Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / History  % width 90

Poles and Falaise pocket - WWII


jeep - | 23  
13 May 2009 /  #61
Nunczka, do you believe that Pope Benedict was not an active participant in the Hitler Youth?

IsThat. . . ,

Less than 10% of the population supported the Nazis in the areas you mentioned.
Less than 10% does not constitute support.
It was just the normal minority of thugs and rapists seeing a good career opportunity.

The idea of a Nazi invasion is fatuous.
Hitler was more interested in murdering Russians.
The thugs, rapists, and paedophiles in any country are eager to grab any opportunity.
The problem in any war is civilizing people, uncivilising them, as Evil Adolph demonstrated, is easier than falling off a log.
What surprises me is the enormous difficulty the Nazis had in uncivilising their empire.
Even in Paris, they got less than 10% support.
Not that many French ladies welcomed the Nazis with open legs.
Most seemed to prefer poverty and near starvation with the ever present risk of being carted off to slavery in Germany to fornicating their way to luxury and syphilis.

What does your imagination believe the Nazis did with the wealth they plundered from Jews then?
What does your imagination believe the Nazis used Jewish slaves for?

True the Americans didn’t have such a rough time liberating Vichy as they did Normandy, but much of their success was down to the French civilians.

Eye witness report from an infantryman liberating Vichy.

The Maquis and FFI helped a lot, particularly in the mountains. By actually pitching in and helping to chase the krauts out, the French saved many of their towns from destruction.

Salomen, well you can't take water to a horse and make it drink that's for sure.

Just as you can't bring knowledge to a brat and made him learn.
nunczka 8 | 458  
13 May 2009 /  #62
Nunczka, do you believe that Pope Benedict was not an active participant in the Hitler Youth?

I dont know what to believe.At one time I saw a picture of him manning a flak gun. At least they said that it was him. A lot of strange things happen during war. If it was him, I hold no anger toward him. He was a young man at that time. Maybe he was forced into it or succumbed to propaganda.. I dont know.

Jeep, I sent you a private message. Did you get it?? There is so much more that I can tell you.
jeep - | 23  
13 May 2009 /  #63
Nunczka them as didn't participate actively ended up at Auschvitz.
Or some other punishment camp.

Priest who didn't actively preach the gospel according to Evil Adolph in their churches went to Mauthausen where they were worked until they dropped, and then killed in an "interesting" way.

Non-participation wasn't an option.

It was a Nazi thing.
nunczka 8 | 458  
13 May 2009 /  #64
There were many Allied nation troops trying to take Mt Cassino. The Brits, Yanks, Indians, Poles. They all fought well, but the Germans were tenacious fighters. The American 36th Texas division lost so many men that there was a Congressional hearing against Gen Mark Clark for incompetence. He was vindicated. It was the Poles that finally captured Cassino.

Search

U.S. Fifth Army commander Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, on board a PT-boat just before the Anzio landing. After the war, Clark was accused of showing a clear disregard for human life and military information during the "Rapido River fiasco." (U.S. Naval Historical Center)

---------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------

Rapido River Disaster

A rain-swollen river and powerful German defenses made the 36th Division's assault an exercise in futility.

By Clayton D. Laurie

At 10 a.m. on March 18, 1946, Andrew J. May, chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, called to order hearings on the Rapido River crossing conducted by the 36th Infantry Division near Sant' Angelo, Italy, between January 20 and 22, 1944.

Hearings

During the course of two days of hearings, the 30 committee members heard testimony from veterans supporting the statements made in two resolutions: one approved in January 1946 by the members of the 36th Infantry Division Association and the other passed by the Texas Legislature. These resolutions referred to the infamous battle as "one of the most colossal blunders of the Second World War," a "murderous blunder" that "every man connected with this undertaking knew...was doomed to failure" before it took place.

Further, the resolutions charged Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, the commander of the Fifth Army, of which the 36th Division was then a part, with a clear disregard for human life and military information. Clark, they alleged, ordered the attack even though he knew it was going to fail with horrendous losses, even after his subordinates had voiced their misgivings and offered alternative suggestions for attacks elsewhere that could, and later did, succeed. The petitioners urged Congress to investigate not just the "Rapido River fiasco," but to take "the necessary steps to correct a military system that will permit an inefficient and inexperienced officer, such as Gen. Mark Clark, in a high command...to prevent future soldiers from being sacrificed wastefully and uselessly." With this testimony and supplemental reports from the War Department and Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson, the committee examined all aspects of the Rapido River disaster.
jeep - | 23  
13 May 2009 /  #65
From a contemporary account of skirmishes between Vire and Falaise.
Not Poles I'm afraid, but they faced a similar enemy.
Nazi in this instance, since the writer is British, means any soldier either regular or SS.

