The Star. Guernsey occupation newspaper from 14th February 1942.
The Star was the newspaper for Guernsey, authorised by the German occupation authorities, and as such it is a valuable insight into the news in the English language, as seen from the German point of view. The newspaper was printed on very poor quality paper, it is yellow and falling to pieces. I have therefore preserved the most important articles and placed them on an MS Word document, which is reproduced here. The first page is written out in full and the images are taken from the other three pages, which consisted mostly of entertainment, local sales and wanted columns. Two orders from the German commandant, which were always written in both languages, have been reproduced as images, as has the cinema guide.
Note: This is the German news and as such all mention of "enemy forces" relate to Allied forces.
SEA BATLE IN THE CHANNEL German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau in action.
From the Führer´s Headquarters, February 13th, 1942.
The German Supreme Command announces:
On the Eastern Front the enemy continued his attacks at numerous points and again suffered heavy losses. On the Donez Front further progress was made by the attacking German troops, in spite of fierce enemy resistance. In the waters east of the Crimea the German air Force damaged a large transport vessel by bombs.
On February 12th, German naval forces were in action against British naval forces in the Channel and in the Western North Sea. The German naval units under the command of Vice-Admiral Cisiak, consisting of the battleships "Scharnhorst," "Gneisenau" and the cruiser "Prinz Eugen," Sank, according to reports so far received, one British destroyer and set another destroyer on fire.
The attacking strong formations of the British Air Force were repulsed with heavy losses. Only one German torpedo-boat was slightly damaged by bomb hits. One German patrol boat was sunk after it had shot down the attacking enemy plane. The operations of our naval forces were supported by strong formations of the German Air Force under the supreme command of Fieldmarshal-General Sperrle. According to reports so far to hand, the losses of the enemy air force amount to 43 aircraft. Of this total, the majority were shot down by German fighters, the rest by anti-aircraft and the Air Force. In the course of the fierce aerial combats, 7 German planes were lost.
German bombers dropped bombs of heavy calibre on harbour installations and aerodromes in low-level attacks on the English south coast.
In North Africa there was reconnaissance activity on both sides. German bombers and dive-bombers set fire to war-important objectives in the harbour of Tobruk in the course of day and night raids, and put anti-aircraft batteries out of action through direct bomb hits.
On British aerodromes in the Marmarica, several enemy aircraft were destroyed or damaged on the ground. In aerial combats the enemy lost five further aircraft.
During attacks of German bombers on aerodromes and sea bases of the island of Malta, German fighters acting as escort shot down 2 enemy aircraft.
16 MORE BRITISH PLANES DESTROYED
On Thursday, British torpedo planes, accompanied by strong fighter units, tried to enter the French and Belgian coastal districts. Before reaching the coast, German fighters pushed them back and shot down seven torpedo planes, which fell into the sea. At another place the British Air Force lost 6 fighters and 3 bombers.
Strong units of German bombers on Wednesday raided objectives on the south-west coast of England. Aerodromes were attacked and hangers and shelters destroyed. At Torquay, direct hits were scored on harbour installations, and numerous fires were observed at Exmouth.
A constant reminder that the Channel Islands were under occupation
A BRITISH GENERAL WHO WAS FAR-SIGHTED
How a famous British General forecast the present advance of Japan was related on the Bremen radio on Friday afternoon in a talk by the German naval expert, Rear Admiral Lutzow. This talk was read by Lord Haw-Haw, who said that the role of Cassandra had always been a difficult one throughout history but he wished to quote observations made concerning the Japanese in Manchuria during the last Japasnese war.
This Englishman, General Sir Ian Hamilton, had written significantly that when he returned to England and the people asked him what were his reactions to the Manchurian war, his answer had been that the British must change their character, and be much less jealous and much less individual and much less selfish than before the war.
The British Government however, observed the speaker, had evidently failed to understand that war: otherwise they could hardly have under-rated the spirit of the Japanese people during the past 20 years. They had entirely failed to appreciate the spiritual force of the Japanese people.
All warnings had fallen on deaf ears. In 1937, Sir Ian Hamilton had again forecast that Japanese action would take them to Hong Kong, Bengal, Singapore, Assam, and Burma. Singapore, said the speaker, was the chief naval base for Australia. It would be taken by the Japanese forces just as Port Arthur was taken from the Russians in 1905. The British Army had been beaten in Burma, and British ships had been attacked by Japanese naval units in the Gulf of Bengal.
