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THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN | Tarawa Was a Brawl | Afrikakorps Logistics | German East Front Fortifications

The Strategy & Tactics of World War II #19 AUG–SEP 2011

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Bakersfield CA 93390. Luck C. • To Sink a Warship Bakersfield CA 93312.com 44 (310) 453-0856 German East Front Fortifications The war in Russia is most often NEXT ISSUE (#20) recalled as one of maneuver. Too Late SENIOR EDITOR The US landing on Tarawa resulted by Ty Bomba Ty Bomba from a decade of preparatory work. 2804 Mosasco St. All The Hardest Days correspondence should be sent to World at War c/o Decision Games. Marino • Skill vs. is an analysis of the failed German • Gross Deutschland PO Box 21598. Contact Ty Bomba.E. Nothing may be reproduced from it in whole or in part without prior permission from the publisher. Maximum word count is 500. Bakersfield CA 93390. The Strategy & Tactics of World War II # 19 | AUG–SEP 2011 6 22 34 FEATURES DEPARTMENTS READER SUBMISSIONS We welcome interesting and concise stories about virtually 6 20 any aspect of military history. Tim Tow Logistics in the Western Desert: • Movers & Shakers Senior Game Developer 1941– 42 Guy Anson Maunsell Eric Harvey The story of the logistical struggle behind by Jon Cecil MAP GRAPHICS the rise and fall of the Afrikakorps. Doherty Battle of the Komandorski Islands COPY EDITORS 34 by Ken MacFarlane Jon Cecil. Dave Kazmierczak.O. effort directed at changing that. Rhineland ‘36 by Roger Mason PUBLISHER 55 Dr. Christopher Cummins 22 Observation Post ASSISTANT PUBLISHER Tarawa Was a Brawl: • Military History on Money Callie Cummins Tactical Analysis of a Pivotal Battle Too Little. CA and additional mailing offices. Box 21598. by Andrew Hind DESIGN by James I. Senior Editor. This Postmaster Send address changes to World at War. Kaufmann monthly by Decision Games. • Pure Speculation EDITOR Success came down to the bravery of The Port Chicago Blast Joseph Miranda Marines in the face of failed doctrine. All rights reserved. Periodical Class postage paid • I Remember: Anzio at Bakersfield. We value critical In 1940 the Germans used their analysis over summaries alone. at tbomba@strategyandtacticspress.J. P. excellent tactical air force for strategic 54 Contact Chris Perello at chris@christopherperello. Meridian Mapping by Joseph Miranda 62 Director of Advertising Media Reviews Richard Sherman rsherman@strategyandtacticspress.com ends. • Battle of Shanghai. 1932 World at War (©2011) reserves all rights on GAME EDITION RULES the contents of this publication. Panzer Division World at War (PE25504) is published bi- by J. by John Butterfield 4 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 .com good strategy is never an easy thing. Substituting good tactics for Game Preview Please submit all other questions or comments to our free online forum at STRATEGYandTACTICSpress.com The Hardest Days: Design Corner We also welcome Media Reviews (of any type) for Strategy Turning Points in the Battle of Britain by Joseph Miranda & Tactics and World at War magazines.

c om SO fo rp ON 16 December 1944 the “ghost front” of the First US Army in the Ardennes suddenly erupted as 20 German divisions embarked on Hitler’s le dg ON last attack in the west.com . glider and headquarters units are all fully represented.000 US Army maps. assault gun. PLAYERS may use single maps for six smaller scenarios. parachute.” which represents the channeling caused by steep gullies and ravines. trails and other types of terrain. weather and air power rules are included. • Each strength step is equal to a company. Box 21598 | Bakersfield.” which function as high ground.380 Die-Cut Playing Pieces • One Rule Booklet • One Scenario Booklet • Assorted Player Aid Charts • Two 10-sided Dice • Storage Bags GAME SCALE • Map: 1 mile per hex • Time: 3 Game Turns per day • Units: Infantry and Artillery units are battalions. THE orders of battle have also been redone to provide an accurate depiction of the armies of both sides. Most Americans believed the ei nf war against Germany would be over by Christmas. artillery and supply systems of the first edition in order to better depict tactical and operational warfare. WACHT am Rhein is a grand-tactical simulation of that enormous battle. at ! io n. recreating the fluid situation that existed in the first week. The more than 2. A massive surprise against the weakly held Ardennes sector of the American front was prepared. not the administrative formations that were discarded due to the requirements of combat. anti-tank. WACHT am Rhein CO Go to MI de ci s io ng NG am es . British. enabling units to spot more effectively for artillery. GAME COMPONENTS • 4 22x34” Four Color Mapsheets • 2. Compiled from 1944 German staff maps and 1943– 44 1:50. Extensive supply. There is also a campaign game that utilizes all four sections and portrays three weeks (50 game turns). howitzer. CA 93390-1598 | (661) 587-9633 phone | (661) 587-5031 fax | decisiongames. ranger. the last hurdle before the open country leading to Antwerp. at company and battalion levels. as well as every creek and river that couldn’t be crossed by wheeled vehicles without a bridge. armor and air power. THIS edition of Wacht am Rhein presents modifications to the combat.380 counters represent every formation. The German armies destroyed or m in France were reorganized. The four maps are an accurate representation of the region. including US. armor. Armor is depicted at the company level. they shows all roads. which fought there. Exploitation is interleaved with the opposing player’s movement. For example. rocket. French. in the face of increasing concentrations of Allied infantry. Infantry. In that one the Germans race for the Meuse. reconnaissance. along with all the towns and villages that became bastions of the American defense. engineer. an “exploitation mode” has been added in order to allow mechanized units to take advantage of breakthroughs in the enemy line. P. Units are now in the organizations within which they fought. yet Hitler was convinced it could still be decided in his favor. which provided Allied supply for the drive into Germany.O. German. Canadian and Belgian units. as well as “constricted terrain. The objective was Antwerp. Other changes include the addition of “vantage points.

6 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 .

a massive and far-ranging conflict. Erich Raeder that there developed innovative weapons and of Fighter Command believed would be no war until 1944. It seemed were under no illusions about the his inner thoughts to them. In 1939 and 1940 the wisdom about broadly sharing his its goal was correcting nearby territorial of that approach seemed validated true intentions for the war in disputes. In that logical. Europe. be limited to dealing with territorial conduct rapid attacks supporting Depression-era resources and bud- issues directly affecting Germany. There would be no need for in their belief about the potential for to win. In line with that. The anti-appeasement crowd. then. he developed centrate on devising the strategies and Unlike those German planners. by a year of continuous victory. To other tactics that met the needs of the every resource available must be commanders in the army and Luftwaffe actual early-war campaigns. The directed at preparing for an all-out he gave assurances any war would Luftwaffe was admirably suited to and sustained attack from Germany. World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 7 . in the late 1930s huge battle fleets or heavy bombers. mobile ground forces in areas close-by gets for the RAF remained tight. For example. was firm into a war Germany wasn’t prepared conflicts.The Hardest Days: Turning Points in the Battle of Britain by Roger Mason H itler was always circumspect If the war was several years away. however. and Germany. some key leaders in Britain military leaders and ostensibly telling priate for such a situation. military planners could con. while deflecting worries about getting intended for broader-ranging strategic led by Winston Churchill. though. the habit of taking aside individual weapons systems that would be appro. the German military potentially expansive nature of any way he disguised his deeper intentions concentrate on developing forces not new war. he assured his nervous naval chief German planners therefore Men like Air Marshall Hugh Dowding Grand Adm.

even as Dowding worked on developing
The Intelligence War aircraft that would be capable of suc-
cessfully defending England. Hurricane
The five keys to intelligence gathering for the British were: the Chain Home radar and Spitfire fighters were put into
system, signals intelligence, the ability to decipher the German Enigma code, examination production. One important innovation
of downed German aircraft, and the interrogation of captured German aircrew. was adding additional machineguns
The Chain Home radar system gave the British real-time tactical intelligence that would be needed to speedily knock
that allowed them to optimize their fighter deployment. While the radar’s range was down larger aircraft like a Heinkel 111
limited, the information provided by it gave the origin of the attack, its direction or Dornier 17 bomber. The Hurricane
and approximate size, thereby also providing clues to its intended target. was a rugged and steady gun platform,
The “Y” signals intercept system was based on a series of receiving stations which was perfect for attacking bomb-
that monitored German radio traffic. Data involving aircraft and unit call signs ers. The Spitfire was fast and was a
were analyzed against other intelligence sources. Those data, along with raw match for the German Me-109 fighter.
encrypted messages, were passed to the code breakers at Bletchley Park. Even Effort was also put into to the
Fighter Command and Air Marshall Dowding weren’t initially given access to development and survivability of
Enigma intelligence, but by the end of the campaign that had changed. command and control systems. Even
Because the battle was fought over England, nearly all crashed German as the first early warning radars were
aircraft landed in what was for them enemy territory. The wrecks were carefully installed, Dowding insisted com-
examined for whatever intelligence they might yield. Likewise, German crews who munications and power lines to that
bailed out were usually captured on landing. The only exceptions being some men system’s various command and control
and aircraft that crashed in the more distant parts of the Channel and North Sea. centers all be laid underground.
The Germans had no such advantages. On their air staff, intelligence was Hitler believed his 1940 invasion of
under the Operations Staff and was known as Abteilung V. That unit’s preliminary France, while risky, would ultimately be
intelligence estimate of British air defenses was completed in July 1940: almost all successful; however, no one, not even he,
of its conclusions were faulty. It minimized the capabilities and quantity of existing could’ve predicted just how successful
RAF fighters while also greatly underestimating the rate of fighter production. The that attack would be. In six weeks the
Germans therefore expected the RAF to quickly run out of fighters. Further, the same Germans were on the Channel, while
report described the British radar system as “inflexible” and “ineffective.” the British ground force was effectively
Correspondingly, neither were the Germans able to use their Freya mobile radar toothless after the Dunkirk evacuation.
system to gather much information about the RAF. They were at times able, by collecting Both sides’ generals and admirals
“shadows” from Chain Home radar transmissions, to spot RAF squadrons as they took off. realized command of the airspace over
Only a handful of British pilots fell into German hands. The Luftwaffe had gathered some the Channel and southern England was
intelligence on Fighter Command before the war, and their airfield strikes were based on that mandatory to stop decisive intervention
information. Unfortunately for them, many squadrons had since been moved and the Germans by the British fleet against any amphibi-
therefore repeatedly bombed airfields that were only being used as emergency landing strips. ous invasion. The first step to being
The British also conducted several deception operations. Dummy radio stations were able to launch any invasion therefore
set up to transmit simulated radar transmissions and radio traffic in case a Sector Control lay in destroying the RAF. The differ-
or Chain Home station was damaged. That led to the false impression among the Germans ence between the British and German
those facilities couldn’t be destroyed by bombing. The British also placed fake battle appreciations of the situation came
damage and dynamited some empty buildings on their airfields. That fooled the Germans from the fact the latter’s successes in
into believing the bombing campaign was having a serious impact on British operations, the war up to that time had been based
and led them to the mistaken belief in early September that the RAF was finished. Overall, on tactical and operational innovations
then, the British clearly won the intelligence battle from July to September 1940.  ★ related to ground warfare. The Germans
had given little thought to what a
strategic air campaign would be like.
After three weeks of assessing the
new strategic potentials inherent in the
surrender of France, Hitler was ready for
his next move. On 30 June 1940 a new
directive was issued, under the hand of
Luftwaffe chief Hermann Goering, for
an air war against Britain. That gave little
time for planning and preparation.
It was followed on 1 August by a directive
(No. 17) from Hitler himself, which
defined the mission of the Luftwaffe as
being to intensify operations against
England to the point that nation’s
ultimate defeat would be assured. Targets
would be aircraft units and their support
organizations, aircraft production facili-
A German ties and, more generally, the entire British
Enigma defense industry. Secondary targets
machine
would be shipping and ports, in order
to cut the import of food and supplies.

8 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011

Those were sound strategic objec- but they were only used to watch The British quickly formed a good
tives. The problem was such a campaign for convoy traffic in the Channel. idea of what was coming. The Luftwaffe’s
would, given the tactical nature of the On 1 August the Germans conducted “Yellow Code” had been cracked in
Luftwaffe, have to be based on impro- small raids and reconnaissance flights the early spring by the cryptanalysts
visation and luck. The British had for against targets from Scotland south to at Bletchley Park (see sidebar). The
several years correctly estimated Hitler’s the Channel ports. RAF fighters remained Germans made a change to a new
deeper intentions and objectives con- scarce. The Germans also attempted to “Red Code” in April that resulted in
cerning their country. They had therefore influence public opinion by dropping a temporary decryption blackout,
prepared to defeat just such a campaign. leaflets containing Hitler’s latest speech but by late May the British were
to the Reichstag, which offered the British again reading German messages.
10 July – 7 August: terms for an armistice. That morning Dowding determined the RAF didn’t
Shadow Boxing Goering called his commanders to have to decisively beat the Luftwaffe
Amsterdam for consultations. He wanted to win the coming campaign. The
German staff officers began drawing to know what the enemy was doing: was important thing was to preserve an
up detailed plans for the invasion of withholding fighters a calculated tactic or effective fighter force that would be
England, codenamed Operation Sea were the British low on pilots and planes? available if the Germans launched
Lion. Preliminary discussions were held Goering also outlined what he called an invasion. The RAF therefore didn’t
between the navy and army. Hitler was his “bull’s eye strategy.” The Luftwaffe take the bait of the early attacks on the
told it would take a minimum of five would begin the campaign by launching Channel ports and sites in southern
weeks to collect and retrofit enough attacks against targets 90 to 125 miles England. From the German viewpoint
barges and other watercraft to move from the center of London. Each week the situation remained vague and
the required ground force across the the goal would be to destroy 100 RAF British capabilities uncertain. Goring
Channel. While the army and navy fighters, and the targeting ring would therefore decided to step up operations.
prepared, the goal of achieving air supe- also be tightened around London. As
riority was turned over to the Luftwaffe. the targeting grew closer to London, the 5 August – 6 September:
Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering British government would be compelled Destroy Fighter Command
ordered preliminary probes against the to negotiate in order to avoid what
RAF defense system. British fighters today would be called “socio-political British intelligence could see
seemed to be scarce except for patrols collapse.” At the same time, some 400 to the Germans were making invasion
over ships in the Channel. Luftwaffe 500 British fighters would be destroyed preparations. Photoreconnaissance
unit commanders were told to get during the tightening process. By then flights showed coastal craft and
their aircrews familiar with that coast the invasion force would be ready and barges being readied. Bletchley Park
and the interior of southern England Sea Lion could be launched, if indeed noted the acceleration of German radio
just beyond it. German mobile radar it were still necessary. The five-week traffic directing units to the coast.
units were moved to the French coast, plan would be started on 8 August. continued on page 12 »

World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 9

Chain Home Radar & RAF Fighter Control

In the early 1930s visionaries like Hugh Dowding replied he wouldn’t support any such often portray elderly English spinsters with
Dowding recognized the RAF had no effective development until he’d seen a successful test. field glasses patiently counting German
countermeasure to use against high altitude A test was set up in which an RAF bomber was bombers as they roar overhead toward
heavy bombers. Some suggested the answer flown back and forth while being successfully London. That simplistic representation
was an H.G. Wells-type “death ray.” Early tracked by RDF. Dowding approved the new masks the true workings of the system. By
experiments soon validated the mainstream system, which was codenamed Chain Home. the start of the Battle of Britain over 30,000
belief such a weapon was impossible with the The system consisted of a series of 360-foot observers were in place and organized into
technologies then available. Those experiments fixed towers with wire strung among them. groups covering all England. They tracked
did, however, yield one interesting result: the It could determine: range, bearing, formation enemy aircraft, confirmed kills and provided
radio waves beamed at test aircraft bounced off size and altitude. Altitude remained the most post-raid information on enemy flight paths.
their surfaces and, by being continuously recol- problematic factor throughout the Battle of The OC members wore RAF overalls known
lected and analyzed, could be used to reveal Britain, in that atmospheric conditions could as “boiler suits,” and standard “soup plate”
those planes’ location, elevation and direction. alter those readings. RAF fighter pilots soon steel helmets with the letters “O.C.” stenciled
Robert Watson-Watt and his staff at the learned to always add several thousand on the front. Each observation post had a
National Physical Laboratory then began work- feet to any radar intercept vector given to telephone wired for direct contact with Fighter
ing on a dependable system for spotting aircraft them in order to be sure they didn’t arrive Command headquarters at Bentley Priory and
using radio waves. That system was called beneath the plotted enemy aircraft. the closest Sector Control. The system was
“R.D.F.” for “Radio Direction and Finding.” The Another challenge was the radar’s range. at once large, simple, robust and effective.
Germans were also working on RDF technology, The first RDF systems had a 50-mile range, When an incoming attack was detected,
but their systems were at first intended only which was then gradually increased to 120. That that Chain Home station’s tracking team
for use by warships. An early version of their allowed Fighter Command to “see” into occupied contacted Fighter Command, where the hostile
naval Wurzburg targeting radar was fortu- France and watch as the German formations contact was plotted on a large map. That
itously recovered by British intelligence from actually took off. In addition to maximum range, information was telephoned to the Fighter
the scuttled battlecruiser Graf Spee in 1939. the radar had a minimum range as well. As Group nearest the attack. The information was
The design for the first British radar aircraft crossed the English coast they became also phoned to the relevant Sector Control.
system was developed by Arnold Wilkins, who too close for Chain Home to continue to monitor. Sector Controls were individual air defense
reported his findings to Watson-Watt. He in That led to the redeployment of the Observer sectors responsible for fixed defenses like
turn advised Dowding that RDF worked. He then Corps, which had first been established to barrage balloons and anti-aircraft artillery
further requested 10,000 pounds to establish report Zeppelin raids during World War I. as well as fighter squadrons. Sector Controls
such a system to protect all of England. In that regard, popular fiction and movies coordinated local air defenses and in turn

10 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011

” Reports from the ground observers. When attacks in August did threaten to collapse the system. let alone completely. That proved a costly error. As RAF squadrons scrambled. That allowed other nearby sector controllers to take over if the primary Sector Control station was destroyed or knocked off line.F. As each battle progressed. RAF fighters carried a transponder that identified them as RAF aircraft. Faulty German intelligence estimates had convinced Goering the system wasn’t worth the effort to destroy it. That was known as “I. The Chain Home system supported by Sector Control was never even temporarily.  ★ World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 11 . destroyed.F. Friend or Foe.” or “Identification. That information was sent back up the chain to the Group Commands and Fighter Command. and direction finding stations kept Sector Controls informed of the progress and location of each battle as it moved inland. Fighter Command was always ready to order in squadrons from neighboring groups if the primary squadrons required reinforcement. their flight paths were tracked by direction finding stations. the Germans switched strategies due to the lack of visible results. It was also broadcast to all sectors to help them track the course of the battle. Thereafter they simply ignored the tall towers along the English coast.transmitted the orders of the Group Commander. RAF pilots.

