The Battle of the Bulge that began on December 16, 1944 is widely remembered today as the greatest battle fought by the U.S. Army during the Second World War. For many, the focal point of this remembrance remains the Belgian town of Bastogne. Bastogne was a critical regional communications hub, ultimately encircled and besieged by German forces from December 19th to the 26th. The elite U.S.
Tomorrow is the 70th Anniversary of the Soviet counterattack before Moscow that put the final nail in Barbarossa' s coffin. Though the grossly overextended German army in the Soviet Union had long since been ground down to a fraction of its strength from six months prior; this counterstroke would do tremendous damage to a Wehrmacht badly positioned for defending against a strategic level counter offensive.
In the spring of 1942 Soviet General S. K. Timoshenko led one of the Red Army's several attempts to wrest the initiative from the Germans in this case by launching an offensive from the Izyum salient and designed to destroy Germany's Army Group South and push on to Kiev. The Izyum salient was located in a stretch of flat tank friendly land situated within a larger region featuring great bends in the Dnieper, Don, and Donets Rivers, it was so named because of the city of Izyum's location at the salient's base.
On March 4th Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov's 1st Ukrainian Front, including the 3rd Guards Tank Army and 4th Tank Army, attacked German Army Group South's left wing and forged numerous penetrations in German defensive lines already heavily weakened following the battle for the Korsun pocket.
The failed Axis offensive at Kasserine Pass meant that by March of 1943 the Axis were doomed in North Africa. The Axis were trapped between two powerful armies and reliant on a logistical chain perpetually in crisis, as the Allies enjoyed overwhelming naval superiority and new air bases in Algeria and Libya to launch attacks on Axis shipping. The Axis had maneuvered a quarter of a million soldiers and huge stores of equipment and supplies into a dead end. General von Arnim, commanding Army Group Afrika, actually surmised the odious Axis supply situation meant U.S.
In November 1941, a lull in the year long battle between the Axis and British Commonwealth forces fighting across the North African desert finally allowed both sides to recover their strength. German General Erwin Rommel's command fielded 414 tanks, 173 German, and nine divisions (including two German divisions; the 5th Light - renamed the 21st Panzer Division on October and 15th Panzer Division) with 320 aircraft providing direct close air support.
In October of 1942 the German Sixth Army, under General Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Paulus, came as close as perhaps it ever did to defeating the Soviet defenders of Stalingrad - led most prominently by General Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov's 62nd Army. At best, by October 1942 the 62nd Army numbered 50,000 men and 80 tanks. According to those present it was nowhere near these numbers and the Germans held overwhelming advantages in men and machines.
In an assault beginning on October 14th, five German divisions - over 90,000 men, 2,000 guns and mortars, 300 tanks, and waves of Stuka's forged a path
Following the Red Army's stunning June-July 1944 defeat of Germany's Army Group Center, and the subsequent Soviet drive into Eastern Poland, one of the great tragedies of World War II unfolded in Warsaw. On August 1st 1944, the long-suffering Polish resistance and population, led by Polish Brigadier General Bor-Komorowski, launched a city wide uprising as the Red Army's 1st Belorussian Front approached Praga and crossed the Vistula.
The wisdom of the two-week German campaign in Crete remains heavily debated to this day. On the one hand, there is no doubt the loss of Crete weakened Britain's position in the Eastern Mediterranean at a crucial point in the war. On the other hand, some have argued the Germans lost an opportunity to seal off the Central Mediterranean via attacking Malta, astride Axis supply lines to North Africa.
Scandinavia took on ample significance to both Germany and Britain late in the winter of 1939-1940. The subsequent events in Scandinavian waters during the spring of 1940 would prove even more strategically significant following France's capitulation in June of 1940. The following will explain why.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, a politically weakened Neville Chamberlain had brought one of his leading dissenters, Winston Churchill, into his cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty; in an attempt to silence Churchill's politically damaging critiques of Chamberlain's leadership.