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(Oct. 15, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the German Wehrmacht was fast approaching the gates of Moscow. Soviet leader Josef Stalin had to decide if he should evacuate the city with his government, or stand firm to rally the defenders of Moscow.

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(Oct. 1, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the Imperial Japanese Army, under the command of Gen. Yasuji Okamura made its second attempt to capture the 2,000-year-old Chinese City of Changsha, which is the capital of Hunan Province.

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(Sept. 17, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, a titanic struggle was taking place in the Atlantic Ocean. This campaign became known as the “Battle of the Atlantic.”

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(Sept. 10, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the 900-day Siege of Leningrad was entering its second week. It was not actually 900 days, but more like 873, or maybe 880. To those who endured it — and survived — undoubtedly it seemed like an eternity. So many people died, especially during the fi…

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(Aug. 27, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the Finns recaptured the 900-year-old city of Vyborg. Prior to the Winter War, between Finland and the USSR., during the winter of 1939-40, it had been the second largest city in Finland, with a population of 80,000, and known as Viipuri.

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(Aug. 20, 2021) This week, 80 eighty years ago, the Imperial State of Iran was, preemptively, invaded from three directions. The Red Army came from the north, while forces of the United Kingdom struck from the south and west.

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(Aug. 6, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was on a fishing trip in the waters off of Cape Cod. At least that is what he told the First Lady, before he left the White House on Aug. 3. Then the president smiled, and Eleanor knew there wa…

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(July 30, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the Siege of Odessa began as elements of the Romanian Fourth Army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Nicolae Ciupercă, arrived outside Odessa.

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(July 23, 2021) Today, 80 years ago, the Germans finally captured Maj. Pyotr Mikhaylovich Gavrilov of the Red Army during the fight for the Brest fortress. Maj. Gavrilov was an officer in the 44th Motor Rifle Regiment, one of the units tasked with defending Brest. This was the second time in…

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(July 16, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the 29th Motorized Infantry Division, commanded by Walter von Boltenstern, from Gen. Heinz Guderian’s Second Panzergruppe, entered the 1,000-year-old city of Smolensk, and captured it after three days of house-to-house fighting. The Soviets did not co…

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(July 2, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, Hungarian and Finnish soldiers joined German, Slovakian and Romanian soldiers in their assault on the Soviet Union. Finland had a score to settle with the USSR. and Hungary owed a debt to the German Reich.

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(June 25, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, Minsk, the capital of Belarus, fell to the onrushing German Wehrmacht. When hostilities opened, Minsk had a population of 300,000. By the time the Red Army liberated the city in 1944, its population had shrunk to 50,000. Today it has a population of m…

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(June 18, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, German dictator Adolf Hitler declared, “When Barbarossa is launched, the whole world will hold its breath.” On the morning of June 22, 1941, exactly one year after the French armistice, more than 150 divisions with 3.2 million men, 500,000 horses, 3,5…

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(June 4, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, Allied forces invaded the French Mandates of Syria and Lebanon, in “Operation Exporter.” The Allied forces did not believe that they would face serious resistance from the French forces stationed there, or their colonial Arab units. They were wrong.

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(May 28, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the Royal Navy began evacuating Allied forces from the Greek island of Crete, after having failed to stanch the German airborne invasion.

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(May 14, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, Commonwealth forces in North Africa launched a limited offensive against Erwin Rommel’s Axis forces. Before delving into the particulars of that operation, let’s reacquaint ourselves with the history.

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(May 7, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, Deputy Führer of the Nazi Party, Rudolf Hess, (not to be confused with Rudolf Höss, commandant of the extermination camp at Auschwitz) climbed into a Messerschmitt Vf110E-1/N at the Messerschmitt company airfield, at Augsburg-Haunstetten Airport, in Bav…

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(April 30, 2021) Today, 80 years ago, 6,000 — soon to grow to 9,000 — Iraqi soldiers occupied the heights surrounding Habbanayi Royal Air Force Base, which was located near Lake Habbanayi, about 60 miles outside of Baghdad.

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(April 16, 2021) Today, 80 years ago, the Independent State of Croatia was created when Dr. Ante Pavelić declared the Provision for the Appointment of the Croatian State Government, which he signed as Poglavnik of the Independent State of Croatia.

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(April 2, 2021) This week, 80 ago, Axis forces under the command of Gen. Erwin Rommel captured an old Turkish fort in the middle of the desert at a place called El Mechili. El Mechili is a small village located 170 miles east of Benghazi, at the eastern end of Jebel Akhdar, which was a raise…

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(March 12, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, U-99, skippered by Otto Kretschmer, one of Germany’s most famous U-boat commanders, had just fired the last of her torpedoes, when she was spotted by British destroyers southeast of Iceland in the North Atlantic.

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(March, 5, 2021) Eighty years ago, this week, U-47 commanded, by Günther Prien, was attacked and sunk in the North Atlantic, west of Ireland, by destroyers HMS Wolverine and HMS Verity. This happened not long after Prien was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander.

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(Feb. 26, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, after a siege lasting more than a month, Free French troops, under the command of Col. Philippe François Marie Leclerc de Hauteclocque (“Leclerc”) finally captured Kufra, an oasis in the Sahara Desert that lies 530 miles south of Tobruk and the Medite…

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(Feb. 19, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the Tirpitz, the second and last battleship of the Bismarck class, was commissioned. It was launched on April 1, 1939, and christened by Großadmiral (Grand Admiral) Alfred von Tirpitz’ daughter, Ilse von Hassel. Both the Tirpitz and the Bismarck were …

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(Feb. 12, 2021) Eighty years ago today, German Gen. Erwin Rommel arrived in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Before his departure from the North African shore, he would earn the sobriquet “The Desert Fox,” and the admiration of friend and foe alike.

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(Jan. 22, 2021) This week, 80 years ago, the Australians continued their pursuit of the beaten Italian Tenth Army, now under the command of Lt.-Gen. Giuseppe Tellera, after capturing Tobruk.

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(Jan. 8, 2021) This week 80 years ago, after the 6th Australian Division, commanded by Gen. Iven Mackay, completed the capture of Libyan port of Bardia, it continued its westward advance and began the assault on the fortress of Tobruk.

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(Dec. 25, 2020) This week, 80 years ago a regiment of the 6th Australian Division, under the command of George Wootten, was besieging the Italian garrison of Giarabub, commanded by Maj. Salvatore Castagna.

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(Dec. 18, 2020) This week, 80 years ago, the German Auxiliary Merchant Cruiser Komet was on her first cruise, to hunt, sink or capture Allied merchant ships sailing in the Pacific Ocean.

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(Dec. 11, 2020) This week, 80 years ago, U.S. President, Franklin D. Roosevelt held a press conference to announce the “Lend-Lease” Program. The United States and the world had passed through the greatest depression in modern history and was still very much in the throes of a difficult and p…

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(Dec. 4, 2020) This week, 80 years ago, the Commonwealth’s Western Desert Force, under the command of Major-Gen. Sir Richard O’Connor, launched “Operation Compass” against the Italian Tenth Army commanded by Gen. Mario Berti.

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(Nov. 27, 2020) This week, 80 years ago, the Royal Navy and the Regia Marina Italia clashed in the Battle of Cape Spartivento off the western coast of Sardinia. The Italians know this as the Battle of Cape Teulada.