World War II Daily: DDay to VEDay

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crimsonaudio

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Re: WWII: European Theater daily - 1944 (was Normandy Daily)

October 20, 1944: As the Battle of Aachen - the first German city attacked by Allied forces - appears to be coming to an end, Colonel Wilck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerhard_Wilck) issues an order:
______
“The defenders of Aachen will prepare for their last battle. Constricted to the smallest possible space, we shall fight to the last man, the last shell, the last bullet, in accordance with the Fuehrer’s orders.
In the face of the contemptible, despicable treason committed by certain individuals, I expect each and every defender of the venerable Imperial City of Aachen to do his duty to the end, in fulfillment of our Oath to the Flag. I expect courage and determination to hold out. Long live the Fuehrer and our beloved Fatherland!”
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This rallying cray actually does little as the resistance crumbles rapidly in the face of the determined American forces. Even though the battalion of the 110th Infantry is officially committed only as a defensive role, the unit joins Lt. Col. Derrill M. Daniel’s battalion in eviscerating the city. Colonel Daniel’s men already seized the main railroad station and are nearing a railway line leading north to Laurensberg and Geilenkirchen, separating the main part of Aachen from western residential sectors. After the collapse of a strongpoint in the Technical University in the northwestern corner of the city, the battalion reaches the western railroad tracks as night falls. The few Germans remaining are corralled in the western and southwestern suburbs.

Operation Suitcase begins, as Canadian 4th Armored Division advances to take Esschen, 7 miles east of Bergen-op-Zoom on the Dutch-Belgium border (this marks the only time an American division serves under Canadian command during the war). The British 1st Corps (part of Canadian 1st Army) begins attacking northward from northeast of Antwerp. The Canadian 1st Army attacks Breskens pocket and pushing toward Woensdrecht, the US 1st Army attacks around Bardenberg, Mariadorf, and Schmidt, US 3rd Army attacks Maizieres-les-Metz but loses Fossieux to German counterattack. US 19th Tactical Air Force breaches the dam at Dieuze, causing extensive flooding to the rear of German 1st Army, opposite US 3rd Army. The US 7th Army clears Foret de Parroy with German forces withdrawing overnight and the French 1st Army, attacks around Le Thillot, capturing Trougemount.

Allied bombing raids continue over Germany as the US 8th Air Force attacks Schweinfurt with 329 bombers, Koblenz with 360 bombers, Mainz with 210 bombers, and Gustavsburg with 148 bombers. RAF Bomber Command sends 435 aircraft to attack Bochum, 47 aircraft to attack Wilhelmshaven , and12 aircraft to attack Krefeld, Saarbrucken, and Dusseldorf overnight

In Italy, elements of the British 8th Army push north along Highway 71 while the South African 6th Armored Division (an element of US 5th Army) repulses a German counterattack. To the east, the British 4th and 46th Divisions of British 5th Corps (part of British 8th Army) enter Cesena. US 88th Division captures Monte Grande, Italy while US 5th Army attacks around Monte Cauala, Barga, Monterumici, Livergnano, La Villa, and Gesso.

Pictured: The destroyed infrastructure of Aachen



Civilians are forced to surrender arms and cameras in Aachen



Mission photo from the 461st Bombardment Group’s attack on Isotta Fraschini Works in Milan, Italy

 

crimsonaudio

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October 21, 1944: Soldiers of the 26th Infantry Regiment, supported by the reinforced battalion of the 110th Infantry Regiment finally conquer central Aachen, marking the surrender of the last German garrison (in the Hotel Quellenhof) and ending the battle for the city. Aachen becomes the first city on German soil to fall to the Allies.