'The Nazis gave up the village, and in one house the white flag was hung out.
Just as the Commanding Officer's jeep was passing the building an N.C.O. saw the muzzle of a rifle poked through the top window.

A shot followed and the C.O. was hit.
Guardsmen rushed up the stairs and fired into the room.
The German surrendered and came down with his hands up.
The Guards, however, were in no mood to have mercy on a man firing under cover of a white flag, and the Nazi was shot.

Later on a British lorry was driven down the road towards the Guards with a white flag flying from the driver's cabin.
Two Guardsmen stepped out from their cover and were shot down by a Nazi lying under the canvas hood.

A hail of machine-gun bullets tore into the lorry, setting it on fire, and the Nazi sniper received four bullets in his stomach.
Trapped under the hood, with the flames mounting around him, the wounded German sang the "Horst Wessel" song at the top of his voice until his wounds overcame him and he died in his flaming shroud
.'
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
13 May 2009 /  #66
Just as you can't bring knowledge to a brat and made him learn.

What knowledge??? Where are your links? Your proof??? What you only throw around are wild opinions, nothing else!

Even in Paris, they got less than 10% support.

Not that many French ladies welcomed the Nazis with open legs.
Most seemed to prefer poverty and near starvation with the ever present risk of being carted off to slavery in Germany to fornicating their way to luxury and syphilis.

You should read some more....

You are so wrong on so many accounts it's no funny even more.
Why don't you go to history boards where you can even today meet such "rapists, paedos and thugs"?
Why don't you read the new books which came out telling some uncomfortable truths about the german occupation in...say...France and how many french women enjoyed the Germans?

And who the hell made a representative poll at that time about the support???

You are talking out of your arse here Jeep...maybe you have an agenda or you prefer it would have been that way but the reality was much more different! Only little boys are unable to accept facts and to differentiate...boy!

German Officers and french civilians enjoying a cafe in Paris - how uncivilised of them

timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6078341.ece

..."I'm almost ashamed to say it," Fabienne Jamet, a madame at one of the top addresses, is quoted as saying, referring to debauched, champagne-drenched soirées, "but I've never had so much fun in my life. Those nights of the occupation were fantastic."

Not so black and white isn't it...

...Seldom has a book delved as deeply into what is regarded by many as a source of national shame: far from being forced into bed with the invaders through economic hardship (as the official history would have people believe), thousands of French women fell in love with German soldiersand it is estimated that 200,000 children were born to Franco-German couples during the war.

"That the departure of the Germans caused thousands of women deep affliction . . . is one of those facts that political necessity commands us to ignore," writes Buisson, director of France's History Channel and a presidential adviser. ...

isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
13 May 2009 /  #67
IsThat. . . ,

Less than 10% of the population supported the Nazis in the areas you mentioned.
Less than 10% does not constitute support.

eh??? Where are you getting your arbitary figures from? 10% of a population is still a significant number,and even if it was only 1% this would still ,plainly,be support for the nazis......

What does your imagination believe the Nazis did with the wealth they plundered from Jews then?
What does your imagination believe the Nazis used Jewish slaves for?

Dont try to lecture me on this jeep! I appreciatte there are areas of ww2 history you are very well versed on and any fan of "Willy and Joe" is OK by me,but,I've stood in Block 11,Ive stood in the spot of Goeths villa at Płasow,Ive walked up the stairs in a certain warehouse in Amsterdamm....Ive broken bread with veterns of the AK involved in helping local jews, a distant branch of my family survived those times,just, Ive also drunk beer with former members of the wSS as well as escorted Canadian veterens in pilgramages to holland,stood at the grave side of Polish veterens who passed away here in the UK so I think I may have an idea of what Im talking about too. I could go on much further with an almost endless list of my experiences and close relationships with particepents from almost every nation involved in the war in Europe.,but I wont as this is all heresay when it comes to the internet.

