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?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Iraq Today

"A roadside bombing in Fallujah killed four American servicemen and fourteen Iraqi civilians. So far 48 wounded have been accounted for. Efforts have been stepped up in the area to quell the recent surges in violence." This is not a real broadcast or news real, however I'm sure that it wouldn't surprise you if it were. We are all too familiar with hearing this in the news bulletins.

So far, 4,235 U.S. soldiers, 178 British soldiers and 139 soldiers from other nations have made the ultimate sacrifice in the Coalition's efforts to remove Saddam Hussein and restore order to the nation. Tens of thousands of Coalition servicemen have been wounded in this great crusade by the Western powers. This seems like a harsh number, and it really is for a conflict of this magnitude. That's over 10,000 parents who don't have a son anymore, sisters who have lost their brothers and vice versa. Not to mention the thousands of children who will grow up without one of their parents. Nobody knows the cost of war more than these people. 

Another figure to throw into the mix, and one of the largest recruiters of insurgents, is the civilian death toll in Iraq. Estimates go from 100,000 all the way to one million dead (although this seems quite extreme to me). Whether it's from an IED or a stray bomb, no sane person wants to see innocent civilians caught and ended in the snare of war. There is no doubt that when this happens, there are those family members and friends who want retribution, and would even be willing to take up arms against the oppressors (Coalition troops) to satisfy their bloody revenge. Many people who have been turned against the Iraqi insurgents, and even the Iraqi people in some cases have no idea what it's like for a foreign country to invade your own, murdering thousands in its deadly path. Just something to consider...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Afghanistan-Korengal Valley

Throughout all of Afghanistan, there is that one part that troops know they don't want to be sent to. Over 40 American servicemen and countless Afghan troops have been killed in this one area alone. The Korengal Valley is on the Eastern part of Afghanistan and borders Northern Pakistan. This area is a very strategic location for Taliban fighters, as the US has limited involvement in Pakistan (mainly just drone strikes, after the Bin-Laden raid there is no question SOCOM has involvement as well) and this is where many of them cross the border.

The terrain within the Korengal Valley is very mountainous and hilly. This makes it difficult for ISAFs to secure the area. What they do, is set up numerous firebases and patrol the surrounding areas. Some of the territories throughout the valley are known Taliban strongholds, and it is almost expected that there will be fighting there when patrolled.

It is hard to fight there, especially when relations with the local tribal leaders are extremely important. Though the ISAF does its best to avoid them, incidents do happen. An accidental bombing of a village, a stray mortar landing in a school yard. This is in addition to the punishment that the Taliban initiates for collaboration. There is no question about it, life in the Korengal Valley is tough for everyone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Today's Current Battlefields

Hello! And welcome to my blog: Today's Current Battlefields.

Like most people, you probably wake up, have a cup of coffee, and leave for work in the morning. What follows is the same boring day. Maybe something doesn't go right; you spill your coffee or get caught in traffic. You may think that this is absolutely terrible! How could anyone's life be any worse than yours at that given moment? Well, it could.

You have probably grown up very fortunate. You've never heard automatic gunfire on your street, bombs have never fallen in your city, and you've never had to carry a loved ones body from the ruins. The world may seem at ease to you, but all over it is not. There are many conflicts out there, and this blog will report on them. So, check back for more updates!

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