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The Euro World War II History Collections 1939 continued

 

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15 September 1939

In Bucharest.

..

The Romanian government grants asylum to

Polish civilian refugees;

military personnel are to be disarmed and interned.

In Germany… German radio broadcasts interviews with British and New Zealander aircrew captured during

 

 

the Wilhelmshaven

 

raid on September 4th.

In Britain…

Motorists besiege

petrol stations,

although no date for rationing has been fixed yet.

In Canada…

The first British trans-Atlantic convoy

sets sail from

Halifax,

Nova Scotia.

From now on all ships carrying vital supplies of Canadian wheat and US munitions are to travel in convoys scheduled and protected by the British and Canadian navies. The first convoy organized during the war sailed from Gibraltar on September 2nd.

 

The vital Glasgow-Thames

coastal trade is now moving in convoys as well.

September.15th

: The Polish Army was ordered to

hold out at the Romanian border until the Allies arrived.[5]

September.16th

 

: The German Army complete the encirclement of

Warsaw. and then 

 

German Army taken this city

16th : The French complete their retreat from Germany,

ending the Saar Offensive

 

16 September

In Poland…

Warsaw is now surrounded but a German ultimatum

is rejected by the Polish garrison,

led by General Czuma,

and

the Warsaw  civil population.

The Poles have already fought off one German assault, inflicting heavy casualties.

This day is also the eve of

the Jewish New Year

 

and Luftwaffe planes dive-bomb the Jewish quarter of

the city.

Part of List’s army is still fighting

west of Lvov

while other units are advancing north to link with

General Guderian’s forces,

who are maintaining their attack along the Bug.

Polish air force bombers make their final sorties.

In Moscow…

The USSR informs the Poland that the Red Army will enter eastern Poland on September 17th “to protect the Ukrainian and Belorussian minorities.”

In Britain…

The Duke of Windsor is appointed a liaison officer with the French army.

In the North Atlantic.. In the first German U-boat attack on a North Atlantic convoy, U-31 sinks

SS Aviemore.

A major escorted convoy leaves Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Canada for Britain.

Sept. 17, 1939, Soviet Foreign Minister

Vyacheslav Molotov

declares that the Polish government has ceased to exist, as the U.S.S.R. exercises the “fine print” of the Hitler-Stalin Non-aggression pact-the invasion and occupation of eastern Poland.to be continued

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The Euro World War II 1939 History Collections Continued

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September.2nd

: The United Kingdom and France

issue a joint ultimatum to Germany,

 

requiring German troops

to evacuate Polish territory;

 

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini

declares the neutrality of his nation;

 

President Douglas Hyde of the Republic of Ireland declares the neutrality of his nation;

 the Swiss government orders a general mobilization of its forces.

2nd : The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 was enacted immediately and enforced full conscription on all males between 18 and 41 resident in the UK.

September.2nd :

 

The Free City of Danzig

 

is annexed by Germany.

 

Fourth Army Operations, 2 September

 

Fourth Army crossed the Brda

during the second day of hostilities,

advancing within a few miles of the Vistula.

The apprehensions about a strong Polish defense line along the Brda did not materialize. The success of the German advance was threatened for a few hours, however,

when Panzer elements of XIX Corps outran their gasoline and ammunition supply.

The Poles failed to gain any but a temporary advantage from this situation, and German supply columns fought their way through

withdrawing Polish units to the stalled tanks.

The Fourth Army gains of 2 September sealed off the Pomorze Army’s 9th Infantry Division and Pomorska Cavalry Brigade, and the 27th Infantry Division, which had been identified farther east in the Corridor. The two Polish infantry divisions were destroyed in a number of attempts to escape through the line formed by the German forces that had crossed the base of the Corridor. The cavalry brigade was shattered in a series of charges against XIX Corps’ armor, pitting mounted lancers against tanks.

The 10th Panzer Division of the army group reserve was shifted to the northeast across Fourth Army’s rear on 2 September. Bock planned to effect a crossing in the northern area of the Corridor with a strong Panzer force as soon as possible.

The Junction of Third and Fourth Armies

Third Army’s XXI Corps identified the Pomorze Army’s 16th Infantry Division in the Grudziadz area on 3 September, and its 4th Infantry Division to the east of the city. Heavy air attacks on the 4th lnfantry Division broke up the Polish threat to the left flank of XXI Corps, and the corps continued to advance southwestward to drive out the Polish 16th Infantry Division and enter Grudziadz. Despite heavy losses, the two Polish divisions succeeded in withdrawing in good order to the south and east, while rear guards fought a strong delaying action within the city itself.

On the Mlawa front the Mazowiecka Cavalry Brigade was identified before Third Army’s Corps Wodrig. The I Corps, supported by the attack of Corps Wodrig from the east, broke into the Mlawa defenses and forced the stubborn defenders to withdraw.

Fourth Army sent the 10th Panzer Division across the Corridor just below Danzig and into East Prussia immediately upon the division’s attachment from army group reserve on 3 September. The 207th Infantry Division turned to the north after the Panzer units had passed, and forced the Polish forces still in the upper area of the Corridor to withdraw toward Gdynia. Other Fourth Army units cleared the area of the lower Corridor, established contact with Third Army units at Nowe Swiecie (Neuenburg), and launched a series of heavy attacks against the Pomorze Army’s 15th Infantry Division in position north of Bydgoszcz.

The first phase of the campaign in the north was completed on 3 September with the linking of the Third, and Fourth Armies. The Pomorze Army force assigned to the defense of the Corridor proper had been destroyed, with a loss of 15,000 men in prisoners alone, 90 field pieces, and large stocks of materiel. The Modlin Army, from which the Germans claimed to have captured 10,000 prisoners, had been forced to withdraw southward from the Mlawa area. The Corridor was cut at base and center. The northern end of the Corridor and the fortress of Westerplatte in Danzig Harbor remained in Polish hands, but under constant attack by German ground, air, and sea forces. The Podlaska Cavalry Brigade of the Narew Group made several local penetrations into East Prussia in the area held by Corps Brand during this period of operations. These actions received much publicity in the foreign press but affected the campaign very little.

 

September.3rd

: At 11:15 a.m. British Standard Time (BST),

 British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announces on BBC Radio that the deadline of the final British ultimatum for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland expired at 11:00am and that “consequently this nation is at war with Germany”.

Australia, India, and New Zealand also declare war on Germany within hours of Britain’s declaration.

3rd : At 12:30pm BST the French Government delivers a similar final ultimatum; which expires at 3:00pm BST.[1]

3rd : Within hours of the British declaration of War, SS Athenia, a British cruise ship en-route from Glasgow, Scotland to Montreal, Canada is torpedoed by the German submarine U-30 250 miles Northwest of Ireland. 112 passengers and crew members are killed. The “Battle of the Atlantic” begins.

September.4th

: At 8:00 a.m. Newfoundland Standard Time (NST), Dominion of Newfoundland declares war on Germany.

4th : In the first British offensive action of the War, the Royal Air Force launch a raid on the German fleet in the Heligoland Bight.

 They target the German pocket-battleship Admiral Scheer anchored off Wilhelmshaven at the western end of the Kiel Canal.

 Several aircraft are lost in the attack and, although the German vessel is hit three times, all of the bombs fail to explode.

September.4th

: Japan announces its neutrality in the European situation. The British Admiralty announced the beginning of a naval blockade on Germany, one of a range of measures by which they waged economic warfare on the Axis Powers

4th : The USA launches the Neutrality Patrol.

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The Euro World War II History Collections 1939

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1st September 1939

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Blitzkrieg
At 4:45 on the morning of September 1, 1939

(the morning following the staged attack),

 

 

 German troops entered Poland. The sudden, immense attack by the Germans was called

 

a Blitzkrieg (“lightening war”).

The term “Blitzkrieg” was coined by Western newspapermen to convey

 

 

the rapid and mechanized German attack on Poland.

The German air attack

 

 

hit so quickly that most of Poland’s air force was destroyed while still on the ground.

 

To hinder Polish mobilization,

 German-troops-entering-Poland-after-the-blitzkrieg-September-1939.JPG

the Germans bombed bridges and roads. Groups of marching soldiers were machine-gunned from the air.

But the Germans did not just aim for soldiers, they also shot at civilians. Groups of fleeing civilians often found themselves under attack. The more confusion and chaos the Germans could create, the slower Poland could mobilize its forces.

Using 62 divisions, six of which were armored and ten mechanized, the Germans invaded Poland by land. Poland was not defenseless, but they could not compete with Germany’s motorized army. With only 40 divisions, none of which were armored, and with nearly their entire air force demolished, the Poles were at a severe disadvantage – Polish cavalry were no match for German tanks.

 

Declarations of War
On September 1,1939

 the beginning of the German attack, Great Britain and France sent Hitler an ultimatum – withdraw German forces from Poland or Great Britain and France would go to war against Germany. World War Two had begun.

The attack on Poland

Poland was attacked by Germany

on September 1st 1939.

The German attack was code-named Operation White (Fall Weiss). The attack on Poland started at 04.45 hours when blitzkrieg tore through the Polish military and by the end of the month Poland had surrendered to the Germans and the country was occupied.

read more info

WORLD WAR II 1939

adolf-hitler.jpg
Adolf Hitler – Hitler, along with Mussolini, Stalin, Franco, Tojo, etc., represented a rise in fascism that would result in the outbreak of World War II.

German-troops-entering-Poland-after-the-blitzkrieg-September-1939.JPG
Blitzkreig – The German invasion of Poland, on September 1, 1939, igniting World War II.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

-

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 

in September 1939.

These figures do show that the victory was not as easy as the very short time span and simple statistics might indicate. In total, 90,000 Polish military personnel escaped to either Hungary or Rumania and a number of Polish airman fought with distinction in the Battle of Britain.

on 1 September 1939

 

03. Invasion of Poland

Finally accepting that Germany could not be appeased Britain and France stepped up their rearmament programmes and gave guarantees to Poland, Hitler’s next target.

After signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviets, Hitler demanded territorial concessions from the Poles. These were refused and the Germans attacked on 1 September 1939. Britain and France declared war two days later. The Second World War had begun.

A British anti-aircraft gun, 1939.

To be continued

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The Euro World War II History Collections part Prolog 1939

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February,15th.1939

Photo: this is the german promotional postal staioner card durin Nazi era pre WWII in 1939

Kiessling &Schiefner Dresden

 on  6 cent Hindenbverg postal stationer card send from Desden 15.2.1939 to Mr L.Christ  Neurenberg,

Photo: this is the written Nazi salut heil Hitler and local revenue of the cad below,more info click hhtp://www.iwansuwandy.wordpress.com

 

at back  promotional picture of Hus un Kundhegerate Hotelbedarf Aufrag fur  Fa, L.Christ

Place 3 pieces waiter number one varietal vergoldest, emaeilliert with 1:30 sichcherheitsnadel gross count 1-12.
Heil Hitler!
hand sign Kiessling & Sciefner chopped on delcredere token Nord Sud eGmbH Dresden gottig nuf for delkrendere tolerate Lieteranten revenue 20 RM and 10 RM

Original in germany

Je 3 stuck kellner  nummern sorte 1  vergoldest,emaeilliert mit sichcherheitsnadel  brutto 1.30 Zahl 1-12.

Heil Hitler !

Photo: look the closed up salut heil hitler and local revenue of germany nazi era 1939 pre WW III

handSign Kiessling & Sciefner chopped on  Delkredere Wertmarke Nord Sud E.G.M.B.H  Dresden gottig nuf fur  delkrendere vertrage Lieteranten 10 und 20 RM

Interesting

 

the Hitler salut Heil Hitler ! on this card

(Courtecy dr Iwan suwandy,found at Kotakinibalu sabah(before Yeseltown North Borneo)

look the same card

Reklame Ak Kiessling & Schiefner, Kinderzimmer

postally used 1939, blotchy, corners bumped, otherwise good condition

 
Reklame Ak Kiessling & Schiefner, Kinderzimmer

Backside Reklame Ak Kiessling & Schiefner, Kinderzimmer

 
 

March,10th.1939

Photo: this is another germany Bhoeringer Promotional leaflet send to Indonesia in 1939 pre WWII

The rare C.F.Boeringer &Sohned G.m.b.H ,Mannheim-Waldhof  promotional(reclame)  Perlaten-Calcium  in Climacterium card folder send from CDs Manheim  10.3.39 special nazi postmark Deutch reich 5 cent to Dr Thung Sin Nio (the frist Chinese overseas medical docter  of Indonesia University)Batavia-centrum(now Central Jakarta)

Photo: this is inside of Bhoeringer promotional leaflet sedn to Indonesia in 1939 inside the leaflet below,medicine promotion

(courtecy Dr Iwan found at Jakarta in 1994)

The pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim was founded in 1885 by

 

 Albert Boehringer (1861-1939)

in Ingelheim am Rhein.

 From its beginnings in 1885 when it employed just 28 people in Nieder-Ingelheim, the company has since become a global enterprise.

As part of research and development activities for innovative drugs, the company focuses primarily on the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, diseases of the central nervous system, metabolic diseases, virological diseases and oncology.

Boehringer Ingelheim is a global group of companies embracing many cultures and diverse societies. Learn more about the financial highlights, the corporate vision, the organisation, the Board of Managing Directors and the company’s history as well as our engagement for scientific, cultural and environmental purposes

March,13th

.1939

Hitler’s Ambitions

Adolf Hitler wanted more land, especially in the east, to expand Germany according to the Nazi policy of lebensraum. Hitler used the harsh limitations that were set against Germany in the Versailles Treaty as a pretext for Germany’s right to acquire land where German-speaking people lived. Germany successfully used this reasoning to envelop two entire countries without starting a war.

 

 

 Invasion of Poland

Finally accepting that Germany could not be appeased Britain and France stepped up their rearmament programmes and gave guarantees to Poland, Hitler’s next target.

After signing a non-aggression pact with the Soviets, Hitler demanded territorial concessions from the Poles. These were refused and the Germans attacked on 1 September 1939. Britain and France declared war two days later. The Second World War had begun.

A British anti-aircraft gun, 1939.

NAM. 1985-04-49-47

 

 Commonwealth at war

On the outbreak of war in 1939 the British Army comprised 50 regular and Territorial divisions. Many of these troops were stationed throughout the world. Over 50,000 soldiers were based in India and garrisons east of Suez.

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) that was dispatched to France in 1939 consisted of only ten divisions. This force was relatively small compared with those of other combatants. But in addition to their own Army, the British could draw on additional divisions from Australia, Canada, South Africa, West Africa, East Africa and New Zealand. There were also around 200,000 men of the Indian Army stationed on the Indian sub-continent.

General Gamelin, the French Commander-in-Chief, inspects Canadian troops at Aldershot, 1939.

NAM. 1985-04-49-79

 

.

Soldiers wearing the new battledress and equipment issued to all branches of the Army in 1939.

NAM. 1975-03-63-1-75

 

 

 

Derrick joined the RAF early in 1939

 

 and trained as a Wireless Operator (Passing out on 06.05.40), later retraining as a Wireless Operator Mechanic (Wom) (07.03.41) after which he was posted to No.12 WI (Wireless Interception) screen

Northern Ireland where he was to occupy a farm cottage on the border of Northern Ireland and Eire to maintain a listening watch, along with another RAF wireless operator and six soldiers to act as guards

 (I believe this to be part of the “Y” service but cannot get confirmation of it), whilst here in Northern Ireland, his home base was RAF Aldergrove, and it was on one of his regular visits to collect his pay he heard that due to the introduction of the new four engine bombers, as well as to enemy action there was a shortage of Air Gunners and they were recruiting for replacements, Derrick volunteered and on completion of his training (20.07.41) he was eventually transferred to Coastal Command.

March ,14th, 1939,

 

 Hitler made it clear that he intended to force

the central Czechoslovakian government to give Slovakia its independence, which would make the “rump” Czech state “even more completely at our mercy,” remarked Hermann Goering.

Slovakia indeed declared its “independence” (in fact, complete dependence on Germany) on March 14, 1939, with the threat of invasion squelching all debate within the Czech province

March ,15th.1939

1939 Nazis take Czechoslovakia

On this day, Hitler’s forces invade and occupy Czechoslovakia–a nation sacrificed on the altar of the Munich Pact, which was a vain attempt to prevent Germany’s imperial aims.


Then, on March 15, 1939, during a meeting with Czech President Emil Hacha–a man considered weak, and possibly even senile–Hitler threatened a bombing raid against Prague, the Czech capital, unless he obtained from Hacha free passage for German troops into Czech borders.

He got it. That same day, German troops poured into Bohemia and Moravia. The two provinces offered no resistance, and they were quickly made a protectorate of Germany. By evening, Hitler made a triumphant entry into Prague.

The Munich Pact, which according to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had purchased “peace in our time,” was actually a mere negotiating ploy by the Hitler, only temporarily delaying the Fuhrer’s blood

July 1939

July,14th.1939

 Photo: this is another Nazi Promotional postmark of Merz Jodo Muc,all collections look at with click hhtp//www.Driwancybermuseum.wordpress.com

 

The Fragment postal used cover with Promotion Machinal postmark  Merz  Jodo Muc  der sanitarer in der Westentasche  deutch reichpost 0.65 CDS Frankfurt(mann.) stadt des Deutchen Handwerks14.7.39 n red ink

August 1939

Messerschmitt 110

The Messerschmitt 110 was originally designed as a twin engined fighter. The Messerschmitt 110 first flew in May 1936 and by August 1939, the Luftwaffe had 159 110Cs available for the blitzkrieg attack on Poland.
The Me 110 proved a valuable plane to the Luftwaffe in the Polish campaign — though it was up against old fashioned fighters in the Polish Air Force.

The German Army that crossed into Poland on September 1 had with it more than 200 Ju87s for support, and the years between the Spanish Civil War and the Poland invasion provided now-General Richthofen with time to experiment with new techniques for controlling close air support missions.


Named the “air commander for special purposes,” his main contribution to the development of CAS was the creation of four Special Air Detachments. Traveling with army division commanders and using armored cars, these units were sent to General von Reichenau’s Tenth Army to experiment calling in precision air strikes.

When not being used for direct support work, Stukas were used throughout the campaign to attack bridges, fortifications, and other “hard” targets. Some early lessons in the vulnerability of the Stuka operating alone could have been taught had the Poles used a unified, coherent command for their air force.

They did not. Contrary to most reports, the Polish Air Force was NOT destroyed on the ground in the first day, but rather sent to dispersal fields, where interaction with larger air units was difficult at best.

 

The Polish Air Force was therefore unable to stop the widespread attacks by the Stukas as they protected the German army’s flanks and blasted targets at or near front lines. While the attack on Poland is often considered the first real Blitzkrieg,

it was a far more traditional attack. Points of resistance were simply bypassed, trading distance for all else. Air power preserved the flanks of the German advances and froze Polish units, who usually found themselves surrounded by the German army in large pockets.

When the Polish Army finally launched a major counteroffensive on the flanks of the fast-moving German army, they became early martyrs to the effectiveness of airpower. On September 9, about 170,000 Polish forces gathered and attacked German forces near Poznan. The attack briefly looked like it would work, cutting the 10th Army off from its logistics trail.

Unfortunately for the Poles, the 10th was the unit with von Richthofen’s Special Air Detachments. Quickly, the attacking Poles found themselves under withering dive-bombing from Stukas and constant strafing by Hs123 biplanes (the Hs123 was the German’s premier ground attack strafer for the first several years of the war). However, it wasn’t just the dive bomber and ground attack assets of the Luftwaffe that were used.

Any available aircraft in the theater was sent to plug the gap. Horses, still crucial to both Polish and German ground forces, panicked under the air attacks; their troops did little better. Stukas had been fitted with sirens on their wings, and the Hs123′s engine sounded like a loud machine gun itself at low altitude. The effect on the fresh Polish troops, who had never come under air attack, was total. It was an utter route, and 1,700 sorties later, the Luftwaffe has effectively crushed the Polish counterattack.

Polish General Kutrzeba

described the scene:

“Towards ten o’clock, a furious air assault was made on the river crossings near Witkovice – which for the number of aircraft engaged, the violence of their attack, and the acrobatic daring of their pilots, must have been unprecedented. Every moment, every troop concentration, every line of advance, came under pulverizing bombardment from the air. It was just hell on earth. The bridges were destroyed, the fords blocked, and the waiting columns of men decimated.”

Although the battle for Poland was handily won by the Germans, air power theorists such as von Richthofen still saw much room for improvement. A wide range of issues had arisen from the actual application of the theory of the Special Air Attachments. Army officers didn’t feel the need to call in air strikes as much as they could have, and there were the inevitable SNAFUs of radio frequencies and target identification.

The fact that the Polish campaign really was more a battle of encirclement rather than a true concentrated armor attack also weighed heavily. Largely free of concentrated attacks, the Stukas were used to protect the flanks of German units and strike point targets.

 

Operational Doctrine
Much of the operational doctrine was based upon French strategic planning which by the late 1930s was inadequate to deal with Germany’s mechanized war (Zaloga and Madej, 1991).
Each army was allotted its own air units, usually made up of two squadrons of P.7 fighters or P.12 air defence/ ground attack aircraft.
In addition one reconnaissance squadron made up of eight to ten P.23 Karas light bombers and one or two observation squadrons made up the Lotnictwo Wojskowe attachments to the army.

While Poland had some 300 fighters (Zaloga and Madej, 1991; Koniarek, 1994; Zamoyski, 1995) only 10% were in combat condition. The remainder were either in a training role or undergoing repair prior to the outbreak of war.
The Karas bombers numbered around 240 and never really fulfilled its role as a light bomber or ground attack aircraft.
The P.37 Los bomber was more advanced in design, but only 75 available for combat duty in 1939.

War in the Air
Numerous authors (Davies, 1981, Zaloga and Madej, 1991; Koniarek, 1994; Zamoyski, 1995) have attempted to correct historical myth surrounding the role of the Lotnictwo Wojskowe. The airforce was not destroyed on the airfields on the 1st

September 1939.
Most aircraft were dispersed to secret airfields and the Luftwaffe primarily shot-up and bombed empty airfileds obscured by early morning mist. Air defences concentrated on air cover over Warsaw as the prime objective that enabled the Luftwaffe air superiority to disrupt mobilization of the army.

The military high command requested low-level raids on advancing German columns that proved to be very wasteful in planes. While most air units quickly retreated into the heartland of Poland, spares and fuel became an increasing problem.
Communication between units and the army broke down and in some cases units were requested to carry out tactical support against an army which could outgun them or take on a superior airforce.
Pilots and ground-crew fought heroically with limited resources and often found ‘friendly-fire’ was as lethal as taking on the enemy (Zamoyski, 1995). As planes moved from airfield to airfield, ground crews struggled to rendezvous and quite often became separated for up to three days before rejoining their squadrons.
These experiences shaped tactical policy which were put to good effect, but not in this theatre of the war.

<span>PZL Los B, Bomber Brigade</span>

On the 3rd September

onwards all units were to withdraw to southeastern Poland in order to re-group. All personnel and reservists had by now been called up.
By the 5th September,

the physical intervention by Britain and France had not materialized and the airforce had lost 30% of its aircraft. Zamoyski, (1995) pointed out that 14 Hurricanes and 36 Fairey Battles having being loaded aboard ships in Liverpool bound for Gdynia were rerouted to the Rumanian port of Galti on the Black Sea once hostilities commenced.
On the 10th September

200 pilots and technical staff were ordered to Rumania to collect replacement machines. Unfortunately, Rumania under German pressure rescinded its alliance with Poland and became neutral while 6,000 airforce personnel massed on the border.
The ship carrying its valuable cargo had passed Gibraltar as Rumanian neutrality was announced and unknown to the Poles, the ship was once again re-routed.
From the 16th September onwards,

combat casualties to aircraft and personnel escalated with squadrons being annihilated or simply running out of fuel and spares.
On the 17th September

100 war planes and 50 civilian aircraft flew into Rumania to an airfield at Galati. The crews suddenly realized the war was over and that Rumania, Britain and France had not supported them in their hour of need.
Most airmen were reasonably well treated. Polish army units began to cross the Rumanian border shortly afterwards.
In Eastern Poland, the Polish army and airforce were engaging both the German and Soviets and continued to fight hard until 6th October.

In the aftermath, it appeared significant numbers of military personnel had escaped and started their campaign in exile. The navy had escaped and Poland’s gold reserves too thanks

to the planning of General Rayski.
900 airforce personnel had made their way to Hungary and approximately 1,000 to the Baltic States of Latvia and Lithunia. Another 1,500 had been captured by the Soviets and sent to the gulags — many did not survive (Anders, 1949; Zamoyski, 1995).
Security at the internment camps was poor and the inmates too keen to get to France and Britain to fight while in exile. 90,000 Polish military personnel were to be clandestinely removed from the Balkans through an underground network.
Britain was acutely short of trained airmen who were given priority together with the elements of the Enigma decoding material Zamoyski, 1995:39).

Aircraft camouflage of 1939 campaign

Since 1937 Polish Air Force standardised camouflage schemes on all of its aircraft. There were four basic schemes:
Upper surfaces of wings and elevators and entire fuselage in Khaki. Lower wing and elevator surfaces in Light Blue. The most used scheme.
Upper surfaces camouflaged in three colors: Light Olive, Dark Olive, Khaki. Lower surfaces Sliver or Light Blue for fighter. Color edges feathered or splintered.
Trainer aircraft were painted overall Khaki. Overall Sliver or Overall Ivory White.
Sea aircraft were painted Light Green-Grey on the upper and Silver on the lower surfaces and floats.
Generally all aircraft produced by PZL and LWS carried scheme no. 1. Scheme no. 2 was typical for Lublin R-XIII.

Color Name
Comment Federal Standard
Equivalent Humbrol

Light Khaki
Upper surfaces of fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. Also present in Lublin R-XIII camouflage. In their entirety for training airplanes 30118
Hu:142

Dark Khaki
Upper surfaces of bombers as the PZL 37 “Los” 30097
5pHu:110 + 1pHu:33 + 1pHu:10

Light Olive
Upper camouflage of R-XIII 34151 Hu:151
Dark Green
Upper camouflage of R-XIII 34097
2pHu:80 + 1pHu:116

Ochre
Upper camouflage of R-XIII 33245
Hu:63

Light Blue
Lower surfaces of camouflaged R-XIII 35550
6pHu:34 + 1pHu:25 + 1pHu:89 + 2pHu:64

Light Blue-Grey
Lower surfaces of fighter and bomber 36329
7pHu:87 + 3pHu:34

Sea Grey
Sea aircraft 34410
6pHu:90 + 5pHu:34 + 1pHu:76 + 1pHu:64

Silver
Lower surfaces of reconnaissance aircraft (even some R-XIII) and cockpit interiors. 17178
Hu:191

 

August,22th.1939

 

1939, Germany and the Soviet Union sign a non-aggression pact, stunning the world, given their diametrically opposed ideologies. But the dictators were, despite appearances, both playing to their own political needs.

After Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Britain had to decide to what extent it would intervene should Hitler continue German expansion. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, at first indifferent to Hitler’s capture of the Sudetenland, the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia, suddenly snapped to life when Poland became threatened. He made it plain that Britain would be obliged to come to the aid of Poland in the event of German invasion. But he wanted, and needed, an ally. The only power large enough to stop Hitler, and with a vested interest in doing so, was the Soviet Union. But Stalin was cool to Britain after its effort to create a political alliance with Britain and France against Germany had been rebuffed a year earlier. Plus, Poland’s leaders were less than thrilled with the prospect of Russia becoming its guardian; to them, it was simply occupation by another monstrous regime.

Hitler believed that Britain would never take him on alone, so he decided to swallow his fear and loathing of communism and cozy up to the Soviet dictator, thereby pulling the rug out from the British initiative. Both sides were extremely suspicious of the other, trying to discern ulterior motives. But Hitler was in a hurry; he knew if he was to invade Poland it had to be done quickly, before the West could create a unified front. Agreeing basically to carve up parts of Eastern Europe-and leave each other alone in the process-Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, flew to Moscow and signed the non-aggression pact with his Soviet counterpart, V.M. Molotov (which is why the pact is often referred to as the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact). Supporters of bolshevism around the world had their heretofore romantic view of “international socialism” ruined; they were outraged that Stalin would enter into any kind of league with the fascist dictator

  On August 23, 1939,

    

 

 the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, a non-aggression treaty which contained an additional secret protocol with maps, in which a demarcation line through Eastern Europe was drawn, dividing it into the German and Soviet interest zones. Bessarabia was among the regions assigned to Soviet sphere of interest by the Pact. Article III of its Secret Additional Protocol states:

With regard to Southeastern Europe attention is called by the Soviet side to its interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete political disinterestedness in these areas

 

 August,28th.1939

1939:The Heinkel He 178,

 

 

the first jet-plane takes to the air with Erich Warsitz at the controls.

Just five days before the German attack on Poland, and the beginning of WWII the tiny plane lifts off the airfield of Rostock-Marienehe.
The story of this airplane is not just about building the aircraft as well as the constructing of the engine to power it.


Heinkel received a letter of Proff. Robert W. Pohl from the Göttingen University in March 1936.

In it he explained that there was a young student by the name of Pabst Von Ohain who was working on the principle of jet propulsion and who needed the necessary funds to continue his research.

Heinkel was very busy creating ever faster airplanes and was interested. He invited Von Ohain on March 17th 1936 to explain his ideas.

 


Soon after, Von Ohain and his mechanic Max Hahn were working at the Heinkel plant on his He S 2. (together with a few men from the Heinkel factory under guidance of Dipl-Ing. Wilhelm Gundermann). The He S 2 ran on hydrogen and was only build to demonstrate the idea. This engine ran in March or April 1937. ( On April 12th ’37 Frank Wittle undertook his first test-run in England).
The engine for the He 178 however was the He S 3 wich was ready for flight-testing in the summer of 1938 (He S 3A). This engine was tested in the air whilst hanging under a He 119 dive-bomber prototype. After several test-flights the jet-engine is destroyed in a fire because of leaking fuel-line. The experiences lead to the He S 3B engine, and it is this engine that ends up in the He 178. It has a thrust of about 450kg.

At the same time as Ohain starts to develop his engine a team of Heinkel employees was set to work on developing the airplane that was to be powered by the new jet-engine.
A mock-up was build and ready on August the 8th 1938. Some of the developers were: Karl Schwarzler ( head of construction) and the brothers Siegfried and Walter Gunther (aerodynamics). A second prototype was constructed either at the same time or a little later. This plane was pretty much the same as the first one although it had a bigger wing and a retractable undercarriage.

First prototype during rolling.

Second prototype.

The pilot Erich warsitz was chief pilot at the Peenemunde experimental rocket station and was on loan to Heinkel.(on June 20th he flew the first rocket plane, the He 176).

He had flown with the He 119 airplane to find out the handling of the jet-engine and was the only flier involved to make the flight in the first jet-plane.
During the first flight a speed of 600 km/h was reached and the flight lasted some 7 minutes. On finals Warsitz notices that one fuel-pump has stopped working but it doesn’t affect the flight. After landing mechanics lift Proff. Ernst Heinkel on there shoulders as everybody present cheers

 August,25th.1939

 

‘Not Forgotten’, the 1939 IRA bomb attack – by Simon Shaw

John Corbett Arnott aged 15.
Elsie Ansell aged 21.
Rex Gentle aged 30.
Gwilym Rowlands aged 50.
James Clay aged 82.

On 12th January 1939 the Irish Republican Army, claiming to be the “Government of the Irish Republic”, issued an ultimatum to the British Government. It gave them four days to withdraw all British armed forces stationed in Ireland and declare that they would renounce all claims to interfere in Irish domestic policy. If they received no response, they said they would be compelled to intervene actively in the military and commercial life of Great Britain. Four days passed with no reply so a campaign known as the “S-Plan” was launched against Britain. This mainly involved bombing commercial premises, sabotaging electricity supplies, blowing up telephone kiosks, public lavatories, mail boxes and railway stations. Coventry was mentioned by name in the I.R.A. plans, which had singled out its electricity supply as a prime target. Civilians were not supposed to be targeted.

Remains of the bicycle in Little Park Street Police Museum, Coventry The remains of the bicycle, now in Coventry’s Police Museum, Little Park Street.
(Photograph by Simon Shaw with permission of West Midlands Police. Unauthorised reproduction may result in prosecution.)

Unless you have a reasonably good knowledge of local history the five names at the start of this article will probably not be familiar to you. They are the forgotten victims of the worst terrorist attack Coventry has ever suffered. On 25th August 1939 all of them had the misfortune to be in Broadgate. It was a busy Friday lunchtime. Elsie Ansell, a shop assistant at Millet’s in nearby Cross Cheaping, was on her lunch break and looking at jewellery in the H Samuel shop. She was due to be married a fortnight later. Gwilym Rowlands, known as Bill, was a road sweeper. He and his colleague (John Worth) were working outside Astley’s and Burton’s shops. John Arnott and Rex Gentle both worked at W H Smiths and were returning after their lunch break. Rex had changed his lunch hour so he could spend it with John. James Clay had left a meeting at a nearby cafe with a business friend earlier than usual due to not feeling well. This was the first time in six years the two friends had not left at the same time. Around 2:30 pm these people and many others were in the vicinity of Astley’s shop when the normal hustle and bustle of the city centre was shattered by an I.R.A. bomb.

Ironically, in the city that is regarded as its British birthplace, a bicycle played an instrumental part in the mass murder and carnage that shocked the nation.

Broadgate in 1939. A typical Broadgate day in 1939 – just as it would have appeared shortly before the tragic event of August the 25th.

On Tuesday 22nd August 1939 James McCormick (alias James Richards), the leader of the I.R.A. unit operating in Coventry, and another unknown I.R.A. man visited the shop of the Halford Cycle Company in Smithford Street, where McCormick purchased a Halford ‘Karriwell’ – a tradesman type cycle built for Halford by the Birmingham Bicycle Company which had a carrier basket to the front of the handlebars. He gave a false name and address – Mr Norman, 56 Grayswood Avenue, Allesley Old Road, Coventry – and paid a deposit of £5 – pledging to pay the remaining 19s 6d on collection, which would be either Friday or Saturday. On the morning of Thursday 24th August 1939 another unknown I.R.A. man began constructing the bomb at 25 Clara Street, Stoke, Coventry. The house was being rented from Loveitt & Sons by Joseph Hewitt who lived there with his wife Mary, their baby child Brigid Mary and his mother-in-law, Brigid O’Hara. After marrying his wife at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast, in August 1935, Hewitt came to Coventry in 1936 to find work. His wife and mother-in-law soon followed. Their baby was born in Coventry in 1938. They moved to Clara Street from Meadow Street, Spon End in June 1939. James McCormick lodged with them. It was effectively a ‘safe-house’ for the I.R.A. where McCormick had constructed a concrete storage pit under the stairs a few weeks earlier to store explosives, but the Hewitt’s were not part of the organisation. That evening, at around 7:00 pm, a Transport Officer in the I.R.A. called Peter Barnes arrived at the house from London. He had travelled by train and brought with him potassium chlorate to be used as the explosive in the device. Barnes’ role in the I.R.A. was to ferry explosives from their main ammunition dumps in Liverpool and Glasgow to their operatives across the country. He left later in the evening and returned to London.

The unknown bomb maker completed his task the following morning. It was a 5lb device with an alarm clock used as the timer. The bicycle was collected from Halford’s by McCormick at 12:30 pm and left in the back lane (known as a jetty) at the rear of the house around 1:10 pm. By this stage the bomb had been parcelled up in a box that was wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string. The bomb maker placed it in the carrier basket and began his journey into town. Sometime between 1:30 and 1:45 pm the bicycle with its deadly cargo was left standing against the kerb outside Astley’s shop where it was to shortly explode with such devastating consequences.

Many victims of terrorism or political conflict are totally forgotten about once the initial outrage or shock has died down. Just a week or so after the Coventry bomb, Great Britain declared war on Germany, and a year or so later our city was to suffer carnage on a much greater scale with the blitz of 14th November 1940. Perhaps these events helped play a part in effectively ‘burying’ the tragedy that took place in August 1939?

* * * * *

Part of the carrier cycle lying in front of the damaged car Part of the carrier cycle lying in front of the damaged car.

An excellent book called “Lost Lives” was first published in 1999. It attempts to record all those who died in the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’ from the 1960′s through to the ceasefires of the 1990′s and beyond. It is an incredibly poignant and moving book which had me in tears on several occasions. Below I give a few details of Coventry’s “Lost Lives” which were gleaned from contemporary newspaper reports and kindly provided by relatives:

Elsie Ansell, (also called Laura in Newspaper reports) from Clarendon Street, Earlsdon, died instantly. Her face was blown away and her body terribly mutilated. She could only be identified by her engagement ring and clothing. Instead of being married at St. Barbara’s Church to her fiancé Harry Davies her funeral service took place there instead on August 30th. On top of her coffin was a wreath of cream roses from Harry. The coffin bearers were from the nearby Albany Social Club. A crowd of 600 to 700 people were at London Road cemetery to see her laid to rest. She was buried in her wedding dress.

John Corbett Arnott, from Daimler Road in Radford, was the youngest victim of the atrocity. After leaving Radford School he went to work for W H Smith in town. With his curly hair and glasses he was a familiar face to many Coventrians through selling newspapers and magazines at the store. At first it was thought his body was actually that of a Mr Hollander of Coundon Road as young John had a bill in his pocket for this man which he was due to deliver. He was buried at London Road cemetery on August 29th with around 100 mourners in attendance. On August 30th the Midland Daily Telegraph published this letter from John’s mother:

Dear Mr Editor

Will you please print my thanks where you will, but I feel I would like to put into print my thoughts as well. The doctors and nurses tried to save my boy’s life but God said “No.”

The kind thoughts of the people go to help me bear my cross. We all have a cross to bear, and when I look at others plight, I feel my cross is only light.

To the kind nurses who took me to kiss him “Good-bye” thanks, and I’ll always remember the youngest nurse’s sweet face. God gave me these words in the loneliness of the night when his little sister was sleeping by my side. Once again thanks for all your kindness, I’ll never forget.

Rex Gentle Rex Gentle

Rex Gentle was born on 3rd April 1909 in Newtown, Montgomeryshire in Wales. He was an identical twin. He left Newtown, where he was engaged to May Hart, to do relief work at W. H. Smith. While in Coventry he lodged with the Arnott family in Daimler Road. Rex had only been in the city for a couple of weeks.

On the day of the explosion, his twin brother Jack was working in Newtown. In the afternoon he was sent home from work suffering from a severe headache. It is often said that when one identical twin suffers pain the other can feel it – Rex had indeed suffered severe head injuries.

After the explosion, word reached the Gentle family in Wales that Rex had been badly injured in an incident in Coventry. His parents could not travel so his twin brother Jack and his wife Rene made the unenviable journey to Coventry. On the train, Jack turned to his wife and told her that he knew his brother, who he was very close to, was dead – again, when he said this it turned out to be almost to the minute that Rex did pass away. When the couple arrived in Coventry a trial blackout was in operation in preparation for the probable forthcoming war with Germany. They could not find the hospital so approached a policeman, who, knowing about the bomb, took them there. Jack was needed to identify his brother but apparently passed out, so his wife Rene carried out the traumatic task. The body was covered in bandages and she identified Rex by his mouth. While they were at the hospital the manager of W.H. Smith paid a visit and had an almighty shock when he saw Rex’s identical twin brother Jack – he thought it was Rex! The same thing happened when a sister of the twins in Birmingham was visited. Jack and Rene called on her to break the bad news. She opened the door with, “Hello Rex! What are you doing back here?” Jack explained that he wasn’t Rex and informed her of what had happened in nearby Coventry.

Jack and Rene Gentle returned to Birmingham for the trial of those charged with murdering Elsie Ansell. The Coroner’s report of the injuries suffered by the victims was so bad that Rene arranged for their relatives to be able to choose to leave the court room while it was read out. She stayed in the room and Jack left. Despite asking her about what she heard she never told him – the injuries being so horrific.

In 1966 the husband of Jack Gentle’s daughter Marie was shown round the police museum at Little Park Street where the remains of the bicycle and some of the evidence gathered during the investigation are kept in a simple glass cabinet. It must have been an upsetting experience to say the least.

Rex Gentle, who was much loved by his family and fondly remembered by them to this day, was buried in Newtown after a service at the local Baptist church.

Gwilym Rowlands, of Poole Road, Radford, worked for the Highways Department of the Coventry Corporation. His wife Mary Ann had the grim task of identifying his body at the public mortuary at 5:00pm on the day of the explosion. His funeral service took place at St. Nicholas Church and he was buried in the adjacent graveyard. A large crowd of mourners were in attendance and the wreaths included one from the Radford Social Club and another from the Transport & General Workers Union, Cheylesmore branch.

James Clay, the eldest victim, was Coventry born and bred but lived at Clarendon Road, Kenilworth. A widower and a grandfather, he was a former President of the Coventry & District Co-operative Society and was working as a Confidential Clerk for C.A. Gray & Son, Printers, of Broadgate. James was a trained printer who took a keen interest in education, being a member of the old Coventry school board, founding the P.S.A. movement in Coventry and also was secretary of the Co-operative Society educational classes. He was also associated with Sunday school work at Warwick Road Church. His burial took place at Kenilworth cemetery on the August 30th and was well attended.

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In addition to the dead some 70 others were injured including 12 seriously. Most were treated at the Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital. Twelve blood donors were called on following the explosion and were praised for their quick attendance at the hospital. Extensive damage was caused to 43 business premises in Broadgate and nearby streets. Astley’s and its adjacent shops – Burton and Manfields – were hit badly as was Sketchley’s directly across the road.

Alexander Ballinger was the manager of Astley’s at the time. When the bomb went off he was standing near the front window. The whole frontage of the shop was blown inside and he was blown off his feet suffering several cuts to his knee, right hand, nose and head. He was clearly lucky to survive.

Robert Kinsella was another who had a lucky escape. He was walking past Burton’s towards Astley’s when the bomb exploded. He described what happened:

The scene of the explosion directly after the occurrence The scene of the explosion directly after the occurrence.

“There was a violent explosion that threw me to the ground. I picked myself up and I could see there had been terrible damage done. There were a lot of people lying about on the ground, but the first person I went to was, I believe, old James Clay, whom I picked up; I could see from his injuries he was almost dead. Of course, I then found I was bleeding very badly myself, and I went to the hospital.” (He had suffered injuries to his shoulder, feet, stomach and leg.)

John Worth was sweeping the gutter outside Burton’s while his colleague Bill Rowlands was sweeping the pavement outside Astley’s. John was at the back of the parked saloon car (see picture) when the explosion occurred. He escaped with injuries to both arms and a thigh.

Youngsters Ian Adams and his cousin were on a bus in Corporation Street when they heard a loud boom. They were on their way to see Will Hay in a film called “Oh Mr Porter!”. Reaching Broadgate minutes later, they were stopped by a police officer and discovered that what they had heard on the bus was actually a bomb going off. The road was closed and the policeman directed them via a different route to the cinema. After the film the two lads returned via Broadgate where the debris was still being cleared up. Much of it was dumped at a tip on Four Pounds Avenue. (When Ian grew up he served in the Special Branch and in early 2010 his excellent book about this I.R.A. campaign and the reaction to it, called “The Sabotage Plan”, was published.)

Prior to this attack the I.R.A. had carried out numerous missions in Coventry. These included bombing telephone inspection chambers, public toilets and commercial premises. In The Sabotage Plan, Ian Adams details several attacks carried out on a single day in the spring of 1939:

On 23rd of March, there were four explosions in underground telephone inspection chambers. The first explosion, at 7.15am was in the Cheylesmore area, and shattered the glass in numerous windows. The bomb blew heavy pieces of metal into a nearby engineering works, and damaged telephone lines, lampposts, and surrounding houses. Three hours later, there was a similar explosion in a telephone junction box in Quinton Road which hurled fragments of the iron box and pieces of concrete paving over a wide area, and through the glass roof of a nearby factory. During the lunch hour there was a third explosion, in an inspection chamber of the electric transformer station at Gosford Green. John Martin, a passer-by, was injured. A fourth explosion in the afternoon, in Coundon Road, hurled a heavy iron manhole cover through the roof of St. Osburg’s Roman Catholic presbytery, the church my parents and I often attended, and a Corporation bus was damaged, but nobody was injured. Balloons filled with nitric acid detonated all the bombs. The explosions disrupted many telephone lines.

In June an unexploded bomb was found near a petrol dump. They also bombed the cloakroom at Coventry Rail Station. The device exploded at 6:45 am on July 2nd. Refreshment staff had bedrooms directly above the cloakroom and eight of them had a lucky escape as fortunately the building did not collapse. They were severely shaken but escaped injury. A couple of weeks before the deadly attack on Broadgate an allotment at the rear of Armfield Street was rocked by an explosion leaving a crater two feet deep and three feet wide. A shed was blown to smithereens and two men were seen running from the scene onto Bell Green Road where they boarded a tram and escaped. The local I.R.A. unit stored explosives here and due to carelessness accidentally ignited them. This explains why the explosive used on August 25th was brought to Coventry from Liverpool via London. Up until this point the police believed that an I.R.A. unit operating from Birmingham was carrying out attacks in Coventry.

The aftermath of the Broadgate bomb led to tension between locals and the Irish community in Coventry. It was estimated that over 2,000 Irish people were working in Coventry’s factories at the time. There were calls for all Irish workers to be sacked and on the day that inquests began into the deaths, 2,000 workers at Armstrong Whitworth in Baginton downed tools at lunchtime and marched to Pool Meadow to protest against the I.R.A., stressing that the protest was “not directed against peaceful Irishmen.” From Pool Meadow they marched through the city centre and held a rally at Market Square where their numbers swelled to 3,000 with shoppers and other workers joining them. A deputation of four then met the Lord Mayor, Sidney Stringer. Many Irish left their lodgings in the city and others were asked to leave. Such was the bad feeling that the Chief Constable of Coventry Police, Captain S.A. Hector, (who was from Somerset) had to deny rumours that he was Irish.

Of course, the vast majority of Irish people in the city were just as appalled by the bombing as everyone else. The attack was condemned during Mass at all Catholic churches in the city the following Sunday. Father Simpson at St. Osburg’s denounced the bombers as “fanatics discrediting and dishonouring Ireland” and reminded worshippers that the penalty for belonging to secret societies and plotting to destroy the state or church was ex-communication. The Midland Daily Telegraph was inundated with letters from Irish people living in Coventry expressing their disgust and horror at the attack. Some suggested forming an “Irish Union” pledging that they were ‘loyal’ and promising to inform the authorities about I.R.A. activity. (Thousands of Irish people continued to work in the factories of Coventry during World War Two – providing an invaluable contribution to the war effort when most young British men had been called up for military service.)

View of Broadgate after the explosion View of Broadgate after the explosion.

A couple of days after the attack “BUSINESS AS USUAL” signs were up in Broadgate, and though many windows were boarded up the shops were open. Of course, it would never be “business as usual” for the dead and their families. The Lord Mayor launched a relief fund for victims of the bombing which by the end of September had raised the substantial sum of £800.

After initially issuing press appeals saying they wished to interview Dominic Adams about the attack, (Dominic Adams was the Uncle of current Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams and suspected of being a senior member of the I.R.A. during this period) the police investigation soon led to Clara Street following the arrest of Peter Barnes in London on the same night of the bombing. An attempt to plant a further three ‘bicycle bombs’ in the capital city had been thwarted in the morning. At 8:50 pm Barnes arrived home to find Detective Sergeant William Hughes and some of his colleagues from the Special Branch at Scotland Yard waiting for him. They were there because of the attempted attacks in London, but when Detective Sergeant Hughes and the officers with him searched the building at 176 Westbourne Terrace, they found incriminating evidence linking him to Coventry, which understandably raised their suspicions considering what had happened earlier in the afternoon 100 miles away.

Barnes had called at Clara Street previously on August 21st to acquaint himself with McCormick and discuss the role he would play in the imminent bombing mission. During this visit, McCormick asked Brigid O’Hara to buy a suitcase for Barnes and also asked Mary Hewitt to buy two empty flour sacks. The flour sacks were purchased from Celia’s on Walsgrave Road but had to be returned as they were the wrong type. Both women returned them. The suitcase was brought from Forey’s Ironmongers. For reasons known only to himself – perhaps he had to account to the I.R.A. for his expenses? – Peter Barnes kept the receipts at his lodgings in London where they were found by the police and were to prove crucial in the Coventry investigation. (The owner of Celia’s was able to give a very accurate description of Brigid O’Hara. It is believed the flour sacks were to be used for holding the Potassium Chlorate.)

Chief Inspector Cyril George Boneham of the Coventry City Police led the local investigation. He and his team were assisted by Special Branch detectives. On August 28th, Chief Inspector Boneham and Detective Inspector Sydney Barnes of Special Branch led a search of 25 Clara Street. Tools suitable for bomb making, screws, bolts, insulating tape, labels from a battery and crucially a brass setter for the back of an alarm clock were found. This setter, or key, appeared to be new and did not fit any clock in the house. The occupants were detained and initially released while deportation orders were applied for. On September 2nd they were arrested under the Prevention of Violence (Temporary Provisions) Act. As the investigation proceeded and clear evidence of bomb making at the house emerged those being held were then charged under the Explosive Substances Act, 1883. Later that month, on the 27th, after a thorough police investigation and careful consideration, the Public Prosecutor decided that the facts justified a charge of murder against all five people being held. The charge was limited to the murder of Elsie Ansell and not the other four victims.

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The trial began on Monday 11th of December at the Warwick Assizes, Victoria Courts, Birmingham. One crucial person was missing – the man who actually built and planted the bomb. He was never captured. It was acknowledged that those in the dock – James McCormick, Peter Barnes, Joseph Hewitt, Mary Hewitt and Brigid O’Hara – had not made or planted the bomb, but as it was believed they had all played an active part in a conspiracy that could clearly endanger life it was a murder charge they faced, and consequently the hangman’s noose if found guilty. On Friday 14th December, McCormick, who was tried under his alias of James Richards, and Peter Barnes were found guilty by the jury and convicted of murder. After the guilty verdicts were passed, James McCormick gave this response:

“My lord, before you pass sentence I have something to say. I wish to state, my lord, before you pass sentence of death on me, I wish to thank sincerely the gentlemen who have defended me during my trial and I wish to state that the part I took in these explosions since I came to England I have done for a just cause. As a soldier of the Irish Republican Army I am not afraid to die, as I am doing it for a just cause. I say in conclusion, God bless Ireland and God bless the men who have fought and died for her. Thank you, my lord.”

Peter Barnes said:

“I would like to say as I am going before my God, as I am condemned to death, I am innocent, and later I am sure it will come out that I had neither hand, act or part in it. That is all I have to say.”

The Hewitt’s and Brigid O’Hara were acquitted – they were later charged with the murder of the other four people who were killed and five counts under the Explosive Substances Act and all three pleaded not guilty. No evidence was offered by the prosecution on the murder charge and the judge ordered the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. The women were discharged while Joseph Hewitt was remanded in custody. At the Old Bailey in London on 6th February 1940 he was charged with maliciously causing an explosion and having explosive substances in his possession. No evidence was offered by the prosecution and after a verdict of not guilty by the jury he was discharged. The following day, the guilty pair – Peter Barnes and James McCormick – were executed at Winson Green Prison. An appeal against their convictions had been dismissed in January. In the very same week of the hangings the mother of Elsie Ansell died at the early age of 49. Laura Ansell was being cared for by the mother of Harry Davies, her late daughter’s fiancé. Mrs Davies said that she never recovered from the loss of Elsie and died of a broken heart.

The hangings of McCormick and Barnes caused outrage in Ireland and other parts of the world. It was felt unjust that as they had not planted the bomb they should die because of the actions of another person. Appeals for clemency were ignored. Public mourning was observed and flags flew at half-mast in Ireland on the day of the executions.

A crowd gathers to see the aftermath of the incident A crowd gathers in Broadgate soon after the incident. The actual site of the bomb is just out of shot to the left.
For those unfamiliar with the pre-war street scene, we are facing the west side of Broadgate, and stretching to the north in the distance is Cross Cheaping, Burges and Bishop Street respectively. The small street on the left just after Boots is Market Place, and the tall building just visible on the far right of the picture is the original Owen Owen store; itself bombed in November the following year.

It has been suggested that the real target for the bomb was an electricity generating station and this is where McCormick and Barnes believed the bomber was cycling to. Some people claim that a faulty timer (the alarm clock) on the bomb caused the bomber to abandon the bicycle in Broadgate while en-route to the real target, but a leading author on Irish Republicanism describes the bomber as a ‘psychopath’ and as it was placed outside Astley’s an hour before it exploded it would seem this was an intentional act by the bomber. Even if the timer was faulty, it would have been a strange decision to abandon the bomb in the busiest shopping street in Coventry which obviously put civilians at risk of death contrary to I.R.A. instructions. Just why he chose to do this we will probably never know.

This particular badly timed and ill-judged I.R.A. campaign against Britain is often said to have petered out following the carnage in Coventry, but in fact there were a further 42 incidents attributed to the I.R.A., with the last bomb exploding on a rubbish dump in London on 18th March 1940.

After their acquittals, the Hewitt’s and Brigid O’Hara were deported from England and presumably went back to Belfast. The remains of James McCormick and Peter Barnes were moved from the grounds of Winson Green prison and re-interred in Ballyglass cemetery, Mullingar, Westmeath, Ireland in 1969. 15,000 people attended. Both men continue to be remembered by the Republican movement in Ireland with yearly parades and speeches at their graveside.

In Coventry, no memorial plaque or sculpture marks the spot where the bomb exploded killing five innocent people and devastating families across the city and further afield. There is not even an annual memorial service in any of Coventry’s churches. The excellent Police Museum in the basement of Little Park Street Police Station houses the remains of the bicycle and some of the evidence gathered after the explosion. With the kind permission of its curator, Tony Rose, I was able to photograph the remains of the bicycle in June 2010. The handlebars, front wheel and carrier basket are missing but remarkably, much of the rest of it is still intact. Some parts are dented, rusted, scratched and mangled but others bits are unscathed and look nearly new. When Mr Rose opened the cabinet I was hit by the smell of rubber and explosive. It was very sad gazing at this unwitting instrument of death and destruction and my thoughts turned to the victims and their families. I am very grateful to Mr Rose, who is an expert on the history of policing in Coventry, for sharing his knowledge of the incident with me and allowing me to take pictures. The image at the start of this article is copyright of the Coventry Police Museum and is not to be reproduced elsewhere – anyone doing so is liable to prosecution.

Thanks to the Luftwaffe and various town planners, Broadgate has changed almost beyond recognition from that fateful day. I believe the present day location of the explosion lies between the Lady Godiva statue and the entrance to the Cathedral Lanes shopping centre – see below for Rob Orland’s comparison of contemporary and modern maps. Next time you pass this spot spare a thought for John, Elsie, Gwilym, Rex and James. May they Rest in Peace.

* * * * *

Below is a 1937 map showing the spot where the bomb detonated.
Clicking on the map will reveal where it occurred on a modern-day aerial view (courtesy of Google Maps).

 

August,31th.1939

The Excuse

 


After having gained both Austria and Czechoslovakia,

 

 

Hitler

 

was confident that he could again move east, this time acquiring Poland without having to fight Britain and France. (To eliminate the possibility of the Soviet Union fighting if Poland were attacked, Hitler made a pact with the Soviet Union – the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.)

So that Germany did not officially seem the aggressor (which it was), Hitler needed an excuse for entering/attacking Poland.

It was

 

Heinrich Himmler

 

 

who came up with the idea; thus the plan was code named Operation Himmler.

On the night of August 31, 1939,

Nazis took

 

 

 

an unknown prisoner from one of their concentration camps, dressed him in a Polish uniform, took him to

 

the town of Gleiwitz (on the border of Poland and Germany), and then shot him.

The staged scene with the dead prisoner dressed in a Polish uniform was supposed to appear as a Polish attack against a German radio station.

Hitler used the staged attack as the excuse to invade Poland.

August,31th.1939

The Excuse
After having gained both Austria and Czechoslovakia, Hitler was confident that he could again move east, this time acquiring Poland without having to fight Britain and France. (To eliminate the possibility of the Soviet Union fighting if Poland were attacked,

Hitler made a pact with the Soviet Union – the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact.)
So that Germany did not officially seem the aggressor (which it was), Hitler needed an excuse for entering/attacking Poland. It was Heinrich Himmler who came up with the idea; thus the plan was code named Operation Himmler.

On the night of August 31, 1939,

Nazis took an unknown prisoner from one of their concentration camps,

dressed him in a Polish uniform, took him to the town of Gleiwitz (on the border of Poland and Germany), and then shot him.

The staged scene with the dead prisoner dressed in a Polish uniform was supposed to appear as a Polish attack against a German radio station.

Hitler used the staged attack as the excuse to invade Poland.

Blitzkrieg
At 4:45 on the morning of September 1, 1939

(the morning following the staged attack),

to be continued

the complete CD-ROM Exist,to get it please subscribed to be the Premium member via comment

 

Dr Iwan Cd-ROM The Euro world War II Gistory Collections “Nazi Promotional collections”

THIS IS THE SAMPLE OF DrIwan CD-ROM

 

The Euro world War II

Prologue

NAZI PROMOTIONAL COLLECTIONS

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Private Limited E-book In CD-Rom edition

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Army Pg 31 Opener

Wooden Christmas Candle Holder

 

Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Christmas at front 1942
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Hitler celebrates Christmas
with soldiers
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
The Weihnachtsmann (Santa)
at the front 1944
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Christmas among the SA
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder
Wooden Christmas Candle Holder (Item WEHR 31-1)
DESCRIPTION: This is beautiful, this is meaningful. This is a wooden candlestick holder carved from oak and it was used at the front lines of a German army position on the Western Front. The carving is exquisite with a garland of oak leaves and acorns carved on both sides. Also, there are beautifully carved words on the front: “Kriegs Weihnacht 1942.”  The German soldier for the greatest part was a Christian Protestant or Catholic and that is precisely why we are just as saddened by the deaths of these “Christian Soldiers.”  As we are about the boys from the Allied side who gave their lives for what? You can believe the stories that abound about what American and Britain were fighting for OR you can read Patrick Buchanan’s book “The Unnecessary War.” Again, don’t get me started, my perspectives about WWI and WWII are far from the orthodox view as promoted by “The Ministry of Truth” as Orwell would put it “Hail Big Brother.” I’m sorry but my input as a revisio.nist historian cannot be contained as I handle these meaningful relics of the turbulent times and the misinformation that we have been so “professionally spoon fed”Back to the candlestick…the measurements are 12″ x 5 ¼” and 2 ¼” inches thick. The translation of the words “War Christmas 1942″ with oak leaves to each side of the saying and a swastika in the middle. This wonderful piece of trench art or folk art stands today as a reminder that even in a horrible brother-against- brother fratricidal war, the spirit of Christmas, as the birthday of the “Prince of Peace,” was celebrated even by those terrible Germans that we read so much about in the yellow rag journals or on the TV and movies. In any case, this is one beautiful art piece. And should be preserved for posterity.  PRICE: $895.00

Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge
Army Paratrooper Badge (Item WEHR 31-2)
DESCRIPTION:
The Commander or Chief of the Army, General Oberst Frhr. Von Fritsch, authorized the institution of the army parachutists badge on 1st September 1937. Considering the fact that this award of this particular pattern badge was discontinued when control of the paratroop units reverted from the army to the Luftwaffe in 1939 it cannot be considered a war time award and definitely not an award to distinguish bravery in the field. It was simply a qualification badge awarded to all officers and men of the parachute units under the control of the army who met the necessary requirements there were however, certain requirements that must be met to qualify for the badge, for those parachutists who transferred
to Luftwaffe control from the army and remained on jump status, they were required to continue wearing the army parachutist’s badge rather than re-qualify for the newer Luftwaffe Parachutists badge. Because of its short time issue it is considered quite rare today. Please note that the rear talon on the diving eagle is spread rather than joined as depicted on many modern day copies. This particular piece is also rare in the fact that the entire badge is struck in 800 silver rather than the usual bronze indicating that it was a special private purchase also last but certainly not least the badge is “personalized” on the back of the wreath. There are the words Fallshirm Inf. Btl. Major Adolff. So, this turns out to be a real gem and deserving of a place in a good collection.  Note the picture of Knights cross. winner Hagi wearing an army parachutists badge while in his Luftwaffe uniform.PRICE: 1,890.00
Combat Book Knife
 

 

Combat Book Knife
Combat Book Knife
Combat Book Knife
Combat Book Knife
German Combat Soldier’s Boot Knife (Item WEHR 31-3 & WAF 11-10)
DESCRIPTION: Originally designed to clip over the edge at boot top.  This was a knife designed to lightly clip onto any part of the uniform (very handy) This particular style was used extensively by the Waffen SS but also the Army and some pilots of the Luftwaffe favored them as well.The blade has some old stains???/ But the entire knife is in very good condition and the clip is still very tight.  This one could probably tell some tales. regarding the stains ???PRICE: $695.00 – Reduced to $395.00!
Dutch Commemorative Plate
Dutch Commemorative Plate

Decorative Plate Commemorating the Military Mobilization of the Netherlands 1939 (Item WEHR 31-4)

DESCRIPTION: The plate doesn’t fit exactly into any of our categories, but it was so artistically beautiful, we just had to include it. After all, it is part of WWII history. It refers to the mobilization of the border troops of the area, Brabant-Limburg. It didn’t do them much good because the Wehrmacht easily rolled over them when the invasion of the lowlands began. But it was a pretty dish anyway. It has an interesting label under the glaze on the back — a company in Maastricht used the sphinx as their logo. Because the plate is more for export, it says, in English – “Made in Holland.” Nice.PRICE: $58.00 (We have two!)
Army Flack Badge
Army Flack Badge
Army Flack Badge (Heeres-Flakabzeichen) (Item WEHR 31-5)
DESCRIPTION: Authorization for the award of the army flack badge, following its institution on July 18 1941 by the OKH, came from Commanders holding the rank of General der artillerie and above. It was bestowed in a single class, dull grey, on an accumulated point basis with 16 points being the requisite, or could be awarded without reference to the number of points for an act of bravery or merit in the conduct of performing the anti-air craft mission. Any anti-aircraft battery credited with downing an enemy aircraft without support of other batteries was awarded four points but if other batteries assisted in the downing of the aircraft, only two points were awarded. Unlike the Luftwaffe flack badge, points could not be awarded for targets destroyed on the ground. The badge that we offer is in fine condition & is unmarked as to maker. 
PRICE: $350.00
Ukranian Carved Box

 

Ukranian Carved Box
Front of box
Ukranian Carved Box
Side view
Ukranian Carved Box
Back of box

Wonderful Russian Peasant Box Hand Made and Presented to a German Wehrmacht  Officer (Item WEHR 31-6 & RUSO 5-11)

DESCRIPTION: This is typical of the art of the Ukraine and is absolutely gorgeous. It was presented to an officer who commanded a company of Cossacks who were fervently anti-Bolshevik and served on the German side in World War Two from 1941 to 1945. This information came from the German family survivors to our agent and picker. The box is of wood and the flowers and symbols are hand set into the surface. A very tedious task and it shows much talent of the maker. Each portion of the decoration had to be individually cut out and then fitted with the inlay of various types of wood in many sections of placement. The design is very typical of the Ukraine with the sunflowers and star designs. The central theme is the “Deutsche Adler” or German National eagle design. Also professionally inlaid in wood above this eagle is a symbol of a barrel type design with five spears emitting from each side. This would take some research but it looks somewhat like the Cossack insignia worn on the collar tabs of their uniforms — this theory is at best vague but it is a possibility. The box measures 6″ x 8″ across and about 3 inches deep. The condition is great! And, it is very important historically and is just a beautiful artistic accomplishment. It is Russian peasant art from a people subjugated under the Bolshevic heel but still proud and noble. This is a token of the keen comradeship that developed between the German Wehrmacht soldiers of Liberation and Cossack brotherhood of the steppes.PRICE: $889.00
Army bread bag
Army bread bag

 

Grain Sack for the German Army (Item WEHR 31-7)
DESCRIPTION: This is one of the burlap sacks as used to carry such supplies as potatoes, beans, bread, etc.; they were used throughout the entire war. Under the eagle and swastika and above the date of 1949 you can see the initials H.VpFL “Heeres-Verpflegung” which stands for Army Supply Service. They might not be the prettiest German war relic but to the soldiers of the Wehrmacht, they were ultra important.  “ An Army travels on its stomach.” 
PRICE: $175.00
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword

 

Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
The brotherhood rides
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
Cossack Sword
At the ready!
Cossack Sword
General Helmuth von Pannwitz

Cossack Sword (Shashqua) For the Cossack Brotherhood Serving in the German Wehrmacht  (Item WEHR 31-8 & RUSO 5-12)

DESCRIPTION: This is the classic Cossack sword of the Steppes as used for centuries; however, this one has the Nazi eagle and swastika molded in the brass hilt. We remember when a large grouping of these were located in Europe and were purchased by a British dealer. The story was that the swords were produced by a firm that was located somewhere in the Caucasus and the small factory produced the swords for the Communist Cossacks with Hammer and Sickle but when the small staff thought that Germany and its Allies would win the Crusade against Bolshevism, they changed over and produced these swords with the National Socialist eagle to be sold to the officers of the Cossack legions that now were attached to the German Wehrmacht such as the divisions of Don Cossacks, tThe Brotherhood under the command of the brave and noble officer Helmuth Von Pannwitz. The Germans who were well aware of the Cossacks fighting ability and supreme valor and thanks to the efforts of Pannwitz a true Cossack army with all of its traditions became a Cossack Cavalry Corp. They were particularly effective in Yugoslavia where they fought against the filthy murderous partisans of the bloody demon Tito. It is believed that these swords were produced late in the war and the purpose was to make them an issue weapon to these fighters who had been forced from their lands by the advance of the Red Army, but hoped in their service to the German army to be given a new territory in Byelorussia when the Reds were finally defeated. In the meantime the members of the Crusade were settled nearly at the end of the war in an operational area for the Cossack Cavalry Corps in northern Italy. This may have been where the swords were to be sent.  But as dark Fate would have it, the Reds and their willing Allies, the US and Britain, triumphed against Europe and the horrible Fate of these brave men, women, and children ensued and they were turned over by the same ‘Allies’ to the Soviet authorities. Almost 50,000 of these poor souls were turned over, men, women, and children, who for the most part were horribly executed, while others were sent to Gulags or deported for force labor. No more noble, dedicated and wonderful people ever existed *(author’s opinion). The U.S. and England should live in eternal shame for bringing about “Operation Keelhaul.”  Read about it on Google.The sword is 100% original.  It is crude to some extent due to the shortage of certain materials necessary to the production at that late stage of the conflict but certainly it was produced to create an esprit de corps in the warrior ranks but also to be effective in usage. No scabbards were found. The theory was to why no scabbards on any of these swords is this — the swords were shipped to the Italian Cossack redoubt in cartons but the scabbards were to follow in another separate shipment but due to the fortunes of war were never shipped. The shop very probably was geography right in the way of the changing tides of action on the Eastern Front. Lets hope that if the Mongols took possession of the shop that they did not find one of these swords because if they did they would have been in absolute ecstasy while roasting alive the owner his wife, children and any employees. The sword is a large: 38 inches long, the grip is 5 ½ inches long, the grip is of wood. the blade is not marked. It shows much old rust — we know they were stored for many years in a barn, before being discovered they were exposed to the elements although packed in hay in loosely bound crates. But unlike the Cossacks who would have proudly carried them, they survived!  Someday they will reach their full value potential. But for now this is a bargain at…PRICE: SOLD

Small War Flag

Small War Flag (Reichskriegsfahne) (Item WEHR 31-9)

DESCRIPTION: Here is a great little military flag of the Wehrmacht. So often seen on German war ships of the Kriegsmarine but actually was the flag used by all branches including the army. This is an ideal size that collectors are continually seeking. The German measurements stamped on the edging are 60 x 90 mm and that is 31 x 24 inches. It has the full staff rope intact and has the word Reichskreigsfahne on the bunting edge. Absolutely perfect condition. This great looking flag of this size was usually for the “Schnellboot” or PT boat type vessel. Looking for the perfect den decoration or front door posting?  Here is the finest!  Just as nice as they ever come.PRICE: Consignment $650.00
6.450.25 a-12
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine

 

Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Soldier Figurine
Helmet for size perspective

Gross Deutschland Soldier Model (Item WEHR 31-10)

DESCRIPTION: ACHTUNG! Collectors…Are you ready for this? Here is a resin statue of a Landser of the Grossdeutschland Division of the Deutschen Heers (Wehrmacht) in action against the enemy. At Germania we handle 99% vintage original items but when we attend the military shows now and then an item shows up that we simply cannot resist. This guy was one of those. The details, the great action, the authenticity, is remarkable to say the least, look closely at the pictures provided and you will see what we mean Spectacular!! In one of the pictures accompanying this article we pictured a helmet just to give a perspective of the size! This is a big figure 13 inches high including the base. The measurement does not go to the top of the grenade. (Breathtaking detail!)  An accurate depiction of a soldier of the German army’s elite division. This was the absolute “premier “Army group. They fought bravely against vastly superior odds on all fronts. You can read about them in several places by going into “Google.” Remember however that the victors write the history of the wars. Seldom are they completely truthful about the role of the vanquished! You will never see any model with the detail of this one. We are very proud to offer it to Germania’s customers.  PRICE: $198.00
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap

 

Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Inside of cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Top of cap with mothing
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Waffenruck uniform
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Waffenruck
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
Wehrmacht Doctor's Tunic and Cap
German Army Medical Officers Tunic (Item WEHR 31-11)
DESCRIPTION: This beautiful tunic belonged to a Hauptmann-Captain (Sanitatsunteroffizier). The auguette suggests that he was also a medical assistant to what probably was a surgeon. Everything on the tunic suggested that it was tailor made — all the boullion crisp and untattered. All insignia including the shoulder boards and breast eagle and collar tabs are sharp and neat. The Caduseus symbol and pips are gold colored. It has a battle ribbon bar with four medals that show his military history.  He won the 2nd Class Iron Cross, theWar Service Cross, the Nazi Party Long Service Medal, the Army Long Service Medal, the Memel Land Medal and the Sudatenland Medal. This tunic is the early dress uniform “Wafffenrock” and this has to be the neatest yet most beautiful uniform in the world of militaria. So, here it is — right out of the past, and 100% original. This was one sharp looking Doctor when attired in beautiful tunic! We also have a Medical officers cap with the blue piping (shown) but while the tunic is in exemplary condition the cap is with moth damage mostly on the top the cap has that  wonderful jaunty look with the high lift to it that you all like to see in these caps.  It would be great featured with the tunic as you can see in our pictures.   PRICE: SOLD
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat

 

German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Note wear
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Note wear
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Major’s shoulder boards
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
The label (Note: Wehrmacht)
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Rommel in leather coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
German Officer's Leather Great Coat
Hitler in leather coat
A Leather Greatcoat for German Army Officer (Item WEHR 31-12)
DESCRIPTION: This is what 75% of all WWII German collectors look for…a genuine German officer’s grey leather greatcoat. This is the ‘real McCoy’ German officers of higher rank could wear store bought leather coats that approximate this coat if it would be their choice, but this was the only official Wehrmacht model made by the firm of Max Schleusner of Dresden. You can see his label in the pictures attached. Note that he was a ‘Special’ leather workshop for Wehrmacht and Sport. This coat is beautiful in form and design but it is very worn. Some of the inner sleeves are worn to a frazzle and pocket edges are frayed rather badly. However, it will still look sharp and jaunty on a manikin or on you perhaps.  It was bought in one of our German field trips from the family of the man who wore it through many campaigns in the West and in Russia.  After the war he wore it (usually sans the shoulder boards) right up to the early 90’s until he passed away. He was a Major in the Heers Signal troops and was right up there in all the major action.  He had an extra set of shoulder boards stashed away in his wife’s keeping during the war. This was lucky because the ones he wore on the coat were taken from him by some GI when he surrendered. From time to time he openly wore the boards all around Munich after the war and was oftimes saluted by soldiers who served their country, and he was spat upon by cowards and lowlifes. His wife told us that a bunch of leftist goons who were really “the bottom of the barrel” tried to provoke him once near the Munich Hofbrau Haus. They held combs under their noses and gave Nazi salutes done in obvious hostile jest. Then one of them leaned over and ‘mooned him.’At that moment the old man quickly strode forward and shoved his foot ‘resoundingly’ practically up the buffoons ‘arshe’.  The other three were getting ready to come to the aid of the red baboon who was howling in pain when some of our hero’s friends both old and young came out of the Hoffbrauhaus and ran them off with dire threats about “life and limb.” This old Major was the “Heldenmann” (hero) of the hour and the beer flowed that evening.  So dear collector, here is the Coat of Champions. Note: pictures of some known and unknown Soldaten in our picture section wearing these Max Schleusner greatcoats. Yes, this “mantel” is a bit raggedy but authentic and no part of the traditional German uniform said it all like these handsome coats! PRICE: SOLD
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
Reproduction Schmeisser Gun
A bit of artistic license
Replica German Schmeisser Mod MP-40.5 Sub Machine Gun (Non-Firing) (Item WEHR 31-13)
DESCRIPTION: Again we say we do not generally handle replicas, reproductions, etc, but now and then when we attend a military show something ‘neat’ will catch our eye. In this case it was this ‘Schmeisser” just the neatest piece of machinery ever to be used by German paratroopers and crack Waffen SS units in WWII. There have been other copies of this gun but the best ones were the ones that were made in limited numbers in the Orient and were imported into the US in the 1970’s. This model is a near perfect replica of the MP-40 and has the folding stock and a bolt action that actually functions like the real thing. It has a detachable clip and plastic or bakelite stock just like the real ones. It is assembled with over 70 precision parts, and has been approved by the U.S. Government as a non-gun but we sell it as a decorator model only, and we have only one! This great piece can be used in reenactments or display — it will look really great in any good WWII collection. Length 32.5, weight 7.5 pounds. We cannot by law ship this replica internationally nor to Mexico or Canada.  It cannot be shipped to CA., CT., KS, MA., MN., NY., or WI or Puerto Rico. The piece we have is from a collection that is established since 1965 and the replica was purchased in 1975 — again it is the oldest model and by far the best. It even has color stressing to look like it was carried in war. Good condition and functioning perfectly. We have seen other replicas of this gun but the quality does not approach this one.  PRICE: $695.00 (ONE ONLY!) A bargain for this one.
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue

 

Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
Bronze German Soldier Statue
The artist
Bronze German Soldier Statue
The plaque
Bronze Soldier Statue
Ulanen on patrol
Bronze Soldier Statue
Ulan in early combat
Bronze Soldier Statue
Third Garde Ulanen Kaserne in Berlin
Bronze Soldier of the Reich (Item WEHR 31-14, WWI 12-2, ART 16-10, KSTATUE 5-6 )
DESCRIPTION: This marvelous statue measuring 13 ½ inches high with a base 4 ½ inches square (length and depth) personifies the strength and determination of the “Deutscher Soldat” from the time of the battle of the Teutoberg Forest up through the pages of history and into the 2nd World War. The slogan that might go with this wonderful sculpture could be “Die Ganze Welt Gegen Uns”! The whole world against us! Yes, Germany in the embodiment of the Heilege Vaterland was always to protect Europe against the constant incursions from the east against the Magyars, Huns ,Goths, and Visagoths and even the moribund Roman Empire. The land of Germania and its Teutonic Volk took on all comers. It was no different in the 2nd World War when Germany with a few allies stood against the Maelstrom in what was a German led crusade to destroy the beast of Bolshevism before all of Europe was disseminated by what President Reagan later called the Evil Empire. Tthis was truly “evil personified! “ And in this author’s perception, all the nations who joined in the fight to preserve communism and crush Germany were the acolytes of Stalin and Tito and obviously Satan*. (*Authors historic opinion.) The statue you see here tells of a saga that we have briefly touched upon in the forgoing narrative. As this Warrior stands naked before the world, the artist who sculpted him conveys in statuary the defeated yet proud and militant German soldier who wears the Stalhelm (steel helmet) and makes ready the sword of Siegfried known as Nothung for the next time the call of the besieged Fatherland is heard. We readily admit that all of this will only be understood and honored by Germanophiles, but we can envision all the deep meaning that this artistic masterpiece conveys. Nothing else that we have ever offered or seen offered comes up to the artistic expression and important significance of this prodigiously important piece. Its historical importance is magnificently conveyed. This statue which may actually be unique; it is a presentation piece to an officer who was “Beirat” (military advisor) to the Third Ulan battalion in Berlin. This wonderful gift was from the Kameradschaft (comrades) and presented to him for his true service to the Batt. From 1920 to 1940 this illustrious unit was the Third Guard Uhlan regiment and in WW 2 the Uhlans became armored divisions and covered themselves with glory in the early campaigns in Poland and the military engagements against France and Russia. The sculpture weighs about 14 pounds with the marble plinth and is in perfect condition with a gorgeous patina throughout. Deutschland Uber Alles !  PRICE: SOLD
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books
Africa Korps Books

Album, Diary and a Published Book Concerning A Soldier of the Africa Corps FABULOUS! (Item WEHR 31-15 & AFRICA 1-13)