What I will say though is,before you insult the inteligence of people you do not know,stop and think before you accuse them,in a sly,sideways way of "holocaust denial" !!!

To get back directly to the point. You implied that in the early and mid 30s germanys reconstruction was funded by the theft of Jewish proparty,well,thats nice and simple but plainly untrue,and playing into the Nazi propaganda that Germany was stuffed full of Rich Jews.Yes,there were some,but,in 1933 the Jewish population in Germany was a mere 0.76%. The expansion of the German econamy in the 30s was primarily funded,as I ponted out ,by the Reichs economics minister literally printing more money to artificially re inflate the econamy...if that sounds familiar its what is going on today around the world.

Whats funny is that a british person and a german person with,and he wont mind me saying this,pretty polar opposite modern political views are saying the same thing. But,I suppose now I have said that,and also admitted to having knowingly met an old SS veteren and not stabbed him or something,infact found him a charming old boy who was conscripted at 17 and had no more choice to join than a londoner had to go down the underground in 1941...well,I must be some secret neo nazi because I dont and never have swallowed the simplistic view of this period of history as perpetuated by some people with an agenda that losts its significance in 1947....
jeep - | 23  
13 May 2009 /  #68
Temper, Temper.

If you continue to throw your dollies out of the pram Bratwurst, I won't even bother to read your contributions.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
13 May 2009 /  #69
I have no doubt your reading (and understanding) is very selective anyhow...don't hurt your brain to much!
nunczka 8 | 458  
13 May 2009 /  #70
Seems like the French ladies serviced all occupiers, It didnt matter what nation was in control
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
13 May 2009 /  #71
France surely got a bad image in WWII...neither mad resisters like Poles and Russians nor brave like the Brits for example.
Instead their army got forever now the image of cowards and their women...well...

I think only another big european war would change that, but that's not coming...now people just won't let them forget! :)
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
13 May 2009 /  #72
Instead their army got forever now the image of cowards

Its a shame because they sure fought like tigers in Italy,mind,they werent really french ,or atleast 20 odd years later they wern't.....
nunczka 8 | 458  
13 May 2009 /  #73
What makes a coward?

Why does one man crack under fire while another manages to hold up?

Are all men capable of the same amount of stress before they crack?

How would you hold up under the same circumstances.?

All men are not created equal.

Under fire would you be willing to die or surrender?
jeep - | 23  
13 May 2009 /  #74
IsThat. . . , you ducked my questions.
Here they are again.

What does your imagination believe the Nazis did with the wealth they plundered from Jews then?
What does your imagination believe the Nazis used Jewish slaves for?

How do those questions constitute a lecture please?

Exactly how have I accused anyone of holocaust denial?

You sure it was the Reich that printed the money?

Incidentally, I spoke purely of recruitment in other countries after Krystalnacht Is That.
Since the Nazis didn't start robbing and enslaving Jews until after Knacht, how can you possibly muddle the two?
Why do you quote the size of the Jewish population in Deutchland Is That?
The Nazis rapped, robbed, enslaved and murdered Jews from teh Med to the Artic Circle, and the English Channel to the Urals.
The Vehrmacht murdered 50,000 women children and old men in Yuri Gar.

I daresay you know how many perished in in various extermination camps.

I am very familiar with the excuse that 'I didn't want to do it Sir, the big kids made me do it,'
I daresay every ex-schoolboy is.

We called Nazis carnivorous sheep during and after the War..

The only distinction I see between SS and Vehrmacht is that Evil Adolph ordered the SS murder civilians, whilst the Vehrmacht murdered civilians without orders from Evil Adolph.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
13 May 2009 /  #75
Why do you quote the size of the Jewish population in Deutchland Is That?
The Nazis rapped, robbed, enslaved and murdered Jews from teh Med to the Artic Circle, and the English Channel to the Urals.

Could it be that you spouted something like "Hitler build the third Reich with stuff stolen from the Jews?

You know...it was very well in existence as it go on a stealing spree in Europe. Isthatu just pointed you to the true economic "builder".

If the Nazis had been dependent on the german jews pockets they would still dreaming the dream!

