‘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
The P26/40 Tank Was the Italian T-34
Italy was not renown in World War II for its tanks, which tended to be light and poorly used on the battlefield. But the Italian arms industry did produce interesting designs, some quite formidable. The Carro Armato P26/40 was a rare example of an Italian medium tank—the Italian army referred... Read more
Foreign Soldiers Built the French Army
At the end of World War II, the French Army was the fourth largest military force on the European continent, behind the Soviet Union, the United States’s expeditionary forces and Britain. The Free French Forces under Charles de Gaulle had battled fascism alongside the Allied armies and marched straight... Read more
The Destroyer ‘Le Terrible’ Was Blazingly Fast
Destroyers in World War I rarely got close enough to battle an enemy fleet with their guns, so navies began building faster, most robust and heavily-armed destroyers packing bigger weapons and additional torpedo tubes. During the following interwar period, no country embraced this trend more than France, which built several large, fast... Read more
The Media Laughed, But Bob Semple Stood by His Tank
New Zealand wasn’t at risk of a direct attack during World War I. That would change nearly three decades later during World War II with the onset of rapid Japanese conquests in the South Pacific. As New Zealand faced the possibility of a Japanese landing, industrialist and conscription minister... Read more
The Third Reich Squandered the Well-Armed ‘Scharnhorst’
The Treaty of Versailles drastically limited the size of the postwar Kriegsmarine, precluding Germany from owning any dreadnought battleships. The Germans could keep (and replace) pre-dreadnought vessels of 10,000 tons or less, roughly the size of a heavy cruiser in most navies. Presented with this problem, German engineers developed... Read more
World War II Created the Documentary Film Genre
World War II still haunts. Even now—several generations removed—we still live in the shadow of a war that reshaped the planet and propelled America to the center of geopolitical power. Millions of Americans grew up watching footage of the war and hearing its stories told and retold around the... Read more
The AEC Armored Car Pretended to Be a Tank
The United Kingdom fielded one of the widest varieties of armored cars during World War II. All were lightly-armored vehicles designed for scouting, convoy escort, rear security and other less combat-intensive duties. One of the more unusual British armored cars was the AEC, which came in three versions—Mk I-III—with roughly... Read more

Robert Beckhusen

Managing Editor

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