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WWII Articles
History of the Panzerwaffe: Vol 3
Battle of Leyte Gulf
1944 Burma Campaign
Raff's Tunisian Task Force
Chief Yeoman Theodore Richard Brownell
Okinawa: Isolation or Annihilation?
The Loss of Argonaut, Amberjack, Grampus, and Triton
Mark XIV Torpedo in WWII
Tiger 131: The mysterious British reports
The US Army in World War II
Terror Floated from the Skies
Search For America's Battlecruiser
Island Hopping
Operation Compass
Book Review: APc-48
Agent 110: An American Spymaster
Rudolf Hess/Tancred Borenius
Soviet Rifle Corps of WWII
The Morality of Okinawa
Operation Dragoon
Soviet Invasion of Manchuria
Battle of Buna-Gona
MacArthur's Failures in the Philippines
Airborne Units in WWII
Czechoslovak Exile Units of WWII
WWII OOB for Land Forces
Flying Tigers in China
SAARF – Special Allied Airborne Recon Force
Force At La Difensa
Sabotaging Hitler's Heavy Water
The Soviet Offensive in the Arctic
Dutch Harbor
Ed Ramsey, 26th Cav Regt
U.S. Army in Czechoslovakia
Battles Of Luneville
Lodge Act Soldier: Henryk Szarek
Fate of the Kido Butai
D-Day: Normandy, France
WWII Veteran Interview
Hell Ship - Philippines to Japan
Was Hitler right to invade Russia?
Hitler, Germany's Worst General
Nomonhan and Okinawa
Japan's Monster Sub
Battle for Seaports
Banzai Attack on Attu
Battle Of Java Sea
Battle of Surigao Strait

The Battle of Leyte Gulf

By MSG James F. Seifert Jr.

During World War II, many land, sea, and air conflicts shaped the course of victories and setbacks for the United States in the Pacific region. The Navy’s Pacific Fleet endured several challenges before and during the battle consisting of command structure fluidity, land-based air forces, carrier-based air forces, and geographic force alignment changes. Toward the end of the war on the naval front, the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines punctuated the end of the Japanese naval threat (Hone, T., 2009). The battle lasted only four days, from 23-26 October 1944, off the coast of Leyte, Samar, and Mindanao islands, and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and hundreds of naval vessels and aircraft (Cutler, T. J., 1994). The American Navy’s effects on the Japanese naval forces ended their capacity to engage in conventional offensive operations with minimal losses to Americans (Hanson, V. D., 2017). The commanders in the battle needed to work together and devise creative plans to defeat the Japanese naval power using only a set of objectives and an end state from their fleet commander. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Battle of Leyte Gulf and provide the United States Navy’s perspective utilizing the operational art lens and operational design framework.

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The History of the Panzerwaffe: Volume 3: The Panzer Division

A review by Chris Buckham.

Thomas Anderson's "The History of the Panzerwaffe Vol 3: The Panzer Division" is a meticulously crafted and insightful addition to the study of World War II military history. In this volume, Anderson delves into the evolution, strategies, and impact of the German Panzer divisions, shedding light on their pivotal role in shaping the course of the war. With a clear and engaging writing style, Anderson navigates through the intricate details of the Panzer divisions' formation, development, and deployment. He masterfully blends historical context with strategic anang readers with a comprehensive understanding of the Panzerwaffe's significance within the broader context of the war.

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Galahad and Chindit: An Overview of the 1944 Burma Campaign

By HD Bedell

The 1944 Burma Campaign is unique in World War II for both its aims and operations and one not frequently seen in popular WWII programming. The tragic drama, from individual survival to international political maneuvering, was played out in the seldom mentioned, but perhaps the most complex, theater of World War II – the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater.[1] The United States Army role in the CBI Theater initially was planned as a task force supporting Chinese operations.[2] Committing significant numbers of American forces was considered unnecessary due to China's vast manpower reserves, and, in addition, combat commitments in Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific meant large numbers of American troops simply were not available. The task force units assigned were logistic and training personnel based in India with supplemental liaisons stationed in China.

