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

The best place to be in an urban battle was next to the buildings where it was possible to find a degree of cover from enemy fire. An American machine-gun team belonging to the 26th Infantry Regiment engages the enemy in mid-October.

European Theater

Bloodbath in Aachen

By William F. Floyd Jr.

With weapons at the ready, the American squad advanced cautiously on both sides of the tree-lined boulevard toward the German strongpoint in Aachen. Read more

The Tirpitz fires her 15-inch main guns in the Baltic Sea in 1941. The British Royal Navy saw the huge battle-ship as a threat to merchant vessels and troop convoys bound for the British Isles.

European Theater

Saga of the Tirpitz

By Blaine Taylor

April 1, 1939, was a red-letter day in the history of the reborn German Kriegsmarine for two key reasons. Read more

German infantrymen march past a PzKpfw. III tank that has momentarily halted during the rapid advance of the Wehrmacht through France and the Low Countries in the spring of 1940. The German onslaught on May 10 shattered the uneasy months of peace that had been labeled the ‘Phony War.’

European Theater

Dunkirk: Debacle in the West

by Matt Broggie

Tanks—seven divisions of them concentrated at one point, the weakest position in the Western defenses—that was what did it.” Read more

European Theater

Eisenhower to the Front

By Kevin M. Hymel

General Dwight D. Eisenhower enjoyed visiting troops in the field. After the Battle of Normandy and the race across France, the Supreme Allied Commander toured the front in mid-November, 1944. Read more

Fire streams from an engine and wing of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber as a rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me-163 fighter aircraft streaks past. Painting by artist Jack Fellows.

European Theater

Me-163: The Devil’s Broomstick

By David H. Lippman

The Germans called it the “Komet” and the “Devil’s Broomstick,” for the incredible speed with which it reached its altitude of 30,000 feet, achieving 0.84 Mach while doing so. Read more

European Theater

Capturing Hitler

By Richard Baker

When a friend from Wolsey, South Dakota, asked Alven Baker why he was joining the army in 1941 and not another branch of the service, he replied, “To capture Adolf Hitler.” Read more

Soldiers of the 290th Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division march through a Belgian woods during the Battle of the Bulge. It was in a forest like this that Staff Sergeant Darrell Bush tried to carry a fellow scout off the battlefield until he took a bullet from Germans firing down from the trees.

European Theater

Infantryman in Bastogne

By Kevin M. Hymel

Staff Sergeant Darrell Bush had just carried a wounded soldier on his back to the rear when five enemy bullets seemed to hit him simultaneously. Read more

British troops, just rescued from the beach at Dunkirk on May 31, 1940, reflect desperation and relief after their ordeal on the European continent. Operation Dynamo did succeed beyond the expectations of its organizers.

European Theater

Desperation at Dunkirk

By Michael E. Haskew

Within days of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and the British declaration of war two days later, the vanguard of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) arrived on the continent of Europe. Read more

Soldiers of the U.S. 5th Infantry Division, part of General George S. Patton’s Third Army, march through the snowy streets of the town of Ettelbruck, Luxembourg, in January 1945. These soldiers were involved in the Allied counteroffensive that reduced the bulge formed by the German Ardennes Offensive. Some of these soldiers are wearing white sheets as camouflage.

European Theater

Flattening the Bulge

By Patrick J. Chaisson

Corporal Thomas B. Tucker stood shivering in the bitterly cold night air as he looked down on a ribbon of water that separated his unit from the enemy’s front-line positions. Read more

European Theater

Gray Wolves and the Ides of March

By Kelly Bell

Adolf Hitler and his military commanders were feeling a new and unsettling emotion early in 1943—desperation. A year earlier, they had seemed on top of the world as their forces ruled a region that surpassed Rome at its greatest. Read more

Polish troops engage in field exercises in April 1939, just five months before the Nazi invasion of their country and the outbreak of World War II. Some Poles initially thought the Soviet Army was there to help them.

European Theater

Invasion from the East

By John W. Osborn, Jr.

It was a quiet dinner on a side street in Berlin the evening of June 26, 1939, but more than food would be devoured that night. Read more

An Afrika Korps antiaircraft gun crew scans the sky for enemy planes in 1941. Homeland antiaircraft units were also raised in Germany to augment the air defenses against massive Allied bombing raids.

European Theater

Defending the Skies Above the Reich

By Allyn Vannoy

During the Allied air campaign against the Third Reich in World War II, well over a million tons of bombs were dropped on German territory, killing nearly 300,000 civilians and wounding another 780,000. Read more

Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division patrol the perimeter of the besieged town of Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge.

European Theater

The Wayward Helmet Liner

By Berry Craig

First Lieutenant William Parks of the 101st Airborne Division left a snow-camouflaged helmet liner behind when the storied Screaming Eagles moved out following the American victory in the Battle of the Bulge in January 1945. Read more