You Had to Be Pretty Brave to Attack a German Tank With a PIAT
In 1941, Britain developed the Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank, better known as the PIAT. The PIAT would become Britain’s primary anti-tank weapon during World War II. The British had struggled to field an effective anti-tank weapon for infantry. In 1940, the British Army had introduced the No. 68 anti-tank... Read more
Outnumbered and Outgunned, the Bulgarian Air Force Battled the Allies Over Sofia
In April 1941, Bulgaria was drawn half-heartedly into World War II by Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler threatened Bulgaria with invasion if it didn’t allowed German troops to invade Greece and Yugoslavia through Bulgarian territory — and, if the kingdom cooperated, promised to give it Greek and Yugoslav territory in... Read more
France’s D.520 Fighter Flew for Many Sides in World War II
The British had their Spitfire Mark I and II and the Germans had their Messerschmitt Bf.109E — designs that set the standard for high-performance fighters at the beginning of World War II. It’s always been a small consolation to the French that they had just begun to field their... Read more
Sevastopol’s Soviet Defenders Helped Save Stalingrad
Seventy-five years ago this month, the German army began its final assault on Sevastopol, the port city on the Crimean peninsula which the Third Reich had besieged from fall 1941. While overshadowed—at least in the West—by larger and more significant battles on the Eastern Front, the Soviet defense of the... Read more
Hubris Led to the Japanese Carrier Fleet’s Doom at Midway
A devil’s advocate is a precious commodity. That has to be one of the takeaways from revisiting the Battle of Midway 75 years on, and it should be etched on the internal workings of any martial institution that wants to survive and thrive amid the rigors, danger and sheer orneriness... Read more
Shot Down in a Hail of Flak in an A-20 Bomber
Hurtling headlong into a vertical hail of razor-sharp shrapnel from the constant drum of enemy ack-ack, the Douglas A-20G light bomber crew wrestles the flight controls as their aircraft bucks wildly on turbulent eruptions of rising hot air at impossibly low altitude. It’s Oct. 16, 1944 over Bologna, Italy.... Read more
Busting the Myths Surrounding the Battle of Dunkirk
The 77th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation has already received a great deal of attention, in no doubt due to the pending release of Christopher Nolan’s new film treatment of the battle. For nearly 77 years, the battle has stirred controversy—in one view it’s an example of British courage and gallantry... Read more
‘Graf Zeppelin’ Was Nazi Germany’s Big, Dumb Aircraft Carrier
From the first days of his ascension to power, Adolf Hitler planned to rebuild the Kriegsmarine into a world-class navy. Most of the world’s other major fleets included aircraft carriers, and so German naval authorities soon determined that the Reich would also require carriers. Germany laid down its first... Read more
The Battle of Dunkirk Was Nerve-Wracking—and Bizarre
Open Road Media sponsored this post. It’s hard to grasp the unfolding disaster that was the 1940 Battle of Dunkirk. For nine days, Britain evacuated 200,000 of its soldiers—most of the United Kingdom’s trained troops—along with nearly 140,000 Allied soldiers, from northern France with a fleet of naval vessels... Read more
The Moment Ukrainian S.S. Troops Killed Their German Officers
The 2017 book When Eternities Met is an absorbing and heartbreaking story of several individuals during World War II, which writer Matt Rhode recounts from interviews and archival documents. I was particularly drawn to the story of Myroslaw, a young Ukrainian peasant living in Galicia, then part of Poland. Myroslaw was... Read more

Robert Beckhusen

Managing Editor

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