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The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave...

-- Patrick Henry

War Stories: World War II

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War II Flying a bombing mission out of Foggia, Italy, off Tortorella US Army Air Field in Italy, during W.W. II, our B-17 caught one hell of a lot of flack. All four engines were still running, but ALL flight instruments failed. We had no airspeed indicator. Since we were returning from the bombing mission in formation, we didn't really need flight instruments except for the approach and landing.
Note: by George Ureke, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret.).  11839 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II After our repairs were completed, we were supposed to go on our post-repair trial run. But instead, on July 15th, we were ordered to go to San Francisco to take on some cargo. I was amazed to notice that there was a quiet, almost dead Navy Yard. We tied up at the dock there and two big trucks came alongside. The big crate on one truck was put in the port hanger.
Note: by CAPT Lewis L. Haynes, senior medical officer on board ship.  9851 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Shortly after joining up we saw this notice on the notice-board looking for volunteers for a "suicide mission." Some brilliant officer had come up with the idea that he would like to form a unit that would go behind the enemy lines at night and blow up the German's tanks while they slept. Imagine that!
Note: by Ronald Arthur Tee, 56th Reconnaissance Regiment, 78th "Battleaxe" Division of the British 1st. Army, 1941-1946.
  7511 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a medic attached to 2nd platoon, C Battery, of the 225th during my entire tour of duty in Europe. When we were in the field, there was half of C Battery (117 men) that I would visit in their positions on a daily basis. I was their primary health-care provider. I would travel on a three-quarter-ton truck that carried rations and water to each searchlight/radar section every day to make my rounds. From June 1944 to December 1945 we moved from Omaha beach in France to Neubiberg in Germany. During this entire time, I never treated someone who was wounded by the enemy. This was a good thing.
Note: by Robert J. King  10429 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I landed about twenty-five feet from a road and before I could get my rifle assembled, I heard a motorcycle approaching. I remained still as I did not have time to assemble my rifle, and watched two German soldiers pass by. After they passed and I had my rifle together I found other paratroopers and our equipment bundle and set off for the bridge over the Merderet River.
Note: by Marcus Heim  10685 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The first reaction to the new base at Folkingham was “It's immense”! On this base we had three concrete runways, each 6,000 feet, ample taxiways, a revetment for parking each aircraft, and four hangers. There were innumerable Nissen huts to house us, an Officers Club, an EM Club in the making, a consolidated officers' mess, and a consolidated enlisted men's, mess. We were the first tenants, and parts were still under construction.
Note: by Col. Joseph Harkiewicz  29053 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The Naval Combat Demolition Units were charged with the responsibility of clearing sixteen 50- yard gaps on the beaches assigned to that force. They worked in conjunction with the Army engineers who were charged with the responsibility of clearing the shoreward obstacles.
Note: by Lieutenant Commander Joseph H. Gibbons, USNR, CO of U.S. Navy Combat Demolitions Units in Force "O"  11070 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Seven weeks after the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, the British and Canadian divisions of the Second Army had secured the ancient but totally devastated city of Caen. Their further progress was now being held up by fanatical resistance from Germany's crack Fifth Panzer Army, holding favourable ground to the south and south-east of the city. The time had arrived for Operation Goodwood.
Note: by John Clulow  8655 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Berlin, or Big "B", as we called it, was a target that no one wanted to go to and a target that everyone wanted to go to. It seemed that everyone wanted to participate in a raid on Berlin because bombing big "B" was really striking at the heart of Nazi power and it was, in a way, retribution for the bombing of London, Rotterdam and other major cities.
Note: by A. Willard Reese, 1st Lt, 751st Sqdn, 457th Bmb Grp, 8th AF  10659 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II September 25, 1943 was an unforgettable day. It was the day I received my notice to appear at the county court house in Hyattsville, Maryland for my induction into the army. And from there the other inductees and I were taken by bus to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were given uniforms and clothing.
  9541 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II On 16 February I was in a six-plane flight of Mark 5 Spitfires that encountered about twelve ME 109s in the region between Orvieto and Perugia, about sixty-five miles north of Rome. Our six-plane flight was in line-astern formation, with the planes about fifty feet apart and stepped to the right and down, slightly, so the pilots can easily see the planes ahead of them. I was leading the last two-plane element of the flight, and Bob Confer, a veteran of the North African Campaign was my wingman.
Note: by Robert C. Curtis, 2nd Sq., 52nd Fighter Group  10721 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 27.4.41 A fast trip with a couple of alarms brought us to Suda Bay, Crete. Arrived about noon and had a 3 mile walk to a rest camp. Did not enjoy it. 30.4.41 Today we received permission to send a cable advising "All well". I hope it reaches its destination in double quick time. Many times during the last few weeks we have realised how much the people in N.Z. must have been worrying, particularly on Anzac Day.
Note: by Alan Jackson, 5th Field Regiment  7626 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II The morning of December 7, 1941 was typical of any Sunday morning aboard the battleship USS CALIFORNIA. My billet for meals was the Marines' casemate #8(an armored enclosure for a gun) located port side midship, just where the forecastle breaks and a ladder leads down to the quarter-deck.
Note: by John H. McGoran  10349 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We were dropped into the channel from the mother ship at about 4:30 in the morning. I was the intelligence sergeant in headquarters company so a few weeks prior to the invasion I was put into a Quonset hut that had triple Concertina wire around it and was under 24 hour guard.
Note: by Herb Epstein, Intelligence Sergeant, Headquarters Company, 5th Ranger Battalion  7505 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II We set off at dawn from our base, West Island, Cocos, in a 356 Squadron Liberator on our flight to Malaya carrying a great load of medical supplies and comforts for PoWs and civilians. With the Japanese surrender, there are no bombs this time. Guns and armament have been stripped from the aircraft to provide more lift, and the cavernous bays which normally house 500 and 1,000-pounders, now contain dozens of large drop-canisters strapped to chutes.
Note: by John Behague, RAF, 99 Squadron  11366 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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