infantry

Feb

14

1944

The gruesome remains left on a jungle battlefield

Soldiers bring ammunition to the front lines at Sanananda.

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 36th Division go on the attack yet again

Cassino under attack, shells from American artillery is seen bursting on besieged Cassino, sending up great clouds of smoke as the town is slowly pulverized to rubble in the fierce fight for its possession.

The 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

A German sniper somewhere in western Europe 1943-4.

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

Dead German soldiers and their equipment at a collection point in San Vittore. U.S. Army medical corps personnel can be seen in background. San Vittore, Italy. 20 January 1944

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?”

Jan

20

1944

Lieutenant Horwood draws Japanese fire – earns VC

The Arakan Campaign January 1943 - May 1945: An Indian soldier using smoke grenades to clear Japanese troops from bunkers in the Maungdaw hills.

Throughout that day he lay in an exposed position which had been completely bared of cover by concentrated air bombing and effectively shot his own mortars and those of a half troop of another unit while the company was manoeuvring to locate the exact position of the enemy bunkers and machine-gun nests

Jan

19

1944

Captured by a German raiding party

British infantrymen travel fast as they seek cover from a German Spandou position.” Ponte, Italy. 15 January 1944

The section leaders who had not been wounded were crawling back from the tent towards their trenches; my sergeant and I had a small slit trench outside the tent which was where we were to go in an emergency. My wounded sergeant had slithered to this and was lying at the bottom so that there was no room for me to get under cover except by kneeling on top of him.

Jan

17

1944

Canadian infantry assault behind artillery barrage

Another of the 4.5 guns during the barrage.

This time, we were directly under the flight paths of the shells at the point in the trajectory where they were on their downward journey. It was ten minutes of listening with awe and fearful doubts as they whirred over our heads and plunged into the target area with a drumbeat roll. And then we were on our way for what we thought would be the decisive thrust that would end the agony our regiment was going through.

Jan

16

1944

Arctic cold freezes men on the Eastern front battlefield

The Grossdeutschland Division somewhere on the Eastern front in late 1943.

Some men fainted as the cold struck them, paralysed before they even had a chance to scream. Survival seemed almost impossible. Our hands and faces were coated with engine grease, and when our worn gloves were pulled over this gluey mixture, every gesture became extremely difficult.

Jan

12

1944

A German soldier on the Eastern front reflects on life

German soldiers in a night attack in the snow, Eastern Front, early 1944.

There was no end in sight. Yearning plunged into the distance; frost caught in my hair. Rushing passage, as on a sleigh in space. An intoxicating feeling came over me: a burgeoning sense of life, the limitless, exuberant pleasure of being in the world. The freedom of an hour in the Russian winterland. I loved life.

Jan

10

1944

Shot in the neck during dawn raid

Men of the 1st Battalion Green Howards trudge down a snow-covered hillside, 1 January 1944.

I’d gone only 50 yards when the machine gun hit me. I realised from the wound I received that I’d made a mistake and it was on the right down on the lower ground. I was hit in the neck and because of my crouching position the bullet went through the right of my neck and out through my left shoulder taking a lot of my shoulder blade with it.