Questions tagged [world-war-two]

Questions related to aspects of World War II (1939-1945 AD). An international conflict whose major participants were the fascist countries of Germany, Italy, and Japan engaged against the allied nations of the UK, France, China, the USSR, and the USA. The conflict began with the German invasion of Poland and formally ended with the American victory over Japan.

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234 views

Why didn't the Wehrmacht pull back to a short frontline in 1945? [closed]

At the time the Russians were at the gates of Berlin, the Germans still had forces in Italy, Yugoslavia, even Denmark(and Norway?). Even then, the Germans were holding the lines and conducting ...
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How did Soviet soldiers resist tanks during the battle of Shumshu?

During the battle of Shumshu, it is claimed in the Wikipedia article that forces ratio was as follow: Japan side: 8 500 personnel (combatant and non combatant?) and 77 tanks Russian side: up to 9 000 ...
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990 views

Based on his service record, where was this soldier deployed in WW2?

I am trying to work out where my grandmother's cousin, Henry Adler, saw action during WW2. Henry was born June 14th 1917 in Glasgow. I have his Soldier's Service and Pay Book as well as his Soldier's ...
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Was the de Havilland Mosquito ever deployed on an aircraft carrier?

The de Havilland Mosquito was a highly versatile aircraft of World War II, designed as a light bomber, but also used as a fighter, torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft among other things. The ...
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1answer
128 views

What was the effective sight radius of World War II naval reconnaissance aircraft?

At the battle of Midway, the Japanese launched eight reconnaissance aircraft, which failed to find the American fleet in time to take effective action. I'm not sure what altitude they were operating ...
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When did the allied “Desert Air Force” in North Africa smash Axis armour?

In the answers to this question, it is mentioned that allied air power "smashed" Axis armour in North Africa. Is there a major battle at which it occurred? Or did it happen during a longer ...
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147 views

What was the extent of military conscription by the German Army during World War 2? [closed]

I have three questions about this that I hope people can help me out with: How many soldiers were conscripted in total (in all countries)? What was punishment like if you refused? How many conscripts ...
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182 views

How was the US sure that its bombing campaign will not find an equal retaliation? [closed]

How could they be so sure that the Japanese or their allies didn't have similar "weapons of mass destruction" in store, waiting to go off as retaliation whenever/if the enemy (USA and their allies) ...
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Did Stukas support Schmalz Panzer corps and what about air interdiction?

During the campaign of Sicily, mid-summer 1943, British forces of the 8th army fought along the East coast of Sicily against Axis forces. Mid-July, the 5th British division encountered an opposing ...
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How did U-boats enter and exit the submarine pens at Brest?

I was reading about the Brest submarine pen/bunker complex and looking at pictures of it. I was even able to locate a set of blueprints of the base here. But because of the poor quality of the image ...
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1answer
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Request for information about an Auschwitz-Birkenau story

Two months ago, I visited Auschwitz, and our guide told us a story during the tour: In Auschwitz-Birkenau, there was a place intended for the Jews to sleep that had a drawing of a few kids ...
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Did any “tanks in front” tactic exist during WW2?

I am searching for a tactic that would be in service in the British and/or French army during WW2. It would consist in placing the tank on forward position of other elements, especially in front of ...
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3answers
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Which factors led to the different casualty ratio betwen British and German forces during the Battle of Normandy?

I take for example the VIIIth corps of the British Army, which was part of multiple operations in Normandy in 1944. If you go through the different operations listed in the article, there are very ...
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278 views

Why did Allied Command maintain passive, especially Indian units in Middle East during the years 1942 and 1943?

I have found, going through stack exchange questions, a pair of links that speak about the presence. Those links are: Statistics on the number of divisions during WWII and the deployment of a (mostly ...
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Did they really have automatic anti-aircraft cannons in WW2? [closed]

I tried to find it before asking, but I couldn't. A few years ago, I read in a Wikipedia article, and saw photos of, what apparently was a fully automatic anti-aircraft cannon which, if I didn't get ...
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1answer
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Would League of Nations and U.S. sanctions/trade embargo against 1930's Germany had notable consequences in Germany?