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Behind Enemy Lines: Raff’s Tunisian Task Force and Early Allied Cooperation in North Africa, 1942–43

By Carson Teuscher

Eighty years ago, inexperienced Anglo-American forces nervously waded ashore on the beaches of North Africa. The amphibious Allied landings known as Operation Torch constituted the first American combat deployment across the Atlantic in World War II. It was also the first time American and French soldiers had fought one another since the unofficial naval “Quasi-War” of 1798-1800, and, to that point in history, the largest amphibious invasion the world had ever seen.  The landings went better than anticipated. Within three days, the invasion’s task forces secured their primary objectives. Vital ports, rail infrastructure, supply depots, and roads across the Maghreb lay safely in Allied hands.

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From The Boston Store To Corregidor: Fort Smith Man Did A Yeoman’s Job In World War II

By Chad Davis

In one form or another, the idiom “a yeoman’s job” pervades the anglophone world as a phrase to describe “very good, hard, and valuable work that someone does especially to support a cause, to help a team, etc.”[2] The dictionary defines a yeoman in various ways, from “a person who owns and cultivates a small farm” to “a naval petty officer who performs clerical duties.”[3] The United States (US) Naval Institute describes the enlisted yeoman rating as one of the most “enduring” to serve on our country’s Navy combat team.[4] Because nearly all types of Navy units require a yeoman, Sailors of that particular rating can be found serving in virtually any wartime scenario. Throughout World War II, one petty officer of the US Navy, Chief Yeoman Theodore Richard Brownell (1905-1990) of Fort Smith, Arkansas, served his country in ways that epitomize a yeoman’s job ― as well as another phrase associated with his home town: true grit.

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Okinawa: Isolation or Annihilation?

By Russell Moore

The battle of Okinawa was a bloody preview of what an invasion of the Japanese home islands could look like. Okinawa was the costliest battle between US and Japanese forces in World War II. General Buckner, who led the 10th army on Okinawa, has received a mix of criticism and praise for the way he conducted the campaign. Tragically General Buckner died right before the battle ended so there was no opportunity to ask him to reflect on his command decisions during the battle. Most criticism has been focused on Buckner’s reluctance to launch flanking amphibious assaults on the entrenched Japanese troops on the southern part of the island. This forced his Army and Marine soldiers into costly frontal attack after frontal attack. His defenders say the amphibious flanking attacks were too risky and worried about an Anzio type of stalemate or worse. But was there another alternative that should have been considered? Could Buckner have considered a strategy of isolation instead of annihilation and perhaps saved the lives of thousands of US forces?

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Fizzling Fish and Hidebound Bureucrats: The Tragedy of the Mark XIV Torpedo in World War II

By David W. Tschanz

Fizzling fish, wrong tactics and incompetent commanders -- ingredients for disaster simmering below the waves aboard American submarines -- how many years did they add to World War II? A strong case has been made, by authors as varied as Jim Dunnigan, John Keegan and George Friedman, that the leading cause of the eventual defeat of the Japanese in World War II was the choke hold on its commercial shipping achieved by the Allies. Friedman, in his thought provoking if flawed The Coming War With Japan, argues that aerial strategic bombing had little effect on Japanese production capacity. But production capacity is useless without raw materials. US submarines, ranging on the north-south routes from the Indies and along the Japanese coast, systematically interdicted the flow of strategic materials.

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Book Review: Lost Honour, Betrayed Loyalty: The Memoir of a Waffen-SS Soldier on the Eastern Front

A Review by Brian Williams

An incredible story about the US CIA involvement in Kurdistan before the actual invasion. The book is written by Sam Faddis, who in February 2002, was chosen to lead a secret CIA team in Kurdistan and assist with the future invasion of Iraq by coalition forces.

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Book Review: Marching from Defeat: Surviving the Collapse of the German Army in the Soviet Union, 1944

A Review by Brian Williams

Claus Neuber's personal narrative is one of the most incredible stories of determination and survival that I've read in many years. His writings and daily journal is incredibly detailed and descriptive. The immense chaos and sheer terror of having the entire front collapse around you and not knowing exactly what the situation is, is completely conveyed in his recount of the events.

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Tiger 131: The mysterious British reports

By Bruce Oliver Newsome, Ph.D.

