8 July 1944

8 July 1944

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8 July 1944

War at Sea

German submarine U-243 sunk off Nantes.

Eastern Front

Soviet troops capture Baranovichi

Western Front

2nd Army attacks Caen, after RAF heavy bombers have dropped 2,500 tons of bombs on the city.


Allied warships bombard Guam

July 8, 1947: Roswell Incident Launches UFO Controversy

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To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

1947: Days after something shiny crashed in the New Mexico desert, the Roswell Army Air Field issues a press release that says the military has recovered the remains of a "flying disc." Although quickly discounted as erroneous, the announcement lays the groundwork for one of the most enduring UFO stories of all time.

The military's initial press release was straightforward in its handling of the discovery of wreckage by rancher W.W. "Mac" Brazel.

"The many rumors regarding the flying disc became a reality yesterday when the intelligence office of the 509th Bomb Group of the Eighth Air Force, Roswell Army Air Field, was fortunate enough to gain possession of a disc through the cooperation of one of the local ranchers and the sheriff's office of Chaves County," the press release read.

"The flying object landed on a ranch near Roswell sometime last week. Not having phone facilities, the rancher stored the disc until such time as he was able to contact the sheriff's office, who in turn notified Maj. Jesse A. Marcel of the 509th Bomb Group Intelligence Office. Action was immediately taken and the disc was picked up at the rancher's home. It was inspected at the Roswell Army Air Field and subsequently loaned by Major Marcel to higher headquarters."

The Roswell Daily Record headlined the story "RAAF Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region," providing a historical artifact that, in retrospect, seems ready-made for fueling an episode of The X-Files.

But press accounts the following day told a much more mundane story: The military had determined the recovered debris to be the wreckage of a weather balloon and related equipment. No flying saucer – a term that had just been coined by newspapers to describe the first widely publicized UFO sighting – had been found.

Dummies like these, dropped from balloons during tests, spawned stories of alien corpses, the military says.
Photo: U.S. Air Force

While the down-to-earth explanation seemed to settle the issue, the so-called Roswell incident flashed back into the public consciousness three decades later. New interviews with individuals proffering information about the crash, and the 1980 publication of Charles Berlitz's book The Roswell Incident, breathed new life into the story, turning Roswell into a rallying cry for ufologists and true believers.

Rumors of recovered extraterrestrial bodies and a government coverup gained such a foothold in popular culture that the U.S. government took the unusual step of producing two reports in the 1990s that set out to put the matter to rest.

In assembling the massive reports, the Air Force gathered and declassified many documents relating to the Roswell incident. Weighing in at nearly 1,000 pages, The Roswell Report: Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert, published in 1994, set out to "tell the Congress, and the American people, everything the Air Force knew about the Roswell claims."

The second government publication, 1997's The Roswell Report: Case Closed (.pdf), came just days shy of the Roswell incident's 50th anniversary. The report said eyewitness accounts tied to the 1947 recovery actually occurred years later, becoming tangled up in time and further strengthening the Roswell incident's hold on the public's imagination.

"Air Force activities which occurred over a period of many years have been consolidated and are now represented to have occurred in two or three days in July 1947," the report said. "ɺliens' observed in the New Mexico desert were actually anthropomorphic test dummies that were carried aloft by U.S. Air Force high-altitude balloons for scientific research."

Despite the military's assertion that the Roswell incident was a side effect of Cold War secrecy and sci-fi fantasies, the story retains a vital spot in UFO lore. The town of Roswell has turned into a tourist destination, hosting the International UFO Museum and Research Center and an annual Roswell UFO Festival.

Truth about hangings of convicted July 1944 defendents

Post by Panzermahn » 29 Jun 2005, 14:06

Poisoning the already strained atmosphere, the trials of the traitors in the People’s Court ontinued all autumn. Dr Dietrich had strongly opposed allowing any newspaper coverage of them. Goebbels had overruled him.19 Hadamowsky observed the first day, when Witzleben, Hoepner, and Stieff were tried and sentenced he praised Judge Freisler as magisterial, national socialist, and superior.20 Goebbels had commissioned a film of the trial and hangings.21 Hitler however forbade its release fearing a backlash, an ‘undesirable debate’ about the trial.22 He ordered the execution footage particularly kept under lock and key. Despite this newspapers reported that the British legation in Switzerland had shown a print to Swiss officers there. Investigations showed that it was a fake furnished by a Mr Saunders, a British secret service agent it was evidently the origin of several post-war legends about the executions including rumours that the men were hanged from meathooks and took ten hours to die.23

Page 872, Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich, David Irving, Fpp edition

21 The film was ‘Verräter vor dem Volksgericht.’ The first part, five acts, ran for 105 minutes
the second, also five acts, for 105 minutes a silent roll showing the hanging of Witzleben
et al. in four acts ran for 20–25 minutes. Their current location is unknown.—
Reichsfilmintendant (Hinkel) to Naumann, Aug 31, 1944 (BA file R.55/664) and Lindenborn
to JG, Jan 17, 1945 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01, vol.831).

22 Note by Leiter F. (of Hinkel’s staff), Oct 21, 1944 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01, vol.831).—
The film shown at the Nuremberg trials, ‘Proceedings against the Criminals of Jul 20, 1944,’
was edited from unreleased Deutsche Wochenschau newsreel footage confiscated by OMGUS
at the offices of AFIFA in Tempelhof.