The Battle of Aachen was costly to both the Americans and Germans: the US suffered over 5,000 casualties, while the Germans lost over 5,000 casualties and 5,600 taken prisoner. Since October 2, the 30th Infantry Division have suffered roughly 3,000 men killed and wounded, while the 1st Infantry Division lost at least 1,350 casualties (150 killed and 1,200 wounded). The Germans lost another 5,100 casualties during the fighting in Aachen itself, including 3,473 prisoners. During the battle, the Wehrmacht lost two complete divisions while another eight have been severely depleted, including three fresh infantry divisions and a single refitted armored division;. These losses are largely attributed to how they fought, as although an equivalent of 20 infantry battalions were used during various counterattacks against the 30th Infantry Division alone, on average each separate attack only involved two infantry regiments. During the conflict, the Germans have also developed a respect for the fighting ability of American forces, noting their capability to fire indiscriminately with overwhelming amounts of artillery fire support and armored forces. Both the 30th Infantry and 1st Infantry divisions receive distinguished unit citations for their actions at Aachen.

Canadian troops captured Breskens, the Netherlands. Four German Panther tanks and two self-propelled guns strike at Canadian Seaforths, but are ambushed by Canadian tank-hunting team.

Once again, Allied air superiority allows the bombing of crucial German infrastructure - US 8th Air Force attacks Schweinfurt with 329 bombers, Koblenz with 360 bombers, Mainz with 210 bombers, and Gustavsburg with 148 bombers. RAF Bomber Command sends 435 aircraft to attack Bochum, 47 aircraft to attack Wilhelmshaven, and sends 12 aircraft to attack Krefeld, Saarbrucken, and Dusseldorf - all in overnight raids.

In Italy, British 5th Corps and Canadian 1st Corps continue to cross the Savio River.

German Jews who were previously protected by their Aryan spouses were now deported from Germany. The German RSHA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS-Reichssicherheitshauptamt) office ordered that the Gestapo execute foreign laborers.

Pictured: German prisoners of war march through the destruction after the fall of Aachen



German prisoners of war carrying wounded members of the 1st Canadian Corps through Cesena. October 21, 1944



Situation map from October 21, 1944

 

crimsonaudio

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October 22, 1944: Following the fall of Aachen, the headquarters of US 9th Army moves to northern flank of US 1st Army, taking command of units in that sector, while the headquarters of US 1st Army takes command of units formerly under 9th Army and shifts its boundary south. Meanwhile, the US 3rd Army regroups while making limited attacks to adjust frontage. US 7th Army completes mopping up around Brouvelieures and captures high ground east of Foret de Parroy, then pushes toward St Die. Elements of Canadian 1st Army complete the capture of Breskens on the south bank of the Scheldt estuary. In southern Holland, the British 12th Corps (part of British 2nd Army) attacks toward Tilburg and Hertogenbosch. Canadian I Corps establishes a bridgehead over the Savio River. Private Ernest Smith single-handedly destroys a German counterattack using an anti-tank gun and a machine-gun, and carries his wounded partner back for medical attention - he is later awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts.

The German 444 and 485 Mobile Artillery Detachments, responsible for launching V-2 rockets, arrive at the Hague, the Netherlands. The units immediately begin to set up their equipment for a renewed rocket campaign against London.

In an one-on-one conversation between Adolf Hitler and Otto Skorzeny, Skorzeny tells of the kidnapping of Miklós Horthy, Jr. and the attack on Castle Hill in Budapest, Hungary on October 15. Later in the conversation, Hitler reveals to Skorzeny the plans for the Ardennes Offensive and asked him to plan a commando operation behind enemy lines in captured uniforms. When Skorzeny questions the legal concerns of wearing enemy uniforms, Hitler tells him that German intelligence informed him that the Americans had done the same in the Aachen, Germany area. Hitler ordered Skorzeny to complete the planning by December 2.

Allied bombings continue as the US 8th Air Force attacks Hannover with 171 bombers, Brunswick with 148 bombers, Hamm with 353 bombers, Munster with 352 bombers, while the RAF Bomber Command sends 100 aircraft to attack Neuss during the day and 45 aircraft to attack Hamburg overnight.

In Italy, Canadian troops of the British 8th Army Attack around Monte Cavallo, battling across the Savio River, and capture Cervia and Pisignano, the US 5th Army attacks around Monte Salvaro, Monte Castellaro, Monte Spadura, and Monte Romano, while US 12th Air Force aircraft attack rail targets in northern Italy (in extremely limited operations due to poor weather conditions).

