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World War II

Operation Cobra: The Plan and Opposing Forces

on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:37

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.

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.

May 1941 - Germany Invades Crete

on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:28

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.

The April 1940 German Invasion of Denmark and Norway

on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 21:26

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.

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.

Kasserine Pass - February 1943

on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 21:38

The Battle for Kasserine Pass represents 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.

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

Beda Fomm

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

Italy joined Germany's war on June 11, 1940 when Mussolini opportunistically declared war on the seemingly defeated British and shattered French states. Mussolini hoped to share in German victory over France; he did, but in the process made several monumental errors that squandered what should have been a powerful addition to Germany's war effort.

Mussolini's greatest error, beyond siding with Germany, was his overambitious foreign policy.

The Fall 1944 Struggle Along Germany's Western Border

on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 21:15

The fall of 1944 ranks among the most difficult months the United States Army experienced in the entire 20th Century, if not her entire history. Along the center of the Allied front, along the German border near the medieval city of Aachen, General Hodges VII and V Corps endured one shattered rifle division after another. Aachen was the first significant German city the allies captured in the war, with a population of 165,000 people. Though the city itself was secured on October 21st heavy fighting raged on regardless; in the primeval Huertgen Forest blanketing the hills surrounding Aachen.

El Alamein - October 1942

on Wed, 08/17/2011 - 21:10

In October 1942 yet another tipping point had arrived in the two year battle fought between Axis armies led by German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and the British Eighth Army. Although at one time or another each combatant army had won an advantage over its foe, this time Lieutenant General Bernard Law Montgomery's British Eighth Army stood ready to hammer Rommel's PanzerArmee - woefully overextended at the end of a deeply frayed line of supply across the North African desert.

The turn of events that would lead to El Alamein had begun late in the spring of 1942, when Rommel's army badly

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