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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Why was artillery a more effective infantry support weapon on tanks than machine guns?

In supporting infantry, why are tanks equipped with large guns breach guns which seem more effective than assault vehicles with machine guns? For example, comparing the service of WW2 German Assault ...
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Were some groups in the Soviet Union more likely to collaborate with the Germans than others?

In the case of Yugoslavia, to take one example, there were three main groups: Croat Ustaze, the largely Serbian Chetniks, and the Titoites, who were largely drawn "neither of the above." ...
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Was the town Jadovno near Gospić named after the concentration camp during World War 2, or was it the other way around?

What does the name "Jadovno", a town near Gospić where a concentration camp used to be during World War 2, mean? Was the town named after the concentration camp (from "jad" meaning ...
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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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How was the dynamics of war calculation affecting the politics of Kreml, from Lenin to the World War 2? [closed]

How was the dynamics of war calculation affecting the politics of Kreml, from 1917 to the World War 2?
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What did the average German citizen know about the war?

How much did the average German citizen know about the advancements and losses of the German armed forces; more specifically, did the citizens know in 1943 to 1945 that German forces were being pushed ...
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Have Germans expelled from Eastern Europe been re-enfranchised?

After World War II, large numbers of ethnic-Germans who had lived in Eastern Europe were expelled - by the local (post-Nazi-occupation) government, by the USSR and even with some Western power ...
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What was the Nature of Resistance in 1938 Czechoslovakia?

I wonder if someone might help me. I'm writing a novel. My protagonist is a dual national (English born, German parents) bio chemist contracted to work for Freiburg University 1938. At the time ...
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Do any historians consider superior German airpower as the most important factor in the Battle of France?

In the Battle of France, the Allies and Germans had roughly equal number of divisions and troops, and the Allies actually had more artillery and tanks. But the one area where the Germans had a clear ...
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Were there nurses stationed at Bude, Cornwall, UK during WW2?

I am working on a writing project and the main character is a young nurse in Bude during WW2. I'm not quite sure how to put her there or get her there -- would there have been nurses stationed at RAF ...
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In WWII, how were all pilots/soldiers able to identify enemy vehicles?

After watching Saving Private Ryan and other documentaries for WWII, they made it seem like everyone was able to identify enemy vehicles very easily. For example, in Saving Private Ryan, they were ...
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Did Germany lose World War II when/because “kill ratios” started moving “against” her?

In the first major action between the Germans and Americans, at the battle of Kasserine Pass , the Germans inflicted casualties against (mostly) the inexperienced Americans at the rate of about 5 to 1....
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How often did WWII bomber gunners actually shoot?

The Wikipedia page for recently deceased Leon Hale mentions he flew 50 missions as a gunner yet never fired at an enemy plane. Are there any statistics on how often gunners actually shot?
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Did the Axis engage in trade with other countries during the war?

In Europe, Germany had occupied several countries while actively being at war with the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States while Japan had been expanding through most the ...
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How did the use of tanks differ in the Pacific war from the European war?

By "Pacific" war, I am specifically excluding the use of tanks by the Russians (or Japanese) in Manchuria, in 1945, or earlier "border clashes" along the Mongolian border in the late 1930s. My ...
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What do we know about Hitler/OKW's plans concerning USSR if Molotov/Ribbentropp Pact hadn't happened?

Molotov/Ribbentrop was signed Aug 23, 1939 and Hitler invaded Poland Sept 1, 1939. Came as a bit of a surprise, considering how much Hitler hated both Communists and Slavic people. And the talks ...
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How well did King Harald V of Norway know FDR's dog Fala?

My question: How long did the Norwegian prince and his mother stay at the White House? I've found online sources that detail he spent the war in Washington DC, but no dates for staying at the White ...
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Were B-17s (rather than B-29s) ever used to bomb mainland Japanese territory during WW2 (at least before the capture of Okinawa)?

I am wondering if B17s ever flew bombing raids against the Japanese mainland, and if so, did they do it before the capture of Okinawa, which was much closer than the previously captured islands like ...
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Why were Soviet losses consistently so high?

