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Alaric, the leader of the Visigoths takes and plunders Rome. This was one of the final blows which would bring about the end of the Roman Empire

The Visigoths were one of the east Germanic tribes. There were three Germanic groupings: north Germanic, west Germanic and east Germanic (Goths). Modern Germans descend from the west Germanic grouping. The Gothic language and culture did not survive into modern times. The gothic peoples were driven from their lands by the Huns. The Visigoths moved finally into the area which is now France and were assimilated there and the Ostrogoths into Italy where they were assimilated by the majority culture.

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The First Day on the Eastern Front. Germany Invades the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941

In the spirit of Martin Middlebrook’s classic First Day on the Somme, Craig Luther narrates the events of June 22, 1941, a day when German military might was at its peak and seemed as though it would easily conquer the Soviet Union, a day the common soldiers would remember for its tension and the frogs bellowing in the Polish marshlands. It was a day when the German blitzkrieg decimated Soviet command and control within hours and seemed like nothing would stop it from taking Moscow. Luther narrates June 22—one of the pivotal days of World War II—from high command down to the tanks and soldiers at the sharp end, covering strategy as well as tactics and the vivid personal stories of the men who crossed the border into the Soviet Union that fateful day, which is the Eastern Front in microcosm, representing the years of industrial-scale warfare that followed and the unremitting hostility of Germans and Soviets. In his endorsement of the book Victor Davis Hanson writes: “Craig Luther’s [new book] continues his invaluable explorations of he disastrous German invasion of the Soviet Union, by focusing on the first day of Operation Barbarossa . . . A rich scholarly resource that historians of the Eastern Front will find invaluable.”

The book will be released by Stackpole Books on 1 November 2018.

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Barbarossa Unleashed. The German Blitzkrieg through Central Russia to the Gates of Moscow, June-December 1941

This book examines in unprecedented detail the advance of Germany’s Army Group Center through central Russia, toward Moscow, in the summer of 1941, followed by brief accounts of the Battle of Moscow and subsequent winter battles into early 1942. Based on hundreds of veterans accounts, archival documents, and exhaustive study of the pertinent primary and secondary literature, the book offers new insights into Operation Barbarossa, Adolf Hitler s attack on Soviet Russia in June 1941. While the book meticulously explores the experiences of the German soldier in Russia, in the cauldron battles along the Minsk-Smolensk-Moscow axis, it places their experiences squarely within the strategic and operational context of the Barbarossa campaign. Controversial subjects, such as the culpability of the German eastern armies in war crimes against the Russian people, are also examined in detail. This book is the most detailed account to date of virtually all aspects of the German soldiers experiences in Russia in 1941. Writes eastern front historian David Stahel in his review of the book: “The combination of ‘top down’ and ‘bottom up’ approaches makes Luther’s work a landmark study of Operation Barbarossa.” (War in History)

Based on great reviews, we recommend this book. You can find the book at these places for sale: 

  1. barbarossa1941.com
  2. schifferbooks.com
  3. amazon.com
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1939 Britain and France Declare War on Germany

German troops marching through occupied Warsaw during World War Two, Poland, circa 1939.

On this day in 1939, in response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France, both allies of the overrun nation declare war on Germany.

The first casualty of that declaration was not German—but the British ocean liner Athenia, which was sunk by a German U-30 submarine that had assumed the liner was armed and belligerent. There were more than 1,100 passengers on board, 112 of whom lost their lives. Of those, 28 were Americans, but President Roosevelt was unfazed by the tragedy, declaring that no one was to “thoughtlessly or falsely talk of America sending its armies to European fields.” The United States would remain neutral.

As for Britain’s response, it was initially no more than the dropping of anti-Nazi propaganda leaflets—13 tons of them—over Germany. They would begin bombing German ships on September 4, suffering significant losses. They were also working under orders not to harm German civilians. The German military, of course, had no such restrictions. France would begin an offensive against Germany’s western border two weeks later. Their effort was weakened by a narrow 90-mile window leading to the German front, enclosed by the borders of Luxembourg and Belgium—both neutral countries. The Germans mined the passage, stalling the French offensive.

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Germany invades Poland

On this day in 1939, German forces bombard Poland on land and from the air, as Adolf Hitler seeks to regain lost territory and ultimately rule Poland. World War II had begun.

The German invasion of Poland was a primer on how Hitler intended to wage war–what would become the “blitzkrieg” strategy. This was characterized by extensive bombing early on to destroy the enemy’s air capacity, railroads, communication lines, and munitions dumps, followed by a massive land invasion with overwhelming numbers of troops, tanks, and artillery. Once the German forces had plowed their way through, devastating a swath of territory, infantry moved in, picking off any remaining resistance.

The Polish army made several severe strategic miscalculations early on. Although 1 million strong, the Polish forces were severely under-equipped and attempted to take the Germans head-on with horsed cavaliers in a forward concentration, rather than falling back to more natural defensive positions. The outmoded thinking of the Polish commanders coupled with the antiquated state of its military was simply no match for the overwhelming and modern mechanized German forces. And, of course, any hope the Poles might have had of a Soviet counter-response was dashed with the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Nonaggression Pact.

