Different and sometimes amazing WW2 experiences and adventures.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Good Nazis, Wine, Champagne, and WWII, WWII Medals: most decorated heroes, Nazi Uniform means troubles, WWII Legends, Escapes from POW Camps.
How Russian samurai fought for Japan in World War II
The Bolsheviks' victory in the Russian Civil War forced hundreds of thousands of Russians to flee the country hoping that one day they would return to their homeland and overthrow the Soviet regime they hated so much. Those who had settled in the Far East chose the Japanese Empire as their ally. The most prominent among the Russian military units created by the Japanese was the 'Asano' detachment, named after its commander Major Asano Makoto. At different times, it numbered from 400 to 3,500 people. Fighters from that secret unit were preparing to carry out sabotage and reconnaissance operations on the territory of the Soviet Far East in a future war against the USSR.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Nazis were harassing Heisenberg, so his mother called Himmler's mom & asked her if she would tell the SS to give her son a break
Werner Heisenberg's contributions to quantum mechanics made him one of the greatest physicists of his time and the director of the Nazi atomic bomb program. However, during the early days of the Nazi regime, Heisenberg got himself into trouble as he supported Einstein's ideas on relativity, contrary to the Nazi-sanctioned Deutsche Physik movement. The campaign against Heisenberg and many other scientists in Nazi Germany, seen as Jewish sympathizers continued in the next years. Heisenberg was hauled into the Gestapo headquarters for questioning, on several occasions. Heisenberg's mother was worried that if the Gestapo continued to harass her son, he might end up in a concentration camp. Luckily for Heisenberg, his mother happened to know Himmler's mom. So she decided to call her and ask if she would please tell the SS to give her son a break. Soon after the phone call, Himmler forbade further attacks on the physicist.
Retracing a 1,300-Mile Escape From a Soviet Gulag in WWII
One day in 1945, in the waning days of World War II, Anton Iwanowski and his brother Wiktor escaped from a Russian gulag and set off across an unforgiving landscape, desperate to return home to Poland. They dodged gunfire, slept outdoors, and hopped trains. It took three months, but they made it. Nearly 70 years later, Anton Iwanowski's grandson Michal made the same 1,360-mile trip, following a map Wiktor had drawn years before. His expansive, lonely photos of the frigid terrain they crossed fill the pages of his photo book Clear of People.
Searching for the SS Officer who saved my mother's life (long article)
Among my family's many wartime secrets is the shocking story of the SS officer who rescued my mother as a toddler and hid her in a Polish convent. I fixated on tracking down this Nazi torturer eager to learn more about his surprising act of kindness.
The Man who allegedly broke in and out of Auschwitz, twice, passes away
A WWII POW has died aged 96. Denis Avey controversially broke in out of Auschwitz, twice! Denis was captured and held as a POW in Poland. By swapping uniforms with other prisoners he got access to enter Auschwitz, so that he could review conditions and send back intelligence about the camp. Denis was used by the Nazis in a labor camp next door to Auschwitz making synthetic rubber. Denis wrote about Auschwitz in his memoirs and told how he would swap uniforms with Auschwitz prisoner and Dutch Jew, Hans. Some historians disparage Denis's claims and say that it would have been impossible, but Denis always maintained that he wanted to get access so that he could prove to the wider world that the Nazis were exterminating Jews in their thousands.
31 Images of Rommel & Some You Wouldn't Have Seen Before?
31 photographs of Rommel & Some You Wouldn't Have Seen Before?.
Meet the Only U.S. Army Officer to Defect to the Nazis in WW2
The name Martin James Monti may not command the same measure of infamy in the US as Benedict Arnold, the turncoat of the War of Independence. Yet the obscure St. Louis, Missouri native does claim the distinction as being the only American known to have willingly defected to the Nazis. In October of 1944, the 23-year-old U.S. Army second lieutenant stole an unarmed reconnaissance plane from an Allied airbase in southern Italy and flew it into enemy territory as part of a hare-brained bid to change sides. A child of German and Italian immigrants and raised in a staunchly anti-communist household, Monti was a firebrand critic of the western Allies' support for the Soviet Union.
