Wehrmacht: German Armed Forces during World War II.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Waffen SS, Erwin Rommel, WW2 Tanks, Panzer Crews: Tankers, Nazi Helmets, German WW2 militaria, Nazi Uniforms.
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Hitler`s Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich by Ben H Shepherd
On February 3 1933 Adolf Hitler gave a speech at the Berlin home of one of Germany`s most prominent generals. After what might have been billed as a `getting to know you` dinner with some 20 senior military personnel, Hitler tapped his glass and talked for more than two hours. He offered some insights into his political and strategic thinking. Marxism was to be eradicated, he said, and the `cancer of democracy` was to be removed; in military matters, he noted, the conquest of `living space in the east` was the primary goal. In the aftermath, only one — the host, Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord — resigned in protest. It was the start of the Nazi seduction of the German army.
Thousands of German offivers acquired massacring experience during Armenian Genocide in WW1
The officers of Germany - which was Ottoman Turkey`s ally during the First World War - and who occupied crucial positions in the Ottoman army, assumed the most important positions in Nazi Germany during the Second World War, Turkish Taraf daily`s reporter Ozan Cinar writes in his article entitled "The Nazis Acquired Experience in 1915." Over 200 of those officers became generals, and secured Hitler`s coming to power, and, by establishing the SS, they formed the concentration camps, Cinar writes.
Ostkrieg: Hitler`s War of Extermination in the East by Stephen G. Fritz (book review)
Accounts of World War II usually portray officers of the Wehrmacht as "professionally competent, technically proficient, and above all, clean." As Stephen Fritz writes, the general theme of history books held that "not only had the army suffered from Hitler`s megalomania, constant interference, and poor strategic and operational judgments - its leaders had neither known of nor condoned the massive crimes committed against the Soviet civilian population." In Ostkrieg, Fritz argues the opposite was true: The Wehrmacht played a key role in furthering Nazi criminality, especially in the Soviet Union.
Reluctant Accomplice: A Wehrmacht Soldier`s Letters from the Eastern Front (book review)
Reluctant Accomplice is a collection of the wartime letters of Dr. Konrad Jarausch, a German high-school teacher of religion and history who served in a Wehrmacht reserve battalion in Poland and Russia, where he died in 1942. The book tells the story of a patriotic soldier of the Third Reich who, through witnessing its atrocities, begins to doubt the war`s moral legitimacy. These letters grow increasingly critical, and their vivid descriptions of the mass deaths of Russian POWs are chilling. They reveal the inner conflicts of ordinary Germans who became reluctant accomplices in Hitler`s merciless war.
Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe no better than SS: Secretly taped conversations reveal how troops killed innocent civilians for fun
Confessions of PoWs captured by the British have laid bare the brutality of "ordinary" German soldiers, showing how the honour of the Wehrmacht was lost amid the frenzy to be "perfect, pitiless Nazis". In the interrogation transcripts, the German soldiers speak of the "fun" and "pure enjoyment" of killing civilians. Historians Soenke Neitzel and Harald Welzer have used the interrogations of 13,000 German military POWs as the basis of "Soldiers: Diaries Of Fighting, Killing and Dying". The 150,000 sides of transcripts, from 1940 to 1945, reveal how the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe were little better than the S.S., the book concludes.
One Luftwaffe pilot: "When we were in low-altitude flight over the roads, if [civilian] cars came to meet us, we kept the headlight on. That made the drivers think that there was oncoming traffic. Then we let rip with the cannon. It was a great success, beautiful, enormous, fantastic fun!"
Nazis On Speed: Wehrmacht soldiers were given addictive crystal meth to fight harder and longer
A study of drugs used by the Third Reich exposes how Nazi doctors and officers issued recruits with pills to help them fight longer. The German army`s drug of choice was Pervitin - pills made from methamphetamine (crystal meth). Records of the Wehrmacht reveal that 200 million Pervitin pills were distributed to the troops 1939-1945. In addition, the Nazis created a cocaine-based stimulant for front-line troops. "It was Hitler`s last secret weapon to win a war," said Wolf Kemper, author of a German language book called "Nazis On Speed". The drug, codenamed D-IX, was tested at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where prisoners loaded with 45lb packs marched 70 miles without rest.