23 SS Sturmbannführer Ulenberg (RMVP) to Hinkel, Mar 5 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01,
vol.831). Die Nation, Feb 14, 1945 published an alleged photo of Witzleben and Hoepner

Post by Peter H » 29 Jun 2005, 14:42

Also previously discussed here:

Has Irving dramatically doubled in size his Goebbels book or do you mean page 493 as the reference?

Post by Panzermahn » 29 Jun 2005, 14:49

Peter H wrote: Also previously discussed here:

Has Irving dramatically doubled in size his Goebbels book or do you mean page 493 as the reference?

Thanks for the links, Peter H

But the topic is about the execution film and while I believed the film existed, I questioned about the rumours that the defendents were hanged from meathooks and took 10 hours to die as mentioned in Allied propaganda.

No, I am reading from the Irving's book on Goebbels as published by FPP in electronic edition. It is page 872

Post by David Thompson » 29 Jun 2005, 16:12

Despite this newspapers reported that the British legation in Switzerland had shown a print to Swiss officers there. Investigations showed that it was a fake furnished by a Mr Saunders, a British secret service agent it was evidently the origin of several post-war legends about the executions including rumours that the men were hanged from meathooks and took ten hours to die.23

23 SS Sturmbannführer Ulenberg (RMVP) to Hinkel, Mar 5 (ZStA Potsdam, Rep.50.01,
vol.831). Die Nation, Feb 14, 1945 published an alleged photo of Witzleben and Hoepner

This quote provides a good example of why so many people don't trust Mr. Irving's scholarship. The quoted passage has two propositions: (1) The minor conclusion -- an SS investigation alleged there was a fake film in circulation and (2) The major conclusion -- the executions did not happen as described and the fake "was evidently the origin of several post-war legends about the executions including rumours that the men were hanged from meathooks and took ten hours to die."

Irving's footnote supports the first (minor) proposition, but not the second (major) proposition. There is no documentation for Mr. Irving's claim that the stories were "legends" or "rumours," nor does he show that any of the accounts of German witnesses to the executions were untrue, or that they were based on the fake film. There is no source for the "ten hours to die" claim either.

The German eyewitness accounts, including the meathooks, are detailed and discussed in these posts:

From this we can conclude that Mr. Irving's claim of "legend" and "rumour" either shows a reckless disregard for the truth, or is a deliberate effort to create a false picture of the event.

Post by WalterS » 29 Jun 2005, 16:17

Stauffenberg, Haeften, and Friedrich Olbricht were executed by firing squad. Beck, Lieut. General Erich Hoepner, and General Friedrich Fromm were shot Admiral Canaris and Lieut. Colonel Hans Oster were hanged. Henning von Tresckow, Guenther von Kluge, and Erwin Rommel committed suicide. Other conspirators were given a mock trial before the People's Court. The purpose of the trial was to humiliate the plotters and the sentence was decided even before the trial - death by hanging on meat hooks. According to Hitler:

"This time the criminals will be given short shrift. No military tribunals. We'll hale them before the People's Court. No long speeches from them. The court will act with lightning speed. And two hours after the sentence it will be carried out. By hanging - without mercy."4

note 4: Shirer, William, Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. (pg. 1389)

The vast majority of German conspirators were hanged from the meat-hooks above by piano wire.

Many died a slow excruciating death in this manner, though all went courageously to their doom.

Hitler, neverthless, ordered films made of the hangings for his personal pleasure.

Post by David Thompson » 29 Jun 2005, 16:28

Post by Brumbar » 29 Jun 2005, 16:49

Post by maxxx » 29 Jun 2005, 20:05

the hanging on a meathook (note: the NOOSE was attached to the meathook, nothing like Texas chainsaw massakre ) was not unlike the hanging used in austria until after WW1 (and so a ("dishonoring" death-penalty Hitler was familiar with). Under "normal" circumstances death would occur between 45 seconds to 15 minutes. For the procedure see the biography of Josef Lang, austrias last executioner.

The meathooks are history, dear panzermahn, ten hours of agony may be untrue- but I also would not wish you a quarter of an hour of that horrible death.

Post by Larry D. » 30 Jun 2005, 00:02

Post by David Thompson » 30 Jun 2005, 01:53

Larry D. -- The eyewitness accounts speak of meathooks and a "short thin cord," rather than some kind of wire. http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. . 215#286215

The first mention of "piano wire" that I know of appears in John Toland's biography of Adolf Hitler, though the embellishment probably didn't originate with him. http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. . 608#284608 Lack of experience with the wire garotte may have left him credulous.

Post by Larry D. » 30 Jun 2005, 02:07

Post by Panzermahn » 30 Jun 2005, 08:48

Thanks to everyone for the info. But I just wonder, why isn't the film were shown even until now? It would be a good evidence to show the brutality of the "fascist beasts" or "Hitlerite criminals" just like the human soap or the human lampshades?

Post by michael mills » 06 Jul 2005, 07:43

The comments by the moderator are another example of his tendency to divert attention from the more important issue (whether the British Military Intelligence fabricated a photograph of the execution of the officers condemned for treason and showed it in Switzerland, presumably for the propaganda purpose of exaggerating the brutality of the procedure, and whether the photo of the hanging of Witzleben and Hoepner published in "Die Nation" of 14 February 1945 was the British-produced fake) to a subsidiary one (whether there were post-war legends about the executions, and what their nature were) for the obvious purpose of delegitimating any questioning of the claimed brutality of that particular act of the German Government.

