1943

Nov

21

1943

The second desperate day on Tarawa

Sprawled bodies on beach of Tarawa, testifying to ferocity of the struggle for this stretch of sand.  November 1943.

0600: One of the fresh battalions is coming in. Its Higgins boats are being hit before they pass the old hulk of a freighter seven hundred yards from shore. One boat blows up, then another. The survivors start swimming for shore, but machine-gun bullets dot the water all around them. Back of us the Marines have started an offensive to clean out the jap machine guns which are now firing at our men in the water.They evidently do not have much success, because there is no diminution of the fire that rips into the two dozen or more Higgins boats.

Nov

20

1943

The U.S. Marines begin their assault on ‘Bloody Tarawa’

Marines take cover behind a sea wall on Red Beach #3, Tarawa.   November 1943.  (Marine Corps)

Also, from some point I couldn’t see, a mortar was dropping bursts ahead of us and slightly to our right. I saw no Marines on the beach, only blasted boats where they had stopped. Two of them were on fire. Beyond, a stout coconut-log barricade ran like a fence parallel to the whole shore. Then I got down as low as I could, with only my helmet showing, and began to crawl and duck-walk through the water, which was hardly three feet deep, even though we were almost a half mile out. I was heading for the right-hand flank, but just why, I couldn’t say myself… .

Nov

19

1943

Captain Cromwell goes down with USS Sculpin

USS Sculpin (SS-191) off San Francisco, California, on 1 May 1943, following an overhaul.

Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk.

Nov

18

1943

RAF Bomber Command begins the Battle of Berlin

Aircraft Navigation and Guidance: During the summer of 1943, Bomber Command equipped its aircraft with H2S, a device which scanned the terrain for several miles around the aircraft and presented navigators with what was virtually a map of the ground showing towns, rivers, lakes and coastlines. Photo shows: An Avro Lancaster in flight. The dome containing the H2S radar scanned is clearly visible on the underside of the aircraft.

For the first time I experienced the flak, the searchlights, the fires, the bombs bursting on the ground and the Lanc shaking when the flak was close. I saw the brilliant colours of the target markers on the ground and experienced the long, long wait over the target while the bomb-aimer identified the target and gave his instructions to the pilot. I felt the great lift of the Lanc when the bombs were released and then the two minutes flying on straight and level for the camera to check where our bombs had gone.

Nov

17

1943

Luftwaffe fighter ace Knoke meets Reich-Marshal Göring

Herman Goring, Adolf Hitler and the Armaments Minister Albert Speer in August 1943.

Göring makes a most peculiar impression. He wears a unique kind of fancy grey uniform. His cap and epaulettes are covered with gold braid. Bulging legs emerge from scarlet boots of doeskin. The bloated, puffy face makes him look to me like a sick man. Close up, I am forced to the conclusion that he uses cosmetics. He has a pleasant voice, however, and is extremely cordial to me. I know that he takes genuine interest in the welfare of his aircrews.

Nov

16

1943

USAAF knocks out Nazi nuclear plant

Damage to the Rjukan power plant was sufficient to force the Germans to abandon production of heavy water.

Bombs were dropped from 14,000 feet at 1212 hours. Photo analysis on return showed that 29.5 tons of bombs were dropped on the Norsk Hydro Nitrate Plant three miles east of the secondary with only 2.5 tons dropped on the hydro-electric plant. This was unfortunate, as the bombing was excellent. Using the center of the large centrally-located building as an MPI, the 392nd had 37 percent of its bombs within 1000 feet and 85 percent within 2000 feet.

Nov

15

1943

With ‘The ‘Plywood Navy’ – duel with plane in the Med

From the bridge of an MTB showing the aft Bofors gun and MTB 378 at speed astern in the Mediterranean. These vessels were part of a small force of British MTBs which, together with American patrol boats, turned the 45 mile stretch of enemy held coast between Sezi and Genoa into their hunting ground.

The lines of the tracers reach for the disappearing plane and the lines seem to curve the way the stream from a hose does when you move the hose. Then the guns are silent. The master calls, “Watch out for him. He may be back. Watch for him from the same side.” The gunners obediently swing their guns about. This time he didn’t cut his motors. Maybe he needed altitude. You could hear him coming.

Nov

14

1943

U.S. Army Infantry – training for a gas attack in Texas

Training.  Some things never change.  Close-up of Sgt. Loel Putnam in gas mask and protective cloth permeable helmet at Chemical Warfare decontamination demonstration at Fort Bliss, Tx.

We’ll learn to use the Garand rifle, a Browning Automatic Rifle, a 50-caliber machine gun, mortars, and to thrown grenades. The camp covers, in all, 16,000 acres, and is made up mostly of sand, rock, and scrub oak. The camp area proper has thousands of men – the number I’ve forgotten. It’s a sad, hard life. But don’t worry. I’m getting along all right. The war won’t last forever.

Nov

13

1943

Fighters go all the way as USAAF attacks Bremen

Boeing B-17F radar bombing through clouds over Bremen, Germany, on November 13, 1943. (U.S. Air Force photo)

I bounced these with my wing man, pressing my attack on the second Fw190 to about 50 yards. I saw strikes on the right wing. The e/a had rocket guns and a belly tank. When I pulled up I was 3,000ft above my wing man, and saw that he had 5 Me109’s on his tail. I told him to break over the R/T, which he did, and then I dived through the Me109’s breaking up their formation.

Nov

12

1943

German paratroopers attack island of Leros

'Fallschirmjäger für Legos!' German paratroopers on Crete about to embark for the attack on Leros.

The first salvo had scored a direct hit – it left a gaping hole in the side of this building. This is where the two of us made our dramatic escape once again. After a moment, we had gone just 50 to 100 yards, when a voice in the darkness shouted “Halt! Who goes there?” A great relief seemed to come over me. “Go to the front of the column!” When we reached the front we were escorted to a cave, where a Lieutenant Colonel, or maybe a higher ranking officer, gave us a good interrogation.