DESCRIPTION: Yes, fabulous and yet that may be an understatement. The diary and photo album were the property of Rolf Krengel Afrika Korps and the photo album is also from him. It is the saga of a brave and true soldier of the Reich. The diary is the actual original handwritten copy.  It starts with the beginning of the war and ends shortly after the Occupation. Serving primarily in North Africa, Krengel recounts with keen insight and now and then flashes of humor the day-to-day challenges of the Africa Corps in the desert battle and the lines are seldom clearly drawn. The narrative reveals an ad hoc campaign in which the average soldier never knew who had the upper hand. During one of the swirling battles in the desert, Krengel found himself sharing a tent with Field Marshal Rommel himself at a forward outpost. However, after the Battle of El Alamein, the cards of fate seemed clear. Evacuated back to Germany prior to the unfortunate collapse in Africa, Krengel continued to keep his journal during the last two years of the war, providing further insight into the final throes of the N.S. regime. He went on to become a successful economist and assisted the Allies with the Post-war Berlin airlift. Here is a first hand account found in the pages of this diary. Here are overviews, illustrations, and timelines with — get this! – a book published in 2009 written by Professor Don Gregory of the University of Alabama and Wilhelm Reinhard Gehlen who was born in Germany and was in the “Deutsches Jungvolk” the equivalent of the American Cub Scouts in Hitler’s Germany. After WWII ‘Willi’ joined the French Foreign Legion and served in Indo-China and North Africa. These two authors previously collaborated on Mr. Gehlen’s acclaimed memoir, “Jungvolk the Story of a Boy Defending Hitler’s Third Reich.”Now, here is the fabulous part. Not only do we have the actual Krengel Diary and photo album but what goes with it is the actual book that was published that gives the entire translation for the diary day by day, while Krengel was with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion. Then the 5th Light Division/21st Panzer Division German Africa Corps/Panzer Army Africa. A great and typical narrative of the Infantry soldier who fought bravely for Fuhrer and Fatherland. The book by Gregory and Gehlen is called Two Soldiers, Two Lost Fronts, subtitled German war diaries of the Stalingrad and North Africa campaigns.  Actually, it describes the service of both Rolf Krengel and another German soldier whose diary R. Gehlen decided to keep at this point. This other soldier must at this point be considered the “unknown” warrior as he as author of the diary did not see fit to include his name but if you read the account of his war experiences on the Eastern Front it is just as exciting as Krengel’s accounts. That soldier was a member of the 2nd Batt. 201st Panzer Regiment 23rd Panzer Corps Army Group A. We think this diary and album of R. Krengel is practically unique in that here you not only have the original documentation, but a book in English that is written by a learned professor and a battle experienced veteran of the Wehrmacht telling it as it was directly from the account of this A.K. soldier. We know of no other instance that something as personal and historically important as this group is being offered. The diary measures 8 x 5 inches and ½ inch thick. It contains page after page of hand written accounts by Krengel and even several drawings that he actually sketched.  One in particular is my favorite showing an artistic conception of the face of the British enemy as Krengel envisioned it. A familiar face to Scottish, Irish, American Revolutionists and others who faced the cruelty of the British Grenadiers.  I believe it was the Iron Duke (Wellington) who said of his soldiers at Waterloo “I don’t know if they frighten the enemy, but they scare the Hell out of me.” There are several photographs pasted on the pages as well.  The photo album measures about 12 x 9 and has about 134 photos in it.  Most of the photos are of Africa Corp Personal, aircraft officers, stage presentations at Command HQ, Artillery, Sport, and some neat photos of Krengel himself.  Many of the actual pictures in the album are copied into the book and explained therein.The book by Gregory and Gehlen is 262 pages long with many pictures of German and Italian Axis soldiers and officials. All the dates and summaries in the book match the dates of the entries in the diary.  What a combination! — diary, album, and new book that traces it all for the reader.  Please understand just how unique this truly is! The authors are to be highly commended for putting all of this together and the collector or archivist who decides to purchase this marvelous assemblage will be fortunate indeed. When it comes to provenance on articles of military history we are often asked what the provonance is. And our usual answer is that the inanimate objects cannot speak for themselves unfortunately. But here is the exception surely because this diary and album does in fact speak clearly and distinctly through the explanations and revelations of these two gifted writers in the present and the A.K. soldier Krengel speaks clearly and lucidly from the past. PRICE: SOLD
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car

 

Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
Model Troop Car
An Original Period Model of a German Troop Car (Iem WEHR 31-16)
DESCRIPTION: Leithtengelende Einheits Personen-Kraftwagen this was a light uniform all road car and was manufactured from 1940 by the Svgwer Company and also by BMW and Hano-Mag. The cars were all wheel drive and were produced with different style bodies. The model we have was the 4-man style with driver, gunner, officer and co-driver personell. The real autos were often used by the German Signal Corps as a radio car and also for forward reconnaissance. This is a period toy made in the 40’s. It is about 8 inches long with all metal wheels. To find one with all the soldiers there is seldom accomplished .Good condition overall.  The soldiers are probably produced by Elastolin. Very rare and historically important as well. PRICE: $750.00
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring

 

Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
Wehrmacht Ring
An Odd WWII Wehrmacht Unit Ring (Item WEHR 31-17)
DESCRIPTION: We call this a Wehrmacht ring in lieu of not knowing if it is a ring of the Deutsche Heers, Luftwaffe, or Waffen SS. Somewhere in the far reaches of my mind, I remember seeing a depiction of man and rearing hose such as this back several years ago, but I do not remember what it was on; perhaps one of you collectors out there might help us to shed some light on it. Possibly you have read our narrative on our home page entitled “About Our Rings and Silver Insignia.” But if you have not, then I really suggest that you do so and then you will have an understanding of how all of these fabulous pieces of jewelry were obtained by us in Stuttgart, Germany. You will also be introduced to Herr Franz Schnell, the silversmith who produced many of these pieces and personally designed many of them himself in the 20’s through to the 40’s. He was a master of his trade. This ring is one of the items that we found in his huge grouping but his son could tell me nothing about it except that he knew his father designed rings for many of the units of the Wehrmacht. So for now, it is unidentified and we won’t price it until we have some idea of what the unit was that used it.PRICE: ??
Vorsicht Sign
Vorsicht! A Metal Sign of Warning (Item WEHR 31-18 & GEN 14-16)
DESCRIPTION: This is a warning to service personal and German citizens during WWII that they should be alerted to the danger of loose talk on telephones and other means of communication. The words Vorsicht Bei Gesprachen, Feind Hort Mit! This means: Caution with your conversation! The enemy is listening!  With such Freedom eroding laws & unconstitutional  measures imposed on Americans today with the ‘Patriot Act’ and ‘Homeland Security’ this sign has real meaning in 21st century America as well.  The sign is in heavy gage steel enameled over. It has four holes, one at each corner so it may be secured in place where it would be a reminder that loose lips are the friends of the enemy. The sign measures 8″ x 4″ and is in good shape with a little staining that will wash off.  We leave them as we get them! PRICE: SOLD
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWI German Fur Cap
WWII German Army Rabbit Fur Cold Weather Hat (Item WEHR 31-19)
DESCRIPTION: This rabbit fur cap is the typical cold weather issue that was used by various Wehrmacht units. This one by the military police who often had to stand for hours directing military traffic and also performing the duties of the “Field Cop” and this necessitated the warmest of clothing especially in Russia each unit of the German Wehrmacht was issued these caps with the cloth parts closely matching the uniform of the particular recipient. This one was for the MP’s and it has the police eagle device sewn to the front face. Army and Luftwaffe personnel had the particular insignia of their branch affixed in the same way on the ones issued to them. The cap in is 100% perfect condition. It is marked inside with the numbers and letter R.B.Nr 0/1200 and under this 58-41. This is the size and date of issue. The fur is soft and completely intact. A very nice speciman of excellent German workmanship technique. This cap might be practical as well as a collectable considering the strange weather patterns as of late! PRICE: $450.00
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword

 

Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Back side
Army Officer Sword
Knuckle bow
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Nice blade!
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
The Army oath taken on sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Army Officer Sword
Von Stein WW II German Army Sword (Item WEHR 31-20)
DESCRIPTION: This Von Stein pattern sword is an aluminum example, exhibiting rich gilding throughout its surfaces. In fact, the gilding work on this sword is nearly 100%. The Von Stein sword is one of the famed field marshal series and can be seen in the Angolia Book on page 79. It is named for the famed German marshal  of the Napoleonic wars, Freiherr von Stein. This example has a dove head style pommel with a flowing backstrap and side tabs which all portray raised-out oak leaves with acorns. The “P” guard also has an oak leaf acorn sprig design. The same is true of the ferrule. The cross guard area has a series of dot and dash markings and at the langet there is a Wehrmacht eagle. This bird is shown in relief and he has half-closed wings, looks to the viewer’s left and clutches a swastika.. The grip is the standard wood base having celluloid covering. The celluloid is in perfect condition having fine factory sheen. This grip is tightly wrapped with triple aluminum wire, the center being twisted. The lower portion of the sword guard is stamped, “Ges. Gesch.”, indicating that the Eickhorn firm had a patent pending on the design. The scabbard is nice and straight. The scabbard is without any bending or dented, but it has been very professionally re-painted in the exact hue that the original scabbard was finished in back in those early days in Solingen. The very fine blade is 33 inches in length. It has been quality nickel-plated and has a bright mirror finish. This blade is in near mint condition. The reverse ricasso is stamped with the 1935-41 seated squirrel logo. The original tan leather washer is in position. A fine looking and semi rare Von Stein example offered here.PRICE: $ 695.00
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Back
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Note the depth of carving
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
The mail out of Krosno
Deutsche Post Bread Plate
Postschutz Officer dagger (note
the eagle configuration)

Carved Bread Plate from the Military Postal Police (Postshutz) in Krosno, Poland (Item WEHR 31-21 & BRE 1-6)

DESCRIPTION: This may be the finest German bread plate we have ever seen and we have seen many fine collections of them. This plate is expertly carved with the eagle of the German Military Postshutz eagle as its central design. The Postshutz (Postal Police) comprised about 4,500 members stationed all over Europe and they were tasked with the security of Germany’s Reichspost; they were not only responsible for security of the mail but other communications media such as telephone and telegraph systems. The plate was from the HQ of this organization in Poland. They were stationed there after the Polish attack on the German radio station at Gleiwitz, in 1939 — the event that after many Polish atrocities against the German minority in Poland finally launched the German retaliation and began WWII. After that vicious attack units of the postal protection police were dispatched to several locations in Poland to prevent something like this happening again. One of these outposts was Krosno which is a medieval fortified town; a former royal “free town” in medieval Europe. The carved plate was probably a gift from Poles who not only cooperated with the German occupiers but actually sided with their mission of destroying Soviet Communism. There were many who thought this way. The contemporary orthodox history books do not mention this of course. The dish says along its edges “Deutsche Post Osten 1939-1942 Krosno.” It measures 11 inches in diameter and is in excellent condition. The carved Postshutz eagle rises in deep relief carving and is very dramatic. It is the eagle that you see in the middle of the grip of the rare Postshutz daggers. The piece is not only artistically great but is a really important historic relic of the turbulent time!PRICE: $750.00
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses

 

Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses
Cased Snow Glasses

Cased Set of Snow Goggles for SS Mt. Troops (SS Geburgsjager) (Item WEHR 31-22)

DESCRIPTION: Here is something seldom found. It is a cased set of goggles used in winter combat by the SS Mountain Troopers of the SS Geburgsjager Division “Nord’ and this wording is engraved on the outside of the case. It also says Eigentum Der Waffen SS; this sentence means Property of the Waffen SS. In the middle is the runic symbol for this elite corps. The box measures 3×2 across the box top and 1 ½ inches deep. The goggles are with blackened lenses and black fabric head band. The Kampfgruppe Nord was formed from the 6th and 7th SS Totenkopf Standarten in 1941. In 1942 they became the SS Division Nord and in May of 1942 they became the SS Gebirgs Division Nord. They fought bravely as the SS DivisionNord against the Russians on the Kald Peninsula and in subsequent hard fought conflicts. They saw combat in the Finnish Front along with the brave Finns until the Finish Government made a Devil’s pact with the Soviets and then ordered all German Army and SS units to leave Finnish territory and in September 1944 the 6th SS Division Nord began its retreat across Finland to the West.  Later they participated in the Ardennes Offensive. After continuous fighting in this area, the Division retreated to the North where it was engaged once more with the advancing English and American enemy. In the vicinity of Worms, eventually after heroic action, they surrendered to the Americans. Usere Ehre Heist Treue! This was their clarion call and their sacred pledge right to the end.PRICE: $450.00
3-D Kampf in Westen Book

 

3-D Kampf in Westen Book
Distressed cover
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
Good inside – note glasses
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
The 3-D pictures
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
All great like this!
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
The color plates
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book
3-D Kampf in Westen Book

Der Kampf in Westen 3-D Book “Raumbilderbuch ” (Item WEHR 31-23)

DESCRIPTION: OK, collectors, here is one of the fabulous 3-D books that were produced by the firm of Heinrich Hoffman in Munich. The subtitle is “Die Soldaten Des Führers Im Felde” (The Soldiers of the Fuhrer in the Field). It was published early in the war in 1940. These Raumbilder books were all the rage back then and are very popular today when found. We have had several of them including some of the rare titles. The one most profusely produced in the Third Reich was this one because it celebrated the dazzling victory of the German Army in the West right up to the fall of France to the German Wehrmacht. The German people rejoiced in this and the purchase of these books that told the story in 3-D was more popular than “Leberwurst”! Who can blame them? These actions were the first steps in a war lamented by Hitler but necessary to stem the tide of British encroachment and the soon to come onslaught of the Russian Communists. The people were overjoyed at the success of their fighting soldiers. And the book shows the prowess, dash and daring of these soldaten at the front. Great scenes of the forward advances and early victories. Pictures of scroungy looking White and Negroid French prisoners, sharp German officers of the army, air force, etc. right up to the surrender of the French armed forces at Compiegne in the same railroad car that the Germans had to surrender to the French in 1918. This was the most glorious moment for the Führer, his army and the German people. But from 1943 it was all down-hill because the misguided Allies pushed on to utterly defeat Germany with its superior fire power and endless supplies that Germany did not have, thus the bulwark against the Eastern hordes of Bolshevism was destroyed and the West has been in danger ever since of losing also due to the influence of its traditional enemy and its most diabolical offshoot, communism.Enough of my history lesson. The book itself is a history lesson portrayed before you in three dimension just like you are standing there personally (Do I hear the music of twilight zone!) The stark realism cannot be compared to looking at pictures in a regular book as fine as they might be. Before Japan got into the art of special photography, Germany excelled in state of the art photographic innovation. Now that 3-D is so popular out of Hollywood, it really has nothing on this 1940’s Raumbilder process. We have another copy of this prodigiously book on our site at WEHR 10-5 on the Wehrmacht section. This one that we offer here is not nearly in as good condition as the one I just mentioned. The cover is quite tattered with the spine taped some time ago and it has rips at the edges and also tattering.  The spine was glued to hold at some time or another. But the pages are all there with the brilliant color plates.  It has all 80 pages, the viewer is in good shape and the cards are also. There should have been 100 cards but a dozen are missing. However, these books are so very rare today that this one will be considered extremely reasonable compared with what they bring in Germany today. It is still a great historical treasure if only for the pictures, so we offer it for the bargain price of…PRICE: $198.00  A real bargain, better grab it!
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister

 

Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Method of carry
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
Worn about the neck
Gas Mark Canister
Gas Mark Canister
German WWII Gas Mask Container (Item WEHR 31-24)
DESCRIPTION: Here is a container for the gas mask issued in WW II to the German Army and Waffen SS personal. Poison gas was not used in WWII although the British and Americans longed to use it. It was the most horrible weapon other than the Allies atom bomb ever devised to be sent against soldiers in the field. It was used so frequently in WWI that it gave rise to the term “The Chemist’s War.” One notable poison gas victim of WW I was Adolf Hitler who was temporarily blinded while healing in a hospital in Wervik; as a result Hitler adamantly refused to authorize the use of poison gas on the battlefield in World War II. However, the High Command of the Wehrmacht did not trust the Allies with good reason and retrospect. So, German soldiers were issued gas masks in the event that the Allies would suddenly introduce this cruel and horrible type warfare. The only reason they didn’t was fear of retaliation in kind. Their genocidal bombing raids on Hamburg Koln, and especially Dresden, proved that their only regard for human life was to run up their score of kills on human targets and mostly civilian. So the soldiers of the Fatherland carried their gas masks right up to the end. But why do we find so many of the canisters empty of the gas mask. Because from 1940 on the soldiers were fairly sure that they would never encounter gas at the front. Their code of honor however was theirs alone in WWII and although it was extremely ‘chancy’ thousands of them threw away the mask and kept the canister as a handy ‘catch all’ for trinkets, goodies and yes, collectables! This one we offer has all the original straps and is in good condition throughout.PRICE: $175.00
War Service Cross
War Service Cross

War Service Cross with Issue Envelope (Kriegs Verdienstkreuz) (Item WEHR 31-26)

DESCRIPTION: This is the 2nd Class without swords (mint condition) with ribbon. Adolf Hitler directed that a decoration should be struck that would recognize service in the war effort that would fall short of the award of the Iron Cross. This medal was instituted on 18 Oct 1939 and even civilians could win this coveted award who performed outstanding service. The war merit cross was instituted with and without swords in a 1st and 2nd class. The class without swords was a non-combatant award but could be given for duties performed for the Fatherland exceeding the feats that would be given to military recipients who received the cross with swords. To find one with the issue envelope is rare.PRICE: $150.00
Faithful Service Cross
War Service Cross Without Swords (Kriegsverdienst Kreuz) (Item WEHR 31-27)
DESCRIPTION: Another like the one listed above but without issue envelope (condition mint!) but with some stain on the back portion of the medal.PRICE: $80.00
Konrad Leper Grouping

 

Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
The presentation cigarette case
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Medal assemblage with shoulder
boards
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Promotion certificates
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
To Captain
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
To Major
Konrad Leper Grouping
To Oberstleutnant
Konrad Leper Grouping
Aryan birth paper
Konrad Leper Grouping
Letter while POW
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His sword from WWI seen in
this portrait
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His engraved initials
Konrad Leper Grouping
Wilhelm II cypher
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His WWII officer’s dagger
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Portepee
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
His initials
Konrad Leper Grouping
Manufactured by Puma-Solingen
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Hangers
Konrad Leper Grouping
Konrad Leper Grouping
Some misfortunes of war
Konrad Leper Grouping
Back side
Konrad Leper Grouping
Utterly Magnificent WWI & WWII Group Belonging to One Officer of the Deutsches Vaterland  (Item WEHR 31-28 & WWI 12-8)
DESCRIPTION: This has to rate as one of the absolute best groups we have ever offered at Germania International.  In a word, incredible.  The articles were the personal possessions of Herr Konrad Lepper who served in WWI and won the Iron Cross First and Second Class and was an adjutant, so we are told, in the unit I/417 and worked up the ranks to being an Oberstleutnant in 1942. The Second World War, he was in the Gebirgsjager Corps (Mountain Infantry) or at least that is indicated by the color of the underlay on his shoulder boards…light green Waffenfarbe. With the group there is a cigarette case that is crafted in 800 silver. It measures 3 ½” x 3″ and about ½ inch thick; it has the Hohenzollern eagle in its center and K.L for Konrad Lepper. The initials are on the left (K) and in the bottom right (L) on the inside of the case. It is presented to Lepper with the words that are hand engraved — Ihrem Lieben Adjutanten Lepper 2-M 14 5 1917. “To the Dear Adjutant Lepper’.  Then there are what looks to be five facsimile signatures of officers that  were presenting the case to Lepper. The only one at his point that we can make out clearly is Kluge — this could be the famed General Von Kluge of WWI and WWII fame. That might have been the officer that Leper was adjutant to.With the group are 10 medals in parade dress mount and his shoulder boards from his WWII rank -Oberstleutant 1st Colonel in the 15th Mountain Troop Battalion. His medals are mounted on a board that is similar to the funeral pillow that is used in display, these would be the awards won in the career of a soldier then deceased and this might well be the case here. We received them mounted like this when we purchased the group. Note the medals in our pictures and they are from the top on down:

  1. The Iron Cross First Class
  2. The ribbon bar contains the Iron Cross Second Class.
  3. The red enamel medal is the Hanseatic Cross given for bravery in combat.
  4. The cross of Honor WWI for a combatant
  5. Cross for Military Merit awarded by Austria (“Militar-Verdienstkreuz”)

On the Next medal grouping parade bar we find:

  1. WW II Kriegs Verdienst-Kreuz with swords for Combatants.
  2. The 4 year Faithful Service medal for the German army.
  3. The National Socialist Civil Service medal
  4. The War Service medal presented by the Weimar Republic to Veterans who served in the First World War
  5. (Separate) the war Merit Cross Kriegsverdienstkreuz with swords for combatants (in silver 1st Class)

On this board you can also see Lt. Col. Lepper’s WW II shoulder boards from the 1st Gebirgsjager Regiment. We would hazard a guess that Lepper may have been retired at the age of 52 in 1943 or 53 in 1944.  He was born May 14th, 1871.  We say this because of the Weimar Kyfhauser bund medal and the N.S. Faithful Service award; it indicated he may have been in the Civil Service even before the First World War. To continue we come to the most incredible part of the group and that is a beautifully rendered oil portrait of the Soldat Lepper in full uniform in the WWI era with his sword. This is a large painting 42” x 30”.  It is actually from the period 1914-1918 and it is in fine condition.  We had to remove the frame to send the painting home but believe me the frame was nothing we would treasure. It was a black painted common frame in chipped up condition and this magnificent oil deserves a better framing job in any case.  We leave that to the buyer.  The painting is unsigned but is obviously the work of a truly professional artist; very life-like portrait of a real career officer, Germany’s finest.

Also fantastic is that we have the actual Mod 1889 Infantry officers sword that you see in the picture with Lepper’s initials K.L. engraved in the pommel section.  The sword is in all around great condition  The wire wrapping is tight, the brass is all still with 90% of its original gilted patina.  The scabbard shows use but no abuse.  The blade is plain steel.  Unsigned, with double blood gutters. The royal Prussian crest are perfect as is the eagle on the brass foldable guard   The sword in its scabbard is 36 inches long. Herr Lepper was a proud German soldier so it is not so unusual to find their initials or names on the swords.  Usually it is the career men who are “button busting proud” of their army, their nation and their family who would have this done. To continue, we have Lepper’s Wehrmacht officers model ‘Heersdolch’or (army dress dagger) with original portepee (knot) and hanger. The dagger was manufactured by the famous Solingen Firm of Puma. The cross guard on the back incredibly has his initials once again (K.L.) done in classic Germanic letters that exactly match the personalization on the sword. This dagger is in average to very good condition.  The blade is bright but could have at one time broken at the tip. But if so it has been expertly repaired even if shortened by a ¼ inch or so.  The grip may have had a chip near the cross guard but that also was excellently repaired. The scabbard shows some plating loss here and there but we think Lepper was no armchair officer; he was probably busy most of the time and wearing the weapon all the time as an adjutant.  The supplied hangers show use but are still good and serviceable (and highly collectable); all in all a very nice specimen of the official dress dagger of the German Army.

Next, and this is incredible, the original three promotions that Lepper earned through his long military career. This starts with:

  1. The promotion document promoting him from a Hauptmann (Captain) in the infantry regiment 15 who has served form Dec. 1938 as a captain in the reserve to a captain in the regular army in the field for 1939 and it is hand signed by the Supreme Commander of the army, General Oberst Franz Halder.
  2. The official document promoting him from Hauptmann (Captain) to Major on the 1st of April 1940. It says — “I issue this promotion document and expect that the above Konrad Lepper to be true to his oath of service and he will execute his duty and the trust in him that is given to him with this promotion at the same time he can be assured of my special protection.”  Fuhrers headquarters facsimile signed by Adolf Hitler in autopen on the 20th April 1940. This was Hitler’s birthday.  Under this is in large letters “Der Fuhrer Adolf Hitler”.  Under this is the handwritten signature of General Walther Von Brautisch who in 1940 was also promoted .He was elevated from General to Field Marshal
  3. The original document promoting Lepper from Major to Oberstleutant.  (Lieutenant Colonel) The wording in this document is much the same as on the document preceding at (B) this one is signed by Wilhelm Keitel Supreme commander of the Army. It is dated and signed 8 April 1942 but is retroactive from April 1st 1942.  This one like the others has the facsimile Adolf Hitler signature. All three documents are in their original folders with the beautiful and noble Reichsadler eagle on the covers embossed in gold. The actual documents are on parchment stock paper and have the highly embossed official seal of the Reich (An eagle on a wreath of oak leaves). All of these documents are in marvelous condition and like all of the other Leper items were kept in a special state of preservation.

Next: When an officer reaches the high rank of Oberstleutenant the official Wehrmacht inspection always came to pass. And this was similar to the Party Rasse und Siedlungshauptamt “Race and Resettlement Office.” They wanted to know if the officer was of pure Germanic descent according to paragraph (1.) The law of Aryan descent. This was under the Reichsgesetzblat-filing system 1063 it says “We hereby certify that Oberleutnant Konrad Lepper who was born 14/5/91 is of German descent as is his wife Martha who was born Hupfeld Nov 1st 1893 and as far back as her grandparents is also Aryan Approved by inspection of official records here in Oct 1935.  This was signed in Kasssel the 22nd of December 1942.  It has the stamp of the inspection office and is signed by a captain and adjutant. This file paper is 8 x 6 inches in size.  

Last but not least is an envelope minus the letter — 5 ½” x 4″ addressed to Oberstleutnant Lt. Lepper # 316-2 509 083 U.S. Army POW 1 B France and dated 29 May 1946. It says to the side (German) and at the top Prisoner of War post. On the back it says Lepper Bringhausen UB Wildungen 16 Germany.   We believe this was a letter from his father or mother but could be from his brother or sister while he was a prisoner of war in France but at a US prisoner facility.

So here we have one of the most complete groupings of the personal articles ever offered — absolutely stupendous! How and why they were ever released and sold by the family is unknown to us.  Perhaps it is because of the slander and debasement of Germany’s soldiers taught in the post-war German schools and in fact even in the media today in the Orwellian world we now seem to have reached.  Or perhaps most of the Lepper family is gone leaving behind a few of the ‘new’ Germans who have adopted the “Coca-Cola and gum chewing culture”. These types would sell their history and heritage in a snap! It means nothing to them. If they would be asked if they knew the difference between ignorance and apathy their answer would likely be “I don’t know and I don’t care!” Think about that one.  To us this collection is truly a Germanophiles dream and a tribute to a brave soldier of the Reich. May he rest in glory!  Alles für Deutschland!

Dr Iwan CD-ROM”The Euro World War II In April 1945″

this is the sample  of Dr Iwan E-Book In Cd-Rom limited edition without illustrations, the complete info with illustrations and editing exist but only for Premiuum member,please subcribed via comment

 

The Euro world War II

In April 1945

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Private Limited E-book In CD-Rom edition

Special for Senior Collectors Copyright@2012

April 45

 

April,1st

.1945

1945

Today German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Japanese Emporer Hirohito, Russian Kommisar Joeseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gathered in Berne Switzerland and agreed to call off World War Two. Sources close the the conferance speculate that an unannounced release of Oleg Maddox’s 4.0 Patch for Forgotten Battles/Aces Expansion Pack/Pacific Fighters was the primary reason for the unexpected turn of events in world history. In a post meeting press conference all participants claimed that the new patch made their counties respective aircraft superior to all others. Each was quoted as saying “I p’owned them all!”

More as the story develops.

 

1945 (Apr) cover and letter from ‘Pte HJ Pavey, RASC HQ, Force 135, APO England’ with d/r. FPO 836 p/m. and shield censor 10444 h/s. ‘Force 135′ located at Plymouth to liberate Jersey, Channel Islands May 1945.

£60.00

 

Soviet soldiers engaged in bitter street fighting to finish off the remnants of the German resistance in Vienna. April 1945

 

April,1st.1945

1945


In Italy…

 British Guards and Commando units attack over the River Reno between Lake Comachio and the sea

April,2nd.1945

1945 Air Mail cover from CHILE to ‘Sub Lieutenant Alastair Heffer, Volunteer Santiago de Chile, River Plate House, London’ [Undercover address - South American Volunteers with British Forces] and redirected to ‘LCI (L) 285, c/o GPO London’ with “Ship” in mss. [Landing Craft Infantry (Large)] Also PC 90 OBE 2585 label. Roughly opened

 

April,2nd.1945

 

1945
On the Western Front…

The British 2nd Army continues its advance north of the Ruhr River. Munster is taken. The Canadian 1st Army also begins to move north and east from between Nijmegen and Emmerich.

On the Eastern Front… In southeast Hungary, Magykanizsa falls to the Soviet advance while in Slovakia, Kremnica is captured.

2: Soviets launch Vienna Offensive against German forces in and around the Austrian capital city.

2nd

: German armies are surrounded in the Ruhr region.

April,3rd.1945


1945


On the Eastern Front…

In Austria,

the Soviet forces take

Wiener Neustadt. Almost all of Hungary is now clear of Axis troops while in Czechoslovakia

 

Bratislava is besieged

Postally used Cover from Bratislav in 1945

April,4th.1945

1945
On the Eastern Front…

Bratislava falls to troops of the Soviet 2nd Ukrainian Front.

On the Western Front…

British and Canadian units take

 

Osnabruck

and move on

Minden.

US 9th Army units have reached the river Weser opposite Hameln. Troops from US 3rd Army capture Kassel while other units take Gotha and advance near Erfurt. French units take Karlsruhe. The Nazi gold reserves are captured in the salt mine at Merkers

 

In Algiers… Free French leader, Charles de Gaulle, announces changes to the Committee of National Liberation. Two communists are appointed and de Gaulle is made head of the armed forces. General Giraud is being sidelined.

In Egypt… A Greek brigade mutinies under the leadership of Communists. British troops blockade the camp until April 24th. The Greeks kill 1 British officer.

In Occupied France… Members of the French resistance halt production at the Bronzavia aircraft components plant near Paris.

Over Romania… The Bucharest marshalling yards are bombed by heavily escorted bombers of the US 15th Air Force. A total of 20 aircraft are lost. Civilian casualties are reported to amount to 2942 killed and 2126 injured.

‘Unconscious humour’,

4 April 1945.

 

Photograph by Sergeant Travis, Army Film and Photographic Unit, World War Two, North West Europe, 1945.

Sergeant J. D. Eilbeck writes ‘No Way Out’ on a portrait of Adolf Hitler in order to provide a ‘no exit’ sign at 156th Brigade Headquarters. When this photograph was taken the brigade, part of 52nd (Lowland) Division, had just crossed the Rhine (24 March 1945) and was pushing on towards Bremen in the face of bitter German resistance.

From a collection of 23 official photographs

4: Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak Republic, is overrun by advancing Soviet forces. The remaining members of Prime Minister Jozef Tiso‘s pro-German government fled to Austria.

4: Ohrdruf death camp is liberated by the Allies.

5th

: Po Valley Campaign begins in northern Italy.

 

Ohrdruf sub-camp of Buchenwald

 

Colonel Hayden Sears poses with Ohrdruf survivors, April 8, 1945 

On April 4, 1945, American soldiers of the 4th Armored Division of General Patton’s US Third Army were moving through the area south of the city of Gotha in search of a secret Nazi communications center when they unexpectedly came across the ghastly scene of the abandoned Ohrdruf forced labor camp.

A few soldiers in the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division of the US Third Army reached the abandoned camp that same day, after being alerted by prisoners who had escaped from the march out of the camp, which had started on April 2nd. Prior to that, in September 1944, US troops had witnessed their first concentration camp: the abandoned Natzweiler camp in Alsace, which was then a part of the Greater German Reich, but is now in France.

Ohrdruf, also known as Ohrdruf-Nord, was the first Nazi prison camp to be discovered while it still had inmates living inside of it, although 9,000 prisoners had already been evacuated from Ohrdruf on April 2nd and marched 32 miles to the main camp at Buchenwald. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the camp had a population of 11,700 prisoners in late March, 1945 before the evacuation began.

The photograph at the top of this page, taken at Ohrdruf on April 8, 1945, shows survivors who had escaped during the evacuation of the camp, but came back after the American liberators arrived.

One of the American liberators who saw the Ohrdruf camp on April 4, 1945 was Bruce Nickols. He was on a patrol as a member of the I & R platoon attached to the Headquarters company of the 354th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division, Third US Army. According to Nickols, there were survivors in the barracks who had hidden when the SS massacred 60 to 70 prisoners on the roll call square before they left the camp on April 2nd. The body of a dead SS soldier lay at the entrance to the camp, according to Nickols.

 

Dead prisoners at Ohrdruf forced labor camp 

In the photo above, the prisoners have been partially covered by blankets because their pants had been pulled down, an indication that these men might have been killed by their fellow prisoners after the Germens left. The first Americans on the scene said that the blood was still wet. The liberators all agreed that these prisoners had been shot, although some witnesses said that they had been shot in the neck, while others said that they had been mowed down by machine gun fire.

The American soldiers were told by Ohrdruf survivors that these prisoners had been shot by the SS on April 2nd because they had run out of trucks for transporting sick prisoners out of the camp, but there were sick prisoners still inside the barracks when the Americans arrived.

Among the soldiers who helped to liberate Ohrdruf was Charles T. Payne, who is Senator Barak Obama’s great uncle, the brother of his maternal grandmother. Charles T. Payne was a member of Company K, 355th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division.

According to an Associated Press story, published on June 4, 2009, Charles T. Payne’s unit arrived at the Ohrdruf camp on April 6, 1945.

The following is an excerpt from the Associated Press story:

“I remember the whole area before you got to the camp, the town and around the camp, was full of people who had been inmates,” Payne, 84, said in a telephone interview from his home in Chicago.

“The people were in terrible shape, dressed in rags, most of them emaciated, the effects of starvation. Practically skin and bones.”

When Payne’s unit arrived, the gates to the camp were open, the Nazis already gone.

“In the gate, in the very middle of the gate on the ground was a dead man whose head had been beaten in with a metal bar,” Payne recalled. The body was of a prisoner who had served as a guard under the Germans and been killed by other inmates that morning.

“A short distance inside the front gate was a place where almost a circle of people had been … killed and were lying on the ground, holding their tin cups, as if they had been expecting food and were instead killed,” he said. “You could see where the machine gun had been set up behind some bushes, but the Germans were all gone by that time.”

He said he only moved some 200-300 feet (60-100 meters) inside of the camp. But that was enough to capture images so horrible that Gen. George S. Patton Jr. ordered townspeople into Ohrdruf to see for themselves the crimes committed by their countrymen – an order that would repeated at Buchenwald, Dachau and other camps liberated by U.S. soldiers.

“In some sheds were stacks of bodies, stripped extremely – most of them looked like they had starved to death. They had sprinkled lime over them to keep the smell down and stacked them several high and the length of the room,” Payne said.

On April 11, 1945, just a week after the discovery of the Ohrdruf camp, American soldiers liberated the infamous Buchenwald main camp, which was to become synonymous with Nazi barbarity for a whole generation of Americans. Buchenwald is located 5 miles north of the city of Weimar, which is 20 miles to the east of Gotha, where General Dwight D. Eisenhower had set up his headquarters.

The Ohrdruf forced labor camp was a sub-camp of the huge Buchenwald camp. Ohrdruf had been opened in November 1944 when prisoners were brought from Buchenwald to work on the construction of a vast underground bunker to house a new Führer headquarters for Hitler and his henchmen. This location was in the vicinity of a secret Nazi communications center and it was also near an underground salt mine where the Nazis had stored their treasures.

A. C. Boyd was one of the soldiers in the 89th Infantry Division who witnessed the Ohrdruf “death camp.” In a recent news article, written by Jimmy Smothers, Boyd mentioned that he saw bodies of prisoners who had been gassed at Ohrdruf.

The following quote is from the news article in The Gadsden Times:

On April 7, 1945, the 89th Infantry Division received orders to move into the German town of Ohrdruf, which surrendered as the Americans arrived. A mile or so past this quaint village lay Stalag Nord Ohrdruf.

[...]

When regiments of the 89th Division got to the camp, the gates were open and the guards apparently all had gone, but the doors to the wooden barracks were closed. Lying on the ground in front were bodies of prisoners who recently had been shot.

“When I went into the camp I just happened to open the door to a small room,” recalled Boyd. “Inside, the Germans had stacked bodies very high. They had dumped some lime over them, hoping it would dissolve the bodies.

[...]

“I still have vivid memories of what I saw, but I try not to dwell on it,” Boyd continued. “We had been warned about what we might find, but actually seeing it was horrible. There were so many dead, and some so starved all they could do was gape open their mouths, feebly move their arms and murmur.

“There were ditches dug out in the compound and we could see torsos, lots of arms, severed legs, etc., sticking out. Many had been beaten to death, and bodies were still in the ‘beating shed’. Many had been led to the ‘showers,’ where they were pushed in, the doors locked and then gassed.”

One of the survivors of Ohrdruf was Rabbi Murray Kohn, who was then 16 years old. He was marched from Ohrdruf on April 2nd to the main camp at Buchenwald and then evacuated by train to Theresienstadt in what is now the Czech Republic.

The following quote is from a speech that Rabbi Kohn made on April 23, 1995 at Wichita, Kansas, at a gathering of the soldiers of the 89th Division for the 50ieth anniversary of the liberation of the camps:

It has been recorded that in Ohrdruf itself the last days were a slaughterhouse. We were shot at, beaten and molested. At every turn went on the destruction of the remaining inmates. Indiscriminant criminal behavior (like the murderers of Oklahoma City some days ago). Some days before the first Americans appeared at the gates of Ohrdruf, the last retreating Nazi guards managed to execute with hand pistols, literally emptying their last bullets on whomever they encountered leaving them bleeding to death as testified by an American of the 37th Tank Battalion Medical section, 10 a.m. April 4, 1945.

Today I’m privileged thanks to God and you gallant fighting men. I’m here to reminisce, and reflect, and experience instant recollections of those moments. Those horrible scenes and that special instance when an Allied soldier outstretched his arm to help me up became my re-entrance, my being re-invited into humanity and restoring my inalienable right to a dignified existence as a human being and as a Jew. Something, which was denied me from September 1939 to the day of liberation in 1945. I had no right to live and survived, out of 80 members of my family, the infernal ordeal of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Ohrdruf, and its satellite camp Crawinkel and finally Theresienstadt Ghetto-Concentration Camp.

I must tell you something about Crawinkel, just outside Ohrdruf. It was recently discovered after the reunification of east and West Germany that in nearby Crawinkel, the Nazis were preparing the Führerbunker, the final headquarters of Hitler from where he planned to strike a deal with the Americans to join in fighting the Red Army. We worked around the clock, the project was known as the Olga Project. We were excavating inside the hills a bunker. Ten thousand people died there and it was completed with rivers of blood right down to the cutlery to embellish Hitler’s table.

When in Auschwitz my eyes witnessed the gassed transports of Jews at the Birkenau Crematories. My own eyes have witnessed Buchenwald terror and planned starvation. My body was decimated, starved and thrashed to the point of no return in Ohrdruf for stealing a piece of a potato, and my flickering life was daily, and hourly on the brink of being snuffed out from starvation or being clubbed for no reason or literally being pushed off a steep cliff over a yawning ravine at Crawinkel.

[....]

The war was intrinsically a war against the shallowness of a civilization which had evidently so little moral depth, a nation which can acquiesce in such a short time to the demagoguery of a “corporal” and accept the manifesto of racial superiority, entitled to destroy their supposed inferior enemies, as a moral right. World War II was by far not a testing ground of arms or strategic skills and sophistication, but A MORAL WAR, which declared that human rights, freedom and the equality of all men and women are the highest divine commandment, the supreme commandment to deny the Nazi racists and their cohorts any victory. My friends, many of your comrades (a half million Americans lost their lives to declare eternal war against inhumanity). Six million innocent Jews, five million Christians and some 27 million plus, lost their lives to secure finally that humanity is never to rest until crimes against humans have been eradicated.

The American military knew about the Nazi forced labor camps and concentration camps because Allied planes had done aerial photographs of numerous factories near the camps in both Germany and Poland, and many of these camps, including Buchenwald, had been bombed, killing thousands of innocent prisoners. In fact, General George S. Patton bragged in his autobiography about the precision bombing of a munitions factory near the Buchenwald concentration camp on August 24, 1944 which he erroneously claimed had not damaged the nearby camp. Not only was the camp hit by the bombs, there were 400 prisoners who were killed, along with 350 Germans.

On Easter weekend in April 1945, the 90th Infantry Division overran the little town of Merkers, which was near the Ohrdruf camp, and captured the Kaiseroda salt mine.

Hidden deep inside the salt mine was virtually the entire gold and currency reserves of the German Reichsbank, together with all of the priceless art treasures which had been removed from Berlin’s museums for protection against Allied bombing raids and possible capture by the Allied armies. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum web site, the soldiers also found important documents that were introduced at the Nuremberg IMT as evidence of the Holocaust.

All of America’s top military leaders in Europe, including Generals Eisenhower, Bradley and Patton, visited the mine and viewed the treasure.

The photo below shows General Dwight D. Eisenhower as he examines some paintings stored inside the Kaiseroda salt mine, which he visited on April 12, 1945, along with General Omar Bradley, General George S. Patton, and other high-ranking American Army officers before going to see the Ohrdruf camp. The Nazis had hidden valuable paintings and 250 million dollars worth of gold bars inside the salt mine.

 

General Eisenhower on visit to salt mine near Ohrdruf 

 

General Dwight D. Eisenhower examines Nazi treasure in salt mine 

The soldier on the far left is Benjamin B. Ferencz. In the center is General Eisenhower and behind him, wearing a helmet with four stars is General Omar Bradley. In 1945, Ferencz was transferred from General Patton’s army to the newly created War Crimes Branch of the U.S. Army, where his job was to gather evidence for future trials of German war criminals. A Jew from Transylvania, Ferencz had moved with his family to America at the age of 10 months.

General Patton, left, and General Bradley, center, at Ohrdruf, 12 April 1945 

On the same day that the Generals visited the salt mine, they made a side trip to the Ohrdruf forced labor camp after lunch. The photo above was taken at Ohrdruf. Except for General Patton, who visited Buchenwald on April 15, 1945, none of the top American Army Generals ever visited another forced labor camp, nor any of the concentration camps.

One of the first Americans to see Ohrdruf, a few days before the Generals arrived, was Captain Alois Liethen from Appleton, WI. Liethen was an interpreter and an interrogator in the XX Corp, G-2 Section of the US Third Army. On 13 April 1945, he wrote a letter home to his family about this important discovery at Ohrdruf. Although Buchenwald was more important and had more evidence of Nazi atrocities, it was due to the information uncovered by Captain Liethen that the generals visited Ohrdruf instead.

The following is a quote from his letter in which Captain Alois Liethen explains how the visit by the generals, shown in the photo above, came about:

Several days ago I heard about the American forces taking a real honest to goodness concentration camp and I made it a point to get there and see the thing first hand as well as to investigate the thing and get the real story just as I did in the case of the Prisoner of War camp which I described in my last letter. This camp was near the little city of OHRDRUF not far from GOTHA, and tho it was just a small place — about 7 to 10000 inmates it was considered as one of the better types of such camps. After looking the place over for nearly a whole day I came back and made an oral report to my commanding general — rather I was ordered to do so by my boss, the Col. in my section. Then after I had told him all about the place he got in touch with the High Command and told them about it and the following tale bears out what they did about it.

The photograph below was contributed by Mary Liethen Meier, the niece of Captain Liethen. The man standing next to General Eisenhower, and pointing to the prisoner demonstrating how the inmates were punished at Ohrdruf, is Alois Liethen, her uncle. Left to right, the men in the front row are Lt. General George S. Patton, Third U.S. Army Commander; General Omar N. Bradley, Twelfth Army group commander; and General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander. This photo was published in an American newspaper above a headline which read: U.S. GENERALS SEE A “TORTURE” DEMONSTRATION

 

Generals watch a demonstration of the whipping block 

In the photo above, an ordinary wooden table is being used to demonstrate punishment on a whipping block. By order of Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, whipping prisoners on a wooden block was discontinued in 1942, so no whipping block was found at Ohrdruf.

The first photo below shows another demonstration at Ohrdruf on a reconstructed wooden whipping block. The second photo below shows the whipping block that was found at Natzweiler by American troops in September 1944.

 

Ohrdruf survivors demonstrate the whipping block for the Americans 

Whipping block used at Natzweiler 

All punishments in the concentration camps had to be approved by the head office in Oranienburg where Rudolf Hoess became a member of the staff after he was removed as the Commandant of Auschwitz at the end of December 1943. According to the testimony of Rudolf Hoess on April 15, 1946 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, this punishment was rarely used and it was discontinued in 1942 because Heinrich Himmler, the head of the concentration camp system, had forbidden the SS guards to strike the prisoners. Some of the prisoners at Ohrdruf, who had previously been at the Buchenwald main camp for a number of years, were familiar with this punishment device and were able to reconstruct it.

Captain Liethen’s letter, dated 13 April 1945, continues as follows:

Yesterday I had the honor of being the interpreter for such honorable gentlemen as Gen EISENHOWER, Gen BRADLEY, Gen PATTON and several lesser general officers, all in all there were 21 stars present, Eisenhower with 5, Bradley with 4, Patton 3, my own commanding general with 2 and there were several others of this grade as well as several one star generals. Since I had made the investigation with some of the men who had escaped from the place the day that we captured it I was more or less the conductor of the tour for this famous party. There were batteries of cameras that took pictures of us as we went about the whole place and as I made several demonstrations for them — hell I felt like Garbo getting of (sic) a train in Chicago.

Now about this concentration camp. It was evacuated by the germans when things got too hot for them, this was on the night of April 2. All the healthy ones were marched away in the night, and those who were sick were loaded into trucks and wagons, and then when there was no more transportation available the remainder — about 35 were shot as they lay here waiting for something to come to take them away. Too, in another building there were about 40 dead ones which they did not have the time to bury in their hasty departure.

One of the survivors of Ohrdruf was Andrew Rosner, a Jewish prisoner who had escaped from the march out of the camp and was rescued by soldiers of the 89th Division in the town of Ohrdruf.

The following is a quote from Andrew Rosner on the occasion of a 50ieth anniversary celebration of the liberation of the camp, held on 23 April 1995 at Wichita, Kansas:

At the age of 23, I was barely alive as we began the death march eastward. All around me, I heard the sound of thunder – really the sound of heavy artillery and machinery. I looked for any opportunity to drop out of the march. But, any man who fell behind or to the side was shot instantly by the Nazis. So, I marched on in my delirium and as night fell, I threw myself off into the side of the road and into a clump of trees. I lay there — waiting — and waiting — and suddenly nothing! No more Nazis shouting orders. No more marching feet. No more people. Alone. All alone and alive — although barely.

I moved farther into the woods when I realized I was not really left behind. I slept for awhile as the darkness of night shielded me from the eyes of men. But, as the light of dawn broke, I heard shooting all around me. I played dead as men ran over me, stumbling over me as they went. I lay there as bullets passed by me and Nazis fell all around me. Then all was quiet. The battle was over. I waited for hours before I dared to move. I got up and saw dead German soldiers laying everywhere. I made my way back toward the road and started walking in the direction of a small village, which I could see in the distance. As I approached the village two Germans appeared. One raised his gun toward me and asked what I was doing there. I told him I was lost from the evacuation march. He told me that I must have escaped and I knew he was about to shoot me when the other German told him to let me be. It would not serve them well to harm me now. They allowed me to walk away and as I did, I said a final prayer knowing that a bullet in the back would now find me for sure. It never did!

In the small village I was told to go farther down the road to the town of Ohrdruf from where I had come three days before. There, I would find the Americans. And so I did.

As I entered the outskirts of the town of Ohrdruf two American soldiers met me and escorted me into town. I was immediately surrounded by Americans and as their officers questioned where I had been and what had happened to me, GIs were showering me with food and chocolate and other treats that I had not known for almost five years.

You were all so kind and so compassionate. But, my years in the camps, my weakened state of health, the forced death march, and my escape to freedom was more than a human body could bear any longer and I collapsed into the arms of you, my rescuing angels.

When the generals and their entourage toured the Ohrdruf-Nord camp on April 12th, the dead bodies on the roll-call square had been left outside to decompose in the sun and the rain for more than a week. The stench of the rotting corpses had now reached the point that General Patton, a battle-hardened veteran of 40 years of warfare, the leader of the American Third Army which had won the bloody Battle of the Bulge, and an experienced soldier who had seen the atrocities of two World Wars, threw up his lunch behind one of the barracks.

The photo below shows the naked bodies of prisoners in a shed at Ohrdruf where their bodies had been layered with lime to keep down the smell.

 

Corpses sprinkled with lime in shed at Ohrdruf-Nord camp 

General Eisenhower was not as easily sickened by the smell of the dead bodies. Although he didn’t mention the name Ohrdruf in his book entitled “Crusade in Europe,” Eisenhower wrote the following about the Ohrdruf camp:

I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that ‘the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda.’ Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through with the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton’s headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.

General Patton wrote in his memoirs that he learned from the surviving inmates that 3,000 prisoners had died in the camp since January 1, 1945. A few dozen bodies on a pyre, constructed out of railroad tracks, had recently been burned and their gruesome remains were still on display. According to General Patton, the bodies had been buried, but were later dug up and burned because “the Germans thought it expedient to remove the evidence of their crimes.” But after all that effort to cover up their crimes, the SS guards had allegedly shot sick prisoners when they ran short of transportation to move them out of the camp, and had left the bodies as evidence.

The first news reel film about alleged German war-time atrocities, that was shown in American movie theaters, referred to the Ohrdruf labor camp as a “murder mill.” Burned corpses were shown as the narrator of the film asked rhetorically “How many were burned alive?” The narrator described “the murder shed” at Ohrdruf where prisoners were “slain in cold blood.” Lest anyone should be inclined to assume that this news reel was sheer propaganda, the narrator prophetically intoned: “For the first time, America can believe what they thought was impossible propaganda. This is documentary evidence of sheer mass murder – murder that will blacken the name of Germany for the rest of recorded history.”

The documentary film about all the camps, directed by famed Hollywood director George Stevens, which was shown on November 29, 1945 at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal, claimed that the Germans “starved, clubbed, and burned to death more than 4,000 political prisoners over a period of 8 months” at Ohrdruf-Nord. These atrocities allegedly took place while the Nazis were desperately trying to finish building a secret underground hideout for Hitler who was holed up in Berlin.

 

Ohrdruf-Nord survivor shows shallow grave to Generals 

In the photo above, the soldier on the far right, holding a notepad in his hand, is Benjamin B. Ferencz, who was at Ohrdruf to gather evidence of Nazi atrocities for future war crimes trials.

Five years after seeing the Ohrdruf camp, General Bradley recalled that “The smell of death overwhelmed us even before we passed through the stockade. More than 3,200 naked, emaciated bodies had been flung into shallow graves. Others lay in the streets where they had fallen. Lice crawled over the yellowed skin of their sharp, bony frames.” The presence of lice in the camp indicates that there was probably an epidemic of typhus, which is spread by lice.

In his letter to his family, written 13 April 1945, Alois Liethen wrote the following regarding the burial pit:

Then, about 2 kilometers from the enclosure was the ‘pit’ where the germans had buried 3200 since December when this camp opened. About 3 weeks ago the commandant of the camp was ordered to destroy all of the evidence of the mass killings in this place and he sent several hundred of these inmates out on the detail to exhume these bodies and have them burned. However, there wasn’t time enough to burn all of the 3200 and only 1606 were actually burned and the balance were still buried under a light film of dirt. I know that all of this may seem gruesome to you, it was to me too, and some of you may think that I may have become warped of mind in hatred, well, every single thing that I stated here and to the generals yesterday are carefully recorded in 16 pictures which I took with my camera at the place itself.

Both General George S. Patton and General Dwight D. Eisenhower referred to the Ohrdruf-Nord camp as a “horror camp” in their wartime memoirs. Eisenhower wrote the following in his book, “Crusade in Europe” about April 12, 1945, the day he visited the salt mines that held the Nazi treasures:

The same day, I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.

Eisenhower did not take the time to visit the main camp at Buchenwald, which was in the immediate area and had been discovered by the American army just the day before.

The Ohrdruf camp did not have a crematorium to burn the bodies. Instead, the bodies were at first taken to Buchenwald for burning, but as the death rate climbed, the bodies were buried about a mile from the camp. During the last days before the camp was liberated, bodies were being burned on a pyre made from railroad tracks. The rails were readily available because the underground bunker that was being built by the Ohrdruf prisoners featured a railroad where a whole train could be hidden underground.

In the photo below, the man on the far right wearing a dark jacket is a Dutch survivor of the camp who served as a guide for the American generals on their visit. The second man from the right is Captain Alois Liethen, who is interpreting for General Bradley to his left and General Eisenhower in the center of the photo. The man to the left of General Eisenhower is Benjamin B. Ferencz, who is taking notes. On the far left is one of the survivors of Ohrdruf.

Gen. Eisenhower views burned bodies, April 12, 1945 

On the same day that the Generals visited Ohrdruf, a group of citizens from the town of Ohrdruf and a captured German Army officer were being forced to take the tour. Colonel Charles Codman, an aide to General Patton, wrote to his wife about an incident that happened that day. A young soldier had accidentally bumped into the captured German officer and had laughed nervously. “General Eisenhower fixed him with a cold eye,” Codman wrote “and when he spoke, each word was like the drop off an icicle. ‘Still having trouble hating them?’ he said.” General Eisenhower had no trouble hating the Germans, as he would demonstrate when he set up a POW camp in Gotha a few weeks later.

After his visit to the salt mines and the Ohrdruf camp on April 12, 1945, General Eisenhower wrote the following in a cable on April 15th to General George C. Marshall, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC; this quote is prominently displayed by the U.S. Holocaust Museum:

. . .the most interesting–although horrible–sight that I encountered during the trip was a visit to a German internment camp near Gotha. The things I saw beggar description. While I was touring the camp I encountered three men who had been inmates and by one ruse or another had made their escape. I interviewed them through an interpreter. The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to “propaganda.”

Ironically, General Eisenhower’s words about “propaganda,” turned out to be prophetic: only a few years later, Paul Rassinier, who was a French resistance fighter imprisoned at the Buchenwald main camp, wrote the first Holocaust denial book, entitled Debunking the Genocide Myth, in which he refuted the claim by the French government at the 1946 Nuremberg trial that there were gas chambers in Buchenwald.

Note that General Eisenhower referred to Ohrdruf as an “internment camp,” which was what Americans called the camps where Japanese-Americans, German-Americans and Italian-Americans were held without charges during World War II. Ohrdruf was undoubtedly the first, and only, “internment camp” that General Eisenhower ever saw.

Why was Captain Alois Liethen investigating this small, obscure forced labor camp long before he arrived in Germany? Why did all the US Army generals visit this small camp and no other? Could it be because there was something else of great interest in the Ohrdruf area besides the Führer bunker and the salt mine where Nazi treasures were stored?

The Buchenwald camp had been liberated the day before the visit to the Ohrdruf camp. At Buchenwald, there were shrunken heads, human skin lampshades and ashtrays made from human bones. At Ohrdruf, there was nothing to see except a shed filled with 40 bodies. So why did Captain Alois Liethen take the four generals to Ohrdruf instead of Buchenwald?

What was Captain Liethen referring to when he wrote these words in a letter to his family?

After looking the place over for nearly a whole day I came back and made an oral report to my commanding general — rather I was ordered to do so by my boss, the Col. in my section. Then after I had told him all about the place he got in touch with the High Command and told them about it and the following tale bears out what they did about it.

There has been some speculation that the Germans might have tested an atomic bomb near Ohrdruf. In his book entitled “The SS Brotherhood of the Bell,” author James P. Farrell wrote about “the alleged German test of a small critial mass, high yield atom bomb at or near the Ohrdruf troop parade ground on March 4, 1945.” The “troop parade ground” was at the German Army Base right next to the Ohrdruf labor camp.

Why did General Eisenhower immediately order a propaganda campaign about Nazi atrocities? Was it to distract the media from discovering a far more important story? The first news reel about the Nazi camps called Ohrdruf a “murder mill.”

April,5th.1945

 

As part of the agreement signed on April 5, 1945, Tito secured a proviso that the Soviets would leave Yugoslavia once its “operational task” was completed. Ensuring compliance with this clause proved problematic, as Stalin tried to maintain a presence in postwar Yugoslavia, attempting to co-opt the Yugoslav Communist Party and create another puppet state. He failed; Tito played the West against the East in a Machiavellian scheme to keep his own Stalin-like grip on his country. Although he permitted cultural and scientific freedom unheard of in Soviet-bloc countries, he was also guilty of purging centrist and democratic forces fighting for reform within Yugoslavia and centralizing all power in one party. But upon Tito’s death, in 1980, the center could not hold–chaos was ultimately unleashed in the form of ethnic civil war

In Italy… On the west coast, American units from US 5th Army begin to attack north near Massa, south of La Spezia.

On the Western Front… Allied forces cross the Weser River at several points.

 

 

In Moscow… Molotov, the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, tells the Japanese ambassador that the USSR does not intend to renew the 1941 non-aggression pact.

In Washington… It is announced that General MacArthur will take control of all army forces in the Pacific theater of operations and Admiral Nimitz will command all naval forces in preparation for the invasion of Japan

 

April,6th.1945

 

 

6.4.1945 cover from GB to ‘British Embassy, Moscow, c/o Foriegn Office (USSR) London’ endorsed ‘By Bag’ and censored – PASSED P.211 h/s.

 

April,7th.1945

 

 

On the Western Front… Most of US 1st and 9th Armies are heavily engaged around the Ruhr pocket. Among the gains in the Allied advance to the east is Gottingen. Free French paratroops are dropped north of Zuider Zee in Holland.
Over Germany… RAF Mosquito bombers raid Berlin from bases on the continent, for the first time. American bombers strike airfield and railway targets

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April,8th.1945

OAS WOII Wolverhampton UK / GB – Tilburg 1945 Fieldpost

ON ACTIVE SERVICE WOLVERHAMPTON – TILBURG 8.4.1945

Veldpost – FIELDPOST OFFICE 617

 

April,8th.1945

 

1945
On the Eastern Front… In East Prussia, the Soviet 3rd Belorussian Front begins its final attacks on Konigsberg after several days of preparatory bombardment and air attacks. To the south, forces of the 3rd Ukrainian Front enter the suburbs of Vienna. Yugoslavian forces capture Sarajevo.
On the Western Front… American forces enter Hamm.

April,8th.1945

.

On the Eastern Front… In Austria, the Soviet forces push on west of Vienna despite German counterattacks. There is heavy fighting in the Austrian capital. In East Prussia, the Soviet attacks on Konigsberg begin to break through the defenses.

On the Western Front… On the southern flank, troops of the French 1st Army take Pforzheim as they continue their drive to the southeast. To the immediate north, US 7th Army units capture Schweinfurt. Other Allied armies farther north also advance.

.

April,9th.1945

1945
On the Eastern Front… The surviving German defenders of the Konigsberg fortress surrender to the Red Army forces. Some of the German troops in East Prussia continue to resist in the Samland Peninsula.

On the Western Front… In the attacks against the Ruhr pocket, US 9th Army units penetrate into Essen and reach the famous Krupp factories. Other British and American units, including some more from US 9th Army, are advancing near the Leine River to the east.

In Italy… The Allied spring offensive begins with attacks by British 8th Army (General McCreery). Initially, the Polish 2nd Corps advances along Route 9 toward Imola supported by British 5th and 10th Corps the right and left flanks. The objectives of the offensive include Ferrara and Bologna while the US 5th Army, which is scheduled to begin operations on April 14th, is to strike at Bologna and past Modena to the Po River.
In Liberated Italy… A Liberty ship loaded with aircraft bombs blows up in Bari harbor killing 360 and injuring 1730.

Over Germany… In a British RAF attack on German navy ships in Kiel, during the night, the Admiral Scheer capsizes, while the Admiral Hipper and Emden are damaged beyond repair. During the day, the US 8th Air Force targets jet fighter bases in the area of Munich.

In Germany… Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Admiral Canaris (former chief of the Abwehr) and Major General Oster are hanged at the Flossenburg Concentration Camp.

9th

: Battle of Königsberg ends in Soviet victory.

9: A heavy bombing at Kiel by the RAF destroys the last two major German warships.

9: Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer is executed at Flossenburg prison.

 

10th

: Buchenwald concentration camp liberated by American forces.

April,10th.1945

1945
On the Western Front… Forces of Canadian 1st Army pressure German positions in Holland and begin operations to cross the Ijssel River. British 2nd Army is advancing toward Bremen. Hanover falls to the US 13th Corps (part of US 9th Army). US 3rd Army advances toward Erfurt and US 7th Army advances toward Nuremberg.

Over Britain… The last German sortie over British territory during the war is conducted by a Luftwaffe Ar234 reconnaissance jet.

Ar-234 taking off

 

 

On this day in 1945,

the American Third Army liberates the Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Germany, a camp that will be judged second only to Auschwitz in the horrors it imposed on its prisoners.

As American forces closed in on the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, Gestapo headquarters at Weimar telephoned the camp administration to announce that it was sending explosives to blow up any evidence of the camp–including its inmates.

 What the Gestapo did not know was that the camp administrators had already fled in fear of the Allies. A prisoner answered the phone and informed headquarters that explosives would not be needed, as the camp had already been blown up, which, of course, was not true.

The camp held thousands of prisoners, mostly slave laborers. There were no gas chambers, but hundreds, sometimes thousands, died monthly from disease, malnutrition, beatings, and executions. Doctors performed medical experiments on inmates, testing the effects of viral infections and vaccines.

Among the camp’s most gruesome characters was Ilse Koch, wife of the camp commandant, who was infamous for her sadism. She often beat prisoners with a riding crop, and collected lampshades, book covers, and gloves made from the skin of camp victims.

Among those saved by the Americans was Elie Wiesel, who would go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986

April,11th.1945

 

1945
On the Eastern Front… In Vienna, Soviet troops of the 3rd Ukrainian Front have reached the Danube Canal near the city center.
On the Western Front… Forces of the British 2nd Army cross the Leine River near Celle. Leading armored units of the US 9th Army reach the Elbe River, south of Magdeburg. Forces of US 3rd Army capture Weimar. Other elements capture the Mittlewerke underground V2 factory at Nordhausen.

In Italy… Carrara is captured by the US 92nd Infantry Division (an element of US 5th Army) in its advance from Massa. In the east, forces of British 8th Army have now pushed the leading units over the Senio River to the Santerno River, where bridging operations begin.

11th

: Spain breaks diplomatic relations with Japan.

12th

: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies suddenly. Harry S. Truman becomes president of the United States.

April,12th.1945

 

1945
In the United States… President Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs in Georgia. Vice-President Truman becomes President. Truman has so far had limited involvement in the work of the Roosevelt administration (he was a surprising choice as running mate in 1944) and among the subjects on which he receives his first briefing in the next few days in the atomic weapons project.

On the Western Front… US 9th Army forces cross the Elbe River near Magdeburg, while in the rear of their advance, Brunswick falls. Troops of the US 3rd Army take Erfurt. In the south, French units take Baden Baden. To the rear, the Ruhr pocket has been further reduced by the capture of Essen by American attacks.

12th

In Italy… British 8th Army has three separate bridgeheads over the Santerno. On the right of the attack, British 5th Corps is advancing along the north bank of the Reno.

 

April,13th.1945

On this day in 1945, Adolf Hitler proclaims from his underground bunker that deliverance was at hand from encroaching Russian troops–Berlin would remain German. A “mighty artillery is waiting to greet the enemy,” proclaims Der Fuhrer. This as Germans loyal to the Nazi creed continue the mass slaughter of Jews.

As Hitler attempted to inflate his troops’ morale, German soldiers, Hitler Youth, and local police chased 5,000 to 6,000 Jewish prisoners into a large barn, setting it on fire, in hopes of concealing the evidence of their monstrous war crimes as the end of the Reich quickly became a reality. As the Jewish victims attempted to burrow their way out of the blazing barn, Germans surrounding the conflagration shot them. “Several thousand people were burned alive,” reported one survivor. The tragic irony is that President Roosevelt, had he lived, intended to give an address at the annual Jefferson Day dinner in Washington, D.C., on that very day, proclaiming his desire for “an end

April,13th.1945

1945
On the Eastern Front… Vienna falls to Soviet troops of 3rd Ukrainian Front after heavy fighting.

On the Western Front… The Nazi concentration camps at Belsen and Buchenwald are liberated by British and American forces respectively. Jena is captured by US 3rd Army units. To the south, US 7th Army forces take Bamberg.
In Italy… New Zealander troops capture Massa Lombarda, southwest of Lake Comacchio.

 

13th

: Vienna Offensive ends with Soviet victory.

 

April,14th.1945

April 14 1945…

Operation Teardrop
The Allied forces conduct Operation Teardrop last and largest hunter-killer operation against U-boats in the North Atlantic in World War II.
Two carrier task groups carry out an extensive search for Seewolf U-boats suspected of transporting V2 rockets to be launched against New York city.

USS Hubbard (DE 211/APD 53)

As part of Operation Teardrop, she took part in the destruction of the last desperate U-boat group to sortie, with escort carriers Bogue (CVE-9), Core (CVE-13), and many sister ships. Frederick C. Davis (DE-136) was torpedoed and sunk suddenly 24 April, and Hubbard joined in hunting the attacker. After many depth charge attacks, four by Hubbard alone, U-546 surfaced. The destroyer escorts’ guns blazed away and the submarine quickly sank.

 

 

April,14th.1945

 

1945
In Italy… US 5th Army joins British 8th Army in mounting the spring offensive operations. There are attacks on either side of the roads to Bologna from Florence and Pistoia. Vergato is captured.

On the Western Front… The US 3rd Army captures Bayreuth.

In the North Atlantic…Allied forces conduct Operation Teardrop. Two carrier task groups carry out an extensive search for Seewolf U-boats suspected of transporting V2 rockets to be launched against New York city.

In Germany… Reichsfuhrer SS Himmler orders that no prisoners at Dachau “shall be allowed to fall into the hands of the enemy alive.”

April,15th.1945

 

1945
On the Western Front… In Holland, troops of Canadian 1st Army complete the capture of Arnhem and attack toward Gronigen. Units of the US 9th Army, which have crossed the Elbe River near Magdeburg, are forced to retreat. The US 1st Army takes Leuna. Meanwhile, Operation Venerable is launched against the German garrison in the fortress of Royan, at the mouth of the Gironde River; heavy napalm bomb attacks by the US 8th Air Force and shelling by the Free French battleship Lorraine are followed by an attack by Free French and American forces.

In Italy… Both US 5th and British 8th Armies continue their attacks. Elements of the Polish 2nd Corps (part of British 8th Army) has reached the Sillario River after crossing the Santero River.

On the Eastern Front… Soviet forces begin a final offensive against the German held positions in the Samland Peninsula.

15: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is liberated by the British Army.

16th

: The Battle of the Seelow Heights and the Battle of the Oder-Neisse begin as the Soviets continue to advance towards the city of Berlin.

April,16th.1945

 

1945
On the Eastern Front… The Red Army launches the final offensive on Berlin. The 1st Belorussian Front (Marshal Zhukov), to the east, and 1st Ukraine Front (Marshal Konev), to the southeast, lead the assault with support from 2nd Belorussian Front (Marshal Rokossovsky) in the north. Stalin is nominally in command of the operation and at this time it is not clear whether the armies commanded by Zhukov, or those commanded by Konev, are to make the final assault on the city. The two Soviet Fronts comprise over 2,000,000 men with more than 6000 tanks and self-propelled guns, about 6000 aircraft and almost 16,000 artillery tubes. The German troops defending the line are organized into Army Group Vistula (General Heinrici), facing 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts, and Army Group Center (Field Marshal Schorner), facing 1st Ukrainian Front. There are about 1,000,000 German troops deployed in fairly strong and well-prepared positions overlooking the west bank of the Oder River and Neisse River, however, they lack significant stocks of armor, artillery and aircraft. After the massive artillery preparation, the attacks of 1st Belorussian Front begin from the Soviet bridgehead already taken west of the Oder, near Kustrin. By a well-timed short withdrawal the forces of the German Army Group Vistula have avoided the worst effects of this Soviet bombardment, but they have insufficient strength to do more than hold the Soviet attack temporarily. The attack of 1st Ukrainian Front begins a little later over the Neisse, north and south of Triebel.

On the Western Front… US 7th Army units reach the outskirts of Nuremberg. The special prisoner of war camp at Colditz is liberated by other Allied units during the day.

April 1945…

The Final Battles of the Luftwaffe were being fought in the Air.

<span>During March many of the Air Units were moved to Norway.</span>


<span>Bf 109 G-14/AS from 14./JG 5. Kjevik 1945 </span>

Aircraft from Denmark and North Germany moved to Norway in March 1945.
Links:
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1945/5MAI.html
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1945/Forde.html
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1945/Arado.html


<span>Fw 190 D9 Werk. no. 210972 at Lister</span>

Luftwaffe aircrafts left in Norway 10.8.45
Link:
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1945/werk.html


<span>Arado 234 at Sola in 1945</span>

Luftwaffe units in Norway, May 10th 1945.
Link:
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/lister/OOB/OOB45-05.html


<span>Junker Ju 88 G-6 from NJS Norwegen, B4+SA, Norway 1945</span>

NightFighters in Norway
Link:
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/1945/Nacht.html

Luftwaffe Losses in Norway 1945.
Link:
http://www.luftwaffe.no/SIG/Losses/tap45.html

<span>B-17′s in Kampfgeschwader 200</span>

All B-17 (excluding “Miss Nonalee II”) were transfered to KG 200 – special Luftwaffe unit. Germans had not enogh planes with that range as B-17s.
Planes had applied German national insignia, code letters (beginning from A3 – letters of KG 200) and special night camouflage. Germans added some equipment: barometrical altimeter ASI and radioaltimeter FuG 101. B-17s served in KG 200 in two Staffel, 1.Staffel was combat when 4.Staffel was training one. Planes based on Finsterwalde airfield.
German pilots were happy, because Fortress was formidable plane. They flew everywhere: Soviet Union, Poland, Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Netherland, Ireland and even Palestine and Africa!


<span>Wulf Hound was eventually transferred to KG 200 in September 1943. (Petrik).</span>

All planes were top secret and target was known only for pilot and navigator.
Service in KG 200 was very dangerous – first planes were lost 15th of May and 27th of June 1944 during combat missions. Next plane was heavily damaged 19th of November 1944.
B-17 “Down and Go!” was destroyed during mission in Spanish-French border area. Plane piloted by pilots Knappenscheider and von Pechmann with 10 French collaborators took of in 9th February 1945. Shortly after took off plane exploded (about one hundred meters above airstripe) and all aboard were killed.


<span>Wulf Hound found itself to be the center of attention where ever it went. (Heinz J. Nowarra).</span>

Last plane lost during war took place 2nd of March 1945. Plane took off 11.08 p.m. from airfield Stuttgart-Euchterdingen with 8 members of crew, 9 agents and 3 containers with equipment. When plane come back to home base was shot down by British night fighting Mosquito. Part crew jumped with parachute.
Since September 1944 B-17 of KG 200 started from Finnow airfield. During following months planes made several dozen sorties over Soviet Union and Poland area.
One of most dangerous flights was 20th of December 1944 when plane which took off from airfield in Cracow (Poland) with 6 agents on board had to flew in Odessa area. Just before jump one of Soviet agents throwed hand grenade. One of gunners had incredible reflex and jettisioned primed grenade.
When next time crews had to carry Soviet agents, they bowsed Russians and jettisioned them over targed unconscious.


<span>Wulf Hound, the first B-17F captured intact by the Luftwaffe. (Petrik). </span>

To the end of the war planes started from Hildesheim, Wackersleben and Fürstenfelsbruck airfields. Last combat mission took place in 2nd of May 1945. All survived planes were probably destroyed by their crews or captured by Soviets.

<span>Me 163B airfields</span>
Link:
http://www.sml.lr.tudelft.nl/~home/r…3/airfield.htm

<span>The map shows all airfields on which Komet operated (note 1990 borders). The main operating bases are shown as large green dots, while the secondary operating locations are shown as smaller green dots. Large cities are shown in red. Of note is the distance between Stuttgart-Böbblingen and Jesau, the main manufacturing site and the production test flying locations respectively. From Jesau the aircraft were delivered to operational units.</span>

Aerial view, clearly showing two of the three original runways overgrown with trees. The gliding airstrip can be seen north of the east-west runway (slighty right of the middle in the picture). On the south side (just left of the middle) a golf course can be seen.

<span>A view of the gliding airstrip. </span>

<span>The remains of a storage facility at Bad Zwischenahn, nicely hidden in bushes and trees</span>

<span>The interior of the storage facility, which is suprisingly intact.</span>

<span>Shown is a wartime RAF/USAF map of Bad Zwischenahn, home to EK16 until August 1944. The date of the map is unknown. Source: ‘Fliegerhorste und Einsatzhäfen der Luftwaffe’ by Karl Ries and Wolfgang Dierlich, Motorbuch Verlag</span>

<span>Graf & Grislawski: Airfields of Last Combat Missions</span>
Link:
http://www.graf-grislawski.elknet.pl/airfields.htm

<span>The Last Missions for the 4th Fighter Group.</span>
Other Links:
http://www.354th.com/Missions/missions_pt_7.htm
http://www.b24.net/missions/partf.htm
http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/4thfg-gallery.jsp

THE BIGGEST DAY OF THE WAR

April 16, 1945 – The Group was ordered on a strafing mission to Prague, Czechoslovakia. They found three fields crammed with aircraft that had been pulled back from the front as they neared Prague. The Mustangs made run after run in the midst of heavy flak and destroyed 61 for the loss of eight. Multiple kills were numerous. The top was Douglas Pedersen, he destroyed eight. One of those lost was Sidney Woods who would spend the rest of the war (2 weeks) as a POW. Meanwhile, “B” Group, lead by Louis Norley, hit Gablingen Airdrome without a loss. The total for the day was a satisfying 105 destroyed.

LAST COMBAT FATALITY

April 17, 1945 – On a free lance mission to Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria, Robert Davis’ coolant system was hit by flak and he bailed out. Although he was seen to hit the ground ok, he was killed. This was the last combat fatality of the war for the 4th.

LAST COMBAT MISSION

April 25, 1945 – The Group flew its last combat mission of World War II to Czechoslovakia and Germany. North of Prague William Hoelscher bounced a Me-262 getting several hits before he was hit by flak. His coolant system was punctured and 40mm hits smashed his left wing root and elevator. He bailed out and evaded back. He was the last combat loss for the 4th. Also, at this point the score for the 4th was 1,003. The score for the 56th was 1,008-1/2.

<span>lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita, Pilot of Romanian Airforce.</span>
Link:
http://www.worldwar2.ro/arr/p020.htm

Fighter Pilot
Born: 14 March 1919, Baicoi

Units:
29 November 1943 – February 1944: 1st Fighter Group
February 1944 – 21 April 1945: 2nd Fighter Group

Combat missions: 29
Victories: 9
Died: 21 April 1945, KIA Czechoslovakia

During February and March 1945 he was back in Romania, ferrying new aircraft for the group, from Someseni to Lucenec, in Slovakia.

On 21 April 1945, he took off at 9:25 in front of a patrula, which attacked two infantry platoons near the Soha Lova village and then strafed the road nearby.
By 10:20 they were back at the airfield. After two hours he took off again, but this time only with his wingman adj. av. Dumitru Silivan. Their mission was to patrol the road between Soha Lova and Dolny Nemec.
They spotted a column of about 7-8 trucks and attacked, each of them destroying one truck. When they came around for a new pass, adj. av. Silivan did not longer see his leader. Instead he saw a big white spot on the field.
The IAR-81C no. 426 of lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita had been hit by a quad machine-gun mounted on one of the trucks. The locals later found him in the cockpit, with his legs cut and a bullet hole in his forehead.
The white parachute had been spread out and cut into pieces by the German soldiers. That was probably what Silivan saw. He was buried in the Velnov cemetery, together with 33 other Romanian soldiers. He would have been 26 in several days.

In 1988 pieces of his aircraft were donated to the National Military Museum by the Czechs. In his honor, in 1991, the 86th Fighter Group was given the name Locotenent aviator Gheorghe Mociornita.

Lt. av. Gheorghe Mociornita shot down just 3 aircraft, but the point system of ARR brought him 9 victories, thus achieving the ace status. What is notable is that these kills were obtained only in 29 missions. He has also destroyed several trucks and carts on the ground, after the 2nd Fighter Group was relegated to a ground attack role. His less known side was the artist in Gheroghe Mociornita, who had written several poems (see link below) and drew with amazing dexterity.

Note: The author wishes to thank Mrs. Prof. Maria Mociornita for the interesting materials she provided about her brother.
Bibliography: Dan Antoniu, George Cicos: “Vanatorul IAR-80, istoria unui erou necunoscut”, Editura MODELISM, 2000

Grupul 1 Vânãtoare

On 28 June, the 1st Fighter Group scrambled its 17 IARs and intercepted a bomber formation and attacked it, while trying to avoid the Mustangs. Three B-17s were shot down. Also, adj. av. Zisu Sava claimed a P-51, which remained probable. This is the only case when a IAR-80 pilot claimed a Mustang. The group lost cpt. av. Stefanescu and adj. av. Prasinopol was wounded.


<span>This IAR-80B was later equipped with two Mauser 20 mm cannons and assigned to the 1st Fighter Group in 1944</span>

This was the last battle with USAAF. A part of the 1st Fighter Group’s pilots and airplanes were assigned to the 6th Fighter Group. At the end of July, the group started to train in order to convert to the Bf-109G.


<span>Picture from “Rumanian Air Force, the prime decade 1938-1947″ by Dénes Bernád, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1999</span>

During the winter of 1944/45 the group was reorganized. It had only two squadrons: the 61st and 64th. It was put under the command of cpt. av. Dan Vizanti, the former commander of the 6th Fighter Group.
This new group was sent to the front in Slovakia in early 1945, where it was suppose to help the exhausted 9th Fighter Group.
The first missions were flown on 20 February. The lack of experience on the Bf-109G among most of the group’s members was obvious and soon they were diverted to air support missions.
Anyway, after 25, Luftwaffe didn’t appear in the area, except for several reconnaissance flights. The only “casualties” suffered by the 1st Fighter Group during this last campaign were two pilots that defected on 26 March to a German air base.


<span>The emblem of the 1st Fighter Group on the cowling of an IAR-80 </span>

After the war, several Romanian pilots reportedly took part in a large Allied-organized air show at Wiener-Neustadt on 1 June 1945.
These airmen were asked to represent the German techniques and equipment, including the Bf-109G6, and provide a comparison to the latest US and Soviet aircraft types.
On the way back to Miskolc, two pilots from the 1st Fighter Group, of. echip. cls. III Ion Milu and lt. av. Dumitru Baciu met several P-51Ds over Hungary and waggled their wings as a recognition sign. The Mustangs waved back when the aircraft passed each other.
A Soviet Il-2 formation, escorted by Yak-3s, came along a few minutes later. The Romanians again waggled their wings, however, the Soviets did not wave back and flew on in the opposite direction.
The last two Yaks suddenly broke formation and jumped on the two “Gustavs”. Milu had enough of the war (five years and 45 confirmed victories) and decided not to engage the aggressors.
So he dived to safety. Lt. av. Baciu apparently managed to shoot down one Soviet and returned home with 16 holes in his aircraft.
This is probably the last  victory achieved by a Romanian fighter pilot

 

 

 

 On this day in 1945,

 U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Boris T. Pash commandeers over half a ton of uranium at Strassfut, Germany, in an effort to prevent the Russians from developing an A-bomb.

Pash was head of the Alsos Group, organized to search for German scientists in the postwar environment in order to prevent the Russians, previously Allies but now a potential threat, from capturing any scientists and putting them to work at their own atomic research plants. Uranium piles were also rich “catches,” as they were necessary to the development of atomic weapons.

On this day in 1942, French General Henri Giraud, who was captured in 1940, escapes from a castle prison at Konigstein by lowering himself down the castle wall and jumping on board a moving train, which takes him to the French border.

Hitler, outraged, ordered Giraud’s assassination upon being caught, but the French general was able to make it to North Africa via a British submarine. He joined the French Free Forces under General Charles de Gaulle and eventually helped to rebuild the French army

 

April,17th.1945

 

 

1945 cover and letter from GB to ‘Bengal & Assam Railway, 24 Parganas, India’ with circ. Overland Postage Due h/s. and censor h/s. Also d/r. HOME POSTAL CENTRE RE 1 transit p/m. to rear.

