"6 June 1944: D-Day Through Two Different Lenses" by Scott Lyons

The images of the Normandy landings taken by photographers such as Life Magazine photographer Robert Capa and Coast Guard Chief Photographer’s Mate Robert F. Sargent are ingrained in the collective memory of World War II. These visual testimonies provide an insight into one of history's pivotal moments, laden with raw emotion, perilous endeavors, and unyielding courage. Sargent and Capa: Different Lenses on D-Day Robert F. Sargent captured "Into the Jaws of Death," an image enveloped with the same raw authenticity as Capa’s, portraying the immediate moments of troops braving the surf under fire. While Sargent remained on his landing craft, Capa dared further, stepping onto the deadly beach and documenting the soldiers' arduous progress amidst chaos and bombardment. Robert F. Sargent U.S. Coast Guard Chief Photographer’s Mate Robert F. Sargent (August 26, 1923 – May 8, 2012) served valiantly as a United States Coast Guard chief petty officer. With the critical function of a…

Read more…
1 Reply · Reply by Erwin Leydekkers on Wednesday
Views: 97

"24 March 1944: 'Big X' and the Night of the Great Escape" by Scott Lyons

Stalag Luft III marked a significant chapter in the history of World War II, particularly for the captured Western Allied Air personnel it confined. Situated in Sagan, Lower Silesia, the camp acquired notoriety for its sand-rich soil, a strategic detail that rendered escape through tunneling a formidable challenge. Despite the physical barriers, the prisoners within — resilient and determined — orchestrated daring breakouts that have since become the stuff of legends.  On the night of 24th to 25th March 1944, under the pervading darkness, the notorious mass escape from Stalag Luft III, now etched into the annals of military history as 'The Great Escape’, was set into motion. Squadron Leader Roger Bushell, with his legal acumen, marshaled the efforts of the Escape Committee, leading the audacious plan to fruition. Group Captain Herbert Massey gave his crucial approval, recognizing that the unprecedented scale of the escape demanded the meticulous digging of not one but three…

Read more…
1 Reply · Reply by Randy Gann Feb 10
Views: 38

"11 May 1941: Destruction from the Skies: The Luftwaffe's Blitz Over the United Kingdom Ends" by Scott Lyons

The Blitz was a time of terror for the people of the United Kingdom during World War II. From 7 September 1940 to 11 May 1941--8 months and 5 days--German bombers conducted mass air attacks against towns, cities, and industrial targets, causing widespread devastation and destruction. Over 40,000 civilians were killed during the Blitz, with almost half of them in London, where more than a million houses were destroyed or damaged. The Blitz was launched by Adolf Hitler and Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, the commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, in an attempt to force the British into submission. The Germans conducted mass air attacks against industrial targets, towns, and cities, beginning with raids on London towards the end of the Battle of Britain in 1940. The Luftwaffe had lost the Battle of Britain and the German air fleets were ordered to attack London, to draw RAF Fighter Command into a battle of annihilation. London was systematically bombed by the Luftwaffe for 56 of the…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 29

U.S. 326th Airborne Medical Company massacred outside Bastogne - December 19th, 1944.

If you've studied WWII at all, you've probably heard of the Waffen SS massacre of U.S. troops at Malmedy. Did you know a regular German Army unit also massacred troops? An Airborne Medical Company attached to the 101st Airborne as a clearing station for wounded was attacked on December 19th, a couple days after Malmedy. Troops from the 116th Panzer Division’s Reconnaissance Battalion came across the Medical camp at 10:30pm and opened fire. Even with Vehicles ablaze and the clear image of Red Crosses flickering in the flames they continued to fire for 15 minutes.   The ten minute video below covers the basics and shows the battlefield as it is today.   If you want to learn more, this link covers the history of the 326th including the massacre and the aftermath. 326th ABN Unit history

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 118

January 1, 1945 was no picnic for American Airmen. Over 1000 Luftwaffe Aircraft attacked Allied Airfields in Operation Bodenplatte.

On January 1st, 1945, the German Luftwaffe launched Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate) with 1,035 aircraft to attack Allied airfields in Northern France, Belgium and Holland. The plan was to cripple Allied Air Forces during a lull in the fighting of the Battle of Bulge. Originally scheduled for 16 December 1944, it was delayed due to bad weather.Secrecy was to tight that the Luftwaffe lost around 25% of their aircraft from friendly ground fire. The Luftwaffe achieved an element of surprise and tactical success. However, the destroyed Allied aircraft were mostly ground kills and replaced within a week. The Allies lost relatively few aircrews, but the Luftwaffe lost many pilots that were extremely hard to replace this late in the war. The war would be over for Germany in less than six months.The link below is a 44 minute video covering the air battle that day concentrating mostly on the battle for the airfield named Y29. Check it out!Operation Bodenplatte