My research shows that trade between the U.S., France, and Britain with Germany during the mid 1930's was lower than it had been and was on a decline. This has lead me to ponder the following ...
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2answers
198 views

What jobs exempted one from being conscripted in the UK during World War 2? [closed]

During the Second World War, what jobs in the United Kingdom meant that their holders were exempt from being called up for military service?
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1answer
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What happened to Wilhelm Hoffman?

Wilhelm Hoffman was a Wehrmacht soldier trapped in Stalingrad, whose diary survived the war and provides a rare look at what it was like to be an average German soldier on the Eastern Front. My ...
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3answers
338 views

How obvious was lend-lease equipment to the average Soviet soldier?

As the question says, was the average USSR soldier aware that the equipment isssued to them had come from the United States? Jeeps and aircraft are well known to have been sent to the USSR - would the ...
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2answers
265 views

Was the 1939 Red Army more disciplined / better behaved than the 1943-1945 Red Army?

The Soviet Union Red Army had two westbound offensives into Central Europe (approximately the territory that is currently Belarus, Kaliningrad, Poland) as part of World War II: The Soviet invasion of ...
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1answer
218 views

What evidence is there of tank-vs-tank combat in Asia during the second world war?

It has been known that the Japanese army during the Second World War did not value tanks highly and as such they were not always used effectively and had significantly worse characteristics than ...
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Did the Allies ever seriously contemplate a “Northern Intervention” in Russia during World War II?

Late in World War I, Britain and America conducted a Northern Intervention around the Russian ports of Murmansk and Archangel to try to prevent the occupation of northern Russia by either the Germans ...
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1answer
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How did British aircraft fare against Japanese aircraft during the Second World War? [closed]

It goes without saying that both the Supermarine Spitfire used by the UK and the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero are iconic fighter aircraft of the Second World War. But how did these aircraft fare when they ...
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4answers
367 views

Why was America much better prepared earlier in World War II in the air than in other respects?

According to sources such as Paul Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, America's total armaments spending in 1941 was about half that of the Axis (Germany, Italy and Japan). It was also ...
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Did any Western consulates remain open or re-open after WWII in the same buildings in which they had resided in Wuhan, Hebei, China?

The recent CNN article From one-time Chinese capital to coronavirus epicenter, Wuhan has a long history that the West had forgotten Two generations ago, this city of 11 million people, on the ...
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Why were the drawings of Colossus burnt after WW2 and why was its very existence “of course” kept secret?

After VJ Day, suddenly it was all over. Eight of the ten Colossi were dismantled in Bletchley Park. Two went to Eastcote in North London and then to GCHQ at Cheltenham. These last two were dismantled ...
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What are some sources about nursing in Devon in WW2?

I am working with a South Devon village group putting a display etc together for the celebration of VE Day. I am a nurse and keen to do something about district nursing/midwifery for those left at ...
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Why was there no “Atlantic Wall” equivalent on the Mediterranean coast of France?

During World War II, Germany built the Atlantic Wall, a series of fortifications covering the Atlantic coasts of France, the Low Countries, Norway, etc. But that effort didn't seem to extend to the ...
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1answer
267 views

In what incident did a resistance press leak cause a concentration camp commander demotion?

I recall reading about an atrocity in a concentration camp in the Occupied Netherlands. The atrocity is notable (perhaps even unique) because news leaked out via the underground resistance press, and ...
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1answer
128 views

Was the decrypting of communications in WW2 a one-sided effort, or did Germany also do it? [closed]

Lately, I've read a lot about how the "Allies" in WW2 (I always found that term strange since the others were also "allies", just not with the USA!) kept breaking all the German ciphers from both the ...
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2answers
387 views

If the Allies had invaded Japan in 1945, would they have been fighting the “weakest” Japanese troops?

Sources such as Basil Collier's "The Second World War: A Military History" list the Japanese forces during the war as being 6 million. My understanding is that the background of these troops is ...
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5answers
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What military power would ever pre-announce an attack to give the enemy time to work up a defense?

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of ...
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244 views

Could the U.S. have used “Lend Lease” to force Germany onto the horns of a dilemma?

