Update 6-2-2018 : New Pictures Added to the Website

New Pictures have been added to the Website:

• Italian Front – Italienisch Vorderseite
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• Orders of Battle – Panzer Divisions
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• Other Museums, Artifacts, and Vehicles A thru L
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• Berlin
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• SS General Josef “Sepp” Dietrich
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• Third Reich War Industry

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• East German Warsaw Pact Planes
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• Death of Adolf Hitler
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• Battle of the Atlantik



1940 British and Allied troops continue the evacuation of France, as Churchill reassures his countrymen

On this day in 1940, British troops evacuate France in Operation Ariel, an exodus almost on the order of Dunkirk. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill offers words of encouragement in a broadcast to the nation: “Whatever has happened in France… [w]e shall defend our island home, and with the British Empire we shall fight on unconquerable until the curse of Hitler is lifted.”

With two-thirds of France now occupied by German troops, those British and Allied troops that had not participated in Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of Dunkirk, were shipped home. From Cherbourg and St. Malo, from Brest and Nantes, Brits, Poles, and Canadian troops were rescued from occupied territory by boats sent from Britain. While these men were not under the immediate threat of assault, as at Dunkirk, they were by no means safe, as 5,000 soldiers and French civilians learned once on board the ocean liner Lancastria, which had picked them up at St. Nazaire. Germans bombers sunk the liner; 3,000 passengers drowned.

Churchill ordered that news of the Lancastria not be broadcast in Britain, fearing the effect it would have on public morale, since everyone was already on heightened alert, fearing an imminent invasion from the Germans now that only a channel separated them. The British public would eventually find out—but not for another six weeks—when the news finally broke in the United States. They would also enjoy a breather of another kind: Hitler had no immediate plans for an invasion of the British isle, “being well aware of the difficulties involved in such an operation,” reported the German High Command.


1940 Germans enter Paris

On this day in 1940, Parisians awaken to the sound of a German-accented voice announcing via loudspeakers that a curfew was being imposed for 8 p.m. that evening-as German troops enter and occupy Paris.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had tried for days to convince the French government to hang on, not to sue for peace, that America would enter the war and come to its aid. French premier Paul Reynaud telegrammed President Franklin Roosevelt, asking for just such aid-a declaration of war, and if not that, any and all help possible. Roosevelt replied that the United States was prepared to send material aid—and was willing to have that promise published—but Secretary of State Cordell Hull opposed such a publication, knowing that Hitler, as well as the Allies, would take such a public declaration of help as but a prelude to a formal declaration of war. While the material aid would be forthcoming, no such commitment would be made formal and public.

By the time German tanks rolled into Paris, 2 million Parisians had already fled, with good reason. In short order, the German Gestapo went to work: arrests, interrogations, and spying were the order of the day, as a gigantic swastika flew beneath the Arc de Triomphe.

While Parisians who remained trapped in their capital despaired, French men and women in the west cheered-as Canadian troops rolled through their region, offering hope for a free France yet.

The United States did not remain completely idle, though. On this day, President Roosevelt froze the American assets of the Axis powers, Germany and Italy.


THIS IS HOW THEY TITLED THIS? …. Germany’s Leopard 2 Tank Was Considered One of the Best — Until It Went to Syria

Hallo und guten Tag,

Generally we do not keep up with other countries military developments, but we stumbled on this article many months after it was written and poorly titled.

The Leopard 2A4 is an older version that is not built for counter-insurgency attacks. They are the last of the Cold War era panzers built for tank on tank and offensive operations in which the article also states.

The other main factor is how the Turkish military is using them. Leaving single panzers without infantry support is not the purpose of these vehicles. These are long range hunters, not for close encounters against infantry/insurgents or built for protection against IEDS. In Afghanistan, the Danish 2A5s and Canadian 2A6s have performed very well. Ones knocked out by IEDS are put back into service.

In German hands, this panzer is the world’s best or second to the American Abrams. With the next generation of 2A7V models, these will be built to survive counter-insurgency and more. At the 2016 and 2018 Strong Europe Tank Challenge, Germany took first in the competition. In 2017, Germany came in 2nd to Austria which also used the Leopard. The Abrams came in 5th, 3rd, and 7th from 2016 to 2018. During the Iraq campaign, Americans Abrams tanks were lost in battle. The Iraqi army has fared even worse against ISIS with many of their Abrams being knocked out.

Training is key. German crews train and train on their machines. The Wehrmacht in World War 2 was also quiet efficient with their panzers not due to big guns and armor, but training and tactics. This article should be titled: ‘ Turks Use the Leopard with Poor Tactics and Are Crushed.’ 