Wehrmacht Panzer Divisions 1939-1945 : An Essential Tank Identification Guide
"Wehrmacht Panzer Divisions" - a guide to Wehrmacht Panzer Divisions - is a good groundwork for any military modeler. In addition to the unit histories, the book covers insignia and the equipment that Panzer divisions had at these various times. Illustration includes WWII photographs and colour profiles of the different bits of kit that they used at different times.
Excerpts from The Memoirs of Werner Mork - A Private`s Life in the Wehrmacht [PDFs]
Werner Mork turned 18 just 2 months prior to the German Invasion of Poland. Although he did not see it as such at the time, he surrendered his youth to the German army - serving in 90 th Light Infantry Division. When World War II started out he enlisted immediately, because he was a patriot and because he respected Adolf Hitler, who had settled the social unrest in his town. He enlisted because he wanted to see Germany retake its place as a respected power in Europe and undo the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles. His memoirs chronicle the life of a ordinary solder in the Wehrmacht - and it also reflects the gradual disillusionment of the German people.
Last German surrenders -thread in Axis History Forum
So you thought the German Army called it quits on May 7 1945? On orders of Großadmiral Karl Dönitz - Führer in power after Adolf Hitler`s suicide on April 30 in his bunker in Berlin - the German High Command signed the unconditional surrender of the German armed forces in Rheims, a performance which was to be repeated a few days later in Berlin to appease Soviets. At that point, the majority of Wehrmacht, Waffen-SS and Volkssturm had surrendered. But in the East, German commanders often refused to comply to the terms of surrender and continued to fight on to get their troops to the West where they could surrender to the American or the British army.
Elite paratrooper Harry Henkel was with Otto Skorzeny to rescue Benito Mussolini
Harry Henkel was a member of the elite paratroopers who under Captain Otto Skorzeny rescued Benito Mussolini on 12 Sept. 1943 from the Campo Imperatore Hotel at Gran Sasso. Harry Henkel`s story of that event is to be the topic of Mark Tronson`s next book on Harry Henkel`s war experiences. Mark`s first book on Harry Henkel - Boy Parachutist 1943-45 - was published in 2008 as an e-book, telling Harry Henkel`s Wehrmacht story. Harry Henkel saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Monte Casino and the Russian Front.
Wehrmacht, Waffen SS veterans in other Armies of the World after the WWII
Wehrmacht Veterans in other Armies of the World -thread at Axis History Forum talks about Wehrmacht and Waffen SS veterans after the Second World War, and lists the countries and armed forces (U.S. Army, the Royal armed forces, etc) in which they continued to serve in another uniform or as advisors.
Dutch honor a Wehrmacht soldier with a statue of a soldier with the hated helmet
The image of Germans in Holland is showing a glimmer of hope after the Nazi atrocities: In the village of Goirle, a civil initiative has decided to set up a memorial to the German World War II soldier Karl-Heinz Rosch, who gave his life to save two children. The steel helmet is unmistakable: the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Nazi Germany. Now the artist Riet van der Louw has made a statue of a soldier with the hated helmet. And in spite of protests, Dutch citizens have collected thousands of euros so that the memorial can be cast in bronze and put on display. "We will not be honouring the Wehrmacht, but rather the humanity of a young German soldier."
Werner Von Rosenstiel fought in Wehrmacht and U.S. Army
Werner Von Rosenstiel saw that Germany was gearing towards war. He thought of leaving, but his father wanted him to finish his education. In 1938 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht, but after seeing the Kristallnacht he was appalled. He was offered a position in Nazi regime, but he asked to travel to the U.S. for 30 days to improve his English. He would not return for 5 years. After the Pearl Harbour attack he was tried as an enemy alien. Luckily, he had a letter in which he condemned the Kristallnacht. He enlisted in the U.S. army, rose to the rank of lieutenant, fought at the Battle of the Bulge and - as a translator - saw the Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg Trials.
