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War Stories: World War II

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War II More lives were lost in one exercise practicing for D-Day than during the invasion of Utah Beach on 6 June 1944. That rehearsal was called "Exercise Tiger." Planning for the greatest amphibious operation in history required many such exercises, each designed to test the readiness of plans for the invasion of Normandy and the efficiency of the troops. Duck, Fox, Muskrat, Beaver, and Trousers preceded Tiger, and Fabius followed. Each was larger than the last, and the later ones used live ammunition.
Note: by LT Eugene E. Eckstam, MC, USNR,a medical officer on USS LST-507  11610 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II With a friend of mine, a Post Office messenger like myself, I had gone to the Royal Navy Recruiting Office when I was 16 year old to volunteer for the Navy. They took our names then and apologized for the fact that they were not allowed to take us as Boy Seamen at 16 years and that we would have to wait until we were called up at 18 years. They did tell us however if we volunteered just before 18 years the Navy would take us then.
Note: by Eric Mason, Signalman, AS Trawlers HMS Buster and HMS Bay  12833 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Saint-Leonard, a name that has continually come to mind over the last five decades, is the name of a quaint little village situated in the foothills of the Vosges of Southern France. It was not long after our encounter in this village when I made myself a promise not to be forgotten... a promise that I would keep in the many years to follow. The incident bringing about this promise I have lived with since that day, Nov. 20, 1944. It was a promise made out of both fear and anger, that some day if it be God's will, I will return.
Note: by Fielding D. Tucker  8390 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I got a very low draft number, so I was sure to be called. Instead of waiting to be called and being put into whatever anybody decided to do for me, I decided to try to guide my own destiny a bit. I enlisted in the Navy out of Floyd Bennet Naval Air Station, which was a reserve air station in Brooklyn, New York....I didn't want to be in the Army because I remembered all the stories and the movies about World War I were about people living in trenches.
Note: by Arnold Spring  7851 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  10524 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II Many stories of World War II combat missions in B-17s over Europe have been written. Rarely did any of these tell much about the planning, briefing, organization of the formations, form up and what happened after the planes returned to their bases. This mission was chosen to document for the casual readers to profile a typical combat mission in those days.
Note: by Marshall B. Shore, Lt. Colonel, USAF  8106 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II I was a member of the 29th Infantry Division, in M Company, 3rd Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment. I was inducted into the Army June 16, 1943, at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and was discharged on Oct. 23, 1945, at Camp Atterbury, Ind. I was second gunner on the .30-caliber water-cooled Browning machine gun through most of combat when I moved up to squad leader.
Note: by John D. Hinton  9460 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 8/9/44 Mission #1 Flew our 1st mission today, 34 to go. They woke us at 1:50 am. Briefing time 3:00 am. So we knew it was pretty sure to be a long one. Had pineapple juice, fresh egg, hotcakes, sausage, cold cereal, coffee. Target Schmitt ball bearing works, Nurnberg.
Note: by First Lieutenant Andrew K. Norman  8783 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  9843 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II March 11, 1945. We are at fleet anchorage after returning from Iwo Jima, and Japanese areas. 2000 hours. I had just been relieved from watch in Rdo1, which is our main radio room in the Island structure, and had started walking aft on the flight deck. My rack, and also my GQ battle station, was Rdo#3. Radio 3 was a small emergency transmitter room on the Gallery deck, just under the flight deck, starboard side above the fan tail.
Note: by V.J.Verdolini RM2/c, U.S. Navy  10385 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II A week or so before the December 31, 1943, mission, my crew, the Mendelsohn crew, was breaking apart. Our navigator, Bill Borellis, was promoted to the exalted position of 91st Bomb Group navigator; our bombardier, Harold Fox, (later to be killed in action over Hamburg) had applied for special training as a navigator and was leaving the crew, and the pilot, Stuart Mendelsohn, had been designated, but not yet officially installed, as the new operations officer of the 324th squadron. And I had just been checked out as first pilot and was about to take over what remained of our original crew.
Note: by Verne Woods, 91st BG  16564 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II 1/3/43 German radio reported attack on Casablanca the night after we left the area. The supply convoy of 35 ships was probably packed like sardines in the harbor. No dope on damage. Could have been murderous. Apparently we picked the right time to get out of there. Excitement galore today.
  7554 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II It was the fall of 1944. I was fresh out of USAC basic at Keesler Field and was assigned to B-29 gunnery training at Buckingham Field, Fort Myers, FL As a lot of good "cadets" did then, I chose this instead of "on the line" training. Within the first week at Buck Field, I was fitted with a parachute harness and "invited" to take an orientation ride in a funny-looking B-24.
Note: By Sgt. Joe B. Tillery.  6861 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War II When I got to the hangar, navigators were working around a large table with their topographical maps and plotting charts. Navigators made their own calculations, and then compared results with others. When we had finished we went to the locker room. Dressing up was a long process for the gunners. It was a cold ride in the turrets and gunners wore as much clothing as they could from woollen underwear to electrically heated suits.
Note: by Jerrold Morris, 419 Squadron, RCAF  7589 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  9819 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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This Day in History
1862: Union and Confederate troops skirmish at Waterloo Bridge, Virginia, during the Second Bull Run Campaign.

1864: Confederate troops secure a vital supply line into Petersburg, Virginia, when they halt destruction of the Weldon and Petersburg Railroad by Union troops.

1914: The German army began six weeks of plundering Leuven, Belgium.

1921: The United States, which never ratified the Versailles Treaty ending World War I, finally signs a peace treaty with Germany.

1925: The last Belgian troops vacated Duisburg.

1937: The Japanese fleet blockaded the Chinese coast.

1941: British and Soviet forces enter Iran, opening up a route to supply the Soviet Union.

1943: The Allies complete the occupation of New Georgia.

1944: After more than four years of Nazi occupation, Paris is liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.

1951: Navy Banshee and Panther jet fighters escorted U.S. Air Force B-29s on a high-altitude bombing mission against the rail marshaling yards at Rashin located on the extreme northeast Korean border.