We will let you now read the original article.


HWB von Richter

Germany’s Leopard 2 Tank Was Considered One of the Best — Until It Went to Syria

January 30, 2018 by Sebastien Roblin

Germany’s Leopard 2 main battle tank has a reputation as one of the finest in the world, competing for that distinction with proven designs such as the American M-1 Abrams and the British Challenger 2. However, that reputation for nigh-invincibility has faced setbacks on Syrian battlefields, and placed Berlin in a uniquely awkward national-level dispute with Turkey, its fellow NATO member.

Ankara had offered to release a German political prisoner in exchange for Germany upgrading the Turkish army’s older-model Leopard 2A4 tank, which had proven embarrassingly vulnerable in combat. On Jan. 24, public outrage over reports that Turkey was using its Leopard 2s to kill Kurdish fighters in the Syrian enclaves of Afrin and Manbij forced Berlin to freeze the hostage-for-tanks deal.

The Leopard 2 is often compared to its near contemporary, the M-1 Abrams. In truth, the two designs share broadly similar characteristics, including a scale-tipping weight of well over 60 tons of advanced composite armor, 1,500 horsepower engines allowing speeds over 40 miles per hour and, for certain models, the same 44-caliber 120-millimeter main gun produced by Rheinmetall.

Both types can easily destroy most Russian-built tanks at medium and long ranges, at which they are unlikely to be penetrated by return fire from standard 125-millimeter guns.

Furthermore, they have better sights with superior thermal imagers and magnification, that make them more likely to detect and hit the enemy first — historically, an even greater determinant of the victor in armored warfare than sheer firepower. A Greek trial found that moving Leopard 2s and Abramses hit a 2.3-meter target 19 and 20 times out of 20, respectively, while a Soviet T-80 scored only 11 hits.

The modest differences between the two Western tanks reveal different national philosophies.

The Abrams has a noisy 1,500-horsepower gas-guzzling turbine, which starts up more rapidly, while the Leopard 2’s diesel motor grants it greater range before refueling. The Abrams has achieved some of its extraordinary offensive and defensive capabilities through use of depleted uranium ammunition and armor packages — technologies politically unacceptable to the Germans.

Therefore, later models of the Leopard 2A6 now mount a higher-velocity 55-caliber gun to make up the difference in penetrating power, while the 2A5 Leopard introduced an extra wedge of spaced armor on the turret to better absorb enemy fire.

German scruples also extend to arms exports, with Berlin imposing more extensive restrictions on which countries it is willing to sell weapons to — at least in comparison to France, the United States or Russia. While the Leopard 2 is in service with 18 countries, including many NATO members, a lucrative Saudi bid for between 400 and 800 Leopard 2s was rejected by Berlin because of the Middle Eastern country’s human-rights records, and its bloody war in Yemen in particular.

The Saudis instead ordered additional Abramses to their fleet of around 400.

This bring us to Turkey, a NATO country with which Berlin has important historical and economic ties, but which also has had bouts of military government and waged a counter-insurgency campaign against Kurdish separatists for decades. In the early 2000s, under a more favorable political climate, Berlin sold 354 of its retired Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ankara.

These represented a major upgrade over the less well protected M-60 Patton tanks that make up the bulk of Turkey’s armored forces.

However, the rumor has long persisted that Berlin agreed to the sale under the condition that the German tanks not be used in Turkey’s counter-insurgency operations against the Kurds. Whether such an understanding ever existed is hotly contested, but the fact remains that the Leopard 2 was kept well away from the Kurdish conflict and instead deployed in northern Turkey, opposite Russia.

In the fall of 2016, Turkish Leopard 2s of the Second Armored Brigade finally deployed to the Syrian border to support Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey’s intervention against Islamic State. Prior to the Leopard’s arrival, around a dozen Turkish Patton tanks were destroyed by both ISIS and Kurdish missiles. Turkish defense commentators expressed the hope that the tougher Leopard would fare better.

The 2A4 model was the last of the Cold War – era Leopard 2s, which were designed to fight in relatively concentrated units in a fast-paced defensive war against Soviet tank columns, not to survive improvised explosive devices and missiles fired by ambushing insurgents in long-term counter-insurgency campaigns where every single loss was a political issue.

The 2A4 retains an older boxy turret configurations which affords less protection from modern anti-tank missiles, especially to the generally more vulnerable rear and side armor, which is a bigger problem in a counter-insurgency environment, where an attack may come from any direction.

