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.
In World War Two’s waning days, during the fall of 1944, Adolf Hitler ordered up one last role of the dice designed to stave off final defeat. This plan sought to punch through the densely forested, hilly, but lightly guarded Ardennes and reach Antwerp – thereby cutting off numerous Allied armies in a massive pocket similar to what his armies had accomplished four years prior.
German plans called for Sepp Dietrich’s Sixth SS Panzer Army to lead the assault through the Ardennes; as the northern army of the three German assault army’s.
A slew of new pictures of the often forgotten dark side of the Dunkirk rescue operation, taken by a German soldier after the battle, provide chilling evidence of the scope of the disaster suffered by Allied forces following the German invasion of Western Europe in May, 1940.
Within ten day of the German invasion, tanks from the 2nd Panzer Division had crossed the Somme River and reached the English Channel at Abbeville, completing the encirclement of approximately 1.7 million British, French, Dutch, and Belgian soldiers in an enormous pocket 120 miles long and 72 miles wide.
Lying underwater in the English Channel off the coast of Kent, United Kingdom is the world's last known surviving Do-17 bomber. In a joint attempt the Royal Air Force Museum and Imperial College of London are attempting to salvage the well preserved Do-17 - found in 2010 after sands shifted that had previously hidden the bomber, and have now left it exposed to seawater that can corrode the aircraft very quickly. Shot down during the height of the Battle of Britain this aircraft, as the last of its kind, is of considerable historical importance.
In December of 1939 the German surface raider and "pocket" battleship Admiral Graf Spee had finally been brought to battle by three cruisers from the British Royal Navy. Operating primarily in the South Atlantic during the fall of 1939 the Graf Spee sank numerous British merchantmen. However, the Royal Navy, after mobilizing significant assets to stop the Graf Spee, finally caught up with the German warship and after a running battle in which the Graf Spee sustained serious damage the Graf pocket battleship's captain decided to scuttle his vessel rather than attempt to fight his way past the
Following Hitler's December 1941 declaration of war upon the United States German Admiral Karl Doenitz sought to take advantage of the weakly guarded sea-lanes near the American coast and pick off the highly vulnerable, solitary, merchant ships plying these waters. Hitler approved Doenitz's plan, code named Operation Paukenschlag, or drumbeat/roll the drums. Doenitz' U-boats would carry Hitler's war to America and if successful deliver the first blows designed to cripple American shipping and industry.
Codenamed Cobra, the Allied breakout from the Normandy Beachhead finally began late in July 1944 after a brief but intense planning stage. In directing Cobra U.S. General Omar Bradley left nothing to chance; as Cobra's objective was nothing less than breaking out of the bridgehead in Normandy in which the Allied army's had been bottled up for the better part of two full months. Bradley's plan was two-tiered; he first sought to breakthrough the German defensive positions near the Norman town of St.
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.