April,17th.1945

 

1945
On the Eastern Front… The Soviet attacks east of Berlin continue. In the very fierce battles, which have developed, the Germans are fighting with skill and desperation but are slowly being forced to give ground. Meanwhile, in Austria and Czechoslovakia, the Soviet attacks and German losses continue, Zisterdorf and Polten are taken in Austria.

In Italy… Allied offensive operations continue. On the right flank of the British 8th Army attacks, Argenta falls to forces of the British 5th Corps after an amphibious move across Lake Coamchio. North and east of Argenta there are no more rivers before the Po River and the British units are soon passing through what becomes known as the “Argenta Gap.” West of Argenta, the British 13th Corps enters the line between British 5th Corps and the Polish 1st Corps which is moving northwest toward Bologna. US 5th Army attacks continue as well, though with slower progress because of the more difficult terrain south and west of Bologna.

On the Western Front… Germans units in the Ruhr are beginning to surrender on a large scale. There is also fighting near Bremen and Nuremberg.

.

April,18th.1945

 

1945
On the Western Front… The last German forces resisting in the Ruhr Pocket surrender. Field Marshal Model, commanding German Army Group B inside the pocket, commits suicide. About 325,000 German prisoners have been taken in this area by the Allied forces. Meanwhile, the US 9th Army captures Magdeburg and troops of US 3rd Army cross the Czechoslovakian border after a rapid advance.
Over Germany… British RAF bombers strike Heligoland — dropping 5000 tons of bombs.

In Germany… Oberst Steinhoff (176 victories) suffers severe burns when his Me262 crashes near Munich. [He recovers and ultimately become Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe of the Federal Republic of Germany in the postwar era.]

On the Eastern Front… Except in a small area along the axis of advance of 1st Ukrainian Front, the Soviet forces engaged in the battle for Berlin have advanced less than 10 miles toward the city. However, the German defense is being worn down.

In the Ryukyu Islands… American Ernie Pyle, Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent, is killed on Ie Shima at age 45.

 

A famous war correspondent at the front  in April,8th.1945

18: Ernie Pyle, famed war correspondent for the GI’s, is killed by a sniper on Ie Shima, a small island near Okinawa.

19th

: Switzerland closes its borders with Germany (and former Austria).

19: Allies continue their sweep toward the Po Valley.

19: The Soviet advance towards the city of Berlin continues and soon reach the suburbs.

 

 

Happy 2nd Lt. William Robertson and Lt. Alexander Sylvashko, Red Army, shown in front of sign “East Meets West” symbolizing the historic meeting of the Red Army and American armies, near Torgau, Germany on Elbe Day.

 

April,19th.1945

 

On the Western Front… The US 1st Army captures Leipzig.

April,20th.1945

 

1945

American troops parade in the famous Nazi arena with the Stars and Stripes covering the Nazi swastika after Nuremberg falls to the Allies
On the Western Front… Nuremberg and Stuttgart are taken in the Allied advance. The American flag is raised over the rostrum of the Nuremberg Stadium — scene of Nazi Party rallies. In the Stuttgart area, the French 1st Army is advancing rapidly along the Neckar Valley, trapping German forces in the the Black Forest in Bavaria.

American troops parade in the famous Nazi arena with the Stars and Stripes covering the Nazi swastika after Nuremberg falls to the Allies

On the Eastern Front… In northern Germany, forces of the Soviet 2nd Belorussian Front join in the advance from the Oder River line, on a 30-mile frontage southwest of Stettin. To the south, German resistance on the Oder and Neisse river lines has been eliminated. Troops of the 1st Belorussian Front capture Protzel and units of 1st Ukrainian Fronts cross over the Spree River.

20: Hitler celebrates his 56th birthday in the bunker in Berlin; reports are that he is in an unhealthy state, nervous, and depressed.

21th

: Soviet forces under Georgiy Zhukov (1st Belorussian Front), Konstantin Rokossovskiy (2nd Belorussian Front), and Ivan Konev (1st Ukrainian Front) launch assaults on the German forces in and around the city of Berlin as the opening stages of the Battle of Berlin.

21: Hitler ordered SS-General Felix Steiner to attack the 1st Belorussian Front and destroy it. The ragtag units of “Army Detachment Steiner” are not fully manned.

 

April,21th.1945

 

 

1945 cover from EGYPT to ’2 NZEF, MEF’ with CAIRO m/c. and d/r. CENSOR h/s. Also d/r. BAPO 4 transit p/m. and s/r. NEW ZEALAND BASE ARMY POST OFFICE p/m. ‘Maadi’ in mss. Ref: 224-041.

April,21th.1945


1945
On the Eastern Front… Leading elements of the 1st Belorussian Front reach the eastern suburbs of Berlin. Meanwhile, the 1st Ukrainian Front attacks northward from Dresden.

In Moscow… A mutual assistance treaty is concluded between the Soviet government and the Provisional Government of Poland, based on the Lublin Committee. The further recognition bestowed on the communist Poles, at a time when the London based Polish government in exile continues to receive western recognition, becomes an issue in postwar period.

In Italy… Bologna is captured by units of the Polish 2nd Corps (part of British 8th Army). Units of US 2nd Corps (part of US 5th Army) enter the town a few hours later. US 5th Army forces have now cleared the Appenines and advancing rapidly on the Lombard Plain. East of Bologna, British 8th Army is advancing rapidly.

.

April,22th.1945

 

In Germany…

On this day in 1945,

 Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse

 Himmler meets Count Bernadotte of the Swedish Red Cross and gives him a message to pass to the western Allies, offering a German surrender to the British and Americans but not to the Soviets. The message is passed to the Allies on the 24th.

On the Western Front…

US 7th Army units cross the Danube at Dillingen and Baldingen.

In Italy..

. Units of 2nd and 4th US Corps (parts of US 5th Army) reach the Penaro River in their advance to the Po River. On the left flank Modena is taken

 

April,22th.1945

 

 

1945 (April) ‘MILITARBREV’ cover from SWEDEN to ‘Faltpost 31235′ with BORAS m/c. and redirected to ‘Strombo Idre’. Fp. 31235 – Fortress Engineer Park 520. Location Military District XII, Germany. Swedish Stationary to Swedish Volunteer in German Army. Cat. 400 Euros. Flap missing, folded

£45.00

22: Hitler is informed late in the day that, with the approval of Gotthard Heinrici, Steiner’s attack was never launched. Instead, Steiner’s forces were authorised to retreat.

22: In response to the news concerning Steiner, Hitler launches a furious tirade against the perceived treachery and incompetence of his military commanders in front of Wilhelm Keitel, Hans Krebs, Alfred Jodl, Wilhelm Burgdorf, and Martin Bormann. Hitler’s tirade culminates in an oath to stay in Berlin to head up the defence of the city.

22: Hitler ordered German General Walther Wenck to attack towards Berlin with his Twelfth Army, link up with the Ninth Army of General Theodor Busse, and relieve the city. Wenck launched an attack, but it came to nothing.

23th

: Hermann Göring sends a radiogram to Hitler’s bunker, asking to be declared Hitler’s successor. He proclaims that if he gets no response by 10 PM, he will assume Hitler is incapacitated and assume leadership of the Reich. Furious, Hitler strips him of all his offices and expels him from the Nazi Party.

23: Albert Speer makes one last visit to Hitler, informing him that he ignored the Nero Decree for scorched earth.

 

April,23th.1945

SINKING OF U 546

USS Bogue (CVE 9), USS Flaherty DE 135, USS Neunzer DE 150, USS Chatelain DE 149, USS Varian DE 798, USS Hubbard DE 211, USS Janssen DE 396, USS Pillsbury DE 133 and USS Keith DE 241

As the plane flies, St. Johns, Newfoundland, to Fayal in the Azores, the distance is 1,180 miles. On April 23, 1945, in mid-Atlantic about halfway between St. Johns and Fayal, several escort-carriers and a parade of destroyer escorts were strung out in a 100-mile north-south barrier patrol. The CVE-DE flotilla, one of the largest hunter-killer forces yet assembled, formed another segment of the “net” spread to catch the super-Schnorkels swimming across the Atlantic to invade America’s Eastern Sea Frontier.

The anti-submarine (AS) barrier was composed of two CVE task groups – TG 22.3 and TG 22.4 – and a large detachment of DEs. The force was operating under Commander Task Group 22.5 – Captain G. J. Dufek, in Bogue. Senior DE officer was Commander F. S. Hall, Commander Task Unit 22.7.1.

The DEs of Task Unit 22.7.1 included USS Pillsbury DE 133, USS Keith DE 241, USS Otterstetter DE 244, USS Pope DE 134, USS Flaherty DE 135, USS Chatelain DE 149, USS Frederick C. Davis DE 136, USS Neunzer DE 150, USS Hubbard DE 211, USS Varian DE 798, USS Otter DE 210, USS Hayter DE 212, USS Janssen DE 396 and USS Cockrill DE 398.

The ships were tactically disposed so that the DEs of the task unit formed a surface barrier between the Bogue air group to the south and Core (CVE ) air group to the north. Spaced five miles apart, the 14 DEs were ranged across the seascape like a dragnet, the carriers serving as figurative trawlers.

At 1322 in the afternoon of April 23, a search plane sighted a submarine about 70 miles from USS Pillsbury DE 133. Commander Hall formed a scouting line and the DEs steamed for the spot where the enemy had been glimpsed. The sub went down and stayed down. All afternoon the hunters combed the vicinity with their detection gear. All through that evening of the 23rd. Midnight, and they were still searching. Into the early hours of April 24 the relentless hunt went on.


<span>USS Frederick C. Davis DE 136</span>
<span>EDSALL (FMR)-Class Destroyer Escorts as they appeared between 1943 and 1946. These ships are shown carrying three 3-in./50 cal. guns in single MK 22 mounts, one MK 1 40mm twin mount, ten 20mm MK 4 single mounts, one MK 3 21-in. triple torpedo tube mount, one MK 10/11 hedgehog projector, two MK 9 depth charge tracks, eight MK 6 K-gun depth charge projectors.</span>

At 0829 Frederick C. Davis DE 136 made contact with U-546 and was proceeding to attack when, at 0840, the submarine fired a stern shot which tore the DE apart and sent her down with heavy loss of life. She was the second and last American DE to go down to enemy torpedo-fire in the Battle of the Atlantic.

The U-boat skipper who fired at the Frederick C. Davis DE 136 must have known he was courting suicide. For eight destroyer escorts from the scouting line immediately closed around the u-boat like a noose: Pillsbury, Flaherty, Neunzer, Chatelain, Varian, Hubbard, Janssen and Keith.

The submarine hunt conducted by this killer group stands as exemplary of the AS tactics employer by hunter-killers at that stage of the war.

Neunzer DE 150 and Hayter DE 212 conducted a search while Pillsbury DE 133 circled the area and Flaherty DE135 picked up survivors. Flaherty made contact in less than an hour and with Pillsbury proceeded to attack. Neunzer and Hayter took over rescue operations.

0950-1020: Flaherty and Pillsbury made hedgehog attacks. 1023: Directed by Pillsbury, Flaherty fired a magnetic-set pattern of Mark 8 charges in creeping attack. Depth-charge explosions were heard.

Five minutes later, Pillsbury lost contact with the sub. Six minutes later contact was regained – range 900 yards – but this contact would last only 16 minutes. The sub appeared to be very deep, estimated about 600 feet. It was evident the U-boat was operating at the deepest level endurable and maneuvering radically at varying speeds from practically zero to 5 knots.

1056: Pillsbury and Flaherty commenced “Operation Observant”
1059: ComCortDiv 62 ordered to form a search line, composed of all ships not engaged in attacks or rescue operations, to ready for search sweeps.
1133: Hubbard ordered to bring search line forward through target area.
1150: Pillsbury joined line as a guide
1152: Otterstetter ordered to join Hayter and Otter in rescue work.
1201: Flaherty obtained contact on U-boat.
1202: Flaherty reported her sound gear out and that contact should be ahead of DE Varian, range about 1,000 yards.
1205: Varian obtained contact.
1211: Janssen was ordered to attack, Varian assisting.
1228: Janssen delivered depth-charge attack.
1233: Hubbard was ordered to join Janssen; Varian to assist and coach creeping attack.

With Varian directing maneuvers, Hubbard and Janssen steamed into attack position. The U-boat was deep, but the two DEs were determined to dig it out whatever the level. Down went the depth-charges, a creeping attack that was launched at 1250.

1254: Varian reported a large air bubble.
1255: Neunzer was ordered to the scene of contact.
1259: Hubbard reported indications that U-boat was at depth of 600 feet.
1314: Another creeping attack delivered.
1320: Janssen relieved by Flaherty at scene of contact.
1341: Creeping attack delivered.
1346: Chatelain ordered to scene of attack.
1418: ComtCortDiv 62, in Otter, and Hayter left scene of Davis torpedoing to deliver survivors to escort carriers Core and Bogue. Otterstetter remained on scene of torpedoing to continue search for any remaining survivors.
1515: Varian reported depth indication that U-boat was at depth of 580 feet
1516: Another depth-charge attack delivered.
1545: Cockrill ordered to scene of contact.
1549: Creeping attack delivered by Neunzer, Varian and Hubbard with Chatelain as directing ship.
1556: By means of depth-finding equipment, submarine located at 420-foot level. Contact lost shortly thereafter.

At 1637 Chatelain and Neunzer were ordered to return to the line. During the previous attacks, the line had been held in readiness to make a sweep forward if contact was lost. At 1649 all ships were ordered back into line and the echo-ranging sweep was expanded.

1650: Cockrill obtained contact
1705: Having lost contact, Cockrill suggested that line make sweep through area.
1723: Line started forward through area, Pillsbury as guide.
1731: Varian reported contact.
1734: Keith reported contact.
1737: Pillsbury ordered to scene of contact to assist.
1743: Flaherty ordered to assist.
1747: By means of depth-finding equipment, Keith reported indications that U-boat was at depth of 220 feet. TU Commander ordered attack to be switched to hedgehog, in view of decreased depth.
1810: Flaherty delivered hedgehog attack. Pillsbury noted underwater explosion on sound gear.
1814: Small oil slick reported near scene of last attack.
1824: Flaherty reported bubbles coming up.
1828: Flaherty delivered hedgehog attack.
1838: U-boat surfaced.

From 9:50 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening – under fire for 10 1/2 hours – the sweating Germans had had enough of it. Moreover, the U-boat had been damaged by depth charge and hedgehog.

As the U-boat’s conning tower broke water, all ships that had a clear range opened fire. Frantic submariners fought their way out of the hatches. Under a storm of hits the sub plunged and rolled. At 1844, her bridge knocked all acockbill, the U-546 went under with her Schnorkel throat severed.

The killer of the Frederick C. Davis has been executed. Thirty-three U-boaters, including the Commanding Officer, Herr Kapitan Leutnant Paul Just, were taken prisoner.


<span>A survivor of Frederick C. Davis DE 136 is being transferred</span>

U-546
Type IXC/40
Laid down 6 Aug, 1942 Deutsche Werft AG, Hamburg
Commissioned 2 Jun, 1943 Oblt. Paul Just
Commanders 2 Jun, 1943 – 24 Apr, 1945 Kptlt. Paul Just


<span>PAUL JUST began his career in the Wehrmacht as a flier, but when Hermann G̦ring took total command of everything that flew, JUST, like so many others, was transferred to duty with the U-Boats. As Skipper of U-546, he had several patrols but sank only one ship Рthe 1,200 ton American destroyer escort USS FREDERICK C. DAVIS. </span>

Career 3 patrols 2 Jun, 1943 – 31 Dec, 1943 4. Flottille (training)
1 Jan, 1944 – 9 Nov, 1944 10. Flottille (front boat)
10 Nov, 1944 – 24 Apr, 1945 33. Flottille (front boat)

Successes 1 warship sunk for a total of 1.200 tons

April,23th.1945

 

1945
In Italy… Advance units of both US 5th and British 8th Armies reach the Po River. US 5th Army units manage to cross the river south of Mantua.

On the Eastern Front… Both Soviet 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts continue to advance toward Berlin. In the rear of these advances, Frankfurt (on Oder) and Cottbus are captured by Soviet troops.

In Berlin… Hitler receives a message from Goring, offering to take over the leadership of the country should Hitler be unable to continue with that task while besieged in Berlin. Hitler is infuriated and orders Goring arrested.

April,24th.1945

 

 

124.4.945 (Apr) “Commercial” cover from GREECE to GB with d/r. ATHENS p/m. and bi-lingual OBE No. 1548 label tied by d/r. CENSOR h/s. Folded.

 

 

 

April,24th.1945

1945
On the Eastern Front… In the battle for Berlin, Soviet troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front (Konev) penetrate into the suburbs of Berlin from the south while the forces of the 1st Belorussian Front (Zhukov) continue attacking into the city from the east. Other Soviet units of the two fronts are moving around the city to the north and south to complete the encirclement of the city. Large parts of the German 9th Army and 4th Panzer Army, both part of German Army Group Vistula (Heinrici) are cut off to the east of Berlin as a result of the northwest advance of the Soviet 1st Ukrainian Front.

Red Army troops penetrate Berlin from the South

On the Western Front… The British 2nd Army launches attacks near Bremen. Dessau on the Elbe River is taken by US 1st Army. To the south, on the Danube River, Ulm is captured and in the Black Forest area the French 1st Army continues its advance.

In Italy… Units of both US 5th Army and British 8th Army begin to cross the Po River at several points near Ferrara and to the west. Ferrara is captured. On the west coast, La Spezia falls to the US 92nd Division. German forces are incapable of stopping the Allied advance.

24th

: Meanwhile, Himmler, ignoring the orders of Hitler, makes a secret surrender offer to the Allies, (led by Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the Red Cross) provided that the Red Army is not involved. The offer is rejected; when Hitler hears of Himmler’s betrayal, he orders him shot.

24: Forces of the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front link up in the initial encirclement of Berlin.

24: Allies encircle last German armies near Bologna, and the Italian war in effect comes to an end.

25th

: Elbe Day: First contact between Soviet and American troops at the river Elbe, near Torgau in Germany.

April,25th.1945

 

Russian sniper 0f the 1st parachute tank division in April,25th.1945

1945
On the Western Front… Elements of US 1st Army link up with the Soviet forces at Torgau on the Elbe River. US 3rd Army crosses the Danube near Regensburg and assault the city.

<span>American and Soviet troops shake hands on a Bailey Bridge over the Elbe River.</span>

On the Eastern Front… Soviet forces complete the encirclement of Berlin near Ketzin. The 1st Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian froms continue to attack, from the east and south, into the city. South of the capital, elements of 1st Ukrainian Front advancing toward the Elbe River, link up with American units at Torgau. Meanwhile, in East Prussia, Pillau is taken. (Since early in the year, about 140,000 wounded and 40,000 refugees have been evacuated to the west from Pillau.) A few German troops continue to hold out at the tip of the Samland Peninsula.
Over Germany… British RAF bombers attack Berchtesgaden and coastal batteries at Wangerrooge (in the Frisian Islands).

Over Occupied Czechoslovakia… American planes strike Pilsen, nominally the Skoda Works.

In Italy… Mantua, Parma and Verona are among the towns liberated by the Allies as German resistance begins to collapse and significant numbers of German troops surrender.

In Occupied Italy… In addition to the extensive partisan operations, there are uprisings in Milan and Genoa.

In San Francisco… An international conference begins to draw up the constitution of a United Nations Organization

26th

: Hitler summons Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim from Munich to Berlin to take over command of the Luftwaffe from Göring. While flying into Berlin, von Greim is seriously wounded by Soviet anti-aircraft fire.

27th

: The encirclement of German forces in Berlin is completed by the 1st Belorussian Front and the 1st Ukrainian Front.

April,27th.45

Kwitantie Neth. Redd Cross Society 1945 – Food Parcel

Kwitantie : Parcel to Holland 27.4.1945

 

April,27th.1945

 

1945
On the Eastern Front… In Berlin, the Soviet forces have captured the Templehof airfield and are making progress in Spandau, Grunewald and other areas. To the north of the capital, troops of 2nd Belorussian Front begin to advance rapidly, taking Prenzlau and Angermunde.

German troop carrier destroyed in Berlin

In Germany… The western Allies reply to the peace proposals Himmler offered earlier in the month with a total refusal and a reminder of the established demand for unconditional surrender.

In Italy… Forces of US 5th Army liberate Genoa, which is already substantially controlled by Italian partisan forces.

 

April,28th.1945

 

1945
In Occupied Italy… Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, as well as other Fascist leaders are caught by partisans near Lake Como as they attempt to escape to Switzerland. They are shot and their bodies transported to Milan and hung up by the heels in the main square, where a mob then mutilates the corpses.

Moments after their deaths at the hands of Italian partisans, Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci.

On the Eastern Front… The battle of Berlin continues with Soviet troops having now penetrated to within a mile of Hitler’s bunker from the east and the south. Most of the Potsdamer Strasse has been cleared by troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front.

On the Western Front… The US 7th Army captures Augsburg in its advance south toward Austria. Other Allied units are crossing the Elbe River in the north and others are advancing on Munich in the south.


In the Atlantic… Convoy ONS-5 is attacked by 51 U-boats over the course of a following week (April 28-May6th). It loses 13 ships (out of 42) but 7 U-boats are sunk, 5 are seriously damaged and 12 are slightly damaged. This is considered a successful rate of exchange for the Allied convoys

28th

: Head of State for the Italian Social Republic, Benito Mussolini, heavily disguised, is captured in northern Italy while trying to escape.

29th

 

 Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are shot and hanged in Milan this day. Other members of his puppet government are also executed by Italian partisans and their bodies put on display in Milan.

Read more

On April 28 1945,

 

 at

 

 

the Piazzale Loreto in Milan,

 Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were shot and hanged in a spectacle that was photographed repeatedly.

 

His last words were, “Shoot me in the chest!”

 

Look the situation at the piazza lorreto

29th

: Dachau concentration camp is liberated by the U.S. 7th Army. All forces in Italy officially surrender and a ceasefire is declared.

29: Allied air forces commence Operations Manna and Chowhound, providing food aid to the Netherlands under a truce made with occupying German forces.

29th

 

: Hitler marries his companion Eva Braun.

 

Look other Eva braun profile

Adolf Hitler’s romances followed an intriguing pattern- they carried a similar demonic streak in them that characterized his politics.

 

All three known women to enter his life attempted suicide, which in turn cast serious aspersions over his psychological and sexual traits.

 

However, if there is one relationship of Hitler’s that still evinces interest, it is that with Eva Braun, 23 years younger than him. 

 

 

 Braun was Hitler’s mistress for 12 years and wife for 40 hours.

Braun met Hitler in Munich when she was 17.

 

 She was working as an assistant and model for his personal photographer and began seeing him more often two years later.

 

 

 Much of Eva Braun’s viewpoint on their romance and her life with Hitler comes across on the site evabraun.dk

According to the site, in 1931, Eva wrote a letter to Hitler:

“Dear Mr. Hitler, I would like to thank you for the pleasant evening at the theater. It was unforgettable… I count the hours until the moment when we shall meet again..”

 

 

Braun soon agreed to follow Hitler to his mountain retreat in the Alps. Their attraction was immediate, and over the objection of her lower-middle-class Bavarian parents, she became his mistress.”

 

Their relationship, post that is of the kind that would re-define the word ‘enigma’. Hitler wouldn’t publicly embrace her, nor privately disown her. He provided her an opulent life, replete with all material comforts, yet deprived her of the one thing she treasured most-his company. According to Hitler’s chauffeur Erich Kempka, Braun spent most of her time waiting for Hitler.

Hitler kept Braun away from the public eye. His high-handedness towards her is said to have made his staff refer to Braun as “the girl in a gilded cage”. Braun, for her part, only became rebellious- keeping up habits which Hitler detested, such as smoking and nude sunbathing.

In a tender moment though, Hitler is said to have confided his feelings for Braun in his personal valet, Heinz Linge, “Braun is too young to be the wife of one in my position. But she is the only girl for me. So we live as we do…”

So, did Hitler love Eva Braun?

Well, so it seems. Hitler’s definition of love, though, was significantly different from the way the world perceived it. It carried an element of perversity. Apparently, he believed in ‘controlling’ the lover, without in turn living up to his part of the involvement. This behavior surprisingly brings out insecurity in as much as it does vanity.

And did Eva Braun love Hitler?

Yes. What must have started off as an infatuation eventually stood the test of time, despite abuse of various kinds. It is believed that Hitler wanted her to be with him in death, just as she had stood by him for so many years in life. Braun fulfilled his wish as she always had. On 30th April, 1945, Hitler and Braun committed suicide just when they were on the verge of being captured by the Soviet troops. The world discovered after their deaths that Hitler and Braun were man and wife. Hitler’s acquiescence to marry Braun- something she always wanted, barely 40 hours before their death, was his compensation/redemption for all that Braun had borne for him.

Had it not been for unconditional love, Braun would probably have realized the futility of craving for the moment of glory that simply wasn’t. Hitler’s narcissism did not spare his idea of love.

The article was first published in The Times of India

A New Look at Hitler’s Mistress Eva Braun

Source


http://berghof.greyfalcon.us/eva.htm

The field research on the details of the relationship between Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun began while the dictator was still alive.

 

The “Führer” was a late sleeper. In the late morning, after he had left his bedroom, with its connecting door to Braun’s quarters, and the staff had removed the bed linens, the curious employees would scrutinize the sheets and pillowcases, searching for clues to what had happened there in the previous night.

“We snooped around in the beds,” Herbert Döhring, the manager of the Berghof, Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps, confessed to a television team decades later. But they found nothing, leading Döhring,

 

a member of the Waffen-SS, to conclude that the relationship between the dictator and Braun, 23 years his junior, must have been platonic.

In the Third Reich, Döhring was one of only a small group of people who knew about Braun’s close relationship with Hitler. It wasn’t until after the war that the public learned that the dictator had spent many years in the company of an attractive blonde from Munich, who he married hours before the couple committed suicide, on April 30, 1945, in the Führer’s bunker in Berlin.

Their secretiveness was based on political calculation. “Many women find me appealing because I am unmarried,” Hitler believed. “It’s the same thing with a film actor: When he marries, he loses a certain something among the women who worship him, and they no longer idolize him quite as much anymore.”

Correcting the Image of Braun

Because of the relatively clandestine nature of their relationship, after the war the public was all the more intrigued about the daughter of a Munich vocational school teacher who had spent about a decade and a half at his side — mostly at the Berghof in Obersalzberg in the German Alps, and occasionally in Berlin. But the initial answers did little to satisfy that curiosity. For decades she has been seen as a decorative companion to Adolf Hitler, an apolitical “dumb blonde” whose attentions served as an occasional diversion for the Führer.

But is it true?



Berlin historian Heike Görtemaker has now taken on the task of correcting this image of Braun, by writing the first scholarly biography of Braun,  Eva Braun: Leben mit Hitler, claiming historians have hugely underestimated the role she played in his life.

She reveals her as a politically committed woman who won ­Hitler’s affections, enjoyed a healthy sex life with him, sympathised with Nazi politics and gave him psychological support. Görtemaker spent three years researching her book, Eva Braun: Life With Hitler, due out this month from the prestigious CH Beck publishing house. She was able to draw on previously unseen or little-known documents, letters, diary entries and photographs.

Eva Braun features in films, plays, novels and historical memoirs,but is always portrayed as the dumb blonde who had the misfortune to fall in love with a devil, and this is an image that needs to be ­corrected. She was capricious, an uncompromising advocate of unconditional loyalty towards the dictator who went so far as to die with him, and he adored her.

According to Görtemaker’s account, Braun was fully aware of the twists and turns of Nazi policy-making and made no attempt to speak out against the Holocaust.

She was in the loop and knew what was going on. She was no mere bystander.

By taking a strictly academic approach, Görtemaker manages to dispense with many of the anecdotes that have amused and occasionally titillated readers. According to one of these stories, Braun allegedly complained, in the Führer bunker, about her constant arguments with Adolf about meals. Hitler, an adamant vegetarian, allegedly demanded that she eat only gruel and mushroom dip, which she found disgusting (“I can’t eat this stuff”).

According to another story, told by one of the dictator’s secretaries, Braun would secretly kick Hitler’s German shepherd Blondi, supposedly because she was jealous of the dog. She is said to have gloated over Blondi’s howls after abusing the dog (“Adolf is surprised at the animal’s strange behavior. That’s my revenge.”).

Görtemaker blames British historians for shaping the image of Braun, claiming that writers such as Ian Kershaw and Hugh Trevor-Roper, and German historians such as Sebastian Haffner, judged her insignificant and her relationship with Hitler to be banal. She claims that the late Lord Dacre (Trevor-Roper) did most to influence the traditional perception. A wartime intelligence officer who carried out an official investigation into Hitler’s final days and conducted numerous interviews with his entourage after the war, he dismissed Braun in a single word as “uninteresting”.

Trevor-Roper took his cue from Albert Speer [Hitler's armaments minister], whom he interviewed at length,, Speer said, ‘for all writers of history, Eva Braun is going to be a disappointment’, and claimed that women had no significant role to play in the Nazi party. It was said of all the women, from the wives to the secretaries. Speer was trying to protect his wife. There was a strong movement to protect women in general, and so it became to be generally accepted that women had little role to play in the politics of the Third Reich.

The lack of primary sources about Braun, and the dominant memoir literature, especially the popular autobiography by Speer, made it easy to view her as a disappointment of history because she didn’t take part in the decision making leading up to the crimes committed by the Nazis.

The Nazi women said after the war that they had nothing to do with politics at all. Even Ilse Hess, who was an early campaigner for the National Socialists and a member of the party since 1921, said after the war that she had nothing to do with politics—and as a woman had always been passive. But that was not true—and not true for Eva Braun.
(Görtemaker)

‘The History of that Sofa’



Görtemaker puts as little stock in such “tabloid” stories told by the people in Hitler’s immediate surroundings as she does in Döhring’s bed-linen analysis. Instead, the historian assumes that the couple had a normal, intimate relationship, as Braun’s friends and relatives would later report. According to those accounts, when Braun saw a photo depicting British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sitting on the sofa in Hitler’s Munich apartment in 1938, she giggled and said: “If he only knew the history of that sofa!”

“It just didn’t fit into the picture people had of him. Many women in particular didn’t like it, asking how could anyone be good enough for Hitler,” said Görtemaker.

The historian takes the character at the center of her book seriously, and in the material she has analyzed, there is credible evidence that Braun was more to Hitler than an “attractive young thing” in whom the dictator “found, despite or perhaps because of her unassuming and insipid appearance, the sort of relaxation and calm he was seeking,” as Hitler’s personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann later claimed.

In his will, which Hitler drew up in 1938, Braun’s name appeared immediately after that of the Nazi Party. Under the provisions of the will, the party was to pay her a substantial, lifelong pension, to be drawn from his assets. Propaganda minister and Hitler confidant Josef Göbbels noted several times how much the dictator appreciated his mistress (“A clever girl, who means a lot to the Führer”).

She was involved in the plans for the conversion of the Austrian city of Linz into the Führer’s cultural capital, where Hitler, a native of Austria, planned to retire after the Nazi’s final victory. And if he had had his way, Braun would also have survived the demise of the German Reich. He repeatedly asked her to leave Berlin in the final days of the war and fly to Bavaria. But Braun refused. Until the very end, Hitler spoke of her “with great respect and inner devotion,” Albert Speer, Hitler’s crown prince, said in his first statements to the Allies in 1945.

Devoid of Friends?

The notion that Braun meant something to the dictator is not as banal as it may seem at first glance. The perception of her as an inconsequential accoutrement contributed greatly to the image of Hitler as a purely political being. This is the perspective conveyed by best-selling Hitler biographers Joachim C. Fest, Sebastian Haffner and Ian Kershaw.

According to their versions, Hitler lived a life devoid of friends, love and passion — a life that was easy to discard and, therefore, was accompanied by a constant readiness to commit suicide. For Haffner, at least, Hitler’s 1945 suicide in his Berlin bunker was “to be expected.” In a broader sense, the all-or-nothing policies Hitler pursued until total defeat could also be interpreted as a consequence of the dictator’s emotional emptiness.

Görtemaker avoids directly criticizing this interpretation, but it is clear that her account raises the issue, once again, of Hitler’s psyche. Of course, her book also shows how difficult it will be to find answers, because of the order Hitler issued in 1945 to destroy all private records. The order most likely extended to his correspondence with Braun, which has been proven to have once existed.

For this reason, the historian can only draw on a few letters Braun wrote to female friends and relatives, as well as fragments of a 1935 diary, although its authenticity is disputed. She also makes use of statements made by Hitler’s servants, bodyguards, his chauffeur and various senior Nazis in the decades following the war, although she treats this information with a healthy dose of scepticism, and rightfully so. A constant thread throughout the book is Görtemaker’s acknowledgement that there are many questions she cannot answer.

In 1929, Eva Braun was a sweet 17-year-old, naive but ambitious, from a respectable Bavarian Catholic family, and well aware of her attractiveness to men. She had just begun her first job in a photographic shop in Munich’s bohemian quarter. One October day, Adolf Hitler walked into her life.

Later, she told her sister Ilse what happened: “I had climbed up a ladder to reach the files that were kept on the top shelves of the cupboard. At that moment the boss came in, accompanied by a man of a certain age with a funny moustache, a light-coloured English overcoat and a big felt hat in his hand. They both sat down on the other side of the room opposite me. I tried to squint in their direction and sensed that this character was looking at my legs.”

Their future, fateful liaison was already prefigured in that brief encounter. The former convent schoolgirl, enjoying the attention, was only embarrassed because she had just shortened her skirt by hand and “wasn’t sure that I had got the hem even”.

The stranger had indeed noticed the pretty girl on the ladder. Hitler was introduced to her (as “Herr Wolf”, his usual alias) by her boss, Heinrich Hoffmann, who was both his photographer and a friend. The man who became her nemesis — and humanity’s — seems to have made an instant impression: Eva decided there and then to marry him. He was equally determined to remain single and childless. But neither would let the other go.

Eva was not Hitler’s first mistress: that dubious privilege belonged to his niece, Geli Raubal, who had shared his bed while her mother kept house for him. Not only was this an incestuous relationship, but when Geli tried to escape by taking other lovers, Hitler suffocated her with his jealousy. It was a revolting tale of beauty and the beast. 
    
In 1931, when Geli realised that Hitler would neither marry her nor let her marry anybody else, she shot herself. Foul play was suspected, but nothing was ever proved. His grief seems to have been genuine: her room remained a shrine to the end of his life.

Eva saw her chance to comfort the stricken Führer; within weeks they were lovers. Thereafter, Eva saw off all competition. Unity Mitford appealed to Hitler’s snobbery, and he used her to impress guests in prewar Berlin, but she was too unbalanced and too English to be a serious rival. Magda  Göbbels ruthlessly established herself as Hitler’s hostess when he needed to entertain. Eva was always kept in the background on official occasions. To her chagrin, she never met visiting celebrities such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. .

Despite endless rumours, there is no evidence that Hitler was sexually abnormal, though he was certainly shy and probably a virgin into his thirties. Unlike the affair with his niece, this was not an abusive relationship, but emphatically consensual. Yet it must be significant that all the important women in Hitler’s life committed suicide: beginning with the failed attempt of an early girlfriend, Mimi Reiter, there followed Geli and Unity (who shot herself on the day Britain declared war). In the end, Eva had the satisfaction of seeing her hysterical rival Magda Göbbels kicked out by Hitler minutes before their double suicide.

What is less well known is that, much earlier, Eva twice tried to kill herself: in November 1932, she shot herself in the throat, but missed the jugular. Then, in 1935, she tried again, this time with sleeping pills. Her reason, both times, was Hitler’s neglect. Although he expected her to give up her career and all hope of marriage or children, he might see her only every three or four weeks. While away, he often didn’t write or phone. Just before her second suicide attempt, she wrote: “If only I had never set eyes on him!” Yet however unhappy she was, her devotion was a fact of life. When they finally married, she seems to have considered her life fulfilled for the 36 hours during which she was addressed as “Mrs Hitler” — though her husband still referred to her as “Miss Braun”.

The only thing that gave her life meaning was Hitler. She had him all to herself only in death, but that seems to have been enough.


The Lost Life of Eva Braun
Angela Lambert

Even the beginnings of the affair are relatively murky.

Not a single letter from Hitler addressed to his mistress, or a single letter from Eva Braun addressed to Hitler, has ever been recovered. We just have different accounts from former members of Hitler’s inner circle, like Albert Speer, the adjutant Julius Schaub, and others. The development of their relationship before 1935 remains unclear. (Görtemaker)

Hitler apparently met Braun in 1929, when she was 17, at the “NSDAP Photohaus Hoffmann,” a photography shop, on Amalienstrasse in Munich. The young woman, who looks mischievous in pictures, had previously attended a girls’ school for home economics and office management, and was now working in the photography shop. Her boss Heinrich Hoffmann, who was chosen as Hitler’s official photographer, was one of the early members of the Nazi Party. A hard-drinking anti-Semite, Hoffmann made a fortune with propaganda photos and picture books, including a book titled The Hitler Nobody Knows.

How Political Was Eva Braun?

For Hitler, a 40-year-old opposition politician at the time, there were many opportunities to pay a visit to Hoffmann’s shop. The Nazi Party’s national office was around the corner, as were the editorial offices of the party newspaper Völkischer Beobachter and, of course, Hitler’s favorite restaurant, the Osteria Bavaria.

If what Hoffmann’s daughter later said is true, the party leader charmed the teenager with snide Viennese charm:

May I invite you to the opera, Miss Eva? You see, I am always surrounded by men, and so I can appreciate my good fortune when I find myself in the company of a woman. Dates at the cinema and restaurants followed.
 
When he was with women he never showed the slightest inclination toward womanizing. The naïve Braun, who fantasized about the world of films and loved fashion magazines, succumbed to the strong suggestive powers that even neutral observers ascribed to Hitler. Soon after meeting Braun, the Nazi leader apparently issued orders to look into whether the Braun family had any Jewish ancestors.

No one knows when the banter turned into a relationship. In 1932, Braun tried to commit suicide with her father’s gun, which some contemporaries suspected was an attempt to pressure Hitler to pay more attention to her. The Nazi leader had his eye on the chancellorship, and it would have been the second suicide by a young woman that could have been tied to Hitler. His niece, Geli Rauball, shot herself to death, presumably to escape the attentions of her jealous uncle.  After Braun’s recovery, Hitler became more committed to her and by the end of 1932 they had become lovers. She often stayed overnight at his Munich apartment when he was in town.

The Back of the Group

Eva Braun seemed to have suffered from a lack of attention or recognition from Hitler. The World War I veteran, who had been a failure in civilian life, continued to live a Bohemian existence after coming to power in 1933. He was often absent for days from the business of running the government in Berlin. He spent his time strolling through Munich, going to the opera and the theater with his shady entourage and visiting construction sites, which Hitler, a lover of architecture, felt were important. In good weather, the group would drive out to the countryside, and Braun often went along on these outings.

Of course, she was required to travel in a separate compartment with the secretaries, and during the country walks her place was at the back of the group. On occasion, Hitler would openly hand her an envelope filled with cash, which reminded Speer of “American gangster films.”

On 1 April, 1935, she complained to her diary about a recent dinner at a hotel: “I sat near him for three hours and could not exchange a single word. By way of goodbye he handed me, as he has done before, an envelope with money in it. It would have been much nicer if he had enclosed a greeting or a loving word.”  (Lambert)

According to a fragment of her diary and the account of biographer Nerin Gun, Braun’s second suicide attempt occurred in May 1935. She took an overdose of sleeping pills when Hitler failed to make time for her in his life Hitler provided Eva and her sister with a three-bedroom apartment in Munich that August, and the next year the sisters were provided with a villa in Bogenhausen.

Braun attended the Nuremberg Rally for the first time in 1935, as a member of Hoffman’s staff. Hitler’s half-sister, Angela Raubal (the dead Geli’s mother), took exception to her presence there, and was later dismissed from her position as housekeeper at his house in Berchtesgaden. Researchers are unable to ascertain if her dislike for Braun was the only reason for her departure, but other members of Hitler’s entourage saw Braun as untouchable from then on.

By 1936, Braun was at Hitler’s household at the Berghof near Berchtesgaden whenever he was in residence there, but she lived mostly in Munich. Braun also had her own apartment at the new Reich Chancellery in Berlin, completed to a design by Albert Speer.

She grew into the role of hostess at the Berghof, where Hitler would often spend weeks at a time, even during the war. Her official title was “private secretary.” Braun had her own private quarters at his Berghof mountain retreat, where she whiled away the time between his visits with reading, enjoying the outdoors and partying. “When he was there they led what can be called a bohemian existence,” said Görtemaker. Of course, the dictator continued to keep the relationship out of the public eye.

Detrimental to his Image

Despite his efforts to conceal the relationship, the Allied press eventually learned that Hitler had a girlfriend named Braun, and Time reported the story in 1939. But it remained a secret in Germany, and Hitler was probably correct in his assumption that going public with the love affair would have been detrimental to his image as Führer.

Reinhard Spitzy, a staunch Nazi and employee of the former German ambassador to London, Joachim Ribbentrop, was astonished when a young woman with whom he was unfamiliar suddenly interrupted a conversation between Ribbentrop and Hitler at the Berghof, and said that the men should “finally” come to dinner. A colleague explained Braun’s position to Spitzy, who was appalled. He had imagined Hitler as an “ascetic, above sex and passion.” Instead, his hero was no different from anyone else.

Görtemaker said recognising that Hitler had a “normal relationship” was a vital part of the process of seeing him as a recognisable product of German society in the first half of the 20th century.

He is mostly portrayed as incapable of having a private life, He said he couldn’t marry because he was married to Germany.

The German public was never meant to know of Braun’s existence and marriage was out of the question until the very end. He told Speer:

It’s just like an actor when he marries. For the women who have worshipped him, he is no longer their idol in the same way.

Braun had a strong interest in photography and making films, and she also liked to be photographed. The photo albums and films of her that have survived depict her as a carefree, athletic and extroverted woman, who sometimes posed in her bathing suit and even filmed her sister when she went swimming in the nude. After the war, a former member of the SS complained that she did not conform to the “ideal of a German girl.” According to the SS officer, Braun would start “making the initial preparations for all kinds of amusements” — parties at the mountain hideaway — shortly after Hitler’s limousine had pulled away from the Berghof.

Such statements conform to the image of an apolitical entourage that everyone involved — from lowly servants to luminaries such as Albert Speer — described after the war, and into which Braun seemed to have integrated herself seamlessly. There was said to be a rule at the Berghof: that politics was not to be discussed in the presence of women. Instead, the topics of discussion were apparently fashion, dog breeding and operettas.

In 1943, shortly after Germany had fully transitioned to a total war economy. this meant , among other things, a potential ban on women’s cosmetics and luxuries. According to Speer’s memoirs, Braun approached Hitler in “high indignation”; Hitler instructed Speer, who was armaments minister at the time, to quietly arrange for production of women’s cosmetics and luxuries to cease rather than instituting an outright ban.

Pure Politics

Biographer Görtemaker doesn’t have any trouble introducing arguments against the exclusiveness of this version. A look into Braun’s photo albums, which include pictures she took on August 23, 1939, is enough to support this notion. On that day Ribbentrop, who had been promoted to foreign minister by then, was in negotiations with Stalin in Moscow over the partition of Eastern Europe between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Hitler wanted the alliance so that he could invade Poland. The photos show how tense and visibly restless he was while waiting for the outcome of Ribbentrop’s talks with Stalin. It was pure politics, and Braun was there.

Braun became part of the Nazi propaganda machinery. She served not just as decoration; she took pictures and films portraying Hitler at his Berghof retreat as a likeable caring person and family man, fond of children. But he wasn’t a family man. And she sold these so-called private pictures to Heinrich Hoffmann, and in doing so earned a lot of money—she got 20,000 marks for one of her [home] movies. She was very rich. It cannot be said how many pictures published by Hoffmann in his famous picture books about the private life of the Führer were actually taken by Eva Braun. (Görtemaker)

Görtemaker also believes that the woman at his side “shared Hitler’s worldview and political opinions uncritically.” The circumstances alone suggest that this was the case. Braun spent almost half of her 33 years in the company of fanatical Nazis.

The Making of Legends

After learning about the failed 20 July plot to kill Hitler, Braun wrote to him, “From our first meeting I swore to follow you anywhere even unto death. I live only for your love”.

Braun was faithful unto death, and it was this unconditional loyalty that Hitler presumably valued in her above all else. “Only Miss Braun and my German Shepherd are loyal to me and belong to me,” he is believed to have said near the end of the war.

At that point, Braun had already decided to remain with the Führer. She even had someone teach her how to use a pistol when the Red Army had already advanced into Berlin. “We are fighting to the end here,” she wrote from the Führer’s bunker to her closest friend on April 22. “I will die as I have lived. It will not be difficult for me.”

According to the records of the Berchtesgaden District Court, Eva Braun died on April 30, 1945, at 3:28 p.m., after biting into a capsule of potassium cyanide. Hitler followed her two minutes later.

The making of legends could begin…..

April,24th.1945

Soviet artillery fire makes the first direct hits on the Chancellery buildings and grounds directly above the Fuehrerbunker. April 24, 1945: Speer talks with Hitler for the last time in the Fuehrerbunker. He supposedly confesses to his Fuehrer that he has been countermanding his orders for scorched earth. However, the only account we have to support this contention is Speers own. There is some reason to believe that at least a portion of the story is no more than wishful thinking on Speer’s part. However, the meeting certainly is contentious as Guderian will later relate that Hitler,

after this meeting, declares: ‘I refuse to see anyone alone anymore ….(Speer) always has something unpleasant to say to me. I can’t bear that.’ (Shirer, Sereny)

April 24, 1945:

German General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling, commander of the 56th Panzer Corps, arrives at the Fuehrerbunker. Communications with Weidling had been cut off since the 20th, and he had been sentenced to death on the 22nd as a deserter. He has traveled to Berlin to plead his innocence to his Fuehrer, who, impressed by the effort, soon gives him a new post. (Kershaw) April 24, 1945:

Albert Speer and Walter Frentz take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. April 24, 1945: Speer meets with Himmler, and fills him in on the events in Berlin and of Goering’s fall. Himmler maintains that Goering’s fall is temporary: Goering is going to be the successor now. We’ve long had an understanding that I would be his Premier. Even without Hitler, I can make him Head-of-State ….

You know what he’s like—naturally, I’ll be the one to make the decisions. I’ve already been in touch with various persons I mean to take into my Cabinet. Keitel is coming to see me shortly …. Europe cannot manage without me in the future, either. It will go on needing me as Minister of Police.

After I’ve spent an hour with Eisenhower, he’ll appreciate that fact.

They’ll soon realize that they’re dependant on me—or they’ll have a hopeless chaos on their hands. After telling Speer of his recent negotiations with Swedish Red Cross envoy Bernadotte, Himmler hints that there may be a place for Speer in his cabinet.

Speer will later write that he countered this by offering the Reichsfuehrer SS the use of Speer’s own private plane for the purpose of flying to Berlin to see Hitler one last time. Himmler declines: ‘Now I must prepare my new government.

And besides, my person is too important for the future of Germany for me to risk the flight.’ (Speer, Read) From Triumph and Tragedy by Winston Churchill: In the early hours of April 25 a telegram arrived in London from Sir Victor Mallet, British Minister to Sweden.

He reported that at 11 PM on April 24

he and his American colleague, Mr. Herschel Johnson, had been asked to call on the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Boheman.

The purpose of the interview was to meet Count Bernadotte (above), who had an urgent mission. Bernadotte told him that Himmler was on the Eastern Front, and had asked to meet him urgently in Northern Germany.

Bernadotte suggested Luebeck, and they had met the previous evening. Himmler, though tired and admitting Germany was finished, was still calm and coherent.

He said that Hitler is so desperately ill that he might be dead already, and in any case would be so within the next few days. Himmler stated that while the Fuehrer was still active he would not have been able to do what he now proposed,

but as Hitler was finished he could act with full authority. He then asked if the Swedish Government would arrange for him to meet General Eisenhower and capitulate on the whole Western Front. Bernadotte said there was no need for this as he could simply order his troops to surrender, and in any case

he would not forward the request unless Norway and Denmark were included in the capitulation. If this were done there might be some point to a meeting,

because special arrangements might be necessary as to how and to whom the Germans there were to lay down their arms.

Himmler thereupon said he was prepared to order the German forces in Denmark and Norway to surrender to either British, American, or Swedish troops. When asked what he proposed to do if the Western Allies refused his offer,

Himmler replied that he would take command of the Eastern Front and die in battle. Himmler said he hoped that the Western Allies rather than the Russians would be the first to enter Mecklenberg, in order to save the civilian population.

Count Bernadotte ended by saying that General Schellenberg was now in Flensburg, near the Danish border, eagerly waiting for news, and could make sure than any message would reach Himmler immediately.

Both Ministers remarked that Himmler’s refusal to surrender on the Eastern Front looked like a last attempt to make trouble between the Western Allies and Russia.

Obviously the Nazis would have to surrender to all the Allies simultaneously. The Swedish Minister admitted this might be so, but pointed out that if the troops on the whole of the Western Front and in Norway and Denmark laid down their arms it would be a great help for all the Allies,

including Russia, and would lead to an early and total capitulation. In any case, he thought that Bernadotte’s information should be passed to the British and American Governments.

As far as his own government were concerned, we were completely at liberty to tell the Soviets, as the Swedes would in no way be, or thought to be, promoting discord between the Allies.

The only reason that the Swedish Government could not inform the Soviets direct was that Himmler had stipulated that his information was exclusively for the Western Powers.

April 25, 1945

Churchill to Truman: You will no doubt have received some hours ago the report from Stockholm by your Ambassador on the Bernadotte-Himmler talks. I called the War Cabinet together at once, and they approved the immediately following telegram, which we are sending to Marshal Stalin and repeating through the usual channels to you.

We hope you will find it possible to telegraph to Marshal Stalin and to us in the same sense.

As Himmler is evidently speaking for the German State, as much as anybody can, the reply that should be sent him through the Swedish Government is in principle a matter for the triple Powers, since no one of us can enter into separate negotiations.

This fact however in no way abrogates General Eisenhower’s or Field-Marshal Alexander’s authority to accept local surrenders as they occur. (Churchill)

April 25, 1945

Churchill to the British Cabinet: I spoke to President Truman (by telephone) at 8:10 PM. He knew nothing of what had happened at Stockholm, except that when I asked to speak to him he inquired what it was about, and I told him about the important message from Stockholm.

He had not received any report from the American Ambassador there. I therefore read him the text of Mallet’s telegram. I also told him we were convinced the surrender should be unconditional and simultaneous to the three major Powers. He expressed strong agreement with this … (Churchill)

April 25, 1945

Churchill to Stalin: The President of the United States has the news also.

There can be no question, as far as His Majesty’s Government is concerned, of anything less than unconditional surrender simultaneously to the three major Powers.

We consider Himmler should be told that German forces, either as individuals or in units, should everywhere surrender themselves to the Allied troops or representatives on the spot.

Until this happens the attack of the Allies upon them on all sides and in all theaters where resistance continues will be prosecuted with the utmost vigor. (Churchill)

April 25, 1945

Stalin to Churchill: I consider your proposal to present to Himmler a demand for unconditional surrender on all fronts, including the Soviet front,

the only correct one. Knowing you, I had no doubt that you would act in this way. I beg you to act in the sense of your proposal, and the Red Army will maintain its pressure on Berlin in the interests of our common cause. (Churchill)

April 25, 1945:

German General der Artillerie Helmuth Weidling, who had earlier been sentenced to be executed by firing squad, is appointed commander of the Berlin Defense Area. Facing an advance by two and a half million battle-hardened Soviet soldiers, he has 44,600 German soldiers, 42,500 old and under-armed Volkssturm ‘troops,’ and 2,700 Hitler Youth with which to oppose them. (Kershaw) April 25, 1945

Elbe Day: US and Soviet forces link up at Torgau, Germany, on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatizes the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defenses. Arrangements are made for the formal

‘Handshake of Torgau’ between Robertson and Silvashko in front of photographers the following day. Statements are released simultaneously in London, Moscow, and Washington in the evening reaffirming the determination of the three Allied powers to complete the destruction of the Third Reich.

April 25, 1945:

Hitler summons Heinz Linge – who serves as his valet, as well as the chief of his personal bodyguard – to give him a set of precise instructions. He gives him the task of carrying his body from the Bunker, after he has taken his own life, and cremating it. “No one must see or recognize me after death,” he emphasizes. “

After seeing to the burning, go back to my room and collect everything I could be remembered by after death. Take everything—uniforms, papers, everything I’ve used—anything that people could say belonged to the Fuehrer.

Take it outside and burn it.” He allows for only one of his personal possessions to survive him; his portrait of Frederick the Great by Anton Graff. Frederick is to be spirited out of Berlin by Hitler’s personal pilot, Hans Baur. (Payne)

April 25, 1945:

Soviet forces completely surround Berlin as the US Army blows the swastika from the top of the Zeppelintribuene.

The last B-17 attack against Nazi Germany occurs. Nazi occupation army leaves Milan after a partisan insurrection; the liberation of Italy. Delegates from some 50 countries meet in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

April 25, 1945

Goebbels Diary: Hitler said: ‘I’d regard it as a thousand times more cowardly to commit suicide on the Obersalzberg than to stand and fall here. They shouldn’t say: ‘You, as the Fuehrer …

‘ I’m only the Fuehrer as long as I can lead. And I can’t lead through sitting somewhere on a mountain, but have to have authority over armies that obey. Let me win a victory here, however difficult and tough, then I’ve a right again to do away with the sluggish elements who are constantly causing an obstruction.

Then I’ll work with the generals who’ve proved themselves … Only here can I attain a success, and even if it’s only a moral one, it’s at least the possibility of saving face and winning time. …

Only through a heroic attitude can we survive this hardest of times… It’s the only chance to restore personal reputation … if we leave the world stage in disgrace, we’ll have lived for nothing. Whether you continue your life a bit longer or not is completely immaterial.

Rather end the struggle with honor than continue in shame and dishonor a few months or years longer … (Goebbels adds to his Fuehrer’s thoughts:) If all goes well, then it’s in any case good. If things don’t go well and the Fuehrer finds in Berlin an honorable death and Europe were to become bolshevized,

then in five years at the latest the Fuehrer would be a legendary personality and National Socialism would have attained mythical status (ein Mythos) …

(Kershaw) April 26, 1945: After his villa is bombed by the RAF, Goering convinces Bernhard Frank (above) —

the leader of the SS squad holding him under house arrest—that it would be better if they all moved to Goering’s castle in Mauterndorf. Early this morning, Goering, Lammers, Koller, and their SS guard leave for the castle. (Read)

April 26, 1945:

As the party makes their way to Goering’s castle in Mauterndorf, an announcement is made on German radio: Reich Marshal Hermann Goering has been taken ill with his long-standing chronic heart condition, which has now entered an acute stage.

At a time when the efforts of all forces are required, he has therefore requested to be relieved of his command of the Luftwaffe and all duties connected thereto.

The Fuehrer has granted this request. The Fuehrer has appointed Colonel-General Ritter von Greim as the new Commander-in-Chief of the Luftwaffe while simultaneously promoting him to Field Marshal.

April 26, 1945:

In the evening a small plane containing famed test pilot Hanna Reitsch and Luftwaffe General Ritter von Greim lands on an improvised air strip in the Tiergarten near the Brandenburg Gate following a daring flight in which Greim had been wounded in the foot by Soviet ground fire.

Reitsch will later write that Hitler’s ‘head drooped heavily on his shoulders, and a continual twitching affected both his arms.

His eyes glassy and remote, he greets us with an expressionless voice.’ The wounded Greim – who could just as well have been appointed by phone – is informed personally by Hitler that he is now a Field-Marshal and Goering’s successor.

Hitler tells them of Goering’s ‘treachery’: ‘Nothing is spared me! Nothing! Every disillusion, every betrayal, dishonor, treason has been heaped upon me. I have had Goering placed under immediate arrest, stripped him of all his offices, expelled him from every party organization …’

Hitler abruptly ends the meeting and leaves the room. Note: Payne places this meeting on the 24th, while Kershaw maintains that it occurred on the 26th. (Kershaw, Payne) April 26, 1945 Churchill to Stalin: This is about ‘Crossword.’

The German envoys, with whom all contact was broken by us some days ago, have now arrived again on the Lake of Lucerne. They claim to have full powers to surrender the Army in Italy. Field-Marshal Alexander is therefore being told that he is free to permit these envoys to come to AFHQ in Italy.

This they can easily do by going into France and being picked up by our aircraft from there. Will you please send Russian representatives forthwith to Field-Marshal Alexander’s headquarters.

Field-Marshal Alexander is free to accept the unconditional surrender of the considerable enemy army on his front, but all political issues are reserved to the three Governments. (Churchill) April 26, 1945:

Marshal Henri Philippe Petain, the head of France’s Vichy government during WW2, is arrested on treason charges. The Germans evacuate the last survivors from Stutthof by sea to Luebeck. Hundreds die during the voyage.

April 27, 1945:

OSS chief Allen Dulles is ordered by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff to resume negotiations with German ‘peace’ emissaries. Note: Waller says the 26th, Mosley the 27th. (Mosley, Waller)

April 27, 1945:

An early morning situation conference in the Fuehrerbunker concentrates on Wenck’s three battalion relief force just arriving at Potsdam. Giving up on hope that Busse’s 9th Army can link up with Wenck,

there still remains Holste’s forces north-west of Berlin. Goebbels declares: “May God let Wenck come! A dreadful situation crosses my mind. Wenck is located at Potsdam, and here the Soviets are pressing on Potsdamer Platz!”

Hitler replies: “And I’m not in Potsdam, but in Potsdamer Platz.” One of the generals present voices reassurances: “Wenck will get here, Mein Fuehrer! It’s only a question of whether he can do it alone.” Hitler opines: “You’ve got to imagine. That’ll spread like wildfire through the whole of Berlin when it’s known: a German army has broken through in the west and established contact with the Citadel (Festung).” (Kershaw)

April 27, 1945:

A Fuehrerbunker wedding celebration occurs as one of the drivers marries Liesl Ostertag, one of the kitchen maids. A reception is held in Hitler’s apartment for the couple (who had earlier offered to smuggle the Goebbels children out of the Bunker, only to be refused by Magda). (Sereny, Sigmund)

April 27, 1945:

The Voelkischer Beobachter, the newspaper of the Nazi Party, ceases publication.

April 27, 1945:

Goebbels asks his Fuehrer—while reminiscing about the good old days in the presence of a stenographer—why he had changed his mind in 1932 and decided to abandon his pursuit of the German Presidency for that of Chancellor. Hitler: I was weaving my way from one compromise to another. This lasted until the death of Hindenburg. Previously, I thought I would expose ruthlessly people like (General) Hammerstein, Schleicher, and the whole clique around that dung heap. But after eighteen months this intention gradually became less firm.

This was the time of the great work of construction. Otherwise, thousands would have been liquidated. Instead, we assimilated them. Goebbels: It occurs to me that during March (1933), so many of these will-o-the-wisps entered the Party.

There was a real frenzy for it. Because we were unwilling to take in these wretches, they asked us whether we had no desire for reconciliation. It would have been more correct if we had closed the Party and said: No more may enter. Hitler:

We could have done that if I had come to power as a result of a definite expression of the popular will or through a coup d’etat. Afterward, of course, one repents of being so goodhearted. Goebbels: All the Austrian Gauleiters said at the time that there was a flaw in the revolution.

It would have been much better if Vienna had resisted, and we could have shot the whole place to hell.” Following similar self-serving comments—all lamenting the many disadvantages being ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ can bring to an honest fellow—Goebbels prompts his Fuehrer further, asking him why he has chosen to remain in Berlin.

Hitler: I remain for the reason that I thereby have a greater moral right to act against weakness. Otherwise I do not have the moral right. I cannot continually threaten others if I myself run away from the capital of the Reich at the critical hour.

We must introduce throughout the Wehrmacht a certain code of honor. A basic principle, always followed in the navy, must be taken over by the Party and be made binding on every member. In this city I have the right to give orders: now I must obey the commands of fate. Even if I could save myself, I would not.

The captain goes down with his ship. (Payne) April 27, 1945 Churchill to Stalin: I am extremely pleased to know that you had no doubt how I would act, and always will act, towards your glorious country and yourself. British and I am sure American action on this matter will go forward on the lines you approve, and we all three will continually keep each other fully informed. (Churchill) April 28, 1945: Allied occupation forces set up a provisional occupation government in Austria as the first step towards re-establishing the Austrian republic. The bridge on the Potsdamerstrasse is seized.

April 28, 1945:

The Allies reject peace offers made by Reichsfuehrer-SS Himmler, insisting on nothing less than unconditional surrender on all fronts. The International Red Cross, by arrangement with Himmler, begins the transport of 150 Jewish women from Ravensbrueck to Sweden; the first of 3,500 Jewish and 3,500 non-Jewish women to be transferred to safety in the last ten days of the war.

April 28, 1945:

Magda Goebbels (above, with family) pens a farewell letter to her 24 year old son from her first marriage, Harald Quandt (far right), a POW held in North Africa; the only one of her children who will survive her: My beloved son! By now we have been in the Fuehrerbunker for six days already—daddy, your six little siblings and I, for the sake of giving our national socialistic lives the only possible honorable end …

You shall know that I stayed here against daddy’s will, and that even on last Sunday the Fuehrer wanted to help me to get out. You know your mother—we have the same blood, for me there was no wavering. Our glorious idea is ruined and with it everything beautiful and marvelous that I have known in my life.

The world that comes after the Fuehrer and national socialism is not any longer worth living in and therefore I took the children with me, for they are too good for the life that would follow, and a merciful God will understand me when I will give them the salvation … The children are wonderful …

there never is a word of complaint nor crying. The impacts are shaking the bunker. The elder kids cover the younger ones, their presence is a blessing and they are making the Fuehrer smile once in a while.

May God help that I have the strength to perform the last and hardest. We only have one goal left: loyalty to the Fuehrer even in death. Harald, my dear son—I want to give you what I learned in life: be loyal! Loyal to yourself, loyal to the people and loyal to your country … Be proud of us and try to keep us in dear memory …

April 28, 1945:

On this Saturday night, the bodies of Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci, are brought to Milan in a truck and dumped on the town square. The next day they will strung up by the heels from lampposts as Italian mobs celebrate by desecrating their corpses. Italian guerrillas had captured them while they were trying to escape to Switzerland and executed after a brief trial the previous day.

April 28, 1945:

Doenitz, believing that Himmler will soon succeed Hitler, contacts the SS leader and assures him that he has his support. Doenitz asks the Reichsfuehrer SS about rumors of Himmler’s negotiations of surrender terms with the West. Himmler denies that there is anything to the rumors. (Shirer) From Himmler by Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel: While Schellenberg was during the morning of 28 April successfully calming Himmler with the aid of his favorite astrologer,

the Allied press was pouring out the news of the Reichsfuehrer’s independent attempt at negotiations. Completely unaware of this, Himmler attended a military conference in Rheinsberg convened by Keitel. At this meeting Himmler presided, which showed that he regarded himself as Hitler’s deputy and successor. In the late afternoon Bernadotte heard the news of the negotiations on the clandestine radio, and realized that Himmler was finished as a negotiator. Doenitz also heard the report and telephoned inquiries to Himmler, who immediately denied the story as it had been put in the broadcast, but added that he had no intention of issuing any public statement himself. According to Schellenberg, he then spent part of the day deciding how best to order the evacuation of German troops from Norway and Denmark.

It was not until nine o’clock that night that a monitor report on a broadcast put out by the BBC gave Himmler away to the Fuehrer in the bowels of the Bunker. According to one observer, Hitler’s ‘color rose to a heated red, and his face became virtually unrecognizable.’ Then he began to rage at this treacherous betrayal by the man he had trusted most of all. The men and women hemmed in the Bunker were convulsed with emotion, and ‘everyone looked to their poison.’

April 28, 1945:

Sometime between 7 and 9 PM, a BBC report picked up in the Fuehrerbunker announces that Himmler has just offered to surrender Germany unconditionally to the Allies.

Rochus Misch (above), the switchboard officer on duty in the Fuehrerbunker, will later tell Gitta Sereny: He (Hitler) was sitting on that bench outside my switchboard room with a puppy in his lap when Lorenz, whom I heard arrive at a run, handed him the paper on which he had jotted down the radio dispatch. Hitler’s face went completely white, almost ashen.

‘My God,’ I thought, ‘he is going to faint.’ He slumped forward holding his head with his hands. The puppy plumped to the ground – silly how one remembers such trifles, but I can still here that soft sound. Enraged at Himmler’s duplicity, Hitler rants uncontrollably about this new betrayal, then closets himself in a conference room with Bormann and Goebbels.

He first orders that Otto Hermann Fegelein, Himmler’s man at the Bunker, be arrested. He then orders Field Marshal von Greim and Hanna Reitsch to fly to Doenitz’s headquarters at Ploen and arrest Himmler. ‘A traitor must never succeed me as Fuehrer,’ he screams.

‘You must get out (of Berlin) to make sure he doesn’t.’ (Read, Sereny) April 28, 1945: SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein–the brother-in-law of Eva Braun and also Himmler’s liaison officer in the bunker–is arrested in civilian clothes while preparing to leave the country.

He is brought back to Hitler’s bunker, but is temporarily saved by Eva’s pleas for mercy on behalf of her pregnant sister. The reprieve proves short-lived as Hitler soon becomes convinced that Fegelein’s escape attempt is part of Himmler’s treachery.

Within an hour Fegelein is tried, sentenced to death, taken up to the Reich Chancellery Garden, and executed with a bullet in the back of his head. (Read)

April 28, 1945:

Robert Ritter von Greim, and Hanna Reitsch take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. April 28, 1945: Martin Bormann wires Admiral Doenitz: “Reich Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) a heap of rubble.” He informs Keitel that the foreign press is reporting fresh acts of treason and ‘that without exception Schoerner,

Wenck and the others must give evidence of their loyalty by the quickest relief of the Fuehrer. April 29, 1945: Around 2:00 AM, Hitler sends for a sleeping Traudl Junge, one of his personal secretaries, who will later tell Gitta Sereny:

I quickly washed my face and went down to his study. A table in the corner had been laid as if for a party—glasses, small plates, cutlery—but I didn’t know for what occasion. He was very quiet when I came in, but courteous as ever. He took my hand. Was I all right? he asked. Had I had a rest? I said I had, and he took me to

the large conference room and told me to make myself comfortable, what he had to dictate would take some time, and would have to be transcribed as quickly as possible afterwards. Couriers would be waiting to take it out. (Sereny)

April 29, 1945:

Hitler dictates his last Political Testament to Traudl Junge: …I left no doubt about the fact that if the peoples of Europe were again only regarded as so many packages of stock shares by these international money and finance conspirators, then that race, too, which is the truly guilty party in this murderous struggle would also have to be held to account: the Jews!

I further left no doubt that this time we would not permit millions of European children of Aryan descent to die of hunger, nor millions of grown-up men to suffer death, nor hundreds of thousands of women and children to be burned and bombed to death in their cities, without truly guilty party having to atone for its guilt, even if through more humane means…

April 29, 1945:

Hitler continues dictating as Traudl Junge takes down his Last Will and personal Testament: As I did not consider that I could take responsibility, during the years of struggle, of contracting a marriage, I have now decided, before the closing of my earthly career, to take as my wife that girl who, after many years of faithful friendship, entered, of her own free will, the practically besieged town in order to share her destiny with me.

At her own desire she goes as my wife with me into death. It will compensate us for what we both lost through my work in the service of my people. What I possess belongs—

in so far as it has any value—to the Party. Should this no longer exist, to the State; should the State also be destroyed, no further decision of mine is necessary. My pictures, in the collections which I have bought in the course of years, have never been collected for private purposes, but only for the extension of a gallery in my home town of Linz on Donau.

It is my most sincere wish that this bequest may be duly executed. I nominate as my Executor my most faithful Party comrade, Martin Bormann. He is given full legal authority to make all decisions.

He is permitted to take out everything that has a sentimental value or is necessary for the maintenance of a modest simple life, for my brothers and sisters, also above all for the mother of my wife and my faithful co-workers who are well known to him, principally my old Secretaries Frau Winter etc. who have for many years aided me by their work.

I myself and my wife—in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation—choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of a twelve years’ service to my people.

April 29, 1945:

Traudl Junge begins to type up Hitler’s official will and testament. Junge will later tell Gitta Sereny: You know, here we were, all of us doomed, I thought—the whole country doomed—and here, in what he was dictating to me there was not one word of compassion or regret, only awful, awful, anger. I remember thinking,

‘My God, he hasn’t learned anything. It’s all just the same’ … It was only when he dictated his private will, in which he explained his decision to marry, that I found out …

It didn’t take me long (to type up). There were ten pages of the Political Testament and just three for the private one. It would have gone even faster if Goebbels hadn’t come in the middle.

Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels appears in her office, weeping like a small child. Hitler has ordered him to leave Berlin, he wails. But I don’t want to run away and leave the Fuehrer. I am the Gauleiter of Berlin and my place is here.

If the Fuehrer dies, my life has no meaning. He even said to me, ‘Goebbels, I didn’t expect this from you! You refuse to obey my last orders!’ (Sereny, Read)

April 29, 1945:

The distraught Goebbels then dictates his own political testament, as an appendix to Hitler’s. The Fuehrer had ordered me to leave Berlin … and take part as a leading member in the government appointed by him.

For the first time in my life, I must categorically refuse to obey an order of the Fuehrer. My wife and children join me in this refusal. Apart from the fact that feelings of humanity and personal loyalty forbid us to abandon the Fuehrer in his hour of greatest need, I would otherwise appear for the rest of my life as a dishonorable traitor and a common scoundrel and would lose my self-respect as well as the respect of my fellow citizens …

In the nightmare of treason which surrounds the Fuehrer in these most critical days of the war, there must be someone at least who will stay with him unconditionally until death …

I believe I am thereby doing the best service to the future of the German people. In the hard times to come, examples will be more important than men ….

For this reason, together with my wife, and on behalf of my children, who are too young to be able to speak for themselves and who, if they were old enough, would unreservedly agree with this decision, I express my unalterable resolution not to leave the Reich capital, even if it falls,

but rather, at the side of the Fuehrer, to end a life that for me personally will have no further value if I cannot spend it at the service of the Fuehrer and at his side.

April 29, 1945:

Hitler and Eva Braun exchange marriage vows. A minor official named Walter Wagner—pulled from his Volkssturm unit on the front lines—conducts the ceremony. Goebbels is witness for Hitler and Bormann for Eva. Only eight guests are allowed to attend: Bormann, Joseph and Magda Goebbels, Gerda Christian, Chief Adjutant Bergdorf, General Krebs, Arthur Axmann, head of the Hitler Youth, and Fraulein Manzialy,

Hitler’s cook. The rest of the staff wait outside to congratulate the newly wedded couple as the phonograph is wound up and the one record remaining in the Bunker,

‘Red Roses,’ is set to spinning. Junge will later tell Gitta Sereny: I joined the party in the study (after typing the last testaments). I sat down with them around the table and ate little sandwiches and drank champagne as they apparently had been doing for quite awhile. Nobody said anything.

We couldn’t very well toast their future. Walter Wagner fades back into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Note: One wonders if Wagner was given a last glass of bubbly before being sent back to the front. (Shirer, Payne, Sereny)

April 29, 1945:

At 4 AM, Hitler officially signs the last will and political testament documents prepared by Traudl Junge. Signed as witnesses: Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Martin Bormann, Colonel Nicholaus von Below. Below will write later: They called me to the map room at 4 AM … I was surprised when Hitler asked me to witness his private will, together with Goebbels and Bormann.

But I also read the Political Testament and found his self-description really depressing and his repeated anti-Semitic invectives embarrassing ..

. April 29, 1945 C

Churchill to Stalin: I have just received a telegram from Field-Marshal Alexander that after a meeting at which your officers were present the Germans accepted the terms of unconditional surrender presented to them and are sending the material clauses of the instrument of surrender to General von Vietinghoff, with the request to name the date and hour at which conclusion of hostilities can be made effective.

It looks therefore as if the entire German forces south of the Alps will almost immediately surrender. (Churchill)

April 29, 1945

Churchill to Stalin: We are all shocked that you should think we would favor a Polish Government hostile to the Soviet Union. This is the opposite of our policy. But it was on account of Poland that the British went to war with Germany in 1939.

We saw in the Nazi treatment of Poland a symbol of Hitler’s vile and wicked lust of conquest and subjugation, and his invasion of Poland was the spark that fired the mine.

The British people do not, as is sometimes thought, go to war for calculation, but for sentiment. They had a feeling which grew up in years that with all Hitler’s encroachments and doctrine he was a danger to our country and to the liberties which we prize in Europe, and when after Munich he broke his word so shamefully about Czechoslovakia even the extremely peace-loving Chamberlain gave our guarantee against Hitler to Poland. When that guarantee was invoked by the German invasion of Poland the whole nation went to war with Hitler, unprepared as we were. There was a flame in the hearts of men like that which swept your people in the noble defense of their country from a treacherous, brutal, and at one time it almost seemed, overwhelming German attack. This British flame burns still among all classes and parties in this Island, and in its self-governing Dominions, and they can never feel this war will have ended rightly unless Poland has a fair deal in the full sense of sovereignty, independence, and freedom, on the basis of friendship with Russia.

It was on this that I thought we had agreed at Yalta. There is not much comfort in looking into a future where you and the countries you dominate, plus the Communist Parties in many other States, are all drawn up on one side, and those who rally to the English-speaking nations and their associates, or Dominions on the other. It is quite obvious that their quarrel would tear the world to pieces and that all of us leading men on either side who had anything to do with that would be shamed before history. (Churchill) April 29, 1945: An unconditional surrender of the German armies in Italy is signed at Caserta; Venice and Mestre are captured by the Allies.

April 29, 1945:

Dachau is liberated by the US 45th Infantry Division. Some 20-30 SS men are said to have been captured. Eyewitnesses will later relate that 34 of the 200 guards captured are murdered by the Americans after surrendering.

The camp inmates tear apart 15-20 informers and kill all the Capos, who are described for the most part as common German criminals. (Waller)

April 29, 1945:

At noon, three copies of Hitler’s the last will and political testament documents are sent by courier to Doenitz, General Schoerner, and the Brown House in Munich, respectively. (Payne) From Hitler: Nemesis 1936-1945 by Ian Kershaw: The mood in the bunker now sank to zero-level. Despair was now written on everyone’s face. All knew it was only a matter of hours before Hitler killed himself, and wondered what the future held for them after his death.

There was much talk of the best methods of committing suicide. Secretaries, adjutants, and any others who wanted them had by now been given the brass-cased ampoules containing prussic acid supplied by Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, the SS surgeon who had joined the ‘court’ the previous October.

Hitler’s paranoia stretched now to doubts about the capsules. He had shown his Alsatian bitch Blondi more affection in recent years than any human being, probably including even Eva Braun. Now, as the end approached, he had the poison tested on Blondi. Professor Werner Haase (above) was summoned from his duties in the nearby public air-raid shelter beneath the new Reich Chancellery building nearby.

Shortly before the afternoon briefing on 29 April, aided by Hitler’s dog attendant, Sergeant Fritz Tornow, he forced open the dogs jaws and crushed the prussic acid capsule with a pair of pliers. The dog slumped in an instant motionless to the ground. Hitler was not present.

However, he entered the room immediately afterwards. He glanced for a few seconds at the dead dog. Then, his face like a mask, he left without saying anything and shut himself in his room.

April 29, 1945:

At the afternoon situation conference, General Burgdorf requests that Hitler’s Air Force adjutant, Colonel Nicolaus von Below, be allowed to leave the Bunker. Hitler acquiesces, and requests that von Below perform one last service to his Fuehrer; deliver a message to Keitel. After the conference, he dictates what has been called the last message Hitler will send from the Bunker: The people and the Armed Forces have given their all in this long and hard struggle. The sacrifice has been enormous.

But my trust has been misused by many people. Disloyalty and betrayal have undermined resistance throughout the war. It was therefore not granted to me to lead the people to victory.

The Army General Staff cannot be compared with the General Staff in the First World War. Its achievements were far behind those of the fighting front.

The efforts and sacrifices of the German people in this war have been so great that I cannot believe they have been in vain. The aim must still be to win territory in the West for the German people. Note: The message will never be delivered as von Below will destroy it while wandering around behind enemy lines two days later.

The version above—quoted from Payne—is recreated from von Below’s memory, with no other corroborating documentation. (Payne, Kershaw)

April 29, 1945:

Hitler shares his fears of being overcome with gas and captured by the Soviets with his pilot, Hans Baur:

The Russians know perfectly well that I am here in this bunker. I’m afraid they will use gas shells. During the war we produced a gas that could put a man to sleep for twenty-four hours. Our intelligence tells me that the Russians now have this gas too. The consequences would be unimaginable if they captured me alive. (Payne)

April 29, 1945:

At 6 PM, Hitler announces to his staff that he and his wife, Eva, are going to commit suicide together unless some miracle intervenes. He then passes out vials of cyanide.

At 9 PM, the news of the murder and the public humiliation of Mussolini and his mistress reaches the Bunker. Hitler vows that he will not share a similar fate.

April 29, 1945:

Heinrich Mueller, Bernd von Freytag-Loringhoven, Gerhardt Boldt, and Rudolf Weiss take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. April 29, 1945: Hjalmar Schacht, who had been implicated in the July 20 Plot to assassinate Hitler and arrested by the Gestapo, is now arrested by the US 9th Army. Note: Schacht will be acquitted at the first Nuremberg Trial. From The Nuremberg Trial by Joe J. Heydecker and Johannes Leeb: Ravensbrueck, Moabit, and finally the extermination camp of Flossenburg were his (Schacht’s) stopping places. ‘No one gets out alive from this camp,’ Schacht whispered to his fellow prisoners when he was brought in. Through the open door of a shed in the camp, there was a view of the scaffolding of the gallows.

Every night Schacht heard the screams and shots which left no doubt what was happening. Many a morning, as he took his exercise, he could count up to thirty dead being carried away on stretchers from the places of execution. Only much later Schacht learned that the commandant of Flossenburg had been expressly ordered to shoot him as soon as the Allies came anywhere near the camp. But it did not come to that.

In the face of imminent defeat the SS suddenly attempted to introduce a more humane treatment, perhaps in the hope of thereby saving themselves.

Thus Schacht, together with other prisoners, was transferred first to Dachau and later to Austria when the Americans advanced. As the transport halted at the Pragser Wildsee the Ninth Army liberated him, and with him a number of others who were internees and ‘VIP prisoners’ of Hitler ..

.(among them: Pastor Martin Niemoeller, Miklos Kallay, Bruno Bettelheim, Kurt von Schuschnigg, Fritz Thyssen, Leon Blum, Nicholas von Horthy, Alext Kokosin, Franz Halder, Peter Churchill) ..

