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 FDR so determined for the US to join WWII? [duplicate]

I have read an FDR biography and it goes into great details about FDR's difficulties in convincing a largely isolationist population, a reluctant military and an almost hostile Dept of State to ...
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270 views

How common was it for USAAF aircrews to swap airplanes?

My (rather novice) understanding of U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) practices during WWII (and afterwards in the U.S. Air Force) is that aircrews were assigned specific airplanes, and that if an aircrew's ...
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305 views

Why was the Vichy French Navy in Toulon scuttled in 1942?

In the November 27 episode of the video series WW2 week-by-week I learned (around minute 18) that Admiral Jean de Laborde, Commander of the Vichy French fleet in Toulon, ordered it scuttled when he ...
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154 views

Could Japan have won WW2 without interservice rivalry? [closed]

Interservice Rivalry discusses the rivalry between the Japanese army and navy and I have listened to a video which says that a naval plane landing at a army air base would not be serviced, for example....
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283 views

Why was IJN apparently inactive mid-war?

If you look at the history of the WW2 Pacific theatre, you would notice an apparent lack of Imperial Japanese Navy activity between Guadalcanal and Philippine Sea. And even these two battles were ...
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547 views

Which kingdoms were using WWI weapons at the time of the second world war?

Which kingdoms, little dictatorships and all sorts of fiefdom had World War 1 armor (and nothing more modern) at the time of the second war? I bet there was a lot because after the First World War all ...
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1answer
221 views

Is there a basis for this tale of Eisenhower blessing & Patton's curse? [closed]

After discussion: The "magical" part here is beside the point, I just quoted the legend. I'm insterested with the factual things, some of which might have happened. For example, it's very ...
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429 views

Did Germany offer the Soviet Union an opportunity to join the Axis?

This article on Wikipedia claims that Germany and the Soviet Union conducted talks over the possibility for the Soviet Union to join the Axis. talks occurred in October and November 1940 concerning ...
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1answer
265 views

Did Japanese officers refuse to engage in kamikaze attacks?

The Kamikaze is a military tactic that appeared officially in Japan's forces in 1944. This was used first by some officers, and then became more and more widespread. My understanding of the Japanese ...
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75 views

How did economic composition change during the world wars?

I'm trying to understand how economic composition changed during the world wars in various countries. One route would be following the expenditure approach to gdp accounting, but in more detail. For ...
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3answers
247 views

Were the Germans in a position to capitalize on their military objectives at Stalingrad without capturing the whole city?

As I understand it, the military objective of capturing Stalingrad was to be able to cut off north-south river traffic on the Volga, and land traffic on the east bank of the river, using the city as a ...
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1answer
95 views

Were there any potential areas around Smolensk that Army Group Center might have found as defensible as the Rzhev line?

During Operation Barbarossa the German Army Group Center met perhaps its first serious opposition around Smolensk. That suggests that the region had at least "some" defensive value. After a ...
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Did the Axis try to "bribe" Turkey into joining them during World War II?

Not far from the Russo-Turkish border are the oil fields of Baku, which might have been "capturable" by a lightening strike of Turkish, German or joint German-Turkish forces. This oil could ...
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186 views

How and why did the progress of Army Group A differ from what the terrain in the Caucasus might suggest?

A simplistic description of the southern wing of Fall Blau would be that the Germans advanced "easily" across the relatively flat land of the Kuban and North Caucasus, and stalled after they ...
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Where to find statistics about the WW2 German bombings of Britain, regarding German bomber sorties versus British civilian casulties?

I'm interested in a comparison of early versus later stages of attacks during the German bombing campaign against the UK. I've searched through many sources, but they usually give totals over the ...
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1answer
212 views

What did whistling bombs actually sound like?

Apparently some WWII-era bombs had whistles built into their design, so that they would whistle as they fell. Often, for example in Looney Tunes cartoons, this is depicted as a whistle that gradually ...
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246 views

Why were some German and Japanese cities bombed more than others during WW2? Is there a scientific consensus?

I'm trying to study the long-run effects the strategic bombing of German and Japanese cities had on urban and economic development. Reading some articles about it I get contradictory information about ...
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How and why was the boundary between West and East Berlin decided to be where it was?

