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My Experience In World War Two...
Transcript of My Experience In World War Two...
Operation Torch- One of the First Britain-U.S. joint Forces
"The biggest and bloodiest battle of World War Two"
Feb 19-March 26, 1945
"The feeling was the mood was good. Nobody complained in any way. We were confident we would win. Every day we had successes. Every day we [always advanced] we never retreated, never... We felt superior because the Russians went away from us and wherever they actually entered into a fight with us they were shot down... In general you had the feeling that National Socialism was very much superior to Bolshevism. Well, we saw it. They were really behind us in their development."
-Testimony of Helmut Walz a German Soldier in Stalingrad
"We all had to use spades at some stage. They were folded and you could screw them together. It could be a terrible weapon. Just hit it into somebody’s head or stomach or somewhere else. If they saw that you had a spade they tried to get away, or they surrendered."
-Testimony of Helmut Walz a German Soldier in Stalingrad
• Soviet troops are pushed back from the western bank of the Don. At this point, the German Sixth Army is 37 miles away from Stalingrad.
• General Freidrich Paulus’s 6th Army crosses the Don. The following day, German tanks race to Stalingrad. At this point, the evacuation of the city is still under way.
• By 4pm, Paulus’s armored division reaches Stalingrad from the north. But it fails to capture the city immediately, and the Germans suffer sustained attacks from the Red Army.
• Paulus fails in another attempt to storm the city.
• Paulus captures the station, pushing the Soviets towards the Volga but paratroopers halt the advance.
• Soviet troops start their counter-offensive, codenamed
• Soviet forces encircle 290,000 men east of the Don.
• Soviet commander Konstantin Rokossovsky issues an ultimatum for the Nazi troops to surrender, but Paulus refuses to give up on Hitler’s orders.
• Soviet heavy artillery and mortars open fire all along the front of the 65th Army, which begins storming the German 6th Army positions from the west.
• The assault is halted to realign Soviet forces.
• New attacks split the 6th Army in two, and Soviet troops link up near Mamayev Kurgan.
• With all hope of resistance ended, Field Marshal Paulus surrenders, dismissing Hitler’s orders to commit suicide – and a total of 110,000 Axis soldiers go into captivity.
The annihilation of the Sixth Army marked the beginning of the end for Hitler and the start of the Red Army’s advance towards Berlin.
The Drafted German Soldier 1942-1943
Stalingrad, Soviet Russia
August 23, 1942 - February 2, 1943
German born boys were put into Deutsches Jungvolk” (German Young People) when we were young and at fourteen we would transfer to the Hitler Jugend (Hitler Youth). At eighteen years of age we would be drafted into the military.
Conscription ended in the areas conquered by Germany from early 1940 until late 1941 in order to prevent uprisings. Because of this the Nazis faced the worry of a weak army. They soon began to conscript men from Germany and from ethnic German minorities in Europe. This led to a near eighteen million men increase to the German armed forces . In 1945 male youths and the elderly were mobilized for service in the Volkssturm militia without any prior military training.
German military trained us men in professionalism in the craft of war, competence, discipline, and performance. Training camps within Germany were strict and rigorous. Commanders would have the trainees practice in real combat situations for more than eight hours a day in any type of weather. Because of the extreme brutality in training there was a one percent fatality rate. Hitler installed on us that this was to "weed out" the weak and the incompetent. We were taught the National Socialists indoctrinate as a sense of spiritual strengthening. Meaning we were taught to believe that we were doing the right thing for our country.
on the ground in Stalingrad
.It was know that at the beginning of the battle, a new Red Army soldier had a
life expectancy of
and an officer had a life expectancy of about three days.
was common, and so was the meal of rats.
Rats became the basis of the soldiers protein intake
. Us German soldiers the Soviet soldiers and citizens would often go around
picking dead horses clean
of their meat. Living conditions were not satisfactory either. The average arrangements would require the Soviets living in a living room adjacent to us in the kitchen.
