March 1943

Mar

4

1943

Japanese force destroyed in the Bismarck Sea

The Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 3 March 1943: A bomb explodes off the port bow of a Japanese destroyer during the Bismarck Sea Battle.

Both tactically and strategically, this was an outstanding operation. Besides the ships sunk, from 59 to 83 planes had been shot down and at least 9 others damaged. The Army Air Forces lost 1 B-17 and 3 P-38’s in combat, and a B-25 and a Beaufighter through other causes. Total Army Air Forces personnel losses came to 13 while the Japanese lost approximately 12,700 officers and men.

Mar

3

1943

Disaster at Bethnal Green Underground station

Home Guard soldiers load an anti-aircraft rocket at a 'Z' Battery on Merseyside, 6 July 1942.

There were nearly 2000 in the shelter, including several hundred who had arrived after the Alert, when a middle-aged woman, burdened with a bundle and a baby, tripped near the foot of a flight of 19 steps which leads down from the street. This flight of steps terminates on a landing. Her fall tripped an elderly man behind her and he fell similarly. Their bodies again tripped up those behind them, and within a few seconds a large number were lying on the lower steps and the landing, completely blocking the stairway.

Mar

2

1943

The Rose Street protest in central Berlin

The Nazi propaganda Minister Goebbels visiting the burnt out remains of Hedwigs cathedral, hit by the bombing raid of 1st March 1943.

When the officials said that the people could not yet be released, the women suggested that they wanted to stay with their husbands in jail. The officials answered that it was not allowed because the men are under arrest. The women replied that Rose Street was not a prison, and they had the right to enter the building. The Fuhrer would certainly not approve of such an unlawful practice …

Mar

1

1943

Bomber Command revisit Berlin

Handley Page Halifax B Mark II Series 1A, HR952 'MH-X', of No. 51 Squadron RAF receiving a mixed load of 500-lb MC bombs and incendiaries in its dispersal at Snaith, Yorkshire, for a night raid on Germany.

By this time we are entering the Berlin defensive ring – about 80 miles across. So long as we are only subject to barrage fire, the best bet is to grit one’s teeth and fly straight to get through as quickly as possible, but this time we are unlucky. A searchlight picks us out and almost at once we are at the dazzling centre of a cone with predicted flak coming up at us. Dropping 2,000 feet to keep clear ofthe incoming bomber stream, I turn through 180 degrees and fly north out of range of the defences. Then I swing south again to join the tail end of the attack and try again.