Anti-tank crews, guns and weapons in the World War II.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.
Battle of Kasserine Pass: The first face-off between American and German armies did not end well for the U.S.
Wirt Cunningham recalls being at war with untested mechanized artillery against the Nazis who had been waging war for years. At dusk Feb. 14, 1943 he was fighting off sleep when a 91st Field Artillery Battalion guard alerted Cunningham's anti-tank gun unit of the approach of a 200 German tanks from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Panzer Army.
The location was the Djebel Lassouda Crossroads in Tunisia. The fight was a prelude to the Battle of Kasserine Pass - the first major face-off between American and German armies. The battle did not end well for the U.S., revealing major weaknesses in U.S. armor and weaponry. But Cunningham earned a Silver Star for his actions:
"The main tank force was bearing down at 1,000 yards to my right front and two Mark IVs were coming parallel to my position at about 150 yards. I loaded and fired an armor piercing round into the lead tank's track knocking it off its bogie wheel. When the tank commander opened the hatch on the turret I put a high-explosive round on the hatch cover. Nobody got out."
Flying Heritage Collection adds two World War II Flak 37 guns
The Flying Heritage Collection, at Everett's Paine Field, has added two World War II Flak 37 artillery weapons in it's collection. The 88mm German anti-aircraft gun "was the most famous artillery weapon of World War II. The addition of the Flak 37s allows us to illustrate an important influence on the development of aircraft" said Adrian Hunt. German designers developed gun in the late 1920s, in Switzerland to avoid treaty restrictions. The Flying Heritage Collection's new Flak 37s were built in Czechoslovakia for the Third Reich, discovered in Spain and brought back to Germany by a collector after the war.
Shoes and Nazi Bazookas - The World War II history of Adidas and Puma
During WWII all industries in Third Reich became part of Nazi war machine - Even the predecessor of footwear legends Adidas and Puma, which manufactured Germany's version of the bazooka. Jesse Owens's gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games represented triumphs for German brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler (both joined the Nazi Party in 1933), who were the manufacturers of Owen's shoes. In 1944, there was an increase in the number of Allied tanks destroyed by German fire. The reason was the anti-tank rocket launcher "Panzerschreck" ("Tank Terror" - able penetrate 20cm steel armor). This weapon was build in the same factory that had made Owens' shoes 8 years earlier.
9 insane weapons of war, many developed during World War II
Bat bombs were tiny incendiary bombs bound to bats, developed by the U.S. with the hope of attacking Japan. The bats would disperse, then at dawn they would hide in buildings and timers would ignite the bombs. The bat bomb idea, by Lytle S. Adams, was approved by Roosevelt. --- "Who Me?" was a top secret sulfurous stench weapon by the American OSS to be used by the French Resistance. It was meant to be sprayed on a German officer, humiliating him. --- Soviet Anti-tank dogs were hungry dogs with explosives tied to their backs and trained to seek food under battle tanks. By doing so, a detonator would go off, triggering the explosives and damaging the military vehicle.
George Jenkin won Military Cross within 24 hours of Normandy landing
In June 1944 the East Riding Yeomanry (ERY) were among the first armoured units in action on D-Day. The next day 3 Troop, B Squadron, commanded by George Jenkin, was supporting a company of 2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles (RUR) in an attack on Cambes-en-Plaine. On the way there his troop was engaged by a Mark VI Tiger Tank and two Mark IVs. After one of them had been knocked out, he advanced towards the village... "The place was swarming with Germans." He destroyed a half-track, an AA carrier, 3 ammunition lorries. Later Jenkin dismounted from his tank, but could not return because of snipers. While talking to anti-tank officers, he spotted 2 Mark IV tanks...
Book about old WW2 defences like anti-tank blocks in Warwickshire
When Adolf Hitler said it would be necessary to "eliminate" the English homeland, Warwickshire was ready: Anti-tank blocks, pillboxes and bombing decoy sites were set up. Many of these old defences have survived and now are subject of a book by military history lover Steve Carvell. Many of the defences are off the beaten track and so he has incorporated them into country walks as part of his book. His interest in fortifications began with ancient British hill forts and Roman remains. "I ran out of those so began looking at 20th century fortifications ... The demolition of many of these WWII defences began after the threat of Nazi invasion ended and is still going on."