Those of us who were slowly
starving to death
resorted to slaughtering the 10,000 horses we had brought to the battle as a source of food. We were
for the cold weather, that at times would reach
-22 degrees Fahrenheit
- because de Fuhrer had thought the war would be over before winter. De Fuhrer order a breakout from the Soviets who had surrounded us, but as a whole we were too weak to attempt it and those who hadn’t been killed or starved, simply
froze to death
clothes weren't warm
enough to keep us
warm from the horrible chills of the winter weather.
P.O.W.s were sent to gulags
on death marches , and soon the bodies became to much handle, so the Soviets sent
5,000 of the 17,000 captured home
, leaving the rest to die.
Image shows the saddles of the thousands of horses that were eaten in Stalingrad
The frozen body of a German Soldier
The last of the German 6th Army surrendering to the Red Army
Connections to Home
: The German soldiers were able to send letters and images home from battle through a complex mailing system called the Feldpost. Units of germans were assigned to take the mail home to the soldiers' families. Each German unit serving on the battlefront was also assigned a five-digit postal number, which was the code for their unit. The unit mail was encoded with this system to maintain secrecy about troop movements and location in the event the mail fell into enemy hands. This system was disbanded when the Germans surrendered in February.
A german soldier is supposed to just fight: without mercy, without fear. De Fuhrer commanded that we keep fighting even though we were starving, freezing, and losing thousands of German soldiers a day. Our main job was to conquer Stalingrad but it was difficult because the Russians put up a great fight. We all wanted and thought the war would be over by Christmas. The beginning of the battle was the easiest part. Once we had pushed back the Soviets, we could feel victory. We also heard word that
Rommel had advanced in Africa and then, above all, the Japanese started as well in the Pacific area, so the whole world seemed to be on our side, in victory. We are optimistic that we will go back home as saviors, as heroes. But then things started to go bad. The Russians somehow stopped our import of materials and basic necessities and they are coming at us with their katyushis and their tokarevs (rifles). Our Panzers are being attacked and stolen and our supplies depleting quickly, including our bullets. It seemed as though there is nothing we could do, especially with our men falling weak and dying of hunger and frost bite. The war is almost to an end and the victory we had been wishing for is vanishing. We understand that soon we will fall to the Soviets, but Hitler told us to keep fighting. We are down hundreds of men, maybe thousands and our plan to capture Stalingrad has backfired miserably. I write home but I know that no one is actually reading the letters.The last thing I plan to do is die honorably. I plan to let my comrade go before me and take the awaiting bullets because suicide isn't an option neither is surrender.
A German Flammenwerfer 35,
A German Panzer Tank
A German MG42 Machine Gun
A Russian Tokarev SVT-40,
During the six months between August and February, 1942 the United States and its Pacific allies fight the Japanese in the Guadalcanal Campaign. Allies win.
In the Battle of Midway 1942, in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. and its allies launch an attack on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Another crucial turning point, b/c he U.S. destroys four Japanese aircraft carriers: step up for allied nations.
The Battle of El Alamein in French North Africa on (Oct. 23, 1942-May 13, 1943), in which the British fought the Germans and Italians.
Operation Torch(Nov. 8-10) where the U.S. and Great Britain team up to battle the Vichy French in French North Africa and push the Germans and Italians from N. Africa.
At the time of the Stalingrad Battle...
November 8-16, 1942
Nov. 8 - Nov. 16
The Western Task Force under U.S. Major General, George S. Patton Jr.
Contained 35,000 men: 1 armored division, 2 infantry divisions.
: I volunteered in the army. We were trained in amphibious warfare (a type of offensive military operation that uses naval ships to project ground and air military power onto a hostile or potentially hostile shore.) As part of the
Western task force
, we trained in the summer and fall of 1942. Training in air-ground co-operation. Air force pilots taught strategic bombing, Trained in Hampton, VA. Sent to battle in Casablanca.
