1943 Hitler receives News of Italy’s Imminent Defection

On this day in 1943, Adolf Hitler learns that Axis ally Italy is buying time before negotiating surrender terms with the Allies in light of Mussolini’s fall from power.

Hitler had feared that such a turn of events was possible, if not probable. Hitler had come to Italy on July 19 to lecture Il Duce on his failed military leadership—evidence that he knew, even if he was not admitting, that both Mussolini and Italy were about to collapse, leaving the Italian peninsula open to Allied occupation. Despite a half-hearted reassurance from Mussolini that Italy would continue to battle on, Hitler nevertheless began preparing for the prospect of Italy’s surrender to the Allies.

When Mussolini was ousted from power and arrested by his own police six days later. Hitler gathered Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Rommel, and the commander in chief of the German navy, Karl Doenitz, at his headquarters to reveal the plans of action he had already been formulating. Among them: (1) Operation Oak, in which Mussolini would be rescued from captivity; (2) the occupation of Rome by German forces and the reinstallation of Mussolini and his fascist government; (3) Operation Black, the German occupation of all Italy; and (4) Operation Axis, the destruction of the Italian fleet (in order to prevent it from being commandeered for Allied use).

Hitler’s advisers urged caution, especially since it would require recalling troops from the Eastern front. The Allies had not made a move on Rome yet, and although Mussolini was under arrest, the Italian government had not formally surrendered. Germany had received assurances from Mussolini’s successor, General Badoglio, that Italy would continue to fight at Germany’s side. Then on July 30, Hitler read a message from his security police chief in Zagreb that an Italian general had confided to a Croat general that Italy’s assurances of loyalty to Germany were “designed merely to gain time for the conclusion of negotiations with the enemy.”

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1915 Battle of Hooge

In Flanders, Belgium, on July 30, 1915, the Germans put their new weapon, the flammenwerfer, or flamethrower, to devastating use against the Allies at the Battle of Hooge.

The Battle of Hooge represented one of the first major employments of the flamethrower, one of the most feared weapons introduced during World War I. Eleven days before the battle, British infantry had captured the German-occupied village of Hooge, located near Ypres in Belgium, by detonating a large mine. Using the flamethrowers to great effect, along with machine guns, trench mortars and hand grenades, the Germans reclaimed their positions on July 30, 1915, penetrating enemy front lines with ease and pushing the British forces back to their second trench. Though few men were lost to actual burns, a British officer reported later, the weapons had a great demoralizing effect, and when added to the assault of the other powerful weapons, they proved mercilessly efficient at Hooge.

German troops had started with stationary flamethrowers, which allowed them to take large gains of land at Verdun in February 1915. Through the efforts of Bernhard Reddemann, a reserve captain, and Richard Fiedler, a Berlin engineer, the Germans progressed to smaller, lighter models, including a portable version, carried like a backpack. The number of flamethrower attacks conducted by Reddeman’s men in the first half of 1916 was three times that of 1915.

One great puzzle that emerged from World War I was why Germany’s opponents never made equal use of this terrifying weapon. The British made three attempts with larger, more unwieldy prototypes: the smallest one was equal in size to the German Grof, which the enemy had almost abandoned by 1916. The French were more persistent, and by 1918 had at least seven companies trained in using flamethrowers; the use of the weapon never progressed to the same level as that in the German army, however.

The flamethrower was included, along with the submarine, the battleship, heavy artillery, the tank, poison gas and the zeppelin, on the list of weapons forbidden to German forces by the Treaty of Versailles. After Hitler came to power in 1933, though, and Germany began to rebuild its army, backpack flamethrowers were liberally supplied to the combat forces, and the formidable flammenwerfer would again play a deadly role in the clashes of World War II.

