Jan

9

1943

The RAF start blind bombing with ‘Oboe’

9th January 1943: The RAF start blind bombing with ‘Oboe’

All this we discovered after the end of the war, when German records of the meeting became available. Oboe had not only shattered the targets of Germany, but had also shattered German morale, it continued the process for the rest of the war, and was probably the most effective single instrument of warfare in our entire armoury.

Jan

8

1943

Soviets offer ‘Gingerbread or the Whip’

8th January 1943: Soviets offer Stalingrad troops ‘Gingerbread or the Whip’

Your encircled troops are in a grave situation. They are suffering from hunger, sickness and cold. The harsh Russian winter is only just beginning: hard frosts, cold winds and snowstorms are still to come, but your soldiers do not have winter uniforms and are living in unsanitary conditions. You, as commander, and all the officers of the surrounded troops know very well that there is no longer any realistic possibility of breaking through the encirclement.

Jan

7

1943

No sanctuary for the retreating Italians in Russia

7th January 1943: No sanctuary for the retreating Italians in Russia

The larger construction and the other small building were now filled to overflowing: some of the big rooms were beginning to assume the same bedlamlike appearance as the infirmary. There were about seventeen hundred patients: nevertheless, both in the infirmary and in the houses there were still hundreds and hundreds of frostbitten and wounded men. Some mortar shells had plummeted into the main building, smashing the windows and wreaking havoc among the bodies stretched out on the straw.

Jan

6

1943

Parkash Singh wins Victoria Cross in forgotten war

6th January 1943: Parkash Singh wins Victoria Cross in forgotten war

On the 6th January, 1943, at Donbaik, Mayo Peninsula, Burma, when two Carriers had been put out of action, Havildar Parkash Singh drove forward in his own Carrier and rescued the two crews under very heavy fire. At the time, the crews of the disabled Carriers had expended their ammunition and the enemy were rushing the two disabled Carriers on foot.

Jan

5

1943

A ‘survival strategy’ on the Eastern front

5th January 1943: A ‘survival strategy’ on the Eastern front

We were soldiers, dulled beings, vegetating in trenches and bunkers, wasting our time without hope, bragging, swearing, worrying, enduring, obeying: dehumanized caricatures. It was very rare for any humanity to show itself in war. And if an isolated individual wanted to write, and read and study, then there was a light for a candle. Light was needed only for eating and for keeping watch but not for the mind.

Jan

4

1943

Landing a Spitfire onto an Aircraft carrier

4th January 1943: First go at landing a Spitfire onto an Aircraft carrier

It was so good in the air that I hadn’t the least desire to go down, my approach, as I lost altitude, looked more and more difficult and the deck hardly seemed to have changed in size. I had to touch down with my wheels immediately behind the bulge of the deck. If I succeeded in placing myself well in the centre, the cables would do the rest, provided my speed were correct. Therein lay the difficulty.

Jan

3

1943

Survival strategy on the Railway of Death

3rd January 1943: Survival strategy on the Railway of Death

Life accordingly evolved into a blur of continuous work, people dying, guards bellowing, heavy loads to be carried, fever which came in tides of heat and cold on alternate days, dysentery and hunger. All those became the normal. Upon them, occasionally, an event super-imposed itself with suflicient violence to be remembered.

Jan

2

1943

U.S. and Australian troops win a hard victory at Buna

2nd January 1943: U.S. and Australian troops win a hard victory at Buna

He has had over six weeks to develop his defences and along all good approaches we can expect timber pill-boxes in depth which can only be located by actual contact. He is a determined defensive fighter and fights to the death, taking a heavy toll of attacking troops. He has used guns and Molotov cocktails in the jungle effectively against our tanks.

Jan

1

1943

Happy New Year on the Eastern Front

1st January 1943: Happy New Year on the Eastern Front

I remained there alone looking at the barbed wire half buried in the snow, the dried grass on the hard silent river-bank, trying to make out the Russians’ positions through the dark on the other side. Then I heard one of our sentries cough and a long muffled step like a wolf’s; the Lieutenant was coming back. ‘What was it?’ I said. ‘Sarpi’s dead,’ he replied.

Dec

31

1942

Arctic convoy ambushed by German cruisers

31st December 1942: Arctic convoy ambushed by German cruisers

Each time the enemy gave ground he closed in, forcing him outside gun-range of the convoy and towards our own cruiser covering force. After 40 minutes ONSLOW was hit forward and Captain Sherbrooke was severely wounded in the face by shrapnel, losing the sight of one eye.