As an American teen stuck in Japan, Minnesota man witnessed World War II in Japan
On Aug. 6 and 9, 1945, the first and only atomic bombs used in war destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Shortly afterward, Japan's Emperor Hirohito announced his country's surrender. One American teenager witnessed those events from a close perspective. He was stuck in Japan for the war. Albert Takeshi was a high schooler who endured what might be regarded as the world's worst foreign-exchange student experience. He was trapped in Japan when war broke out with the United States after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. For the next four years, Yamamoto was cut off from his parents in America. He was put to work on Japanese defense projects, endured bombings and strafing attacks by U.S. forces, risked being drafted in the Japanese army and suffered the hunger of a country being starved and shattered in a doomed struggle.
The tragic story behind the lone German who refused to give Hitler the Nazi salute
Adopted by the Nazi Party in the 1930s, Hitler's infamous 'sieg heil' salute was mandatory for all German citizens as a demonstration of loyalty to the Führer, his party, and his nation. August Landmesser, the lone German refusing to raise a stiff right arm amid Hitler's presence at a 1936 rally, had been a loyal Nazi. Landmesser joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and began to work his way up the ranks. Two years later, Landmesser fell in love with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman, and proposed marriage to her in 1935. After his engagement to a Jewish woman was discovered, Landmesser was expelled from the Nazi Party.
10 Things About the Mistreatment of Black Soldiers During World War II You May Not Know
(!) Black Newspapers' Coverage of Black Soldiers' Mistreatment Considered War Crime. During World War II, the Black media was unable to publicly speak about the horrendous acts that were being inflicted upon Black soldiers at the time. --- (3) German POWs Treated Better Than Black Soldiers. In 1944, Corp. Rupert Trimmingham, a Black soldier of the United States armed forces, wrote to Yank Magazine, to expound upon the racial discrimination that he and his fellow men had experienced during the war. In his letter, he upheld the notion that most Black soldiers had realized at the time: German prisoners of war were treated much better than the Black soldiers of the United States.
The Austrian castle where Waffen SS lost to German-US force
Seventy years ago one of the most unlikely WWII battles took place, at Itter in the Austrian Alps. In early May 1945, American and German soldiers fought together against the Nazi SS to free prominent French POWs. It is believed to be the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought as allies. Schloss Itter, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was a sub-unit of the Dachau concentration camp. It was used for VIP prisoners, prominent politicians and military figures that the Nazis wanted to use as bargaining chips.
Auschwitz inmates defended Nazi SS Doctor Hans MÃ¼nch in postwar trials
Nazi SS Dr. Hans Münch became the only person acquitted of war crimes at the 1947 Auschwitz trials in Kraków. Inmates testified for him, calling him the 'Good Man of Auschwitz' while 40 others were condemned. The charges against him were human experimentation, like they would have been for Mengele, but inmates noted in his defense that his 'experiments' were harmless and ongoing, because he knew once experiments were done the subjects would be killed. His documented experimentation was a ruse to keep people alive, they told the court. He also refused to 'select' anyone for the gas chambers or for experimentation with Mengele.
How a Jewish Doctor gave Wehrmacht soldier fake vaccine while inmates got the real thing
In late 1942, German troops were dying of typhus at the Eastern Front, and the SS medical chief Ernst-Robert Grawitz was impatient for vaccine—as was Heinrich Himmler himself. But the vaccine production plans of Joachim Mrugowsky, the head of the SS Hygiene Institute in Berlin, kept getting delayed. When British bombers destroyed Mrugowsky's headquarters in 1942, he decided to produce the vaccine at Buchenwald. Dr. Erwin Ding-Schuler, a callow Nazi officer and Mrugowsky's deputy, was chosen to lead production, and began assembling captive scientists with the help of his new clerk, an imprisoned German intellectual named Eugen Kogon. Among those drafted was a gentle Jewish biologist named Ludwik Fleck.
Remarkable Untouched 1942 Apartment Discovered In Paris
It was owned by Madame de Florian who fled to the South of France during the second world war, leaving everything behind. She never came back to Paris but kept on paying her rent until the day she died when she was 91.
Harold Hayes was trapped in Nazi-occupied Albania with fellow medics and nurses
Harold Hayes was only 21 years old in November 1943 when the transport plane he and 29 other Americans were traveling in crash-landed in Nazi-occupied Albania. During their ordeal, the group of men and women traversed more than 600 miles of brutal terrain, dodged German troops, faced desperate hunger, survived blizzards, and were caught in crossfire. When they finally made it across Allied lines, they were forbidden by the military from discussing the details of the events with anyone. Now, almost 70 years later, Hayes, the only living member of the group, talks about his experiences with Cate Lineberry, author of the new book, The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines.
