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Recent hand-picked WWII news and articles

Photos: Hundreds descend on Belgian forest to recreate one of the U.S. Army`s bloodiest encounters with Nazi forces
Hundreds of people have braved snowy weather and blustery conditions to recreate one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of the Second World War. American and Belgian nationals gathered in the Ardennes region of Belgium yesterday to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the U.S. Army`s bloodiest encounters with Nazi forces. People young and old donned period U.S. Army uniforms for the re-enactment of the battle, which was fought for nearly six weeks from December 16, 1944.
(dailymail.co.uk)

In 1944 Battle of the Bulge, Albert Darago, then 19, took on a German tank by himself
Albert Darago had never fired a bazooka before. He was an `ack-ack` guy, a fuse-cutter on a 90mm antiaircraft gun. But on Dec. 19, 1944, the brass was looking for volunteers to go after some German tanks. And Darago said sure. Seventy years ago, Darago, now 89, crept down a long, open hill with a loaded bazooka, figuring that he was going to die. He peeked over the top of a hedge and, at a distance of a few yards, fired at a German tank, disabling it. He then scampered back up the hill under heavy fire. `We were in open territory,` he said. `You didn`t need a sharpshooter. Anybody with a gun could have killed us.`
(washingtonpost.com)

Remains of German WWII Junkers Ju 88 bomber recovered from Thames Estuary
The remains of a WWII Junkers Ju 88 German aircraft have been recovered from the outer Thames Estuary, 10 miles south east of Clacton. Unearthed by a dredger in August 2011 as part of ongoing work on a shipping channel for the new Thames Gateway, sonar investigations undertaken by Wessex Archaeology revealed what appeared to be the outline of twin engines. A diving search in February 2012 confirmed the wreck site as being that of a Ju 88. More than 15,000 Junkers Ju 88s were produced, but the presence of fragments from a large format camera suggested that this discovery was a rare prototype T series, designed for high speed reconnaissance missions.
(culture24.org.uk)

8 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Bulge
On December 16, 1944, Adolf Hitler launched an audacious counterattack against Allied forces in the freezing Ardennes Forest in southern Belgium and Luxembourg. In the subsequent Battle of the Bulge—so named for the 60-mile `bulge` the German blitzkrieg left in the Allied lines—the Ardennes` American defenders were caught off guard as more than 250,000 German troops and hundreds of tanks descended on their positions. A lack of resources and fierce American resistance eventually halted the German advance, but not before some 80,000 G.I.s were killed, captured or wounded—more than in any battle in U.S. history.
(history.com)

Dieter Grau, one of the last members of Wernher von Braun`s German rocket team, dead at 101
Dieter Grau, one of the original German scientists who came to America with Wernher von Braun at the end of World War II and developed the space program that put men on the moon, died today in Huntsville. He was 101. At NASA, Grau helped design the electrical system of the von Braun team`s early rockets and later served as Marshall`s director of quality assurance.
(al.com)

Thailand`s military rulers use Hitler in propaganda video
Thailand`s military rulers are very concerned about citizens having the right values. So they put out a propaganda film extolling filial piety, honest behavior and respect for the Thai king. It also included an image of a child painting the likeness of Hitler. The 11-minute video was intended to promote 12 "core values" that every Thai student must learn, but it has an odd scene: In one image, schoolkids grin at a watercolor portrait of Hitler.
(washingtonpost.com)

Two Polish treasure seekers find rare wine in Nazi bunker
Two Polish treasure hunters have unearthed two bottles of wine hidden by the Nazis more than 70 years ago. The two, who prefer not to be named, were exploring a network of Third Reich of tunnels near Swinoujscie, a city in Poland when they found a narrow corridor which dodn`t appear to have been explored before. Inside, they found a helmet, some uniform buttons and a wooden box of ammunition - which also tuned out to hold two bottles of 1930s Bordeaux wine. The red 1938 Chateaux Grand Barrail Lamarzelle and white 1939 Chateau Latour-Matillac were intact, although the label of one was decayed. It`s not known whether the wine will be drinkable - although the low temeratures in the bunker may have made it a wine cellar.
(money.aol.co.uk)

French TV ‘proves` Coco Chanel spied for the Nazis
A French historian produced `documentary evidence` that celebrity dress designer Gabrielle `Coco` Chanel worked as a Nazi spy. In a documentary titled `L`Ombre d`un Doute` (The Shadow of a Doubt) historian Franck Ferrand said documents locked away in France`s Ministry of Defence archives since the war proved that the glamorous socialite worked directly for German military intelligence. Chanel`s love affairs with high-ranking Nazis, including senior Gestapo officer of Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, have been widely known for years. But this is the first time a French state broadcaster has admitted that she went so far as to spy for the occupiers. Chanel operated under the codename `Westminster` and had the Abwehr (German military intelligence) number F-7124.
(france24.com)

