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Recent hand-picked WWII news and articles

Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic 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 D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)

The Battle of Brody: The Biggest Tank Battle Ever
Many books describe the Battle of Prokhorovka, part of German Operation Citadel in 1943, as the largest tank battle in history. So, how many tanks were at Prokhorovka: 306 German and 672 Soviet, expanding the battle beyond Prokhorovka, the total number of tanks fielded was around 1,300. However, on June 23, 1941, between Dubno, Lutsk and Brody in western Ukraine, six Soviet mechanized corps launched a counter attack into the advancing 1st Panzer Group. The resulting messy battle included 2,648 Soviet tanks out of a total force of 5,000 versus some 1,000 German tanks

Poland confirms Michael Karkoc, a Minnesota man aged 98, was infamous Nazi commander
A state prosecutor in Poland says that evidence shows without doubt that a Minneapolis man was a Nazi unit commander suspected of contributing to the death of 44 Poles. Robert Janicki said that years of investigation into US citizen `Michael K` confirmed `100 percent` that he was in charge of an SS unit accused of burning villages and killing civilians during the Second World War. Michael K has been identified as Michael Karkoc, 98, whose family deny he was involved in war crimes. He may now face extradition. Documents show that a Michael Karkoc, born March 6, 1919 in Lutsk, Ukraine, was the commander of a unit in the Ukranian Self Defense Legion (USDL), which operated in collaboration with the German army.

Rochus Misch: Bodyguard who found Hitler and Eva Braun`s dead bodies
Intriguing details of the Führer`s final moments, as well as clues to his relationship with lover Eva Braun and the truth behind Rudolf Hess` peace mission to the UK, have been revealed in a book by the person who found Hitler dead. The collection of photos belonging to Hitler`s personal bodyguard, Rochus Misch, inside the book also offer an intimate look into the private lives of the Nazi dictator and those close to him. Candid pictures show Hitler and Eva Braun, among others, relaxing on the terrace at the Berghof residence, inside one of Hitler`s many studies and homes and Misch standing guard. The details of Hitler`s last minutes and other details about his private life have been revealed in Rochus Misch`s book, Hitler`s Last Witness.

Book Review: White Sniper: Simo Hayha by Tapio Saarelainen
During the 1939-40 Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, a hunter and farmer by trade by the name of Simo Hayha returned to his reserve unit and picked up 542 confirmed kills with iron sights. While versions of Hayha`s story is well known in the West and has even been covered by briefly, the 192 pages of Tapio Saarelainen`s White Sniper goes past the second and third-hand accounts and brings you, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

Treasure hunt to recover 4.5 billion worth of British gold trapped in merchant ships torpedoed by Nazis
Billions of pounds worth of British gold is hidden in the wrecks of merchant ships sunk during the First and Second World Wars, a team of experts believe. Four research groups have spent 25 years producing a database tracking the gold shipped by the British Government to pay for munitions and goods during both World Wars. Of the 7,500 merchant ships sunk, the teams have identified more than 700 which they believe may have been carrying vast quantities of gold and other precious metals.

Hitler`s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law
In `Hitler`s American Model,` James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Contrary to those who have insisted that there was no meaningful connection between American and German racial repression, Whitman demonstrates that the Nazis took a real, sustained, significant, and revealing interest in American race policies. As Whitman shows, the Nuremberg Laws were crafted in an atmosphere of considerable attention to the precedents American race laws had to offer.

Photos by aide to Churchill`s chief of staff gives behind-the-scenes view of some of history`s greatest moments
Pictures of some of the most momentous events that took place behind the scenes of the WW2 have been unearthed. The photos were taken by Cabinet Office secretary Brenda Hart, who worked for the Government in the last two years of the war and had a ringside seat to key decisions made by the Allied leaders. As part of her work she accompanied former prime minister Winston Churchill and other leading political figures on official diplomatic trips to Russia and Germany and witnessed the Potsdam Conference in which the division of Germany into four zones was agreed. Her unique collection of photographs and mementos, which also include snaps of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, is now going up for auction where it could fetch as much as £1,200.

In Pictures: WWII Hong Kong battle site trashed and covered in graffiti
A prominent World War Two battle site in Wong Nai Chung Gap has been damaged with French-language graffiti and strewn with rubbish, including cigarette butts and beer cans. Philip Cracknell, who conducts regular guided tours of Hong Kong battle sites, told HKFP that he first discovered the graffiti and rubbish at the West Brigade headquarters around ten days ago.

10 Abandoned Underground Factories of the Second World War
The Second World War was the deadliest conflict in human history and brought about mass-militarisation on an unprecedented scale. Across the globe – but especially in Europe and Asia Pacific – armaments factories appeared from nowhere, trenches were dug, concrete pillboxes sprang up, and the world prepared for devastation unlike anything it had ever seen. With the terror of aerial bombardments instilled in everyone, many of the factories at the time were built deep underground, where the enemy`s aerial armada couldn`t reach them. A number of abandoned underground factories of World War Two are still crumbling to dust some 70 years later, reminders of one of the darkest chapters in modern human history.