In doing so, the moderator reverses the significance of the two issues.

Irving has provided a source for the information that a British agent fabricated a photograph of the hangings and that the faked photograph was shown to Swiss officers at the British Legation in Switzerland, namely a note by Leiter F of Hinkel's staff, dated 21 October, 1944, and held in the files of the Zentralstelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen, the Federal German agency for the investigation of National Socialist crimes of violence. We have to presume that the note reported the showing of the photograph, claimed that it was a fake, and named the person who allegedly fabricated it.

The moderator tries to brush aside the account of the faked photograph by asserting that it was an "allegation" by "an SS investigation".

What is his source for his claim that there was an "SS investigation"?

Irving's source is a note by Leiter F of Hinkel's staff. If the moderator had bothered to check Irving's book, he would have discovered that Hans Hinkel was a journalist and an official in Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry, the head of the Jewish desk in that ministry. There is no apparent link to the SS whatever.

I see no prima facie reason for dismissing the information provided by Leiter F. The British would have every reason to make propaganda capital out of the execution of several senior German officers, and if they could not get a copy of the genuine film they would have had no compunction about fabricating an image playing up the assumed brutality of the procedure.

As for the existence of "legends" about the execution procedure, a number of them are listed in the post by WalterS:

The vast majority of German conspirators were hanged from the meat-hooks above by piano wire.

Many died a slow excruciating death in this manner, though all went courageously to their doom.

The moderator himself has discarded the legend of the piano wire.

Hanging in itself is a fairly normal method of inflicting death according to law. For example, the United States Government executed by hanging a number of persons found guilty of involvement in the assassination of President Lincoln, including one woman. Photographs were taken of the hanging, and have appeared in documentaries (which also stated that the process of dying took five minutes, although I suspect that that simply means that the doctor pronounced them dead after five minutes).

In 1944, U.S. Bombers Blasted Nazi Troops — And Accidentally Killed Scores of Americans

One of the worst friendly-fire incidents in the history of the U.S. Army.

Allied troops spent six bloody weeks stuck in dense hedgerows of Normandy after the D-Day landings, fighting the German Wehrmacht one cow pasture at a time. U.S. Army general Omar Bradley cooked up a plan to break through the German defenses by calling upon the heavy four-engine bombers of the 8th Air Force.

What followed was one of the worst friendly-fire incidents in the history of the U.S. Army — and one of its greatest military victories.

The D-Day landings on June 6, 1944 in Normandy are famous for being one of the costliest military operations in American history. What’s less appreciated is that the following two months of combat in the farmlands of Normandy were just as nightmarish.

The problem was the terrain. Farmers in Normandy divided up their pastures with tall hedgerows called bocage that were impassible to most vehicles. Even though the Allies possessed tremendous numerical superiority and greater mobility due to their vast motor pool, the hedgerows forced them to fight in one short range ambush after another through predictable corridors — a tremendously advantageous situation for the defending German army.

Deadly MG.42 machinegun nests and portable Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons defended each field, backed up by pre-registered mortar and artillery bombardments.

Allied tanks attempting to advance up the narrow country lanes had to contend with well-concealed anti-tanks guns and German armor, including Tiger and Panther tanks with frontal armor nearly impenetrable to most Allied tank guns.

U.S. troops sustained some of the heaviest casualties in the war in Normandy, advancing just a few hundred meters a day. Some U.S. divisions took greater than 100-percent casualties — but they avoided bleeding out through a steady flow of inexperienced replacements.

The Americans nonetheless managed to slowly creep forward over the course of six weeks at tremendous cost — 39,000 killed or wounded by the end of June alone.

The Allies’ greatest advantage was air superiority — swarms of American fighter-bombers roamed over Normandy, largely unopposed by German fighters, devastating German units attempting to move in daylight. American troops also called on them to take out enemy strongpoints and tanks — but often battles in the bocage were fought at such short ranges that it was unsafe to call in air support.

In an effort to break through the bocage, the British forces on the eastern flank of the Allied beachhead under the leadership of Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery on July 18 launched a massive tank assault toward the city of Caen called Operation Goodwood.

Preceded by carpet bombing that leveled much of the city — killing around 3,000 civilians and largely missing German front-line units — the British tanks surged forward without infantry support and ran straight into anti-tank guns and panzers rushed in as reinforcements, including massive King Tiger tanks.

Accompanied by too little infantry to ferret out the ambushes, the British lost no fewer than 300 tanks in three days and Goodwood ground to a halt. Supporting attacks by Canadian troops met a similar fate.

Supreme Allied commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower was furious with Montgomery, who maintained in his defense that the real goal of Goodwood had been to draw away the German panzer divisions in reserve, allowing the Americans to launch the real breakout.

While it remains debatable that this was what Goodwood has been intended to accomplish, it was undeniably a consequence — six panzer divisions had been deployed to the British sector, while only two faced the American sector to the west.

Bradley’s Plan:

American general Omar Bradley had identified the main German defensive line as running along the east-to-west road connecting the cities of St. Lo and Perrier. He wanted to blast a hole in it through the through which his tank divisions could drive into the open country south of Normandy.

The secret weapons for the attack, called Operation Cobra, were the massive four-engine strategic bombers of the 8th Air Force.

The famous B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator were designed to carpet-bomb factories and cities, not take out troops on the front line. A Flying Fortress could drop up to 17,000 pounds of bombs, sending massive explosions rippling over large swaths of the ground.

