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9 June 1943

9 June 1943


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9 June 1943

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North Africa

The Allies announce that they took 291,000 prisoners in North Africa



History Through Our Eyes: June 9, 1943, CWAC's Joan Kennedy

In this photo from our archives, Lt.-Col. Joan Kennedy (left) of the Canadian Women's Army Corps is greeted by Lieut. M. Nation, a CWAC recruiting officer, at Bonaventure Station in Montreal on June 8, 1943. Kennedy had just returned from Britain. Montreal Gazette archives


The Battle of La Fière Bridge

Jumping on the night of D-Day, the 82 nd Airborne had to capture the town of Sainte-Mère-Église. Holding the town, however, would have meant little without also holding the roads to and from it. One such route had a bottleneck: the La Fière Bridge a small stone bridge at La Fière manor, 700 yards to the west of the outskirts. The manor itself was a small group of buildings a grenade-throw away from the bridge. On the far side of the bridge, the road led west, the small hamlet of Cauguigny standing by it two-thirds of a mile away.

Securing La Fière Bridge fell to the 505 th PIR. The 1 st Battalion was one of the few units that night to jump on time and land in its designated drop zone to the east of the bridge, between it and the town. They quickly learned that things were not as expected: the Germans have flooded large areas of Normandy and the tiny Merderet River running north-south under the bridge was now a marsh 1,000 yards across at its narrowest. The elevated road between the bridge and Cauguigny became a causeway surrounded by water, providing no cover.

An hour before dawn, 1 st Lt. John “Red Dog” Nolan, nicknamed for his hair and his canine tenacity, led his company towards La Fière Bridge and manor. With visibility low due to hedgerows, stone walls and the darkness, Nolan told Lt. Dolan Coxon to send his scouts forward. Coxon didn’t have the heart to send his men alone into harm’s way and accompanied them. A few moments later, German machine gun fire barked up and killed Coxon and another man. With two platoons trying to flank the foxhole, a firefight developed and the Americans got pinned down. After about an hour, the Germans quietly withdrew without losses.

Unknown to Nolan and his men, they were not alone. Many of the airborne who were misdropped in the area honed in on the only landmark in the flooded plain: the causeway. They were now arriving piecemeal, but most of them have lost their radios in the water and couldn’t inform others of their presence. When these surprise reinforcements started showing up, Nolan drew up a plan to attack the manor from the north and the south simultaneously. Units were put in place, one of them wading through the neck-deep swamp with bullets ricocheting off the water around them. However, the runner who was supposed to give the message to attack got lost and coordination was broken. At 9 am, Brig. Gen. James Gavin arrived with 300 men from the northwest on the far side of the causeway. After being briefed on the situation, he decided it was in good hands and moved on south to capture another bottleneck along another road further away.

Despite the lack of coordination between units, the airborne finally reached the manor. Some 10 to 12 Germans fought back from inside but were suppressed in 10 minutes of fierce fighting. Seeing a white sheet being hung from a window, a paratrooper went forward to accept the surrender, only to get shot by a German who was standing by another window and didn’t know his comrades had already given up. After another round of furious firing, the defenders finally surrendered for good.

At 1:45 pm, with the manor in American hands, two men were sent to scout out the La Fière Bridge. German soldiers hiding on the far side tried to ambush them, but one of the men, Pvt. James Mattingly, shot the first man then wounded and captured the rest, later receiving the Silver Star for what one officer called “the best piece of individual soldiering I have ever seen.” The La Fière Bridge and the causeway were clear and a nine-man force was left on the west end in the half-dozen stone buildings of Cauguigny. The causeway was blocked by a truck, mines were laid and three anti-tank guns brought in by glider were set up.

The German counterattack came at 4 pm . Three German-driven French light tanks appeared with infantry in tow from the west, overrunning the force in Cauguigny and heading for the causeway. About a dozen US airborne were driven in front of the tanks as human shields, forced to pick up mines and throw them into the water. Once they were 40-50 yards from the defenders, American bazooka teams and anti-tank guns opened up while the captured paratropers dove for safety. The first tank was destroyed, followed by the other two, but at a high price: German infantrymen, using the tanks as cover, poured automatic weapons fire into the defenders, causing heavy casualties before retreating to the west end of the causeway. With depleted numbers and low ammo, but in a strong position and with additional reinforcements arriving, the American dug in at the manor while the Germans did the same on the far side of the swamp.

With the fight for Sainte-Mère -Église still going on, both sides started building up their numbers at La Fière Bridge, until June 9 brought a need to break the stalemate. By this point, the 4 th Infantry Division had made its way up from Utah Beach and needed the road cleared to proceed. Twelve Shermans and an artillery battery were brought up for the final push with the airborne to spearhead the attack with a suicidal charge down the exposed, 1,000 yard long causeway into German machine gun and mortar fire. Lt. Col. Charles Carrell’s 2 nd Battalion, 401 st Glider Infantry Regiment was given the thankless task.

Carrell lost his nerve in the last moment and declined to attack and was replaced on the spot. At 10 am , rifles, machine guns, tanks and artillery all opened up, and G Company’s Cap. John Sauls was the first to jump onto the causeway with a shout of “Follow me!” Some men faltered in the face of certain death, other were cut down running and yet others fell down wounded or trying to scramble for some cover. Miraculously, Sauls himself made it across the corridor of fire and ran past the first line of German defense, shooting Germans with his Thompson SMG.

The causeway got quickly congested with the dead, the dying and the terrified but the push got going. At one point, General Matthew Ridgway, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division was spotted on the causeway, trying to remove a cable from a knocked-out tank to make it easier to pass. He was soon joined by General Gavin. The sight of the division’s two highest-ranking officers in the middle of the killing zone has inspired the troops to push themselves beyond all limits and the Germans were forced to flee. A final, heavy counterattack was repulsed later that night and the battle for the La Fière causeway was won, allowing allied forced to move west and further into the Cotentin Peninsula.

Visiting La Fière in the 1980s, General Gavin recalled the aftermath of the battle: “When I came to this point […], I had no idea as to how hard this fight was. I looked back down the causeway. It was covered from the church to as far as I could see with bodies. I could have walked back to the bridge and never stepped on pavement. I just had no idea as to the strength of the position. It took airborne soldiers to do this.”


The Allied Invasion of Europe, 1943-1945

While under attack of heavy machine gun fire from the German coastal defense forces, American soldiers wade ashore off the ramp of a U.S. Coast Guard landing craft, during the Allied landing operations at Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Starting with the Invasion of Sicily in July of 1943, and culminating in the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of Normandy, Allied forces took the fight to the Axis powers in many locations across Western Europe.

The first Allied troops landed on the Italian peninsula on September 3, 1943, and Italy surrendered on September 8 (although Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic was established soon afterwards). The first American troops landed at Salerno on September 9, 1943. The Germans launched fierce counterattacks. The U.S. 5th Army and other Allied armies broke through two German defensive lines (Volturno and the Barbara Line) in October and November 1943. After a heavy winter and challenges that it posed to the Allies, Rome fell on June 4, 1944.

In May 1944, the Western Allies were finally prepared to deliver their greatest blow of the war, the long-delayed, cross-channel invasion of northern France, code-named Overlord. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was supreme commander of the operation that ultimately involved the coordinated efforts of 12 nations.

After much deliberation, it was decided that the landings would take place on the long, sloping beaches of Normandy. There, the Allies would have the element of surprise. The German high command expected the attack to come in the Pas de Calais region, north of the river Seine where the English Channel is narrowest. It was here that Adolf Hitler had put the bulk of his panzer divisions after being tipped off by Allied undercover agents posing as German sympathizers that the invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais.

Nearly 200,000 Allied troops boarded 7,000 ships and more than 3,000 aircraft and headed toward Normandy. Some 156,000 troops landed on the French beaches , 24,000 by air and the rest by sea, where they met stiff resistance from well-defended German positions across 50 miles of French coastline. After several days of intense warfare, Allied troops gained tenuous holds on several beaches, and they were able to dig in with reinforcements and bombardment. By the end of June, Allies were in firm control of Normandy, and on August 25, Paris was liberated.

In September, the Allies launched another major invasion, Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation of its time, in which tens of thousands of troops descended on the Netherlands by parachute and glider. Though the landings were successful, troops on the ground were unable to take and hold their targets, including bridges across the Rhine River. Despite that setback, by late 1944, the Allies had successfully established a Western Front and were preparing to advance on Germany.

In July of 1943, Allied Forces’ troops, guns and transport are rushed ashore, ready for action, at the opening of the Allied invasion of the Italian island of Sicily.

During the invasion of Sicily by Allied forces, an American cargo ship, loaded with ammunition, explodes after being hit by a bomb from a German plane off Gela, on the southern coast of Sicily, on July 31, 1943.

Over the body of a dead comrade, Canadian infantrymen advance cautiously up a narrow lane in Campochiaro, Italy, on November 11, 1943. The Germans left the town as the Canadians advanced, leaving only nests of snipers to delay the progress.