Tiger 131 is the most famous tank in the world: the first of its type recovered to Britain; the most studied and photographed tank in Allied intelligence; and the only running Tiger in the world today. The British reports have always been puzzling: their numbering and dating suggest that some reports are missing or were never completed; some reports contradict others; some are not dated at all; beautiful drawings and paintings were created, but appear without captions. Now, after a survey of all surviving reports, from Britain to North America, their original condition can be revealed.[1] The implications for Allied intelligence are not pretty. The Tiger was the product of a long program by that name, with several projects. In fact, the program produced two different models of tank named “Tiger.” The other type was a losing bid by Ferdinand Porsche: he produced at least one pilot tank and one full-production tank in the program, plus another 90 hulls that were converted into self-propelled guns. Both types were designated as Panzerkampfwagen VI, meaning “armoured fighting vehicle” or “tank,” sixth model.

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The United States Army in World War II

By Rich Anderson

The US Army of World War II was created from a tiny antebellum army in the space of just three years. On 30 June 1939 the Regular Army numbered 187,893 officers and enlisted men, including Philippine Scouts, and including 22,387 in the Army Air Corps. On the same date the National Guard totaled 199,491 men. The major combat units included nine infantry divisions, two cavalry divisions, and a mechanized cavalry (armored) brigade in the Regular Army and eighteen infantry divisions in the National Guard. Modern equipment was for the most part nonexistent and training in the National Guard units varied from fair to poor. The outbreak of war in Europe in September 1939 led to a gradual expansion of the Army. On 27 August 1940, Congress authorized the induction of the National Guard into Federal service. On 16 September 1940 Congress passed the first peacetime draft in United States history. However, the draftees were inducted for only one year. Fortunately, on 7 August 1941, by a margin of a single vote, Congress approved an indefinite extension of service for the Guard, draftees, and Reserve officers. Four months later to the day, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

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Terror Floated from the Skies

By Walter F. Giersbach

The war in Asia was far away when a family in Bly, Oregon, triggered a 15-kg anti-personnel bomb. Instantly killed on May 5, 1945, were Elsye Mitchell, a pregnant mother, and five teenaged children Elsye almost didn't want to go on the picnic that day, but she had baked a chocolate cake in anticipation of their outing. The 26-year-old was pregnant with her first child. On that morning she decided she felt decent enough to join her husband, Rev. Archie Mitchell, and a group of Sunday school children as they set out for nearby Gearhart Mountain in southern Oregon. While Archie parked their car, Elsye and the children stumbled upon a strange-looking object in the forest. The minister would later describe that moment to local newspapers: “I…hurriedly called a warning to them, but it was too late. Just then there was a big explosion. I ran up – and they were all lying there dead.” Lost in an instant were his wife and unborn child, alongside Eddie Engen, 13, Jay Gifford, 13, Sherman Shoemaker, 11, Dick Patzke, 14, and Joan “Sis” Patzke, 13. Against a scenic backdrop far removed from the war raging across the Pacific, Mitchell and five other children became the first — and only — civilians to die by enemy weapons on the United States mainland during World War II.. [1]

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The Search for America's Battlecruiser

by Edward J. Langer

The battlecruiser was thought of as the ship that could do everything. Scout, do battle with cruisers and destroyers, protect shipping lanes and lines of communication and join the battle line and slug it out with enemy battlecruisers and battleships. Great Brittan and Germany adopted this theory, the United States Navy long debated it, but eventually gave in only to see them scraped or converted into aircraft carriers. But did the US Navy actually have a battlecruiser and not acknowledge it? Two classes of heavy cruisers come close to fulfilling the roles of the battlecruiser. This would include the USS Alaska class and the USS Des Moines class.

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Island Hopping in World War II Trench Warfare at Sea
by LtCol Richard Beil USMC(Ret.)

Those who study military history are familiar with how strict adherence to the detailed mobilization schedule of the Schlieffen Plan contributed to the beginning of World War I. Count Alfred von Schlieffen, Chief of the German General Staff from 1891 to 1906 was, like all German officers, schooled in Clausewitz's precept, “The heart of France lies between Belgium and Paris.“ [1] Since the Franco-Russian alliance of 1892, Germany considered itself surrounded. Should war be deemed necessary, von Schlieffen saw it as a two-front war. In such a war, he wrote, “the whole of Germany must throw itself upon one enemy, the strongest, most powerful, most dangerous enemy, and that can only be France.” [2] Schlieffen's plan for 1906, the year he retired, called for a 6 week campaign with seven-eighths of Germany's armed forces dedicated to the defeat of France while one-eighth held the eastern frontier against Russia. Following the defeat of France, the entire German army would then face the second enemy.

