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.

Robert Capa’s famous blurry image of the 1st Infantry Division’s amphibious landings at the Easy Red/Fox Green sectors of Omaha Beach indelibly captures the fear and chaos of the D-Day invasion. Four rolls of Capa’s film were rushed back to LIFE magazine’s London office, where a darkroom mistake ruined all but 11 images.

European Theater

Bedford’s Valiant Boys

By Don Haines

When twin brothers Roy and Ray Stevens of Bedford, Virginia, joined Company A, First Battalion, 116th Infantry of the 29th Infantry Division in 1938, they could not know that their decision would completely destroy their dream of one day owning a farm together. Read more

European Theater

D-Day +12: Assault on Cherbourg

By Arnold Blumberg

When plans were drawn up for the Allied invasion of France in 1944, one important consideration was securing a deep-water port to allow reinforcements and supplies to be brought in directly from Great Britain and the United States. Read more

The Red Ball Express kept the Allies rolling during the arduous campaign in Western Europe.

European Theater

Red Ball Express: The Legendary Lifeline

 

By Michael D. Hull

August 1944 saw a rosy mood of optimism and self-deception sweep through the Allied high command in France as a result of the sudden, dramatic end to the campaign in Normandy. Read more

European Theater

Leclerc and Liberation

By Michael D. Hull

After the humiliating fall of France in June 1940, two impassioned patriots—a general and an infantry captain—refused to accept defeat and determined, against all odds, to exact retribution from the German invaders. Read more

European Theater

Jimmy Stewart’s rise from Private to Colonel

By Sam McGowan

Jimmy Stewart is arguably the only prewar American actor of superstar magnitude to have served in a sustained combat role during World War II, and the only one to have served in a position of command. Read more

European Theater

Saving Operation Grandslam

By Allyn Vannoy

On January 23-24, 1945, Allied forces initiated Operation Grandslam against the Colmar Pocket, a German salient that bulged west from the Rhine, south of Strasbourg, France. Read more

European Theater

The Fight for Singling

By Arnold Blumberg

After four months and a 600-mile advance from the beaches of Normandy into Brittany and then through eastern France, the spearhead of Lt. Read more

European Theater

Means of Grace, Hope of Glory

By Robert Barr Smith

They carried no weapons, only holy books and rudimentary vestments, a crucifix or a Star of David and sometimes a little Communion kit. Read more

European Theater

Tactical Thunder: The Ninth Air Force

By Sam McGowan

As the landing craft carrying the invading Allied ground forces of Operation Overlord motored toward the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944, they were protected and supported by the largest aerial armada the world has ever seen. Read more

German soldiers operate an Enigma machine, sending classified information encoded through a system of rotor settings that were believed to be virtually impossible to crack. However, Allied cryptanalysts at Bletchley Park were reading top secret German communications for some time during World War II.

European Theater

The Miracle of Bletchley Park

By Hervie Haufler

Great Britain’s military intelligence leaders learned from their experience in World War I that the kinds of minds capable of breaking codes are a rare commodity and are often not likely to blossom in a military atmosphere. Read more