Arisaka 1945 Japanese Rifle
World War Two Aircraft: U.S. B29 Aircraft
Japanese Bunker part of the Underground Tunnels located on the 16 mi. span on Iwo Jima
Tunnel Entrance on Iwo Jima
Point of View of American Soldier
November 7: we attempted a
coup d'etat in Casablanca
against the regime of General Charles Noguès of the Vichy french. The attempt
and Noguès was alerted to our plans of invasion
Landing at Safi, Fedala, and Port Lyautey, we were met
We in return used our ships to return fire on the French coastal batteries and aircraft. After weather delays at Fedala, General Patton and us men succeeded in taking our targets and began moving against Casablanca. Our plan underway.
We successfully were able to over come the French and thus tighten our handle on Casablanca
, we had
and that they could do no more, the soldiers of the
Vichy French surrendered
I had survived and this was only the beginning
President Roosevelt involved the U.S. in the Campaign of North Africa because he had to
(Vyacheslav Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik, and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin)
and the Russians
by fulfilling his
promise to establish a second front
by the end of 1942.
Roosevelt also wanted to fight in Operation Torch to
improve America's morale by winning
Oran Nov. 8-9:
The Center Task Force was
led by Major General Lloyd Fredendall of the British navy
. I heard that they landed the 18,500 men of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. 1st Armored Division on two beaches west of Oran and one to the east, they
encountered difficulty due to insufficient surveillance
. Troops dealt greatly with shallow waters, that made navigating the large ships difficult, and then they were encountered with stubborn
. They could not land in the harbor because of the heavy French fire. Both sides shot furiously for twenty four hours before the
French surrendered on November 9.
Algiers: As part of the Eastern Task Force, we were led by General Charles Ryder and commanded by General Kenneth Anderson. Our main objective was to get General Alphonse Juin, the senior French Army officer in North Africa to surrender. We went to his home and surrounded it so that he would not be able to escape. We waited outside as US. diplomat Robert Murphy tried to convince Juin to trade sides and join the allies. Unable to convince them, the French local police force, named the Gendarmerie, released him.
November 8: We started our invasion after failing to convince Juin. Fighting took place at the Algerian port and we were met with French resistance, however our heavy artillery was able to stop the French and Juin was forced to surrender.
General Charles Ryder of the U.S. 34th Battalion Division
General Alphonse Juin, Senior Officer of the French Army
General Sir Kenneth Arthur Noel Anderson of the British
Operation Barbarossa continues in Stalingrad, the Germans are suffering major setbacks because of the Russian offensive and extreme winter weather.
Germans also suffer major attacks in the El Alamein Campaign in Egypt.
Singapore is conquered by the Japanese in February and take around 25, 000 prisoners
The Battle of Midway rages in June and America enjoys a naval victory
The Auschwitz execution of Jews begins
Operation Torch cost the Allies around 480 killed and 720 wounded. French losses totaled around 1,346 killed and 1,997 wounded.
In order to communicate soldiers sent letters home to their families.
Operation Torch Allies and Axis routes.
Conscription: At the age of 19 I was conscripted into the Japanese Imperial Army.
It was required that men, between the ages of 19 and 45 were conscripted.
Training: The Imperial Japanese Army Academy located in Sayama, Japan trained an specialized in weaponry and technical training schools. The OIGMA (Office of Inspectorate General of Military Training) was responsible for tactical training. We spent two hours per week and four to six days a year practicing military maneuvers. The training was even incorporated into the school curriculum as a way to strengthen a boy's mind, spirit and body. The drafted soldiers trained at night and often on different terrain in order to grow accustomed and be prepared for battle. We were taught that the bayonet was our new samurai sword and focused on clearing obstacles, learning attack, noise identification and prevention, patrolling and surveillance. We were also taught to navigate by map and compass. To become worthy, our main goal was to kill mercilessly. We would often train by killing real people, whether that be by bayonet or by gun.
