Featured articles are displayed here, which represent some of the best content on English Wikipedia.
An ammunition carrier of the British 11th Armoured Division explodes after it is hit by a mortar round during Operation Epsom, 26 June 1944.
Operation Epsom, also known as the First Battle of the Odon, was a British offensive in the Second World War between 26 and 30 June 1944, during the Battle of Normandy. The offensive was intended to outflank and seize the German-occupied city of Caen, an important Allied objective, in the early stages of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of north-west Europe.
Preceded by Operation Martlet to secure the right flank of the advance, Operation Epsom began early on 26 June, with units of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division advancing behind a rolling artillery barrage. Air cover was sporadic for much of the operation, because poor weather in England forced the last-minute cancellation of bomber support. Accompanied by the 31st Tank Brigade, the 15th (Scottish) Division made steady progress and by the end of the first day had overrun much of the German outpost line, although some difficulties remained in securing the flanks. In mutually-costly fighting over the following two days, a foothold was secured across the River Odon and efforts were made to expand this, by capturing tactically valuable points around the salient and moving up the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division. By 30 June, after Germancounter-attacks, some of the British forces across the river were withdrawn and the captured ground consolidated, bringing the operation to a close. (Full article...)
British troops of I Corps pick their way through the rubble of Caen, 9 July 1944
Operation Charnwood was an Anglo-Canadian offensive that took place from 8 to 9 July 1944, during the Battle for Caen, part of the larger Operation Overlord (code-name for the Battle of Normandy) in the Second World War. The operation was intended to capture the German-occupied city of Caen (French pronunciation: [kɑ̃]), which was an important objective for the Allies during the opening stages of Overlord. It was also hoped that the attack would forestall the transfer of German armoured units from the Anglo-Canadian sector to the American sector to the west, where an offensive was being prepared. The British and Canadians advanced on a broad front and by the evening of the second day had taken Caen up to the Orne and Odon rivers.
Preceded by a controversial bombing raid that destroyed much of the historic Old City of Caen, Operation Charnwood began at dawn on 8 July, with three infantry divisions attacking German positions north of Caen, behind a creeping barrage. Supported by three armoured brigades, the British I Corps made gradual progress against the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend and the 16th Luftwaffe Field Division. By the end of the day the 3rd Canadian Division and the British 3rd Infantry Division and 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division had cleared the villages in their path and reached the outskirts of the city. Moving into Caen at dawn the following morning, the Allies encountered resistance from remnants of German units who were beginning a withdrawal across the Orne. Carpiquet airfield fell to the Canadians during the early morning and by 18:00, the British and Canadians had linked up along the north bank of the Orne. The remaining bridges were defended or impassable and with German reserves positioned to oppose their crossing, I Corps ended the operation. (Full article...)
At Dürenstein, a combined force of Russian and Austrian troops trapped a French division commanded by Théodore Maxime Gazan. The French division was part of the newly created VIII Corps, the so-called Corps Mortier, under command of Édouard Mortier. In pursuing the Austrian retreat from Bavaria, Mortier had over-extended his three divisions along the north bank of the Danube. Mikhail Kutuzov, commander of the Coalition force, enticed Mortier to send Gazan's division into a trap and French troops were caught in a valley between two Russian columns. They were rescued by the timely arrival of a second division, under command of Pierre Dupont de l'Étang. The battle extended well into the night, after which both sides claimed victory. The French lost more than a third of their participants, and Gazan's division experienced over 40 percent losses. The Austrians and Russians also had heavy losses—close to 16 percent—but perhaps the most significant was the death in action of Johann Heinrich von Schmitt, one of Austria's most capable chiefs of staff. (Full article...)
