In August 1944, the Allies followed up the massive Normandy Invasion with another in southern France known as Operation Dragoon.

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Rampage on the Riviera: Operation Dragoon

By Glenn Barnette and André Bernole

Early in 1944, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the defeated hero of North Africa and now head of Army Group B in France, was tasked with strengthening the Atlantic Wall defenses against Allied invasion. Read more

Nazi Germany spent many years (and a fortune) creating an invasion-proof barrier, only to have it breached in the span of a morning.

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Smashing Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

By Flint Whitlock

After overrunning France and other Western European countries in 1940, Adolf Hitler was certain that the Allies would one day attempt to invade the European continent and attack through the occupied countries to destroy his regime. Read more

The small destroyer saw action and escaped destruction from Normandy to the Philippines and even Korea and Vietnam.

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The Amazing Voyages of the USS O’Brien

By Eric Niderost

At exactly three o’clock in the afternoon on February 25, 1944, a crowd gathered at the Boston Navy Yard for the commissioning ceremony of the USS O’Brien (DD725), a destroyer of the Sumner class. Read more

A small number of RAF bombers carried out one of the most daring and significant air operations of World War II.

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Operation Chastise: Night of the Dambusters

By Mark Simmons

May 16, 1943, had been a sweltering spring day in England. At 9:39 pm, as the sun was dipping below the western horizon, leaving a rim of light and still good visibility, the first three of 19 Avro Lancaster bombers of No. Read more

The D-Day Invasion Museum in Arromanches-les-Bains is one of many fine military museums in Normandy.

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The D-Day Invasion Museum

By Flint Whitlock

There is such a treasure trove of fine military museums in Normandy—perhaps more than anywhere else in the world—that we could devote an entire issue to nothing but them. Read more

Although often overlooked, Canadian troops did their part to ensure victory on D-Day.

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Soldiers of Juno: The Canadian Invasion of Normandy

By Dorothy Brotherton

As John Wesley Pointon jumped into the cold English Channel water with the Royal Canadian 7th Brigade Signal Corps and struggled with a heavy radio strapped to his back toward the beach that was being torn apart by shot and shell, the farm boy from Saskatchewan tried to make his mind go blank. Read more

No. 48 (Royal Marine) Commando, the last such unit to be formed in World War II, was one of the first to land at Juno beach on D-Day.

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Commandos Crack Hitler’s Atlantic Wall

By Mark Simmon

After successfully fighting seasickness during the crossing of the English Channel, Lance-Corporal Ted Brooks of Number 48 (Royal Marine) Commando arrived on Nan Red Beach—which formed the left flank of Juno Beach—on the morning of June 6, 1944. Read more

Hitler did all in his power to create an impenetrable “Fortress Europa” and prevent an Allied invasion, but it wasn’t enough.

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Building the Atlantic Wall

By Allyn Vannoy

The popular image of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall (Atlantikwall) is one of massive bunkers and huge artillery pieces recessed in concrete casemates stretching the length of the Reich’s coastline. Read more

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Albert Speer: Chief Architect of the Third Reich

By Blaine Taylor

On October 6, 1943, Dr. Albert Speer, Reich minister of armaments and war production for the Third Reich, gave a 50-minute address to the assembled top officials of Nazi Germany at Posen Castle in occupied Poland’s Reich Gau (Region) of Wartheland on the critical state of World War II at that point. Read more