The Last Battle: When American and German Soldiers joined forces to fight Waffen SS
Days after Hitler's suicide a group of American soldiers, French VIP prisoners, and, German soldiers defended an Austrian castle against a Waffen SS division - the only time Germans and Allies fought together in the Second World War. The most extraordinary things about Stephen Harding's The Last Battle, a truly incredible tale of World War II, are that it hasn't been told before in English, and that it hasn't already been made into a blockbuster Hollywood movie.
1913: When Hitler, Trotsky, Tito, Freud and Stalin all lived in one section of Vienna
In January 1913, a man whose passport had the name Stavros Papadopoulos disembarked from the Krakow train at Vienna's North Terminal station. "I was sitting at the table," wrote the man he had come to meet, "when the door opened with a knock and an unknown man entered. The writer of these lines was a dissident Russian intellectual, the editor of a radical newspaper Pravda (Truth). His name was Leon Trotsky. The man he described was not, in fact, Papadopoulos. He had been born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, was known to his friends as Koba and is now remembered as Joseph Stalin. Trotsky and Stalin were just two of a number of men who lived in central Vienna in 1913 and whose lives were destined to mould, indeed to shatter, much of the 20th century.
Brothers in arms: 9 men from the same family served during WWII
Soldier Albert Windsor and eight younger siblings signed up during WW2, joining all three Services between them. Four served in the Army, four in the RAF and one in the Navy - and every one came home again. The feat, officially a world record, was unearthed by Albert's son Bob during research into family history. Bob, 63, knew his dad and an uncle had been in the war but had no idea 7 other brothers were also in uniform at the same time. They had drifted apart and it was never discussed.
A girl's journey across three continents began as German troops blasted into Western Poland
For Poland, it was the start of a war that would leave millions dead. Danuta Maczka lived through this time. Her life traces a remarkable odyssey from her farmhouse in Poland, to a labour camp in Siberia, to Iran, Palestine and Egypt - and then her new home in London. Danuta was born a country girl in Rovne, eastern Poland (now Rivne, Ukraine). Her life turned upside down when Wehrmacht blasted into Western Poland - and Soviet troops arrived in the East. Ordinary families like Danuta's hoped they'd be left alone. The knock came at 06:00 on the dark, snowy morning of 10 February 1940.
World War II veteran Arnold Solomon witnessed mass German surrender
In May 1945, with the German war machine running out of steam, the war was about to come to an abrupt end and Arnold Solomon was right in the middle of it. Allied forces stood on the western side of the Elbe River - close enough to watch Russian artillery shells landing on the eastern side of the Elbe. German soldiers were scared to death of the Russians, who were ferocious to POWs. Solomon was on patrol when it happened: "Four Germans carrying rifles jumped out at me... dropped their guns and stuck their hands in the air. ... Later, A German general came over the river and asked: 'Would you allow us to build a pontoon bridge [so we could surrender faster]?'"
WWII veteran Don Baker recalls amazing capture of German submarine U-505
People thought his captain was crazy when he told them he was going to capture a German submarine. It was WW2, and U.S. Navy was quite adept at finding and sinking submarines. But no American crew had yet captured one. If Don Baker, an Aviation Boatswain's Mate First Class serving on the USS Guadalcanal, hadn't been there, he wouldn't understand just how improbable that was. But he often thinks back to June 4, 1944, when Capt. Daniel V. Gallery and his Navy Task Group forced the German U-505 to the surface, convinced them with gunfire to abandon ship, and then rushed aboard to prevent the submarine from sinking.
Seven of the eight DeRaimo brothers served during the Second World War
"It was a necessary war. We got the call, and we went," explains Angelo DeRaimo. Louie. Charles. Albert. Fred. Joe. Okey. Angelo. Seven of the eight DeRaimo brothers went off to fight the "necessary" war. All seven came back. All without a scratch. Even Okey, who was shot down over the Third Reich in a B-17 Flying Fortress nicknamed "Stubborn Jean." He was captured and held as a POW for 16 months, but he returned home unscathed. An eighth brother - Tony - had an essential-worker deferment through Carbon Fuel.