Watch the World War II Museum`s PT-305 cruise Lake Pontchartrain: video
Watch as the National World War II Museum`s meticulously restored PT-305 takes a test cruise on Lake Pontchartrain on March 16. The 1943 patrol-torpedo boat was manufactured by the Higgins company in New Orleans. It is the only working restoration of such a ship.

Polish historian presented evidence about Polish villagers` widespread killing of Jews fleeing Nazis
A Polish historian presented evidence about Polish villagers` widespread killing of Jews fleeing Nazis, touching a raw nerve in a country still grappling with its role during the Holocaust. The research is likely to irk the nationalist Polish government, which has taken aim at those seeking to undermine its official stance that Poles were only heroes in the war, not collaborators who committed heinous crimes. In launching the English-language version of her book, "Such a Beautiful Sunny Day," Barbara Engelking details dozens of cases of Poles raping Jewish women and bludgeoning Jews to death with axes, shovels and rocks

Nazi child killers kept jobs at Vienna clinic after 1945: report
Almost all the staff at a notorious Vienna clinic where the Nazis killed hundreds of handicapped children kept their jobs after 1945 and subjected other inmates to abuse and neglect. A report from Austrian authorities says between 600 and 700 children and youths were kept at "Pavilion 15" under a "comprehensive system of violence" between the end of World War Two and the early 1980s.

German Tiger tank veterans give their side at special exhibition set for Bovington`s Tank Museum
GERMAN Tiger tank veterans who fought the Allies in World War Two received special packages from Hitler himself, they have recalled. Speaking ahead of an exhibition set for The Tank Museum, Bovington, the former Tiger tank crewmen revealed how they were made to feel superior to other soldiers in the German army. One veteran, Wilhelm Fischer, said: `Every month I got four packages from Adolf Hitler - they had chocolate in, cigarettes, sausage, we even got cured sausage every now and then. It was only the tanks. The infantry didn`t get anything, they just lay in the mud.` The Tiger Tank Collection exhibition, with the German veterans` stories, includes the museum`s own Tiger 1, its two King Tigers and its Jagdtiger. There will also be an example of the German Elefant, a 65-tonne tank destroyer which is back on European soil for the first time since the end of the war.

German fighter pilots in WW II shot down more enemies when they were jealous of their colleagues
German pilots strapped themselves into fighter planes and risked death with every flight in World War II. With a task that perilous, what could motivate them to try harder? A research paper argues they were spurred by competition, and a hunger for the praise showered on their successful colleagues. When a German pilot was singled out for recognition in the armed forces daily bulletin—a high and rare honor in Nazi Germany—the performance of his peers increased. The effect was most dramatic among the best fighter pilots, the aces. When their fellow ace was recognized, the number of combat victories from other aces in his squadron climbed by two thirds, to three victories a month, according to the paper by a trio of economists.

School Assignment Leads to Discovery of WWII Plane With Pilot`s Body Still Inside
When 14-year-old Daniel Kristiansen was assigned a World War II project for history class, his father jokingly suggested he look for a German plane that had allegedly crashed at the family farm. Well wouldn`t you know it, he actually found the damned thing—along with the dead airman`s remains. Armed with metal detectors, father and son descended on the farm near Arabybro in Denmark. Years before, the father, Klaus, remembered his grandfather telling him that a plane had crashed there during the war, but that the plane was removed soon afterwards. The pair thought it might be fun if they could find a small bit of metal or two left over from the crash. Well, they found a lot more than that, uncovering thousands of pieces, and the remains of the pilot.

Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler
In 1944, World War II was dragging on and the Nazi forces seemed to be faltering. Yet, in military briefings, Hitler`s optimism did not wane. His generals wondered if he had a secret weapon up his sleeve, something that would change the war around in the last second. Norman Ohler says that Hitler did have a secret, but it wasn`t a weapon. Instead, it was a mix of cocaine and opioids that he had become increasingly dependent upon: "Hitler needed those highs to substitute [for] his natural charisma, which ... he had lost in the course of the war." Ohler`s new book, Blitzed, which is based in part on the papers of Hitler`s private physician, describes the role of drugs within the Third Reich. He cites three different phases of the Fuhrer`s drug use.

Operation Platinfuchs - attack on Murmansk - Was an Early Nazi Defeat on the Eastern Front
The Soviet navy during World War II is perhaps best remembered for its vigorous role in the doomed defense of the ports of Odessa and Sevastopol in the Crimean Sea. However, in the Arctic north, the Soviet warships would have a major impact in the opening months of the war with Nazi Germany. A ragtag fleet of destroyers and patrol boats, backed up by two stout-hearted rifle divisions, brought Hitler`s elite mountain troops skidding to a halt, preserving a vital supply line to Britain and the United States.

