Tag Archives: WWII

The Cannons on the B-29 Bomber Were a Mid-Century Engineering Masterpiece

Five remote-controlled cannons with computer-aided aiming made the Superfortress way, way ahead of its time.

Source: The Cannons on the B-29 Bomber Were a Mid-Century Engineering Masterpiece

Why The Nazis Believed They Could Win the Battle of Britain

I wouldn’t say “agonizingly close”. Upon reading the details, it’s arguable to say that the Germans got their collective asses handed to them and the Battle of Britain was an exercise in how an offensive air war is probably not a good idea.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the first time in history that one nation tried to defeat another using airstrikes. Here’s how the Nazis thought they could do it—and how agonizingly close they actually came to achieving victory.

Source: Why The Nazis Believed They Could Win the Battle of Britain

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20 maps that never happened

Maps are a powerful way of illustrating not only the world that is, but worlds that never have been. What follow are not fictional maps — there’s no Westeros or Middle Earth — but plans and hypotheticals that never came to pass. You’ll see military plans for invasions that didn’t happen or conquests that were hoped-for and never achieved. You’ll also find daring infrastructure schemes that would have remapped cities and even whole continents. There are proposals for political reform — some serious and some more fanciful — as well as deeply serious plans for entire independent nation-states that have never been brought to life. Welcome to maps of worlds that don’t exist — but might.

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Charlie And His Orchestra: Nazi Propaganda Swing

Warfare takes many forms, and none so varied as the experimentation and creativity seen during the Second World War. This crazy era started with horse-drawn artillery and biplanes and ended less than a decade later with jet fighters and atomic weapons–all while stepping to a swinging jazz soundtrack. That is, of course, unless you were German (or, more accurately, a subject of the Nazi Reich). Hitler portrayed swing was seen as decadent, immoral, and distinctively anti-Aryan: the music of the negroes and the Jews (after all, Benny Goodman and Ella Fitzgerald were among the biggest musicians at the time). Naturally, it was outlawed under the Reich.

Meanwhile, the Gestapo had a “brilliant” plan to use this musical menace against its heathen source. Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels assembled a cadre of talented German musicians to record their own “Nazified” versions of popular swing tunes and broadcast them at Britain and North America via shortwave radio. The whole point was to demoralise and intimidate the Allies by tempting listeners with the familiar tunes, then squeeze in a little “pro-Hitler” sentiment after the first verse or during the vampy midsection.

Why are the ships always sinking and breaking at sea? What makes the British stop thinking of their cup of tea? …German submarines!

Ridiculous Nazi psywar lyrics aside, the recordings aren’t bad–even a little catchy–and a nifty reminder of some of the more subtle aspects of total war. If you would like to know more, check out the write-up by WFMU and give the rest of the tracks a listen.

The Greatest Raid of All

Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear) narrates a little-known story of spectacular bravery and legendary heroism from British commandos who, against all odds, led a successful raid on one of the most heavily-fortified positions in Nazi-controlled Europe.

Pearl Harbor Newsreel

The United States was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

WWII veterans storm DC memorial closed by government shutdown

You really think a bunch of rent-a-cops are going to stop men who charged headlong into machine gun fire from seeing their memorial? Seriously, why do I (as a taxpayer) have to foot the bill for this shit?

Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday in defiance of the shutdown that closed all the memorials in Washington D.C.

Source: WWII veterans storm DC memorial closed by government shutdown

TIL: Don Adams (Inspector Gadget, Maxwell Smart) was shot and nearly died at Guadalcanal before serving as a USMC drill instructor during WWII.

TIL: Don Adams (Inspector Gadget, Maxwell Smart) was shot and nearly died at Guadalcanal before serving as a USMC drill instructor during WWII.

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A Story of Fokkers

A World War II pilot is reminiscing before school children about his days in the air force.

“In 1942,” he says, “the situation was really tough. The Germans had a very strong air force. I remember, ” he continues, “one day I was protecting the bombers and suddenly, out of the clouds, these Fokkers appeared!”

At this point, several of the children giggle.

“I looked up, and right above me was one of them. I aimed at him and shot him down. They were swarming! I immediately realized that there was another Fokker behind me!”

At this instant the girls in the auditorium start to giggle and boys start to laugh. The teacher stands up and says, “I think I should point out that ‘Fokker’ was the name of the German-Dutch aircraft company–”

“That’s true,” says the pilot, “but these fokkers were flying Messerschmidts!”