Joe Beyrle earned medals both in U.S. and Soviet army during World War II
The medals Joe Beyrle pinned to his chest were the first clue that he had survived a unique WWII journey. On his left side, Beyrle wore a Purple Heart, and on his right side Soviet medals. His story is the only documented case of a soldier who fought with both the U.S. and Soviet armies. Recently an exhibit honoring the once-unknown veteran from Muskegon, Mich., opened at the Strategic Air & Space Museum near Ashland, Neb. Beyrle's one-of-a-kind war story began when he jumped out of a U.S. transport plane and parachuted into Nazi-occupied France on June 5, 1944, the day before D-Day. He found himself cut off from his fellow paratroopers, but he nonetheless managed to blew up a power substation. Within hours, though, he found himself surrounded by a dozen Nazi soldiers, ending up in POW camps.
Olga Watkins went to Dachau Concentration Camp to work there to save her fiance
When the Gestapo arrested Olga Watkins's fiance in 1943 she set off on an extraordinary 2,000-mile search from Yugoslavia to Munich to locate him, ending up working in the Dachau Concentration Camp: "The food was a revelation. A soup course was followed by a stew of meat and vegetables. Clearly the Germans looked after their camp staff well... A tall SS guard approached me as I left the office. 'Hello, I want to show you something,' he said, leading me towards a large building and unlocking the door. 'Here we are,' he said, 'there's plenty in here for a pretty girl like you.' We stepped into a huge room. On our right was a table upon which was arranged a glittering display of jewellery: rings, bracelets, necklaces, watches. The SS guard picked up a gold chain and held it up to the light. 'Look,' he said, 'isn't it beautiful? It would look good on you.'"
Son of a Nazi tank commander who was decorated by Hitler converted to Judaism and moved to Israel
Bernd Wollschlaeger admits that there are some inconsistencies in his life story: He is the son of a German tank commander who was personally granted the Iron Cross by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. After beginning to question Germany's role in the Holocaust as a teen, Wollschlaeger later converted to Judaism and moved to Israel.
British au pair had to find her way from Nazi-occupied France back to the UK
19-year-old Rosemary Say travelled to France to work as an au pair in January 1939. Just a year later she saw a car holed by machine-gun fire arrive in her town, carrying the first of the refugees from the north as France fell to Nazi Germany. By the time Rosie decided to leave, the British consul in Marseille had already fled. Someone left handling the telephone line give her an advice to take a train north to Paris, "slip through" to Rennes and make her way to St Malo. "With that fatuous piece of advice to 'slip through' the advancing German lines to the north-west coast of France I was to start my long journey home of nearly two years."
Two WWII veterans recall when shooting included a camera (good article which includes multimedia)
WWII veterans came home with memories, scars and whatever souvenirs they could stuff in a duffel bag. Some, like Cliff Brooks and Harvey Day, brought back photographs - and interesting stories which differ from the usual wartime stories.
During the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, Brooks found a box containing a camera and photo-processing gear. His wartime snapshots - "Somebody would get a Japanese machine gun and everybody had to have a picture of themselves with that machine gun" - launched a future career in photography.
Day however, brought along his $10 Kodak camera when he was sent to Europe as an Army military policeman. He explains that shooting photos helped ease the strain of the nerve-wracking parts of his work which could include stopping drunken bar fights, dodging sniper fire, guarding POWs, and once, even capturing Nazi spies.
That historic capture came when he was posted on a bridge during the Battle of the Bulge, with orders to check every vehicle. Day soon stopped 4 soldiers in an American Jeep that looked odd: it was too clean. In addition, the GIs' uniforms, IDs and money seemed brand new. He forced the soldiers from the Jeep at gunpoint and discovered they were wearing German dog tags under their U.S. uniforms.
Nick Gozik recalls the partly failed execution of Eddie Slovik, who was one of the 21,000 GIs sentenced for desertion
The bravest act Nick Gozik, who served with the U.S. Army's 28th Infantry Division, saw during WWII wasn't on the front-lines. On January 31, 1945, Gozik stood witness as Pvt. Eddie Slovik, in a uniform stripped of its insignia, marched in front of the firing squad. Unfortunately, his execution wasn't even the worst thing he suffered from that day: The twelve sharpshooters, making up the firing squad, failed to kill Slovik in their first "Ready, aim, fire!".
During the Second World War over 21,000 American soldiers were sentenced for desertion. This number includes 49 death sentences, of which only one death sentence war actually carried out.
