April 1943

Apr

23

1943

Two V.C.s in fierce Tunisian battles

Priest 105mm self-propelled gun of 11th Royal Horse Artillery (Honourable Artillery Company), 1st Armoured Division, 22 April 1943.

On the first objective and still under continual enemy fire, Major Anderson re-organised the Battalion and rallied men whose Commanders, in most cases, had been either killed or wounded. The Commanding Officer having been killed, he took command of the Battalion and led the assault on the second objective. During this assault he received a leg wound, but in spite of this he carried on and finally captured ” Longstop ” Hill with a total force of only four officers and less than forty other ranks.

Apr

22

1943

German Me 323 transport plane fleet shot down

The Me 321 glider was developed into the Me 323 Gigant transport aircraft with the addition of 6 engines.

The following film shows the Me 321 glider in operation in Russia, including extraordinary footage of the take off when it is pulled by three aircraft flying in formation. There was no room for error here. It concludes with a short combat sequence of a Me 323 plane being shot down by a USAAF P-38, […]

Apr

21

1943

Spitfires versus Focke-Wulf 190s over France

An armourer of No. 3101 Servicing Echelon uses a periscope unit to adjust one of the .303 Browning machine guns on a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IXB of No. 341 (Free French) Squadron RAF, jacked up before a gun harmonization board at Biggin Hill, Kent.

I identified it at once-it was a Focke-Wulf 190. I had not studied the photos and recognition charts so often for nothing. After firing a burst of tracer at me he bore down on Martell. Yes, it certainly was one – the short wings, the radial engine, the long transparent hood: the square-cut tail-plane all in one piece!

Apr

20

1943

Indian and Gurkha troops attack Germans in Tunisia

Ghurkas advance through a smokescreen up a steep slope in Tunisia, 16 March 1943.

I was challenged in a foreign language. I felt it was not the British language or I would have recognised it. To make quite sure I crept up and found myself looking into the face of a German. I recognised him by his helmet. He was fumbling with his weapon so I cut off his head with my kukri. Another appeared from a slit trench and I cut him down also. I was able to do the same to two others, but one made a great deal of noise, which raised the alarm.

Apr

19

1943

The first Warsaw uprising – a desperate Jewish rebellion

The original German caption reads: "An assault squad". SS men on the Nowolipie street of Warsaw Ghetto during the uprising.

I wait at my post anxiously but not for long. I cock my ears and hear the heavy tread of the uniformed killers. A detachment of murderers is marching down Zelazna toward Leszno, into the ghetto: one-two, one-two, more blood, more blood. But then comes the most beautiful moment in my life. A tremendous explosion rends the air. Crash! They’re falling to the ground. Again, Crash! All of a sudden the Ukrainians are rolling in puddles of blood. Blood for blood! The murderers disperse in a wild panic, seeking shelter in the entranceways.

Apr

18

1943

An English girl’s love letter for the Gestapo

HMS Seraph, the submarine which delivered the correspondence.

Bill darling, do let me know as soon as you get fixed and can make some more plans, and don’t please let them send you off into the blue the horrible way they do nowadays – now that we’ve found each other out of the whole world, I don’t think I could bear it.

Apr

17

1943

USCGC Spencer’s mid Atlantic attack on U-175

COAST GUARD CUTTER SINKS SUB: Coast Guardsmen on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter SPENCER watch the explosion of a depth charge which blasted a Nazi U-Boat's hope of breaking into the center of a large convoy.  The depth charge tossed from the 327-foot cutter blew the submarine to the surface, where it was engaged by Coast Guardsmen.  Ships of the convoy may be seen in the background.

On 11 April 1943, Spencer departed St. John’s in company with Task Unit 24.1.3 consisting, in addition, of Duane, two British and two Canadian escorts, and rendezvoused with the 56-ship east-bound convoy HX-233, relieving the local escort on the 12th. One straggler was reported. The convoy proceeded due east to avoid submarines reported south of […]

Apr

16

1943

Parachuting out of bomber shot down over France

Handley Page Halifax Mk II W7676 'TL-P' of No. 35 Squadron in flight, circa May 1942. This aircraft was lost on an operation to Nuremberg on 28/29 August 1942.

Then the pilot came on pleading, “Please get out!” and so forth. We went down to about 7,000 feet I think at that time. And so I quickly unbuttoned my intercom and my helmet and I just stood up and I jumped on the edge of the door and out it went and I went out too. And my first impression was just the black tail of the aircraft going over the top of my head.

Apr

15

1943

Eisenhower tours the Tunisian front line

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, right, commander-in-chief in North Africa, jokes with four American soldiers during a recent inspection of the Tunisian battlefront, on March 18, 1943.

When we reached the scene of destruction of twenty-seven tanks, many of which could still be seen on the hillsides, we had to take a one-way dirt track across a field. The track was marked by white tape and along it were signs, ‘Mines-Verges.’ Because of possible presence of booby traps, there was a noticeable reluctance to prod into the innards of the Tiger tanks or to touch the articles lying around them.

Apr

14

1943

U.S. troops on the lessons from combat in Tunisia

A United States soldier advances cautiously at left with a sub-machine gun to cover any attempt of the German tank crew from escaping their fiery prison inside their tank following a duel with U.S. and British anti-tank units in Medjez al Bab area, Tunisia, on January 12, 1943.

I got my men used to the German flares by getting all I could, including those I could borrow from the British, and we fired them all night at Jerry. Now we take flares with us and fire them at Jerry at night. We do this on all the nights that we don’t use them for signals, then we use them only for signals. But my men now pay no attention to the enemy flares.