Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yugoslavia: A shattered kingdom

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia emerged from the First World War in 1919, when the Serbs exploited their political weight, as a member of the victorious Entente, to unite South Slavs under the rule of the dynasty of the Karadjordjevićes. That state of the matters remained unchanged throughout the inter-war period; a particularly acute problem at that time posed so-called Croatian question. During the 1930's quickly grew economical dependency on foreign factors; Balkan food products and tobacco at that time found a very attractive market in Germany. Politically, however, the strongest ties were those with France. How dangerous in its consequences was the economical dependency on the German Reich, transpires from the assessment of the situation by prime-minister Dragiša Cvetković: Economically, Yugoslavia was completely dependent on Germany, and remained a self-governing state only by name. In the summer of 1940, after the military collapse of France, the pro-German orientation prevailed. More >>>

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Absence of the American aircraft-carriers in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack and saving those ships, critically important to the modern naval warfare, caused that the Americans, forced to assume defensive tactics at the initial stage of the war, were able to mount spectacular raids against the enemy communications and naval bases scattered all over the western Pacific. Those raids were carried out by task forces formed around nuclei made of a carrier, two or three cruisers, and several destroyers. The raids began in the beginning of February 1942, simultaneously with the Japanese invasion of the Dutch East Indies. More >>>

Monday, May 21, 2012

War experience

Panther, in principle, had been thought as an imitation of the Soviet T-34. Originally, German commanders with frontline experience proposed to copy the Soviet tank, but it turned out that Germany did not possess adequate technologies. On 25 November 1941 the Ministry of Armaments placed orders with Daimler-Benz and MAN companies for the prototype of a tank with armour and armament superior to T-34. Daimler-Benz had proposed a tank closely resembling T-34 by shape and arrangement, with the engine and traction wheels placed in the rear. Nevertheless, more successful was the MAN's project with the traditional German arrangement: engine in the rear, and traction wheels and transmission in the front. It allowed to move the turret closer to the rear and fit it with a long-barrel gun. Each road wheel had individual torsion-beam suspension. More >>>

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nagumo attacks

Before the take-off Japanese crews had a hearty meal composed of rice, soy soup, nuts and sake. It was not dawning yet, when four carriers switched on their projectors and lit the decks. A green flash-light blinked in the hands of Hiryu's flight deck officer, and at 4:30 the first wave of the Midway-bound planes - 36 dive bombers, 36 torpedo bombers armed with regular bombs, and 36 fighters - took off to the cheering of the flight deck crews. Soon only a garland of red and green lights in the night sky marked the flight of that destructive power. More >>>

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Main enemy

When the German command studied the project of the medium tank Pz.Kpfw.T-III, fitted with a 37mm gun, it came to conclusion that the German army needed also another medium tank, fitted with a gun of a bigger calibre. Its high-explosive fragmentation shell had to be capable of knocking anti-tank guns and field fortifications. The 75mm calibre was deemed sufficient to achieve that goal. Therefore as early as in 1934 the German command placed orders with several companies to develop prototypes of such a medium tank. Thus began the career of the Pz.Kpfw.T-IV, which became the standard German tank of the Second World War that saw combat actions on all the fronts in Europe and Africa, and remained in active service of several countries after the war. It also was built in mass quantities - more than 8,500 vehicles of all modifications. More >>>