infantry

Feb

17

1943

American 168th Infantry’s last stand at Kasserine Pass

17th February 1943: American 168th Infantry’s last stand at Kasserine Pass

The Germans brought up several, tanks, all of them with yellow tigers painted on their sides and opened fire. They also set up machine gun positions and supplemented that with rifle fire. While they were doing this their infantry completely encircled the small American force. After three and one-half hours of fighting the American fire power diminished and then practically ceased as the men were out of ammunition or had become casualties. Finally an armored car bearing a white flag came dashing into the American circle.

Feb

16

1943

German retreat continues on Eastern Front

16th February 1943: German retreat continues on Eastern Front

It is -40° C; the snow level is as high as our bodies. The steaming, agitated and exhausted horses can’t even pull the empty sleds anymore. Our small group becomes smaller and smaller, only half of them are still able to fight. Injured soldiers, many with frostbite, load their carbines and shoot. They lumber through the snow; their faces are contorted with pain. In the midst of the blizzard, some fall behind and lose their group, which was supposed to support them.

Jan

26

1943

Desperate fighting in Stalingrad but no surrender

26th January 1943: Desperate fighting in Stalingrad but no surrender

Troops are without ammunition and food. We have contact with some elements of six divisions only. There are signs of disintegration on the southern, western and northern fronts. Unified command is no longer possible. Little change on the eastern side. We have 18,000 wounded who are without any kind of bandages or medicines at all.

Jan

25

1943

The desperate Italian retreat struggles on

25th January 1943: The desperate Italian retreat struggles on

I’m hungry. When did I eat last? I don’t remember. The column passes between two villages a mile or so apart. There’s sure to be my something to eat there. Little groups detach themselves from our column and set off towards the villages in search of food. The officers shout at them, tell them there might be partisans or Red patrols there.

Jan

18

1943

No end to the bitter struggle on Guadalcanal

18th January 1943: No end to the bitter struggle on Guadalcanal

On the Marine front last night a Jap came in with his hands up, saying ‘Me sick, me sick.’ The Major, knowing there were other Japs watching, motioned him to come on in – told his men not to fire. One Marine raised his rifle and the Major knocked it down – but on the other side of him another dope brought up a shotgun and blew the Jap apart. The Japs watching melted away – they’ll never give up as prisoners now.

Jan

7

1943

No sanctuary for the retreating Italians in Russia

7th January 1943: No sanctuary for the retreating Italians in Russia

The larger construction and the other small building were now filled to overflowing: some of the big rooms were beginning to assume the same bedlamlike appearance as the infirmary. There were about seventeen hundred patients: nevertheless, both in the infirmary and in the houses there were still hundreds and hundreds of frostbitten and wounded men. Some mortar shells had plummeted into the main building, smashing the windows and wreaking havoc among the bodies stretched out on the straw.

Jan

6

1943

Parkash Singh wins Victoria Cross in forgotten war

6th January 1943: Parkash Singh wins Victoria Cross in forgotten war

On the 6th January, 1943, at Donbaik, Mayo Peninsula, Burma, when two Carriers had been put out of action, Havildar Parkash Singh drove forward in his own Carrier and rescued the two crews under very heavy fire. At the time, the crews of the disabled Carriers had expended their ammunition and the enemy were rushing the two disabled Carriers on foot.

Jan

5

1943

A ‘survival strategy’ on the Eastern front

5th January 1943: A ‘survival strategy’ on the Eastern front

We were soldiers, dulled beings, vegetating in trenches and bunkers, wasting our time without hope, bragging, swearing, worrying, enduring, obeying: dehumanized caricatures. It was very rare for any humanity to show itself in war. And if an isolated individual wanted to write, and read and study, then there was a light for a candle. Light was needed only for eating and for keeping watch but not for the mind.

Jan

1

1943

Happy New Year on the Eastern Front

1st January 1943: Happy New Year on the Eastern Front

I remained there alone looking at the barbed wire half buried in the snow, the dried grass on the hard silent river-bank, trying to make out the Russians’ positions through the dark on the other side. Then I heard one of our sentries cough and a long muffled step like a wolf’s; the Lieutenant was coming back. ‘What was it?’ I said. ‘Sarpi’s dead,’ he replied.

Dec

16

1942

New Russian tactics delay ‘Winter Storm’

16th December 1942: New Russians tactics delay ‘Winter Storm’

Over and over again it became necessary for the tanks to wait or even turn back and assist, as the panzergrenadiers had to deploy to locate and identify an invisible enemy in combat on foot. The various enemy nests proved so well hidden in the steppe grass (which was brown like Red Army uniforms) that the only way to find them was actually to stumble across them. Usually some unlucky German soldier had been killed by a bullet before a nest was identified.