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Operation Compass 1940: Total victory for the British
by Roger Daene

American General George S Patton once said that you always attack and never let your enemy rest. ("Quote Fancy", n.d.) That was also the motto of his adversary German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. Rommel would make his name in France 1940 by living out that old maxim of war. His career and legend would begin to soar in North Africa when he arrived in March of 1941. Against incredible odds and harsh conditions, Rommel would prove again and again that an enemy can never be allowed to rest. However, he was not the first to demonstrate that maxim to be true. Before his arrival, British Generals Archibald Wavell and Richard O'Connor would face tilted odds in North Africa. Their offense began as a local operation to recapture some areas taken by the Italians in the opening months of the war and to push them back to Libya. It ended with nearly all of Libya captured and less than 20,000 Italians escaping out of 150,000. 30,000 British, Indian and Australian soldiers never let the enemy rest. On June 10th, 1940 Italy declared war on both France and Great Britain. France surrendered after the sledgehammer blows of the Germans in just six weeks and shortly after Italy's entrance into the war.

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Book Review: APc-48 - Combined Edition...

A Review by Ben Young

My curiosity was always up to learn of my maternal Uncle's WWII service in the US Navy...He was one of those veterans who, for reasons of his own, never spoke of his military experiences unless asked a direct question concerning his service...Therefore the only information immediately available to me was the sketchy memories of family members...During my work life, which included USAF service, employment with various companies and operating my own businesses, I could never seem to devote the time needed to fill in the blanks... Following retirement I was able to begin research starting with picking the brains of family members including my Mom (my uncle's older sister) and my cousins, all of whom provided much valuable information, including the saved letters my Uncle had written to my Mom from the Pacific Theater...

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Book Review: Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII

by Steven Christopher Ippolito, Ph.D.
Veteran Wall Street Journal reporter, Scott Miller, has written an interesting history of the World War II espionage activities of Allen Dulles (1893-1975), the future Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Dulles, the son of Presbyterian minister, was once described by British intelligence agent, Kenneth Strong, as the “'last great Romantic of Intelligence,' a man whose stock-in-trade consisted of secrets and mysteries” (Miller, 2017, p. xiv). Born into a patrician American family that boasted at least two Secretaries of State, it is, perhaps, no surprise that Dulles would later gravitate toward government work. President Benjamin Harrison appointed Dulles grandfather, John Watson Foster (1836-1917), a Civil War veteran of the Union Army, Secretary of State, where he served between 1892 and 1893; and Allen's brother, the well-known, John Foster Dulles would also serve as Secretary of State, under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, beginning in 1953, serving at a critical time during the Cold War era.

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Member Article: Tancred Borenius – Forgotten intelligence hero or messenger for wartime Churchillian coup?

by John Harris
The spring of 1941 saw wartime Britain at its most vulnerable and desperate. Nightly bombing raids over the long cold winter of 1940 by the German Luftwaffe had sought to bring the Churchill led government to the negotiating table prior to the implementation of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, originally timetabled for May 15th 1941. Contrary to the usual post war history, many in positions of influence in Britain also favoured a negotiated settlement. All they knew and saw was the nightly devastation from an enemy far superior to themselves in terms of current offensive power. They certainly didn't know of the potential respite from any future German invasion of Russia; indeed the two countries were still active partners in a mutually beneficial trade agreement; their so called Commercial agreement, originally signed in February 1940.

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Soviet rifle corps in the Russo-German War, 1945

by Bill Wilson

For many in the Wehrmacht, the Red Army was for the entire war a poorly-understood force. German intelligence had some idea of how large the Red Army was at various points during the war, but German misconceptions about the Soviet forces have endured in the popular imagination, lending vague notions of "red hordes" and overwhelming numerical superiority. Even though the structure of these forces has been made available by Russian sources, it remains a little known topic of the Second World War. Significant among the obscuring factors is the sheer number of formations fielded by the Soviets. Even their largest field force, the fronts, would be difficult to list from memory.

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The Morality of Okinawa - Applying the Doctrine of "Just War"

By LtCol Richard Beil USMC(Ret.)

