When one typically envisions German tanks of World War II, one typically thinks of giant steel behemoths such as the Tiger tank or perhaps the Panther tank. However, German heavy tanks weren’t really all that common until later in the war, in fact they really weren’t all that common at all. In the beginning of the war, German tanks were heavily outclassed by their Allied counterparts, especially by French and later Soviet heavy tanks. During the Invasion of France, most German tanks were either Panzer I, II, or III models, the heavier Panzer IV and Panzer 38(t) not being fielded in large numbers.
Overall Allied tanks tended to have thicker armor and bigger guns. The Germans were able to defeat Allied tank forces through superior tactics and war doctrine, the radio being a more potent piece of equipment than guns and armor., something which Allied tanks woefully lacked. However there were instances when the weaknesses of German tanks became glaringly obvious.
One such incident occurred on the 16th of May, 1940 at the village of Stonne during the invasion of France. Stonne was an important strategic point on the way to Sedan, thus over the past few days heavy fighting had occurred over the village, resulting in the town changing hands no less than seventeen times. On the morning 16th the French conducted a counterattack against German positions with infantry attacking from the south and tanks attacking from the west.
At the head of the French tanks was Captain Pierre Billotte, in command of a Char B1-bis heavy tank nicknamed “Eure”. The Char B1-bis was one of those monster tanks that gave the German’s much grief during the invasion of France, with 60mm frontal armor, a 47mm gun mounted in the turret, and a 75mm gun mounted in the chassis, it pretty much outclassed everything the Germans had in their tank arsenal.
When facing larger Allied tanks German tanks would typically try to outmaneuver and outflank their opponents, attacking the weaker side and rear armor. However the German’s had their tanks lined up in a row along the main street of the town, and thus were trapped. Captain Billotte and his crew charged right into the town, blasting each tank one by one as they charged down the street. The German tanks opened fire, but each and every round bounced of the B1′s thick frontal armor. Capt. Billotte and his tanks exited the town to the east, popping two German anti tank guns on the way out. When the smoke had cleared, Capt. Billotte and his crew had destroyed two Panzer IV tanks, eleven Panzer III tanks, and two anti tank guns. During the battle, the Char B1-bis “Eure” had sustained 140 hits.
The German’s eventually took Stonne on May 25th, bring forth larger anti tank guns to drive off the French tanks. Capt. Pierre Billotte was captured by the German’s, though he later escaped and served with the Free French forces throughout the remainder of the war. After the war he became Assistant Chief of Staff of The French Army, and later headed the French Military Mission to the UN. In his post military career he served in many political positions. He passed away in 1992.
Lt. Gen. Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore, Jr. passed away on February 10, 2017, a few days short of his 95th birthday.
He was the first of West Point class 1945 to be promoted to brigadier, major, and lieutenant general. He served in the military from 1945 to 1977. He served in Japan after WWII, until 1948. He made over 300 parachute jumps in the 82nd Airborne Division, 150 of which were in the Airborne Test Section with experimental parachutes.
He commanded a mortar company during the Korean War, because he was due for promotion to major – but the 7th Division’s commanding general had put a hold on any promotions without command of a company in combat. In 1954, he returned to West Point and was an instructor in infantry tactics, teaching then-cadet Norman Schwarzkopf, who called him one of his heroes, and cites Moore as the reason he chose the infantry branch. (Schwarzkopf led the UN coalition during OPERATION: DESERT STORM.)
In 1964, now a lieutenant colonel, Moore completed the course of study at the Naval War College, earning a master’s degree in International Relations from my alma mater, George Washington University. He was transferred to Fort Benning and took command of the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry, 11th Air Assault Division. In July they were redesignated the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and deployed to Vietnam in September.