Pigeon photography is an aerial photography technique invented in 1907 by the German apothecaryJulius Neubronner, who also used pigeons to deliver medications. A homing pigeon was fitted with an aluminium breast harness to which a lightweight time-delayed miniature camera could be attached. Neubronner's German patent application was initially rejected, but was granted in December 1908 after he produced authenticated photographs taken by his pigeons. He publicized the technique at the 1909 Dresden International Photographic Exhibition, and sold some images as postcards at the Frankfurt International Aviation Exhibition and at the 1910 and 1911 Paris Air Shows.
Initially, the military potential of pigeon photography for aerial reconnaissance appeared interesting. Battlefield tests in World War I provided encouraging results, but the ancillary technology of mobile dovecotes for messenger pigeons had the greatest impact. Owing to the rapid perfection of aviation during the war, military interest in pigeon photography faded and Neubronner abandoned his experiments. The idea was briefly resurrected in the 1930s by a Swiss clockmaker, and reportedly also by the German and French militaries. Although war pigeons were deployed extensively during World War II, it is unclear to what extent, if any, birds were involved in aerial reconnaissance. The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later developed a battery-powered camera designed for espionage pigeon photography; details of its use remain classified. (Full article...)
Along with her three sister ships, König, Markgraf, and Kronprinz, Grosser Kurfürst took part in most of the fleet actions during the war, including the Battle of Jutland on 31 May and 1 June 1916. The ship was subjected to heavy fire at Jutland, but was not seriously damaged. She shelled Russian positions during Operation Albion in September and October 1917. Grosser Kurfürst was involved in a number of accidents during her service career; she collided with König and Kronprinz, grounded several times, was torpedoed once, and hit a mine. (Full article...)
The TAM met the Argentine Army's requirement for a modern, lightweight and fast tank with a low silhouette and sufficient firepower to defeat contemporary armored threats. Development began in 1974 and resulted in the construction of three prototypes by early 1977 and full-scale production by 1979. Assembly took place at the local 9,600-square-meter (103,000 sq ft) TAMSE plant, founded for the purpose by the Argentine government. Economic difficulties halted production in 1983, but manufacturing began anew in 1994 until the army's order of 200 tanks was fulfilled. (Full article...)
Denmark's strategic importance for Germany was limited. The invasion's primary purpose was to use Denmark as a staging ground for operations against Norway, and to secure supply lines to the forces about to be deployed there. An extensive network of radar systems was built in Denmark to detect British bombers bound for Germany. (Full article...)
During the interwar period, aircraft and tank technologies matured and were combined with systematic application of the traditional German tactic of Bewegungskrieg (maneuver warfare), deep penetrations and the bypassing of enemy strong points to encircle and destroy enemy forces in a Kesselschlacht (cauldron battle). During the Invasion of Poland, Western journalists adopted the term blitzkrieg to describe this form of armored warfare. The term had appeared in 1935, in a German military periodical Deutsche Wehr (German Defense), in connection to quick or lightning warfare. German maneuver operations were successful in the campaigns of 1939–1941 and by 1940 the term blitzkrieg was extensively used in Western media. Blitzkrieg operations capitalized on surprise penetrations (e.g., the penetration of the Ardennes forest region), general enemy unreadiness and their inability to match the pace of the German attack. During the Battle of France, the French made attempts to reform defensive lines along rivers but were frustrated when German forces arrived first and pressed on. (Full article...)
Tiger II tank on paved street in Budapest, October 1944
The Tiger II is a Germanheavy tank of the Second World War. The final official German designation was Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf. B, often shortened to Tiger B. The ordnance inventory designation was Sd.Kfz. 182. (Sd.Kfz. 267 and 268 for command vehicles). It was known as King Tiger by Allied soldiers, and is also known under the informal name Königstiger (the German name for the Bengal tiger which translates literally as Royal Tiger).
