infantry

Mar

16

1944

Montgomery speaks to the D-Day invasion troops


16 March 1944: Montgomery speaks to the D-Day invasion troops

‘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

10

1944

Bougainville – the desperate battle for Hill 260


10 March 1944: Bougainville – the desperate battle for Hill 260

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

8

1944

Cassino – into the front line in the mountain snow


8 March 1944: Cassino – into the front line in the mountain snow

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

1

1944

The Red Army marches across Ukraine


1 March 1944: The Red Army marches across Ukraine

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

17

1944

The London Irish try to find the ‘Ox and Bucks’


17 February 1944: London Irish casualties as they try to find the ‘Ox and Bucks’

As the leading troops emerged from the protection of the wadis they came under savage artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire, and were unable to make further progress. Casualties among officers and non-commissioned officers were heavy, and that led to some disorganisation. Since January there had been an eighty per cent. change in the personnel of the battalion owing to the need to replace losses among officers and men.

Feb

15

1944

7th Ox and Bucks wiped out holding the line at Anzio


15 February 1944: 7th Ox and Bucks wiped out holding the line at Anzio

Inside a wired enclosure nearby, new positions were adopted and after further bitter fighting all during that day and night, the Germans launched yet another heavy attack at dawn. The field telephone rang at Battalion HQ and Captain Closebrooks heard the signaller say; “We’re in our sangers. The Boche is pelting us with grenades!” Subsequently, the sadly significant message was received; “We are turning it in now”.

Feb

14

1944

The gruesome remains left on a jungle battlefield


14 February 1944: The gruesome remains left on a jungle battlefield

The bones and skulls and equipment of the Jap dead lie about in great quantities, and even these last traces will not survive much longer. It gave me a strange feeling to probe among and walk over these bones of what had once been fanatical Jap soldiers, bent on the destruction of our boys for some strange reason which they probably never understood

Feb

11

1944

The weakened US 36th Division go on the attack again


11 February 1944: The weakened 36th Division go on the attack yet again

Germans seemed to have plenty of ammunition. They delivered harassing mortar, artillery and rocket fire as though they had enough to last forever. They did not hesitate to throw in a serenade of these weapons at any time. They also had an ample supply of small arms and grenades and were not reluctant to use them. The Germans continued their strong aggressive patrolling.

Feb

4

1944

Bren gunner duels with German sniper at Anzio


4 February 1944: Bren gunner duels with German sniper at Anzio

I landed in the gully, which must have been a foot deep in mud and filth. I wrapped my field dressing round the breech and mechanism of the Bren – this was no time for slip-ups – and crawled well over a hundred yards down the gully till it petered out into a culvert which was covered with undergrowth. By this time I was well camouflaged myself, being covered in mud.

Jan

21

1944

US troops’ suicidal assault across the Rapido


21 January 1944: US troops’ suicidal assault across the Rapido

The bridge was about a foot under water most of the way, and stacked with bodies from upstream. A lot of the men drowned from the flow of the river with all their equipment still on. I looked at some, that is when I noticed most died with that look of surprise on their face, like “what happened?” and “why me to die this way?”