On November 14, 1965, he led the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry of the 3rd Brigade, into the Battle of la Drang. encircled by the enemy with no clear landing zone that would allow them to leave, Moore persevered despited being significantly outnumbered by the NVA and VC – who would go on to defeat the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry only a few miles away a day later. He was nicknamed ‘Yellow Hair’ due to his blond hair by his troops, as a homage to General Custer – who, as a lieutenant colnel, commanded the same 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of the Little Bighorn just a century before. Though casualties were higher for the other parts of the battle of la Drang, Moore’s troops suffered 79 killed and 121 wounded. 634 NVA and VC bodies were found in the vicinity, with an estimated 1,215 killed by artillery and airstrikes in the area. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his part of the battle, promoted to colonel, and took over command of the 3rd Brigade.
In 1968, he was assigned by the Army to Harvard University to complete his M.A in international relations. On August 31, he was promoted to brigadier general, and then to major general in 1970. His assignment at the time was as assistant chief of staff of the Eighth Army in South Korea. He was charged by General Michaelis of the 7th ID to clean up a major drug abuse and racial strife problem. Moore established leadership schools for both officers and NCOs, and institted an ‘equal opportunity policy.’ He backed it up with punishments to those who discriminated based on race, ethnicity, or creed.
In 1974 he was appointed deputy chief of staff for personnel, his last assignment. He dealt with army recruiting issues after the draft was terminated, as well as the drawdown of forces after the end of the Vietnam War. His next assignment was to become Commanding General, US Army Japan, but he retired instead. He left the Army on August 1, 1977, after 32 years of active service.
In 1992 Moore wrote We Were Soldiers Once… And Young with co-author Joseph L. Galloway. The book was adapted into the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, by Mel Gibson. It remains my absolute favorite Vietnam War movie.
Moore and Joseph L. Galloway have written another book together, a follow-up to their first collaboration. We Are Soldiers Still; A Journey Back to the Battlefields of Vietnam was published in 2008.
Here he is putting out the flag that his son, Col. David Moore, sent home from Afghanistan. Rest in peace, sir.
“The Commonwealth of the Philippines was attacked by the Empire of Japan on 8 December 1941 nine hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor (the Philippines is on the Asian side of the international date line). The United States of America controlled the Philippines at the time and possessed important military bases there.
Japan and the USSR signed a neutrality pact in April 1941 and Japan increased pressure on the French and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia to cooperate in economic matters. Japanese forces occupied the naval and air bases of southern Indochina on 22 July 1941. The Philippines was almost completely surrounded.
General George C. Marshall, US Army Chief of Staff, stated, "Adequate reinforcements for the Philippines, at this time, would have left the United States in a position of great peril, should there be a break in the defense of Great Britain.”
A campaign for independence from the US which had been ongoing since 1919 resulted on 17 January 1933 in the passage by the US Congress of the Hare–Hawes–Cutting Act over the veto of President Herbert Hoover. The law promised Philippine independence after 10 years, but reserved several military and naval bases for the United States, as well as imposing tariffs and quotas on Philippine exports.
Philippine Senate President Manuel L. Quezon caused the legislature to reject the bill. Subsequently, the Tydings–McDuffie Act, which eliminated provisions for US military reservations and substituted a provision for “ultimate settlement”, became US law on 24 March 1934 and was accepted by the Philippine legislature on 1 May.
The impact of this on the future defense of the Philippines with the establishment was to prove disastrous. During the 10-year transition period, the Philippine Constabulary was vested with an ever-increasing responsibility for defending the borders of the Philippines. The forces of the US Army settled at around 10,000 men.“
1. Agoncillo, Teodoro A. (1990), History of the Filipino People (Eighth ed.), Self-published, ISBN 971-8711-06-6
2. Catlett, George, ed. (1947), The War Reports of General of the Army George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff, General of the Army H. H. Arnold, Commanding General, Army Air Forces [and] Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations: General of the Army H. H. Arnold … [and …, Lippincott
3. Saburo Ienaga (16 June 2010). "The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere: Liberation or Exploitation?”. Pacific War, 1931–1945. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. pp. 153–180. ISBN 978-0-307-75609-1.Ellis S. Krauss; Benjamin Nyblade (2004). Japan and North America: First contacts to the Pacific War. Taylor & Francis. pp. 168–169. ISBN 978-0-415-27515-6.