During the interwar period, German pilots were trained secretly in violation of the treaty at Lipetsk Air Base in the Soviet Union. With the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Versailles Treaty, the Luftwaffe's existence was publicly acknowledged on 26 February 1935, just over two weeks before open defiance of the Versailles Treaty through German re-armament and conscription would be announced on 16 March. The Condor Legion, a Luftwaffe detachment sent to aid Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, provided the force with a valuable testing ground for new tactics and aircraft. Partially as a result of this combat experience, the Luftwaffe had become one of the most sophisticated, technologically advanced, and battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II broke out in 1939. By the summer of 1939, the Luftwaffe had twenty-eight Geschwader(wings). The Luftwaffe also operated Fallschirmjägerparatrooper units. (Full article...)
Large numbers of German prisoners of war were held in Britain between the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 and late 1948. Their numbers reached a peak of around 400,000 in 1946, and then began to fall when repatriation began. The experiences of these prisoners differed in certain important respects from those of captured German servicemen held by other nations. The treatment of the captives, though strict, was generally humane, and fewer prisoners died in British captivity than in other countries. The British government also introduced a programme of re-education, which was intended to demonstrate to the POWs the evils of the Nazi regime, while promoting the advantages of democracy. Some 25,000 German prisoners remained in the United Kingdom voluntarily after being released from prisoner of war status. (Full article...)
Design A-150, popularly known as the Super Yamato class, was a planned class of battleships for the Imperial Japanese Navy. In keeping with longstanding Japanese naval strategy, the A-150s would have carried six 51-centimeter (20.1 in) guns to ensure their qualitative superiority over any other battleship they might face. These would have been the largest guns ever carried aboard a capital ship.
Design work on the A-150s began after the preceding Yamato class in 1938–1939 and was mostly finished by early 1941, when the Japanese began focusing on aircraft carriers and other smaller warships in preparation for the coming conflict. No A-150 would ever be laid down, and many details of the class' design were destroyed near the end of the war. (Full article...)
The War of the Sixth Coalition saw major battles at Lützen, Bautzen, and Dresden. The even larger Battle of Leipzig (also known as the Battle of Nations) was the largest battle in European history before World War I. Ultimately, Napoleon's earlier setbacks in Spain, Portugal and Russia proved to be the seeds of his undoing. With their armies reorganized, the allies drove Napoleon out of Germany in 1813 and invaded France in 1814. The Allies defeated the remaining French armies, occupied Paris, and forced Napoleon to abdicate and go into exile. The French monarchy was revived by the allies, who handed rule to the heir of the House of Bourbon in the Bourbon Restoration. (Full article...)
Deutschland served as the flagship of the High Seas Fleet until 1913, when she was transferred to II Battle Squadron. With the outbreak of World War I in July 1914, she and her sister ships were tasked with defending the mouth of the Elbe and the German Bight from possible British incursions. Deutschland and the other ships of II Battle Squadron participated in most of the large-scale fleet operations in the first two years of the war, culminating in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May – 1 June 1916. Late on the first day of the battle, Deutschland and the other pre-dreadnoughts briefly engaged several British battlecruisers before retreating. (Full article...)
Grave of German soldiers fallen during the invasion of Poland in the town of Końskie
Statistics for GermanWorld War II military casualties are divergent. The wartime military casualty figures compiled by German High Command, up until January 31, 1945, are often cited by military historians when covering individual campaigns in the war. A recent study by German historian Rüdiger Overmans found that the German military casualties were 5.3 million, including 900,000 men conscripted from outside of Germany's 1937 borders, in Austria and in east-central Europe, higher than those originally reported by the German high command. The German government reported that its records list 4.3 million dead and missing military personnel.
Hannover and her sister ships saw extensive service with the fleet. The ship took part in all major training maneuvers until World War I broke out in July 1914. Hannover and her sisters were immediately pressed into guard duties at the mouth of the Elbe River while the rest of the fleet mobilized. The ship took part in several fleet advances, which culminated in the Battle of Jutland on 31May – 1June 1916. During the battle, Hannover served as the flagship for IVDivision of IIBattle Squadron; she was not heavily engaged during the battle, nor was she damaged by enemy fire. After the battle, which exposed the weakness of pre-dreadnoughts like Hannover, she and her three surviving sisters were removed from active duty with the fleet to serve as guard ships. Hannover served in this capacity for the remainder of the war, first in the Elbe and, starting in 1917, in the Danish straits. She was decommissioned in December 1918, shortly after the end of the war. ('Full article...)