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Update 7-29-2018 : New Pictures Added to the Website

New Pictures have been added to the Website:

• Veteran Soldaten Past and Present / Veteran Soldaten Vergangenheit und Gegenwart
• Memorials & Grave Sites / Denkmäler und Grabstätten
• Battle of Dunkirk / Schlacht von Dünkirchen
• German Military Administration and Occupation of France during World War II – Deutsch militärische Verwaltung und Besatzung von Frankreich während Zweiten Weltkrieg
• Finland Front / Finnland Vorderseite
• Eastern Front / Ostfront
• Battle of Stalingrad / Schlacht Stalingrad
• Jun 6, 1944: D-Day – Anglo-American invasion of Europe on June 6, 1944 / 6. Juni 1944: D-Day – Angloamerikanische Invasion in Europa am 6. Juni 1944
• Other World War 2 Battles/ Major Events – Andere Schlachten des 2. Weltkriegs / Große Ereignisse
• Deutsches Heer – German Army
• Orders of Battle – Armies and Armeegruppes
• Afrika Korps / Africa Corps
• Assault-Infantry Guns / Sturm-Infanteriegeschütze
• Specialized Vehicles / Spezialfahrzeuge
• Hand Held Infantry Weapons or Light Equipment of WW2 / Hand Infanterie Waffen oder leichte Ausrüstung aus WW2
• Luftwaffe Divisions and Groups
• Junkers Ju 52 – Tante Ju – Aunt Ju – Iron Annie
• Kriegsmarine Ships / Kriegsmarine Schiffe
• Other Museums, Artifacts, and Vehicles M thru Z / Andere Museen, Artefakte und Fahrzeuge M bis Z
• World War 2 Propaganda, Magazines, and Print / Weltkrieg Propaganda, Zeitschriften und Print
• Paintings & Art / Gemälde und Kunst
• Heer / Army
• Leopard 2 – Main Battle Tank
• Luftwaffe Planes from the Cold War to Present
• Uniforms and Insignia of the Schutzstaffel / Uniformen und Insignien der Schutzstaffel
• Order of Battle – Waffen-SS Divisions & Other Units / Orden der Schlacht – Waffen-SS Divisionen & andere Einheiten

• Oberst Hans-Ulrich Rudel
• MG 34 – Maschinengewehr 34

Enjoy!

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Rare Witness to Horror of Stalin’s Gulag Prisons Dies

Vasily Kovalyov in a former Kolyma punishment cell.

by BBC

A rare survivor of the harshest Stalin-era labour camps has died aged 89 in Russia’s far east.

Vasily Kovalyov had survived icy punishment cells and beatings in the USSR’s notorious Gulag prison system.

During an escape attempt in 1954 he spent five months hiding in a freezing mine with two other prisoners.

Kovalyov’s story was featured in Vesma, a news site based in Magadan. The communist regime shipped thousands of “enemies” to prison camps via Magadan.

In 1950 Kovalyov, aged 20, was found guilty of anti-Soviet sabotage – one among the millions of victims of Stalinist terror. An old sabre that he had used to chop vegetables was enough to condemn him.

The main prison block where Kovalyov was kept in the 1950s still stands.
Dicing with death

First he was sent to Norilsk, in the Russian Arctic, he told Vesma. But he ended up in Kolyma, a notoriously harsh network of labour camps north of Magadan, after guards uncovered an escape plot.

In 1954 he and two other inmates hid in a mine and prepared an armed uprising, but someone tipped off the guards, who then came looking for them.

“Miners who knew the place inside out accompanied them and said we wouldn’t be able to stand the permafrost there longer than a week,” he told Vesma.

“They blocked all the entrances with grilles… We spent five months underground, in the dark, starving. After three months we had eaten all our food, and in the end we were chewing wood shavings.”

The prison had the designation “tougher regime zone” – part of Stalin’s vast Gulag.

He said they managed to dig a way out through the permafrost and emerged “half-blind, like moles”. They made it to a nearby town, but were arrested there.

During a punishment beating the guards let loose a huge sheep dog on him, he said.

“It leapt at me, but I had protective metal studs on my boots, and kicked the dog down. In a flash I dived at its throat and bit hard. I heard a crunch and the dog shuddered then died.”

Millions died during Joseph Stalin’s dictatorship – in deportations, famine, forced collectivisation, executions and prison camps.

The terror he unleashed involved massive purges of the Communist Party and state institutions.

A punishment cell: Solitary confinement in the basement, thick ice on the ground.
No forgiveness

Kovalyov was released in 1957, when Stalin’s successor Nikita Khrushchev declared an amnesty for Gulag prisoners, in the post-Stalin “thaw”.