A Royal Air Force Baltimore light bomber drops a series of bombs during an attack on the railway station and junction at the snow-covered town of Sulmona, a strategic point on the east-west route across Italy, in February of 1944.

German infantrymen take cover in a house in southern Italy, on February 6, 1944, awaiting the word to attack after Stukas had done their work.

Artillery observers of the Fifth Army look over the German-held Italian town of San Vittore, on November 1, 1943, before an artillery barrage to dislodge the Germans.

Desolation in the Italian city of Cassino in May of 1944, the day after the city’s capture by the Allies. Hangman’s Hill is shown in the background, scene of bitter fighting during the long and bitter siege of the stronghold.

A U.S. reconnaissance unit searches for enemy snipers in Messina, Sicily, on August 1943.

An Italian woman kisses the hand of a soldier of the U.S. Fifth Army after troops move into Naples in their invasion and advance northward in Italy, on October 10, 1943.

U.S. soldiers march past the historical Roman Colosseum and follow their retreating enemy in Rome, Italy, on June 5, 1944.

Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Jr., commanding general of the Fifth Army in Italy, talks to African American troops of the 92nd Infantry Division after they threw back a German attack in the hills north of Viareggio, Italy in 1944.

Mt. Vesuvius spewing ash into the sky, erupting as a U.S. Army jeep speeds by shortly after the arrival of the Allied forces in Naples, Italy in 1944.

A low-flying Allied plane sends German soldiers running for shelter on a beach in France, before D-Day in 1944. The fliers were taking photos of German coastal barriers in preparation for the upcoming June 6 invasion.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the Day. “Full victory – nothing else” to paratroopers in England on June 6, 1944, just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault in the invasion of the continent of Europe. All of the men with General Eisenhower are members of Company E, 502d.

American troops march through the streets of a British port town on their way to the docks where they will be loaded into landing craft for the D-Day assault in June of 1944.

U.S. Rangers on a troop ship in an English port waiting for the signal to sail to the coast of Normandy. Clockwise, starting from far left, is First Sergeant Sandy Martin, who was killed during the landing, Technician Fifth Grade Joseph Markovich, Corporal John Loshiavo, and at bottom, Private First Class Frank E. Lockwood.

A section of the Armada of Allied landing craft with their protective barrage balloons head toward the French coast, in June of 1944.

Smoke streams from a U.S. coast guard landing craft approaching the French Coast on June 6, 1944 after German machine gun fire caused an explosion by setting off an American soldier’s hand grenade.

Canadian soldiers land on Courseulles Beach in Normandy, on June 6, 1944 as Allied forces storm the Normandy beaches on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Some of the first assault troops to hit the beachhead in Normandy, France take cover behind enemy obstacles to fire on German forces as others follow the first tanks plunging through the water towards the German-held shore on June 6, 1944.

U.S. reinforcements wade through the surf as they land at Normandy in the days following the Allies’ June 1944 D-Day invasion of France.

Members of an American landing party help others whose landing craft was sunk by enemy action of the coast of France. These survivors reached Omaha Beach by using a life raft on June 6, 1944.

Canadian soldiers from 9th Brigade land with their bicycles at Juno Beach in Bernieres-sur-Mer during D-Day, while Allied forces were storming the Normandy beaches.

American soldiers on Omaha Beach recover the dead after the June 6, 1944, D-Day invasion of France.

Thirteen liberty ships, deliberately scuttled to form a breakwater for invasion vessels landing on the Normandy beachhead lie in line off the beach, shielding the ships in shore. The artificial harbor installation was prefabricated and towed across the Channel in 1944.

Allied troops unload equipment and supplies on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, in early June of 1944.

Tow planes and gliders above the French countryside during the Normandy invasion in June of 1944, at an objective of the U.S. Army Ninth Air Force. Gliders and two planes are circling and many gliders have landed in fields below.

An American soldier, who died in combat during the Allied invasion, lies on the beach of the Normandy coast, in the early days of June 1944. Two crossed rifles in the sand next to his body are a comrade’s last reverence. The wooden structure on the right, normally veiled by high tide water, was an obstruction erected by the Germans to prevent seaborne landings.

Reinforcements for initial allied invaders of France, long lines of troops and supply trucks begin their march on June 18, 1944, in Normandy.

American dead lie in a French field, a short distance from the allied beachhead in France on June 20, 1944.

American soldiers race across a dirt road, which is under enemy fire, near St. Lo, in Normandy, France, on July 25, 1944. Others crouch in the ditch before making the crossing.

These five Germans were wounded and left without food or water for three days, hiding in a Normandy farmhouse waiting for a chance to surrender. Acting on information received from a French couple, U.S. soldiers went to the barn only to be attacked by snipers who seemed determined upon preventing their comrades from falling into Allied hands. After a skirmish, the snipers were dealt with and the wounded Germans taken captive, in France on June 14, 1944.

The dead German soldier in this June 1944 photo was one of the “last stand” defenders of German-held Cherbourg. Captain Earl Topley, right, who led one of the first American units into the city on June 27, said the German had killed three of his men.

Helmets discarded by German prisoners, who were taken to a prison camp, in a field in Normandy, France in 1944.

In the sky above the Netherlands, American tow planes with gliders strung out behind them fly high over windmill in Valkenswaard, near Eindhoven, on their way to support airborne army in Holland, on September 25, 1944.

Parachutes open as waves of paratroops land in Holland during operations by the 1st Allied Airborne Army in September of 1944. Operation Market Garden was the largest airborne operation in history, with some 15,000 troops were landing by glider and another 20,000 by parachute.

The haystack at right would have softened the landing for this paratrooper who took a tumble during operations in Holland by the 1st Allied Airborne Army on September 24, 1944.

In France, an American officer and a French Resistance fighter are seen engaged in a street battle with German occupation forces during the days of liberation, August 1944, in an unknown city.

People try to cross a damaged bridge in Cherbourg, France on July 27, 1944.

An American version of a sidewalk cafe, in fallen La Haye du Puits, France on July 15, 1944, as Robert McCurty, left, from Newark, New Jersey, Sgt. Harold Smith, of Brush Creek, Tennessee, and Sgt. Richard Bennett, from Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, raise their glasses in a toast.

A view from a hilltop overlooking the road leading into St. Lo in July of 1944. Two French children in the foreground watch convoys and trucks of equipment go through their almost completely destroyed city en route to the front.

Crowds of Parisians celebrating the entry of Allied troops into Paris scatter for cover as a sniper fires from a building on the place De La Concorde. Although the Germans surrendered the city, small bands of snipers still remained. August 26, 1944.

After the French Resistance staged an uprising on August 19, American and Free French troops made a peaceful entrance on August 25, 1944. Here, four days later, soldiers of Pennsylvania’s Twenty-eighth Infantry Division march along the Champs-Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.


Stalin Dissolves the Comintern

From The New International, Vol. IX No. 6, June 1943, pp.𧆤�.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The formal decision of the Presidium of the Communist International to dissolve that organization which, from the point of view of revolutionary internationalism, has long been dead, brings to mind a speech by Stalin at the Sverdloff University on June 9, 1925, in which he warned of the dangers of nationalist degeneration. Stalin prepared a reply to a number of written questions drawn up by the students of the university. Coming in the midst of the struggle with the Russian Left Opposition, these questions naturally concerned matters of domestic and international policy. For the first time, the theory of “socialism in one country” was formally introduced into the Russian party and the International.

The answers made by Stalin are interesting for several reasons. They disclose his evolution as a confused theoretician and thinker inside a degenerating revolutionary party, to the leader of a new type of state and class power. They reveal that this degeneration did not take place at once, but continued for a number of years in which the characteristic line is a zigzag from left adventurism to opportunism. The end result has been a complete counter-revolutionary degeneration. The characteristics of this counter-revolutionary development are unusual, for the background to this new political phenomenon arising out of the working class movement is the Revolution of 1917. They show that Stalin himself was quite unaware of the final results of his empirical policies, his rejection of theory and principle, and his rôle as the personification of the powerful Russian bureaucracy.

The students at Sverdloff put the following question to the general secretary: If the stabilization of capitalism should last for a long time, by what degenerations will our party be threatened? The question was obviously a natural response to the charges levelled against the epigone leadership by the Left Opposition in their struggle against the new nationalist theory introduced into the movement. Stalin’s reply is extremely interesting both in the way it aptly discloses the bases for nationalist degeneration and the inauguration of a new policy – the one which has been in effect for some years, epitomized by the recent decision to dissolve the Comintern. He said:

Does any such danger of degeneration exist?

The danger is, or, rather, the dangers are, real enough, and they exist quite independently of the stabilization of capitalism. The stabilization of capitalism makes them more tangible, that’s all. In my view there are three main dangers to reckon with:

a) The danger of losing sight of the socialist goal which is the aim of all the work of reconstruction in our country this danger, therefore, is an intensification of the tendency to relinquish the conquests of the revolution.

b) The danger of losing sight of the international revolutionary goal – the danger of a short-sighted nationalism.

c) The danger that the party may lose its position as leader and, therewith, the possibility of the party becoming no more than a tailpiece to the state apparatus.