The Germans were only able to destroy a handful of British aircraft on the ground. The Chain Home radar system gave the British warning of incoming attacks. the British employed transmitting. After each fight the RAF pilots could land and standby until the next attack.m. The Germans also had the Me-109 effort for the morning of 12 August. they had three medium bombers: the Junkers 88. To the Germans there a tactic called the “big wing. August at 8:30 a.” Those twin-engine aircraft carried two-man crews and were better armed than started. When the German fighter escorts turned for home. while the Me-109s Trials Wing 210) was readied. The Chain Home with only some small raids and some That afternoon a second convoy off system detected some 50 hostile aircraft reconnaissance flights. but there seemed to be no fewer Spitfires To protect those bombers the Germans had large numbers of Me-110 “heavy fight. The Germans didn’t have a heavy planners estimated were needed weekly bomber. A special unit called The initial German strategy was to use Stukas to hit pinpoint targets. but the window of opportunity for the Luftwaffe had closed. when the Luftwaffe concentrated on London. That meant many of the smaller attacks got through. Supermarine Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane. Fighter on Thursday the 8th when an inbound attacks. Due to their range limits. and later in Russia. The lull ended Bournemouth was hit by five similar on route to the Dover area. The Germans launched the Germans occurred on Monday. for a total loss of 17 aircraft. Engaging in midair melees with the RAF rarely accomplished anything decisive other than using up fuel. bomb. the Hurricanes attacked. of fighters. and Hurricanes than when they’d ers. and reserves had to be constantly kept back in case a mas- sive raid followed. The attacks on the con- the Dornier 17. 5 August 6 and 7 were relatively quiet. The medium Erprobungsgruppe 210 (Operational bomber formations would be protected by close-in Me-110 escorts. It was a high-performance interceptor armed with 20mm cannon. and scheduled a major the nose as well as one rear-facing machinegun. The fighting continued throughout Tactics the week. German fighters had a maximum of 20 minutes flying time once they crossed the British coast. That reduced those planes’ comparative performance from that of a racehorse to that of a plow horse The tipping point came in late August. The Spitfire was the faster of the two and The idea was those aircraft would a great air superiority fighter.  ★ 12 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . France. Their bombers had longer range. and the British also built concrete revetments for their aircraft and dispersed them around the airfields. had anticipated for the Spitfires and the Hurricanes. As the campaign progressed. The Me-110 had two 20mm cannon and four machineguns in a knockout blow. When German fighter sweeps appeared the British pulled back. but were slower. Wight escorted by several squadrons The first significant aerial action by The Germans then withdrew. The most effective tactic the Germans came up with was to simultaneously send small formations of bombers and fighters to many targets. Dowding therefore knew the RAF would survive and there could thus be no invasion. Fighter Command’s numbers remained stable. In Poland. capable of broadcasting simulated radar Dowding’s strategy was to avoid all fighting that wasn’t directed at destroying German transmissions and radio traffic were bombers. they had to stay close to the bombers pared a deception plan. The big wings were awkward to organize and employ. leaving the M-109s standing by and immediately began with no one to fight.” that approach could never be decisive in crippling the RAF. The attackers to a minimum. however. In addition they had the Ju-87 Stuka. The Sector Control and Chain Home radar precision strikes. One of the worst German tactics was forcing Me-109 fighters to carry a single 500 lb. the Me-110s fell victim in nearly every The Germans then waited to see engagement due to their lack of speed and maneuverability. simply too slow to operate in that kind of battle environment. but they hadn’t For the Battle of Britain the Germans and the British developed tactics suited to destroyed the 100 British fighters their their respective strategies and aircraft inventories. which had been a highly effective voys had brought out Fighter Command. Their targets were systems meant the amount of time patrolling and watching for enemy formations was cut the British radar towers. Later. three successive attacks of 100 planes. however.” whereby six or more squadrons would intercept an incoming bomber formation. That limited losses due to nearby explosions. Such efforts were hard for the British to track. The fighting continued into the new year. but they were instantly and deeply demoralizing to Luftwaffe pilots who’d been told Fighter Command was finished. tactical dive bomber against the Poles and the French during the previous year. While horrifying for the helpless civilians who lived through the “Blitz. had been modified along with some The British had two fighter types making up the bulk of their aircraft arsenal. successfully hit several of them.» continued from page 9 Spitfires and Hurricanes to intercept. The Me-109s were therefore seldom free to attacks against their radar and had pre- conduct the massive sweeps they’d planned. the Me109s to carry small bomb loads. Dummy stations and help fight off the combination attacks from the Hurricanes and Spitfires. It could deal with German fighter escorts. when Hitler ordered the switch from targeting airfields to going after cities. fighter. thereby protecting approach at low altitude and make the Hurricanes as they went after the bombers. The Stukas were if the overall system would fail. Me110s conducted free-range sweeps with large formations to destroy enemy fighters. the Heinkel 111 and to crush the RAF. The Germans were enduring mounting losses. great numbers of Allied aircraft were destroyed while parked on their airfields. Goering decided it was time for single-engine machines. proving easy targets The British. Fighter Command responded by Group 11 sortied four squadrons of merchant convoy passed the Isle of launching over 600 fighters and patrol planes.

The problem was all and convoys. He designated that day as Adlertag and several attacks went ahead. continued on page 15 » World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 13 . 13th. Spotty conducted raids of 150 to 200 aircraft Goering decided the next three days weather resulted in numerous sortie against RAF airfields. Preliminary estimates indicated the day (Eagle Day). and Hawkinge were heavily damaged. The airfields at Manston attacks starting on the morning of the units didn’t receive the abort code. The goal was to strike a resulting in scattered and disjointed had been successful for the Germans decisive blow against Fighter Command. even though there’d been no discernable The morning of Eagle Day didn’t Throughout the day the Germans impact from the radar station attacks.seemed to be no break in radar service. begin well for the Germans. Channel ports would see a concentrated series of cancellations.

weren’t allowed to be transmitted or repeated.000 a ticking noise when operating. and intelligence was strictly limited. the code breaking capitol of the Allied world. (rotors) powered by dry-cell batteries. the Germans often aided manual decoding paper after the recipient read them. device. The Bombes then disproved every 12. Such a complex system of nature. Liaison Unit Officers” who delivered the messages hired. When the cryptanalysts were methods. Eisenhower said Ultra was “decisive” in of the alphabet as its operator typed each Enigma. Chess champions and crossword intelligence received through those intercepts and information was distributed. Switzerland.Code Breaking at Bletchley Park When war with Germany became imminent in a total of 150 billion possible substitutions. The task would be daunting: the German The code breakers called successful guesses Those who actually did the decoding were military sent over 3.). by V-E Day. By the beginning of 1944 that number There were many versions of the Enigma. the Lorenz Cipher. by 1943 proving able to grounds and a lake with ducks.” because it made that laid the golden eggs and never cackled. there was always puzzle experts to become cryptanalysts.” since it was the 10th intercept station set process too complicated to solve entirely by manual ter planes. Gordon reveal their work.” Victorian estate. in the town of between their various headquarters and units in the the world’s first programmable computer. That estate was on the British coast. the code breakers could sometimes community was required to sign the Official Union in Bern. ultimately. would decode the message the Colossus machines because of their top-secret Intelligence Service (SIS). to attack Bletchley about 50 miles northwest of London.”) It was first exhibited at the knowledge no letter could be enciphered Everyone in the Bletchley Park intelligence the 1923 Congress of the International Postal as itself. Act II. the work typewriter but without keys for numerals or The Bombes. The “Special up by the British. It’s since been estimated the letter of a message on the keyboard. Yet. Tommy 1938. Churchill ordered the destruction of Code and Cipher School (GCCS) and the Security previous arrangement. A plaque quoting back into plaintext. like “Heil Hitler” or “please respond. then designed an electronic “Colossus. One has since been rebuilt at the Bletchley Shakespeare (Henry V.  ★ the letters A to Z were printed.” Routine weather never allowed to see the larger picture of what Dr. the British government purchased a 60-acre The Germans sent the encoded messages Flowers.000 such signals a day. thousands of potential security leaks. Messages an “unbreakable machine. reports often provided excellent cribs. Throughout the war provided (26x26x26) for 17. The code breakers nicknamed the German were also reset between the letters. field by Morse code. not even their families. The leading cryptanalysts Alan Turing. letter substitution appeared to be unbreakable. and was intended for identify a corresponding cipher text fragment. Bletchley Park. Arthur Scherbius. Such methods did.576 possible start a teletype — a device that allowed conversation the Germans remained unaware their Enigma states. while their higher headquarters used a winning the war. etc. via high altitude fly-over photography. but the German design an electro-mechanical device they anach. Dwight That arrangement changed the 26 letters German units in the field primarily used the D. Secret’s Act. The subsequent decodings became known as Ultra.) sion’s entrance hall cites Bletchley Park’s mission and in 1939 the Poles provided the French and British The number of persons allowed to receive Ultra accomplishment: “The King hath note of all that they with two reconstructed Enigma machines. by interception which they dream not of. With a probable plaintext fragment. They connected Only 120 people started at Bletchley Park Enigma machines throughout World War II. they didn’t know their mission would be to mon phrases. they weren’t allowed to tell anyone the “enigma” comes from the Greek ainigma. but Park Museum based on original design schematics. a German engineer.” The Wehrmacht would use a total of 40. but schematic (“menu”) based on cribs previously deter. the standard machine had a keyboard containing mined manually. Scene II) in the man. When linguists. done at Bletchley Park remained unknown punctuation. Almost 2.” — Annie Laura Smith Bletchley Park mansion Alan Turing The working rebuilt bombe 14 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . spies on the ground.000. despite all those letters in the pattern of a normal “QWERTY” incorrect setting and determined potential settings. Allied supreme commander Gen. and nature of their work. lauding their businesses were interested. the Enigma rotor wiring to the Bombes using a in 1939. with the three-rotor set up therefore coded messages. however.” from that start Bletchley Park went on to become the source of the intercepts were never allowed The Foreign Office sought mathematicians. RAF technicians staffed those locations. ronistically dubbed “the Bombe.000 worked there. a cover story as to how it had been obtained (for intelligence center became known as “Station The code breakers found the Enigma coding example. The original different machine. identify com. and 10 cables circuits. had increased to 7. The The site included a gabled mansion with spacious recorded at intercept locations (“Y Stations”) located Colossus was successful. at plaintext messages “cribs. The in areas where they might be captured. When a movable ring was reset on which in printed form over telephone lines — and fixed and Lorenz codes had been broken.” and called its coded output “Fish. “to speak in riddles. there were teletype “Tunny. Those dots and dashes were the even more complex Lorenz machine code. while captured they were doing (“compartmentalization”). Churchill later expressed pride rity for their telegrams. The larger Lorenz machine required end by at least two years.” to Allied commanders destroyed the sheets of break the codes of what had been advertised as Further. meaning on. The machine contained a scrambler ran 24 hours a day.000 Women’s Royal until Frederick Winterbotham’s (authorized) system of electrically connected revolving drums Navy Service (WRENS) personnel and over 200 publication of The Ultra Secret in 1974. (The word codebooks also provided help as the war went Similarly. As it turned out few Welchman and their team — then managed to in the success of the code breakers. set up the same way as the sender’s by (At war’s end. Those who knew intend. The intended recipient’s Enigma handle thousands of daily intercepted messages. One of Turing’s team members. to produce their work of the code breakers hastened the war’s Enigma. which gave their oath to never traveling businessmen to use to provide secu. to be the secret headquarters for the Government machine. located in outstation locations. dedication and secrecy by calling them “the geese military quickly took notice of the device’s potential. spot- X.” the German Enigma by sending those expressions in plaintext. had invented the Enigma in 1922.

Luftwaffe maximum effort by Luftflotte II. but all pilots were attacks on the Channel ports and and Fighter Command was stretched recovered. the correspond. Due to the extreme range. that henceforth all efforts would be aircraft were destroyed. aircraft and 216 pilots. but scattered The Luftwaffe had lost 75 aircraft with August 24 was another day of cloud cover still made overall bombing few pilots or aircrews saved. by the evening of the sabotaging newly made engines. including the reserve. along increase.» continued from page 13 Lots of unconnected real estate and pri. had also been kept to a minimum. hit RAF fields all over southern England. It sent in results inaccurate. at Group 11 headquarters to watch the German losses were starting ing wisdom was Fighter Command battle unfold. In August they lost 774 had its hands full trying to stop the were committed. including two August 15 wasn’t much better for directed against airfields and aircraft fighters lost to friendly fire. “hardest day” for Fighter Command. Fighter Command was surviving. however. The results for the Germans convoys a “waste. All of that group’s aircraft to climb. 18th the tally was 228 Spitfires and Another factor in the German attri- World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 15 . the British had 245 Spitfires and 341 in aircraft plants in Germany were By that evening it was clear Eagle Day Hurricanes. three pilots. Churchill sat five German cities including Berlin. In the intense combat 20 were therefore much less than decisive. therefore more successful. The prevail. but the 18th became known as the London dock district. causing civilian moderate damage to the airfields. nighttime retaliatory attacks against The Germans intended it to draw off The British lost 22 aircraft.” a variety of attacks using some 200 air- were damaged. The news convoy attacks across southern England were pounded. The afternoon attacks were with a majority of the pilots recovered. The raiders hit some of the same factories. and had At the end of the day one statistic to engine failure on take off.” a significant number of accidents due had anticipated such a move. Southern airfields were hit again. a total of 13 aircraft. Two RAF airfields pilots called it “Black Thursday. stood out above all others: on 1 August growing suspicion foreign workers The bomber force was decimated. Fighter Command lost Goring responded by declaring craft. and many German aircraft with civilian casualties. Only four Dowding. Heinkels followed the course of the RAF personnel were killed. The next day Churchill An attack headed toward Edinburgh Starting at noon. Most of those southern attacks and wouldn’t be able It was on the way home from watching losses were from fighter attacks. That was an overall operations. The bombers overshot their target were inaccurate. The attacks on the airfields airfields was a great concern. The RAF had lost 34 aircraft. hundreds of attacks and his War Cabinet met and ordered was picked up by Fighter Command. including ing decision to concentrate against Thames to bomb some oil terminals. losses of RAF pilots By the afternoon the weather repaired. August 16 and 17 were relatively and instead mistakenly struck the tion to surrounding pastures but only quiet. had generated greater hype than results. Pilot to respond. airfields in southern England and would cease was encouraging to That night a small flight of bombed the Channel ports. resulting in devasta. The British responded vate buildings had been destroyed. the epic battle that Churchill uttered and aircrew losses were also rising. Besides the were destroyed or damaged. 396 Hurricanes.” and ordered to the limit. with just a slight decrease quickly. Dowding much owed to so few by so many. RAF airfields them. the 72 He-111s of KG26 were coming his now famous phrase: “Never was so Squadron commanders were reporting unescorted from Stavanger. but the damage was being material totals. casualties. had been hit. defenders from the south. Some airfields in Spitfire strength. There was Group 12 rested and ready to meet it. improved.