During the fall of 1941 (but before December), the United States waged a "war short of war" against Nazi Germany's submarines using escort vessels, the Reuben James, the (James) Greer, and the Kearny ...
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Why did the Germans use the Enigma machine rather than the far superior “Lorenz” cipher machine?

Basically, the only good thing about the "Enigma" cipher machine was its name. Other than that, it was grossly inferior to the "Lorenz" one, apparently only used by some of the main, top-ranking ...
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2answers
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How long did it take for Japanese high command to believe 1 bomb could destroy a city? [closed]

In 1776, had a man walked into the Continental Congress and told the Founding Fathers that the city of Boston seemed to be "gone". A few days prior, as he approached Boston, in the distance he'd seen ...
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1answer
133 views

How do we know the tonnages U-boats sank?

In the videogame series, Silent Hunter, which simulates being a submarine captain in WW2, after a patrol you are told how much tonnage you sank. I always thought that was just a reward mechanism to ...
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1answer
264 views

How important was the Suez Canal to the Allies during WWII?

The Suez Canal allows one to travel from the Mediterranean or North Atlantic to the Indian Ocean without having to circumvent the continent of Africa. A ship traveling from the UK to India could ...
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1answer
295 views

What language did Nazi German occupying forces speak in France?

I am watching the TV series "Das Boot", playing in La Rochelle in occupied France during the second world war. Partially, the German occupying forces are speaking English when working together with ...
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266 views

What is this smoke or steam coming from the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero Plane (WW2)? [closed]

What is this smoke/steam think behind the Japanese fighter planes like the Zero?
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Did the Germans consider an amphibious landing for Fall Blau?

In the operation Fall Blau (Case Blue) the German Wehrmacht advanced towards the Don river, and then sent Army Group A into the Caucasus region to take the oil fields in the region. They managed to ...
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1answer
243 views

What two direct orders did FDR issue to his commanders in all of WWII?

Operation Torch Anglo-American invasion of north-western Africa President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a direct order that Torch was to have precedence over other operations and was to take place at ...
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Why did the Allies Invade French North Africa?

Question: Why did the allies invade Vichy French North Africa? Operation Torch was the name of the Anglo American Invasion of French North Africa. Both of the American most ...
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1answer
151 views

Where can I find information on American born WWII soldier locked up until they could prove they had an American birth certificate?

My American born father, who has German ancestry was in World War II. He was one of many men held until their birth certificates could be checked out. People with German heritage like him, along ...
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2answers
313 views

What was the strategic importance of Moscow to the Soviet Union in Dec 1941?

According Rodric Braithwaite the British Ambassador to Russia in 2005 "Four-fifths of the fighting in Europe took place on the Eastern Front, and that is where the Germans suffered 90% of their ...
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Did any relatives of Fritz Haber (the inventor of poison gas) die in the gas chambers?

I am sorry if this seems a ghoulish question. However, German scientist Fritz Haber (1860-1934), winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry and co-inventor of the Haber-Bosch process to make nitrates ...
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178 views

What is the minimum safe speed when dropping depth charges?

What is the minimum safe speed when dropping depth charges - especially if they are set for shallow depth ? I wonder if a slow merchant man really can use depth charges in a safe manner i.e. without ...
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4answers
971 views

Were armed merchantmen effective against submarines?

The armed merchantman Jervis Bay was no match for the German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer in a ship to ship duel. Nevertheless, the merchantman put up a brave fight lasting over an hour, allowing ...
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What was the purpose of each project site during the Manhattan Project?

I'm looking for an answer as to what the purpose of each project site was during the Manhattan Project. The following image illustrates (but only includes some of the sites) where each site was ...
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1answer
152 views

How much support did America give to the scientists working on the Manhattan Project?

How much support did America give to the scientists working on the Manhattan Project, be it financial or otherwise? Did physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer who headed the project to develop the atomic ...
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How important were Einstein and Szilard and other scientists to the creation and ultimate success of the Manhattan Project?

How important was Einstein and Szilard and other scientists to the creation and ultimate success of the Manhattan Project? I understand that the Einstein-Szilard letter to President Roosevelt ...

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