It would be of immense interest and importance to discuss all three dangers outlined by Stalin. But for the present discussion it is important only to be concerned with the second danger in this trinity. It must be remembered that in this discussion of nationalist degeneration, he was at the same time the advocate of a national socialist state. Yet, with seeming acuteness, he stated in reference to the second danger:

The distinguishing marks of this danger are a lack of trust in the international proletarian revolution a lack of faith in its victory the adoption of a skeptical attitude toward the liberationist movements in the colonial and vassal lands the failure to understand that, in default of the support of the world-wide revolutionary movement, our country cannot make an effective stand against world imperialism . to understand that the victory of socialism in one land alone cannot be an end in itself, but is merely a means which can be utilized for the development and growth of the revolutionary movement in other lands.

Should we follow this road, we should land ourselves in a quagmire of nationalism, degeneration and the complete surrender of the international policy of the proletariat. Those who are attacked by this sickness look upon our country not as part of a whole which goes by the name of “the international revolutionary movement,” but as the alpha and omega of this movement. Such folk imagine that the interest of all other countries should be sacrificed to the interests of our country.

In view of the developments in world politics in the last decades these remarks by Stalin sound like a grim joke. But let us get on. The “genial” general secretary continues:

Now it is abundantly clear that the first proletarian state can retain its position of standard bearer of the international revolutionary movement only on condition that it retains a consistently internationalist outlook and promulgates the foreign policy of the October Revolution. It is equally obvious that the adoption of the line of least resistance and of a nationalistic viewpoint in the domain of foreign affairs will lead to the isolation and decay of the country where the proletarian revolution gained its first victory.

Thus we see that the lack of an international revolutionary outlook threatens us with nationalism and with dissolution.

Thus Stalin in 1925 an utterly different man, a man still living close to the years of the victorious revolution. Lenin had died only a short time before. The internationalist character of the revolution was still fresh in the minds of millions. Stalin has already prepared the doom of the Soviet state, but he still speaks the language of a partial internationalist he still remembers some of the most obvious of Lenin’s lessons. Eighteen years later, the final danger of which he spoke were something which had occurred. Hardly a single vestige remains of the heroic revolutionary period of 1917󈞄.

Of course, there are much better sources for understanding the inner significance of internationalism and the specific place of the Russian Revolution and the Communist International in history. We were prompted to go to Stalin, in order to show that even this source was fully aware, at least verbally, of the danger of national degeneration. The dire forecasts contained in his address have become the reality its significance lies in the fact that he who warned of this degeneration has himself become the apostle of the new nationalism which has brought such ruin to the former Soviet Union and such distress to the once glorious Comintern and the international working class.

The theoretical premises contained in the statement of the erstwhile Presidium are themselves of no great importance. What else could these little people say? They were given their orders they carried them out. In order to dress up the dissolution in its proper “Marxistical” phraseology, we were given a miserable attempt at historical references to antecedent experiences of the First and Second Internationals. So we are told that the First and Second Internationals were born, developed and died. Conditions brought about the formation of these bodies conditions compelled their dissolution. Thus the present misleaders of Stalin’s international were merely following historical precedent. We shall return to this soon enough. First, however, let us consider the question of the action. What does it actually mean? Why did Stalin do it now?
 

The Degeneration of the Comintern

As an international of revolutionary socialism, the Comintern has been dead a long time. The International ceased to be that the moment that the doctrine of socialism in one country became its main theoretical premise. The degeneration, however, did not follow a single downward curve it was a zig-zag development, itself expressive of the contradictions inherent in an international dominated by a single party which had state power and which traveled the road of nationalism and opportunism. Its primary function has been as an agency of the Russian Foreign Office, as an adjunct of Stalin’s GPU. It is therefore correct to say that in reality nothing has been changed by the decision: the sections of the CI will continue to function as before.

Two obstacles lay in the path of the Stalinist betrayers: The Russian Left Opposition and the Bucharinist Right Opposition. Employing the reserves of the latter against the Left Opposition, Stalin took the offensive in the new civil war fought on Russian soil to determine whether the rising new class power would prevail over the internationalists. Having defeated the Left Opposition, Stalin next turned against the Right. In each of these struggles, the new bureaucratic power swayed left and right, depending upon the economic and political needs of the moment.

Within the period of these struggles, the Comintern had experienced a series of catastrophic defeats. Beginning with Germany in 1923, the “organizers of defeat” led the international from disaster to disaster: England, China, and the Third Period. Each defeat served to push further into the background the revolutionary elements and the revolutionary élan of the movement conversely, it strengthened the revisionist and counter-revolutionary direction.

Stalin, it has been said, always regarded the Communist International as an expensive luxury. Quite obviously this had no bearing on the international under his domination. The international which Stalin regarded with disfavor was the Comintern under Lenin and Trotsky. His Comintern was an indispensable weapon for the defense of his new state. Stalin’s Russia, as a non-capitalist state, could not meet the competition of world imperialism with weapons which are peculiarly adaptable to the needs of the bourgeois powers. Military power to offset the danger of intervention was insufficient, because Russia could not hope to cope with a united capitalist attack. Foreign policy in Russia was dictated by the necessity to maintain peace, to balance off the powers, one against the other, or to make an alliance with the strongest nation or group of imperialists. At the same time, in case none of these alternatives succeeded, Stalin would be able to use his trump card, the sections of the Comintern which were completely subservient to him, and prepared to carry out any and all policies emanating from the Kremlin. In the meantime, the Comintern parties were usefully employed in propagating the aims of the Foreign Office.

Hitler’s victory in Germany, guaranteed by the policies forced on the German Communist Party, impelled the adoption of the policy of collective security. Collective security thenceforth became the main political agitational activity of the international. Collective security, the Stalinists insisted, would secure peace. Reckoning on the failure of this policy, however, Russian diplomacy was busily engaged in seeking to obtain advantageous political and military alliances. The signing of pacts with the various powers was integral to the main foreign policy. The mounting danger of war found Russia traveling from a military alliance with France and Czechoslovakia to the Hitler-Stalin pact. Between these two poles of diplomatic achievement, Russia was near a military alliance with the Allies. Lack of faith in the prospect of the Allies in the war led to the pact with Hitler, which in turn gave the signal for the war to begin. In this way, Stalin had hoped to ward off involvement in the conflict while the imperialist powers wore themselves out in a fruitless endeavor to destroy each other. But Stalin miscalculated. When the German general staff concluded that it was impossible to storm and take the British Isles, the attack on Russia was a certainty.

During the hey-day of the alliance with fascism, Stalin embarked on his expansionist program. In rapid succession we had the division of Poland, the seizure of the Baltic countries and the war with Finland. When the Wehrmacht crossed the Russian borders, that phase of Russian diplomacy ended (in defeat) and a new one commenced. This time Stalin turned to a complete military and political alliance with Allied imperialism.
 

Effects of the Decision

The “dissolution” of the Comintern becomes more understandable with the foregoing background. As long as Stalin held hands with the brown-shirted murderers, the Comintern served a useful function. It must be remembered that no parties existed in the Axis countries – at best there were only the phalanxes of the GPU. Stalinist parties, however, were to be found in almost every country making up the United Nations. Their strength and influence was not great, but they had tremendous nuisance value and did, in fact, cause considerable embarrassment to the Allied war effort before Russia became a full-fledged member of the alliance. Thus, while the Stalintern had a useful job to perform in the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact, the situation was considerably altered by the logic of the war.

For Stalin, the formal dissolution of the Comintern was a cheap price to pay to the Allies for the considerable aid given him to prosecute the war on its main front. Self-interest controls the conduct of all the members of the Allied camp. Keeping Russia in the war is absolutely indispensable to the United States and Great Britain. Obtaining material aid and the opening of other fronts is the only way to take the pressure off Stalin’s army. Thus the national interests of these powers dictates the policy of mutual aid.

The decision on the Comintern was therefore no loss to Stalin. On the contrary, it was of considerable gain. Since there were no organizations in the Axis countries, the decision could in no way affect events in this quarter. But he likewise has nothing to fear from the formal action as it affects matters in the Allied countries. First of all, the parties, after a decade and more of conditioning, will remain the devoted and obedient servants of the Kremlin, no matter what formal decision is taken in Moscow. Secondly, the policies of the parties are in complete accord with the needs of Stalin and they are in complete conformity with the essential interests of the bourgeois states. In a real sense, then, nothing has been changed by the decision – the commentators from all camps notwithstanding.

The Stalinist parties have received another slight impetus in their current nationalist degeneration, in pursuit of their chauvinist and strike-breaking rôles. They remain the worst enemies of the world proletariat.

The most crucial question involved in the decision of the Presidium is proletarian internationalism. When we say that nothing has been fundamentally changed by the Kremlin action, we merely mean that its formal action will not alter the fact that Stalin will continue to control his parties, which remain consistently subservient to his interests. The need for the recreation of the Socialist International, however, has been with us for a long time. It would be foolish to say that the existence of Stalinism has not hurt the idea of internationalism it would be just as foolish to believe that the decision of the Presidium is not another blow against this same tenet of Marxism

For example, in its decision, the epigone Presidium presented the following “theoretical” argumentation for the dissolution:

But long before the war it had already become increasingly clear that to the extent that the internal as well as the international situation of the individual countries became more complicated, the solution of the problems of the labor movement of each individual country through the medium of some international center would meet insuperable obstacles.