The large number of aircraft put it all together to mean the British required to defend that shipping were weakening and their radar had The affect of Bomber Command’s invited massive air battles. 29th he returned to Berlin. the airbases of Group machineguns. He’d been at his home at pilots’ survival rate was excellent. however. late or out of position. attacks ing to move in the Luftwaffe’s direction. In his view lost due to drowning in the cold water. having been German quota of 100 British fighters tude often meant the defenders arrived moved by the bombing of the German 16 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . The Me-109s were Attacks on the Chain Home tow.303 Germans were therefore increasingly control. problem with the radar was estimating those raids were an important political In battles fought over land the British the altitude of tracked attacks. The logical inaccuracy in determining alti. Even so. but the techno. interpreted as systemic and material well armed with 20mm cannon. on the radar system seemed to have British loses were also climbing. but ers had caused damage and some weakness was actually a continuing the British were using incendiary temporary loss of coverage. though. The struggle to achieve effective command- ammunition in their Browning . What Goering used by the RAF. The Blitz be limited. moni- aircraft production for Spitfires and to nearly every attack. From the barely functional. and Command had dispatched interceptors Berchtesgaden since 17 August. On the Hurricanes was exceeding losses. friendly airspace before crashing. toring the campaign from there.tion rate was the type of ammunition a week was still not being met. German aircraft that able to surprise Fighter Command and 11 were becoming badly damaged and were hit therefore tended to catch strike targets unopposed. Momentum was start- fire and were rarely able to return to German perspective. and most actually been of little use from the start. Goering. Fighter development. retaliatory strikes against German cities of the pilots shot down in them were For Fighter Command the biggest struck home with Hitler. no effect due to the aforementioned 7 September – 5 October: Dowding asked that Channel convoys deception operation.

Fighter Command had won. Civilian casualties came from the simple fact the British for close air support. The Fighter Command defenses primary target: attacks would switch Dowding was distressed over the civilian were robust. against fighter attack. The RAF kept control of the They’d therefore produced aircraft pilots were recovered and new produc.m. Supermarine factory in Southhampton. While not From Enigma intercepts the bombing became prohibitive due the most agile fighter of World War II. dependable. The fighting Conclusion were never able to force the RAF past the was intense. squadrons of Group 12 were committed. to Fighter Command’s advantage. Command was losing aircraft. At Spitfire production. Fighter ineffectively night-bombing British to prepare for a limited territorial war. the Germans attacks on London all night. with each component from airfields and factories to that losses. After three months of combat. Fighter Command knew September 27 brought a small victory and deadly against German bombers. The Luftwaffe pilots were pared for the mobile ground warfare of their fighters limited escort protection World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 17 . intended for close air support of mobile tion kept operational aircraft levels with. by about 250 to 200.cities to declare the time had come to facing hundreds of RAF fighters during the Blitzkrieg. it would be a big day. Even so. which were nearly impos. The majority of British direct the attack against London. the rest of the system On the morning of 7 September. Spitfire performance about 4:00 p. From 4:30 to 6:30 indefinitely postpone Operation Sea German fighter. Battle of Britain evolved into a stalemate fight anything like the Battle of Britain. however. Goering moved his headquarters in the German bombers dropped with The aircraft of Fighter Command his private train to the French coast. The British hadn’t pre. at London. All of Group 11 and five tipping point of irreplaceable losses. especially during the were prepared for the battle while the bomber. over 350 bombers struck targets in Lion. The rest of the month saw the con. Daytime interceptors were Hurricanes. British concentrated on the production southern England. it British were informed as to what was to the heavy sustained losses. overlapping the next. Germans weren’t. That was followed by of those two aircraft types. were called to fly. were well suited for the missions they He wanted to be in place to personally but so did their bombing accu. the Ju-87 Stuka dive were mounting. During the Germans to make the first move. with the Luftwaffe legendarily but Their Luftwaffe generals had been told stant night bombing of London. the Germans knocked out part of the he also moved back the invasion Attacks on airfields lessened as Chain Home radar system or a Sector launch-date from 15 to 21 September. That prevented population center. To give more time tum of the fighting had again turned sudden catastrophic failure. land. The short range of sible to stop. racy (never great to begin). but he recognized the momen. but most cities. the Me-109. the move to nighttime bombing. the daytime raids. was rugged. they waited for for the Luftwaffe when a raid hit the The Spitfire was less plentiful. and Fighter an air defense struggle over their home- He selected London as the new Command remained far from defeated. daytime airspace over England. radar reported another the end of the month Hitler had to equaled or exceeded that of the best large enemy contact. Their star plane in acceptable limits. When for that change to work its effect. more and more effort was directed Control center. Because the p. easy to build happening. The first cause of that German defeat warfare near Germany. the three-month battle the total number Mid-morning a group of 70 bombers resulting in the temporary halt of of operational Spitfires varied from attacked two airfields in the south.m. was slow and nearly defenseless night raids. The high attrition rate of was able to cover the temporary loss. the The Germans weren’t prepared to Twenty-seven RAF aircraft were lost. but they were prepared for finally and fully break the British.

civilian losses went given to actually analyze and evaluate of the fighting. the Germans who became demoralized. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. S. efforts against results. ized and then lost their will to resist. determined to see the conflict through. played to that service’s strengths and Over the course of the campaign the advantages. Washington. British were far from defeated. 2000. 1996. He also the earlier campaigns against France. over 600 RAF fighters the pilots of which lay in the minds and intuition of That demonstrated the inability of proved both capable and determined. which often led to poor choices. German Yet another significant difference were realizing results from their attacks bomber formations were faced with between the Luftwaffe and the RAF on the airfields. like battle. New York: Alfred A. those nations’ Churchill. then. their leaders. 2005. Their Finest Hour. intervention by Goering and Hitler. with little effort already as good as defeated at the start to night attacks.and exposed their bombers to repeated Germans ended up lurching from crews had been assured the RAF was attack. The Most Dangerous Enemy. New York: Shoemaker & Hoard. 1993. bomb Instead of the British. W. Montgomery. Lund. 1933 –1945. Just when they raids of mid-September. The prime minister Hitler placed on concentrating on Sources therefore watched the battle unfold defeating the will of his opponents. W. London: Aurum Press. The Battle of Britain: The German Perspective. 1949. P. London at War. DC: US Government Printing Office. from having to fight a mobile ground Ziegler. E. high commands and Fisher. supporting that critical morale factor. requiring fighters to carry a 500 lb.  ✪ group leaders were competent and The crucial fact was the importance prepared for battle. 1995. The Luftwaffe was victim to frequent The British. Knopf. D. During the daylight up but bombing accuracy dropped. but it was discarded when Hitler’s Britain was controlled by the RAF and desire to punish the British took over. it was that robbed them of speed and agility. AL: USAF War College. The Germans started with a workable The overall course of the Battle of plan. Strategy for Defeat: The Luftwaffe. As the Germans transitioned objective to objective. He concentrated his personal efforts on citizenry had rapidly become demoral. governments. In Bungay. but didn’t interfere with it. The Luftwaffe pilots and 18 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . they changed tactics. spared by geography Murray. Churchill recognized Hitler and Goering to make patient and It was therefore soon clear to all the Dowding and his Fighter Command rational decisions based on factual data. A Summer Bright and Terrible. hadn’t fallen into that trap. understood the British people were Belgium and Holland.

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the British had to across the map from area to area. The random event rule While the Germans had dismissed many of the original actions were brings in an added dimension in that it that concept in the 1930s. That was can make decisions that model the There are also purely random in part because of the limited military real command-control advantages the events that model the chaotic factors intelligence available to both sides.” or at various gain control of the skies over England intelligence programs. British had in the original campaign. There are two reasons the had a better view of the “big picture. They can be game a historical look. So the British altitudes.” having the player actively command erations. such as the process of moving them of RAF control rooms. Board. from their various signals “ready. Of course. is there insofar as certain random situations automatically make far as they had set up radar and ground events can vary the tactical situation. solitaire design comes from the fact change quickly. Some military One part of that edge was tactical. Altitude was an important in 1940. There were Luftwaffe such as bombing and escort. Their actions. such as if Luftwaffe fighters Both the RAF and Luftwaffe high com. The player missions or are escorting the bombers. inso. such as the Tote that did much to encourage those modeled by simple game sub-systems. of air warfare. Variable Luftwaffe decision-making solitaire simulation. It all adds up to a tense game of directions and an enemy who changed result. You have to campaign in which the Royal Air picture of aerial intruders. or there may tions about the efficacy of strategic opportunity to make errors that can have been navigational errors. or the airpower. put players into the spirit of the situa- deal with air raids coming from various The rules tend to be procedural as a tion. Days. for a good solitaire game. are deliberately reminiscent nations’ governments to capitulate. a purpose-designed came to the overall intelligence war. The British given a specific rule. Raiders may not have The Germans also had misconcep. Every possibility for the enemy aerial conflict in which you can win his targeting strategy several times over force has to be thought through and or lose the war in a few days. The player can’t Butterfield’s The Hardest did. out what the other was up to. the experi. it also means he has the formed up correctly. the Royal Air Force while the game are conducting independent sweep mands had a difficult time fully figuring system runs the Luftwaffe. linear: Luftwaffe intruders moved along prevents the player from reducing the ence of the campaigns of 1939 and predetermined paths to targets and situation to one that can be gotten at 1940 then seemed to give it renewed then returned home.” “scrambling. purely through quantitative thinking. have the edge when it make decisions for the other side.Design Corner Joseph Miranda The Hardest Days T his issue’s wargame is John the course of the campaign. which There are some unique aspects to those is the Battle of Britain. the air gave them an adequate and timely air warfare modeled here. There had been a prewar be disastrous in the course of play. theory postulating civilian morale Another thing that facilitates this as always in air warfare. Another part manage RAF squadrons: they can be Force defeated the Luftwaffe’s bid to was strategic. so it’s in the campaign works well in that way.  ✪ 20 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . That’s reflected in the game by game. credence. Those features On the other side. weather can would crack under sustained bombing. enemy has more effective tactics and. There are other tactical consid- One of those factors is “fog of war. however.” tactical consideration. are cut A couple features that give the raids on Warsaw and Rotterdam and dried at this scale. One of observer stations in advance.

and fighter groups protecting those bombers Decision Games and attacking British fighter squadrons. Each one-day scenario represents up to 14 hours during All prices include postage for first class or airmail shipping. is a To purchase the game that covers the battles featured in purpose-designed solitaire wargame of intermediate complexity this issue send your name and address along with: covering five critical days in the Battle of Britain. responding to air raids $38 Overseas Customers launched by the Luftwaffe.The Hardest Days The Hardest Days (THD). Bakersfield. CA 93390 The game system controls German strategy and tactics. defended by the squadrons of RAF Fighter Command. You use your fighter squadrons to respond to the raids in an attempt to destroy or turn back the raiders and prevent their effective bombing of their targets. The German goal is ATTN: WaW Game Offer twofold: inflict damage on targets and destroy squadrons to gain PO Box 21598 air superiority in preparation for the invasion of England. which the Luftwaffe launches raids against targets in southern CA residents add $1. England. while minimizing your own fighter losses. attempting to Send to: hit specific targets. the five days that saw the heaviest air action in the sky over England in the summer of $30 US Customers 1940. designed by John Butterfield. Detail of the The Hardest Days map . Each of those days is presented as its own scenario. which is controlled by the game system. German raids include bomber Gruppen (groups). THD puts $36 Canadian Customers you in control of British Fighter Command.98 sales tax.

Tarawa Was a Brawl: Tactical Analysis of a Pivotal Battle by James I. 22 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . Marino A Marine fires on a Japanese pillbox.

and he drew up a set of gunfire support. the Department authorized in General the bridgehead. and each of them had to have eventual US success in that fight made mission in wartime would be to clear-cut solutions coordinated it appear our amphibious doctrine serve the fleet by seizing bases. suggested a “Fleet particular feature of that type of oper. before and after the first Marines deployment. 4) artillery personnel. that first battle of the Central Pacific was to prepare a detailed manual Command relations required a “atoll war. and thus The result was the Tentative that might impact decision-making. use of fire-control parties consisting Marine Force” be created. concentration was and provide practical solutions went ashore. Gen. Naval gunfire support had to be The year 1933 was the crucial turn. Each component was seen fighting between two dedicated. It broke communication between ship and warfare. The key problem indeed. Tarawa. was the underlying reason we established at the Marine Corps and solution for each component succeeded in capturing the island. it was actually for landing operations. Along that line. The next step was summarized as follows. and 6) logistics. It had to take despite the failures and weaknesses there to assemble that document. each representing a That was to be achieved through the commandant. A concise chain of shifted to training for amphibious for all its many problems. Manual for Landing Operations. 2) naval of naval personnel and Marine was accepted. His idea ation: 1) command relations. That general order committed the to have unique problems within relentless and ruthless forces.T arawa was a deadly brawl.” however. Classes were clear chain of command within and the training and determination of halted at Quantico on 14 November between the landing force and the individual Marines that won through. By 1934 the new curriculum was landing forces. The manual attempted to take heaviest when the actual landing ing point for the USMC in the pre-war the most complicated and difficult operation was most vulnerable: just era. into consideration service rivalries of our amphibious doctrine. saved that doctrine from discredit. nastiest kind of close-quarter Order No. With the end of its Nicaraguan military task. between the involved naval and was already firmly established and. 1934 in order for the entire staff naval support group. 241 on 8 December 1933. The Marines to the idea their paramount it. amphibious assault. 5) securing continued on page 26 » Marines seek cover behind a sea wall on Red Beach 3. 3) aerial support. Russell. In School in Quantico. Maj. A primary aim general guidelines for it that the Navy ship-to-shore movement. John H. then the assistant component parts. down amphibious warfare into six shore therefore had to be organized. World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 23 .

24 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 .

World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 25 .

was there- Aerial support’s most impor. At were to be dispatched as quickly Not until the summer of 1943 the end of the first day that invasion as possible. Thus the Gilberts cam. Operation Galvanic. Ammunition. food. because it held the larg- strongpoints in the beach defense landing operations is the proper est airfield in the Gilbert Island group. 26 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . Mistakes advance” had been established. of the Gilbert Islands was deemed the Marines committed. obtaining a jump off position for the in the execution of all six parts of the Lt Alexander Bonnyman (4th from right) and his assault party storming a Japanese stronghold. and troops should be did anyone know that 10 years of was in deep trouble. Seizure as a disaster. took on special to follow. explained: “One of the most essential fore aimed at Betio Island within the tant function was to neutralize [logistical] conditions for successful Tarawa Atoll. and countless hours landing has since been described by the overarching need was to avoid of preparation. four tanks possession of which permits the in a series of island-base seizures and two halftracks had been gotten continuous landing of troops. the manual landing was codenamed. the disembarked expeditiously. but theoretical work. The boats off during the actual landing. Chester ashore. such that the last on were the first The 2nd Marine Division launched sion naval gunfire lifted. but with A “secure beachhead” was defined a necessary preliminary to the US several hundred already dead and as having been achieved when: “a entry into the Marshalls (which was hundreds more gravely injured. as the with unit movement ashore. D-Day ended with integrity of the landing units. always key in any rest of the grand strategic campaign was to coordinate naval gunfire military operation.” That is. were to be aimed at most historians (and its survivors) breaking up the organizational Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands. In fact. the invasion on 20 November 1943. It be loaded onto their transports was to start as soon as the pre-inva. and their supplies. water interference from the enemy. characteristics because. combat Theory Into Practice: Ship-to-shore movement marked units and their supplies had to Command-Control the beginning of the actual attack. nor were the many wounded terrain features requisite for a further Nimitz as the essential means of being taken off the island. and home islands). equip.» continued from page 23 Logistics. No major objectives had been ment and supplies without serious decisive landings in the Japanese secured. that would eventually culminate with ashore. Bonnyman received the Medal of Honor posthumously. before they were encountered loading of the vessels carrying troops by the landing riflemen. and medical supplies weren’t getting ensures the maneuver space and the paign was instigated by Adm. zone contiguous to the beach the in turn deemed necessary as the next Only four howitzers.

taken out of fear and lack scheme failed almost in its entirety.” Gen. Col. but characteristics also extended to the fortifications on the island. the overall command Theory Into Practice: Beyond even all that. Nimitz. Then Maj. Communication to and from Guadalcanal veteran. Kelly Turner (commander the high command made was the into the interiors of the armored of the amphibious force). rendered the half hours on the morning of the ini. The Navy in fact committed naval gunfire during the final run in isolated position away from the main three battleships. it Marine Regiment would be held back knocked out from the concussion of sinks. the invasion force and the air com.carefully thought out doctrine had that developed on Tarawa on D-Day. bombardment: “Navy gunners make M. Smith. That meant Maj. degraded by other mistakes. “Howlin’ Mad” Smith. Their in troops. Holland relegated to an improvised com. That made the 6th from reserve status. Those command Thus the planned communications they stood farther out and lofted their decisions. On land. Gen. That is. been much more target destruction. affected the accuracy and was the most critical shortcoming out of close touch with the disaster concentration of the bombardment. which worked out reinforce the landing beaches. hit on every gun emplacement. you need a direct as floating reserve. would initially attack had to be resolved by on the spot had come in too close and therefore the island with only a 2:1 superiority decisions taken before the higher had an incorrect angle of fire. of Tarawa — where another. shells at higher angles. commander munication center on the battleship the mistake of thinking of shore of V Amphibious Corps. Adm. crises on Tarawa What that meant was the ships Marine Division. had thought to set aside a dedicated water on the far side. regimental chief of staff and bardment to no more than two and a ship. doctrine came from the fact no one the island to explode harmlessly over declared the need for “strategic sur.000 tons the Japanese to shift their fires and near Makin Island. to release preliminary bombardment by naval Japanese defense works. the invasion’s high command was following assessment of the whole tial landing. That meant. were momentous. ing to doctrine. much to about 10 tons of high explosives In sum. Smith and Another mistaken assumption ally went off before penetrating Rear Adm. which was repeatedly targets as ships. often did little real damage even the chain of command between Naval gunfire support was. accord. World at War 19 | AUG–SEP 2011 27 . That permitted battle. Julian Smith. five cruisers and by the assault craft. announced 6th USS Maryland. Naval Gunfire Support high-explosive shells employed luted it required the concurrence of by the bombarding ships usu- two officers. Had minimum of 3:1. of the initial attack. supposed to be the To compound those mistakes in mand supporting the invasion. Gen. When you hit it. that ship’s broadsides. crucial element enabling the landing execution there was also a fateful 25 The commanders of the invasion force to reach shore and then assault minutes of near-total curtailment of then also placed themselves in an inland. well below the doctrinal command had time to intervene. landing took place on the per acre. guns were aimed too low and flat. the effects of which were then further accumulated to place the invasion Even had they been at Tarawa. there would’ve of experience. Beyond that. close to overall defeat and failure. Gen. the set up was so entangled and convo. when direct hits were scored. Merritt prise” limited the preliminary bom. commander of 2nd in almost all cases. the failure of the pre- smaller. 85 miles north of shells at Betio. Nimitz’s time limit. and specially equipped command Edson. liminary bombardment on D-Day same day — which meant they were however. another problem for the kind of many Marines noticed shells fired To begin. Those guns and aircraft would destroy for impressive explosions. Maj. command-control called for by by the navy actually skipped across Commander-in-Chief Pacific. Turner and Smith stayed nine destroyers to hurl over 3.