4. “World War II in the Philippines”. Official Gazette (gov.ph). Retrieved 9 April 2012.
Upon arrival [to Brest-Litovsk], the [Jewish] Bolshevik Karl Radek—born Karl Sobelsohn in Habsburg Lemberg (Lwów)—had hurled antiwar propaganda out the train window at rank-and-file German soldiers, urging them to rebel against their commanders. Seated across the table from the German state secretary for foreign affairs, Baron Richard von Kühlmann, and the chief of staff of German armies in the East, Major General Max Hoffman, Radek leaned forward and blew smoke. At the opening dinner in the officers’ mess, one member of the Russian delegation, a Left SR, kindly reenacted her assassination of a tsarist governor for the meeting’s host, Field Marshal Prince Leopold of Bavaria. The head of the Bolshevik delegation, Adolf Joffe
—whom the Austrian foreign minister, Count Ottokar Czernin, pointedly noted was a Jew—observed that “I very much hope that we will be able to raise the revolution also in your country.” Thus did the leftist plebes of the Russian Pale of Settlement and Caucasus square off against the titled German aristocrats and warlords of the world’s most formidable military caste.
My history crush is General George C. Marshall (1880-1959). This babe was Army Chief of Staff during WWII, Special Envoy to China, Secretary of State, President of the Red Cross, and Secretary of Defense.
He is most famous for his work on the Marshall Plan but he was so much more. He was a true gentleman who led the Allies to victory during WWII, became the first five star general, and loved his family. As a humble, self effacing man, Marshall has been lost behind the shadows of great men like George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
He quietly retired to his home in Leesburg, Virginia, called the Marshall House, in 1951 and, after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953, died in 1959. As a tour guide there, I walk among the possessions of one of the greatest men of the 20th century. Plus, he looks so good in a uniform.
“I wanna be clear to those who try to oppose the United States, I wanna be clear to those who wish to do us harm,
I wanna be clear to those around the world who want to destroy our way of life and that of our allies and friends, the United States military, despite all of our challenges, despite our op tempo, despite everything we have been doing, we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. We will destroy any enemy, anywhere, anytime.
Russia can now fight a conventional war in Europe and win. Russia is the only country that will remain relevant forever. Any other country is dispensable and that includes the United States. We are end game now.’” - US Army Chief
of Staff Mark Milley
Cathal Brugha was an Irish Republican who fought in the Easter Uprising, the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War. He was born in 1874, the tenth of fourteen children, and christened Charles Burgess. He was raised Catholic and his family were staunch supporters of Irish liberation. Brugha achieved highly at school and intended to graduate and study medicine, but had to leave at 16 when his family had financial problems. He started working as a clerk in an English-owned church supplies business and later left to start an Irish-owned company with two friends. Brugha was a keen athlete and pursued swimming, cricket, hurling, football, rope-climbing, shooting, cycling, boxing and gymnastics. He joined the Gaelic League as a young adult and attended Irish language classes. It was here that Brugha met his wife, Caitlín, with whom he had six children. Brugha soon became a fluent Irish speaker and changed his name from Charles Burgess to its Irish form.
Cathal Brugha fought in the Uprising of 1916 and was severely wounded by a hand grenade and several bullets. He dragged himself behind a wall and continued to fire on the British. He was later found in a pool of his own blood, still holding his weapon and singing ‘God Save Ireland’. Brugha was tended by his comrades and taken to hospital a day later, where doctors said he was unlikely to survive. He defied the odds and after a slow recovery returned to both work and his political activities. He was left with a bad limp however, and was in great pain from shrapnel that couldn’t be removed.
Cathal Brugha organised the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army into the Irish Republican Army and was appointed chief of staff for two years. Later he became the Sinn Féin MP for County Waterford. When Sínn Fein assembled a revolutionary parliament known as Dáil Éirinn, Cathal Brugha was made Minister of Defense. He also presided over the first Dáil meeting. Brugha voted against the Anglo-Irish treaty, although he opposed taking up arms against the Free State Army. When the civil war broke out Brugha commanded part of the IRA forces during the Battle of the Four Courts. He was shot in the thigh and died in hospital two days later, a week shy of his 48th birthday.