How long would Singapore, a bulwark of the British Empire, be able to hold out? In what dire peril did the British Empire stand at present? The speaker went on to point out how, by reason of Japanese naval supremacy and losses already incurred by the British fleet, various vital sea routes for Britain and America could now be blocked. This blockade could even extend to the campaign in North Africa, especially if Singapore fell. Even now, the question was: Had General Auchinleck been compelled to retreat only because he was short of supplies? Singapore was, more than any other place, the symbol of Britain´s power and sea supremacy. If Singapore fell, that power and supremacy were gone, and the Imperial might of Britain would be ended.
U.S.A. AND PRODUCTION OF SYNTHETIC RUBBER
When Germany first set about producing rubber synthetically, she was the object of considerable ridicule in English-speaking countries where the people were told they had no need of such a step, since England and America had access to the natural rubber resources of the world. Things look somewhat different now in the face of recent developments in the Pacific, for Japan has succeeded in cutting both England and America off from these sources of supply.
The London "Financial Times" reprints a tale of woe from the "Wall Street Journal" on the absence of industrial plants for the production of synthetic rubber and the difficulties of erecting them, for an output large enough to meet American requirements would take years of preparation. Normally the annual consuption in the States amounted to over 600,000 tons. Her chemists now estimate that under the most favourable circumstances at least two years would be required to turn out but half of this demand synthetically. But even this estimate was conditional to the necessary material and manufacturing equipment being available. The difficulty was, however, that such new industries would have to be fitted out with material and machines that were needed for priority defence production.
Some time ago a beginning had been made on a synthetic rubber plant, but it was not completed for the lack of the necessary equipment. Experts therefore saw no possibility of making the country independent of rubber plantations in the Pacific. It was , in fact, fantastic and Utopian to think of producing synthetic rubber from one day to the next. One of the few concerns of producing this commodity in America, the Goodrich Co., had turned out 12,000 tons in 1941. Present requirements were 775,000 tons annually.
Every official notice was printed in both languages
GRAVITY OF ENGLAND`S SUPPLY SITUATION
Mr. Hudson, Minister for Agriculture, while addressing British agriculturalists, stated that the gravity of England´s situation with regard to supplies could not be overdone.
Due to developments in the Pacific, the food problem had become even more difficult, for happenings in the Far East could not fail to have a very unfavourable effect on England´s food situation. The Minister stated further that the aim of agriculture in England was to see that no one starved.
In view of the manner in which domestic farming has been neglected in recent years, preference having been given to the Dominions and Colonies as a source of supplies, it is difficult to foresee how the farmer in England is to cope with the problems with which he is now faced.
Very popular with the German Wehrmacht is a plane known as the "Fieseler Storch" (stork), which was first constructed in 1936 at the Fieseler Works, and in the present war came to be known as the "flying strategist." This neat little plane, which can be spotted from afar by its "long-legged" undercarriage and was displayed by its constructor at the International Air Meeting in 1937 at Zurich, can take off and land almost anywhere, needing only a few square yards for manoeuving.
It is popular on all fronts for carrying despatches, short-range reconnaissance, transportation and ambulance work, and for inspection flights by superior officers; in other words, it is very much in evidence everywhere, not so much for its fighting qualifications, but rather for special nimbleness over a small area.
The "father" of the stork, Gerhard Fieseler, was a well-known ace airman in the Great War. His activity in the Balkans won him the nickname of "the Tiger of Macedonia." After the war he went in for stunt flying, where he was most successful, particulary in figures of his own.
At the zenith of his fame he decided to give up active flying and devote himself to the construction and building of machines at a plant which bears his name.
The Fieseler Works have meanwhile become an "N.S. Model Plant," a mark of distinction awarded by the German Labour Front to denote that the social interests of employees are well taken care of.
MOSCOW NOT SATISFIED
The Swiss newspaper "Gazette de Lausanne" issues a United Press report from London on essential disagrements with regard to the Anglo-American deliveries to the Soviet Union: The diplomatic experts are said to be in possetion of information according to which Russia is disappointed at the deliveries of the Allies. Moscow is not satisfied with the speed of American and British war production. Also the continual setbacks to the forces of the allies in the Pacific have caused anxiety in Russia.
WHO`S WHO? GENERAL YAMASHITA: CONQUEROR OF SINGAPORE
Some days ago we learnt for the first time that the Commander in Chief of the Japanese troops in Malays, now the conqueror of Singapore, is Lieutenant-General Yamashita.
We do not know much of him: He is one of those outstanding officers of the Japanese Army, almost unknown to us, who are representing the strength and might of a hundred million people in Eastern Asia. Before 1930 he had been Military Attachè in Vienna and he therefore knows Germany.
During the war against China he held different commands in the Japanese Expeditionary Army and now we see him leading the Japanese troops in the most important theatre of war in the Pacific. In 55 days he occupied the Malay Peninsula and in 55 hours General Yamashita conquered one of the mightiest fortresses of the world- Singapore.