He stayed in Magadan, where he worked as a heating engineer. And he took a Vesma reporter, Yevgeny Radchenko, on a tour of the grim prison – a ruin still reeking of cruelty.

He died of a stroke in a Magadan hospital on Monday.

According to Vesma, “until his last breath he never forgot what the Soviet Union did to millions of people, who endured the camps, leaving their best years, their health and their lives there”.

“He told the story of his trip back to Odessa region, where he met the people who had put him in prison. He did not forgive them. The cruelty and torment of camp life taught him to survive, but at the same time to stay human.”

Very few Kolyma prisoners from the Stalin period are still alive, a Russian historian told the BBC.

Alyona Kozlova, chief archivist at the Memorial documentation centre, said “I know of three in Moscow, and it’s possible that he was the last one in Magadan”.

But about four million ex-Soviet citizens are alive today who spent some time in Stalin’s prisons, she said.

The Soviet police mugshot of Kovalyov as a prisoner – he was born in 1930.
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Historical Society and Current Events with Politics – Don’t Like It, Good Luck and Good Bye

7-23-18

The Historical Society of German Military History’s main goal is covering German military history and honoring veterans from the wars of Germany’s past. While we do have other lesser goals, we do cover Germany’s history and current history. We are not just limited to military history, but all German events and history. With this said, we also cover current German events or things that affect Germany in modern day history.

We have been troubled when ignorant people come along and say we are ‘political’, or they feel threatened when we defend Germany against her attackers, etc. We are sorry that you feel this way, but in the end we are not. We are not going to soothe your feelings or be ‘politically correct’ to make everyone happy. We are going to tell you something real simple…..

We are not political, but covering history will always involve speaking about politics. Covering today’s events are history. Today will pass and yesterday will be history. That is history which covers all events.

Donald Trump

When Donald Trump attacks Europe, Germany, and everyone that does not agree with him, we are going to defend Germany. So the members, fans, and followers will see us write and place these articles on the website to defend the Fatherland. If you do not agree, you have the right. We are not going to debate, discuss, or listen to you since this modern time has brought about many ‘pc warriors’ who attack, threaten each other, demean others, etc. If you attack us, you never again will have the chance to be a part of this premier organization.

We do have great respect for the United States of America and the institutions of this country. But this mistake of a choice for President in which over 50% of the population consider him a racist, less than 50% voted for him, and only 22% are true supporters, we know that many of you do not support him. We are not here to insult him either, but we are not going to tolerate his attacks on Germany. So if you do not agree then leave. Another simple fact, no one in Europe cares for him nor do most of the world.

Israel & the Holocaust

The other controversial topic we discuss from time to time is Israel in which many Americans try to defend this ‘so-called democracy’. Our Official position is we do not support Nazism, Neo-Nazism, White Supremacy, and we agree the Holocaust is a stain on German honor and an awful tragedy. But we do not support the Jewish State, if there is a link between the news on Israel and Germany, we are going to discuss this. Israel and the Jewish population have stood on the platform of guilting Germany for the sins of the past for many years. They need to consider the sins of their current state in the Middle East.

Israel treats the Jewish citizens very democratically, but Arabs (non-Palestinians) are treated as 2nd class citizens, with final group of Palestinians being treated as a slave class. Israel keeps then barred up in small areas just as South-Africa had done during Apartheid with the constant stealing of Palestinian lands in the West Bank. They shoot protesters with live ammunition, over use of military power in responding to Hamas attacks on Israel, and keep them in a constant state of poverty. While we do not agree with Hamas’ position or support them, they need to also stop the attacks on Israel. But Israel is no democracy.

As for the Holocaust, this should never have happened to any human being. This is down right disgusting what Hitler allowed Himmler and the SS to do. The Holocaust is the most talked about human massacre in history due to being around World War II and being pushed on to others by a segment of the Jewish population.  There is little reminder of the Japanese atrocities during the war, the massacres committed by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia in the 70’s, the 90’s massacres in former Yugoslavia by Serbia, the past atrocities committed by the British Empire in Africa during Colonialism, the Spanish destruction of the Aztec and Inca Empires and large scale massacres of their populations, the current and recent massacres being committed to this day in Africa, the current extermination and expulsion of the Rohingya in Burma, and the largest massacre of over ten million citizens of the Soviet Union being committed in the Ukraine and Russia in the 1930’s by the government of Josef Stalin. This being the worst atrocity in human history. The scale of the constant reminders of the Holocaust make these other massacres seems like small homes compared to a skyscraper.