Prince Leopold of Bavaria, the C-in-C of the German Army on the Eastern
Front, and his Chief of Staff, General Max Hoffmann (with goggles on
cap) at their battle headquarters during the Battle of Tarnopol.
Combined German and Austro-Hungarian offensive took the city on 24 July
General der Panzertruppe Maximilian von Edelsheim and other officers leave in their command VW Schwimmwagen for the far side of the River Elbe to convey the terms of surrender to their subordinate commanders. They have just left the city hall of Stendal, Germany, where Major Frank Keating, 102nd Infantry Div. and Major General James Moore, Chief of Staff US 9th Army gave them the terms for the German XXXXVIII Panzerkorps of which Edelsheim commanded at the time. May 4 1945.
The bulk of the retreating German forces, along with several thousand civilians fleeing the final Soviet advance, reached and crossed the Elbe using the partially destroyed bridge at Tangermünde between 4 May and 7 May 1945, surrendering to elements of the US 102nd Infantry Division, US 9th Army.
(Nb. the vehicle isn’t a standard Type 166 VW Schwimmwagen, but the very rare limited production Type 128.
Notice the high the body sides and the exhaust venting under the rear mudguard.
The small badge on the side of the vehicle is the 48th Pz Korps badge)
(Photo source - US Army Signal Corps)
Presented here by Johnny Sirlande
As a major general and the commander of the Harbin Special Branch in 1938, he, with the help of Yosuke Matsuoka, allowed manyJewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany to cross the border from Otpor, USSR to Manchouli (a city in the Japanese puppet state Manchukuo), in an event which later became known as the Otpor Incident. Higuchi’s subordinates were responsible for feeding the refugees, settling them in Harbin or Shanghai, and arranging for exit visas. General Hideki Tojo, then Chief of staff of the Kwantung Army, assented to Higuchi’s view that the German policy against the Jews was a serious humanitarian concern. Higuchi’s lieutenant Norihiro Yasue advocated for the protection of Jewish refugees to General Seishiro Itagaki, which led to the establishment of the Japanese Jewish Policy Program in 1938.
September 1, 1916 - Bulgaria Declares War on Romania
Pictured - A Bulgarian propaganda poster. Bulgaria smoldered with resentment for its neighbors after its humiliating loss in the Second Balkan War in 1913, and the war provided it with an opportunity for vengeance.
Bulgaria declared war on its Balkan neighbor on September 1, eager to settle scores from the Second Balkan War three years earlier, which had pitted it against the rest of the peninsula. Romania’s advance into Transylvania proved short-lived, whereas its troops could have been a massive aid to the Russian soldiers in the Carpathians. Former German Chief of the Army Staff Erich von Falkenhayn arrived on the Eastern Front to take command of the German Ninth Army, which would attack Romania from the north with help from the Austrians, while the Bulgarians would attack from the south. Romania was geographically vulnerable to a two-pronged attack.
“A B-29 Superfortress of the 20th Air Force with a captured Japanese anti-aircraft gun.
Printed caption on reverse: ‘SYMBOL OF JAPANESE DEFEAT ON SAIPAN. In June 1944, this camouflaged Japanese anti-aircraft gun on Saipan Island in the central Pacific Marianas was sending shells at US invasion planes. Today, a dozen yards away, B-29 Superfortress of the US Army Air Forces are loaded with bombs for a mission against industrial targets in the Japanese homeland, while unfired anti-aircraft shells still litter the wood-clogged encampment. Daily 1,000 plane blows against Japan during the following year were predicted by US Army Chief of Staff George C Marshall in statements to a US Congressional committee in June 1945. General of the Army Marshall said these daily blows would mean dropping 2,700,000 tons of bombs in the ensuing 12 months. The total tonnage of bombs which smashed down Europe in the three years from 1942 to 1945 was only 1,555,000 tons.'”