Skip to comments.NAZIS HURL WAVES OF TANKS INTO BATTLE BELOW KHARKOV; RUSSIANS REPORT LINES HOLD (5/26/42)
Posted on 05/26/2012 4:53:18 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
The West Point Military History Series, Thomas E. Griess, Editor, The Second World War: Europe and the Mediterranean
What Caused It
Britains Political Truce
Relief in Wartime
Invention and Genius
Natures Spring Drive
Topics of the Times
I want those sauteed frogs’ legs.
Afrika Korps launches new offensive
Tuesday, May 26, 1942 www.onwar.com
British Grant tanks were first used the following day [photo at link]
In North Africa... The Axis forces under Rommel begin a new offensive. Italian infantry launch holding attacks on the British Gazala Line, which has been heavily fortified. British armor is being held in reserve, available for blocking any Axis outflanking moves. Rommel sends all his armor, both Italian and German, in a wide sweeping movement south of Bir Hacheim. The Italian Trieste Division engages the British 150th Brigade between Trigh Capuzzo and Trigh el Abd.
In the Inland Sea... Japanese Admiral Nagumo’s 1st Carrier Fleet sails for Midway. His task force contains the carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu with two battleships, cruisers and destroyers as escort.
In Hawaii... US Task Force 16, with the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Hornet, returns to Pearl Harbor. The Japanese believe that these ships are still active in the South Pacific.
May 26th, 1942
UNITED KINGDOM: London: Britain and the USSR sign a 20-year mutual assistance treaty.
Lieutenant General Henry H “Hap” Arnold, Commanding General USAAF; Rear Admiral John H Towers, USN, Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics; and RAF Air Chief Marshall Sir Charles F Portal attend an Anglo-American air conference in London. Topics of discussion include allocation of aircraft and the establishment of US air forces in the UK. The meeting begins at 10 DowningStreet with Prime Minister Winston S Churchill. (Jack McKillop)
Minesweeping trawler HMS Porcher launched. (Dave Shirlaw)
SWEDEN: Stockholm: Two German churchmen, Hans Schoenfeld and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, today met Britain’s bishop of Chichester, George Bell, in neutral Sweden, to discuss possible conditions for peace between their two countries if the Nazis were overthrown. The German pastors believe there is growing opposition to Hitler’s regime within Germany, particularly among army officers.
NORTH AFRICA: Rommel begins a new offensive on the Gazela Line.
PACIFIC OCEAN: The Japanese 1st Carrier Fleet, under Admiral Nagumo, leaves the Inland Sea to begin their part in the Midway operation, known as MO.
MIDWAY ISLAND: The aircraft ferry USS Kitty Hawk (AKV-1) arrives with Marine reinforcements including a detachment of a 3-inch (76.2 mm) antiaircraft group of the 3d defence Battalion, a light tank platoon and additional personnel for Marine Air Group Twenty Two (MAG-22). (Jack McKillop)
Corvette HMCS Port Arthur commissioned.
Corvette HMCS Sackville departed St John’s to escort Convoy HX-191 as part of EG C-3. (Dave Shirlaw)
U.S.A.: US Naval TF 16, carriers Enterprise and Hornet, return to Pearl Harbor from the South Pacific.
General George C. Marshall issues an order establishing the Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion, made up of Japanese Americans from the Hawaii National Guard. Training in Hawaii for Selective Service. (Gene Hanson)
The feasibility of jet-assisted takeoff was demonstrated in a successful flight test of a Brewster F2A-3 Buffalo, piloted by Lieutenant (jg) C. Fink Fischer, at Naval Air Station Anacostia, District of Columbia, using five British antiaircraft solid propellant rocket motors. The reduction in takeoff distance was 49 percent.
German submarine U-106 attacks two U.S. merchant ships in the Gulf of Mexico. The first is an unarmed tanker which is sunk by a torpedo. Later in the day, the sub surfaces and begins shelling an armed freighter but the freighter’s Armed Guard drives the sub off with gunfire before much damage is done. (Jack McKillop)
Minesweepers USS Clamour, Climax and Compel laid down. (Dave Shirlaw)
ATLANTIC OCEAN: At 0416, the unescorted and unarmed Alcoa Carrier was hit by a torpedo from U-103 while the steamer had discontinued her zigzagging course due to cloudy weather. The torpedo struck the #2 hatch on the starboard side at a depth of about twenty feet below the waterline. The compartment was flooded, the engines were stopped and the radio was destroyed. After 25 minutes the U-boat surfaced and fired about 23 rounds at the vessel from a distance of 400 yards. 17 shells hit the area of the bridge and started a fire. The crew of eight officers and 27 men abandoned ship in two lifeboats. The master was asked the name and the speed of the vessel and if all the crew were accounted for. He then gave a package of cigarettes to the crew. At 0515, U-103 fired a second torpedo which hit amidships and left after one hour when the Alcoa Carrier sank bow first about 125 miles WNW of Montego Bay, Jamaica. On 30 May, a Cuban gunboat picked up 33 men and took them to Havana, Cuba. A USN plane rescued the remaining two men and took them to Key West.