.”Why did Hitler put you in jail? Schacht was asked by the Americans. ‘No idea,’ answered the banker. He also had no idea why he was not set free, but kept under arrest. He was well treated, he had excellent food, and was allowed to walk unguarded by the Pragser lake. But then he was moved again, and by various stages reached eventually the overcrowded prisoner-of-war camp Aversa near Naples. Hjalmar Schacht, the financial genius with the old-fashioned stand-up collar, had changed sides several times. Now he was on his way to the prison at Nuremberg.

April 29, 1945:

Late in the evening, General Krebs radios General Jodl with three terse questions from Hitler: Request immediate report. Firstly of the whereabouts of Wenck’s spearheads. Secondly of time intended to attack. Thirdly of the location of the Ninth Army. Fourthly of the precise place in which the Ninth Army will break through. Fifthly of the whereabouts of General Rudolf Holste’s spearhead. (Kershaw) April 30, 1945: Jodl replies to Krebs: Firstly, Wenck’s spearhead bogged down south of Schwielow Lake. Secondly,

Twelfth Army therefore unable to continue attack on Berlin. Thirdly, bulk of Ninth Army surrounded. Fourthly, Holste’s Corps on the defensive.” Keitel writes on the bottom: “Attacks on Berlin not advanced anywhere. (Kershaw)

April 30, 1945:

Nicolaus von Below takes his final leave of the Fuehrerbunker, carrying Hitler’s ‘last message’ to Keitel. (Payne) April 30, 1945 Churchill to Truman: There can be little doubt that the liberation of Prague and as much as possible of the territory of Western Czechoslovakia by your forces might make the whole difference to the post-war situation in Czechoslovakia, and might well influence that in near-by countries. On the other hand, if the Western Allies play no significant part in Czechoslovakian liberation that country will go the way of Yugoslavia. Of course, such a move by Eisenhower must not interfere with his main operations against the Germans, but I think the highly-important political consideration mentioned above should be brought to his attention. (Churchill) April 30, 1945: In the early morning hours, Bormann dispatches a message to Doenitz: DOENITZ! Our impression grows daily stronger that the divisions in the Berlin theater have been standing idle for several days. All reports we receive are controlled, suppressed, or distorted by Keitel …. The Fuehrer orders you to proceed at once, and mercilessly, against all traitors …. The Fuehrer is alive, and is conducting the defense of Berlin … (Shirer) April 30, 1945: By late morning, the Soviets have overrun the Tiergarten in Berlin, and one advance unit is reported on one of the streets next to Hitler’s bunker under the Reich Chancellery. SS Brigadefuehrer Wilhelm Mohnke, commander of the center sector of Berlin, informs Hitler that the center will be able to hold out for less than two days. Later that morning Weidling informs Hitler in person that the defenders will likely exhaust their ammunition that night and again asks Hitler’s permission to break out. At about 13:00 Weidling finally receives Hitler’s permission to attempt a breakout in the evening. April 30, 1945: Hitler sends for Bormann at noon and informs him that the end is near. He then attends one last lunch with his secretaries and his cook, who prepares spaghetti with a light sauce. Eva is not present, but she joins him after the lunch to shake hands and say sad farewells to the staff. Eva embraces Traudl Junge: ‘Please try to get out of here,’ she pleads. ‘You might make it. Give my love to Bavaria.’ Hitler and Eva then enter Hitler’s private quarters and close the door behind them. SS-Sturmbannfuehrer Otto Guensche takes up his post at the door, with orders that the couple not be disturbed. (Read, Payne) April 30, 1945: Soviet forces enter Ravensbrueck concentration camp north of Berlin. Meanwhile, Allied troops capture Munich and French forces cross the border into Austria. At 3:00 PM, American forces in Nuremberg discover the tunnel and underground bunker where the spear of Longinus (the Holy Lance) has been hidden to prevent its capture by the Allies. April 30, 1945: After the Hitlers retire to their room, Traudl Junge suddenly realizes that, in the excitement, no one had thought to feed the Goebbels’ children. She rounds them up, leads them to the tiny dining room, and scrounges up some fruit and sandwich ingredients. Junge will later relate that she ‘heard the shot’ while making sandwiches and for them. Rochus Misch will later tell Oliver Harvey: I saw Hitler slumped by the table. I did not see any blood on his head. And I saw Eva with her knees drawn up, lying next to him on the sofa. Hitler was wrapped in a blanket as I watched. He was then taken outside to be burnt. It was over. Note: There is some dispute in the historical record concerning some of the events of this day. One is the contention that a distraught Magda Goebbels had actually burst in on Hitler and Eva in the privacy of their room, making one last tearful plea to Hitler that he allow himself and the rest of them to escape Berlin and make a last stand at Obersalzberg. However, other eyewitnesses have denied that any such scene actually occurred, and it is quite doubtful that it ever did. Another area of dispute is whether or not the shot that killed Hitler was actually heard by any of the Bunker witnesses. Some say they heard the shot, but others will testify that they did not, and that the door was too soundproof to have allowed the sound to escape. Definitive answers are difficult when eyewitnesses disagree. (Read) From Women of the Third Reich by Anna Maria Sigmund: On April 30, 1945, when Hitler and Eva Braun, now married, took their leave in order to commit suicide, Magda Goebbels cried out in shock, ‘My Fuehrer, do not leave us; we will perish miserably without you!’ Traudl Junge, Hitler’s secretary, was just giving food to the Goebbels children when she heard a shot coming from Hitler’s den. With regard to Magda Goebbels’ intentions, there are conflicting reports. Albert Speer believed that, ‘… she found the idea that her children had to die unbearable, but she submitted, it seemed, to her husband’s decision.’ Two close co-workers of the propaganda minister, however, claimed they had overheard Goebbels suggest to his wife that she flee to the West since they had nothing to fear from the British. April 30, 1945 Death: At 3:30 PM, Adolf Hitler and his new wife, Eva Braun, commit suicide in their private quarters under the Chancellery. Their bodies are taken above ground by Hitler’s aides, burned with difficulty due to the conditions and the limited supply of gasoline, and buried in a shallow grave formed from a bomb crater. Kempka, Goebbels, Bormann, Krebs, Linge, and Burgdorf give one last Nazi salute to their Fuehrer, before an exploding Soviet shell sends them scurrying back down into the Bunker. (Read) From Napoleon and Hitler: A Comparative Biography by Desmond Seward:During the Emperor’s flight from Russia in 1812 he speculated as to what the Allies would do if they caught him. ‘Can you picture to yourself, Caulaincourt, the figure you would cut in an iron cage, in the main square of London?’ He then had a fit of hysteria. Hitler had no illusions. He knew that he would be put on show and then executed…in the one chivalrous gesture of his entire life, he married Eva Braun. Next day both retired to their bedroom to die. Clutching a photograph of his mother, the Fuehrer shot himself, while Eva took poison. Amid his own ruin in 1814 Napoleon confided in a loyal supporter ‘My dear fellow, if the Cossacks reach the gates of Paris it’s the end of Emperor and Empire.’ As it was, Tsar Alexander’s Cossacks stabled their horses in Paris. In 1945 Stalin’s Cossacks rode into Berlin. Neither capital need have entertained them had it not been for their rulers’ madness. Determined to escape from a war on two fronts, both had been destroyed by such a war. April 30, 1945: Goebbels presides at his first and last situation conference as Reich Chancellor. Bormann proposes that the 300 to 500 troops around the Bunker spearhead a breakout through the Soviet lines to link up with Doenitz, but Goebbels rules it out. He decides instead to send General Krebs to the Soviet lines under a white flag with a truce proposal. (Read) April 30, 1945: Bormann and Goebbels again radio Doenitz, without informing him that Hitler is already dead: The Fuehrer has appointed you, Herr Admiral, as his successor in place of Reichsmarschall Goering. Confirmation in writing follows. You are hereby authorized to take any measures which the situation demands. (Shirer) April 30, 1945: The bizzare turn of events catching him completely off guard, Doenitz, in shock, has absolutely no desire to succeed Hitler. Believing that Hitler is still alive, he replies to the previous message from the Fuehrer Bunker with as much encouragement as he can muster: MY FUEHRER! My loyalty to you will be unconditional. I shall do everything possible to relieve you in Berlin. If fate nevertheless compels me to rule the Reich as your appointed successor, I shall continue this war to an end worthy of the unique, heroic struggle of the German people. (Shirer) April 30, 1945: The Red Army captures the Reichstag at 10:50 PM, hoisting the first of more than forty victory flags, though no photograph can be taken due to the late hour. Various Soviet military units will unfurl and photograph an assortment of flags, of which the one above is the ‘official’ victory flag, photographed early on the morning of May 1. German artillery will knock it down later that same morning, and it will be replaced in the afternoon only to be taken down on May 3 and eventually shipped to Moscow. May 1, 1945: An announcement is made on the German wireless: Announcer: It has been reported from the Fuehrer’s headquarters that our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler has died this afternoon in his battle headquarters at the Reich Chancellery, fallen for Germany, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism. On the 30th of April the Fuehrer nominated Grossadmiral Doenitz to be his successor. The Grossadmiral and Fuehrer’s successor will speak to the German nation.” Doenitz: “German men and women, soldiers of the German Armed Forces. Our Fuehrer Adolf Hitler is dead. The German people bow in deepest sorrow and respect. Early he had recognized the terrible danger of Bolshevism and had dedicated his life to the fight against it. His fight having ended, he died a hero’s death in the capital of the German Reich, after having led an unmistakably straight and steady life. From Adolf Hitler and the German Trauma by Robert Edwin Herzstein: Bormann made sure that the news of Hitler’s death was not broadcast until he had made one last desperate attempt to achieve supreme power for himself. First he attempted to manipulate and control Admiral Doenitz, who was still at liberty in northern Germany. Bormann informed Doenitz that he would soon join him in Flensburg. This never occurred … When Hitler’s death was announced, it was done in the true spirit of National Socialism; false heroism and blatant lies. The slow movement of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony was played, along with Siegfried’s ‘Funeral Music’ by Wagner. Then it was announced that ‘Adolf Hitler has fallen at his command post in Berlin after fighting with his last breath against the Bolsheviks.’ This was consistent with Nazi rhetoric, for in April Nazi and SS officials had scrawled all over the walls of beleaguered Berlin: ‘Berlin remains German.’ ‘Our walls are broken but not our hearts,’ ‘SS believes in the Fuehrer.’ If Hitler had indeed committed suicide and had not fought the Russians to the very end, it might appear as if he had irresponsibly and pusillanimously tricked and betrayed the millions who had taken an oath of allegiance to him in one form or another. May 1, 1945: Martin Bormann’s fifteen year old son and namesake had been enrolled in the Nazi-elite school, Feldafing, but the school had closed its doors April 23. He was provided with 100 RM, false identification papers (under the name of Martin Bergmann), and transportation to a hideout near Salzburg. Martin the Younger will later tell Gitta Sereny: It was a small inn and a very small Stube. We sat on benches tightly packed together. It’s impossible now to convey the atmosphere. The worst moment was when, at two o’clock in the morning on May 1, the news of Hitler’s death came through on the radio. I remember it precisely, but I can’t describe the stillness of that instant which lasted…for hours. Nobody said anything, but very soon afterwards people started to go outside, first one—then there was a shot. Then another, and yet another. Not a word inside, no other sound except those shots from outside, but one felt that that was all there was, that all of us would have to die. (Picking up a gun, Martin walks outside.) My world was shattered; I couldn’t see any future at all. But then, out there, in the back of that Inn, where bodies were already lying all over the small garden, there was another boy, older that I—he was eighteen. He was sitting on a log and told me to come sit with him. The air smelled good, the birds sang, and we talked ourselves out of it. If we hadn’t had each other at that moment, both of us would have gone—I know it. (Note: He will live to become a jesuit father.) (Sereny) May 1, 1945: General Krebs meets with Zhukov, but returns empty handed after refusing to agree to an unconditional surrender. Note: Only Reichskanzler Goebbels now has the authority to agree to an unconditional surrender. May 1, 1945: Magda Goebbels combs out the hair of each of her six children (ages 5 to 13) and dresses them for bed. Rochus Misch will later tell Gitta Sereny: It was only just after 5 PM when Frau Goebbels walked past me followed by the children. They were all wearing white nightgowns. She took them next door. An orderly arrived carrying a tray with six cups and a jug of chocolate. Later somebody said it was laced with sleeping pills. I saw her hug some, stroke others as they drank it. I don’t think they knew about their Uncle Adolf’s death; they laughed and chatted as always. A little later they passed me on their way upstairs, Heidi last, her mother holding her hand. Heidi turned around. I waved to her, she waved back with one hand, and the suddenly, letting go of her mother’s hand, she turned all the way around and, bursting into that happy clear laugh of hers, she scraped one forefinger along the other and chanted that little rhyme she always sang when she saw me: ‘Misch, Misch, you are a fish.’ (Misch, Misch, Du bist ein Fisch.) Her mother put her arm around her and pulled her gently up the steps, but she went on chanting it. I still hear it now. After the children have fallen asleep, Magda—her husband is not present and does not participate—assists Hitler’s personal physician, Dr. Ludwig Stumpfegger, as he administers lethal injections to all six of the children. After ensuring their demise—and apparently struggling with her oldest daughter who, it seems, had not been slumbering sufficiently to sleep through the pain of the fatal injection—Magda leaves the room and sits down to play solitaire. (Sereny) May 1, 1945: Albert Speer hears of Hitler’s death. Annemarie Kemp will later tell Gitta Sereny: I think it was raining on May 1. Anyway, we were inside our living room trailer when the phone rang. It was Doenitz. One of us took the call – I don’t remember if it was me or Edith; he didn’t ask to speak to anyone in particular. As I remember he just said, ‘The Fuehrer is no longer alive,’ and then hung up. I remember I felt, well, taken aback, because of course, I hadn’t known. Were we sad? Oh, I don’t know. We were no longer in a state of mind where the word ‘sad’ could apply. Germany was in tatters. There was no future, and now he was dead too. Speer left a few minutes later to join Doenitz at Ploen. (Sereny) May 1, 1945: Doenitz receives another radio message signed by Goebbels and Bormann: The Fuehrer died yesterday, 1530 hours. In his will dated April 29 he appoints you as President of the Reich, Goebbels as Reich Chancellor, Bormann as Party Minister, Seyss-Inquart as Foreign Minister. The will, by order of the Fuehrer, is being sent to you and to Field Marshal Schoerner and out of Berlin for safe custody. Bormann will try to reach you today to explain the situation. Form and timing of announcement to the Armed Forces and the public is left to your discretion. Acknowledge. From Doenitz’s testimony before the IMT: This radio message first of all contradicted the earlier radio message which clearly stated: “You can at once do everything you consider to be right.” I did not and as a matter of principle never would adhere to this second radio message, for if I am to take responsibility, then no conditions must be imposed on me. Thirdly, under no circumstances would I have agreed to working with the people mentioned, with the exception of Seyss-Inquart. In the early morning of 1 May I had already had a discussion with the Minister of Finance, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, and had asked him to take over the business of government, insofar as we could still talk about that. I had done this because in a chance discussion, which had taken place several days before, I had seen that we held much the same view, the view that the German people belonged to the Christian West, that the basis of future conditions of life is the absolute legal security of the individual and of private property. …the legitimate successor would have been the Reich Marshal; but through a regrettable misunderstanding a few days before his appointment, he was no longer in the game, and I was the next senior officer in command of an independent branch of the Wehrmacht. I believe that was the determining factor. That fact that the Fuehrer had confidence in me may also have had something to do with it. May 1, 1945: Joseph and Magda Goebbels commit suicide mere feet away from the partially burned and buried body of their Fuehrer. From The Devil’s Disciples by Anthony Read: At 8:15 PM Goebbels informed the SS guards that he and his wife intended to commit suicide out of the bunker in the open air. At least, he joked blackly, it would save the guards the trouble of having to carry the bodies upstairs. He put on his hat, scarf, long greatcoat and kid gloves, then offered his arm to his wife. Together they mounted the stairs to the bunker entrance. They planned to die in the same way as the Fuehrer; both had cyanide capsules, and Goebbels carried a Walther P-38 revolver. They stood together. Magda bit her capsule and slid to the floor. Her husband delivered the coup de grace, shooting her in the back of the head. Then he bit his own capsule, pressed the Walther’s muzzle to his temple and fired. The SS guards doused the bodies with petrol and set fire to them. They burned through the night, but were only partially destroyed – there had not been enough petrol left to do the job properly. As soon as the bodies were alight, the escape parties gathered their things and rushed for the exit, in a mad scramble led by Bormann. Soon, there were only three people left, Krebs, Burgdorf and the commander of the SS bodyguard, Hauptstrumfuehrer Schedle. They had all decided to shoot themselves. Those who left met with mixed fortunes. A few, including the three secretaries, managed to make their way safely to the West. Some were captured by the Soviets, and spent years in harsh captivity. Most were killed, including Bormann, who only got as far as the Lehrter rail station on Invalidenstasse before he and his companion, Dr Stumpfegger, came under fire and ended their lives with cyanide capsules to avoid being captured. Their bodies were buried under the rubble and were not discovered and identified until many years later. May 1, 1945: Following Goebbels’ suicide, Doenitz becomes the sole representative of the crumbling German Reich. Ribbentrop offers his services, but Doenitz refuses outright (he will be captured by the Allies on June 14). Count Ludwig Graf Schwerin-Krosigk, in addition to discharging his duties as Foreign Minister and Minister of Finance, is appointed by Doenitz to form the temporary government and preside over the activities of its cabinet as Reichskanzler. Himmler attempts to make a place for himself in the new regime, but to no avail, ultimately. The Doenitz government will not be recognized by the Allies and will be more or less ignored. In his memoirs, Doenitz will write: “Now, most clearly, I recognized the evil side of National Socialism and so changed my attitude to the form of state created by it.” (Read, Manvell) From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: The leaders of the (German) Army, the Air Force and the SS, he (Hitler) believed, had betrayed him, had cheated him of victory. So his only possible choice of successor had to be the leader of the Navy, which had been too small to play a major role in Hitler’s war of conquest. This was a final jibe at the Army, which had done most of the fighting and lost most of the men killed in the war. There was also (in Hitler’s Political Testament) a last parting denunciation of the two men (Goering and Himmler) who had been, with Goebbels, his most intimate collaborators since the early days of the party…Having expelled the traitors and named his successor, Hitler then proceeded to tell Doenitz whom he must have in his new government. They were all ‘honorable men,’ he said, ‘who will fulfill the task of continuing the war with all means.’ Goebbels was to be the Chancellor and Bormann the ‘Party Minister’—a new post. Seyss-Inquart, the Austrian quisling and, most recently, the butcher governor of Holland, was to be foreign minister. Speer, like Ribbentrop, was dropped. But Count Schwerin von Krosigk, who had been Minister of Finance continuously since his appointment by Papen in 1932, was to retain that post. This man was a fool, but it must be admitted that he had a genius for survival. May 1, 1945: Doenitz issues his Order of the Day to the Armed Forces: I expect discipline and obedience. Chaos and ruin can be prevented only by the swift and unreserved execution of my orders. Anyone who at this juncture fails in his duty and condemns German women and children to slavery and death is a traitor and a coward. The oath of allegiance which you took to the Fuehrer now binds each and every one of you to me, whom he himself appointed as his successor. From Doenitz’s IMT Testimony: When on 1 May I became head of the State, circumstances were different. By that time the fronts, the Eastern and Western fronts, had come so close to each other that in a few days people, troops, soldiers, armies, and the great masses of refugees could be transported, from the East to the West. When I became head of the State on 1 May, I therefore strove to make peace as quickly as possible and to capitulate, thus saving German blood and bringing German people from the East to the West; and I acted accordingly, already on 2 May, by making overtures to General Montgomery to capitulate for the territory facing his army, and for Holland and Denmark which we still held firmly; and immediately following that I opened negotiations with General Eisenhower. The same basic principle—to save and preserve the German population—motivated me in the winter to face bitter necessity and keep on fighting. It was very painful that our cities were still being bombed to pieces and that through these bombing attacks and the continued fight more lives were lost. The number of these people is about 300,000 to 400,000, the majority of whom perished in the bombing attack of Dresden, which cannot be understood from a military point of view and which could not have been predicted. Nevertheless, this figure is relatively small compared with the millions of German people, soldiers and civilian population, we would have lost in the East if we had capitulated in the winter. Therefore, in my opinion, it was necessary to act as I did: First while I was still a soldier, to call on my troops to keep up the fight, and afterwards, when I became head of the State in May, to capitulate at once. Thereby no German lives were lost; rather were they saved… I said quite clearly in the first order that I would fight in the East until troops and refugees could be rescued from the East and brought to the West and that I would not fight one moment longer. That was my intention, and that is also clearly expressed in that order… I had to continue fighting in the East in order to rescue the refugees who were moving to the West. That is certainly very clearly stated. I said that we would continue to fight in the East only until the hundreds and thousands of families from the German eastern area could be safely transferred to the West… From the military point of view the war was absolutely lost, and there was then only the problem of saving as many human beings as possible, and therefore we had to continue resistance in the East. Therefore that resistance in the East had a purpose… Of course, in the fighting in the East during those few days there might be further losses, but they were necessary in order to save hundreds of thousands of refugees. May 1, 1945: Doenitz addresses the German people in a radio broadcast: The Fuehrer has nominated me as his successor. In full consciousness of my responsibilities I therefore assume the leadership of the German people at this fateful hour. My first task is to save German men and women from destruction by the advancing Bolshevist enemy. It is to serve this purpose alone that the military struggle continues. For as long as the British and the Americans continue to impede the accomplishments of this task, we must also continue to fight and defend ourselves against them. The British and the Americans in that case will not be fighting in the interests of their own peoples, but solely for the expansion of Bolshevism in Europe. From Speer’s IMT testimony: Only after 1 May 1945 did Doenitz try to act with reason, but it was too late… There is one loyalty which everyone must always keep; and that is loyalty toward one’s own people. That duty comes before everything. If I am in a leading position and if I see that the interests of the nation are acted against in such a way, then I too must act. That Hitler had broken faith with the nation must have been clear to every intelligent member of his entourage, certainly at the latest in January or February 1945. Hitler had once been given his mission by the people; he had no right to gamble away the destiny of the people with his own. Therefore I fulfilled my natural duty as a German. I did not succeed in everything, but I am glad today that by my work I was able to render one more service to the workers in Germany and the occupied territories. May 1, 1945: A mass breakout from the Fuehrerbunker occurs as Erich Kempka, Traudl Junge, Gerda Christian, Constanze Manzialy, Else Krueger, Otto Guensche, Johann Rattenhuber, Werner Naumann, Wilhelm Mohnke, Hans-Erich Voss, Ludwig Stumpfegger, Martin Bormann, Artur Axmann, Walther Hewel, Guenther Schwaegermann, and Armin D. Lehmann flee for their lives. May 2, 1945: A few days after killing the six Goebbels children—as well as Hitler’s dog, Blondi—SS doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger (above, right, Adolf Hitler’s personal physician since 1944), commits suicide at the Lehrter Bahnhof by taking cyanide alongside Bormann (above left, with his skull in between) while fleeing Berlin. May 2, 1945 Stalin to Truman: The Soviet Supreme Command has given instructions that whenever Soviet troops contact Allied troops the Soviet Command is immediately to get in touch with the Command of the US or British troops, so that they, by agreement between themselves, (1) establish a temporary tactical demarcation line and (2) take steps to crush within the bounds of their temporary demarcation line all resistance by German troops. (Churchill) May 2, 1945 Nuremberg Tribunal: US President Truman appoints Robert Jackson as chief US counsel for the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. The Executive Order: …Associate Justice Robert H. Jackson is hereby designated to act as the Representative of the United States and as its Chief of Counsel in preparing and prosecuting charges of atrocities and war crimes against such of the leaders of the European Axis powers and their principal agents and accessories as the United States may agree with any of the United Nations to bring to trial before an international tribunal… May 2, 1945: Speer, participating in what he will later call Doenitz’s ‘operetta government,’ is appointed Minister of Economics and Production. After obtaining a signed order from Doenitz to stop all demolition activities, he travels to Hamburg to make a live radio broadcast on the subject to the nation. (Read) From Fritzsche’s IMT testimony: I remained in Berlin, in violation of the order which I was given. When Hitler and his entourage took the way of suicide or fled toward the West, I was, to my knowledge, the only higher official to remain in Berlin. At that time I gathered together the employees of the highest Reich authorities, who had been left to their fate, in the ruins of my office. Hitler had left behind an order to fight on. The commander of Berlin could not be found. Therefore, as a civilian, I felt obliged to offer to the Russian Marshal Zhukov the capitulation. As I was sending off the emissaries who were to go across the battleline, the last military adjutant of Hitler appeared—General Burgdorff—and was going to shoot me in compliance with Hitler’s order. Nevertheless, we capitulated, even though it was signed by the commander, who had been found in the meantime. Thus, I believe I kept my oath, the oath which I had taken to the German people in the person of Hitler… The fact was that Hitler tried to use this defeat for the extermination of the German people, as Speer has now horribly confirmed and as I was able to observe during the last phase of the conflict in Berlin when, through deceit by raising false hopes, boys of 15, 14,13, and l2 years of age were equipped with small arms to fight against tanks and called into battle, boys who otherwise might have been the hope for future reconstruction. Hitler found escape in death, leaving behind him the order to keep on fighting. He also left behind him the official report that he had died in battle. I learned that he had committed suicide; and thus my last public statement, on 2 May 1945, was to let everybody know of this suicide, for I wanted to kill a Hitler legend in the bud. May 2, 1945: As Berlin falls to the Soviet Army, rocket scientist Werner von Braun and over 100 of his team flee to the relative safety of the American front. His brother and fellow rocket engineer, Magnus, spotting an American private from the US 44th Infantry Division, addresses the soldier in broken English: “My name is Magnus von Braun. My brother invented the V-2. We want to surrender.” (Braun) May 2, 1945: The British Second Army takes Luebeck and Wismar on the Baltic Coast. Canadian forces take Oldenburg; hostilities in Italy cease as Nazi troops surrender. May 2, 1945: From the Manchester Guardian: “Europe has never know such a calamity to her civilization and nobody can say when she will begin to recover from its effects.” (Kershaw) May 2, 1945: Rochus Misch, Helmuth Weidling, Hans Refior, Theodor von Dufving, and Siegfried Knappe take their final leave of the Fuehrerbunker. Generals Burgdorf and Krebs, SS Captain Schedle, and SS Lieutenant Stehr take their final leave of life by committing suicide. Only Erna Flegel, Werner Haase, and Johannes Hentschel remain hiding in the Fuehrerbunker. (Sereny) May 2, 1945: The Soviets capture what’s left of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. The remains of Hitler, Braun and two dogs (thought to be Blondi and her offspring Wulf) are discovered in a shell crater by Ivan Churakov of the 79th Rifle Corps. (Above: The empty gasoline cans utilized in the cremation attempts.) General Weidling, defense commandant of Berlin, surrenders the city to the Soviets. The Soviet Union announces that Berlin has surrendered to the 1st White Russian and 1st Ukrainian armies. Note: 80,000 men were killed taking Berlin, 275,000 wounded or missing in the lead up to the battle and in the battle itself. Two thousand Soviet tanks destroyed, 150,000 Germans killed. May 3, 1945: Doenitz invites all the civilian military commanders of the German occupied territories to Flensburg to coordinate a simultaneous surrender. (Heydecker) May 4, 1945: Goering, having finally talked his SS ‘captors’ into letting him go, writes a letter to Doenitz complaining of Bormann’s intrigues against him and his resultant loss of status. He offers his services as official German negotiator to Eisenhower—’as one marshal to another’—and reminds him of how well he had done in the past ‘in all the important negotiations abroad with which the Fuehrer always entrusted me before the war.’ ‘Moreover,’ he continues, ‘both Great Britain and America have proved through their press and radio, and in the declarations of their statesman over the last few years, that their attitude toward me is more favorable than toward all other political leaders in Germany.’ Doenitz never replies. (Read) May 4, 1945: An SS detachment burns Hitler’s Berghof. May 4, 1945: Hans Fritzsche, who has been in the hands of the Red Army since May 2, is made to identify the charred bodies of Goebbels and his family. It will be several days before he is informed that he is under arrest, then he will be transported to the infamous prison Lubyanka. He will undergo months of severe solitary confinement before ultimately ending up in Nuremberg. (Heydecker, Maser) May 4, 1945: The US 7th Army captures Hitler’s country retreat of Berchtesgaden as General LeClerc’s French 2nd Armored Division discovers Hermann Goering’s private train, loaded with priceless art objects, on a siding at the railway station. May 4, 1945 Holocaust: Liberation of the Neuengamme concentration camp near Hamburg by the British Army. May 4, 1945 Churchill to Eden (San Francisco): I fear terrible things have happened during the Russian advance through Germany to the Elbe. The proposed withdrawal of the United States Army to the occupational lines which were arranged with the Russians and Americans in Quebec, and which were marked in yellow on the maps we studied there, would mean the tide of Russian Domination sweeping forward 120 miles on a front of 300 or 400 miles. This would be an event which, if it occurred, would be one of the most melancholy in history. After it was over and the territory occupied by the Russians, Poland would be completely engulfed and buried deep in Russian occupied lands. What would in fact be the Russian frontier would run from the North Cape of Norway, along the Finnish-Swedish frontier, across the Baltic to a point east of Luebeck, along the at present agreed line of occupation and along the frontier between Bavaria to Czechoslovakia to the frontiers of Austria, which is nominally to be in quadruple occupation, and half-way across that country to the Isonzo river, behind which Tito and Russia will claim everything to the east. This constitutes an event in the history of Europe to which there has been no parallel, and which has not been face by the Allies in their long and hazardous struggle. The Russian demands on Germany for reparations alone will be such as to enable her to prolong the occupation almost indefinitely. We have several powerful bargaining counters on our side, the use of which might make for a peaceful agreement. First, the Allies ought not to retreat from their present positions to the occupational line until we are satisfied about Poland, and also about the temporary character if the Russian occupation of Germany, and the conditions to be established in the Russianized or Russian-controlled countries in the Danube valley, particularly Austria and Czechoslovakia, and the Balkans. Secondly, we may be able to please them about the exits from the Black Sea and the Baltic as part of a general settlement. All these matters can only be settled before the United States armies in Europe are weakened. If they are not settled before the United States armies withdraw from Europe and the Western World folds up its war machines there are no prospects of a satisfactory solution and very little of preventing a third World War. It is to this early and speedy showdown with Russia that we must now turn our hopes. Meanwhile I am against weakening our claim against Russia on behalf of Poland in any way. I think it should stand where it was put in the telegrams from the President and me. (Churchill) May 4, 1945: Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering surrenders to the Allies. Note: Goering will be sentenced to death at the first Nuremberg Trial. From The Face Of The Third Reich by Joachim C Fest: In the final phase of his life he (Goering) suffered from profound illusion. In April 1945 he had been dismissed with ignominy from all his posts, arrested, and bequeathed a curse. But when he heard of Hitler’s death, he was, his wife recalled, ‘close to despair’ and exclaimed, ‘He’s dead, Emmy. Now I shall never be able to tell him that I was true to him till the end!’ In much the same way as Himmler, he hoped to be accepted by the Allies as a partner in negotiations. As General Bodenschatz has testified, soon after his capture by the Americans his main concern was the proclamation which he intended to make to the German people as soon as he had reached a satisfactory agreement with Eisenhower. His claim to the leadership of the Reich after Hitler’s death was indisputable in his view. Even at Nuremberg he compelled his fellow prisoner the Grand Admiral Doenitz to admit that he owed his own ‘nomination as the Fuehrer’s successor solely to coincidence’. And if Goering defended himself before the International Court of Justice with striking skill and some aggressiveness, behind which some of the old elemental force of his personality could be felt, it was because of his conviction that his role as leader placed greater responsibility upon him than upon the other prisoners. Obstinately and at times not without success, he tried to command them, to influence their statements, and to establish a regime which Speer referred to angrily as ‘Goering’s dictatorship’. At last, after so many years, so many blows and humiliations, for a brief and fruitless span he had reached his goal: to be the First Man and ‘Nazi Number One’, as he called himself. May 4, 1945: Hans Frank is captured by American troops at Tegernsee near Berchtesgaden. Upon his capture, and after a severe beating from two American soldiers, he tries to cut his own throat. Two days later, he will lacerate his left arm in a second unsuccessful suicide attempt. Note: Only Streicher, of all the other defendants, will be similarly mistreated in captivity. (Maser) May 4, 1945: Fedor von Bock, General Field Marshal with monarchist sympathies who had been permanently retired by Hitler, is killed in an Allied bombing raid. May 4, 1945: Field Marshal Montgomery announces that all enemy forces in the Netherlands, Northwest Germany and Denmark have surrendered unconditionally. May 5, 1945: In Austria, French politicians Reynaud and Daladier and former Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg, imprisoned by the Nazis, are released. The poet Ezra Pound is arrested in Italy for treason. The Soviets take Swinemuende and Peenemuende on the Baltic coast, where V1 and V2 rockets were launched, to find that all the leading German rocket scientists have evacuated with the Americans. (Menaul) May 5, 1945: Himmler assembles his SS chieftains to deliver a farewell address, hinting that he still has some great destiny ahead of him. After passing out cyanide capsules all around, Himmler shaves off his mustache, puts on an eyepatch and a Field Security Police uniform, arms himself with a fake ID, and tries to slip away in the confusion. He will eventually commit suicide by cyanide capsule after he is apprehended on May 23. May 5, 1945 Stalin to Churchill: …we cannot be satisfied that persons should be associated with the formation of the future Polish Government who, as you express it, are not fundamentally anti-Soviet, or that only those persons should be excluded from participation in this work who are in your opinion extremely unfriendly towards Russia. Neither of these criteria can satisfy us. We insist, and shall insist, that there should be brought into consultation on the formation of the future Polish Government only those persons who have actively shown a friendly attitude towards the Soviet Union and who are honestly and sincerely prepared to cooperate with the Soviet State. It appears from your message that you are not prepared to regard the Polish Provisional Government as the foundation of the future Government of National Unity, and that you are not prepared to accord it its rightful position in that Government. I must say frankly that such an attitude excludes the possibility of an agreed solution of the Polish question. (Churchill) May 5, 1945 Truman to Stalin: Since you are well acquainted with the position of the US Government from the messages you have received from President Roosevelt and myself, I need hardly tell you that I agree with the views set forth in Mr. Churchill’s message of April 28 in regard to the reorganization of the Polish Government. I must tell you that any suggestion that the representatives of the present Polish Provisional Government be invited to San Francisco, conditionally or otherwise, is wholly unacceptable to the Government of the United States. For the United States to agree to such an invitation would mean to accept the present Warsaw Provisional Government as representative of Poland. This would be the equivalent to abandoning the agreement reached in the Crimea. (Churchill) May 5, 1945 Churchill to Eden (San Francisco): In the north Eisenhower threw in an American corps with great dexterity to help Montgomery in his advance on Luebeck. He got there with twelve hours to spare. There were reports from the British Naval Attache at Stockholm, which we are testing, that, according to Swedish information, the Russians have dropped parachutists a few miles south of Copenhagen and that Communist activities have appeared there. It now appears there were only two parachutists. We are sending in a moderate holding force to Copenhagen by air, and the rest of Denmark is rapidly being occupied from henceforth by our fast-moving armored columns. I think therefore, having regard to the joyful feeling of the Danes and the abject submission and would-be partisanship of the surrendered Huns, we shall head our Soviet friend off at this point too. You will by now have heard the news of the tremendous surrender that has been made to Montgomery of all Northwest Germany, Holland, and Denmark, both as regards men and ships. The men alone must be more than a million. Thus in three successive days 2,5000,000 Germans have surrendered to our British commanders. This is quite a satisfactory incident in our military history. Ike has been splendid throughout. We must vie with him for sportsmanship. (Churchill) May, 5 1945: Prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoeller is liberated by the Allies from Nazi captivity. From Doenitz’s IMT testimony: I had no connections with anybody who had been sent to a concentration camp; with the exception of Pastor Niemoeller. Pastor Niemoeller was a former comrade of mine from the Navy. When my last son was killed, he expressed his sympathy; and on that occasion I asked him how he was… I received the answer that he was all right… I received this information through a third person. May 5, 1945: Admiral Karl Doenitz orders all U-boats to cease offensive operations and return to their bases. German Army Group G surrenders to the Americans at Haar in Bavaria. Mauthausen concentration camp, together with satellite camps at Gunskirchen and Ebensee, become the last concentration camps to be liberated by the Allies. The US War Department announces that 400,000 men will remain in Germany as an occupation force. From Khrushchev Remembers by Nikita Khrushchev: I remember one day in Kiev getting a call from Zhukov. He was jubilant. ‘Soon I’ll have that slimy beast Hitler locked up in a cage,’ he said. ‘And when I send him to Moscow, I’ll ship him by way of Kiev so you can have a look at him.’ I wished Zhukov every success. I knew that with him commanding the front, our offensive was in good hands. Then, after Germany capitulated, Zhukov called me again and said, ‘I won’t be able to keep my promise after all. That snake Hitler is dead. He shot himself, and they burned his corpse. We found his charred carcass.’ Thus ended the great epic of our people’s war against the Hitlerite invaders. We were overjoyed at the destruction of our enemy, and we felt a lofty moral satisfaction with our victory. The words of Alexander Nevsky rang in our ears: ‘He who comes to us with a sword shall perish by the sword.’ I should have known better, but I decided to call Stalin in order to congratulate him on the capitulation of Germany. When he answered the phone, I said, ‘Comrade Stalin, permit me to congratulate you on the victory of our armed forces and our people over the German army.’ And what was his response? He cut me off rudely and said I was wasting his time. I was simply dumbfounded. I rebuked myself for having called him in the first place. I knew what sort of person he was, and I should have expected exactly what happened. As I have already said, Stalin was a good actor. He was pretending now that since the war was over and done with, he was already thinking about other, more important matters; why should I waste his time talking about yesterday when he was straining his mind, thinking about tomorrow? He acted as though he weren’t in the least surprised by our victory. He wanted me to think that he had known all along how the war would turn out. But I knew better. I had watched him during moments of crisis. I knew that during the war he had been even more worried and afraid than the people around him. May 6, 1945: An Allied CIC team working with the US 80th Division’s 319th Regiment arrest Ernst Kaltenbrunner’s wife on an estate in the Austrian town of Strobl. Under interrogation, she informs them that her husband had been with her as recently as May 3. Note: Kaltenbrunner will be captured on May 12 and ultimately be sentenced to death for War Crimes at Nuremberg. May 6, 1945: Constantin von Neurath is arrested in the French occupation zone; the only Nuremberg defendant captured by the French. Note: The Americans now have ten defendants in custody, the British five, while three are in joint US/UK custody and the Soviets hold two.) From Bodyguard of Lies by Anthony Cave Brown: When the war finally ended, the fate of the German General Staff, once so mighty, resembled the collective fate of the Emperors of Byzantium. During his twelve years as Fuehrer, Hitler created twenty-six Field Marshals and Grand Admirals. Few escaped his own fury, and those who did survive did not escape the retribution of the Grand Alliance. All either were shot, committed suicide, were compelled to commit suicide, or were jailed by the Allies. The Chiefs of the General Staff fared no better. All suffered similar ends. Of the estimated 2,500 generals of the Wehrmacht, 786 are known to have died in the war. Of these, 253 were killed in action, 44 died of wounds, 61 committed suicide, 23 were executed by Hitler, 41 were executed by the Allies for war crimes, and 326 died of other or unknown causes. Those captured by the Americans or the British were imprisoned; of those captured by the Russians, many died in jail. The toll among the SS generals was even greater. Thirty-two were killed in action; four died of their wounds; two were executed by Hitler for treason; fourteen were executed by the Allies for war crimes; five died from unrecorded causes; nine died from natural causes while on duty; eight died in jail; four were executed by the West German government; and sixteen committed suicide. Thus ninety-four of the generals of the inner cabal of Nazism died, from all causes, but most significant was the number of suicides—the ultimate signal of fear and despair—both in the Army and the SS. Ninety-seven German generals died by their own hands. In the Kaiser’s war, Germany lost 63 generals in combat and 103 through other causes; only 3 committed suicide. May 7, 1945: Alfred Jodl signs the instruments of unconditional surrender in Reims as representative for Karl Doenitz. Jodl receives permission to make a statement: With this signature the German people and the German Armed Forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the hands of the victors…In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with generosity. From Keitel’s IMT testimony: I can say that I was a soldier by inclination and conviction. For more than 44 years without interruption I served my country and my people as a soldier, and I tried to do my best in the service of my profession. I believed that I should do this as a matter of duty, laboring unceasingly and giving myself completely to those tasks which fell to me in my many and diverse positions. I did this with the same devotion under the Kaiser, under President Ebert, under Field Marshal Von Hindenburg, and under the Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler… As a German officer, I naturally consider it my duty to answer for what I have done, even if it should have been wrong. I am grateful that I am being given the opportunity to give an account here and before the German people of what I was and my participation in the events which have taken place. It will not always be possible to separate clearly guilt and entanglement in the threads of destiny. But I do consider one thing impossible, that the men in the front lines and the leaders and the subleaders at the front should be charged with the guilt, while the highest leaders reject responsibility. That, in my opinion, is wrong, and I consider it unworthy. I am convinced that the large mass of our brave soldiers were really decent, and that wherever they overstepped the bounds of acceptable behavior, our soldiers acted in good faith, believing in military necessity, and the orders which they received. May 7, 1945: The Allies formally accept the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany as Keitel signs an unconditional surrender in Berlin. May 8, 1945 VE Day: Churchill announces the end of the war in Europe: …The Germans are still in places resisting the Russian troops, but should they continue to do so after midnight they will, of course, deprive themselves of the protection of the laws of war, and will be attacked from all quarters by the Allied troops. It is not surprising that on such long fronts and in the existing disorder of the enemy the orders of the German High Command should not in every case be obeyed immediately. This does not, in our opinion, with the best military advice at our disposal, constitute any reason for withholding from the nation the facts communicated to us by General Eisenhower of the unconditional surrender already signed at Rheims, nor should it prevent us from celebrating to-day and to-morrow (Wednesday) as Victory in Europe days. Today, perhaps, we shall think mostly of ourselves. Tomorrow we shall pay a particular tribute to our Russian comrades, whose prowess in the field has been one of the grand contributions to the general victory. The German war is therefore at an end…

Chrustmas Hiastory Collections

Dr Iwancybermuseum

sent to All collectors from all over the word

Marry christmas

And’ Happy New Year

Special for You We upload a sample of dr Iwan E-book In Cd-ROM

THE CHRISTMAS HISTORY COLLECTIONS

1500

1800

1800

World’s first Christmas card

Christmas cards originated as hand-written letters sent by school children to their families in England in the early 1800s. The invention of the steam press in 1840 made it possible to mass-produce Christmas greetings.

Christmas cards were first printed in London, England. They were designed by John Calcott Horsley of the Royal Academy for Sir Henry Cole in 1843 and were sold at Felix Summerly’s Home Treasury Office.

The greeting was “A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

A portrayal of a child sipping wine in a toast on the central panel caused a stir with temperance groups. Cards were first mailed (to friends) by W. C. Dobson (Queen Victoria’s favorite painter) in 1845. First mailings in U. S. were in 1846. Louis Prang, a Boston lithographer, marketed multicolored Christmas Cards in Europe in 1865, and in the U. S.

in 1875. He made Christmas Cards popular. Mailing was expanded with the “penny post card,” 1893. Half-tone engravings appear in 1900. The home photograph card begins in 1902 by Eastman Kodak. LINK

 

The world’s first commercially produced Christmas card, designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole (c1843):

 

Image: LIbrary of Congress

 

The first signs of people mailing cards to each other in the United States occurred around 1845. Until 1875 Americans had to import their Christmas Cards from Europe, but in 1875 that changed when a German immigrant by the name of Louis Prang published the first line of U.S. Christmas Cards.

 

An advertisement for Prang’s Christmas cards (c1886):

Image: Library of Congress

 

Christmas card by Louis Prang. Late 18th century:

Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Christmas card by Louis Prang. Late 18th century:

Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Prang’s card proved extremely popular, but he was soon forced out of business as cheap imitations began to flood the market.

 

 

Here is an assortment of vintage Christmas cards for your enjoyment:

 

New York : Published by Currier & Ives (c1876):

 

 

St. Claus. Lithograph by S. Merinsky (c1872):

Image: Library of Congress

 

Approach of the New Year. Lithograph by James Hoover (c1877):

Image: Library of Congress

 

Christmas greeting card in art noveau style, date unknown, possibly 1900:

Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Christmas card, (c1885):

Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Christmas card (c1900):

Image: Wikimedia Commons

 

Victorian Christmas card (c1870):

Image: WIkimedia Commons

 

Christmas card (c1860). Silk fringe and tassels:

 1900

1919

Christmas art deco in 1919

200

rare Coca cola Promo

Christmas songs –

the oldest ones are the best

 
© Getty Images Carol singing became popular in the 19 century

Christmas carols were mostly a Victorian tradition along with trees, crackers and cards. Eugene Byrne explains the why the popularity of Silent Night has never faded, why there’s always a place for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and why the British fondness of Good King Wenceslas has not yet subsided.

Christmas carols were mostly a Victorian tradition along with trees, crackers and cards. Eugene Byrne explains the why the popularity of Silent Night has never faded, why there’s always a place for Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and the British fondness of Good King Wenceslas has not yet subsided.

Although Christmas was celebrated in song in the Middle Ages, most carols in use now are less than 200 years old. Only a handful, such as I Saw Three Ships or the decidedly
pagan-sounding The Holly and the Ivy, remind us of more ancient yuletides. Carols fell from favour in England after the Reformation because of their frivolity and were rarely sung in churches until the 1880s when EW  Benson, Bishop of Truro (later Archbishop of Canterbury) drew up the format for the Nine Lessons and Carols service, which has remained in use ever since.

 

Silent Night (1818)

Words: Josef Mohr
Music: Franz Xaver Gruber

Arguably the world’s most popular Christmas carol comes in several different translations from the German original. It started out as a poem by the Austrian Catholic priest Father Josef Mohr in 1816. Two years later, Mohr was curate at the parish church of St Nicola in Oberndorf when he asked the organist and local schoolteacher Franz Xaver Gruber to put music to his words.

An unreliable legend has it that the church organ had been damaged by mice, but whatever the reason, Gruber wrote it to be performed by two voices and guitar. It was first performed at midnight mass on Christmas Eve 1818, with Mohr and Gruber themselves taking the solo voice roles.

Its fame eventually spread (allegedly it has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects) and it famously played a key role in the unofficial truce in the trenches in 1914 because it was one of the only carols that both British and German soldiers knew.

 

Good King Wenceslas (1853 or earlier) 

Words: John Mason Neale
Music: Traditional, Scandinavian

The Reverend Doctor Neale was a high Anglican whose career was blighted by suspicion that he was a crypto-Catholic, so as warden of Sackville College – an almshouse in East Grinstead – he had plenty of time for study and composition. Most authorities deride his words as “horrible”, “doggerel” or “meaningless”, but it has withstood the test of time. The tune came from a Scandinavian song that Neale found in a rare medieval book that had been sent to him by a friend who was British ambassador in Stockholm.

There really was a Wenceslas – Vaclav in Czech – although he was Duke of Bohemia, rather than a king. Wenceslas (907–935) was a pious Christian who was murdered by his pagan brother Boleslav; after his death a huge number of myths and stories gathered around him. Neale borrowed one legend to deliver a classically Victorian message about the importance of being both merry and charitable at Christmas. Neale also wrote two other Christmas favourites: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (1851) and Good Christian Men, Rejoice (1853).

 

Once in Royal David’s City (1849)

Words: Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander
Music: HJ Gauntlett

Cecil Frances Humphreys was born in Dublin to a comfortable Anglican family. In 1848 she published Hymns for Little Children, a book of verse explaining the creed in simple and cheerful terms and which gave us three famous hymns. So to the question who made the world, the answer was All Things Bright and Beautiful. Children’s questions on the matter of death were answered with There is a Green Hill Far Away, while Once in Royal David’s City told them about where Jesus was born. The book was an instant hit and remained hugely popular throughout the 19th century.

The organist and composer Henry Gauntlett put music to it a year later and nowadays it traditionally opens the King’s College Cambridge Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.
Cecil threw herself into working for the sick and poor, turning down many requests to write more verse. Much of the proceeds from Hymns for Little Children went to building the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Institution for the Deaf and Dumb.

 

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (1739 or earlier)

Words: Charles Wesley
Music: Felix Mendelssoh
n

Charles, the brother of Methodist founder John Wesley, penned as many as 9,000 hymns and poems, of which this is one of his best-known. It was said to be inspired by the sounds of the bells as he walked to church one Christmas morning and has been through several changes. It was originally entitled Hark How All the Welkin Ringswelkin being an old word meaning sky or heaven.

As with most of his hymns, Wesley did not stipulate which tune it should be sung to, except to say that it should be “solemn”. The modern version came about when organist William Hayman Cummings adopted it to a tune by German composer Felix Mendelssohn in the 1850s. Mendelssohn had stipulated that the music, which he had written to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the invention of the printing press and which he described as “soldier-like and buxom”, should never be used for religious purposes.

 

God rest you merry, Gentlemen

Origin unknown

This is thought to have originated in London in the 16th or 17th centuries before running to several different versions with different tunes all over England. The most familiar melody dates back to at least the 1650s when it appeared in a book of dancing tunes. It was certainly one of the Victorians’ favourites.

If you want to impress people with your knowledge (or pedantry), then point out to them that the comma is placed after the “merry” in the first line because the song is enjoining the gentlemen (possibly meaning the shepherds abiding in the fields) to be merry because of Christ’s birthday. It’s not telling “merry gentlemen” to rest!

lET’S jOIN OUR cHRISTMAS pARTY

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Christmas is a time when you really appreciate what you value most in life, time spent surrounded by your closest friends and family reminiscing about the great times passed over a grand feast. Since the late 1600’s and earlier,

there has been a Christmas celebration, and along with it a great feast. In the early 1700’s, the Christmas feast was of a grand scale and held by the aristocracy.

This grandeur continued on into the 30s and 40s where The Great Depression and World War II made celebrating much harder and made the great feast of yesterday into a meal consisting of canned vegetables and jellies.

The pheasants, oysters, consumé, and crown roasts were lost with the greatly depreciated economy. As time continued on, the 50s, 60s, and 70s brought back roast duckling, oysters Rockefeller, and standing rib roasts. Understanding tradition and why it is so important to keep the essence of the feast alive, will help you truly make an amazing meal this Christmas.

This year, mix tradition with a new approach to a healthy lifestyle. Create dishes inspired by classics but with a much lighter load on our bodies and our wallets.

Every Christmas feast was centered around a roast of an animal; pheasant, pork, beef, and duck are a few examples of traditional roasts served for dinner.

Because pork is so lean and high in protein, I chose a pork-based dish for this Christmas centerpiece.

Apple Cider Brined Pork Loin with Cider Mustard Sauce

Brine:

1-Gallon Apple Cider
10 Cloves Garlic
10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
5 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 T Mustard Seeds
1 T Fennel Seeds
1 Orange Peel
1-Cup Sugar
1-Cup Kosher Salt
2 T Whole Pepper Corns
1 Bay Leaf

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large pot. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes to dissolve sugar and salt and coax flavor out of ingredients. Cool down completely and then add your pork loin.

(It’s important to use kosher salt because kosher salt weighs about 5 ounces per cup and iodized salt weighs 10 ounces per cup. If you use iodized salt, only use a ½ cup.)

Acquiring your roast:

In the supermarket, you can usually find boneless pork loins ranging from 1-4 pounds. It takes about 30 minutes of cooking time per pound of pork loin, so you can gauge your cooking time based on the size of pork loin you can find and the size you need.

For this recipe, I use a 4 pound boneless pork loin roast, but again you can use any size. Place your pork loin in your cooled brine and make sure it’s completely submerged. If it’s sticking out you can place a plate on top to keep it down. Cover completely in plastic wrap and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours.

Preparing your roast:

2 T Olive Oil
1 T Salt
1 T Cracked black pepper
1 T Thyme, chopped finely
1 T Rosemary, chopped finely
1 T Orange Zest 

Remove your pork loin from its brine and place it on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan.

Take paper towels and dry the pork loin completely. Drizzle olive oil on your roast and coat with all other ingredients.

 Place your roast into a 425° oven for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Then turn the oven down to 400° and cook until roast has an internal temperate of 140°.

You want your roast to be at an internal temperature of 145°, but the roast will still cook when you take it out of the oven.

This is called carryover cooking. Carryover cooking will finish cooking the roast gently and redistribute the juices within the meat, keeping it nice and juicy when you cut into it.

It should take about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours of cooking and resting time.

Take all your dripping from the pan and set aside for the sauce! Be sure to check the roast throughout its cooking time. There is nothing worse than a dry roast!

Apple Cider Mustard Sauce:

2 cups apple cider
2 cups chicken stock
1 shallot
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
3 T whole grain mustard
Pan drippings

To start, slice your shallot thinly and mince your garlic finely. Sauté them in your pan drippings for a few minutes and then add all of the ingredients besides the mustard.

Bring to a boil and then reduce down to a simmer and let it cook until it has reduced three-fourths and is a sauce consistency. When the sauce is finished, add the mustard.

To go along with your roast, you need a few delicious sides to compliment and complete your meal. Roasting vegetables really brings out a depth of flavor and naturally occurring sweetness.

Roasted Butternut Squash

2 large Butternut Squash
1 sprig Thyme
2 T Olive Oil
Drizzle of Honey
2 T Salt
1 T Pepper

Peel and seed your squash. Dice it into 1” cubes. Remove the tiny green leaves from the stem of the thyme sprig and chop it finely. Toss the squash with the olive oil, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper and place on a sheet pan.

Roast at 400° for 15-20 minutes. Turn the squash every 5 minutes to avoid blackening. Check the squash with a knife to ensure doneness.

Roasted Fennel

4 large bulbs – Fennel
1 sprig -Thyme
1 whole – Lemon
4 cloves – Garlic
2 T – Salt
1 t – Pepper
2 T – Olive Oil

Wash, halve, and core your fennel. Cut each half into fourths. Remove the leaves from the thyme and chop finely. Zest the lemon and smash the garlic cloves. Toss all ingredients together and roast in a 375° oven for 20 minutes.

Haricot Verts with Shallot and Almond

2 T Olive Oil
2 T Salt
1 T Pepper
1 Pound Haricot Vert
1 Large Shallot
2 Cloves Garlic
½ cup Sliced Almonds

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and drop your haricot vert in. Boil until just tender and then drain and set aside to cool. Slice shallot paper thin, and mince the garlic finely. Toast the almonds and set them aside. When ready to eat, sauté the cooked beans in a tablespoon of olive oil with the shallot and garlic. Add salt and pepper and cook through. Top with toasted almonds.

Parsnip Puree

5 large parsnips
6 cloves Garlic
1 liter Chicken Stock
1 sprigs Thyme
1 Shallot

Peel parsnips and cut into large chunks of equal size. Smash garlic cloves and roughly cut the shallot. Remove the leaves from the thyme and put all ingredients into a pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook until fork tender, or about 15-20 minutes depending on the size. Once cooked, strain the parsnips but keep the liquid. Blend the parsnips and add the liquid slowly until you have a nice smooth mass, with a texture similar to mashed potatoes. Although it’s more work to blend them this way, you want to do this to make sure that that texture is correct and not too watery.

Naval Orange Marmalade

2 oranges
3 cups water
2 cups sugar

Cut the ends off of you oranges and then halve them. Slice the oranges as thin as you can. Put your oranges, sugar, and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t scorch.  Once it has thickened and the fruit is completely softened, pull it off of the heat and cool.

Wine Pairing:

For this meal I would serve a light red wine that would compliment the pork and not compete with it. A pairing that would be great would be a Beaujolais Noveau!

This wine is made from the Gamay varietal of grapes and is very light and easy drinking. It is also special to have it with this meal because it is only released the third Thursday of November every year and needs to be consumed soon after because it doesn’t have the ability to age. On another note, it should be served slightly chilled to enhance its fruity flavors.

Now it’s time for the finale to this fantastic meal! Traditionally the dessert course is full of heavy puddings, tarts, and pies. This year, try something different and end the meal with a light and seasonal dessert. A Pavlova is a pastry that is made from a meringue base and is baked until it’s light and crispy. The inside stays chewy like marshmallow, and then there is a cream filling and it is topped with fruit. The dessert was named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova and is a holiday tradition that started in the 20s.

Pavlova with dried fruit compote

Filling:

1 cup Ricotta
1/4  Chevre
¼ Greek yogurt
2 T Honey
½ t Vanilla

For the filling, blend all ingredients until smooth. This filling is delicious and much healthier than the regular filling, which is made of cream and sugar!

Fruit Compote:

2 oz Dried Apricots
2 oz Dried Cherries
2 oz Golden Raisins
2 oz Dried Cranberries
2 oz Dried Figs
1 T Orange Zest
1 T Lemon Zest
1 cup Brandy
1 cup Orange Juice
1 Cinnamon stick

Cut your apricots and figs into smaller pieces, and zest your orange and lemon. Put all ingredients into a saucepot and cook until the fruit is soft and the juices thicken, about 20 minutes.

Pavlova:

4 Egg whites
¼ t cream of tartar
1-cup brown sugar
4 t cornstarch
2 t white vinegar
1 t Vanilla

Put your egg whites and cream of tartar in a bowl and beat it until small peaks form. Add the sugar slowly with the mixer on low until it is thick and glossy. Add the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix for 30 seconds just to blend all ingredients.

Bake on a parchment-lined sheet pan and form it into a disc in the middle of the pan. Smooth the top of mass so that it cooks evenly.

Bake at 250° for an hour and a half.  After the total baking time, turn the oven off and let it cool completely in the oven. This will form the crisp texture and prevent it from becoming sticky.

Only assemble this dessert right before you are about to eat it! The Pavlova should be room temperature, the cream should be cold, and the compote should be just warmed through.

Top the Pavlova with the goat cheese mixture and compote and serve!

This dessert is so impressive and so easy! It is an indulgence and a lot healthier than most desserts. Although there are eggs and sugar in this recipe, you are using the white of the egg, which has no fat, and a small amount of sugar. There are lots of textures and flavors going on, which will be a great end to a fantastic meal. Try something new this year, and start a new tradition with your friends and family!

Merry Christmas!

-

The Euro World War II Prologue

this is the sample  of Dr Iwan E-Book In Cd-Rom limited edition without illustrations, the complete info with illustrations and editing exist but only for Premiuum member,please subcribed via comment

 

The Euro world War II

Prologue 1933-1938

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Private Limited E-book In CD-Rom edition

Special for Senior Collectors Copyright@2012

Praface

I have found the Postal history Postally Used cover Euro World War II Included Mediterianian,Africa and Middle East World War II from Mr Suwito Haesono at jakarta in 1994 which he bought from Euro Auctions, and he did not collected this topic, from this collection I started to research the related informations and collected other kind of picture and document collections,

In 2007 I found another best euro world war II collections from Stampdom trader at Kota Kinibalu(before Jesseltown) Sabah Malaysia(before Norrh Borneo),

after that I am starting to write and seeking more related collections until this day. Now The reaseach are finish and I editing the informations in E-Book In CD-Rom Special for senior collector.

I know that this informations still not complete, that is why comment,corrections and ore info still need.

I hope this informations will given more new info for the senior collectors and special to the family of the Soldiers who joined this war and given a sweet remembrance for them

Jakarta December,14th.2012

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA PROLOG .

The WRAF Women in the Blue

Approximately 500 women served abroad after 1919, service which set a new precedent for the world. The time the women abroad gave the Allied forces a favourable impression of

the WRAF.

They served on ten units in France and Germany, all without a complaint or any of the problems most feared by those who thought that mixing male and female service personnel was a mistake.

Once back in England, however it was not long before the demob procedures were started and the WRAF finally disbanded

on 1st April 1920,

only two years after it had been formed. Post-war, there were many indicators that society’s view of women was fast changing.

During the 1920

‘s women could first obtain the contraceptive pill, and as a result of the women’s war effort, fashion changed as trousers and shorter skirts became acceptable.

Women had begun to win their battle of the sexes, at least in some areas. Another change occurred during the 1930′s when the tobacco companies deemed it acceptable for women to smoke! During the slump and general depression of the 1920′s/30′s,

women found it necessary to obtain work as and when they could to better support the family.

This set many new precedents, as for the first time it was openly accepted that there was a role for women in the workplace, as well as for more traditional roles.

Things started to change on a huge scale. Oddly, it was sometimes easier for some women than men to obtain work, as the slump made it necessary to cut hours and work shorter days.

Many women found they could still bring up their children at the same time as working, because they could work around school hours

The Polish Airforce 1918 — 1939

The modern history of Poland is reflected in its pioneering spirit towards aviation in the inter-war years’.

While the Twenty Years of Independence (Niepodelosc) marked the re-emergence of Poland at the Treaty of Versailles, no other re-emerging nation received such gratuitous abuse and derision (Davies, 1981) from diplomats and politicians across Europe.

While Poland re-emerged from the vacuum left in central European politics through the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, its very existence was to be repeatedly challenged through to the latter part of this century.

As a divided nation Poles had fought for and against the major armies of Europe. Within three years of its re-emergence, Poland had fought forces from Germany, Lithuania, the Ukraine and Russia over the sovereignty of land.

While Polish politicians like Dmowski wanted frontiers based upon ethnic boundaries, many Poles sought the former glory of the Polish —

Lithuanian Commonwealth which had existed at the end of the eighteenth century. The ‘Polish Question’ had dogged politicians both during war and at the Treaty of Versailles.

Friction caused by complex ethnic boundaries and contested cities, ultimately led to the outbreak of war.

The first operational flight of the Polish Airforce took place on 5th November 1918

from Lewandówka airfield against Ukrainian nationalistic forces attacking Lwów (Zamoyski, 1995). Janusz de Beaurain and Stefan Bastyr piloted a plane cannibalised from parts of other aircraft that was assembled while mechanics and the airfield was under attack. Painted in the Polish colours of white and red, it made its first sortie and the emergence of a new fighting arm.

Many Poles on returning ‘home’ after the Great War brought new skills in aviation whether they were pilots, mechanics or engineers.

Contemporary historians tend to forget or minimize Polish achievement throughout history.

It was a Pole who built the first helicopter in Russia in 1903.

Prince Stanislaw Lubomirski had set up a flying school and aircraft works at Mokotów, just outside Warsaw and built the first Polish designed plane in 1910.

Also, in the same year Grzegorz Piotrowski had flown a record 23 miles over water from St. Petersburg to Kronstadt. In 1914 Jan Nagórski made the first Arctic flight.

While Flight had captured the hearts and minds of many young men, key members of the military were a little more ambivalent towards the role and effectiveness of an airforce.

Numerous Poles were introduced to the delights of flight either through pleasure trips or from ‘joining-up’

as this was cheaper than private lessons. Not all introductions to flying or flight were in this manner as the following story in Tygodnik Podhalanski reported.

Zenon Krzeptowski and a group of friends were playing in the lush meadows around Zakopane at the foot of the Tatry mountains’.

A gentleman flying an early bi-plane found himself ‘shot-down’ by a group of schoolboys and their catapults. Most of the culprits fled, leaving Zenon to face the wrath of his father, Jan and forfeiture of his pocket money. PZL 11, 2â?

Reg. As a fledgling state, Poland was fortunate in that large amounts of war material and ordnance which had been abandoned by the various retreating forces, particularly the Germans who left disassembled aircraft in hangars at Poznan (Koniarek, 1994).

While Marshall Jozef Pilsudski amalgamated and remodelled a new army through the use of French military advisors, the Polish Airforce (Lotnictwo Wojskowe) began to take shape. French military advisers also played an important role and so did a number of key individuals. Lieutenant Stefan Stec flew a ‘liberated’

Fokker D.V to Warsaw in November 1918 decorated in his personal colours of the red and white chequerboard with a border of complimentary colours which became adopted as the national insignia (Koniarek, 1994; Zamoyski, 1995).

Two Americans, Major Cederic E. Fauntleroy and Captain Merian C. Cooper volunteered to fight and help train airmen after observing the Allies (which included Polish units) marching up the Champs-Elysées

on 14th July 1919

after hearing the Soviets were threatening Poland. No. 7 Squadron largely consisted of American volunteers, some fifteen in all (Koniarek, 1994; Zamoyski, 1995) who fought with distinction during the 1920-1930

Strategy During the 1920s and 1930s

British and French strategic concepts had stagnated. The generals expected to fight a future war in which defence rather than attack would dominate.

They believed that set-piece battles would develop slowly and be dominated by infantry and artillery. They put their faith in the Maginot Line, France’s fortified border with Germany.

Ignoring the lessons learnt during the battles of 1918, tanks and aircraft were largely cast in a supporting role Polish-Bolshevik War 1919 — 1921.

The Squadron was named after Tadeusz Kosiuszko, the Polish general who fought in the United States during the Revolutionary War.

Lieutenant Elliot Chess designed the famous squadron insignia.

The thirteen blue stars and stripes represent the original American colonies. In the centre, crossed scythes reforged as lances and a four-cornered hat represents Poland’s insurrection against Russia in the 19th Century (Koniarek, 1994). (No. 7 Kosciuszko Squadron flew with distinction as part of the famous 303 Squadron in the Second World War). Plage and Laskiewicz (Lublin) R.XVIIID As a fledgling state,

Poland could not match the inter-war arms race between Germany, Britain, France, Italy or Soviet Russia.

The early years of Lotnictwo Wojskowe saw the development of Europe’s second largest airforce under the direction of General Wlodzimierz Zagorski and later General Ludomil Rayski who may be regarded as the driving force behind Poland’s military aviation industry.

By 1929

the PZL (Panstwowe Zaklady Lotnicze) P.1 had flown. This all metal, gull winged aircraft was an advanced fighting machine and largely went for export to countries like Rumania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece.

By 1936

15 Squadrons were equipped and then General Ludomil Rayski shifted the production of aircraft towards bomber production at the expense of fighter development and up-grading.

In 1934 work had begun on the PZL P.37 Los bomber which began to enter service

in In 1932, German President Paul von Hindenburg, old, tired, and a bit senile, had won re-election as president, but had lost a considerable portion of his right/conservative support to the Nazi Party.

Those close to the president wanted a cozier relationship to Hitler and the Nazis.

Hindenburg had contempt for the Nazis’ lawlessness, but ultimately agreed to oust his chancellor, Heinrich Bruning, for Franz von Papen, who was willing to appease the Nazis by lifting the ban on Hitler’s Brown Shirts and unilaterally canceling Germany’s reparation payments, imposed by the Treaty of Versailles at the close of World War I . 1933

But Hitler was not appeased.

He wanted the chancellorship for himself. Papen’s policies failed on another front:

His authoritarian rule alienated his supporters, and he too was forced to resign. He then made common cause with Hitler, persuading President Hindenburg to appoint Hitler chancellor and himself vice-chancellor.

He promised the president that he would restrain Hitler’s worst tendencies and that a majority of the Cabinet would go to non-Nazis. As Hindenburg’s current chancellor could no longer gain a majority in the Reichstag, and Hitler could bring together a larger swath of the masses and a unified right/conservative/nationalist coalition, the president gave in.

In January 1933,

Hitler was named chancellor of Germany. But that was not enough for Hitler either.

In February 1933,

Hitler blamed a devastating Reichstag fire on the communists (its true cause remains a mystery) and convinced President Hindenburg to sign a decree suspending individual and civil liberties,

Hitler rearms

When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 he promised to reverse the terms of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and reassert Germany’s dominance of Europe. Rearmament began almost immediately and the German army, navy and air force expanded.

1934

a decree Hitler used to silence his political enemies with false arrests.

Upon the death of Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler proceeded to purge the Brown Shirts (his storm troopers), the head of which, Ernst Roem, had began voicing opposition to the Nazi Party’s terror tactics.

Hitler had Roem executed without trial, which encouraged the army and other reactionary forces within the country to urge Hitler to further consolidate his power by merging the presidency and the chancellorship.

This would make Hitler commander of the army as well.

A plebiscite vote was held on August 19. Intimidation, and fear of the communists, brought Hitler a 90 percent majority.

He was now, for all intents and purposes, dictator August 19, 1934,

Adolf Hitler, already chancellor, is also elected president of Germany in an unprecedented consolidation of power in the short history of the republic in 1936 Seeking to reverse the territorial losses after the First World War,

his troops re-occupied the Rhineland in 1936 1937 1937,

Romania had come under control of a fascist government that bore great resemblance to that of Germany’s, including similar anti-Jewish laws.

Romania’s king, Carol II,

dissolved the government a year later, but was unable to suppress the fascist Iron Guard paramilitary organization.

In June 1940,

the Soviet Union co-opted two Romanian provinces, and the king searched for an ally to help protect it and appease the far right within its own borders. 1938 01.

Hitler rearms When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 he promised to reverse the terms of the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and reassert Germany’s dominance of Europe.

Rearmament

began almost immediately and the German army, navy and air force expanded.

Seeking to reverse the territorial losses after the First World War, his troops re-occupied the Rhineland in 1936.

January,14th.1936

Postally Used Picture Postcard send from  J.Beur CDS Riga  Latvia  14.1.35 to Mr Kwie Swi Yauw Hoof(Chinese overseas Captain?)  destination CDS Wonosobo Middle Java Indonesia 7.2.36

June.9th.1936

Postally Used German Hindenberg green 5 cen postal stationer Card send from CDS Middleberg 9,7,36 special rolling Vurgess Nicht Strasse  und  hausnumer Anzugeben to  Nagdenberg.postmark

August,8th.1936

 International Olympicen Games  XL Berlin

Sonderbriefmarken  de Cuetreichpost

Fur die XL OlympyschenSpielen 1936

Berlin

Maximum card  with complete set of Olympic Berlin 1936 stamps with special postmark  Berlin OlympischeGDR with Bell logo  Nazi postmark 8.8.36

THE First day Cover Of

Germany Berlin 1935

 1-16 August  

Olympic Games

Jigoro Kano

represented Japan as an IOC Official at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. 

You can see him in the photograph standing behind the Olympic Champion Jesse Owens (Gold Medal winner) with Lutz Long and Naoto Tajiia.  Copyright remains with: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection, [reproduction number, LC-USZ62-115933)

In March 1938

German troops entered Austria to carry out the Anschluss (unification) of the two German-speaking countries.

The French and British governments did nothing to stop these actions.

Hitler and Mussolini at German air manoeuvres,

1937. 1938.

The relatively small defence budget was no match for the European arms race and by the late 1930s Poland had slipped behind Russia, Britain, France and Germany (Zaloga and Madej, 1991).

C ontemporary historians like Liddell-Hart portrayed Poland as ill-prepared and weak without taking into account that large-scale industrialization had not started in Poland until the mid-1920s.

Between 1936 — 1939

military capital expenditure accounted for 70% of all domestic capital investment and represented a Defense Budget of 800 million Zloty (Zaloga and Madej, 1991).

T he small oil reserves in Galicia near Boryslaw were strategically significant to both the German and Soviet military high-command, but production was limited.

For such a young country much had been achieved within this fledgling democracy despite political turmoil and numerous border disputes in the early 1920s.

Following Pilsudski’s death in 1935,

the military junta led by General Rydz-Smigly did not have extensive popular support. PZL 23B Karas, 42â? Esc.

In March 1938

German troops entered Austria to carry out the Anschluss (unification) of the two German-speaking countries.

The French and British governments did nothing to stop these actions. would rather argue that he was, for all intents and purposes,

dictator after the Reichstag had passed the Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich (Enabling Act), on 23 March 1933.

It had been passed with 441 deputies voting in its favour, and 94 Social Democrats being opposed.

It was this Act which gave Hitler the power to erode the Weimar Constitution and create a totalitarian state.

The following is the text of the Act: “The Reichstag has resolved the following law, which is, with the approval of the Reichsrat, herewith promulgated, after it has been established that the requirements have been satisfied for legislation altering the Constitution.

SECTION 1.

Reich laws can be enacted by the Reich Cabinet as well as in accordance with the Procedure established in the Constitution.

This applies also to the laws referred to in article 85, paragraph 2, and in article 87 of the Constitution.

SECTION 2.

The national laws enacted by the Reich Cabinet may deviate from the Constitution so far as they do not affect the position of the Reichstag and the Reichsrat. The powers of the President remain undisturbed. SECTION 3.

The national laws enacted by the Reich Cabinet are prepared by the Chancellor and published in the Reichsgesetzblatt.

They come into effect, unless otherwise specified, upon the day following their publication. Articles 68 to 77 of the Constitution do not apply to the laws enacted by the Reich Cabinet.

SECTION 4.

Treaties of the Reich with foreign states which concern matters of national legislation do not require the consent of the bodies participating in legislation. The Reich Cabinet is empowered to issue the necessary provisions for the execution of these treaties.

SECTION 5.

This law becomes effective on the day of its publication.

It becomes invalid on April 1, 1937; it further becomes invalid when the present Reich Cabinet is replaced by another.

” The Nazis in turn had been successful in getting the Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag by taking advantage of Hindenburg’s Presidential decree of 28 February 1933,

suspending constitutional guarantees of freedom. Goering and other Nazi conspirators had immediately caused a large number of Communists, including party officials and Reichstag deputies, and a smaller number of Social Democratic officials and deputies to be placed in “protective custody”, therefore making it possible for a majority in the Reichstag to pass the bill.

Having already achieved the necessary power, the Nazis were then able to combine the offices of President and Reichs Chancellor.

The merger of the two offices was accomplished by the law of 1 August 1934, signed by the entire cabinet.

The official Nazi statement concerning the effect of this statute contained this observation: “Through this law, the conduct of Party and State has been combined in one hand…

He is responsible only to his own conscience and to the German nation.” Peace at Munich?

In 1938,

Hitler demanded that the German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, be annexed to Germany.

Fearful of a war for which they were unprepared, Britain and France adopted a policy of ‘Appeasement’.

They agreed to a deal with Germany at Munich in September 1938, brokered by the Italian dictator Mussolini.

The Sudetenland was occupied by Germany, and shortly afterwards the whole of Czechoslovakia was seized.

Flexible tactics German strategic thinking contrasted greatly with that of the Allies.

The Germans emphasised speed of decision-making, speed of manoeuvre and decentralised action by armoured units with motorised infantry and air support.

They went to war with fewer tanks than the Allies, but concentrated them in powerful armoured formations rather than dispersing them.

Although there were Allied officers who realised that a new form of warfare was possible, no sustained effort had been made to apply these doctrines in a similar way to that of the German High Command.

A Mark II Panzer during Germany Army manoeuvres, 1938.

ATS

The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) also protected the Home Front.

Formed in 1938,

the ATS recruited women to work as telephonists, drivers, mess orderlies, postal workers, ammunition inspectors, radar operators, gun crew and military police.

Austria:

On March 13, 1938,

Germany took over Austria (termed the Anschluss) – a contingeny specifically disallowed in the Versailles Treaty.

Czechoslovakia:

The French and the British handed Germany a large portion of Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference in September 1938.

Hitler had then taken the rest of Czechoslovakia by March 1939.

Why was Germany allowed to take over both Austria and Czechoslovakia without a fight?

The simple reason is that Great Britain and France did not want to repeat the bloodshed of World War I. They believed, wrongly as it turned out, they could avoid another world war by appeasing Hitler with a few concessions (such as Austria and Czechoslovakia).

Great Britain and France

had not clearly understood that Hitler’s goal of land acquisition was much, much larger than any one country

March,16th.1838

Fragment Cover from Austria with special post mark FUHRER IN WIEN 1936 WITH SWASTIKA NAZI EMBLEM  cds 8wien g 5, 16.iii.1938 on Austria Definitive 24 sent stamp 

On September 30, 1938,

Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact, which sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, virtually handing it over to Germany in the name of peace.

Although the agreement was to give into Hitler’s hands only the Sudentenland,

that part of Czechoslovakia where 3 million ethnic Germans lived, it also handed over to the Nazi war machine 66 percent of Czechoslovakia’s coal, 70 percent of its iron and steel, and 70 percent of its electrical power.

Without those resources, the Czech nation was left vulnerable to complete German domination.

No matter what concessions the Czech government attempted to make to appease Hitler, whether dissolving the Communist Party or suspending all Jewish teachers in ethnic-German majority schools, rumors continued to circulate about “the incorporation of Czechoslovakia into the Reich.”

In fact, as early as October 1938,. On November 7, 1938 in Paris,

a 17-year-old German Jewish refugee, Herschel Grynszpan, shot and killed the third secretary of the German embassy, Ernst vom Rath.

Grynszpan had intended to avenge the deportation of his father to Poland and the ongoing persecution of Jews in Germany by killing the German ambassador.

Instead, the secretary was sent out to see what the angry young man wanted and was killed.

The irony is that Rath was not an anti-Semite;

in fact, he was an anti-Nazi. As revenge for this shooting, Joseph Goebbels, Nazi minister of propaganda, and Reinhard Heydrich, second in command of the SS after Heinrich Himmler,

ordered

“spontaneous demonstrations” of protest against the Jewish citizens of Munich.

The order, in the form of a teletyped message to all SS headquarters and state police stations, laid out the blueprint for the destruction of Jewish homes and businesses.

The local police were not to interfere with the rioting storm troopers, and as many Jews as possible were to be arrested with an eye toward deporting them to concentration camps.

In Heydrich’s report to Hermann Goering after Kristallnacht, the damage was assessed: “…815 shops destroyed, 171 dwelling houses set on fire or destroyed…119 synagogues were set on fire, and another 76 completely destroyed…20,000 Jews were arrested, 36 deaths were reported and those seriously injured were also numbered at 36….”

The extent of the destruction was actually greater than reported.

Later estimates were that as many as 7,500 Jewish shops were looted, and there were several incidents of rape.

This, in the twisted ideology of Nazism, was worse than murder, because the racial laws forbade intercourse between Jews and gentiles.

The rapists were expelled from the Nazi Party and handed over to the police for prosecution.

And those who killed Jews? They “cannot be punished,” according to authorities, because they were merely following orders.

To add insult to massive injury, those Jews who survived the monstrous pogrom were forced to pay for the damage inflicted upon them. Insurance firms teetered on the verge of bankruptcy because of the claims.

Hermann Goering came up with a solution: Insurance money due the victims was to be confiscated by the state, and part of the money would revert back to the insurance companies to keep them afloat.

The reaction around the world was one of revulsion at the barbarism into which Germany was sinking. A

s far as Hitler was concerned, this only proved the extent of the “Jewish world conspiracy.”