Indoctrinate: We were taught to believe in
. We were to
fight to the death
rather than surrender and accept disarmament. We were also taught to believe that
faith equals strength.
February 1945- Stalin states at the Yalta Conference that the Soviet Union will invade Japan within three months of the German defeat.
April 5, 1945- The Soviet Union works to abrogate the neutrality act with Japan
March 7, 1945- German's surrender and Soviets take over Berlin
August 6, 1945- U.S. drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima
August 8, 1945- Stalin declares war on Japan
August 15, 1945- Nagasaki is atomically bombed
Japanese Deaths: 21,844
American Deaths: 6,900
Japanese casualties: about 216 survivors b/c they were P.O.Ws
American casualties: 20,000+
Our strategy was unique for three reasons:
1) We did not fight above ground. We fought the battle entirely from beneath the ground. We dug 1,500 rooms into the rock. These were connected with 16 miles of tunnels.
2) Our strategy called for “no Japanese survivors.” because we planned not to survive.
3) Each soldier of the Japanese Army were to kill 10 Americans before we were killed.
“No Japanese survivors” is was a heroic tactic to prove our honor. To be captured was humiliating.
20,000 Jap. boys fought underground for a 16 mi stretch as a way to remain unseen by the US troops.
Terrain was sandy and volcanic rock.
80,000 Americans fought above ground
The reason for protecting Iwo Jima was because
Iwo Jima was used as an airfield location for the Japanese, and functioned as a watch post against invasion.
We fought we had to stop the U.S. from taking the air fields as their own.
The Americans first started by bombing the island but they had no idea that we were able to hind and presumably find shelter and sniper posts before they landed.
When they landed on February 19th we were able to snipe their advance. We caused them many casualties. The battle soon took a concerning turn when the Americans captured Mount Suribachi.
We fought day after day losing man after man, comrade after comrade. Our commander Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi , told us that for every one our comrades that fell we were to shoot and kill ten Americans. We were not to survive but die with honor.
By March 11, we were trapped in an area around Kitano Point. We all fell there and I was captured as a prisoner. In self shame I made one last attempt as a restoration to my honor. I shot an American and watched as he fell, the remaining US soldiers shot me, and I died pridefully.
“Let me fall like a flower petal
May enemy bombs be directed at me, and enemy shells
Mark me their target”
Admiral Toshinosuke Ichimaru Commander of the Special Naval Landing Force
On 21 Mar, Kuribayashi reported that "We
have not eaten or drunk for five days, but our fighting spirit remains high." A day later, as his last soldiers were falling around him, he radioed what would become his last words on official record: "The strength under my command is now about four hundred. Tanks are attacking us. The enemy suggested we surrender through a loudspeaker, but our officers and men just laughed and paid no attention."
Connections Home: We were able to mail letters home. My mother responded once by saying she would be proud because I was fighting for my country.
Citations for Op. Torch
Trueman, Chris. "Operation Torch." Operation Torch. History Learning Site.co, 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
World War II Today. "Operation Torch: U.S. Forces Land in North Africa." World War II Today RSS. World War II Today, 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Shmoop Editorial Team. "Operation Torch (Nov 8, 1942) in World War II." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
"WW2 Weapons Redirect." WW2 Weapons Redirect. N.p., 2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Howe, George F. "HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative In the West." HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Northwest Africa: Seizing the Initiative In the West. Hyper War Foundation, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Hickman, Kennedy. "World War II: Operation Torch." About.com Military History. About.com, 2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
"Turning Points: The Allies Begin to Win the War." World War II Reference Library. Ed. Barbara C. Bigelow, et al. Vol. 2: Almanac. Detroit: UXL, 2000. 227-249. World History in Context. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Citations for Stalingrad.................