About 1100, the unescorted and unarmed Carrabulle was stopped by U-106 in the Gulf of Mexico by a signal from a siren and a shot across her bow. The U-boat began firing shells at the bridge and the superstructure on the starboard side, while the radio operator was still sending distress signals. The crew of eight officers and 32 men, with the exception of the radio operator left the ship in two lifeboats. One boat held 24 men, including the master and the first mate. At the moment this boat reached the water a torpedo struck just below the waterline on port side and blew the boat to pieces. Only two men survived who were later picked up by the other lifeboat together with the radio operator. Some survivors later claimed that Rasch asked if all the men had gotten clear of the ship, receiving a negative answer, he reportedly laughed and fired the torpedo at 11.34 hours. The tanker sank stern first at 1230. Three officers and 15 men were picked up by the American SS Thompson Lykes 15 hours after the attack and were taken to New Orleans.
SS Syros sunk by U-703 at 73.57N, 17.30E. (Dave Shirlaw)
PzKpfw IV Ausf.D tanks of 65th Panzer Battalion (in effect, 3rd Bn., 11th pz.Regt.) photographed in East Prussia in May '1941 shortly before the invasion of Russia. The small turret number '421' identifies the battalion by its yellow color, the company-'4', the platoon-'2', and the platoon leader's tank-'I'. The two yellow 'Xs' on the front plate beside the driver's visor are the divisional sign of 6th Panzer; this device replaced the original 'reversed Y' rune and two dots shortly before Operation 'Barbarossa' . The national cross is in plain white outline on the 'Panzer grey' paintwork. On the nearside trackguard may be seen the shielded driving- and head-lights, the fire extinguisher, a jacking block of thick timber, barrel cleaning rods, and four jerrycans held by a retaining bar marked with the divisional sign. Note open flap of ventilation port in turret roof: ventilator fans were not yet fitted.
Further views of the PzKpfw IVs of 65th Panzer Battalion in May 1941. The division had only three companies of these heavy support tanks at the time of the invasion of the USSR, the great bulk of the three tank battalions being made up of Skoda-built PzKpfw 35(t) tanks, with a few light PzKpfw lls and some PzBefw.1I1 command tanks. In the lower photograph an SdKfz 15 staff car in the foreground bears the tactical marking of divisional HQ on the mudguard. Two of the NCOs in the photograph wear white umpire's brassards, indicating an exercise; and the mixture of headgear worn by tank crews at this transitional period is also indicated-in this photograph may be seen the original black 'beret', the stop-gap field gray sidecap, and the new black sidecap.
Photographed on '2 October 1941, during the breakthrough by Pz Brigade Koll north of Vyazma: the brigade commander's PzBefw.lII, with the white turret code 'R06', on a typical Russian dirt road-rollbahn. In front of it, a column of Granit ambulances; to the right, Soviet prisoners; and in the background, smoke rising from an oil dump bombed by Stukas.
Late summer 1941: a front-line conference at the forward HQ of 6th Panzer. Left is Generalmajor Landgraf, divisional commander from January to November 1941. Second left, in motorcyclist's coat, is Gen.Reinhardt, commanding general of XXXXI Panzer Corps until 30 September 1941. Right, in redstriped staff breeches, is the divisional GSO I, Maj. Count von Kielmansegg, who rose after the war to general's rank in the Bundeswehr and commanded NATO-AFCET.
Blurred but interesting shot of the division's second echelon passing through the supply convoys of the first echelon-the large number of vehicles visible in this photograph is a reminder of the enormous logistic 'tail' necessary to keep an armored division moving. The PzKpfw 35(t) on the right carries an air recognition flag draped over the crew bedrolls on the rear deck. Note wooden stakes marking the edges of the rollbahn
A distant but fascinating photograph of the fighting of 2 October 1941, which repays close study. In the right foreground is a Soviet freight train overrun on the tracks-note two locomotives, one facing forward, the other to the rear. In the background several buildings are on fire, and the sky is black with smoke from an oil dump. In the left and centre background, PzKpfw 35(t) Panzers in company strength may be seen advancing under fire.
The Soviets threw everything into the defense or Moscow even dogs. This one was shot before it could run under a German tank, as it had been trained-note the vertical detonator rising from the mine strapped to its back.
Winter 1942: the once-proud 6th Pz.Div. is now mobile only by means of panje -sleds. The author rides in the front of this one, muffled. in a sheepskin coat and carrying an MP-40.
The dash for the Myschkowa bridgehead: Oberst von Huenersdorf's command tank, in which the author rode during the attempt to drive a corridor through for the entombed 6th Army at Stalingrad, is seen in the foreground during the assembly of 11th pz.Regt. on 19 December 1942
A conversation which doomed the attempt to reach Stalingrad. Gen. Kirchner, commanding LVll Panzer Korps, ordered 6th Panzer to continue its advance from Wassiljewka; but Oberst von Huenersdorff' demanded that his superior come personally to the bridgehead and assess the situation. Here Kirchner, in sidecap, is briefed by von Huenendorff behind them, in a Rumanian winter cap, is Oberst von Unrein, commander of 4th pz-Gren Regt.