November,9th.1938 1938

saw the organized destruction of Jewish businesses and homes in Munich, as well as the beating and murder of Jewish men, women, and children. It was an exercise in terror that would be called “Kristallnacht,” or “the Night of Broken Glass,” because of the cost of broken glass in looted Jewish shops–$5 million marks ($1,250,000).

the end

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The Euro Wolrd War II History Collections 1940

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THE EURO WORLD WAR II HISTORY COLLECTIONS 1940WITHOUT ILLUSTRATIONS, THE COMPLETE CD WITH ILLUSTRATION EXIST BUT ONLY FOR PREMIUM MEMBER,PLEASE SUBSCRIBE VIA COMMENT

 

 

The Euro World War II History Collections 1940

 

 

Created By

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Private limited E-book In CD-ROM Edition

Special for Senior Collectors

Copyright @ 2012

May,8th.1940

The special envoy returned to France on the next morning, bringing the good news to his master in Paris.

Meanwhile the French High Command had decided to alter its plans for Austria; reports had been received that the forces defending the Alps were already in a dreadful state and lacking essential supplies.

Also,

Mussolini had become quite impatient and angry over the France’s refusal to allow his forces to attack from the south.

He declared that he had no interest in Austrian land and that it was shameful to deny Italy its right, no obligation, to support its brothers in arms.

The Emperor gave the High Command green light to involve the First, Second and the Alpine Army in the attack on the Alps.

in

Beginning Of  May 1940

The Attack on the Austrian Alps

The Luftwaffe Tries Again

International observers were surprised to see the German High Command unleash yet another Air Offensive in the beginning of May.1940

May,8th.1940

8 May

1940
In Britain..

. For a while it seems that Lord Halifax will be the next prime minister. Most of the Conservative majority in Parliament would prefer to have Halifax, and the Labour minority are also ready to support him.

The problem is that as a peer he sits in the House of Lords and this is not ideal for a national leader.

At the meeting of senior Conservatives Halifax’s own worries about this leave Churchill as the only alternative.

Churchill with the King on the day of his appointment.

.

May,9th.1940

 

May,9th.1940

1940
In Belgium..

. The Belgian army is placed on alert because of recent tension and signs of German troop movements. The Luftwaffe has been successful in keeping Allied reconnaissance flights away from the German preparations.

In France

Reynaud has been growing more and more unhappy with the leadership of Gamelin, the Supreme Commander.

He has been unable to dismiss him because he is supported in Cabinet by Daladier, who remains influential although he is no longer prime minister. These quarrels now come to a head but no announcement is made pending the formation of a new government. The German attack on May 10th will cause the changes to be deferred.

In Germany…

Hitler issues orders for the Western offensive.

May,9th.1940

1940 (9 May) cover from GB to HOLLAND

with tied PC 90 OBE 3269 label and boxed NO SERVICE RETURN TO SENDER h/s. London m/c. to rear 25 May

 

The Battle Of britain Handdrawing card 1940Ganger somewhere In Wales

Parry”What do you doing now

Whateffer”Workler “ Knitting a nuffler for’itler

Bent Wright 1940Cartoonist :Evening Express”

 

1940 origional pen and ink drawing [88 x 127 mm] ‘The Battle of Britain’ by Bert Wright. Cartoonist “Evening Express” L’pool. The other side signed by ‘Capt. Geo Gibbons CBE RD RNR. Late Cunard White Star Ltd’. CAPTAIN OF THE QUEEN MARY. Captain George Gibbons, C.B.E., R.D., R.N.R., 1-29-36. first taking command. Taken from autograph book.

£65.00

Look Othe caricature oF Battle Of britain Pilot

May,10th.1940

1940
On the Western Front…

The Germans launch Operation Gelb, the offensive in the west. Army Group C (Leeb) holds the German frontier opposite the French Maginot Line while Army Group A (Rundstedt) makes the main attack through the Ardennes and Army Group B (Bock) makes a secondary advance through Belgium and Holland to draw the main British and French forces north.

During the day, Army Group A strikes, with three armored corps in the lead, heading for Sedan, Montherme and Dinant. The advance is rapid and the little opposition, mostly French cavalry, is thrown aside.

To the north, Army Group B carries out parachute landings deep inside Holland which do much to paralyze Dutch resistance, while German units cross the Maas River near Arnhem and the Belgian fort at Eben Emael is put out of action by a German airborne force which lands its gliders literally on top of it.

The fort is meant to cover the crossings of the Albert Canal nearby and this is not achieved. The Luftwaffe gives powerful support. At the end of the day the German advance has gone almost exactly according to plan.

Meanwhile, the Allied Plan D provides for the French 1st Army Group ( General Billotte), consisting of the British Expeditionary Force ( General Lord Gort) and the French 7th Army (General Giraud) to advance to the line of the Dyle River and the Meuse River above Namur, to be joined there by the Belgian forces and on the left to link with the Dutch.

General Gamelin is the Allied Supreme Commander and General Georges commands the armies on the French Northeast Front. The Allies react quickly to the German attacks as soon as they hear of them from the Belgians.

By the evening much of the Dyle line has been occupied but the troops find that there are no fortifications to compare with the positions they have prepared along the Franco-Belgian frontier during the Phony War period. Some of the reserve is therefore committed to strengthen the line. Some of the advance forces of French 7th Army make contact with the Germans in southern Holland and are roughly handled.


German paratroopers drop in Holland

In Britain…Churchill visits the King and officially takes office as prime minister.

In Norway… British forces are sent south from Harstad to Mo-i-Rana to join the small units trying to delay the German advance to relieve the Narvik force. Some of these units are now engaged at Mosjoen.

In Iceland… British troops land on the island. They are the advance elements of a force which is to set up a destroyer and scout-plane base to help in the convoy battles in the Atlantic. Equally, they will prevent the Germans using the island to aid their U-boat campaign.

.

 

.

May,11th.1940

May,11th.1940

Fort Eben-Emael Falls to German Paratroopers and Glider Units.

Fort Eben-Emael was reputed to be the strongest military stronghold in the world. On May 10th 1940, Fort Eben-Emael was attacked by the Germans as part of their blitzkrieg attack on Western Europe. The speed with which Eben-Emael fell and how the raid was executed was symptomatic of just how devastating blitzkrieg could be.

<span>First Lieutenant Rudolf Witzig, Commander of the Group which captured Eben Emael Fortress on the 10th of May, 1940.</span>

Fort Eben-Emael was north of the large Belgium city of Liege. It commanded the Albert Canal and was seen by the Belgium military as being the principle barrier against an attack from her eastern borders. As well as the Albert Canal, the fort also had a commanding position over the high bridges over the canal. If an enemy captured these bridges, their ability to move military vehicles and troops would have been greatly helped. Without the control of these bridges, such movement into Belgium would have been severely restricted and the mobility that blitzkrieg needed for success would have been blunted.

<span>The DFS 230 assault glider, the type of machine which carried German paratroops into action at Eben Emael, the invasion of Crete, and the rescue of Mussolini.</span>

The fort itself was awesome. Built between 1932 and 1935, it abutted the Albert Canal at Caster. From north to south, the fort was 900 meters long and from east to west, it was 700 meters. The fort was a base for infantry and artillery units, and the defences of the fort were placed so that each mutually covered the other should the fort come under attack. Getting into the fort would have been very difficult. Two of the walls were 40 meters high and nearly vertical. Climbing them in an assault would have been all but impossible. The other sides of the fort were protected as a result of a man-made ditch around them, again making any assault difficult. To further complicate any assault, outer trenches had been built and more walls, the majority of which were 4 meters high.


<span>Fort Eben Emael</span>

The weaponry within the fort was also awesome. The fort contained 7.5-cm cannons, 12-cm revolving cannon; machine guns; searchlights; anti-tank cannons and anti-aircraft cannon. Dummy weapon emplacements were built to fool the enemy.

<span>One of the immensely thick cupolas of the Eben Emael fortress complex. Even the largest of hollow charge grenades had little effect on them.</span>

The fort itself was connected within by a series of tunnels that totalled many kilometres. There was only one access to these tunnels at Fort 17 in the south-west of the vast complex. The fort was effectively self-sufficient as it contained barracks, sick bays and a communication centre. The tunnel complex was built with a ventilation system complete with filters in case of a poison gas attack.

However, Eben-Emael had one major weakness. It was vulnerable to an attack from the air. The German High Command knew that they had to capture intact the bridges over the Albert Canal if blitzkrieg was to function. They also knew that a paratrooper attack — so devastating in Holland — would be unlikely to be successful at Eben-Emael as it would give the defenders too much time to react as the paratroopers descended. They therefore decided on a mode of attack the defenders would be surprised by — the use of gliders carrying troops. The gliders would land at half-light inside the fort thus negating its defences. Such an attack would possess a high surprise factor which would not be achieved using paratroopers.

<span>German troops standing on the roof of part of the Eben Emael fortress complex.</span>

The attack had to be carefully co-ordinated so that it took place just at the same time as the main Wehrmacht attack across the Belgium border. In this way, the Belgium army would be fully occupied and no units outside of the fort could come to its aid.

<span>Defender’s of the Fort</span>

The raid was full of risks. Take-off and landings were potential problems. When the gliders came within range of the fort’s anti-aircraft guns, they were at risk. To compensate for the latter, the attack was planned at half-light — making the task of the glider pilots even more difficult as visibility would be a key issue. The plan was to release the gliders 20 kilometres from the fort at a height of 2000 meters. The pilots selected for the raid were considered to be the best and were given a target of landing their gliders within 20 meters of their chosen target.

<span>Although obsolete as a bomber by World War II, the Junkers Ju 52s delivered the attacking forces and their supplies during the German invasion of Norway, Denmark, France, and the Low Countries in 1940.</span>

The attack was entrusted to the Koch Storm Detachment formed in November 1939. The main section of this unit comprised of paratroopers, including those trained in sapping. The actual attack on the fort itself was carried out by these sappers led by Colonel Rudolf Witzig.

The unit led by Witzig trained for six months for this attack. They were to use 11 gliders and the glider pilots were also expected to fight in the attack. Each glider was to fly seven or eight men, excluding the pilot. Each glider unit had two targets to attack. The sappers carried large quantities of explosives and such weapons as flame throwers.

The attackers landed at 05.25 on May 10th 1940, five minutes before the main attack across the Belgium border. To confuse the Belgium military around the area, the Germans also used dummy gliders that ‘landed’ in areas around the canal but served no other purpose but to confuse the defenders. Nine of the eleven gliders got through to the fort — one glider being lost to anti-aircraft fire and one having to land just outside of Cologne as its towrope had broken.

The Koch Storm Detachment had given themselves just 60 minutes to create a base in the fort which they could defend. In this time, they destroyed many of the gun emplacements in the fort and captured a large section of it. Some of the complex remained in the hands of the Belgium army but by May 11th, the fight was over as the advancing German army arrived in force. Confronted with an enemy literally within and surrounded by a massive army without, the defenders had no real choice but to surrender.

The attack was a success for the Germans as the fort was taken and the vital bridges captured intact. The Germans lost 6 men killed out of the 85 who set out on the attack with 15 wounded. The Belgium defenders lost 23 men killed and 59 wounded.

The attack on Fort Eben-Emael shows how blitzkrieg worked within a small environment as opposed to an attack on a whole country. The element of surprise was key, as was the use of a method of attack not really considered possible by other Western European armies. The use of troops specifically trained to become experts in explosives, parachuting etc were also vital. The defensive mentality of the Belgium army was exposed by the success of the attack on Fort Eben-Emael

May,11th.1940

 

1940
On the Western Front… The German offensive continues. The advance in Holland is very rapid and even more of the Dutch army is put out of action. In Belgium the Germans are approaching the British and French positions which are now strongly held. Eben Emael falls to German attacks after some fruitless resistance. Rundstedt’s forces advance nearer to the Meuse.

Hitler poses with the paratroopers who captured Eben Emael

May,12th.1940

 

May,12th.1940

12 May 1940.


<span>Bf 109 E-4N – The aircraft of Lt. Col. Adolf Galland, on Audembert airfield, France, December 1940. </span>

At the beginning of WW II, Galland flew in Poland in the Henschel Hs 123, until October 1, 1939, performing ground attack missions and proving the dive-bombing concept. For his efforts Galland was awarded by Iron Cross.


<span>Major Adolf Galland after scoring his 40th victory on 23 September 1940. Galland is greeted first by his crew chief Uffz. Mayer.</span>

Next, he was assigned to JG 27, commanded by Oberst Max Ibel. During the French campaign Adolf Galland scored his first kills on 12 May 1940, when he went with Gustav Rödel on a mission. Galland shot down two “Hurricanes” from 87th Squadron in two sorties.
On 12 May, west of Liege, Belgium, he scored his first aerial victory and had two more victories that day. All three victims were RAF Hurricanes.
By the end of the French campaign he had accumulated 14 victories.


<span>Here is a right profile of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-4N W.Nr. 5819, used by Galland in the period of September 1940 – April 1941. This view is dated 23 September 1940, when Galland claimed his 40th victory. Note – this plane was repainted and remarked many times. </span>

1 12.5.1940… Hurricane Stab JG 27 10 km W Lüttich Hurricane I (L1970) of 87 Sqn RAF flown by F/O J A Campbell, killed
2 12.5.1940… Hurricane Stab JG 27 18 km S Lüttich Hurricane I (L1632) of 87 Sqn RAF flown by Sgt F V Howell, baled out
3 12.5.1940… Hurricane Stab JG 27 7 km EEN Tirlemont
4 16.5.1940… Spitfire Stab JG 27 5 km S Lille
5 19.5.1940… Potez 63 Stab JG 27 N Albert
6 19.5.1940… Potez 63 Stab JG 27 SW Hirson
7 20.5.1940… Potez 63 Stab JG 27 S Amiens
8 29.5.1940… Blenheim Stab JG 27 15 km N Gravelines
9 29.5.1940… Blenheim Stab JG 27 30 km NW Gravelines
10 2.6.1940… Spitfire Stab JG 27 W Dunkirk
11 9.6.1940… Curtiss Hawk 75 Stab JG 27 E Rotoy
12 9.6.1940… Morane MS 406 Stab JG 27 13 km NW Meaux
13 14.6.1940… Blenheim Stab III./JG 26 22km SE Vernon/Breval
14 14.6.1940… Battle Stab III./JG 26 10km S Evreux

Ian R. Gleed Pilot of the 87 Sq RAF in France.

<span>Ian R. Gleed </span>

<span>His personal insignia: Figaro the Cat.</span>

In May 1940, Gleed was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and received orders to report to 87 Squadron, flying Hurricanes with the Advanced Air Striking Force (AASF) in France. Between receiving his orders and reporting to the squadron in Northern France on may17, 1940, the Germans had attacked in the West and the Hurricanes of the AASF were doing their best to keep the Stukas off the backs of the British Expeditionary Force as it made a fighting retreat out of Belgium. 87 Squadron was in the middle of the action, with pilots flying several sorties in a day and seeing combat on nearly every one.

<span>According to serial number, P2798 may have begun life as a “rag-wing” Hurricane. Metal wings were produced beginning in the fall of 1939, and the units of the Advanced Air Striking Force were among the first to have their Hurricanes refitted with the new metal wings. In the Spring of 1940, they swapped out the Watts two-blade wooden prop for the de Havilland two-position controllable prop, while a few received early examples of the Rotol constant-speed prop, which maximized the airplane’s performance at all speeds and altitudes. It’s not known when these modifications were made to P2798, but the airplane had both the metal wing and Rotol prop by the time Gleed took delivery in May, 1940. It’s very likely that the improved performance of this Hurricane, along with Gleed’s superior flying skills, were what combined to allow him to score as he did against the Bf109E, an airplane that outperformed the Hurricane on all points other than turning circle. </span>

It was here that Gleed encountered Hurricane P2798, which would be his combat mount for the rest of 1940.
In the ensuing week of combat and dodging from airfield to airfield ahead of the Germans, Gleed scored 5 victories over Messerschmitt 109s, and one shared.
By the time 87 was withdrawn from France ten days later, after suffering more than 50 percent losses among its pilots, Gleed had 7 kills and had decorated P2798 with what would be his personal insignia: Figaro the Cat. Figaro was a well-known “cat with an attitude” in prewar British newspaper comics who always defeated his opponents by use of feline wiles, perhaps a predecessor of today’s Garfield; the little black-and-white cat seemed a symbolic “companion in war” for Gleed.

<span>As with most RAF fighters in France, P2798 didn’t carry a serial number after the fin flash was added to the insignia, since that was where the serial had been carried in 6-inchnumbers and letters until April 1940. Additionally, the airplane had a non-standard fuselage insignia after going through the various changes in insignia that happened between September 1939and August 1940. Also, while the lower surfaces had been painted black/white prior to June, 1940, it was repainted with the new Sky color, and 35-inch roundels were applied for identification. </span>

As 87 Sqn. sorted itself out back in England, Gleed – whose combat leadership skills had become very apparent in the confusion of battle in France – was promoted to Squadron Leader and became Officer Commanding 87 Squadron. He would have a very short time to bring the “new boys” on board and pass on to them the rudiments of what he had learned of survival in aerial combat before the Battle of Britain would begin

Boulton-Paul Defiant flies it first Combat Missions.


<span>RAF Defiant coded PS-A </span>

The Defiant had a significant but brief operational career with the RAF. The first front-line RAF Defiant squadron was also the first to be deployed into battle on 12 May, 1940 over the beaches of Dunkirk, its fighters claiming 38 enemy aircraft in one day. The squadron totalled 65 enemy aircraft shot down by the end of May, 1940. When the RAF Defiants were moved to night fighter operations, many of them carried the then-new AI airborne interception radar. In this role the Defiant again proved itself in combat, achieving more “kills” per interception that any other of the improvised night fighter aircraft of the period.


<span>RAF Museum Boulton Paul P.82 Defiant I N1671</span>

General characteristics Defiant Mk.I
Primary function Fighter
Power plant One 12cylinder water-cooled Rolls-Royce Merlin engine
Thrust Merlin III (Mk.I) 1,030 HP 768 kW
Merlin XX (Mk.II) 1,260 HP 940 kW
Wingspan 39.4 ft 12 m
Length 35.3 ft 10.75 m
Height 12.1 ft 3.7 m
Wingarea 250 sq ft 23.23 sq m
Weight empty 6,000 lb 2,722 kg
takeoff 8,350 lb 3,787 kg
Speed 303 mph 488 km/h
Initial climb rate 1,900 ft/min 579 m/min
Ceiling 30,512 ft 9,300 m
Range 500 mi 805 km
Armament 4x 7.7mm machine gun (600 rounds each)
Crew Two
First flight Prototype 11.8.1937
Date deployed December 1939
Number built 1064 (both versions)

Often maligned as a failure, the Boulton Paul Defiant found a successful niche as a night-fighter during the German ‘Blitz’ on London, scoring a significant number of combat kills before being relegated to training and support roles.
The Boulton Paul company first became interested in powered gun turrets when it pioneered the use of a pneumatic-powered enclosed nose turret in the Boulton Paul Overstand biplane bomber. The company subsequently brought the rights to a French-designed electro-hydraulic powered turret and soon became the UK leaders in turret design.

<span>Defiant F. Mk I banks away</span>

On 26 June 1935, the Air Ministry issued Specification F.9/35 calling for a two-seat fighter with all its armament concentrated in a turret. Peformance was to be similar to that of the single-seat monoplane fighters then being developed. It was envisioned that the new fighter would be employed as destroyer of unescorted enemy bomber formations. Protected from the slipstream, the turret gunner would be able to bring much greater firepower to bear on rapidly moving targets than was previously possible.
Boulton Paul tendered the P.82 design, featuring an 4-gun turret developed from the French design, and was rewarded with an order for two prototypes. On 28 April 1937, the name Defiant was allocated to the project and an initial production order for 87 aircraft was placed before the prototype had even flown.

<span>Defiant TT. Mk I DR972</span>

The first prototype (K8310) made its maiden flight on 11 August 1937, with the turret position faired over as the first turret wasn’t ready for installation. Without the drag of the turret, the aircraft was found to handle extremely well in the air. With these promising results, a further production contract was awarded in Febrary 1938. Performance with the turret fitted was somewhat disappointing, but still considered worthwhile. In May 1938, the second prototype (K8620)was ready for testing. This aircraft was much closer to the final production standard. Development and testing of the aircraft and turret combination proved somewhat protracted, and delivery to the Royal Air Force was delayed until December 1939, when No.264 Squadron received its first aircraft. Numerous engine and hydraulic problems were not finally resolved until early in 1940.

<span>Defiant first prototype K8310 with turret fitted</span>

The A. Mk IID turret used on the Defiant was a self-contained ‘drop-in’ unit with its own hydraulic pump. To reduce drag two aerodynamic fairings, one fore and one aft of the turret, were included in the design. Rectraction of these fairings by means of pneumatic jacks allowed the turret to traverse. Too allow the turret a clear field of fire, two rather large radio masts were located on the underside of the fuselage. These masts retracted when the undercarriage was extended. The overall aircraft was of modern stressed skin construction, designed in easy-to-build sub-assemblies which greatly facilitated the rapid build-up in production rates.

<span>No. 264 Squadron.</span>
<span>Stations
Duxford 10 May 1940
Fowlmere 3 July 1940
Kirton-in-Lindsey 23 July 1940
Hornchurch 22 August 1940
Rochford 27 August 1940
Kirton-in-Lindsey 28 August 1940
Rochford 29 October 1940</span>

<span>A Boulton Paul Defiant Mk 1 in 264 Squadron day-fighter markings</span>

Previously, a single-seat fighter unit, 264 Sqn spent some time working out the new tactics required by the type. Good co-ordination was required between the pilot and gunner in order to get into the best position to open fire on a target. A second day fighter unit, 141 Sqn, began converting to the Defiant in April 1940. The Defiant undertook it first operational sortie on 12 May 1940, when 264 Sqn flew a patrol over the beaches of Dunkirk. A Junkers Ju 88 was claimed by the squadron. However, the unit suffered its first losses the following day, when five out of six aircraft were shot down by Bf 109s in large dogfight. The Defiant was never designed to dogfight with single-seat fighters and losses soon mounted. By the end of May 1940, it had become very clear that the Defiant was no match for the Bf 109 and the two squadrons were moved to airfields away from the south coast of England. At the same time, interception of unescorted German bombers often proved successful, with several kills being made.

<span>Defiant single-seat fighter mock-up</span>

In the summer of 1940, flight testing commenced of an improved version of the Defiant fitted with a Merlin XX engine featuring a two-speed supercharger (prototype N1550). The resultant changes included a longer engine cowling, deeper radiator and increased fuel capacity. Performance increases were small. Nevertheless, the new version was ordered into production as the Defiant Mk II.

The limitations on the Defiant’s manoeuvrability forced its eventual withdrawal from daylight operations in late August 1940. 264 and 141 squadrons became dedicated night-fighter units. The Defiant night fighters were painted all-black and fitted with flame damper exhausts. Success came quickly, with the first night kill being claimed on 15 September 1940. From November 1940, an increasing number of new night fighter squadrons were formed on the Defiant. Units operating the Defiant shot down more enemy aircraft than any other night-fighter during the German ‘Blitz’ on London in the winter of 1940-41. Initial operations were conducted without the benefit of radar. From the Autumn of 1941, AI Mk 4 radar units began to be fitted to the Defiant. An arrow type aerial was fitted on each wing, and a small H-shaped aerial added on the starboard fuselage side, just in front of the cockpit. The transmitter unit was located behind the turret, with the receiver and display screen in the pilot’s cockpit. The addition of radar brought a change in designation for the Mk I to N.F. Mk IA, but the designation of the Mk II version did not change. By February 1942, the Defiant was obviously too slow to catch the latest German night intruders and the night fighter units completely re-equipped in

May,12th.1940


On the Western Front… The French 7th Army advancing into Holland is engaged with the German advance near Tilburg and is thrown back. In their main armored thrust the Germans enter Sedan without a fight. The French forces in the area retire to the left bank of the Meuse River where they have substantial artillery support deployed to deny the crossing to the Germans. During the night, French artillery shells Sedan. Meanwhile, other German armored forces reach the Meuse farther north.

French artillery opens of on Sedan during the night

.

May,12th.1940

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10 – 12th May 1940

It was obvious that the Luftwaffe hadn’t recovered since its resounding defeats during the winter and early spring, the intensive raids on Hannover amidst a powerful thunderstormon the 10 – 12th May 1940 caused many to wonder if Reich President Beck had gone mad.

May,13th.1940

The Battle of France

Fall of the Low Countries and France

In October 1939, accepting the fact that the conquest of Poland, however impressive, would not prompt Great Britain and France to withdraw from the war, Adolf HITLER directed the High Command of the Armed Forces ( Oberkommando der Wehrmacht or OKW) to prepare for an offensive in the west. Although the leading German commanders believed the better course to be to await an Allied offensive, he insisted on striking within six weeks in order to forestall further Allied preparations. The first version of the plan for the attack, called Fall Gelb (Plan Yellow), was modeled on the old Schlieffen Plan, which had received a modified test in 1914. It was based on a main effort through Belgium north of Liege. A total of 37 divisions was to make this effort, while a subsidiary force of 27 divisions moved through the Ardennes region of Belgium and Luxembourg.

This was exactly what the Allied commanders expected. An attack against northeastern France was improbable because of the existence of the Maginot Line, the formidable belt of fortifications built in the 1930′s from Switzerland to Longuyon, near the junction of the borders of Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Because of the barrier of the hilly, forested Ardennes, Allied commanders considered a major attack there also improbable. Thus only the Liege area, leading to the flatlands of Flanders and thence to France’s northern frontier, was supposedly open to the Germans.

Though built originally merely to protect Alsace and Lorraine until France could mobilize against a surprise attack, the Maginot Line had engendered a false sense of security in the war-weary country. French commanders were nevertheless conscious of the great gap reaching from the end of the line to the English Channel. They accepted the fact of the gap on the theory that France could not afford to fight along this line. In the first place, battle in the industrial Lille-Cambrai region would destroy or deny two thirds of the nation’s coal resources. Secondly, accepting battle there would mean acquiesence in the surrender of Belgium. This France, victor over Germany in World War I and still a major power with reputedly the world’s strongest army, could not accept.

It was apparent to French and British leaders that once the Germans attacked, the Allies had to move into Belgium. To provide time for this movement the Allied leaders depended on a delaying action by the Belgian Army, reinforced by the barrier of the Ardennes and the Meuse River, the large forts at Liege, the deep cut of the Albert Canal north of that city, and Fort Eben-Emael near the Dutch-Belgian border. (This fort was said to be the strongest single fortress in the world.) The major problem was the lack of consultation and coordination with the Belgians and the Dutch. Although the Low Countries realized that Nazi Germany would include them in any pattern of conquest against the West, they continued to hope that a policy of abject neutrality would forestall the inevitable.

The Allies planned nevertheless to advance into Belgium to the line of the Scheldt (Escaut, Schelde) River (Plan E). As the months passed without a German attack and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was increased to 10 divisions, this plan was replaced by a more ambitious decision to move to the Dyle River, a few miles east of Brussels (Bruxelles). Under Plan D, as the new concept was called, the Belgian Army was to fall back on the Dyle and the lower reaches of the Albert Canal to protect Antwerp (Antwerpen), the British were to defend the upper Dyle, and the French were to hold the Gembloux gap between the Dyle and the Meuse at Namur (Namen) and the Meuse itself where the river crosses the Ardennes. In the continued belief that the main German effort would be made in the Liege area, the supreme French commander, Gen. Maurice Gustave Gamelin, assigned to the Gembloux gap his strongest force, the mechanized First Army under Gen. Georges M. J. Blanchard. The second strongest force, the Seventh Army under Gen. Henri Giraud, ostensibly a reserve, was to move swiftly into the southern Netherlands to assist the Dutch. In keeping with the theory that the Ardennes itself was a considerable barrier, a weaker force, the Ninth Army under Gen. Andre Georges Corap, was to defend the Meuse from Namur to Sedan; and another weak force, the Second Army under Gen. Charles Huntziger, was to serve both as a bridge between Sedan and the garrison of the Maginot Line and as a hinge for the wide-swinging movement of the Allied armies into Belgium.

As the Germans prepared for attack in November 1939, an invasion scare gripped the Allies, but bad weather forced postponement of the attack. After repeated postponements because of weather conditions, the attack was firmly scheduled for Jan. 17, 1940. A week before the target date, however, a German plane strayed off its course and was forced down in Belgium. On the two officers aboard the Belgians found orders for the air phase of the invasion. This prompted an alarm of even greater proportions than before, and some French forces began moving toward their assigned sectors along the Belgian border. German observers could not help but note the nature of the French deployment, particularly the weakness of the armies at the hinge near Sedan. Of even greater consequence was the fact that the information gained from the fliers confirmed General Gamelin’s view that the invasion was to come through the Liege area and not through the Ardennes.

In the meantime, Hitler and several of his subordinates had begun to question the basic concept of Plan Yellow. Indeed, even before the November target date, Hitler himself had forced a change in plan that shifted the main effort from north of Liege to both sides of the city. Col. Gen. (later Field Marshal) Gerd von Rundstedt, commander of Army Group A, which was to drive through the Ardennes, insisted that the main effort be made through that sector with armored divisions to the fore. In an audience with the German leader, Rundstedt’s chief of staff, Lt. Gen. (later Field Marshal) Erich von Manstein, apparently provided the final arguments needed to change Hitler’s mind. After weather again forced the cancellation of the target date, Hitler postponed the offensive until spring and ordered a basic alteration in the plan. Army Group B in the north, commanded by Col. Gen. Fedor von Bock, was reduced to 28 divisions, only 3 of which were armored. Rundstedt and Army Group A in the Ardennes had 44, including 7 armored divisions. With the main thrust moving via Sedan, Rundstedt was to drive to the channel, trapping French, British, and Belgian armies in Belgium.

Meanwhile, the Allies failed to profit materially from the eight months’ respite that they had gained between the declaration of war and the onset of major hostilities in the west. They still felt no real sense of crisis, for they continued to consider the speed of the Polish campaign attributable less to German strength and to a new mode of warfare than to Polish weakness. Although some effort was made to extend the Maginot Line fortifications to the coast, it produced little more than a shallow antitank ditch and a few widely spaced blockhouses. Modern equipment for the French armies and the BEF remained a promise rather than a reality. Allied timetables for troop movements still resembled those of World War I. Corap’s Ninth Army, for example, planned on five days for the move to the Meuse covering the Ardennes while only cavalry units sought to delay the Germans east of the river. The Allies, and particularly the French, still looked on tanks as servants of the infantry, parceling them out to infantry divisions rather than massing them in hard-hitting armored formations in close liaison with tactical aircraft.

The Allies actually were superior numerically to the Germans. The French, Dutch, Belgians, and British together had approximately 4,000,000 men available, in contrast to about 2,000,000 Germans who might be used against them. As of May 1940, 136 German divisions were in the west, as opposed to 94 French divisions in northeastern and northern France, plus 10 British, 22 Belgian, and 9 Dutch divisions. In tanks, too, the opposing forces were relatively equal. The Germans had 2,439 tanks in the west; the Allies, 2,689. Nor were German tanks vastly superior except in speed. Created as infantry support weapons, French tanks were heavily armed and armored but lacked appreciable speed and cruising range. In aircraft the Germans enjoyed some advantage in over-all numbers, with about 3,200 planes to 1,200 French and 600 British planes, but in fighter aircraft alone the two forces were approximately equal. Only in antiaircraft and antitank weapons were the French markedly inferior. The difference in opposing forces thus was less a question of numbers and quality than of a variance in approach to modern warfare. The Germans had developed new methods based on quick breakthroughs by armor supported by mobile artillery and aircraft, followed by rapid exploitation of the resulting gaps. In addition, a kind of war-weary lethargy still gripped both France and Britain, as is evidenced by their relatively slow industrial mobilization. Not until Hitler invaded Denmark and Norway in April 1940 was the full portent of the Nazi threat accepted in the two nations. By that time it was too late.

By the evening of May 12 (the third day) Guderian had reached the Meuse at Sedan with the main force in less than seventy-two hours.
Sedan is only a short drive from Bouillon.
Steep banks along much of the Meuse in this region means it is easily protected; Guderian headed for Sedan specifically because the countryside there is flat on both sides of the river, making a crossing more difficult to oppose.

<span>In addition to the crossings at Mouzaive, the Germans captured Bouillon and began pouring troops across the river less than 15 kilometers from Sedan. </span>

General Guderian began preparations for crossing the river and attacking the French 55th Infantry Division, which had occupied positions on the opposite bank of the river.
The attack did not go as planned.
Orders to subordinate units did not arrive in a timely manner, close air support coordination proved difficult, and units strung out for miles had a hard time consolidating for the attack. Nevertheless, 13 May 1940 the 1st Panzer Division led the attack on Sedan. Resistance rapidly crumbled and the Germans were across the Meuse River.

<span>The city of Sedan and the Meuse River. According to the French high command the Germans could not cross the Meuse in less than ten days. The Germans were there in three and across in four..</span>

<span>Crossing site on the Meuse River used by the 1st Panzer Division on 13 May 1940. Hard to see on the far bank are the French bunkers defending the river.</span>

<span> Bunker 7ter. One of the many French bunkers on the high ground overlooking the Meuse River and Sedan.</span>

Despite several counterattacks to contain the breakout around Sedan, the French army could not stop the Germans.
Wanting to maintain the initiative, Guderian did not stop and consolidate his forces once across the Meuse River.
Instead he pivoted to the west and broke out from the breach he had created in the French lines.
Holding the French off to the south with one division, the remaining divisions in his corps began their turn west and continued to advance deeper into France.

<span>Though the 55th Division had not buried all its commo wire and completed all its bunkers, General LaFontaine, commander of the French division, constructed an impressive command bunker well behind front lines. Still beautiful 50 years later, one can only imagine it its appearance in 1940. Unfortunately, it did little to help stop the Germans.</span>


<span>2nd Panzer Division had the hardest time crossing the Meuse River. Finally, with the assistance of 1st Panzer, the 2nd crossed late on 13 May 1940 near Donchery.</span>

<span>Commanding the countryside near Donchery were several French bunkers, which hampered the German advance. </span>

<span>Many historians have criticized the French defense during the opening days of the 1940 campaign; however, few deny that some of the toughest fighting took place near La Horgne.
</span>

Steel bridge over the Muese in Houx
Commanding the northernmost arm of Guderian’s Panzer corps–before he became an infamous figure in the war–Erwin Rommel’s division reached the Meuse, on the same day as Guderian, but roughly 40 miles to the north, just above Dinant.
His route, unlike Guderian’s, did not go through undefended Luxembourg, and Rommel ran into more resistance. But the roads were better and Rommel, himself, was driven like no other division commander.
When he reached the Meuse at Yvoir, the bridge had been blown. Rommel went up river (south) to find a crossing. Here, in an area with low river banks, he found an old weir, or low dam, between the shore and a small island at the little village of Houx. The weir extended to the western bank.
Rommel promptly got troops across on top of the weir, under cover of darkness. It’s all there today, except that the old wooden dam has been replaced with steel and a foot bridge. As they reached the far side, history books describe the troopers as crouching under the bank fighting off French defenders, but in fact there are no steep sides here and the country to the west is reasonably flat.
The next morning, several hundred yards upstream, Rommel strung a cable over the
Flat country near Rommel’s river crossing
river capable of carrying pontoon-supported vehicles. After commandeering another division’s bridging equipment (his had been used farther back) a full pontoon bridge was laid a mile upstream, at Bouvinges, on May 14.
Tanks were moved over the Meuse both here and at Sedan.


<span>Steel bridge over the Muese in Houx</span

May,13th.1940

On this day in 1942, a bill establishing a women’s corps in the U.S. Army becomes law, creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and granting women official military status.
It would take until 1978 before the Army would become sexually integrated, and women participating as merely an “auxiliary arm” in the military would be history. And it would not be until 1980 that 16,000 women who had joined the earlier WAACs would receive veterans’ benefits

 

1940
On the Western Front… The German panzer divisions cross the Meuse River in two places at Sedan and Dinant. The French troops opposing them have not prepared their positions properly and are quickly demoralized and terrorized by heavy dive-bomber attacks. At Sedan Guderian is right at the front, urging his troops on and at Dinant the young commander of the 7th Panzer Division, General Rommel, is also doing well. Farther north the Germans take Liege and in Holland the defense has now been totally disrupted. The advancing German ground troops have linked with the paratroops at Moerdijk. French 7th Army (Giraud) is in full retreat.

German assault troops crossing the Meuse

 

May,14th.1940

May,14th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… After a surrender demand has been submitted but before it has expired, Rotterdam is very heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe. The Dutch Commander in Chief, General Winkelmans, decides that he must surrender. Meanwhile, German armor pours across the Meuse River at Sedan and Dinant. French tank units in both areas, but especially at Sedan fail to put in any concerted counterattacks and are brushed aside. There are considerable air attacks on the German bridgeheads by both British and French bombers. Many of the attacking planes are shot down. Once across the river the Germans drive west, cutting a huge gap between the French 9th Army (Corap) and 2nd Army (Huntziger) — which has no orders on which way to retreat.

Rotterdam after the German bombing

Britain… Recruiting begins for a volunteer home-defense force from men in reserve occupations or too old or young for military service. This force is to be called the Local Defence Volunteers. In July the far more effective title of Home Guard is chosen.

Invasion of Norway… A transport carrying a large part of the British 24th Guards Brigade to join the holding forces south of Narvik is bombed and sunk by the Germans. Much equipment is lost.

May,15th.1940

 

May,15th.1940

French infantry on the march</span>

As on the 14th of May the city of Rotterdam was heavily bombed by 84 Heinkel He-111 bombers, this catastrophe caused the Dutch commander-in-chief General Winkelman to surrender, as the Germans threatened to bomb Utrecht, maybe more cities.

15 May 1940,
The Netherlands surrenders to Nazi Germany at Rijsoord. Seys-Inquart Government Commissioner of the Netherlands, numbers of losses after 4 days war: 2890 killed; 6889 wounded; 29 missing.

After five days of war, only 36 Dutch aircraft were left.
Some of the airmen (mostly from the pilot school), took the chance to escape with their planes to France. They had to leave their planes their and were shipped to Great Britain.
A number of remained aircraft were destroyed by their crew and some were captured by the Germans.

In 1943 the Dutch airmen got their own squadron. As allied pilots they served over Britain, took part in D-Day in France and actions over Holland and had a humble part in destroying the entire German Luftwaffe.

15 May – 24 RAF Blenheims attack bridges and communications targets in Belgium. 3 aircraft lost.
Also… Britain begins strategic bombing campaign against Germany when RAF bombs targets in the Ruhr.

May 15 1940 – The German 20th Panzer Korps (Hoth) repels a counter-attack by French armoured forces, destroying 125 out of 175 tanks.
An attack by 6th Army (von Reichenau) against the Dyle line in Belgium is repulsed.
In Paris, panic breaks out over reports of a German breakthrough at Sedan with thousands of civilians fleeing the city for the west and south of the country, clogging the roads for Allied military traffic which is attacked by Luftwaffe bombers and fighter bombers

1940
On the Western Front… The Dutch army capitulates at 1100 hours. General Bilotte, commanding the French 1st Army Group, decides to abandon the Dyle line in the face of Reichenau’s attacks. His superior, General Georges, concurs with the decision and is now in fact beginning to lose his nerve. At this stage Gamelin, the Supreme Commander, remains oblivious and confident. The German tank forces push forward, urged on all the time by their commanders who are up with the leaders and in complete control of the situation. Their momentum is maintained by this leadership. The optimistic atmosphere at French GHQ is partly dispelled by the news that Guderian’s tanks have reached Montcornet less than 15 miles from Laon. Guderian is ordered to halt here but after vigorous complaints he is allowed another day’s march.

Dutch soldier waves the white flag of surrender

In London… This is a vital, symbolic day for several reasons. At crucial meetings of the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the War Cabinet, Air Marshal Dowding argues strongly against sending any more RAF fighters to France. Despite strong opposition Dowding has his way. The decision is taken also to send the first strategic bombing raid against the Ruhr. Finally on this day Churchill sends the first in a long series of telegrams to Roosevelt, signing himself as Former Naval Person. He asks consistently for American aid, works to develop a good relationship with Roosevelt and above all to bring America closer to active participation in the war. Already in this first message he presents a shopping list which includes old destroyers and aircraft as well as other arms.

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May,15th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… The British and French forces which advanced into Belgium only a few days ago, begin to retreat to their former positions behind the line of the Scheldt. Units of Hoth’s 15th Panzer Corps, with Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division well to the fore, have reached just east of Cambrai to the south Guderian’s forces are moving on St. Quentin. Again a halt order is issued to the German tank forces because some of the more conservative minds at army headquarters cannot accept that the panzers can advance so far without exposing their flanks. In fact the speed of the advance has itself protected them and thrown the French into confusion.

BEF Mark VI light tanks on the march

In Paris… Perhaps the best indication of the German success is the conversation between Churchill and Gamelin in which Churchill asks where the strategic reserve is and is told that there is none, or at least none left. Outside the room where this meeting takes place French government employees are beginning to burn secret files.

In Washington… Roosevelt asks Congress to authorize the production of 50,000 military planes per year and for a $900,000,000 extraordinary credit to finance this massive operation.

May,16th.1940

15/16 May – 39 Wellingtons, 36 Hampdens and 24 Whitleys (99 aircraft in total) despatched to 16 targets in the vital Ruhr industrial area of Germany. 81 aircraft report bombing their primary or secondary objectives. 1 Wellington lost. 6 Wellingtons and 6 Whitleys also raided targets in Belgium without loss. These are the first Bomber Command raids to the east of the Rhine and mark the beginning of Bomber Command’s Strategic Offensive.

16/17 May – 6 Hampdens and 6 Wellingtons bomb oil targets in the Ruhr with 1 aircraft being lost. 9 Whitleys attack communications sites without loss.

French General Charles de Gaulle’s 4th Armored Division made the only Allied counterattack on the Meuse bridgehead. The French tanks, especially the Char B1bis and the Somua, were superior one-on-one to the German Panzerkampfwagen pzkpfw I and II panzers. But the Germans required their tanks to have radios to allow maneuver as a group, and the French used tanks as infantry support. De Gaulle’s attack was too little too late.

Churchill flew to Belgium on May 16. General Gamelin, shocking Churchill with the hemorrhage of the front at Sedan, listed defeat after defeat as the weight of five German divisions bared down on Paris. “Where is the strategic reserve?” asked Churchill. “There is none.” Replied Gamelin. Churchill returned to London with the first of two great shocks of the war, the other was the loss of the HMS Prince of Wales in December 1941.

The shocked French command began to break down. The World War I hero General Weygand replaced Gamelin. Attempting to pull together his forces, Weygand flew to the front, but was forced down and lost contact with his high command. Another French General, Billote, was killed. BEF Commander Lord Gort was without orders for four critical days.

<span> The Forces On paper, the German and Allied forces were roughly evenly matched. The Germans offensive fielded 136 divisions against 94 French divisions, and the 10 British divisions of the British Expeditionary Force. 22 Belgian and 9 Dutch divisions were also involved. The numbers of tanks fielded on each side was also approximately equal. It was only in the air that the Germans enjoyed massive superiority: 2500 aircraft against a few hundred British, and largely obsolete French aircraft.
The quantity of the Allied troops was fine. The quality was not. Britain and France had been largely unprepared for war, and the training of their conscript armies was abysmal. In Britain, ammunition shortages had the notorious result of each recruit being allowed only five rounds in total for rifle training. The French conscripts were more badly trained still. Fortunately, the small British Expeditionary Force had many professional troops rather than recent conscripts.
By contrast, the Germans side had had much more intensive and elaborate training. Accurate, full-scale mockups of crucial fortifications were built in Germany, and troops rehearsed their attacks until perfect. </span>

The “phoney war” was over. On May 10, 1940, upwards of seventy airfields in France, Belgium and the Netherlands came under heavy attack from the Luftwaffe, at that time rampant across the skies of northern Europe.

Aware that the crucial Battle of Britain was to come, Fighter Command’s Hugh Dowding could risk but four squadrons of his valuable Hurricane fighters to support the British Expeditionary Force as it fought its rearguard action in France. In the face of the overwhelming might of Germany’s Blitzkrieg tactics, the RAF Hurricane Squadrons were involved in some of the most ferocious and sustained air fighting of the entire war. In spite of being so heavily outnumbered, in May and June of 1940, almost 1300 Luftwaffe aircraft fell to the guns of the young RAF pilots, though at a heavy price.

Based at a temporary forward airfield at Lille Marc, the Hurricanes of No. 87 Squadron were in the thick of the fighting. Flying the early model Mk Is, armed only with machine guns, their task was to beat back the incessant air attacks on the British ground forces, and to do what they could to hamper the advance of the German Panzer divisions as they plundered inexorably towards Dunkirk.

Flying from ill-prepared grass strips, with groundcrews making the best of what meagre facilities were on hand, the Hurricane pilots literally flew themselves to a standstill

May,17th.1940

 

May,17th.1940

During the day German panzers reach the Serre River in France, then stop.


<span> German column is attacked on the road to Marcke.</span>

16/17 May – 6 Hampdens and 6 Wellingtons bomb oil targets in the Ruhr with 1 aircraft being lost. 9 Whitleys attack communications sites without loss.


<span>Handley Page Hampden</span>

17 May – No 82 Squadron are tasked with attacking an enemy armoured column near Gembloux. 12 Blenheims, led by Squadron Leader Paddy Delap, are despatched but owing to mix-up in timings, a planned escort of Hurricane fighters fails to show. The tight formation is broken up by a mobile flak battery near the target and the formation becomes easy prey to 15 German BF109 fighters. Eleven aircraft are shot down. The only aircraft to survive the raid later crash-landed in England because of heavy damage.

17/18 May – Oil installations in Hamburg and Bremen are attacked by 48 Hampdens and 24 Whitleys respectively. A further 6 Wellingtons bomb railway yards at Cologne while 46 Wellingtons and 6 Hampdens attack German troops in Belgium. No losses.

Handley Page Hampden


<span>Hampden was designed as a medium day-bomber</span>

Like the Wellington, the Hampden was designed as a medium day-bomber and was the last of the trio of front-line twin-engined bombers to enter service with Bomber Command. The Hampden suffered greatly due to a lack of manoeuvrability and defensive firepower (it was not fitted with powered fun turrets) at the hands of the German fighters during the early daylight bomber raids of the ‘Phoney War’.

The Hampden was designed to meet Specification B9/32 (as was the Wellington) issued in September 1932. Handley Page designed the aircraft with a very slim, deep fuselage to decrease drag although, as crews later found out on extended operations, its cramped interior did increase fatigue somewhat. Extending back from the forward fuselage was a very slim tailboom and it was not long before the Hampden was christened the ‘Flying Panhandle’ by those who flew it.

The prototype made its first flight on 21 June 1936, six days after the Wellington, and the most obvious difference from production aircraft was the angular nose profile as a final design had not yet been settled on. Part of the problem was trying to marry the fuselage to existing powered turrets, a problem which was solved by deleting the requirement in favour of a glazed nose with fixed-position gun.

Shortly after the first Hampden’s maiden flight, the Air Ministry placed an order for 180 aircraft and the first of these began to enter service with No 49 Squadron at Scampton in August 1938 replacing Hawker Hind biplane day-bombers. As was the practice of the time, entire groups concentrated on a single aircraft and No 5 Group’s complement of 8 front-line squadrons were operational on Hampdens by September 1939.

At the same time as the order for 180 production Hampdens was placed, a further 100 aircraft powered by different engines, Napier Daggers in place of Bristol Pegasus’, were ordered. These re-engined aircraft were known as Herefords, but no further orders were forthcoming and the Herefords served only in the training role.

Hampdens joined the first Bomber Command daylight operation of the war when aircraft of No 83 Squadron (one of which was piloted by Guy Gibson) joined an attack on German naval vessels in the Schillig Roads along with Wellingtons and Blenheims. Unlike their counterparts, the Hampdens failed to locate their targets and returned to Scampton after releasing their loads over the North Sea. Daylight operations continued – but at a price. It was noted that German Me110s would formate on the Hampdens, out of reach of the gun positions (just forward and off to one side), for some time before the enemy gunners would strafe the bombers and send them earthwards.

<span>In its original configuration, the Hampden was armed with a single, dorsally mounted gun covering the sky above and behind the aircraft; another single gun in the belly which was sighted to fire on targets behind and below the aircraft, and a gun in the nose which was operated by the pilot.
The mounts of the dorsal and belly guns, according to Harris, “were rickety and had a limited traverse with many blind spots.” And the pilot’s gun was almost worthless. He had to be lucky enough to have targets fly directly in front of him, at a moment when he had nothing else to do of course, or he had to maneuver the bomber like a fighter, a difficult task at any time, an impossible task on a final bomb run.
Nevertheless, there is a record of a Hampden pilot successfully downing a German fighter. Eventually, the Hampden was armed with six of the Vickers machine guns, including one that the observer could poke out of ports cut into each side of the fuselage.
Harris also ordered improved mounts for the dorsal and belly guns. Even with these improvements, however, the Hampden’s crew enjoyed rather less firepower than a modestly-armed terrorist does today. Harris didn’t mince words when he said the Hampden was “cold meat for any determined enemy fighter in daylight.”
The Hampden had yet another serious shortcoming: its crew compartment was so narrow — scarcely three-feet wide — that crew members could move about only with difficulty.
If a crew member was wounded, it was virtually impossible for other crewmen to come to his aid. If the pilot was seriously wounded, it was unlikely that anyone would survive: although observers were trained as pilots, the chances of getting a wounded pilot out of the cockpit, to be replaced by the observer, were slim indeed.
The back of the pilots seat would have to be laid flat, and his body would have to be dragged out of the cockpit while the observer awkwardly scrambled over the pilot and into the cockpit. Even practicing this maneuver in the safety of English skies proved to be deadly and was soon abandoned.</span>

The Hampdens were then modified with additional guns (but still on fixed mountings) and armour-plating but the losses to both Hampdens and Wellingtons on daylight operations continued to be unacceptable and both types were eventually switched to the night offensive.

The aircraft did find a niche for itself in Bomber Command as an ideal platform for carrying aerial mines. Many ‘Gardening’ sorties were flown in enemy waters by Hampdens and they continued in this role for the remainder of its bomber service.

The first two VCs awarded to Bomber Command personnel were to Hampden crew-members. The first was to Flight Lieutenant RAB Learoyd of No 49 Squadron in August 1940 for his leadership of a successful attack on a viaduct on the important Dortmund-Ems canal during the night of 12th/13th August 1940. The second was, unusually, not to a pilot but a wireless operator/gunner. Sergeant John Hannah was awarded the medal for extinguishing a fire in a Hampden of No 83 Squadron he was flying in which had been badly damaged during an attack on Antwerp during the night of 15th/16th September 1940.

By the time of the 1,000-bomber raids of May/June 1942, the Hampden was nearing the end of its service with Bomber Command and the final operation by Hampdens took place in mid-September 1942 when No 408 Squadron RCAF were in action over Wilhelmshaven.


<span>144 Sqn. Hampden… which didn’t quite make it!</span>

Hampden Mk I
Type four-crew bomber, torpedo bomber, & minelayer
Dates
Service entry August 1938
Engine Two 980hp (kN) Bristol Pegasus XVIII 9-cyl. radials
Dimensions
Wingspan
Length
Height
Wing area 69′ 2″ (21.08m)
53′ 7″ (16.33m)
14′ 11″ (4.55m)
Weights
Empty
Loaded
Maximum 11,780 lb (5343 kg)
18,756 lb (8508 kg)
21,000 lb (9526 kg)
Speed
Maximum
Max s/l
Max cruising 265 mph (426 km/h) at 15,500 ft (4724m)
Inital Climb 980 ft (298m) /min
Service Ceiling 22,700 ft (6919m)
Armament Up to six 0.303-in mgs in nose, dorsal & ventral positions
4,000 lb (1814 kg) of bombs internally, two 500 lb (223 kg) bombs underwings or one 18″ torpedo
Range 1200 miles (1931 km) /w max bomb load
1885 miles (3033 km) /w 2,000 lb (907 kg) bomb load

Hampdens had found a new lease of life as torpedo-bombers with Coastal Command and operated as such until the end of 1943. These were the last operations of the 1,453 Hampdens to serve with the RAF.

1940
On the Western Front… Troops of the German 6th Army (Reichenau) enter Brussels. Antwerp and the islands at the mouth of the Scheldt are also being abandoned but have not yet been taken by the Germans. The British and French forces in Belgium have now fallen back to the Dendre River. General Gort is now worried by the growing threat to his right flank and rear areas and, therefore, forms a scratch force to defend this area. General Mason-Macfarlane is put in command. [He has up till now been Gort's Chief of Intelligence. Gort can be criticized for weakening this important department at such a vital stage.] In the main German attacks Guderian’s forces, exploiting the loophole in their orders allowing reconnaissance in force, reach the Oise River south of Guise. On the German left flank, the French 4th Armored Division (Colonel de Gaulle) attacks northward from around Laon. The Luftwaffe attacks them fiercely and prevents any real gains.

German armor enters Brussels

In Belgium… The government has moved to Ostend.

In Norway… The British cruiser Effingham

goes aground and is lost while carrying men and stores to join the forces south of Narvik.

 

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May,18th.1940

Den Haag – Italie 1940 – Retour afzender – Verbinding verbroken

Prijs: €125,00

Den Haag – Rome 18.5.1940

Stempel: Retour Afz. – Verbinding verbroken

Read the closeup letter below

 

 

May,18th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… St. Quentin and Cambrai are taken by German panzer units. Farther north German 6th Army (Reichenau) takes Antwerp.

German armored column advances in France

In Holland… Artur Seyss-Inquart is appointed Reich Commissioner for Holland.

In Paris… Reynaud appoints a new Cabinet in an attempt to strengthen the French conduct of the war. He himself takes the Ministry of Defense, Marshal Petain is deputy prime minister and Mandel is Minister of the Interior. General Weygand, even older than Gamelin but far more vigorous, has been recalled from the Middle East to take over Supreme Command. Although these changes probably do strengthen Reynaud’s team, especially his own new office, they will turn out to have been ill-advised. Some of the new men, Petain in particular, will become deeply pessimistic about the outcome of the war and will in time bring Reynaud down when he himself would have preferred to fight on.

In Britain… Tyler Kent, a clerk at the US Embassy in London, and Anna Wolkoff, a Russian emigree, are arrested on spying charges. Kent has had access to the correspondence between Churchill and Roosevelt, and Wolkoff has helped pass it to Germany via Italian diplomats. Kent’s diplomatic immunity is waived by the United States ambassador. Wolkoff has had connections with a pro-Fascist organization, the Right Club.

 

May,19th.1940

Battle of France

The rapid German advance now poses a threat to the remaining RAF aircraft in Belgium. Evacuation of the remaining squadrons is carried out over the next two days, and fighter operations over the battlefield are carried out by Hurricanes and Spitfires based in southern England.

General Gamelin is replaced by Maxime Weygand as Chief of the French General Staff and C-in-C of all theatres of operations. Marshal Henri Petain, the hero of the First World War, is appointed as Deputy Prime Minister. German troops of 20th Panzer Korps (Reinhardt) capture St. Quentin.

18/19 May – Oil refineries and railways in Germany along with enemy troops in Belgium attacked by 24 Wellingtons, 24 Whitleys and 12 Hampdens (60 aircraft in total).

On the Western Front…

French General Gamelin orders an attack into the southern flank of German General Guderian’s Panzer corps.

Most of the German panzer forces halt in positions between Peronne and St. Quentin to regroup but some of Guderian’s troops are still pushing forward.
Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division also makes a small advance in the direction of Arras.
De Gaulle’s 4th Armored Division again attacks north from around Laon. It makes very good progress against gradually stiffening resistance but is ordered to retire before any real gains can be achieved.
The possibility that it will be necessary to evacuate the BEF is raised for the first time in telephone conversations between London and the commanders in the field.
The government are still optimistic at this stage. The main British forces are now in positions along the Scheldt.

The air force did its best to support Colonel Charles de Gaulle’s armored thrusts toward Montcornet on 16 and 17 May.
Night fighters received day ground assault missions, and the remains of the bomber units were committed.
But Colonel de Gaulle failed to tell the air force the time and direction of his movements. As a result, 68 bomber sorties went in before de Gaulle moved and were of no assistance to him.

19/20 May – 36 Hampdens, 30 Wellingtons and 12 Whitleys despatched to a number of targets in France, Belgium and Germany. 2 Whitleys lost.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley

Twin-engined monoplane bomber. The Whitley was one of the first heavy night bombers of the RAF, and the first RAF aircraft with a stressed-skin fuselage. It had a characteristic nose-down flying attitude, because of the high incidence of the wing. Performance was mediocre, and from 1942 onwards it was used as trainer and glider tug.


<span>Armstrong Whitworth Whitley</span>

From the outset, the Whitley was utilised by Bomber Command as a night bomber, complementing the daylight missions of the Wellington and Hampden, the type was the RAF’s first ‘heavy’ bomber.

The Whitley was designed in response to Specification B3/34 issued in July 1934 and within two years the first Whitley had made its maiden flight and the first orders for the new aeroplane (160) had been placed. Although far more capable than the aircraft it replaced (such as the Fairey Hendon and Heyford biplanes), the Whitley was hardly a modern looking aircraft with a slab-sided fuselage and prominent, jutting chin and a very distinctive nose-down flying attitude. It was however, capable of carrying a very impressive bombload of 7,000lb.


<span>Whitley V </span>

One feature which dogged the Whitley during its early career was the unreliability of its two Armstrong Siddeley Tiger engines and later marks were fitted with the ubiquitous Rolls Royce Merlin.

Initial aircraft were delivered to Dishforth-based No 10 Squadron in a year after the maiden flight of the prototype, with sister squadron No 78 following in July and No 58 at Boscombe Down in October. These Whitley Is and the subsequent Mark IIs, fitted with Improved Tiger engines, had left front-line squadrons by the outbreak of war and the Mark III (improved armament and minor design tweaks) was the standard version in service with Bomber Command. These, in turn, were being replaced by the first Merlin-powered version the Mark IV and then the definitive Mark V with later model Merlins.

The Whitley’s first operations of the war ironically were not to drop bombs on German targets, but leaflets, and these duties continued well into 1940. The first bombing raids on Germany were made in May by Nos 77 and 102 Squadron from Driffield. Following Italy’s entry into the war in the following month, 36 Whitleys from 5 squadrons in No 4 Group, visited Turin and Genoa, but many encountered bad weather over the Alps and were forced to turn back due to icing – another problem that was never cured with the aircraft.

During the Spring of 1940, the Wellingtons and Hampdens had been withdrawn from daylight operations after a series of heavy losses and the three different types now took the war to Germany by night and aircraft of all three types made the first raid on Berlin in August.

Because of its better range, the Whitleys were used on some of the longest-range sorties in the early years, with the raid on the Skoda factory in Czechoslovakia (a return trip of almost 1,500 miles, much of the outward leg being flown over enemy territory in daylight). Many famous bomber pilots cut their teeth on ops with Whitleys including Leonard Cheshire (later awarded the VC whilst serving with No 617 Squadron), Don Bennett (commanded the Pathfinders) and James Tait (commanded 617 Squadron and awarded 4 DSOs).

As the Command slowly moved across to four-engined operations with the arrival of the Stirling, Halifax and Lancaster, the Whitleys were gradually withdrawn from the Main Force, although a number did participate in the first 1,000-bomber raids in May 1942. The last Whitley operational sorties had been flown some 4 weeks previously against Ostend.

After Bomber Command, Whitleys equipped a number of Coastal Command units, their long range being an advantage for the extended patrols over the Atlantic, and the first U-boat was sunk by an aircraft from No 502 Squadron in November 1941. Other Whitleys made the first paratroop drops during Operation Colossus, the failed attack on the Tragino viaduct in Italy and also on the daring raid to seize German radar equipment from Bruneval in the Channel coast. A small number of Whitleys also served with Nos 138 and 166 (Special Duties) Squadrons into 1943.


<span>Whitley II with covered nose</span>

Primary function Heavy bomber
Power plant Two 12cylinder Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines
Thrust 2x 1,145 HP 2x 854 kW
Wingspan 84 ft 25.6 m
Length 70.5 ft 21.5 m
Height 15 ft 4.57 m
Weight empty 19,330 lb 8,768 kg
max. 33,500 lb 15,196 kg
Speed max. 222 mph 357 km/h
cruising about 185 mph about 297 km/h
Initial climb rate 800 ft/min 244 m/min
Ceiling 20,000 ft 6,100 m
Range 1,647 mi 2,650 km
Armament 5x 7.7 mm machine gun; 3,175 kg bombs
Crew Five
First flight 17.3.1936
Date deployed 1937 (version I)
Number built 1,737 all versions

 

May,19th.1940

Amsterdam – Zwitserland 1940 – Postverbinding verbroken

Prijs: €150,00

Amsterdam – Geneve 19.5.1940
Etiket: Terug afzender – Postverbinding verbroken Em. Duif

 

 

 

 

19 – 20th May.1840

 German losses were horrendous and when the remaining squadrons were again thrown against Hannover on the 19 – 20th May, most were convinced that only the desperation associated with imminent defeat could have instigated such blunders. The French Imperial Air Force was now effectively ruling the skies over Germany.

French refugees machine-gunned along a road by …

French refugees near Louvain, May 1940

 

May,19th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… Most of the German panzer forces halt in positions between Peronne and St. Quentin to regroup but some of Guderian’s troops are still pushing forward. Rommel’s 7th Panzer Division also makes a small advance in the direction of Arras. De Gaulle’s 4th Armored Division again attacks north from around Laon. It makes very good progress against gradually stiffening resistance but is ordered to retire before any real gains can be achieved. The possibility that it will be necessary to evacuate the BEF is raised for the first time in telephone conversations between London and the commanders in the field. The government are still optimistic at this stage. The main British forces are now in positions along the Scheldt.

French armor rolls forward under attack

 

May,20th.1940

Allies break the Enigma code that had been changed three weeks ago.

In the West, units of XIX. Panzerkorps (Guderian) German 1st Panzer Division seizes Amiens, France and the German 2nd Panzer Division forces advance to the Channel coast at Abbeville, separating the British Expeditionary Force (Gort) and the Belgian Army from the French forces to the south.
A battalion of German 2nd Panzer Division passes through Noyelles, reaching the sea near Abbéville, France. This battalion is the first German unit to reach the Atlantic coast, just ten days after the start of the offensive.

The Battle of Arras

Until now, the Germans had been content to race along westward, bouncing off French forces which had dug in along their line of advance. In reality, though, this meant that the French line was along an east-west parallel, one which mirrored the German advance. At Arras, however, this was about to change. Here the Allied line took on a north-south axis from St Quentin to Lille. And it was exactly here that the Germans had planed to move through & onwards towards Calais & the English Channel.

The Battle of Arras, which started on 20 May, was in effect three different battles. To the south of Arras commenced the Battle of Peronne. Here stood the French 6th & 9th Armies. Although the 6th Army was new to the front line, the area had already been prepared well by the 9th Army. With Guderian in the lead, the German 16th Army attacked without hesitation. Although successful at first, the French rallied themselves & held the Germans. The Battle of Peronne would continue for 2 days. The French, although sustaining heavy causalities, held the Germans.

At around the same time, in the centre, the Battle of Arras proper took place. The German 4th Army came straight at Arras itself. The defence at first was confusing because Arras was the army border between the 9th French army & the BEF. The Germans, however, did themselves a miss-service by getting themselves entangled in & around the town. The BEF rushed forces to the sector, regardless of jurisdiction, & then managed to hold the Germans in place. By the time the Germans attacked again, French reinforcements from the 9th Army ensured that the Germans got nowhere.

Finally on 21 May, to the north of Arras, the BEF (reinforced with the 5th British Tank Brigade) came under attack between the towns of Lens & La Bassee. The Germans would throw four panzer divisions at them under the command of Rommel. It would be desperate, but good defences, which had been prepared since 10 May, stopped the German advance. Nonetheless, BEF casualties were heavy.

20 May – Escorted by RAF fighters, 47 Blenheims attempt to halt an armoured attack by German troops against the British Army on the Bapaume-Arras road. No losses.

20/21 May – 77 aircraft from 92 despatched (32 Wellingtons, 24 Whitleys and 18 Blenheims) continue the RAF’s attempt to halt the German advance in northern France.

Vickers Wellington


<span>The Prototype Wellington</span>

The longest-serving of the trio of medium bombers with which Bomber Command at the outset of World War II, the Wellington, affectionately known as the ‘Wimpey’ by its crews, flew on many of the defining operations until its last bombing mission over the Reich in October 1943, although a few soldiered on with specialist units within the Command until January 1945.

The Wellington can trace its origins back to 1932 when, in answer to Air Ministry Specification B9/32, Vickers proposed a twin-engined ‘heavy’ bomber with an empty weight of 6,500lbs. (These limits were imposed by the Ministry in light of the on-going Geneva Conference on disarmament which was seeking to eliminate ‘heavy’ bombers in toto.) Utilising geodetic construction, a method of ‘weaving’ the individual struts of the fuselage structure to provide an incredibly resilient airframe, able to absorb tremendous damage, combined with a low weight penalty.

The first aircraft took to the air some four years later in June 1936 and was, for a short time, known as the Vickers Crecy (and appeared at the 1932 Hendon Air Display as such) before the name Wellington was adopted. The prototype differed from production aircraft in carrying no defensive armament, smaller tail (from the Stranraer flying boat), was slightly smaller and more streamlined.


<span>Wellington I</span>

The first true Wellington took to the air just before Christmas 1937, less than two years after a revised Specification, B29/35, had been drawn up around the Vickers design, and the first order for 180 aircraft placed for the RAF. The aircraft now featured nose and tail turrets designed by Vickers as well as a retractable ‘dustbin’ under the belly of the aircraft. These were quickly deleted and the nose and tail positions refitted with turrets from Fraser Nash.

The Wellington was almost a quantum leap ahead for Bomber Command both in terms of construction, payload (some three times greater than Heyford then in service) and armament. The first squadron to receive the Wellington was No 99 based at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, in October 1938 and by September 1939 a further seven squadrons (Nos 9, 37, 38, 115, 149, 214 and 215), and all in No 3 Group, had traded their Heyfords and Hendons for Wellingtons.

The type was principally involved in day operations, and the very first full day of conflict, 4 September 1939, saw 14 Wellingtons from Nos 9 and 149 Squadrons involved in action against the German fleet at Brunsbüttel. This and subsequent daylight raids were flown against steadily increasing fighter opposition and the losses mounted. Bomber Command’s thinking of that time, namely that a concentrated formation of a bombers could defend itself against enemy opposition, was shown to be folly by two raids flown in December 1939.


<span>A Wellington II with Merlin Engines</span>

As a precursor to this, 24 aircraft from Nos 38, 115 and 149 Squadrons were ordered to attack German warships in the Heligoland Bight on the 3rd of the month. Cloud over the target area meant that no attacks could be carried out and no defending aircraft were encountered. Staff back at Bomber Command Headquarters believed that this meant that Wellingtons were able to successfully penetrate German defenders in daylight and ordered 12 aircraft from No 99 Squadron to attack German ships in the Schillig Roads on the 14th. Half of the aircraft involved were lost (three to flak and fighters, two collided and one crashed on landing). Then, four days later, 24 aircraft from Nos 9, 37 and 149 Squadrons were again ordered to the Schillig Roads. This time, fore-warned by radar stations, the fighters were able to intercept the formation en-route. Nine Wellingtons were shot down, three ditched into the sea and a further three were forced to seek other landing strips as they were too badly damaged to return.

Despite these losses, the Wellington was proving to be a sturdy aircraft, by far the most capable of the medium bombers in service at the time, and this was reflected in the numbers of aircraft being ordered. The Wellington’s capacious bomb bay also meant that it could carry the 2,000- and subsequent 4,000lb bombs.

By October 1940, the next version of the Wellington, the Mark II, was entering service. This aircraft had two of the famous Merlin engines instead of the earlier Tiger radials, but proved less popular and it wasn’t long before the Mark III, powered by Hercules radials, was introduced. The Mark IV, of which only 220 were built, followed in mid-1941 and served for about 18 months, primarily with the Polish squadrons.


<span>An Expermental Wellington with a Radar-Controled upper Turret</span>

Two interesting versions were then developed, the Marks V and VI. Both were intended for high-altitude operations and had a completely redesigned forward fuselage with a pressurised compartment for the crew and small bubble canopy for the pilot. Both versions had engines fitted with superchargers (Hercules’ and Merlins) to provide the additional performance required to achieve the higher altitudes, but neither was flown operationally, although a pair of Wellington VIs did join No 109 Squadron for a short time.

The final Wellington version to see service with Bomber Command was the Mark X which was introduced in late 1942. Of the 3,803 built, many saw active service in the Middle and Far East as well as at home with Coastal Command.

The peak of the Wellington’s service probably came in 1942, when just over half of the forces of the three 1,000-bomber raids flown in May and June was made up of Wellingtons.


<span>The Wellington is now extremely rare with only two extant examples in the World, one at the RAF Museum (UK) and the other at the Brooklands Museum (UK).</span>

But with the arrival of the four-engined heavy bombers, the Wellington’s days were numbered, but the type long out-lived the other twin-engined bombers with which Britain had taken the war to Germany in the first years of World War II (Hampdens and Whitleys), and is perhaps not given the recognition it deserves as the Lancaster and Mosquito claimed the limelight in the second half of Bomber Command’s war.

Over 11,000 Wellingtons were built in total, many surviving past the end of the war mainly in second-line duties with the RAF into the 1950s. Others became test aircraft for a variety of engines and armament installations with Service and civilian companies.

<span>The Vickers Wellington, affectionately known as the “Wimpy,” was armed with twin .330 machine guns in the nose and tail turrets. It also had 2 manually-operated .303 guns in the beam positions and could carry a 4,500 lb bomb load. Slow speed, limited ceiling, and a small bomb load soon made the Wellington obsolete, although one significant design advantage was Barnes-Wallace’s geodetic lattice-work fuselage construction. This made the Wimpy extremely tough, and it often survived battle damage which would have destroyed other aircraft. </span>

Vickers Wellington B.Mk III
Type:six-crew medium bomber
Powerplant: two 1,500-hp (1119-kW) Bristol Hercules XI air-cooled 14-cylinder radial piston engines
Performance: maximum speed 255 mph (410 km/h) at 12,500 ft (3810 m); initial climb rate 930 ft (283 m) per minute; service ceiling 19,000 ft (5790 m); range 2,200 miles (3540 km) with 1,500 lb (680 kg) of bombs, or 1,540 miles (2478 km) with 4,500 lb (2041 kg) of bombs
Weights: empty 18,556 lb (8417 kg); maximum take-off 29,500 lb (13381 kg) Dimensions:span 86 ft 2 in (26.26 m); length 60 ft 10 in (18.54 m); height 17 ft 5 in (5.31 m); wing area 840.0 sq ft (78.04 m2)
Armament: two 0.303-in (7.7-mm) machine-guns in nose turret, four similar weapons in tail turret, and one similar weapon in each rear fuselage beam position, plus a maximum bombload of 4,500 lb (2041 kg), or one 4,000-lb (1814-kg) bomb

Bismarck

Throughout 19 and 20 May, the German force and their escorting aircraft continued north and west through Scandinavian waters. Though Group North had attempted to keep the route clear of shipping in order to preserve secrecy, to Lütjens’s dismay, there was a hole in Group North’s net: At approximately 1300 hours on 20 May, the neutral Swedish cruiser Gotland appeared on the horizon along the Swedish coast. For several hours, she steered a course parallel to the German fleet. Additionally, a few small fishing vessels were in the area.

Lütjens realised that it was almost certain that Gotland would report what she had seen — his fleet had been exposed even before entering the North Sea. News of the German force’s movements had indeed been relayed to the British Admiralty — unofficially via representatives of the Swedish government. Resistance operatives in Norway also monitored their progress up the Norwegian coast. The force was also seen by Norwegian citizens.

At this point, Lütjens once again changed his mind — the force would now follow Group North’s recommendation and put into Bergen, Norway. Though his motives are unclear, it is possible he felt that since his ships had been sighted and almost certainly reported by Gotland, he had lost the impetus. It would be best to refuel at Bergen and then escape later under the cover of bad weather.

British Admiral Tovey’s Dilemma

Meanwhile, back at Scapa Flow, Admiral Tovey was considering how best to cover the possibility of a German warship breakout. On 18 May, Tovey ordered the cruiser H.M.S. Suffolk, which was on patrol in the Denmark Strait, to keep a special watch on the passage close to the ice pack. Further initial precautions followed: On 19 May, H.M.S. Norfolk, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral W.F. Wake-Walker, Rear-Admiral Commanding First Cruiser Squadron, was ordered to proceed from Hvalfjord, Iceland and relieve Suffolk. Suffolk was to return to Hvalfjord to refuel and then rejoin Norfolk on patrol

1940
On the Western Front… The German armored advance again makes considerable progress. The most spectacular gains are made by Guderian’s 19th Corps. Amiens is taken in the morning and in the evening Abbeville is captured. Advance units even reach the coast at Noyelles. The Germans have now driven a corridor at least 20 miles wide from the Ardennes to the Channel. The obvious need is for the British and French to cut through this corridor before its walls can be strengthened to cut off irrevocably the forces to the north. Before his dismissal Gamelin was planning such an attack, but it has been cancelled following his sacking only to be revived now by Weygand. The delay imposed by these changes of mind prevents it from retaining even a slim chance of success


First German troops reach English Channel

.

.

 

May,20th.1940

1940 (May) cover from SLOVENIA to Bohemia & Moravia with German censor label tied by rollar h/s. Riemer G-3a of Vienna.

Dienst Militair Groningen – Bergen 20.5.1940 – Aan bewaker ???

Groningen – Bergen 20.5.1940

Aan 1 Comp. Bewakingstroepen ( Luchtverdediging )

May,21th.1940

a “special unit” carries out its mission-and murders more than 1,500 hospital patients in East Prussia.

Mentally ill patients from throughout East Prussia had been transferred to the district of Soldau, also in East Prussia. A special military unit, basically a hit squad, carried out its agenda and killed the patients over an 18-day period, one small part of the larger Nazi program to exterminate everyone deemed “unfit” by its ideology. After the murders, the unit reported back to headquarters in Berlin that the patients had been “successfully evacuated.”

On this day in 1942, 4,300 Jews are deported from the Polish town of Chelm to the Nazi extermination camp at Sobibor, where all are gassed to death. On the same day, the German firm IG Farben sets up a factory just outside Auschwitz, in order to take advantage of Jewish slave laborers from the Auschwitz concentration camps.

Sobibor had five gas chambers, where about 250,000 Jews were killed between 1942 and 1943. A camp revolt occurred in October 1943; 300 Jewish slave laborers rose up and killed several members of the SS as well as Ukrainian guards. The rebels were killed as they battled their captors or tried to escape. The remaining prisoners were executed the very next day.

 

The Battle of Arras was still raging.


<span>Mark II, Matilda II. </span>

Gen Gamelin ordered ‘Instruction No12′ on 19th June for
an attack towards Mezieres from the south, and the Somme
from the north. This was cancelled by Weygand on assuming
command, who also ordered the roads cleared of refugees
and the un-mothballing of as many WWI 75s as possible.

On the 20th while Weygand flew around over Northern France
having meetings, Gen Ironside ordered Gen Gort to
attack south with all possible strength at 0800 hours on
that day. Gort pointed out that seven of his nine divisions
were already engaged and refused. He said that he was
instead planning a limited attack with his two unengaged
divisions south from Arras.

<span>The Light Tank marks began in 1931 as a development of earlier experimental designs which could be traced back to the Carden-Lloyd tankettes. Early Light Tank marks (from I to IV) had two-man crews, increased to three with the Mark V. Although the speed and fair reliability of the Light Tanks compensated their poor armour and firepower, they proved of limited combat value, even in reconnaissance role.</span>

Ironsides then went to see Billotte (Gorts nominal
commander) and bullied Billotte and Blanchard into accepting
the attack plan, and it ws agreed that both armies would
attack with two divisions each on the 21st.


<span>This tank was a development of the Matilda I Infantry Tank whose main armament consisted of no more than either a .303 or a .50 Vickers mg. Such was the thinking behind pre World War II tank development in many Countries (including Britain) that it was considered that the fitting of larger calibre weapons was not warranted.
The Matilda Mark II arose out of a need to provide a better armoured and armed vehicle, which could act in the role of an infantry support tank.
For its time, the Matilda II was a heavily armoured vehicle and it was particularly successful in the early years of WW II at Arras, France 1940 and in the Western Desert during 1940-1941.
Unfortunately, its performance was hindered by its small calibre gun and relatively slow cross country performance. (NB: See notes on the Centurion Tank to see how much British tank development changed during World War II). Despite its shortcomings, it was more than capable of being used aggressively. This was especially demonstrated in the Western Desert where it was virtually immune against anti-tank and tank guns of the day. In its early conflicts in the Western Desert, its value as a shock assault weapon was significant and it soon earned the title “Queen of the Battlefield”. Unfortunately, it was soon outclassed by better enemy tanks and the German’s 88mm gun. However, it found a renewed operational life in the Pacific.
Although the design ideas were sound for their time, the Matilda could not be up-gunned as the turret ring was too small to accept a larger tank gun. However, it was found that a low velocity 3 in. howitzer could be fitted as a substitute for the tank gun. Such a weapon proved invaluable when operating against infantry, light skinned vehicles, bunkers and other fortifications.
Mechanically, the Matilda possessed a hydraulic, power operated turret. Its twin engines were linked through an epicyclic gearbox, which in turn drove a pair of rear sprockets. The suspension consisted of sets of bogies which were linked together and worked against horizontal compression springs.</span>

Attack was coordinated by Major General Franklyn (GOC
5th Div) and he was allotted 5th and 50th Div plus 1st
Army Tank Brigade.

BUT, the infantry divisions only had two brigades each, one
from 5th Div was sent to relieve the French on the river Scarpe
and the other brigade (17th) was held in reserve.

50th Div lost a brigade to garrison Arras itself and to hold the
river line east of the city.

So, all that was left for the attack were two battalions of
151st Brigade (50th Div), plus the armour.

<span>Infantry Tank Mk I “Matilda”
The Matilda I was the first of the Infantry Tanks line of vehicles, characterized by the emphasis placed on crew protection. The small Matilda’s designers had a twofold target : low cost and quick production rates.
In spite of its excellent protection, the Matilda I was obsolete by 1939. Production ceased after 139 had been built.
</span>

<span>Matilda II Compartment Drawnings</span>

<span>Fighting Compartment Looking Forward</span>

<span>Driver’s Cockpit</span>

<span>Engine Room</span>

1st Army Tank Brigade started with 100 tanks, but by the 21st
its runners consisted of 58 Matilda Is and 16 Matilda IIs. It
may also have had some light Vickers IV or VI in the
regimental scout troops (not mentioned in Horne).

Meanwhile late on the 20th Blanchard informed Gort that the
French infantry could not attack until the 22nd, so instead
Priouxs Cavalry Corps was allotted to provide flank cover
to the West. Unfortunately Prioux had already lost most
of 1st DLM fighting Hoeppner,a nd the rest of his tanks had
lent to various infantry units, even by 1700 hours on the 20th
he had not succeeded in reassembling his armour. He was only
able to commit “a few weak detachments of 3rd DLM” – I believe
this amounted to around a battlion of H39s.