Bradley designated a zone five kilometers long by two kilometer deep to the west of the city of St. Lo that he wanted the 8th Air Force to blast into oblivion.

However, his troops needed to advance next to the German defensive line so that they could immediately exploit the shock of the bombardment. On July 18, American infantry drove the 2nd Fallschirmjäger Corps out of St. Lo at a cost of 5,000 casualties. The American lines to the west were now directly facing the infantry and tanks of the Panzer Lehr Division.

Panzer Lehr had been reduced to just 2,200 soldiers and 47 operational Panzer IV and Panther tanks, roughly a quarter of its theoretical strength. A poorly-trained 500-man parachute regiment and a small reserve battlegroup of 450 men accompanied it.

However, Bradley’s plan had a significant problem. Weapons as imprecise as a B-17 were as likely to hit friendly troops as they were the enemy. Bradley reassured the 8th Air Force that he would pull back his troops 800 meters just before the bombardment. The Army Air Force generals insisted the minimum safe distance was 3,000 meters. After some haggling, they settled on a gap of 1,200 meters.

Bradley also stipulated that the bombers approach parallel to the front-line troops, so if any of them released their bombs too early, they wouldn’t land on the American lines.

The VIIth Corps, comprising six divisions, would lead the attack under Gen. Joseph Collins. On the left and right flank were the 9th and 30th Infantry Divisions respectively. Both divisions had seen heavy combat and sustained over 100-percent losses in the preceding weeks, and were reduced to a hard core of exhausted veterans surrounded by hordes of rookies. The fresher 4th Infantry Division would attack down the center.

Waiting in reserve were the 1st Motorized Infantry Division and the powerful 2nd and 3rd Armored Divisions. These were the only two heavy armored divisions in the U.S. Army, each with more than 300 Sherman and Stuart tanks in six battalions, instead of the usual compliment of around 200.

The Americans had a new trick to deal with the Normandy hedgerows. When a fellow soldier suggested the tanks needed giant hedge clippers to traverse the bocage, Sgt. Curtis Culin went ahead and made some out of scrap metal from D-Day beach obstacles.

“Rhino tanks” fitted with the metal prongs could plow through the hedgerows without exposing their thin belly armor. Up to 60 percent of the VII Corp’s tanks were equipped with the device before the attack.

Nonetheless, Bradley didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of operation Goodwood. Tanks were vulnerable in the close Normandy terrain to ambushes. He intended to have infantry lead the initial assault with only limited tank support. Once the German defenses were breached, the armored divisions could plunge through the gap.

But timing was key — if he waited too long to unleash the armor, the Germans would have enough time to form a new defensive line.

Waiting in the wings was Gen. George Patton’s 3rd Army. Normandy’s cramped front line and limited road network had prevented the 3rd Army from being deployed into battle. If Bradley’s attack succeeded, then it would finally have enough space to go roaring through the German rear lines.

False Start:

After several delays because of bad weather, on July 25, clear skies were recorded and the bombers of the 8th Air Force leaped into action. However, as the bomber formations approached Normandy, grey clouds reappeared.

The attack was called off — but not before over 100 aircraft dropped their bombs. Sixteen B-17s dropped their bomber two kilometers north of their target, hitting the 30th Infantry Division. Twenty-five American soldiers were killed and over 130 wounded. Enraged troops of the 120th Infantry Regiment even opened fire on the American planes.

Bradley was furious — the aircraft had approached perpendicular, not parallel, to the American lines. The commander of the 9th Air Force, Gen. Elwood Quesada, whose fighter bombers had approached parallel, sent a reproachful message to the 8th, as well.

The Army Air Force generals argued that approaching parallel would not prevent collateral damage and would expose the lumbering bombers to flak for a prolonged period. Besides, it would take days to draft a new plan of attack.

Worse, the U.S. troops then had to attack to recapture all the ground they had ceded when pulling back for the bombardment. This was accomplished at the cost of 174 killed or wounded by German troops who had infiltrated the abandoned positions. The Panzer Lehr Division lost 350 men and 10 tanks in the day’s action, but its commander, Gen. Fritz Bayerlein, assumed it had successfully resisted the main assault.

The Germans were bewildered and elated when American infantry withdrew from their positions again early the next morning. “It seems as if they’ve chickened out!” observed a divisional operations officer.

The bombardment

Clear weather on July 26 allowed the 8th Air Force to go in for real. The attack began with dive bombing, strafing and rocket attacks by 550 fighter bombers. Then the entire strength of the 8th Air Force, over 1,800 bombers, flew in.


From The Marine Corps History Division…

The 24 July – 1 August 1944 campaign for the assault and capture of the Mariana Islands played a vital role in the final defeat of Japan. Planners deemed the islands of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian of critical importance because the Army Air Corps needed bases from which its long-range bombers could make non-stop strikes on Japan. Additionally, the Navy wanted the islands developed as advance bases, and hoped that a Marianas operation would draw out the Japanese Combined Fleet so that it could be engaged in a decisive battle.

After the capture of Saipan in early July 1944, the next step in this campaign was Tinian, whose relatively flat terrain was ideally suited for the construction of airfields for the new American B-29 bombers. Vice Admiral Richmond Kelley Turner, USN, commanded the approximately 800 ships and 162,000 men of the Marianas Joint Expeditionary Force. Turner also led the Northern Attack Force, designated specifically for Saipan and Tinian. The task of taking Tinian fell to the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions, under the overall command of Major General Harry Schmidt, USMC, Commander, V Amphibious Corps.