Nazi WWII Plan to Attack US With Sub Missiles
In the closing weeks of WWII in Europe, American intelligence determined that a detachment of German submarines had been dispatched to launch a cruise missile attack on the East Coast of the US. The U.S. Navy deployed 46 ships and dozens of aircraft to annihilate the incoming submarine wolf pack. The battle that followed saw hundreds of lives lost at sea, and showed American intelligence services at their very best—and worst. Nazi Germany was the first nation to deploy cruise and ballistic missiles in combat. The V1 `Buzz Bomb` could fly more than 180 miles powered by a pulse jet before slamming into its target. The longer-range V-2 could shoot up to fifty-five miles high in its ballistic trajectory. The possibility that the so-called `vengeance weapons` might be mounted on submarines and used to sow chaos along the eastern seaboard of the US did not escape Allied commanders.

Hitler`s Heralds: The Story of the Freikorps 1918-1923
Where did Hitler get his army of brownshirts? They were a natural growth from an emergence of violent paramilitary bands following the end of the war and the disappearance of the empire. Millions of men went home, but tens of thousands of angry, disappointed men formed terrorist bands. These were from the left and the right, but the rightist bands were more consequential. They took their name from one of the most unsavory episodes of German history, the Freikorps of the wars of religion. The Freikorps prevailed because they had money. Businesses backed them, and sometimes they received money and weapons from secret funds of the army, or from civilian governments. Even some Socialist local governments, desperate for `order,` sometimes paid the Freikorps.

US Submarine with Mark 51 rocket launchers on its deck ravaged Japan
Submarines still made use of deck guns during WWII, most of them ranging 3-5 inches in caliber. These were used to finish off unarmed merchant ships or sink smaller vessels that could evade torpedoes—but also were directed to bombard coastal targets. The problem was that a single gun was unlikely to inflict much damage in a short amount of time, and the submarines were highly vulnerable to air, sea and land attack as long as they remained surfaced. In 1942, the German Kriegsmarine tested submarine rocket artillery that could be fired underwater, but gave up on the idea due to its impracticality. Rumors that Germany had modified their subs to launch V-2 ballistic missiles at the US led to a bloody submarine hunt in the closing weeks of WWII. The U.S. Navy, meanwhile, considered a much cruder solution: taking one of the Mark 51 rocket launchers it used on some of its LSM landing ships and strapping it to the main deck of a submarine.

Photos of high-ranking Nazis awaiting the Nuremburg Trials as they relax in a British POW camp
A remarkable collection of images of high-ranking Nazi officers at a British POW camp in the aftermath of WWII have been unearthed after 70 years. Senior figures including Gerd von Rundstedt, who was commander in chief of the German army in Western Europe, were held at Island Farm POW camp near Bridgend, south Wales, while awaiting the Nuremburg Trials. The authorities had to find suitable accommodation for a large number of POWs captured in Europe and Island Farm, with its concrete huts surrounded by open fields, fitted the bill. The fascinating collection of photographs, documents and letters were compiled by the camp`s intelligence officer, Captain Ted Lees. Among them are notes from Captain Lees who recalls a conversation with Rundstedt, to whom he became a confidante despite being Jewish, where he criticises Hitler for his infamous `halt order` which allowed the Allies to escape from Dunkirk.

Kettenkrad, WWII motorcycle-tank hybrid, going under the hammer for 80,000
The tracked motorcycle, known as a Kettenkrad, was used by the Germans in the peak of the war as a multi-purpose field vehicle. Shown to be in relatively good condition, the vehicle is being sold by Bonhams in Chichest, West Sussex on March 19. Looking like a cross between a motorbike and a tank, the Kettenkrad was said to be the fastest tracked vehicle of the War, capable of land speeds of up to 50mph. Capable of tackling a range of challenging terrains, the vehicle was used to transport soldiers, tow larger machinery and lay communication cables.

Churchill`s Ungentlemanly, but deadly, war against the Nazis
The English have always taken pride in civility, so it should come as no surprise that the government debated how to deal with Hitler and his Nazi war machine. The question: Should the war be conducted in the traditional British gentlemanly fashion? A member of Parliament ridiculed the idea. `When you are fighting for your life against a ruthless opponent, you cannot be governed by the Queensbury rules.` The rules concern few in the tight-knit group of Churchill`s Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler`s Defeat (Picador, 368 pp., ***½ out of four stars), Giles Milton`s richly detailed narration of British government-sanctioned sabotage and other hit-and-run tactics against Germany.

The Unbuilt Nazi Pantheon: Unpacking Albert Speer`s Volkshalle
As the Russians neared Berlin that spring, Adolf Hitler continued to toy with plans, and a vast model, of Germania, the new German capital that was to be built over Berlin after the ultimate victory of the Third Reich. At the heart of this bombastic new city stood the colossal domed Volkshalle, a gigantic play on the ancient Roman Pantheon. Speer had based his design on a sketch of the Roman temple made by Hitler himself in 1925, while in 1938 Hitler had made a point of visiting the Pantheon on a trip to Rome. The Pantheon had been created for an empire that survived four centuries. The Volkshalle would go one better: it was to symbolize an empire planned to endure a thousand years. In the event, the Third Reich missed its target by 998 years, and neither the Volkshalle nor Germania were built.