Seydlitz become legendary throughout the Prussian Army both for his leadership skills and for his sometimes reckless courage. During the Seven Years' War, he came into his own as a cavalry general, known for his coup d'œil, his ability to assess at a glance the entire battlefield situation and to understand intuitively what needed to be done: he excelled at converting the King's directives into flexible tactics. At the Battle of Rossbach, his cavalry was instrumental in routing the French and Austrian armies. He subsequently played an important role in crushing the Austrian left flank at the Battle of Leuthen. Seydlitz was wounded in battle several times. Badly wounded at the Battle of Kunersdorf in August 1759, he semi-retired, charged with the protection of the city of Berlin. He was not well enough to participate in the annual campaigns until 1761 and even then his fellow officers questioned his physical fitness.
To divert British resources from the build-up being observed on the Somme, the XIII (Royal Württemberg) Corps and the 117th Infantry Division attacked an arc of high ground defended by the Canadian Corps. The German forces captured the heights at Mount Sorrel and Tor Top, before entrenching on the far slope of the ridge. Following a number of attacks and counterattacks, two divisions of the Canadian Corps, supported by the 20th Light Division and Second Army siege and howitzer battery groups, recaptured the majority of their former positions. (Full article...)
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau operated together for much of the early portion of World War II, including sorties into the Atlantic to raid British merchant shipping. During her first operation, Scharnhorst sank the armed merchant HMS Rawalpindi in a short engagement (November 1939). Scharnhorst and Gneisenau participated in Operation Weserübung (April–June 1940), the German invasion of Norway. During operations off Norway, the two ships engaged the battlecruiser HMS Renown and sank the aircraft carrierHMS Glorious as well as her escort destroyers Acasta and Ardent. In that engagement Scharnhorst achieved one of the longest-range naval gunfire hits in history. (Full article...)
Between August 1939 and March 1941, U-37 conducted eleven combat patrols, sinking 53 merchant ships, for a total of 200,063 gross register tons (GRT); and two warships, the British Hastings-class sloopHMS Penzance, and the French submarineSfax (Q182). U-37 was then withdrawn from front-line service and assigned to training units until the end of the war. On 8 May 1945 the U-boat was scuttled in Sonderburg Bay, off Flensburg. U-37 was the sixth most successful U-boat in World War II. (Full article...)
Kaiser Karl der Grosse served with the active fleet until 1908, participating in the normal peacetime routine of training cruises and fleet maneuvers. By 1908, the new "all-big-gun" dreadnought battleships were entering service. As these rendered her obsolete, Kaiser Karl der Grosse was withdrawn from active service and placed in the Reserve Division. At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, the ship was placed back in active duty as a coastal defense ship in V Battle Squadron, though by February 1915 she was again placed in reserve. Kaiser Karl der Grosse was briefly used as a training ship and ended her career as a prison ship for prisoners of war in Wilhelmshaven. After the German defeat in November 1918, she was sold to ship-breakers and scrapped in 1920. (Full article...)
Unternehmen Paula (Undertaking or Operation Paula) is the German codename given for the Second World War Luftwaffe offensive operation to destroy the remaining units of the Armée de l'Air (ALA), or French Air Force during the Battle of France in 1940. On 10 May the German armed forces (Wehrmacht) began their invasion of Western Europe. By 3 June, the British Army had withdrawn from Dunkirk and the continent in Operation Dynamo, the Netherlands and Belgium had surrendered and most of the formations of the French Army were disbanded or destroyed. To complete the defeat of France, the Germans undertook a second phase operation, Fall Rot (Case Red), to conquer the remaining regions. In order to do this, air supremacy was required. The Luftwaffe was ordered to destroy the French Air Forces, while still providing support to the German Army.
