German forces mass in the east of Poland

A German motorised column on the Russian front, June 1941.

Because of unusually heavy military traffic, all civilian movement was halted for several hours. You can see many different types of troops. … The situation is the same as during a war when large fighting units begin to move.




RAF ‘area bombing’ begins with Mannheim

Handley Page Hampdens

‘the sole objective was the industrial centre of Mannheim on which 108 tons of highexplosive and over 13,000 incendiary bombs were dropped. Countless fires were started and aircraft which arrived late in the night reported that many blocks in the Western and South-Eastern areas were ablaze. Aircraft visited the town on the two following nights and reported many fires still burning after the previous attacks, and smoke hanging over the town.’




British attack Italians in the Desert

Bren-gun-carriers advancing across Desert

We have attacked in the Western Desert. This is not an offensive and I do not think you ought to describe it as an offensive as yet. You might call it an important raid. The attack was made early this morning and I had word an hour ago that the first of the Italian camps has fallen. I cannot tell you at this moment how far we are going to go— it depends on what supplies and provisions we capture and what petrol we are able to find.




RAF bomber crew find welcome in gloomy France

Bristol Blenheim Mk IV L4842 being flown by test pilot Bill Pegg near Filton, 29 May 1939. The aircraft served with No. 53 Squadron and was shot down on 17 May 1940 over France.

We were nonplussed by being asked if we thought our government would seek peace terms from Hitler when we were on our own. Our obvious astonishment at such an idea caused general laughter, but, when we were asked penetrating questions about how we thought we would beat the Germans, even if we succeeded in preventing them from over-running us, we found ourselves giving vague, broad—brush answers. In truth, we had no idea.




Capturing the bridge at Remagen

The Ludendorff Bridge from the north-eastern shore after the attempted demolition. The 300-kilogram (660 lb) weak, industrial-grade demolition charge only succeeded in destroying part of the eastern pedestrian catwalk and a section of main truss (shown above) on the northern side of the bridge.

German soldiers and civilians, gathering from miles around, were sitting in ‘grandstand’ seats at every vantage point on the east bank, waiting for the spectacular event to come off, when Burrows’ patrol ran onto the bridge – ten minutes before the hour fixed for its destruction. The German lieutenant signaled the plunger down. Two small explosions occurred, but the bridge only shuddered and remained standing. Several of the fuses had been faulty.




US 82nd Airborne seizes prisoners for intelligence

The 82nd had arrived in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden. Men and supplies drop from transport 'planes above Nijmegen.

I didn’t think my German was that bad, so other more persuasive means had to be used to make him talk. This was not a time for German arrogance. In the heat of battle I was locked in mortal combat and in a struggle for my life. I would just as soon have slit his throat except for the fact that I needed information, and division wanted him for the same purpose. I knocked him to the ground and, lying next to him, began choking him. Then I repeated my question. I got the same response.




US troops cross the border into Germany

Two American soldiers look down on a long row of "dragon's teeth" concrete devices to halt invading tanks at the Siegfried Line. American troops move through a break in the vaunted defense line and pass into Germany. 09/15/44.

So, Lieutenant DeLille, Pfc [William] McColligan, the German farmer, and I went into Germany about one and a half miles, where we could get a good view. We studied the pillbox area with our field glasses. None of them seemed manned. We returned to Stolzembourg, where we reported the information [by radio] to Lt. Loren L. Vipond [his platoon commander]




U.S. troops on the lessons from combat in Tunisia

A United States soldier advances cautiously at left with a sub-machine gun to cover any attempt of the German tank crew from escaping their fiery prison inside their tank following a duel with U.S. and British anti-tank units in Medjez al Bab area, Tunisia, on January 12, 1943.

I got my men used to the German flares by getting all I could, including those I could borrow from the British, and we fired them all night at Jerry. Now we take flares with us and fire them at Jerry at night. We do this on all the nights that we don’t use them for signals, then we use them only for signals. But my men now pay no attention to the enemy flares.




The LRDG experiment with bombing vehicles

Three Long Range Desert Group 30-cwt Chevrolet trucks, surrounded by desert.

The patrol carried 45 gallon drums for blocking the road; and in the hope of creating the impression of a stretch of road under repair two long poles were to be put across the drums, and two red lamps were hung on them with the notice “Achtung! Strassenbau”. The truck was left 150 yards from the road with the driver and two machine-gunners. Two other ranks armed with a Tommy gun, a rifle and some hand grenades were in position 50 yards from the road. These two parties were to give covering fire.




Air Reconnaissance over the Western Front

The Fairey Battle fighter bomber

British Movietone News from 8th March 1940 showing early Air Reconnaissance techniques using Fairy Battle aircraft escorted by Hurricanes.