Hand-picked WWII news by Joni Nuutinen|
(Check out my Strategy game series for Android that I have been crafting since 2011)
Seven New War Machines the U.S. Planned to Unleash On Japan in 1946
The arsenal included larger tanks, more powerful artillery, faster fighter planes and new bombers.
Germany’s royal family backed the Nazis, says historian
A new book examines the role played by the Hohenzollern dynasty in the rise of Nazism as it fights for the return of its old palaces and art treasures
The Kamikaze War – Inside the U.S. Navy’s Race to Defeat Japan’s Suicide Pilots
Although U.S. Navy commanders were initially surprised by the first large-scale kamikaze attacks, they were quick to respond and within weeks were identifying measures to defend against this new threat.
Eddie Jaku: Holocaust survivor and peace campaigner dies aged 101
During World War Two, he was imprisoned in four concentration camps, led a daring escape on a train, broke free from a death march and survived in a forest. Last year, to celebrate his 100th birthday, Jaku published his memoirs. Entitled The Happiest Man on Earth, it chronicles his extraordinary story of survival, weaving in his messages of tolerance and forgiveness.
Austria faces up to Nazi past in Auschwitz
Austria's new National Exhibition at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial underscores one main point: the country has dropped its victim myth.
Kaiten: Japan’s fully-manned kamikaze torpedos during WWII
Kaiten could be launched either from a submarine or a surface vessel, although in practice only submarine launches were used. Piloting these machines was very complex. Pilot training took place at the island of Ozushima in the Inland Sea. The island was fully equipped for the testing of kaiten and the training of their pilots. Pilots were first trained in controlling fast boats using just a periscope and instruments. After this, they were placed in trainer kaiten armed with dummy warheads and worked through progressively harder tests. The training culminated in a submarine launch and nighttime missions.
How German Soldiers Used Lentil Soup as an Effective Defense Mechanism Against the Soviets
Soviet troops were notoriously underfed during the war which made them desperate for food. With this in mind, the German commander ordered his cooks to make a large batch of lentil and pea soup from a stockpile of legumes they found in a building in the village. In front of the first buildings the advancing Soviets would reach, the Germans lit fires. The ingredients for the soup were mixed into large pots filled with water and positioned over the fires. The ruse had worked; the German troops were able to successfully withdraw from Verkhne-Buzinovka while the Soviets were busy eating.
‘Flaming Coffin’: The He 177 Bomber Was a Total Disaster
The hot, flammable He 177 Greif, or Griffin, was Nazi Germany’s only long-range heavy bomber produced in appreciable numbers. The 35-ton machine — when fully loaded — was a mistake, and more importantly, contributed to the German defeat by sucking up valuable resources into an ineffective and compromised aircraft.
Mustang vs. Corsair – Inside the U.S. Navy’s 1944 Match-Up Between the Two Fighters
In late January and early February 1944, the U.S. Navy conducted a comparison of both airplanes at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland.
How Holocaust perpetrators are prosecuted in Germany
German prosecutors are working to bring the last surviving Holocaust perpetrators to court. But what are the legal hurdles they need to clear? And why have they waited so long?
Nazi trial: 100-year-old SS guard in court in Germany
Seventy-six years after the end of World War Two, a former concentration camp guard has gone on trial for assisting in the murder of 3,518 prisoners at Sachsenhausen near Berlin.
Granddaughter of Mussolini wins seat in Rome municipal vote
Rachele Mussolini said she wanted nothing to do with the "burden" of her surname. The far-right politician insisted her success was because of her hard work, not her family history.
Files from the Nuremberg Trials published online
On the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg trial of the major war criminals of World War II, Stanford University digitized the historical files of this trial and made them publicly available online.
George Patton bought supplies from Sears because the US was so unprepared for WWII
Patton was born into an affluent family and married the daughter of an extremely wealthy businessman, whose family was also worth a fortune. With these funds, Patton was able to enjoy some of the finest luxuries, but he was also not afraid to use them for less conventional means, like personally financing the equipping of an armored division.
Austria: Explosive war relic kills German man at swimming lake
A German man has been killed by a piece of ammunition he found in a popular swimming lake in Austria, police say. The lake is known to contain large quantities of munitions left over from World War II.
The first American-designed tank in combat didn’t fight with US troops first
Eventually, the U.S. produced the M2, which would go on to fight in World War II. The first American made tank to see combat didn’t go with U.S. troops, it would first see action with the British Army in North Africa.