No RAF or ZOAN support was forthcoming.

The attack finally went in at 1400 hours on the 21st.

Gen Martel led from an open car. The troops were divided
into two equal sized columns of a tank battalion, an
infantry battalion (DLI – Durham Light Infantry) plus a
battery of field artillery and AT guns. These would probably
have been 18/25 pdrs (eight or twelve guns) and the AT guns
would be Swedish 37mm Bofors AT guns (three troops of four
each). The tanks seem to have been equally divided up.

The right hand column – fought to clear Duisans and left two
infantry companies & some AT to garrison it. Pushed on to
Warlus, again captured after a stiff fight, took Berneville,
and put troops across the Doullen-Arras road. The infantry
were pinned down by MG/mortar fire and attacked by Stukas.
The tanks left them behind and attacked Wailly where they
caused panic among the lead units of 3rd SSTK. They were now
overextended and the whole force fell back to Warlus with
heavy losses, where the British AT gunners and Priouxs tanks
fought each other! Some of the French tanks (six) than
engaged 25th Panzer Regiment around Duisans.

The left hand column – fought all the way but made rapid
progress. Took Dainville, destroying a “motorised column”
in the process (vehicles KO’d, troops made prisoner). Two
miles east six Matildas wiped out an AT battery near Achicourt
then pushed on to Agny and Beaurains, a few units reached
Wancourt on the River Cojeul (the objective of the attack).
Most of the heavy fighting took place in the Agny-Beaurains
area between 4th RTR and German 6th Rifle Brigade, backed up
by the Div artillery and Flak of 7th Panzer Div. Both sides
suffered heavy losses.

Meanwhile 150th Brigade (50th Div) attacked across the Scarpe
to Tilloy, and 13th Brigade also established a bridghead.
However it was obvious that the ground could not be held, and
the whole force fell back as 25th Panzer Reg approached Arras
from the west. They took 400 prisnoers, destroyed “large
numbers” of tanks and vehicles, but were left with only
26 Matilda Is and 2 Matilda IIs.

<span>Somua S-35 </span>

3rd SSTK evidently abandoned its positions in Wailly and
showed ‘signs of panic’ (Guderian).

Rommel was busy trying to round up 6th and 7th Rifle brigades
to support 25th Pz Reg when the attack started. He couldn’t
find 7th Bde.

He found elements of 6th Bde south of Wailly, and howitzers
north of the village were engaging British tanks. The village
itself came under MG fire as Rommel reached it. He found that
the vilage was jammed with troops and vehicles trying to take
cover (RtC!). West of Wailly were some light AA guns and AT
guns again hiding in full cover, and there were some destroyed
German tanks (he says Pz III, they must have been Pz38s).

The German infantry and gun crews in the village then broke and
ran. At this point Rommel brought up all the available guns,
both AA and AT and concentrated their fire on each group of
tanks, evidently with some success as the attack petered out
(this was the high water mark of the right hand column).
Rommel reports several British tanks destroyed or disabled,
and the rest retreating.

By the time he got the rest of 6th Rifle reg it had suffered
‘very heavy losses in men and material’ and he reports
the overrunning of their light AT batteries. He organised
a gun line between Agny and Beaurains from the Div artillery
and heavy AA (88) batteries – according to Guderian there
were at most six of these. This finished off the attack in the
north, one 88 battery claiming nine kills.

25th Panzer Reg eventually intervened, and Rommel reports the
destruction of seven tanks for the loss of nine of his own (no
mention of the French though) fighting NW of Arras.

He had lost ‘considerable numbers’ of tanks, 205 dead or wounded,
and 173 missing (presumably the remaining 200 prisoners were
from 3rd SS).

<span>Probably the best tank in the world at the beginning of WWII, it was made of cast parts instead of bolted plates, had up to two inches of armor in the turret, an excellent gun and was relatively fast at 25mph.
The tank did have one or two drawbacks… The one-man turret was one of them, the other was the fact that only 18 rounds of ammunition were carried for the main gun. As the cast hull did not lend itself well to conversions, some S35s stayed in their original configuration until the end of the war.</span>

May,21th.1940

1940
On the Western Front…Rommel’s division is sharply attacked around Arras by British tank forces. The attack does very well at first largely because of the comparative invulnerability of the Matilda tanks to the standard German antitank weapons. After some panic on the German side the attack is halted, principally because of the fire of a few 88mm guns. The British force is too small to repeat the advance or to shake free from this setback. Weygand visits the commanders of the northern armies to try to coordinate attacks from north and south of the German corridor to the coast. By a series of accidents he misses seeing Gort, and Bilotte, to whom he has given the fullest explanation of his plans, is killed in a car accident before he can pass them on. The attack will never take place. The small British effort has already been made. The Belgians will try to free some more British units for a later effort but this will not be possible. The French themselves, both north and south, are already too weak.

British Matilda abandoned after the attack

In Norway… The French, Polish and Norwegian forces moving in on Narvik advance another stage and gain positions on the northern side of Rombaksfiord.

In Berlin… In a conference Admiral Raeder mentions to Hitler for the first time that it may be necessary to invade Britain. The German navy has made some preliminary studies before this but they have not been based on the availability of French bases. Little though is given to the possibility at this stage even after this conference.

.

 

May,22th.1940

Bismarck

Operation “Rheinübung”

While at their anchorages, Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were repainted. Both took on additional supplies, and the Prinz Eugen topped up her fuel tanks, but the Bismarck did not. For some unknown reason, Lütjens and Lindemann decided not to top up the Bismarck’s fuel tanks while she was lying in Grimstadfjord. Bismarck had used a significant amount of fuel sailing from Gotenhafen to Norway, and it would have been prudent to refuel at that time, as was done for the Prinz Eugen. The only opportunity that remained for refuelling the Bismarck before she entered the Denmark Strait was by the german tanker Weissenburg, which was stationed in the Norwegian Sea above the Arctic Circle and was not too far off their intended course.

<span>V. Admiral Gunther Lutjens</span>

The information that Lütjens received from the German intelligence showed that as far as was known, all units of the Home Fleet were still at their base at Scapa Flow. The British Home Fleet appeared to be no serious threat to the breakout for the German task force along the more northerly routes that Lütjens could take.

<span>Kapitan zur See Ernst Lindemann</span>

The German task force could choose between four different routes into the North Atlantic. The passage between the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands, and the passage between the Shetland Islands and the Danish Faeroe Islands was rejected because of the short distance to the British RAF airbases in northern Scotland and the naval base at Scapa Flow. The only truly viable alternatives were either the passage between the Faroe Islands and Iceland or the Denmark Strait between Iceland and Greenland. Lütjens was not convinced of the safety of using the passage between the Faroe Islands and Iceland since his ships had been spotted by the Swedish cruiser Gotland and by Danish and Swedish fishing boats in the Kattegat. Lütjens decided to take the long way around through the Denmark Strait even though he was aware of the dangers of that route. Because of the pack ice surrounding Greenland, the passage between Iceland and Greenland was quite narrow. He also knew of the minefield that had been laid off the north-western coast of Iceland, but in the end, as the operational commander, the decision was up to him.


<span>ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET LORD TOVEY </span>

It was now very important for the British to locate the two German ships and to keep track of their movements. The Royal Air Force was requested to undertake reconnaissance missions along the coast of Norway in an attempt to locate and positively identify the reported German warships. On the morning of 21 May, RAF photographic-reconnaissance Spitfires took off from northern Scotland to scout the lower portion of the Norwegian coastline, especially its fjord systems which could easily hide the ships.

Shortly after noon on 21 May, one of the Spitfires (Flying Officer Michael Suckling) flew at high altitude over the fjord system in the area of Bergen, Norway and routinely photographed all of the possible anchorages in sight. One photograph taken over Grimstadfjord showed a large ship surrounded by several much smaller ones. The size of the ship and a measurement of its beam-to-length ratio was indicative of a modern battleship. The British was certain that the Bismarck had been found.

After the discovery of the Bismarck in Grimstadfjord, RAF Bomber Command was immediately ordered to attack her anchorage.


<span> Bismarck photographed in Grimstadfjord by a British photographic-reconnaissance Spitfire.</span>

At 1930, 21 May the Bismarck weighed anchor and headed north to join the Prinz Eugen and the destroyers outside Kalvanes. The formation continued on its way. Later that evening, the weather got worse and the sky became completely overcast. At about 2300 they turned away from the rocky shoreline, the destroyers in the lead, followed by the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen.


<span> At 1930, 21 May Bismarck weighed anchor and headed north to join the Prinz Eugen and the three destroyers in Kalvanes Bay.</span>

During the night of 21 May the area, where Bismarck were sighted, was heavily bombed by the British, but due to poor visibility, the planes returned without being able to report the results of their raid. The next day, an RAF Coastal Command reconnaissance plane scouted the area and found the anchorages to be empty. At this time it was more than 24 hours since the RAF photographic-reconnaissance Spitfire (Flying Officer Michael Suckling) had photographed the German task force at Bergen, and they could have sailed over 600 miles in that time.


<span>Prinz Eugen </span>

According to plan, around 0500 on Thursday 22 May, Lütjens released the destroyers that had shielded the formation from British submarines. The task force were in the latitude of Trondheim. From now on, the Bismarck and the Prinz Eugen were alone, and the squadron continued northwards at 24 knots. Lütjens was still uncertain whether to go north or south of Iceland.


<span>Bismarck in front of Prinz Eugen in the North Atlantic.</span>

Steaming at 24 knots in hazy weather under an overcast sky, the task force reached a position approximately 200 nautical miles from the Norwegian coast, in the latitude Iceland-Norway, at about noon 22 May. Weather conditions, which seemed settled, were just what Lütjens hoped to encounter when he attempted to break out into the Atlantic through the northern passage. At noon, Lütjens advised the Prinz Eugen that he intended to go direct for the Denmark Strait but not to oil from Weissenburg (German tanker) unless the weather lifted. A fatal decision that would have consequences later for the Bismarck and her crew. What may have finally decided Lütjens to stick to the originally plan was the continuing poor visibility which meteorologists predicted would last to southern Greenland. The squadron altered from due north to north-west.

At 1237 22 May, the Bismarck sounded her submarine and aircraft alarms – a periscope sighting had been reported. The task force turned to port and steered a zigzag course for half an hour, but nothing transpired and at 1307 it resumed its former course. Due to poor weather and and thick fog the Bismarck shone her big searchlights astern to help the Prinz Eugen keep position. They were now in the northern latitudes, where the nights are almost as light as the days, so they could stay in a tight formation and maintain 24 knots even in poor visibility.


<span>She never sunk a single enemy vessel, but her crew fondly remember her as “the lucky ship.” Although heavily damaged on several occasions, Prinz Eugen was the only heavy surface unit of the Kriegsmarine to survive WW2 intact. Under the circumstances, it was more than could be expected. </span>

The British was now well aware that Bismarck was on her way trying to break out into the North Atlantic. Admiral Tovey ordered Hood and Prince of Wales to take station south of Iceland. There they would be in a position to cover the Denmark Strait passage or turn east to back up the forces covering the Faeroes-Iceland passage should the Bismarck appear in that area. The Suffolk was ordered to join the Norfolk, in the Denmark Strait. The light cruisers Arethusa, Birmingham and Manchester were directed to resume their patrol of the Faeroes-Iceland passage after refuelling at their bases in Iceland.

Admiral Tovey then formed his second task force from the remainder of the Home Fleet that was still at Scapa Flow. This included the battleship King George V, aircraft carrier Victorious, light cruisers Aurora, Galatea, Hermione, Kenya, and Neptune, and six destroyers. Admiral Tovey’s force left port some time before midnight on 22 May. The Repulse, about to embark on convoy duty, was recalled from the Firth of Clyde near Glasgow and ordered to join Admiral Tovey’s force at sea north-west of Scotland. There the task force would lie in wait behind the light cruiser screen, ready to pounce on the Bismarck should she attempt the Iceland-Faeroes passage, or be prepared to turn westward and support the Hood-Prince of Wales task force should the Germans come through the Denmark Strait.
At 2322 Lütjens ordered a course change to the west: a course toward the Denmark Strait.


<span>1945 Photo of the Prinz Eugen</span>

<span>Arado Stowage on the Prinz Eugen.</span>

1940
On the Western Front… The German forces on the Channel coast turn their attacks to the north toward Boulogne and Calais. The Belgian forces retreat to the Lys.

German artillery firing at the railroad station in Hangest

In Paris… Churchill is discussing plans for an Allied offensive. Once more Weygand proposes an attempt to cut the German line to the Channel by attacks from the north and south. It is agreed that this should be attempted but in reality there is little with which to implement the plan.

In London… Parliament passes an Emergency Powers Act giving the government sweeping powers over the persons and property of British citizens.

.

May the 22nd.1940

The Fall Of Bregenz

The successful German defense of Bregenz had been a thorn in the side of the otherwise victorious French High Command for some time.

Not only a personal failure for the Emperor the intact alpine defense had so far made any serious French-Italian cooperation impossible.

Luckily for the Axis, this was to be changed in a short while; the old and trusted Field Marshal Gamelin commanded both French and Italian forces as they attacked on the early hours of May the 22nd.1940

 The French 5th Army assaulted from the north while the Army Of The Alps under the command of the celebrated hero of the Spanish civil war Lt. General Gonzalez de Linares (holder of the prestigious Spanish Order of the Golden Fleece), the Italian 1st Army and the Alpine Army advanced from the south.

In all, three French and four Italian Mountain divisions participated in the offensive; furthermore the enormous bomber force of the 1st and 3rd Air Fleet assisted the attack.

The German defenders fought bravely but the absence of the Luftwaffe and the superior Axis firepower blew their positions to smithereens.

May,24th.1940

1940
On the Western Front…

 The German attacks on Boulogne continue.

Farther along the coast they are also attacking Calais. The Royal Navy is active in support of the British forces in both towns. During the day and later in the night destroyers are used to evacuate 5000 men from Boulogne and over the next three days two light cruisers and seven destroyers are in support near Calais.

There are also German attacks on the line of the Lys and around Tournai. The plans for the Allied counteroffensive depend on the Belgians being able to take over a longer section of the front but with this pressure they will not be able to do so. Meanwhile, the partial halt of the main German armored forces already made by Rundstedt is confirmed by Hitler. They have reached the line Gravelines – Omer – Bethune. Although the ground north of here is not well suited to armed action the Allied defenses are weak. The pause, which lasts until the morning of May 27th, gives the French and British time to strengthen this position and is generally seen as being the move which makes the evacuation of the BEF possible.

German armor halted in France

In Paris… The Supreme War Council decides to end its involvement in Norway. They agree to capture Narvik and destroy the port facilities before they will evacuate. Ironically the airfield at Bardufoss has only just received its first complement of British aircraft and already the campaign is seeming less one-sided, showing what might be done. The Norwegians are not yet told of the decision to leave.

 

May,25th.1940

The Battle of Dunkirk begins.

The city of Boulogne is captured by the Germans.
By evening British commander Gort cancels a planned advance to the south, and orders his troops north, so they can embark for England.

CASSEL May 1940

by Lieut-Col. E.M.B. Gilmore, DSO
(Back Badge 1946)

After the withdrawal of the BEF from the line of the River Scheldt, the 61st found itself for some hours at a village called Nomain, some miles south-east of Lilles. We received orders to proceed by motor transport, during the night of 24-25th May, to Cassel. Cassel is an important local road junction, whence roads lead to Dunkirk, Lille, Calais, St. Omer and other lesser towns.

The Battalion reached Cassel in the early hours of the morning, Saturday 25th May. With us were the 4th Ox and Bucks L.I., some RFA 18-pdrs, machine gunners from a TA Battalion of the Cheshire Regt, Brigade A.T. Unit and some French army elements. There were also some RAMC, RE, and Royal Signals personnel present. The first 2 days at Cassel were ones of rest. Houses and buildings forming a perimeter were linked by demolition or digging, and strengthened. Roads and lanes were blocked. The town was divided in half, the 4th Ox & Bucks LI holding the east, the 61st the west sector.

Capt. H.W. Wilson’s Company (“B”) linking on its right with the 4th Ox & Bucks, stretched along the perimeter to the north-west to join with “D” Coy. It faced an open area of country, with an isolated farm some 400 yards out in front which was occupied by No. 10 Platoon under 2nd Lieut. R. Weightman. Also in the Company were a party of French and later a platoon of the Cheshire Regt (MG).

Next to the left and facing west, was Capt. A.P. Cholmondeley’s Company (“D”) with the Battalion Mortar Platoon. This company area consisted mainly of a residential house surrounded by a small demesne. The foremost edge of the area was formed by an escarpment, below which was a small wooded enclosure. A section of machine guns occupied some cottages on the left, and of 2 roads which flanked either side of this company. British and French AT guns were included.

Round to the south-west and completing the Battalion perimeter was Capt. E.H. Lynn-Allen’s (MC) Company (“C”), holding a somewhat more difficult area, whose field of fire was minimized by small walled enclosures on the outskirts of the town.

The reserve consisted of Major W.H. Percy-Hardman’s (MC) Company (“A”), the remains of the Carrier Platoon under Sergt. Kibble, the available elements of HQ Company under CSM Haberfield, and the AT gun section under 2nd Lieut. J. Robertson, which was used to thicken up generally the anti-tank defence of the whole area. As usual in these days, the Battalion was very think on the ground. (Over 130 other ranks were reported missing after the bombing of “A” and “C” and HQ Companies in the bottle-neck traffic jam at Leuze near Tournai, on 19th May).

The Battalion “Keep” and HQ, with the RAP, was in and around the local bank in La Place Dunkirk. The organisation here was mainly due to the admirable efforts of Major Colin Campbell (MC) (2nd-in-Command), Capt. E. Jones (MID) (Adjutant), RSM G. Pearce (MID) and Lieut. Ian Spencer (MO). Later tactical moves led to a serious alteration in the disposition of the reserve. From “A” Coy. it was necessary to find 2 detachments which completely used up this company. The first of these alterations was the sending out of No.8 Platoon under 2nd Lieut. R.W. Cresswell (MC) to occupy a partially completed blockhouse about 2 and half miles out of Cassel on the road to Dunkirk, on the afternoon of the 26th. The second was the sending out of the rest of “A” Coy. under Major Percy-Hardman to occupy the village of Zuytpene, on the railway line west of the town; early hours of the morning of the 27th. A Company of the 4th Ox & Bucks LI was sent to occupy Bavinchove, also on the railway line, south by a mile or 2 of Zuytpene. These were the forward positions to break up any enemy onslaught before reaching the main position.

The enemy was first met on the 26th, when 2 patrol actions between the enemy tanks and carriers with AT guns occurred in the wooded area to the south-west. The main enemy effort began during the early morning of the 27th, when he attacked simultaneously from the west, south and south-east, using infantry supported by machine guns, mortars and tanks, with occassional assistance from the air, in which he had complete superiority. The Germans were also helped by obvious “Fifth Column” activities in Cassel itself. It was remarkable how Unit and Company HQ’s were perpetually singled out for accurate mortaring.

On this day the main enemy point of attack was aimed at the south-east part of the defences, near the neck linking up with Mont Des Recollets. But at the same time, attacks were maintained on the other parts, as well as the villages of Zuytpene and Bavinchove. No. 8 Platoon in the blockhouse came into action about 1800 hrs that evening. On no future occasion was contact ever regained with either Major Percy-Hardman or 2nd Lieut. Cresswell. Both were completely surrounded and cut-off, and both admirably fulfilled their role of holding on to their positions and inflicting the maximum delay and casualties on the enemy.

Zuytpene was attacked through the western end of the village at about 0800 hrs, when an aerial bombing, followed up with tanks, opened proceedings; infantry and mortars supported and by midday the enemy had surrounded the position. It was not until about 1900 hrs that 2 members of “A” Coy. (Ptes Tickner (MID) and Bennett) arrived at Battalion HQ in an exhausted state, having been sent earlier on by Major Percy-Hardman to try and get through the surrounding Germans. It was long afterwards learnt that the remnants of “A” Coy. at Zuytpene were finally forced to give in about 1900 hrs, when their last defensive position at Company HQ was in flames and a superior number of the enemy had got close enough to throw grenades into the cellar into which they had been finally driven. A final effort to reach “A” Coy. at Zuytpene was made during the night of 27-28th by means of a patrol under 2nd Lieut. S. Reeve-Tucker, but the enemy was too thick on the ground to get the patrol through.

No.8 Platoon, under 2nd Lieut. Cresswell, held out against continuous attacks from the evening of the 27th to the late aternoon of the 30th, when casualties, a fire in the blockhouse, lack of food and the ominous silence from Cassel caused them to give in to overwhelming numbers.

“D” Company suffered very heavily in casualties this first day of the attack. An enemy tank succeeded in getting into the grounds of the Company “Keep”. An attempt by a party from “B” Coy., consisting of Capt. Wilson, 2nd Lieut. Fane, CSM Robinson (MID), and Pte Palmer, to assist “D” Coy. by a flanking stalk against the tank was ended by a direct mortar bomb hit on their Boys rifle. Eventually the tank was set on fire by a hit from one of our AT guns.

“C” Coy. had a tough but successful time in dealing with hostile tanks, which pressed forward in support if infantry, against the company position. Sergt. Collins (MM) by himself put one tank out of action with a Boys rifle.

The enemy did not press his attack after darkness had fallen. On the 28th May the only real attack was made on “B” Coy. in the late afternoon, which was beaten off without much difficulty. An attempt was made to get a carrier through to No.8 Platoon, but it was impossible to get beyond the town owing to heavy machine gun fire.

On Wednesday 29th May a heavy and sustained attack broke out again, preceeded by an accurate mortar bombardment. “B” Coy. came in for the brunt of the day’s onslaught. No. 10 Platoon, in the farm forward of the company area, under command of 2nd Lieut. Weightman, was very heavily bombarded. 2nd Lieut. Weightman was killed by a direct hit. He had acted throughout most gallantly and had led his platoon ably in all the fighting. Cpl. C. Waite (MID) hung on with a few men until the situation was restored by Capt. Wilson.

Another serious loss was the death of 2nd Lieut. Gerry French, the Intelligence Officer, always indefatigable, cheerful, conscientious, and willing, who was killed by a mortar bomb while on a mission to liaise with the artillery.

It was a hard day, well borne, by the whole Battalion, but in spite of casualties and diminishing effective manpower, at no time did the enemy gain a footing anywhere. The Carrier Platoon had been used to reinforce dangerous points on the perimeter. HQ Coy. had also played its part and it is impossible to speak too highly of the Signallers under Sergt. Bartlet (MM?), the stretcher-bearers under Sergt. Tilton, or the Pioneers under PSM Murphy. Weaponless members of the AT gun section had been used to strengthen the emaciated Battalion Reserve.

The fighing died down about 1700 hrs and the enemy had withdrew. Movement could be seen away to the north, but too far away to engage with fire. About this time a warning order was received from Force HQ that the garrison would withdraw that night and try to rendezvous near the Dunkirk area. Hopes were high of being alble to get away, but what was not known was that this order was 24 hours delayed. The withdrawal after dusk, in spite of the close contact of the enemy, was carried out successfully, but the exasperating events of the next 2 days are another story.
About 100 men of the 2nd Glosters made it back home. 5 officers and 132 men were dead. 472 taken prisoner.

Also French Ground Forces in Indochina, May 1, 1940

The French comfortably held down the entire region with the equivalent of a reinforced division’s worth of infantry, a good proportion of whom were locally recruited troops. Just a few years later this would have been an impossibly tiny number.

The French Army in Indochina was organized into two divisions and a brigade:

Tonkin Division [Division du Tonkin DDT]

Cochinchina-Cambodia Division [Division de Cochinchine-Cambodge DCC]

Annam-Laos Brigade [Brigade d'Annam-Laos BAL]

The motorized detachments were reconnaissance units.

DDT

Tonkin Motorised Detachment (DMT)

Foreign Legion Motorised Detachment (DML)

9th Colonial Infantry Regiment

19th Mixed Colonial Infantry Regiment

5th Foreign Legion Infantry Regiment

1st Tonkinese Tirailleurs Regiment

3rd Tonkinese Tirailleurs Regiment

4th Tonkinese Tirailleurs Regiment

4th Colonial Artillery Regiment

DCC

Cochinchina Motorised Detachment (DMC)

11th Colonial Infantry Regiment

Annam Tirailleurs Regiment

Second Annam Tirailleurs Regiment

Cambodian Tirailleurs Regiment

5th Colonial Artillery Regiment ()

BAL

Annam Motorised Detachment (DMA)

10th Colonial Infantry Regiment

16th Mixed Colonial Infantry Regiment

South Annam Montagnard Tirailleurs Battalion

Air Units Groupe Aérien Autonome 41

E.R. 1/41
9 Potez 25
Pursat [Cambodia]

E.R. 2/41
4 Farman 221
Tong [Tonkin]

Groupe Aérien Autonome 42

E.R. 1/42
10 Potez 25
Pursat [Cambodia]

E.B. 2/42
6 Potez 542
Tan-Son-Nhut [Cochinchina]

Groupe Aérien Mixte 595

E.O. 1/595
7 Potez 25
****-Hoi [Annam]

Groupe Aérien Mixte 596

E.O. 1/596
6 Potez 25
Tourane/Da Nang [Annam]

Esc. 1/C.B.S.
8 Loire 130 + 4 CAMS 37 & 55
Cat-Lai [Cochinchina]

Please note that the French Escadrille actually corresponds to the word Flight. Escuadron, or Squadron, was used for army units. The Groupe is the equivalent of a traditional air squadron. The French system allowed the mixing-and-matching of units within a squadron, whereas usually a squadron is all one type of aircraft.

Commandement des Bases du Sud – Southern Bases Command (Indochina)

Groupe A̩rien Mixte РComposite Squadron (usually Fighter / Reconnaissance)

E.R. — Escardrille Reconnaissance
E.O. — Escadrille Observation
E.B. — Escadrille Bombardement

in France…

The 5th Bn The Gloucestershire Regt. had mobilized 1st Sept. 1939 and sailed for France on 14th January 1940. After a halt at Caudebec, near Havre, they were billetted at Thumeries. In very cold, snowy conditions they helped with preparing anti-tank obstacles and undertook training. In the spring they moved into the front line, taking over a sector in the Saar front, beyond the Maginot Line. During a patrol in the Grossenwald-Grindorff-Bizing area they had their first engagement with the Germans. End of April they were billetted at Auby. 13th May moved to Waterloo, near Brussels.

Grindorff

by Michael Shephard
(Back Badge 1950)

Grindorff was, and far as I know is, a tattered village on the edge of that tattered frontier between Alsace and Germany; from the tower of its church you can see well into Germany.

In March 1940 the 5th Glosters entered the line and awaited the onslaught of the enemy with trepidation. I was in command of No. 12 Platoon, “C” Coy., at that time commanded by Charlie Norris. We were positioned in the village with another platoon on our left some 100 yards away and staggered back by 100 yards, and on our right by a platoon of another company, also lying behind us in woodland. A sudden blitz raid was made against a platoon of “D” Coy. commanded by Tom Carter. This was held and repulsed, although we lost men as prisoners and casualties. We only heard about this action, but were ourselves involved in another:

On the morning of 3rd March I was ordered to report to Company HQ at Bizing, which lay about three quarters of a mile from Grindorff down a very straight road. Charlie Norris told me that I was to take a patrol out that evening and lie up, listening for any enemy patrol movement across the stream that cut our No Man’s Land in two. I was to take a section with me and this would be made up by a section recruited from HQ under the command of CSM Clifford. Cap comforters were worn, faces were blackened, genades fastened to web belts by the hand levers, and ammunition was readily available. For the trip through the deserted streets we were escorted by another section which formed the normal evening stand-to patrol.

At 2100 hrs I led my 7 men (country me from Tewkesbury and Winchcombe) away from the main lower street of the village and down through a cottage garden and crossed a wire fence. It was about 5 minutes after this that the enemy, about 30 strong, opened fire on my platoon position back at Grindorff. We were moving steadily along the old French wire when we heard the firing behind us. We carried on our patrol for about 15 minutes until enemy snipers began to make things difficult. We found a hollow and used that as cover, lying in a circle, keeping an all-round outlook.

By 2145 hrs the battle was going strong up at the platoon positions. We had watched about 150 of the enemy move up the wire. The enemy were attacking in front of the Platoon HQ when the Bren gunner covering the position, Pte Bailiss, was wounded by a Schmeizer and hand grenade. He was carried back just as the enemy came through the wire and the Bren gun slipped and Pte Bailiss fell. It was then that Sergt. Bill Adlam moved out in full view of the enemy and, under fire, recovered the gun, firing it and beating off the German assault. For this he received the Military Medal – the first TA soldier of the war to get this award.

About 2300 hrs Pte Bidgood, one of my patrol, was wounded and seemed in a bad state. I decided to get him back and moved the patrol up to the village. We moved steadily, carrying Pte Bidgood in the rear, but I realised that our own troops would be ready to fire on anything that moved in the street. I decided to hail the post and shout “Blackbird coming back wounded.” (From the old marching song, “Where be that backbird be?”) At 2330 hrs we entered the post, but as we did furious firing broke out again. Sergt. Adlam came out from the sandbags and helped us home. By 2345 that attack was so strong on our left flank that I put up the machine gun SOS of three greens. What a glorious sound that sustained staccato fire was; it broke up the enemy attack very swiftly. For half an hour there was a welcome lull.

At 0100 hrs the next attack came with a sudden shock, on our right and behind us. Above the row I could hear Sergt. Walker swearing in the good old Tewkesbury tongue at the Boche. 0120 French 75′s put down 30 shells, but the attack continued. At 0130 a German dropped a grenade through the window of Platoon HQ. No one was hurt as we were all on the floor. The attack continued until 0300 hrs. Another burst of French artillery brought the fighting to an end. At about 0440 hrs the third attack began, on our right and behind us.

Ammunition was running low but at 0530 the Carriers arrived, Gavin Scott leading 20 men with 7 Bren guns. After they opened up on the enemy, the Boche left the village for good.

The 5th Glosters at Ledringhem

by Major F.W. Priestley (Adjutant, 5th Bn. 1940)
(Back Badge 1946)

After the strenuous march back from near Brussels and the sharp engagement on the River Escault, at Bruyelle, the 5th Glosters were ordered to withdraw on the 22nd May 1940, to Aix. On the following day a further move was carried out to Nomain. Then followed a long march over congested roads to Herlies, some 10 miles south-west of Lille. From here on the 25th, after a meal but very little rest, the Battalion bussed by different routes to Oost Capelle.

The 25th May was a day of air combats and signs of trouble could even be seen in the Dunkirk direction. After a short rest the Battalion moved off at 1600 hrs to take up positions defending Wormhoudt. The town, till then, had been untouched by bombing and evacuation of its inhabitants had only just commenced. Orders were issued in the early afternoon of the 26th May for the 5th Glosters to move forward and hold outpost positions at Ledringhem and Arneke, some 3 and 5 miles from Wormhoudt. Preceeded by the Carrier Platoon, the Battalion, less “A” and “D” Companies, moved cautiously into Ledringhem without meeting any signs of opposition and were in the village soon after 1700 hrs. The carriers then moved forward to Arneke preparatory to “A” and “D” Comapanies occupying the village, again without opposition. Orders had also been received for 1 platoon, with 1 platoon MG of 4th Cheshires, to be detached to form a road block with a section of anti-tank guns at Rietveld in the rear (east) of Ledringhem on the road Wormhoudt-Cassel. The platoon was provided by “C” Coy. and took no part in the fighting at Ledringhem; joining at Brigade HQ when the Battalion was isolated at Ledringhem and rejoining the Battalion later on.

The forward southern position at Arneke was held by “D” Coy. under Capt. E. Rockett, with three 25mm anti-tank guns of the Battalion under 2nd Lieut. Goscomb. No. 11 Platoon, under 2nd Lt. Henn, was on the railway line some way north of the village.
“A” Coy. with Major D.W. Biddle in command, held the centre and northern part of the village on either side of the railway.
“C” Coy. under Capt. H. Mason, less the platoon under 2nd Lieut. Liversidge at Rietveld, was disposed to cover the road junctions between Arneke and Ledringhem.
Battalion HQ was established in the Ledringhem Mairie, in the centre of this one street village.
“B” Coy. under Capt. C. Norris was given the task of defending the north end of the village and the east flank.
HQ Company under Major A. Waller, disposed sections on the west of and close to Battalion HQ, and also south of Ledringhem.

Battalion transport, such as was necessary for the battle, was dispersed in an orchard on the east side of the village, where, although well camouflaged, it suffered destruction by enemy mortar fire as soon as the battle started. The remaining transport was located near Wormhoudt. The Battalion was given the support of an artillery regiment, whose FOO was present throughout, and which did considerable damage to enemy AFV’s and discouraged all enemy concentrations in the neighbourhood. A section of 2-pdr guns of the 53rd Anti-Tank Regiment came up during the evening and were disposed at Arneke. One additional MG Platoon came forward later in the battle and was sited with “C” Company.

The first night was comparatively peaceful. Little was seen of the French, thought to be withdrawing from around St. Omer. Very odd civilians were brought in, interrogated, and locked up, and it was not discovered till afterwards that these were wandering lunatics. The morning of the 27th May, which was fine and warm, brought a detachment of Royal Engineers sent to fix road blocks of iron rails let into the road by camouflet and these proved most efficient. Good progress was made in making earthworks and strenghtening defensive positions in buildings.

First news of the enemy came from “A” and “D” Coys at Arneke who observed AFVs to the east and south. These were the leading elements of the German forces, which, having broken through the French, were now wheeling north to cut off Dunkirk. During the afternoon tanks and embussed infantry were observed out of rifle range and apparently avoiding the villages. An enemy reconnaissance plane was continually overhead and then followed bursts of mortar fire on both villages. The CO decided to send forward a carrier section, and this under Sergt. L.E. Brown, who was later awarded the MM, did valuable work in ambushing parties of the enemy who were now making a determined attack on Arneke from various directions. A large concentration of the enemy was successfully dealt with by Lieut. D.L. Norris with his platoon of “D” Coy. Lieut. Norris was wounded the following day and had to be left as a prisoner of war. This very gallant officer died when in captivity (24th August 1942).

The fighting spread into the village and a burst of machine gun fire wounded Major Biddle, Capt. Rockett, and CSM Hill of “A” Coy.
At Ledringhem the attack was confined to mortar fire and so the remaining sections of the Carrier Platoon, under Lieut. N.W.H. Shephard, were ordered forward to Arneke to prevent an organised attack on the village from the south and north flanks. This they were able to do. The carriers also brought up fresh supplies of ammunition. The enemy withdrew from the village, and then followed a lull in fighting, enabling wounded men to be evacuated well before dark. For comparatively few casualties at Arneke, the enemy had lost during the day, 5 tanks, 5 armoured cars, and a considerable number of personnel.

It was now decided to concentrate the Arneke garrison at the north end of the village. “A” and “D” Companies were, however, brought back to the “C” Coy. area just south of Ledringhem under cover of darkness as there was a possibility of Arneke being cut off. The night was quiet, enemy patrols keeping off, and 0400 hrs 28th May, our artillery opened up on a pre-arranged plan. This fire was kept up most of the morning. Cassel, on the Battalion south-east flank, was seen to be undergoing air bombardment and an enemy aircraft of the Henschel type was seen delivering ammunition in the field south of Arneke. During the morning the QM (Major Vigrass) succeeded in delivering rations, but this was the last occassion, and he and his staff remained at Battalion HQ.

“A” Coy. (now under Capt. Scott), and “D” Coy. under Lieut. C. Norris, together with “C” Coy. were withdrawn in the afternoon from south of Ledringhem to positions forming an all-round defence of the village, orders having been received to hold the present positions for another 24 hours. It was impossible to contact No. 11 Platoon “D” Coy. who had been isolated on the railway line and who eventually returned via Wormhoudt, before rejoing the Battalion at Rexpoede.

During the day the enemy worked around the flanks of Ledringhem, only engaging the village with mortar and some sniping. Telephone communications with Brigade were finally severed by midday, and a despatch rider who made 5 trips during the day to Brigade HQ had come under fire on 4 occassions (Pte A.W. Joines, the D.R. received the MM for his devotion to duty). It was pretty evident that the village was surrounded.

Very soon afterwards the attack started seriously. Short and sharp bombardment by mortars would follow air-burst artillery over the village. The enemy were seen concentrating on both flanks near the church. No direct approach was made before dusk. As the first serious attack was developing 2 NCOs of “C” Coy. came into Battalion HQ with a message from Brigade to the effect that the Battalion was to withdraw if, and when, it could disengage, and proceed to Bambecque via Herzeele. L/Cpls. J.E. Barnfield and R.L.E. Mayo, who were part of the “C” Coy. platoon withdrawn to Brigade HQ at Rietveld, had volunteered to take this message and had taken 4 hours to complete 3 miles. They were both awarded the MM for their brave and timely action, without which the Battalion would have stood fast and would have been eventually overrun. It was now becoming very difficult to link up with the various company HQ’s and section posts. This was done by runner during the lulls in bombardments. Two observers in the church tower had been killed by snipers and it was difficult to discover from which flank the enemy was likely to develop his attack.

Counter sniping was taking place from possible upper windows, in which the CO joined at Battalion HQ. Armour piercing bullets came through the walls without doing much damage, but the gaping circles made in many places by shell-fire did not add to any feeling of security in buildings which had to be occupied. By now all carriers and anti-tank guns had been put out of action, most of the crews bing casualties. The artillery continued to give good support, but with darnkess coming on it was difficult to select suitable targets with the enemy in such close proximity.

The plan of withdrawal was based on a timed thinning out from all positions, a concentration in the orchard where the MT had been parked, and a stealthy creeping away by the fields and hedges remote from the road. Zero hour for the head of the colum to leave had been fixed at 2115 hrs.

During the evening the enemy continued short periods of mortar and machine gun fire, followed by an infantry rush from the south end near the church. Two such attacks developed after dark, necessitating the cancelling of zero hour. Unfortunately the cancellation did not reach “C” Coy. at the church and the greater part of them, under Capt. Welford, withdrew as ordered. Missing the turning for the field they passed on through the village and the majority, including Capt. Welford, were captured.

The enemy entered the church yard and tried to get down the village street; this was stopped by heavy Bren-gun fire, but he did established himself in the end houses. They were evicted by a counter-attack with bayonets, led by Capt. C. Norris, Lieut. Dewsnap, the IO, and Lieut. D. Norris, all of whom were wounded and eventually left behind.

During a second attack, the enemy produced a flame-thrower, the fuel of which did not ignite. He was disposed of, but not before much of this unpleasant oil had coated the defenders making it almost impossible for them to hold their weapons and giving rise to a temporary alarm of gas, so pungent was the oil. The withdrawal plan was set at 0001 hrs 29th May. The artillery support was now over and the FOO joined the withdrawal. Major Waller, HQ Coy. successfully led a sally to clear the churchyard. He had gone with the CO to investigate an enemy patrol at the back of the Mairie where Battalion HQ was sited. Both officers were wounded by tommy-gun fire and Major Waller was hit in the head. He died before the Battalion left the village. Colonel G. Buxton was wounded in the leg. Throughout the day Capt. Flowers (the Medical Officer) had worked valiently to collect and assist the wounded under almost impossible conditions. 2nd Lieuts. Shephard, Goscomb, and Owen had been slightly wounded but were also able to accompany the Battalion withdrawal.

This, fortunately, coincided with a lull in fighting. Two medical orderlies were left behind with the 3 wounded officers and the men in the school who were too severely injured to move. The remainder of the Battalion moved off. Smoke from burning buildings in the village helped cover movements. Complete silence was enjoyed and the Battalion left the orchard at 0015 hrs. The Battalion column was single file and fairly lengthy. Capt. L. Hauting (Adjutant) kept the column on the right route. A party of sleeping Germans was discovered and taken prisoner, together with their officer. The column reached Herzeele by 0530 hrs, which proved to be unoccupied. After a short pause they continued to Bambecque which was reached at 0630 hrs. Here the 8th Worcesters were in position and the tired Battalion were able to have a complete rest and food.

The Adjutant of the Worcesters wrote: “During the early-morning stand-to I saw a wonderful sight. Round the corner as I came out of Battalion HQ appeared the survivors of the 5th Gloucesters. They were dirty and haggard, but unbeaten. Their eyes were sunken and red from lack of sleep, and their feet as they marched seemed to me no more than an inch from the ground. At their head limped a few prisoners…. I ran towards Colonel Buxton, who was staggering along, obviously wounded. I took Colonel Buxton indoors….assuring him again and again that his men were all right.”

The Battalion embussed later that morning and taken to Rexpoede, commanded by Capt. Mason and the Adjutant. All the wounded were evacuated, prisoners handed over, and the remaining 13 officers and 130 men were soon on their way to the coast for evacuation. The move to the coast commenced after midnight on 30th May. It was the last, and most weary trek. All along the route were abandoned vehicles, many of which had been set on fire by their drivers. French equipment and loose artillery horses were eveywhere.

The beaches were reached close to Bray Dunes at about 0430 hrs, when contact was made with Major F.W. Priestley, who with RSM and 30 men of Battalion HQ and HQ Company, had missed the Battalion at Rexpoede. During the day evacuation was commenced by wading out to small boats for conveyance to ships. The last party embarked consisted of Major Priestly, Capt. Mason, Berenger (the French Agent de Liaison), CSM Wilcox, and 10 men, who were picked up at about 0400 hrs 31st May and taken to the paddle steamer ‘Glen Avon’ which was moving off for Harwich.

The Battalion eventually concentrated at Kingstone, Herefordshire, a total of some 400 all ranks. 2 officers and 83 men were killed.

November 1941, the 5th Glosters were converted into the 43rd Reconnaisance Regiment.

Awards for France 1940:

Military Cross

T/Capt. N.W.H. Shepherd – 5th Bn – 20 August 1940 – France

Military Medal
Sergt. W.G.H. Adlam – 5th Bn – 4 June 1940 – France 1940
Pte J.E. Barnfield – 5th Bn – 20 August 1940 – France 1940
Pte P. Morris – 20 August 1940 – France 1940
Pte A.W. Joines – 5th Bn – 3 Sept. 1940 – France 1940
L/Cpl. R.L.E. Mayo – 5th Bn – 3 Feb. 1944 – France 1940
Sergt. L.E. Brown – 5th Bn – 25 Oct. 1945 – France 1940

MID
Lieut-Col. G.A.H. Buxton – 5th Bn – 20 Dec. 1940 – France
T/Lieut-Col. F.W. Priestley – 5th Bn – 20 Dec. 1940 – France
Capt. P.P.L. Owen – 5th Bn – 20 Dec. 1940 – France
A/Capt. L.C. Hauting – 5th Bn – 20 Dec. 1940
2nd Lieut. L.C. Jenkins – 5th Bn – 20 Dec. 1940

The Battle of France:
10 May-25 June 1940
The French faced the German invasion with 4360 modern combat aircraft and with 790 new machines arriving from French and American factories each month. However, the air force was not organized for battle. The regular air force had only half again as many units as during its peacetime nadir in 1932. As the battle opened, 119 of 210 squadrons were ready for action on the decisive northeastern front. The others were reequipping or stationed in the colonies. The 119 squadrons could bring into action only one-fourth of the aircraft available. These circumstances put the Allied air forces in a position of severe numerical inferiority vis-Ã -vis the Luftwaffe. (See Table II.) Qualitatively, however, the French pilots and aircraft proved to be more effective than their adversaries.

Table II. Modern Combat Aircraft Deployed on the Western Front, 10 May 194022

Type French /British Belgian and Dutch /Combined /German

Fighters 583 /197 /780 /1264
Bombers 84 /192 /276 /1504
Reconnaissance
and Observation 458 /96 /554 /502

Totals 1125 /485 /1610 /3270

The fighter units on the northeastern front were equipped exclusively with machines built within the preceding eighteen months. The American-made Curtiss 75A fighter joined French squadrons beginning in March 1939. It was the most effective type in its class in combat over France until the Dewoitine D520 became operational in mid-May 1940. Eight squadrons equipped with the Curtiss 75A shot down 220 German aircraft (confirmed kills), losing only thirty-three pilots. In seven aerial battles in which the Curtiss fighters were engaged with Messerschmitts, the total score was twenty-seven Bf 109Es and six Bf 110Cs destroyed for three of the French aircraft.23

The Morane-Saulnier MS 406 equipped eighteen squadrons in France on 10 May 1940. The kill-loss ratio for units flying the MS 406 was 191 to 89. The shortcomings of the Morane fighter compared to the Bf 109E have been the topic of many memoirs, but in the reported battles in which Messerschmitts faced Moranes alone, the French posted a record of thirty-one kills and five losses. Both the Morane and the Messerschmitt were designed to met specifications issued in 1934, prototypes flew in 1935, and quantity production began in 1938. The Messerschmitt design was better suited for evolutionary development, and the Bf 109E-3 model of December 1939 was superior to the Morane. (See Table III.) During the Battle of France, the air staff converted twelve squadrons equipped with Moranes to other types as rapidly as training facilities permitted. This policy marginally increased the efficiency of the individual units, but it acted to decrease the effectiveness of the fighter force as a whole by taking combat-experienced squadrons out of the line at a critical time. Further, it failed to capitalize on new production to increase the size of the fighter force.

Table III. Comparative Characteristics of Fighter Aircraft in the Battle of France25

Country Type; Horse-power Speed (mph) at Best Altitude (ft) Service Ceiling (ft) Armament
France Curtiss 75A-3; 1200 /311 at 10,000 /33,700 /six 7.5-mm
France Dewoitine 520; 910 /329 at 19,685 /36,090 /one 20-mm four 7.5-mm
France Morane 406; 860 /302 at 16,400 /30,840 /one 20-mm two 7.5-mm
France Bloch 152; 1100 /320 at 13,120 /32,800 /two 20-mm two 7.5-mm
England Hawker Hurricane I; 1030 /324 at 16,250 /34,200 eight 7.7-mm
Germany Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3; 1175 /348 at 14,560 /34,450 /two 20-mm two 7.9-mm

Another fighter designed to meet the same specification as the MS 406 was the Bloch MB 150. Though it lost out in the procurement competition to the Morane, the Bloch firm developed the basic design around a more powerful engine. The resulting Bloch MB 152 was faster and more powerfully armed than the MS 406. Twelve squadrons had Bloch fighters on 10 May 1940, and six more became operational with them during the battle. Units while equipped with Blochs shot down 156 German planes and lost 59 pilots.24

The first two squadrons equipped with the fast and agile Dewoitine 520 entered the battle on 13 May; eight others completed conversion training and became operational before the armistice. Between them, they shot down 175 enemy aircraft for a loss of 44 aviators. Polish pilots manned two squadrons of Caudron C 714 fighters. The ultralight Caudron (3086 pounds, empty) was capable of 302 mph with a 450-horsepower engine. Becoming operational on 2 June, the Poles shot down seventeen German aircraft and lost five pilots before their unit was disbanded on 17 June.

The French fighter force had available to it during the battle more than 2900 modern aircraft. At no time did it have more than one-fifth of these deployed against the Germans. The operational rate of the fighter force was 0.9 sorties per aircraft per day at the height of the battle. (German fighter units flew up to four sorties per aircraft per day.) Yet in spite of committing only a minor portion of its resources at a low usage rate, the fighter force accounted for between 600 and 1000 of the 1439 German aircraft destroyed during the battle.

The bulk of the published commentary on the French bomber force has focused on the fact that eight squadrons of Amiot 143M twin-engine medium bombers remained in the French order of battle. Designed in 1931 and manufactured between 1935 and 1937, the Amiot 143M by 1940 had been left behind by the rapid evolution of aviation technology. Critics of the prewar regime and apologists for the air force have drawn attention to this aircraft to highlight the poor quality of the equipment with which the French Air Force had to fight. Operationally, units equipped with the Amiot 143 performed with distinction. The eight squadrons flew 551 night bombing sorties between 10 May and 16 June and lost only twelve aircraft. In addition, six of the squadrons furnished thirteen aircraft for one desperate daylight mission on 14 June against German bridges and vehicular traffic approaching Sedan. A strong fighter escort kept the loss to three Amiots.26

The French long-range, four-engine heavy bomber, the Farman 222, equipped four squadrons. These squadrons flew seventy-one night bombing missions, striking targets such as Munich, Cologne, and Koblenz. They lost only two aircraft.

Modern French day bombers included the 307mph Lioré et Olivier LeO 451 (18 squadrons, 392 sorties, 98 losses), the 298-mph Amiot 354 (4 squadrons partially equipped, 48 losses), and the 304-mph Breguet 693 (10 squadrons, 484 sorties, 47 losses). The French machines were supplemented by shipments from America of the 288-mph Martin 167F (first of 8 squadrons into action 22 May, 385 sorties, 15 losses) and the 305-mph Douglas DB-7F (first of 6 squadrons into action 31 May, 69 sorties, 9 losses).

The effectiveness of the French bomber force was reduced by poor communications arrangements that made massing of bomber squadrons impossible and rendezvous with fighter-escort problematic. Attacking piecemeal, the two day-bomber wings operational on 10 May lost twenty-eight of their forty-two aircraft in the first week. RAF day-bomber units, operating in the same command/control/communications environment, lost 132 out of 192. Most of the surviving machines were in need of extensive repairs. Although new aircraft and units came into action, the low operational rate (.25 sorties per aircraft per day) of the bomber force degraded its ability to have a significant effect on the land battle.

French reconnaissance and observation units had the most powerful aircraft in these two categories in the world. The standard French strategic reconnaissance aircraft, the Bloch 174, was capable of 329 miles per hour and an altitude of 36,000 feet. First delivered to units in March 1940, the Bloch 174 was produced quickly enough to equip all of the strategic reconnaissance squadrons during the battle. The reconnaissance units obtained early, accurate, and detailed information on German concentrations and axes of advance. They continued to keep senior army headquarters informed, irrespective of weather and enemy opposition, throughout the battle. However, the tempo of activity in reconnaissance units was extraordinarily low–an average of one mission every three days for a squadron (.04 sorties per aircraft perday). At the peak of intensity–from 10 to 15 May–the most active squadron flew two missions per day.27

The observation branch, relegated to reserve status in 1936, was the stepchild of the air force. The air staff had no program to modernize its equipment–aircraft dating from 1925 to 1935. Guy La Chambre in June 1938 directed the air staff to reequip the observation squadrons. Pilots in operational units wanted an ultrafast singleseater for long-range reconnaissance and a light two-seater capable of landing on unimproved fields for short-range observation missions. The air staff, preoccupied with political issues and indifferent to the views of men on squadron duty, ordered the Potez 63.11, the fastest, heaviest, most complex observation plane in the world. With a top speed of 264 miles per hour, it was 40 miles per hour faster than its German counterpart (Henschel Hs 126 B) and 50 miles per hour faster than the British Lysander. With twelve machine guns, it was the most heavily armed machine in any air force. Too fast and heavy to land on improvised strips yet too slow to escape German fighters, it was an elegant and graceful coffin for its crews.

Observation squadrons trained and mobilized under the army commands they would support. Army corps commanders viewed their observation squadrons as their private air forces and often imposed unrealistic demands that led to heavy losses early in the war. The air force general staff made rules to protect observation aircraft that limited their utility–for example, they had to fly behind friendly artillery, no mission could exceed fifteen minutes, fighter escort was required, and only the most modern (Potez 63.1 1) aircraft could be used. Poor liaison between the army and air force, coupled with slow communications within the air force, led to many observation squadrons being kept on forward airfields until they were about to be overrun by German motorized units. As a result, more than half of the observation aircraft in units on 10 May were destroyed to prevent capture or simply abandoned by the end of the first week. When the front stabilized between 25 May and 5 June, the observation units performed effectively, but coordination between the air force and army was too threadbare to permit them to function in a war of movement.21

The ability of the air force to provide close combat support to the army had been fatally compromised by the aviators’ struggle for independence. Senior army officers were ignorant of the capabilities and limitations of aviation, and the air force had done almost nothing to develop a capability to attack battlefield targets. Army generals declined strikes on appropriate targets. They demanded support without being able to describe the nature or location of the target or the plan and timing of the friendly maneuver to be supported. The air force organized maximum efforts to support French armored counterattacks. On 14 May, British and French bombers flew 138 sorties and lost 51 planes in support of General Charles Huntziger’s counterattack at Sedan. He postponed the attack. The next day the air force mounted 175 sorties; the attack was canceled. The air force did its best to support Colonel Charles de Gaulle’s armored thrusts toward Montcornet on 16 and 17 May. Night fighters received day ground assault missions, and the remains of the bomber units were committed. But Colonel de Gaulle failed to tell the air force the time and direction of his movements. As a result, 68 bomber sorties went in before de Gaulle moved and were of no assistance to him. A major breakout south by the encircled Army Group 1 was planned for 21 May. The air force received orders to support the attack but had no information on the time, place, or direction.29 (The mission was canceled.)

The air force general staff, dedicated to the strategic bombing mission, had quietly ignored Guy La Chambre’s directive to prepare for the ground assault mission. La Chambre had forced the air staff to procure assault bombers in 1938, and the first aircraft arrived in units in October 1939. The instructional manual for assault bomber units did not appear until January 1940, and there never was a manual for the employment of fighters in the assault role. The air staff complied with the letter of ministerial and army demands for a ground assault capability but did not commit intellectual, developmental, or training resources to developing one.

With German armor overrunning France, the air force belatedly sought to improvise an antitank capability. More than 2300 of the 2900 French fighter planes and all of the 382 assault bombers available during the battle carried 20mm cannon capable of penetrating the topside armor of all of the German tanks. The air staff designated Fighter Group III/2 to carry out the first aerial antitank missions. Its MS 406 aircraft carried high-velocity, engine-mounted 20-mm guns, but no armor-piercing ammunition was available. On 23 and 24 May, the unit flew nine sorties, lost three aircraft, and destroyed no tanks. Two weeks later, several fighter units flew a total of forty-eight antitank sorties over a four-day period–again without armor-piercing shells. They lost ten aircraft and did inconsequential damage. Two attacks in mid-June cost an additional three aircraft without seriously damaging any tanks.30 The capability of the armament and the valor of the pilots were wasted because of the absence of intellectual and logistical preparation.

The story of the French Air Force is one of gallant and competent individual performances that made no perceptible difference in the outcome of the battle. A dozen years of political strife had unraveled the network of trust and confidence through which bravery and professional skill could have an effect. The army and the air force each fought its own battle, weakened by the lack of coordination. The air staff, with its eyes on Berlin, neglected the preparation of command/control/communications systems and thereby denied the French Air Force the ability to integrate the efforts of individual units. The air force was so bitterly alienated from the political leadership that it declined to expand its organization and thereby deprived France of the powerful air force that its industrial base had provided.

Could the French Air Force Have
Seized Command of the Air?
On 10 May 1940, the operational units of the French Air Force committed to the Western Front were heavily outnumbered. The low rate of operations in the French Air Force compared to that of the Germans increased by a factor of four the French inferiority in the air during the first month of the battle. By mid-June, however, the Luftwaffe was exhausted. It had lost 40 percent of its aircraft. Its flyers had been operating above hostile territory without navigational aids and with the certainty of capture in the event their aircraft were disabled. The air and ground crews were working from captured fields at the end of lengthening supply lines. The French, on the other hand, had conducted much less intensive flight operations, were able to recover the crews of disabled aircraft, were falling back on their logistical bases, and were bringing new units on line with brand new aircraft every day. By 15 June, the French and German air forces were at approximate parity with about 2400 aircraft each, but the French were operating from their own turf, and they had the support of the RAF. Mastery of the air was there for the seizing, but on 17 June the French air staff began to order its units to fly to North Africa. The justification put forth by the air staff was that the army was destroyed and could not protect the airfields.

An examination of which units were ordered to North Africa and which were left behind reveals much about the motivation behind the evacuation. The units flown to North Africa were those regular air force squadrons with the most modern and effective aircraft–all of the squadrons equipped with the Curtiss 75A (10), Dewoitine 520 (10), Amiot 354 (8), Bloch 174 (18), Farman 222 (4), Douglas DB-7 (8), and Martin 167 (10), plus most of those with the Lioré et Olivier 451 (12 of 18). Those left behind included all of the air force reserve units–47 observation squadrons and 12 fighter squadrons–and all of the units closely connected with the army (the observation squadrons, the 10 assault bomber squadrons, and 7 night fighter squadrons converted to the ground assault role).31

The behavior of the leaders of the French Air Force before and during the Battle of France suggests that their primary purposes were to protect the regular air force against its domestic adversaries and to ensure its survival after the battle and the expected defeat. Refusing to expand the regular air force, spinning off the dangerous and unglamorous observation mission to the reserves, maintaining a low operational rate, declining to seize command of the air when the Luftwaffe was weak, and selecting only regular air force units and those unconnected with direct support of the army to send to North Africa constitute a coherent pattern. The senior aviators kept their service small, protected the cadres from severe danger, and kept most of the regular air force together out of the Germans’ reach. Such decisions suggest a preposterous misordering of priorities in a nation at war but do make psychological and institutional sense when one reflects on both the frustration the aviators had suffered in their struggle to achieve operational independence from the army and the cavalier and callous way in which parliamentary officials had played with their lives, careers, and values.

The relevance of the French experience for leaders of the United States Air Force lies in the fact that the institutional struggle for autonomy and the operational necessity for cooperation are permanent and uncongenial elements of every defense establishment. The U.S. Army Air Service (and Air Corps) endured as much destructive and capricious treatment by uniformed and civilian officials of the army and the navy during the interwar years as did the French Air Force.32 By facing the issue of institutional independence for aviation just after (rather than just before) a great war, American military leaders avoided an interservice confrontation on the battlefield. But the interservice struggle goes on: doctrinal divergence retains its potential to sabotage mutual support among the services in future wars. The French experience can be useful as a cautionary tale about the ease with which institutional loyalties can weaken a national defensive posture.

Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania

 

25th of May.1940

Von Rundstedt and his men refused to give up and they fought on to the bitter end; of the 180000 defenders only around 32000 managed to withdraw to Innsbruck, the French and Italians marched into the ruins of Bregenz on the 25th of May. 148000 German soldiers were dead, wounded or missing; French intelligence estimated that the seven Vulksstrum divisions that had participated in the battle had been destroyed; it was a major victory for the Axis and a national tragedy for Germany.

May,25th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… The Belgian forces are driven out of Menin by attacks of units from Army Group B. The last pockets of resistance in Boulogne are eliminated. At 1700 hours Gort cancels the preparations he has been making to join Weygand’s offensive. Later in the day Wegand in turn cancels the whole scheme, blaming Gort for this decision. In fact the French forces on the Somme have not made any attacks, as has been claimed, and the French forces with the northern armies are in no condition to do so.

German infantry marching through a town in Belgium

 

 

 

 

May,26th.1940

Boulogne fell to the Germans. The Belgian armies, disorganized and short of supplies after 16 days of fighting, could not sustain further attacks, and Leopold III ordered them to capitulate.

Evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk begins.

Polish destroyer Blyskawica takes part in the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk.

<span>Douglas Bader, a member of 222 Squadron, attempted to protect Allied forces leaving Dunkirk. </span>

We were all flying around up and down the coast near Dunkirk looking for enemy aircraft which seemed also to be milling around with no particular cohesion.
The sea from Dunkirk to Dover during these days of the evacuation looked like any coastal road in England on a bank holiday. It was solid with shipping. One felt one could walk across without getting one’s feet wet, or that’s what it looked like from the air.
There were naval escort vessels, sailing dinghies, rowing boats, paddle-steamers, indeed every floating device known in this country. They were all taking British soldiers from Dunkirk back home.
The oil-tanks just inside the harbour were ablaze, and you could identify Dunkirk from the Thames estuary by the huge pall of black smoke rising straight up in a windless sky.
Our ships were being bombed by enemy areoplanes up to about half-way across the Channel and the troops on the beaches were suffering the same attention.
There were also German aircraft inland strafing the remnants of the British Expeditionary Force fighting their way out to the port.

<span>General Harold Alexander served under General John Gort who gave him the task of planning the rear guard action that enabled the British Expeditionary Force to be evacuated from Dunkirk. </span>

At Charleville, on 24 May, when the B.E.F. was absolutely ripe for the plucking, Hitler informed his astonished generals that Britain was ‘indispensable’ to the world and that he had therefore resolved to respect her integrity and, if possible, ally himself with her. Perhaps a less fanciful explanation of Hitler’s attitude is supplied by Ribbentrop’s representative at the Fuhrer’s headquarters, who has left on record the comment: “Hitler personally intervened to allow the British to escape. He was convinced that to destroy their army would be to force them to fight to the bitter end.”

<span>On the military side the facts are clearer. On 23 May Field-Marshal von Rundstedt, commanding Army Group A, halted</span>

General Guderian’s XIX Army Corps when two of its panzer divisions were heading for Dunkirk, not twenty miles distant and with little or no opposition ahead. The British counter-attack at Arras on 21 May, though undertaken by no more than two mixed columns, each comprising a tank battalion, an infantry battalion, a field battery, an anti-tank battery, and a machine-gun company, had caused him some concern.
He therefore called the halt in order to “allow the situation to clarify itself and keep our forces concentrated”. The panzers had just reached the Channel, and the success of this British counterattack engendered the fear of a larger operation that would cut them off from their supporting infantry.
The next morning he received a visit from the Fuhrer, who confirmed the stop order. The panzers were not to be risked in a possibly flooded area but preserved for future operations-presumably against the French Army. On the other hand, the Luftwaffe’s ‘field of action’ was not to be restricted.
Actually, on the available evidence, there can be little doubt that it was at the particular instance of the Luftwaffe’s commander-in-chief, Field-Marshal Goering, that in the upshot the B.E.F. Was “left to the Luftwaffe”.
Guderian was to write, bitterly, of the first day of the evacuation, 26 May: “We watched the Luftwaffe attack. We saw also the armada of great and little ships, by means of which the British were evacuating their forces.” Guderian’s bitterness was shared by the whole of the German Army High Command.

<span>A British artillery officer produced an anonymous account of what it was like waiting on the beaches at Dunkirk on 30th May, 1940.</span>

The whole front was one long continuous line of blazing buildings, a high wall of fire, roaring and darting in tongues of flame, with the smoke pouring upwards and disappearing in the blackness of the sky above the roof-tops.
Along the promenade, in parties of fifty, the remnants of practically all the last regiments were wearily trudging along. There was no singing, and very little talk. Everyone was far too exhausted to waste breath. It was none too easy to keep contact with one’s friends in the darkness, and amid so many little masses of moving men, all looking very much alike. If you stopped for a few seconds to look behind, the chances were you attached yourself to some entirely different unit.
A group of dead and dying soldiers on the path in front of us quickened our desire to quit the promenade. Stepping over the bodies we marched down the slope on the dark beach. Dunkirk front was now a lurid study in red and black; flames, smoke, and the night itself all mingling together to compose a frightful panorama of death and destruction.

1940
On the Western Front… The position of the Belgian army is becoming increasingly grave. It is clear that it is unable to stay in the fight for much longer. The British forces are beginning to fall back on Dunkirk and in the evening the order is issued to begin Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk. Admiral Ramsay, who commands the Royal Navy forces based at Dover, is appointed to command the operation. The scope of the operation is not made clear to the local French commanders at first and they feel, with some justice, that they are being abandoned.

British soldiers wade to waitng boats at Dunkirk

In Norway… The British cruiser Curlew is sunk by air attack off Harstad.

From London… General Dill becomes Chief of the British General Staff. His predecessor General Ironside takes over as Commander in Chief of Home Forces.

. Channel May 26, 1940
C class AA cruiser HMS Curlew sunk by air attack.

 

the 26th of May. 1940

A Desperate Counter Attack

The celebratory mood and high spirits in the French High Command were interrupted by the news of a powerful German thrust towards Schweinfurt on the 26th of May. 1940

General Weygand, who had recently assumed command of the 4th Army, mounted a determined defense. The Germans advanced initially due to the element of surprise, but the offensive ebbed out outside Coburg on the morning after.

on the 26th of May. 1940
Salzburg

With the German counter offensive an obvious fiasco the Emperor felt it was time to strike southeast and surround the German forces in the Austrian Alps, therefore he ordered de Gaulle to advance with the Grand Army. Air General Bouscat, famous among French Air Force officers as the ‘Tank Buster’, launched ferocious attacks on German forces around Salzburg on the 26th of May. 1940

on the 27th.May 1940

 The French Air Force crippled German communications and struck vital artillery positions, it was obvious to the German commander General Schniewind that the situation was already hopeless, but Reich President Beck was adamant that he should continue the advance. This wasn’t possible and the Germans withdrew on the 27th.May 1940

May,27th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… The German armor resumes its attacks, trying to cut off the British and French forces around Lille. A desperate defense enables most of them to get away to positions nearer the coast. There is also trouble nearer the coast where the Belgian resistance is becoming increasingly weak. In the Dunkirk evacuation only a little is achieved with less than 8000 men being landed in Britain.

Armor of the 7th Pz. Div.continues the attack toward Lille

In Norway… The Allied assault on Narvik gets under way. The attacking troops are led by the French General Bethouart. The town is taken after a brisk fight. When bad weather at the Bardufoss airfield grounds the Allied fighters, the attack is briefly held up because the ships providing bombardment support have to fight off the Stukas alone.

.

May,28th.1940

1940
In Belgium… King Leopold agrees to the surrender of the Belgian army without consulting the other Allies or his government (now in Paris). The capitulation becomes effective at 1100 hours.

King Leopold on his way to surrender

On the Western Front… Before the Belgian capitulation becomes effective at 1100 hours, these is a desperately hurried redeployment of the British and French forces that prevents the Germans from reaching Nieuport, and from there the Dunkirk beaches. A corps of French 1st Army is holding out in Lille but they are now cut off from the main British and French forces in the evacuation area. The evacuation continues, with 17,800 men being brought off at the cost of one destroyer and several other vessels. There is fierce fighting around Cassel and Poperinghe where Rundstedt’s men again press forward.

28 May 1940,
King Leopold of Belgium agreed to capitulate: Belgium surrenders to Germany.
Allied capture Narvik, Norway and at 3 June evacuation from Narvik.
French General Béthouart leads a force from Bjerkvik on Narvik, Norway.
Polish troops attack Narvik, Norway, from south of the village.
Allied troops complete taking Narvik, Norway.

The steamer “Mona’s Isle” is the first ship which arrived in Dunkirk and came under fire from coastal batteries and leaved with more than 100 dead on board

.

 

 

 

May,29th.1940

May 29, 1940
Admiralty W class destroyer Wakeful sunk by E-boat off Nieuport.
HMS Grenade sunk by aircraft off Dunkirk.
HMS Grafton sunk by E-boat off Dunkirk

29 May 1940,
Dunkirk is encircled by German artillery and fired by the Luftwaffe but the evacuation continues with French troops joining the theatre. Lost are the destroyers HMSS Wakeful, Grafton and Grenade. Even though the Germans had clear weather, the Stukas are less effective around Dunkirk than Gôring had expected. Their ability to hit land convoys and static targets is not matched when faced wîth the armada of vessels going to and from the French coast. While more than 860 vessels are going on runs to and from the Dunkirk beaches, the German bombardment decreases and some units move back to prepare for action elsewhere in France.

27 May – 2 Blenheims lost from a total of 48 attempting to bomb German positions around Dunkirk.

27/28 May – 120 aircraft to a variety targets; 24 Hampdens attack oil refineries near Hamburg and Bremen, 36 Whitleys bomb railway yards in the Ruhr and 35 Wellingtons and 25 Hampdens attack communications behind German lines. No aircraft lost. First German fighter to be shot down by RAF claimed by tail gunner in 10 Sqn Whitley.

28 May – 48 Blenheims attack German positions near Dunkirk. 1 aircraft shot down.

28/29 May – 34 Wellingtons and 13 Whitleys again concentrate on German forces at Dunkirk. 1 Whitley lost.

29 May – 51 Blenheims continue raids on German troops. No losses.

French Armor 1940

<span>Char de combat moyen Renault D2
Weight : 20.5 ton
Dimensions:5.05 x 2.18 x 2.66 mt
Armor (max) : 40 mm
Range : 155 km
Speed (max – route) : 23 km/hr
Main gun : n.1 47mm gun
MG : n.2 7.5mm
Crew : 3
The “Char D”, developed at the end of the 1920s as an improvement of the light Renault N.C. tank, was, up to 1935, “The” French AFV.
Due to financial constraints, production was limited to 160 units of the lighter D1 version (1931), and to 50 units of the D2 version (1932). </span>

<span>Char B 1 bis
Weight : 31.5 ton
Dimensions:6.50 x 2.49 x 2.80 mt
Armor (max) : 60 mm
Range : 140 km
Speed (max – route) : 29 km/hr
Main guns : n.1 47mm gun + n.1 75mm howitzer
MG : n.2 7.5mm
Crew : 4
The heavy Char B1 bis, “la fortresse”, dated from the late 1920s and was intended to be the French Army’s main battle tank. It was considered an advanced vehicle : only the German 88mm anti-aircraft gun could penetrate its frontal armour, while its 47mm anti-tank gun, which armed a small one-man turret (the same APX turret mounted on the S35 and Char D tanks), was considered the best gun in its category.
Production was slow : by 1940 only 400 had been built (due to both complexity of the design and lack of mass production capacity). The B 1 bis’ potential was, however, wasted as they were committed to piecemeal battles and not concentrated as the German panzertruppen. </span>

<span>Renault R.35
Weight : 9.8 ton
Dimensions:4.00 x 1.85 x 2.10 mt
Armor (max) : 45 mm
Range : 138 km
Speed (max – route) : 19 km/hr
Main gun : n.1 37 mm
MG : n.1 7.5mm
Crew : 2
The R.35 was supposed to be the replacement for the light FT-17. By 1940 some 2,000 were manufactured, making it numerically the most important tank of the French Army. Technically advanced, fast and reliable, the R.35 was handicapped by two main factors : its poor main gun (a short-barrelled 37mm dating from 1918) and its two-man crew.
As well as the other French tanks, its action was penalized by the foolish strategy implemented by the French Headquarters</span>

<span>Somua S35
Weight : 20.0 ton
Dimensions:5.30 x 2.12 x 2.62 mt
Armor (max) : 55 mm
Range : 230 km
Speed (max – route) : 40 km/hr
Main gun : n.1 47 mm
MG : n.1 7.5mm
Crew : 3
When first revealed in 1935 the SOMUA S35 was regarded by many as the finest tank in the world. It had a cast steel hull (the first of its kind) and a cast steel turret, mounting a 47 mm gun, and was fast. The S35 turret used an electrical drive system.
By 1940 about 430 tanks had been manufactured.
The S35 had, however, quite a few weaknesses : the cast upper hull bolted to the lower section (so that it split apart along the length of the vehicle if struck by an AP projectile), the one-man turret (which required the commander to load, aim and fire the gun, leaving short time for actual commanding), and the cast turret and hull (which produced a terrific “bell resonance” effect when the tank was simply hit even by MG shots).
After 1940 many S35 were used by the Germans, mainly for second-line duties.
</span>

<span>Hotchkiss H39
Weight : 12.1 ton
Dimensions:4.22 x 1.95 x 2.15 mt
Armor (max) : 40 mm
Range : 120 km
Speed (max – route) : 36.5 km/hr
Main gun : n.1 37 mm
MG : n.1 7.5mm
Crew : 2
The Hotchkiss H39 was considered one of the better of the French tanks in 1940. Some 1100 units were manufactured prior to the German invasion of France.
The H39 features were similar to those of S35: reliable mechanics but of limited value as “battle beasts” (like all two-man tanks). After June 1940 the H39 began a second career with the German Army (including the Vichy French). From 1942, the H39 was gradually downgraded to second-line duties. </span>

By the end of WW1 France had produced nearly 4000 battle tanks (St. Chamond M16, Schneider M16 CA1, and the Renault FT17), more than double the amount produced by Britain (about 1300) and two hundred times the amount produced by Germany. At the start of WW2, France possessed one of the numerically strongest arrays of armored vehicles in the world. Some 5000 battle tanks were on hand, however, a good portion of this number was of WW1 vintage. According to French doctrine, the purpose of the tank was to provide support for the infantry. French tanks were organized into many small units and dispersed.
On May 10, 1940, there were almost 3500 battle tanks available to combat units located along the front facing Germany. Here is a breakdown in actual numbers. The remainder of France’s tank force were located in arsenals or in training schools.

Renault FT17 534
Renault R35/40 1035
Hotchkiss H35 398
Hotchkiss H39 790
FCM 36 90
Renault D2 75
Renault B1
& B1 bis 313
FCM 2C 6
Somua S35 243

French tanks were well armed, armored and automotively designed. After the Great war came a debate about the future of the tank in many nations.
This debate fell into basically 2 schools of thought. Was the tank an infantry support weapon or was it a new form of weapon? The end of WW1 left the question wide open. Tanks were not advanced enough to be much more than infantry support weapons when the war ended and advancing technology caused thought and tactics to fall into the realm of the military dreamer.
Tanks proponents and dreamers of what a future war would be like were usually ignored or abused in their home country while being admired by men in other nations. What would the next war be like? How will we make the next war bend to our dreams and planning? Old school officers are trained to be slow to accept change. They are taught to think things out carefully. After all, the military in every nation is the bulwark of national tradition.
Tradition resists change. This occurs everywhere. Wartime leaders rarely are successful in peace as peacetime leaders are rarely successful in war. The politics of life dictate that. In war, everyone loves a decisive, “line in the sand” leader as they bring stability and reduce fear. In peace, people find this kind of person inflexible. A great example is Winston Churchill, loved in war, tossed out of office 3 weeks after VE day.


<span>Char B1 bis</span>


<span>Renault AMR-33</span>


<span>Renault D2</span>


<span>Somua S35</span>

The fall of France in 1940 came from some rather simple reasons.
The first was motivation and leadership – German troops were simply more motivated and better lead. The second was tactics – some nations got the idea of tank warfare right (Germany) and others got it wrong (France).
Those nations that followed the French system of tank deployment quickly learned to change tactics after the fall of Poland and France. Anyone who employed the French system can give thanks that Germany did not practice on them first.
However, it should be noted that the German Blitzkrieg, though excellent in 1939, was a defective plan by 1942. The next logical step was the “all arms” approach practiced today. Massing tanks like Germany did would simply not work today any better than the French penny packet infantry support idea worked in 1939.
Both systems were absolutely correct – when you add them together – you get “all arms”. You can see this in 1944 after the allies invaded France. The allies did not possess better tanks or guns, but they did, by then, use an all arms approach.


<span>Renault R.35</span>

<span>Renault R.40</span>


<span>Hotchkiss H35</span>


<span>Hotchkiss H39 </span>

The Germans did not have more or better of anything in the form of equipment when they invaded France in 1940. France fell to the two factors of leadership and motivation.
An excellent example of the same factors can been seen in the fall of Burma in 1942 to the Japanese. Another is the much maligned airplane – the Brewser Buffalo. In the hands of the British and Dutch in Burma, the plane was defeated at every encounter against the Japanese. This gave it a horrible reputation. HOWEVER in the hands of the Finns, it went on to become a plane of Aces! The American ace – Johnny Johnson – said it all when he said the difference between him and other not so successful pilots was that when he flew, it was with the thought of “I am going up to kill the enemy” others went up with the thought “I hope that I don’t get killed today”.
In conclusion, it is easy to pick on the defeated. We can point fingers all day at items like the lack of communications in the French army HQ, or the inferiority of French anti tank guns and the like. But, the French did not have military morons in charge. They loved their country and were prepared to die for France. They simply did not have the right formula – motivation and tactics. If they had these, Germany would have been halted, or even more, France would have truly invaded Germany when she had the chance.


<span>Renault D2</span>


<span>Panhard AMD-35 </span>


<span> Renault UE-31</span

1940
On the Western Front… The German forces continue to press all round the contracting Dunkirk perimeter. By the end of the day most of the remaining British troops and a large proportion of the French are inside the final canal positions. The evacuation from Dunkirk and over the beaches goes on. The Luftwaffe increases the strength of its attacks despite the efforts of the RAF to give protection. A further 47,310 men are evacuated but 3 destroyers are sunk and 7 others damaged. At least 15 other vessels are sunk. The French are now beginning to allow their troops to be evacuated and have sent some ships to assist. Owing to the destroyer losses and the demand for them in other operations the Admiralty decides that the more modern types must be withdrawn.

Ships evacuating Allied troops from Dunkirk

May,29th.1944

 

1944
In New Guinea… On Biak Island, as well as Arare on the mainland, the American beachheads are heavily attacked by Japanese forces. The Japanese garrison on Biak makes use of tanks to force the US 162nd Regiment back towards its landing zone.

In the North Atlantic… The American escort carrier Block Island

and a destroyer are sunk by U-549 before it is itself sunk.

The USS Block Island damaged and sinking

Over Germany… About 400 American bombers attack German synthetic fuel works and oil refineries at Polits and other locations. The damage caused sets back aircraft fuel production.

In Berlin… In a presentation to Hitler, Field Marshal Busch, commanding German Army Group Center on the Eastern Front, presents evidence of a major Soviet buildup along his lines. Hitler emphasizes the need to improve the defensive fortifications at Vitebsk, Polotsk, Rosh, Mogilev and Bobriusk and to defend the area at all costs.

In Italy… At Anzio, the British and American troops of the US 6th Corps take Campoleone and Carroceto. The Canadian 1st Corps begins to advance up Route 6 from Caprano toward Frosinone.

May,29th.1945

1945
In Belgium… Belgian socialists call on King Leopold III to abdicate. The former government in exile and some Belgians hold the king in low regard because of his independent policies before the war and his unilateral decision to surrender to the Germans in 1940, without consulting the British and French who were assisting in the defense of Belgium.
In Norway… The Nobel prize winning author Knut Hamsun is arrested for collaborating with the Nazis during the occupation.

In Syria… French forces shell Damascus and Hama. Syrian gendarmes attack French military posts. Meanwhile, Syrian representatives ask the British for assistance.

In Tokyo… Admiral Ozawa replaces Admiral Toyoda as commander of the Combined Fleet.
Over Japan… American B-29 Superfortress bombers drop incendiaries on Yokohama, burning 85 percent of the port area

 

29th of May.1940

Field Marshal von Bock’s ten divisions were taking a merciless beating for three days, and when the Grand Army finally reached the German defenses on the roads towards the city they were all but wiped out. Salzburg fell to the practically unscathed columns of French armor 10:00 on the 29th of May.1940

May,29th.1940

.

