE and EAGLE. A Hawker Sea Hurricane and a Fairey Albacore are ranged on VICTORIOUS' flight deck.

Sooner or later the peace would be shattered; jumping at every pipe, at every change in course or revs, screamed out for it to happen and be done with. All morning the ships steamed on in undisturbed calm. Then, suddenly, in the afternoon watch, two Wildcats from Victorious went tearing into the air. We moved nearer the island, hoping for tit-bits of news. The Tannoy crackled. It was the Commander: “Victorious has scrambled two fighters after a suspected shadower. That’s all for the moment.”

Aug

9

1942

Germans reach the first of the Russian oilfields

The Germans made good progress, covering huge distances without encountering significant opposition.

We had reached the Maikop area, and the village ahead of us was held by the enemy, who hung on tenaciously and would not give way. We made a snap decision and set the thatched roofs alight to burn the enemy out. Within a few moments of opening fire with incendiary rounds, the first houses were on fire. The infantry then began to make good progress. In accordance with my orders, I moved my gun forward to the center ofthe village square to cover the infantry attack against possible surprises from the south. But there was not a single enemy tank to be seen.

Aug

8

1942

Japanese counter-attack U.S. Marines on Guadalcanal

Ships maneuvering during the Japanese torpedo plane attack on the Tulagi invasion force, 8 August 1942. Several Japanese Navy Type 1 land attack planes ("Betty") are faintly visible at left, center and right, among the anti-aircraft shell bursts. Destroyer in the foreground appears to be USS Bagley (DD-386) or USS Helm (DD-388). A New Orleans class heavy cruiser is in the left distance, with a large splash beside it. Column of smoke in the left center is probably from a crashed plane.

Hauled ammunition from battery to ammo dump and had an air raid at noon. The USS Elliot, a Marine Transport, was hit by suicide dive bomber. It was very damaged and was beached to keep it from sinking in the harbor. A destroyer was damaged also. There was one Jap plane and prisoners taken during the battle. Wild shooting during the night.

Aug

7

1942

Churchill shakes things up in the desert

Winston Churchill, with Sir Alan Brooke, giving his famous V-for-Victory sign while being driven past a line of troops in Tel-el-Kebir, 9 August 1942. The vehicle is a Morris-Commercial 8cwt truck

After dinner PM, Smuts I had conference as to how the matter should be settled. Had some difficulty. PM rather in favour of Wilson. However Smuts assisted me and telegram now been sent off to Cabinet ordering Montgomery out to take command 8th Army. I hope we get Alexander and Montgomery out soon so that I may settle details of Corps Commanders and Chiefs of Staff with them.

Aug

6

1942

HMCS Assiniboine duels with U-210 in the fog

At one point U-210 came so close that it was impossible for the Canadian destroyer to depress her guns low enough to target her.

U-210’s bridge was first struck by machine gun bullets. HOLST was shot through the neck and killed outright, and KRUMM was badly wounded. An instant later ASSINIBOINE scored a direct hit with her 4.7 gun on the conning tower, the shell making a shambles of the bridge. A prisoner stated that LEMCKE was literally blown to pieces, and that KRUMM, lying wounded, was virtually decapitated. It is assumed that TAMM also suffered a violent death.

Aug

5

1942

Warsaw orphans leave for Treblinka

People  climb up into the freight cars during the deportations from Warsaw.

At last they would be able to exchange the horrible suffocating city walls for meadows of flowers, streams where they could bathe, woods full of berries and mushrooms. He told them to wear their best clothes, and so they came out into the yard, two by two, nicely dressed and in a happy mood. The little column was led by an SS man.

Aug

4

1942

Waiting for the end in the Warsaw ghetto

Jews being deported from the Warsaw ghetto march to the freight trains. Warsaw, Poland, July-September 1942. Courtesy: Leopold Page Photographic Collection,USHMM.

By four in the afternoon, the quota was filled: 13,000 people had been seized and sent off, among them 5,000 who came to the transfer of their own free will. They had had their fill of the ghetto life, which is a life of hunger and fear of death. They escaped from the trap. Would that I could allow myself to do as they did!

Aug

3

1942

Abrupt end to U-335’s first patrol

U boat in the Atlantic, May 1942

Having sighted the U-Boat, “P.247, who was throughout at periscope depth, altered course from 030° to 015° and at 2131-1/2 fired six Mark VIII torpedoes from tubes 1 to 6. It was possible to fire so soon after sighting as all tubes had been kept flooded and firing reservoirs charged throughout the patrol. The torpedoes were fired at seven second intervals, the range of the target then being 2,500 yards.

Aug

2

1942

A pause in the desert war

German artillery in the desert in the summer of 1942.

All quiet, except for intense air activity against my supply lines. I’m thankful for every day’s respite we get. A lot of sickness. Unfortunately many of the older officers are going down now. Even I am feeling very tired and limp, though I have got a chance to look after myself a bit just at the moment.