The combat losses of Soviet Union were always higher than Nazi Germany, regardless of whether they won or lost. Even in Stalingrad or at the siege of Berlin the losses of Soviet Union were higher. In ...
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How did a scientist who came from China in 1935 become a US Army Colonel by 1945?

Qian Xuesen - Wikipedia In August 1935, Qian left China on a Boxer Indemnity Scholarship to study mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned a Master ...
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953 views

How efficiently did the Red Army conduct itself during the invasion of Poland in 1939?

In 1937, Stalin purged the majority of his top military officers, starting with Marshal Tukhachevsky This disorganized the Red Army, to say the least, and helped account for its later poor performance ...
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Why was the first production PzKpfw V (Panther) called the Ausf.D, and the second production version called the Ausf.A?

Background The first Panther (PzKpfw V) production variant, produced from January 1943 through September 1943 was called the Ausf.D. (see below) The second Panther production variant, produced ...
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Why did the Metall und Lackierwarenfabrik company get asked to bid on the creation of the MG42?

The MG42. A very iconic machine gun built during World War 2. Known for its high rate of fire, three man operating squad and its ability to suppress advancing troops, was built by Metall und ...
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Why did Hitler send Manstein's army (and not some other) to Leningrad in the summer of 1942?

In July, 1942, Germany's General von Manstein won the siege of Sevastopol. Shortly thereafter, Manstein and his 11th Army were sent to Leningrad, which the Germans were also besieging. I don't ...
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Has anyone (other than Churchill) indicated that the Germans might have won a negotiated peace in World War II?

I have long believed that it was possible for the Germans to get to a strong position that might have led to a "stalemate" and hence a negotiated peace in World War II/ The main ways were: 1)...
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Do we know if Patton ever said “l'audace l'audace toujours l'audace”?

Do we know if George S. Patton said that even though George C. Scott quoted Frederick the Great in the movie? If Patton did, what does the quote actually mean in the situation? Related question
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Why did the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact take 2 years to sign after the Battle of Khalkin Gol?

The Battle of Khalkin Gol took place in 1939 May - Sep and was the last border battle between Japan and USSR. It was a major victory for the Soviets. But the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact was not ...
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Post WWII Munich- U.S.occupation

Is there any way to find out which unit of the US army of occupation took control of US HQ in Munich after April 30th, 1945?
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What did Douglas MacArthur mean by “In war, there is no substitute for victory?” [closed]

What does this quote mean? I didn't think it made much sense, since diplomacy exists and no country is unbeatable.
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180 views

What is the meaning of George S Patton's quote “Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more?” [closed]

George S Patton said that "Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more." What doe this mean?
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Did the Axis use Villa Cisneros during WW2 for contact with South America?

I have read that a German U-boat refueling at Villa Cisneros was attacked and sunk. I have also read that After Germany Invaded Russia in 1941 a Japanese technical mission returning to Japan was flown ...
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During the defense of the home islands, what was Japan's plan for its forces off-island?

It's July 1945. Okinawa is lost. Japan is preparing for an Allied invasion of the Home Islands. While they're arming civilians with spears and clubs, Japan still had millions of soldiers in Manchuria, ...
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How to rebut Holocaust denial argument?

I came across a Holocaust denier who claims that there is a plaque outside Auschwitz which says that the Nazis murdered 1.5 million people there (mostly Jewish). However, the plaque used to say 4 ...
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How effective was the (Western) Allies bombing campaign over Germany in drawing down the Eastern Front Luftwaffe?

The strategic air campaign over Germany by 8th US Air Force and "Bomber Harris" for the RAF has elicited decidedly mixed opinions. Depending on who you listen to it was a noble effort or it ...
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513 views

What WWII fighter raid did my great-uncle misremember?

My great-uncle Kevin Riordan was an Australian WWII fighter pilot. Some time around the year 2000, not long before he died, he wrote up his war memoirs. According to his memoirs: Joined the RAAF on ...
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Why did the German air force lose experienced pilots faster than the Allies, even though they were defending their home airspace?

