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.

Mar

8

1944

Cassino – into the front line in the mountain snow

Porters of an Indian Mule Company transporting supplies to troops in the mountains.

Anything within 20 yards of a grenade exploding will be hit, and I was closer than that. ‘What a pathetic way to go’, was what went through my mind as I shivered in shock. Then I heard voices coming near. Lieutenant W. A. Dunn, one of A Company’s platoon commanders, appeared out of the gloom and peered at me closely through a swirl of snowflakes.

Mar

7

1944

Deep into France for a low level Mosquito ambush

A De Havilland Mosquito IIF DD739/RX-X of No 456 Squadron, flying from Middle Wallop, in flight. The censor has scratched out the wing-tip antennae of the Airborne-Interceptor radar.

I tightened the turn a little to set the dot of my electric gunsight ahead of the bomber to allow for the correct deection, and pressed the button. A stream of 20-mm and 303 bullets poured from the nose of the Mossie as I tightened the turn a little more to keep my sights on the now rapidly-closing target. I had started firing at about 4-00 yards and now at 100 yards with the He177 looking as big as a house, a stream of ame and smoke appeared below the nose of the aircraft.

Mar

6

1944

Black Monday as the 8th goes to Berlin in strength

The B-17 heavy bomber at bomb release.

We put up 812 heavy bombers (504 B-17s and 226 B-24s) and 474 B-17s and 198 B-24s made it to their targets, but the bombing results were not too good. Photo’s indicate that no bombs hit their assigned targets. And the losses were staggering – at least 80 aircraft (53 B-17s, 16 B-24s and 11 fighters), a new 8th Air Force record for any one mission – even greater than Schweinfurt.

Mar

5

1944

A young P-51 pilot shot down over France

The arrival of the long range escorts transformed the bomber campaign against occupied Europe. The welcome sight of P-51 escorts seen from an air gunners perspective , probably a B-29 in the Pacific theatre.

Three FW 190s came in from the rear and cut my elevator cables. I snap-rolled with the rudder and jumped at 18,000 feet. I took off my dinghy-pack, oxygen mask, and helmet in the air; and then, as I was whirling on my back and began to feel dizzy, I pulled the ripcord at 8,000 feet. An FW 190 dove at me, but when he was about 2,000 yards from me a P-51 came in on his tail and blew him to pieces.