Armageddon - The Battle for Germany, 1944-1945 by Max Hastings
In Sept. 1944, as WW2 entered its 6th year, Nazi Germany seemed about to collapse. That summer the German Army had suffered 2 million casualties on the eastern front, in the west the Allies had broken through. Adolf Hitler`s allies had given up or trying to switch sides. How the Nazis were able to keep fighting? Max Hastings has 3 reasons: 1) Albert Speer`s organization of the Nazi economy. 2) Heinrich Himmler`s repression of dissent. 3) The fighting power of the Wehrmacht. Sometimes outnumbered by 7 to 1, often without air support, German troops still fought with remarkable skill.
Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942
For Adolf Hitler and the German military, 1942 was a key turning point, as an overstretched but still lethal Wehrmacht replaced victories with stalemates and strategic retreats. In this reevaluation Robert M. Citino shows that the German army`s woes were rooted as much in its addiction to the war of movement as they were in Hitler`s flawed management of the war. From the operational victories at Kerch and Kharkov to the defeats at El Alamein and Stalingrad, Death of the Wehrmacht offers a new view. Citino shows how the campaigns of 1942 fit within the centuries-old patterns of Prussian/German warmaking and doomed Hitler`s expansionist ambitions.
The Unknown Soldier: Germans forced to confront their ugly past (Article no longer available from the original source)
Germans acknowledge the atrocities of Adolf Hitler`s Waffen SS units, but many insist that the Wehrmacht soldiers fought honorably. In the light of overwhelming evidence, Germans, like Americans after Mai Lai or Abu Ghraib, can confess to the brutality of some of their "untypical" countrymen in uniform. But to admit that one`s caring father enjoyed massacring civilians is so wrenching a thought as to mobilize every psychological self-defense mechanism, which were put to a test in 1999, when the Wehrmacht Exhibition opened in Munich. In The Unknown Soldier, director Michael Verhoeven sees the exhibit as a litmus test of German willingness to confront the nazi past.
Film by Michael Verhoeven Focuses On Wehrmacht Exhibition
A film about an exhibition that challenged Germans to rethink what their fathers did in World War 2 is set to get a U.S. release. In "The Unknown Soldier," German director Michael Verhoeven interviews historians, including those who deny deeds committed during WW2, as he explores his country`s national psyche in the wake of the Wehrmacht Exhibition. The exhibition compelled many Germans to examine their past and accept that WW2 atrocities were not only done by Gestapo and S.S. officers, but also by ordinary soldiers. Although the exhibition had photos and film footage, protests were organized by those who believed the evidence was fabricated.
1942-1945 secret recordings of Wehrmacht Generals by MI19
During the latter half of World War II, the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) undertook a secret operation of which the full details are only now coming to light. 1942-1945, a section of SIS, known as MI19, secretly recorded 64,427 conversations between captured German generals and senior officers. The 167 most significant are about to be published for the first time. Together, they reveal what the German High Command thought of the war, Adolf Hitler, the Nazis and each other. They also explode the post-war claim of the Wehrmacht that they did not know what the SS were doing to those what they termed "untermensch" (sub-humans).
Traitors were shot, hanged or garrotted in Wehrmacht
As the Nazis were building their army, communist Franz Scheider was the last man they wanted. But as the war dragged on Wehrmacht needed every man and in 1943 Scheider was sent to Greece to serve in a unit, in which 60% were "criminals". Scheider, driver for unit`s commander, saw the German units kill civilians and formed a team to inform the partisans about German movements. But the team was betrayed and sentenced to death. -- In 1943 Hugo Ruf, Werner Spenn and Johann Lukaschitz were fighting in Kursk in an armoured unit which suffered heavy casualties. After drunkenly shooting at a portrait of Hitler and calling for a retreat, they were sentenced to death.
Germany to pardon last troops executed for betraying the Nazi regime
Germany is poised to pardon the very last soldiers who were executed during WWII after the justice ministry examined a report by an historian about 70 cases of unpardoned "traitors." The handful of men were among 30,000 German soldiers who were sentenced to death for a variety of "crimes" from desertion to espionage. Of those 16,000 were hanged, shot, garrotted or guillotined by nazi regime to crush any insurrection. While almost all were pardoned under a 2002 law, a few dozen remain with their reputations tarred. The men were mostly traitors in wartime (Kriegsverrat), one of 4 categories of crime proved too sensitive for modern day politicians to excuse.
