artillery

Sep

17

1943

Red Army attack on the retreating German army


17th September 1943: Red Army attack on the retreating German army

Then the mortar men kicked into action and laid down a sheaf of fire, up to three shells per tube. The field of battle began to darken. After the mortar attack, five to seven minutes passed, and then the Germans once again rushed forward, although their numbers were now fewer. One German constantly kept turning back to the advancing line, waving his pistol and shouting something. Nishchakov took careful aim, and the leader fell. The others dropped to the ground again.

Sep

3

1943

Operation Baytown: the invasion of Italy

The forward 15 inch guns of HMS WARSPITE hurling shells at Reggio


3rd September 1943: Operation Baytown: the invasion of Italy

All this turned out to be a complete waste of ammo. When we hit the beach at 0615, four kilometres north of Reggio di Calabria, our landing was unopposed. We were slightly dazed by the silence after the profligate bombardment. If someone had bothered to recce the beaches, I thought, or checked aerial reconnaissance photos, the shelling of an undefended coastline should surely have been avoided. But Monty had the firepower and there was an inevitability in its use.

Aug

24

1943

Facing a Japanese night attack on New Guinea


24th August 1943: Facing a Japanese night attack on New Guinea

At the same time Jack Parker, who was wounded in the leg early in the piece by a bullet before he had time to get out of bed, and Lt. Bryant, were in the command post unarmed when three or four Japs came in. Jack was still in bed and Bryant hid in a corner while the Japs rummaged around looking for documents. They knocked all the command post equipment about, knocking the wireless set to the ground but not damaging it.

Aug

18

1943

Leningrad – the siege continues as Soviets fight back


18th August 1943: Leningrad – the siege continues as Soviets fight back

Despite efforts to black-out everything on the ground, there was bound to be someone who would light a cigarette or use a flashlight that the enemy could spot. Once locating a potential target, the Soviet pilots often cut their engines in order to glide silently over the spot before dropping their bombs on the unsuspecting targets below.

Aug

10

1943

General George S. Patton slaps another soldier


10th August 1943: General George S. Patton slaps another soldier

Just as I was leaving the hospital, I saw a soldier sitting on a box near the dressing station. I stopped and said to him, ‘What is the matter with you, boy?’He said, ‘Nothing; I just can’t take it.’ I asked what he meant. He said, ‘I just can’t take being shot at.’ I said, ‘You mean that you are malingering here?’ He burst into tears and I immediately saw that he was an hysterical case.

Jul

22

1943

The Red Army goes on to the offensive after Kursk


22nd July 1943: The Red Army goes on to the offensive after Kursk

A grayish yellow cloud arose in front of us, as if created by a hurricane. Heavy rounds whistled overhead and crashed into the artillery positions behind us. It sounded like a frog concert, except with a lot of horrible tones. Shrapnel, tree limbs and clumps of earth hissed through our fruit orchard. Wounded cried out in a way that went to the marrow of your bones: “Meddicccc!” During all of this, we were only on the outskirts, better said, we were between two storms of iron and gunpowder.

Jul

6

1943

A Soviet artilleryman blown up at Kursk


6th July 1943: A Soviet artilleryman blown up at Kursk

The last plane dove directly upon our battery and released its bomb load. One of the bombs flew directly at my dugout. I saw my own unavoidable death approaching, but I could do nothing to save myself: there was not enough time. It would take me five to six seconds to reach a different shelter, but the bomb had been released close to the ground, and needed only one or two seconds to reach the earth – and me.

Jul

5

1943

The last German offensive in the East: Operation Citadel


5th July 1943: The last German offensive in the East: Operation Citadel

Having ordered the gunlayer to keep one of the tanks, which had come to the fore and was moving towards our vehicle, in his gunsight, I quickly checked the other guys in my crew: Valeriy Korolev was seemingly composed and had his right hand on the gun’s trigger; Plaksin and Emelyan Ivanovich kept their eyes glued to the enemy tanks through their vision slits and were noticeably anxious; the driver-mechanic Vitya Oleinik was agitated, and his hands were idly grabbing and releasing the clutch levers, but at such a tense moment this was natural.

May

22

1943

A surprise from the US 7th Division artillery

22 May 1943: A surprise from the US 7th Division artillery

A great flash ripped out of the very center of the tiny group, followed almost instantly by three other flashes, totally engulfing the five figures in a heaving mass of flying hunks of muck and smoke and rocks. The smoke hung in a big puff over the ripped area of our base point, and we could see five little piles of fabric lighter than the black holes over which they were scattered before the boom! baroomboom! of the explosions reached our ears.

Apr

8

1943

Gunner Milligan survives a German artillery ‘stonk’

8th April 1943: Gunner Milligan survives a German artillery ‘stonk’

Behind him a stiff, bitter-faced Afrika Korp Oberlieutenant marched with all the military dignity he could muster, none of his men looked like the master-race. As they passed, our lads stood up in their fox-holes farting, and giving Nazi salutes; recalling the ritual of ancient conquerors riding on a palanquin and parading their prisoners of war behind them. Here there were shouts of ‘you square-head bastards’ and ‘I bet we could beat you at fucking football as well.’