Great Britain would respond with bombing raids over Germany three days later.

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Update 8-26-2018 : New Pictures Added to the Website

New Pictures have been added to the Website:

  • Veteran Soldaten Past and Present
  • Memorials & Grave Sites
  • Battle of Norway
  • German Military Administration and Occupation of France during World War II
  • Balkan Campaign
  • Eastern Front
  • Battle of Stalingrad
  • Orders of Battle – Armies and Armeegruppes
  • Afrika Korps
  • Foreign Troops in the Wehrmacht
  • Kfz. 251 – Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251
  • MG 34 – Maschinengewehr 34
  • Luftwaffe Divisions and Groups
  • Messerschmitt Bf 109
  • Focke-Wulf Fw 190
  • Junkers Ju 87 Dive Bomber
  • Battleship Tirpitz
  • U-Boat
  • World War 2 Field Marshalls
  • Beer Hall Putsch
  • Information and Facts of World War 1
  • Fuhrer Adolf Hitler
  • People Close to Adolf Hitler in Minor Roles
  • Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring
  • Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler
  • SS Officers, NCOs, and Men – A thru G
  • SS Officers, NCOs, and Men – L thru T
  • SS Officers, NCOs, and Men – U thru Z
  • SS-General Josef “Sepp” Dietrich
  • Nazi Party – National Socialist German Workers’ Party – NSDAP
  • Nazi German Organizations
  • Hitlerjugend / Hitler Youth
  • Nazi German Information
  • Reich Chancellery
  • Third Reich Flags and Symbols 1933-1945

Enjoy!

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1914 Heavy Casualties Suffered in the Battles of the Frontiers

On August 22, 1914, as French and German forces face off on the Western Front during the opening month of the First World War, the isolated encounters of the previous day move into full-scale battle in the forests of the Ardennes and at Charleroi, near the junction of the Sambre and Meuse Rivers.

A German soldier’s diary entry captures the horrifying chaos of that day on the front lines in Tintigny, near Ardennes, where the German 4th and 5th Armies were squaring off against the French 3rd and 4th. “Nothing more terrible could be imagined….We advanced much too fast—a civilian fired at us—he was immediately shot—we were ordered to attack the enemy flank in a forest of beeches—we lost our direction—the men were done for—the enemy opened fire—shells came down on us like hail.”

The Battle of the Ardennes was the second of the so-called Battles of the Frontiers—four bloody conflicts fought over the course of as many days between German, French and British forces on the Western Front in France. After French forces were destroyed by the advancing German left wing in Lorraine on August 20, two simultaneous actions were launched on August 21 and 22, in the Ardennes and further north, at the village of Charleroi. The Battle of Charleroi saw General Charles Lanrezac and the French 5th Army take on General Karl von Bulow’s 2nd German Army.

Over the course of a single day, August 22, some 27,000 French soldiers died at Ardennes and Charleroi. In the latter battle, von Bulow’s men were joined by the German 3rd Army, led by General Max Klemens von Hausen, which over the night of August 22 brought four fresh corps and 340 new guns into action. The French 5th Army, in turn, was due to be supported by the newly arrived British Expeditionary Force (BEF); a British delay and poor relations between Lanrezac and the BEF’s commander, Sir John French, however, meant that instead of supporting the French at Charleroi, the British were forced to fight their own action, the Battle of the Mons, beginning on August 23, as Lanrezac’s men continued to fight alone.

At Charleroi, with the roads swollen with Belgian refugees heading for French army headquarters, Lanrezac learned on August 23 that the French army was collapsing all along the line, from Lorraine to the Meuse. With his own army pushed to its limits at Charleroi, he made the decision, without consulting French headquarters, to order a general retreat. According to his own written account, Lanrezac believed that destruction of the 5th Army would mean catastrophe for France, as he told one of his officers. “We have been beaten but the evil is reparable. As long as the 5th Army lives, France is not lost.”

Though Joffre and GQG, the headquarters of the French army, did not question Lanrezac’s decision at the time, thereby tacitly authorizing it, the general of the 5th Army was later made a scapegoat for the failure of France’s offensively minded Plan 17 strategy during the Battles of the Frontiers. It was a costly failure indeed for France: some 70 divisions, or about 1.25 million men, saw combat over the course of four days, with total casualties of 140,000 (twice the number of the entire BEF in France at that time).

Joffre, however, would admit no inherent flaw in the purely offensive spirit behind Plan 17—instead, he blamed failure on a “false understanding” of that spirit. In a “Note for All Armies” issued on August 24, he determined that land captured by the French should be immediately organized for occupation and defense, and entrenchments should be dug. The lack of coordination between artillery and infantry must be remedied, Joffre insisted, and the French “must copy the enemy in using airplanes to prepare artillery attacks.” As the French president, Raymond Poincare wrote in his diary that same day: “We must make up our minds both to retreat and to invasion. So much for the illusions of the last fortnight. Now the future of France depends on her powers of resistance.”

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