The only distinction I see between SS and Vehrmacht is that Evil Adolph ordered the SS murder civilians, whilst the Vehrmacht murdered civilians without orders from Evil Adolph

Well...everyone is entitled to his opinion...:)
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
13 May 2009 /  #76
nunczka

Well said, what people constantly avoid when talking about the French forces in 1940 is that they were in complete disarry from being twisted in 30 different directions by the Politicians.

IsThat. . . , you ducked my questions.
Here they are again.

Not at all,I answered as fully as such a stupid question deserved,more so....

What does your imagination believe the Nazis did with the wealth they plundered from Jews then?

Implying I deny this occured,shame on you. Do you want the facts or the myth,facts,most jewish wealth plundered went into private hands in one form or another,sure some went to the Reichs econamy but thisawas mostly in the form of the products of forced labour. Something incidently that MILLIONS of Slavs went through,but good god,try finding much reference to that in "popular" western history...

You sure it was the Reich that printed the money?

eh? Do you imagine it was the bank of England?? Seriously,google MeFo payments,all german re armement was financied by blank check credit,no "real" money/capitol was involved .

Why do you quote the size of the Jewish population in Deutchland Is That?

Because you seem to think that germanys massive expansion was funded entirely by robbing poor Mrs Goldmann of her life savings(incidently probably wipped out in either the hyperinflation of the early 20s or after the wall street crash). a population % of 0.76 ,even if you do believe the Nazi propaganda that all jews were stinking rich,could not possibly have paid,in real capitol, for even a third of the armys transport.....

Since the Nazis didn't start robbing and enslaving Jews until after Knacht, how can you possibly muddle the two?

oops,showing your ignorence again jeep....seriously,read a couple of books instead of just cutting and pasting other peoples work from the net......a nice easy one for initiates is " The Nazis,a warning from History" by Laurence Rees,with input by Prof Ian kershaw,world renound expert on all things 3rd Reich.

I daresay you know how many perished in in various extermination camps.

Nobody knows those exact figures numbnuts,unless of course you believe in some form of a God,and then I imagine even HE lost count..

The Vehrmacht murdered 50,000 women children and old men in Yuri Gar.

Dont you mean BABI YAR......

ho hum....
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
13 May 2009 /  #77
The Vehrmacht murdered 50,000 women children and old men in Yuri Gar

No they didn't (not that would made a difference to jeep):

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar

...Einsatzgruppe C carried out the Babyn Yar massacre

You know the differences between the Wehrmacht, the Waffen SS and the Einsatzgruppen, don't you?

PS: Lots of enthusiastic ukrainian helpers supported the tiny numbers of german soldiers to line up these thousands of victims!
As I told you...the whole holocaust couldn't have happened without the support of so many natives. But I think you will deny that, won't you...doesn't fit into your black and white image...
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
13 May 2009 /  #78
I wouldnt go to deep into this BB, Ive got photos of Lufftwaffe guys neckshooting civilians( and I know what a fleigerbluse looks like even if my spelling might be dodgy).

But,thats not the point,making up lies about what happened only fuels the idiots who believed nothing happened. Tell the truth or stay quiet.Dont you realise that the seeds of holocaust denial were sown when in the post war period the "real" figure for jewish deaths went from 3 million killed in auschwitz alone and atleast another 6 million killed elswhere...this was FAcT for years, now a figure of 6 million has been settled on,but only since the 70s,acuratte reasearch now puts the figure at probably 5.2-5.4 million totall.....this seems a "sensable "figure,but the earlier lies were enough for some loonies to latch onto and say "see,they were lying all along".
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
13 May 2009 /  #79
Ive got photos of Lufftwaffe guys neckshooting civilians

**** happens Isthathu, but I don't see that neither as better nor worse than polish pilots killing germans hanging helpless between their ropes or american pilots strafing the long rows of german civilians down on the road...

I've read recently that the Jews give a number of 200.000 war criminals....the german forces numbered combined 13 Millions!
The huge majority was just soldiers...neither "evil martians" nor "uncivilized paedophiles!"

The difference is that war crimes of the allied forces were never investigated and barely documented...who cared anyhow?

PS: I don't play that numbers game...it makes no difference to me if 6 Millions were killed or 5 (and I don't think it matters much).
isthatu2 4 | 2,704  
14 May 2009 /  #80
**** happens Isthathu, but I don't see that neither as better nor worse than polish pilots killing germans hanging helpless between their ropes or american pilots strafing the long rows of german civilians down on the road...

there isnt much difference...the one I would pick up on is the straffing civilians bit.From what height do you think these Pilots started their attack run? And how many of these colums of civilians were also full of military convoys. Not saying its right,but there is a difference between knowingly pulling the trigger on an innocent civilian whos last breath you can hear to straffing unclear targets of oppertunity.