29 May 1940,
Dunkirk is encircled by German artillery and fired by the Luftwaffe but the evacuation continues with French troops joining the theatre. Lost are the destroyers HMSS Wakeful, Grafton and Grenade. Even though the Germans had clear weather, the Stukas are less effective around Dunkirk than Gôring had expected. Their ability to hit land convoys and static targets is not matched when faced wîth the armada of vessels going to and from the French coast. While more than 860 vessels are going on runs to and from the Dunkirk beaches, the German bombardment decreases and some units move back to prepare for action elsewhere in France

May,30th.1940

1940
On the Western Front… There is something of a lull in the land battle around Dunkirk because of confusion and disagreement in the German command. The panzer forces begin to withdraw from the front line to take up positions to the south for the next stage of the battle of France. The evacuation, of course, continues with 53,823 men being taken off. The small ships over the beaches do most of the lifting but transfer their loads to larger vessels for the trip to England. One destroyer is sunk during the day, the French Bourrasque, three others are hit and at least nine of the smaller ships are also sunk. This total does not include the smallest vessels whose losses are also considerable. General Brooke, who has commanded the British 2nd Corps with distinction, is one of the evacuees.

Bourrasque strikes a mine and sinks during the evacuation

.

.

 

 

 

 

May,31th.1940

The Evacuation of Dunkirk continues.


<span>Dunkirk Harbour, oil tanks ablaze from German bombing.</span>

<span>A Lockheed Hudson low over the inferno of blazing oil tanks.</span>

On 10 May 1940 Hitler’s armies struck westwards across Europe. Within three weeks Holland and Belgium had surrendered and German Panzer (tank) divisions had split the British and French armies.

<span>A call to surrender, dropped from the air.</span>

The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and a substantial number of French troops were trapped in a diminishing pocket of land centred on the port of Dunkirk. On 25 May Boulogne was captured and on the following day Calais fell. That evening the Admiralty signalled the start of Operation Dynamo – the evacuation of the troops stranded on the beaches at Dunkirk.

<span>Private ack-ack.</span>

<span>Au Revoir.</span>

Operation Dynamo was masterminded by Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay, who had been given less than a week to prepare. From his headquarters in tunnels beneath Dover Castle, he directed and inspired a small staff who had the awesome task of planning the evacuation of up to 400,000 British and French troops under constant attack from German forces.

By 26 May Ramsay had assembled 15 passenger ferries at Dover and a further 20 at Southampton. These it was hoped would be able to embark troops direct from the quays at Dunkirk. To help in the evacuation and to provide escorts for the merchant ships Ramsay had a force of destroyers, corvettes, minesweepers and naval trawlers. These ships were augmented by cargo vessels, coasters and some 40 Dutch self-propelled barges


<span>DHM732AP. With the harbour under attack, HMS Express casts off having embarked troops of the British Expeditionary force (B.E.F.). Leaving with her are the trawlers, which were part of the small boat armada which played such a major part in the evacuation of Dunkirk. </span>

Minefields and shelling from German batteries on the French coast forced evacuation convoys to take longer routes to Dunkirk. The first convoy, after sustaining heavy air attacks, found the port of Dunkirk and its oil tanks ablaze and only the passenger ferries ‘Royal Daffodil’ and later the ‘Canterbury’ succeeded in berthing. By the end of the first day only 7,500 troops had been rescued and it was clearly impossible to use the port. Captain Tennant, in charge of the naval shore party at Dunkirk, signalled for the rescue ships to be diverted to the beaches east of the town. But here shallow waters prevented the large ships getting within a mile of the shore and troops had to be ferried in smaller craft from the beaches to the ships. There was an alternative, a spindly concrete pier with a wooden walkway, never designed to have ships docking against it but it was found that it could be used. Differences in loading speeds were dramatic HMS ‘Sabre’ took 2 hours to load 100 troops from the beach, but from the pier it took only 35 minutes to board 500 troops.

<span>Human life line.</span>

<span>The 34 year old paddle steamer, ‘Emperor of India’ was there, her deck crowded with passengers in garb unfamiliar to her. </span>

<span>Not even standing room.</span>

In London the Admiralty’s Small Vessels Pool had been collecting all available seaworthy pleasure craft. With volunteer crews, many of whom had never sailed out of sight of land before, they were checked at Sheerness Dockyard and then sent to Ramsgate to await final sailing orders. The pleasure craft were joined by lifeboats, trawlers, Thames sailing barges, tugs and other small craft. The first convoy of ‘little ships’ sailed from Ramsgate at 10pm on 29 May and by the next day they were streaming across the Channel in seemingly unending lines. The dangers were great, ships, both large and small, were targets for German fighters, bombers, submarines and coastal batteries plus the random danger of mines. Fortunately, throughout the evacuation, the seas remained abnormally calm. Most of the small craft headed for the beaches to act as tenders, while some of the larger trawlers and drifters loaded troops directly in Dunkirk Harbour.

<span>Dunkirk in flames, a portent of ‘the dark time through which we passed…’</span>

Trek to the beaches through a blitz on the town.

On the evening of 2 June, with the German forces closing in, Ramsay despatched a large force of ships, including 13 passenger ships, 14 minesweepers and 11 destroyers. At 11:30 pm Captain Tennant sent the historic signal from Dunkirk “BEF evacuated.” By now, the German forces were nearly in the outskirts of the town. Only one more night evacuation was possible. On the night of 3 June a final effort was made using British, French, Belgian and Dutch ships to bring out as many of the French rearguard as possible and over 26,000 were saved.

Between 26th May and 4th June 338,000 troops were rescued from Dunkirk, over 200,000 of them passing through Dover. During the nine day period the Southern Railway laid on a total of 327 special trains, which cleared 180,982 troops from Dover. 4,500 casualties were treated at the town’s Buckland Hospital and all but 50 of these seriously ill men were saved.

<span>The first chance a sleep.</span>

<span>These men were left.</span>

Churchill’s famous speech summed up the British spirit on the 4th June 1940:

“We shall outride the storms of war, and outlive the menace of tyranny.
That is the resolve of the Government; that is the will of parliament, and of the nation, and we shall not flag or fail.
We shall fight on the sea and the oceans,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets.
We shall fight on the hills.
“We shall never surrender”.

1940
On the Western Front… This is the most successful day of the Dunkirk evacuation, with 68,014 men being taken to Britain. The ships lost include one destroyer and six more are damaged. General Gort returns to Britain after handing over command of the remnant of the BEF to General Alexander as ordered. There are considerable air battles over the beaches at various stages during the day in which the RAF claim to shoot down 38 German aircraft for the loss of 28. In fact the figures are nearer equality.

Small boat floatilla picking up soldiers from Dunkirk

In Norway… The British blocking force is evacuated from Bodo.

In Britain… A series of measures, including the removal of all direction signs from crossroads, is taken to counter worries about fifth-column and parachute attacks.

In Washington… President Roosevelt introduces a “billion-dollar defense program” which is designed to boost the United States military strength significantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st June 1940,

 Braubach, Marksburg Castle

He was feeling bored again and that was fascinating in a way. He had spent six long years in Landsberg prison but it didn’t take more than three weeks of good food and these excellent facilities to restore him physically and stir his natural impatience.

He was still a prisoner but the new ‘cell’ was quite the improvement, a spatial bedroom, a drawing room and a bathroom.

He was still wearing the same nondescript military fatigues but they were clean, he ran his right hand through his hair, I’ll have to ask them to start letting me out into the courtyard for some exercise he thought.

There was a polite knock on the door, which was then opened by a soldier who walked in and stood beside the door, another man, wearing a French General Officer’s uniform entered.

He was in his late forties with a square jaw, short black hair; his piercing green eyes projected quiet menace.

Göring rose and the man extended his hand smiling “Ah, General Göring, a pleasure to finally meet you, I’m General Mannfred von Habsburg, Aide-de-Camp to the Emperor.” They shook hands and he replied, “Thank you Sir the pleasure is all mine, would you please sit down?”

There was a flicker of amusement in the man’s eyes over Göring’s attempt to act as a host and thereby create a small psychological advantage.

The German sat down on one of the chairs at the large table in the drawing room while von Habsburg remained standing; two servants entered the room and brought in a splendid ‘General of the Luftwaffe’ uniform including hat, riding boots, gold threaded belt and what Göring recognized as his own sword, which had cost a fortune to make.

 They also put a folder with documents on the table and then exited the room together with the soldier who closed the door. Von Habsburg walked over to the window and took in the view,

“I’m sure you find your new quarters satisfactory?” Göring raised an eyebrow, “Of course General, Landbsberg might not be the worst prison in the Reich, but I naturally prefer this.”

“Good, then let’s get down to business, as I’m sure you have realized, France is winning the war against Germany, it might take another six months to put down the last resistance but there is no doubt how this conflict will end. The Emperor has a plan for the future of central Europe, which of course includes Germany. As soon as certain territorial revisions have been made there are no further reasons for conflict between our two great nations and France will need a powerful and focused Germany at her side in the coming struggle against communism and possibly British Imperialism. That Germany will need a strong and determined leader, a leader who accepts the new order in Europe and takes responsibility for his people and brings Germany out of the darkness which the useless Ludwig Beck and his cohorts have plunged it into.”

“Are you saying what I think you are saying?”

Göring looked surprised.

“Yes I am. Our beloved Emperor has decided that you are the most suitable candidate for the position of leading a restructured Reich. He is most impressed by your exploits during the Great War and your performance throughout your party’s rise to power. Let me stress that we are interested in you as a person, there is no future for the National Socialist movement, which will become apparent to you very soon.”

“I would never betray my comrades…”

Göring began.

“Spare me your empty phrases Herr General; I’m only interested in a final yes or no when you have your options clear to you. If you decide to cooperate we will immediately let you begin creating an organization that can support your ascent to power when the war has been won.

This includes setting up a shadow cabinet with any men you find suitable, we will also allow you to set up a battalion of Luftwaffe troops from volunteers drawn from our German prisoners of war, to act as your personal and most trusted guard, something that will be essential during the first potentially shaky years of your reign. You will be most dependent on us of course, but we want to give you as much independence as possible.” Von Habsburg paused and sat down in front of Göring at the table.

“What’s the catch? Why should I become your puppet?” Göring was flustered.

“We expect you to be loyal to the Axis alliance and France; we do not expect you to be a puppet. There is a catch as you suspected, we need to tie your destiny to ours and at the same time remove your past loyalties. For that reason, your first act as Regent of Germany must be to order the elimination of all your party comrades; they are to be shot by your own Luftwaffe troops.”

Göring stared at von Habsburg in amazement. “Never! I will never betray the party and the Reich!”

Von Habsburg looked pityingly at the German. “Face it, your loyalty was to Adolf Hitler and he is dead and now when the Reich needs you the most, you are backing down? What will happen to the German people? Remember the years after the last war!”

 

“But…” Göring was faltering.

“Are you telling me you are choosing a life in prison over this”, von Habsburg rose and walked over and pointed to the Luftwaffe uniform. “It can all be yours again Hermann, remember the heady days in 1933? The feeling of power and destiny? Think about Emmy, you could have her in your arms within weeks! Your nation needs you man!”

Both men were quiet for several minutes and von Habsburg returned to the window, looking down on the small town of Braubach.

Finally Göring said, “How much territory will we have to give up.”

 

Von Habsburg turned slowly and walked over to the table and leafed through the documents in the folder on the table, he found what he was looking for and presented Göring with a map, who sighed when he saw the extent of the French demands, the only consolation where some former Polish provinces in the east. Von Habsburg produced another document and put it beside the map,

 “This is the order my dear General, I’ll give you an hour to decide, if you choose wisely we can have a friendly dinner together and plan your future, otherwise I’ll arrange for your transfer to a proper prison tomorrow. The French General put a very expensive fountain pen on the document and left the room.

Göring looked at the document; it was the execution order of his former party comrades.

He rose and walked over to the uniform, it was beautiful; he carefully explored the golden rank insignias on the shoulder boards with his fingers. He thought about the ‘good old days’ and his party comrades and their hard struggle, but most of them were nothing but sycophants who’s only goal was to further their own desires, they cared nothing for the Reich or the Führer! Why should he care about them?

Didn’t Hitler tell him during their long private conversations that the party was nothing more than a propaganda vehicle so they could save the fatherland? Wasn’t this the chance to continue the great work, to make Germany strong again?

He put on the uniform jacket and admired the exquisite work; Paris’ best tailor must have made this he thought.

He walked over to the mirror and looked at himself…Emmy would be beaming at him now if she had been here.

He carefully put on all parts of the uniform and admired his image in the mirror; ten minutes passed.

He looked back to the paper, tormented by the inner struggle, he could see all of their faces clearly in his mind…but only as prisoners…weak…useless…prisoners…there was a reason the Emperor of France had chosen him! He had no equal in Germany! He stood motionless for a while and then walked over to the table and signed the document…

June,1st.1940

Allied Naval losses off Dunkirk in June,1st.1940
Six British and seven French destroyers lost during evacuations from France.
A force of 41 British destroyers under Vice Admiral Ramsay were used in the evacuation along with a large number of smaller ships.

June 1, 1940
B class destroyer HMS Basilisk sunk by aircraft off the coast of Dunkirk.
B class destroyer HMS Keith lost.
H class destroyer HMS Havant attacked by aircraft off Dunkirk.
Locust class river gunboat HMS Mosquito lost to aircraft off Dunkirk.
Halcyon class minesweeper HMS Skipjack lost to aircraft off Dunkirk.

By 3 June 1940, instead of the 45,000 originally hoped for, 328,000 Allied

Evacuation British troops evacuating to ship via lifeboat bridgeDue to war-time censorship and the desire to keep up the morale of the nation, the full extent of the unfolding “disaster” around Dunkirk was not publicised. However, the grave plight of the troops led King George VI to call for an unprecedented week of prayer. Throughout the country, people prayed on 26 May for a miraculous delivery.[10] The Archbishop of Canterbury led prayers “for our soldiers in dire peril in France”. Similar prayers were offered in synagogues and churches throughout Britain that day, confirming the public suspicion of the desperate plight of the troops.[11] Initial plans called for the recovery of 30,000 men from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) within two days, at which time it was expected that German troops would be able to block further evacuation. Only 25,000 men escaped during this period, including 7,000 on the first day.[12] Ten additional destroyers joined the rescue effort on 26 May and attempted rescue operations in the early morning, but were unable to closely approach the beaches, although several thousand were rescued. However, the pace of evacuation from the shrinking Dunkirk pocket steadily increased. On 29 May 47,000 British troops were rescued[13] in spite of the first heavy aerial attack by the Luftwaffe in the evening. The next day, an additional 54,000 men[14] were embarked, including the first French soldiers.[15] 68,000 men and the commander of the BEF—Lord Gort—evacuated on 31 May.[16] A further 64,000 Allied soldiers departed on 1 June,[17] before the increasing air attacks prevented further daylight evacuation.[12] The British rearguard left the night of 2 June, along with 60,000 French soldiers.[17] An additional 26,000 French troops were retrieved the following night before the operation finally ended.[12] Two French divisions remained behind to protect the evacuation. Though they halted the German advance, they were soon captured. The remainder of the rearguard, largely French, surrendered on 3 June 1940. The next day, the BBC reported, “Major-General Harold Alexander [the commander of the rearguard] inspected the shores of Dunkirk from a motorboat this morning to make sure no-one was left behind before boarding the last ship back to Britain.”[2][18] Date Troops evacuated from beaches Troops evacuated from Dunkirk Harbour Total 27 May – 7,669 7,669 28 May 5,930 11,874 17,804 29 May 13,752 33,558 47,310 30 May 29,512 24,311 53,823 31 May 22,942 45,072 68,014 1 June 17,348 47,081 64,429 2 June 6,695 19,561 26,256 3 June 1,870 24,876 26,746 4 June 622 25,553 26,175 Totals 98,780 239,446 338,226 Royal Navy gunner covering retreating troops at Dunkirk (1940)[edit] Little shipsMain article: Little ships of Dunkirk Most of the “little ships” were private fishing boats and pleasure cruisers, but commercial vessels also contributed, including a number from as far away as the Isle of Man and Glasgow. Guided by naval craft across the English Channel from the Thames Estuary and Dover, these smaller vessels were able to move in much closer to the beaches and acted as shuttles between the shore and the destroyers, lifting troops who were queuing in the water, some of whom stood shoulder-deep for many hours to board the larger vessels. Thousands of soldiers were also taken in the little ships back to Britain. Thirty-nine Dutch coasters—which had escaped the occupation of the Netherlands by the Germans on 10 May—were asked by the Dutch shipping bureau in London to assist. The Dutch coasters—able to approach the beaches very closely due to their flat bottoms—saved 22,698 men for the loss of seven boats.[19] Nineteen lifeboats of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) sailed to Dunkirk. Those from the lifeboat stations at Ramsgate and Margate were taken directly to France with their usual volunteer crews, but the others sailed to Dover where they were requisitioned by the Royal Navy, which provided the crews. Some of the RNLI crews remained behind in Dover and set up a workshop to repair and fuel the little ships. One lifeboat—The Viscountess Wakefield—was lost after it was run onto the beach at Dunkirk.[20] The Jane Holland was holed when a Motor Torpedo Boat rammed her and her engine failed after being machine gunned by an aircraft. She was abandoned but later found adrift, towed back to Dover and repaired. She returned to service on 5 April 1941.[21] The lifeboats included: The Cyril and Lilian Bishop (RNLI official number 740); a 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m) self-righter from Hastings.[22] Jane Holland; a 40 ft (12 m) self-righter from Eastbourne.[21] The Michael Stevens (ON 838); a 46 ft (14 m) Watson class from Lowestoft.[23] The Viscountess Wakefield (ON 783); a 41 ft (12 m) Watson class from Hythe, Kent.[24] Thomas Kirk Wright (ON 811); a 32 ft (9.8 m) Surf class from Poole.[25] Unnamed ON 826; a 35 ft 6 in (10.8 m) newly-built self-righter. She was repaired then entered service in 1941 at Cadgwith with the name Guide of Dunkirk.[25] Mary Scott; then at Southwold, the Mary Scott was towed to Dunkirk by the paddle steamer Emporer of India together with two other small boats. Between them they took 160 men to their mother ship, they made a journey with fifty men to another transport vessel. She was abandoned on the beach, recovered and returned to service with the RNLI at Southwold. Dowager; launched 1933, as the Rosa Woodd and Phyllis Lunn. Based at Shoreham, she made 3 trips between Dover and Dunkirk. Stenoa; launched 1929, as Cecil and Lilian Philpott. Then at Newhaven, she saved 51 persons from the beach at Dunkirk. Then returned to RNLI service at Newhaven. However, not all those called upon to serve did so enthusiastically. Some life boat crews, and the Rye fishing fleet, were invited to participate, but declined to assist the operation.[26] [edit] Losses A beached French coastal patrol craft and a British Universal Carrier abandoned at Dunkirk hours after the evacuation[edit] Men and materielDespite the success of the operation, all the heavy equipment and vehicles had to be abandoned. Left behind in France were 2,472 guns, almost 65,000 vehicles and 20,000 motorcycles; also abandoned were 416,000 short tons (377,000 t) of stores, more than 75,000 short tons (68,000 t) of ammunition and 162,000 short tons (147,000 t) of fuel.[27] 30,000–40,000 French troops were captured in the Dunkirk pocket. [edit] Naval lossesSix British and three French destroyers were sunk, along with nine large boats. In addition, 19 destroyers were damaged.[17] Over 200 of the Allied sea craft were sunk, with an equal number damaged.[28] The Royal Navy’s most significant losses in the operation were six destroyers: Grafton, sunk by U-62 on 29 May; Grenade, sunk by air attack off the east pier at Dunkirk on 29 May; Wakeful, sunk by a torpedo from the E-boat S-30 on 29 May; Basilisk, Havant and Keith, sunk by air attack off the beaches on 1 June. The French Navy lost three destroyers: Bourrasque, mined off Nieuport on 30 May; Sirocco, sunk by the E-boats S-23 and S-26 on 31 May; Le Foudroyant, sunk by air attack off the beaches on 1 June. [edit] Merchant navy lossesThe merchant navy also paid a heavy price during the evacuation. Numerous ships were sunk ranging from small pleasure craft to cross-channel ferries. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company despatched eight of its vessels, rescuing a total of 24,699 British troops – one in fourteen of those evacuated from Dunkirk.[29] However, three of its ships were lost in one day, 29 May 1940. Mona’s Queen, mined off Dunkirk on 29 May; Fenella, sunk by air attack whilst berthed alongside the East Pier on 29 May; King Orry, sustained heavy damage following several air attacks on 29 May, and consequently sank off the beaches on 30 May. [edit] Air lossesWinston Churchill revealed in his volumes on World War II that the Royal Air Force (RAF) played a most important role protecting the retreating troops from the Luftwaffe. Churchill also said that the sand on the beach softened the explosions from the German bombs. Between 26 May and 4 June, the RAF flew a total of 4,822 sorties over Dunkirk, losing just over 100 aircraft in the fighting.[30] Fortunately for the BEF, bad weather kept the Luftwaffe grounded for much of operation thus helping to reduce the losses.[31] The RAF claimed 262 Luftwaffe aircraft destroyed over Dunkirk.[32] The RAF lost 177 aircraft between 26 May and 3 June, while the Luftwaffe lost 240 aircraft from all causes during the same time frame in operations over France and Belgium.[33] Fighter losses from units based in France and Britain from 10 May to 4 June were 432, while total RAF losses from all causes during all of May and June were 959, of which 477 were fighters.[34] However, most of the dogfights took place far from the beaches and the retreating troops were only aware of being bombed and strafed by German planes that managed to elude or get through the protective cordon. As a result, many British soldiers bitterly accused the airmen of doing nothing to help.[35] The Royal Navy claimed the destruction of 35 Luftwaffe aircraft from ships’ gunfire during the period from 27 May to 1 June, and damage to another 21 aircraft.[36] [edit] Aftermath Rescued British troops gathered in a ship at Dunkirk Dunkirk-rescued French troops disembarking at a port on the south coast of England A wounded French soldier being taken ashore on a stretcher at Dover after his evacuation from DunkirkBefore the operation was completed, the prognosis had been gloomy, with Winston Churchill warning the House of Commons to expect “hard and heavy tidings”. Subsequently, Churchill referred to the outcome as a “miracle”, and the British press presented the evacuation as a “disaster turned to triumph” so successfully that Churchill had to remind the country, in a speech to the House of Commons on 4 June, that “we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.” Nevertheless, exhortations to the “Dunkirk spirit”, a phrase used to describe the tendency of the British public to pull together and overcome times of adversity, are still heard in Britain today.[37] The rescue of the British troops at Dunkirk provided a psychological boost to British morale; to the country at large it was spun as a major victory. While the British Army had lost a great deal of its equipment and vehicles in France, it still had most of its soldiers and was able to assign them to the defence of Britain. Once the threat of invasion receded, they were transferred overseas to the Middle East and other theatres and also provided the nucleus of the army that returned to France in 1944. [edit] German mistakesGerman land forces might have pressed their attack on the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the Allies, especially having secured the ports of Calais and Boulogne. For years, it was assumed that Adolf Hitler ordered the German Army to stop the attack, favouring bombardment by the Luftwaffe. However, according to the Official War Diary of Army Group A, Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt – the Chief of the General Staff, disconcerted by the vulnerability of his flanks and supply to his forward troops, ordered the halt.[38][39][40] Hitler merely validated the order several hours after the fact. Hitler had been urged by Göring to let the Luftwaffe finish the British off,[38] much to the consternation of OKH Chief of Staff, General Halder,[41] who noted in his diary that the airforce was dependent upon the weather.[41] This lull in the action provided the Allies a few days to evacuate by sea. Von Rundstedt had ordered the halt on 23 May, confirmed by Hitler on 24 May at 11:30 am. On 26 May, at 1:30 pm Hitler ordered the German armour to continue the advance, but the delay had allowed the construction of defences vital for the following week’s evacuation.[41] Several high-ranking German commanders—for example, Generals Erich von Manstein and Heinz Guderian,[42] as well as Admiral Karl Dönitz—considered the failure of the OKW (German High Command) to order a timely assault on Dunkirk to eliminate the BEF to be one of the major mistakes the Germans had made on the Western Front in WWII. [edit] Fate of the French soldiersMore than 100,000 evacuated French troops were quickly and efficiently shuttled to camps in various parts of southwestern England where they were temporarily lodged before quickly being repatriated.[43] British ships ferried French troops to Brest, Cherbourg and other ports in Normandy and Brittany, although only about one half of the repatriated troops were deployed against the Germans before the armistice. For many French soldiers, the Dunkirk evacuation was not a salvation, but represented only a few weeks’ delay before being made POWs by the German army after their return to France.[44] Of the French soldiers evacuated from France in July 1940, only about 3,000 chose to continue the struggle, joining Charles de Gaulle’s Free French army in London.[45] By the end of the year, De Gaulle commanded just 7,000 Free French soldiers, despite the large number ferried to England during Operation Dynamo.[46] In France, the unilateral British decision to evacuate through Dunkirk (rather than counterattack to the south), and the perceived preference of the Royal Navy for evacuating British forces at the expense of the French led to some bitter resentment. According to Churchill, the French Admiral François Darlan originally ordered that the British forces should receive preference, but he intervened at a 31 May meeting in Paris to order that the evacuation should proceed on equal terms and the British would form the rearguard.[47] In fact, the 35,000 soldiers who finally surrendered after protecting the BEF retreat were essentially French. Their desperate resistance allowed to extend the evacuation effort to the 4 June, bringing on that day another 26,175 Frenchmen to Britain. [edit] British POWsFor every seven soldiers who escaped through Dunkirk, one man was left behind as a prisoner of war (POW). The majority of these prisoners were sent on forced marches into Germany. Prisoners reported brutal treatment by their guards, including beatings, starvation, and murder (see also War crimes of the Wehrmacht). In particular, the British prisoners complained that French prisoners were given preferential treatment.[48] Another major complaint was that German guards kicked over buckets of water that had been left at the roadside by French civilians.[49] Many of the prisoners were marched to the town of Trier, with the march taking as long as 20 days. Others were marched to the river Scheldt and were sent by barge to the Ruhr. The prisoners were then sent by rail to POW camps in Germany.[50] The majority (those below the rank of corporal) then worked in German industry and agriculture for five years.[51] [edit] LegacyThe St George’s Cross defaced with the arms of Dunkirk flown from the jack staff is known as the Dunkirk jack and is only flown by civilian ships and boats of all sizes that took part in the Dunkirk rescue operation in 1940.[52] The only other ships permitted to fly the George’s Cross flag at the bow are those with a Royal Navy Admiral on board. [edit] See alsoBattle of France Operation Ariel – the later evacuation from Normandy and Brittany Operation Cycle – the evacuation of 11,000 troops from Le Havre, beginning on 10 June [edit] References[edit] Notes1.^ “1940: Dunkirk rescue is over – Churchill defiant.” BBC, 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2010. 2.^ a b Longden 2009, p. 1. 3.^ Longden 2009, p. 48. 4.^ Safire 2004, p. 146. 5.^ Winston Churchill 1949, p. 86. 6.^ Taylor 1965 7.^ Knowles, David J. “The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk”. BBC News, 30 May 2000. Retrieved 18 July 2009. 8.^ “History”. The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships. Retrieved 11 April 2008. 9.^ Lord 1983, pp. 43–44. 10.^ Miller 1997, p. 83. 11.^ Gelb 1990, p. 82. 12.^ a b c Liddell Hart 1999 13.^ Keegan 1989 14.^ Liddell Hart 1999, p. 79. 15.^ Murray and Millett 2000, p. 80. 16.^ Keegan 1989, p. 81. 17.^ a b c Murray and Millett 2000 18.^ The inspection of the beaches had, however, taken place in the early hours of the previous morning. 19.^ “Operation Dynamo.”(Dutch) wivonet.nl. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 20.^ Beilby, Alec. “More lifeboats at Dunkirk.” Lifeboat, (RNLI) Volume 53, Issue 530, 1994, p. 270. 21.^ a b Morris and Hendy 2006, pp. 13–14. 22.^ Morris 2000, p. 7. 23.^ Salsbury 2010, p. 79. 24.^ Denton 2009, pp. 16–17. 25.^ a b Denton 2009, pp. 18–19. 26.^ Hastings, Max, p.66, All Hell Let Loose, Harper Press, London (2011) 27.^ Longden 2009, p. 11. 28.^ Holmes 2001, p. 267. 29.^ company’s own web site. 30.^ Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk of 27 May 4 June 1940 31.^ Lord, Walter (1982). The Miracle of Dunkirk. London. pp. 161, 211. ISBN 0-7139-1211-1. 32.^ Ramsey, B. H.The Evacuation of the Allied Armies from Dunkirk and Neighbouring Beaches. Despatch published in the London Gazette, 17 July 1947, p. 3297. 33.^ Murray 1985, pp.42–43 34.^ Richards, Denis. “Royal Air Force 1939–1945, Volume I, The Fight at Odds”, pp. 145, 150. funsite.unc.edu. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 35.^ Shirer 1990, p. 736, footnote. 36.^ Ramsey, B. H. The Evacuation of the Allied Armies from Dunkirk and Neighbouring Beaches. Despatch published in the London Gazette, 17 July 1947, Appendix III. 37.^ Rodgers. Lucy. “The men who defined the ‘Dunkirk spirit’.” BBC, 19 May 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010. 38.^ a b Noakes and Pridham, 2010, p. 167. 39.^ War Diary of Army Group A, 24.v.40. 40.^ OKW Jodl Diary, 25.v.40. 41.^ a b c Noakes and Pridham, 2010, p. 168. 42.^ see his book “Panzer Leader”, pp. 117 ff.: Hitler’s momentous order to stop 43.^ “Le Paradis apres l’Enfer: the French Soldiers Evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940.” Franco-British Council, Publications. Retrieved 26 March 2010. 44.^ Mordal 1968, p. 496. 45.^ Jean-Benoît Nadeau; Julie Barlow (2003). Sixty million Frenchmen can’t be wrong: why we love France but not the French. Sourcebooks, Inc.. pp. 89–. ISBN 978-1-4022-0045-8. http://books.google.com/books?id=wtUWuzzYqa8C&pg=PA89. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 46.^ Pierre Goubert (20 November 1991). The Course of French History. Psychology Press. pp. 298–. ISBN 978-0-415-06671-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=1VbZMbFw89YC&pg=PA298. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 47.^ Churchill 1959, p. 280. 48.^ Longden 2009, p. 367. 49.^ Longden (2009) p. 361 50.^ Longden 2009, pp. 383–404. 51.^ Longden 2007 52.^ “The Association of Dunkirk Little Ships”. http://www.adls.org.uk/t1/. (“Over 100 Little Ships are presently represented by members of the Association”). [edit] BibliographyChurchill, Winston. “Their Finest Hour.” The Second World War. Vol. II. London: Cassel & Co., 1949. Churchill, Winston. Memoirs of the Second World War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959. ISBN 0-395-59968-7. Collier, Richard. The Sands of Dunkirk. New York: Dell Publishing Co. Inc. / E.P.Dutton & Co. Inc., 1961. Danchev, Alex and Daniel Todman, eds. War Diaries 1939-1945: Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2001, First edition 1957. ISBN 0-520-23301-8. Denton, Tony. Handbook 2009. Shrewsbury, UK: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society, 2009. Franks, Norman. The Air Battle of Dunkirk. London: William Kimber, 1983. ISBN 0-7183-0349-0. Gardner, W. J. R., ed. The Evacuation from Dunkirk: ‘Operation Dynamo’ 26 May – 4 June 1940. London: Frank Cass, 2000. ISBN 0-7146-5120-6 (hardcover), ISBN 0-7146-8150-4 (paperback). ISSN 1471-0757. Gelb, Norman. Dunkirk: The Incredible Escape. London: Michael Joseph, 1990. ISBN 0-7181-3203-3. Hastings, Max. “A fine account of a triumphant defeat.” The Telegraph, Book Review, 28 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2007. Holmes, Richard, ed. “Dunkirk evacuation.” The Oxford Companion to Military History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-866209-2. Keegan, John. The Second World War, New York: Viking Penguin, 1989. ISBN 0-670-82359-7. Longden, Sean. Dunkirk: The Men They Left Behind. London: Constable and Robinson, 2009. ISBN 978-1-84529-977-4. Longden, Sean. Hitler’s British Slaves: Allied POWs in Germany 1939–1945. London: Constable and Robinson, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84529-519-6. Lord, Walter. The Miracle of Dunkirk. London: Allen Lane, 1983. ISBN 1-85326-685-X. Liddell Hart, B. H. History of the Second World War. New York: Da Capo Press, 1999. ISBN 0-306-80912-5. Miller, Nathan. War at Sea: A Naval History of World War II. New York: Oxford University Press (U.S.), 1997. ISBN 0-19-511038-2. Mordal, Jacques. Dunkerque. Paris: Editions France Empire, 1968. Morris, Jeff. The Story of the Hastings Lifeboats. Coventry, UK: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society, 2000. Morris, Jeff and Dave Hendy. The Story of the Eastbourne Lifeboats. Coventry, UK: Lifeboat Enthusiasts Society, Fifth Edition 2006 Murray, Williamson. Luftwaffe. Baltimore, Maryland: The Nautical & Aviation Publishing Company of America, Inc., 1985. Murray, Williamson and Allan R. Millett. A War to Be Won. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 2000. ISBN 0-674-00163-X. Noakes, J. and G. Pridham. Nazism 1919–1945: Volume 3 – Foreign Policy, War and Racial Extermination. Exeter, Devon, UK: University of Exeter Press, 2010, First edition 1988. ISBN 978-0-85989-602-3. Overy, Richard. “A very British defeat.” The Telegraph, Book Review, 28 May 2006. Retrieved 3 June 2007. Safire, William. Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004. ISBN 0-393-04005-4. Salsbury, Alan. A History of the Exmouth Lifeboats. Wellington, Somerset, UK: Halsgrove, 2010. ISBN 978-0-85704-073-2. Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh. Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man. New York: Viking, 2006. ISBN 0-670-91082-1. Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990, First edition 1960. ISBN 0-671-72868-7 . Taylor, A. J. P. English History 1914–1945 (Oxford History of England). London: Oxford, 1965. Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-521-44317-2. Wilmot, Chester. The Struggle for Europe. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1986. ISBN 0-88184-257-5. [edit]

The sample Of Dr Iwan Ebook In CD-Rom”The Aceh History Collections”

THIS THE SAMPLE OF E-BOOK IN CD ROM WITHOUT ILLUSTRATIONS, THE COMPLETE CD EXIST BUT SPECIAL FOR PREMIUM MEMBER PLEASE SUBSCRIBED VIA COMMENT OT GET THE CD-ROM

The  Aceh History Collections

Created By

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Private Limited E-book In CD-rom Edition

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Before Aceh War collections

1870

The poster of atjeh War in 1870

1873

The Atjeh War,landing of DEI  Marines at atjeh in 1873

Eerste Atjeh Expeditie. Benting Penajoeng van het KNIL in de noordwesthoek van de kraton te Koetaradja tijdens de tweede Atjeh-expeditie

and

look the eastren  area above

fort benteng Penajoeng Atjeh in 1873

Eerste Atjeh Expeditie. KNIL-artillerie gelegen aan de hoofdweg in bivak Penajoeng bij Koetaradja tijdens de tweede Atjeh-expeditie in 1873

Look from outside area

Fist Atjeh Expedition in 1873

1874

Mrs Teuku Umar in 1874

Atjeh River’s bridge in 1874

Atjeh river bridge

The controleur and Inland chief of Masingit atjeh in 187

Bras island beach of Atjeh nord Sumatra in 1874(three photos)

The Gouvenor of Atjeh house at North sumatra in 1874

The Zinc Roof(atap seng) House at Atjeh in 1874

The Inland Atjeh tomb cementary  in 1874

The railways of Koetaradja atjeh in 1874

1877

Controleur of Krueeng  Raba atjeh in 1877

1879

Bivak Tjoet Basetoel Atjeh in 1879

1880

Gouvenor Atjeh bridge in 1880

The Teuku of West atjeh with his bride,look his revolver and rencong knife  in 1880

The road of Koetaradja atjeh in 1880

Controleur of IDI Atjeh in 1880

The Atjeh Club of Koetaradja during fload in 1880

The Atjeh river of Koetaradja in 1880

The Kraton of Koetaradja atjeh in 1880

The Kratonlaan(street) of Koetaradja atjeh in 1880

The Atjeh women in 1880

The Chief of Tadji atjeh and young women in 1880

1881

Baiturahman Mosque Of Koetaradja in 1881

1883

Wonig (House)Atjeh,panted  b Jhr. Josias Cornelis Rappard1884

The lithography caricature poster of new toewan besar(Bigger Man) Atjeh during the way to paradise  in 1884

1888

The ship at Oleh-leh Atjeh in 1888

The Gouvenor of Atjeh’s  house(woning)in 1888

The brige of Koetaraja Chief Atjeh Keraton  in 1888

Fishing at Masudji Pante Perak(silver beach) Koetaradja atjeh in 1888

Mesdjid Mosque Raja Koetaradja in 1888

The train railway at Lamjong Lambaroe Atjeh in 1888

Kota Petjoet Tomb Of Koetaradja atjeh in 1888

The European and asian at water reasource building  at sabang Atjeh in 1888

1890

Bivak Tjot Mantjang atjeh in 1890

1892

The Atjeh Chief of Koetaradja in 1892

Standing from right: Mohammed Arif, hoofddjaksa bij het gerecht te Koetaradja; Teukoe Machmoed van Lamtenga, halfbroer van Teukoe Baid; Ketjiq Oemar van Lampisang, boodschapper van Teukoe Oemar; Hadji Abdoellah, schrijver van de assistent-resident; Teukoe Nja Daoed, hoeloebalang van Bolohan; Teukoe Nja Mohamad, waarnemend hoofd van de IX Moekims; Teukoe Nja Mohamad, inlandse zendeling; assistent-resident H.P.A. Bakker; Hadji Abdoellah, hoofdpenghoeloe; wakil Joesoef van Lohong; adjunct-djaksa Aboe Bakr; schrijver van assistent-resident A.J.C. de Neve; onbekend; controleur J.B. Léon. Siting from right  : Panglima Medsjid Rajah, rijksgrote; vermoedelijk een hoeloebalang van de [?] Moekims; Teukoe Sjech Toenkoep; Teukoe Neq Moeda Setia Radjah; Pangeran Hoesain; Teukoe Njah Bantah van Lamreng, sagihoofd van de XVI Moekims; Teukoe Malikoel Adil, erfelijk opperrechter van Atjeh

The bridge at Koetaradja in 1892

The daughter and son of Teuku Maharadja Atjeh in 1892

The Resident Scherer in ship at the teloek semelue (sabang) atjeh with atjeh chief of government official in 1892

Fort benteng Bras island Atjeh in 1892

The Aceh War Collections

Aceh War !!

Source

.asiafinest.

 


The invasion of Aceh in 1873 was the brainchild of Isaac Dignus Fransen van de Putte (1822-1902), Netherlands Minister of Colonies, to prevent encroachment by Britain into Sumatra from British colonies in Malay Peninsula


Van de Putte’s idea was strongly supported by his close friend the Dutch governor-general in Batavia (now Jakarta), James Loudon (1824-1900)


Map of the defeated Dutch first invasion of Aceh in 1873, and successful second invasion in 1874


Optimistic reporting of the first Dutch invasion of Aceh in Java-Bode newspaper, 10 April 1873


Generaal-Majoor JHR Kohler, leader of first Dutch expedition to Aceh. His 2000 soldiers managed to penetrate to the Koetaradja Market and the Baiturrahman Mosque. The Dutch stopped to burn down the mosque, in which courtyard they set up a camp.

On the night of 14 April 1873,

a suicidal Acehnese sneaked into the camp and shot Kohler in the chest. Kohler was killed instantly. The next days, the Dutch faced suicidal Acehnese attacks from all sides.

On 24 April 1873,

they were forced to retreat back to their ships. Dutch casualties were 50 dead (including Kohler) and 500 wounded


Kohler Tree, under which General Kohler was shot dead. Photograph from 1936 Dutch magazine.


Generaal Jan van Swieten (1807-1888),

 leader of second Dutch invasion in 1873. Swieten was an experienced soldier, fighting in Java War (1825-1830), Belgian War of Independence (1830), Padri War (1830-1837), Bali Expeditions 1848 and 1849, Bone War 1859.

The second expedition sailed with the force of 18 warships, 7 supply ships, 12 auxillary ships, 2 patrol boats, and 22 transport ships carrying more than 13,000 soldiers.

Landing on 9 December 1873

some distance from Koetaradja, by 24 January 1874 had successfully occupied the capital. The three-year-old Acehnese sultan, Mohammad Daud, was taken to the jungle by his followers to continue guerilla warfare.


Engraving of the deadly fighting during Dutch second expedition.


After successfully occupying the royal palace, van Swieten declared victory and opened up the champagne crates to celebrate. Governor-General Loudon telegramed Minister van de Putte back in The Netherlands, informing him that
“Atjeh is ons”, “Aceh is ours”. According to past experience, other Dutch wars of conquest in Indonesia was usually won by occupying the capital of the particular region to be conquered. This is not the case in Aceh.

After failed attempts to retake Koetaradja, by April 1874 the Acehnese settled to lay siege on the town, cutting all supplies from coming in from the interior. Road between Koetaradja and Oelee-Lhee port, where Dutch supplies came from, was unsafe due to frequent Acehnese attacks. By 1875, 25% of Dutch troops in Koetaradja had been put out of action by disease, hunger, and war wounds.


Coinciding with silver jubilee of King Willem III’s coronation in 1874, Generaal van Swieten received the
Militaire Willemsorde medal above for his “victory” over the Acehnese. However, by 1875, only around 0.1% of Aceh is under Dutch control, which is Koetaradja and the port of Oelee-Lhee.

 


In May 1875,

 Generaal van Swieten, 68 years old and well-above retirement age, turned over command to Generaal-Majoor Pieter Cornelius van Pel (photo and Jakarta grave above).

Van Pel’s tenure saw increasing Acehnese attacks on Dutch-held areas around Koetaradja. The Dutch lost control of Peukan Bada, Blang Kala Pass, Pagar Ajer, and Koetaradja suburbs of Moekim IX and VI. These disastrous losses caused Generaal-Majoor van Pel to be recalled. He sailed for Batavia on June 1877, replaced by one-eyed Generaal Karel van der Heyden


Generaal Karel van der Heyden (1824-1901),

 half-Dutch and half-Bugis general who took over command of Aceh troops in 1877.

He was known as generaal een-oog (one-eyed general) by his troops and setan seblah mata (one-eyed demon) by his Acehnese opponents.

He strengthened Koetaradja’s defences and secured the road between Koetaradja and Oelee-Lhee.

 On 29 June 1878,

he launced an attack from Koetaradja, successfully capturing strategic Glitaroenpass, leading to the capture of Montasik plains, the stronghold of Acehnese guerilla leader Panglima Polim. By the end of his tenure in 1880, van der Heyden had secured tenuos Dutch control over most of Groot-Atjeh, the area surrounding Koetaradja (now Aceh Besar district).


Among the important leaders of Acehnese resistance in this early part of the war is Tengku Chik di Tiro, an Islamic cleric who led Acehnese contingent from Pidie in the fighting around Koetaradja.

 He declared jihad, holy war against infidel Dutch invaders who had burnt the Baiturrahman mosque, centre of Acehnese Islam. He decreed the war a perang sabil, in which Acehnese killed by the Dutch would be assured a place in paradise.

In 1876,

 he presided over the re-coronation of the child Sultan Muhammad Daud in Indrapoeri Mosque as symbol of the continuation of Acehnese sultanate.
Militarily, he launched unsuccessful seaborne attacks on Breueh and Nasi islands off Koetaradja

 in 1880,

attempting to disturb Dutch sea supply routes. In May 1881, he successfully assaulted the Dutch fort at Lambaro, Groot Atjeh. In 1891, an Acehnese under the pay of the Dutch killed Chik di Tiro by poisoning his food.


Habib Abdoerrachman Al-Zahir, a Turkish cleric, travelled to Turkey to gather support for Aceh from the Ottoman Empire, the chief Muslim state at the time; to Singapore where he met United States consul; and to Penang where he promised the British the island of Sabang if they would help Aceh against the Dutch.
Failing in his efforts, Habib Abdoerrachman surrendered to the Dutch at Koetaradja on July 1878,

secured an annual subsidy of $500 from the Dutch government, then sailed back to Istanbul where he died in 1902.


Tjoet Nja Dhien (1850-1908),

a famous female guerilla leader from Lampisang, just west of Koetaradja. She first led a unit under her father, Nanta Setia and husband, Teuku Ibrahim in the successful fighting in 1870s. In 1881 her husband was killed in a battle, whereby she married her cousin Teuku Umar, another guerilla leader.


Teuku Umar (1854-1899),

leader of contingent from West Aceh in fighting around Koetaradja. His father Mahmoed is the brother of Nanta Setia, father of Tjoet Nja Dhien whom he married in 1884. After ten years as effective guerilla leader against the Dutch, Teuku Umar surrendered to the Dutch on 30 September 1893, receiving the title Teuku Djohan Pahlawan, “Lord Hero-Winner” and substantial amount of guns and ammunition to help the Dutch fight other insurgents.


Teuku Umar (sitting left), partially wearing Dutch uniform.

In 1896, Teuku Umar abandoned the Dutch, carrying off 880 rifles, 25000 bullets, 500 kg of explosives, 5000 kg of lead balls, and $18000 worth of cash back to the jungles.
This extraordinary exploit send shockwaves all the way to The Netherlands. A popular poem was sung by the Dutch:

Teuku Umar die moet hangen
Aan en touw, aan en touw
Teuku Umar en zijn vrouw

meaning
Teuku Umar must be hanged
On the rope, on the rope
Teuku Umar and his wife!

Upon hearing Teuku Umar’s deed, Queen Wilhelmina and Dowager Emma send a telegram to Dutch commander in Koetaradja demanding they recover the lost honour inflicted on the name of The Netherlands.

Three years later,

 on 11 February 1899,

Teuku Umar and his 800 men was ambushed by 20 men of special Marechausse troops near Meulaboh, West Aceh. Umar was shot in the chest and died days later in front of his wife, Tjoet Nja Dhien.


Dutch memorial on the site of Teuku Umar’s fall on February 1899


The Dutch Point of View
Throughout the 1880s, Dutch control over Aceh is limited in Koetaradja and its surrounds, while cooperative local rulers allowed the Dutch footholds in Idi, Langsa, Lhokseumawe, Meulaboh, Tapaktuan, and Trumon. The Dutch were unable to contol the rural areas due to its unfamiliarity to guerilla warfare.


To protect Koetaradja from constant Acehnese raids, Generaal van der Heyden decided to establish a line of 16 forts linked with barbed wire, telephone and telegraph lines, and a tramline. This fortification system is called the concentration line (geconcentreerde linie) and was finished in 1884.


Dutch family on the concentration line tramline, 1880s


Damaged tramcar line after Acehnese attack, 1890s


Unable to defeat the Acehnese militarily, the Dutch tried a cultural approach. They asked the advice of Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1933), an expert on Islam who had visited Mecca in 1884 posing as an Arab. His advice was basically to woo the Acehnese nobility (uleebalang) and crush the remaining resistance mercilessly.

purnomor

Aug 31 2004, 02:08 PM

Aceh War !!


In accordance the advice of Snouck Hurgronje, a Dutch officer named Koloneel, later Generaal Johannes Benedictus van Heutsz (1851-1924) came up with the idea of highly mobile and independent units capable of fighting the Acehnese insurgents deep in the jungles, at the home of the guerillas themselves.


The idea was realised in 1896 with the establishment of Korps Marechausse. Each of its units consisted of 20 native soldiers (due to their natural ability to live in the jungle) led by a Dutch officer and an Ambonese corporal. Each soldier was armed with the new M95 self-loading rifle and a
klewang, a native sword. Their motto was “Berani soempah!” (Dare to swear!)


First commander of the Korps Marechausse, Kapitein Jonkheer GJWCH Graafland


Ceremonial uniform of the Korps Marechausse, worn by a Luitenant Geldorp


The regimental banner of the Korps Marechausse


Generaal van Heutsz (centre) watching the assault on Acehnese fortress Batee Iliek in Tiro, Pidie on 3 February 1901. To his right were Kolonel van Dussen, Majoor Doorman, Kapitein Spruijt, Luitenant Schutstal van Woudenberg, and controleur Frijling. The defeated Acehnese lost 71 men, the Dutch lost 5 killed and 37 wounded.


Van Heutsz was military governor of Aceh fron 1898-1904. He became governor-general of the Netherlands East Indies from 1904-1909. He later returned to Europe and died in Montreux in 1924. Above picture was the Van Heutsz Memorial in Koetaradja in 1932.


Van Heutsz Monument in Batavia (Jakarta), demolished in 1945


Van Heutsz Monument in Vijzelstraat 32 Amsterdam. His son, Johannes Benedictus van Heutsz Jr joined the German army during World War II, reaching the rank SS-Sturmbahnfuhrer der Waffen-SS, and was killed in Russia in 1943.

Van Heutsz is credited as the first person in history to unite the Indonesian Archipelago under one political unit. In his Amsterdam Monument, the epitaph was written:

JB VAN HEUTSZ
GOUVERNEUR-GENERAAL VAN NEDERLANDS-INDIE
1904 TOT 1909
HIJ SCHIEP ORDE, RUST, EN WELVAART
EN HEEFT DE VOLKEN VAN NEDERLANDS-INDIE
TOT EEN EENHEID GESMEED

meaning
JB VAN HEUTSZ
GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF NETHERLANDS INDIES
1904 TO 1909
HE SHAPED ORDER, PEACE, AND WELFARE
AND GUIDE THE PEOPLE OF NETHERLANDS INDIES
TOWARDS THE GATE OF UNITY


Koos Speenhoff and Caesarina Speenhoff-Prinz (1907), anti-war folk singers who specialised in slamming the bloody Dutch war in Aceh.

purnomor

Aug 31 2004, 06:15 PM

Aceh War !!

Other Dutch generals:


Luitenant-Kolonel HNA Swart (1857-1922), ruthlessly eliminated Acehnese guerillas in Lhokseumawe-Bireuen area, govenor of Atjeh 1908-1912, vice-president of Raad van Indie (Indies Council advising the governor-general) in Batavia till his death in 1922. His governorship on Aceh saw the last guerilla bands destroyed by Marechausse troops, hence he was known as “pacifier of Aceh”.


Luitenant Hendrikus Colijn (1869-1944), adjudant to van Heutsz, the person receiving surrender of Panglima Polim, later Prime Minister of The Netherlands (1925-1926; 1933-1939). Colijn died under German custody in 1944.


Kapitein Heinz Christoffel, organised
Tijger Colonne that devastate the Panton Laboe and Pidie areas, destroying the guerilla’s base there. He received the Militaire Willemsorde and later led the Dutch “pacification” of Flores, Buton, and East Borneo in 1907-1912.


Christoffel leading a
Tijger Colonne in Aceh


Kolonel Gotfried Coenraad Ernst van Daalen (1863-1930), Dutch colonel who devastate the Gayo-Alas area from February-July 1904, subjugating the highland tribes under Dutch rule. His method was known as
van-daal-isme (van-daal-ism).



Remnants of Koeta Reh village in Gayo Highlands after a vist by van Daalen


Van Daalen resting on the hanging cot while leading a patrol into Gayo Highlands in 1904


Men of Korps Marechausse posing after a sucessful operation.

purnomor

Aug 31 2004, 06:56 PM

Aceh War !!


Korps Marechausse men in their
egelstelling “porcupine formation” in Aceh.


Captured Acehnese guerillas.


Medals given to veterans of Aceh War in 1870s, bearing the likeness of Dutch king Willem III, father of future Queen Wilhelmina


A Surabaya restaurant 1902 menu celebrated recent Dutch victories over Indonesians in Aceh and elsewhere in the archipelago by naming its dishes after vanquished Indonesian cities


Aceh War veterans reunion in 1938.


Toekoe Oemar Spel, a popular children’s game in 1890s Netherlands involving 25 white figurines (Dutch soldiers) chasing one black figure (Teuku Umar)!


Dutch anti-war cartoon from 1900 ridiculing the awarding of
Militaire Willemsorde to “bloodhounds”.


Another cartoon depicting Dutch missionaries spreading the Bible to “pacified” natives.

Click here for detailed history of Aceh War and other events in Netherlands Indies

Nusantara

Aug 31 2004, 10:26 PM

That fu-king dutch troop did genocide to Achehnese Gayo civillian.
The way they won the war by killing all civillian related to Achehnese warrior.
I heard/read somewhere most this barbaric act done by fanatic Cristian Ambonese soldier and some of them also Javanse soldier which Indonesian who fought against dutch called them at that time “black dutch” since Ambonese is black/dark skin typical melanesian. They are more cruel than dutch itself.

QUOTE (purnomor @ Aug 31 2004, 07:15 PM)



Remnants of Koeta Reh village in Gayo Highlands after a vist by van Daalen

purnomor

Sep 1 2004, 12:29 PM

Bandung, West Java

The first buildings of Technische Hogeschoole te Bandoeng (THB), now the Institut Tekhnologi Bandung (ITB) when it was opened in 1920. First president Soekarno would later enrolled in the THB in 1924.

Alun-alun (Town Square) and Grand Mosque area in Bandung

Pasteurstraat, showing the current Biofarma building

Bragastraat, the main shopping avenue of Dutch Bandoeng

European residential area

A street in European residential area

Bethel Church, built 1926

Aerial photograph of northern Bandoeng

Welcoming Queen Wilhelmina in Alun-alun area

Black-and-white film of Bandoeng in 1930 and 1912

Black-and-white film of Batavia (Jakarta) in 1919

rasibiduk

Sep 1 2004, 02:22 PM

ohh Bandung, my sweet hometown, it’s much more crowded and hectic but I still love my Bandung. Can’t help to wonder if only we had a better city planning and not destroy some of the beautiful heritage buildings- but it’s quite heart-warming too to see that some of buildings from the movie clip still look exactly the same. Oh and Purnomor, you just posted my grandfather’s old house under “European residential area”. The row of houses on top of the stonewalls, it is Jalan Wastukencana and my grandfather’s house is on the right. He sold the house in the 80′s when my grandmother passed away.

purnomor

Sep 3 2004, 01:39 PM

Civic Heraldry from the Dutch colonial era city authorities

Civic seal of Amboina (Ambon), Maluku

Civic seal of Bandoeng, West Java

Civic seal of Batavia (Jakarta)

Civic seal of Buitenzorg (Bogor), West Java

Civic seal of Tjeribon, West Java

Civic seal of Madioen, East Java

Civic seal of Makassar, South Celebes

Civic seal of Medan, North Sumatera

Civic seal of Malang, East Java

Civic seal of Padang, West Sumatera

purnomor

Sep 3 2004, 01:44 PM


Civic seal of Pekalongan, Central Java

Civic seal of Semarang, Central Java

Civic seal of Tegal, Central Java

Civic seal of Tjiandjoer, West Java


Coat-of-arms of Netherlands East Indies, same with coat-of-arms of The Netherlands

International Civic Heraldry Website

flipcombatmedic

Sep 3 2004, 11:58 PM

some of the pics here looks like the old manila before ww2 when the japanese f’ed it up bad. the rape of manila and the battle of manila really made manila so f’ed up it never recovered. but yeah nice pics really nice. many of them structures still up or what.

purnomor

Sep 4 2004, 01:04 PM

^ yeap, most of ‘em still standing

Sody

Sep 21 2004, 03:10 PM

QUOTE (purnomor @ Aug 31 2004, 07:56 PM)


Another cartoon depicting Dutch missionaries spreading the Bible to “pacified” natives.


I am so ignorant when it comes to Indonesian history. I wish I knew more, I am learning a lot from reading these forums, it has really broadened my understanding. Can anyone tell me if Christianity was forced upon Indonesians? I hate Christianity. Most of my family are Christian and most of the Indonesians I know here in Canada are as well. It is a dumb fu-king religion that has ruined much of Asian culture throughout many Asian countries. It is a white man’s religion that is detrimental to the Asian way of life as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that in Indonesia Muslims and Christians get along. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I believe that all people should be able to live together in harmony and not try and influence others to change. I see so many stupid Chinese here in Canada that are so concerned with the White man’s opinion that they naturally turn to Christianity. It is truly sad.

Sody

nama_user

Sep 22 2004, 05:32 AM

No religion should be forced to another, that’s how we should live in a plural country.

gvelde

Mar 20 2005, 05:01 AM

How nice that the photos from my wife’s grandfather -CE Maier- have been found! Thanks for filling me in on names of places and Teukuhs etc.

furansizuka

Mar 20 2005, 05:40 AM

QUOTE (gvelde @ Mar 20 2005, 05:01 AM)

How nice that the photos from my wife’s grandfather -CE Maier- have been found! Thanks for filling me in on names of places and Teukuhs etc.


so those are the photos of yours?
Wow! Could you tell me the history of her?

gvelde

Sep 8 2005, 02:53 AM

QUOTE (furansizuka @ Mar 20 2005, 12:40 PM)

QUOTE (gvelde @ Mar 20 2005, 05:01 AM)

How nice that the photos from my wife’s grandfather -CE Maier- have been found! Thanks for filling me in on names of places and Teukuhs etc.


so those are the photos of yours?
Wow! Could you tell me the history of her?


I am working on a short history of my wife’s family in colonial times. In short, they meant well but not always did. I certainly will post a reference for you guys when it is ready. Maybe you have seen the films? they are on: http://www.vandervelde.net/familie/fammaier/film00.htm.

furansizuka

Sep 8 2005, 04:17 AM

Thanks for the interesting link!

haqine

Dec 13 2006, 03:44 AM

QUOTE(rasibiduk @ Sep 2 2004, 02:22 AM) [snapback]400665[/snapback]


ohh Bandung, my sweet hometown, it’s much more crowded and hectic but I still love my Bandung. Can’t help to wonder if only we had a better city planning and not destroy some of the beautiful heritage buildings- but it’s quite heart-warming too to see that some of buildings from the movie clip still look exactly the same. Oh and Purnomor, you just posted my grandfather’s old house under “European residential area”. The row of houses on top of the stonewalls, it is Jalan Wastukencana and my grandfather’s house is on the right. He sold the house in the 80′s when my grandmother passed away.

Oh that used to be your grandfather’s house?
I think the house in that area are beautiful !
Had u been there?

BTW, i just know about this thread.
Interesting thread!

alfan

Dec 13 2006, 04:28 AM

@ purnomor, where did you find the infos on indonesia’s history? Were they online somewhere or did you actually went to a library? I’ve tried neither of them however…

santoloco

Dec 13 2006, 11:12 AM

seems like the dutch has been a good time in indonesia.

GluTTony

Dec 13 2006, 11:06 PM

ewww the Indonesian are soo skinny!

yaa_ampyun

Dec 13 2006, 11:33 PM

QUOTE(purnomor @ Aug 29 2004, 05:05 PM) [snapback]395997[/snapback]


His wife, Greta Linda Maier-Goossens (1895-1945), died of dysentry in Japanese concentration camp in Lubuk Linggau, 13 August 1945

http://members.lycos.nl/fammaier/

wahh tempat lahirku

XxRyoChanxX

Dec 14 2006, 01:39 AM

QUOTE(Sody @ Sep 21 2004, 03:10 PM) [snapback]441799[/snapback]


I am so ignorant when it comes to Indonesian history. I wish I knew more, I am learning a lot from reading these forums, it has really broadened my understanding. Can anyone tell me if Christianity was forced upon Indonesians? I hate Christianity. Most of my family are Christian and most of the Indonesians I know here in Canada are as well. It is a dumb fu-king religion that has ruined much of Asian culture throughout many Asian countries. It is a white man’s religion that is detrimental to the Asian way of life as well. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that in Indonesia Muslims and Christians get along. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I believe that all people should be able to live together in harmony and not try and influence others to change. I see so many stupid Chinese here in Canada that are so concerned with the White man’s opinion that they naturally turn to Christianity. It is truly sad.

Sody

you will probably never come back, but I am so offended with what you just said up there

http://www.ngw.nl/images/rykswap.gif

nice!

tangawizi

Dec 14 2006, 11:44 PM

QUOTE(purnomor @ Aug 31 2004, 09:33 PM) [snapback]399340[/snapback]


Panglima Polim Sri Moeda Perkasa Shah (centre), who had fought the Dutch in Koetaradja since 1873 and was a guerilla leader in Lhokseumawe area, surrendered to the Dutch Kapitein Hendricus Colijn (third from right) in Lhokseumawe in 6 September 1903, together with 150 of his men. He was given the post raja of Sigli by the Dutch. In 1928, Panglima Polim received the cross of
Nassau-Oranje Orde

Interesting fotos here, pur. Btw, do u know what was the Chinese mandarin doing in the group above (second from right)? Was he the ambassador from China?

QUOTE(purnomor @ Sep 1 2004, 02:15 AM) [snapback]399572[/snapback]



Kolonel Gotfried Coenraad Ernst van Daalen (1863-1930), Dutch colonel who devastate the Gayo-Alas area from February-July 1904, subjugating the highland tribes under Dutch rule. His method was known as
van-daal-isme (van-daal-ism).

Is that how the meaning of the word ‘Vandalism’ came about?

And the following were acts of vandalism by this van Daalen butcher?

XxRyoChanxX

Dec 15 2006, 12:22 AM

^ woahhhhhhh

Kopassus

Dec 15 2006, 02:20 AM

QUOTE(santoloco @ Dec 13 2006, 11:12 AM) [snapback]2566516[/snapback]


seems like the dutch has been a good time in indonesia.


Yes they have….thats why all the Indische Nederlanders desire to “Tempo Doeloe”, they all want to go back to the time that they live in a beautiful country with nice weather where they can suppres the inlanders…

QUOTE(Nusantara @ Aug 31 2004, 10:26 PM) [snapback]399990[/snapback]


That fu-king dutch troop did genocide to Achehnese Gayo civillian.

The way they won the war by killing all civillian related to Achehnese warrior.
I heard/read somewhere most this barbaric act done by fanatic Cristian Ambonese soldier and some of them also Javanse soldier which Indonesian who fought against dutch called them at that time “black dutch” since Ambonese is black/dark skin typical melanesian. They are more cruel than dutch itself.


Yes, they are all warcriminals.
Thanks Pur for all the pictures and info!

Bhaskara

Dec 15 2006, 03:42 AM

Wow, gr8 pics,pur!And rasibiduk, what a shame!I love those houses on Wastukencana. I wonder who owns them nowadays….

purnomor

Dec 16 2006, 07:12 PM

QUOTE(tangawizi @ Dec 14 2006, 11:44 PM) [snapback]2571605[/snapback]


Interesting fotos here, pur. Btw, do u know what was the Chinese mandarin doing in the group above (second from right)? Was he the ambassador from China?

Back in colonial times, the ethnic-Chinese, ethnic-Arab, and other immigrant communities in each Indonesian city was led by a government-appointed officer with honorary ranks of majoor, kapitein, or luitenant (the larger the community, the higher the rank) who functioned as liason officer between the community and the Dutch colonial government. This fellow with the mandarin uniform should be the local Chinese officer of Lhokseumawe who attended the surrender of Panglima Polim in his role as civic dignitary.

QUOTE

Is that how the meaning of the word ‘Vandalism’ came about?

No, “vandalism” came from the Roman Empire period after the name of a particularly destructive barbarian tribe the Vandals. The Dutch press made a pun out of the similarity between the word “vandalism” and the name van Daalen.

QUOTE

And the following were acts of vandalism by this van Daalen butcher?

Yeap, quite a nasty fellow, isn’t he?

bandung

Dec 16 2006, 08:12 PM

^i thought you indonesians loved the dutch?

purnomor

Dec 16 2006, 08:34 PM

^ That’s a strange thought, considering Indonesia expelled the Dutch government through war of independence, and later on we also expelled 200,000 Dutch settlers in 1957-1958.

I think it is Malaysians who love the British like a puppy loves its master.

XxRyoChanxX

Dec 17 2006, 02:43 AM

I don’t have nothing against the dutch..

tangawizi

Dec 17 2006, 02:49 AM

QUOTE(bandung @ Dec 17 2006, 04:12 AM) [snapback]2576088[/snapback]


^i thought you indonesians loved the dutch?

I think it’s more like Msian royalty instead who cavorted with the English colonials and tried to imitate their ways – love for horseracing, pre and post prandial cocktails, savoy tailor suits… do u recall your royalty like Tengku Rahman? The likes of him were seen celebrated by the Brits as brown englishmen..

That’s the trouble with the Msian identity crisis since way before colonial times when their ruling houses were running from persecution by the Indonesian ruling houses, they mimicked the Islamic missionaries came later, then the British ruling class. They have been paranoid abt the encroachment of the chinese. Instead of celebrating their common identity with Indonesians, they take pains to distinguish themselves from Indonesia particularly in the areas of wealth & prestige status, and take pleasure in dissing the minority Chinese as a race.

The colonial Englishmen no longer casts a shadow on their elite ruling houses, but the shadow of the Arabs are creeping up on the Msian ruling class big time. Where is the true and authentic Msian identity? Afraid there is none anymore. Their ruling classes are shadow people. Wayang Kulits themselves.

I hope u won’t flame me bandung…it’s juz a neutral observation.

Astromantic

Dec 17 2006, 03:58 AM

QUOTE(bandung @ Dec 17 2006, 02:12 AM) [snapback]2576088[/snapback]


^i thought you indonesians loved the dutch?

How can you say that we LOVE the Dutch people when they have been torturing us for 350 years? Think before you speak. By the way, I ain’t got no beef with Dutch people… after all I’ve lived there.

purnomor

Dec 17 2006, 05:57 AM

JOURNEY OF KERLEN FAMILY OF SEMARANG, A TYPICAL DUTCH SETTLER FAMILY IN INDONESIA


Johannes Godfried Kerlen (1850-1927) was born in Zuthpen, Netherlands. He arrived in Indonesia in 1870 as a lieutenant with the KNIL (Royal Netherlands Indies Army). He had a distinguished military career as army engineer, participating in the first and second Aceh invasions of 1873 and 1874, and spending most of the following decades fighting the rebellious Acehnese. He received knighthood with the title ridder 1e klasse in de orde van Nederlandsche Leeuw. He retired as a general, and died in Bandoeng in 1927 aged 77.

In 1878, JG Kerlen married half-Chinese daughter of a German settler, Charlotte Baumgarten. They had five children, Johannes (born 1883), Jopie (born 1884), Greta (born 1885), Milly (born 1886), and Charlotte (born 1887). Charlotte Baumgarten died in Medan soon after giving birth to her fifth child. Afterwards, Johannes Kerlen gave away his three daughters to an orphanage in Batavia, while keeping his two sons. He married again twice, with Hendrika Cornelia Polkijn who died in an 1888 malaria outbreak and Agnes Maria Naessens who died in 1900 due to miscarriage.

Johannes Godfried Kerlen Jr (1883-1940), the eldest son, was born in Bengkalis – Riau. He worked as sugar factory manager in Semarang – Central Java. There, he married daughter of a local Dutch settler, Caroline Juliana van Zanten in 1912. Here Johannes Kerlen Jr posed with his eldest son Hans in 1912.

Here, Johannes Kerlen Jr posed with Hans and newborn second son Ernst, in 1914.

Caroline Juliana van Zanten-Kerlen posing with Hans, Ernst, and newborn baby daughter Marijke in a 1915 letter sent to relatives back in the Netherlands.

Caroline van Zanten-Kerlen with Hans, Ernst, Marijke, and two neighbours’ children in front of their Semarang home in 1918.

Hans, Ernst, and Marijke posing with their mother and three cousins (children of Jopie Kerlen) in 1921.

Ernst, Marijke, and their two cousins in 1921.

Kerlen children playing with the family car

Johannes and Caroline Kerlen with teenage Ernst in 1930

DEL

Dec 17 2006, 06:11 AM

My Indonesian grandfather and Indonesian grandmother got a lot of old pictures like that. I never asked the real reason why they had to leave Indonesia, because i got the feeling it lays deep. I better study some Indonesian history more, since i am learning the language and want to go back to my roots. But i dont want to go to deep in it, because history sharpens up national feelings and hate. I don’t want that, because i am a man of the world and not of a country.

purnomor

Dec 17 2006, 06:17 AM


Proud grandparents Johannes and Caroline Kerlen with their daughter Marijke, and grandson Mark Lindo (Marijke’s son) in 1937

Comfortable interior of the Kerlen family house in Semarang

The Kerlen house compound, during colonial times on average the annual income of a white settler in Indonesia was 60 times the average income of a native and 10 times the average income of Foreign Orientals (Chinese and Arab settlers).

During World War II, the Kerlen family was imprisoned in Japanese concentration camp. After the war, the first son Hans Kerlen decided to stay in independent Indonesia. He lived in Bandung until he was expelled along with all Dutch citizens in 1956 by Sukarno, upon which he moved to South Africa where he died in 2003. The second son Ernst Kerlen and his wife Lydia de Leeuw emigrated to Australia, a popular destination for Dutch refugees fleeing Indonesian war of independence. Ernst died while in Netherlands in 1991. Marijke Kerlen moved with her family to Netherlands to escape the war of independence, where she died in 1995.

purnomor

Dec 17 2006, 06:45 AM

QUOTE(DEL @ Dec 17 2006, 06:11 AM) [snapback]2577436[/snapback]


My Indonesian grandfather and Indonesian grandmother got a lot of old pictures like that. I never asked the real reason why they had to leave Indonesia, because i got the feeling it lays deep. I better study some Indonesian history more, since i am learning the language and want to go back to my roots. But i dont want to go to deep in it, because history sharpens up national feelings and hate. I don’t want that, because i am a man of the world and not of a country.

Are they Europeans/Eurasians?

In Indonesia, the people has generally forgotten the past colonial injustices since the Dutch was expelled such a long time ago. Nowadays, most Indonesians view the Dutch just as a European country with no bitterness involved.

 

Read more

 1893-1895

Hendrik de Booij, herinneringen aan zijn deelname aan de derde Atjeh oorlog in de periode 1893-1895

Inhoudsopgave:
1. Inleiding
2. Derde Atjeh oorlog 1884 -1896 (met noot: de krijgsverrichtingen van generaal Vetter en luitenant Colijn in Lombok in 1894)
3. Herinneringen Hendrik de Booy over zijn deelname aan de derde Atjeh oorlog van 1893-1895
4. Vierde Atjeh oorlog 1898-1918

1. Inleiding

In het hoofdstuk 3  van deze website, heb ik verhaald  over de eerste en tweede Atjeh oorlog in de periode 1873-1879, daarbij heb ik de brieven van Chrétien Jean Gérard de Booy ( de oudste broer van mijn grootvader Hendrik de Booy) aan zijn ouders afgedrukt. Hij heeft deze Atjeh oorlog van nabij meegemaakt. Nu wil het dat mijn grootvader in de derde Atjeh oorlog  heeft meegevochten. De herinneringen van mijn grootvader over de periode van 1867 tot 1901 zijn door mij beschreven in hoofdstuk 1 van deze website. Ik heb daarbij gebruik gemaakt van de selecties, die mijn tante Dr E.P. de Booy (jongste dochter van mijn grootvader), heeft gemaakt uit de herinneringen en dagboeken van mijn grootvader. Bij nadere bestudering van deze herinneringen, die mijn grootvader heeft gebundeld in twee ingebonden exemplaren, blijkt dat mijn tante slechts enkele alinea’s heeft geselecteerd, die gaan over de tijd, dat mijn grootvader betrokken was bij de derde Atjeh oorlog in de periode 1893-1895. De reden waarom mijn tante deze periode zo summier heeft behandeld, is misschien gelegen in het feit, dat de tijdgeest omtrent ons koloniaal verleden en onze krijgsverrichtingen aan het eind van de 19e en begin 20ste eeuw sterk is veranderd. In de tijd van mijn grootvader werden de koloniale oorlogen als rechtvaardig beschouwd, terwijl men in het recente verleden door de vele publicaties en fotomateriaal anders is gaan denken over deze vroegere tijd. Ik ben echter van mening dat het goed is om dit in gedachte een uitgebreidere selectie te maken van de herinneringen van mijn grootvader in deze derde Atjeh oorlog. Evenals in het hoofdstuk 3, dat gaat over de oudste broer (Chrik) van mijn grootvader, zal ik een korte samenvatting geven van de historische gebeurtenissen, nu niet van de eerste en tweede, maar van de derde en de vierde Atjeh oorlogen, die geduurd hebben van 1884-1918, zodat men de herinneringen van mijn grootvader beter in deze tijd weet te plaatsen. In hoofdstuk 6 worden de krijgsverrichtingen in Atjeh van mijn grootvader (van mijn moeders kant) A.F.Gooszen beschreven. Het blijkt dat mijn twee grootvaders tegelijkertijd deel hebben genomen aan een expeditie in november 1893 naar de bovenloop van de Tamiang rivier aan de Oostkust van Sumatra. Ze werden beiden hiervoor  onderscheiden door de Minister van Marine met een ereteken.

2. Derde Atjeh oorlog 1884-1896

De oorlog tegen Atjeh kostte Nederland handen vol geld en het was door de twee gevoerde oorlogen niet gelukt om het Atjehse verzet te breken. Zo besloot de minister van oorlog Weitzel om een andere tactiek in Atjeh toe te passen.

Minister van Oorlog A.W.Ph. Weitzel

Allereerst wilde hij een troepen vermindering en een afsluiting van de vesting Kota Radja door middel van een zwaar versterkte linie. Hij wilde op zo’n manier de Atjehers op de knieën brengen. Op 20 augustus 1884 werd onder commando van kolonel H. Demmeni met de aanleg van de Geconcentreerde Linie begonnen.

De geconcentreerde linie om Kota Radja gebouwd  in 1884-1885

Zij bestond uit 16 bentengs, met een bezetting variërend van 60-160 man elk. Ze waren met Kota Radja verbonden door middel van telefoon en bereikbaar via een trambaan. Het gebied werd afgeschermd door een hoog ijzeren hek met wachthuisjes op palen. Deze verdedigingslinie moest  de Nederlandse troepen in Atjeh  beveiligen tegen infiltratie van Atjehse vrijheidsstrijders. De verdedigingslinie werd voltooid in maart 1885.

Officiers vrouwen gaan op theevisite bij een andere post van de geconcentreerde linie.

Ondertussen werd gezocht naar bondgenoten onder de Atjehse leiders die met Nederland willen samenwerken. Men ging de verdeel en heers politiek toepassen. Er heerste onder de elite van de Atjehers een duidelijke rivaliteit  In januari 1891 stierf Teungkoe Tjèh Thaman di Tirò, een van de belangrijkste verzetstrijders.

Teugkoe Tjèh Thaman di Tiro 1836-1891

Hij was de leider van de godsdienst partij. Hij verzond brieven waarin hierin hij de Atjehers opriep om de heilige oorlog volgens de regels van de godsdienst te voeren. Deze geven een goed beeld van hoe men dacht over het Nederlands gezag. (zie achteraan in dit hoofdstuk bij de herinneringen  van mijn grootvader de tekst van zo’n brief). Hij stierf in 1891 evenals panglima Polim, een andere machtige verzetsstrijder.  Er was een andere verzetsstrijder Teukoe Oemar, die na hun dood de kans zag een sultanzetel te verkrijgen. Hij koos daarbij de zijde van de Nederlanders.

De verzetstrijder Teukoe Oemar

In januari 1992 werd een nieuwe militaire gouverneur benoemd, het werd  kolonel C. Deijkerhoff (Later tot generaal benoemd). Hij stelde o.a. voor aan de Gouverneur-generaal Cornelis Pijnacker Hordijk om Teukoe Oemar te voorzien van wapens. Pijnacker Hordijk stemde daarmee in en heeft zijn opvolger  Gouverneur-generaal Jhr. C.H.A. van Wijck te laten beloven, dat hij generaal Deijkerhoff de vrije hand zou geven om zijn plannen te kunnen uitvoeren.

Generaal-majoor  C. Deijkerhoff.

Links: Cornelis Pijnacker Hordijk, Gouverneur -generaal van 1888-1893. Rechts: Jhr Carel H.A. van der Wijck, Gouverneur-generaal van 1893-1899.

In juli en augustus 1893 is Teukoe Oemar militaire steun verleend gegeven in de strijd tegen de zich verzettende Atjehers in het Moekim gebied. Op 30 december werd hij zelfs aangesteld in Koeta Radja tot panglima prang besar, opperste krijgsheer van het gouvernement. Hij veranderde zijn naam in Teukoe Djohan Pahlawan, wat betekent Johan de Heldhaftige . Op 30 oktober veroverde hij zelfs Anagaloeng, het belangrijkste militaire steunpunt van de vallei. In april 1894 was de actie ten einde en het gehele gebied van de Moekims gezuiverd. Maar er kwam verzet tegen de plannen van Deijkerhoff en en wel door dr C. Snouck Hurgronje.

Links: Dr Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857- 1936) was een Nederlandsarabist en islamoloog. Rechts: majoor J.B. van Heutsz

Hij pleitte voor een goed georganiseerde systematische spionnage in plaats van terreur als middel om het Nederlandse gezag te handhaven. Men moest niet met de Atjehers onderhandelen, zij zwichten alleen voor geweld. Hij raadde de regering aan deze moslimleiders “zeer gevoelig te slaan”. Deijkerhoff had door zijn succes in Atjeh echter het gelijk aan zijn zijde. Snouck wees op het gevaar, dat het monsterverbod met Teukoe Oemar  in hield. Hij stond daarbij niet alleen, ook majoor J. B. van Heutsz had soortgelijke denkbeelden. Dit blijkt uit een in 1893 van zijn hand verschenen brochure getiteld: “Over de onderwerping van Atjeh”.Van Heutsz beschouwde de Atjehers niet als oproerkraaiers, maar als vrijheidsstrijders. Volgens van Heutsz biograaf Witte had de brochure daarnaast nog een verborgen boodschap: ‘hier is van Heutsz, ik durf de Atjehers wel aan, benoem mij maar tot gouverneur van Atjeh’. (Het is hem later ook inderdaad gelukt. In mei 1898 werd hij benoemd als gouverneur van Atjeh)

Over de krijgsverrichtingen in 1893,  waar men grootvader direct bij betrokken was, staan interessante passages in het boek van W.J. Cohen Stuart,  De Nederlandsche Zeemacht van 1889-1915 geschreven in 1937:

Het overlopen van Toekoe Oemar
Eenige maanden later had eene groote verandering plaats in de verhouding van Toekoe Oemar tot het Bestuur. De Regeering had gemeend, van den invloed en de voortvarendheid van dezen Atjeher voor het overwinnen van het verzet partij te kunnen trekken door hem aan onze zijde te brengen en blijkbaar had Oemar ook zijn voordeel daarin gezien; in Juli werd hij onze bondgenoot en de “Benkoelen” embarkeerde den 31 en dier maand van Rigaih, Gloempang en Lho Siddoh 137 personen, w.o. 42 vrouwen en kinderen, allen volgelingen van den Toekoe, ten overvoer naar Oeleë Lheuë; zij voerden mede 2 lilla’s, 60 geweren – w.o. 20 achterlaad – (3 Beaumont-geweren werden als afkomstig van de Marine herkend), 116 blanke wapenen, 3000 patronen voor het Beaumont-geweer, 10 kg buskruit, 1000 looden kogels; van de patronen waren sommige door Atjehers gevuld.

