April 1943

Apr

13

1943

Nazis announce Katyn massacre of Polish officers

A German poster purporting to show the murder of the Polish officers in 1940 by the Soviet NKVD. The Soviet union had invaded half of Poland in 1939 with the agreement of the Germans. Now the Germans tried to distract attention from their own crimes by publicising the massacre.

He told me that he had proofs that the Soviet Government had murdered the 15,000 Polish officers and other prisoners in their hands, and that they had been buried in vast graves in the forests, mainly around Katyn. He had a wealth of evidence. I said, “If they are dead nothing you can do will bring them back.”

Apr

12

1943

General Morgan is asked to draw up some plans

US Ranger Goes To British Battle School: Americans Train For Battle In The UK, 1943

During an obstacle course as part of their train at this battle school, somewhere in Britain, soldiers drop to the ground after having cleared a ditch full of barbed wire by travelling hand-over-hand along overhead bars. Smoke and 'thunder-flashes' are used to create a more realistic battlefield atmosphere.

The object is to defeat German fighting forces in Northwest Europe; The CCS have decided to appoint a Supreme Allied Commander (SAC) in the future; They have decided to appoint you Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC) pending SAC’s appointment; You will prepare plans in the following order of priority:

Apr

11

1943

No respite from the war on the Home Front

Sergeant Bill Davies, a colliery fireman from Gresford in North Wales, and the leader of a platoon of the colliery's Home Guard unit, bids goodbye to his wife as he leaves home to travel by bicycle to evening parade, 15 April 1943. Sgt Davies served in 13th Battalion the Royal Welch Fusiliers during the First World War

I suggested ‘The Cheshire Cheese` for lunch, not bombed. We poked our way up an alley. No lunches on Saturday. … But we found ‘Ye Old Cock Tavern’ in the Strand. … We had Fish and potatoes and Xmas pudding. Not much of anything, but we enjoyed ourselves. 3/- each. Walked through the devastated Temple. The most serious scene of ruin concentrated on one set of historical buildings, just appalling!

Apr

10

1943

RAF trials – a high altitude radar guided dogfight

The 'wooden wonder' the Mosquito aircraft which served a number of roles. Even in this publicity shot with a message to 'Adolf' chalked on the 4,000lb 'cookie' bomb, the highly secret bombsight has been obliterated by the censor.

The small, fierce sun threw harsh shadows on the wing, and as we climbed the sky became darker and darker, and the windows began to frost over until only part of the windscreen and a few patches at the side remained clear. This was all quite different from what I had known of even our fairly regular flights to the higher altitudes of about twenty-five thousand feet. The cabin pressure was at an artificial thirty-two thousand feet, but the altimeter needle, slowing down now, had just passed the mark for forty-three thousand feet.

Apr

9

1943

Welcome to Gros Rosen – “ARBEIT MACHT FREI”

The entrance to Gros Rosen of the 120, 000 who passed through these gates 40, 000 would die.

My work assignment was in the stone quarry. My first job was to load stones into carts. We had to work in the open air, whatever the weather, from dawn to dusk. We worked without a break, under the watchful eyes and the brutal clubs of the “Kapos.” The Kapos were the concentration camp’s gang foremen. They were usually German, and had criminal records and sadistic inclinations. They held absolute power of life and death over their gangs. It seemed that the more cruelty they exhibited, and the greater the pain they inflicted, the greater they were esteemed by the camp administration.

Apr

5

1943

Belgium tragedy in USAAF daylight bombing raid

The town square in Mortsel as the search for survivors gets underway.

Seventeen aircraft bombed the primary target from 24,000 feet with 51 tons of 1,000-lb. H.E. M44 bombs. Slight, inaccurate, black flak was reported over Ostend, Ghent, Bruges, and Schouwen Island. Enemy air opposition was moderate with 30 to 50 aircraft reported. They attacked from the Belgian coast to mid-channel enroute back. FW-190s, ME-109s, ME-110s, and JU-88s were seen in twelve encounters.

Apr

4

1943

B-24 bomber ‘Lady Be Good’ takes off on first operation

The ill-fated crew of the Lady Be Good, from the left: 1Lt. W.J. Hatton, pilot; 2Lt. R.F. Toner, copilot; 2Lt. D.P. Hays, navigator; 2Lt. J.S. Woravka, bombardier; TSgt. H.J. Ripslinger, engineer; TSgt. R.E. LaMotte, radio operator; SSgt. G.E. Shelly, gunner; SSgt. V.L. Moore, gunner; and SSgt. S.E. Adams, gunner. (U.S. Air Force photo)

At 2:50 PM on April 4,1943, 25 B-24′s of the 376th Bomb Group took off from their base at Soluch, Libya for a high altitude bombing mission against harbor facilities at Naples,Italy. All planes but one returned safely to Allied territory that night – the one missing plane was the “Lady Be Good”, on the crews first mission.

Apr

2

1943

U-Boat ace of U-124 sunk by HMS Black Swan

The Flower class corvette HMS Stonecrop.

There were ships that had seen scores of long-drawn out actions, and still came back cheerfully for more; there were men – British and Allied sailors – who dared all, not as a job for money but simply as a chosen habit, who returned to the same task and the same run after two or even three hideous ordeals as survivors, who stuck to oil-tankers as other people stick to one brand of bottled beer.

Apr

1

1943

Death railway bridge built like ‘a pack of cards’

Bridge over the River Kwai, 1943. L Rawlings.

As we sang these numbers, we’d pull on the rope. This huge great lump of steel would rise up. On the last ’nisio’ we would all let go. Down would come the pile-driver and the pole would sink another inch. All day seven days a week, for weeks on end, with not a single day off, we drove these bloody things into the ground.