For the operation, the Germans committed five Air Corps to the attack, comprising 1,100 aircraft. The operation was launched on 3 June 1940. British intelligence had warned the French of the impending attack, and the operation failed to achieve the strategic results desired by the Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (High Command of the Air Force). However, the plight of the French ground and air forces at this stage meant that the failure of the operation would not impede the defeat of France. (Full article...)
The idea of re-settling Polish Jews in Madagascar was investigated by the Polish government in 1937, but the task force sent to evaluate the island's potential determined that only 5,000 to 7,000 families could be accommodated, or even as few as 500 families by some estimates. Because efforts by the Nazis to encourage the emigration of the Jewish population of Germany before World War II were only partially successful, the idea of deporting Jews to Madagascar was revived by the Nazi government in 1940. (Full article...)
Launching of Seydlitz
Seydlitz was a heavy cruiser of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, fourth in the Admiral Hipper class, but was never completed. The ship was laid down in December 1936 and launched in January 1939, but the outbreak of World War II slowed her construction and fitting-out work was finally stopped in the summer of 1940 when she was approximately 95 percent complete. The unfinished ship remained pier-side in the shipyard until March 1942, when the Kriegsmarine decided to pursue aircraft carriers over surface combatants. Seydlitz was among the vessels chosen for conversion into auxiliary aircraft carriers.
Renamed Weser, the ship was to have had a complement of ten Bf 109 fighters and ten Ju 87 divebombers. Work was not completed, however, and the incomplete vessel was towed to Königsberg where she was eventually scuttled. The ship was seized by the advancing Soviet Army and was briefly considered for cannibalization for spare parts to complete her sistership Lützow for the Soviet Navy. This plan was also abandoned, and the ship was broken up for scrap. (Full article...)
The Do 17 made its combat debut in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War, operating in the Condor Legion in various roles. Along with the Heinkel He 111 it was the main bomber type of the German air arm in 1939–1940. The Dornier was used throughout the early war, and saw action in significant numbers in every major campaign theatre as a front line aircraft until the end of 1941, when its effectiveness and usage was curtailed as its bomb load and range were limited. (Full article...)
Featured lists have been determined by the Wikipedia community to be the best lists on English Wikipedia.
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. This decoration was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, ranging from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was introduced on 3 June 1940 to further distinguish those who had already received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and who continued to show merit in combat bravery or military success. A total of 7 awards were made in 1940, 50 in 1941, 111 in 1942, 192 in 1943, 328 in 1944, and 194 in 1945, giving a total of 882 recipients—excluding the 8 foreign recipients of the award.
The number of 882 Oak Leaves recipients is based on the acceptance by the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR). However author Veit Scherzer has challenged the validity of 27 of these listings. With the exception of Hermann Fegelein, all of the disputed recipients had received the award in 1945, when the deteriorating situation of Germany during the final days of World War II left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. Hermann Fegelein received the Oak Leaves in 1942, but was sentenced to death after a court-martial in 1945. The death sentence, according to German law, resulted in the loss of all orders and honorary signs. (Full article...)
The German navies—specifically the Kaiserliche Marine and Kriegsmarine of Imperial and Nazi Germany, respectively—built a series of battleships between the 1890s and 1940s. To defend its North and Baltic Sea coasts in wartime, Germany had previously built a series of smaller ironclad warships, including coastal defense ships, and armored frigates. With the accession to the throne of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1888, the Kaiserliche Marine began a program of naval expansion befitting a Great Power. The navy immediately pushed for the construction of the four Brandenburg-class battleships, after which soon followed five Kaiser Friedrich III-class ships. The appointment of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz to the post of State Secretary of the Navy in 1897 accelerated naval construction. Tirpitz's "risk theory" planned a fleet that would be sufficiently powerful so that Great Britain, then the world's preeminent naval power, would avoid risking war with Germany in order to preserve its superiority.
