An Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels a flight of F-105 Thunderchiefs on their way to strike targets in North Vietnam. Refueling operations in the Vietnam War peaked during Operation Rolling Thunder.

European Theater

European Theater

Roads to Bastogne

By Edward P. Beck

The Ardennes Forest in eastern Belgium seemed almost surreal in the last days of autumn 1944, a quiet backwater in a raging storm. Read more

European Theater

Fighting 80th Division at Bastogne

By Leon Reed

In a letter to his fiancée, Betty Craig, on December 16, 1944, from Helleringen, France, newly promoted Staff Sergeant Frank Lembo of Company B, 305th Engineer Combat Battalion, 80th Division, wrote of a battalion show the night before, complete with Red Cross girls serving donuts and the division band; an upcoming dance; doing laundry; and other pastimes of a soldier experiencing a period of reserve status. Read more

Tanks of the German Army’s 17th Panzer Regiment, 19th Panzer Division advance through Belarus on June 25, 1941, three days after the launch of Operation Barbarossa. These tanks are Panzer 38(t) models, made in Czechoslovakia and pressed into Nazi service with Hitler’s occupation of the country.

European Theater

Czech Tanks Gave Nazis Early Edge

By Arnold Blumberg

In March 1939, Adolf Hitler dissolved the Republic of Czechoslovak, incorporating its lands into the Third Reich. As a consequence, much military equipment fell into the hands of the Wehrmacht, including 469 armored fighting vehicles. Read more

Adolf Hitler flanked by two of his top lieutenants, Reich Minister of Armaments Albert Speer to his left, and Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, chief of the Luftwaffe on his right. Göring was sometimes vexed by the activities of his “good” brother, Albert.

European Theater

The ‘Good’ Göring

By Eric Niderost

On March 12, 1938, German troops entered Austria, part of Adolf Hitler’s plan to incorporate that hapless country into the Third Reich. Read more

Soldiers of the 154th Infantry Brigade (part of the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division) man a Vickers machine gun in support of the advance of Operation Veritable from Holland into Germany on February 8, 1945.

European Theater

Reichswald: The Battle for a Sinister Forest

By Mike Phifer

The bloody fight for the Reichswald, according to Lieutenant General Horrocks, was a soldiers’ battle “fought by the regimental officers and men under the most ghastly conditions imaginable.”  Read more

A Soviet artillery crew services its gun during the battle for Berlin, capital of Nazi Germany. After days of difficult fighting, the Red Army took control of the devastated city.

European Theater

Brutal Brawl for Berlin

By Michael E. Haskew

By the end of March 1945, the Western Allied armies were across the Rhine, the last major geographical barrier to an all-out final assault against the Third Reich. Read more

M4 Sherman medium tanks of the 35th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, clear the road to Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The 4th Armored Division was the spearhead of the Third Army drive north to relieve the 101st Airborne Division holding Bastogne, a vital crossroads.

European Theater

Patton’s Dual Drives

By Kevin M. Hymel

This article is excerpted from Kevin Hymel’s latest book, Patton’s War: An American General’s Combat Leadership, Volume 2: August—December 1944, published by University of Missouri Press. Read more

Troops of the 4th U.S. Infantry Division cross the Rhine River at Worms, March 26, 1945, on a pontoon bridge constructed by the 85th Engineer Heavy Pontoon Battalion. In background are the ruins of the Ernst Ludwig highway bridge that the retreating Germans destroyed in a vain hope of stopping the Allied advance.

European Theater

The Forgotten Rhine Crossings

By Mason B. Webb

While British Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery’s 21st Army Group was marching across Belgium, Holland, and into northern Germany on his way to the Rhine, Omar Bradley’s 12th Army Group, made up of Courtney Hodges’s First and George Patton’s Third U.S. Read more

European Theater

Fast Boats in Harm’s Way

By Nathan N. Prefer

The U.S. Navy put many ships in harm’s way during World War II, but none more so than the Patrol Torpedo or“PT” Boats. Read more

Despite being cold and weary, some reconnaissance troops of the 87th Infantry Division (Patton’s Third Army) can smile as they march through Bihain, Belgium, to attack German troops dug in beyond the town, January 1945.

European Theater

Patton’s Fateful Verdun Meeting

By Kevin M. Hymel

On the morning of December 19, Lieutenant General George S. Patton, Jr., prepared his Third Army for a battle raging north of him—the Battle of the Bulge. Read more

European Theater

War Through an Artist’s Eyes

By Howard Brodie

Newspaper artist Howard Brodie enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942, soon joining the combat artist program. He was sent by Yank magazine to capture his impressions of the war with a pencil during the Guadalcanal campaign and then the fighting in Europe. Read more

Because retreating German forces had to be able to pass through their own Siegfried Line, passageways such as this one, which had steel girders blocking the gap, were necessary. Here, men of Company E, 358th Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, move unhindered through one of these gaps, January 12, 1945.

European Theater

Siegfried Line: Breaking the Dragon’s Teeth

By Allyn Vannoy

As the battalion officers surveyed the terrain before them, they must have been worried about the men who would have to cross it—the 300 yards of open ground to the banks of the Saar River lined with barbed-wire, concrete pillboxes, anti-vehicle “dragon’s teeth,” and reinforced with minefields in depth known as the Westwall or, more commonly, the “Siegfried Line.” Read more

Armored recovery vehicles (ARVs) retrieve a damaged tank near Beggendorf, Germany. ARVs were typically built on a tank chassis and hoisting cranes in place of a gun turret.

European Theater

Combat Command: Glory in the Wrenches

By Allyn Vannoy

The U.S. Army’s drive across France and Belgium during the late summer and fall of 1944 was made possible by the support of the logistics and maintenance personnel that performed their duties magnificently—but received little credit or glory. Read more

A Polish fighter of the Grazyna Company of the Harnas Battalion stands watch within the ruins of Warsaw’s Church of the Holy Cross. The outnumbered Polish Home Army launched a determined revolt against their German occupiers, but was ultimately defeated.

European Theater

Warsaw Rising: The Battle for Poland’s Capital

By Peter Zablocki

Polish General Tadeusz “Bor” Komorowski knew the fight for the Old Town Warsaw was over. His last hope—and that of his army—was to slip out unnoticed and move the headquarters position to the town center. Read more

European Theater

The Great German Escape

By Charles Whiting

Devizes in southern England had had a quiet war. It had not suffered any bombing as most English cities had. Read more

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division ride aboard a transport aircraft en route to their drop zones near the Salerno beachhead during the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland September 13-14, 1943. Members of the 504th and 505th Parachute Infantry Battalions were dropped to support the push inland. Members of the509th were deployed behind enemy lines to break up German communications at Avellino.

European Theater

Desperate Venture at Avellino

By Nathan N. Prefer

The Fifth U.S. Army was in trouble and dropping 600 paratroops at Avellino to disrupt the communications of the 16th Panzer Division seemed like a sound solution. Read more