SdKfz 251 half-tracks of the division photographed at Wassiljewka on the Myschkowa in late December 1942-just 48 km from Stalingrad, and the furthest point of 6th Panzer's advance.
A captured. Soviet woman tank-driver.
Near the Don, winter 1942-43:After the costly fighting following the attempt to open a corridor to the 6th Army trapped in Stalingrad. A wrecked Soviet T-34-176, with some of its ammunition spilled on the snow, is surrounded by curious Panzer-Grenadiers of 6th Pz.Div. dressed in the reversible winter combat suits
Major (later Generalmajor) Dr. Franz Bake, 1898 to 1978; this very gallant and distinguished officer, photographed here in 1943, held various appointments within Il Pz.Regt. of 6th Pz.Div., and rose to command the regiment in 1943-44. During that winter he led the successful battle-group 'Heavy Panzer Regiment Bake', whose Tiger and Panther tanks achieved extraordinary results in a number of engagements; and in 1945 he was promoted to commanding general of 13th Panzer Division. In this photo Maj.Bake wears the black, pink-piped field uniform of the tank arm; the Knight's Cross with Oakleaves is worn at the throat-he was later awarded the Swords. On the left breast are the Iron Cross First Class; the gold Wound Badge, signifying at least five wounds in action and the Tank Battle Badge. In his buttonhole are the Winter 1941-42 Medal ribbon and the ribbon of the 1914-18 Iron Cross 2nd Class bearing the silver eagle 'bar' for a subsequent Second World War award. Most striking of all, on his right sleeve are no less than three awards of the Tank Destruction Badge, for single-handed destruction of enemy AFVs with hand-held weapons at Kursk Last of Col.Ritgen's photos
A Russian type TB-3 Heavy Bomber found abandoned. At times these aircraft were used to re-supply partisan units or to drop parachutists.
An early KV-l Model 1941 knocked out by 4.PanzerDivision in Venev on November 24, 1941. There are no less than 30 impacts of various caliber on The turret as well as two penetrations on the gun barrel. In the Three previous days, the Division had knocked out 3 other KV-l's, two on November 21 at Brusjanka where a Soviet counter-attack had been repulsed
4th Panzer-DIV cemetery located somewhere in the Soviet Union. The graves In front are those of Obergefrelters Lamprecht and Sippel. both From Art.Rgt.103 The Division suffered Its first heavy losses during the fighting for the Stalin line In Mid-July. During this month. they lost 321 men killed, 952 wounded and 38 missing On July 15. the staff of 4.Schutzen-Bngade were caught in a Soviet artillery barrage resulting In many officers being killed and wounded, including Oberst von Saucken, who would later command the Division. This forced the disbanding of the brigade staff.
Russian sailors fighting in Crimea 1942
Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.F1 and Pz.Kpfw.38(t) tanks from Wehrmacht 22.Panzer-Division at the Red Army repair base. One ot the tanks had soviet identification sign (""star""), "66" tactical number appeared by filling one numeral of three-figure German tactical marking. The Crime Front, the 79th training independent armoured battalion, April 1942.
Second Lieutenant S.G_Makovsky interrogating unfortunate German POW. The Crimea, October 1941
Destroyed Chevrolet 3000S truck, organic to the motorized company of "Wiking" SS Division. The Southern Front September 1941
These German officers are packed and waiting to be moved to Soviet prisoner of war cages. Military operations at Stalingrad had ended on 2 February, and the German Sixth Army had ceased to exist. The Red Army claimed to have destroyed 22 Axis divisions, plus 160 support and re-enforcement units. (Soviet captions)
In northern Stalingrad, the massive concrete blocks of three huge factories, the Tractor Plant, "Barrikady" and "Red October", formed natural forts together with blocks of workers' apartments. Red Army soldiers and workers defended the factories tenaciously, fighting for every shop floor and machine. General Chuikov estimated that no fewer than five German Divisions fought to take the Tractor Plant. Here German soldiers inspect the ruined factory.(Soviet captions)
May 1942 German police and medical orderlies burying wounded German soldiers and Russian civilians who were killed by retreating Soviet troops in the Izyum sector of South Russia.
Photo -no date or region given.
Russian auxiliaries of German infantry division in South Russia (1942)
Unknown & undated German cemetery.
No date-no caption.
Soviet POW's captured in Kharkov region during May 1942 offensive.
German soldiers part of unit holding "switchline" west of Donets-Izyum -Spring 1942
May 1942 by the Kharkov region-outside a medical dressing station.
Spring 1942 -Northeast of Orel-German front line "trip-wire" position used to alert main positions in rear when Russian activity is noticeable.
Soviet POW's dug out of collapsed building in a village west of Lake Ilman in North Russia-Spring 1942
German bunker North Russia region-Spring 1942
Soviet Union, South-Don/Stalingrad.-Panzer III, light and medium infantry fighting vehicle (SD.Kfz. 250 and SD.Kfz. 251) the 24th Panzer Division in driving in hilly terrain Summer 1942
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