Military History

historical-article-why-japan-armored-warfare-failedBy Jiaxin “Jesse” Du @ WWII Magazine

When people think of the Japanese military in World War II, they often picture fearsome Zero fighters or soldiers battling to the death—not tanks and armored cars wreaking havoc on unsuspecting enemies. That impression tends to be reserved for the Germans. Japan’s World War II armored force was never an important component of the Imperial war machine and its performance throughout the war was mediocre at best. But why?

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historical-article-let-there-be-lightBy Joseph Conner @ WWII Magazine

John Huston entered the U.S. Army in 1942 with distinctive credentials. In the previous two years, he had directed three hit films, including The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart, which garnered an Academy Award nomination for Huston’s adapted screenplay. The army put his cinematic talents to good use. Major Huston filmed two ambitious documentaries for the Army Signal Corps in the next three years—one on army life in the Aleutian Islands, the other about the fighting near San Pietro, Italy.

Now, he had a new assignment. As the war in Europe wound down and American forces approached the Japanese home islands, the army wanted to document the medical treatment of battle fatigue casualties evacuated back to the United States. Because the condition—an acute nervous reaction to the stresses of combat—had received little publicity during the war, the army feared that those affected would be “misunderstood, mistreated, and looked upon with suspicion” when they were discharged into the civilian workforce. It wanted to reassure the public, especially employers, that those former servicemen were not dangerous and could function as well as the next man.

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historical-article-have-you-heard-yamamotoBy Joseph Conner @ WWII Magazine

They did it. On April 18, 1943, 16 U.S. Army Air Forces fighter pilots from Guadalcanal flew more than 400 miles to ambush Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto as he flew to Balalae airfield in the Solomon Islands. They sent the Japanese Combined Fleet’s commander in chief to a fiery grave in the jungles of Bougainville. The United States had exacted revenge against the architect of the Pearl Harbor attack and one of the Imperial Navy’s highest-ranking officers—but at what cost?

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historical-article-desmond-dossBy Rachel S. Cox Historynet.com

Author Rachel S. Cox discusses Conscientious Objectors (COs) and the ways in which they served outside of the military while still adhering to their pacifist beliefs. They also include famous stars such as Hollywood actor Lew Ayres , blues legend Willie Dixon, and wartime hero Desmond T. Doss—the first CO to receive the Medal of Honor. Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist, went on to save fellow soldiers without killing a single person. The new movie, Hackshaw Ridge, based on Doss’s life, hit theaters on November 4th.

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historical-article-death-in-the-westBy Robert M. Citino @ Historynet.com

History little notes the final great confrontation in the West European theater, and not without reason. When supercharged American armies were encircling and—in an ironic echo of the Blitzkrieg—crushing the last Wehrmacht force there, Germany was scant weeks from unconditional surrender. Amid the war’s final tumult, peals of relief at Adolf Hitler’s downfall, and horrifying revelations about the Final Solution, it’s easy to overlook the Battle of the Ruhr Pocket, the climax in a tale of two armies.

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L1/Japan, Tokyo Raid/1942/pho 12Dick Cole, the man who copiloted the lead B-25 on the famous 1942 Doolittle Raid

By Michael Dolan @ HistoryNet.com

After he spent those 30 seconds over Tokyo that made him world famous, Richard Cole—Colonel Jimmy Doolittle’s copilot on the innovative April 18, 1942, raid against the Japanese capital—parachuted into China. With help he reached India where, for the better part of a year, he flew transport planes carrying cargo over the Himalayan “Hump” between New Delhi, India, and Kunming, China, and back, then transported glider-borne troops in an invasion of Burma.

Between those assignments Cole met, wooed, and wed fellow aviator Lucia Marta Harrell. Retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1966, the former B-25 pilot took up orange growing in Comfort, Texas. His neighbor Warren Reed—who once had been a P-38 pilot—was growing grapefruit. For 14 years, the two former airmen delivered produce to a circuit of customers. Now, at age 100, Dick Cole travels to aviation-related events, has closed down more than one hotel bar, and at home enjoys rummaging in his barns. He recently sat for a phone interview facilitated by daughter Cindy Cole Chal.

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(Originally published in the July/August 2016 issue of World War II magazine. Subscribe here.)

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historical-article-bloody-omaha-beach-logoD-Day from the German Perspective

By John Dudek @ The Wargamer

Of all the British, Canadian and American D-Day invasion beaches along the Normandy coast, none was as fiercely defended nor caused as many lost Allied lives than at Omaha Beach. The reasons for the near disaster at Omaha beach were many, with both Allied and Axis forces directly or indirectly sharing the blame for this near defeat, turned to costly victory.

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historical-article-beware-the-mosquitos-sting-logoThe de Havilland Mosquito Fighter Bomber

By John Dudek @ The Wargamer

The 19 twin engine British Mosquito Mk VI light bombers flying at well over three hundred miles per hour roared in fast and low at church steeple altitude through the slate grey, late morning winter skies of 18 February 1944. Their bombing target was the German Gestapo prison in the French town of Amiens. Inside its high masonry concrete prison walls were held 717 French resistance fighters and other political enemies of the German Third Reich. In less than ten minutes the Mosquito’s bombs breached the prison walls, completely destroying the Gestapo barracks and killing most of its soldiers within who were then eating their lunch. As nearly 300 French prisoners escaped through the newly opened, still smoking walls, the Mosquito bombers quickly departed, leaving behind the shell shocked, incredulous Germans to wonder what had just hit them.

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historical-article-gung-ho-marine-raid-makin island-logoBy John Dudek @ The Wargamer

Makin Island is a triangular shaped atoll in the Gilbert Islands about four degrees north of the equator, It is eight miles in length and less than a half mile wide and covered with coconut palms. It had been under Japanese occupation and control since 10 December 1941. D-Day for Carlson’s Raiders was set for 0300 hours on 17 August 1942. If all went well, the raiders would come ashore unobserved while it was still dark. However, “Murphy’s Law” soon made an appearance and would remain in evidence throughout the entire raid.

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historical-article-britains-pearl-harbor-logoU-47′s attack on the Battleship Royal Oak in Scapa Flow October 1939

By John Dudek @ The Wargamer

Scapa Flow naval base held great significance to both Great Britain’s Royal Navy and Germany’s new Second World War Kriegsmarine. It was here that Kaiser Wilhelm’s German High Seas Fleet of 74 battleships, cruisers and destroyers were interned immediately following the end of the First World War. As part of the Armistice and the later Versailles Treaty ending the war, Germany had to turn over its entire navy to the victorious Allies and promise to build no new warships as part of the hated document’s “War Guilt Clause.” The shame and unfairness of this clause remained a painful bone in the throat of the German Navy long after the signing of the treaty.

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Military History | Donster | |