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Liveblogging World War II: August 29, 1942

Hans Wijers, [Eastern Front Combat:](

Wehrmacht communique: "In the Stalingrad area, the German troops continue their attack against partially extensive enemy fortifications. Multiple counterattacks were beaten off."…

Now we have arrived in the suburbs of the city and in the deep system of enemy positions And there are more deeply-echeloned and well-crafted field fortifications in front of us. Here it becomes clear to all of us why the Russian resistance is so successful Dug-in tanks are scarcely visible, with their guns aimed just over the cover. Flamethowers turn the entire killing ground that we have to cross into a sheet of flame. Closing with the enemy causes losses. And yet we have pierced deeply into the Russian defenses and hope that their resistance will diminish in short order. Behind the long rolling heights lies Stalingrad. Gigantic plumes of black smoke are rising to the skies there, and at night, a bright gleam of fires covers the entire city….

Today, like past days, again saw bitter fighting with the retreating enemy. The Bolsheviks fortify any high ground and obstacle and, as before, defend themselves with determination and bitterness. They hang on to their excellently-fashioned dugouts and make use of every useful section of ground to weaken our still-present impetus and stop us cold. Again and again, there are these damned dug-in T-34 tanks, which are difficult to spot Most of the time, they are spotted too late They completely hose us, and the fields in this wide-open steppe offer no cover from their tank shells In a concentrated hail of fire, our grenadiers are pinned down, and onto them, the Russian flamethrowers hiss and spit their load and cause horrible and hideous casualties.

Overhead are our dive-bombers and close-support aircraft, our JU-88 bombers, which drop their bombs on the Russian positions and bunker systems. Added to that are the rocket launchers located close behind us. They fire their screaming and howling projectiles over our heads into the enemy--a hellish inferno in which no one knows whether fire is enemy of friendly. The attack makes progress only slowly in the scorching heat and raised dust clouds...

World War II Day-By-Day: Day 1094 August 29, 1942:

At 2.37 AM in the North Atlantic 660 miles West of Trinidad, U-66 sinks American SS Topa Topa (18 crew and 7 gunners killed, 35 survivors picked up next day by British SS Clan Macinnes and landed at Port of Spain on September 9).

36 miles Northwest of El Alamein, British destroyers HMS Eridge and HMS Aldenham shell German/Italian airfield at El Daba, Egypt. 2 miles off the coast, an Italian torpedo boat badly damages HMS Eridge (5 killed). HMS Eridge is towed to Alexandria but declared a total loss and used as a base ship.

Milne Bay, Papua. Both sides recover from the battles of the last 3 days. Japanese are unable to return to the attack being desperately short of food, water and equipment. At 8 PM, 1 Japanese cruiser and 9 destroyers enter Milne Bay and unload 769 SNLF troops and supplies at Waga Waga. These new reinforcements quickly move up to join the initial landing party at the Gama River. The Japanese ships then inaccurately bombard the Allied airfield at Gili Gili and retire from the Bay at 11 PM.

Kokoda Track, Papua. Japanese 3rd Battalion 144th Regiment makes another flanking movement to get behind the Australians and stumbles directly into their positions at the Isurava Rest House. Australian Private Bruce Kingsbury (2/14th Battalion) wins the Victoria Cross leading a charge carrying a Bren gun during which he is killed. Japanese bring up more mountain guns and mortars which pound the Australian positions. Meanwhile, 2/16th Battalion holds the Japanese advance on the side track.

At noon in the Gulf of Papua West of Port Moresby, Japanese submarine RO-33 torpedoes Australian troopship Marita (evacuating troops to Cairns, Australia, due to Japanese bombing) which is damaged but stays afloat. Australian destroyer HMAS Arunta counterattacks with depth charges, sinking RO-33 (all 42 hands lost).

Siege of Leningrad Day 356. Soviet 8th Army advances another 1 mile into the Sinyavino gap against German 18th Army. 8th Army’s advance is slowing in the face of increasing German resistance, so 4th Guards Rifle Corps is sent into the salient which is now 4 miles deep.

Stalingrad. 4th Panzer Army sidesteps Soviet defenses in the hills and lakes around Tundutovo and charges across the open Kalmyk steppe while von Richthofen’s Stukas shoot up anything in their way. The back door to Stalingrad lies open.

Overnight, 100 Soviet Petlyakov Pe-8, Ilyushin Il-4 and Yermolayev Yer-2 bombers mount the heaviest Soviet raid of the war on Berlin, while 7 Pe-8s bomb Konigsberg.