Pictured: Ernest Alvia ("Smokey") Smith, VC, CM, OBC, CD (3 May 1914 – 3 August 2005) - Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross



Aerial shot of Muster after Allied bombing raid

 

bama579

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Re: WWII: European Theater daily - 1944 (was Normandy Daily)

^^^
Reading this particular day - another outstanding post - I was caught by the mention of Otto Skorzeny. I recall reading about him in high school days. The book was about his being the "go to" guy for commando style planning for the Nazis. I'm pretty sure he was the main planner for the raid that rescued Mussolini as well as planning infiltrating behind Allied lines with Germans in US uniforms to foul communications at the start of the offensive that became the Battle of the Bulge.

Thanks for the reminder.
 
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crimsonaudio

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Re: WWII: European Theater daily - 1944 (was Normandy Daily)

October 23, 1944: The Canadian 1st Army continues the battle of the Scheldt, further reducing the Breskens pocket while, with the British 4th Armored Division, begins an assault to capture the railway dike to Beveland peninsula in Belgium. The British 2nd Army attacks toward Tilburg and 's Hertogenbosch. In US 12th Army Group sector, 9th Army, 1st Army, and 3rd Army regroup and prepare for new assaults, while to the south, US 7th Army attacks in the areas around Les Rouges Eaux, Fremifontaine, and Biffontaine in addition to ongoing attacks at Bruyeres and St. Die.

Allied Air Command continues ponding Germany, as US 15th Air Force attacks Plauen, Regensburg, and Rosenheim. RAF Bomber Command sends 1055 aircraft to attack Essen overnight, where 1163 buildings are destroyed and 820 are killed, sends 38 aircraft to attack Berlin overnight, 12 aircraft to attack Wiesbaden and Aschaffenburg overnight, and 112 aircraft to attack coastal battery at Flushing on Walcheren Island during the day.

In Italy, British 8th Army attacks around Monte Cavallo and along the Savio River. US 5th Army captures Monte Salvaro and continues attacking around Monte Termine, Vedriano, Monte Belmonte, Monte Spadura, Monte Cornazzano, Monte Ceco, Monte Giro, Monte Colombo, and Monte Casalino. US 12th Air Force aircraft attack rail lines, motor transport, and shipping around Savona, Turin, Padua, and Genoa, while US 15th Air Force attacks rail targets in northern Italy.

In an effort to ensure recognition of the Volkssturm as a legally recognized milita under international law, Berlin belatedly orders German troops to treat French Forces of the Interior as regular soldiers rather than illegal partisans. In Berlin, the official German news agency reports that vast numbers of volunteers are joining the Volkssturm militia, including men older than the specified age group and boys younger than specified.

Pictured: Churchill AVRE fascine carrier passing British infantrymen during the attack towards Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, 23 Oct 1944



Map of Allied bombing runs from 23 Oct, 1944



Volkssturm march for the camera in Berlin - while these troops seemed to be well armed with new machine guns, legend has it that after the march they turned these weapons back to the soldiers from whom they were borrowed

 

crimsonaudio

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Re: WWII: European Theater daily - 1944 (was Normandy Daily)

October 24, 1944: The Canadian 2nd Division, an element of Canadian 1st Army, advances along the Beveland Isthmus to launch Operation Vitality I, an attack on the Beveland Canal. Allied forces seal off the South Beveland isthmus near the port of Antwerp, Belgium. The British 12th Corps (part of British 2nd Army) reaches Hertogenbosch. The US 1st Army attacks around Bardenberg, Mariadorf, and Schmidt while US 3rd Army attacks Maizieres-les-Metz (but loses Fossieux to German counterattack). meanwhile, US 7th Army works to clear Foret de Parroy with German forces withdrawing overnight. The French 1st Army, attacking around Le Thillot, captures Trougemount.

US 8th Air Force attacks Schweinfurt with 329 bombers, Koblenz with 360 bombers, Mainz with 210 bombers, and Gustavsburg with 148 bombers, while RAF Bomber Command sends 435 aircraft to attack Bochum, Wilhelmshaven, Krefeld, Saarbrucken, and Dusseldorf overnight.

