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