Tirpitz secured a series of Naval Laws between 1900 and 1912 that drastically increased the budget of the navy and authorized scores of battleships; the final law envisioned a fleet of some 41 battleships, 25 of which would have been assigned to the High Seas Fleet, with the remainder in reserve. Following the Kaiser Friedrich III class were the Wittelsbach, Braunschweig, and Deutschland classes, the last pre-dreadnoughts built in Germany. The launch of the "all-big-gun" HMS Dreadnought in 1906 revolutionized battleship construction, and forced Tirpitz to radically alter his shipbuilding plan. In order to remain in the battleship race, Tirpitz secured the funds for the first four German dreadnoughts, the Nassau class, which were laid down beginning in June 1907. The four Helgolands followed in 1908, as well as the five Kaisers in 1909–1910. Four König-class battleships were laid down in 1911–1912, and four Bayern-class battleships were laid down in 1913–1915, though only two—Bayern and Baden—were completed. Germany's defeat in 1918 resulted in the internment of the majority of the High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow; the ships were eventually scuttled on 21 June 1919 to prevent them from being seized by the British Royal Navy. Of the ten battleships interned, only one, Baden, was prevented from sinking; she was later expended as a gunnery target by the Royal Navy. (Full article...)
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military of the Third Reich. Recipients are grouped by grades of the Knight's Cross. During or shortly after World War II, 318 German sailors and servicemen of the Kriegsmarine received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. Of these, 316 presentations were formally made. Two recipients received the award after 11 May 1945, when GroßadmiralKarl Dönitz ordered a cease of promotions and illegalized subsequent awards. The final two recipients are therefore considered to have received the medal without legal authority. (Full article...)
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military of Nazi Germany during World War II. This decoration was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves was introduced on 3 June 1940 to further distinguish those who had already received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and who continued to show merit in combat bravery or military success. A total of 7 awards were made in 1940, 50 in 1941, 111 in 1942, 192 in 1943, 328 in 1944, and 194 in 1945, giving a total of 882 recipients—excluding the 8 foreign recipients of the award.
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross (German: Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) and its variants were the highest awards in the military and paramilitary forces of Nazi Germany during World War II. The decoration was awarded for a wide range of reasons and across all ranks, from a senior commander for skilled leadership of his troops in battle to a low-ranking soldier for a single act of extreme gallantry. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub) was introduced on 3 June 1940 to further distinguish those who had already received the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and who continued to show merit in combat bravery or military success. A total of 7 awards were made in 1940; 50 in 1941; 111 in 1942; 192 in 1943; 328 in 1944, and 194 in 1945, giving a total of 882 recipients—excluding the 8 foreign recipients of the award.
The number of 882 Oak Leaves recipients is based on the analysis and acceptance of the order commission of the Association of Knight's Cross Recipients (AKCR). However, author Veit Scherzer has challenged the validity of 27 of these listings. With the exception of Hermann Fegelein, all of the disputed recipients had received the award in 1945, when the deteriorating situation during the final days of World War II in Germany left a number of nominations incomplete and pending in various stages of the approval process. Fegelein received the Oak Leaves in 1942, but was sentenced to death by Adolf Hitler and executed by SS-GruppenführerJohann Rattenhuber's Reichssicherheitsdienst (RSD) on 28 April 1945 after a court-martial led by SS-Brigadeführer and Generalmajor of the Waffen-SS Wilhelm Mohnke. The sentence was carried out the same day. The death sentence, according to German law, resulted in the loss of all orders and honorary signs. (Full article...)
... that the German 5-color Flecktarn has been adopted, copied and modified by many countries for their own camouflage patterns? A 3-color variation called Tropentarn is intended for arid and desert conditions: the Bundeswehr wore it in Afghanistan.