Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Operation Barbarossa

At its time, Operation Barbarossa was the largest offensive in military history. On June 22, 1941, over 4 million axis troops crossed the border into the Soviet Union. They were supported by thousands of tanks, fighters, bombers and assault guns. Initially, it was a great success, destroying every aspect of the Soviet war machine on the Axis' way to Moscow. The Axis advance was actually quite remarkable, considering the ground they covered in the time they did it. However, like Napoleon's great offensive in the early 19th century, the weather would eventually defeat Hitler's ambitious invasion. By December 2, advancing troops of the German army could see the Kremlin. However, the blizzards that set in would lead to a massive Soviet counter offensive, marking the beginning of the end for Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Erich Topp Interview

Hey guys, sorry I haven't been updating a whole lot, I've been very busy. I'm gonna make another lazy YouTube post though. It's very relevant to the last topic, since I just wrote of the U-Boat war. I've watched this interview many times, and I am amazed at how Topp talks of his career as a U-Boat captain. Take some time to watch this interview in it's entirety.

                                                                  4:05- Balls of steel

Friday, July 8, 2011

History- Battle of the Atlantic (Happy Time)

Almost immediately after World War II started, Hitler continued where the Kaiserliche Marine left off in World War I. U-Boats (German submarines (Unterseeboot)) began their attack on the Allied shipping lanes, sinking transport after transport. The goal was to prevent the Allies from supplying their armies all over Europe. In the beginning, the Allied (mostly British) shipping was unorganized and made easy targets for the marauding U-Boats. Tactics to combat the U-Boats were premature, ineffective, and proved costly with the loss of the HMS Courageous, a British aircraft carrier. Further embarrassment for the Royal Navy came in December of 1939 when U-47, captained by Gunther Prien, slipped into Scapa Flow (the Royal Navy's home base) and sunk the battleship HMS Royal Oak. Prien and his crew were hailed as heroes in Germany and continued their success until they went missing on a patrol in 1941, and never came back.

Shipping tactics improved greatly for the British, whose life depended on it after the Fall of France in mid-1940. Britain, an island nation, needed supplies from the US to stay in the war and keep its citizens, troops, and foreign troops fed and well supplied. Therefore, it was in the best interest to keep the transports safe in their voyage across the Atlantic, with large well escorted convoys. U-Boats were still able to succeed in sinking transports, but a few transports lost out of a convoy of forty was better than losing a larger number of individual transports in smaller, more easily penetrable convoys. There were still considerable losses on the British side. U-Boat captains found ways to take advantage of the convoy system and sink many vessels, especially with the wolfpack tactic of using several U-Boats at a time to overwhelm the under-protected convoys.

                                                             (HMS Courageous sinking)

This period of time was known as the 'Happy Time' for the U-Boats. Allied losses were high, while German losses were lower. Captains such as Otto Kretschmer (273,333 tons sunk) and Erich Topp (197,460 tons) were practically celebrities in Germany for their outstanding endeavors. However, many of these U-Boat aces were taken out early in the war. Otto Kretschmer, the top U-Boat ace throughout the entire war was captured by the Allies in 1941. He did more damage in two years than any other U-Boat captain could do during the entire war.

                                      (US tanker MS Pennsylvania Sun after being torpedoed)

Throughout 1941, as more U-Boats were being destroyed and experienced captains were being killed or captured the tide began its long turn in favor of the British. With the entrance of the US in the war, the U-Boats once again dominated. This time on the East Coast of the United States. The US, practically untouched by the war up to now was novice, and made many mistakes in the first few months. Merchant ships, and tankers (favorite targets for the U-Boats for their size and the value of oil in the war) steamed out of port alone. Coastal cities were lit up like a Christmas Tree. The conditions couldn't have been better for the U-Boats, as they inflicted a heavy toll and made the Americans pay for their mistakes while this period lasted. All was well for the U-Boats during this time, as things could only get worse, and they did.

(This is only a brief history of the Battle of the Atlantic, as I have only scratched the surface of the entire battle. Entire books could and have been written on the topic. If you're interested in learning more there is a lot of information out there about it. Watch for my next post, part II of the Battle of the Atlantic, 'Black May'.)

Source: Wikipedia for pictures

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Direction

Hello everyone, and happy early Independence Day to all of my fellow Americans. I've decided to add a new aspect to this blog to give it more dimension. Instead of focusing solely on today's battles, I will also be blogging about past battles. Thanks for staying with me! The next post will be something different...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I'm sure many of you have been waiting for this one. I would have done it sooner, but I've been fairly busy the past couple of weeks, hence my last post being so lazy. For the past four or so months, a bloody civil war has been raging in Libya. Libya, a country in North Africa along the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, hasn't seen fighting like this since World War II, when it held strategic port cities and a path to the oil rich Middle East for the Nazis. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has ruled the country with an iron fist since a coup in 1969, and in wake of the recent uprisings in nearby countries, such as Egypt, a portion of Libya's populace has rebelled and started a civil war dividing the country in half.

The nucleus of the rebellion is Benghazi, a major port city well east of the government held capital, Tripoli. Recently, most of the fighting has been in between Benghazi and Tripoli. The Rebels consist of turncoat government troops and other sympathetic Libyan citizens. The Rebel arsenal consists of captured government weapons (typical African weapons: Kalashkinovs, FN FALs, RPG-7s, and other older weapons from the former Soviet Union and other European powers). Tanks are not out of the question, as the separatists have acquired T-55s and on a smaller level, T-72s.

Foreign support has been key for the rebellion, as the United States, France, and the United Kingdom have established a No-Fly zone over the country. The No-Fly zone quickly turned into a bombing campaign, devastating Gaddafi's forces. Other foreign support has included Anti-Tank weapons from France and Qatar, rifles from Qatar, medical supplies from the US, and communications equipment from the UK. The situation in Libya changes on a day to day basis, so anything could happen. I plan to update the status when new information is available.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New poll:
Friendly Fire- Is there anything more modern militaries can do to avoid it?