Niels Bohr’s Flight From the Nazis Was a Science Drama
Danish physicist Niels Bohr was a scientific genius who also displayed a coincidental penchant for espionage and intrigue. He employed these skills, along with a bit of science, to foil the Nazi at several turns. His small crusade began in 1933 after the Nazis came to power in Germany.... Read more
The Soviet Ampulomet Launched Glass Bombs
As German troops invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Red Army scrambled to arm itself with anti-tank weapons. One system the Soviets hurriedly developed was the Ampulomet, a mortar that launched a glass projectile filled with an incendiary mix. The Ampulomet, named for the Greek ampoule, or... Read more
The Blacker Bombard Spigot Mortar Was ‘Fearsome’
In the early years of World War II with a German invasion seemingly imminent, the British army scrambled to equip Home Guard units with defensive weapons. Some of these weapons were … less than ideal. Case in point, the Blacker Bombard, a spigot-launched mortar. “A fearful homemade weapon,” is... Read more
No Nazi Zombie Movie Should Be as Boring as ‘Overlord’ Is
Nazis and the occult are like peas and carrots—they just go well together. From Return to Castle Wolfenstein to Dead Snow, there’s a grand tradition of the undead Third Reich trampling through American pop culture. There’s been multiple movies about Nazi zombies, but none with as high a budget... Read more
With His Grenade Launcher, a Lone British Soldier Beat Back a German Tank Attack
On May 6, 1944 during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, Francis Arthur Jefferson, a soldier with the British Army’s Lancashire Fusiliers, engaged a German tank with a Projectile Infantry Anti-Tank grenade launcher, or PIAT. The action made Jefferson famous. But fame wouldn’t spare him a tragic fate.... Read more
The Plot to Nuke Japan’s Fleet
This story originally appeared on Nov. 12, 2015. Less than a year after the formal end of World War II the United States tested its new superweapons in peacetime. Operation Crossroads in 1946 at Bikini Atoll tested the effects of nuclear weapons on naval fleets and harbors. While burrowing through the... Read more
In ‘Operation Finale,’ Everybody Shits
The thing about keeping a captive war criminal hidden in a safe house while you wait to escape South America is that, at some point, the war criminal is going to need to shit. Pooping is at the heart of Operation Finale’s best scene. Operation Finale is a new... Read more
America Experimented on Conscientious Objectors During World War II
This story originally appeared on June 24, 2015. The vast majority of Americans supported involvement in World War II, but a small minority refused to serve in combat because of their religious, philosophical, political or moral beliefs. The Selective Service and Training Act of 1940 gave these conscientious objectors... Read more
The Forgotten Tale of How Allied Bombers Chased a German Sub to Its Doom
In June 2018, Spanish media reported that divers Anxi González Roca and Eduardo Losada and naval historian Yago Abilleira had re-discovered the wreck Nazi submarine U-966 off Estaca de Bares in the Galician region on the northwestern tip of Spain. The divers found debris scattered across a wide area... Read more
How a Lone Polish Cadet Rampaged Through German Panzers
We tend to impose narratives on history, seizing on compelling legends and streamlining complex events into a convenient and rousing story. Thus first act of World War II is often told as a story of Polish cavalry, lances in hand, charging unstoppable Nazi tanks. However, one Polish cadet and... Read more
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