A Sherman tank from the Canadian 27th Tank Regiment rolls through the shattered, deserted streets of Caen after the Germans pulled out. The British/Canadians lost thousands of men and 300-500 tanks. The delay in securing Caen badly damaged Montgomery’s reputation among the Allies.

European Theater

The European Theater of Operations (ETO) during World War II is generally regarded as the area of military confrontation between the Allied powers and Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The European Theater encompassed the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Eastern Front, Western Front, and Arctic areas of operation.

European Theater

Voices of the Bulge, Part II

By Michael Collins & Martin King

In the first installment, a large German force made a surprise counteroffensive against American positons along the Belgian-German border—an operation that became known in the West as “the Battle of the Bulge.” Read more

European Theater

The Volkssturm: Last-Ditch Militia of the Third Reich

By Blaine Taylor

On October 18, 1944—the 131st anniversary of the Battle of the Nations’ victory over Napoleon in 1813—Reichsführer-SS (National Leader) Heinrich Himmler stepped up to a microphone to make a national radio address announcing the formation of the Nazi Party-controlled Volkssturm, or People’s Militia. Read more

An American machine gunner sprints for cover while carrying his Browning .30-caliber machine gun as an ammunition carrier follows, his rifle slung across his back. This photo was taken in the French arrondissement of Sarreguemines at the height of the fighting in the Colmar Pocket during early February 1945.

European Theater

The Path of Heroism

By Stephen J. Ochs, PHD

On the morning of April 18, 1945, amid street fighting in rubble-strewn Nuremberg, Germany, 20-year-old U.S. Read more

European Theater

Flying For the Luftwaffe

By Jack Hildebrandt wih M.M. Harris

It was November 1, 1944. I, Feldwebel (Technical Sergeant) Gustav Jack Lothar Carl Herbert Julius Hans Jergen Hildebrandt von Lengerke (aka “Jack” Hildebrandt), had just completed a successful strafing run against British General Bernard “Monty” Montgomery’s advancing army along the southern end of the Dutch-Belgian border. Read more

European Theater

Last Stand at Völkerschlachtdenkmal: The Battle of Leipzig, 1945

By Michael E. Haskew

In October 1813, the combined allied armies of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Saxony, and Württemberg met and defeated the French Grand Armee under Napoleon Bonaparte at the German city of Leipzig, forcing him to retreat and hastening his eventual abdication and exile to the island of Elba. Read more

European Theater

The USO Turns 75: American soldiers’ “Home Away From Home”

By John Provan

Almost every American veteran has fond memories of a Track-Side Free Canteen, or a USO center at some train station or airport situated at locations around the world, or a “USO Camp Show” that provided entertainment close to the front lines, during every conflict since World War II. Read more

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

European Theater

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