Israel needs to remember these other tragedies when dealing with the Palestinians. They need to understand that they have been given an opportunity built on their blood to do this right. They feel that the world owes them this, and it is their right due to the persecution of the Jews their entire history. That land in Jerusalem and the Palestine is everyone’s.  Arab, Jewish, Muslim, Christian all have a claim. Share it. Do not fight over it.

Germany

We support a strong Germany and a restoration of some form of the German Reich. The guilt from the past is over. There is no Nazi Germany anymore and never again will be. We would like to see some form of the return of the monarchy from the restoration of the imperial Reich or to form of constitutional monarchy. If this is never possible then a restoration of the Kingdom of Prussia, but still part of Greater Germany.  A return to heritage and traditions of the strong Germany with a strong military presence and  one of the leaders of Europe. We do support the republic, but a limitation of the European Union. Cross border cooperation is good for Europe, but never an erosion of German culture.

In the end, a proud and strong Germany with the citizens honoring the German veterans of the past wars. Germany without any guilt from the past and striving for the future. No matter what, we will defend Germany from any attackers in the present and will always defend Germany’s past history.

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1940 Marshal Petain becomes Premier of Occupied France

On this day in 1940, Marshal Henri-Philippe Petain, World War I hero, becomes prime minister of the Vichy government of France.

As Germany began to overrun more French territory, the French Cabinet became desperate for a solution to this crisis. Premier Paul Reynaud continued to hold out hope, refusing to ask for an armistice, especially now that France had received assurance from Britain that the two would fight as one, and that Britain would continue to fight the Germans even if France were completely overtaken. But others in the government were despondent and wanted to sue for peace. Reynaud resigned in protest. His vice premier, Henri Petain, formed a new government and asked the Germans for an armistice, in effect, surrendering.

This was an ironic position for Petain, to say the least. The man who had become a legendary war hero for successfully repelling a German attack on the French city of Verdun during the First World War was now surrendering to Hitler.

In the city of Vichy, the French Senate and Chamber of Deputies conferred on the 84-year-old general the title of “Chief of State,” making him a virtual dictator–although one controlled by Berlin. Petain believed that he could negotiate a better deal for his country–for example, obtaining the release of prisoners of war–by cooperating with, or as some would say, appeasing, the Germans.

But Petain proved to be too clever by half. While he fought against a close Franco-German military collaboration, and fired his vice premier, Pierre Laval, for advocating it, and secretly urged Spain’s dictator Francisco Franco to refuse passage of the German army to North Africa, his attempts to undermine the Axis while maintaining an official posture of neutrality did not go unnoticed by Hitler, who ordered that Laval be reinstated as vice premier. Petain acquiesced, but refused to resign in protest because of fear that France would come under direct German rule if he were not there to act as a buffer. But he soon became little more than a figurehead, despite efforts to manipulate events behind the scenes that would advance the Free French cause (then publicly denying, even denouncing, those events when they came to light).

When Paris was finally liberated by General Charles de Gaulle in 1944, Petain fled to Germany. He was brought back after the war to stand trial for his duplicity. He was sentenced to death, which was then commuted to life in solitary confinement. He died at 95 in prison. The man responsible for saving his life was de Gaulle. He and Petain had fought in the same unit in World War I and had not forgotten Petain’s bravery during that world war.

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German Insignia of World War II

German Insignia of World War II

by Chris Bishop and Adam Warner

Illustrated with hundreds of color and black and white photographs, this book is the definitive guide to the symbols, both military and civilian, of the the Third Reich, which served to inspire Germany’s war effort in World War II.

Only 3 Iron Crosses for this book since it was a very misleading title. German Insignia should be changed to Third Reich or Nazi German Insignia of WW2. This book features tons of material on the Nazi insignia, but barely touches anything on the Wehrmacht. Unfortunately like most picture books it is a poor for reference use since it does not cover every piece of insignia. More for the novice or average WW2 reader. It does have some good points with colorful, wonderful pictures and nice amount of information.

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