(WAR LIFE ) The conditions in the winter of 1942 made for surreal scenes – from Syria up to the Alps great blizzards swept the whole of Southern Europe, bringing almost unprecedented snows to the continent.
For Hitler, the weather was disastrous, as a blizzard swept down from Russia across the whole of south-eastern Europe, having dire effects on Axis military communications.
The picture was also bleak in Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria, where there were almost unprecedented falls of snow just at a period when Germany needed all the assistance from these countries that they could muster for the campaign in Russia.
Even in the south the weather was diabolical. Turkey was isolated from Europe and even as far south as Syria floods were experienced.
A second blizzard came at a moment when vast areas in Europe were still suffering from previous terrific storms – even in sunny Italy, Arctic conditions were experienced.
For eleven days heavy snow fell all over Rumania and all traffic was brought to a standstill.
In the Mediterranean, along the North African coast, British operations in Libya were hindered by the weather and by sea the work of the Royal Navy was greatly hampered by gales, snow, fog and rain.
The Germans were forced to use horse transport during the blizzards, and attempted at the same time to cope with the congestion caused by a German army in retreat.