The deep difference in the historical roads of development of each country of the world the diverse character and even the contradiction in their social orders the difference in level and rate of their social and political development, and finally the difference in the degree of consciousness and organization of the workers, conditioned also the various problems which face the working class of each individual country.

The entire course of events for the past quarter of a century, as well as the accumulated experiences of the Communist International, have convincingly proved that the organizational form for uniting the workers as chosen by the First Congress of the Communist International, and which corresponded to the needs of the initial period of the rebirth of the labor movement, more and more outlived itself in proportion to the growth of this movement and to the increasing complexity of problems in each country and that this form even became a hindrance to the further strengthening of the national workers’ parties.

Using the “language” of Marxism, the bureaucrats dress up their lies with the cloak of false objectivity and logic. But it is a lie nevertheless. It is only necessary to recall the history of the formation of the Third International to expose this new falsification. At its founding Congress, the Communist International clearly stipulated the reasons for its formation. It was based on world conditions not unlike the present. The “internal as well as the international situation of the individual countries” was “complicated,” and “the solution of the problems of the labor movement of each individual country through the medium of some international center . (met) insuperable obstacles.”

At the same time there also existed a “deep difference in the historical road of development of each country of the world.” Their characters were “diverse” and even their social orders were “contradictory.” The Comintern of Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev, Rakovsky and Bucharin understood that capitalism developed “unevenly,” that the degree of class consciousness and class organization of the workers in all countries were different and that their problems were different.

In his explanation of the formation of the Communist International, Lenin wrote:

The Third International was in reality created in 1918, after the protracted struggle with opportunism, and “social chauvinism,” especially during the war, had resulted in the formation of a Communist Party in various countries. The formal recognition of the international dates from the first congress of its members held in Moscow in March 1919. The most prominent feature of the Third International, namely, its mission to carry out the principles of Marxism and to realize the ideals of socialism and the labor movement, manifested itself immediately in that this “third international association of working men” has to a certain extent become identical with the League of Socialist “Soviet” Republics.

As if in anticipation of the present decision of the Presidium of the Comintern, Lenin wrote:

Any Marxist, nay, anyone conversant with modern science, if asked whether he believed in the probability of a uniform, harmonious and perfectly-proportioned transition o£ various capitalist countries to the dictatorship of the proletariat, would undoubtedly answer that question in the negative. In the capitalist world there had never been any room for uniformity, harmony and perfect proportions. Every country has brought into prominence now one, then another, feature or features of capitalism, and of the labor movement. The rate of development has been varied.

In the early years of the Communist International, this was the prevailing theory. Difficulties of communication, objective difficulties of functioning, uneven development of capitalist countries, different tactics for different parties, varying rates in the growth and activities of the national parties, had nothing whatever to do with the necessity for the existence of the international organization of the revolutionary socialists of the world. It only stressed the nature of the problems which had to be overcome, and the general difficulty of ushering in the new society of genuine freedom and security for the whole of mankind.

These concepts hold true to this very day and will remain true until the final triumph of socialism.

In his criticism of the draft program of the Communist International adopted at the Sixth Congress in 1928, Trotsky spoke of the historical place of the three internationals. He wrote:

The basic principles of revolutionary strategy were naturally formulated since the time when Marxism first put before the revolutionary parties of the proletariat the task of the conquest of power on the basis of the class struggle. The First International, however, succeeded in formulating these principles, properly speaking, only theoretically, and could test them only partially in the experience of various countries. The epoch of the Second International led to methods and views according to which, in the notorious expression of Bernstein, “the movement is everything, the ultimate goal nothing.” In other words, the strategical task disappeared, becoming dissolved in the day-to-day “movement” with its partial tactics devoted to the problems of the day. Only the Third International reestablished the rights of the revolutionary strategy of communism and completely subordinated the tactical methods to it. Thanks to the invaluable experience of the first two internationals, upon which shoulders the third rests, thanks to the revolutionary character of the present epoch and the colossal historic experience of the October Revolution, the strategy of the Third International immediately attained a full-blooded militancy and the widest historical scope.

In this analysis, Trotsky has only reechoed the thoughts contained in the Manifesto of the First Congress of the Communist International. That is, he maintained a strict adherence to the thoughts of the founders of the new world organization of which he was one of the initiating spirits. He closely paraphrased the analysis made by Lenin when the latter wrote:

The First International laid the basis for the international struggle of the proletariat for socialism.

The Second International marked a period of preparation, a period En which the soil was tilled with a view to the widest possible propagation of the movement in many of the countries .

The importance of the Third Communist International in the world’s history is that it was the first to put into life the greatest of all Marx’s principles, the principle of summarizing the process of the development of the socialist and labor movement, and expressed in the words, the dictatorship of the proletariat [the democratic workers’ state – Editor].

There is an interesting parallel of historical events in the case of the Comintern. The First International, which had as its task the propagation of the theoretical principles of Marxian socialism, floundered in the crisis created by the Franco-Prussian War and the defeat of the Paris Commune. The International Workingmen’s Association, the arena in which the theoretical struggles within the labor movement were fought out, reached its climax when the objective events had made clear that the international had outlived any further usefulness to the workers. And Marx and Engels did not hesitate to adopt a decision that led to its inevitable dissolution. While they had overestimated the rate of development of the revolutionary mass movement, they were certain that the future of capitalism must give rise to conditions demanding the recreation of an international proletarian organization.

The capitalist crisis which served as a background to the dissolution of the First International was a crisis of growth. It preceded the imperialist rise in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. The growth of mass production was accompanied by the rapid development of the national labor and socialist organizations throughout Europe and thus the reestablishment of the international was guaranteed. This body enjoyed an enormous growth and influence, but developing in the “Victorian” era of capitalist growth, it bent before the pressures of opportunism and adaptation. Moreover, it never really embraced the internationalist doctrine of Marxism. When the crisis of the imperialist war of 1914 came, the Second International broke like a reed in the wind. The national parties of this great body rallied to the support of their respective ruling classes. The collapse of internationalism led to its death – not its formal organizational, or even political, death – as the international of the working class. It remained in existence, and does to this day, but its functions are not unlike those of a decade or two ago: a left prop of dying capitalism. In the post-war period, when the struggle of the classes gave abundant evidence that capitalism might be finally destroyed, when the question of state power was posed, social democracy entered into the service of imperialism for the purpose of maintaining its existence and rule.

The war was the life and death problem for the Second International. In this case, a formal adherence to the idea of internationalism was insufficient to ward off the influence of national chauvinism. The international succumbed to the virus of nationalism. Capitalist growth militated against integration of the national parties into a genuine world organization in which the interests of the international working class would be regarded paramount to the interests of any national party. This historical parallel is continued in the case of the Communist International.

The Communist International was born out of the conditions created by the First World War, the victory of the October Revolution and the chaos of the post-war period. In its unequivocal acceptance of the theory, practice and spirit of Marxism, it reacted violently to the nationalist degeneration of the Second International. Internationalism was the great spirit which emanated from the Comintern. It was fortified by Lenin’s incessant hammering that under no circumstances was it permissible for the international to deviate from this unchangeable principle. That is why he always emphasized the international character of the Russian Revolution, continually stressing the point that if the international working class did not come to its aid, the new Soviet state would perish, either by the assault of imperialism, or by nationalist degeneration.

Lenin’s fear, alas, did come true. The Soviet state did perish, not as a result of the direct assault of imperialism, but by nationalist degeneration which began with the adoption of the theory of socialism in a single country. If this process of degeneration and decay has taken a long time, it is to be explained by the peculiar state of international relations and the relationship of class forces in Russia and the capitalist world. The Communist International was transformed from its position as the leader of the world working class to an appendage of Stalin’s regime a long time ago. But it has taken another war to disclose this fact to millions.

The present great task of the revolutionary socialists the world over is not unlike that of the internationalists in the war of 1914󈝾. It is to revive the spirit of socialist internationalism, to recreate the new, the Fourth International of socialism. The objective conditions for the realization of this goal are overripe. It is only necessary for the true Marxists to proceed with vigor against all the great obstacles which stand in their way. This task is the order of the day!


9 June 1943 - History

This section includes recent A-Level History past papers from OCR. You can download each of the OCR A-Level History past papers and marking schemes by clicking the links below.

