05/20 – Operation Mercury

Two German paratroopers surveying a distant fire in Crete. Although these men are heavily armed with rifles and submachine guns, many airborne troops struggled to find weapons once on the ground. (Imgur) On this day in 1941, the German invasion of Crete began. Home to the ancient Minoans - Europe's first advanced civilization - the…

03/07 – The Disappearance of U-47

An artistic depiction of a U-boat surfacing after knocking out an Allied merchant vessel. (Fine Art America) On this day in 1941, German U-boat (submarine) U-47 disappeared off the west coast of Ireland. Captained by "U-Ace" G√ľnther Prien, the submarine was one of the most infamous of its kind. During his short career, Prien and…

01/06 – FDR’s Four Freedoms

A 1944 colourised photograph of FDR. The president had been worn down by the war at this point, and died soon after. (Histomania) On this day in 1941, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt (or FDR) delivered his state of the union address. In the groundbreaking speech, FDR enumerated Four Freedoms that he believed all human…

12/19 – OKH Under Hitler

Hitler (R) with Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini (L). Mussolini's "hands on" approach to military leadership - which Hitler emulated - ended up handicapping both Axis armies. (Wikipedia) On this day in 1941, Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler appointed himself leader of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), or High Command of the German Army. The…

12/15 – Drobitsky Yar

The memorial at Drobitsky Yar. (Wikimedia Commons) On this day in 1941, men of the German Wehrmacht (regular army) massacred 15,000 Jewish people in Drobitsky Yar, a ravine on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Although the circumstances of the massacre are not completely clear, the general historical consensus is that Wehrmacht units invading Ukraine (then…