The Worst Job in WW2?

Discussion in 'General' started by von Poop, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Goodygixxer

    Goodygixxer Senior Member

    How about the civvy sailors on the merchant ships with no means to detect enemy submarines/aircraft and no means to fight back!
  2. Agreed, the number of merchant ships sunk during WW2 was massive - the US lost over 1500! The Atlantic must be the biggest boat cemetary in the world.

    Like you say, the civilian sailors on them must have felt like blind sitting ducks.
  3. Bernard85

    Bernard85 WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    good day von worst job in ww2.i have been reading the replies to this thread and one thing stands out clearly.each person feels the other has the worst job,any job in the worst job for any man/woman to be given.but it all boils down to.somebody had to do it.there realy was not many wingers and moaners.congratulations to you all.and the memories of those who did not come won the war.have a great day bernard85
    von Poop likes this.
  4. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Thanks dear friend. And a very good morning to you. Your sheer downright wisdom is so typical of the attitude of so many sensible lads that were always around during the Second World War. Their innate sense of what had to be done no matter what, now seen with the sharp clear-eyed hindsight of the years, was needed as a safety valve for those, like me, who would have mind-destroyed by what they often had to do.

    Regards from another 'young' codger.

  5. bugleboy2323

    bugleboy2323 Senior Member

    War in all forms is a Dirty job.But I do thank God, And all Vets, living and dead who did their best ]and suceeded] to clean up the messes started by monsters,we do owe a great debt of gratitude, thank you.
  6. Chats1

    Chats1 Junior Member

    The members of the light and heavy rescue during the Blitz have to be up there - the things they must have seen would have been horrific
  7. jingle

    jingle New Member

    My father (Royal Engineers) had to drive the bulldozers at the burials in Belsen.
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi jingle,

    I watched the story of footballer Bert Trautmann yesterday, they showed footage of that terrible scene during the programme. I think you have a very valid point.
  9. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Street fighting: house clearing.

    Joe Brown
  10. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    Can you paint a picture for us of why you regard that as the most difficult?
  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Must have been terrible
  12. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    Joe - points out house clearing and street fighting something that was a large part of an infantrymans training during the 'cold war' period the British army spending vast sums on CQBR ranges pop up mannequins in windows etc - serious trouble if you shot the local nun! (close quarter battle ranges) and the 'villages' that were built in many training areas 'The German Village' (FIBUA) etc. The ultimate test of an individual and commanders at a junior and senior level. Complexity and co-ordination meant continual training - and criticism by the directing staff, 'why did you go through that door when you could have punched through the stud wall? Why did you enter the building at ground level - you set off a mercury tilt switch and much more: This was then modified by NITAT (Northern Ireland tours) training where street fighting was modified to take into consideration the population and the civil laws:

    Lt Col Jebb - Royal Engineers 1 February 1853:

    WW2 Street Fighting:
    canuck likes this.
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    My Dad once explained how when he and his platoon were clearing parts of Beringen the Germans had set up tall mirrors at some windows to trick them. After the experience of Brussels, Beringen was a reminder that the Germans weren't going to give up easily. They lost their section sergeant there, and another sergeant bled out just out of reach, but in full view of his section after getting trapped in a courtyard.
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    WE never did have a problem with house clearing with Churchill Tanks - we used two methods - we blew it to bits or just knocked it down - mind you some of those Italian houses were built very strongly and

    took a bit of clearing -

    The Canadians at Ortona used PIATs to move from one room to the next - they called it "Mouseholing "…it worked...

  15. canuck

    canuck Closed Account
  16. Joe Brown

    Joe Brown WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    This graphic picture of an 8th Royal Scot lad mindful of sniper fire is crawling along a street in Blerick, a western suburb of Venlo, which was an important strategic objective for the Allies as its capture meant we had driven all the Germans from the west bank of the River Maas.

    It conveys the horror of clearing an area like that depicted. Despite being subject to heavy bombardment the houses presented formidable cover in favour of the defender. True, PIAT and grenades were powerful weapons in such a situation where house by house, room by room, attic by attic, and the myriad of outhouses were danger zones. The German tactics of rehearsed withdrawal when in danger of being overrun and well practised counter-attacks were part of their tenacious defence plan. Yes, the grenade and the rush-charge which followed had to be repeated virtually room by room.

    As Tactical Officer to my C.O. he ordered me to set up a Battalion Tactical Headquarters just behind the start-line for our night attack on the German Garrison HQ in Flushing. The house I chose was in the centre of a row of terraced houses and although we searched it from top to bottom before long we were being fired on by snipers who had made a way through the attics to reach us. We had to return fire and evacuate by climbing down a rope we suspended from a rear window and find a safer house!

    Tom's Churchill Tanks were just the job to demolish built-up areas, but tanks were at great risk from hand-held anti-tank weapons in town and street warfare and it was a case that infantry were more deployable and would be successful if initially well supported by artillery, 3-inch mortar and tank fire to 'open' up the buildings so that our entry was not through the front or even the back door.

    Joe Brown.
  17. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    I found this in the plans for Op Manna (2nd BEF to Greece).

    The 104th Well Boring Section.

    Would prefer Well Boring to Well Dangerous any day.

    dbf likes this.
  18. elser

    elser Member

    That korean guy who was forced to fight for japan against russia, captured and taken pow by them, forced to fight with them against the germans. This man was captured in france in a german uniform on d-day by US soldiers, you couldnt make it up. Poor guy didnt have much luck… or a hell of a lot of it!
  19. beeza

    beeza Senior Member

    Hosing out rear gunners from shot up aircraft after their return.
  20. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Burying the dead, collecting the dead, taking details from them , burying them in Temporay graves before moving them again to permanent cemeteries. Sometimes the dead had to be moved several times . A highly emotionally draining job, deeply unpleasant.

Share This Page