September 1942

Sep

21

1942

A work party leaves Auschwitz for Buna

The IG Farben rubber and synthetic oil plant at Buna, or Auschwitz III. By the end of the war 80,000 slave labourers were employed here.

The summer sun scorched the back of my neck. The alsatian trotting beside me was panting. A man reeled from the ranks, fell and had the top of his head blown off by an S.S. man who did not even bother to stop as he fired. Farther up the line a man ran wildly into the road and was bowled over by a burst of machine gun fire. The S.S. were kicking the kapos now and all the time they were shouting: “Faster, you bastards! We’re late! We’re late!”

Sep

20

1942

Operation Musketoon – Commando raid on Glomfjord

A reconnaissance photograph of the Hydro electric power station at Glomfjord. Machinery inside the power station was blown up by men from No.2 Commando as well as the inlet pipe of water which can just be discerned running down the hill and entering the rear of the building.

After the operation, which took place successfully on the night of 20th September, we climbed up to the huts behind Glomfjord power station. Captain Black then told the rest of us to climb the hill as best we could and get away. We divided into two parties, Smith, O’Brien, Christiansen (Granlund), Fairclough and Trigg going up to the right and the others to the left. However Captain Black called Smith back to administer morphia to a man who had been wounded.

Sep

19

1942

An Officer adjusts to life in the Desert

A Crusader tank of 4th Light Armoured Brigade in the Western Desert, 20 September 1942.

As in other things military, the Australians were very unorthodox in their patrolling methods. They hardly bothered about compasses but went from point to point by means of battle landmarks, utilising everything from broken-down tanks to unburied corpses. One company had a skeleton whom they affectionately called ” Cuthbert,” who was propped up with his arm pointing to the gap in our minefield.

Sep

18

1942

The fight for the Stalingrad grain elevator

Houses on fire during the fierce street fighting at Stalingrad.

Soon after that enemy tanks and infantry about ten times our strength attacked from south and west. After the first attack was beaten back a second began, then a third, and all the while a reconnaissance plane circled over us. It corrected the fire and reported our position. Ten attacks were beaten offjust on September 18th

Sep

17

1942

Bomber Command steps up the attack

The Ju 88 was to become a mainstay of the Luftwaffe fleet but it had spent a long time in development as it was intended to perform so many roles.

As the aircraft crossed into Reich territory, air raid alarms were given for vast areas, sending people down into the shelters for hours at a time. This brought a damaging loss of production, particularly serious for the armaments industry, in its train. Quite apart from the damage and casualties inflicted by the bombing itself, these alarms imposed a great strain on people.

Sep

16

1942

The Battle for Voronezh continues

Panzer III somewhere on the advance of Army Group South during 1942.

The one thing that we are unable to get used to though, is the nasty flies. They are drawn to all the dying corpses under the rubble, and have multiplied to form large swarms too countless to grasp. Birds are also circling over the battlefield; thou- sands of crows screech above the ruins and fields of death. Again and again, they dive into the depths of the rubble when they see the horrific harvest of death.

Sep

15

1942

The launch of Operation Muskatoon

The Free French submarine FFS JUNON at a buoy in Plymouth Sound. She was now operating alongside Royal Navy and was selected  for the Muskatoon mission to Norway because her profile was closer to a U-boat than British submarines. It was hoped that if she had to surface in the shallow waters into the Fjords she was less likely to cause alarm.

At 2115 we surfaced to disembark the commando team, but encountered a few problems blowing up the two inflatables, for it was cold out there and the compressed air air lost pressure. Some buckets of hot water sorted that out, There was calm all around us and the silence was broken by the barking of dogs, the familiar sounds of the countryside and even the ringing of bicycle bells. The wind brought the scent of the pine forests to us: it was so serene.

Sep

14

1942

Arctic convoy PQ 18 fights back

Seen from the deck of an aircraft carrier (possibly HMS AVENGER), a merchant ship is bombed in the convoy PQ 18.

One of the crew of another ship watched the death of the casualty, describing how the plane ‘came in to about 300 yards .. before dropping its torpedoes and then swept on. As it passed, the ship’s gunner raked it fore and aft and bright tongues of flame flickered from its starboard engine. It dipped, recovered, dipped again and seemed just about to crash, when its torpedoes reached their mark and the ship simply vanished into thin air’. It took the plane with it. A lone steward survived this ammunition ship’s explosion.

Sep

13

1942

Torpedo bomber attack on Convoy PQ18

Sailors placing a depth charge into position in a deth charge rack for dropping from the stern of the destroyer HMS ESKIMO just out of harbour (possibly Hvalfjord) after a U-Boat hunt in the Atlantic.

Suddenly there was one of the most horrifying sights of the war. Along the whole horizon were aircraft flying just above the waves wing tip to wing tip and below radar cover. This was the German ‘Golden Comb’ attack in which all the planes released two torpedoes each at the same time. Records show there were forty-two Heinkel torpedo bombers and a number of Junkers 88′s.

Sep

12

1942

U-156 torpedoes the RMS Laconia

Shuttle service for shipwrecked persons from the Laconia between U156 (foreground) and U507 (background) as they redistribute the rescued men between them on the 15th September 1942. Picture taken by Oblt. z. S. Leopold Schuhmacher.

06.00
Transmitted radio message twice on 25 meters:
If any ship will assist the ship-wrecked LACONIA crew, I will not attack her, providing I am not attacked by ship or air force. I picked up 193 men. 4 52 S 11 26 W.
German submarine.