. that time That “lost request” for the heavy imperative. ports that were to unload the assault fire on the approaching boats. The 13mm Anti-Aircraft Guns 27 men in the follow-on waves therefore 13mm Twin Anti-Aircraft Guns 4 had to wade across the reef. The extraordinary requirement to wade across the coral reef while exposed to machinegun fire and artillery salvos was faced by almost 28 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . wading through shallows 13mm Beach Defense & Anti-Boat Guns 31 lashed by Japanese bullets and shells. During the first day and a half of battle. concentrate heavy and accurate the convoluted chain of command. Turner. but it was then The Amphtracs (amphibious mistakes. but island using little support. it was yet another com. gap allowed the Japanese to further bombers was another casualty of trine also ran into problems. assigned teams and cargoes became Aerial Support still timed for the original H-Hour. no unit reached the beach intact. which drowned out some of their engines. The new location had the arrived at the old time. Theory Into Practice: time as assault craft. That in itself wouldn’t have heavily protected fortifications. the planners in the carrier air Unfortunately. commander began their positional shift. postponing ing craft were loaded. Sadly. tractors) and LVT (Landing Vehicles The initial air strike began late. ashore. initial landing was held back to await matching specific boats with their Theory Into Practice: the air strike. “The Similarly. it was obvious the men of the the landing to finally take place at rier-based aircraft dropped almost 200 landing force would have to seize the 9:13 a. “many of the landing Weapon Type Number On Hand boats collided with each other. A of that landing force in solid. The car. also failed in its mission. Disaster loomed due to the inadequate movement of men and materiel from ship to shore. of the amphibious force. but no one cargo nets. a second mission group. They were depos- ited in chest-deep water and subjected 70mm Type 92 Beach Defense & Anti-Boat Guns 6 to the ordeal of a 500-yard struggle 37mm Type 94 Beach Defense & Anti-Boat Guns 9 to shore. functioning units was therefore bombardment and air strike. troops had to relocate because they’d Americans appeared to be surprised munication failure that had affected initially stationed themselves too and confused [by the intense fire]. here being used for the first seven-minute attack proved too short. Hill.m. but that part of the doc.” LVT made up the first wave of 8-inch Coastal Defense Guns 4 the assault. Other combat arms were also 37mm Anti-Tank Guns 14 affected by the reef. inspected every the arrival of the carrier-based strike. due to an unexpected “dodge tide. All the approved by Adm.” recalled Japanese Warrant Officer Japanese Heavy Weapons on Betio Kiyoshi Ota. but a heavy chop principal targets of the planes were the Even as the first Marines waded and a strong westerly current caused coastal defense guns on Betio. made up for the naval gunfire until the new H-Hour. The been a problem. could make only and the bombs failed to penetrate the Ship-to-Shore Movement four knots. The trans. Japanese pillbox and blockhouse on That is. Given the ineffective naval planned B-24 raid never materialized. In the early afternoon the tide still refused to rise. and they could swim or 140mm Coastal Defense Guns 4 crawl across the reef. The follow-on 80mm Coastal Defense Guns 6 waves rode Higgins boats that needed 127mm Twin Anti-Aircraft Guns 4 four feet of water.” the reef was 70mm Twin Anti-Aircraft Guns 8 covered by only three feet of water. the enemy weapons remained intact. which might’ve get that mission to remain on station where a 10-mile trip was required. That was troops were still climbing down the destroyed by naval gunfire. while other and discovered only one had been their strike by 30 minutes. Aerial support. Hill was able to landing craft loading outside the reef.after the battle. which was 28 minutes after tons of explosives on those targets. haphazard. Tank-loaded LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) discharged Sherman tanks into three feet of water. the Tracked). all the 75mm Type 94 Beach Defense & Anti-Boat Guns 10 while exposed to fire. some of the land- the northern portion of the island group changed their plans. As the hand grenades and other explosives. close to the Japanese shore batteries. sent in with depleted fuel levels. when the transports rest had to be taken by Marines using thought to tell Adm. cohesive. so the incoming battalions continued to have to wade across the shallows under murderous fire. When the landing craft followed the transports. The arrival the already postponed H-Hour.

1st Battalion of 8th Marine Regiment. In another a pilot flying over the atoll. By the end of the first night. remained on their landing craft all night. which placed a stupendous to deal with fortifications. down at the coconut-log and coral barricade the Japanese had erected along its inner edge. were only four 75mm pack howitzers. though the Marine commanders at all levels had known there would be enemy pillboxes. however. Second. It had embarked with rifles held over their heads. in reserve. bazookas and flamethrowers. First. their Theory Into Practice: Logistics of vehicles. ride. there had been no pre-attack pill- box-busting practice. I wanted to cry. because of yet another breakdown in the communication system. there World at War 19 | AUG–SEP 2011 29 . then. Further. By the start of that first evening they held only about 10 percent of their planned objectives in two separate enclaves. the overall 2:1 US-Japanese manpower ratio meant there simply wasn’t the surplus of attacking strength needed for the Marines to be able to move rapidly inland. nor had a communication system been set-up between rifle and tank units. ships. along with some 1. McPherson. later few 37mm anti-tank guns ashore.500 Marines. but tanks and equipment needed by the to the beach were mostly pinned 243 bazookas had simply missed the leading edge of the assault force.500 Marines who got of tanks and a few flamethrowers. the cargo holds of the amphibious Securing the Beachhead When the division left New Zealand.every Marine in the division. They lacked requirement for square footage in Theory Into Practice: tanks. area that would’ve been much it had been provided with a company better used to bring along more of the The first 1. Lt. The failure to quickly gain a secure beachhead had two main reasons. though needed and called for. sense. two halftracks.” The Marines were poorly equipped trailers. the division had described what he saw: “The water arrived with too many other types never seemed clear of tiny men. slowly more than 650 vehicles and 200 wading beachward. Just as crucial was the inadequate Commander Robert A. four Shermans and a number of LVT available.

first night would’ve knocked the Further. control of the naval commander rather Japanese counterattack during that but the Marines. all circling aimlessly in transport ships resulted in only three brought the Marines to the verge of the nearby lagoon. Tarawa was the best-fortified island the Americans would assault during the war. it wasn’t had placed the unloading under the serious there seems little doubt a doctrine. Their only contribution to the actual battle. Amphibious Warfare School and hadn’t taken part in prewar training exercises. Caught off guard by the attack on the north. 30 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . claimed: “We might easily have lost [on Betio]. In sum. medical supplies to protect the fleet at all cost. which aid pouches. later summed it up: I do not believe that heroism alone would have sufficed — although without it in extraordinary amounts Tarawa would never have been captured. He was a veteran of Japanese amphibious landings on the impregnable chain of fortifications. ingness to die rather than be defeated In September 1943. came analysis credited the victory to “the from their earlier sending of land forces to the Gilberts. convoluted command structure. They fell back on the fundamental. in the ammunition. and they coupled that with a willingness to reorganize and improvise as necessary. and he therefore understood the challenges facing the US Marines. Shibasaki was killed late on the afternoon of the first groups of twos and threes. Post-war analysis has led many analysts to own methods to defeat the enemy. Jinichi Kuska. What tipped the scales in our favor was the traditional ingenuity and flexibility Marines have called upon many times in the past as they will in the future. Hill. Gen. Indications are. at the coastline. and in day. and Vice Adm. Keiji Shibasaki was sent ashore on Betio to could have captured this well-nigh take command there. best with what we had. he intended to launch a banzai attack against ad hoc units. William K. What effort to meet the combat needs of the warfare may have been sound on was particularly galling was the fact land force. aggressive combat doctrine instilled in them since basic training. not on orders of higher authority but simply through Japanese prisoners of war the initiative of those officers and men in the immediate vicinity. had he remained alive.” Chinese coast. in small men and weapons in that direction. from artillery to machineguns. made no The US doctrine of amphibious and small arms ammunition. Tarawa administratively came under the joint command of Vice for the superb courage of the Marines. 6th Marines. wrote in 1953: “At the time we did the He viewed the shelf-like reef surrounding the island as his first line of defense. Smith. guided by the general Marines off the island. all ‘best’ was the resolute courage of our set up with interlocking fields of fire zeroed in on the channels within the reef. All six parts of the amounted to a general and almost supplies ashore during the first day. food. what or four boats an hour unloading their defeat on Betio. During the first 24 hours the in enemy waters as fast as possible. however. but For the Japanese. and the inva. The construction of Betio’s defenses invincible spirit of the Marines. equipment or strategy. Commander-in-Chief Southeast Asia. Rear Adm. and in that concentrating his heavy weapons.  ★ which weren’t part of any doctrine. he then smoothly shifted his Marines fought singly. Col. than the land force commander. commanding officer of 1st Battalion. the men ashore went on to victory and a seeming nothing more than logistical chaos. argue such an effort would’ve ended the battle disastrously for the Americans. in his after-battle Commander-in-Chief Fourth Fleet. Jones. Nobutake Kondo. again. Only and airstrip was the responsibility of the 111th Construction (Pioneer) Battalion. They created their the shallow Marine beachhead that night. a journalist The Japanese on Tarawa embedded with them. for the most part hadn’t gone to the Navy priority of unloading transports sion would’ve failed (see sidebar). yet the Marines began early on D-Day and produced support problems. In short.” south coasts. Yard for men with the highest morale and will- yard. Adm. Nimitz agreed when he He made his primary goal to prevent them from getting ashore in cohesive units. Robert Sherrod. doctrine were rendered useless or random unloading of the transports Faced with daunting logistical otherwise failed. Marines. canteens and first followed from their success. Decimated units were regrouped into new. and Winning Through Marines ashore also ran dangerously further motivated by Nimitz’s stricture low on water. stripped the many dead of their endorsement of the doctrine therefore That had its root cause.” Adm. who in spite of all obstacles He incorrectly anticipated the assault would come either against the western or seized the island in four days. they were Marines who Adm. and efficient fighting organizations. the lack of a secure paper. though. that saved the day. The situation was so At Tarawa. but an inadequate and insuf- the men ashore could see some 100 beachhead and the chaos on the ficient application of each part of it small craft.

But. the operations officer of 2nd Marines. most led beach we knew it would be grim busi. took patches of ground. and of the Marines. reason for victory at Tarawa. Culhane. and alike. I must admit explained in his book A Special Marines. to uphold the Corps’ reputation and positions. was beyond belief. a faith Tarawa: “They were all Marines. which comprises a fundamental medal nevertheless went about the officer of the 2/2.” training and the spirit of comrade- recorded or recognized by earning a Lt. A. his morale. how Marine esprit emerged on “In those hellish hours the heroism more tangible than a faith. ness. was sustain one another. Johnston observed an aid station: “Under the seawall on Beach 3 the line of wounded stretched nearly 50 yards. ignoring the deadly fire mander of Company A/1/2. Few men talked and refusing to halt until wounded more succinct: “The value of sound in terms of ‘death before dishonor. even when we held only a nar. Col. T.. was the high state of training and discipline of the individual Marine. who landed with the row naked beach. Rice. that Marines they were in this thing together.’ beyond human ability to carry on. the morale factor: “Before we hit the foremost in my mind as the primary Here and there small groups. and his confidence and determination to continue the attack even though World at War 19 | AUG–SEP 2011 31 . Johnston. Col. Jr. officers and enlisted shared by all Marines.” Even the wounded made the American corpses sprawled on the beach of Tarawa. Col. described them in action: this confidence was based on nothing Valor. also focused on pillar of Marine Corps life.” they would do the best they could after time they charged Japanese Lt. a veteran War correspondent Richard to win.” by privates. who later also fought on Iwo Jima. ultimate determination as to their continued fitness for combat. identified those intangibles as follows: “More important than all the techniques [of amphibious doctrine]. Marines who never had their deeds those about him became casualties. Bray. com.” Motivation The qualities that led to the Marine victory on Betio can perhaps best be identified by the men who commanded them there. But we intended and expected Richard Wheeler. W. still stand deadly business of winning the battle. Howard J. William T. and only those too badly hurt to move were there — the ‘walking wounded’ were still fighting. Time always finished a job assigned. executive ship.

Tarawa thus doesn’t stand as proof of amphibious doctrine. men who relied on the traditional bedrock foundations of the Corps to win through. but as a symbol of raw courage and Marine tradi- tion.but the ancient code applied. In fact. March 1944 1st Battalion 6th Marines insignia. That Marines set up for night defense. every subsequent would be responsible for dimming no sense of panic in the lines as the move in the drive across the Central the reputation of the Corps.  ✪ Marine Cemetery. chief Tarawa didn’t turn out to be a that they would be the one to let historian of the USMC Historical proving ground for amphibious down another Marine. 32 World at War 19 | AUG–SEP 2011 .” Pacific was made with avoiding the mistakes of Tarawa in mind.” was demonstrated by the Marines Conclusion In sum. The bottom line for the battle can be summed up as: individuals advanced — doctrine followed.391 wounded. or that they Branch wrote of them: “There was doctrine. Tarawa. The lessons learned and adjustments made to doctrine helped take the Marshalls twice as fast with half the casualties. It took the Marines to save doctrine from failure. the course of the war in the Central Pacific would’ve undoubtedly changed. Without the heroism of the Marines on Tarawa. Henry Shaw. Total Marine casualties on Tarawa were 990 killed and 2. it was inconceivable who held the tiny strip of beach on to most Marines on the island the first night.

1996. Nimitz. March 2010 1775 –1975. Washington DC: Marine Corps Historical Center. Edison. Alexander. 1978. 1985. Spector. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. 1966. The U. 1981. New York: Ballantine Books. 1985. Henry. Semper Fi. Richard. New York: Quill. Brigadier General Edwin H.Sources Alexander. 1976. E. Tarawa: A Legend Is Born. 1993. 1982. New York: Shooting Star press. New York: Mason/Charter Publishers. 1963. Storm Over the Gilberts. A Special Valor. Isley.S. 1951. Battles Lost and Won. New York: Harper & Row. Lines of Battle. Ronald H. ___________. Col. New York: The Free Press. Hanson. Wheeler. New York: Viking Press. Jr. Sherrod. John. Hoyt. Tapert. Simmons. Rafael. Utmost Savagery. 1995. Type 95 Ha-Go Texas: The Admiral Nimitz Foundation. The Two-Ocean Navy. 1968. New Jersey: Castle Books.B. Alexander. The Pacific War 1941–1945. Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Boston: Little. USMC (Ret). Robert. Across the Reef: The Marines Assault of Tarawa —  Marines In World War II Commemorative Series. 1973. 1978. LVTs and a Japanese Type 95 light tank on Tarawa beach after the battle. Berry. (paperback) Baldwin. Annette. Disabled U.S. Island Fighting. Samuel Eliot. Shaw. Costello. 1987. Marines and Amphibious Warfare. and Crowl.. New York: Pocket Books. Brown and Company.. Jeter A. Henry I. tank ruin at Tarawa. Mac. Morison. The United States Marines: The First Two Hundred Years. USMC (Ret). Fredrickburg. Philip A. Eagle Against The Sun. Steinberg. USMC (Ret). Joseph H. World at War 19 | AUG–SEP 2011 33 . Col. Tarawa: The Story of a Battle. New York: Arbor House. Potter. New York: Ivy Books. 1995. Great Battles of World War II. Virginia: Time-Life Books. Joseph H. Edwin. Japanese World War II Defenses on Tarawa Annapolis. Princeton.

swept toward the Egyptian frontier in Rommel really didn’t need more Allied units are in plaintext. from its very start. They couldn’t Operations (ETO) standards. he needed more Axis high command for reinforcement. why those forces remained so small There was some consideration of The Italians. as his forces because it lacked motorization. ally lacked mechanized units. mid-1941. also just gener- To give one example. initially called the Afrika Italian Tenth Army during the British up the following year. The Germans had com. 35 34 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . and never on 22 June. in turn. of the campaign. mechanized units (formations Balance of Forces That presented Berlin and Rome with a moved by tracked and/or wheeled dilemma. but it was deemed unsuitable the Mediterranean.Logistical Factors in the Western Desert: 1941– 42 by Joseph Miranda Ed’s Note: Axis units are in italics. Rommel appealed to the divisions. and were divisions on each side in 1941. offensive in the winter of 1940 – 41. Understanding Division and later the 90th Light Afrika. The overarching lesson T he armies committed to the of suitable units. less than 10 the Soviet Union. growing to much more than a dozen or infantry was formed from miscellaneous as had happened to most of the ill-fated so divisions even after both sides built formations. which had kicked off maneuver fast enough. A third division of motorized therefore easily cut off and destroyed. Western Desert campaign were mitted most of their panzer and motor. In pg. due to the fact there was a lack vehicles). critical to understanding deploying the 22nd Air Landing Division responsibility for Axis operations in the nature of their operations. was that foot-mobile units were of small by European Theater of ized infantry divisions to the invasion of little value in the desert. rather. to Africa. who had primary is.