"The Battle of Stalingrad: August 23, 1942–February 2, 1943." Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History. Ed. Jennifer Stock. Vol. 4: Europe. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2013. World History in Context. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
"Stalingrad." Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Ed. Israel Gutman. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1990. World History in Context. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
Rees, Laurence. "We Have Detected That You Are Using an Older Version of Internet Explorer and to Have Access to All the Features on This Site, You Will Need to Update Your Browser to Internet Explorer 8. Alternatively, Download Mozilla Firefox or Chrome." German Soldier, Stalingrad Eastern Front Testimonies WW2History.com. WorldWar2 History.com, n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014.
"EXCERPTS FROM THE DIARY OF A GERMAN SOLDIER AT STALINGRAD (1942)." N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://personal.ashland.edu/~jmoser1/stalingrad.htm>.
Lawry, Weston. "Top 10 Facts About the Battle of Stalingrad." Listverse. Listrverse, 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://listverse.com/2012/09/17/top-10-facts-about-the-battle-of-stalingrad/>.
McKinney, David. "National Postal Museum." 'National Postal Museum' YPLF, 2 Apr. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://postalmuseumblog.si.edu/2012/04/the-heat-of-battle-german-soldiers-mail-in-world-war-ii.html>.
Citations for Iwo Jima
"The Battle of Iwo Jima." The Battle of Iwo Jima. History Learning Site.co, 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/battle_of_iwo_jima.htm>.
National WW2 Museum. "The Battle for Iwo Jima." Nationalww2museum.org. National World War Two Museum, n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://www.nationalww2museum.org/focus-on/iwo-jima-fact-sheet.pdf>.
"The Battle – Japan’s Iwo Jima Strategy." Iwo Jima RSS. Iwo Jima RSS, 2014. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://www.iwojima.com/battle/battlea.htm>.
Lava Deployment. "World War II Database." WW2DB RSS. C. Peter Chen, 2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://ww2db.com/battle_spec.php?battle_id=12>.
"World War II: Japanese Military Training." Histclo.com. N.p., 3 Nov. 2013. Web. 27 Mar. 2014. <http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/cou/jap/force/army/w2jfa-train.html>.
"The Japanese Army in WW2." 1jma.dk. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Mar. 2014. <http://www.1jma.dk/articles/1jmaIJAc1.htm>.
Bradley, James, and Ron Powers. Flags of Our Fathers. New York: Bantam, 2000. Print.
Atkinson, Rick. An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. New York: Henry Holt &, 2002. Print.
Farah, Mounir, and Andrea Berens. Karls. World History: The Human Experience. New York: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1997. Print.
Hammel, Eric M. Iwo Jima:. St. Paul, MN: Zenith, 2006. Print.
Images from the battle
September 5. Our regiment has been ordered to attack Sadovaya station--that's nearly in Stalingrad. Are the Russians really thinking of holding out in the city itself? We had no peace all night from the Russian artillery and aeroplanes. Lots of wounded are being brought by. God protect me….
-September 13. An unlucky number. This morning "katyushi" attacks caused the company heavy losses: twenty-seven dead and fifty wounded. The Russians are fighting desperately like wild beasts, don't give themselves up, but come up close and then throw grenades. Lieutenant Kraus was killed yesterday, and there is no company commander.
-September 18. Fighting is going on inside the elevator. The Russians inside are condemned men; the battalion commander says: "The commissars have ordered those men to die in the elevator."
-November 10. A letter from Elsa today. Everyone expects us home for Christmas. In Germany everyone believes we already hold Stalingrad. How wrong they are. If they could only see what Stalingrad has done to our army.
-December 14. Everybody is racked with hunger. Frozen potatoes are the best meal, but to get them out of the ice-covered ground under fire from Russian bullets is not so easy.
-December 26. The horses have already been eaten. I would eat a cat; they say its meat is also tasty. The soldiers look like corpses or lunatics, looking for something to put in their mouths. They no longer take cover from Russian shells; they haven't the strength to walk, run away and hide. A curse on this war!
Wilhelm Hoffman, Diaries of a German Soldier