Tinian underwent over 40 days of preliminary naval gunfire and bombing from the air. Shore fire control was improved from previous campaigns as fire-control parties worked out procedures on board the gunfire ships designated to support the landings. Photo reconnaissance flights and captured enemy documents on Saipan gave a clear picture of the topography of Tinian, and for the first time napalm was used extensively and proved successful in burning off ground cover.

On D-Day, 24 July, the 4th Marine Division led the assault, while the 2d Marine Division provided a convincing diversion off the southwest coast of the island. Shore-based artillery and naval bombardment provided plentiful support to the assaulting Marines, and opposition to the landing was not strong. Subsequent Japanese counterattacks were repulsed by the well-entrenched Marines. On the second day of the invasion, the 2d Marine Division came ashore to join their 4th Division brethren in sweeping to the south and pressing the Japanese defenders back.

By 1 August, after nine days of fighting in a battle often termed “the perfect amphibious operation” of World War II, General Schmidt declared the island of Tinian secured. The combination of surprise, heavy pre-assault bombardment and effective logistical support was responsible for Tinian’s recapture with a much lower casualty rate than had been experienced in previous amphibious landings. Almost a year after its re-capture, Tinian played a final, decisive role in the defeat of the Japanese when a B-29 bomber, the “Enola Gay” left Point Ushi Airstrip on Tinian, carrying the atomic bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima. микрозаймы и займы онлайн без отказа

Scary tanks, Panzer-Brigade 107

The future of Panzer-Brigade 107 was more promising than of any other Panzer-Brigade assigned to the Western Front. It was raised around the remnants from Panzer-Grenadier-Division 25. Although the brigade only received 33 Panther tanks and 12 StuG IV assault guns the unit got 9 to 12 weeks for training and organisation! The urgency of troops at the front thwarted this schedule and on the 15th of September the troops were loaded on trains heading for the West. Panzer-Brigade 107 was destined for operations in Lorraine but the major Allied airborne operation in the Netherlands required tank forces in this sector.

Undetected by Allied fighter-bombers Panzer-Brigade 107 on the 18th of September unloaded at Venlo en Roermond just over the border with Germany. A general strike at the Dutch railways prevented detraining deep into Dutch territory, which eventually would cost Panzer-Brigade 107 a lot of fuel the reach battlefield. The commanding officer, Major von Maltzahn, managed to get extra stocks of fuel from LXXXVI Corps under which he resorted. He also managed to persuade his superiors to let the Panzer-Brigade act as one unit and not waste the troops by sending them piecemeal to the front. It took the brigade two days to unload.

On the 19th of September the tank battalion was fully operational and set out on his mission: the destruction of the bridge at Son over the Wilhemina Canal, just above Eindhoven. This would cut of all airborne troops and the supply of the Guards Armoured Division, who was moving towards Arnhem. In Helmond, a town just east of Eindhoven, the Panzer-Brigade took a break, which they used to mount the German airborne troops as supporting infantry to their destination. After leaving from Helmond the Germans soon were close to their objection.

Major von Malthzahn conferred with his commanders just before the attack and decided that the tanks would take the lead. They had to move over a narrow dike, which left no space for other vehicles in the case of an ambush. The Panther tanks made good progress over the dike and in the end of the afternoon they reached the bridge at Son. They opened fire on everything that moved and soon the town of Son was full of burning trucks and confused troops. The Divisional commander of the 101th U.S. Airborne Division took swift action and put a 57 mm antitank gun into position just as the Germans approached the bridge. Within a short time two German tanks were hit, their advance was blocked and they were forced to return.

The next day the Germans tested their luck just south of Son. German infantry skirmished but was beaten off by American paratroopers and German tanks were brought in to support the infantry. The tanks managed to spread destruction on the narrow route on which the Allies were bringing troops and supplies north towards their besieged troops in Arnhem. Soon the German tanks were engaged by British tanks of the 15th/19th Hussars battalion coming from the north, who were called in for support. Soon four German tanks were burning in the face of the British overwhelming numbers in tanks and this marked the turning point of the battle. The German tanks retreated and at the end of the battle they lost at least 150 men.

Meanwhile from the south the 44th Royal Tanks Battalion of the 11th Armoured Division was coming from Eindhoven to deal with the menace of Panzer-Brigade 107. They advanced on a broad front towards the southern flank of the attacking German forces, which were in danger of being caught into encirclement from the north and south. The southern attack ended in a tanks clash, which took heavy losses both sides. Panzer-Brigade 107 managed to escape to the east but lost almost one third of its tanks in the process, some of them due to lack of fuel.

Von Malthzahn realised that the British were keen to drive his forces away from the vital bridge at Son. He also knew that the British had ssembled superior tank forces for this job, which would smash his brigade if he stayed where he was. On the 21st of September he withdrew his forces towards Helmond, where he started his advance on September 19th. The British caught up the tail of the Panzer-Brigade and a fire fight between the British vanguard and the German rearguard developed in which the Germans lost three more precious tanks.

Panzer-Brigade 107 escaped the pursuit of the British 11th Armoured Division, but it paid dearly for its first encounter with both the American paratroopers and the British tankers. Within two days it lost at least one third of its tank force and also the losses among the infantry amounted a few hundred men lost dead, wounded or as prisoners. The Panzer-Brigade managed to achieve complete surprise, but was unable to exploit it. Once located the Germans were the hunted instead of the hunters. Confronted with organised and determined resistance and a growing threat of enemy counterattacks further operations were useless. Panzer-Brigade 107 managed to scare the Allies but never dominated the battlefield.

