January 1941

Jan

31

1941

Italian prisoners bombed by Germans

Relays of men spent hours in the bitterly cold surf dragging the Italians to safety; others assisted them into slings and those on the escarpment hauled them to the crest. The wounded had to be brought ashore on Carley floats, so the last stages of their journey were extremely hazardous, but groups of volunteers brought them through the breakers and had everyone ashore by first light.

Jan

30

1941

Hitler’s ‘New World Order’

I do not want to miss pointing out what I pointed out on 3rd of September [1940] in the German Reichstag, that if Jewry were to plunge the world into war, the role of Jewry would be finished in Europe. They may laugh about it today, as they laughed before about my prophecies. The coming months and years will prove that I prophesied rightly in this case too.

Jan

29

1941

Churchill ‘We need to import more’

It is reckoned that the minimum food import required to maintain efficiency is about 16 million tons, 70 per cent, of the 23 million tons imported before the war. This involves cutting animal feeding-stuffs by about 4 million tons, which will reduce our stock of meat on the hoof, the safest kind of stock in case of air attacks. It will, of course, also reduce our supplies of bacon, eggs and dairy produce, already greatly depleted by the collapse of the Continent, but every effort is being made to maintain the children’s milk supply which depends upon imported oil cake.

Jan

28

1941

Heinrich Himmler visits Norway

He was fascinated by the ‘racial purity’ of the Nordic people. Norwegians were therefore prime candidates for the expansion of the Waffen SS, the fighting arm of the SS, at this stage very small in numbers proportionately to the German army. The first group of 200 Norwegian volunteers to be accepted into the SS were recruited during this visit.

Jan

26

1941

Many Americans ready for war

The important element in the situation was the boldness of the President, who would lead opinion and not follow it, who was convinced that if England lost, America, too, would be encircled and beaten. He would use his powers if necessary; he would not scruple to interpret existing laws for the furtherance of his aim; he would make people gape with surprise, as the British Foreign Office must have gaped when it saw the terms of the Lease and Lend Bill.

Jan

25

1941

Weather restricts raids on Britain

Fighter Command flew 155 patrols involving 351 sorties by day and one by night; hostile activity by day was reduced and consisted of a total of 155 aircraft, of which 95 were engaged on reconnaissances. Raids by single aircraft were plotted during daylight in a number of widely separated districts. No interception by our fighters was effected, but two enemy aircraft were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire.

Jan

24

1941

HMS Illustrious escapes Malta for Egypt

On the 24th the cruiser force was attacked when 130 miles north of Benghazi by about 30 enemy aircraft, the larger proportion being dive-bombers. Many near misses were obtained, but no damage was sustained by our ships. Four or five of the enemy aircraft were damaged. The enemy aircraft missed sighting the Illustrious.

Jan

23

1941

Even more prisoners at Tobruk

More than 20,000 of them were soon herded into a fenced enclosure measuring about 800 yards by 400 yards which the Italians had erected near the junction of the El Adem and Bardia roads to house their own prisoners. Here during more than six weeks never fewer than 7,000 and sometimes over 20,000 prisoners were crowded like sheep in a dusty pen. Many of the men lacked blankets, and the nights were bitterly cold. To give them adequate medical care was far beyond the resources of their captors.

Jan

22

1941

Tobruk is captured

The dead were still lying out, and the wounded were everywhere. It was no time for mincing words. ‘You have landmines laid in and around the town,’ the Australian said. ‘I will take reprisals for the life of every one of my men lost on those mines.’ Quickly the Italians led Australian sappers to the mines and they were torn up. Booby traps were revealed, storage dumps opened, some two hundred guns handed over.

Jan

21

1941

The attack on Tobruk

When we were only yards away we could see the men in their dark green uniforms with their coats open, sweating as they tried to hump their guns round and train them on us. We simply went straight towards them, firing; we would have gone straight over them if we hadn’t knocked their guns out. Then we drove the loaders and odds and ends into the dugout. And the next thing I saw was a white flag emerging.