I have been trying to find detailed explanations (and, if available, references in English or German about it) to the following about the division of Berlin into West and East sides after WW2: how ...
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2answers
854 views

What led Guderian as far south as Gomel, in August, 1941?

In June of 1941, Nazi Germany launched operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union with three Army Groups, North, Center, and South. According to the OKW plans, the main axis of advance was ...
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2answers
231 views

What was Michael Wittmann's "officer" chain of command like?

At Normandy, tank ace, Captain Michael Wittmann commanded a group of seven tanks. My understanding is that an officer of Wittmann's rank might command a unit of 9-15 tanks at full strength (before ...
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69 views

What were the ranks of say, the five crewmen of a Panzer in World War II? [duplicate]

At Normandy, tank ace, Major Michael Wittmann commanded a group of seven tanks. This was probably a unit that had been decimated by casualties. Even so, my understanding is that an officer of Wittmann'...
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3answers
559 views

Why did the French "surrender" all of its troops during the armistice in World War II?

After losing the Battle of France, in 1940, France concluded an "Armistice," basically a "cease fire in place," with Germany. (The borders were adjusted so the Germans were given ...
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1answer
406 views

Which superior officer did Princess Elizabeth II report to during her service as a junior officer in WW2?

Prior to her reign, Queen Elizabeth II served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service of the British Army during World War 2. She held the rank of a junior officer (with a promotion to a Junior Commander ...
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1answer
309 views

What was this bet that Montgomery lost?

I remember seeing a WWII documentary that described a bet between General Montgomery and an American general (I think maybe Patton) that Montgomery lost, but Montgomery signed the payoff check with ...
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Initial Japanese success in WWII? [closed]

We all know about Pearl Harbor. But I’m curious how Imperial Japan managed to take Guam, Wake, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and China. The only reason I can think of to explain these conquests were ...
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How has the slogan "Bis in den Tod, Rot-Weiss-Rot" been used before and after the Anschluss, and in modern times?

I am curious about Austrian slogan "Bis in den Tod! Rot-Weiss-Rot! Österreich!", usually rendered in English as "Red-White-Red until we are dead!", where "Red-White-Red" ...
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Does anyone know the history on this artillery shell I found in my grandfather’s shed?

The shell is 57 mm in diameter and 170mm long. There is a hole in the bottom of the shell 13 mm in diameter. Any information on this shell would be greatly appreciated. I would like to keep it in my ...
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208 views

Given the concern about Soviet oil in World War II, why is so little mention made of captured Soviet coal reserves?

Fall Blau, and a lot of the eastern campaign was centred around capturing Soviet oil reserves, particularly around Maikop, Grozny, and Baku in the Caucasus. But the Germans captured the majority of ...
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269 views

Is Bulgaria the only country in modern history to have gained territory after being on the losing side of a war?

According to the sources I could find, Bulgaria was given a piece of land called 'Southern Dobruja' at the end of WW2 even though they officially were part of the Axis powers from 1941 up until 1944, ...
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2answers
345 views

Did allied soldiers in the WWII Pacific Theater use the term 'flak' for anti-aircraft guns?

I just stumbled upon a clip from the movie 'Unbroken', where the crew of a bomber stationed in the Pacific refer to anti-aircraft fire as 'flak'. Flak, of course, is short for 'Flugabwehrkanone', the ...
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What is the source of this quote about hope and POWs?

I seem to recall someone who was a POW, possibly held by Japanese, saying something like that the people that survived were the ones that gave up hope of getting out and the people that died were the ...
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Why was the US so pro-China and so anti-Japan before WW2?

There is little doubt that the US embargoes on Japan pushed an already aggressive Japan towards Pearl Harbor. Japanese Navy doctrine had already been contemplating a conflict with the US and this ...
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314 views

Was it viable to continue the battle of France in the French colonies in 1940?

Was continuing the battle of France in the French colonies a viable option in 1940? This option was advocated by de Gaulle, Churchill, and many leading political figures in France at the time. De ...
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412 views

Why didn't the Allies use a naval invasion to retake Norway?

