infantry

Oct

16

1942

The Eighth Army prepares for battle

16th October 1942: The Eighth Army prepares for battle

For three consecutive nights the Regiment rehearsed finding its way through our own minefields and those of the enemy. During these long, carefully planned exercises the guns and vehicles were guided through narrow lanes marked with white tape and lit by storm lanterns burning inside masked, empty four gallon petrol cans.

Oct

15

1942

The unrelenting battle for Stalingrad continues

15th October 1942: The unrelenting battle for Stalingrad continues

1220 hours: A radio message from a unit of the 416th Regiment from the hexagonal housing block: “Have been encircled, ammunition and water available, death before surrender!”
1230 hours: Dive-bombers attack the command post of General Scholudov, who is without radio communications in a neighboring bunker that has collapsed. Take over the communications to the units of this division.

Oct

4

1942

Soviet troops in the trenches of the Eastern Front

4th October 1942: Soviet troops in the trenches of the Eastern Front

In order to capture the knoll, the regiment commander had swept the rear area in order to create a reinforced platoon of forty men. Barbers, cobblers, orderlies and other men from the rear, ranging in age from teenagers to forty years old, had been gathered in that platoon. It was twice as frightening for these men to creep towards that hillock; it was frightening for any man to rise from the ground under fire, but these men also lacked any front-line experience.

Sep

19

1942

An Officer adjusts to life in the Desert

19th September 1942: An Officer adjusts to life in the Desert

As in other things military, the Australians were very unorthodox in their patrolling methods. They hardly bothered about compasses but went from point to point by means of battle landmarks, utilising everything from broken-down tanks to unburied corpses. One company had a skeleton whom they affectionately called ” Cuthbert,” who was propped up with his arm pointing to the gap in our minefield.

Apr

29

1942

Gurkha’s fighting retreat in Burma

At dawn on the 30th April, tanks and Gurkhas sallied out and cleared a burnt-out village in front of our lines. Many Japanese in it were killed and several mortars and light automatics captured. The Gurkhas were particularly pleased at trapping thirty-eight of the enemy who had taken refuge in a culvert under the road.

Jan

15

1942

Australians take on Japanese in Malaya

Under this hell of fire we at once dived flat on the ground, as it didn’t seem possible for any human being to escape the blazing fury. A barbed wire fence near us was ringing backwards and forwards from the bullets. But our skipper sang out, “On you feet men; we must take their position.” I, like all the others, expected a bullet at any period, but I had only one thing in mind – to reach the trees and kill every Jap I saw.

Dec

20

1941

Hitler appeals for warm clothing for Eastern Front

While the German homeland is not directly threatened by the enemy, with the exception of air raids, millions of our soldiers, after a year of the most difficult fighting, confront a numerically and materially far superior enemy at the front. Victories, as never before witnessed in world history, have been secured in battle thanks to the conduct and bravery of officers and men.

Nov

27

1941

The Russian winter arrives on the Eastern Front

The snow blew almost horizontally in blizzards that some- times lasted all day long, with the wind piercing our faces with a thousand needles. The cold numbed and deadened the human body from the feet up until the whole body was an aching mass of misery. To keep warm, we had to wear every piece of clothing we owned to achieve a layered effect. Each man fought the cold alone, pitting his determination and will against the bitter winter.

Sep

26

1941

The Wehrmacht’s endless march East

Underneath it quivered rabbits, pigs, and the vermin that would attack us. Bedbugs bothered us at night, fleas broke our rest, and lice multiplied in pur uniforms. Spiders, flies, wood lice, and cockroaches scuttled over the tables and over our faces and hands. The illumination was provided by an oil lamp.

Sep

17

1941

Another suicidal Soviet assault

We allowed the enemy infantry to get within about two hundred meters of us before our machine guns reaped a bloody harvest. The result was horrific. Within minutes countless brown dots covered the sparsely grassed area whilst others staggered toward our positions with arms raised.