This was shockingly illustrated in December 2016 when evidence emerged that numerous Leopard 2s had been destroyed in intense fighting over Islamic State-held Al Bab — a fight that Turkish military leaders described as a “trauma,” according to Der Spiegel. A document published online listed Islamic State as apparently having destroyed 10 of the supposedly invincible Leopard 2s — five reportedly by anti-tank missiles, two by mines or IEDs, one to rocket or mortar fire, and the others to more ambiguous causes.

These photos analyzed by Bellingcat confirm the destruction of at least eight. One shows a Leopard 2 apparently knocked out by a suicide VBIED — an armored kamikaze truck packed with explosives. Another had its turret blown clean off. Three Leopard wrecks can be seen around the same hospital near Al Bab, along with several other Turkish armored vehicles.

It appears the vehicles were mostly struck the more lightly protected belly and side armor by IEDs and AT-7 Metis and AT-5 Konkurs anti-tank missiles. Undoubtedly, the manner in which the Turkish Army employed the German tanks likely contributed to the losses.

Rather than using them in a combined arms force alongside mutually supporting infantry, they were deployed to the rear as long-range fire-support weapons while Turkish-allied Syrian militias stiffened with Turkish special forces led the assaults. Isolated on exposed firing positions without adequate nearby infantry to form a good defensive perimeter, the Turkish Leopards were vulnerable to ambushes.

The same poor tactics have led to the loss of numerous Saudi Abrams tanks in Yemen.

By contrast, more modern Leopard 2s have seen quite a bit of action in Afghanistan combating Taliban insurgents in the service of the Canadian 2A6Ms — with enhanced protection against mines and even floating “safety seats” — and Danish 2A5s. Though a few were damaged by mines, all were put back into service, though a Danish Leopard 2 crew member was mortally injured by an IED attack in 2008.

In return, field commanders praised the tanks for their mobility and for providing accurate and timely fire support during major combat operations in southern Afghanistan.

In 2017, Germany began rebuilding its tank fleet, building an even beefier Leopard 2A7V model more likely to survive in a counter-insurgency environment. Now Ankara is pressing Berlin to upgrade the defense on its Leopard 2 tanks, especially as the domestically produced Altay tank has been repeatedly delayed.

The Turkish military not only wants additional belly armor to protect against IEDs, but the addition of an Active Protection System, or APS, that can detect incoming missiles and their point of origin, and jam or even shoot them down. The U.S. Army recently authorized the installation of Israeli Trophy APS on a brigade of M-1 Abrams tanks, a type that has proven effective in combat.

Meanwhile, Leopard 2 manufacturer Rheinmetall has unveiled its own ADATS APS, which supposedly poses a lesser risk of harming friendly troops with its defensive countermeasure missiles.

However, German-Turkish relations deteriorated sharply, especially after Erdogan initiated a prolonged crackdown on thousands of supposed conspirators after a failed military coup attempt in August 2016. In February 2017, Turkish authorities arrested German-Turkish dual-citizen Deniz Yücel, a correspondent for periodical Die Welt, ostensibly for being a pro-Kurdish spy. His detention caused outrage in Germany.

Ankara pointedly let it be known that if a Leopard 2 upgrade were allowed to proceed, Yücel would be released back to Germany. Though Berlin publicly insisted it would never agree to such a quid pro quo, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel quietly began moving towards authorizing the upgrade in a bid to improve relations in the face of what looks suspiciously like tank-based blackmail. Gabriel presented the deal as a measure to protect Turkish soldiers’ lives from Islamic State.

However, in mid-January 2018, Turkey launched an offensive against the Kurdish enclaves of Afrin and Manbij in northwestern Syria. The attack was precipitated generally by Turkish fears that effective Kurdish control of the Syrian border would lead to a de facto state that would expand into Turkish territory, and proximately by an announcement by the Pentagon that it was recruiting the Kurds to form a “border security force” to continue the fight against Islamic State.

Photos on social media soon emerged showing that Leopard 2 tanks were being employed to blast Kurdish positions in Afrin, where there have several dozen civilian casualties have been reported. Furthermore, on Jan. 21, the Kurdish YPG published a YouTube video showing a Konkurs anti-tank missile striking a Turkish Leopard 2.

It is not possible to tell if the tank was knocked out; the missile may have struck the Leopard 2’s front armor, which is rated as equivalent to 590 to 690 millimeters of rolled homogenous armor on the 2A4, while the two types of Konkurs missiles can penetrate 600 or 800 millimeters of RHA.

In any event, parliamentarians both from German left-wing parties and Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union reacted with outrage, with a member of the latter describing the Turkish offensive as a violation of international law. On Jan. 25, the Merkel administration was forced to announce that an upgrade to the Leopard 2 was off the table, at least for now.

Ankara views the deal as merely postponed, and cagey rhetoric from Berlin suggests it may return to the deal at a more politically opportune time.