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 16

"23 January 1940: Bletchley Park's First Break into Enigma" by Scott Lyons

During the Second World War, one of the most guarded secrets of the Allies was the work done at a seemingly nondescript country house in Bletchley, Milton Keynes. This was Bletchley Park, which became the nerve centre of Allied code-breaking. The work done here helped to shorten the war by two to four years, and without it, the outcome of the war would have been uncertain. The establishment of Bletchley Park can be traced back to the First World War, during which the British intelligence broke the German diplomatic code. In the Second World War, the Germans had vastly improved their encryption systems, and the Allies were struggling to decipher them. The Enigma code was an encryption machine used by the Germans in sending secure messages. Although the Polish had broken the code before the war, the Germans changed the system, and this made it challenging to understand the code. Turing came up with a plan and, along with Gordon Welchman, built a machine that would help the codebreakers…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 36

"20 January 1944: Those Tricky Allies: The Ghost Army of World War II" by Scott Lyons

The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, popularly known as the “Ghost Army,” was one of the most innovative and unique units of the United States Army during the Second World War. Officially designated as a tactical deception unit, the Ghost Army was responsible for misleading and deceiving the enemy by creating illusionary military formations and positions, thereby contributing significantly to the Allied victory in Europe. Activated on 20 January 1944, the Ghost Army comprised an authorized strength of 82 officers and 1023 men under the leadership of Colonel Harry L. Reeder, a veteran of the US Army. The unit was a top-secret project that was tasked with simulating two whole divisions, comprising approximately 30,000 men, using visual, sonic, and radio deception techniques. The Ghost Army achieved this daunting task by using fake tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions, scripts, and pretense. The Ghost Army was a product of the creative minds of Colonel Billy Harris and Major…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 28

"7 March 1945: The Road to Berlin Opens: Battle of Remagen Begins" by Scott Lyons

The Battle of Remagen was a pivotal moment in the Allied invasion of Germany during World War II. This battle was fought in the small German town of Remagen across the River Rhine, which separated the Allies from Nazi Germany. The American Army's capture of the Ludendorff Bridge is considered to be a crucial turning point in the war. The capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine provided the Allied forces with an unexpected and crucial crossing point into the German heartland, allowing them to rapidly establish a strong bridgehead on the eastern side of the river. This strategic victory enabled the Allies to transport five divisions across the Rhine into the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland. The capture of the bridge was a surprise to both American and German forces. The Germans had wired the bridge with explosives to impede any Allied crossing, but when they attempted to detonate the charges, only a portion of the explosives detonated. The Americans seized the bridge intact…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 34

Military History Club, Missouri Athletic Club, Tuesday, October 24, noon, Central time In-person and remote attendance available

Military History Club Explores The Role of Hitler’s Luck in World War II Was Hitler a genius who stretched too far, or a bungler with a stretch of good luck?  On October 24 the Military History Club will explore that topic as it welcomes a Zoom appearance from Oxford, England by Paul Ballard-Whyte, author of Lucky Hitler's Big Mistakes. Adolf Hitler’s Great War military experiences in no way qualified him for supreme command. Yet by July 1940, under his personal leadership the Third Reich’s armed forces had defeated Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and France. The invasion of Great Britain was a distinct reality following Dunkirk. Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania had become allies along with the acquiescent military powers of Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain. These achievements prompted Field Marshal Willem Keitel, the Wehrmacht’s Chief of Staff, to pronounce Hitler to be “the Greatest Commander of all time”. Storm clouds were gathering, most notably the…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 17

Berchtesgaden 2023: Erwin Leydekkers at The Eagles Nest, Landsberg Prison, and Spottinger Cemetery

In September of 2023, War History Network photographer and member Erwin Leydekkers traveled to Germany, visiting several historically significant locations. Among these stops was the Eagle's Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus, a building constructed by the Nazis. This imposing structure sits atop the Kehlstein summit in Berchtesgaden, Germany, and was strictly reserved for use by members of the Nazi Party for government and social meetings. It is said that Adolf Hitler visited the building on fourteen occasions, though he reportedly harbored a deep mistrust of the elevator that served as one of only two approaches to the Eagles Nest, fearing the winch mechanism on the roof would attract a lightning strike. At right: The Eagles Nest or Kehlsteinhaus. Photo and all Photo Albums below by Erwin Leydekkers. Click to enlarge. Photo Albums: Berchtesgaden, Germany | Landsberg Prison 2023 | Spottinger Cemetery 2023 Named after the location of its construction on the rocky outcrop Kehlstein, rising above…

Read more…
0 Replies
Views: 88

ARTICLES LIBRARY

  • "16 December 1944: Bitter Cold in the Ardennes Forest: The Battle of the Bulge begins"