Despite Backlash, Polish Company Will Continue to Make Nazi Toys Because They`re `Fun`
Amid a backlash from angry parents and customers, a Swedish toy store that was selling a line of Nazi toy soldiers complete with uniform brandishing a swastika and eagle confirmed that they`d be removing all these toys from their shelves. The toys were manufactured by a Polish company, Cobi Toys, which also became under fire for promoting Nazism for kids. CEO of Cobi Toys, Robert Podles, said despite the offensive nature of these toys, that `We believe that through good fun we can teach history and we will continue this line in the future. We cannot separate this from history. Our history, our whole European history, unfortunately has imbibed this Nazism from the Second World War and we cannot escape from that."
(shalomlife.com)

Croatia Returns $4 Million Property to Jewish community as Holocaust Restitution
Croatia has announced that it will give land and an office building, in capital city Zagreb, valued at about $4 million, to the city`s Jewish community as restitution for property expropriated from the community during World War II. Zagreb`s Jewish community will receive a six-story building and a surrounding parcel of land. The building will replace a building once owned by the city`s Jewish burial society. The Zagreb Jewish Community has been fighting for years for the return of the original building, which was built in 1927 by the burial society. They first filed a claim back in 1997. Croatia, part of Yugoslavia from 1918 until an ugly civil war in 1991, was occupied by Germany and Italy in 1941. The Nazi-allied government incorporated several parts of Yugoslavia into the Independent State of Croatia - a Nazi-backed puppet state.
(israelnationalnews.com)

10 bizarre war machines from the second world war
(1) Ice Aircraft Carriers `Bergships`. Project Habakkuk was a British plan by Geoffrey Pyke to build aircraft carriers out of pykrete, a mixture of wood pulp and ice. The carriers, nicknamed `bergships` were to operate as landing platforms for aircraft in the war against the German U-boats in the mid-Atlantic. ---- (2) Goliath tracked mine. The Goliath tracked mine `beetle tank` was a remote controlled demolition vehicle used by the Germans in world war two. ---- (3) Bat Bombs. The Bat bomb was an experimental weapon developed in the United States. The bomb was a shell shaped container that held scores of Mexican Free-tailed bats. The bats were attached to small timed incendiary bombs and released from a bomber at dawn.
(heritagedaily.com)

Check Out The Incredible Armoured Trains Of World War I And World War II
Trains may seem pretty mundane in the 21st century. Things are a bit flashier in Europe and Asia, where they`re used for high-speed, comfortable travel. This contrasts vividly with the last century, when not just trains but armoured trains were a vital piece of machinery in the two great military conflicts of the era. The armoured train was first seen in the American Civil War, according to The Jamestown Foundation. But the battle-ready form of transportation came to prominence in World War I, when Russia used it as a means of defence during cross-country travel. The trains were used by most of the European nations fighting in World War II: Poland took advantage of them extensively, Nazi Germany reacted and began using them, the Russians kept their fleet up. Even Canada patrolled its west coast with one for a time in case of an invasion.
(businessinsider.com.au)

42 maps that explain World War II
42 maps that explain World War II
(vox.com)

UD researchers help locate downed World War II plane in Palau
During World War II, the western Pacific islands of Palau were a hotbed for combat. The Japanese wanted to use the islands for battle preparation and refueling grounds — and so did the Allies. Numerous aircraft were lost in the waters of Palau, submerged for decades with little closure for the families of fallen airmen. Mark Moline, director of the School of Marine Science and Policy within UD`s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, and a colleague at Scripps Institution of Oceanography began working with the non-profit BentProp Project in 2013 to apply underwater robotics technologies in search of lost U.S. airmen. The collaboration led to the discovery of two long-lost planes.
(udel.edu)

Switzerland`s Bern Art Museum to accept Gurlitt `Nazi art`
Switzerland`s Bern Art Museum has agreed to accept hundreds of artworks bequeathed by German Nazi-era art hoarder Cornelius Gurlitt. But a museum spokesman said pieces looted by the Nazis in World War Two would not be permitted in the museum. Mr Gurlitt, the son of Adolf Hitler`s art dealer, had for years hidden works by artists including Picasso and Monet. Around 500 works are expected to remain in Germany until their rightful owners can be identified. Three pieces - by Max Liebermann, Henri Matisse and Carl Spitzweg - will be returned immediately.
(bbc.com)

