secret war

Aug

12

1944

Joseph P. Kennedy Jr dies in secret drone mission

A B-24 Liberator bomber - those used as 'robots' in Operation Aphrodite were designated BQ-8. [This aircraft B-24J-55-CO (s/n 42-99949) belonged to 93rd BG, 328th BS; lost 21 September 1944 over Belgium]

For extraordinary heroism and courage in aerial flight as pilot of a United States Liberator bomber on August 12, 1944. Well knowing the extreme dangers involved and totally unconcerned for his own safety, Kennedy unhesitatingly volunteered to conduct an exceptionally hazardous and special operational mission.

Jun

17

1944

The French Resistance hit back against the occupation

Maquisards gathering supply canisters dropped by an Allied aircraft, Haute Savoie.

The train entered the tunnel and after it had fully disappeared into it, we waited another minute before setting off the charge. Boulders collapsed and cascaded in a thunderous burst; a huge mass completely covered the entrance. Right after that, we heard one, then two huge explosions. The train has been taken prisoner. The 500 “feldgraus” inside weren’t about to leave, and the railway was blocked for a long, long time.

Jun

16

1944

The V1 ‘doodlebugs’ begin hitting London

A German Fiesler Fi 103 flying-bomb (V1) in flight, as seen by the gun camera of an intercepting RAF fighter aircraft, moments before the fighter destroyed the V1 by cannon fire.

It came rapidly closer until almost directly overhead, then the engine stopped. By this time we all had learnt from the terrible experiences of the night, what to expect, but instead of doing the logical thing and dropping to the ground and making the best use of what cover there was, we just gapped open mouthed eyes transfixed on the clouds were the silence had come.

Jun

6

1944

0100: Taxable, Glimmer, Mandrel and Titanic

A Lancaster bomber dropping 'Window', the tin foil strips that appeared as a mass of aircraft on German radar.

Flying in box formation over an area 12 miles wide and eight miles deep, the aircraft had to fly in a continuous orbit gradually nearing the French coast, to give the impression of a large convoy heading slowly towards it. The effect was heightened by the Navy ships towing balloons which would reproduce a “big ship” type of echo on the enemy radar screens, and also by our aircraft jamming the German radar to prevent recognition of the “Window” deception.

Jun

5

1944

2200: BBC ‘the dice are on the table’

Resistance member setting an explosive charge on a railway line.

That Sunday, 4 June, I went to a party at a friend’s house. As I stood there with people dancing all around me, I had this strange feeling that I was like a little god, because I could see into the future. I wanted to warn all my friends to go into hiding, but of course I couldn’t say anything, not even to my parents, because I was sworn to secrecy. I stood there wondering how many of my friends would survive.

May

13

1944

Germans seek more from their agent in Britain

German Military Intelligence had built up a remarkably detailed picture of British army units preparing for the Invasion of Europe.

General impression gained by the VM on the basis of what he ascertained during the exercises and former information about this division is that it is intended for action in Norway as the division is continually receiving training in mountain warfare and all its equipment points to the probability of its going into action in northern regions. Have taken all measures to continue to watch every movement of transport fleet and troops.

Apr

2

1944

SS ‘Hitlerjugend’ massacre French civilians at Ascq

After the boys had been trained it was decided that they could form a Panzer division and they began training with tanks.

That’s when I raised a violent protest at their actions – the population had nothing to do with what had happened and that they were innocent. I was extremely angry at this point. But the interpreter was hitting me on the shoulder and said that the officer had ordered: “You too, Mr. Mayor, you will be shot.” And then I received a tremendous kick in the kidneys and they pushed me into the group of civilians who were awaiting execution.

Mar

15

1944

Officer’s sacrifice as Japanese march towards India

The Campaign in North and Central Burma February 1944 - August 1945: A well armed patrol of American led Burmese guerillas crossing a river in central Burma.

The Japanese then arrested 270 Karens and tortured and killed many of them but still they continued to support Major Seagrim. To end further suffering to the Karens, Seagrim surrendered himself to the Japanese on 15th March 1944. He was taken to Rangoon and together with eight others he was sentenced to death. He pleaded that the others were following his orders and as such they should be spared, but they were determined to die with him and were all executed.

Aug

17

1943

Bomber Command smashes secret Nazi weapons site

Aerial reconnaissance photograph of the Rocket Research Establishment at Peenemunde, Usedom Island, Germany, taken by a De Havilland Mosquito PR Mark IX of No. 540 Squadron RAF, using a Type F.52 (36") vertical camera. This view shows the concentration of bomb craters on the airfield and damage to technical buildings of the Luftwaffe Test Facility, Peenemunde West, after the raid by Bomber Command on 17/18 August 1943.

I stared at the German pilot. You’re no good, I thought. You’re a damned poor shot and a bloody awful pilot. Why the hell doesn’t the mid-upper fire? I snapped the mike switch on. ‘For Christ’s sake, George, shoot that bastard down!’ At once, the guns chattered, and a stream of orange sparks curved slowly down and through the fighter’s nose. He rolled over on his back, and dived straight down, disappearing into a sheet of stratus thousands of feet below.

Aug

16

1943

Dropping into occupied France by moonlight

The Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair (in civilian raincoat), accompanied by the Commanding Officer of No. 161 (Special Duties) Squadron RAF, Wing Commander P C Pickard, talking to Flying Officers Broadley and Cocker in front of their Lockheed Hudson during his visit to Tempsford, Bedfordshire. A noted Westland Lysander pilot of the Squadron, Fg Off J A McCairns, is standing extreme left.

The light opposite me flashed to red and I swung my legs into the hole. In a few seconds I should have jumped again down into that prison of Europe and the Halifax would be turning home for England. One will never forget the tension of that moment as the parachutist listens to the slowing down of the engines to stalling speed and then the light flashes to green and one is through the hole and into the rush of the slipstream, then drifting high over the earth in the peace of the moonlight.