March 1943

Mar

25

1943

Gurkhas ambush Japanese in Burmese jungle

A Gurkha soldier assisting a wounded comrade.  An image by Cecil Beaton from the Arakan Campaign, Burma, January 1943 - May 1945:

God knows he could have had a wife and family back in japan. But he would have killed me remorselessly if he could have fired first, and I felt no sense of guilt. But I looked quickly away, determined not to remember the man’s face, knowing that I could have no control over my dreams, recalling the warning from an old ex-Gurkha colonel who spoke of his experiences in World War I.

Mar

24

1943

Horror of journey to the Railway of Death

Typical labouring scene. Shows Hammer and Tap, Embankment labouring, Timber felling and an excavated cutting.

 Lt Fred "Smudger" Smith (Ransome Smith)

It was baking hot during the day and bitterly cold by night, and by now dysentery had got a grip on many of the lads. As each day in those horrific wagons passed we prayed that it was the end of the line and I said a silent prayer when the guards finally shoved us out of the trucks for the last time at Pan Pong, about forty miles west of Bangkok.

Mar

23

1943

HMS Turbulent fails to return

Forward view from the conning tower of HMS TRIBUNE running on the surface in Scottish waters. A boat of the same class as HMS Turbulent.

In his last year he spent two hundred and fifty-four days at sea, submerged for nearly half the time, and his ship was hunted thirteen times and had two hundred and fifty depth-charges aimed at her. His many and brilliant successes were due to his constant activity and skill, and the daring which never failed him when there was an enemy to be attacked.

Mar

22

1943

Impressions of the well supplied US Army

A US tank crew pose infront of their Lee tank in Tunisia. The high profile of the Lee made it less popular than the Sherman,

Most of the American stuff was first-class, and even as good or better than the German. Their mess tins, water bottles, rubber-soled boots, woollen underclothes, shirts and windbreakers were all superior to the British equivalents and their uniforms in general were made of finer stuff. The Garand rifle and the officers’ carbine were already regarded by many veterans as the best small arms on the front. As for their heavier equipment, it is doubtful if any army ever went to war so well supplied.

Mar

20

1943

Victoria Cross for attack on the Mareth Line

Two wounded soldiers from the Durham Light Infantry during the Mareth line battle in Tunisia, March 1943.

He personally helped the team which, was placing the scaling ladder over the anti tank ditch and was himself the first to cross. He led the assault -firing his pistol, throwing grenades and personally assaulting two machine-gun posts which were holding the advance of one of his Companies. It is estimated that in this phase he killed or captured twenty Germans.

Mar

19

1943

George Cross for heroic rescue on burning ship

Tripoli was bombed by the British when it was in the hands of the Germans and bombed by the Germans when later occupied by the British. A large explosion and fire engulfs Spanish Quay in Tripoli harbour, Libya, during a raid by Bristol Blenheims of No. 253 (Army Cooperation) Wing, flying from Ma'aten Bagush, Egypt.

With great difficulty he climbed into the collapsed accommodation and found one of the deck officers, unconscious and badly burned. Mr. Stronach pulled him clear and dragged him along the deck to the lowered boat. Returning to the accommodation, he began to remove the debris from another officer who was trapped. By almost superhuman efforts he dragged the man through the porthole and along the deck.

Mar

18

1943

The Akikaze Atrocity

The Japanese destroyer Akikaze 'Autumn Wid' - nearly 60 civilians were killed on board on 18th March 1943.

Each internee passed beneath the forward bridge on the starboard side and came upon two waiting escorts. Here they were blindfolded with a white cloth and supported by each arm. By this time the interrogation of the second person was begun. Meanwhile, beneath the bridge of the quarter-deck on the starboard side, both wrists of the first person were firmly tied and he was again escorted to the execution platform.

Mar

17

1943

The Irish Guards celebrate St Patricks Day in Tunisia

A Camouflaged 25-Pounder Gun in Action near Medjez-el-Bab: the Hill in the Background is Dzebel Djaffa, Tunis. War artist henry Carr 1943.

Most of us headed like excited schoolboys for the port of Bone to see what delights it had to offer. Michael and I palled up with a couple of GIs who knew their way around. Within three hours the town was in uproar. The lads had been drinking the local wine as if it were the ale they were used to. The results were dramatic: fights broke out, windows were smashed and soon the Military Police were dragging soldiers away. It turned out to be quite a night in the best Irish tradition.

Mar

16

1943

Under shellfire during attack on the Mareth Line

Close-up view of the revolving drum and chains at work on a Matilda Scorpion flail tank, 17 April 1943.

I don`t know what time it was when we crossed the Wadi Zeuss and got into the gap in the enemy minefield. Time lost its ordinary values, even tho’ I did check it frequently on the luminous face of my watch. The minefield gap lay just the other side of a marsh and was a thin lane marked by white tapes and lighted by tiny lights which seemed to shine like beacons.

Mar

15

1943

Stalin agitates for a Second Front in Europe

The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945. Western Front. Soldiers of mopping up anti-tank battalion moving toward Vyazma after battles for Rzhev.

The Soviet troops spent the whole winter in the tense fighting, which continues even now. Hitler is carrying out important measures with a view to replenish and increase his army for the spring and summer operations against the U.S.S.R. In these circumstances it is for us extremely important that the blow from the West should not be put off, that it should be struck in the spring or in the early summer.