October 1942

Oct

11

1942

Japanese surprised at Battle of Cape Esperance

USS Duncan underway in the south Pacific on 7 October 1942, five days before she was sunk in the Battle of Cape Esperance. Photographed from USS Copahee (ACV-12), which was then engaged in delivering aircraft to Guadalcanal. Official U.S. Navy Photograph.

We sent out rescue craft the next morning to pick up survivors. Many of both sides were found, but few japanese were brought in. Some of the Naval personnel had gaping shrapnel wounds, severed limbs, or they were burned, with oil covering their bodies. They were all in various stages of shock. I counted over fifty American bodies lying on the beach in neat rows. These were the guys who had been recovered by our rescue teams and were either dead when found or died on the way to the beach.

Oct

10

1942

Auschwitz – Dr Kremer indulges his medical curiosity

The railway entrance to Auschwitz in 1945.

The patient was laid down still alive on the dissection table. I would go up to the table and ask the patient to give me some details essential for my research. For example, for his weight before his detention, how much weight he had lost since his detention, whether he had taken any medication recently, etc. After I had been given this information a medical orderly would come and kill the patient with an injection in the heart area. To my knowledge all these patients were killed with phenol injections,.

Oct

9

1942

Troopship sunk 500 miles off South Africa

The Royal Mail Liner Oronsay was built for the route to Australia, conveying passengers and cargo. Six men died when she was torpedoed on 9th OCtober 1942.

Our lifeboat was by now more than half full of water. Bailing did not improve the position noticeably. Decided to find another boat. Eventually discovered one almost waterlogged, a steel effort which we managed to empty of its water and crude oil after two hours hard bailing. It was now mid-day and extremely hot. During the morning the two launches which had been safely got away had rounded up all the life boats, thirteen altogether. Set course for Freetown!

Oct

8

1942

The battle for the Red October factory canteen

A german gun crew make their way through the devastated city, October 1942.

On October 8th, some fascists burst out towards the Volga. They were drunk, walking completely upright, without stooping, shooting aimlessly as they went. But these were some sort of special fritzes. Even when they got wounded, they kept crawling forward, shouting something. This time, they nearly succeeded in driving us out of the factory canteen.

Oct

7

1942

Selected to live – in Treblinka

Jews from Czestochowa are rounded up and deported to Treblinka

From the suitcases we remove lotions, cosmetics, soaps, matches, medicines. It seems that there is nothing that we do not remove here in quantities – all sorts, from the most expensive tins to the few potatoes that the poor Jews brought with them. The sorted articles are brought non-stop to the edge of the yard, where they are piled up and up. The suitcases with valuables have a special place; into them are put things made of gold, watches, rings, diamond’s. Wedding rings make up the greatest quantity of valuable articles.

Oct

6

1942

U-333 makes narrow escape from HMS Crocus

The flower class corvette HMS Crocus, seen in September 1942, which was credited with a kill after her encounter with U-333.

The first watch officer and I at once got to our feet again. I had several splinters in the arm and the officer had one through the throat. The explosion threw us both down the conning-tower hatch, but we managed to climb back onto the bridge. When my companion was hit several more times in the arm and leg, I ordered him to leave me alone on the bridge. With my one sound arm I helped the wounded lying on the bridge to get back down into the conning tower. One man, a bosun’s mate, had apparently slipped overboard and disappeared without trace.

Oct

5

1942

‘Coned’ and shot down over Cologne

Short Stirling B Mark I bombers of No 7 Squadron RAF, lined up at Oakington, Cambridgeshire. The squadron became part of the Pathfinder target marking force in October 1942.

The eerie purple light of the radio-controlled searchlight, the master search-light of the Cologne air defence system locked onto us and having seen this happen to other bombers I knew there would be no escaping it. No manoeuvring, no ’jinking’, no diving nor turning nor any amount of speed would shake off that relentless finger. With the range signalled to them from this automatic light the entire search-light complex now locked onto us and we were ‘coned’, the most dreaded thing that could happen to any bomber crew.

Oct

3

1942

German troops endure Eastern Front trench warfare

Before the winter freeze came the rain and the mud.

Days were an alternation of weapons cleaning and trench work, and at night we went out on sentry duty every two or three hours, to stare into no-man’s-land, in case an enemy patrol appeared, and to wait whether a bullet hit us or a direct hit from a mortar spattered our blood and brains against the trench walls. Then the guts would freeze to the clay, scraps of cloth and flesh would lie around, and someone would come across vestiges of a comrade many days later and not recognize them.

Oct

2

1942

Troopship liner Queen Mary sinks HMS Curacoa

"Stand Easy" - stokers enjoying a smoke and a talk during cleaning boliler cleaning operations in the engine room of HMS CURACOA at Rosyth.

I said to my mate “You know she’s zig-zigging all over the place in front of us, I’m sure we’re going to hit her.” And sure enough, the Queen Mary sliced the cruiser in two like a piece of butter, straight through the six inch armoured plating. The Queen Mary just carried on going (we were doing about 25 knots). It was the policy not to stop and pick up survivors even if they were waving at you. It was too dangerous as the threat of U-Boats was always present.

Oct

1

1942

Hitler promotes Rommel to Field Marshal

Hitler with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

Afterwards both went into the Chancellery gardens, where an impressive display of new weapons, including assault guns and a Tiger tank, was on show. Rommel requested them for the front as soon as possible, which Hitler promised to see to. I had the impression that he was beginning to deceive himself. He was underestimating the fighting strength of the Russians and also had the wrong idea about the British.