April 1943

Apr

10

April 1943

RAF trials – a high altitude radar guided dogfight

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

April 1943

Welcome to Gros Rosen – “ARBEIT MACHT FREI”

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

April 1943

Belgium tragedy in USAAF daylight bombing raid

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

April 1943

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

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

April 1943

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

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

April 1943

Death railway bridge built like ‘a pack of cards’

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.