Freytag von Loringhoven who stayed with Hitler in the bunker dies
Lieutenant General Baron Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, descended from the German aristocracy that derived from the Teutonic knights, has died at 93. As an adjutant to General Hans Krebs he was one of the handful of Wehrmacht staff officers who stayed with Adolf Hitler in the bunker in Berlin until the final hours. The twilight scenes of the "thousand-year reich" were described in The Last Days of Hitler by historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who was assigned to establish the facts about Hitler`s death on April 30 1945. April 29, 3 officers were sent out of the führerbunker, bearing a signed copy of Hitler`s political and personal testament for Grand-Admiral Karl Dönitz.
Italian died for refusing to take Oath to Adolf Hitler, Führer
Josef Mayr-Nusser, "martyr of the First Commandment," was sentenced to death by the Nazis for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler. His cause for beatification has been concluded at the diocesan phase. He was forcibly drafted by the Nazis and sent to Prussia. After his training he was required to swear an oath to Hitler, saying, "I swear to you, Adolf Hitler, Führer and chancellor of the Reich, faithfulness and courage; I solemnly promise to you and the superiors designated by you faithfulness until death; may God help me." When the day came for the oath, Oct. 4, 1944, he refused. Mayr-Nusser was put on trial and condemned to death for defiance.
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.
Tale of Willi Kaiser: Stalingrad, Heinz Guderian, Ewald von Kleist
Having told her own painful story in a memoir, Michelle Kaiser is now telling a brave soldier`s tale. The soldier is her husband, former lieutenant Willi Kaiser who fought for a month as one of the German troops at the battle of Stalingrad. Her book, Willi: Diary of A Young Lieutenant, uses his World War II diary to provide eyewitness accounts of the war from a German perspective. Stalingrad is only one part of Willi`s war with other accounts reflecting duty in Hamburg and Paris. Willi Kaiser served under two famous German Panzer leaders: Heinz Guderian and Ewald von Kleist.
At Leningrad`s Gates: The Story of a Soldier with Army Group North (Article no longer available from the original source)
William Lubbeck spent 6 years in the Wehrmacht during World War II, including 4 of those on the brutal Russian front. He rose from the rank of private to captain during the war. He served with a platoon of a heavy weapons company in the 58th Infantry Division, directing howitzer and mortar fire on enemy positions. He travelled back to Nazi Germany for officer training in 1943 and then took command of his old company from May 1944 until the end of the war. He offers a gripping account of the horrors of combat, particularly as the German army retreats from Leningrad. At the Russian town of Primorsk, the German army became bogged down...
German soldier survived eastern front, Russian POW camp (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ernest Franck grew up in Berlin and joined the German navy in the 1943. He was eventually transferred to the army and the Russian front before winding up in a Russian POW camp. "I still wake up sometimes and get all of those various remembrances of the war. War to me is dumb, in all honesty," he said, noting only four of his 15 schoolmates survived the fighting. In Dec 1944, Mr. Franck was promoted to lieutenant. "Then I got a transferred to the eastern front near Budapest," he said. When he arrived, his company that was supposed to have 300 soldiers had been decimated to 75 people.
A soldier`s story - With an elite nazi motorized tank division (Article no longer available from the original source)
Hans Dotzler survived serving as a Nazi soldier and being captured and held as a PoW in Russia. In early 1943 Dotzler was drafted into the German army under Adolf Hitler. The fuhrer`s Nazi Party had taken control of the Fatherland. Once drafted he was able to choose his unit. He opted to join an elite motorized tank division. In the second week of June 1943 the Red army started an eastern front offensive. During retreat, he and his fellow foot soldiers had the mission of keeping the roads cleared for the tanks to get by, which involved heavy combat. Two weeks later, he was one of just 28 men left in what was a 120-man company.
Wehrmacht: History, Myth, Reality - Military and Nazi ideology
"The Wehrmacht" seeks an answer to the question: Was Nazism an aberration in German history, a sickness that came upon civilized nation, or was it a natural outgrowth of traits well-entrenched in the national psyche? Wolfram Wette documents that the German military embraced the Nazi ideology with among first institutions; indeed its racial categorization predated the infamous Nuremberg Race Laws, which imposed them on German society as a whole. The Wehrmacht, the name for all of Germany`s armed forces, not only became aneffective instrument of Adolf Hitler`s desire for world domination but also an embodiment of his racist ideology.