For moral equivelence maybe lets say; It was no more abhorent for goering to bomb london than harris bombing hamburg. the intent was identical,murder of civilian populations.

...it makes no difference to me if 6 Millions were killed or 5 (and I don't think it matters much).

hear hear...or is it here here? If its murder its murder.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
14 May 2009 /  #81
I think it's hear hear, Isthatu, that one caught me out too.

Just as well I wasn't asked it in class, it would've been the bluffing face of the century.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
14 May 2009 /  #82
hear hear...or is it here here? If its murder its murder.

It is and I really don't think this crime get's somehow "lessened" if the murdered people numbered not exactly 6.000.000 but "only 5.999.999... this is insane!
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
14 May 2009 /  #83
I think its here here, as in over here i agree.

Actually im sure of it, in the 17th century it meant that the party agreed to the opinion.
Bratwurst Boy 6 | 10,423  
14 May 2009 /  #84
I think it's "hear" or as the Germans say "Hört, hört" - "listen, listen"...ja? :)
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007  
14 May 2009 /  #85
But it comes after a statement, and usually meaning i or we agree, ill phone mr brown in the morning ;)
jeep - | 23  
14 May 2009 /  #87
Is That . . . I give it one more go, but if you continue being rude to me, I'll close the door and that will be that.

Part of the problem is that the quote system takes things out of context.
The context is Poles at Falaise.

There were 3 distinct types of Poles at that party.
American ones.
"British" ones.
Nazi ones.

The comments you took out of context, and then argued against looked at view of invaded country (Poland) recruits into the Vehrmacht.

Immigrants (Jews) aren't loved in any country.
They weren't loved in Poland.
People resented that Jews got rich, stinking rich.
They blamed Jews for their poverty.
That's the way people saw Jews after the depression, you can point out that it's not historical fact until you are blue in the face, but you won't alter the fact that that was how people saw Jews.

You won't alter the fact that that's how potential recruits to Nationalist parties see immigrants.

Nazi ideology exploited that racialism amongst in invaded countries.
Those with a natural pleasure in bullying, robbing, raping, torturing, and murdering wanted some of it.
· To their mind, the Nazis were robbing the Jews to build up their industry.
· To their mind, the Nazis were enslaving the Jews to build up their industry.
And the Poles who joined the Nazis wanted some of it.
Hence my questions to you, the ones you ducked, are relevant because they get you to look at it from a viewpoint other than your own.

Invasions are expensive.
Occupations are expensive.
Invasions and occupations were a growth industry in Nazi-Germany.
The Jews helped to fund it.
The Nazis even took the gold fillings out of Jews' teeth.
The Nazis used the gold fillings to top up the pot that bought the diesel for the diesel engines that poisoned the Jews.
The Nazis even collected up the dirty knickers from Jews in case they might be useful.
The Poles wanted some of that became Nazis.

Understand their point of view, or remain ignorant of it; it's your choice.

Thank you for identifying and confirming where Vehrmacht butchers killed so many Jews.

Did you know that during their retreat across Russia, the Wehrmacht dug up and burnt the evidence as part of their most successful propaganda coup?

The myth of the Wehrmacht's clean hands?

Is That . . .
A Nazi Heinkel 111 at "rooftop" height straffed a infants' school children in the school playground just before 0900hrs in Bexleyheath Kent in the Spring of 1943.

He killed several and injured many.
The school lay to the left of his flight path.
He only squeezed off a short deliberate burst rather than randomly spraying the area.

Bexleyheath was an entirely residential area at the time.

Immediately before straffing those children he opened up on other civilians.

It was fairly normal practice for hit and run Nazi bombers.

Id That . . .

It is reliably reported that when the Nazis seached Picassos flat, an officer stopped to look at a painting of Guernica, he asked.
. . . Did you do this?'

Picasso replied'

. . . 'No, you did'.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_(painting)

For them as don't know about Guernic, it's where the Nazi Airforce established it's reputation as an anti-civilian terrorist organization.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Guernica

Is That . . .