The “Fighting Eagles” Regiment: 8th U.S. Infantry

Troops of the 8th Infantry Regiment move out over the seawall on Utah Beach after coming ashore on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Colonel William J. Worth formed the 8th U.S. Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the “Fighting Eagles,” on July 5, 1838, in West Troy, New York. After raising the various companies, the government immediately assigned Col. Worth and the 8 th to prevent aggressions from U.S. sympathizers of a Canadian insurrectionist party known as “The Patriots.” Companies of the 8th patrolled the St. Lawrence River, were assigned to U.S. vessels navigating the waterway, and guarded the northern border of New York State with Canada until the spring of 1840.

The 8 th moved to the Wisconsin Territory for action against the Winnebago Indians in April, successfully negotiating that tribe’s removal west of the Mississippi River. After a short stay at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, the regiment transferred to Florida in September 1840 to aid in the prosecution of the Seminole Indian War. The regiment spent the next several years in pursuit of the Seminole tribes, leading to the surrender of some Seminoles at Ft. Brooke.

In 1845, the 8 th received orders to join Zachary Taylor’s Army of Occupation in Corpus Christi, Texas, at the start of the Mexican-American War. Beginning with a defensive action at Palo Alto, the regiment participated in the Battle of Monterrey – the first major amphibious landing of the U.S. Army at Vera Cruz – and the battles at Cerro Gordo and Contreras. However, their most brilliant exploit of the war took place at Churubusco. Capt. J.V. Bomford, Lt. James Longstreet, and Lt. George Pickett led the regiment through one of the fort’s embrasures in advance of all other U.S. forces. Later, at Chapultepec, Picket took the regimental colors from a wounded Longstreet and raised them atop the fortress when it fell. The regiment remained in the advance to the San Cosme gate of Mexico City, which turned out to be its last action of the war. Departing Mexico, the 8th returned to Jefferson Barracks, later receiving orders to return to garrison duties in Texas in December 1848.

In Texas, an outbreak of Asiatic cholera plagued the 8 th , leading to Worth’s death on May 7, 1849. For the next 12 years, the 8 th served in company strengths among the forts and camps of Texas. The infantry fought skirmishes with Native American bands, participated in clashes with Cortina’s outlaws, and scouted for various expeditions.

In April 1861, Gen. Daniel E. Twiggs, commanding the Department of Texas, ordered the regiment to leave the state by way of the coast as the situation in the East deteriorated. Unfortunately, the evacuation route allowed newly organized Confederate forces to capture the entire regiment. Eleven of the regiment’s officers later joined the Confederates. However, two regimental members, Sgt. Maj. Joseph K. Wilson and Corp. John C. Hesse, saved the tattered regimental colors from the Mexican-American war, smuggling them north from San Antonio. Both later received a Medal of Honor for that act. Gen. Nathaniel Banks bestowed the regimental motto “Patriae Fidelitas” meaning “Loyalty to Country” in a discussion recognizing the two men for their actions

Regimental reorganization began in May 1861 at Ft. Wood in New York Harbor, with the formation of new companies of the 8 th U.S. Infantry. Company G participated in First Manassas and then joined Company F as provost guards in Washington. Companies A and D, once formed, joined the Army of Virginia under Gen. Banks and participated in the Battle of Cedar Mountain on August 9, 1862, where the Civil War Trust has saved nearly 500 acres of historic battleground. Those companies participated in the Union attack on the Confederate right that nearly succeeded in breaking the enemy line. In the early evening Confederate counterattack, the 8 th faced a charge down Cedar Mountain by troops led by Brig. Gen. Isaac B. Trimble. After the battle, the Federals retreated to Alexandria.

The American Battlefield Trust has preserved almost 500 acres of battlefield land from the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County, VA. Douglas Ullman, Jr.

By the Battle of Antietam, Companies B and C joined Companies A, D, F and G. The 8th then served as provost guards for the Army of the Potomac. The regiment remained on that assignment through the Gettysburg Campaign. In mid-July, the regiment moved to New York City as part of the forces that suppressed the ongoing draft riots. They camped on the Battery and in City Hall Park from July 17 to Aug. 22, 1863. The regiment remained in New York Harbor through April 23, 1864, helping to suppress a mutiny among certain New York volunteers.

In April 1864, the 8th departed for Warrenton, VA, where it became the provost guard for the 9th Army Corps. In November, the regiment removed to Buffalo, NY, to preserve order during the presidential election, and then served the remainder of the war in Delaware and Maryland.

In 1866, the companies of the 8th received orders to posts in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to enforce Reconstruction law. They remained in the Carolinas until 1870, at which point, the regiment returned to David’s Island, New York Harbor to potentially deploy to San Domingo and protect U.S. interests on the island. Instead, the 8th deployed in battalion strength to Chicago in 1871 to protect lives and property following the Great Chicago Fire. They remained there until May 1872, when the regiment’s two battalions were divided between missions in Utah and the Department of the Platte.

The next decade saw the 8th participating in various garrison duties in Arizona and California, such as the Nez Pierce conflict, Apache uprisings, and the pursuit of Geronimo. The unit transported Native American prisoners to Florida and returned, moving on to serve again in the Department of the Platte, and then in the 1890s at Ft. McKinney.

