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

WWII Aircraft: The Douglas C-54 Skymaster

By Sam McGowan

At the beginning of World War II, the globe seemed huge—covered by thousands of miles of ocean and uninhabited land mass, but by the time it ended everything had been brought closer together, thanks largely to the four-engine transports of the United States Army Air Transport Command, particularly the Douglas C-54 Skymaster. Read more

European Theater

The Falaise Pocket Scourge: The RAF’s Hawker Typhoon

By Michael D. Hull

From the Supermarine Spitfire to the North American P-51 Mustang, and from the Soviet Yak series to the Vought F4U Corsair, the Allies were able to field a formidable array of fighter planes against the Axis powers in World War II. Read more

European Theater

M4 Sherman: “Blunder” or “Wonder” Weapon?

By Blaine Taylor

For the Allied tankers and infantrymen of the American, British, Canadian, and Free French armies battling German Panther and Tiger tanks in Normandy in the summer of 1944, the Sherman tank’s failures were glaringly evident as their own shells bounced off the hulls of the Nazi armor and they were themselves destroyed at a far greater range by the powerful German tanks. Read more

European Theater

USS Murphy: Long Service in Wartime

By William B. Allmon

Eighty miles off the coast of New Jersey and 280 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean lies the forward section of a World War II destroyer, where it came to rest more than 60 years ago. Read more

German invasion of Crete 1941

European Theater

ANZACs at Maleme

By David H. Lippman

“Maleme. 20th May, 1941. Usual Mediterranean summer day. Cloudless sky, no wind, extreme visibility; e.g., details on mountains 20 miles to the southeast easily discernible.” Read more

European Theater

The National World War II Museum

By Peter Suciu

Opened on June 6, 2000, on the 56th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the National D-Day Museum, as it was then known, initially focused on the amphibious invasion of Normandy. Read more

Despite lacks of modern features and firepower, the 37mm cannon still served throughout the World War II.

European Theater

WWII Weapons: M3 37mm Antitank Gun

By Christopher Miskimon

The men of Lieutenant Edwin K. Smith’s antitank platoon, 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division peered over the gun shields of their 37mm cannon at the column of Vichy French armored cars approaching their roadblock. Read more

European Theater

The Concrete Fleet of WWII

By Brandt Heatherington

It is a fact that war has sparked some amazing innovations. It has at the same time spawned incredible desperation. Read more

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