January 1943

Jan

11

1943

Treblinka death camp resumes work

Public Record Office, Kew, England, HW 16/23, decode GPDD 355a distnbuted on January 15, 1943,
radio telegrams nos 12 and 13/15, transmitted on January 11, 1943 Government Code and Cypher
School German Police Section Decrypts of German Police Communications during Second World War.

The men and the older women having already been asphyxiated, the rows of young women, half frozen, stood barefoot in the snow and ice, trembling, weeping, clinging to one another and begging in vain to finally be allowed into the “warmth” where death awaited them.

Jan

10

1943

Following the German retreat in Russia

Another view of the same scene, picture taken near Cholm.

There, in the park, seventy or eighty Russian corpses were plaoed in rows, in horrible, frozen attitudes, some sitting up, others with their arms wide apart, some with their heads blown off, also some bearded elderly men, and young boys of eighteen or nineteen, with open eyes. How many common graves like this – “brother graves” the Russians call them so well – are dug every day along these two thousand miles of the Russian front?

Jan

9

1943

The RAF start blind bombing with ‘Oboe’

Aircraft Navigation and Guidance: The most precise bomber guidance system during the war was called OBOE and was used mostly by De Havilland Mosquitos of RAF Bomber Command. Photo shows: A diagram illustrating Bomber Command's use of OBOE.

All this we discovered after the end of the war, when German records of the meeting became available. Oboe had not only shattered the targets of Germany, but had also shattered German morale, it continued the process for the rest of the war, and was probably the most effective single instrument of warfare in our entire armoury.

Jan

8

1943

Soviets offer ‘Gingerbread or the Whip’

Soviet troops advancing on Stalingrad.

Your encircled troops are in a grave situation. They are suffering from hunger, sickness and cold. The harsh Russian winter is only just beginning: hard frosts, cold winds and snowstorms are still to come, but your soldiers do not have winter uniforms and are living in unsanitary conditions. You, as commander, and all the officers of the surrounded troops know very well that there is no longer any realistic possibility of breaking through the encirclement.

Jan

7

1943

No sanctuary for the retreating Italians in Russia

The German retreat from the Caucasus was now under way. The limit of their occupied territories had been reached - from now on they were on the retreat.

The larger construction and the other small building were now filled to overflowing: some of the big rooms were beginning to assume the same bedlamlike appearance as the infirmary. There were about seventeen hundred patients: nevertheless, both in the infirmary and in the houses there were still hundreds and hundreds of frostbitten and wounded men. Some mortar shells had plummeted into the main building, smashing the windows and wreaking havoc among the bodies stretched out on the straw.

Jan

6

1943

Parkash Singh wins Victoria Cross in forgotten war

Universal carriers and infantry of 10th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment advance 'under fire' during training near Sudbury in Suffolk, 10 June 1942.

On the 6th January, 1943, at Donbaik, Mayo Peninsula, Burma, when two Carriers had been put out of action, Havildar Parkash Singh drove forward in his own Carrier and rescued the two crews under very heavy fire. At the time, the crews of the disabled Carriers had expended their ammunition and the enemy were rushing the two disabled Carriers on foot.

Jan

5

1943

A ‘survival strategy’ on the Eastern front

A German position somewhere on the Eastern Front in 1942.

We were soldiers, dulled beings, vegetating in trenches and bunkers, wasting our time without hope, bragging, swearing, worrying, enduring, obeying: dehumanized caricatures. It was very rare for any humanity to show itself in war. And if an isolated individual wanted to write, and read and study, then there was a light for a candle. Light was needed only for eating and for keeping watch but not for the mind.

Jan

4

1943

Landing a Spitfire onto an Aircraft carrier

A Supermarine Seafire takes off in bright sun from the flight deck of HMS ILLUSTRIOUS during trials of the aircraft from the carrier on the Clyde. The pilots were very impressed with the short runs needed to take off.

It was so good in the air that I hadn’t the least desire to go down, my approach, as I lost altitude, looked more and more difficult and the deck hardly seemed to have changed in size. I had to touch down with my wheels immediately behind the bulge of the deck. If I succeeded in placing myself well in the centre, the cables would do the rest, provided my speed were correct. Therein lay the difficulty.

Jan

3

1943

Survival strategy on the Railway of Death

H Force leaving for the Burma-Thailand Railway.There are few images available to illustrate the Japanese POW camps.  Here is a drawing from Changi Prison on Singapore by Des Bettany by kind permission of Keith Bettany. See more of Des Bettany's work at his online exhibition.

Life accordingly evolved into a blur of continuous work, people dying, guards bellowing, heavy loads to be carried, fever which came in tides of heat and cold on alternate days, dysentery and hunger. All those became the normal. Upon them, occasionally, an event super-imposed itself with suflicient violence to be remembered.

Jan

2

1943

U.S. and Australian troops win a hard victory at Buna

U.S. forces inflict heavy casualties on Jap[ane]s[e soldiers] in capture of Buna, New Guinea. On the beach of Buna Mission, last point of Japanese resistance in the Papuan section of New Guinea, the bodies of slain Japanese soldiers lie a few steps from their shattered landing boat. The Japanese suffered heavy losses in this engagement and eventually were completely routed by American and Australian forces

He has had over six weeks to develop his defences and along all good approaches we can expect timber pill-boxes in depth which can only be located by actual contact. He is a determined defensive fighter and fights to the death, taking a heavy toll of attacking troops. He has used guns and Molotov cocktails in the jungle effectively against our tanks.