During the 1940 Battle of Britain, German and British planes shot down each other at roughly a one to one rate. This gave an advantage to the British because all of the surviving German pilots shot ...
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Were kamikaze pilots an effective strategy for Japan?

history.howstuffworks.com claims kamikaze pilots were not overly effective. Wikipedia states that there was no noticeable increase in number of ships lost even as kamikaze pilots became more common, ...
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Why were the allies so aggressive at the end of WW2? Battle of Berlin, Iwo Jima, Okinawa etc [closed]

Why were the allies so aggressive at the end of WW2? I'm referring to the Battles of Berlin (≈ 350 000 Russian casualties), Iwo Jima (≈ 25 000 US casualties), Okinawa (≈ 60 000 US casualties) etc. In ...
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Were railway guns ever critical in any battle during WWI and WWII?

Note: this is a question about railway - mounted artillery, NOT about armored trains (which were more akin to tanks-on-rails and had much smaller guns) The idea behind railway gun is quite sound: a ...
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176 views

My father (DOB 09/03/1919) entered the army 01/1942. By 12/42 he made Sgt. He was a 1st Sgt. when separated 10/45. Is this unusual?

My father (DOB 09/03/1919) entered the army 01/1942. By 12/42 he made Sgt. He was a 1st Sgt. when separated 10/45. Is this unusual?
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What was Prince Philip’s surname (prior to Mountbatten)?

Prince Philip took the surname of Mountbatten when he became a naturalised British citizen in 1947. His name prior to that was Schleswig Holstein Sonderburg Gluckburg. Did he use the full name while ...
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During WW2, what B-29 crew role did the abbreviation EMG mean?

My grandfather was an EMG on a B-29 superfortress flying out of Guam during World War 2, but I can’t find what the abbreviation stands for. A friend told me that it’s likely he was an electrical ...
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Why does the CIA report on the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich refer to it as “Operation Salmon” rather than “Operation Anthropoid”?

SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich. Source: National Archives I have been researching Operation Anthropoid (the assassination of SS-Gruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich on 27 May 1942 in Prague, ...
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Why couldn't the US persuade Russia, Japan's neighbor to the west, to let it attack Japan from its territory in the later years of WWII?

The U.S. sure did a lot of time-consuming island hopping to get to Japan's mainland, but Russia is right next to Japan on the west. Setting up a front next to Japan in Russia would have been very ...
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575 views

Was the average lifespan of a soldier deployed within Stalingrad only 24 hours?

The military history YouTube channel The Armchair Historian opens their episode on the Battle of Stalingrad with the line "The average lifespan of a soldier in Stalingrad was just 24 hours." ...
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Did Germans and Soviets count casualties differently at the Battle of Kursk?

I've been reading a good bit on the Soviet-Axis war of World War 2 as of late. Something that continually strikes me is the large variation in casualties for any given operation or battle that ...
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How secure was Germany's last foothold in the Caucasus in 1943?

In January, 1943, after the collapse of Fall Blau and just before the fall of Stalingrad, Germany withdrew most of Army Group A from the Caucasus. But they left a rearguard consisting of the ...
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Are there any books on the recruitment of scientists from the Third Reich (Operation “Paperclip” and others)? [closed]

Please advise the literature on the recruitment of scientists of the Third Reich after World War II ("Paperclip" and other operations). Language: preferably Russian, but also English will do....
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361 views

Why did Stalin pressure Allies to open second front even though his purpose was to grab as much land as possible for his future satellite states?

After the surprise German attack in 22 June 1941 on Soviet Union, the latter suffered a series of catastrophic defeats during the following months, up to the point it is still debatable today whether ...
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158 views

Is Alexander Matrosov's service record publicly available?

Alexander Matrosov is a Hero of the Soviet Union who perished on the 27th of February in 1943 during the Battles of Rzhev (8th of January, 1942 - 31rd of March, 1943) when he blocked the fascist ...

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