June 1943

Jun

9

1943

Yugoslav leader Tito wounded in Luftwaffe attack

Marshal Josip Broz Tito reviewing the Partisan 1st Proletarian Brigade during World War II.

One of the commanders of the Escort Battalion and several of his men lay dead; Tito, wounded by a bomb splinter in the shoulder, lay under the body of his Alsatian dog ‘Tiger’, who had thrown himself across his master at the second of the explosion; and I hobbled out, my left boot blown away, and limping with a slight leg wound.

Jun

8

1943

Round the clock bombing pounds Pantelleria

Operation CORKSCREW: a salvo of bombs from Douglas Bostons of No. 326 Wing RAF explode on the Bellotti Battery on the northern coast of Pantelleria, prior to the Allied landings on the island.

The Pantellaria rehearsal went according to plan. The air bombing was an impressive sight, and the reply of the batteries to the fire of the cruisers was wild in the extreme. It looked as though the Italian gun-control arrangements had been knocked out. The reception of the M.T.B.s at the harbour entrance was feeble enough, and had we had a few hundred troops in landing-craft I believe we could have taken the island there and then.

Jun

7

1943

Nazis consider sterilising Jewish women workforce

The leader of the SS Heinrich Himmler, during a visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp where prisoners endured starvation and hard labour excavating stone in the quarries.

The method I contrived to achieve the sterilization of the female organism without operation is as good as perfected. It can be performed by a single injection made through the entrance of the uterus in the course of the customary gynecological examination known to every physician. If I say that the method is “as good as perfected”

Jun

6

1943

Random bullet strikes down General Horrocks

A Bren gunner and rifleman take up defensive positions on the beach during combined operations training in the Gulf of Aqaba, 22 June 1943.

I retain only two memories of the next twenty-four hours. The first was when I was lying on the floor of divisional headquarters with a group of people standing round. Recognising the face of the divisional A.D.M.S. – the chief doctor – I asked him if I would be well enough to take the Corps to Salerno. He shook his head. Luckily for my peace of mind it never entered my head that at this time he thought I was going to die.

Jun

5

1943

Home leave in bombed out Germany

Vertical night aerial photograph taken during a raid on Berlin, showing bombs exploding in the vicinity of the central cattle-market and railway yard (middle right), east of the city centre. The broad wavy lines are the tracks of German searchlights and anti-aircraft fire can also be seen. Also illuminated by the flash-bomb in the lower half of the photograph are the Friedrichshain gardens and sports stadium, St Georgs Kirchhof and Balten Platz. A mixed force of 49 aircraft took part in the raid, of which 5 were lost. From September 1941.

As I neared Marianne’s home, I braced myself against a reality I already sensed. Then I was standing before the heap of charcoal that had been the house. Its chimney poked into the air like a warning nger. Around it lay smashed bricks and blocks, black with soot; steel beams bent in the heat of the re; jumbled debris of all sorts. Then I saw the sign stuck in the rubble. Somebody had written in red: ALL MEMBERS OF THE HARDENBERG FAMILY ARE DEAD.

Jun

4

1943

Dutch Jews arrive at the death ‘camp’ Sobibor

Railway personnel in front of the small station of Sobibor opposite the camp.

I was so taken aback and distracted by having had all our possessions taken from us, that although I had seen an SS man at some point, I never noticed, until it was too late, that the women had been sent in a different direction. Suddenly Rachel was no longer walking beside me. It happened so quickly that I had not even be able to kiss her or call out to her. Trying to look around to see if I could spot her somewhere, an SS man snapped at me to look straight ahead and to keep my “Maul (gob) shut.”

Jun

3

1943

Roosevelt to Stalin – No ‘Second Front’ this year

The number of USAAF planes in England was set to more than treble over the course of the forthcoming year.

With Africa firmly in our hands, it was decided that it was now feasible to resume the concentration of ground forces in England … there should be a sufficiently large concentration of men and material in the British Isles in the spring of 1944 to permit a full-scale invasion of the continent at that time. The great air offensive will then be at its peak.

Jun

2

1943

‘Battle in the Bay’ – Sunderland v Ju 88s

Short Sunderland Mark I, L2163 ‘DA-G’, of No. 210 Squadron RAF based at Oban, in flight over the Atlantic while escorting Canadian Troop Convoy 6 (TC.6), inbound for Greenock.

1855 hours. The turrets moved slowly while eyes strained in the sunlight. This was indeed the Tiger Country, a slaughteryard, a stage for a play of suspense and savagery, where all men at one tike or another knew the meaning of fear. Here there were no parachutes and no patriots in the back country.

Jun

1

1943

Japanese-American POW discovered by Japanese

Prisoners of War captured by the Japanese endured terrible conditions and brutal treatment.

He called me back up to the front of the room and looked me up and down, sucking his teeth and muttering something incredulously about Fujita being a POW. He tried to carry on a conversation with me, about me, and finally decided that I really could not speak the language. He would feel of my skin and then put his arm next to mine and compare them, and like the guard at the wash rack, he said ‘Somma, Somma!