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

The Longest Struggle

By Michael D. Hull

For the duration of World War II, from the evening of Sunday, September 3, 1939, to the evening of Monday, May 7, 1945, the Battle of the Atlantic never ceased. Read more

Americans troops enter Messina on August 17, 1943. Despite Adolf Hitler’s orders to fight to the last man, Kesselring skillfully employed hundreds of antiaircraft guns to cover the withdrawal of 40,000 Germans to the mainland.

European Theater

Drive to Messina

By Phil Zimmer

Sergeant Alfred Johnson peered from behind a boulder on a rock-strewn hillside at Piano Lupo about six miles inland from the southern coast of Sicily. Read more

European Theater

Desperate Days On Hill 314

By Alan Davidge

When the 230th Field Artillery Battalion was attached to the 30th Infantry (“Old Hickory”) Division in Mortain, France, on August 6, 1944, many of its men had already received their baptism of fire in Normandy. Read more

A bus leans against the side of a terrace in Harrington Square after a German bombing raid on London. The bus was empty but 11 people were killed in the houses two days after the start of the attacks.

European Theater

Taking the Brunt

By Alan Davidge

Most of the action during the Battle of Britain in the late summer of 1940 took place over southern England where Royal Air Force Spitfires and Hurricanes began to dominate dogfights against their German rivals. Read more

A long line of American soldiers are about about to begin their long journey into captivity. Most of the troops were moved by rail; Allied planes sometimes unknowingly attacked trains that carried American POWs.

European Theater

Captured in the Bulge

By Flint Whitlock

It took the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the world’s largest passenger liner, only five days to transport 15,000 men of the 106th Infantry Division from New Jersey to Glasgow, Scotland, making port on November 17, 1944. Read more

Fighting men of the 92nd Infantry Division, the famed Buffalo Soldiers, march past the wreckage of a knocked out PzKpfw. VI Tiger tank in the vicinity of Ponsacco, Italy. The African-American soldiers of the 92nd Division fought racial injustice in their own army, as well as the Germans.

European Theater

The Brave Buffalo Soldiers

By Michael D. Hull

Despite their gallant service in the Civil War, on the Western frontier, and in the Spanish-American War, black soldiers were used mostly for labor and given only a limited fighting role when the U.S. Read more

A line of German soldiers marches past a burning Russian building somewhere on the Eastern Front. The vast spaces of the USSR swallowed German armies and led to mass casualties. Few German POWs lived to return home.

European Theater

Suicide or Surrender

By William Lubbeck and David Hurt

BACKSTORY: Wilhelm Lubbeck served as an enlisted man in the 58th Infantry Division on the Eastern Front during Germany’s 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union before being promoted to lieutenant. Read more

European Theater

Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?

By Mark Carlson

With all it had going for it, how did Germany manage to lose World War II? There are many answers to this deceptively simple question, including the obvious one that the Allies had the technical and industrial advantage. Read more

Fw-190D-13/R11, named ‘Yellow Ten,” was flown by Franz Götz of JG-26. Götz is shown preparing to surrender at the Luftwaffe airbase at Flensburg near the Danish frontier in the spring of 1945 after the airfield was captured by advancing Allied forces. The original plane has been restored and now resides in the collection of the Champlin Fighter Museum. Painting by Jack Fellows.

European Theater

The Luftwaffe’s Sturmvogel

By David H. Lippman

An American advertising poster for one of their bombers showed a cartoon of a smiling pilot over the captioned question, “Who’s afraid of the big Focke-Wulf?” Read more

Smoke billows from distant fires and a German shell explodes on the beach at Dunkirk as Allied soldiers await evacuation from the east mole or directly into the surf in Operation Dynamo, May-June 1940.

European Theater

Captain George Tennant, Dunkirk Architect

By Jon Diamond

As aptly stated by historian Max Hastings in his book Warriors, “the leaders most readily admired by fellow-soldiers are those who seem committed to do their duty, and also to bring every possible man home alive.” Read more

This artist’s rendering depicts the proposed aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy made out of ice, and its relative size compared to the aircraft carrier HMS Indefatigable.

European Theater

Back-room Genius of World War II

By Frank Johnson

While the Battle of Britain raged and a German invasion was feared in the sunny, tense summer of 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill took time to create an organization that would exemplify his offensive spirit, his love of gadgets and innovations, and his use of cronies. Read more

The battered entrance to Fort Driant after its capture.

European Theater

Patton’s Lost Battle

By Duane E. Shaffer

The road to Fort Driant began for the United States Third Army when it landed on Utah Beach at 3 pm on August 5, 1944. Read more

European Theater

Britain’s Decisive Aerial Victory

By David Alan Johnson

“I say, better wake up.”

Red Tobin opened one eye, rolled over, and found his squadron mate, Pilot Officer John Dundas, shaking him by the shoulder and staring into his face. Read more