OCR A-Level History A (H105, H505) June 2018

OCR A-Level History A (H105, H505) June 2017

A-Level History A Y302 – The Viking Age – c. 790 – 1066
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A-Level History A Y303 – English Government and the Church 1066-1216
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A-Level History A Y304 – The Church and Medieval Heresy 1100- 1437
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A-Level History A Y305 – The Renaissance – c. 1400 – c.1600
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A-Level History A Y306 – The Rebellion and Disorder under the Tudors 1485- 1603
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A-Level History A Y307 – Tudor Foreign Policy 1485- 1603
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A-Level History A Y308 – The Catholic Reformation 1492- 1610
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A-Level History A Y309 – The Ascendancy of the Ottoman Empire 1453- 1606
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A-Level History A Y310 – The Development of the Nation State: France 1498- 1610
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A-Level History A Y311 – The origins and growth of the British Empire 1558- 1783
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A-Level History A Y312 – Popular Culture and the Witchcraze of the 16th and 17th Centuries
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A-Level History A Y313 – The Ascendancy of France 1610- 1715
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A-Level History A Y314 – The Challeneg of German Nationalism 1789- 1919
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A-Level History A Y315 – The Changing Nature of Warfare 1792- 1945
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A-Level History A Y316 – Britain and Ireland 1791- 1921
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A-Level History A Y317 – China and Its Rulers 1839- 1989
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A-Level History A Y318 – Russia and Its Rulers 1855- 1964
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A-Level History A Y319 – Civil Rights in the USA 1865- 1992
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A-Level History A Y320 – From Colonialism to Independence: The British Empire 1857- 1963
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A-Level History A Y321 – The Middle East 1908- 2011: Ottomans to Arab Spring
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OCR A-Level History A (H105, H505) June 2016

AS Level History A Y131 – Alfred and the Making of England 871 – 1016
AS Level History A Y132 – Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest 1035 – 1107
AS Level History A Y133 – England 1199 – 1272
AS Level History A Y134 – England 1377 – 1455
AS Level History A Y135 – England 1455 – 1509: Lancastrians, Yorkists and Henry VII
AS Level History A Y136 – England 1485 – 1558: the Early Tudors
AS Level History A Y137 – England 1547 – 1603: the Later Tudors
AS Level History A Y138 – The Early Stuarts and the Origins of the Civil War 1603 – 1660
AS Level History A Y139 – The Making of Georgian Britain 1678 – c. 1760
AS Level History A Y140 – From Pitt to Peel: Britain 1783 – 1853
AS Level History A Y141 – Liberals, Conservatives and the Rise of Labour 1846 – 1918
AS Level History A Y142 – Britain 1900 – 1951
AS Level History A Y143 – Britain c. 1930 – 1997

AS Level History A Y231 – The Rise of Islam – c. 550 – 750
AS Level History A Y232 – Charlemagne 768 – 814
AS Level History A Y233 – The Crusades and the Crusader States 1095 – 1192
AS Level History A Y234 – Genghis Khan and the Explosion of the Steppes c. 1167 – 1405
AS Level History A Y235 – Exploration, Encounters and Empire 1445 – 1570
AS Level History A Y236 – Spain 1469 – 1556
AS Level History A Y237 – The German Reformation and the rule of Charles V 1500 – 1559
AS Level History A Y238 – Philip II 1556 – 1598
AS Level History A Y239 – African Kingdoms c.1400 – c. 1800: four case studies
AS Level History A Y240 – Russia 1645 – 1741
AS Level History A Y241 – The Rise and Decline of the Mughal Empire in India 1526 – 1739
AS Level History A Y242 – The American Revolution 1740 – 1796
AS Level History A Y243 – The French Revolution and the rule of Napoleon 1774 – 1815
AS Level History A Y244 – France 1814 – 1870
AS Level History A Y245 – Italy and Unification 1789 – 1896
AS Level History A Y246 – The USA in the 19 th Century: Westward expansion and Civil War 1803 – c. 1890
AS Level History A Y247 – Japan 1853 – 1937
AS Level History A Y248 – International Relations 1890 – 1941
AS Level History A Y249 – Russia 1894 – 1941
AS Level History A Y250 – Italy 1896 – 1943
AS Level History A Y251 – Democracy and Dictatorships in Germany 1919 – 1963
AS Level History A Y252 – The Cold War in Asia 1945 – 1993
AS Level History A Y253 – The Cold War in Europe 1941 – 1995
AS Level History A Y254 – Apartheid and Reconciliation: South African Politics 1948 - 1999

OCR A-Level History June 2016

Unit F961: British History Period Studies - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1035-1642
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Unit F961: British History Period Studies - Option B: Modern 1783-1994
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Unit F962: European & World History Period Studies - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1095-1609
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Unit F962: European & World History Period Studies - Option B: Modern 1795-2003
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Unit F963: British History Enquiries - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066-1660
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Unit F963: British History Enquiries - Option B: Modern 1815-1945
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Unit F964: European & World History Enquiries - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1073-1555
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Unit F964: European & World History Enquiries - Option B: Modern 1774-1975
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Unit F966: Historical Themes - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066-1715
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Unit F966: Historical Themes - Option B: Modern 1789-1997
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OCR A-Level History June 2015

Unit F961: British History Period Studies - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1035-1642 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F962: European & World History Period Studies - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1095-1609 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F963: British History Enquiries - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066-1660 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F964: European & World History Enquiries - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1073-1555 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F966: Historical Themes - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066-1715 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

OCR A-Level History June 2014

Unit F961: British History Period Studies - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1035-1642 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F962: European & World History Period Studies - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1095-1609 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F963: British History Enquiries - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066-1660 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F964: European & World History Enquiries - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1073-1555 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F966: Historical Themes - Option A: Medieval and Early Modern 1066-1715 - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F981: Historical Explanation - British History - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F982: Historical Explanation - Non-British History - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F983: Using Historical Evidence - British History - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F984: Using Historical Evidence - Non-British History - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F985: Historical Controversies - British History - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

Unit F986: Historical Controversies - Non-British History - Download Past Paper - Download Mark Scheme

For more A-Level History past papers from other exam boards click here.


Scholla: The Reed Clock Dated 1704 June 15, 1943

Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago a huge time-piece began to tick off the minutes and hours these grew to days, months, years and decades. Two centuries passed wars began and ended the Duke of Marlboro, Frederick the Great, Napoleon and others flitted their little once on this troubled planet American was born, grew to titanic strength and girded herself to bring her light of liberty to a war torn world, and still the Reed family clock in Stouchsburg ticked on and on. Today it is still marking the mortal’s concept of time, ticking away the minutes and striking the hours as it has done for generation after generation of the descendants of Leonhart Reed, Tulpehocken pioneer.

Proud of his handiwork, Jacob Gorgas, clockmaker, inscribed his name and the date in the brass face of the clock. There is no mistaking the figures which spell out 1704, an ancient date indeed for any relic in America.

We cannot help but wonder whether there is another object in all America of greater antiquity, still performing the purpose for which it was originally designed.

In addition to his name and the date, the craftsman cut scrolls into each corner of the metal face of the clock and flowers are depicted in the field which forms between the numerals. The clock does not show a moon, as many of the old grandfather’s clocks do, but the date of the month is shown.

The huge case of the clock is made of solid walnut wood and the pieces are joined by wooden pegs. The time-piece stands seven and a half feet high.

The present owners of the clock are Mr. and Mrs. John Reed, of Stouchsburg. Mrs. Reed as well as her husband is a lineal descendant of the early Reeds of Tulpehocken. The clock came into their possession through Mrs. Reed’s parents, Frank B. Reed, and his wife. These people, in turn, inherited the clock from their parents, John S. Reed. The complete line of ownership is not known exactly, but it is known that the relic stood in the original Reed homestead near Stouchsburg, as long as the memory of man and tradition can establish. It was removed from the old homestead in 1908.


York and Lancaster Regiment during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

The Regiment raised 22 Battalions in total during the course of World War 1 and recruited approximately 57,000 men during these years, 72 out of every 100 men were either wounded or killed. The Regiment was awarded 59 battle honours including 1,190 gallantry awards four of which were Victoria Crosses. 8,814 men of this Regiment died during the course of the war.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Jubbulpore, India at the outbreak of war.
22.11.1914 Embarked for England from Bombay, arriving at Southampton 23.12.1914 and moved to Hursley Park to join the 83rd Brigade of the 28th Division.
17.01.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1915
The Second Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Loos.
Oct 1915 Moved to Egypt and then on to Salonika to aid Serbia against the Bulgarian forces and were involved in various actions including
During 1916
The occupation of Mazirko, The capture of Barakli Jum'a.
During 1917
The capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches, The capture of Barakli and Kumli.
During 1918
The Battle of Doiran, The pursuit to the Strumica valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war in Macedonia, Tronovo north of Lake Doiran.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Limerick, Ireland at the outbreak of war as part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division and then moved to Cambridge
09.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at St. Nazaire and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1914
The actions on the Aisne heights.
During 1915
The action at Hooge.
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The Battle of Hill 70, The Cambrai operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bailleul, The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of Beaurevoir, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle
The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Bohain

3rd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Pontefract, West Yorkshire and then moved to Cleadon, Durham.
Jan 1915 Moved to Sunderland and then back to Durham.
Feb 1916 Moved back to Sunderland where it remained.