Gentle Johnny Ramensky: The extraordinary true story of the safe blower who became a war hero (book review)
Robert Jeffrey's new book explores the feats of Johnny Ramensky - a safecracker who became a war hero, parachuting behind enemy lines to blow open safes to steal the secret Axis documents -- and allegedly a hoard of valuable Nazi loot.
An American Volunteer in the Soviet Red Army by Nicholas Burlak
U.S. citizen Nicholas Burlak was in Ukraine when Hitler unleashed the Operation Barbarossa - the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Traveling back to the United States to join the Marines was impossible, so Burlak joined the Soviet Red Army.
Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill always carried a sword with him - And shot Nazis with arrows
John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Jack" Churchill - nicknamed "Fighting Jack Churchill" and "Mad Jack" - was an English soldier and WWII commando who fought with a longbow, arrows, and a claybeg (smaller version of the claymore sword). He once said: "any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed." In May 1940, Churchill and his unit, the Manchester Regiment, ambushed a Nazi patrol near L'Epinette, France. Churchill gave the signal to attack by shooting the German sergeant with his arrows, becoming the only British soldier to have downed an enemy with a longbow during the war.
Six O'Neal brothers served in World War II
Hollywood has "Saving Private Ryan," and the History Channel has the story of the 5 Irish-American Sullivan brothers, who fought and died during WWII. But for Iven "Bruce" O'Neal, the story of 6 brothers who served during WWII, is a story which has never been told before. Similar to the scene in "Saving Private Ryan" O'Neal's father sought help from Mississippi Governor to keep his youngest son out of harm's way, but Bruce's superior officers didn't get the message until the war was almost over. "They used to hang a star flag in the window for each serviceman, and my mother had to go out and get extra flags."
Germany honours British hero who seized key German port and stopped Kiel falling into Soviet hands
A soldier who seized a key German port during the Second World War has become the first Englishman to be given the freedom of a city - in Germany. Major Tony Hibbert led a team of 500 commandos as part of Operation Eclipse to seize Kiel in May, 1945. The men captured the port which led to the surrender of a large German garrison and stopped Kiel falling into Soviet hands - allowing the Allied forces to secure the whole of Denmark. Hibbert - Military Cross winner - has now been awarded the Great Seal of Kiel for his part in the historical mission.
Russian sisters reunited 68 years after World War II separation (Article no longer available from the original source)
Two Russian-born sisters have been reunited, 68 years after one of them was sent to Austria as a forced World War II labourer. Araxa Sniderits met her sister Susanna in Ukraine after the Russian TV program "Wait for me" tracked her down in the Austrian community of Reichraming. "There was happiness and there were tears," Sniderits said. In 1942 Sniderits was taken away by German soldiers from Kransodar. After the war, she tied the knot with an Austrian man, and they ran an inn together. "For 15 years, we searched for her sister, but we did not find her," her son-in-law Walter Steinbrenner explained.
Franz Ehrlich: Buchenwald inmate who left the camp with a truck filled with furniture
Some time ago historians in the Buchenwald's research institute got a call from the Bauhaus archive in Berlin asking if a Buchenwald inmate was permitted to leave the camp with a truck full of furniture. The strange question prompted historian Ramona Brau to go over the archive, where she found that the person was Franz Ehrlich - a political prisoner who was forced to plan the Buchenwald concentration camp. In 1939 he was released on condition that he worked for the Nazis. The pieces of furniture were prototypes of desks and chairs that Ehrlich had designed for high-ranking SS officers.
How Sigmund Freud was saved by Nazi admirer Anton Sauerwald
Sigmund Freud was saved from Hitler's persecution of the Jews by a ardent Nazi who was interested in his work, a new book reveals. The fate of Freud and his family in Vienna hung in the balance after Hitler's annexation of Austria in 1938. The psychoanalyst was first protected, then helped to escape to UK, by Anton Sauerwald, a Nazi who had been put in charge of his assets. After World War II Sauerwald was put on trial accused of plundering the Freud family wealth - only to be saved by one of Freud's daughters. The full story has emerged as a result of research by David Cohen, author of "The Escape of Sigmund Freud".
Mieczyslaw Wnuk wore 3 military uniforms during the Second World War
Old soldiers never die. They just fade into memories. "On Sept. 1, I was awakened by the sound of a plane flying over our house," recalls Mieczyslaw Wnuk. The plane had a Nazi German swastika. On that fateful day, Wnuk was a lieutenant in the army reserve. He wore a uniform whose hat looked as if they were caught in a time-warp between the 19th and 20th centuries. Soon Wnuk, an Olympic-class skier, began over 4-year journey across Europe to join his comrades and help liberate Europe. Along his route, he wore the uniforms of 3 allied armies: Poland, France and England. His memories appear in the self-published book "From Poland to England: One Man's WWII Journey."