Rommel saw it differently. transport. Hitler viewed North supply from those bases to the front. campaigning on the Axis periphery. World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 35 . Making There were two major dilemmas of Yugoslavia and Greece. both the Axis and Allies division available at the time. The British units had to be redeployed to support Divisions. What keep an eye on Iran. owing to its interdiction by reinforcing North Africa.1941 they committed their Ariete Eastern Command. Allied convoys Desert was only one part of their Middle had to sail around the Horn of Africa. British units were generally motorized. also needs to be remembered is Sudan and even Egypt itself. logistics came even more fully into play. It was in that regard to support a mechanized army. Once the Germans had gained secure petroleum supply from the victory there. They also had divisions. The first was strained Italian war economy was thus getting supplies to bases in North Africa. as movement. Mediterranean as a shipping route to The British faced similar challenges North Africa. in the in the Western Desert. Those requirements well as taking part in the occupation tied down several divisions. themselves facing restraints when trying Both approaches had merit. simply facing too many demands. the each fielded army-sized formations for Other Italian divisions in the Germans in Greece (March – May 1941). Canal would thereby gain an important Nonetheless. Those units move forces out of North Africa in order presence would be missed in 1942. but their combat petroleum and the industrial resources Additionally. Their Littorio Armored Division. represented every Italian mechanized to fight campaigns elsewhere: against Nonetheless. with troops and supplies transported claiming an Axis army seizing the Suez on wheeled and tracked vehicles. the second was moving forward that In 1941– 42. most of the 1941 – 42 desert war. The Western Axis air and naval forces. the British still found strategic victory against the Allies. but the to exploit those advantages. unlimited numbers of Middle East and the US. the latter Mussolini committed considerable having an anti-British nationalist Logistics — Strategic Factors forces to fight on the eastern front. however. the Italians in Ethiopia (1940 – 41). pro-Axis rebels in Iraq (April – June) counted wasn’t so much the number of due to the fact Italy lacked both the and Vichy forces in Syria (June – July). given their Union. Africa as a sideshow: the war was going The British had a strategic to be decided by defeating the Soviet advantage in logistics. What desert were only partially motorized. In 1942 they added the frequently found themselves having to the fighting in the Far East. divisions deployed. The already the situation worse was that. which covered the wake of Japanese entry into the war Armored Division. the British also had to effectiveness. petroleum and the advantage of having begun the industrial resources would be freed for war with a largely mechanized army. For most of limit on what could be done in North the campaign the Allies couldn’t use the Africa was actually set by logistics. Commonwealth Trieste and Trento Motorized Infantry East and the Persian Gulf. the Middle in December 1941. the Gulf emirates. followed by the Eastern Mediterranean.

For most of the desert campaign. sible for the shipping support to Axis forces in North Africa. an Axis Red Sea “pipeline” simply to get men and equipment to the cargo ship could be “turned around” and used more often Middle East. 36 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . Those units came from pinpointed Italian tankers for sinking. operating at a surplus needs to be more deeply examined. Training reality was the strategic lines of communication were much bases. That was to support both ground and air operations during periods of major activity.The need to go around Africa meant an enormous amount and their convoys could sail from ports in the southern part of shipping was tied up in the Atlantic Ocean-Indian Ocean. All that contributed to a global Allied shipping most of the supplies and manpower made it through. as well as including contingents could be made up. Lulls between offensives could therefore be used to create supply surpluses that could later be utilized in major offensives. The shortage wasn’t ended until later in ship-borne operations. The influx of those units Thus. While aircraft deliveries weren’t as efficient as merchant ships. having only to was beset by supply shortages while Eighth Army was transit the Mediterranean. built up from nothing. hospitals and post offices: all such facilities had to by each side at ports in North Africa shows Axis bases were be either expanded or. lubricants) from Europe directly to Africa. often receiving more supplies than those of the Allies. The longer the sea voyage. There multiple of the tonnage transported.000 tons of supply a month to function at full combat effectiveness. escaped Nazi-occupied Europe. The Italians were largely respon. To be sure. after the North African campaign was over. the perception the Afrikakorps several times shorter than those of the Allies. Logistics — Operational Factors Axis forces in North Africa required 60. by flying in more from overrun Allied nations made up of volunteers who’d POL (petrol. airfields. those aircraft could rapidly move men and supplies German U-boat campaign was taking a heavy toll of to North Africa. but usually returned empty. it can readily be seen the main reason for Rommel’s supply problems occurred in-theater. the to an entire modern infrastructure to support them. When Allied ULTRA intelligence their vast Middle East Command. A comparison of tonnages offloaded houses. Even more. On the Axis side. at least in the short term. especially As noted. railroads. sufficient supplies were delivered to Rommel to create such surpluses. Owing to the short sailing time. they nonetheless provided additional tonnage. roads. however. especially from the British island-base of Malta. ware. that occurred at a time when the Europe. the Axis also made use expansion of the war into the Pacific when the Japanese of transport aircraft to move supplies. oil. the more those ships than a similar Allied vessel. they could be as low as 25 percent of peak needs. requiring higher ratios of fuel to car- the war. the British also committed many divisions to in emergency situations. Axis (as well as British) forces were usually involved in build- up and training phases that required only a fraction of those tonnages. Based in southern entered. shorter for the Axis. go. of their country. shortage that was then further exacerbated by the In addition to naval convoys. For periods of inactivity. be sent fully loaded to Suez.000 to 72. telephone lines. As the chart below indicates. For light combat operations. Axis fuel shortages across the British Empire. strategic lines of communication were Since that was the case. effectively providing an efficiency were unavailable to carry cargoes on other routes. more usually. Given those figures. ports. supply requirements would be reduced by about half from those peak numbers. those was also the issue of the return voyage: a cargo ship might convoys had to run the gauntlet of Allied aero-naval attack. despite the usual picture of Allied forces having meant Middle East Command had to create what amounted a logistical advantage in the Western Desert campaign.

Moreover. To give a smaller-scale example. the usual means of moving troops and supplies to mechanical breakdown or enemy air attack repaired. weapons and equipment. destined for an armored unit fighting at Tobruk.461 August 51. in Europe. as the the coast. British figures are only for supply from the United Kingdom. A tanker truck carrying combat.000 tons of supplies in a month of sustained up more men and supplies. the rail situation in North Africa was abysmal. That also presumes the right types The dilemma didn’t lie simply in moving forward men of supplies were landed and there were no losses in and materiel. its crew fed. the end of the line everything had to be trucked. Each potential Again. those demands were then effectively doubled by the To give an example. and they were useful for it. disease and the inescapable wear and tear of warfare. They amounted to some 260 supply would have to be delivered to North Africa to support planes based in Europe and Africa. the division would then require even more men. evaporation and enemy action.072 Note: Axis figures don’t include additional shipments via air. would have to be driven over several hundred miles of roads and desert tracks. and any incidental damage owing Tons of Supply Delivered to North Africa in Selected Months of 1942 Month Axis British June 32. weren’t generally available in the Western Desert. One expedient was the use of tank transports. prisoners to be interred in camps. and there were additional cargo to be landed at a port or airfield and then moved via losses due to spillage. to move them over large distances across friendly In all of Libya there were only 38 miles of rail line.192 September 77. vehicles and equipment shipped in and moved forward to replace losses due to combat. flatbed In fact.655 72. 10.Railroads. Along the way the tank would have to be kept fueled. and additional trucks would have to be available for the transport of that additional supply. Therefore. but the The British had a rail system in the Nile delta and transports in turn had their own logistical requirements. They saved wear on the tracked vehicles. There was also always movement to the rear transit due to enemy action.000 tons of supplies would have to keep itself fueled. of vehicles sent to depots for overhaul. soldiers evacuated It was that combination of supply and transport for medical reasons. an initial advantage the Axis had was in their reinforcement division meant additional increments of fleet of transport aircraft. The British made use of maintenance to operate. All that was in addition to the trucks and other vehicles that would then be needed to actually move the supplied division’s men.327 75.491 74. truck to the unit. a German replace- ment tank that landed at Tripoli or Benghazi. along the Suez Canal. but once they reached demands on the already strained logistical system. On top of all that. territory. World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 37 . could be deployed in the Western Desert. terminating around Mersa Matruh (it would large numbers of trucks required their own fuel and later be extended farther west). not counting Lend-Lease. pilferage or accidents. trucks.226 27. for an Afrikakorps panzer division gasoline might have to expend 10 percent of its own load to engage in battle.790 July 91. a German panzer division fact the trucks had to return to bases in the rear to pick consumed 10. One line from it ran west along All that created a vicious cycle for both sides. which in turn put additional that railroad to move supplies. and so forth. mail requirements that put a limit on reinforcements that posted back to Europe (vital for morale).

medical items and everything else could be stockpiled. Another alternative was coastal Those limits on transport for replacement parts. meant move much in the way of heavy craft between North African ports. 38 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . could be built. however. The distance from the railhead to the front determined much of the efficiency of an army’s logistical system. equipment and personnel in Europe during World War II. water.movement in-theater. Consequently. That led to the pattern in the desert war in which an offensive would coast to a halt while its spearheads waited for their logistics to catch up. they would eventually be consumed to support the rear echelon. A standard German supply train of 25 to 40 rail cars could move an average of 450 tons. and aircraft Such vessels. rations. be expended in support of combat operations or. ammunition. if farther back. That’s why ports such as Benghazi and Tobruk were critical objectives. The usual practice was to their own logistical requirements in they were often vulnerable to create chains of logistical depots where terms of fuel and maintenance. repair shops and hospitals. or by the time-honored method of walking. in effect. They would then make their way to units via truck or wagon transport. the other side could launch a counterattack and seize victory from the proverbial jaws of defeat. In Europe. taken altogether. Compared to trucks. trains ran from industrial centers and depots to railheads where they would debark their passengers and cargoes. enemy air and naval attack. any offensive had to be preceded equipment. could provide by a considerable period of passive based in North Africa again created only a limited amount of lift and build-up. POL. and semi-permanent facilities such as com- munication centers. up to 185 miles per day. They couldn’t shipping: moving supplies by light both sides. In comparison. a German motorized supply column of 15 to 20 trucks could move 60 tons 125 miles per day. though. while a retreating foe would be falling back toward his source of support. meanwhile. depending on cargo type. but for bringing them Railroads. They were so not simply for their use in landing supplies. an army that advanced too far would go beyond the distance at which depots could support it. railroad engines require a low ratio of manpower and fuel for the tonnage they move. Those depots would then. Distance & Logistics Railroads were the primary means to move supplies.

During the opening stages of the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union. Tobruk to Alexandria was a final 375. Motor vehicles require routine maintenance simply to function. more transport having to be involved.in at points forward enough to support those special maintenance require. been fully destroyed by an anti-tank forces in the field without too much ments was the need to repair vehicles round. he made some use of the captured rail line along the coast. Those requirements were exacerbated by the desert. and to make it to Tobruk meant another 250. Vehicles had to have special desert-compatible components. obviously. Distances in the Western Desert made those distances seem trivial in comparison. supplies coming from Tobruk. and that was often enough to cause operations to come to a halt. what made it mostly useless in North Africa was the fact there was no usable rail line in Libya west of the Egyptian frontier. Of course. trucks were used up quickly. Engines needed to be replaced more often than in temperate climates. German railheads were 10 to 45 miles behind the lead troops. to be a function army couldn’t move nor could it be farther to the rear. If tanks were critical. Tobruk). driving to Benghazi added another 185. then so Possession of a forward port cut several Combat effectiveness in the desert were trucks. the lack of decent roads playing havoc with tires and tracks.” A found that during rapid advances up in a good position to provide logistical tank out of action for a thrown track to 35 percent of his trucks were daily support to the entire Western Desert. such as filters that would keep out the fine dust always blowing about. with its extreme temperatures overheating engines. was just as useless as one that had inoperable for mechanical reasons. and a general scarcity of water to cool engines and clean out the grit. Tobruk therefore of the number of motor vehicles an supplied. in large part. Added to During the 1940 campaign in France. Rommel campaigns in 1940 – 42 because it was what the men called “runners. sandstorms blowing dust into moving parts. Benghazi. that had been damaged in combat. When Rommel overran western Egypt in the summer of 1942. the front ranged from 85 to 110 miles forward of the railheads.000 tons per month on it but. Runners The transportation situation was only the start of the logistical challenges inherent in the desert war. The Axis could move up to 9. The diagram shows the German rail supply system as it was supposed to function.  ★ World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 39 . From Tripoli to El Agheila was 375 miles. Desert conditions meant became the major objective of the army could deploy in working order. The result was everything had to be trucked from Axis army-level bases (Tripoli. through what would otherwise have been corps-level and division-level railheads had there been railroads. Benghazi or Tripoli still had to be moved by truck to reach the railhead. at least until it was repaired. Without trucks an hundred miles of trucking from bases proved.

” the number of vehicles actually on hand would be dependent on their operability. At one time in 1942. but those in an infantry division might have to draw vehicles from higher echelon truck pools. British forces were. over 1. depending on unit type. com- pletely motorized.200 trucks at non-divisional echelons in order to move forward its supplies.000 trucks from the Axis high command — at a time when the Wehrmacht’s motor vehicle inventory was already overstretched by the requirements of the Russian front. Indeed. For example. They were used to support the logistics of the rest of the Axis force. 120 other armored fighting vehicles (AFV. in 1941 the Italian Trento Division. an Afrikakorps panzer division in 1941 had 150 to 220 tanks of various types. originally a motorized formation. The overall operational mobility of the division was thus a function not just of tracked vehicles but of wheeled ones. mainly halftracks. obtaining more trucks became a major issue for desert logisticians. In practice. Again. armored cars and self-propelled guns). 140 halftrack prime-movers. Much of that requirement could’ve been eliminated had their been a function- ing railway in the Western Desert. Some trucks could be gotten from the Vichy French. Consequently. There was an ace in the hole for the Allies: US Lend-Lease provided large numbers of trucks.600 trucks and another 1. Rommel requested 8. but with vehicle shortages everywhere in the Reich the requirement could never be fully met. One expedient was in trading-off trucks otherwise assigned within units. there were different levels of vehicle assignment.000 or so miscella- neous vehicles (autos and motorcycles). however. As a further example of the impor- tance of trucks. All infantry battalions in an armored division were supposed to have their own vehicles. by late 1942 Deliveries of Tanks & Other Vehicles to Eighth Army in Selected Months of 1942 Month Tanks (from the United Kingdom) Vehicles (from the United Kingdom) Tanks (from North America) Vehicles (from North America) June 179 3810 3 7694 July 114 4573 33 4618 August 254 3289 132 3371 September 34 1512 407 2016 40 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . had its trucks taken from it when it landed in Africa. Even that wasn’t all: every German mobile division required another 1. in theory. while units might be listed as fully motorized “on paper. thereby allowing them to maintain a lead in that critical regard.