When the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898, seven companies of the 8th U.S. Infantry joined the First Brigade, 2 nd Division of the Fifth Army Corps and participated in the assaults on Santiago. Stubborn Spanish resistance at El Caney prevented the 8th from joining in the assault at the San Juan Heights. At the conclusion of action in the Caribbean, one company served in peacekeeping duties in Puerto Rico, while the remainder returned to New York. In 1913, the 8th deployed to the island of Jolo in the Philippines to aid in the suppression of the Moros. Led by Gen. John ‘Black Jack’ Pershing, the U.S. forces completely destroyed a Moro stronghold, including killing their leader, Datu Amil, in the June 1913 Battle of Bud Bagsak.

The 8th Infantry and the Philippine Scouts suppress the Moros at the Battle of Bud Bagsak.

The 8th U.S. Infantry Regiment did not see active duty service in World War I. Assigned to the 8th Infantry Division, the regiment was en route to Europe when the opposing forces declared an armistice and ended the war. However, the 8th did serve as part of the army of occupation post-armistice.

In World War II, assigned to the 4 th Infantry Division, the 8th deployed to England in January 1944. The regiment participated in the Normandy assaults on D-Day as part of 4th Infantry Division, Seventh Corps, assaulting Utah Beach under the command of Maj. Gen. Raymond O. Barton in the overall command of Gen. Omar Bradley. The regiment went on to participate in the campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace, and Central Europe. The 8th received a Presidential Unit Citation for its actions on the beaches of Normandy. The regiment returned to Camp Butner, NC, in August 1945.

Troops of the 8th Infantry Regiment move out over the seawall on Utah Beach after coming ashore on D-Day, June 6, 1944.


But they were soon in trouble as the weather turned, and the aircraft crashed into the village of Freckleton.

The crash destroyed the Holy Trinity Church of England's reception classroom and the Sad Sack Snack Bar.

A total of 61 adults and children died. One of the teachers killed had only arrived at the school the day before.

Miraculously the children in the rest of the school were unharmed.

At the time of the crash the small village of Freckleton was called Little America with 10,000 Americans based there. Air force crew at the base serviced and repaired aircraft.

The two American United States Army Air Force B-24 Liberator heavy bomber aircraft took off from Warton on a test flight, but they were soon in trouble as a violent storm swept in from the Irish Sea, with heavy rain causing flash flooding.

One plane managed to head north but the other flew on into the storm.

In the skies above Freckleton First Lieutenant John Bloemendal began a desperate struggle to keep the Liberator, known as Classy Chassis, up in the air as the storm struck.

It was a battle he was to lose.

Already flying very low to the ground and with wings near vertical, the aircraft's right wing tip first hit a tree-top, and then was ripped away as it impacted the corner of a building.

The rest of the wing continued, ploughing along the ground and through a hedge. The fuselage of the 25 tonne bomber continued, partly demolishing three houses and the Sad Sack Snack Bar, before crossing the Lytham Road and bursting into flames.

A part of the aircraft hit the infants' wing of the Freckleton Holy Trinity School. Fuel from the ruptured tanks ignited and produced a sea of flames.

In the school, 38 schoolchildren and six adults were killed. The clock in one classroom stopped at 10.47am.

In the Sad Sack Snack Bar, which had been opened to cater for American servicemen from the air-base, 14 were killed: seven Americans, four Royal Air Force airmen and three civilians. The three crew on the B-24 were also killed.

Ruby Currell was one of only three children to survive the inferno that engulfed the classroom.

In 2007, she recalled the experience for the BBC's Inside Out programme. She remembered the events as vividly then as she did over 60 years ago: "The morning was a bright one, assembly had finished and we were at our desks receiving instruction of the lesson we were to do that morning.

"Suddenly the sky went dark. So dark the lights in school had to be put on.

"It started to rain heavily and then the most violent storm started - that in itself was frightening enough but what was about to happen was a terrifying experience.

"During the storm an aeroplane trying to make it back to the airfield about a mile away was struck by a thunderbolt.

"It brought it down in the centre of the village, hitting the two infant classes of the school, a snack bar and two cottages across the road from the school.

"Although the rest of the school was still standing the older children had to be got out to safety quickly.

"On that fateful morning seven children and two teachers were pulled from the rubble of the infant classes, but as the hours and days passed, the teachers and four of the children lost their battle for life, their injuries too severe.

"I was looked after by American doctors after the accident. I was bandaged almost head to foot and had to sit with my arms out straight because of all the burns.

"One day not long after the disaster we were told to expect a special visitor, and then in walked Bing Crosby. I didn't know much about him being five but I know my mother loved him.

"He had heard about the disaster from the American Services - he was over here entertaining the troops, and he made a special journey to come and see the survivors.

"He said he would sing for us, but when he came to me and saw how badly injured I was, he broke down and said he couldn't sing in the same room as us.

"So he went outside into the hall outside the ward and sang for us there. I seem to remember he sang Don't Fence Me In and White Christmas, of course.

"It's a strange memory to have but a good one because he was a very nice man and he was genuinely saddened by what he heard of the disaster and seeing anyone who had survived.

"Counting one's blessings is a daily routine for me now and I consider myself to extremely lucky that I am alive to do so.

"Even now I have a dread of thunder storms that I cannot shake and scars I have learned to live with."

