The Forgotten Ni’ihau Incident Overshadowed by Pearl Harbor

None of the Hawaiian shorelines are as untouched as those of Ni’ihau, a small island on the most western side of the Hawaiian Islands. The island is privately owned and often called the ‘forbidden island’. The time has stood still here, and the inhabitants live in seclusion, keeping the traditions of their ancestors alive. WhenContinue reading “The Forgotten Ni’ihau Incident Overshadowed by Pearl Harbor”

The Dam Busters flooding Germany’s Ruhr Area: Operation Chastise (1943)

In 1943 the RAF Bomber Command, led by Air Marshal Arthur Harris, brought together pilots and aircrew to form 617 Squadron. This squadron was tasked with a single, crucial and daring attack, which had the potential to become a very spectacular success. Their task was to attack the heart of the German war industry, usingContinue reading “The Dam Busters flooding Germany’s Ruhr Area: Operation Chastise (1943)”

The Spectacular Capture of Fort Eben-Emael (Belgium, 1940)

On May 10th, 1940, Adolf Hitler launched Fall Gelb, the invasion of the Low Countries and France. This Blitzkrieg was meant to overpower the Netherlands, Belgium and France in a surprise attack, preventing their military from properly responding. The Belgian village Eben-Emael lies in the province of Luik, not far away from the Dutch border.Continue reading “The Spectacular Capture of Fort Eben-Emael (Belgium, 1940)”

German Submarines in the Pacific Ocean? The Forgotten Monsun Gruppe Wolfpack

On October 14th, 1939, during a raid on Scapa Flow by the U-47, a German submarine, the HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed and sunk. The captain of the German submarine, Günther Prien, was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Due to the success of this secret raid, the German Kriegsmarine realised the potentialContinue reading “German Submarines in the Pacific Ocean? The Forgotten Monsun Gruppe Wolfpack”

“Pappy” Boyington’s Black Sheep Squadron and the Pacific Theatre

The 1976 American TV-series Baa Baa Black Sheep was a military drama, sprinkled with bits of comedy. The series is loosely based on Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, an American combat pilot who was a U.S. Marine Corps fighter ace, and his squadron, during the Second World War. In late summer 1942, Boyington took over command overContinue reading ““Pappy” Boyington’s Black Sheep Squadron and the Pacific Theatre”

The Battle of Bir Hakeim

Bir Hakeim is an oasis in north-east Libya. During the Second World War, the eponymous fortress served as one of the most important strongholds of the Free French Army against General Erwin Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika. In May 1942 around 3700 soldiers of the 1st Free French Brigade faced over ten times the amount of GermanContinue reading “The Battle of Bir Hakeim”

Stalingrad of the East: the Japanese Siege of Kohima

One of Japan’s last offensives during the Second World War was Operation U-Go. In March 1944, over 80.000 Japanese soldiers under the extremely aggressive general Renya Mutaguchi crossed the border with India. It really says something when you’re considered to be extremely aggressive as a Japanese general during the Second World War, to be fair.Continue reading “Stalingrad of the East: the Japanese Siege of Kohima”

The Only (Secret) Recording with Hitler’s Normal Voice

During his lifetime, but also in studies afterwards, Hitler has been revered for his ability to enchant crowds with his voice. The dictator realised, more than anyone at the time, the power of a well-staged speech, both to excite and intimidate.  Because over 500 speeches, of which audio- and video footage has been preserved, weContinue reading “The Only (Secret) Recording with Hitler’s Normal Voice”

Hanns Scharff: Nazi Germany’s Master Interrogator

Imagine that you’re in the middle of the Second World War and a prisoner of war is brought to you. You know he has knowledge of an imminent bombing raid, and your superiors task you with the interrogation and making sure that the prisoner spills the beans. How do you ensure the prisoner gives upContinue reading “Hanns Scharff: Nazi Germany’s Master Interrogator”

The Korean soldier that fought in the Japanese Imperial Army, the Soviet Union’s Red Army and Germany’s Wehrmacht

Following D-Day, the Allied powers captured a lot of Axis soldiers. One of the most interesting soldiers they captured in the immediate aftermath wasn’t necessarily a high-ranking officer or notorious German war criminal. No, it was a Korean soldier that had ended up on the beaches of Normandy fighting in a German Wehrmacht Unit. ButContinue reading “The Korean soldier that fought in the Japanese Imperial Army, the Soviet Union’s Red Army and Germany’s Wehrmacht”