defeats Axis forces. repaired them. Pay and mail were big parts of didn’t fall into the trap as they had in conditions of desert warfare — poor troop morale: their neglect could early 1941. Axis forces reach Tobruk.000 of which had been paid more attention to logistics than did (depending on how you count pursuits). British retake Cyrenaica. can be seen as a function of tion. of a fight. Tobruk relieved. 2. Rommel pursues into Egypt. 18 November – 31 December: Operation Crusader. not only stopped their advance but danger of being cut off from logistical Medical care was also vital in dealing also set them up for Rommel’s riposte. he had a better situ. offensive. build that wasn’t apparent from a simple mentally different than prior actions airfields. doesn’t stop until he reaches Tunisia. which they besiege. expected attack. but is repulsed. The British had an advantage did as much as anything else to in the morale department. disease and Planning exceeded those from Britain. 1941 Afrikakorps raids across the Egyptian frontier. exploited his position to build up its logistical system and establish and quickly turned them around into sufficient support to ensure victory for depots. They all followed made use of captured equipment. World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 41 . one in which material up battle plans and rehearse the downside. perform reconnaissance examination of the Axis order of battle. of the distractions they offered. Axis forces take Tobruk.US truck deliveries to Eighth Army with wounded soldiers. As shown below. January – June  73. counteroffensive and mutual exhaus- access to vehicles. though. The British were making their and Crusader there was a period of of damaged or otherwise immobilized stand at El Alamein. between Operations Battleaxe advantage. launched from 1941 the El Agheila position. draw Using captured equipment had a than maneuver. Rommel orders withdrawal. troops could be rotated for leave in Desert can be divided into a series of All the armies in North Africa major Egyptian cities to take advantage discrete operations. Montgomery ensured the desert Once an offensive kicked off. in that it meant the support was key from start to finish. absorb replacements into combat. Overrunning a depot would mean Operations in North Africa. train units.380 14-15 September: Operation Midsummer’s Night Dream. Rommel back at El Agheila. Allied in plaintext. much organization. One of Montgomery’s amounted to less than 10 weeks in 1941 of Panzerarmee Afrika was lifted on unsung talents came from the fact he and another 16 to 20 weeks in 1942 Allied trucks. July – December  52. main British summer offensive. That was a “force multiplier” Eighth Army. 15-17 June: Operation Battleaxe. weapons. defeats British at Mersa Matruh. Montgomery a number of things: move forward off the battlefield. That time around the British maneuver and counter-maneuver. 23 October – 3 November: Montgomery launches second Battle of El Alamein. POL therefore. long capturing side had to have maintenance As Eighth Army pursued the periods of time were spent reorganiz- crews trained to keep such equipment shattered Panzerarmee Afrika back ing depleted units and assimilating running. 1942 26 May –21 June: Operations Theseus (sometimes called Venezia). as their The campaign in the Western win the desert war for the Allies. The here. in that it was a battle of position rather and intelligence operations. support — caused units to loose cohe- Axis Sealift of Supplies to North Africa Monthly Average Major Military Activity in North Africa Tonnage Delivered to Axis offensives in italics.210 1 – 26 July: Rommel continues pursuit. just in front of their five months in which no major combat equipment. when logistical shortfalls communications. along with the proper spare across Egypt and into Libya in late the lessons of the last campaign. Rommel had advanced to the end offensive an army had to accomplish damaged friendly and enemy vehicles of a logistical tightrope. Rommel defeats British at Gazala.560 30 March – 10 April: Rommel’s first offensive in Cyrenaica. 15-17 May: Operation Brevity. The entire time both armies and assorted amenities. stopped at El Alamein. sandstorms. Additionally. During the efficiency of an army’s logistical spent in sustained combat operations Rommel’s 1942 drive into Egypt. July – December  59. 1942. 1942 20 August – 7 September: Rommel launches offensive at El Alamein planning to break through to Alexandria. the desert armies Holding a battlefield at the end ation with which to start when he took spent much of their time in build-up. 22 – 28 June: Operation Aida. There were yet other aspects of railroad was refurbished and extended operations usually became a matter of logistics that can be only summarized west. El Alamein was funda. the adversely affect combat performance. Axis Ports in Africa February – June  89. unsuccessful British reconnaissance in force on the Egyptian-Libyan frontier. existing formations. parts and ammunition to utilize them. defeated by Axis forces. also allowed for the salvage 1942. Rommel.650 21 January – 6 February: Rommel’s’ second offensive reaches Gazala. Of course. That hygiene. To launch a major tank recovery organization that pulled delta. The Germans had a good main Middle East base area in the Nile actions took place. seized when he took Tobruk in June. a distinct cycle of build-up. aside from any tactical command of Eighth Army in August Indeed.

when the loss of A reasonable “what if” would’ve more quickly to opportunities.  ★ 42 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 .000 tons of supply a month. port facilities might also ver. If hold together longer than their Italian following the retreat of their 7th Armored nothing else. An advantage an on-hand reserve of tanks to replace made it to the gates of Alexandria and the Germans had throughout most of the losses they’d taken. in part due to dockworkers refusing to report to duty for USSR to the Mediterranean instead. despite brigade-regiment-battalion. It wasn’t unusual for a major Another risk was advancing too far exploited such rails and ports during operation to result in the loss of 80 meant operating beyond the radius at their 1940 – 41 Compass offensive. Division during the Battle of Gazala system from Tripoli through Benghazi the overarching Axis dilemma came (May 1942) referred to an “unneces. percent or more of the tanks involved on which airpower could cover advancing Interestingly. to build up the Libyan infrastructure commanders. Italian convoys were frequently routed away from haps they could’ve attained a decision. in part due to damage. Still. Both had theoretical monthly capacities of at least going to have to be addressed — and 30. Panzerarmee Afrika into small-unit actions. Similarly. but providing the Vichy French to open the port of Bizerta in Tunisia. was never What If? Their officers tended to lead from only a matter of attrition.000 tons. and on to Tobruk would’ve overcome from the fact there were never enough sarily rapid movement” to the rear. The main Italian port was Tripoli. While it’s hard to imagine Stalin negotiating a peace while Axis armies Assuming Axis supply convoys sailing from Italian ports to North Africa arrived safely were still inside the USSR. Moreover. Battles degenerated from maintained control of the battlefield. it didn’t work that way in reality. many of the logistical difficulties German divisions in the Western Desert. but that unit cohesion and the threat of being had Mussolini making a greater effort in turn increased casualties among cut-off could cause units to fall back pre. breakdowns and assorted fog of one’s depots could provide support. Another possible “what if” would’ve There were several smaller ports. a functioning railroad counterparts or Allied foes.” where they could respond weren’t uncommon. Mass panics “up front. Bizerta would only have added several hundred more miles to the already over-extended Axis supply lines. but that resulted in little that was useful. The Axis negotiated with divisions to North Africa. Had the Italians committed the air ships. since it was far too easy to have been expanded in preparation for of attrition. While on paper those totals should’ve been sufficient to offload all Axis supply soon. that might’ve worked combat. but they had seen each side committing fewer limited capacities with often only a single dock and no heavy cranes. Benghazi and Tobruk. which would’ve allowed for another those divisions they did send with 20. their cargoes had to be offloaded. cohesion than did those of the British. the campaign was their units had better Rommel the opportunity to recover. division-level affairs down through One reason the British failed to exploit if for no other reason than. though most of them could columns. Mussolini at their destinations. Rommel’s drive into Egypt advocated to Hitler that Germany find be recovered and repaired if an army during the summer of 1942 has to be some way to end its war with the Soviet Union so as to be able to deal with the growing Anglo-American threat in the Port Capacity west. owing to the risk of interception from British air and naval attack. Bardia and Mersa Matruh. battles could also become contests ficulties. Of course. such as Derna. thereby giving could still fight when it got there.sion quickly. due to advance past the distance at which war. both ways. and finally their Crusader offensive was they lacked all those factors. though. also created its own logistical dif. Allied air raids reduced those capacities to less than and land forces they sent to fight in the 40 percent. per- fear of being killed by bombs. especially of tanks.000 tons to be offloaded. One British after action report prior to Italy entering the war. It understood the growing Allied threat could handle up to 45. Losing a battle. Of course. Despite all the planning and maneu. in 1942 Mussolini both sides. The pursuit phase of an operation Rommel faced in 1941 and 1942. seen as a masterpiece of leadership. since the British could’ve war effects. German units could cipitously. Tripoli could be supplemented by Benghazi to Italy and the Axis southern flank was and Tobruk if they were in Axis hands.

panzer divisions had sufficient London: HMSO. Orders of Battle Second World War. Paddy. 1994. 1977. Oxford: Osprey. The Oxford Companion to World War II. but the Greek campaign turned into a Dunkirk-sized debacle for the British anyway.B.. Jack & Alessandro Massignani. 1995. The final British victory should be seen as a function of their having been better able to exploit both those factors. Col.. H. with the loss of several divisions for no good effect. Germans might’ve shipped more Cambridge: Da Capo. Lt. the same time using their on-hand London: Cambridge Univ. thereby ensuring the two Afrikakorps Joslen. thereby avoiding (in retrospect) two more years of fighting in North Africa and perhaps hastening the political fall of Mussolini. A fully supported Western Desert Force could’ve conceivably reached Tripoli in early 1941. number of infantry divisions while at Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Therein lies the lesson of the campaign. and to the capacity to support modern warfare in North Africa. already had in Africa.  ✪ World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 43 . Dear. ed. the Greene. What all that goes to indicate is winning and losing battles in the Western Desert wasn’t simply a matter of tactical skill or weapon quality. 1990. Such a move wouldn’t have created additional logistical requirements. For example. replacement AFV to North Africa. It was in large part due to strategic factors that extended beyond the theater of opera- tions. F. World War II Desert Tactics. 2008. reserves to survive the attrition of desert battles. I. Sources the Italians might’ve deployed a smaller Van Creveld. that would’ve meant accepting Axis victories elsewhere. before the Afrikakorps was in place. Martin. trucks to mechanize the army they Oxford: Oxford Univ. as did adding extra divisions to the overall order of battle. Rommel’s North African Campaign. On the Allied side the British might’ve maintained concentration on the Western Desert and avoided pulling out units to fight elsewhere.higher levels of support. Similarly.. Griffith. Of course.C.

as concrete. new forti. The be clustered at key points along it. Their construction entails the area for friendly mobile forces. During the American Civil countries in the form of “fortified rings” Koenigsberg. which have been in large-scale fortifications appeared and Verdun in France. and that same space could the advent of massive conscript require civilian labor and technicians also serve as an assembly and maneuver armies. At the same time. nature. even intended to defend large sections of the machinery. (Construction of both types of fully or partially in use during World lines shouldn’t be confused with defenses is usually labor intensive. breech.) War II were those of Antwerp. modern and Namur in Belgium. trenches were used or “ring-stands. Kustrin. fications were developed that were the use of specialized equipment and including on the eastern front. On the eastern use for a long time. Glogau and extensively to secure the Confederate several forts encircling a key town Breslau. Liege “fieldworks. to build. fortified line consists largely of positions individual fortified positions and/or by warfare changed significantly with of a permanent nature that normally obstacles. mostly in siege along the frontiers of many European frontier of Germany in 1914 there were warfare. Kaufmann I n the last third of the 19th century. Some Though fieldworks and fortified among them. automatic weapons. and Maubeuge obstacle belts. Rows of dragons teeth and a heavily eroded anti-tank ditch within the OWB 44 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 .German East Front Fortifications by J.” which consisted of Thorn. The spaces between and forts from the old Austro-Hungarian lines are often confused. War. there are within the rings could be defended ring at Krakow. loading artillery and high-explosive use of a great deal of material. such Several of those rings remained shells.E.” such as trenches and Early in the 20th century. for example. A with weapons firing from inside tions at Warsaw and other locations. which in turn requires in use during World War II in Europe. Graudenz. A line of fieldworks consists though many of them had not been frontier (or front) rather than simply mostly of emplacements of a temporary modernized between the wars. Posen. all of which the Germans put front from Richmond to Petersburg. few of which require civilian most notable of the rings that were Those newly developed fortified labor. Marienburg. or city with intermediate positions back into service in 1944 – 45. and the Russian posi- significant differences between them.

150mm howitzers. be attributed to the Germans. As things turned out. munitions areas and other facili- ties were below ground. in most blockhouses. War I positions. leaving little Photo courtesy of Alex Goss exposed at the surface. Metz and Thionville in rear. forts consist- ing of several dispersed positions usually linked by tunnels. motivated by his own experi- built them at Muetzig (linked to the to have been located 1. Though the majority of them had a small entrance on an exposed wall covered by its own weapons embrasures. issued instructions requiring the Alsace-Lorraine. As little as possible of the blockhouses was exposed at the surface. it was forced to underground facilities. continued on page 47 » to create new fortifications there in the 1920s were stopped by Allied protests. The most modern pre-World ed in 1938. In 1940 and 1944 both galleries were to serve as a logistical engineers include anti-gas features the French and the Germans made use support area for all the Werkgruppen in in all new fortifications. and the Oder Defenses. a former borderlands. can ies at depths of up to 44 yards below the work was begun only on one battery. unlike the older Feste. turret emplacements for 105mm and War II. magazines. when of them by a tunnel. Those fortifications.” and it consisted of three main sections: the Oder-Warthe River Bend Line (OWB). of fortified battery positions behind built during the war. Generators supplied the power necessary to operate each position. In the mid-1930s the Germans began building heavy fortifications. the Pomeranian Line. some had no exposed walls at all. The later incorporated a similar system enemies. Only much older fortifications plans also called for the construction in almost every concrete bunker they then remained under its control. and included was L-shaped to keep the interior on its eastern frontier. were partially modeled on the older Feste but they lacked artillery. that included a shower. The underground War. A shaft in each blockhouse connected them to a tunnel system that linked all of them. Hitler’s Third Reich started work on the first major German fortified line begun since the previous war. In the 1930s. hand-operated ventilators with Germany was stripped of much of its unit of about 4. was the central part of the overall eastern defense structure and was formed by the Oder and Warthe Rivers. The system of those fortifications (respectively). which included decontamination area near the entrance cede the fortifications in Alsace-Lorraine a railroad. The bar- racks. They generally consisted of up to three combat blockhouses. The final entrances. who surface. the OWB. which were among the largest the Germans would build before or during the war. Petersburg (Leningrad) World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 45 . which included a number of Werkgruppen. A regimental-sized doors. By the time it was halt. it included 20 miles of galler. barracks. The entranceway Though Germany had fewer restrictions the Werkgruppen. were never built. the OWB and were to be linked to each they developed consisted of airtight After the First World War. its early attempts individual blockhouses with single. On the roofs there were often positions for an automatic mortar and housing for the nozzle of a flamethrower. The Germans and western Poland to its erstwhile powerhouses and medical facilities. In the early 1930s it consisted mainly of water defenses with small dams that controlled flooding in the area. known as Feste. which were Hitler.25 miles to the ence with gas warfare during the Great Strasbourg ring). In the 1930s secret construction also began on an extensive tunnel system Inside view of a German bunker near St. though sometimes there were more. It became known as the “East Wall.also returned to service during World inside the OWB.000 men was to serve the filters and. The heaviest fortified area.

In Germany that role was assigned to the Festung less specialized work such as the creation of obstacles. » far left A German soldier in front of the Todt compound left Fritz Todt. which operated on each major front in Europe. above A photo of the Reichsarbeitsdienst Translation: « Our whole life should be a big labor service in Germany. which Two Einsatzgruppen worked on the Atlantic Wall while several included opposed river crossings and assaults on enemy others were responsible for maintaining lines of communication. The Reicharbeitsdienst (RAD or Reich Labor Service) and the installation of most of the parts entails work by a variety was an organization created in 1934 that remained under of technicians. be they for a machinegun position or a U-boat of the fortifications on the eastern front. roadwork and other The German Army normally provided its own specialized staff such tasks. founder of Organization Todt 46 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . Eventually the Organization fortification building on all fronts. its members carried weapons once the war began. army construction battalions. which was organized at a When the war began many RAD battalions were converted into regimental level but consisted mostly of just staff personnel. flamethrowers the same name). but they also sometimes participated as the construction of fortifications. agricultural projects. such bridgework or similar projects. fortifications as well as emplacing minefields and barbed wire. plane crash early in 1942 he was replaced by Albert Speer. The construction battalions were more often engaged in built the autobahns. though in the First World War it had construction operate the heavy cranes and other equipment required units with the capability of building ferroconcrete bunkers. It armored components and plans (referred to as Regelbau) for their included a section for men and one for women. Eventually it undertook other tasks. Pioneer Stab (Fortress Engineer Staff). They were equipped with explosives. The OT was organized into Einsatzgruppen or task battalions of the infantry and armored divisions often also did forces (not to be confused with the infamous SS formations of such work. Before the war that work was During the war both the OT and the RAD were involved in contracted to civilian companies. construction of trenches and anti-tank ditches on the eastern evolved into a kind of paramilitary organization by the time it front. for civilians and prisoners to be involuntarily involved in the The OT. embrasures and turrets. The RAD performed less specialized tasks than the OT. The army hadn’t maintained such units The small pre-war army didn’t have the technicians to before the war. The Germans kept a standardized catalogue of the direction of Konstantin Hierl until the end of the war. for building large works. where they performed some of the work involved. Organizing for Construction Building fortifications of concrete and steel was a task During the pre-war years the RAD was associated with beyond the normal capabilities of most armies in World War II. and other equipment for use in their primary functions. casemates. Beyond that. Before entering bunkers. draining marshes.  ★ the military. Many of its battalions were assigned to work on of engineers who planned and supervised the civilian contract the East and West Walls. require specially manufactured metal components like doors. munitions stores and troop shelters. Later they also assumed responsibility for the construction Concrete bunkers. most young men were required to serve in the RAD for at least six months. Emplacement requires heavy equipment. formed in 1933 by the early Nazi supporter Fritz Todt. The pioneer (combat engineer) Wall in 1938. When Todt died in a shelter. and it was organized into battalion-sized formations. beginning with the West in the preparation of fortifications. it wasn’t uncommon Todt (OT) took over handling those contractors. Though it wasn’t officially categorized as a military organization.

