227 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

...but if the Strait is guarded such that they can't get them without braving an enfilading strafe of torpedoes, then it wouldn't do much good even if they knew where they are. From this comment by ...
Schwern's user avatar
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130 votes
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Why didn't Wehrmacht soldiers refuse to kill civilians?

Saying that no Wehrmacht soldier ever refused to kill civilians or PoWs is wrong, there are documented instances of this happening. It's just that this did not happen often enough to make a difference....
Danila Smirnov's user avatar
125 votes
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Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

I have not lived in Berlin or Moscow, but I have lived in Toronto and (very close to) Val d'Or. The winter temperatures for these two locations closely match Berlin and Moscow: December ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
109 votes
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Why didn't Hitler have more submarines in the English channel?

The English Channel is too shallow in many places to be safe for U-Boats. The operating depth for the Type VII submarine was up to 230 meters, while the English Channel is only 45 meters deep in many ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
101 votes
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Why did the Germans spare Allied troops trapped at Dunkirk?

Although we know a great deal about the events surrounding Hitler's "Halt Order" at Dunkirk, the truth is that the reasons behind it are not completely understood by historians, even now. It is a ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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74 votes

Why didn't Wehrmacht soldiers refuse to kill civilians?

Concerning your questions, beyond the original "why didn't they refuse" one: the massacres definitely caused psychological problems for many soldiers, even the SS - to the point that Himmler ...
Michael Borgwardt's user avatar
69 votes

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

Average temperatures are irrelevant, unless you plan to repeat the battle every year. What matters is the temperature at the time. To quote Wikipedia: The European Winter of 1941-1942 was the ...
Dmitry Grigoryev's user avatar
64 votes

Why did the Germans spare Allied troops trapped at Dunkirk?

It's easy to ask these questions after the fact, but a primary reason was that what we now know as the Miracle of Dunkirk was basically unthinkable. It is easy to forget that in reaching the coast, ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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55 votes

Why didn't Hitler have more submarines in the English channel?

In addition to the other answers, WWII submarines were primarily surface vessels which could submerge for combat. They had very limited speed, visibility, and battery range underwater. The batteries ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 55.2k
49 votes

Normandy: Why did the landing craft open on the front?

The LCVP or Higgins boat was designed with one primary goal: to land a large number of troops quickly. Therefore it was important that: Troops can disembark as quickly as possible LCVPs can land ...
congusbongus's user avatar
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49 votes
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Why weren’t the Dutch and Belgian borders fortified with wire, trenches, mines, etc., as it became clear Germany would invade during WW2?

No, it wouldn't have worked. ... what reasons could have led the Allied decision makers ... You're making a mistake here: before hostilities began, both The Netherlands and Belgium had (repeatedly) ...
Jos's user avatar
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46 votes
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Would the USSR have invaded Poland in WW2 if the Germans had not crossed into previously-agreed Soviet sphere of influence?

Short answer: The Soviets had already invaded - at German request - by the time this exchange could even have happened German troop movements in "Soviet Poland" cannot be considered the ...
SPavel's user avatar
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44 votes
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Normandy: Why did the landing craft open on the front?

They still do it that way: LCU Replacement in Preliminary Design, Anticipating 2022 Fleet Debut If the beaches are heavily defended, the Navy is supposed to bombard them prior to the landing. ...
Peter Diehr's user avatar
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40 votes

Why didn't Germany blockade the Strait of Gibraltar during WW2?

Gibraltar during the war had a quite formidable British naval presence (Force H), an airfield, and significant coastal gun emplacements easily capable of covering the entire strait. The primary ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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39 votes
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What was the meaning of the following Neville Chamberlain quote?

Actually, in 1938, for most Britons, anywhere East of the Rhine was "a faraway land" of which they knew nothing. Only the rich travelled even to continental Europe; most people took their ...
TheHonRose's user avatar
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36 votes

Why didn't Hitler have more submarines in the English channel?

Other answers have explained why basing the U-boats in the English Channel was a poor idea for the Germans. Here's what actually happened: In spring 1944, most of the U-boats were based in the ports ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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35 votes

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

Other answers have dealt with the main things but I think you are missing one important point. Even assuming that Berlin and Moscow are equally cold there is a huge difference between holding your ...
Eric Nolan's user avatar
31 votes

How did the Allies achieve air superiority on Sicily?

To begin with, when the air campaign ahead of Operation Husky (the campaign that culminated with the invasion of Sicily) began, the Allies already had a significant numerical superiority over the Axis ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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30 votes

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

Part of the Third Reich's military problem was its devastating quick early victories. Germany invaded France rapidly alongside a ~900 km front line, adopting the WWI strategy to enter via Belgium ...
Otto Abnormalverbraucher's user avatar
30 votes

What German torpedo problem was discovered in 1942?

As I think this may be the answer to your question what problem was discovered in 1942 related to the torpedos hydrogen venting system. The problem was that when vented anywhere but on the surface (...
ed.hank's user avatar
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25 votes
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Why did the Allies lose the Battle of France (1940)?

The main reason was that the allies were prepared to fight WW1 all over again. The Germans had very different ideas. The allies were ready to fight a static trench war in Belgium. Problem was that ...
Jos's user avatar
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23 votes
Accepted

Why did the USSR stop in the Winter War against Finland in 1940?

The relevant archives are still closed and, I think, will continue to be closed for a long time. One, thus, has to look for memoirs of former Soviet leaders (of that time). Three of them wrote such ...
Moishe Kohan's user avatar
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23 votes

How do I locate information on a B-17 shot down over Poland?

See below, is this your Robert W Crider? Actually he shows up as a gunner in a B-17G #42-102481 “Kentucky Winner” (385BG/550BS) crashing near Grodzisk, Poland, 18 Mar 1945. You will need the Missing ...
R Leonard's user avatar
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22 votes
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How did the Axis intend to hold the Caucasus?

Had the Germans succeeded in breaking the Red Army, they would have been able to hold on to the Caucasus. If not, the war would have been lost anyway. From the beginning of the war in the East, ...
rs.29's user avatar
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21 votes

How did the Axis intend to hold the Caucasus?

This is detailed in Führer directive 45. It was incredibly easy. By just winning the war. Details for this were variously named Fall Blau, Operation Brunswick, Operation Edelweiss… As you see, there ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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20 votes

Why was Stalin surprised by the German attack in June 1941?

David Glantz in his book Barbarossa: Hitler's Invasion of Russia 1941 mentions several contributing factors. Stalin wanted to believe that Hitler would hold to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. This is ...
PhillS's user avatar
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20 votes

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

The Russian winter was a contributing factor. The German winter is not like the Russian plains winter where the German army advanced. The German army was reportedly still wearing summer uniforms when ...
Dave Z's user avatar
  • 225
19 votes

How did the British keep Enigma 'snatches' secret?

The boarding party led by David Balme approaches U-110. Source: World War II Today With regards to keeping the capture of the Enigma and codebooks from U-110 a secret (i.e. keeping the German POWs ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,187
19 votes
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Did the USA have a plan to defeat Germany without Britain?

During 1938-39, the US military started making a new set of plans for possible war scenarios. These were the Rainbow series, as follows: Rainbow 1. To prevent violation of the Monroe Doctrine, and to ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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