A piece of shrapnel WWII medic had in his mouth since 1944 finally falls
Alfred Mann has struggled to eat and speak since he was injured in the land mine explosion while serving with Royal Army Medical Corps in Italy in 1944. Mann, who had no idea the half-inch shrapnel had lodged in his jaw, has spent years in pain, eating only soft foods. Then - 65 years later - a piece of shrapnel fell from his mouth. "I couldn't believe it when it came out. I am so relieved... now I'm eating everything and enjoying it." Mann suffered hearing loss, face, shoulder and leg injuries in Monte Cassino while helping to treat injured soldiers. "I do not remember anything about it. I woke up 2 days later in hospital in Naples."
Ensign Thewes's patrol mission over the Gulf of Mexico
On June 19, 1944, Squadron ZP22 of the Navy's Lighter Than Air group left the Houma Naval Air Station on a patrol mission. The crew of 10 flew over the Gulf of Mexico looking for German u-boats. The first sign of trouble was a fall toward the open water. The pilot ordered all ordinance (depth-charges and boxes of .50 caliber ammo) dumped overboard. With full power on the 2 engines and nose up full elevator control, the airship leveled off above the water... The order was given to abandon ship, but the inflatable raft drifted off faster than anyone could catch it. One by one, the crew members drowned until there was just one left, Ensign Thewes.
Sisters, separated by WWII, reunited in Kolkata after 66 years thanks to a course on genealogy
Two sisters, separated during the Second World War in Burma, have been reunited in Kolkata after 66 years. Sybil Le Fleur and her sister Blanche, who grew up together in Rangoon, were forced apart in December 1941 when the Japanese occypied Burma. In the chaos, they fled in opposite directions and did not hear from each other again until Sybil's daughter-in-law took a course on genealogy. She discovered a message from Blanche seeking information about her sister on the Planet Burma website. Derek Fly, Sybil's son, has told their tale in a book called "Torn Apart".
Fighter! Fighter! -- How the Gestapo murdered my uncle in 1944
John Brenan has published the story of his great uncle – a World War II hero killed by the Gestapo in 1944. He became fascinated by tales about Edward "Ned" Callander, who served in the French Foreign Legion before joining the RAF, after inheriting his war medals. His 4½-year quest took him on an adventure: across several countries, discovering facts along the way. Recently he launched the book "Fighter! Fighter!", which he co-wrote with Richard Frost. They discovered that Ned had been granted the Croix de Guerre medal for bravery while fighting with the French Foreign Legion in Norway in 1940.
Band of brothers: 7 siblings enlist during World War II (Article no longer available from the original source)
George Mouton remembers how easy a decision it was to enlist in the U.S. Navy in World War II. After all, each of his 6 older brothers were serving in the U.S. military. "I was the youngest, and it's only natural that I would want to try to emulate what the others were doing, to follow in their footsteps. You're too young to realize what you're doing. You had patriotism for your country." Just as oldest brother Dudley Jr. (Navy) had done, and Abel (Navy), and Antoine (Navy), and Ovey (U.S. Army infantry), and Eucharist (Navy) and Paul (Army Air Corps). All served in a forward area. Ovey was the only brother to be drafted - and the only one killed in action.
Over 10,000 Germans joined British army to fight against Adolf Hitler
He was born Claus Ascher in Berlin. His patriotic father had fought for Germany in WWI. His blonde mother 'couldn't have been more Aryan if she tried'. When WWII broke out, Ascher was quick to volunteer, but not for Adolf Hitler. His name was now Colin Anson and he was a Royal Marines commando. He was among more than 10,000 Germans and Austrians who fled Nazi regime and volunteered to join the struggle against Hitler. One was Sir Ken Adam, the only German fighter pilot in the RAF. The man who caught Britain's most notorious traitor was also German: Geoffrey Perry was a British army intelligence officer when he apprehended William Joyce, the propagandist Lord Haw Haw.