on the East Wall. equipment and fortification designs were first tested at Hillersleben. and beyond Wall were scrapped. from the at Ludendorff was the entrance block. bomb. Hitler mounted a large six-embrasure turret while that of their armor was 10 inches. From that time The largest single-floor position was if needed. The larger a barracks by an underground gallery with no tunnel complex. obstacles on the surface were divided munications room served to connect Another important feature of into three sections. gunroom for a 37mm Festungs-PAK added to those positions. PzW 865 thickness ranged from 60 to 79 inches On his final visit to the OWB. west of Magdeburg. Between 1935 and 1936 the Ludendorff position came to consist of a large entrance blockhouse and two small combat Armored air vent and automatic mortar turret with a mortar shell placed on its roof for scale World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 47 . The blockhouses included a ventilator and connected to the tunnel system. the surface of the block. a machine shop. One block The East Wall’s Pomeranian automatic 50mm mortar. on the Germans concentrated on PzW 864. and latrine and storage areas. but by a machinegun position. including a reminder in the emergency exits that were normally could resist a single 300mm round or a latrine to shut the cover to prevent light kept blocked with sand. PzW 866 was a large one-level work artillery positions that were never By that time he’d changed the main whose only exposed positions were completed. A smaller position. often. with two standard entrances Werkgruppe Scharnhorst in the OWB the construction of smaller bunkers for troops. Construction of the OWB Werkgruppen had begun before Ludendorff was completed. it was only intended for the three-gun tunnel system and planned batteries. which wasn’t the tunnel system below the blocks.5 feet) time couldn’t hold any weapon larger for a single machinegun. In 1938. type. and included an embrasure blockhouses had been added. the Oder Defenses. They were all classified walls for the benefit of soldiers new Werke (PzW). it consisted of two levels as B-Werke based on the thickness of to the facility. That type of to D (one foot). became enraged when he learned the for machineguns. which then had hit by a 1. the Germans decided to use the OWB as their test ground. a number of changes were implemented on those Werkgruppen while they were still under construction. the surface of the roof and had an was planned but not built.» continued from page 45 blockhouses linked by an underground filter room. The barracks most German fortifications. had a three-embrasure turret and steel were rated from A (11. was built there. The various thicknesses for concrete expensive works completed up to that PzW 687. a enemy fire. It consisted of three and anti-tank obstacles — aimed at and a mortar turret that was flush with completed B-Werke and a fourth that creating lines of impenetrable depth. A com- for covering the outer access door. including the linking than half its top section exposed. using no specialists at all. its only that could cover 360 degrees. Type B concrete escaping and alerting the enemy. in its sector. spraying the French Maginot Line and the East access was through the tunnel system. By 1938. Like most large Panzer for a total of 83. The southeast part of the East Wall. Twelve additional one-to-five-block number of specialized personnel or. be manned with either some small duplicated in any other Werkgruppe. A military road of concrete plates Werkgruppen were built in the OWB. Its exposed included two entrance doors. which covered. to repel an enemy assault. to be drained in case of need.000 lb. consisted mainly of unlinked bunkers along the river. Since building a complete Werkgruppe at that site wasn’t practical. and other facilities were located in smallest to the largest. and was equal to the thickest walls He immediately put an end to all work it was embedded with only a little more of French Maginot Line forts. Type A was the heaviest than a machinegun or field mortar. with a steel roof fortress flamethrowers had a nozzle those for the East Wall. on Hitler’s insis- construction effort to the West Wall. but all were linked to similar to those of the OWB. the Ludendorff Group. Basic led from the main road to the entrance Most consisted of three or four blocks. three additional combat room. however. turret didn’t project far above ground. the Line included several Werkgruppen façade included two entrances covered others had none. was they could house (Panzer Werke 865). OWB Werkgruppen Most weapons. All eventualities were and had standard features including their concrete walls and armor. As a result. instructions were painted on the interior of Ludendorff. a munitions armored door out of the direct line of gallery. an observation turret with characterized most of the fortifications and obstacles — including mines small embrasures and a periscope. mortars and flamethrowers were which included few large positions. The heavy none of which was as ambitious (fortress anti-tank gun). a rest area for the garrison. Thus the prototype of the new Werkgruppe. its three-embrasure half-turret and a tence. The largest position it to other Werkgruppen. Plans for large and a steel plate on its exposed façade. protruding through the block roofs Werkgruppen similar to the forts of Except for its emergency exit.

Kustrin and Danzig. The other section. prepare for the drive on Berlin. Thus the defenders. Hitler. clung to Hitler’s fortress cities of Breslau. East Walls Old & New In the late summer of 1943. the weapons originally having overrun the nascent Gneisenau Line in the Crimea. however. Army Group North faced isolation in the Baltic States as the Soviets advanced past it on its southern flank. except for positions in the south and southeast Army Group South from the Dnepr south of the Pripet Marsh. The section referred to as the Panther Line. By that used sections of old Italian fortifications to form the Ingrid mid-April 1944. it did little good to prepare new defense lines without also having the troops and weapons needed to properly man them. however. pushing back the Germans on a line from the border of East Prussia to the Vistula at Modlin. ran along the Dnepr River to the Black Sea. Soviet forces shattered the front of Army Group North Ukraine north of the Carpathians. the Germans worked feverishly on their new Government General Line.85 miles to the rear. By December The heavily propagandized “Alpine Fortress” was actually 1943 the Soviets had taken Kiev and had almost completely cleared almost non-existent. The Soviets chose not to break through to Warsaw at that time. In late July. Petersburg (Leningrad) 48 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . which contained subsidiary back up lines within it. opportunity to transfer divisions from the failed Ardennes offensive to the Soviets overran large parts of the Wotan Line during October stabilize the situation along the Oder. who’d become chief of staff. refused to tactically sacrifice so much territory. By June 1944 the only the Alpine Fortress had been better fortified. forces had until June 1944 to work on it. since it couldn’t support large forces once the economic of the Panther Line. That would allow the troops to pull back when the Soviet preliminary bombardment for their next major offensive began. Before long. leaving behind only a rear guard and thus Photo courtesy of Alex Goss negating the effect of the enemy’s normally massive barrages. tried to create new defensive lines and restore old ones roughly along the 1940 eastern border of the Reich. which ran through the heart of Polish territory. Guderian. Guderian had new positions added to the old East Wall. Gen.  ★ South Ukraine hastily attempted to establish new defensive lines. In July. obstacles and anti-tank ditches. he only agreed to allow the main line of resistance to be about 1. The remnants of that army group were unable to stop the Red advance. Before the end of the to build a new East Wall from the Baltic to the Black Sea to hold month they stood before the old East Wall. then along that river until they came to a halt when the Poles in Warsaw rose against the Germans. however.5 miles behind the forward defensive line. The plan was “fortress cities” such as Warsaw and Graudenz. During January. ran through the East Prussia was soon isolated and fighting there raged around sectors of Army Groups North and Center. mostly various types of concrete bunkers and ring-stands. Even if they were moving directly on Sevastopol. Heinz Guderian. wanted to form the main line of resistance 12. On 22 June 1944 a massive Soviet offensive struck Army Group Center. German bunker near St. As it turned out. Glogau. when Hitler had the Before significant work could be completed in the south. He also established other specialized fortress units to man the defenses. Guderian soon formed over 100 fortress infantry battalions by using men otherwise unfit for field duty. Soviet forces were on the Rumanian frontier after Line along the Yugoslav border. it would’ve been of fortifications of any significance on the eastern front consisted little value. the allowing the Soviets to establish a bridgehead over the Oder and Wotan (Odin) Line. thousands of Germans of all ages responded and began to work on building trenches. as the forces that had destroyed Army Group Center approached Warsaw. Taking advantage of the respite. The Germans meanwhile off the Red Army. but 80 percent of them then ended up being sent to the western front. outnumbered by as much as 11:1 in the main Soviet attack zones. he instead sent them to Hungary. He also ran out of time. By September the Soviets established a major bridgehead over the Vistula at Baranów. Kustrin was eliminated. Hitler gave permission for the The Soviets then simply bypassed the German strongpoints and construction of fortified lines on the eastern front. based on his discussions with front line commanders. shattering it and the Panther Line. When he called for volunteers. and in place there had mostly been removed earlier in the war. As he pointed out in his memoirs. thereby giving the Germans time to crush the uprising and stabilize their front. those “Fortress Koenigsberg. He also wasn’t sent any weapons larger than 50mm for the new defenses. The renamed Army Group North Ukraine and base on the German plain to the north had been lost.” At the end of March. however. 1943 (in the sectors of Army Groups South and A). as the Soviets advanced. were easily Present-day Russian historical re-enactors atop a overrun when that new offensive began on 12 January 1945.

to allow Wall was equally well fortified. at Kursk and the transfer of units to the war. Army Group South had also been memory. The summer of 1943 saw anti-personnel mines had been mostly the Ukraine before coming to a halt. It wasn’t French employed their anti-personnel the overall collapse of the Soviet Union until September 1943. not only to defend to remain static while the Germans which was dubbed the Molotov Line. and then stop and take defensive the Caucasus and to Stalingrad ended sible to create large minefields. and the West Wall lost its relevance when France fell the following summer. against counterattacks but also for attacked along the northern and The Red Army abandoned the Stalin shelter against the fierce weather. running that time. including ferroconcrete artillery posts. making it pos. The Germans were careful to record the location of all their own mines. one last major offensive in the east handmade booby traps usually planted That strategy was intended to bring around Kursk. after the defeat mines like booby traps early in the via economic and psychological shock. but to avoid accidental explosions when the time came to remove them. It was formed as the Germans dug in to keep tour of Werkgruppe Ludendorff. the first to mass-produce would advance into northwest France The summer offensive of 1942 into anti-personnel mines. Hitler refused. construction in the east between planned. 1939 –1941 After the occupation of Poland in October 1939 the East Wall no longer served a useful purpose. not only to mark safe paths through them for their troops. The German plan for the invasion the construction of fortifications except There’s no evidence the Germans of the USSR was unlike the initial one in logistically critical urban areas for employed minefields on a large scale for the 1940 campaign in the west. Before positions while preparing for the in disaster for the Germans. however. whereas Soviet Union to take Leningrad and fieldworks. where Hitler had calculated his armies of communication against partisans. local control and for protection of lines along the East Wall. it had become clear the In the summer of 1939 older troops The only major fortified line under situation wasn’t developing as he had occupied the positions of the OWB. despite the fact the Poles had casemates and infantry blockhouses. though Armored air vent and six-embrasure turret with circular openings for optical equipment World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 49 . own fieldworks. Of course. including massive winter offensive that continued through hoped to circulate the idea their West submarine pens and artillery casemates. which coincided with among wire entanglements. By showing those men the construction projects along the Atlantic hard-pressed by the expanded Soviet fortifications in the east. March.) area than had the Stalin Line. The Germans were. Leningrad under siege and to stabilize American attaché made a full report ever. from the Gulf of Finland to In February 1940 a group of foreign from the border with East Prussia to west of Moscow a largely static front military attachés was taken on an official the foothills of the Carpathians. As a result the Germans removed much of the equip- ment installed in those fortifications. and the Germans couldn’t match the fronts of Army Groups North and that included a diagram drawn from it because they’d just begun major Center. In the west. At dragons teeth were only added in 1944. (Some sources claim the The Molotov Line covered a smaller the strategic offensive in the east. even before 1941 drew automatic mortars and machineguns. The forces the mass production of anti-personnel next and final move. During that first winter the since the stretch of front that covered October 1939 and June 1941 was a German armies needed to create their the eastern approach to Berlin was Soviet position along their new border. anti-tank mines were generally east called for rapid advances deep debacle fell back and tried to hold deployed only along routes that could into the European portion of the new positions with hastily erected be used by heavy vehicles. Scharnhorst’s their firing chambers were only able of building fortified positions in the largest weapons consisted of 50mm to accommodate weapons that had east. become obsolete early in the war. how. Some of those positions Line along the former border and included not only wire obstacles but began to concentrate on creating new 1942 & 1943 also concrete dragons teeth and wooden works. Even the complete and final victory by causing the Allied landings in Sicily. southern fronts. The longer than the German West Wall. Those bunker designs on the West Wall posed a serious problem for the Germans in 1944 because. His plan for the that escaped destruction during that mines. to its close. many anti- tank bunkers only had a firing chamber for a machinegun and a storage space for a 37mm anti-tank gun that was to be rolled out and moved to a firing position just above and in front of the bunker. however. There was thus initially no question ranged from 30 to 50 men. In 1942 the Germans returned to few tanks.crews for each of the three blocks there was no shortage of such positions. the Germans coast in the west. meanwhile.

time the Group North. other positions extended northwest. Beyond it. Even so. once given the go. such territory. The Panther struction and proper “curing” of con. One of the strongest of those and rivers south of Pskov and Ostrov. (“Tobruks”) and troop shelters. Even so. Some of the positions were the strongest positions built in Soviet ditches and trenches. mounted in concrete. most of those bunkers were into the next such fortified line. where the Germans created numbers made of wood. while engineer further reinforced with concrete. of 1944 to work on it. that Hitler grudgingly allowed his such as ring-stands and tank turrets lines stretched along the Luga River. the fortified town of Kingisepp. quickly spread along the entire defense. eastern forces to build fortifications. 50 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . troops and impressed civilian fortifications to existing stone structures the Panther Line proved to be one of laborers feverishly excavated anti-tank in the towns. Elsewhere in the sector of Army Line was anchored at Narva in the crete bunkers required time. That was because the OT had units deployed barbed wire obstacles as machinegun bunkers. south lay a similar position at Luga. a far cry from formal fortified lines. Though the new between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Lake Peipus and then along the lakes lines included a few concrete positions. of strongpoints. once any portion of such lines Between 1942 and 1944 the most Organization Todt (see first sidebar) had had been broken. Similarly he of the Panther Line early in 1944. In the once built. often by adding field terrain of the Army Group North front ahead. ring-stands from the fall of 1943 until the spring and laid minefields. was the Mga Line.west. invariably drew nearby units into them. Ilmen. and it followed the river to Germans didn’t have. the feared. most of the posi. during the frigid winter was practically stop until those forces had retreated toward Lake Ladoga. impossible. It was anchored in the northwest at He believed such fortifications. served as magnets that kers. tions were log-lined dugouts and bun. in the difficult Nonetheless. When 18th and 16th Armies pulled thereby guaranteeing the quick loss of Panther & Wotan back to the Narva River and sections all territory in front of them. that knowledge would important position on the front near already prepared positions for them. the con. Leningrad and around Lake Ilmen was Since building concrete structures thereby setting off a panic that wouldn’t the Rollbahn (Highway) Line.

The Panther Line border toward East Prussia. It‘s likely other “fortress” positions had similar defenses. By May 1944 and worked on the old East Wall. any degree had to be accompanied they had pushed the Germans almost restoring old fortifications and by drainage work. positions for 47mm anti-tank of the Dnepr River to a point in the vicinity of the northeast corner of the Pripet Marsh. two periscopes. Both lines consisted mainly of fieldworks ranging from trenches to wooden bunkers with the usual scat- tered assortment of concrete structures. machinegun by the massive Soviet summer offensive included retractable radio antennas. trenches. The creating new ones. They could be quickly installed or removed for relocation if time permit- ted. Within a matter of weeks the During the last months of 1944. Those nests. built in 1936 at “A Strength” World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 51 . an air filter and a pedal- operated ventilation fan. eventually plain. known as Panzer Nesten (armored nests). were never available in large numbers. which meant in some areas the defenses were skimpy as almost all those items were at the time being sent to try to hurriedly build up the Atlantic Wall in the west. They included a machinegun. which came to be used in most German defensive lines. some using new designs that concrete ring-stands. Germans therefore had to race to build trenches and obstacles they built many The southern part of the Panther additional defensive lines before the small concrete positions. In addition to effort had to be kept above ground. In one case they used old Soviet machinegun bunkers to defend a railway line in the Mozry Fortified Region southeast of Minsk. but it’s not known precisely where and on what scale they did so. A complicating factor in the AGN to heavily fortify it. In 1944 a one-man concrete bunker was developed and it may have been used in occupied Soviet territory. appeared. Army Group Center was ring-stands. it actually consisted Last Stands sector came from the fact much of its of little more than fieldworks that relied area of operations was low-lying and on the river for defensive strength. even though it included smashed. the Germans added a system of ran through the sector of AGC east isolating Army Group North in Courland.” located between the Panther Line and Minsk. The Germans also occupied aban- doned Soviet bunkers. which ran mainly along the Dnepr River through the Ukraine. Since the Germans had no time Photos from opposing angles of a fortified sluice within the OWB. you stuck a spade into the ground. By mid-1944 the Germans had swampy. thereby overrunning much of the They threw up new defensive lines That often meant entrenching to uncompleted Wotan Line. “Fortress Borisov. along with the Panther Line. A few prefabricated four-ton porta- ble steel machinegun positions. included a number of ring-stands with tank turrets and Panzer Nesten. In many places you were By the end of 1943 the Soviets had begun to fall back into the defensive beneath the water table as soon as crossed a large part of the Dnepr. bunkers and some positions mounting in June. or else the entire completely out of the Ukraine. including Line in the sector of Army Group Center next blow fell. Barbed wire and mines were used whenever they were available. Details about that line are few and in many cases not reliable. lines inside their pre-1941 borders. as old tank turrets (mostly Panzer IIs Soviets surged across the old Polish Soviet forces advanced onto the Polish with 20mm guns). Just a few miles behind it was the Bear Line. it was certainly incorporated in the defenses in Poland. South of the Panther Line was the Wotan (Odin) Line. were used in the Panther and Bear Lines. Concrete bunkers also wasn’t as strong.

