Sep 20

NBC Words At War Episode 32 “War Tide“

Words At War Episode 32 “War Tide“ Released January 21, 1944.

Words At War, the series that brings you radio versions of the leading war book another adaptation of an important war book, “War Tide”. Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: August 29 Words at War: The Life of George Washington Carver WWII Today: October 30

Sep 20

World War II Today: September 20

1939 Prime Minister Chamberlain claims that at least 6 U-boats have been sunk in first fortnight of the war.

German troops in eastern Poland withdraw to the line agreed upon in the German-Soviet treaty.

The Red Army moves in behind them to occupy the formerly Russian territory.

Polish troops at Grodno manage to kill 800 Red Army soldiers and destroy ten tanks, whilst defending the city.

Germany announces Jews must surrender radios.

1940 The Canadian War Technical and Scientific Development Committee approves a request by Frederick Banting to begin bacterial warfare research.

1941 Martlet fighter plane from HMS Audacity in convoy OG-74 shoots down a German Fw 200 bomber, the first kill from an escort carrier.

Germans impose curfew in Paris from 9 pm to 5 am.

1942 Paulus declares that the 6th Army need substantial reinforcements if it is to continues its assault in Stalingrad. Paulus and von Weichs were also very concerned about their flank defense which consisted of Italian, Hungarian and Romanian troops. However, Hitler was determined to capture Stalingrad before reorganizing the flanks.

1943 The British 8th Army occupies Bari in southern Italy. The allies also bomb Venice.

Army Group South begins its withdrawal to the Melitopol-Zaporozhe line.

1944 In Operation Market Garden, British ground troops and US 82nd Airborne troops take Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

A British tank breakout attempt through the Gothic Line is defeated by the tenacious defense.

1945 British and US warships anchor at Shanghai, China.

German rocket engineers begin work in US rocket program.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: February 3 Words at War: War Tide WWII Today: December 16

Sep 19

Relying upon Winchester is an Old American Custom: WWII Winchester Rifle Ad

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Sep 19

NBC Words At War Episode 31 “Eighty Three Days“

Words At War Episode 31 “Eighty Three Days“ Released January 11, 1944.

Words At War, the series that brings you radio versions of the leading war book another adaptation of an important war book, “Eighty-Three Days”. The story of seaman Izzy, the survivor of a torpedoed freighter who was lost at sea for almost three months. The script was previously used on “Words At War” on October 5, 1943 (See Episode 17).

On the 2nd of November 1942 at about 4.30 in the afternoon a Dutch merchant ship was torpedoed and sunk a few hundred miles off the coast of South America. Only a few of the four hundred men on the ship survived. One of them, Basil Dominic Izzy, seaman second class of the United States Navy was found on a raft mid ocean eighty-three days after the sinking. Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: The Ship Words at War: Der Feuhrer WWII Today: July 29

Sep 19

World War II Today: September 19

1939 First British casualty list published.

The conclusion of the battle of the Vistula bend, with the Wehrmacht taking 170,000 prisoners. Germans suppress a Czech rebellion. Lavrenti Beria, chief of the Soviet NKVD, sets up a Directorate for Prisoners of War and establishes camps for the 240,000 Polish POWs in Soviet custody; about 37,000 will be used as forced-labour.

British traitor “Lord Haw-Haw” becomes radio host of Reichsrundfunk Berlin, broadcasting German propaganda to Allied troops.

1940 Heavy night raids continue on London; Brighton also suffers badly. RAF continues attacks on invasion fleet in French and Belgian Channel ports.

Minister of Labour Ernest Bevin announces that by the end of August 51,261 men had registered as conscientious objectors.

1941 Lord Woolton calls the black market in Britain ‘a thorn in our side’.

German forces take the ruins of Kiev, along with a massive haul of 600,000 prisoners, 2,500 tanks and 1,000 guns.

1943 British Air Ministry says that Hamburg now lies in absolute ruins and is ‘probably the most complete blotting out of a city that ever happened.’

Germans are reported to have been forced out of Sardinia by the Italian resistance.

1944 US Ninth Army clears Brittany region of France.

After several families who have returned to London are killed in V-1 rocket attacks, the British government orders women and children to remain in countryside evacuation centers.

The British advance from Belgium is now only two miles from the airborne forces at Nijmegen in Holland, but British paratroop forces dropped at Arnhem encounter unexpected heavy German resistance.

The Belgian Parliament meets formally in Parliament House, Brussels for first time since May 1940.

The Eighth Army occupies the Republic of San Marino, in Italy.

1945 William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) is sentenced to be hanged for treason.






Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: July 28 WWII Today: July 23 WWII Today: May 10

Sep 18

NBC Words At War Episode 30 “They Shall Inherit The Earth“

Words At War Episode 30 “They Shall Inherit The Earth“ Released January 4, 1944.