In Italy, British 8th Army pushes north along Highway 71 while German forces counterattack around San Paola, US 5th Army attacks around Monte Cauala, Barga, Monterumici, Livergnano, La Villa, and Gesso. USN destroyer USS Eberle bombards coastal targets and US 12th Air Force fighters attack targets around Bologna and Sabbioso.

In Greece, British forces enter Lamia.

Hitler informs his generals of his intention to launch a surprise counteroffensive against the weakly held Ardennes area of the Allied line.

Pictured: British infantry move into Hertogenbosch



An Achilles 17pdr tank destroyer crossing the River Savio on a Churchill ARK which was driven into the river, Italy, 24 Oct 1944



USS Eberle (DD-430)

 
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October 24, 1944:
US 8th Air Force attacks Schweinfurt with 329 bombers, Koblenz with 360 bombers, Mainz with 210 bombers, and Gustavsburg with 148 bombers, while RAF Bomber Command sends 435 aircraft to attack Bochum, Wilhelmshaven, Krefeld, Saarbrucken, and Dusseldorf overnight.
Was stationed in Schweinfurt during the early 70's; lived in converted WWII German Army barracks.
 

crimsonaudio

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October 25, 1944: Canadian forces launch Operation Vitality II, an amphibious crossing of the Scheldt. German forces retreat from the Beveland Canal to Walcheren Island. Canadian 1st Army continues reducing Breskens pocket and attacking South Beveland peninsula, while British 2nd Army attacks toward Tilburg and continues its assault into Hertogenbosch. German forces counterattack against US 7th Army

The Allied bombing raids continue as 34 American B-24 Liberator bombers (which were originally destined for the synthetic oil plans at Gelsenkirchen, Germany) are diverted to Münster instead, causing much destruction. US 8th Air Force attacks Hamburg with 720 bombers, Hamm with 100 bombers, Scholven with 91 bombers and sends 771 aircraft to attack Essen during the day (607 buildings are destroyed, 662 are killed). RAF Bomber Command sends 243 aircraft to attack Homberg.

In Italy, British 8th Army pushes toward the Ronco River and begin crossing overnight, while the US 5th Army attacks around Monte Sole, Monte Grande, and Monte Taverna nd US 12th Air Force aircraft provide support to ground forces and attack Piacenza. Kriegsmarine destroyer TA-31 (ex Italian Dardo) is severely damaged by US aircraft at Genoa and written off.

Romania is fully liberated by Red Army and Romanian troops.

Heinrich Himmler issues orders on combating youth gangs such as Edelweiss Pirates, which are known to harbor deserters, escaped prisoners of war, and escaped concentration camp prisoners.

Pictured: American soldiers giving water to a wounded German



Map of the battle of the Scheldt

 

bama579

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^^
Man, this is good stuff you are doing c-a. Hope you are assembling it to pass along for posterity.

Equally worthy as the Grammy, in my opinion.

Thanks again.
 

Tidewater

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Re: WWII: European Theater daily - 1944 (was Normandy Daily)

October 25, 1944: Canadian forces launch Operation Vitality II, an amphibious crossing of the Scheldt. German forces retreat from the Beveland Canal to Walcheren Island. Canadian 1st Army continues reducing Breskens pocket and attacking South Beveland peninsula, while British 2nd Army attacks toward Tilburg and continues its assault into Hertogenbosch.
Map of the battle of the Scheldt

Tough and inglorious fight for the Canucks (not like being first across the Rhine or taking the first German city to fall). Flat land with little cover and lots of marshy terrain making movement difficult.
It had to be done to open Antwerp for supply ops, though.
Your map shows why.
 

crimsonaudio

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October 26, 1944: In the Scheldt, the British 52nd Division lands on the south side of Beveland, near Baarland - there is heavy German resistance. The Canadian 2nd Division continues to attack along the Beveland Isthmus. British 2nd Army attacks toward Tilburg and assaults Hertogenbosch. US 3rd Army attacks around Maizieres-les-Metz while US 7th Army continues its attack toward St Die.

