Mar

4

1944

Preparing for the second Chindit raid deep into Burma

A Chindit column crossing a river in Burma, 1943.

And now — how, actually, do you get three large Missouri mules into a C-47, at night, to a tight schedule? How do you keep them there, so that they do not injure themselves and cannot kick their handlers or the sides of the plane? What do you do if one breaks loose in the air? Shoot him? The bullet will go on through the sides of the plane. From what angles is it safe to engage in gun-play inside a loaded aircraft?

Mar

3

1944

USAAF raid all the way to Berlin – escort ambushed

Lt Moncur chose the name Thunderbird for his plane  and the nose art incorporated "an Indian symbol for luck and we sure will need it."

In a practically vertical dive we hurtle into the midst of the Yanks, and almost simultaneously we open fire. We take them completely by surprise. In great spirals the Mustangs attempt to get away. Several of them are in flames before they can reach the clouds. One literally disintegrates under fire from my guns. Yells of triumph echo over our radio.

Mar

2

1944

German propaganda seeks to divide the Allies

A variation on the theme of " over-sexed, over-paid, and over-here" that was sometimes used to characterise US troops in Britain.

The ‘accomplishments’ of this American leadership are indeed typically American: operations were insufficiently prepared and led to the most dreadful reverses for your troops. Your picked units were carelessly thrown into the battle. CERTAINLY, THE YANKS PLAYED YOU A NASTY TURN.

Mar

1

1944

The Red Army marches across Ukraine

Every year the climate brought the fighting to a virtual standstill.

In some cases I had to act severely and took tough measures on the villagers in order to feed five or seven soldiers. I had a German hand-grenade with a long handle without a fuse; if the house owners refused to feed the soldiers, I would say something like this: ‘The Germans (Schwabs) destroyed our field kitchen, if you do not boil potatoes, the grenade explodes in an hour (or half an hour).’ This argument helped a lot!

Feb

28

1944

Survival in Auschwitz – understand the system

The Nazi concentration camp system ran on a  system of brutality that had been refined ever since they had established camps for their political enemies when they first gained power.

SS men exist but are few and outside the camp, and are seen relatively infrequently. Our effective masters in practice are the green triangles, who have a free hand over us, as well as those of the other two categories who are ready to help them – and they are not few.

Feb

27

1944

Anzio – searching through the pockets of the dead

'Anzio Beach-head, Italy! German dead lying in gulley where they attempted to break through Allied lines at night to cut a vital Allied road junction.' Signal Corps  6 March 1944

On the Anzio beachhead everyone was either on the frontline or just behind it, the depth of ground held by the Allies was only a few miles at its greatest extent, and everyone was under threat from shellfire. There were a number of caves and the basements of buildings which provided relatively good sleeping accommodation, […]

Feb

26

1944

Beaten to death for teaching children

Japanese paratroopers during the invasion of Sumatra in February 1942, before the invasion of Java.

She held the side of her head as the blood seeped from between her fingers. I don’t think I could ever have imagined that much blood coming from such a wound. It covered her blouse and her skirt and fell in drops onto the dry earth. I couldn’t believe the blow to her head had not killed her, but she stood still and, although she was crying, I could see she was getting stronger by the second.

Feb

25

1944

The plans for Overlord come together

Mary Malcolm (from North Adams, Massachusetts) of the American Red Cross and driver Steve Wilczynski (from Omaha, Nebraska) collect flowers from the American Information Bureau in Winchester to take to the American hospital, also in Winchester. The flowers have been collected from local gardens for this purpose. The various signs on the windows of the Bureau read "The services of this bureau are placed at the disposal of all members of the USA forces. Information and advice on travelling and hospitality will be readily given"; "Canadians we are at your service"; and "Americans welcome to this city". The Bureau is housed in what was once the shop of the J R Wood Coal and Coke Company Ltd.

On D day alone, First Army was to put ashore the equivalent of more than 200 trainloads of troops. By D plus 14 the U.S. build-up would more than double the strength of the U. S. Army at the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Within two weeks after crashing the wall we would have landed enough vehicles to form a double column from Pittsburgh to Chicago.

Feb

24

1944

“Big week” – daily USAAF raids on German factories

Named "War Horse"
Ford B-24H-1-FO Liberator s/n 42-7479 579th BS, 392nd BG, 8th AF

This aircraft was lost on the January 4,1944 mission to Kiel,Germany. It is believed that she went down over the North Sea and the entire crew was KIA.

The Group was faced with the decision to follow the lead units of the Air Division to a questionable target and maintain the integrity of the Division formation or to pursue a separate course that might later prove to be erroneous and which would expose the Group formation to even greater enemy attacks. The Group chose the latter, and maintaining perfect formation, valiantly fought its way through the flak defenses to bomb the target with pin-point accuracy, virtually destroying it.

Feb

23

1944

Londoners adjust to a nightly ‘Blitz’

Mr McGregor stands amidst the debris of his house, following a Baedeker Raid on York. The Morrison shelter which saved his life, and the life of his wife and lodger is visible under rubble to the right of the photograph.

The clouds light up with gun-flashes, flares, and path-finding cascades of light- globules nicknamed candelabras. Sometimes a green or dusky red ball comes floating through the clouds. Fires are started on the horizon while behind it the clouds glow a dusky red. A plane zooms overhead. Shrapnel cracks on the rooftops. And gradually the noise dies down and the lights go out.