Mar

18

1944

Friedrichshafen – disaster for the 392nd Group

Consolidated B-24 'Liberators' in the close formation that was intended to give them mutual protection from the Luftwaffe.

The navigator, being dazed from the exploded 20mm shell and his wounds, which cost him his eye, wanted to bail out. The bombardier was struggling to restrain him, and Stupski misinterpreted the action. The navigator soon quieted down and was given a shot of morphine to ease his pain.” Time “whizzed” by and there they were again at three o’clock and climbing. Their sleek-nosed silhouettes identified them as Messerschmitt 109s or Folke-Wulf 190s. All we could do was to sit there and wait. Then – here they came again!

Mar

17

1944

Officer’s VC after arm hacked off by Jap’s sword

Major General O C Wingate (1903 - 1944): One of the last pictures of Wingate, with his rifle, on board a Dakota of 1 Air Commando, during the second 'Chindit' expedition.

Some shots had come down at us but not as many as I had expected, which probably meant we had regained the initiative by then and taken them unawares. Then, to my surprise, the Japs leapt up as we went at them and charged into us. Two sides charging at each other was certainly not going according to the military rule books.

Mar

16

1944

Montgomery speaks to the D-Day invasion troops

General Sir Bernard Montgomery standing on the bonnet of a jeep speaking to troops of 2nd Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles, after carrying out an inspection of the battalion near Portsmouth in the run-up to D-Day. The battalion had previously served in his division earlier in the war.

‘I wanted to come here today so that we could get to know one another: so that I could have a look at you and you could have a look at me – if you think that’s worth doing. We have got to go off and do a job together very soon now, you and I, and we must have confidence in one another. And now that I have seen you I have complete confidence… complete confidence… absolutely complete confidence. And you must have confidence in me.’

Mar

15

1944

Officer’s sacrifice as Japanese march towards India

The Campaign in North and Central Burma February 1944 - August 1945: A well armed patrol of American led Burmese guerillas crossing a river in central Burma.

The Japanese then arrested 270 Karens and tortured and killed many of them but still they continued to support Major Seagrim. To end further suffering to the Karens, Seagrim surrendered himself to the Japanese on 15th March 1944. He was taken to Rangoon and together with eight others he was sentenced to death. He pleaded that the others were following his orders and as such they should be spared, but they were determined to die with him and were all executed.

Mar

14

1944

Italian civilians suffer as the struggle continues

Naples, September - October 1943: The twisted metal of a wrecked gantry crane destroyed by Germans, lying in Naples harbour.

He was chained up in the usual way, weeping desperately, clearly knowing what was coming. It took the judge minutes to find him guilty and sentence him to ten years. ‘What’s going to happen no my poor family?’ he shrieked. He was led away sobbing loudly. A sickening experience.

Mar

13

1944

U-boat commander massacres survivors in the water

The defendants in the U-852 trial. From left to right: Eck, August Hoffmann, Walter Weisspfennig, Hans Lenz, Wolfgang Schwender. The leftmost three were executed.

He decided to destroy all pieces of wreckage and rafts and gave the order to open fire; on the floating rafts. He thought that the rafts were a danger to him, first because they would show aeroplanes the exact spot ofthe sinking, and secondly because rafts at that time of the war, as was well-known, could be provided with modern signalling communication. When he opened fire there were no human beings to be seen on the rafts.

Mar

12

1944

U-boat murder leads to last mass execution in U.S.

Werner Drechsler, recovering from a bullet wound to his right knee, disembarks USS Osmond Ingram assisted by Hermann Polowzyk

The investigation in that case indicated that Drechsler had been used as an informant by G-2 or ONI to assist in the interrogation and processing of prisoners at Meade or some other installation in this vicinity. After his usefulness had been exhausted Drechsler was shipped to Papago Park for imprisonment. He was a submarine man, and Papago Park detains numerous Navy prisoners. Drechsler was recognized as a traitor to Germany and was murdered. This result could or should have been foreseen, to put it mildly.

Mar

11

1944

Indian Army VC for bayonet attack

Nand Singh VC pictured in 1944.

Although wounded in the thigh he rushed ahead of his section and took the first enemy trench with the bayonet by himself. He then crawled forward alone under heavy fire and though wounded again in the face and shoulder by a grenade which burst one yard in front of him, took the second trench at the point of the bayonet.

Mar

10

1944

Bougainville – the desperate battle for Hill 260

With the Japanese firmly entrenched on the South Knob of Hill 260, several artillery pieces were hauled into the jungle and set up on nearby Hill 309. They blasted away point blank, pounding the Japanese at the base of the remains of the Observation Post in the banyan tree.

A new plan of attack was devised, a double envelopment, and Lt. Willard was ordered, at 14O5, to take his platoon inside the West wire, establish contact with Lt. Stone(Fox) and make his attack from the West, (see over- lay) azimuth 90°. Lt. Karl with his platoon was ordered to move East and envelop the enemy from the East. He moved out at 142O to envelop the enemy and cut their line of supply.

Mar

9

1944

Leo Rawlings – War artist on the death railway

Dysentery: a naked and emaciated prisoner-of-war sits on the edge of a bamboo bed with a metal bowl covered with a rectangular lid by his feet.

L. RAWLINGS

Men still working in the jungle camps and the railway sidings were drafted out to operate on the track laying gangs. Up to eighteen hours per day, and in some cases even more, was expected and demanded of these unfortunates, the sick along with the half-fit — for now no fit men remained. All were either physically or mentally sick.