1/4th (Hallamshire) Battalion Territorial Force and 1/5th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 The 1/4th stationed at Sheffield and the 1/5th stationed at Rotherham, both as part of the3rd West Riding Brigade of the West Riding Division and then moved to Doncaster then Gainsborough and York.
14.04.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne where the formation became the 148th Brigade of the 49th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1915
The Battle of Aubers Ridge, The first Germen attack on Phosgene.
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
During 1917
Operations on the Flanders Coast, The Battle of Poelcapelle.
During 1918
The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Bailleul, The First and Second Battles of Kemmel Ridge, The Battle of the Scherpenberg, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Leforest north of Douai.

2/4th 2/5th Battalion Territorial Force
21.09.1914 The 2/4th Formed at Sheffield and the 2/5th formed at Rotherham on 03.10.1914.
Mar 1915 Both moved to Bulwell, Nottingham to join the 187th Brigade of the 62nd Division.
April 1915 Moved to Strensall, then Beverley, Gateshead, Larkhill, and Bungay.
Jan 1917 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1917
The Operations on the Ancre, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Arras offensive, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, The Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battles of the Marne 1918, The Scarpe, The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of the Selle, The capture of Solesmes, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Sous-le-Bois near Maubeuge.

3/4th and 3/5th Battalion Territorial Force
Mar 1915 Formed and then moved to Clipstone.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th and 5th Reserve Battalions.
01.09.1916 The 4th absorbed the 5th as part of the West Riding Reserve Brigade.
Oct 1917 Moved to Rugeley, then Woodbridge and Southen by 19.10.1918.

6th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Pontefract as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Grantham as part of the 32nd Brigade in the 11th Division and then moved to Witley by April 1915.
03.07.1915 Mobilised for war and embarked for Gallipoli from Liverpool via Mudros.
0.08.1915 Landed at Sulvla Bay and engaged in various actions against the Ottoman Empire including The Battle of Scimitar Hill and attack on Hill 60.
Dec 1915 Evacuated to Mudros due to serve casualties from combat and disease.
Feb 1916 Moved to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal.
July 1916 Moved to France where the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1916
The capture of the Wonder Work, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Thieve.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle.
During 1918
The Battle of the Scarpe+, The Battle of the Drocourt-Quant Line, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Havay north of Maubeuge.

7th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Pontefract as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Wareham as part of the 50th Brigade in the 17th Division.
Mar 1915 became a Pioneer Battalion in the 17th Division and then moved to Hursley Park.
14.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Delville Wood.
During 1917
The Arras Offensive and The Third Battles of Ypres.
During 1918
The Firsthand Second Battles of the Somme 1918, Battles of the Hindenburg Line, The Final Advance in Artois.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Limont-Fontaine south of Maubeuge.

8th and 9th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Both formed at Pontefract as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Frensham as part of the 70th Brigade in the 23rd Division.
Feb 1915 The 8th moved to Hythe and the 9th moved to Lyminge, Kent and then both moved to Bordon, Hampshire.
27.08.1915 Both Battalions mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
During 1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of the Menin Road, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The First and Second Battles of Passchendaele.
Nov 1917 Moved to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance effort and engaged in various actions including
During 1918
Fighting on the Asiago Plateau, The Battle of Vittorio Veneto.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Italy, Porcia west of Pordenone.

10th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Pontefract as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Halton Park as part of the 63rd Brigade in the 21st Division.
Dec 1914 Moved to Leighton Buzzard and then Tring and Witley.
11.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including The Battle of Loos.
08.07.1916 Transferred to the 63rd Brigade of the 37th Division and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
During 1916
The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
The First and Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele.
04.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

11th (Reserve) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed as a service battalion for the 63rd Brigade of the 21st Division of the third New Army (K3). Soon replaced by the 12th West Yorks and became a battalion in the 90th Brigade of the 30th Division in the Forth New Army (K4). Then moved to Harrogate.
10.04.1915 The 90th brigade became the 2nd Reserve Brigade and the battalion became 2nd Reserve battalion.
May 1915 Moved to Otley and then Rugeley.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Training Reserve Battalion of the 2nd Reserve Brigade.

12th (Service) Battalion (Sheffield) and 14th (Service) Battalion (2nd Barnsley)
05.09.1914 The 12th formed by the Lord Mayor and The city in Sheffield.
30.11.1914 The 14th formed by the Lord Mayor and The city in Barnsley.
May 1915 Both moved to Penkridge, Cannock Chase and joined the 94th Brigade of the 31st Division and then moved to Rippon.
15.08.1915 Taken over by the war office and moved to Salisbury Plain.
Dec 1915 Mobilised for war and moved to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal.
Mar 1916 Moved to France where the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Capture of Oppy Wood.
16.02.1918 The 14th disbanded in France.
17.02.1918 The 12th disbanded in France.

13th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley)
Often known by its original name of the Barnsley Pals.
Formed in Barnsley on 17 September 1914 by the Mayor and Town. Moved to Silkstone in December 1914.
May 1915 : moved to Penkridge Camp (Cannock Chase) and came under orders of 94th Brigade in 31st Division. Went to Ripon in July 1915 and on to Salisbury Plain in October.
December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916.

14th (Service) Battalion (Barnsley)
Often known by its original name of the 2nd Barnsley Pals.
Formed in Barnsley on 30 November 1914 by the Mayor and Town. Record same as 13th Bn.
16 February 1918 : disbanded in France.

15th (Reserve) Battalion
July 1915 Formed from the depot companies of the 12th 13th and 14th Battalions as a local reserve at Silkstone.
Nov 1915 Moved to Brocton and then to Colsterdale.
July 1916 Moved to Newsham.
01.09.1916 Became the 91st Training Reserve Battalion in the 21st Reserve Brigade.

16th (Transport Workers) Battalion
Mar 1916 formed at Colsterdale and then moved to Durham and Catterick where it remained.
17th (Labour) Battalion
July 1916 Formed at Brocklesby and then moved to France to defend the Lines of Communication.
April 1917 Transferred to the Labour Corps as the 30th and 31st Labour Companies.

18th (service) Battalion
11.06.1918 Formed at Margate and then moved to Pirbright absorbing the 2/7th West Yorks cadre and transferred to the 41st Brigade of the 14th Division.
03.07.1918 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne where the Division engaged in various actions on the Western Front including The Battle of Ypres 1918
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Waterlos near Roubaix.


9 June 1943 - History

American Merchant Marine Ships at Normandy in June 1944

Operation Overlord , the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) included " Operation Neptune " the water transportation of men and equipment to Normandy. The initial assault ships could carry 160,000 troops and 16,000 vehicles. The assault armada numbered 6,939 ships, boats and amphibious craft -- the largest number of vessels ever assembled. The following list includes U.S. merchant ships, Army Transport Service ships, and Navy troopships.

Blockships -- Ships deliberately sunk to form artificial harbor

U.S. Troopships which carried troops to Normandy from the United Kingdom during June 1944

V-4 Tugs assigned to Normandy service photo of V-4 Tug

We appreciate additions and corrections to this list.

U.S. Merchant Marine Cargo Ships (Freighters)

The U.S. freighters listed below each carried 480 men and about 120 army vehicles to Normandy from the United Kingdom during June 1944 or were loading or awaiting orders during June 1944.

Of 326 cargo ships, 200 were American ships.

A B C D E F G H I J K L
M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ

Ship Year built Ship Type, Notes
A. Frank Lever 1943 Liberty
A. Mitchell Palmer 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Abiel Foster 1942 Liberty
Abraham Clark 1942 Liberty, loading in June
Albert P. Ryder 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Alcoa Banner 1919 Freighter, loading in June
Alcoa Trader 1920 Freighter
Amos G. Throop 1942 Liberty
Arthur R. Lewis 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Arthur Sewall 1944 Liberty
Augustus Saint-Gaudens 1944 Liberty, loading in June

Bartholomew Gosnold 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Belva Lockwood 1943 Liberty
Benito Juarez 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Benjamin H. Bristow 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Benjamin Hawkins 1942 Liberty
Benjamin Holt 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Bering 1920 Freighter

Casimir Pulaski 1943 Liberty
Charles C. Jones 1943 Liberty
Charles D. Poston 1943 Liberty
Charles Henderson 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Charles M. Hall 1942 Liberty
Charles Morgan 1943 Liberty -- Bombed and sunk on June 10
Charles Sumner 1943 Liberty
Charles W. Eliot 1943 Liberty -- Sunk by mine on June 28
Charles Willson Peale 1942 Liberty
Chester Valley 1919 Freighter
Christopher S. Flanagan 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Clara Barton 1942 Liberty
Clinton Kelly 1943 Liberty
Clyde L. Seavey 1943 Liberty
Collis P. Huntington 1942 Liberty
Cotton Mather 1942 Liberty
Cyrus H. Mccormick 1942 Liberty
Cyrus H.K. Curtis 1943 Liberty

Dan Beard 1943 Liberty
Daniel Hiester 1942 Liberty, loading in June
David Caldwell 1943 Liberty
David Starr Jordan 1943 Liberty