Words At War, the series that brings you radio versions of the leading war book another adaptation of an important war book, “They Shall Inherit The Earth”. What are we doing to the children of the world? A stark portrait of how the children of the U. S. and Europe are affected by the war. They Shall Inherit the World tells the story of what the war has done to the children of our world. Children had been condemned to starvation, torture, bombardment; they have been orphaned, mutilated and killed. Why? Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 5 Words at War: The Sun WWII Pin Up: Chili Williams

Sep 18

World War II Today: September 18

1939 German and Soviet troops link at Brest-Litovsk, Poland.

Polish cryptographers flee to Paris with vital information on German Enigma codes.

1941 Russians conscript all men aged 16 – 50. Units of Army Group South capture Poltava in the Ukraine. The Russians evacuate Kiev, but the ‘fight to the death’ continues in the area for a week.

1942 The RAF’s Pathfinder Force flies its first mission, which is against Flensburg.

Reduction of food rations for Jews in Germany.

In spite of intense pressure from U-boats and the Luftwaffe, convoy PQ-18 reaches Murmansk. Its losses amounted to 1 destroyer, 1 minesweeper and 13 merchant ships. In return for this the Germans lost 3 U-boats sunk and 5 damaged, along with 41 aircraft destroyed.

The Russians launch an offensive on the Voronezh front, 250 miles North west of Stalingrad.

British forces land on the east coast of Madagascar and occupy Tamatave.

1944 The U.S. Ninth Army finally takes Brest after a long struggle.

In Operation Market Garden, British ground troops link with US 101st Airborne in Eindhoven, Holland. US Ninth Army takes crucial port of Brest, France.

The Germans launch heavy counter-attack in Arnhem sector.

Donato Carreta, Mussolini’s director of prisons, is hauled from a courtroom in Rome by an angry mob. The crowd beats Carreta and throws him into the Tiber river, chases him down the river in rowboats and beats him to death with oars.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: WWII Today: May 12 WWII Today: August 7 WWII Today: August 31

Sep 17

The Road to a Bridge Too Far: Operation Market Garden

Today is  the anniversary of the first day of Operation Market Garden (A Bridge Too Far), the ill-fated Allied attempt to cut through the Netherlands to Germany and finish the war by the end of 1944. The operation has always been a contentious topic. Some people say it was doomed from the start due to arrogance, poor planning and numerous mistakes. Others think it was a bold but reasonable gamble that did not happen to pay off. Either way, we would like to commemorate the men who fought in the operation by giving a brief overview of what happened.

After losing much of their strength in the Falaise Pocket, and the German army in the west in full retreat. One significant barrier remained to Allied progress remained: the Siegfried Line, the defensive works on the German border. The primary goal of Market Garden was to bypass the Siegfried line altogether. By heading north instead of east, the Allies could cross the southern half of the Netherlands. They could then move into Germany beyond the northern end of the Siegfried Line, landing straight in the Ruhr Valley, Germany’s industrial heartland.

Rivers and canals running east to west crisscross the southern part of the Netherlands, and bridges across these natural barriers would give the Germans strong defensive points. Therefore, the bridges along the planned route had to be captured in advance.

Market Garden was two operations. Operation Market was the airborne assault behind enemy lines. Paratroopers and gliders were to capture key bridges located in or near three cities, from south to north: Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. Meanwhile, Operation Garden, a ground attack by the British XXX Corps, would depart from Belgium and drive north down a highway, crossing the bridges and the three cities. Arnhem lies on the Lower Rhine: once across the city’s bridge, the Allies would be on the river’s right-hand side, ready to turn east and roll into Germany.

At 2:15 pm on September 17, a rolling artillery barrage and RAF rocket strikes along the highway announced the advance of XXX Corps. The first stop, Eindhoven, was 14 miles away and the corps was expected to get there in two to three hours. Thanks to German resistance, however, they only covered half the distance in that time. The troops quickly learned that the route, nicknamed Hell’s Highway, was a death trap. It was a narrow strip of high ground, surrounded on both sides by floodplains and polder, ground recovered from the sea. The tanks could not get off the highway, so they made easy targets for Germans attacking the column from the flanks.

Meanwhile, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division landed around Eindhoven and captured four of the five local bridges easily. The last bridge was blown up by the Germans just as the first paratroopers got within a few yards of it. XXX Corps engineers spent 12 hours building a Bailey bridge across a stream halfway to Eindhoven, then 10 hours the next day replacing the bridge the 101st failed to capture. Lead elements of the corps reached Eindhoven by the second night but faced traffic jams and German aerial bombardment there.

