The News of the Week in Review
Twenty News Questions 6
Japanese Ponder War on America 7
Northwest Backs Ban on Oil to Japan 7-8
Answers to Twenty News Questions 8
The New York Times Book Review
Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941, by William L. Shirer (Reviewed by George N. Shuster) 10-11
The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution: A Reconsideration, by Mark Roseman (Reviewed by CougarGA7) 12
Rotogravure Picture Section
Power in the Air 14-17
Mount Rushmore Memorial Nearing Completion 18
German declares war on USSR
Sunday, June 22, 1941 www.onwar.com
On the Eastern Front... Operation Barbarossa, the German attack on the Soviet Union, begins. Despite the massive preparations spread over many months and the numerous indications Stalin receives from many sources, the Soviet forces are taken almost completely by surprise and lose very heavily in the first encounters. The Germans have assembled almost 140 of their own divisions, including 17 Panzer and 13 motorized divisions. These forces are organized in three army groups: Army Group North (Field Marshal Leeb), Army Group Center (Field Marshal Bock) and Army Group South (Field Marshal Rundstedt). Altogether, the Germans deploy over 3,000,000 men, 7100 guns, 3300 tanks, 625,000 horses and 2770 aircraft. The Red Army has 230 divisions (170 of which are in the west, 134 facing the Germans). The Soviet forces are organized into Northwest Front (Kuznetsov), West Front (Pavlov), Southwest Front (Kirpono) and South Front (Tyulenev). They include 24,000 tanks and 8000 aircraft. On the first day of the attack almost everything goes the German way. The attack begins at 0300 hours with advances on the ground and simultaneous air strikes. The Luftwaffe begins its operations very early in order to be over the Soviet bases exactly at zero hour. By noon the Soviet Air Force has lost around 1200 planes. The land battle is equally successful. The panzer spearhead Army Group North advances 40 miles during the day and Army Group Center captures most of the Bug River bridges intact. Army Group South forces based in Hungary and Romania do not attack during the day.
From London... Churchill broadcasts saying that help will be given to the Soviet Union. He says, “Any state who fights Nazism will have our aid... It follows therefore that we shall give whatever help we can to Russia.”
In Syria... There is heavy fighting in and around Marjayoun (June 22-29th) in which the Australians eventually drive the Vichy French forces into retreat.
As though a gigantic switch had been thrown, a huge flash of lightning rent the night.
Guns of all calibers simultaneously belched fire. The tracks of tracer shells streaked across the sky. As far as the eye could see the front on the Bug was a sea of flames and flashes. A moment later the deep thunder of the guns swept over the tower of Volka Dobrynska like a steamroller. The whine of the mortar batteries mingled eerily with the rumble of the guns. Beyond the Bug a sea of fire and smoke was raging. The narrow sickle of the moon was hidden by a veil of cloud.
Peace was dead. War was drawing its first terrible breath.
Directly opposite the citadel of Brest stood the 45th Infantry Divisionformerly the Austrian 4th Divisionunder Major-General Schlieper. The 130th and 135th Infantry Regiments were to mount the first assault against the bridges and the citadel. Still under cover of darkness the units composing the first wave had carefully worked up to the Bug. Like a black phantom, the railway bridge straddled the river. At 0200 a goods train chugged over the bridge, puffing, lamps brightly lit. It was the last grain train which Stalin sent his ally Hitler.
Above them, by the little wooden hut at the end of the bridge, reigned an atmosphere of peace and unsuspecting normality. The two German customs officials climbed on to the train. The sentry waved his hand to the Russian engine-driver. If any mistrustful eyes were watching from the far side they would see nothing suspicious or unusual. Slowly the engine puffed on towards the station of Terespol on the German side.
Then here too the minute-hand jumped to 0315.
"Fire!" And the hell dance began. The earth trembled.
The 4th Special Purpose Mortar Regiment with its nine heavy batteries lent a particular note to the inferno. Within half an hour 2880 mortar-bombs screamed with terrifying howls across the Bug into the town and the fortress. The heavy 60-cm. mortars and 21-cm. guns of 98th Artillery Regiment lobbed their shells across the river, into the ramparts of the fortress, and against pin-pointed Soviet gun positions. Was it possible for a single stone to be left standing after this?
It was possible.
That was to be the first of many nasty surprises.
Second Lieutenant Zumpe of 3rd Company, 135th Infantry Regiment, had watched the last few seconds tick away before 0315. At the very first crash of gunfire he leapt out of his ditch by the railway embankment.
"Let's go!" he shouted to the men of his assault detachment. "Let's go!" Steel helmets rose up from the tall grass. Like sprinters the men tore across to the bridgethe second lieutenant in front. Past the abandoned German customs hut. The gunfire drowned the clatter of their boots on the heavy planks of the bridge. Ducking along the high parapet on both sides, they ran across. Always at the back of their minds was the fear: will the bridge go up or not?
It did not go up. A single burst of fire from his sub-machine-gun was all the Soviet sentry had time for. Then he heeled over forward.
At that moment a machine-gun opened up from the dugout of the bridge guard. That had been expected. Lance-Corporal Holzer's light machine-gun sprayed the Russian position. Like a handful of fleeting shadows the obstacle-clearing detail of the 1st Company, Engineers Battalion 81, assigned to Zumpe's assault detachment, rushed to the spot. A dull thud; smoke and fumes. Finished.
Zumpe's men raced past the shattered dugout. They flung themselves down to the right and left of the bridge by the railway embankment, their machine-guns in position. The second lieutenant and the sappers ran back on to the bridge. The charge was fixed to the central pier. Out with it. Zumpe ran the beam of his flashlight over the pier, to make sure no other infernal machine was hidden anywhere. Nothing. He slid the green shield over the lens. The green light. Like a station-master he waved it above his head towards the German side: bridge clear! And already the first armored scout-cars were racing across.