1942

Feb

7

1942

Rommel’s advance stops at Gazala Line

Rommel's Command vehicle

7th February 1942: Rommel’s advance stops at the Gazala Line

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

6th February 1942: U-boat wolf pack makes torpedo attack on a convoy in mid-Atlantic

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

5th February 1942: Jews fall victim to Nazi savagery in Warsaw

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

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

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

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

1st February 1942: U.S. Navy’s first strike – the Japanese bases on the Marshall Islands hit by dive bombers

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.

Jan

30

1942

Hitler repeats his threat to kill the Jews

30th January 1942: Hitler repeats his threat to kill all the Jews of Europe in major public speech

He repeated this announcement of his intentions on 30th January 1942, in a speech I also know of: The war would not end, as the Jews imagined, by the extinction of European-Aryan peoples, but it would result in the annihilation of the Jews. This repetition of his words of 30th January 1939 was not unique. He would often remind his entourage of the importance of this dictum.

Jan

29

1942

Winston Churchill wins vote of ‘Confidence’

29th January 1942: Winston Churchill wins vote of ‘Confidence’ in British Parliament

On behalf of His Majesty’s Government, I make no complaint of the Debate, I offer no apologies, I offer no excuses, I make no promises. In no way have I mitigated the sense of danger and impending misfortunes of a minor character and of a severe character which still hang over us, but at the same time I avow my confidence, never stronger than at this moment, that we shall bring this conflict to and end in a manner agreeable to the interests of our country, and in a manner agreeable to the future of the world.

Jan

28

1942

RAF ace Stanford Tuck shot down over France

28th January 1942: RAF ace Stanford Tuck shot down over France during ‘Rhubarb raid’

RAF Fighter Command continued with a policy of taking the fight to the enemy with a series of ‘sweeps’ over northern Europe known as ‘Rhubarb raids’. This was designed to force the Luftwaffe to maintain a significant number of aircraft in the west, helping to relieve the pressure on Russia. The military value of attacking ground targets in France and the Low countries was limited and it proved to be costly in terms of aircraft and pilots. Many experienced pilots, veterans of the Battle of Britain, were lost in this way.