Jul

8

1944

Charnwood: British launch another attack on Caen

Sherman tanks of 33rd Armoured Brigade, supporting 3rd Infantry Division, moving forward near Lebisey Wood for Operation CHARNWOOD, the assault on Caen, 8 July 1944.

It was some time in the afternoon that we emerged from the Wood, and pressed on over the open ground to a small hill marked on the map as Point 64. As we advanced to the hill we came under intense ground and air-burst shelling. There was no cover to escape the deadly effects of the air-bursts, and as I was urging my platoon forward toward CAEN now only a mile or two away, I felt a dull thud in my left arm just below the elbow. I looked down and saw blood oozing through battle-dress tunic. There was a knocked-out tank on the side of the road, so I crawled underneath it to assess the damage to my arm.

Jul

7

1944

T-34s attack Panzers cornered in the Russian forest

Soviet infantry advance alongside T-34 tanks in the summer of 1944.

Shells were either striking sparks from the steel hulls of the armoured vehicles, or they were ploughing up the earth near the tracks. Enemy machine guns were spraying the battlefield with a multi—layered deluge of lead, so intense that our foot soldiers couldn’t even move forward in a belly—crawl, and were forced to advance exclusively within the tracks of the tanks and self-propelled guns, sheltered by their hulls.

Jul

6

1944

Typhoon tank busters over Normandy

Wing Commander R E P Brooker, the No. 123 Wing Leader, takes off from Thorney Island, Hampshire, in his Hawker Typhoon Mark IB, MN570 'B', with seven more Typhoons of No. 198 Squadron RAF, on a sortie over the Normandy beachhead. They attacked and destroyed several German armoured vehicles on the Caen-Falaise road.

An armed recce led by S.L. [Squadron Leader] Arhens brought very little joy, indeed it brought one of our most popular pilots to grief. F.S.[Flight Sergeant] Bob Blair flying as the C.O’s N°2 followed his N°1 down to bomb some suspected M.T. on a road. They both bombed but F.S. Blair must have dived too low and the blast and rubble from his own or the C.O’s 8 bomb damaged his aircraft and started a glycol leak.

Jul

5

1944

Japanese Americans hammer Germans in Italy

Americans of Japanese ancestry of the 100th Infantry Battalion, rest on a street in Leghorn, Italy, after a gruelling Fifth Army advance, which terminated with the fall of this important seaport. (19 July 1944)

In the ordinary projectile, you would fire, and it hit the ground, impacting on the ground, and bursting. So you almost have to have a direct hit on the person. People can get hurt with shrapnels and all that, but by that time, the Germans are all in foxholes. So as long as they’re in the foxhole, unless you have a direct hit above, in the foxhole, there’s no casualty by the Germans.

Jul

4

1944

The pitiful Japanese retreat from Imphal

The Battle of Imphal-Kohima March - July 1944: The remains of Japanese dead, equipment and caved-in bunkers on 'Scraggy Hill' which was captured by 10th Gurkha rifles in fierce fighting in the Shenam area.

Icy rain fell mercilessly on us and we lived day and night drenched to the skin and pierced with cold. I remember how we longed for a place, any place at all, where we could take shelter and rest. Once we found a tent in the jungle; inside it were the bodies of six nurses. We had never imagined there would be female victims, especially so far over the Arakan Mountains. Why, we asked one another, had the army not taken the nurses to a place of safety?

Jul

3

1944

Montgomery explains the “Big Picture”

General Montgomery with his puppies "Hitler" and "Rommel" at his mobile headquarters in Normandy, 6 July 1944. Behind can be seen his cage of canaries which also travelled with him.

Big picture — Hitler taken charge. Monty doesn’t think he’s decided whether to try and annihilate Allies in West and face losses in East, or to try and hold Russians. If he decides to concentrate on us, no bridges over Seine below Paris or on Loire between Orleans and the sea leaves a bottleneck. Hitler would probably go for writing us off here and with effect of buzz-bombs on England, try for peace. Monty says a successful German offensive is impossible against superior air forces.

Jul

2

1944

Japanese massacre surviving crew of SS Jean Nicolet

A Liberty ship similar to the SS Jean Nicolet with extra accommodation built on deck. Aerial photo of the Liberty ship SS John W. Brown outbound from the United States with a large deck cargo after her conversion into a "Limited Capacity Troopship."

And then I kicked my way, I kicked my way up to the surface. This was a long ways, but I made it, and I got my nose up there, and, it seemed like a long ways, but I got up there. I had my hands tied behind me, still, and I was laying back, getting my nose up in the water and kicking, and trying not to inhale water. And I was treading water that way for quite some time. And it was pitch black at this time, and the only thing you could see was the ship, still floating and burning in the distance.

Jul

1

1944

Normandy – Canadian night patrol to snatch a prisoner

The crew of a Sherman tank named 'Akilla' of 1st Nottinghamshire Yeomanry, 8th Armoured Brigade, after having destroyed five German tanks in a day, Rauray, 30 June 1944. Left to right: Sgt J Dring; Tpr Hodkin, Tpr A Denton; Tpr E Bennett; L/Cpl S Gould.

So the actual practice requires that number two moves silently and quickly, knife in hand, on the soldier leaving the trench. The slightest sound will mean death to the patrol. A knife to the man’s kidney instantly paralyzes his vocal cords; number two’s other hand will catch soundlessly the falling rifle. Then a quick slash across the throat. Number three man, in the same moment, is in the trench guaranteeing a prisoner who will live by the quick use of the garrotte. The enemy soldier loses consciousness with- out a gasp. Then a fireman’s lift and back to the start point. Prisoner delivered; objective achieved

Jun

30

1944

RAF heavy bombers support Royal Tank Regiment

Avro Lancasters carpet bomb a road junction near Villers Bocage, Normandy, France through which the 2nd and 9th SS Panzer Divisions were expected to move to carry out an attack on the junction of the British and American armies. The daylight attack, by 266 aircraft of Nos. 3, 4 and 8 Groups, was carried out at 4,000 feet to ensure that the target indicators dropped by the Pathfinders were seen and 1,100 tons of bombs were dropped with great accuracy.

Must have been hundreds of planes, but all over in about 10 minutes. Seemed to be very little Jerry AA and didn’t see a single plane destroyed. Shortly afterwards, a huge black cloud ascended and gradually spread towardsus. Within an hour, we were literally in a fog: air became noticeably cooler and daylight partially obliterated, visibility about 200 yards.

Jun

29

1944

Auschwitz ‘should be bombed to save the Jews’

Photo of the German extermination camp at Birkenau, taken by a United States Army Air Force plane, August 25, 1944 Poland. Crematoria II and III are visible. Annotations made by the CIA in 1978 when the bombing controversy was re-examined.

Presumably, a large number of Jews in these camps may be killed in the course of such bombings (though some of them may escape in the confusion). But such Jews are doomed to death anyhow.The destruction of the camps would not change their fate, but it would serve as visible retribution on their murderers and it might save the lives of future victims. It will be noted that the inevitable fate of Jews herded in ghettos near the industrial and railroad installations in Hungary has not caused the United Nations to stop bombing these installations.