After the war in France in 1940 Lieutenant-General Tomozuki Yamashita was sent to Germany as leader of the Japanese Military Mission which paid a visit to the battlefields in Holland, Belgium and France in order to study the fundamental lines of German warfare. The German war reporter Helmuth Fischer wrote on this tour of inspection:-
The quiet winter months were just the time for perfecting the training of the soldiers for long-distance infantry marches and putting the last finishing touches to the German Army, and this has and is being made full use of. Lieut.-General Yamashita was able to confirm this with the trained eye of a military leader when he recently went on a tour of inspection through the vast district covered by our army on the Scheldt, Somme and Seine, accompanied by Japanese officers and military experts.
The long motor column, which under expert guidance, moved from position to position, from aerodrome to aerodrome, from town to town, encountered smaller and larger troop units either engaged in training exercises or on the march, which drew from one member of the Japanese military Mission in Berlin the remark that he was really surprised by so much industriousness and zealousness shown by the German soldiers stationed along the coast and the interior country. He knew and admired our talent for organization and also the energy with which new Germany prepared all her great battles and victories.
We got the idea of the great interest shown by our Japanese guests because they were not only satisfied to learn the fundamental lines of German warfare but also all the details of our military service; again and again they put questions and had explanations given by the various commanding officers translated into Japanese.
The ruins of dunkirk and Calais, the quarters of rotterdam which were razed to the ground, as well as the numerous dumps for captured arms and material and the many shipwrecks, through and along which eager for knowledge the Japanese officers passed, provided them with an opportunity of learning something of germany´s great might.
Seen in the light, Lieut.-General Yamashita´s remark can well be understood "I firmly believe in the victory of the young nations of this world, because I have seen their sons. Germany, Italy and Japan have been conscious of their tremendous strength long before these decisive battles, which in the case of Japan started with the entry into Manchukou."
Many of the films in the cinema were German productions
NEWS IN BRIEF
The Australian Government has proclaimed a state of emergency throughout Australia. A similar state was also announced in New Guinea.
In Manchester one of the biggest hotels of the town was destroyed by fire. Ten of the residents were burnt in the flames, whilst 10 others are still missing.
MASS AIR ATTACKS ON TROOPSHIPS EVACUATING SINGAPORE
Imperial Japanese Headquarters announce that the Japanese Air Force made mass attacks on British merchant ships which were carrying out evacuation in the waters around Singapore.
One vessel of 10,000 tons, which was laden with troops, was sunk, and another of 3,000 tons was set on fire. Direct hits were scored on nine other ships. There were no Japanese losses. The fall of Singapore, commented the Bremen radio announcer, has left the Prime Minister of Britain speechless. One of his ministers declared in the house of commons that Mr. Churchill would make a statement on Singapore as soon as he was asked for it, but not yet. Apparently, he wants the alarm to calm down before his speech.
Australian reaction is reflected in newspaper comments. The "Sydney Morning Herald" says: "Singapore was to Australia what the Maginot Line was to France. In this hour of crisis, Australians would be blind indeed if they failed to perceive how deadly their peril had become, and how near to Australia the menace of invasion draws."
The Austrailian Parliament has been summoned to meet in a week´s time and will probably hold a two-day secret sitting. The reason given for calling members together is the continued deterioation in the Pacific and Mr. Curtin hopes to give all the facts regarding the latest developments.
The last hours of the british naval base are thus described in a "Times" article by a special correspondent:- "Abandoned, the harbour installations of Singapore are lying in front of me. Two months ago Singapore was more than only a base. For 20 years we constructed this fortress. Two million tons of earth had to be moved and Great Britain spent 60 million pounds ( 60,000,000 pounds). Two months ago Singapore was still the mightiest base of Britain and the U.S.A. in the hemisphere of the world."
The occupation of Singapore by the Japanese caused a panic on the New York Exchange. Armament shares suffered considerable losses.
Regarding the loss of Singapore the British insurance companies raised the premiums for shipping to India. The increase amounts to 100 per cent.
Pursued by the Japanese, British troops on the western bank of the Sauwein River in Burma are retreating. When the Japanese captured Mataban, the british garrison of 4,000 fled in face of a storming attack and left behind only a small rearguard of Indian infantry. Mopping-up of the remaining british is proceeding.
According to Japanese war reports, the entire defence line of the River Salween, which was announced to be invincible, is now in Japanese hands.
PORTUGUESE PREMIER VISITS FRANCO
The Portuguese Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Salazar, paid a visit to Spain, where he had discussions with General Franco and the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. serrano Sunier.
An official communiqué announced that the negotiations were accomplished in the spirit of the Portuguese-Spanish treaty of friendship. General political and economic questions were discussed, as well as the foreign policy concerning the two countries.