Norway was captured by Germany during WWII, and been liberated from Germany after Karl Dönitz signed the surrender treaty with the Allies. But there were some chances for Allies to create an assistant ...
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304 views

How were German soldiers chosen to be flown out of Stalingrad?

During the siege of Stalingrad, something like 300,000 Axis soldiers were killed, wounded and captured. There was an airlift to bring ammunition and other supplies to the trapped forces. According to ...
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Is there a breakdown for transported goods on different routes in the Persian corridor in WWII?

In August 1941, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom together occupied Iran. One motivation for that invasion was the establishment of a supply line to the Soviet Union through Iran, the so-called ...
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1answer
381 views

Did the Soviets lack ball bearings in WWII?

There is a good discussion on this site of the German situation during World War II concerning ball bearings. Does anyone know what the Soviet situation was? I have heard as a result of Barbarossa ...
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413 views

Did Hitler have any plans in regards to the troops he had stationed in Norway throughout the war?

Throughout WW2 Germany had 400,000 troops stationed in Norway essentially doing occupation duty and fighting of partisans after Norway's surrender. Now as the war started to turn against the Germans ...
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334 views

How did Nazi Germany justify the attempted invasion of Britain?

Virtually all modern nations offer a justifying reason why they're engaging in any war, if only to convince their own people that they're fighting on the side of right and justice. What justification ...
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192 views

In WW2 USN ships, what was the weight of a typical boiler?

I've been searching for this for days, but cannot find it. What is the weight of a typical boiler on a WW2 US Navy ship? Example: Fletcher Class DD had a total weight (displacement) 2100 to 2500 tons ...
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497 views

How well did American bombers fight enemy fighters in World War II?

Normally, fighters shoot down bombers. but sometimes bombers "turn the tables" and destroy enemy fighters. My understanding is that American bombers did this from time to time against weaker ...
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341 views

How did East Indies oil lose its "top billing" in the Pacific War as the war went on?

The road to Pearl Harbor appeared to begin with the American embargo of oil (and other items) in July 1941. The Japanese decided that they had to 1) cripple the American Pacific fleet and 2) obtain ...
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4answers
330 views

How did Charles de Gaulle become the leading figure of French liberation movement?

How did Charles de Gaulle become the leading figure of French liberation movement? While acknowledging his talents and the personality, I find it hard to believe that he was the only or the most ...
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194 views

How were Japanese elite divisions defeated? [closed]

During the early months of the involvement of Japan in World War 2, Japanese land armies performed well against British, American and other Allied (Filipino, Dutch) troops. From my research, on books ...
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266 views

Did the Germans fuel the general's purge?

In the book A Man Called Intrepid the author claims that the Germans contributed greatly to Stalin's purge of the generals. I know this is a poor source yet I have found nothing to confirm nor deny. I'...
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1answer
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What does this acronym and the symbol in the middle represent?

One of my Polish friends just bought a ruined old brick house in a village in Poland, which was supposedly reigned by Germany during the second world war (I didn't ask the name nor the location of the ...
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1answer
160 views

What was the timetable for the arrival of the 100,000 man Japanese garrison at Rabaul?

Early in 1942, the Japanese seized the natural port of Rabaul on New Britain Island. This was to protect its existing base at Truk, in the Carolines, and also to provide a forward base for operations ...
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108 views

How many of the Frenchmen who volunteered for service in the Wehrmacht were former POWs?

During World War II, a number of Frenchmen volunteered for service in the Wehrmacht. For the purposes of this question, these men came from two sources: 1) genuine volunteers (freiwillige or "...
3
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1answer
373 views

Why did Nazis flee to South America?

The wikipedia article on Josef Mengele states: After the war, Mengele fled to South America. He sailed to Argentina in July 1949, assisted by a network of former SS members. He initially lived in and ...
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303 views

After World War II, what happened to the Soviet industrial facilities that had been evacuated?

In late 1941, some 1500 Soviet factories were relocated to the Urals, or other areas east of European Russia to keep them safe from German bombing, or worse, occupation. (My understanding is that ...

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