Sunday, January 22, 2012

Operation "Pekin"

On Wednesday 30 August 1939 the commander-in-chief of the Polish Navy, Rear-Admiral Józef Unrug, received an unequivocal signal from Warsaw: "Execute Pekin". That signal meant sending three most worthy Polish destroyers - Błyskawica, Grom and Burza - to Great Britain. All three of them had already been readied in the roadsteads of the navy port in Gdynia, but when the signal was received at 12:50, probably none of their crewmen had any inkling what would be the consequences of that order. Nobody probably thought that it meant that three ships and half a thousand sailors would leave Poland at the most critical point of the Germano-Polish political relations. For six months then they had been preparing for defence of the Polish territorial waters, and now they had to abandon them. Only Wicher would be left at the disposal of the Coastal Sea Defence Command.  More >>>

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Did Stalin fall in prostration?

One of the many lies, introduced into circulation after Nikita Khrushchev's notorious report to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Party, is that the German invasion on the Soviet Union became such a shock to Stalin that he reportedly fell in depression and was hiding in an out-of-the-city villa. And only the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, sent there for that purpose, talked him into returning to work. This is how this episode is presented in the memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev himself:  More >>>

Liberation of Poland

As the Soviet command prepared offensive operations in the summer of 1944, it decided to carry out a series of strategic operations, coming one after another, and with mutually bound objectives. They had to bring the complete liberation of the Soviet territories, striking Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary out of the alliance with Germany, and, as the result of strategic advantages on the wings, creation of the basis for further strategic advance in the central direction - in Poland and farther to Berlin.  More >>>


The Soviet partisan movement started almost on the first days of the war with Germany. In some regions anti-fascist underground organizations, and partisan groups and detachments were created yet before they were occupied by the German forces. They were either created by the local state and party authorities, or emerged spontaneously inspired by the social activists or Red Armists, who found themselves in the enemy rear or were sent there across the frontlines in order to organize underground and partisan movement.  More >>>

The hunt for Adolf Hitler

It is difficult to say, how many attempts had Adolf Hitler survived. Historians name as many as 60 of them, ranging from very serious to completely anecdotal ones. As early as in 1920's Hitler several times narrowly escaped death in usual at that time brawls and malees among feuding German parties, or even national socialist factions. More qualified attempts, specifically targeting Hitler, occurred as he climbed to the power. One of them, staged yet before his becoming the chancellor, took place in the beginning of January 1932 in the restaurant of the hotel Kaiserhof in Berlin, where Hitler dined with members of his staff. Within an hour after the dinner, all its guests felt symptoms of poisoning. Nobody died though, and the Führer was affected the least - its is being said that due to his vegetarianism. More >>>

The race for oil

Hitlerite strategists, convinced that the second front in West Europe would not be opened in 1942, started planning of a new offensive in the east. During the meeting with the Japanese ambassador in Berlin, Hiroshi Oshima, the German leader, Adolf Hitler, expressed belief that the Russians would be ultimately crushed the same summer. He decided to strike to the Caucasus and Persia (Iran), advance as far as to Afghanistan, and create a direct threat to the Indies, in which he saw the source of the British colonial supremacy.  More >>>


Blitzkrieg - or "lightning war" - is the term characterizing a set of war features, whose theoretical paradigms are elaborated to assure prompt victory. The victory in a "lightning war" is achieved through overwhelming the enemy by massive and surprising strikes from the air and on the land. In the course of the "lightning war" within a short period of time the enemy forces are destroyed,  the social and economical life of the  country is disorganized, and its territory occupied.  More >>>

Defeat in the East

On 7 August 1943 the battle of Kursk was not over yet, when the Western Front (Gen. Vasiliy Sokolovskiy) and forces of the Kalinin Front started an advance on Smolensk. This way the Russians undertook a strategically important offensive parallel to another one. There began a massive revenge, during which the Germans would be beaten i operations launched simultaneously on two or more sectors of the gigantic front. On 18 August the Southern Front (Gen. Fyodor Tolbukhin) struck across the River Miuss into the Donbass, and on 26 August, three days after the liberation of Kharkov, the Central, Voronezh and Steppes Fronts rushed towards the Dnieper. Their goal was Kiev.  More >>>

