Today is the anniversary of the largest amphibious assault in history; codenamed Operation Overlord by the Allies, but universally known since as "D-Day". Exactly 69 years ago approximately 160,000 Allied soldiers landed on the coast of Nazi occupied Normandy, France thus beginning the Second World War's final act. Though thousands of Allied soldiers, mostly U.S. and British, would be killed or wounded on June 6th the day's greatest carnage was centered on one location - the invasion beach code-named Omaha.
During WWII's Normandy Campaign the inability of Allied tanks to compete against their German foes, primarily in terms of armored protection and armamanent, was and remains today a fairly well known story. Nevertheless, what is often forgotten is that by the summer of 1944 the British had found a simple, relatively cost effective solution to the problems posed by hard hitting German AFV's (Armored Fighting Vehicles).
What the British had discovered was that if they took a 17-pounder L/55 anti-tank gun and employed tungsten armor-piercing rounds powered by a higher than normal amount of
As we celebrate yet another anniversary of the tremendous Allied victory of June 6, 1944, or D-Day, let us take a closer look at the role played by German command decisions as one element in enabling the Allied establishment of a lodgment in France. From the beginning, Germany's approach to defending against an Allied liberation of Western Europe was overshadowed by the war waged in Eastern Europe. In particular an early focus of the Wehrmacht's defensive efforts revolved around preventing special operations conducted primarily by the British.
The sweeping naval, air, and ground battles that define World War II continue to get the lion's share of our attention. However, the Second World War was also a war featuring a use of special forces on a scale almost unimaginable today. This war within the war was so unique it oftentimes was at odds with the reputation's earned by various nation's conventional forces.
For instance, the Italian military establishment's war effort has been much maligned, though the Italian Navy fought much better than it is often given credit for, but what is often forgotten is that Italian commandos achieved
Just over one week ago construction workers found a one ton bomb at the port of Marseille, France. The bomb dates back to the Second World War and is believed to be German. On Sunday, March 18, 2012 the bomb was removed as can be seen in this picture.
The bomb is not thought to have been air delivered, but, instead have been left behind by German soldiers who, prior to retreating, sought to demolish the excellent port facilties at Marseille.
On or about February 5, 1945 one of the remarkable heroes of the French Resistance and British Special Operations Executive (SOE) - Violette Szabo - was executed by the Nazi's following her July 1944 capture. Born in Paris on on June 26, 1921 Violette's familiy moved to London during her childhood. During WWII she joined the SOE.
Following her training and early in April 1944 Violette parachuted into German occupied France. She quickly went to work relaying valuable intel back to the Allies before returning to England at the end of the month.