While the British defense of Crete in May 1941 was considered a military failure, it altered Hitler’s future tactics.

Victoria Cross

Beyond All Praise: British Defense of Crete

By Jon Diamond

Brigadier Eric Dorman-Smith, serving as a liaison to Lt. Gen. Richard O’Connor during Operation Compass, the Western Desert campaign, traveled to General Archibald Wavell’s Middle East Command headquarters in Cairo on February 12, 1941, to seek permission to advance British XIII Corps farther west to Tripoli after the total victory over the Italian Xth Army at Beda Fomm, which gave Britain and her Commonwealth Allies control of the Cyrenaican half of Libya. Read more

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

Victoria Cross

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

Victoria Cross

Holding New Guinea: A First Defeat For Japan’s Land Forces

By John Brown

One blazing hot day in mid-January 1942, Cornelius “Con” Page, an Australian plantation manager and coastwatcher on Tabar Island 20 miles north of New Ireland reported on his radio a Japanese aircraft passing Tabar and heading for Rabaul on the Australian-administered island of New Britain. Read more

Victoria Cross

Aubrey Cosens of the Queen’s Own Rifles

by Angus Scully

Aubrey Cosens was the first soldier of the Third Canadian Division to earn the Victoria Cross in World War II—and this was a division that had landed on D-Day, taken 76 percent casualties in Normandy, and used its amphibious warfare experience to defeat the Germans in Holland. Read more

Mussolini lost his empire in East Africa to a relative handful of Commonwealth troops.

Victoria Cross

No Deserts for Il Duce: The Italian Rout in East Africa

By John W. Osborn Jr.

“I am not a collector of deserts,” Mussolini declared regarding his imperial ambitions. Instead, he would be a loser of them, most publicly in North Africa and, in one of World War II’s least-known campaigns, in East Africa. Read more

Violent clashes depleted much of the Kriegsmarine destroyer force, but the British Naval victory could not change the outcome in Norway.

Victoria Cross

The Battle of Narvik: Crippling the Kriegsmarine

By David H. Lippman

The Germans could not believe it. Without suffering the loss of a single soldier or sailor, the German Army and Navy had sailed 1,500 miles through waters dominated by the British Royal Navy and captured Narvik without firing a shot, bagged nearly 500 Norwegian soldiers, seized one of Norway’s major military depots, and even taken five armed British merchant ships and their crews. Read more