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War Stories: World War II

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War II Berlin, or Big "B", as we called it, was a target that no one wanted to go to and a target that everyone wanted to go to. It seemed that everyone wanted to participate in a raid on Berlin because bombing big "B" was really striking at the heart of Nazi power and it was, in a way, retribution for the bombing of London, Rotterdam and other major cities.
Note: by A. Willard Reese, 1st Lt, 751st Sqdn, 457th Bmb Grp, 8th AF  8445 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  6014 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  11147 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II March 10, '45 was my sixtieth mission. From now on I'd be eligible for rotation home. It was a happy prospect. What wasn't was a 2,000' ceiling and 5,000' thick cloud cover by no means great weather to be flying combat in. Since I'd joined the 36th Fighter Group on August 1, 1944, a lot of good friends in the Group hadn't made it as far as I had. They'd either been killed or were missing in action.
Note: by 1st. Lt. Philip N. Wright, Jr., 36th Fighter Group, 23rd Fighter Squadron, 9th Air Force  9139 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II This is a talk on an action which took place in the North Atlantic on Easter Sunday. I'll give you some background before I go into that part of the story. I will give you a general idea of what we were doing. We were Task Group 21.12 operating as a so-called killer group. Our mission was to sink submarines and we attempted to stay at sea in the areas where the submarines were concentrating.
Note: Recollections of Lieutenant Commander Dudley S. Knox, USNR, on destroyer escort USS Chatelain (DE-149). These actions occured the 9th and 10th of April 1944.   10686 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II Shortly after joining up we saw this notice on the notice-board looking for volunteers for a "suicide mission." Some brilliant officer had come up with the idea that he would like to form a unit that would go behind the enemy lines at night and blow up the German's tanks while they slept. Imagine that!
Note: by Ronald Arthur Tee, 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, 78th "Battleaxe" Division of the British 1st. Army, 1941-1946.
  5820 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  7243 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II May 6, Austria

Dear Dad,
Being in such a jubilant mood I must drop a few lines. Today I got you a Luger. Yes man! And it's a honey! The only regret I have is I didn't personally relieve a Kraut of it as I did a pair of binoculars a few days ago.
  6186 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  7436 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II The morning of December 7, 1941 was typical of any Sunday morning aboard the battleship USS CALIFORNIA. My billet for meals was the Marines' casemate #8(an armored enclosure for a gun) located port side midship, just where the forecastle breaks and a ladder leads down to the quarter-deck.
Note: by John H. McGoran  7820 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II Canadian Army Overseas
March 5/44
. . . Well we have arrived safely as you may have guessed from the cablegram. Although at that time it was impossible to say anything and isn't much more possible now. We had a very quiet uneventful trip, wasn't even sea sick but had a few hours when it was very hard to keep food down but that was the first day and night out.
Note: These letters were all written to his wife, Beth, who was caring for their two young daughters.  6389 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II I got a very low draft number, so I was sure to be called. Instead of waiting to be called and being put into whatever anybody decided to do for me, I decided to try to guide my own destiny a bit. I enlisted in the Navy out of Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station, which was a reserve air station in Brooklyn, New York....I didn't want to be in the Army because I remembered all the stories and the movies about World War I were about people living in trenches.
Note: by Arnold Spring  6735 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II A week or so before the December 31, 1943, mission, my crew, the Mendelsohn crew, was breaking apart. Our navigator, Bill Borellis, was promoted to the exalted position of 91st Bomb Group navigator; our bombardier, Harold Fox, (later to be killed in action over Hamburg) had applied for special training as a navigator and was leaving the crew, and the pilot, Stuart Mendelsohn, had been designated, but not yet officially installed, as the new operations officer of the 324th squadron. And I had just been checked out as first pilot and was about to take over what remained of our original crew.
Note: by Verne Woods, 91st BG  14865 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II The [heavy cruiser USS] Indianapolis [CA-35] had come to the Navy Yard, Mare Island [in San Francisco Bay] in early May 1945, to get heavy underwater damage repaired from a Kamikaze [Japanese suicide aircraft] hit that she took in [the Battle of] Okinawa on 30 March [1945]. We had more time there than anticipated and knew that we were due back in the forward area at the earliest practicable date.
Note: Recollections of Captain Charles B. McVay, III, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Indianapolis (CA-35).  6956 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  9561 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson suffers a rare defeat when his attack on Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley fails.

1901: A group of U.S. Army soldiers led by Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston capture Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Insurrection of 1899.

1942: The Japanese occupy the Anadaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

1944: German occupiers shoot more than 300 Italian civilians as a reprisal for an Italian partisan attack on an SS unit.

1951: In the last and largest airborne operation of the war, the U.S. 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team jumped at Munsan from 72 C-119 Flying Boxcars and 48 C-46 Commandos of the 315th Air Division. Task Force Growdon, including elements of the Philippine Battalion, linked up with the 187th Airborne in Operation TOMAHAWK.

1961: One of the first American casualties in Southeast Asia, an intelligence-gathering plane en route from Laos to Saigon is shot down over the Plain of Jars in central Laos.