World war comes to the Balkans

Italian aggression against Greece, which was launched on 28 October 1940, and resulted in humiliating blunder, had created a new political situation in the Balkans. To Great Britain it occurred as an opportunity to open another front of the war against the fascist "Axis", and engage vast human resources of the region in the military operations. Therefore, Great Britain declared its full support to the fighting Greece, and simultaneously embarked on diplomatic manoeuvres, aimed at creation of a block of Balkan countries - Greece, Yugoslavia and Turkey - blocked with England and her dominions.  More >>>

The king's sword presented to Stalingrad

A solemn ceremony took place on November 29, before the opening of the conference plenary meeting; it was a demonstration of Allied unity in the struggle against the common enemy. Such a demonstration was highly opportune. It dispersed somewhat the dark clouds which had gathered over the conference and reminded that the anti-Nazi coalition was still faced with great and difficult problems which could only be solved through mutual and concerted efforts.  More >>>

Warsaw Uprising

Historical and political assessments of the decision to start an uprising in Warsaw in August 1944 are so diverse and conflicting, that it is not possible, and unlikely will be possible in the foreseeable future, to reduce them to a common denominator. Despite of the whole absurd of the political predicaments of the uprising, and the horrors of its military defeat, it still remains popular among an army of its enthusiasts. While its critics often use the ominous word "crime". Mounds of radio-dispatches exchanged between Warsaw and London during the time of critical decisions have been examined. Memoirs of the eyewitnesses of the events have been published. Calculations of generals Tadeusz Komorowski (Bór), Antoni Chruściel (Monter), Stanislaw Jankowski (Sobol) and objections of Colonel Jerzy Kirchmayer have been known. So are known the facts... In no way do they eliminate diametrically opposite views in their assessment. Arguments are infinite. More >>>

Taierzhuang 1938 - Stalingrad 1942

A militarily powerful country invades a very much larger country to seize territory. The invader has had an almost unbroken string of impressive victories and the larger country seems unable to fend off the invader. The most powerful units of the invader are now tasked with cutting the larger country's most important north-south transport route which is a waterway. A town on the banks of that waterway is the target set for the invader's elite combat units to capture. Capturing the town would enable the invader to menace the enemy capital and force it to surrender.  More >>>

Before the D-Day

Very often one may happen over the statement that Overlord was the name for the Allied seaborne landing on the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944. This statement is not precise. Overlord was in fact the codename for a strategic plan, a directive even, of the initial stage of the great battle for Western Europe. That plan outlined in general terms tasks of all three branches of service - Army, Navy and Air Force - during the first 90 days of operations in Normandy and Brittany. It foresaw that within that period the Allied forces would reach the Seine in the north-east, Loire in the south, and the Atlantic coast in the west. More >>>

Second World War 1939-1945

The Second World War in 1939-1945 became the continuation of the First World War, the conflict that ravaged Europe in 1914-1918. Then, in August 1914, Germany, the industrial leader of the continental Europe, came to the conclusion that the future did not promise to her success in the growing competition with her neighbours; that Germany's neighbours would not succumb to the idea of German domination in Europe, and would rather lock her in the Stahlring, the strangulating "steel ring" of political and economic isolation. And so, Germany went against her continental rivals, France and Russia, not expecting that Great Britain would take advantage of the opportunity to show the self-styled European hegemon its proper place. Yet Germany did not reconcile with her defeat in the first global conflict, and as soon as the History made its next sharp turn - the Great Depression that began in 1929, she opened leeway to the forces led by Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist party, which claimed that Germany's defeat in the Great War resulted from a "stab in the back", dealt by a faint minority, the treacherous Social Democrats and non-Germanic elements of the population. So, Germany started a new armament race, while her neighbours, horrified by the atrocities of the Great War and its casualties, watched in dismay the process of rebuilding the fantastic German military machine, which in 1914-1918 was capable to challenge the united forces of nearly the whole world.  More >>>