retreat

Jan

14

1945

Joy as Germans begin to fall back again in Poland

Soviets soldiers advance on a village - the officer in the foreground is armed with captured German submachine gun MP-40.

Impression? Who knows how it feels to be condemned to death and placed in front of the firing squad when suddenly a messenger comes racing up at the last moment carrying a pardon? Truly the Germans words were like a pardon for those of us who had been condemned to die. Now I no longer cared about him. I understood what the wagons loaded with suitcases meant: They were running away, they had been beaten. For us this meant the first spark of freedom.

Jul

13

1944

Starving Wehrmacht flees west across the steppe

Abandoned vehicles of the german 9th army at a road near Titowka/Bobruisk (Belarus).

Men died for very little — for the possibility of a day’s food. When everything had been eaten, down to the last sprout in the meagre gardens, twelve thousand soldiers stared at the village, which had been abandoned by its terrified inhabitants. Living corpses wandered here and there, staring at the tragic shreds of existence which remained to them.

Jul

4

1944

The pitiful Japanese retreat from Imphal

The Battle of Imphal-Kohima March - July 1944: The remains of Japanese dead, equipment and caved-in bunkers on 'Scraggy Hill' which was captured by 10th Gurkha rifles in fierce fighting in the Shenam area.

Icy rain fell mercilessly on us and we lived day and night drenched to the skin and pierced with cold. I remember how we longed for a place, any place at all, where we could take shelter and rest. Once we found a tent in the jungle; inside it were the bodies of six nurses. We had never imagined there would be female victims, especially so far over the Arakan Mountains. Why, we asked one another, had the army not taken the nurses to a place of safety?