US 8th Air Force attacks Bielefeld with 155 bombers, Munster with 228 bombers, Mittelland Canal and aqueduct at Minden with 242 bombers, Bottrop with 65 bombers, Hannover with 376 bombers, and miscellaneous targets of opportunity with 62 bombers. Meanwhile, RAF Bomber Command sends 105 aircraft to attack Leverkusen during the day, 711 British bombers to attack Essen, and 2nd Tactical Air Force escorts Bomber Command mission to Leverkusen with 49 fighters. 10 Lancaster bombers of No. 1 Group RAF conduct minelaying operations off Helgoland, Germany; one bomber was lost.

A German V-2 rocket hit Palmers Green Station in North London, England, United Kingdom at 1845 hours; detonating next to a stationary train, it seriously injured 15 people, while 38 suffered minor injuries. Elsewhere, another rocket hit Ilford, London, killing 8, seriously injuring 15, and lightly injuring 20.

Pictured: Flame throwing Churchill Crocodiles in Hertogenbosch



Site of V-2 rocket strike, Ilford, London

 

crimsonaudio

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October 27, 1944: As the Battle of the Scheldt continues, elements of the Canadian 1st Army continue reducing Breskens pocket, attacking up Beveland peninsula, capturing Bergen-op-Zoom and Zundert while further east the British 2nd Army withstands German counterattacks, captures Hertogenbosch, and continues its assault on Tilburg. To the south, US 3rd Army attacks around Maizieres-les-Metz (an area to the north of Metz) while even further south, US 7th Army continue moving and attacking towards St Die. US 9th Air Force is limited to a few fighter patrols by poor weather conditions.

In Italy, the Allied advance is once again limited by poor winter weather - the battle at the Gothic Line continues as British 8th Army captures Predappio Nuovo in heavy rain and flooding and elements of the US 5th Army capture Rocca San Casciano (though operations are mostly halted by rain and flooding). US 12th Air Force is also limited by the poor weather, reduced to a few attacks on transportation targets around Genoa-Novi Ligure-Turin.

Off the coast of Normandy, Mulberry B continues to deliver massive amounts of supplies to be delivered to the Allied forces, though the repairs and eventual opening of the Port of Antwerp will allow the Allies to decommission Mulberry B.

Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels says in a radio address that Germany will fight on until she has been guaranteed a peace that will permit her continued existence as an independent nation. Goebbels said the war has taken a "painful and even torturing" turn for Germany but that the Reich still has a chance of victory and will not submit to a dictated peace.

Pictured: Canadian Royal Hamilton Light Infantry carriers moving through the Dutch village of Krabbendijke (on the Beveland Causeway) on October 27, 1944



Aerial view of 'Mulberry B', off Normandy in late October 1944



Situation map from October 27, 1944

 

Tidewater

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Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels says in a radio address that Germany will fight on until she has been guaranteed a peace that will permit her continued existence as an independent nation. Goebbels said the war has taken a "painful and even torturing" turn for Germany but that the Reich still has a chance of victory and will not submit to a dictated peace.
This is the sad part.
I'd say that, as of the July Plot, the question of Germany's defeat was settled. The only open question was how many Germans (and others) were going to die before the final surrender. Every sane German in Nazi Germany knew this by this point.

(I know, I just used the word "sane" in the same sentence with "Nazi Germany.")
 

crimsonaudio

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This is the sad part.
I'd say that, as of the July Plot, the question of Germany's defeat was settled. The only open question was how many Germans (and others) were going to die before the final surrender. Every sane German in Nazi Germany knew this by this point.
Yah, that's why I included it - it reminds me of the accounts of Hitler in the end, in his bunker, when he says that the German people do not deserve to survive, that they have failed him by losing the war and deserve death.

The sadness brought upon the world by a handful of manipulative, insane leaders is one of the mosts astonishing and intriguing aspects of WWII to me.