On the third day, XXX Corps made up for the previous delays but ran into trouble again. The Nijmegen area was attacked by the 82nd Airborne. Like the 101st, they also captured all but one of their bridges. Unfortunately, the last bridge was the most important one: the one at Nijmegen itself, across the Waal river. It was large and impossible to replace with a Bailey bridge if blown up. It was also the only way across. Luckily for the Allies, the Germans did not demolish it, as they were planning to use it in a later counterattack. Unfortunately, they held the north end of the bridge. The 82nd were all on the south side; the only thing they could try was a frontal attack across the bridge, but the attempt failed.

The 82nd tried to cross the river on the fourth day of the operation, using canvas bridge engineers’ boats, to outflank the Germans and take the northern bridgehead. They had no boating experience, many men had to paddle with their rifle butts, and they came under machine gun and artillery fire on the water. The men suffered heavy casualties, and all they could do once on the north side was to take shelter in a nearby village. When the vanguard of XXX Corps arrived in the evening, the first few tanks had to cross an unsecured bridge under enemy fire. By this time, the tanks were low on fuel and ammo, and officers had no idea of what German defenses lay further ahead, so the force stopped for the night.

XXX Corps pressed on the next day, but by this time it was too late. The last bridge, the one at Arnhem, could not be captured. Arnhem was the objective of the British 1st Airborne Division and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, but they could only fly in half of their force on the first day due to bad weather and a lack of enough planes. Out of that force, only a single battalion made it into the city and the vicinity of the bridge. German forces stopped the rest of the division, pushing them back and away from the city, and surrounded them over several days of heavy fighting. The battalion at the bridge came under sustained, savage attack from German armor and artillery and was slowly ground down. Their last message, “Out of ammo, God save the King,” was broadcast on the 4th day when XXX Corps was still only arriving at Nijmegen.

The fighting continued for several more days in an attempt to rescue as many of the surrounded British and Polish troops as possible, but the original goal of securing a route through the Netherlands failed. The war would not be over by Christmas.


Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Operation Market Garden Begins: September 17 WWII Today: August 27 WWII Today: August 7

Sep 17

NBC Words At War Episode 29 “The Ninth Commandment“

“The Ninth Commandment Invasion of Holland“ Released December 28, 1943.

Words At War, the series that brings you radio versions of the leading war book another adaptation of an important war book, “The Ninth Commandment Invasion of Holland” narrated by Hendrik Van Loon. Based on his book “Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness” Mr Van Loon tells the story of a young German saved from starvation by a Dutch family and his turning them in. Take a look at these other WWII Posts: Words at War: The Silence of the Sea WWII Today: November 12 WWII Today: July 16

Sep 17

World War II Today: September 17

1939 American aviation hero Charles A. Lindbergh makes his first anti-intervention radio speech. The U.S. non-intervention movement is supported not just by Lindbergh, but by former president Herbert Hoover, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Henry Ford and a number of senators and congressmen as well.

The Aircraft Carrier HMS Courageous is torpedoed by U29 (Kapitanleutnant Schuhart) south-west of Ireland, killing 515, but 687 sailors survive.

Kutno and Brest-Litovsk are captured by German troops.

The Red Army invades Poland from the East with a million troops on the pretext of “protecting Poland’s Byelorussian and Ukrainian population.” The Polish government seeks asylum in Romania, where it is interned.

The Polish Air Force scores its last kills during the battle for Poland, by shooting down a German Dornier bomber and a Soviet fighter.

1940 Churchill announces in the Commons that in first half of September 2,000 civilians have been killed and 8,000 seriously injured in air raids; the figure for service casualties, for the same period was 250.

Liner City of Benares, evacuating children to Canada, is sunk by U48; 77 out of 99 children lost, total killed 260.

Hitler postpones Operation Sealion, the plan to invade Britain, until further notice.

1941 The US allocates $100,000,000 to the Soviet Union for the purchase of war materials.

British and Russian troops occupy Teheran, after Iran failed to comply with their demand to expel all Axis nationals.

Beginning of general deportation of German Jews.

1942 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill meets with Soviet Premier Josef Stalin in Moscow as the German Army rams into Stalingrad.

Bitter street fighting in the north west suburbs of Stalingrad.

Peace talks in Madagascar break down.

1943 Stalin announces the capture of Bryansk.

The Germans begin a withdrawal from Salerno as the British 8th Army joins forces with British and U.S. troops in the Salerno bridgehead.

1944 Operation ‘Market Garden’ begins with First Allied Airborne Army drops at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem to secure bridgeheads, as the British Second Army pushes north into Holland from Belgium, to link up. Canadians launch all-out assault on the Boulogne garrison.

Monte Altuzzo finally falls to the U.S. 85th Division.

Russian forces push towards Baltic through Estonia.

Take a look at these other WWII Posts: The Road To a Bridge Too Far WWII Today: August 28 WWII Today: August 10