D-Day War hero's shot-through banknotes found
In 1944 Tom Thornton, who served with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was with a platoon of soldiers storming the beaches of Normandy as the D-Day battle to liberate nazi occupied Europe began. Machine guns thundered around the soldiers’ ears and Tom was cut down in a hail of bullets. As he regained his senses, he realised his wallet had shielded him from a lethal shot to the heart. Now his daughter Anne Wilkinson has stumbled over 2 long-lost French banknotes which the wallet contained, complete with a bullet hole from the German gunfire.
World War II Vets Pays it Back After Coin Saved his Life (Article no longer available from the original source)
A single coin may have saved a soldier's life. Now the WWII veteran Fay Anderson finds a way to give back: he's donating his war memorabilia to the Pecatonica Historical Society. His Army dog tags and purple heart medal will be on display there, as will what he says was the simplest, yet most important thing he carried with him while on duty. What sounds like the start of another common war tale is anything but for Fay Anderson: He was shot in the eyes and at the same time was shot in the heart. A bent half-dollar coin inside his wallet was what blocked Fay's heart from the bullet.
Scotland's most notorious gangs in WWII: For King, country and crime (Article no longer available from the original source)
They were the members of Scotland's most notorious gangs, separated by sectarian violence. Yet die-hard foes from the Billy Boys and Norman Conks joined forces in the harsh conditions of World War II. In 1941 Britain was alone as Adolf Hitler's war machine swept across Europe. Desperate measures were needed and press-ganging was reintroduced. After being thrown together on an Atlantic merchant ship, the hardened criminals decided to discard their enmities and formed a pact. It was neither patriotism nor wartime comradeship that convinced the ringleaders to call a truce. Instead, the unlikely alliance was forged from thirst for crime, violence and women.
MRS - Military Railroad Service: how the front-line troops got supplies (Article no longer available from the original source)
"I have always felt that the public knows very little of the vital role the MRS [Military Railroad Service] played in WWII," said Don Jacobson. "My service started in the Black Hills Ordinance Depot near Hot Springs, S.D. ... The MRS served in many places during World War II, including North Africa, Alaska, Italy... "Most of the effort was in the European Theatre, eventually resulting in the collapse of Italy and Germany." The MRS has a long history, the first effective use of the railroad occurred during the American Civil War. President Lincoln ordered takeover of the railroad and telegraph lines.
U.S. Soldier recalls close ties to Iran: 917th Heavy Ordnance Company (Article no longer available from the original source)
It was 1942, the US was at war, and Pete Perich joined the 917th Heavy Ordnance Company. Which is why in Oct 1942 he found himself headed to Iran. In one of the lesser-known chapters of World War II, 33,000 U.S. soldiers spent 3 years in Iran maintaining the transportation network needed to get supplies to the Soviet Union, a key partner in the Allied fight against Nazi Germany. Though Iran was neutral at the start of the war, the pro-German leader Reza Shah Pahlavi worried Britain and the Soviet Union. In 1941, the Allies invaded and forced the shah into exile to protect the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., whose revenues were key to the war effort.
We all served - 7 brothers from one family responded
During World War II, the mothers of U.S. soldiers in the military often displayed a "Sons of Service Flag." The Sons of Service flags were white with a red border and featured a blue star for each son in the military. If a son was killed in combat, his blue star would be replaced by a gold star. At the end of the war, her 7-star flag had 6 blue stars and 1 gold star for the son she lost in combat in the Marshall Islands. Pfc. Jack Wallace Foster of the U.S. Marine Corps, did not return. He was killed in action on Feb. 22, 1944. "He was pulling guard duty and a Japanese sniper killed him."
Push to pardon UK's last witch - fear of revealing D-day details
The granddaughter of Britain's last convicted witch has launched a campaign to gain a pardon for Helen Duncan, jailed at the height of World War 2 as a threat to the nation. She, a medium who conducted seances across Britain, was arrested at a time when officials feared details of the D-Day landings could be revealed. She disclosed, allegedly through contacts in the spirit world, the sinking of two British warships long before the news was made public. Found guilty of witchcraft, Duncan was jailed for 9 months.
Winning World War II - Soldiers stationed in Greenland (Article no longer available from the original source)
Steve George loaned his collection of artifacts collected from Greenland during WWII to the Williston Public Library. The World War II veteran served in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a radio operator. He was on Cruncher Island, a very tiny piece of rock that served as a home for the 16 men stationed there. "When people ask me what I did in the war and I tell them I worked in Greenland, they say, 'You didn't see any action.' I saw plenty of action with the weather. The action there was survival." The soldiers stationed in Greenland helped win the victory in Europe by predicting weather from their studies in the Arctic.