Edward D. White 1943 Liberty
Edward Kavanagh 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Edward M. House 1943 Liberty -- Torpedoed by U-boat [U-984] on June 29, damaged and flooded but completed voyage
Edward Rowland Sill 1942 Liberty, loading in June
Edward W. Scripps 1943 Liberty
Edwin Abbey 1943 Liberty
Edwin L. Drake 1943 Liberty
Elihu Root 1943 Liberty
Elmer A. Sperry 1942 Liberty
Enoch Train 1943 Liberty
Ephraim Brevard 1943 Liberty
Ephraim W. Baughman 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Eugene E. O'Donnell 1943 Liberty
Ezra Weston 1943 Liberty

Fisher Ames 1942 Liberty, loading in June
Florence Crittenton 1943 Liberty
Francis Asbury 1943 Liberty
Francis C. Harrington 1943 Liberty -- Damaged by mine June 7
Francis Drake 1942 Liberty
Frank B. Kellogg 1942 Liberty
Frank R. Stockton 1943 Liberty

G. W. Goethals 1942 Liberty
George A. Custer 1942 Liberty, loading in June
George Dewey 1943 Liberty
George Durant 1943 Liberty
George E. Badger 1943 Liberty
George E. Pickett 1943 Liberty
George G. Crawford 1944 Liberty
George Steers 1944 Liberty
George Whitefield 1943 Liberty
George Wythe 1942 Liberty
Glenn Curtiss 1943 Liberty, loading in June

H. G. Blasdel 1943 Liberty -- Torpedoed by U-boat [U-984] on June 29, cargo saved, ship total loss
Hannibal Hamlin 1943 Liberty
Harold T. Andrews 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Harry Percy 1943 Liberty
Henry Austin 1943 Liberty
Henry M. Rice 1943 Liberty
Henry Miller 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Henry S. Lane 1943 Liberty
Henry W. Grady 1943 Liberty
Henry Wynkoop 1942 Liberty
Herman Melville 1942 Liberty
Horace Gray 1943 Liberty
Horace Williams 1943 Liberty
Hutchinson I. Cone 1943 Liberty

Ignace Paderewski 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Ignatius Donnelly 1943 Liberty

J. D. Ross 1943 Liberty
J. E. B. Stuart 1942 Liberty
J. Warren Keifer 1943 Liberty
J. Willard Gibbs 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Jacques Cartier 1943 Liberty, loading in June
James A. Farrell 1943 Liberty -- Torpedoed by U-boat [U-984] on June 29, cargo saved, ship total loss
James B. Weaver 1943 Liberty -- Shot down a glider bomb on June 10
James Caldwell 1942 Liberty
James E. Haviland 1943 Liberty, loading in June
James I. Mckay 1943 Liberty
James L. Ackerson 1944 Liberty
James R. Randall 1943 Liberty
James Woodrow 1942 Liberty
Jane G. Swisshelm 1943 Liberty
Jane Long 1943 Liberty
Jedediah S. Smith 1943 Liberty
Jeremiah O'Brien 1943 Liberty
Jesse Applegate 1942 Liberty
Jim Bridger 1942 Liberty
John A. Campbell 1943 Liberty
John A. Sutter 1942 Liberty
John A. Treutlen 1944 Liberty -- Torpedoed by U-984, cargo saved, ship total loss
John C. Fremont 1941 Liberty, loading in June
John E. Sweet 1944 Liberty
John E. Ward 1943 Liberty
John F. Steffen 1943 Liberty
John G. Whittier 1942 Liberty
John Grier Hibben 1943 Liberty, loading in June
John Hay 1943 Liberty
John Henry 1942 Liberty
John L. Elliott 1944 Liberty, loading in June
John Merrick 1943 Liberty
John R. Park 1943 Liberty
John S. Mosby 1943 Liberty
John Sharp Williams 1943 Liberty, loading in June
John Steele 1942 Liberty
Joseph A. Brown 1942 xLiberty
Joseph E. Johnston 1942 Liberty
Joseph Pulitzer 1942 Liberty
Joseph Story 1942 Liberty
Joseph W. Folk 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Joshua B. Lippincott 1943 Liberty
Joshua W. Alexander 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Josiah Nelson Cushing 1943 Liberty
Juan Flaco Brown 1943 Liberty
Julius Rosenwald 1943 Liberty

Lee S. Overman 1943 Liberty
Lewis Morris 1942 Liberty
Lou Gehrig 1943 Liberty
Louis Kossuth 1943 Liberty
Louis Marshall 1943 Liberty
Lucien B. Maxwell 1943 Liberty
Lucius Q.C. Lamar 1943 Liberty
Lucy Stone 1943 Liberty
Lyman Hall 1943 Liberty

Mahlon Pitney 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Marymar 1919 Freighter, loading in June
Matthew T. Goldsboro 1943 Liberty
Melville Jacoby 1944 Liberty
Mexican 1907 Freighter

Nathan Towson 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Nathaniel Bacon 1942 Liberty, loading in June

Oliver Evans 1943 Liberty
Oliver Wolcott 1942 Liberty
Omar E. Chapman 1943 Liberty
Owen Wister 1943 Liberty

Panaman 1913 Freighter
Park Benjamin 1944 Liberty
Pearl Harbor 1942 Liberty
Peregrine White 1943 Liberty

R. Ney McNeely 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Richard Henry Lee 1941 Liberty
Robert E. Peary 1942 Liberty
Robert Henri 1944 Liberty
Robert Jordan 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Robert L. Vann 1943 Liberty
Robert Lansing 1943 Liberty
Robert Lowry 1943 Liberty
Robert Toombs 1943 Liberty
Roger Griswold 1943 Liberty, loading in June
Royal S. Copeland 1944 Liberty

Sam Houston II 1943 Liberty
Samuel Chase 1942 Liberty, loading in June
Samuel Colt 1942 Liberty
Samuel McIntyre 1943 Liberty
Simon Newcomb 1943 Liberty
Stanton H. King 1944 Liberty
Stephen B. Elkins 1943 Liberty

Thomas Bailey Aldrich 1942 Liberty, loading in June
Thomas Hartley 1942 Liberty
Thomas J. Jarvis 1943 Liberty
Thomas Kearns 1943 Liberty
Thomas Scott 1942 Liberty
Thomas Wolfe 1943 Liberty

Walter Hines Page 1943 Liberty
Washington Allston 1944 Liberty, loading in June
Webb Miller 1943 Liberty
Will Rogers 1942 Liberty
Willard Hall 1943 Liberty
William A. Jones 1943 Liberty
William C. Endicott 1942 Liberty, loading in June
William Carson 1943 Liberty
William H. Prescott 1942 Liberty, loading in June
William Kent 1942 Liberty, loading in June
William L. Marcy 1942 Liberty
William N. Pendleton 1943 Liberty -- Unexploded Bomb Reported Aboard June 18
William Pepperell 1943 Liberty, loading in June
William Phips 1943 Liberty
William Thornton 1943 Liberty, loading in June
William Tilghman 1942 Liberty
William Tyler Page 1943 Liberty
William W. Loring 1944 Liberty
William Windom 1943 Liberty, loading in June

Blockships -- Ships deliberately sunk to form artificial harbor

Ship Date sunk Ship Type Year Built Previous Damage
Alcoa Leader 08/13/44 Freighter 1919 Torpedo 05/01/42
Artemus Ward 06/08/44 Liberty 1942 Collision 03/24/44
Audacious Unknown Freighter 1913
Baialoide Unknown Freighter 1914
Benjamin Contee 06/08/44 Liberty 1942 Aerial Torpedo 08/16/43
Courageous 06/08/44 Freighter 1918
David O. Saylor 06/08/44 Concrete ship 1943
Exford 08/26/44 Freighter 1919
Flight Command Unknown Freighter 1911
Galveston 06/08/44 Freighter 1921
George S. Wasson 06/08/44 Liberty 1943 Mine 01/31/44
George W. Childs 06/08/44 Liberty 1943 Damaged by cargo & grounded 02/01/44
Illinoian 08/28/44 Freighter 1919
James Iredell 06/08/44 Liberty 1942 Bombed & fire 10/23/43
Weather damage 03/44
James W. Marshall 06/08/44 Liberty 1942 Bombed 09/15/43
Kentuckian 08/12/44 Freighter 1910
Kofresi 08/14/44 Freighter 1920
Lena Luckenbach 08/04/44 Freighter 1920 Collision 04/20/43
Matt W. Ransom 06/8/44 Liberty 1943 Mine 04/11/43
Olambala Unknown Freighter 1901
Pennsylvanian 08/4/44 Freighter 1913
Potter 08/06/44 Freighter 1920
Robin Gray 08/18/44 Freighter 1920
Sahale 07/26/44 Hog Islander 1920
Victory Sword 06/08/44 Freighter 1910
Vitruvius 06/08/44 Concrete ship 1943
West Cheswald 06/11/44 Freighter 1919
West Grama 06/08/44 Freighter 1918
West Honaker 06/08/44 Freighter 1920
West Nilus 07/07/44 Freighter 1920
West Nohno 06/08/44 Freighter 1919 Collision 01/15/42
Willis A. Slater* 06/08/44 Concrete ship 1944
Wilscox 06/08/44 Freighter 1919

* Conflicting information about presence of Willis A. Slater

U.S. Troopships which carried troops to Normandy from the United Kingdom during June 1944