The Eighth Air Force Historical Society

Brigadier General Ira C. Eaker took the Eighth Air Force Bomber Command Headquarters to England the next month and located at High Wycombe, about 40 miles west of London and on the road to Oxford. In May 1942 Command of the 8th Air Force was assumed by Major General Carl A. `Tooey' Spaatz. He established the 8th Air Force Headquarters at Bushy Park (Teddington, Middlesex), 15 miles west southwest of the center of London on 25 June 1942.

Shortly after the birth of the 8th AAF at Savannah, one of our own, Joseph A. `Joe' Stenglein, 1st Lieutenant and pilot in the 8th Bomber Command, was on his way to the United Kingdom . He was in charge of 1,000 officers and men making the transition from Georgia into the United Kingdom as staff for the 8th Air Force. Joe knew the High Wycombe Abbey well as the main Headquarters building of the 8th AAF. There were times when socially he was over at Maidenhead in the home of a British governmental minister with Joe's friend, Pleasant J. McNeel. McNeel later, as did Joe, joined the staff of the 325th Recon Wing. Joe served at the Widewing headquarters in the London area and then became Commanding Officer of the organization which was to become the 25th Bomb Group at Watton, north of London.

General James H. Doolittle assumed command of the 8th AAF on 6 January 1944.

Before 1945 rolled around and the war in Europe was over (May 7, 1945) with the surrender of the Germans, approximately 350,000 officers and men had served in the 8th AAF during the three year or so period in which the Americans participated in the European Theater of Operations.

The British had suffered the war many more years, having had various degrees of involvement from 1939 on. Many of their men had gone overseas to distant lands, while the Americans had left the United States which had directly seen little war and were now seeing overseas duty in the British homeland. Some of the children took to the Yanks with their familiar comeon of `Any gum chum?' The older Britons complained that the Yanks were `Overpaid, over-fed, oversexed and over here'. As the Americans fraternized with the British women, they also retaliated by saying to the Britons, `Britons are underpaid, undersexed and under Eisenhower'.

Our brash warm beer drinking, cigar smoking and gum chewing G.I.s were basically a friendly bunch even as they communicated with the hungry Britons living with rationing, war weariness and a longing for their own troops away in the wars. The Britons eventually felt the Yanks to be less of a threat and invited them into their homes. Their daughters dated them and many married them, 50,000 to be nearly exact!

General James H. Doolittle left the U.K. Base for Okinawa with the 8th Air Force flag in July of 1945 with the intent of bringing the 8th Air Force there for the final thrust on Japan. Various combat crews returned to the States following their prescribed number of missions for their tour of duty. The ground crews remained from the time of their arrival to the United Kingdom until it became possible for them to return home. The dropping of the atom bombs (August 6 and 9) on Japan soon brought the war in the Pacific to a close and the 8th AAF personnel did not have to transfer en mass to the Pacific Theater of Operations.

Units were sent to the States for deactivation, officers and men were temporarily assigned to some units going home as an official means of moving them from the UK to the Zone of the Interior (Army talk for the United States), some stayed for purposes of closing bases or carrying out other assignments, such as housekeeping of base closures. Some units and individual officers and men were sent to the Continent for follow-up chores, such as bomb assessment surveys and photographic details, reproduction and interpretation.

Many 8th AAF officers and men were missing in action and never accounted for as to their whereabouts. The 8th AAF suffered 26,000 deaths out of the 350,000 officers and men. (The U.S. Navy suffered 37,000 deaths out of the 4.1 million in the WW II Navy.) Many bodies were exhumed and returned to the U.S. at the request of families and many families opted to allow their loved ones to remain in U.S. Military and other cemetaries in the United Kingdom and the Continent. A number of prisoners of war from the 8th AF needed medical treatments both in the European Theater and then in the United States. A considerable number needed various kinds of rehabilitation. Many of the veterans of the ETO chose to remain in the service, some chose to remain in Europe, some with the women they had married and others were employed in that Theater.

Whereas probably the bulk of the living from the original 350,000 chose civilian life, many chose the military as a career. Some upon entering civilian life, opted to return to the military service.

The 8th Air Force just did not quit. When the Army Air Force became a separate service from the Army on 18 September 1947, the 8th Air Force continued and currently remains an effective strategic force . It did not quit. It just changed hands. An estimated 650,000 have served in it since WW II!

Today men and women continue the fight for ilberty and peace serving in the 8th Air Force now headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

The Eighth Air Force Historical Society, founded in 1975 by an original 8th Air Force pilot, Lt. Col. John Woolnough, serves as a central organization for its individual State Chapters and Wings.

"Suddenly, it started to rain." Solahütte, July 1944 [800×517]

This is a wonderful picture but haunting at the same time.

Edit: Wonderful in the sense that this is an intriguing photograph and I'm glad to have seen it. I have no sympathies for the Nazi regime. It is haunting to see a human side to people who were capable of inhuman acts of atrocities.

Strange they wee so happy so late in the war

Schnapps is a hell of a drug

You voted down a commenter below, but he was absolutely correct: these were "employees" at Auschwitz, having fun during their "down" time. You can see more pictures here.

I've heard all these excuses of "I had no idea" or "I was forced to" or "I was following orders", etc. There's another possible, more chilling explanation here: maybe, just maybe, these people just enjoyed killing Jews, and had a good time at work.

Watch the video: Έρχεται κύμα ανατιμήσεων - Μειώση φόρων υπόσχεται ο Άδωνις Γεωργιάδης