General von Kielmansegg dies aged 99: Panzers and blitzkrieg
Johann-Adolf Graf von Kielmansegg was the chief logistic officer of one of the leading German divisions in von Rundstedt’s lightning armoured offensive through the Ardennes in May 1940. In 1941 he published "Tanks between Warsaw and the Atlantic", describing German armoured operations in Poland, the breakthrough in the Ardennes and Calais and Dunkirk campaign. For much of the next 4 years he served in Berlin or in Hitler’s command headquarters. Because he was aware of Colonel von Stauffenberg`s plan to assassinate Hitler, he was sent to command a panzer regiment in a division facing the US advance. In 1963 he was appointment as Nato Commander Land Forces Central Europe.
Joseph Simmeth fought on the Eastern Front - Stalingrad, Kursk (Article no longer available from the original source)
Joseph Julius "Peppi" Simmeth enlisted in the German army at 17 and fought on the Eastern Front. In 2003 he recounted his wartime, including the winter siege at Stalingrad, where the German 6th army was defeated. Days before Stalingrad fell, he was sent to fight at Kursk, the largest tank battle in the history. He was one of nine in his unit who survived. He was taken captive and for the next six years was a prisoner of war. His Russian captors marched him to a railroad station, put him in a packed cattle car and fed him salted herring and water. "We had no idea where we were going," he said, adding that in a few weeks he was in Siberia.
Caught in the middle: part-Jewish Germans served in Nazi army (Article no longer available from the original source)
Filmmaker Price is the director of "Hitler`s Jewish Soldiers," a documentary film featuring interviews with five Mischlinge - Nazi term for Germans of partial Jewish ancestry - who served in the German armed forces, Wehrmacht, during WWII. Historian Rigg estimates that at least 150,000 men of Jewish origin served in the German army during WW2. Arno Spitz, a German paratroop officer who was awarded three Iron Crosses for bravery, was raised as a Christian. When captured by American troops at the end of the war, however, he informed them that his Jewish father had fled to the U.S.
The German Kamikazes
The Nazi suicidists were laying their plans long before Japanese conceived the idea of Kamikaze pilots. Only bureaucratic inefficiency, and disinterest in official circles forstalled the appearance of Nazi Kamikazes. Hitler objected to the philosophy of suicide, and pointed out that there was no precedent in German history like it. After D-day Goering remembered that in his Luftwaffe there were pilots who had volunteered for a suicide mission. Plans to use a Focke Wulf 190, carrying a 4,000-pound bomb, to crash into selected targets were made, but Hitler heard about it and ordered the project abandoned.
Massacre in Velke Mezirici - A commando from Hitlerjugend (Article no longer available from the original source)
South Bohemian police have ascertained the circumstances of a massacre that occurred at the end of WW2 in Velke Mezirici. The findings would help police uncover persons responsible for the massacre. However, this will not be enough putting the perpetrators to trial since it is still necessary to question possible eye-witnesses living in Germany. During the massacre that happened on May 7, 1945, 63 people died. At the time when the war ended at most places in Europe a commando of young people from Hitlerjugend decided to punish people who joined the new local authorities.
Soldier`s memoir relates Russian Front horrors (Article no longer available from the original source)
The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-44. By Willy Peter Reese. On his 21st birthday, Willy Peter Reese was drafted to fight for his Fuehrer and the Fatherland. For almost 3 years, he survived fleas, frostbite and food rationing while completing four tours of duty on the Russian Front. In 1944, on his fifth deployment, he was killed. While on home-leave, Pvt. Reese turned his war memories into this manuscript, which outlines depraved conditions for the foot soldier and the inhumanity of war.
Battle for Budapest - One hundred days of solitude (Article no longer available from the original source)
The WWII battle for Budapest took 108 days. The Soviet Army lost 80,026 killed and 240,056 wounded. Estimated Hungarian and German casualties were 48,000 dead, 26,000 wounded. By comparison, the Leningrad siege lasted 900 days, but the fighting was not in the city, as it was in Budapest. Among capital cities, only Warsaw had a more tragic time than Budapest. Budapest was not prepared. Despite its bloodiness, the Budapest siege was virtually unnoticed in western Allied nations.
