February 1942

Feb

28

1942

The fate of Soviet prisoners of war

There was a chance of survival for some of the Soviet prisoners of war who found themselves in concentration camps, although the death rate from starvation and overwork  was high. Hundreds died during experiments to establish the gas chambers that would be used in the Holocaust.

In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow. Even tools were not made available to dig holes or caves.

Feb

27

1942

The Parachute Regiment’s first Battle Honour

A Royal Navy MTB brings men of 'C' Company, 2nd Parachute Battalion, into Portsmouth harbour on the morning after the Bruneval raid, 28 February 1942. The CO of the assault force, Major J D Frost, is on the bridge, second from left.

Most were killed, but some ran away, and one tried to hide over the edge of the cliff. Having got there, he wanted to surrender, and I looked over to see him with his hands up. At the time I thought I had seen nothing funnier than a German trying to scramble up the lip of a cliff with his hands up.

Feb

26

1942

Lake Ladoga – the ice road that saved Leningrad

A view of the ice road during April 1942 when the journey became was even more hazardous as the ice began to melt.

The labour of the Ladoga lorry drivers is a sacred labour. It is enough to cast an eye on the road. This worn-out, bombed, tormented road which knows no peace, day or night. Its snow is turned to sand. Wrecked machines and spare parts are lying everywhere-in ruts, pot-holes, ditches, in bomb craters, there are wrecked vehicles.

Feb

25

1942

The Battle of Los Angeles

Images of the 'attack' have proved to be fertile material for UFO theorists

“If the batteries were firing on nothing at all, as Secretary Knox implies, it is a sign of expensive incompetence and jitters. If the batteries were firing on real planes, some of them as low as 9,000 feet, as Secretary Stimson declares, why were they completely ineffective? Why did no American planes go up to engage them, or even to identify them? … What would have happened if this had been a real air raid?”

Feb

23

1942

HMS Trident torpedoes Prinz Eugen

The submarine HMS Trident entering dock, date unknown.

0602 hours – In position 63º12′N, 07º00′E fired the first torpedo from 2000 yards and after firing the third gave the order to dive as not to be spotted by the nearest destroyer. As Cdr. Sladen shut the hatch the first explosion was heard. A second explosion was heard half a minute later.

Feb

22

1942

The Battle of the Sittang River, Burma

The Retreat into India: Aerial reconnaissance photograph of the bridge over the Sittang River, known as the Sittang Bridge, which was destroyed in the face of the advancing Japanese on 23 February 1942.

After a few hours had passed the Japs started to call us, giving us the creeps and the feeling that you wanted to be just a little closer to the man next to you. We kept quiet in order to conceal our position though the temptation to yell something back was strong. Our silence did not last long before somebody thought he saw something and loosed off a round or two.

Feb

21

1942

A Soviet Army ‘destroyer detachment’ in action

Soviet Army Scouts enter Yuknov during the winter months of 1942

A member of the destroyer detachment entered a house and swept the people sitting there with his quick dark glance. Everyone understood that this had become his habit, the habit of a man who breaks into a house and kills. Lieutenant Matyushko, too, interpreted his glance this way and said, laughing: ‘He could have done away with all of us on his own!’

Feb

20

1942

USS Lexington fighters hit Japanese bombers

Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat fighters, of Fighting Squadron Three (VF-3) in flight near Naval Air Station, Kaneohe, Oahu, Hawaii, 10 April 1942. The planes are Bureau # 3976 (F-1, foreground), flown by VF-3 Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander John S. Thach, and Bureau # 3986 (F-13), flown by Lieutenant Edward H. O'Hare. Photographed by Photographer Second Class H.S. Fawcett. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives (photo # 80-G-10613). On February 20, 1942, F-1, flown by Thach and LT Noel Gayler, shot down a bomber and assisted in downing two more bombers and a patrol plane. F-13, flown by Thach and ENS Leon Haynes, shot down a bomber and assisted in downing another bomber and a patrol plane.  Both of these aircraft were lost a little less than a month later with USS Lexington (CV-2), during the Battle of Coral Sea.

Despite this concentrated opposition, Lieutenant O’Hare, by his gallant and courageous action, his extremely skillful marksmanship in making the most of every shot of his limited amount of ammunition, shot down 5 enemy bombers and severely damaged a sixth before they reached the bomb release point.

Feb

19

1942

‘Australia’s Pearl Harbour’ – the bombing of Darwin

At about 1045, Peary was attacked by Japanese dive bombers, and was struck by five bombs. The first bomb exploded on the fantail, the second, an incendiary, on the galley deck house; the third did not explode; the fourth hit forward and set off the forward ammunition magazines; the fifth, another incendiary, exploded in the after engine room. A .30 caliber machine gun on the after deck house and a .50 caliber machine gun on the galley deck house fired until the last enemy plane flew away. Peary suffered 88 men killed and 13 wounded; she sank stern first at about 1300 on 19 February 1942.

After all the noise had gone and everything was quiet it was great fun talking about how we felt while the raid was on. Well, I for one had the wind up properly, but after it was over I was fine again but while it was on I hugged the ground pretty close.

Feb

18

1942

A forced labour gang in Dresden

A propaganda picture of Jews being forced to clear snow in German occupied Minsk. Victor Klemperer found himself in a similar situation in the German town of Dresden.

Different foreman, different supervisor, again both were very-humane and anti-Nazi. “Don’t say that we treated you well, not at the Community either, rather say we were bad; otherwise we’ll be in trouble.” “Look, I can’t tell you, ‘Work more slowly’ you have to know that yourself,” etc., etc.