Junkers JU-52 Now Available for Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft has now released the Junkers JU-52 for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The sinking of U-864: The only time a submarine has sunk another submarine while submerged
Only a single submarine has been sunk while both it and the attacker were submerged. This occurred right at the end of WWII, in a duel between a British submarine and a German U-boat, suspected of transporting top-secret goods to Japan.
There’s a receipt for the Hiroshima Nuclear Bomb
One of history’s most significant receipts ever signed still exists today. It was issued to mark the successful delivery and use of the Little Boy atomic bomb, which would be the first atomic bomb used in combat.
Beyond the cult of Churchill: New Netflix film Munich shows Chamberlain in 'sympathetic light'
a new Netflix film aims to move beyond the “cult” of Churchill and restore the reputation of Neville Chamberlain. Munich: The Edge of War, based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris, stars Jeremy Irons as Chamberlain and revisits the Munich Agreement of 1938. The film’s producer, Andrew Eaton, said: “I certainly think we’ve had enough Churchill stories to last us a lifetime.” Harris said that Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany “has had a great overhang in this country… to call someone an ‘appeaser’ is still a deadly insult.”
A Marine Pilot Used His Propeller To Down An Enemy Plane, Here’s How It Happened
On May 10, 1945, two U.S. Marine pilots were on a combat air patrol when they came across a lone Kawasaki Ki-45. Realizing there was no other way to take the Ki-45 down, the Marine decided to use his propeller to destroy the enemy plane – understanding the risk that this posed to his own aircraft. This is the story of how Robert Klingman used his propeller to bring down a Japanese airplane and lived to tell the tale.
World War Two: The brothers who fled Nazi occupation by kayak
Whenever Niels Peteri visits a beach, he thinks of his father, Henri. He was one of the "Engelandvaarders" who, on 21 September 1941, stepped back upon land having paddled across the North Sea from the Nazi-occupied Netherlands to join the UK's war effort.
Lloyd Fredendall: One of the Most Unsuccessful American Generals of WWII
The military is an institution built on order and service. While the majority who join abide by these values, others choose to disregard the chain of command, resulting in disastrous consequences. This is true of Lloyd Fredendall, whose actions hurt Allied operations following the landings in North Africa.
When the Nazis sent scientists to the Himalayas
In 1938, Heinrich Himmler, a leading member of Germany's Nazi party and a key architect of the Holocaust, sent a five-member team to Tibet to search for the origins of the supposed Aryan race. Author Vaibhav Purandare recounts the fascinating story of this expedition, which passed through India.
Historian brings to light story of the dressmakers of Auschwitz
When she read about a 'tailoring studio' in Auschwitz, historian Lucy Adlington set out to find more about the death camp inmates employed as dressmakers.
WWII Spy And War Hero Martin Gelb Dies At 101
Martin Gelb, a WWII spy and one of the Nazi’s most wanted men, has passed away aged 101. As a member of the OSS, Gelb’s wartime exploits were classified until 2008.
Nazi Stutthof camp secretary flees as German trial starts
Irmgard Furchner, 96, was due to stand trial in northern Germany on Thursday for complicity in 11,000 murders on Thursday morning, but the judge instead issued a warrant for her arrest.
Gilbert Seltzer, Soldier in the World War II ‘Ghost Army,’ Dies at 106
He was one of the last survivors of a band of Army con artists who duped German forces with their arsenal of fakery, including inflatable tanks and scripted radio transmissions.
How A Jazz-Playing Comedian In The Marines Gave Us The Name Bazooka
The word bazooka is synonymous with shoulder-fired anti-tank weaponry today, but this strange term actually dates all the way back to WWI, when it was used to identify a much more peaceful, yet still-tubular object.
George Jones, one of the last surviving World War II paratroopers, has died aged 95 in Tipton
Tributes have been paid to one of the last surviving World War II paratroopers after he passed away aged 95.
Torpedownia: A Torpedo Launch Station Abandoned Off the Polish Coast
An abandoned piece of German construction still stands today off the coast of Poland, near the town of Gdynia. The structure, which sits on the shallow sea bed, was used by the Germans for testing torpedoes during WWII. Although it is now slowly collapsing, the complex remains a popular destination among beachgoers and urban explorers.
Assault on Tulagi — Inside the U.S. Marine Raiders’ First Ope
he Marine landings had caught the crack Japanese soldiers completely flat-footed. They were hardly prepared to defend their posts, let alone the island...
The Japanese-American combat unit that earned 4,000 Bronze Stars and 21 Medals of Honor
The United States’ most decorated WWII unit was made up of people considered ‘enemy aliens’ at the time. When America joined WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor in late 1941, they did what many other nations did when at war; gathering and incarcerating citizens from countries they were at war against. These people were known as ‘enemy aliens,’ and were placed in internment camps after President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which affected over 100,000 Japanese Americans.
Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf becomes unlikely summer bestseller in France
French publishing house Fayard has ordered a second print run after its new edition sold almost 10,000 copies in two months.
The B-24 Liberator: The Most Produced Bomber In History
The B-24 Liberator was one of the US’ primary heavy bombers of WWII. It fought alongside the legendary B-17 but has since been overshadowed by the sleeker and more popular Flying Fortress. Despite this, the B-24 was able to carry a heavier bomb load than its Boeing counterpart, and also had a higher top speed and cruise speed. Over 18,000 B-24s were built during WWII, making it not only the most produced American military aircraft but the most produced bomber in history.
The forgotten Black victims of the Nazi era
Of the 75,000 commemorative stones dedicated to victims of the Nazis, only four of them remember Black people. Their experience of persecution was largely erased.
When Japan sent Young School Girls into the Battle of Okinawa
In March of 1945, as the end of the Second World War was nearing, the US attacked the island of Okinawa. Capturing Okinawa was vitally important as it would serve as a staging ground for the eventual invasion of Japan itself. The fight was one of the most ferocious and bloody battles of the entire war. The Japanese mobilized over 200 students from women’s schools into a nursing unit in the Imperial Japanese Army to help tend to the wounded. The girls worked in atrocious conditions, and many were killed in the crossfire. They would become known as the Himeyuri students.
World War II Bunker Discovered Inside Ruins of Roman Fort
Nazi soldiers built the shelter during the German occupation of Alderney, an island in the English Channel
The Battles of Narvik: Norway’s Toughest Fight
The Battles of Narvik refers to the naval offensives and land battle between the Germans and Allied troops in Norway. It was one of the first large-scale missions of World War II and initially looked to be an Allied victory, until things took a turn in Europe, leading to an unexpected withdrawal.
Unique Islington flat with refurbished WW2 bunker goes on the market
A flat with a difference has gone on the market in Islington, with its very own World War Two bunker.
Little Willie: The World’s Oldest Preserved Tank Prototype
Virtually all militaries around the world today field some type of tank, or a variation of one for certain tasks. No matter what vehicle this is, either the Challenger 2, M1 Abrams, T-62 or T-14 Armata, all of them relate back to one design: the Little Willie.
Paratrooper Bicycles Were Incredibly Popular And Featured A Brilliant Design
As if jumping out of an aircraft laden with parachutes, equipment, and a weapon while under enemy fire wasn’t daring enough, some British paratroopers made the jump while clinging onto a bicycle.
Dogfighting — A Primer on Fighter Combat in World War Two
Once the fight begins, the outcome is determined by a pilot’s experience in the air, his tactics and the airplane itself.
Weather Station Kurt: The German’s Only North American Operation During the 1940s
In 1943 a German U-boat visited Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and established the only German military operation on North American soil during the war. The operation was just a small weather station, but, in conjunction with other monitoring systems was massively important for Germany’s military effectiveness in Europe.
Japan marks 76th anniversary of WWII defeat
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga spoke of the damage inflicted on Japan, but did not offer an apology for his country's militarism. His ministers courted controversy by visiting a war shrine for the war dead.
Operation Olive: The Allied Attempt To Break Through The Gothic Line
The final years of the Second World War saw Germany fighting a defensive battle against the Allies. Germany had been pushed out of Africa and was steadily losing ground in Italy. To reinstate control over the country, they constructed a defensive wall spanning the width of Italy, dubbed the Gothic Line.
Floods in Germany unearthed exceedingly rare Nazi archives
Archaeologists in Germany have been stunned by the discovery of “rare” Nazi documents discovered by recent floods. Archaeologists in Germany discovered a “vast amount of stuff” hidden behind a wall in a residential structure. The “copious volumes of materials” discovered may have been hurriedly tossed into the shaft by members of the National Socialist People’s Welfare organisation (NSV) as American soldiers marched towards Hagen in April 1945.
Hill 400 And Hürtgen Forest: The Longest Battle Fought On German Soil During WWII
The Battle of Hürtgen Forest for Hill 400 is often overlooked due to its proximity to the Battle of the Bulge. A German stronghold, it provided an observation point overlooking the Roer River Valley, as well as an open view of Allied movements in the area. The U.S. made attempts to gain control over Hill 400 and the surrounding forest, but they failed.
Germany: 100-year-old ex-death camp guard to go on trial
The accused worked as a prison guard at the Sachsenhausen death camp near Berlin from 1942 to 1945. The elderly man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will face trial in the fall.