De strijd tegen de verzetsstrijder Nja Makam
Het Westelijk deel der Noordkust was meermalen het tooneel van beschieting van schepen en sloepen, vooral bij Koeala Gigieng en Pedropunt, dat aanleiding gaf tot tuchtiging der betrokken kampongs met granaatvuur; bij eene dergelijke gelegenheid werd de Adelborst 1e kl. G. den Berger gewond. Onze post te Sigli stond herhaaldelijk aan aanvallen bloot; de “Lombok”, van een zoeklicht voorzien, kon daardoor, bij het afslaan door de bezetting van nachtelijke aanvallen, goede diensten bewijzen; den 7en Mei wierp dit schip 46 granaten in de schuldige kampongs. Bloedig gevolg had de plotselinge aanval van een met klewang en rent jong gewapenden Atjeher op een detachement van 12 man van de “Lombok” dat aan den wal aan het schijfschieten was; de man wist dadelijk den officier en 2 man te verwonden en toen de Stuurman Prins hem te lijf ging, dezen een doodelijken steek toe te brengen, vóórdat hij afgemaakt werd. De strooptochten van het bendehoofd Nja Makam uitgebroed in het ons steeds vijandige Simpang-Olim, waren oorzaak van krijgsverrichtingen; waaraan de Zeemacht een belangrijk aandeel nam. In Januari 1893 ontving de Commandant van H.M.Raderstoomschip, Sindoro”, de Luitenant ter zee 1 e kl. W. Allirol, ter Oostkust van Atjeh in station, van den Nederlandschen Consul-Generaal te Penang bericht, dat Nja Makam zich Zuidwaarts had begeven en voornemens was, in de residentie Oostkust van Sumatra vijandelijkheden te plegen. De “Sindoro” stoomde dadelijk daarop naar de Tamiang-Rivier en zond eene gewapende sloep onder den Adelborst 1e kl. van Idsinga naar Seroeway om onzen post aldaar te waarschuwen. Ongeveer halverwege, bij Rantau-Pakam, werd de sloep beschoten; bij den terugkeer werd zij gesleept door het van pantserplaten voorziene gewestelijk stoomjacht “Langkat” , waarop de bemanning der sloep was overgegaan, zoodat de beschieting geene verliezen veroorzaakte. Den 25en verscheen Nja Makam’s bende op den rechteroever der rivier nabij ons etablissement Seroeway beschoot den pasar, waarvan het Maleische deel verbrandde en bezette de op den linkeroever gelegen Missisgit van het ons bevriende hoofd Radja Bandahara, welke zij plunderde en daarna in de vlammen deed opgaan

Cohen Stuart geeft vervolgens vele details  over de strijd tegen de troepen van Nja Makam. Ik begin weer met het citeren als blijkt, dat mijn grootvader van mijn moeder kant Luitenant ter zee 2e kl A.F. Gooszen  bij de gevechtshandelingen betrokken is.

Luitenant der zee 2e klasse A.F. Gooszen gaat met mee met de expeditie stroomopwaarts van de rivier Tamiang

Na deze voorvallen werd tot eene nieuwe expeditie besloten. H.M. stoomjacht “Koerier” werd met het oog op het bevaren der rivier gewapend met 4 kanonnen van 3,7 cm, een op den bak, een op de kampanje en twee op de brug; een kraaiennest voor 4 scherpschutters werd aan den fokkemast aangebracht, de kwetsbare punten werden met zware planken geblindeerd; ook bevestigde men voor het verbreken van versperringen een ijzeren schoen met kettingen aan den voorsteven en bracht door het lossen van steenkolen den diepgang tot 18 dm terug.

Den 30en, nadat des morgens ten l0u met hoog water de “Koerier” de ondiepte had gepasseerd, stoomde de geheele macht in alarmstelling de rivier op; de versterkingen bij Rantau-Pakam bleken niet bezet te zijn, doch bij Pasir Poetih stuitte men op twee versperringen, bestaande uit niboengstammen, hout en bamboe, door dwarslatten met pen en gat verbonden, en waartusschen zich een staaldraadtros van 50 mm bevond. De versperringen gingen op den rechteroever van één punt uit, maar aangezien de rivier aldaar een scherpe bocht maakt, maakten zij een hoek met elkander en hadden op den linkeroever een onderlingen afstand van ongeveer 25 m. Hier lagen een tweetal geschutstellingen, bovendien verkende men aan den overkant der ladang eenige versterkingen; uit al deze verdedigingswerken werd het vuur geopend toen de “Koerier”, aan het hoofd der flottille stoomende, ten 2u15m tot 250 à 300 m genaderd was. Dit vuur beantwoordende, stoomde de “Koerier”, den rechteroever houdende, zoo normaal mogelijk op de eerste versperring in; deze werd verbroken, doch door de vermindering in vaart gelukte het niet, de tweede stuk te varen; de Commandant van de “Koerier”, de Luitenant ter zee 2e kl. J. F. B. van Dijk, kreeg hierbij een schampschot in de zijde door een lilla-kogel, die tegen de bescherm plaat van het aan bakboordzijde op de brug staande kanon van 3,7 cm ricocheteerde; hij bleef echter het schip besturen. Het schip stoomde nu achteruit en daarna volle kracht vooruit op de tweede versperring in, die daarvoor bezweek; het voorschip liep echter hierbij aan den linkeroever in de modder en daar volle kracht achteruitslaan niet voldoende was om het schip achteruit tc krijgen, werd de bemanning naar het achterschip gezonden; zij kwam daardoor echter een oogenblik buiten de blindeering van planken, kooien en ijzeren platen, en kreeg door ‘s vijands vuur drie gewonden; het schip kwam vlot, en verdreef door vuur uit de gevechtsmars en aan het dek, de Atjehers uit de geschutstellingen aan den oever, waarna de officieren Mensert en Noordhoek Hegt met een klein detachement van de “Koerier” twee lilla’s daaruit haalden; de versperringen werden latere door de sloepen opgeruimd. Inmiddels waren, op een punt, ongeveer 500 m benedenstrooms van Pasir Poetih, de beide colonnes der Infanterie met een deel der landingsdivisie op den linkeroever geland en rukten door de ladang, die, pas aangelegd, een zeer moeilijk terrein bleek te zijn, tegen de meest Noordelijk gelegen versterking op; de tegenstand, hier door den vijand geboden, bezorgde aan de Infanterie een gesneuvelde en vier gewonden; uit de overige bentings vluchtte de vijand. Eene compagnie bleef in de genomen versterkingen achter om die den volgenden dag te slechten, daarna werd het overige der gelande troepen geëmbarkeerd en ten 7u30m bereikte de flotille Seroeway, waar den 31 en de gewonden per particulieren stoomer naar Deli werden geëvacueerd, de colonne van Pasir Poetih afgehaald en overigens gerust werd.

Den 2en des morgens ten 6u werd door de sloepen aangevangen met het overzetten der colonnes en den trein, en ten 7u45m werd de marsch aanvaard; de landingsdivisie werd, om haar een vermoeiende marsch te besparen, door de “Anna” en “Slamat” overgevoerd naar een punt, tegenover Oud-Seroeway gelegen, waar zij ten 8u30m aankwam en in afwachting van de komst der colonne, naar den rand der sawah oprukte, vanwaar de ligging van een viertal vijandelijke versterkingen op ongeveer 700 m afstand, werd waargenomen; weldra kwam nu ook de colonne, onder bevel van den Majoor Meuleman, die het voetpad langs de rivier had gevolgd, op het terrein aan, en nadat de landingsdivisie hare plaats in den hoofdtroep had ingenomen werd even vóór 9u op de sawah gedeboucheerd; de sterkte van den troep bestond op dit oogenblik uit 9 officieren en 307 minderen der Infanterie, aan wie toegevoegd waren 1 officier en 19 mariniers, Marine-landingsdivisie 5 officieren en 73 matrozen 8 mariniers, artillerie 1 officier en 24 minderen met 3 getrokken bronzen kanonnen van 8 cm en een Coehoorn-mortier. Nadat tot ongeveer 650 pas van de vijandelijke stelling voortgerukt was, terwijl eene sectie infanterie bij het landingspunt achtergelaten was om de ageerende troepenmacht in den rug te dekken en de verbinding met de vaartuigen te onderhouden, kwam ten ongeveer 9u15m de artillerie in batterij en richtte haar vuur met granaten en granaatkartetsen achtereenvolgens op de vijandelijke versterkingen, terwijl door den troep beurtelings pelotons-  en sectiesgewijze salvovuur werd afgegeven; men kreeg vuur niet alleen uit de bentings maar ook van een 200-tal Atjehers, die nabij de meest Noordelijk gelegen versterking eene schietstelling hadden ingenomen, waardoor de rechtervleugel onzer linie bedreigd werd; het detachement van Seroeway, met eene sectie infanterie versterkt, hiertegen afgezonden, slaagde erin, dat vuur tot zwijgen tebrengen.

Inmiddels had de Commandant der Landingsdivisie bevel ontvangen, om de bovengenoemde benting op den linkervleugel van ‘s vijands linie gelegen, te nemen. Zij rukte in vier tempo’s vooruit, op de halten salvo’s afgevend; door het zeer moeilijke terrein, eene sawah, met riet of zwaar hard gras ter hoogte van 1,5 m begroeid, waarvan bovendien de bodem glibberig was en vele kuilen en nagenoeg onbegaanbare galangans opleverde, kwam men slechts langzaam vooruit en leed reeds eenige verliezen; op ongeveer 200 pas van het doel werd daarom de order tot stormloopen tegen de Noord-Oostelijke face gegeven.Men kwam vóór eene omheining van aangepunte bamboe waarachter eene drooge gracht, gevuld met bamboedoerie, om het buitentalud te bereiken, moest eene tweede omheining van bamboe doorbroken worden; men trachtte nu, door kappen en snijden, openingen te maken. Het gelukte Commandant en Officieren op enkele plaatsen de borstwering te bereiken, doch de Commandant, de Luitenant ter zee 1 e kl. Mensert, werd door een schot in het hoofd zwaar gewond, zoodat hij het bevel aan den Luitenant ter zee 2e kl. C.W. Broers moest overgeven. Terzelfder tijd was het detachement van Seroeway, waarbij, zooals reeds vermeld, 20 man van het Korps Mariniers waren ingedeeld, na het vermeesteren der bovengenoemde schietstelling, tegen de Vester- en Zuiderfacen der benting opgerukt, en werd getracht, de poort der versterking te forceeren; hierbij sneuvelde de Korporaal der Mariniers Viergever, terwijl de Commandant van de troep, de 1 e Luitenant der Infanterie C. van der Schroeff, bij het beklimmen der borstwering doodelijk gewond werd.

Intusschen was tot steun dezer actie eene groep infanterie van eene der andere collones afgezonden geworden, en gelukte het aan eenige manschappen dezer groep, met den Luitenant ter zee 2e kl. A. F. Gooszen en 4 mariniers, in de binnenruimte der versterking te springen, op hetzelfde oogenblik, dat het forceeren der poort gelukte; hiermede was de versterking in ons bezit. Reeds bij het oprukken had de Landingsdivisie 6 gewonden gekregen, waaronder de Luitenant ter zee 2e kl. J. H. Zeeman; bij het stormen sneuvelden met inbegrip van de bij het detachement Seroeway ingedeelde mariniers, vier man en werden, behalve de Luitenant ter zee 1e kl. Mensert, drie man gewond. (…)

Nadat alle versterkingen genomen waren, stoomde de “Koerier” nog hooger de rivier op en verjoeg met eenige schoten uit de kanons van 3,7 cm de nog standhoudende Atjehers uit een versterkt huis in de kampong Loeboek Batil. De veroverde versterkingen werden voor den nacht door de Landmacht bezet en daags daarna geslecht. Nog in den namiddag van den 2en April werden de lijken der gesneuvelden de gewonden en de landingsdivisie door de “Koerier” en de sloepen naar Seroeway overgevoerd; aldaar was de Kapitein ter zee Stokhuyzen, Commandant der vereenigde scheepsmacht in de wateren van Atjeh, per stoomschip “Kinta” aangekomen; hij begaf zich, vergezeld van den Kapitein-Luitenant ter zee van den Pauvert, leider van het nautische gedeelte der expeditionnaire macht, per stoomsloep naar het gevechtsterrein; vandaar terugkeerende, kreeg de sloep door een geweerschot een lek, waarin den volgenden dag, door haar op eene droogte te zetten, kon worden voorzien. Den 3en werden de gewonden door de gewestelijke stoomjachten, onder geleide van eene stoombarkas, naar de reede vervoerd en had in den namiddag de plechtige ter aarde-bestelling der gesneuvelden plaats. Op den 5en keerden alle schepelingen naar hunne respectieve bodems terug, terwijl de “Koerier” met eene stoombarkas op de rivier bleef.

Nu aan Nja Makam’s aanhangers belangrijke verliezen waren toegebracht, was de toestand in het Tamiangsche aanmerkelijk verbeterd; niettemin werd voorloopig de aanwezigheid van een oorlogsvaartuig op de rivier noodig geacht; toen dan ook in Mei de “Koerier” naar Penang moest om te dokken, werd het Gouvernements-stoomschip  “Indragiri”, met een Marine-detachement aan boord, ter vervanging aangewezen. Verder werd de toegankelijkheid van de “Tamiang-Rivier bevorderd door de opname van de Panaga-geul en de bebakening der monding van de Soengei Ijoe, welke dieper was dan de Tamianggeul.

Hendrik de  Booij gaat als commandant van gewapende sloepen op patrouille om de bovenloop van de rivier Tamiang  te verkennen

In de tweede helft van October werd door de “Koerier” op last van den Commandant der Zeemacht de poging herhaald, om den bovenloop der rivier te verkennen. Begunstigd. door hoogen waterstand tengevolge van bandjirs, vertrok men den 28e van Seroeway, vergezeld van eene stoombarkas en met een detachement als bovengenoemd aan boord, en bereikte den volgenden dag Karang, ruim 5 km bovenstrooms van Koeala Simpang, waar men vuur kreeg uit eene benting van Radja Silang, welk vuur door het geschut tot zwijgen werd gebracht. Terwijl men zich voor de landing gereed maakte, kwam met de “Anna” de Kapitein van Polanen Petel van Seroeway aan, vergezeld van 10 man Infanterie; deze als dekking der ambulance aanwendende, rukte nu het landingsdetachement onder den Luitenant der Mariniers G. Faassen tegen de benting op, welke overhaast verlaten bleek te zijn; daags daarna werd zij verbrand. Verder opstoomen werd voor de “Koerier” niet raadzaam geacht, zoodat, nadat met de stoom barkas eenige verkenningen waren verricht en een bezoek was gebracht aan bet ons bevriende Tandjong Mandang,aan de SimpangKiri, de “Koerier” den 2e November met krabbend anker de rivier afzakte, daar het stoomen wegen de vele afdrijvende boomen te gevaarlijk was. Terwijl de “Koerier” nog te Koeala Sim pang vertoefde, kwam aldaar den 9en November de Gewestelijk Militair Commandant per “Alllla”, in prauwen eene halve compagnie Infanterie sleepende ; den volgenden dag werd de tocht vervolgd, waaraan door de gewapende stoombarkas en een 20-tal mariniers werd deelgenomen; men bereikte de Kampong Loeboek Sidoep, ongeveer 18 km boven Koeala Sim pang en deed haar in vlammen opgaan.

Inmiddels had de Oudst-aanwezend Zeeofficier ter Oostkust eene flottille gewapende sloepen van de “Merapi” en drie andere schepen samengesteld en voer daarmede den 9en de rivier op; men bereikte een punt nog bijna 20 km voorbij Loeboek Sidoep en bevond alles rustig; den 12e was men aan boord der schepen terug.

Nog werd door de Mariniers met de landingsdivisie van de “Koerier” deelgenomen aan een marsch van de Infanterie van Koeala Simpang uit, ter opsporing van eene in de nabijheid gesignaleerde, 200 man sterke, bende Atjehers; de vermoeiende marsch leverde geene ontmoeting met den vijand op. Intusschen had de “Sindoro”, waarvan brug en ketelkap van eene doelmatige blindeering waren voorzien geworden, terwijl met eigen middelen een kanon van 3,7 cm in den top van den fokkemast was geplaatst, den gen October met de “Koerier” een tocht op de Ara Koendoe-rivier gemaakt. Toen de rivier te bochtig werd voor de “Sindoro”, stoomde de “Koerier” verder op, voorafgegaan door de stoomsloep, en kwam men tot het eilandje Leboni. Op de hoogte van Blang-Ni gekomen, kreeg de stoomsloep uit een loopgraaf een salvo, dat echter niemand kwetste; toen de “Koerier” het vuur opende, vluchtte de vijand.

Einde citaten uit het boek van Cohen Stuart . De Nederlandsche Zeemacht van 1889-1915

Begin 1896 kwam een nieuwe commandant luitenant-kolonel F.W. Bisschoff van Heemskerk. Hij zag dat de politiek van Deijkerhoff steeds minder goed ging functioneren. De posten  van de linie werden steeds meer beschoten, vooral vanuit de gebieden buiten de linie, die met hulp van Teukoe Oemar waren gezuiverd. Deijkerhoff wilde geen patrouilles buiten de linie, dat moest worden gewaarborgd door Teukoe Oemar. Maar Bisschoff van Heemskerk gaf desondanks het bevel om eens per maand een demonstratieve patrouille te houden in het gebied buiten de linie. Op 7 maart 1896 was kapitein Blokland met 92 man op patrouille gegaan. Direct al werden zij onder vuur genomen. Na afloop telde men negen doden en 22 gewonden. Deijkerhoff verlangde van Teukoe Oemar, dat hij de orde in de buiten gebieden ging herstellen, maar deze eiste van Deijkerhoff meer wapens en munitie. Maar al spoedig bleek,dat hij van plan was over te lopen. Hij weigerde in eerste instantie de orders van Deijkerhoff op te volgen. Teukoe Oemar ging vervolgens over, dankbaar gebruik makend van de wapens, die hij van Deijkerhoff had gekregen, door de Nederlandse troepen aan te vallen. Het verraad was al lang van te voren door hem gepland. 29 maart werden de Nederlandse posten buiten de linie ingesloten. Zo ontstond er een totaal nieuwe situatie. Deijkerhoff had zichtbaar gefaald en werd ontslagen. Generaal Vetter * ) werd benoemd als regeringscommissaris. Er werd nu korte metten gemaakt en een groot offensief gestart, waarop Snouck Hurgronje steeds had aangedrongen. Wie ook mee deed aan dit offensief was luitenant-kolonel J.B. van Heutsz (die al driemaal in Atjeh had gediend). Eveneens was  luitenant H. Colijn van de partij. Op 5 april 1896 schreef Colijn in de Nederlander): ‘De geest onder de troep is uitstekend. Er heerst spannende geestdrift. En wanneer het aan ons en aan onze soldaten ligt, geen rijsthalmpje, ja geen grassprietje in het gebied der IV Moekims (Oemars kerngebied) zal ongeschonden blijven. Hij heeft het gewild, dat de oorlogsfakkel branden zou! Het zij zoo!’.
8 april 1896 begon een offensief, onder leiding van kolonel J.W. Stemfort, met colonne van duizend man met als doel om de belegerde posten te ontzetten. De Atjehers boden fel verzet. De vallei werd door de Nederlandse troepen bezet en vele posten van de Atjehers werden vernietigd, zo ook de geboorteplaats van Teukoe Oemar in mei 1896. Koningin Wilhelmina zond een telegram om de colonne, die onder commandant van van Heutsz stond, te feliciteren met de verovering van Lam Pisang op 24 mei. Daarna werd de kampong Lamasang met de grond gelijk gemaakt. Alle bomen gekapt en de grafheuvels afgegraven. Tijdens deze zware gevechten vielen vele doden aan beiden zijde. Colijn schrijft over deze ‘heldhaftige’ gebeurtenis in de Nederlander van 22 juli : ‘ De vallei van Lam Pisang bevat 30-tal welvarende dorpen (kampongs). In die vallei raast de rook: een 30-tal kampongs ging in vlammen op en zijn van dit aardsche schouwspel verdwenen. De geheele rijke vallei is één onafzienbare smeulende vlakte, talrijk goed gevulde voorraadschuren van Oemar – zoomede zijn eigen prachtige woning- deelden in het lot van al het overige’.  Zo kwam er een einde aan de derde Atjeh oorlog.

Dit betekende niet het einde, want er volgden nog vele oorlogen, niet alleen in Atjeh maar ook in andere gebieden van Nederlandsch Indië. Het onderstaande kaartje laat zien deze zogenaamde pacificaties van Indië.

 

Pacificatie van Indië door de Nederlanders

Generaal Vetter en luitenant Colijn, die deelnamen aan de derde Atjeh oorlog, hebben een paar jaar daarvoor in 1894 een belangrijke rol gespeeld bij de verovering van Lombok. Hieronder volgt een korte samenvatting van deze krijgsverrichting.

 

Links: Luitenant H. Colijn. Rechts: Generaal  J.A. Vetter.

Het ten oosten van Bali gelegen eiland Lombok is lang buiten de Nederlandse invloedsfeer gebleven. Het eiland werd bestuurd door 2 vorstenfamilies uit het oosten van Bali, het huis van Karangasem-Mataram. Het Balische vorstenbewind bestuurde zowel het eigen gebied op Bali als het gehele eiland Lombok. Eind 19e eeuw was dit geslacht van radja’s(vorsten) op het toppunt van hun macht. Zij bouwden paleizen en tempels op beide eilanden. Er bestonden spanningen tussen de oorspronkelijke moslimbevolking op Lombok, de Sasaks en de hindoeistische radja’s van Bali. Vooral het autocratische bewind van de Balische vorsten leidde tot opstanden op Lombok. Bestuur en belastingheffing waren in handen van deze vorsten. In de jaren negentig brak op Lombok een opstand uit tegen de op Lombok regerende Balinese vorsten. Vooral de vorst Anak Agoeng Madé was berucht om zijn wreedheden t.o.v. de plaatselijke bevolking, de Sasaks. Batavia werd door enkele Sasaks voormannen gevraagd om hulp tegen hun Balinese onderdrukkers en dan vooral hulp voor de strijd tegen de vorst Anak Agoeng Madé. In deze periode was het zo dat de Balinese radja van Lombok leenheer was van de vorsten op Bali en verschillende Balinese leenmannen kwamen vanuit Bali hun leenheer op Lombok te hulp. Een gecompliceerde situatie en dat dus midden in de niet zo succesvol verlopende eerste Atjeh pacificaties. Er ontstond een hele diskussie : wel ingrijpen of niet, of misschien toch wel….De nieuwe gouverneur-generaal van der Wijck hakte de knoop door : we doen het wel en dus landde in maart 1894 een expeditieleger o.l.v. generaal Vetter op de kust van Lombok.

Invasie op Lombok aan het strand bij Ampenan

Tijdens de opmars naar Mataram pleegde de Balinese vorst Anak Agoeng Madé, die de Sasaks bevolking het meest had onderdrukt, zelfmoord en dus was eigenlijk de directe aanleiding verdwenen. De verdere onderhandelingen met de Balinese radja van Lombok liepen ogenschijnlijk voorspoedig, want de overmacht van de Nederlandse koloniale troepen was natuurlijk overweldigend. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radja van Lombok

Ook de uit Bali overgekomen hulptroepen wisten, dat zij militair t.o.v de Nederlanders niets voorstelden. Maar, zoals gebruikelijk in die dagen, moesten nog wel alle kosten van de invasie worden betaald. De kosten van deze expeditie werden geschat op één miljoen gulden : voor die tijd en natuurlijk speciaal voor de Balinese radja, een krankzinnig hoog bedrag. In de loop van de maand augustus was echter al een kwart bijeen gebracht. Generaal Vetter legerde in deze periode zijn troepen verdeeld over het eiland. En toen ging het mis. De Balische vorsten kregen het (terechte) vermoeden dat, na betaling van de opgelegde schatting, de Nederlanders wel eens niet zouden kunnen vertrekken en dat op zijn minst nieuwe eisen zouden worden gesteld. Langzamerhand brak het besef door dat het Sasakse verzoek om hulp alleen maar had gediend als aanleiding voor Batavia om eindelijk heel Lombok te ‘pacificeren’, ook zij wisten natuurlijk wat er in Atjeh gaande was. Men besloot zich tot het uiterste te verzetten .En dus gebeurde het dat plotseling op een nacht de Nederlandse troepen, zonder waarschuwing vooraf, werden aangevallen : er vielen bijna 100 doden (w.o. de Generaal-Majoor van der Ham) en ruim 250 gewonden : de grootste nederlaag die de Nederlandse koloniale troepen tot nu toe in de 19e eeuw hadden geleden.

Generaal-majoor P.P.M. van der Ham, gedood op Lombok 26 augustus 1894

Ook de reeds verkregen oorlogsschatting waren de Nederlanders weer kwijt. M.b.v. vers aangevoerde troepen werd Lombok, met meer dan grof geweld, gepacificeerd, want kostte wat het kost, het verraad van Lombok moest worden gebroken. De verwoestingen waren enorm : eerst werd alles tussen Ampenan en Mataram door de artillerie kapot geschoten en vervolgens werd dat wat er nog overbleef, nagenoeg met de grond gelijk gemaakt. Van zowel Ampenan als Mataram, bleef nauwelijks iets over. De verwoestingen waren zo grondig dat sommigen in de pers zich afvroegen “wat heeft het voor zin om alles zo te vernietigen, waarover men later gezag wil uitoefenen ?” Ook op Lombok werden de slachtoffers onder de bevolking nauwelijks geteld, want “het verzet moest worden gebroken”. Toch werd er nog geaarzeld om Tjakranegara, waar de radja woonde, aan te vallen. Men wachtte totdat er bijna 10.000 man waren : alles tussen Mataram en Tjakranegara werd omgehakt c.q. afgebroken : de artillerie wilde een vrij schootsveld hebben. De radja stuurde een smeekbrief, daarop werd, op direct bevel van G.G van der Wijck, door Generaal Vetter geantwoord met granaten. De radja betoogde dat hij niets wist van de nachtelijke aanval op de Nederlanders, hij had toch niet voor niets al zoveel geld betaald ? Het mocht allemaal niet baten. Tjakranegara werd massaal bestormd en veroverd, de radja wist te ontvluchten en gaf zich later over en werd verbannen naar Batavia.

De bestorming van Tjakranegara

De laatste overgebleven vorsten pleegden zelfmoord via een Perang Poepoetan: mannen, vrouwen en kinderen stortten zich in witte kleren op de verbaasd toekijkende en continu schietende Nederlanders. Een van de vele Poepoetans tijdens de pacificaties in de 19e eeuw. Tijdens de ‘akties’ werd door de Nederlanders op Lombok een grote buit veroverd : zilveren en gouden sieraden en wapens : de zogenaamde schatten van Lombok. De schatten van Lombok werden jarenlang tentoongesteld in het Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Een gedeelte werd omgesmolten (!), pas in 1977 werd het grootste deel teruggeschonken aan Indonesië en een gedeelte bleef achter in Nederland en ligt nog steeds, naar men zegt, opgeslagen in de kluizen van de Nederlandse bank.

Uit de twee biografieën van Hendrik Colijn, die bij de invasie op Lombok heeft meegestreden, blijkt hoe men vroeger en tegenwoordig dacht over de oorlogen in Nederlandsch Indië. Het is interessant hoe de tijdgeest sterk is veranderd. Allereerst geef ik enkele citaten  uit de levensschets van Hendrik Colijn geschreven door Rullmann in 1933.  Hieruit blijkt hoe men in die tijd stond tegen over de krijgsverrichtingen van Colijn. De toon is, zoals we later zullen zien in de biografie van Herman Langeveld geschreven 65 jaar later in 1998  wel geheel anders dan die van Rullmann.

Rullmann pagina 12 “November 1894 werd hij geroepen deel te nemen aan de bekende Lombok-expeditie. Op den 18den van die maand, bij de bestorming van Tjakra Negara, onderging hij den vuurdoop. Zijn militaire bekwaamheden werden toen erkend met het ridderkruis 4e klasse van de Militaire Willemsorde, omdat zijn afdeeling van de Noordelijke troepen het eerst was doorgedrongen in de poeri van den vorst, gelijk de afdeeling van luitenant Van der Heyden bij de Zuidelijken.
In 1895 nam hij, op zijn verzoek overgeplaatst naar Atjeh, deel aan de krijgsverrichtingen in dat gewest. In datzelfde jaar noopte een ernstige ziekte hem naar Java terug te keeren. Maar na herstel daarvan vertrok hij met bekwamen spoed weer naar Atjeh en onderscheidde zich buitengewoon in de krijgsverrichtingen tegen Toekoe Oemar. Krijgsmakkers van Colijn uit die dagen hebben verklaard, dat hij een schitterend soldaat was, onverschrokken, koelbloedig, vasthoudend, onvermoeid, beslist, humaan tegenover den overwonnen en onderworpen inlander en goed voor zijn soldaten. Eens zag hij een gewonden soldaat in de wildernis halfdood liggen. Hij ging niet, gelijk de priester en de leviet, tegenover hem voorbij, maar kwam als de barmhartige Samaritaan tot hem, verbond zijn wonden, en droeg hem 2 uur ver naar het naastbij gelegen bivak ter verpleging. In 1925 heeft hij dien ouden strijdmakker nog eens ontmoet”..

De citaten uit de biografie van Colijn van Herman Langeveld in 1998 geven wel een heel ander beeld over Hendrik Colijn tijdens zijn krijgsverrichtingen in Lombok.

Langeveld p. 57-61:   “Colijn die ingedeeld was bij de derde compagnie, onder leiding van kapitein C.F. van den Ende schreef over deze zelfmoord het volgende aan zijn resp. zijn vrouw en ouders : 24 november 1894 ‘Ik heb er een gezien die, met een kind van ongeveer 1/2 jaar op den linkerarm, en een lange lans in de rechterhand op ons aanstormde. Een kogel van ons doodde moeder en kind.’ Dan volgt een onheilspellende zin, gevolgd door een volledige beschrijving van het onheil. ‘We mochten toen geen genade meer geven. Ik heb 9 vrouwen en 3 kinderen, die genade vroegen, op een hoop moeten zetten en ze zoo dood laten schieten. Het was onaangenaam werk, maar ‘t kon niet anders. De soldaten regen ze met genot aan hun bajonetten. ‘t Was een verschrikkelijk werk. Ik zal er maar over eindigen.’ (In een ander handschrift – zo goed als zeker dat van Colijns vrouw in de marge :”Hoe vreeselijk!”).

In de brief (17 december 1894) aan zijn ouders gaf Colijn een iets andere beschrijving van deze gruweldaden. ‘Zelfs jonge, schoone vrouwen met zuigelingen op den arm streden mee en wierpen uit de daken stukken lood op ons, terwijl anderen zelfs de lans hanteerden. Gelukkig stonden mijn dappere Amboneezen als een muur. Na den 8en aanval bleven nog eenige weinigen over, die genade vroegen, ik geloof 13. De soldaten keken mij vragend aan. Een 30-tal mijner manschappen was dood of gewond. Ik keerde mij naar achteren om een sigaar op te steken. Eenige hartverscheurende kreten klonken en toen ik mij weer omdraaide waren ook die 13 dood.
Hiervoor is reeds de grotere betrouwbaarheid van de brief aan zijn vrouw ten opzichte van die aan zijn ouders aangetoond, maar zelfs als deze laatste lezing de juiste is en Colijn geen expliciet bevel tot doden gegeven zou hebben, dan nog was hij als bevelvoerend officier ten volle verantwoordelijk voor het executeren van vrouwen en kinderen die om genade smeekten.

De vraag rijst hoe Colijn een dergelijke handelwijze voor zichzelf gerechtvaardigd heeft. In de geciteerde passages zit iets van een rechtvaardiging, namelijk daar waar Colijn vermeldt dat een dertigtal van zijn mannen gedood of gewond was. Het is natuurlijk een uiterst primitieve en harteloze redenering, maar iets dergelijks bleek ook toen Colijn, de balans van de gevechten opmakend, van tot honderd vijf door zijn compagnie gedode Baliërs, onder wie zestien vrouwen. ‘Ik verloor echter 1 officier, wiens vrouw in diepe droefheid eerstdaags de geboorte van een kleine tegemoet ziet’. (brief aan zijn ouders van 17 december 1894). Het heeft iets van tegen elkaar wegstrepen: één gedode officier met een vrouw die in verwachting is rechtvaardigt zestien gedode vrouwen.

Het vraagstuk heeft echter nog een andere dimensie. Bestond er voor Colijn geen tegenstelling tussen zijn christelijke levensovertuiging en de door hem gevolgde handelwijze? Leverde die geen conflict op met zijn door het christendom gevormde geweten? Daarvan blijkt in deze brieven niets, wat overigens niet wil zeggen dat het godsdienstig element er geheel in ontbreekt. Aan zijn vrouw schreef hij: ‘Danken we, mijn lieveling, den Heere onzen God voor zijne weldaden en zegeningen. Hij heeft ons in de ure des gevaars bewaard. Zij hij ons ook verder nu nabij!’ (brief van 23 november 1894).  En aan zijn ouders: ‘Ik gaf mijn leven in de hand van Hem, die alom regeert en ik dankte den Heere voor ‘t geluk, dat hij mij gegeven had in mijn vrouwtje.’(brief 17 december 1894). Maar van de genoemde tegenstelling lijkt Colijn zich in het geheel niet bewust geweest te zijn. Blijkbaar achtte hij de christelijke ethiek niet van toepassing op het terrein van de oorlog. Anders gezegd: in de oorlog was volgens Colijn alles geoorloofd. ‘[ ... ] in den oorlog kan men geen jonge juffrouwen gebruiken. Voor de ijzeren wet der noodzakelijkheid zwijgt alles’. (brief van 17 december)

Toch is de conclusie dat Colijn in ‘de oorlog’ alles geoorloofd achtte, waarschijnlijk te globaal, omdat daarbij geen onderscheid wordt gemaakt tussen koloniale oorlogen en oorlogen tussen westerse, zo men wil christelijke naties onderling. Vooropgesteld moet worden dat een dergelijk onderscheid in de uitlatingen van Colijn zelf niet voorkomt. Dat wil echter nog niet zeggen dat hetgeen rol heeft gespeeld, want het kan zeer wel onderdeel uitgemaakt hebben van de ‘unspoken assumptions’, de onuitgesproken veronderstellingen, van zijn tijd. In het algemeen werd de tijd van het moderne imperialisme gekenmerkt door westers of blank superioriteitsgevoel. Ook zonder dat er van geprononceerd rasdenken sprake hoefde te zijn, kon dit er gemakkelijk toe leiden dat het leven van een niet-blanke minder waard geacht werd dan dat van een blanke. Het moderne imperialisme als zodanig ging uit van een ‘recht’ dat Europa zou hebben om de Derde Wereld in bezit te nemen; als de inheemse bevolking zich daar dan tegen verzette, had zij haar ondergang aan zichzelf te wijten. Zonder dat dergelijke redeneringen bij Colijn aanwijsbaar zijn, hebben zij, waarschijnlijk eerder onbewust dan bewust, mede zijn optreden op Lombok bepaald. Een zijdelingse aanwijzing voor dit soort redeneringen in verband met de Lombokexpeditie is te vinden in het boek van Cool uit 1896, dat achterin wel een lijst van ‘Europese’ gesneuvelde officieren en minderen heeft, maar daarbij in een noot slechts vermeldt: ‘Over de opgave van de [gesneuvelde] niet-Europese mindere militairen kon niet beschikt worden.’. En dat gold dan nog de ‘eigen’ soldaten”.

Einde citaten uit de biografie van Colijn door Herman Langeveld

Colijn kreeg voor zijn heldendaden het ridderschap van de militaire Willemsorde 4e klasse.

Langeveld, pagina 78:  In zijn Atjeh-brieven in De Nederlander ging Colijn niet in op de vraag naar de rechtmatigheid van de Nederlandse oorlog tegen Atjeh; impliciet blijkt wel dat hij hier geen probleem zag. In een brief van juli 1896 aan Van der Veen, antirevolutionair als hijzelf, voelde hij zich gedrongen wel nadrukkelijk bij die vraag stil te staan. Hij achtte deze van beslissende betekenis. ‘Is de oorlog noodig en billijk, dan zij er ook oorlog, oorlog, oorlog! Men breke dan met elk half-systeem. Is de oorlog onbillijk, men verlate Atjeh!’ Colijn kwam nu tot de conclusie dat de Atjeh-oorlog  ‘in oorsprong rechtvaardig’ was. De antirevolutionaire pers, die blijkbaar nog steeds het tegendeel verkondigde dwaalde zijns inziens ‘grovelijk’, waarbij hij verwees naar het  dat van Kuyper afwijkende standpunt van Elout van Soeterwoude. Colijn had zich dus terdege verdiept in de geschiedenis van het antirevolutionaire standpunt inzake de Atjeh-oorlog, en dacht van mening te verschillen met de almachtige partijleider Kuyper. Het zou tot 1904 duren voor hij in de gelegenheid was Kuyper in een persoonlijk gesprek zijn zienswijze te ontvouwen.

3. Herinneringen van Hendrik de Booy over zijn deelname aan de derde Atjeh oorlog van 1893-1895

Luitenant ter Zee der 2e klasse Hendrik de Booy oud 26 jaar in Atjeh

In januari 1893 ontving onze Marine bericht dat het bekende bendehoofd Nja Makam ( later tijdens de vierde Atjeh oorlog zal hij sneuvelen) voornemens was vijandelijkheden te plegen in de residentie Oostkust van Sumatra en wel in het bijzonder bij de rivier van Tamiang waaraan onze post Seroeway gelegen was. Marine en Landmacht namen krachtige maatregelen om daartegen op te treden. Het werd een belangrijke onderneming. Wij hadden een aantal flottielje vaartuigen aan de kust waarvan verscheidene naar de rivier Tamiang kwamen voor het vormen van een divisie gewapende sloepen en een landingsdivisie onder bevel van den luitenant ter zee 1e klasse D. A. Mensert. De “Koerier” werd ook aangewezen,  gewapend met licht geschut. Het nautische deel van onze macht was in zijn geheel onder bevel van overste van den Pauvert. Er moesten versperringen in de rivier opgeruimd worden, bentengs worden veroverd en het geschiedde.

Benteng (vesting)

Ook de Landmacht gaf haar deel en vervulde haar taak. Over overste van den Pauvert, die zich voor deze gelegenheid had gewapend met een Japans zwaard van grote afmeting  was een verhaal in omloop dat hij, zich bevindende aan boord van de “Koerier” toen hem werd gerapporteerd “versperring vooruit”, de ontvangst van dit bericht erkende met de woorden: “dank U, waarschuw wanneer wij ‘m dwars hebben”. Wat er geschiedde, het staat alles beschreven in de Nederlandsche Zeemacht van 1889-1915 in 2 gedeelten door W. J. Cohen Stuart , dat ik leende van de heer Cox, directeur van het Historisch Scheepvaartkundig Museum ( Uit dit boek heb ik reeds de belangrijks passages betreffende de krijgsverrichtingen die mijn grootvader in 1893-1895 heeft meegemaakt geciteerd). Nja Makam en zijn volgelingen hadden een nederlaag geleden, maar een toestand van rust en veiligheid was niet bereikt. Uit het bovenstaande zal blijken waarom ik Mensert, mijn 1e officier aan boord “Matador”en “Panter” bij mijn opname in het hospitaal te Weltevreden daar aantrof. De verwonding welke hij ontving waarbij de kogel tot de hersenen doordrong betekende voor hem verlies van een oog. Hij ontving de hoge onderscheiding te worden benoemd tot Ridder van de Militaire Willemsorde.

Mijn bestemming was op 31 mei 1893 mij te bevinden aan boord van het ramtorenschip” Koning der Nederlanden”, Stationsschip van de Zeemacht op de kust van Atjeh, liggende ter reede van Olehleh. Hier bevond ik mij dus op de plaats waar in 1873 de eerste expeditie landde onder generaal Köhler, en nabij die waar generaal van Swieten landde voor de tweede expeditie in 1874.

Het landingshoofd Oleh-Leh en het strand in 1893

De Kraton was door ons genomen. De Missigit ((Moskee) werd door ons herbouwd. In 1884 kwam de geconcentreerde postenstelling tot stand. Het huis van Teukoe Ne Radja Moeda Setia, hoofd van de grote Moekim, die gedurende de 1ste en 2de expeditie onze zijde had gekozen en ons herhaaldelijk goede raad had gegeven zagen we dichtbij. Ook konden wij wijzen op de Atjeh tram. (…) Het zou niet lang meer duren namelijk minder dan 2 maanden na mijn komst als zou blijken of wederom zou blijken, dat Atjeh nog niet tot rust gekomen gebied geworden was. Op 20 juli 1893 namelijk was de stoomsloep van Hr Ms “Madura” nabij Diamant punt op brandwacht toen lichtsignalen onder de wal werden gezien. Met den dag zag men top van “Madura” de twee masten van een op het strand zittend stoomschip dat bleek te zijn de “Rayah Kongsie Atjeh” varende onder Nederlandsche vlag. Aan boord vond men een bloedbad, slechts twee van de europese machinisten, die zich hadden schuil gehouden, waren ontkomen. Tenslotte bleek, dat vijf Atjehers, die te Lhos Seumawè aan boord waren gekomen, nadat de controlerende politie-oppasser van boord was gegaan en die rentjongs (Atjehse kris)  in hun kussen verborgen hadden meegebracht gedurende de vaart den Engelschen kapitein, die op de brug lag te slapen, dodelijk verwond en den wachthebbende stuurman gedood hadden. Daarna hadden zij de bemanning en de passagiers, voor zo ver deze zich verzetten hetzelfde lot doen ondergaan en het schip den wal opgestuurd, zodat het ten 9.30 ‘s avonds even benoorden de Koela belas aan den grond liep. Daarna hadden zij met de drie sloepen de geldkist, de post , 2 Snider geweren en al wat zij geroofd hadden, benevens 4 Atjehers als gevangenen en 5 vrouwen aan wal gebracht. Toen de rovers tegen middernacht van boord waren gegaan, waren de machinisten te voorschijn gekomen en hadden enige vuurpijlen afgestoken. De bemanning van de “Madura”vond 24 lijken van passagiers en 12 gewonden; het bleek voorts dat 18 personen verdronken waren bij een poging om met de nog overgebleven sloep, die lek was, het schip te verlaten. De “Madura”nam maatregelen om het schip te bewaken en te beletten, dat het verder op den wal zou slaan, begroef de doden en verbonden de gewonden. Op de 25ste juli Juli sleepte de “Sindow” het schip vlot en werd het daarna met bewaking van de Marine aan boord onder geleide van het gouverments-stoomschip “Havik” naar Penang gebracht en overhandigd aan de eigenaars.(mijn grootvader heeft deze gebeurtenis geput uit het reeds genoemde  werk van de gepensioneerd kapitein ter zee, oud- Minister van Marine W.J.Cohen Stuart )

Op 17 november 1893 heeft kapitein ter zee F.J. Stokhuyzen het bevel over de Zeemacht in de wateren van Atjeh overgegeven aan den kapitein ter zee F.K. Engelbracht. Door  mijn plaatsing aan boord  “Batavia”heb ik van die overdracht niets gemerkt. Op 28 december 1893 heeft een zestal sloepen van “Merapi”en “Batavia op verzoek van het Binnenlandsch Bestuur de rivier  van Modjopahit opgevaren  waar de controleur van Idi werd aangetroffen, die met een bevolkings patrouille daarheen was opgerukt. Blijkbaar was enig machtsvertoon gewenst (..) In 1893 kwam op last van onze Regering het beroemde werk van Dr Snouck Hurgronje uit. De schrijver was van 1992-1893 in Atjeh teneinde over den politieke toestand van advies te dienen. Hij raadde nergens met den vijand te onderhandelen, hem alleen te slaan en nooit de gelegenheid geven zich te herstellen. Sinds een tiental jaren had het bendehoofd Teukoe Oemar het ons lastig gemaakt. Hij had door zijn persoonlijkheid op vele Atjehers invloed en hiervan wilde de toenmalige Gouverneur partij trekken door, na zijn onderwerping hem zijn vertrouwen schenken. Deze Teukoe werd Atjehs generaal in onze dienst, toegerust met onze wapens en voorzien van ons geld tot het onderhouden van een kleine legerafdeling. Een centraal , krachtig inlands gezag hebben wij in Atjeh nooit gekend. Oelemas hielden door hartstochtelijke zendbrieven den oorlogsgeest bij d bevolking wakker. Onder die oelamas ((godsdienstige leiders) was die in Atjeh steeds als autoriteit golden op het gebied van den godsdienst, die Teukoe werden genoemd was Tjèh Thanam di Tirò, een der ijverigste. Ik geef hier de vertaling van een van zijn zendbrieven.

“In handen te stellen van Teukoe Lamreng en Panglima II Moekins en Lamkapang en alle Moslims tot aan Lamthoes en Lampoelan. Laat deze op iedere plaats goed bekende brief niet verloren gaan. Wie hem doet verdwijnen wachte zich voor ongeluk Zo Allah wil!”
Lof zij Allah!
Van fakir, die op hulp hoopt van Allah, den Almachtige. Moge hij dezen brief doen geworden aan alle Moslimse broeders in de kampongs die door de Hollanders, de vervloekten, zijn overweldigd. Zo Allah de Verhevene wil en door zijn bestuur en Zijne kracht zullen deze en alle andere gelovigen nog overwonnen en wij Moslims door Hem ondersteund worden, zoals Allah, de Verhevene, heeft beloofd. En geopenbaard is het teeken der overwinning door het terugtrekken der ongelovigen. Hoevele sterke stellingen hebben de Moslims genomen, hoevele sterke wapenen reeds buitgemaakt. En om deze reden vermeerdert hunne volharding. De zekerheid dat de Moslims moedig zijn vermeerdert de vrees, de schuwheid en de kommer der ongelovigen en renegaten. Een duidelijk teken daarvan is, dat door paggers omgeven versterkingen willen maken en wachten plaatsen van Lam Bengkos tot aan Lambara, vandaar tot aan Geutapan Doea em Peukan Badas tot aan Koeala Tjangkool. Doch meer openbaar is het bewijs van hun kommer daar zij den vrede, van ons, Moslims, afvragen en Teukoe Basét opgedragen is geworden te verzoeken het geweervuur tussen Amagaloeng en Lambaro gedurende 15 dagen te staken. Allah! Allah! Gij lieden, onze broeders, die gevestigd zijt onder het bestuur der ongelovigen, wij zouden wensen, dat de ongelovigen en renegaten nog meer bevreesd werden. De Imam Mahdi heeft zich reeds in de Soedan en Egypte geopenbaard en hij beoorlogt die landen.(De mahdi is een persoon van wie in sommige
islamitische stromingen verwacht wordt dat hij volgens profetieën aan het einde van de tijden komt. De komst van de mahdi is het belangrijkste dat er op de dag des oordeels zal gebeuren).  Hoevele rijken hebben zich reeds aan hem onderworpen en hoevele millioenen ongelovigen en renegaten zijn reeds door de de krijgers van den Mahdi gedood. Aldus het is het ware en duidelijke bericht dat reeds alom bekend is te Mekka en te Constantinopel en in Engeland en dat ook voorkomt in de overleveringen en verhalen van de vrienden des Profeet en de uitspraken der schriftgeleerden. inderdaad zal een heilige uit één der kleinzonen, afstammelingen van den Profeet geboren worden ten tijde der verwarring in goddeloze landen, die de goddelijke wet verwerpen waar nieuwe ketterijen het hoofd opsteken. Die tijd is nu aangebroken. Allen die zich aan de zijde der gelovigen scharen, die onze broeders in de Godsdienst zijn, wilt toch den Godsdienst verheffen, het Goede doen en het Kwade nalaten en de ongelovigen bestrijden, zij zijn de vijanden van Allah, den Verhevene en  de vijanden van ons, Moslims. Ook worden door U bestraft de afvalligen met duidelijke tekenen en bewijzen, terwijl gij lieden moet overleggen en beraadslagen om den godsdienst bij de renegaten versterken door ongelovigen te doden, hunne goederen te roven, bij hun te plunderen, hen te beliegen en te bedriegen en te verschalken, zoveel als in uw vermogen is, opdat gijlieden werkelijk volgens de Islamietischen Godsdienst onze broeders wordt terwijl het U hiernamaals niet als zonden zal worden aangerekend. De ongelovigen, zoals Allah wil, overwonnen en verdreven worden, zoals de heer, de Verhevene. heeft beloofd. Twijfelt gij lieden niet, wie twijfelt is niet de broeder van de Moslims. Inderdaad van den afvallige staat geschreven: Zij dragen U een kwaad hart toe en door Allah en den Profeet is ons opgedragen hen te belagen en ons te bestendigen, terwijl wij zullen gesteund worden door de kracht des Profeets, onzen voorganger Mohammed denalwetende Profeet, aan wien en aan wiens vrienden Allah barmhartigheid schonk.
16 Rabiak Achin 1302  (Adòë Mòslöt)  Deze brief is geschreven na de concentratielinie werd ingesteld in 1884.

(Bij het lezen van deze brief zou men kunnen denken dat zij geschreven is door de tegenwoordige Jihadstrijders)

In het boek van mijn grootvader is een pas voor een vissersvaartuig dat hij voor 40 gulden kocht van de Atjeher Masiad, zie hieronder

Pas voor vissersvaartuig dat mijn grootvader van de Atjeher Masiad voor f 40 gulden had gekocht

Ik vervolg weer met passages uit het boek met de herinneringen van mijn grootvader:

Wanneer ik nu, na zovele jaren, terugdenk aan de omstandigheden waaronder wij leefden aan boord van een klein schip dat meestal ten anker lag voor de kust van het ons als regel vijandige Atjeh, dan moet ik constateren dat wij tevreden waren, in weerwil van de warmte in de kleine hut en de aanwezigheid van kakkerlakken, die zich des nachts te goed deden aan vocht dat zij vonden in de mondhoeken van den slapende zeeman. Soms moest zo een slapende man de kooi (het bed) voor vier uur verlaten en in dien tijd zorgdragen voor de veiligheid van de een honderd en vier mensen, waarvan de meerderheid slapende was en ieder zijn eigen dromen droomde en een minderheid, gewapende aan dek in wakende staat, een marinier met geladen geweer op de brug de wacht hield. En lag ons scheepje niet ver van een post van de Landmacht, die last ondervond van nachtelijke beschietingen door den vijand, dan gebeurde het dat op verzoek van de Commandant van die Post, het op zijn station voor anker liggende schip elk uur van de nacht een schot loste met een der kanonnen van 12 cm, op de kampong waartoe de mensen behoorden, die de nachtelijke beschietingen voerde. Ik denk nu aan de Post Sigli op de Noordkust. Wij brachten een bezoek aan deze Post en werden door de Commandant op de hoogte gesteld van de nachtelijke beschietingen door volk van de kampong Lho Soekoen, waarna de regeling tot stand kwam van de nachtelijke beschieting van elk uur een projectiel van 12 cm op de genoemde kampong. De post Sigli had een hoge, ijzeren uitkijktoren. Ik vroeg den commandant van de post Sigli mij toe te staan den toren te beklimmen, wat hij toestond maar, voegde hij er aan toe: “u moet het mij niet kwalijk nemen als ze op u schieten terwijl U naar boven klimt”. Een ijzeren trap voerde naar boven, boven was men beschut. Naar boven klimmende hoorde ik beneden mij een geluid, zoiets als ‘ klets’ van ijzer op ijzer, dat op mij de indruk maakte, dat ik was beschoten. Bij het afdalen heb ik het niet gehoord. Ik heb omtrent de nachtelijk paraatheid van ons schip nog niet medegedeeld, dat volgens een vaststaande regel de stoomsloep met een gewapende bemanning op brandwacht voer. Hoelang de brandwachtsloep uitbleef herinner ik mij niet meer. Wel herinner ik mij dat een lid der bemanning zorgde voor een zeer op prijs gestelde  kop koffie waarbij naar ik geloof een primus dienst deed. Ik zal nu nog herinneringen opschrijven zonder precies dat te vermelden maar wel met de wetenschap dat ze verband hebben met de “Batavia” en gebeurtenissen welke plaatsvonden in 1893 en wel een tweede tocht met gewapende sloepen naar de bovenloop van de rivier van Tamiang. Deze rivier heeft haar bestaan te danken aan twee andere machtige rivieren, de Simpang kanan en de Simpang kiri (kanan en kiri zijn maleise woorden en betekenen rechts en links). Na vereniging van die twee rivieren heet de rivier verder Tamiang en valt in Noordoostelijke richting stromende in de straat van Malakka. Ik heb reeds verteld dat wij – de Hollanders – den Atjehsen bendeleider der Nja Makan een ernstige nederlaag hadden bezorgd. Toch kon de streek waar hij zich ophield niet als kalm worden beschouwd zoals uit berichten bleek. De “Koerier” bevond zich nog daar in de bovenloop van de Tamiang rivier met haar flinke commandant luitenant ter zee 2e klasse J.F.B.van Dijk en op het zelfde schip  bevond zich ook de commandant van de gehele expeditie de overste H van den Pauvert, met zijn japanse slagzwaard.

 

De Koerier””  voor de expeditie Tamiang 1893 bevorderd en in staat gebracht tot krijgsverrichtingen. De beschermde marsen zijn voorzien van snelvuur kanonnen tot krijgsverrichtingen.

Nu werd weder een nieuwe sloepen flottielje gevormd met de bedoeling dat die gewenst zou blijken, aan den wal zou optreden. De “Batavia” zou gewapende sloepen leveren en niet alleen de “Batavia”, maar ook verscheidende andere schepen en ik zou commandant zijn van één van die sloepen. Verscheidende schepen leverden ook één of twee sloepen door en begeleid en gesleept door stoomsloepen en stoombarkassen verzamelden wij ons tot een sloepenmacht, waarvan ieder sloepscommandant zijn best had gedaan bemanning en commandant op de beste wijze doormiddel, van kooien (hangmatten compleet) te beschermen tegen geweervuur van den vijand.

Gewapende sloepen op de rivier Tamiang. De tocht vond plaats van  9 t/m 12 november 1893

Op mijn plaats achteruit had ik den indruk in Abrahams schoot te verkeren. Zo bereikten wij dan Seroeway op den eersten dag, een sterke Hollandse post aan de rechteroever van de rivier. Ik had in mijn hut aan boord  een briefje achtergelaten, waarop vermeld stond wat ik zou wensen dat met mijn eigendommen zou geschieden ingeval ik zou sneuvelen. In Seroeway sliepen wij aan den wal, wat niet et letterlijk moet worden opgevat daar slapen bijna onmogelijk werd gemaakt door de talloze muskieten, die zich verheugden in onze aanwezigheid. Den volgende dag vervolgden wij onze tocht. De stemming was best. Zo waren wij nu op die machtige stroom tussen twee dichte oerwouden. Soms liet ik, als  gelegenheid ons te beschieten mij voor den vijand gunstig scheen  mijn bemanning gereed zijn om te vuren van achter hun kooien. Maar van een beschieting door den vijand bleek niets en ook wij deden niets. Wij passeren een benting en stelden vast, dat het een verlaten vijandelijke benting was vlak bij de rivier waarin wij nog een oude lilla vonden, welke wij in de rivier wierpen en waarin een vermagerd katje in de benting werd aangetroffen, dat wij een naam gaven ( naam is ergens in die 66 jaren blijven hangen) en meenamen bevorderden tot kat van de “Batavia”. Eindelijk bereikten wij de “Koerier”een mooi gezicht die Hollandse vlag op die machtige rivier.(…) Ik herinner mij van het bezoek aan de “Koerier”slechts dat ik, na de overste van den Pauvert met zijn Japanse slagzwaard eerbiedig te hebben begroet een zittende houding te hebben aangenomen, onmiddellijk in een diepe slaap viel, waaruit ik eerst ontwaakte toen men mij mededeelde dat onze gewapende sloepenmacht nog hoger op moest. De “:Koerier” kon niet hoger op wegens haar diepgang en nu zouden wij een kijkje gaan nemen (..) Wij gingen dus verder de rivier op en zagen toen plotseling na het passeren van een bocht een grote hoeveelheid mensen, die zich op een plek bevonden waar geen bomen stonden. Deze mensen waren Atjehers , die geen vijandige houding aannamen. Ik schat het aantal op iets minder dan honderd. Hadden wij vertegenwoordigers van ons Binnenlandsch Bestuur bij ons en kwamen deze in gesprek met  een  aantal van deze Atjehers? Ik heb den indruk behouden dat wij niet voldoende voorzichtig ware. maar er gebeurde niets. De volgende dag vertrokken wij met onze gewapende sloepen voorstrooms naar de schepen, ieder naar zijn eigen schip, wat mij betreft de “Batavia “. En ons katje van die Atjehse benting voelde zich ‘senang’ onder de  hollandse vlag.

Aantekeningen 1893 van Hendrik de Booy van de expeditie Tamiang rivier:

Wij waren vijf dagen en nachten (met muskieten) afwezig geweest en hadden het een vermoeiende tocht gevonden. Nu konden wij weder genieten van de gemakken welke ons goede scheepje de  “Batavia” ons kon bieden. Zo iets als wat wij in die vijf dagen hadden doorleefd, het was niet zo bijzonder belangrijk maar het was toch een avontuur en zulke avonturen zijn, nu wij geen oostindiesche koloniën beheren dan – (tijdelijk) Nieuw Guinea, niet langer in ons bereik en dat is een gemis en doet ons gevoelen dat wij, wat onze positie onder de naties betreft, zijn gedaald tot van landen als Zwitserland, Denemarken en dergelijke. Maar wij kunnen ons troosten met het feit dat denkbeelden welke behoren bij den tijd waarin wij leven bezig zijn zich te voltrekken en alle naties zullen ondervinden. Later ontving ik een onderscheidingsteken, het ereteken voor krijgsverrichtingen met de gesp Tamiang 1893, ook al waren die krijgsverrichtingen niet belangrijk, toch denk ik gaarne aan dien tijd terug.

Bij mijn komst aan boord van de “Batavia”had onze Commandant mij opgedragen eenmaal in de week te oefenen met het kanon van 18 cm dat op het voorschip stond. In verband met deze opdracht begaf ik mij op zekeren voormiddag naar het voorschip waar het kanon van 18 cm A mij met zijn bemanning van 10 man afwachtte. De exercitie met dit kanon doorlopende, viel het mij op dat bij het vele baksen ( het geschut in de gewenste positie stellen) waarbij verscheidene kampongs schijnbaar onder vuur werden genomen mijn bemanning de zwaarte van het kanon als een groot beletsel ondervond tegen een snel veranderen van vuurrichting. Er werd veel gezucht en weinig vriendelijke namen werden het kanon gegeven terwijl niet de aanwezige lichaamskrachten genoeg werden gebruikt. Ik zeide, dat, al was ik met de bemanning de mening toegedaan dat het kanon een pestbuil is, dit daarvoor niet verantwoordelijk is, zijnde het als zodanig geboren. Beter dan op het kanon te schelden ware het daarom alle kracht aan te wenden. Het baksen ging daarna beter en toen enige weken later den Commandant een oefening kwam bij wonen ging alles best en zeide na afloop. dat hij de oefening met genoegen had bijgewoond.(…)

In maart 1894 werd ik over geplaatst a/b van Hr. Ms. Ramtorenschip “Koning der Nederlanden”. Nadat Kapitein ter zee Stokhuyzen op 17 november 1893 het commando over de “Koning” en de in de wateren van Atjeh aanwezige Nederlandse scheepsmacht had overgegeven aan Kapitein ter zee F.K. Engelbrecht had het niet lang geduurd of deze had op het schip waarop wij dienden zijn stempel gedrukt. Het duurde ook niet lang of ik had een naam bedacht, die goed bij hem paste. Deze naam was “Radja Brul”, een naam waaronder hij weldra op onze gehele vloot bekend was, en die hij tot zijn dood behield, ja zelfs daarna. Hij was de door allen erkende “radja” op het schip dat “Koning” heette en de toevoeging Brul hield verband met zijn alle scheepsruimten doordringende stem. Bij de overdracht aan hem van het commando over een van onze grote schepen met een bemanning van 300 man zeide hij: “Ik heb van mijn voorganger gehoord, dat gij niet een gemakkelijke bemanning zijt en ook aan de wal wel eens aanleiding geeft tot klachten. Welnu, ik waarschuw u, als daarvan iets blijkt, zal ik u in veertien dagen zó tam maken, dat gij gort komt eten uit mijn hand.” Wat hij tot de bemanning zeide werd zeer bewonderd.

Ik persoonlijk herinner mij, in de vroege morgen de wacht hebbende, aan dek geluid te horen van een menselijke stem, komende uit het achterschip, een geluid, aanzwellende tot een geluid dat het best kan worden vergeleken, al heb ik het nog nooit gehoord, met het geluid van de ontwakende leeuw, de koning der dieren. Dan een hofmeester van Europees ras, doodsbleek, die aan dek verschijnt, bedreigd wordende door die menselijke stem met het indraaien met een schroef in, ja waarin, ik weet het niet. Wij noemden zulk een vertoning “réveil du lion” en zorgden er voor een der torens van ons schip tussen onze commandant en ons te hebben als, na de doodsbleke hofmeester, de commandant op het halfdek verscheen. Het gebeurde wel eens, dat ik, op snippenjacht lang in de tropenzon gelopen hebbende, met een paar dagen koorts aan boord terug kwam en dan geen dienst kon doen. Ik was toen 26 jaar. Toen, nadat zo iets had plaats gehad, ik weer onderweg was met het voornemen snippen te schieten en op een afstand van zowat honderd meter van het schip was, hoorde ik mijn naam en, omkijkende, zag ik Radja Brul, staande op het achterschip, die mij toeriep: “denk eraan de Booy, je lichaam hoort niet aan je zelf maar aan het schip. En ik heb: “Jawel commandant” geroepen. Velen aan boord zullen zijn stem gehoord en verstaan en begrepen hebben wat hij zeide. Dat elke opvarende de plicht had mede te werken tot de goede naam van het schip, waarop hij dient en zodoende tot de goede naam van onze marine, was een gedachte die onze commandant gemeengoed wenste en die ook tegenover de Atjeher moest worden geëerbiedigd.

Als er te Kota Radja iets bijzonders gebeurde als de benoeming van een nieuwe, met ons bevriende Radja van Edi, waartoe de generaal Deijkerhoff ons uitnodigde, dan trok ik zelf mijn  mooie bullen aan, lange jas met sabel en epauletten en ging er heen met de tram want in de gouverneurswoning was dan iets te zien, vele Hoofd – en andere Officieren en bevriende Atjehse  hoofden vooral den nieuw te benoemen Radja van Edi  en ook  den sluwen Teukoe Oemar en wij vergaten dan tijdelijk dat wij (de Marine) het getikte blaadje, dat de Gouverneur  ons geregeld toezond, misschien onverdiend, altijd bestempelde met den naam Blauwe Leugen. Wij oordeelden misschien ten onrechte , dat de toestand van rust en veiligheid daarin al te gunstig werd geschilderd.

Inhuldiging van de nieuwe Radja van Edi. V.l.n r Radja van Edi , x,  Generaal Deijkerhoff (met tafeltje met glazen voor hem), x ,x,Overste Siekens commandant dan 2e van links van de witte pilaar er achter zittende Teukoe Oemar, geheel rechts zittend Luitenant ter zee H. de Booy

Op 19 juli 1894 kwam een eind aan een periode van mijn dienst tijd bij de Marine waaraan ik gaarne terugdenk. Behalve met het gewone clubje bezocht ik ook enige kampongs in de geconcentreerde stelling met Alfred Boissevain (later na het huwelijk van mijn grootvader met Hilda Boissevain zijn zwager) dien ik op het instituut had leren kennen als adelborst van het jongste jaar. Met dit afscheid op 19 juli 1894  van een periode waaraan ik met genoegen terugdenk ben ik te vlug geweest. Immers werd ik op dien datum geplaatst aan boord van H.M. “Benkoelen” welk schip ik eerst op 18 oktober 1895 zou verlaten na 1 jaar en 3 maanden en er is geen reden waarom ik niet met genoegen ook aan dien tijd terugdenk.

De tijd dat mijn grootvader op het schip de “Benkoelen” heeft doorgebracht aan de kustwateren van Atjeh heeft hij weinig krijgsverrichtingen moet doen. Ik laat nog enkele passages uit deze tijd volgen.

H.M. “Benkoelen “, bemanning 77 Europeanen 28 inlanders

Wij doorzochten veel zeilprauwen die beantwoorden aan de voorschriften van de Scheepvaartregeling, waren in station aan Noord – en Oostkust, ik bezocht met een stoombarkas een in het binnenland gevestigde militaire post van het N.I. leger. Volgens mijn herinnering was de `Benkoelen” gedurende den tijd van een jaar en ongeveer drie maanden, de duur van mijn verblijf aan boord vaak aan de westkust, ook aan de Noordkust soms op de rede van Oelee Lheue voor het voorgeschreven bezoek aan het hoofdstation en ook geruimen tijd bezig aan de opname van het eiland Simaloer, een groot eiland aan de Westkust. Ik kan mij echter niet herinneren, wanneer wij aan de Noordkust gestationeerd waren wanneer aan de Westkust waar wij vele malen met de landingsdivisie den wal opgingen ook schijf te schieten en wanneer  wij het eiland Simaloer opnamen.

De landingsdivisie van H.M. “Benkoelen”op Poeloe Rajah, Westkust van Atjeh

De landingsdivisie van H.M. ” Benkoelen”versterkt door een deel van de bezetting van de post Lho Theumawe oefenden aan de wal 1895 Geheel links staat ergens luitenant ter zee H. de Booy

Een  gebeurtenis vol spanning was het omslaan van onze vlet in de branding, de landing op een eiland van de bemanning van inbegrip van onze dokter v.d. Sande.  Verder mag niet onvermeld blijven dat de “Benkoelen” werkzaam aan de Westkust, even op een koraal rif stootte . Alles samen genomen, is het voor ons, koloniale mogendheid , een groot verlies, dat wij dit werk zo radicaal hebben moeten opgeven (..)

Hospitaal Pantei Perak bij Kota Radja

De photo hierachter (zie bovenstaande foto) stelt het grote militair hospitaal Pantei Perak bij Kota Radja voor waar ik enigen tijd met koorts verpleegd werd. De photo toont vooral den langen middenweg die vertakkingen heeft naar zijwegen rechts en links waaraan de kamers van de verpleegden zich bevinden. Achteruit die kamer keek men op het uitgebreide terrein van de geconcentreerde postenlinie vanwaar geluid van geschutvuur kwam en vooral in de avond van Vrijdag het geluid van godsdienstoefening in de kampongs. Op gewone avonden vaak het gegil van Atjehers. ‘s Avonds langs de middenweg dwangarbeiders die gestorven patiënten naar het lijkhuis brengen. In het hospitaal een Hoofdofficier van gezondheid ontmoet die (misschien) Rutgers van der Loeff heet en die zegt dat “de Booij “een goed ras is. Ik vind in het hospitaal ook ter Cock , de officier van administratie van de “Flores”, die met zijn sloepen langzij “Benkoelen” liggende zware brandwonden heeft gekregen door onachtzaamheid van onze machine kamer, die niet heeft gewaarschuwd dat er zou worden gebreind, waardoor ter Cock dit breinwater, dat naar ik meen 40 graden celcius heeft, over zich heeft gekregen. Voornamelijk armen en benen getroffen..

Werpen van mortier te Lhos Theumawe 1895

Ten anker liggende voor de kust van Atjeh bevindt zich gedurende den nacht steeds een gewapende marinier op de brug. Zijn Beamont geweer is geladen en draagt een sabelbajonet. Wij weten wat wij van den Atjeher kunnen verwachten op een donkeren nacht. Als hij wordt afgelost ontlaadt de afgeloste zijn geweer en neemt de sabelbajonet af. Nu was dat afnemen van de sabelbajonet door den afgeloste marinier wat onhandig geschied want de sabelbajonet viel in zee en wat erger is voor een bekwaam, goed oppassend marinier, vader van driekinderen in Holland, drukt deze zijn gevoelens uit wijzende naar de plek waar zijn sabelbajonet in de zee verdween: “daar leit het pestijzer”. Ik maakte dadelijk het plan er over te schrijven aan des mariniers hoogste chef in de wateren van Atjeh doch voor dien brief als briefschrijven te nemen (zonder zijn medeweten) den marinier Middendorp “capitain d’armes “aan boord. H.M. “Benkoelen”, een man, beantwoordend , wat zijn karaktertrekken betreft, aan de strengste eisen welke het Korps voorschrijft.

De marinier Middendop, “capitaine d’armes “aan boord H.M. “Benkoelen”op de kust van Atjeh. Hij schreef (zonder zijn medeweten ) een brief met een klacht aan zijn hoogste chef (zie tekst)

Bekendheid met wat er omgaat in het hoofd van den Marinier stelde mij in staat aan dien brief de vereiste vorm een inhoud te geven, ook wanneer dit hoofd staat voor de beoordeling van andere moeilijkheden van het verhinderen van het opschuiven van de stropdas. Hoe die brief luidde, er zijn sedert zestig jaren verlopen en mijn herinneringenvermogen is ontoereikend. Wel herinner ik mij dat een man, die later mijn schoonbroeder werd, dien brief las en gedurende een tijdelijke aanwezigheid aan boord van H.M. ” Koning der Nederlanden” mij zeide dat hij er met genoegen van had kennis genomen. Die man was de luitenant ter zee 2 e klasse Abraham van Stockum.( een volle neef van Hendrik de Booy). Wat zou de ontvanger van den brief,  luitenant G. Faassen doen.. Wat hij deed had ik niet verwacht. Hij schreef aan de Commandant van d e “Benkoelen” van Rossum. Wat hij schreef weet ik niet en wist ik zestig jaren geleden ook niet. De heer van Rossum, commandant van H.M.”Benkoelen” bezat verscheidene  lofwaardige eigenschappen doch hield niet van zulk soort aardigheden. Wat zou hij doen. Misschien had hij het briefje van G. Faassen, dat waarschijnlijk niet geheel vrij van een geestigheid zal zijn geweest op een dergelijke wijze hebben kunnen beantwoorden maar hij deed het best wat hij kon doen “niet”  en liep een week rond met de gelaatsuitdrukking welke lezer van het leven van Koningin Victoria bekend is, die van “we are not amused”.

Daar mijn doel is het opschrijven van herinneringen mag ik geen herinneringen verzwijgen tenzij dit gewenst is. Op en neer wandelen op het half dek met onze commandant (luitenant ter zee 1e klasse J.P. van Rossum en sprekend over koetjes en kalfjes, zeide hij plotseling,  de Booy zeide hij  onze tweede Machinist wil bevorderd worden tot een hogere rang. Volgens de  bepalingen moet hij daarvoor examen afleggen en heb ik besloten U te  belasten met het afnemen van dat examen. Het gaat om  Natuurkunde, wel te weten de beginselen. En wanneer zal dit examen worden afgenomen, vroeg ik “Morgen “antwoordde de  Commandant. De marine is vol verassing.. Het ene ogenblik ben je de gast van een rijke Arabier het volgende sla ik om met een sloep; wat mij altijd treft als ik thuis kom in het ouderlijk huis te Haarlem dat de kruidenier van Veen terwijl ik in grillige lijnen den aardbol heb omcirkeld nog altijd bezig is met het afwegen van een of ander vocht zoals stroop of het afmeten van iets anders als ik uit  de tram, die mij naar huis brengt, hem met de hand groet, want ik ken dien man. Vaak heeft mijn Moeder mij opgedragen, toen ik nog een jongetje was, iets bij Veen te kopen,. maar deze verrassing gaat te ver. Als de Commandant mij in kennis brengt met deze benoeming herinner ik mij niets van de beginselen van Natuurkunde.  Er zal dus een leerboek nodig zijn om het geheugen op te frissen. veel meer dan iemand die her examen afneemt gevoel ik mij als iemand die examen aflegt. Maar ik had dien nacht de Hondenwacht en friste met een leerboek dat ik vond het vroeger geleerde op. Den volgende morgen zat ik met den machinist en de Commandant aan een tafeltje aan dek. De machinist kwam door zijn examen en ik door het mijne.
Mijn tijd dienende in de wateren van Atjeh liep ten einde. Op 18 october 1895 werd ik overgeplaatst in de rol van  H.M “Gedeh”, het wachtschip in de haven van Tandjong Priok. Op 2 november melde ik mij aan boord van dit schip na een voorspoedige reis met de Westboot van de K.P.M. Ik nam afscheid van de “Benkoelen” en van mijn vrienden te Oleë Lheuë. In mijn atjehsen tijd had ik veel gelezen in het boek van Snouck Hurgronje en had ik getracht met behulp van de atjehse taal te leren. De gedachte was bij mij opgekomen afscheid te nemen van de  Marine en in dienst te komen bij het Binnenlands Bestuur. Toen het feit dat ik hierover ernstig nadacht en er over sprak met een assistent resident ter ore kwam van mijn ouderen vriend Frits Bauduin, schreef deze mij verscheidende brieven, minstens drie, waarin hij ten sterkste afraadt het plan dat ik heb, uit te voeren onder aanvoering van de grote nadelen en er aan verbonden waartoe dan ook behoort dat ik ten slotte dan zal trouwen met de “snaar” ,die zo trouw voor mij gezorgd heeft.  Hij wijst ook op de nadelen verbonden aan het op mijn leeftijd in dienst komen als controleur. Intussen, begrijpende dat ik bij de overgang naar het binnenlands bestuur zou moeten kunnen  beschikken over de kennis welke door aanstaande controleurs gedurende een studie van een aantal jaren te Leiden is verkregen of over een deel ervan, ben ik begonnen met het lezen van maleise hikajats in arabiesch schrift. Wij ontvingen op het Instituut van de Marine reeds onderricht in die richting van den heer Derx.  Het was mijn plan te Batavia te wenden tot een heer, die Margadant heette en die zonder twijfel bereid zou zijn mijn kennis in het lezen van hikajats te onderzoeken en beoordelen. (Later in Batavia heeft de heer Margadant zijn vaardigheid in het lezen van maleise hikajats in arabisch schrift niet voldoende gevonden wat mijn grootvader niet verwonderde)

H. de Booy in de kleding van een atjees hoofd (oeloebalang)

Op den dag van vertrek besteeg ik de Westboot, aan boord waarvan groet drukte heerste. Er waren vele militairen aan boord en daarbij behorende vrouwen en kinderen. Op het grootluik zat een figuur, dien ik dadelijk herkende als een Atjeher. Hij was met een dun touwtje verbonden aan een politieoppasser, een inlander, die rustig sliep. Vrouwen van militairen brachten den gevangen Atjeher seroetos (inlandse cigaretten) dat hij dankbaar ontving. Ik vroeg hem in de Atjehse taal van waar hij kwam en hij vertelde mij dat hij kwam van de kampong Lho Soekoen bij Sigli; dat Atjehers de boot van het binnenlandsch bestuur, die onder de brug lag in de hollandse benting Sigli hadden geroofd en dat een atjehs oeloebalang de dader had aangewezen en uitgeleverd, echter werd de boot, naar ik meen, een stoomsloep, niet uitgeleverd en ontkende deze atjeher dat hij had deelgenomen aan de roof, maar oeloebalangs zijn en toen volgde een woord, dat waarschijnlijk vertaald in de hollandse taal “smeerlappen” betekent. Sigli is de ons welbekende post, welks militair commandant ons een bezoek bracht en met onze commandant een afspraak maakte welke inhield dat hij hulp nodig hebbende die vuurpijlen zou tonen. Hij zou, het was avond, na terugkomst op zijn Post, ook vuurpijlen omhoog schieten, maar deze zouden dienen om te zien, dat die vuurpijlen goed zichtbaar waren, niet als een verzoek om hulp. De Commandant van Sigli verzocht onzen Commandant de bemanning een extra oorlam te geven schenken en dit verzoek willigde onzen Commandant in.

Extra oorlam bij de gelegenheid van het bezoek van de Commandant van Sigli

Daarna vertrok hij. Wij lichten daarna het anker en gingen onder stoom naar onze plaats door onze commandant opgegeven. Ik had de wacht en onder stoom zijnde stond ik op de brug. Toen zag ik drie vuurpijlen omhoog gaan boven Sigli, wat ik den Commandant rapporteerde, die mij mededeelde dat deze vuurpijlen geen andere betekenis hadden, dan dat ze gezien waren wat wij nog door het oplaten  van een vuurpijl bevestigden.

De Atjeher van het groot luik zeide te behoren tot de kampong Lko Soekoen van waar Sigli vaak beschoten werd en die wij dan beschoten met granaten. Na aankomst in Tandjong Priok gingen al die militairen en ook de Atjeher  van het grootluik van boord. Enige dagen, misschien een week later, te Tandjong Priok geland zijnde met de bedoeling naar Batavia te gaan zag ik een troepje dwangarbeiders op de gebruikelijke wijze  onder geleide  van een inheemse politieoppasser gekleed in een tenue dat hem het voorkomen geeft van een gekleed aapje. Een dun touw omgeeft zijn gehele troepje. De twee einden zijn aan elkaar geknoopt en dan heeft de politieoppasser het in de hand. Een van de dwangarbeiders steekt een arm  in de hoogte . Ik herken hem, al is zijn lange haar geknipt, den Atjeher aan boord van de Westboot. Ik vraag hen naar het oordeel van het binnenlands bestuur en hij zegt mij dat hij 20 jaar dwangarbeid heeft gekregen. Ik herinner mij dat hij er “soesah tehat”aan toevoegde. Toen kwam het troepje in beweging, ik denk naar de pakketboot die een lange reis zal maken naar een plaats in het oosten van ons eilandenrijk. Er waren vele mensen, een van die mensen scheen mij toe ietwat verbaasd te zijn over mijn spreken met een dwangarbeider.. Het was een ambtenaar van het BB een resident of assistent-resident.

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Voor de expeditie naar de Tamiang rivier van 5-12 november 1893 heeft Hendrik de Booij van de Minister van Marine Jjhr H.W. van der Wijck een oorkonde  gekregen dd 30 november 1894

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Oorkonde voor Hendrik de Booij, Luitenant ter Zee der 2e Klasse, . ( De naam van de Booij wordt nu terecht met een lange ij geschreven). De tekst van deze oorkonde luidt: De Minister van  Marine,  Gezien het Koninklijk Besluit van den 19 Februari 1869 no 13 waarbij een eerteken is ingesteld voor hen, die deelgenomen hebben aan belangrijke krijgsbedrijven, verklaart dat de Luitenant ter Zee der 2e klasse H. de Booij gerechtigd is tot het dragen van het voormeld eereteken met gesp, hebbende hij als Luitenant ter Zee der 2e Klasse deelgenomen aan de expeditie naar de Tamiang-rivier ( Oostkust van Sumatra) 1893.  ‘s-Gravenhage den 30 november 1894. De Minister voornoemd  Van der Wijck

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