British soldier reveals how Nazi general Rommel spared him from the firing squad
A WWII soldier has revealed how a Nazi general spared him from the firing squad. Roy Wooldridge, 95, from Hendy, Carmarthenshire, was seized while on a mission in France just before D-Day and taken to Erwin Rommel. The Royal Engineer was brought before Rommel and asked if he needed anything. He replied "a pint of beer, cigarettes and a good meal". Now, that empty cigarette packet will feature on the BBC`s Antiques Roadshow. Wooldridge, who was twice awarded the Military Cross, was sent to the French beaches with a colleague to ensure there were no mines which could blow up the boats during the D-Day landings. Due to the secretive nature of the mission, he was not wearing a uniform or carrying id.
(bbc.com)

Watercolour painted by Hitler fetches $161,000 at Nuremberg auction
A watercolour thought to be painted by Hitler has sold at an auction in Germany for 130,000 euros (£103,000; $161,000). The 1914 painting of Munich`s city hall was put up for sale by two elderly sisters. Their grandfather had bought the painting in 1916. A private buyer from the Middle East, who wished to remain anonymous, bought the work, auction house Weidler said. The auction was held in the central German town of Nuremberg. The auction house said bidders from four continents had expressed an interest in the work.
(bbc.com)

Were Kamikaze pilots all just volunteers or how exactly did they get selected?
During WWII, thousands of Japanese pilots made the ultimate sacrifice for their country by becoming flying suicide bombers. But what was it that made these men so willing to lay down their lives in such a way? Were they really bright eyed volunteers eager to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, as the war time propaganda stated, or were they forced into it? The Japanese military brass were desperate: The enemy had them outgunned, out-manned, and possessed certain critical technologies that Japan didn`t have. To showcase how dire things were, going back to 1942, in a single day in June of that year Japan lost more airmen than they had managed to train in an entire year just before the war.
(theguardian.com)

A Soldier`s Vivid, Candid Diary of What It Was Like to Fight in WWII
Keeping the telephone lines intact and the radios working is not the hardest part of Communications. The greatest difficulty is saying the right thing. Two or three days after the landing the Division Commander ordered that there would be no reports of disasters or extraordinary successes. An example accompanied the edict; in case the enemy should throw some of its weight against us, the news would be transmitted not as a `counter-attack,` but as `enemy enthusiasm.` By the same token, if one of our regiments should succeed in breaking through the German defenses and advance 4-5 miles, the achievement would be termed something like `good progress.` Nothing extreme, no matter what.
(newrepublic.com)

World War II Veteran Retells The Story When He Discovered He Was A European Legend
World War II veteran Vince Speranza retells the intriguing story when he served in Bastogne, Belgium fighting the Nazis. While helping tend to the wounded, he was asked by a hurt soldier for a drink. Incredibly, he found a broken down tavern nearby that had beer on the tap still. With no glasses or bottles around, he used his helmet to carry the beer to his friends. He never imagined that his beer serving technique would become a European legend later in life.
(viralviralvideos.com)

Invasion of Poland - a strategy game for Android - now available on Google Play
Invasion of Poland 1939 - a turn based strategy game for Android from highly rated Conflict Series - is not available on Google Play.
(Google Play)

Inside Hitler`s German beach resort that has never had a single guest after being abandoned 75 years ago
This is the 10,000-room hotel that has never had a guest. Situated on the island of Rügen in Germany, the Prora beach resort was built by Adolf Hitler between 1936 and 1939 as a striking show of Third Reich architecture. Yet the project was halted, with eight separate buildings having been erected, when the Nazi leader decided to focus on building more planes and war infrastructure. Prora was constructed on the Baltic island of Ruegen by the Nazi `Strength Through Joy` leisure organisation over a six-year period and occupies 3 miles of beachfront. It was meant to provide holiday entertainment for 20,000 of Hitler`s hordes at any one time.
(dailymail.co.uk)

Second world war British propaganda posters – in pictures
A huge collection of British propaganda posters, featuring everything from Spitfires to Hitler, is to be sold at auction. They illustrate just how the war touched the lives of everyone, both on the home front and in the armed forces. They come from the collection of commercial artist, E Bendell-Bayly, a partner at the Bayly-Souter Studio, where the posters were produced, and include some original artworks. The collection will be auctioned by David Lay on 6 November
(theguardian.com)

How U.S. intelligence agencies used 1,000 Nazis as Cold War spies - then covered it up
Historians have revealed that J. Edgar Hoover`s FBI and Allen Dulles`s CIA hired at least 1,000 Nazis - if not more. Bits of the story have been reported in the past, but the full scope of the operation has now been reported in Eric Lichtblau`s new book, The Nazis Next Door. "U.S. agencies directly or indirectly hired numerous ex-Nazi police officials and East European collaborators who were manifestly guilty of war crimes. Information was readily available that these were compromised men," University of Florida professor Norman Goda explained.
(washingtonpost.com)