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Wehrmacht

Manstein's February 1943 Backhand Blow

on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 15:29

Early in 1943 the Red Army had launched a series of massive offensives across the breadth of the German Eastern Front. In particular, and as the German Sixth Army fought to its destruction at Stalingrad, multiple Soviet fronts, spearheaded by General N.F. Vatutin's Southwestern Front, surged across southern Russia. Meanwhile, Erich von Manstein, commanding the whole of the reconstituted German Army Group South, the former Army Groups A, B and Don, fell back before the Soviet advance and regrouped his armies.

Soviet General Cherniakhovsky’s 60th Army, part of Golikov’s Voronezh Front, took

The Battle for Kasserine Pass

on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 23:50

The Battle for Kasserine Pass began on February 14, 1943 and to this day ranks as one of the worst American military performances in the twentieth century. That said, as bad as the Battle for Kasserine Pass went it could have been a lot worse. Instead, and saving the Allies from a more significant defeat, the Germans undermined their own chances to create a significant operational and even strategic level success because, in part, and as was all too common during the Second World War, they failed to create a unified command with clearly defined and agreed upon objectives.

In this instance

The Wannsee Conference and Generalplan Ost

on Fri, 01/20/2012 - 18:06

Though the Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942 is often remembered as the seminal planning event of the Third Reich's genocidal strategic goals; in reality it represented a part of a much larger and horrific plan for mass murder. For on June 21, 1941, Heinrich Himmler had ordered planning to begin for a massive demographic reorganization of Eastern Europe, including the territories of the western Soviet Union. Professor Konrad Meyer authored this plan; labeled Generalplan Ost. Meyer’s genocidal plan went far beyond eliminating Europe’s Jews.

From the Preface:

Conventional wisdom explains German defeat during World War II as almost inevitable primarily for brute-force economic or military reasons created when Germany attacked the Soviet Union and entered into a two-front war. This book challenges that conventional wisdom via three interrelated arguments. First, qualitative differences between the combatants proved more important in determining the war’s outcome than have the quantitative measures so commonly discussed in the past.

The Wehrmacht in Poland

on Thu, 09/01/2011 - 19:22

The German assault on Poland began at 4:45 am on September 1, 1939. The Polish air force, dispersed prior to the invasion, instead of rising en masse to challenge the Luftwaffe, saw its numbers quickly whittled down in a misguided hope to preserve its striking power. The Polish army fought mostly alone, while German planes pounded the Polish capital. Within just two weeks, German artillery and airpower had killed over 60,000 of Warsaw's citizens.

The Izyum Salient

on Fri, 08/19/2011 - 16:02

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.

The Warsaw Uprising: August 1944

on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:41

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.

German Pre D-Day Defensive Efforts in Occupied France

on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:33

Initially Germany approached the problems inherent in defending occupied France as largely one of preventing special operations conducted by the British. Such a German approach was understandable given Britain's best units remained tied down in North Africa during 1941-43. Nonetheless, Hitler's declaration of war on the United States, coupled with Barbarossa's defeat and the Soviet Union's resilience meant it was only a matter of time before the Anglo-American armies struck Nazi occupied Western Europe.

Hube's Pocket

on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:20

Throughout the winter of 1943-1944 Stavka maintained a relentless pace, consistently ordering up sequential offensives that never allowed the Germans to effectively regroup and build up reserves. In the late winter and early spring of 1944 the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Ukrainian Fronts, in opposition to German forces situated in the Western Ukraine, launched a massive series of offensives that would run along the breadth of the German defensive line south of the Pripet Marshes all the way to the Black Sea.

The Red Army vs. Army Group North - Early 1943

on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 21:26


When discussing the January 1943 fighting between Germany and the Soviet Union the overwhelming majority of today's literature focuses on events at Stalingrad. In doing so, a major disservice is done to history, for in the first three months of 1943 the Red Army attempted to crush the German Sixteenth Army and Army Group North much as it had eliminated the German Sixth Army and attempted to destroy the German Army Groups in Southern Russia.

In Northwestern Russia the nearly one and one half year long German siege of Leningrad had precipitated yet another Russian relief attempt when the Second

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