With the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion during World War II
If Michael A. Zuzik hadn't disobeyed a tank commander's order after the 1944 Allied landings in France, he and his crew might have been killed. That's because Zuzik, a driver of a tank destroyer, backed up his tank under fire even though he'd been told never to put the tank into reverse. And moments later, an enemy artillery shell crashed into the spot. "After that, the tank commander said, 'Mike, you can back the tank up anytime you want to.'" While with the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion, he was in combat in France and Nazi Germany. Toward the war's end in early 1945, his unit was involved in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps.
Part 2: After the Russian front, his anti-tank unit heads south in 1944
Wehrmacht soldier Edward Sakasitz has spent almost two years on the Russian front. Now, in Jan 1944, his anti-tank unit heads south... It was terrible in Italy, much worse than the war in Russia. The American artillery and bombers made life for us impossible. We were bombarded day and night and had to pull back every other night. Our artillery would fire 20-25 shells at the American positions and get 20,000 shells in return. Many times we wished our artillery wouldn't fire at all. It was almost unbearable. The Americans had what we called uebermacht, supremacy. We had Messerschmitts in the air, but they had Thunderbolts, Mustangs and Lightnings.
On the Russian front with an anti-tank battalion of the Wehrmacht
Edward Sakasitz, a 21yo private in the German army, came to the Leningrad area in Feb 1942 to join Adolf Hitler's troops laying siege to Russia's old imperial capital. Today, he remembers his World War II experiences with an anti-tank battalion of the Wehrmacht, including his two years on the Russian front. In the Leningrad area, we only stayed 2-3 weeks in one place. Our Panzerjaeger "tank hunter" unit was motorized. I drove half-tracks and motorcycles. I thought: Am I lucky I don't have to walk like the infantry. Many times I had to go with a motorcycle to an infantry company up front, where machine gunners laid in the snow.
The soldiers of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion (Article no longer available from the original source)
The 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion played an important role in beating the Nazi regime Southern Bavaria and Austria. Along the way, they apprehended gestapo agents, recovered Nazi loot, fired 76,231 rounds of ammunition, destroyed 106 enemy weapons, neutralized 137 strongpoints, and earned 525 decorations and awards. The men of the 629th were trained on M-10 tanks, but switched over to M-36 tanks, which had greater accuracy and "hitting power," and was the most powerful anti-tank weapon in the U.S. at the time. Each tank held five men who rotated positions of driver, assistant driver, gunner, assistant gunner, and tank sergeant.
Museum acquired a rare M-36 Jackson tank destroyer (Article no longer available from the original source)
Tank destroyers were meant to combat the big-gunned, heavily armored German Tigers and Panthers that "badly outclassed" the American Sherman tanks during the war. They were basically fast, lightly protected gun platforms firing shells that could penetrate the German armor. Their survival — and that of their crews — depended on speed and elusiveness, rather than heavy armor. Only about 1,500 M-36s were manufactured, and they reached the front in 1944, replacing older, smaller tank destroyers like the M-10 Wolverine and M-18 Bearcat.
Canadian soldier taking on three Panther tanks in Italy
Oct 22 1944, the right flank of Seaforth Highlanders company came under attack from three Panther tanks of the German 26th Panzer Division. Ernest Alvia "Smokey" Smith, armed with a PIAT anti-tank weapon, gathered up his team and took up a position alongside the road. The PIAT was a highly effective "tank-stopper", but only at close range. As the Panther advanced, its machine guns raking the position with fire, Smith's companion was badly wounded. Smith stood up and fired his PIAT, stopping the Panther in its tracks. A group of 10 German soldiers leapt from the tank and attacked Smith's position with machinegun fire and grenades.