`German war` nearly broke out in Prague in 1944 (Article no longer available from the original source)
A Czech historian has found evidence that pro- and anti-Hitler factions within the German military were poised to battle each other in Prague after the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler in mid-1944. Anti-Hitler factions in the Wehrmacht were ready to fight in the streets against pro-Hitler soldiers with the Waffen-SS in what was then Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Other historians confirmed that Jan B. Uhlir had discovered several lost pieces of a historical puzzle about plans for a "German war" toward the end of World War II.
The Nazi Death Machine - Hitler`s Drugged Soldiers
The Nazis preached abstinence in the name of promoting national health. But when it came to fighting their Blitzkrieg, they had no qualms about pumping their soldiers full of drugs and alcohol. Speed was the drug of choice, but many others became addicted to morphine and alcohol. , a stimulant commonly known as speed today, was the German army`s -- the Wehrmacht`s -- wonder drug. On May 20, 1940, the 22-year-old soldier wrote to his family again: "Perhaps you could get me some more Pervitin so that I can have a backup supply?"
My Grandfathers in the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS
Johann Wiehe got drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1940. He was trained as an anti-tank gunner attached to an infantry division, and took part in the initial assault on Russia and the rush towards the Volga at the time when the Wehrmacht seemed to be unstoppable. In the winter of 1942/1943 his division dug in outside of Stalingrad, where the most memorable of his stories occurred: His unit received orders to move off and meet a Russian counterattack, but my granddad was unable to join his comrades as his toes had to be amputated due to frostbite. Helmut Barkowsky was drafted into the Waffen SS in 1942...
Hitler`s secret Indian army
In the closing stages of WWII, as Allied forces were driving Hitler`s now demoralised forces from France, 3 senior German officers defected. The information they gave British intelligence was considered so sensitive that in 1945 it was locked away. It reveals how thousands of Indian soldiers who had joined Britain in the fight against fascism swapped their oaths to the British king for others to Adolf Hitler - an astonishing tale of betrayal that threatened to rock British rule in India. The story began in Berlin on 3 April 1941. This was the date that the left-wing Indian revolutionary leader, Subhas Chandra Bose, arrived in the German capital.
Franz Gockel: As a Wehrmacht gunner on Omaha beach
A teenage soldier in the Wehrmacht, Franz Gockel had his 18th birthday while serving as a gunner in a `resistance nest` on Omaha beach. He was shot in the hand and evacuated to Paris before serving again and being seized by the Americans. "We had been kept busy digging the trenches and keeping the guns in order. But at 1am we got the alarm call. We had had many of these before and we threw out the guy who had brought it to us, but he came back and said this time it was for real: the Americans had been landing by parachute about 30km from us." At 8am my machine gun failed and I had to use my pistol to protect myself, it just fired single shots.
Monte Cassino: Italian bloodbath
The allies were fighting their way up from southern Italy towards Rome, and the monastery of Monte Cassino stood at the strongest point of a powerful German defensive line. The battle took four months, and by one estimate it left a 250,000 dead or wounded. The German commander, Lieutenant-General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, wrote: "We found that divisions arriving from other theatres of war were not immediately equal to the double burden of icy mountain terrain and massed bombardment." Author Matthew Parker: "The largest land battle in Europe, Cassino was the bitterest and bloodiest of the Western Allies` struggles with the German Wehrmacht on any WW2 front."
The German Iron Cross winner who served Adolf Hitler, Queen and Country (Article no longer available from the original source)
Werner Volkner won the Iron Cross in the SS and was later welcomed into the British Army. Across one wall are shelves of memorabilia from the Waffen-SS, the Nazi elite of which Mr Volkner was once a member, winning the Iron Cross for bravery under fire. On the other side, are mementoes relating to the Westminster Dragoons, the British Army regiment to which Mr Volkner also once belonged. The story of how he came to be a non-commissioned officer in both forces illustrates how thoroughly and adeptly veterans of the SS, brought here as prisoners at the end of the WWII, quietly insinuated themselves into British communities.