This article originally appeared at The National Interest.


1940 Paris on the verge of invasion

On this day in 1940, 54,000 British and French troops surrender to German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel at St. Valery-en-Caux, on the northern Channel border, as the Germans continue their gains in France.

Even after the evacuation of Dunkirk by the British Expeditionary Force, tens of thousands of British and Allied troops remained in France. Overwhelmed by the German invaders, over 3,000 Allied troops attempted to escape by sea but were stopped by German artillery fire. Surrender was the order of the day; among those taken prisoner were 12 Allied generals.

But all was not lost, as Britain refused to leave France to German occupation. Prime Minister Winston Churchill had already ordered more British troops back into France, and British bombers were also attacking German lines of communication. British and Allied troops were still active in other parts of France-some 50 British fighters and 70 bombers were moving on German forces.

But despite the British reinforcements and encouragement (Churchill flew to France himself to encourage the French leaders), General Maxime Weygand ordered the French military governor of Paris to ensure that the French capital remained an open city-that is, there was to be no armed resistance to the Germans. In short, he was pushing for an armistice, in effect, capitulation. The enemy would be allowed to pass through unchallenged. Weygand addressed his cabinet with his assessment of the situation: “A cessation of hostilities is compulsory.” He bitterly blamed Britain for France’s defeat, unwilling to take responsibility for his own inept strategies and failed offensives. Paris was poised for occupation.


Update 6-2-2018 : New Pictures Added to the Website

New Pictures have been added to the Website:

• Books
• Movies
• Past Re-Enacting Events
• Other World War 2 Battles/ Major Events
• Destruction of Germany During and After the War
• Destroyed or Left Over Vehicles & Equipment from War
• Orders of Battle – Panzer Divisions
• Orders of Battle – Panzer Grenadier Divisions
• Tiger 2 – Konigstiger, Bengal Tiger, King Tiger, Royal Tiger
• Luftwaffe Varied Plane Types
• Kriegsmarine Ships
• Battleship Bismarck – Schlachtschiff Bismarck
• Heavy Cruiser Admiral Scheer
• U-Boats of the Kriegsmarine
• World War 2 Field Marshalls
• World War 2 Heer Officers, NCO’s, Etc. – A thru F
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• Großadmiral & President of Germany Karl Doenitz
• WW2 Allies – Finland
• Third Reich Era War Medals and Decorations – Wehrmacht (Combined Armed Forces)
• Other Museums, Artifacts, and Vehicles M thru Z
• September 1938 – Munich Agreement & Annexation of the Sudentenland
• Heroes of the German Resistance & July 20 1944 Coup Attempt
• Luftwaffe – After WW2
• Berlin
• Fuhrer Adolf Hitler
• People Close to Adolf Hitler in Minor Roles
• Leading Figures of Nazi Germany – M thru S
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• SS Generals – A thru L
• Plötzensee Prison
• Order of Battle – Waffen-SS Divisions & Other Units

New Pages have been added to the Website:

• Fieseler Fi 156 – Storch – Stork
• Luftwaffe Planes from the Cold War to Present
• Reconstruction of Germany
• Militärhistorisches Museum Flugplatz Berlin-Gatow



1915 Austro-German forces attack Russians at Przemysl

On June 2, 1915, Austro-Hungarian and German troops continue their attacks on the Russian soldiers holding Przemysl (now in Poland), the citadel guarding the northeastern-most point of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Used as the Austrian army headquarters during the first months of World War I, Przemysl was ordered to hold out until the end in the face of the surprisingly effective Russian advance into Austria-Hungary in the fall of 1914. After six months under siege, facing severe food shortages and heavy casualties, the last Austro-Hungarian troops at Przemysl finally relinquished control of the citadel on March 22, 1915.

With their hard-fought victory, Russia’s troops had gained a certain measure of control in the much-contested Galician region of Austria and were poised to move into Hungary. This was not to be, however, as the powerful German army stepped in to offer more help to their faltering ally. Over the course of the next several months, Austro-German forces began moving swiftly and aggressively on the Eastern Front, recapturing the passes of the Carpathian Mountains and moving steadily forward into Galicia. On May 25, the Germans announced they had taken some 21,000 Russian prisoners east of the San River; the Russians were soon pushed back toward Przemysl, and battle began there once again.

On June 2, 1915, Austro-German forces were nearing victory against the exhausted Russians at Przemysl; the citadel fell back into the hands of the Central Powers the following day. The recapture of Przemysl effectively marked the end of Russian control in Galicia. As a British observer wrote dismissively of the Russian troops, This army is now a harmless mob.


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