Oct

3

1942

German troops endure Eastern Front trench warfare

3rd October 1942: German troops endure Eastern Front trench warfare

Days were an alternation of weapons cleaning and trench work, and at night we went out on sentry duty every two or three hours, to stare into no-man’s-land, in case an enemy patrol appeared, and to wait whether a bullet hit us or a direct hit from a mortar spattered our blood and brains against the trench walls. Then the guts would freeze to the clay, scraps of cloth and flesh would lie around, and someone would come across vestiges of a comrade many days later and not recognize them.

Oct

2

1942

Troopship liner Queen Mary sinks HMS Curacoa

2nd October 1942: Troopship liner Queen Mary sinks HMS Curacoa

I said to my mate “You know she’s zig-zigging all over the place in front of us, I’m sure we’re going to hit her.” And sure enough, the Queen Mary sliced the cruiser in two like a piece of butter, straight through the six inch armoured plating. The Queen Mary just carried on going (we were doing about 25 knots). It was the policy not to stop and pick up survivors even if they were waving at you. It was too dangerous as the threat of U-Boats was always present.

Oct

1

1942

Hitler promotes Rommel to Field Marshal

1st October 1942: Hitler promotes Rommel to Field Marshal

Afterwards both went into the Chancellery gardens, where an impressive display of new weapons, including assault guns and a Tiger tank, was on show. Rommel requested them for the front as soon as possible, which Hitler promised to see to. I had the impression that he was beginning to deceive himself. He was underestimating the fighting strength of the Russians and also had the wrong idea about the British.

Sep

30

1942

Britain celebrates Bomber Offensive against Germany

30th September 1942: Britain celebrates Bomber Offensive against Germany

The ‘Second Front’ looked a long way off. The disasters of early 1942 in the Far East had been a humiliation for the British Empire. In the North Africa it still looked very much as if British Forces were on the back foot. Whatever plans were afoot for the future there was little to celebrate. The Ministry of Information did the best it could.

Sep

29

1942

Lone bomber hits Petworth School – 32 dead

29th September 1942: Lone bomber hits Petworth School – 32 dead

There has been no damage of national importance. The more outstanding incidents were at Hastings on the 24th, when 19 people were killed and 17 seriously injured, and at Petworth (Sussex) on the 29th, where a boys’ school was completely wrecked; casualties are reported to be 23 killed, of whom 20 are children, and 30 seriously injured, of whom 24 are children. It is feared that 7 children are still missing and must be presumed dead.

Sep

28

1942

USS Sculpin survives a depth charging

28th September 1942: USS Sculpin survives a depth charging

It was incredible how much water could come in through a quarter-inch tube at a depth of 275 feet. Baldwin arrived with plugs, turnbuckles, and other equipment to plug the leak. With him and a helper working on that job, I went to the after end of the compartment to help remove the water. A bucket brigade was hurriedly formed. Jack trimmed the boat with a ten-degree up angle so the water would accumulate at the after end of the deck, in the officers’ country. He had to maintain two-thirds speed to keep Sculpin from going deeper. Sculpin was tons too heavy having taken on water from a number of leaks throughout the boat.

Sep

27

1942

The Home Front in Britain

27th September 1942: The Home Front in Britain

He gets a constant flow of information from Norway. They have wireless sets in their forests, which they move every night. They ask that, though they will be glad to have law and order re-established in the world, they want 48 hours to themselves – to settle some accounts, before the United Nations get busy. The Quislings are ours, they say. After the war Norway would enter under the protection of the two great English-speaking powers.

Sep

26

1942

A day in the life of a Tank soldier in the desert

26th September 1942: A day in the life of a Tank soldier in the desert

Then out with the fire tin, in with the petrol, brew tin filled with water, and we stood round shivering slightly in the cool air waiting for the sun to come up over the horizon, watching the reddening sky, waiting for the full flood of light before we could light up. The air was crystal clear and cold, our wadi etched with a dark-rimmed silhouette. Other tanks stood out stark in the morning light; other figures stood around their tins. Then over the horizon flooded a warm yellow glow, eating up the shadows, swallowing the tight-drawn outlines.

Sep

25

1942

RAF bomb Gestapo HQ in Oslo

25th September 1942: RAF bomb Gestapo HQ in Oslo

An observer regretfully remarks that if the bomb had been only three metres lower it would have hit the centre of the front facade. He adds : ” German airmen and flak officers are impressed by the precision bombing, which was fantastically cleverly carried out; there are not so many German flags on the houses any longer.”

Sep

24

1942

Hitler sacks his Chief of Staff Franz Halder

24th September 1942: Hitler sacks his Chief of Staff Franz Halder

After situation conference, farewell by the Fuehrer: My nerves are worn out, also his nerves are no longer fresh. We must part. “Necessity for educating the General Staffs in fanatical faith in the Idea.” He is determined to enforce his will also in the Army.