infantry

May

19

1943

Japanese troops get ‘confused’ on Attu

19th May 1943: Japanese troops get ‘confused’ on Attu

As he came closer we saw that he was all gassed up, practically drunk, and he was carrying a bag of dried fish and rice balls right up to our front door. This little character kept coming until he was ten feet from us. Then he stopped. He stared at us, sort of dazed, like he had suddenly remembered he forgot to turn the water heater off, and he began backing up. We raised up out of the hole without rifles, and in good English he said, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!”

May

12

1943

The Germans surrender in North Africa

12th May 1943: The Germans surrender in North Africa

At the end the battlefield fell to pieces and lost all pattern and design, and those who had fought hardest on both sides found they had nothing to say, nothing to feel beyond an enveloping sense of gratitude and rest. The anger subsided at the surrender, and for the first time the German and Allied soldiers stood together looking at one another with listless and passionless curiosity.

May

1

1943

The US 34th ‘Red Bull’ Division takes Hill 609

1st May 1943: The US 34th Division takes Hill 609

Toward morning one platoon succeeded in forcing its way up the goat trail, which the Germans had believed was not a feasible means of approaching their positions, and took the stubborn men of the “Barenthin” Regiment by surprise from the rear. Temporarily stunned, the enemy was quickly overcome and Hill 609 was ours. Immediately a battalion was placed in occupation of it and our artillery forward observers accompanying the foremost infantry elements soon were directing fire upon the rapidly retreating enemy causing great havoc.

Apr

30

1943

John Keneally’s second attack from the ‘Bou’

30th April 1943: John Keneally’s second attack from the ‘Bou’

The air was full of the chatter of machine and the ground we lay on trembled with the explosions of grenades. There was no time for fear; a strange ‘don’t-give-a-damn’ feeling took a grip — something every infantryman feels when he is constantly exposed to death in brutal and violent forms. Two German figures loomed over us and I cut one of them in half with the Bren. Pollock shot the other in the face

Apr

28

1943

John Kenneally’s one man attack on German positions

28th April 1943: John Kenneally’s one man attack on German positions

I achieved complete surprise. I hose-piped them from the top of the gully. They were being bowled over like nine-pins and were diving in all directions. I had time to clip on another magazine and I gave them that too. Enough was enough, and I fled back to the boulders and safety. The remaining Germans had scattered and were firing everywhere, even at each other. Bullets were shattering off the boulder in front of me.

Apr

27

1943

Another posthumous V.C. In Tunisia

27th April 1943: Another posthumous V.C. In Tunisia

So quickly had this officer acted that he was in among the crew with the bayonet before they had time to fire more than one shot. He killed a number of them before being overwhelmed and killed himself. The few survivors of the gun crew then left the pit, some of them being killed while they were retiring, and both the heavy machine gun and 88 millimetre gun were silenced.

Apr

23

1943

Two V.C.s in fierce Tunisian battles

23rd April 1943: Two VCs in fierce Tunisian battles

On the first objective and still under continual enemy fire, Major Anderson re-organised the Battalion and rallied men whose Commanders, in most cases, had been either killed or wounded. The Commanding Officer having been killed, he took command of the Battalion and led the assault on the second objective. During this assault he received a leg wound, but in spite of this he carried on and finally captured ” Longstop ” Hill with a total force of only four officers and less than forty other ranks.

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.’

Apr

6

1943

Two VCs following fierce battle at Wadi Akarit

6th April 1943: Two VCs following fierce battle at Wadi Akarit

Knowing that more men were lying wounded in the open he again went out to the bullet swept slope, located a second wounded man and carried him to safety. Private Anderson went forward once again and safely evacuated a third casualty. Without any hesitation or consideration for himself he went out for a fourth time but by now he was the only target the enemy had to shoot at and when he reached the fourth wounded man, and was administering such first aid as he could to prepare for the return journey, he was himself hit and mortally wounded.

Mar

30

1943

Irish Guards suffer heavy losses in hilltop battle

30th March 1943: Irish Guards suffer heavy losses in hilltop battle

The mortars covered the withdrawal of 5 wounded men (Sergeant DEAZLEY, Sergeant MEARS, McCAFFERTY, and two gunners) and then were ordered to withdraw. Major GORDON-WATSON had come up to join them. THey came down the track towards No. 3 Company, but found it under heavy shell fire, turned and tried another way. As they came to the railway bridge they noticed, just in time, a wire stretched across the road to which was suspended a mine.