Nov

6

1941

Low level attack on Naples

The small force of Wellington bombers based at Malta mounted a bomber offensive against the Italian ports from which the Afrika Korps was supplied.

‘Get the searchlightsi’ I yelled at the gunners, and took her down to rooftop height. We lost the searchlights, and the night-fighter as well; searchlights didn’t go down to street level, which was where we were now, and I guess the night-fighter had more sense.

Nov

5

1941

Conditions change for Army Group South

The thick mud that was hindering the advance on Moscow was now to start holding up Germans

Supply had become almost impossible and could only be achieved by using horse-drawn vehicles. Motor vehicles moved at a snail’s pace. The consumption of fuel and loss of equipment was disproportionate to what was achieved. An army was sinking into the mud. Losses due to illness mounted endlessly.

Nov

4

1941

The committed Wehrmacht soldier fights on

For a short time the mud froze and there was only light snow enabling the Wehrmacht to get moving again.

I guess the Russians never dreamed that we would engage in this kind of an offensive prior to winter. I’m convinced that the last cohesive forces of the enemy have been decimated and once again our Fuhrer has proven to the world that the German soldier can do incredible tasks.

Nov

3

1941

First submarine attack by radar

HMS proteus operated in the eastern Mediterranean in 1941 and pioneered the use of radar on submarines.

However, on one occasion we did actually detect a small convoy of ships taking Germans to Crete, and the first detection that we had of this convoy was at night, was from the radar cabinet, so this was a plus for the radar. And because it was brand new and nobody knew very much about it we had two Dundee University students manning the radar set.

Nov

2

1941

Coastal Command’s successful week

Aircrew and ground staff from RCAF No.407 'Demon' Squadron enjoy a tea break next to their Hudson aircraft on 2nd November 1941.

These consisted of a tanker and six merchant vessels (including the Reichenfels – 1,800 tons — claimed as sunk) off the Frisian Islands and four merchant vessels and a Flax-ship off the Norwegian coast. In these operations we lost only one aircraft.

Nov

1

1941

Russia’s deadly new weapon

The Katyusha rocket launcher was a highly mobile method of delivering a suprise area bombardment

They had both been waiting for orders from Battalion and were dismounted, leaning against the wall of a house, holding the reins of their horses. I was told that one minute they were laughing joking and the next they just disappeared and the earth erupted around them, even the small block-house was flattened.

Oct

31

1941

USS Reuben James torpedoed in Atlantic

The United States destroyer was the first Naval ship lost to a U-Boat, even though America was not at war with Germany.

I was on watch in the engine room at 5:30 a.m. when we felt the impact. There were two explosions — one sounded like the magazine. Altogether there were eight men in both sections of the engine room. The lights went out and the steam flow was interrupted. There was a sinking motion of the ship as if she were going down by the bow.

Oct

30

1941

The U boat threat mounts

A patrolling aircraft keeps watch over a convoy,as seen from a corvette packed with depth charges. In practice such all round protection was far from being achieved at this stage of the war.

During the week ending the 29th October 886 ships, including 175 Allied and 24 neutral, were convoyed. Nine anti-aircraft ships, 113 destroyers (including 24 United States destroyers), and 117 sloops, corvettes and minesweepers were employed on escort duties.

Oct

29

1941

Churchill – ‘Never give in’

Winston Churchill made a speech to his old school Harrow, on 29th October 1941.

Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

Oct

28

1941

Germans learn of the atrocities in the East

There was no escaping the Nazi state. A parade to celebrate the anniversary of the Wartheland becoming part of 'Greater Germany', October 1941.

He watched as naked Jewish men and women were placed in front of a long deep ditch and upon the order of the SS were shot by Ukrainians in the back of their heads and they fell into the ditch. Then the ditch was filled with dirt even as he could still hear screams coming from people still alive in the ditch.