1944

Oct

15

1944

Holland: Death in a minefield on the front line

A sniper demonstrates the superior 'Hawkins' prone firing position (right) next to another in the standard position, at the 21st Army Group sniping school near Eindhoven, 15 October 1944.

Unfortunately, the changed route apparently had not been reconnoitred and the inevitable happened — the carrier was blown up on a mine. Driver Smith was killed instantly, his left leg torn off at the thigh. Patrick was injured, sustaining a severe head wound (he told me years later that he still has a piece of metal in his head).

Oct

14

1944

Rommel is invited to commit suicide

Rommel with his aides in the Libyan desert in the spring of 1942.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had achieved worldwide fame as the ‘Desert Fox’, after the Wehrmacht ‘Afrika Korps’ were sent to save the Italian forces on the brink of defeat in North Africa in 1941. He had then taken a leading role in building the Atlantic Wall across occupied France, and had played his part in […]

Oct

13

1944

Arrested by the Nazis for “undermining morale”

Reichsführer SS Himmler addresses a meeting of the newly formed Volkssturm in October 1944.

So much for the window. On the walls, the inevitable obscenities and calculations of time still to be served — in weeks, days, hours, and minutes, even. Then, a veritable flood of Soviet stars, which gave the idea that the entire Red Army had been imprisoned here. And lastly, scratched into the concrete with a key, perhaps, the words, so very applicable to me: ‘My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ I read this, and darkness envelops me.

Oct

12

1944

Chuck Yeager downs five – becomes an “Ace in a Day”

First Lieutenant Charles E. (“Chuck”) Yeager, U.S. Army Air Corps, standing on the wing of his North American Aviation P-51D-5-NA Mustang, 44-13897, Glamorous Glenn II, at Air Station 373, 12 October 1944. (U.S. Air Force)

I dropped my tanks and then closed up to the last Jerry and opened fire from 600 yards, using the K-14 sight. I observed strikes all over the ship, particularly heavy in the cockpit. He skidded off to the left. I was closing up on another Me. 109 so I did not follow him down. Lt. STERN, flying in Blue Flight reports this E/A on fire as it passed him and went into a spin.

Oct

11

1944

SS and Wehrmacht struggle over Polish prisoners

Warsaw - The End of the Rebellion (original Nazi caption):
"This is the end of an uprising, which was instigated by men who allowed themselves guided by false national pride and the deceptive promises of Soviet and British "friends": a gray misery army of ragged and mutilated prisoners. "

Inside the compound stood rows of long wooden huts which were filthy inside; there were no beds, only dirty straw on the floor. This was obviously a concentration camp, not one suitable for wounded soldiers. I was stunned, as were my comrades. So much for honorable surrender and treatment in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Oct

10

1944

Peleliu – the Marines are still mopping up snipers

LET ‘EM HAVE IT – Crouched behind a coral wall, Marines of the First Division fire on Japanese snipers barricaded in this building on Peleliu Island in the Palau group.

He was just peeking around the turret when a single shot hit him in the side and knocked him down. He rolled off the tank into the road, and the call went out for a corpsman. While we watched, Hillbilly picked himself up, bleeding from the side, and pulled himself back onto the tank. Then he stood up. The next shot caught him in the chest and knocked him flat again. This time he didn’t move.

Oct

9

1944

Churchill and Stalin meet at the Kremlin

The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin share a joke in the Krelim, Moscow, in 1942.

We certainly do not wish to force on any Balkan State monarchic or republican institutions. We have however established certain relations of faithfulness with the Kings of Greece and Yugoslavia. They have sought our shelter from the Nazi foe, and we think that when normal tranquillity is re-established and the enemy has been driven out the peoples of these countries should have a free and fair chance of choosing.

Oct

8

1944

Italy – another hill top attack in mud and rain

Pantelleria and Lampedusa May - June 1943: Men of 1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's Regiment, advance past a burning fuel store on Pantelleria. Left to right: Lance Sergeant A Haywood, Private C Norman and Private H Maw.

Private Burton rushed forward and engaging the first Spandau position with his Tommy gun killed the crew of three. When the assault was again held up by murderous fire from two more machine guns Private Burton, again showing complete disregard for his own safety, dashed forward toward the first machine gun using his Tommy gun until his ammunition was exhausted. He then picked up a Bren gun and firing from the hip succeeded in killing or wounding the crews of the two machine guns.

Oct

7

1944

“Flak so thick you could walk on it,” and here it was

B-17 Flying Fortress in flight

Indeed they had. In the next instant we felt the accuracy of the Leuna gunners, taking one direct hit and another close-by explosion. John Stockham was hit in the knee by a piece of flak; no one else was wounded, but when I felt a thump on my thigh, I looked down to find a still warm piece of shrapnel on my lap, which I still retain as a Merseburg souvenir. John’s wound was to heal well over the following weeks and it earned him a well-deserved Purple Heart.

Oct

6

1944

A US medic tends Germans on the Italian front

Saving lives at the Italian front!. An infantryman has fallen and a medic is right there to help him. Working swiftly, under the enemy fire, the medic applies an emergency dressing on the soldier wounded in the head.

By 8:00pm I am in a barn on a mountain ridge. There is no defilade, but at least I have a roof over my head. I wouldn’t stay here if the weather were clear. Visibility today is only about two hundred yards, and if the Krauts want to shoot us up, they must do so by map. I am directly behind our troops, which are once again having a rough time.