If it's murder, it's murder, is to blunt a tool.

The Nazi's 'murdered' for personal gain.
When they murdered their way into another country, they went to the Bank to withdraw the gold reserves for Evil Adolph.
They raised taxes to pay the costs of their Occupation.
They took a large percentage of what the factories produced for Nazi consumption.
They murdered the halt the sick and the lame.
When they invaded Poland they murdered the prisoners and their guards.
They murdered Jewsih women and children.

When the RAF "murdered", they murdered to save life.
Rightly or wrongly, they expected mass bombing to shorten the War.
They expected that by shortening the War they would save lives.

If you transfer the comparison to Japan.
When the Yanks took an island, the Japanese civilians on that Island committed suicide.
Additionally, Japanese soldiers "murdered" a lot of GIs.
And a lot of GIs murdered Jap soldiers.

It's estimated, rightly or wrongly, the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved at least 2 million lives more they they cost.
There seems little doubt that if the Emporer had not told the Japs to lay down their weapons, the Japs would have fought to the last man, and the civilians would have committed suicide.

I've never seen any balance sheets for Allied bombing in Germany.
I don't know if it prolongued or shortened the War.

I do know that the intention was to shorten the was, and to save lives.
That's both Nazi and Allied lives.

It's "HEAR HEAR"
nunczka 8 | 458  
15 May 2009 /  #88
I've never seen any balance sheets for Allied bombing in Germany.
I don't know if it prolonged or shortened the War.

Allied bombing greatly shortened the war. The Brits stopped bombing during daylight, due to the enormous loss of aircraft and lives. The continued bombing by night using LORAN to guide them.

Dresden was fire bombed by the Brits at night allowing the planes to see their targets from the fires.

Daylight bombing was resumed by the US, It was assumed the the American B17 flying fortress was capable to fight off German aircraft. This proved true to a certain extent, but the still suffered losses.. It was not until the American Mustang was introduced with its long range belly gas tanks that protected the bombers from the enemy. They were no match for the ME62 jet. But by sheer numbers they prevailed.

It was Allied Air power that destroyed the German armour at falaise
The 75 MM was ineffective against the German armour. The German 88 decimated the American M4 Sherman tanks.
Ironside 49 | 10,462  
15 May 2009 /  #89
It's estimated, rightly or wrongly, the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved at least 2 million lives more they they cost.

Why Those towns were chosen? for what reason ?
jeep - | 23  
15 May 2009 /  #90
B17s bombed Dresden just after us Nunkzka.
The raid had two purposes.
1) To reduce troops movements against the Ruskies.

2) To advize the Ruskies to advance no further than the agreed line.

I've seen academic arguments both for and against the idea that our bombing saved lives.

Yup our Typhoons certainly used to make a mess of Nazi armour.
A friend who flew during the Battle of the Bulge told me he almost felt sorry for the Nazis.
A rocket from a Typhoon burst a Tiger open like a paper bag.
We used to flash our Fireflies (up-gunned Shermans) to draw the Nazi armour out so the Tiffies could have a bit of fun.

So far, I've been unable to find a contemporary account of fighting undertaken by British Pole during the push to trap the Nazis at Falaise.

Here's an account of fighting undertaken by other Allied troops in the same area.
I daresay, it's very similar to what the Poles experienced.

Here we were, then, sitting at the bottom of . . . , its thickly forested slopes hiding a considerable force of Nazis.
During the months of preparation for the Normandy invasion the War Office planners realised that this mountain was the key to success.
Plans were made for its capture at the earliest moment, but events had ordered otherwise, and now, two months from the date of our landing, we were making the first assault on an objective which, if held in strength, could prove almost impregnable, and could, in any case, hold up all our plans for smashing the Nazis unless it could quickly be reduced.

The broken country protecting the main mass of the mountain was thickly wooded and broken by small streams running between deep banks.
Towards the broad, rather flat summit the trees gave way to stunted bushes and heather.

The task of carrying this stronghold by assault was given to . . . , who were assisted by a regiment of tanks, the . . . Hussars. The infantry Brigade consisted of the . . . Battalions of the . . . Infantry.

For three days the battle raged along the mountain slopes.
Then, on the night of . . . two months after we landed on the beaches, a troop of Sherman tanks from the . . . clambered up the last slope, followed by the footsore warriors of the . . . .

