February 1943

Feb

8

1943

Mussolini sacks his Foreign Minister, Count Ciano

The ceremonial signing of the alliance pact between Germany and Italy in the Ambassadors' Chamber of the new Reichschancellery by the Italian foreign minister, Count Ciano and Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop. 20-25 May 1939

I can document all the treacheries perpetrated against us by the Germans, one after another, from the preparation of the conflict to the war on Russia, communicated to us when their troops had already crossed the border. If you need them I shall provide the details, or, better still, I shall, within the space of 24 hours, prepare that speech which I have had in my mind for three years, because I shall burst if I do not deliver it.

Feb

7

1943

U-boat Wolfpack ‘Arrow’ attacks convoy SC-118

The USCG Cutter USS Bibb disobeyed orders to stay with the convoy and went to the aid of the SS Henry Mallory troopship, saving 202 men out the 498 passengers and crew on board.

There were two army soldiers who didn’t want to get on a raft, I tried to tell them the ship was sinking, but they still didn’t want to go.
Finally I picked one of them up and threw him in the water. The second guy still didn’t want to go, so I told him I would throw him in too if he didn’t go on his own. Finally he did go on a raft.

Feb

6

1943

Manstein argues with Hitler over role of HQ

German soldiers somewhere on the eastern front in February 1943.

The greater one’s sphere of command, of course, the further ahead one must think. And the greater the distances to be covered and the formations to be moved, the longer is the interval that must elapse before the decision one has taken can produce tangible results. This long-term thinking was not to Hitler’s taste, however – at least not in the operational field. Possibly he disliked the prospect of being confronted with conclusions which did not conform to his wishes. Since these could not be refined, he avoided becoming involved in them wherever possible.

Feb

5

1943

The death camps begin burning the evidence

Human Wreckage at Belsen Concentration Camp, 1945

A work by British War artist Eric Taylor who was present at the time of the liberation.

IWM ART LD 5588

In this way some twenty-five hundred corpses are piled on. Then the specialist orders dry twigs placed underneath and lights them with a match. After a few minutes the fire flares up so strongly that it is difficult to get any closer to the oven than 50 metres. The first fire is lit, and the test is successful. The camp administration show up, and all of them shake the hand of the inventor.

Feb

4

1943

Churchill reviews victorious Eighth Army parade

Winston Churchill greets an officer of 51st Highland Division during his visit to Tripoli to thank the 8th Army for its success in the North African campaign, 4 February 1943.

In days to come, when asked by those at home what part you played in this war, it will be with pride in your hearts that you can reply : I marched with the Eighth Arrny.’ He finished: ‘And, remember, you nightly pitch your moving tents a day’s march nearer home.’ There was hardly a dry eye : mine was not one of them.

Feb

2

1943

U.S. casualties start to mount 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.

We could not find a donor for a splendid chap from Maine last night. He was in severe shock and needed something in addition to plasma and glucose, so Frosty gave his blood, took a short rest and went back to operating again. We had to amputate his right lower thigh, do a débridement and open reduction on a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula and then remove a shell fragment from the left temporal region. He was evacuated back in good condition this evening.

Feb

1

1943

Hitler blames Paulus for Stalingrad

A high proportion of of the men taken prisoner were already in a very poor state, starved, wounded or frostbitten. Their prospects did not improve  in captivity.

We are all imagining how it is ending at Stalingrad. F. [Fuhrer] was very depressed. looking everywhere for errors and negligence. Attempted to extenuate a report from Paulus addressed to himself and violently criticised Paulus’s attitude. How can one avoid the road to eternity in such a situation? Faced with the heroism of the fighting man, how could one leave him in the lurch at the last moment?