Son finds dad lost after World War II
Austrian Volkmar Harwanegg found his father decades after he travelled back to Greece in the aftermath of World War II. Giorgos Pitenis was one of tens of thousands of Greeks forcibly transported to Austria and Nazi Germany by Nazi occupation forces between 1941 - 1944. He selected as a slave laborer in 1941 in punishment for his left-wing politics. It was there that he met Harwanegg's mother. Harwanegg was born in 1944. Pitenis was repatriated to Greece shortly after the Nazi defeat and the couple never met again.
U.S. GI in Chinese Nationalist Army recall WWII in documentary
During World War II, Syd Greenberg served in U.S. Signal Corps in China and Burma. His unit was attached to the Chinese Nationalist Army. "We lived like the Chinese." He was told to photograph everything he saw, and once got word to take more pictures of the dogs Chinese soldiers kept as pets. Greenberg sent back a curt reply. "Sorry, we ate them," he told the commanders. Combat artist Ed Vebell was assigned to sketch and photograph French police executing collaborators. "I couldn't do it. My hands were shaking. To see someone killed right in front of you affected you so," Vebell said.
Valentina Rowlands has not seen her son after 1943, until now
By a cruel twist of fate, Valentina Sviridova and her son were separated in 1943. She stepped out of the house and ran into a German army patrol. She had a good command of German at the time, and Germans were looking for an interpreter, so they decided to use her knowledge of German on the spot. They promised she would be able to return, but soon the Germans retreated, and she was moved to Nazi Germany. She ended up in a British-occupied zone in May 1945. After World War II, she moved to England, but continued her search. Finally, she received a letter from Russia: her son Gosha was found. She has not seen him for 63 years.
Close calls for World War II ambulance driver
"Ambulance #11" is Arthur Wolde’s book about the men of the 451st Medical Collection Co., 68th Medical Regiment who drove their vehicles ashore during the assault on the Omaha beachhead in Normandy, and who supported the Allied forces in the Battle of the Bulge and in the penetration and collapse of Nazi Germany. -- A German Panzer division lodged a counterattack attempting to cut through the First and Third armies. Wolde got caught in the crossfire of 88 mm shells. He took shelter in slit trenches, but No. 11 received just one small shrapnel hold in the rear left fender.
Mobile US bakery company: Bread and German paratroopers
An army moves on its stomach, the saying goes. Hickey's mobile bakery company fortified the U.S. Third Army. "One night I was on guard duty. I saw when they came out of the plane and thought it was smoke from flak, but it was German paratroopers." It was Battle of the Bulge, Hitler's last-ditch counterattack. Some Germans in US uniforms also tried to infiltrate. US troops were under strict orders to have every button buttoned. "If they caught you with a button unfastened, they'd take you in. They caught a couple of guys, and they asked them some foolish questions. They could speak perfect English. If you didn't know, they looked like GIs."
He helped bring Japan into focus and capture Japanese strategist
A member of the Navy's elite corps of Japanese translators, interpreters and code breakers who were vital to efforts to end WWII, Gibney interrogated prisoners at Pearl Harbor and other Pacific battle areas. His skills helped the U.S. military capture Col. Hiromichi Yahara, the chief Japanese military strategist on Okinawa. In 1942 he became one of 1,000 men and women plucked by the Navy from Harvard, Yale and other elite institutions to learn Japanese in a crash course at the University of Colorado.
Boy's pancake breakfast delayed the end of WWII
On Aug. 14, 1945, Jones, a 16-year-old messenger in Washington, D.C., was entrusted to deliver to the White House the cable announcing Japan's surrender to the United States to end WWII. Unaware of his cargo's import, the boy, in cavalier teenage fashion, put work on hold to eat pancakes at a diner, hang out with his friends and flirt with waitresses. Meanwhile, President Truman and his inner circle waited for the note that would change history.
Captive Fascist Spent 55 Years in Russian Mental Hospital
Many readers still remember the story about the last prisoner of WWII, a Hungarian by nationality, who travelled back to the native land 3 years ago. Even now, in several years after his repatriation, people still call the Vyatsky Krai newspaper's editorial office and ask about the fate of the former prisoner of war from the German army. The man stayed in a local mental hospital for 55 years!