February 1944

Feb

8

February 1944

Japanese brutality as they overrun hospital

Lieutenant Basu was shot at twice. He was left stunned. At first he was not sure whether he was alive or dead. He felt at his ear, but there was no blood on his fingers. He could still see and his thoughts became clear once more. He realised how vulnerable he was lying there still alive.

Feb

7

February 1944

Victoria Cross for ‘tommy’ gun stand at Anzio

Satisfied that no further attack would be made, he made his way to a nearby cave to have his wound dressed, but before this could be done the enemy attacked again. He at once returned to his post and continued to engage the enemy for another hour, by which time the left of the battalion position was consolidated and the enemy was finally driven off.

Feb

6

February 1944

Under mortar fire on the Anzio bridgehead

Then the “moaning minnies” started. “Slit trench!” I shouted to Michael. The nearest was the one with the dead German in it: “Not that one!” Five yards further back was an empty trench; we leapt in, shoulder to shoulder. The moaning minnies grew louder; to drown them Michael sang his song, “The sons of the Prophet were hardy and bold and quite unaccustomed to fear”, “Abdul the Bulbul” his favourite.

Feb

5

February 1944

Under shellfire in the shadow of Cassino

Sleep under such conditions was a problem but there was plenty of rough red wine so each night we sat around the stove in the light of a hurricane lamp drinking and talking until sodden with wine we would go to bed on the floor and fall asleep. But the shelling always woke us up; no one could sleep through the noise and there was nothing we could do except grin and bear it.

Feb

4

February 1944

Bren gunner duels with German sniper at Anzio

I landed in the gully, which must have been a foot deep in mud and filth. I wrapped my field dressing round the breech and mechanism of the Bren – this was no time for slip-ups – and crawled well over a hundred yards down the gully till it petered out into a culvert which was covered with undergrowth. By this time I was well camouflaged myself, being covered in mud.

Feb

3

February 1944

Mopping up the last Japanese on Kwajalein

One tank was way out in front of all the others, too far out front. About ten Japs ran out of a blockhouse and surrounded it, throwing hand grenades at it. The tank would have been done for except that another tank a good way behind could see what was going on through a break in the trees and wiped out the Japs with light machine gun fire.

Feb

2

February 1944

British and American PoWs paraded through Rome

The accused ordered the parade which took place on 2nd February, 1944. 200 American prisoners of war were marched from the Coliseum, through the main streets of Rome under armed German escort. The streets were lined by forces under the control of the accused. The accused and his staff officers attended the parade.

Feb

1

February 1944

U.S. Rangers suffer devastating losses at Cisterna

Although I was unaware of the Major’s location forward of mine in the Pontano Ditch, the shell exploded quite near and with the explosion, I sprang running to the left right through an enemy bivouac (no tents, just men lying under blankets), astonished at Germans rising all around, running away with hands in the air, crying “Kamarad!”, as I ran through them, shooting from the hip.