ATS -- Army Transport Service
WSA -- War Shipping Administration

Ship Operator Tonnage Year Built Troop Capacity Notes
Anne Arundel Navy 7,796 1941 2,124 Carried 24 landing craft
Barnett (former Santa Maria) Navy 7,712 1928 1,295
Bienville WSA (Waterman) 6,165 1943 1,850
Borinquen ATS (Agwilines) 7,114 1931 1,450
Charles Carroll Navy 8,100 1942 1,402 Carried 31 landing craft
Dorothea L. Dix (former Exemplar) Navy 6,736 1940 1,550 Carried 24 landing craft
Excelsior ATS 6,685 1943 2,590
Exchequer WSA (American Export) 6,683 1943 2,216
Explorer WSA (American Export) 6,736 1939 2,198
George S. Simonds (former H. F. Alexander) ATS 8,357 1915 1,936
George W. Goethals ATS 12,093 1942 1,976
Henrico Navy 7,800 1943 1,622 troops Carried 27 landing craft
Joseph T. Dickman (former President Roosevelt) ATS 13,858 1922 2,050
Marine Raven WSA 11,757 1943 2,546
Samuel Chase Navy 10,812 1942 1,867 troops Carried 29 landing craft
Sea Porpoise WSA 10,584 1944 2,500 Damaged by mine on July 5
Susan B. Anthony
(former Santa Clara)
Navy 8,101 1930 2,288 Sank after striking mine on June 7
Thomas Jefferson Navy 9,260 1941 1,492 Carried 34 landing craft
Thurston Navy 6,509 1942 1,175 Carried 24 landing craft

V-4 Tugs
These 10 ocean going V-4 Tugs were operated by Moran Towing . They towed the components of the artificial harbors from the Atlantic coast to Great Britain, towed portion of the harbors such as the Mulberries from their construction sites to staging areas, and towed the artificial harbors to Normandy. Later, they towed damaged ships to Great Britain for salvage or repair.

Black Rock
Bodie Island
Farallon
Gay Head
Great Isaac
Hillsboro Inlet
Moose Peak
Sabine Pass
Sankaty Head
Trinidad Head

U.S. Army Transport Tugs assigned to Normandy
U.S. Army Transport Service "civilian" crews operated small tugs which towed barges to Normandy, and held blockships in position while they were scuttled.

ST 247
ST 248
ST 338
ST 344
ST 758
ST 759
ST 760
ST 761
ST 762
ST 766
ST 767
ST 769
ST 770
ST 771
ST 773
ST 781
ST 794
ST 795


9 June 1943 - History


T HE I TALIAN C AMPAIGN
OF W ORLD W AR 2
June 1944 - May 1945

This web site contains information on the Italian Campaign in World War 2. The primary focus of my website will be the period after the capture of Rome in June 1944, because most history books do not cover the last year of the war in Italy. This period is after the front opened in France and Italy became known as as the "forgotten front".
The Overview, below, is a brief outline of the battles in Italy from the time of the Allies invaded Sicily on July 9, 1943 until the end of the fighting on May 2, 1945. Later, I plan to have a time-line with maps that will illustrate the advance of Allied forces across Italy.


O VERVIEW OF T HE I TALIAN C AMPAIGN
(More history and maps to be added later)
See also Maps of Italian Campaign

The Allies wanted to establish a position in Italy so they could attach the German territories and resources and relieve the Soviet Union from the German advance. The secondary purpose was to tie up German forces that might be used to resist the channel invasion. The captured airfields in Italy were of great importance in the strategic bombing of Germany territories, such as the oil fields in Polesti. Churchill and many commanders didn't think the Germans would defend Italy and assumed the campaign would be completed by end of 1944. There were even plans to move the troops around Alps and into Vienna.

C HRONOLOGY OF B ATTLES
Outline of the Italian Campaign in 6 parts
General Map of Italy and area.

(1) Sicily Campaign, July 9 - August 1943. The 5th US and 8th British Armies landed on Sicily on July 9, 1943. General Patton was selected to lead the secondary attack on the left flank, around General Montgomery. Patton beat the British to Messina. On 25 July, the King Emanuele overthrew Mussolini. The monarchy tried to make an armistice with the Allies. The Germans rescued Mussolini from prison and set him up as a puppet leader over a new Republic.

(2) Invasion of Italy, September 3 & 9. On 3rd, Montgomery landed at the toe of Italy after an extensive artillery bombardment. Just before the 5th US Army landed at Salerno, below Naples on the 9th, the Italian government had surrendered and ordered Italians not to resist. Soon, both armies had captured the lower part of Italy, including the Foggia airfield and the valuable port of Naples. By December, the Germans had retreated to the natural fortresses along the Liri Valley just south of Rome. The Allies were about to attempt something that had only been done once in Rome's history capture the Eternal city from its southern approaches .
Map of Salerno - Landing by 36th 'Texas' Division.

(3) GUSTAV Line & Battles for Cassino - Jan - May 1944. An estimated 180,000 men were killed or wounded during this 4-month period. The British had a hard time on the east coast because of the many rivers and ridges that crossed their paths. On the Cassino front, or GUSTAV Line, the US had a set back at the crossing of the Rappido River. The II Corps were landed further north behind German lines at Anzio. Both fronts became a stalemate after 3 attacks were made against the GUSTAV Line. The Allies made a controversial decision to bomb the abbey Monte Cassino.
Anzio Diary - Day-by-day experiencies of a soldier who was on the Anzio beach.

(4) Spring Offensive & Capture of Rome, May - June 1944. After receiving more fresh troops, the Spring offensive came on May 11. The GUSTAV Line was broken and by June 4, 1944, the allies on the two fronts had linked up and advanced into Rome, as the Germans gave it up without causing further damage. The Germans were fighting a delaying action as they retreated north of the ARNO RIVER Line and into their major defense line in the mountains.
Map of Gustav Line - Positions of all Allied units on May 11, 1944.
Hill 69 - Brief description of combat of 2nd Battalion, 339th Regiment on May 12.
Pursuit to Arno - Advance from Rome to Arno River(3 parts). Summer 1944

(5) GOTHIC Line in the North Apennine Mtns. Germans set up a defense line north of Rome along the backbone of the northern Apennine Mountains. Again, the British attacked along the east coast. The main crossing of the Apennines was atIl Futa pass. This was heavily defended, so the main attack was at IL Giogo Pass to the east. This fighting was described as an all up-hill battle as several large peaks had to be assaulted. Both the 5th & 8th Armies were drained of men as units were pulled out for the invasion of Normandy and southern France. Without sufficient reserves, the fighting drew to a stalemate as the second winter in Italy set in.
Map of Gothic Line - II Corps attack on the Gothic Line, 10 - 18 September, 1944.
Battle Mountain - One lone company of 88th Division holds a hill with heavy losses.

(6) Rapid advance into Po Valley. Feb-April 1945. A few more units arrived, most notably, the 10th Mountain Division, which was used effectively during late winter operations. On April 19, the British initiated an attack towards Bologna. This was followed by the 5th Army attack that had been delayed by a couple of days. After fall of Bologna, the allies pushed out of the mountains and raced across the Po River valley. Amid much confusion, the Allies advanced rapidly and chased the retreating Germans into the Alps. Mussolini and 15 other Fascist leaders were executed by the partisans.
Po Valley Map - Map of Final drive across the Po Valley. 21 April - 2 May.
Liberation of Vicenza - Two US divisions advance thru Po Valley amid confusion and chaos.
Capture of Imola, April 9-15, 1945 - Initial attack by British 8th Army.
Execution of Mussolini - The last days of IL Duce. Where there American witnesses to his execution.

( My plans are to expand this history using a time-line and maps for each of the above phases and more detailed history of several battles. In the meantime, check out other menus, below. )

Equipment - Basic items used by artillery, including trucks.
Trucks - description of each type.

Rest Centers - Rome, Montecatini, Florence, Caserta

This website is a non-profit site that is dedicated to the memory of those who served in WW2. The intent is to tell what it was like for the common soldier who served in Italy through photos and text. This specific page provides some historical background on the campaign. Due to limited space and time, I've included material that I found interesting to me. There is no way to cover the whole campaign in great detail, but I will try to add more material all the time.
If a reader has a specific question, I will gladly attempt to answer it and provide information not available in my site. I am also willing to give permission to use any material to anyone who submits a request in email. This is to ensure they do not intend to use my material for commercial purposes. I receive an average of one email per week from readers who stumble onto my website and write for information about someone who saw combat in Itlay. I gladly reply to each one, individually.
Check out my Mail Bag for latest emails and some suggestions.


If for some reason a link doesn't work, then refer to the Site Map to find a page. Email me any problems you find. Check out my Mail Bag for latest emails and some suggestions.

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Disclaimer: This website is not associated with any veteran's organization or any official U.S. Army or Department of Defense organization.


This site contains copyrightable subject matter and material that is copyrighted as a compilation and/or collective work. No photos, text, or pages of this website may be used without prior written permission. All information contained within this website is from my private collection or records in public domain or property obtained with permission.

Check out Site Map for outline of entire webpage.

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