Hitler's plan to run Third Reich Britain from £35 a night budget Scarborough hotel
Scarborough suffered more than many coastal towns during the Second World War, but The Grand Hotel stood unscathed while rubble and smoke surrounded the clifftop building. Three years ago official documents were unearthed revealing how Luftwaffe pilots faced a court martial if they dropped a single bomb on the hotel. The reason? Hitler had apparently desired to make it his base.
One Tank Fought Without Interruption From D-Day To VE Day
Not many tanks from the 1940s were known for exceptional reliability, especially heavy tanks like the German Tiger and King Tigers. However, if there was an example of a well-designed machine that was actually very reliable, it was the M4 Sherman, and none more so than “Bomb,” a Canadian M4A2 Sherman. Bomb made its way uninterrupted from the beaches of Normandy on D-Day all the way into Germany on VE Day without a single hiccup, one of the few tanks to do such a drive during the war.
84-year-old German man fined €250,000 for keeping Nazi war machines – including panther tank – in basement
An 84-year-old German man has been fined €250,000 (£212,796.10) for keeping stockpiles of Second World War-era weaponry in his basement – including a 45-ton tank. The conviction under Germany's War Weapons Control Act was handed down in Kiel, a city in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, and regards an investigation from 2015.
How Russia’s Tanks Went To War In Spain In 1936
Early in the morning of October 29, 1936 a column of T-26 tanks went rattling down the road towards Seseña, a Spanish town on the outskirts of Madrid ostensibly held by forces loyal to the Republican government backed by Moscow. Leading the column was a Latvian communist named Paul Arman, a captain in the Soviet Red Army. Of the forty-five men under his command, there were thirty Soviet military personnel and fifteen Spanish recruits manning the guns.
Operation Nordwind: The Last Large-Scale German Offensive
Operation Nordwind was the last large-scale German offensive of the Second World War on the Western Front, and yet it continues to live in the shadow of the Battle of the Bulge. However, Operation Nordwind was a separate operation from the Battle of the Bulge. The goal of this operation was mainly the destruction of as many enemy forces as possible. Historians have heavily analyzed the Battle of the Bulge, but Operation Nordwind remains relatively obscure in the history of the Second World War.
Bumblebee packed a huge fifteen-centimeter main gun atop the chassis and supported German tank maneuvers.
Building on lessons learned from the Geschützwagen, a semi-experimental German self-propelled gun that saw German artillery pieces mated to the hulls of British light tanks, the Hummel design was not only much larger but also packed a much more powerful main gun.
Faustian Bargain Review: Partners In Crime
Between the wars, Russia offered a place for the German army to develop weapons and train men in violation of the Versailles Treaty.
Operation Unthinkable – Inside Churchill’s Abortive Plan to Drive the Red Army From Eastern Europe
If the western allies could inflict a rapid and crushing defeat on the Red Army, then Stalin would be forced to rethink his planned domination of Eastern Europe.
The Collapse of the Third Reich
From the lecture series: a history of hitler's empire, 2nd edition
The Highs And Lows Of The Czech Panzer 38(t)
The Czech Panzer 38(t) played a major role in some of the most decisive battles early on in World War Two.
US Veterans Excavate The Wreckage Of A B-24 Liberator In Sussex
A team has gathered in Sussex, England, to recover the bodies of two airmen who were lost in a violent crash in the British countryside in 1944. The men were inside a Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber that had been damaged during a mission over Europe. After limping most of the way home, it suddenly crashed on friendly soil — the exact reason is still a mystery today.
The M3 Tank Was Far from Perfect. It Was a Successful Tank Anyway.
The M3 medium tank was a lesson in expediency: it was cheap, and good enough to enter mass production.
What Did WWII Combatants Think Of Each Other’s Aircraft?
During the war, the nations involved had the same questions: What were the enemy’s aircraft like? Were they faster? More maneuverable? Easier to fly? Knowing the answers to these questions was incredibly important, as it meant they could counter any advantages and exploit any weaknesses. Usually, the only way to look at their opponents’ aircraft was at crash sites, so it was a huge moment when they were able to get their hands on a working aircraft.
The American M2 Light Tank was Tiny
The American M2 was initially envisioned as a high-speed infantry support vehicle, intended to quickly bring a large amount of firepower to bear on enemy positions.
Felix Steiner: The SS General Who Turned Against Hitler
Steiner joined the SS-Verfügungstruppe (V-Truppe) on March 16, 1935, as Obersturmbannführer and appointed commander of the 3rd Battalion/SS-Standart “Deutschland.” With ex-Army officer Paul Hausser, he set out making his soldiers the finest in Europe, staging his training around the tactics of the Sturmtruppen.
