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.

T-26 Pershing tank

European Theater

Clash of Heavy Tanks at Cologne

By Christopher Miskimon

Sergeant Nicholas Mashlonik watched closely as the Panzerkampfwagen (PzKpfw) VI Tiger heavy tank rampaged through the village of Elsdorf in the Rhineland-Westphalia region of Germany on February 27, 1945. Read more

European Theater

Remembering D-Day

By Michael E. Haskew

Few events in human history have been so fraught with drama as the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Read more

European Theater

German Spymaster Reinhard Gehlen

By William F. Floyd, Jr.

When Colonel-General Heinz Guderian, chief of the German General Staff, presented German leader Adolf Hitler with estimates of Russian strength for Operation Barbarossa, Hitler declared that the numbers were “completely idiotic” and “pure bluff.” Read more

6th South African Armoured Division M4 Shermans firing at Monte Sole during the breakthrough to Bologna, April 1945. After early victories in North Africa, the South African contingent was kept in reserve until after the fall of Rome, June 4, 1944. The men then really proved their mettle.

European Theater

Fighting from Tobruk to Milan

By Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Raymond E. Bell

The contribution of the Union of South Africa’s armed forces to the winning of World War II is little known outside South Africa itself. Read more

Maltese civilians inspect the ruins of the opera house in Valletta after heavy Axis aerial blitz, April 7, 1942. The British called Malta “the most-bombed island in the world.”

European Theater

Linchpin of the Mediterranean

By Mark Simmons

It was the humid season on Malta that September of 1943. The hot Sirocco winds from North Africa blow from August to October across the cool sea, raising humidity. Read more

German soldiers storm ashore in Norway during a combined operations invasion of the Scandinavian country. The heavy cruiser Blücher was sunk by Norwegian shore batteries during the assault.

European Theater

Kriegsmarine Blooded

By Bob Cashner

Norway had been able to avoid the massive bloodletting of World War I entirely and fervently hoped to steer clear of World War II as well through a policy of strict neutrality. Read more

Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division talk during the flight from their staging area in North Africa to drop zones on the island of Sicily.

European Theater

High-Spirited Stupidity

By Patrick J. Chaisson

Paratrooper Lt. Col. Bill Yarborough was flying into hell. As he prepared to jump from a Douglas C-47 transport plane then approaching the coast of Sicily, hundreds of American antiaircraft gunners below started shooting at him. Read more

Disabled automobiles lie abandoned in the street of a French village south of the major port city of Cherbourg. In this image soldiers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division move cautiously through the area.

European Theater

Cherbourg’s Bloody Toll

By Pat McTaggart
Panzer assault on Bastogne

European Theater

Panzer Lehr Division’s Assault on Bastogne

By Arnold Blumberg

On December 10, 1944, Generalleutnant (equivalent to major general in the U.S. Army during World War II) Fritz Bayerlein was called to a meeting at Kyllburg (Eifel) to participate in a map exercise involving an advance to the Meuse River. Read more

European Theater

The German Channel Dash

By Mark Simmons

“To cap it all, down came the fog, the sort you sometimes get at sea—one minute clear, the next in a fog bank—so we relied on our radar a lot. Read more