"I have not come into this world to make men better, but to make use of their weaknesses." - Hitler
 
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crimsonaudio

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October 28, 1944: On the Western Front, Canadian 1st Army continues reducing Breskens pocket, attacking up Beveland peninsula, and pushing toward Roosendaal and Breda. The German forces in Netherlands begin withdrawing to Walcheren in the face of Canadian pressure. British 2nd Army attacks the German paratroop forces who advanced the previous day, clearing them from Tilburg, southwest of Arnhem. There are limited operations on US 12th and US 6th Army Group fronts. RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force supports ground operations and flying sweeps while US 9th Air Force aircraft conduct fighter sweeps and attack bridges and other targets.

To the east of Aachen, the Battle of Hürtgen Forest is developing.

With the weather clearing, US 8th Air Force attacks Munster with 178 bombers, Hamm with 184 bombers, and Klagenfurt airfield. RAF Bomber Command sends 277 bombers to attack German gun and troop positions on Walcheren island, and 733 aircraft to attack Cologne during the day (escorted by 301 2nd Tactical Air Force escorts), largely destroying the city center (2239 blocks of housing and 15 industrial works are totally destroyed). RAF Bomber Command sends 30 more aircraft to attack Cologne overnight.

In Italy, British 8th Army are regrouping and moving more units across Ronco River. There are limited operations on US 5th Army front. US Navy destroyer Gleaves bombards German positions near the French border and US 12th Air Force attacks road and rail targets around Turin, Milan, and Genoa with 65 sorties. The Allied Armies in Italy were short of artillery ammunition because of a global reduction in Allied ammunition production in anticipation of the final defeat of Germany. Allied Armies in Italy are beginning to run short of artillery ammunition because of a global reduction in Allied ammunition production in anticipation of the final defeat of Germany.

The Finnmark region of Norway was ordered by the Germans to be evacuated and destroyed. Nearly 50,000 people were forced to flee and over 10,000 homes are destroyed.

The last transport of Jews (2,000 from Theresienstad) to be gassed at Auschwitz arrives.

Please read my next post below from Piera Sonnino’s memoirs.

Pictured: A Canadian gun-tractor skidded off the road on the flooded island of Beveland, the Netherlands



The road leading from the unloading ramp to the gas chambers and crematoria IV and V in Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp

 

crimsonaudio

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Night and cold, enter through the window slit of the boxcar when the train stops yet again. We are sunk in a somnolence that has possessed us for hours — as if consciousness had been reduced to the point of forgetting oneself. This stop is lasting a long time, but we aren’t paying attention.

Suddenly an inferno of shouts and whistles explodes outside. It’s as if a thousand dogs were barking in a battle. The doors of the cars are jerked open violently. Beams of light blind us. Soldiers in black and gray uniforms shout incomprehensible words at us. We jump to our feet, terrified. A big truck is maneuvering to approach the freight car. When it stops, the untranslatable orders multiply. A wooden plank is thrown down between the door of the car and the truck.

A soldier orders a woman to move. The plank is a narrow, quivering bridge, but we must cross it. I am among the first, in the group of young women. The old women have withdrawn to the back of the car; one of them has fainted. I have time to glance at the place we’re in while I struggle, with my injured ankle, to get across the plank before the tent roof of the truck onto which we are being loaded is lowered.

Images that last fractions of a second. Images of eternity. In the distance, a long line of little lights, and in the fog immense pylons, like skeletons. A sea of mud, a plain of mud. A freezing, dark, muddy madness. I feel as if I had entered a dimension where nothing is human, that is utterly hostile to everything human, a dimension that has absorbed even its own creators, becoming a cold machine, muddy and dark, fatal and inexorable, topped by a small flame that I see for an instant as in the distance it breaks the darkness, as if the sky were burning: I don’t yet know what it is.

The truck transports us to a large shed. We get out. We wait for the others. We wait for our brothers. Signora Saralvo asks us: “Do you think they will bring the men here, too?” The pregnant woman has her hands on her stomach as if she wished to protect what is in it. Gradually the shed grows crowded.

We are at the center of the nightmare that ten years earlier had sent us its messengers. All Europe is in its power, even if by now its days are numbered.