Kugelpanzer: What Was The Purpose Of This German Armored Vehicle
The Nazi regime developed an array of combat vehicles during the course of WWII. The majority have accompanying documentation to allow historians to develop a better understanding of their use during the conflict. However, there’s one that’s simply an enigma, with no one quite sure of its purpose: the Kugelpanzer.
Why Were Italian Troops Freezing to Death Outside Stalingrad?
Why in God's name were Italian peasants freezing to death outside Stalingrad? They should have been home eating pasta in Palermo, or veal in Venice, during that bitter winter of 1942–43. Instead, they were being trampled into the snow by waves of Soviet tanks. Some Italian soldiers fought, and others fled. Many were killed, and those that weren't disappeared into the Soviet gulag prison camps. Nearly half of the Italians who fought in Russia never made it home.
How Wartime Rationing Helped The British Get Healthy
Rationing is often thought of as a type of “starvation diet,” but did you know that wartime rationing not only changed the dietary habits of the British people but also improved their health? Studies show increased wellbeing among Britons thanks to a food rationing system that spanned 14 years.
X troop: how the British army turned Jewish refugees into elite Nazi-killers
Leah Garrett's thrilling book unearths the true story of the Third Reich escapees who formed a secret military unit hell-bent on revenge
World's last Nazi hunter calls on NZ to open inquiry into how war criminals came here
The world's last Nazi hunter has called on the Government to open an inquiry into how suspected war criminals and collaborators were able to sneak into New Zealand and live a quiet life.
Operation Barbarossa: 80 years of Germany’s invasion of Russia
The mortal combat between two mighty dictators—Stalin and Hitler—was a phenomenon the world had seldom seen. This battle was between two men who held absolute power over their nations. Both were of humble birth and were of nationalities different from the countries they ruled.
Jewish commando who found his parents alive in Nazi death camp
A new book tells the story of the X Troop, a secret squad of Jewish fighters who operated deep in Nazi territory
France honours last survivor of French D-Day commando unit
President Emmanuel Macron gave one of France’s highest honours on Friday to Leon Gautier, last surviving member of the French commando unit that waded onshore on D-Day alongside allied troops to begin the liberation of Europe.
80 years since the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union
Commemorating the upcoming 80th anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the suffering of the former Soviet people should be "burned into Germany's collective memory."
Bell P-39 Airacobra: WWII’s Most Controversial Low-Altitude Fighter
Despite its perceived failings, the Bell P-39 Airacobra featured a sleek design that was unlike anything seen before. Its all-metal design was not only the first to feature tricycle landing gear, but to also seat its engine in the center of the fuselage, as opposed to the nose. This was done to fit its 37mm T9 cannon through the propeller hub.
X Troop tells the fascinating tale of Jewish commandos trained in Wales
Book Review: Tank Warfare by Jeremy Black
A Forgotten Holocaust Hero: Himmler’s Personal Physician
Lienz Cossacks: Desertion And Betrayal In WWII
A Solomon Islands Man Is Killed By Unexploded 1940s Ordnance — Who Is To Blame?
A Bicycle Troop Peddled Through D-Day Minefields To Help Defeat The Germans
The 7 craziest commando missions of World War II
Japan's forgotten kamikaze diver unit
The Mulberry Harbor Paved The Way For Victory On D-Day
British Special Forces in WWII
Across the Channel in a Nazi Helicopter
Axis pilots tested captured Allied aircraft
How Spies and Codebreakers Won the Middle East in World War II
IL-2: The Soviet Flying Tank Was One Real Deal Killer
US Airborne Tanks 1939-1945
Last Surviving Marine Of The USS Indianapolis Has Passed Away Aged 96
American Traitor: The Trial of Axis Sally
On the Run: How One Group of Escaped POWs Survived in Nazi-Occupied Italy
Lost 52 Project: Navy Honors Explorer Who Discovered 7 Sunken Subs
Last surviving Auschwitz liberator David Dushman dies
These Tiny WW2 Tankettes Have Us Scratching Our Heads
Raid on Dieppe masked secret mission to steal Nazi Enigma machine
Floyd Smith: Meet the Maverick Inventor Behind the U.S. Military's Parachutes of WW2
Rare Tank Development books to be republished by The Tank Museum
Operation Chariot: Inside the British Commando Raid on Saint-Nazaire
Seelöwe – Book Review by Mark Barnes
Dangerous ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ Sea Defenses To Be Removed From British Beach
The Philippine Resistance – How WW2’s Forgotten Guerrilla Movement Helped Bring Down Japan