In any discussion about war, there is a vast gulf between the pacifist perspective that all war is wrong, and the realist perspective that all's fair in war, sometimes glibly expressed as just nuke ‘em and be done with it. In the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us "blessed are the peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9). Elsewhere, in the Sermon on the Mount, he tells us "if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt. 5:39). From such verses, some have concluded that Christianity is a pacifist religion and that violence is never permitted. But the same Jesus elsewhere acknowledges the legitimate use of force, telling the apostles, "let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one" (Luke 22:36).

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France's Forgotten D-Day: Operation Dragoon and the Invasion of Southern France

By Bruce Malone

The United States Seventh Army's invasion of the southern coast of France on 15 August 1944 is one of the least celebrated Allied combat operations of the Second World War. In the end, Operation Dragoon (originally named Operation Anvil) proved to be one of the most important Allied campaigns, yet it remains one of the most controversial Allied strategic decisions. The American decision to launch Operation Dragoon against strenuous British objections changed the Anglo-American Allied relationship for the duration of the war, as the United States, long the leader in materiel production and numbers of soldiers, assumed the role of strategic senior partner.

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Dutch Harbor: The Unraveling of Japan's Pacific Strategy

By Del C. Kostka

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto drew his hand across a map of the northern Pacific Ocean in a long, sweeping arc. From Attu Island on the far western edge of the Bearing Sea, the admiral traced his finger along the Aleutian archipelago to the island of Amaknak near the Alaskan mainland. There, in June of 1942, Yamamoto intended to strike the American forces at Dutch Harbor. As a strategist, Yamamoto had achieved near deity status among the Japanese Imperial High Command. His crushing attack on Pearl Harbor just six months prior was followed by quick and decisive victory in the Philippines, Malaya, and the East Indies. Now, with the southwest Pacific under firm Japanese control, Yamamoto looked to expand offensive operations to the north and central Pacific.

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The U.S. Army in Czechoslovakia 1945: An Operational Overview

By Bryan J. Dickerson

From April to December of 1945, the Third U.S. Army conducted operations in and around the western region of Czechoslovakia. Altogether, three of its corps (XII, V and XXII) and nine infantry and four armored divisions and two cavalry groups participated in these operations. The Czechoslovak operations fell into three distinct phases: Border Operations, Liberation and Occupation. The Border Operations Phase occurred from 15 April until 5 May. During this time, the 90th and 97th Infantry Division and 2nd Cavalry Group screened the Czechoslovak border and conducted several limited offensive operations across the border to protect Third U.S. Army's left flank as Third Army drove south-eastward into rumored Alpine Festung (National Redoubt) area of southern Germany / western Austria.

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The Battles of Luneville: September 1944

By Bryan J. Dickerson

The catalyst for this paper was Jenna Carpenter Smith. On Veterans Day 2012, she contacted me seeking information about her late grandfather, Staff Sergeant Joseph Carpenter, who had served in the 2nd Cavalry Reconnaissance Group [Mechanized] in World War Two. Jenna had contacted me after reading about her grandfather in my article “The Liberation of Western Czechoslovakia 1945” which is also posted on Military History Online. I knew Joe Carpenter and his wife Ellin for several years before their deaths. Joe was one of the many World War Two veterans who have assisted me with my research on World War Two in Europe and the liberation of Czechoslovakia. That night, Jenna and I spoke by phone, during which time I shared my memories of her grandfather and grandmother. I explained to her the role that her grandfather and the 2nd Cavalry Group played in the European Campaign and share with her some of the stories that Joe had told me a number of years ago.

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The Battle of Surigao Strait: The Last Crossing of the T

By Walter S. Zapotoczny

The Japanese strategy in the defense of Leyte was to entrap the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet by its naval forces from the north in the Sibuyan Sea, and with assault from the south from Surigao Strait. Admiral Halsey and the U.S. Navy's 3rd Fleet was to be lured northwards, away from the Leyte Strait by a decoy carrier force. The Japanese plan, named Sho-Go, called for the convergence of their two battleship forces from north and south on MacArthur's landing beach, catching the U.S. troops and invasion ships in a pincers movement. To execute this strategy, the Imperial Japanese Navy formed four task forces under the overall command of Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa, who himself was to lead the decoy carrier force with two battleships, three light cruisers and nine destroyers.

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