February 1942

Feb

7

1942

Rommel’s advance stops at Gazala Line

Rommel's Command vehicle

The enemy is apparently trying to establish a series of strong points extending for some 17 miles southwards from the coastal road between Gazala and Tmimi. His object appears to be to prevent observation of his movements west of that line. No doubt General Rommel is concentrating upon the re-disposition of his forces and the development of his lines of communication, which must by now be extended to their limit.

Feb

6

1942

Torpedo attack on a convoy in mid-Atlantic

The north Atlantic was a forbidding place in winter even without the threat of U-boat attack.

Another explosion and the tanker on the starboard stern received hers. The Lieutenant had remained on the stern gun to personally take charge in the event the sub might appear. Among the faces of the crew were some puzzling looks as we all watched with eagerness to fight if we had to. Five minutes later all was quiet, until another ship – which happened to be a Liberty – was hit as the flares pierced the sky once more.

Feb

5

1942

Jews fall victim to Nazi savagery in Warsaw

Groups of Jews are taken from the ghetto for compulsory labour, May 1941. Starvation and appalling living conditions had had a devastating impact on the population by 1942.

The yard was soon a scene of running, screaming, panic stricken Jews as they raced about the enclosure trying to avoid the blows being rained on them with the only door of possible escape securely closed. The commotion brought German heads from windows higher up the building and vociferous encouragement rained down as the two initiators were reinforced by three other drunken brutes who rushed into the hunt wielding short lengths of heavy rubber pipe.

Feb

4

1942

Goring meets the Italians

From left: Adolf Hitler; Robert Ley, the Reich labour organiser, responsible for many of the slave labour camps, he was now being sidelined because he was such a drunk;  Ferdinand Porsche, the designer of the Volkswagen, now designing Panzer tanks and Herman Goring, head of the Luftwaffe, increasingly addled by drugs.

Goring talked only about the jewels he possesses. In fact, he had some beautiful stones on his fingers. He explained that he bought them for a relatively small sum in Holland after all jewels were confiscated in Germany – I am told that he plays with his gems like a little boy with his marbles. During the trip he was nervous, so his aides brought him a small cup filled with diamonds.

Feb

3

1942

U.S. forces resist constant assault on Bataan

A Japanese image of their troops advancing in the Philippines

When wounded early in the action by 2 bullets through the left hand, he did not stop for first aid but discarded his rifle and began firing a pistol. He located a machinegun nest and personally silenced it with grenades. When wounded the second time by 2 machinegun bullets through the chest muscles, 1st Lt. Bianchi climbed to the top of an American tank, manned its antiaircraft machinegun, and fired into strongly held enemy position until knocked completely off the tank by a third severe wound.

Feb

2

1942

The unpopular U-boat officers from U-581

An interesting view of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Westcott, pictured in 1943.

It was said of him that on one occasion, when a British destroyer had been sighted, he had excused himself with the remark: “I’ve got to go to the lavatory for a moment,” despite the entreaties of his junior officers to take offensive action. When he returned the destroyer was not in a favourable position for attack. Such lack of enthusiasm had a depressing effect on his crew, who were not slow to show their dislike of returning to port with no pennants flying, whereas other U-Boats would usually fly several, one for each ship claimed sunk.

Feb

1

1942

U.S. Navy dive bombers strike the Marshall Islands

A SBD-2 Dauntless dive bomber of either VB-6 or VS-6 on the carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) prepares for takeoff during the 1 February 1942 Marshall Islands Raid.

In several cases individual pilots, not satisfied with their dive, or observing previous hits on target selected pulled up and chose another target. As radical evasive action was required to escape the great volume of machine gun fire planes became separated and each pilot made his subsequent attacks individually. In the subsequent attacks 100 lb glide bombing and strafing were employed against smaller ships, large sea planes and shore installations. No enemy aircraft was encountered in the air.