The hours pass slowly in the shed. A jolt of horror when the door opens and a skeleton enters, eyes bright, wearing a striped uniform that hangs loosely on his incredibly thin body. The men crowd around. The skeleton is holding a bucket. He stops for a few moments, then with slow steps crosses the shed and disappears. Others follow. They are assigned to the camps latrines. Night shift.

One of them stops in front of me. He points to my bandaged ankle and makes a sign to take off the bandage right away. I hesitate because I don’t understand. The word “selection” strikes me among others. The skeleton turns to the men and speaks agitatedly. He speaks in German.

Someone translates. We must immediately remove any sign that might reveal physical impairment. Wounds or illnesses. The selections are becoming more and more severe. The gas chambers and the ovens are functioning non-stop. Anyone who is unable to work is eliminated. I immediately take off the thin paper bandage that binds my ankle. The words seem to come not from the mouth of a man but from the night.

We beg Papa to do the same with his cast. Papa shakes his head. He doesn’t seem to understand what we’re saying. He sinks down among us and remains motionless, eyes closed. Mamma takes his hand and grips it. Roberto, Paolo, Maria Luisa, Bice, and I gather around our parents and Giorgio. We spend the rest of the night like that, and whatever I could say of that time, it wouldn’t make sense translated into words; it would be a thin shadow of that reality. I would be stealing it from myself, from what is mine, desperately mine alone.

Gray fingers at the windows of the shed signaled that dawn had come when the SS burst in. Machine guns raised, they array themselves around us, enclosing us in a circle. Three officers, one of whom wears the insignia of a doctor, order us to stand and line up. As each of us is called, he takes a step forward, and the doctor inspects, examines, tests the arm muscles.

We are divided into three groups: the old, the young men, and the young women. Everything happens rapidly. We don’t even have time to exchange farewells: the group of young women is the first to leave the shed amid a storm of orders shouted in a loud voice.

Not even once can we turn, not a single time, to see Mamma and Papa and our brothers again. We are shoved brutally outside, into the mud that sticks to our shoes, into the freezing air. Signora Saralvo isn’t with us: weeping, she told the doctor she was sick. She was added to the group of the old and the infirm.

It is October 28, 1944.

- Piera Sonnino was twenty-two years old when she arrived in Auschwitz with the seven other members of her family - she was the only survivor. She wrote her memoir for her daughters and it was only published after her death in 1999.
 

gman4tide

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quote "With the weather clearing, US 8th Air Force attacks Munster with 178 bombers, Hamm with 184 bombers, and Klagenfurt airfield. RAF Bomber Command sends 277 bombers to attack German gun and troop positions on Walcheren island, and 733 aircraft to attack Cologne during the day (escorted by 301 2nd Tactical Air Force escorts), largely destroying the city center (2239 blocks of housing and 15 industrial works are totally destroyed). RAF Bomber Command sends 30 more aircraft to attack Cologne overnight."
That 30 overnight raid had to be just to "rub it in"...what more could they have done after 700+ visited just hour earlier? I mean, approx 3mil pounds of bombs had just been dropped. Dang.
 

crimsonaudio

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quote "With the weather clearing, US 8th Air Force attacks Munster with 178 bombers, Hamm with 184 bombers, and Klagenfurt airfield. RAF Bomber Command sends 277 bombers to attack German gun and troop positions on Walcheren island, and 733 aircraft to attack Cologne during the day (escorted by 301 2nd Tactical Air Force escorts), largely destroying the city center (2239 blocks of housing and 15 industrial works are totally destroyed). RAF Bomber Command sends 30 more aircraft to attack Cologne overnight."
That 30 overnight raid had to be just to "rub it in"...what more could they have done after 700+ visited just hour earlier? I mean, approx 3mil pounds of bombs had just been dropped. Dang.
And it wasn't even remotely the largest bombing of Cologne in the war - just 11 days earlier 1,338 bombers and 811 fighters were sent to attack Cologone...

And yah, it wasn't uncommon to send in follow-up bombers overnight to hammer any targets that might be lit for repairs, etc.
 
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