For those three days the . . . had fought without rest and almost without food.
They had fought amongst the silver birches and the waist-high bracken and had faced heavy mortar and machine-gun fire as they forced themselves up and through the enemy.

During those three days they had three meals.
Each morning they had a light breakfast and then nothing until the next morning.'
Only men endowed with supreme courage and trained to perfection could have accomplished such a stupendous task. . .

"The Germans were clever," he admitted, "and waited until we were a few hundred yards from them before opening fire.
We could not go back and we couldn't call up artillery to help us, so we just had to clean out the machine-gun nests."

The words sound so simple. "We just had to clean out the machine-gun nests."
I have seen that process.
Men crawl on their bellies through grass and along hedges.
Before them lies the machine-gun.
They can see little, but usually the enemy can see them as they crawl, and a stream of bullets suddenly screams a few inches over their heads or bites into the ground at their side.

The work of cleaning out a machine-gun nest is arduous, with sudden death the reward for an instant of inattention, and sometimes death comes just the same.

I was able to picture that scene along the valley slopes of these gallant men stalking the Spandaus, dying under the lovely trees, their hands clutching convulsively at the wild flowers, the sun fading as the sombre shadows of death closed over them.

The Colonel took up his tale again.
On the second day they went into support of the . . . , their sister battalion.
The Colonel looked up, his eyes shining as he spoke of the . . . .
He gave ungrudging praise to them, for it was they who broke through the German defences in a bloody battle.

"Theirs is the credit for our success," he said. "They did the close work."
The . . . came up against strong infantry defences, and on those steep, shady slopes fought out a grim battle.

Men fought in little groups, taking on the enemy in hand-to-hand combats.
A burst from Sten guns and then the bayonet.
In those forest glades men slipped and struggled against an enemy strongly entrenched and camouflaged 'by the natural surroundings.
The Nazis fought it out grimly, for their orders were to stand to the last man.
The men of Wiltshire saw that the Nazis died.
The ground was red with the blood of the slain and the wounded.

Fought out in a silence broken only by the sobbing breath of exhausted men and the shrill cry of agony as bayonets struck fiercely into yielding flesh, the battle swayed up and down the hillsides.

Both battalions came into the scene, and the . . . were caught in a terrible crossfire from machine-guns and mortars, but they broke through the enemy, and chased them up the mountain.

No tanks could aid them in this close country, and after each advance up the mountain they would be held up again by cunningly hidden machine-guns and mortars which did not open up until the . . . were nearly on top of them.

At last, on the third day, the tanks, which :had been struggling up the mountain in country where tanks would not normally attempt to operate, broke through and fought their way to the summit.

Crashing "through the bracken, avoiding demolitions of gunsites and concrete forts, they stood in a little group, this troop of the . . . .
Behind them came the . . . , weary but happy.
. . . was ours.

All that night they heard the Nazis digging in, and for both tanks and infantry the position was very uncomfortable.
Exposed to anti-tank guns as they stood starkly on the summit, the little force might have been overwhelmed by a sudden counter-attack, but the enemy, too, were tired, and they had been cut to pieces in hand-to-hand battles and were not anxious to renew their acquaintance with the . . . .

Besides, the tanks were there, and where a few tanks stood more tanks could be brought up, so the Hun gave it up as a bad job and left the mountain to the victors.

The opposition never materialised, and the Colonel, who was now nearly asleep, looked up and added his last words on the subject. "The only Germans we saw on top of the mountain were those who gave themselves up."

He closed his eyes, the map slipped from his knees, and he was asleep.
I tiptoed away.

The cooks had tea ready, and the men dipped their canteens into the dixies and went back to their hedges and trees.
Some took a sip and then went straight off to sleep. Some washed the grime from their faces first and then slept, but within half an hour not all the artillery barrages of Normandy could have waked . . .

A) How would you hold up under the same circumstances.?

B) Under fire would you be willing to die or surrender?

A)
Me, I'd be so brave, so cool, so calm, and so collected Nunczka,
that I wouldn't even notice I'd filled my underpants and puked-up my last meal
and be busy praying that my chattering teeth didn't give away my position.

b)
I'd avoid both of them to the best of my ability Nunczka.

Archives - 2005-2009 / History / Poles and Falaise pocket - WWIIArchived