Other Guards Tank Army on 24 January 1945. through the Vistula Line and other after a two-month siege 5th Shock Army Koch Bunkers. The prepared. since they didn’t had fallen by the 30th. Only about 1. Thousands were produced and garrisons also abandoned the remain. Some models engaging those Soviet troops. town then had to do what the entire rest and they were used throughout what After that Soviet offensive broke of the OWB had failed to do. ing Werkgruppen. 50 52 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . The 1st in 1944. In spite of those efforts. man concrete tubular positions made 29 January. named after the Nazi positions beyond it. about 200 ring-stands and other hauled into position. were one.000 escaped. anti-tank the Germans held only bridgeheads at positions on the OWB and in front of ditches and other fieldworks were also Kustrin and Frankfurt-am-Oder.000 of Party leader of East Prussia. Trenches. offensive that began on 12 January 1945. while its central southern France and the West Wall have the weapons to neutralize Soviet sector held until 13 February. In addition.guns. Before long Soviet Polish Army attacked the northern one-man concrete bunkers were also forces reached the Oder River. Most of the southern part of the line they appeared in East Prussia. and they could German garrison destroyed Werkgruppe portion of that line was attacked by 2nd be used for observation or machine. Tank Army penetrated the OWB on its garrison of about 18. The central included a roof section. the Line fared somewhat better. while part of the line early in February. but pg. That types for machineguns and mortars. Three days after first The positions in the Pomeranian in prefabricated sections. those old fortress town of Kustrin was the concrete ring-stands came in several positions failed to withstand the Soviet last barrier on the road to Berlin. Ludendorff and retreated from it. however. remained of German-occupied Europe. The and along the Pomeranian Line. mass-produced tanks and artillery. guns. their 1st Guards leveled Kustrin. Poland.

Miniewicz. Janusz & Boguslaw Perzyk. Cyw. Germany: Podzun Pallas. Kedryna. Wolfgang. 1993. 2007.. bottom-left — Guard post within the tunnel system of the OWB New York: DaCapo Press. In 1945.  ✪ Sources Burk. _______. Kurt. Zuiderdiep. Feldbefestigungen Des Deutschen Heeres 1939 –1945. Cambridge. above — One of the many machinegun bunkers of the Oder Line viewed from the rear London: Brown Partworks Ltd. still with little in the way of fortified positions behind them to aid in stopping the Red Army. 1993. The original East Wall within Germany proper. Fortress Third Reich. Die Entwicklung Des Deutschen Festungssytems Photo courtesy of Valery Tadra Seite 1870. though hur- riedly reinforced in 1944.W. Rudi. bottom-right — Unusual tepee-shaped concrete German guard post and machinegun bunker in Minsk Kaufmann. Heinz. Anna & Robert Jurga. The result was a massive collapse on that main front and the Soviet assault into Berlin leading to the end of the Third Reich. The Siege of Leningrad 1941 –1944. Warsaw: ME-GiSp. 1919 –1945. 1997. Netherlands: Fortress Books. Hitler committed even more troops to holding his declared “fortresses” such as Breslau and Konigsberg. top — A German bunker just outside Minsk Ein Typenkatalog.E. Panzer Leader. Miedzyrecki Rejon Umocniony 1934 –1945. World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 53 . MA: DaCapo. Warsaw: Militaria Bogusalwa Perzyka. consisted of Werkgruppen inadequate for post-1940 warfare. _______. Kaufmann. Conclusion To summarize. 1996. the Soviets had thus secured their flanks against counterattack and were poised for the final assault on Berlin. Glantz. 1998. 2000. the situation concerning fortifications on the eastern front became a classic case of “too little too late” when Hitler belatedly autho- rized their construction in mid-1943. circa 1996. Fleischer. Further Soviet offensives then pushed the Germans toward the pre-invasion Photo courtesy of Valery Tadra border of 1941. J.” Poland: Donjon. Guderian. With most of the East Wall in their hands. David. 2001. Grupa Warowna Werkgruppe “Ludendorff. & H. Die Deutschen Landebefestigungen Im Osten. 1996.” Poland: Donjon. thereby leaving tens of thousands of men encircled in those places and further reducing the number available to hold the Oder Line covering Berlin. Hitler’s attempts to declare as “fortresses” towns and cities that lacked actual heavy forti- fications merely worked to suck in more troops that were then lost to the defense of the Fatherland.it wasn’t until 3 March that 3rd Guards Tank Corps smashed through the last German positions to reach the Baltic coast. The Atlantic Wall soaked up most of the resources that otherwise could’ve been used for the construction of a massive fortified line in the east. Osnabrück: Biblio Verlag. Rolf. Wal Pomorski. Grupa Warowna Werkgruppe “Scharnhorst.

the anti-German forces. of crisis hexes (printed on the map) they WaW Upcoming is a strategic-level simulation control.  ✪ 54 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . Units of bring other powers into the war. A war fought at that choose to align with Berlin. # 24: Sedan 1940 of appeasing him.” They represent various side to opposite side. 1936-37 (RW). pick crisis chits depending on the number designed by Joseph Miranda. The ensuing chain game. for previews of these issues. One player commands the Axis. grabbing # 20: Gross Deutschland Panzer in Europe.com forces to resist. ordered their armed Rhineland War is a two-player Visit STRATEGYandTACTICSpress. Players maneuver are corps and armies. instead conflict explodes into a wider war. At the same time. as domestic foes work # 22: Minsk 1944 ordered his army to march into the to undermine your power before the # 23: Guadalcanal Rhineland. Features of intermediate complexity that the greater the chances they have of gain- covers an alternative World War II ing more allies. The that time would’ve found all European other is the Allied player. of events leads to the war expanding controlling Germany and the countries throughout Europe. Each hex on the Central to the play of the game are map represents 62 miles (100 km) from its “crisis chits. Each full game diplomatic and military events that could turn represents one month. the Allied powers. who controls militaries woefully unprepared. too much territory can lead to political # 21: Rhineland ‘36 The assumption is. when Hitler collapse at home.Game Preview Rhineland ‘36 T he Rhineland War. The more such hexes they control. one that began in 1936.

Its front commemorates the region’s manpower contribution — in this particular case in the form of naval infantry — to the Free French cause in World War II.” a black version of the French republic’s white female “national icon.) On the bill’s obverse is an African “Marianne. which was then the monetary authority for all their still-vast colonial holdings in that part of the continent. though. Too Late T his 500 Franc note was issued by the French Bank of West Africa in 1950. (At the same time. too late. Observation Post Military History on Money Too Little. note the white officer in the center of the illustration.” Chalk it all up to too little. (Shown at 100%) PLE AM S PLE AM S World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 55 .

which but here in the United States: the so powerful it made a crater 22 yards summarizes his findings. but rather trial to determine the effects of that two miles distant. it’s perhaps initially believe it was an earthquake.” in favor of larger tion and ordnance to US forces fighting deliberation. days of eyewitness testimony and called “gun bombs. bombing mission over Hiroshima and As war clouds darkened the horizon newspapers quoted eyewitnesses who still later.A. He matters. there’s evidence to suggest nuclear blast. A ing seen a white flash. History records no such atomic test at then shipped across to the war zones. After 39 prototypes. the result of a planned away. William Parsons. July. That is: was it actually a of victims were found up to a mile argument. 56 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . though. In his mind. what suggests itself of disaster. We know. ted a report on the disaster within a As tensions with Japan worsened. Bryan and SS Quinault Victory. or revisionist history. Buildings in Port Chicago town.” and of greater value in ending the war. one dedicated for military a “ball of fire” that reached to 12. and then engulfed Los Alamos ordered destroyed the safety measures overlooked for the sake the E. while the Quinault his findings in an online e-book. Every cluded the explosion occurred because a in July 1944 — the same month as the day.5 on scientists took interest in the Port spiracy theorists bring out “evidence” the Richter scale were recorded as Chicago blast.A. Port Chicago was built from reported a “mushroom-like cloud” nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll. to load a pair of merchant ships. oversaw the in 1941.m. The in fact caused by an atomic bomb.. the Other factors contributing to the is they contained an atomic bomb smallest of mistakes. The Port Chicago Blast darkness had descended. suffered severe a test of nuclear capability orchestrated untested weapon on infrastructure? structural damage. He cited an unidentified test across the expanse of the Pacific. Port Chicago served about the tragic incident. Port Chicago was no accident. Bryan and a train on a nearby pier subsequently published the results of the most enduring mysteries occurred were vaporized. The but there may have been more to it. were transferred from trains to ships and The explosion. Port Chicago Peter Vogel is one man who ques- remained a hive of activity as men tions that official explanation. Tremors measuring 3. rising in the aftermath of the explosion. Supporting that assertion is a report the capacities of existing seaports. models. the investigation con. He N umerous mysteries have labored under the glare of artificial lights believed the eyewitness testimonies of come out of World War II. James Conant. far away as Nevada. and he embarked on a the inescapable and eternal “fog of Without any warning a cataclysmic two-decade quest to prove the blast was war. One of E. It’s possible that was merely the US military had recognized the the official statement made by an Army the result of professional curiosity. At 10: 20 p. dockyard operated without incident. who seven years after the tragedy. the fires of hell for the sake of haste. use. started on a pier loaded with several the Los Alamos facility at that time. while con. leading many to that then-Capt. Bryan. the Manhattan Project. In the days immediately after. The not on some distant battlefield. which at the time content records for two of the boxcars of expediency. Of course. in support of a massive cover-up. half of that had been at Port Chicago on 17 always balanced on the knife edge it high-explosive artillery shells. accidentally or otherwise. on 17 July 1944. logistical requirements of any future pilot before a Navy Court of Inquiry. Sixty. as a rear admiral.” secrecy over national security blast wiped out the entire facility. explosion that destroyed Port deep and 219 yards across. The loading of such deadly materials. Victory was left a hulk. Just a simple slip-up. submit- scratch 35 miles north of San Francisco. tions. though remains the official verdict on the event. found In it. officials at at a frenzied pace that at times saw tons of ammunition. Lending credence to those reports was week. counties. Conant suggested foregoing was built to serve that need. thousands of tons of bullets. could lead to death explosion were said to include bad that. later served on the Enola Gay during its time to reexamine the controversy. mines. was clearly needed. there was nothing particularly unusual development of the earliest A-bomb During the war. explosion. That conclusion were unleashed.Observation Post Pure Speculation Then. Conventional wisdom says that’s were broken in buildings in adjacent There’s no doubt Los Alamos a preposterous assertion. for example.600 tons of munitions. “supersensitive element was detonated Port Chicago blast — as evidence the bombs. thousand tons of diesel fuel and 429 Even more curiously. Yet for several years the loading procedures.000 feet. The blast was Last Wave from Port Chicago. Port Chicago The Navy inquiry. and written later in 1944 by the director of new port. was responsible for the disaster. war in the Pacific would be beyond pilot was clear in his recollection of hav. and a neglect of safety procedures There is evidence to suggest just that.A. the SS the event sounded eerily like a nuclear most of them the result of E. defective muni. grenades and other in the course of rough handling by larger bombs would be more destructive explosive and combustible materials an individual or individuals. experts claimed. small tactical weapons as a major nexus for shipping ammuni. and destruction. a smoke ring. meant Port Chicago held 4. and windows by Manhattan Project scientists. Body parts and in that of others won over by his Chicago.

That might be the result of researcher’s point of view. The resulting lull would give the Japanese an opportunity to revive their defense. 1944 explosion (looking north). same time. then. What the blast site. exploding an to nuclear blasts. Those three massive efforts required ammunition and stores in previously unheard of quantities. an enemy. it seems Further. on the eyewitness testimony. Source states.The transport E. where Japanese submarines and spies were known to lurk. remains based or fission-related products detectable at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. The possibility of the blast being of conventional munitions present important staging base for B-29 bomb. exploding a secret weapon World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 57 . atomic bomb at Port Chicago would’ve which was the Halifax Harbor munitions As with all “conspiracy theories. Bulldozer supporting a third front in China and and damaged automobiles in the foreground. the most famous of contamination by an A-bomb explosion. devastation be detected everywhere on the planet 1950s were cleaned of contamina. there have been instances when Chicago lies in a county that.” Southeast Asia. it’s difficult to imagine anyone in the US would knowingly destroy a vital ammunition hub during some of the fiercest fighting in the war. At the Port Chicago shortly after the July 17. after shocks. and scattered pilings. railway crane at left. we were also materially “[Showing] the wreckage of Building A-7 in the center and ship pier beyond . It was more than likely was growing at home.2 explosion of conventional munitions. In addition. because explosion of 1917. even today.5 to 2. In the “true” story then somehow came been capable of producing the effects fact. and can still atomic test blasts in the 1940s and were: a mushroom cloud. They advanced on at Port Chicago range from 1. idea of a nuclear blast at Port Chicago. US forces were size will produce the same effects. and earthquake-like an atomic explosion has taken place. it’s important to remember characteristics of nuclear explosions. in the Marianas Islands. is there are no traces of radiation the result of the nearby presence of its original foundation. for example. willfully exploded an atomic bomb at time of the blast. witnessed by civilians was also real. Douglas kilotons (compared to 12 kilotons MacArthur pushing north into the for the Hiroshima bomb). Many — Andrew Hind Philippines as the Navy “island hopped” across the Central Pacific. with Gen. on a massive scale.” had only diluted value.A. Even as war-weariness A conventional blast of sufficient Port Chicago. from an atomic enough to produce effects comparable in the US. which was every there are counter-arguments historians the mass of follow-on explosions bit as violent and destructive as that and others have used to undermine the would’ve distorted the assessment which occurred at Port Chicago. government not to wield such destruc. Bryan was bound there would’ve risked tipping off the explosives experts agree the 5.. with Port Chicago located on the seaboard. improbable anyone knowingly and there was an all-out war going on at the though they aren’t exclusive to them. It’s been pointed out. tion and later decommissioned. what then if the American populace recalled by the eyewitnesses. though. it would be from Tinian the Enola out. As well. Certainly those are all Taken in sum. the At the same time.000 tons for Tinian. Viewed in that regard. exactly what the Navy Board of Inquiry making vigorous attacks against the Estimates of the size of the explosion concluded: a massive but accidental Japanese Empire. thus prolonging the war and causing more US and Allied casualties. of the effects of the original blast. and any logistical let-up would cause those advances to slow or pause. conventional explosions occurred large has one of the highest cancer rates tive power? Finally. two main fronts. and theory. Port was so horrified they put pressure on the rare. The most damning evidence of all. If on the docks and ships would’ve ers raiding the Japanese home islands. the the one that seems to drive the final unusual cancer rate among people greatest amount of evidence for the nail into the coffin of the atomic bomb near Port Chicago may actually be Port Chicago atomic blast theory. While Gay would take off in 1945. They are the fingerprints where ships exposed to the Pacific those survivors saw and experienced of every atomic explosion. It makes no strategic sense.

000 yards short. toward the northernmost Japanese Dale and Monaghan on 22 March. The FDR Fleet. Hosogaya believed he was on the sides expended large percentages of unpleasantly surprised by encountering verge of a great victory. There was also a sub. The Japanese A major storm broke over the next Maya opened fire on the Richmond at sought to cut that highway and simul. As the situation clari- trained for decades. For four hours on 26 ers. few days as the ships stood watch a range of 21. Nachi. happily assumed their War II. the Battle of the Komandorski Signals intelligence had gleaned own slow ships had arrived. the Americans’ changed from naval engagement for which they’d group. The Americans saw the American task force cruising which caught fire from the muzzle blast in the Aleutians a chain of island air. Luck bases that would allow them to project heading north. When Islands (at the western extreme of that two supply convoys had been the Americans sighted masts on the the Aleutians) was fought as a purely dispatched from Japan to reinforce the horizon they at first congratulated daylight surface action without the garrison on Attu. starts losing speed prior to closed range to the point the opposing going dead in the water during the battle under a smoke screen laid by accompanying destroyers. Unfortunately the intelligence battle line from a 30-mile wide scouting seamen fought the kind of traditional effort missed the sailing of the escort line. awaiting the arrival of a ate the only US national territory occu. the Nachi received three hits from the Salt Lake City: one hit the 58 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . At 8:40 a. finding himself their main gun ammunition in an a much stronger enemy force than between the Americans and their home effort to secure control of the North he’d been led to believe was involved. commanded by Adm. For several minutes both sides’ main guns thundered at one another as the Americans continued to turn to port until they were heading southwest. It did. slower merchant ship and destroyer. Midway campaign. the Japanese heavy cruisers Nachi and home island of Hokkaido. and it took time to prepare them for battle. Japanese and American ers.Observation Post Skill vs. where he to launch floatplanes. Besides being struck by several destroyer shells. cruiser Richmond and the destroyers choice in such a circumstance: he The Aleutian Island chain attracted Bailey and Coghlan. Pacific wastes and their dominance Initially in command of the old light McMorris made the only reasonable of the Aleutian Island chain. Cruisers of both Rear Adm. the two battle lines The cruiser USS Salt Lake City.000 yards. however. who perceived them as a then rendezvoused with the heavy late to fuel and prepare them for flight potential military highway pointing cruiser Salt Lake City and the destroyers before shooting began. was also hampered by cold boilers that had to be warmed in order to give her full speed. two light cruisers and four destroy. but it was too strategists. base with a 2:1 superiority in firepower. Hosogaya. Boshiro Battle of the Komandorski Islands administration was also eager to liber. (The Komandorskis The Japanese. the six US ships to concentrate into a March 1943. hunter to hunted. damaged by Japanese cruiser gunfire. so the American commander. Unique among the sea battles pied by the Axis. (Not expecting a fight. less transports.m. causing minor dam- age. most of the ships had half their boilers off-line. The opening taneously anchor the north end of their southwest of Attu.) As the US ships closed up and turned northwest. was to be fied. when they sighted masts fought in the Pacific during World were territory of the Soviet Union. Charles McMorris. destroyers were able to exchange gunfire. the Japanese flagship. and the Japanese Fifth retribution against the enemy. mere 1. causing moderate salvo came in concentrated and a empire by taking the islands of Attu and damage and stressing the crews. He ordered his cruisers the attention of both Japanese and US on patrol south of Attu. south of the Komandorskis while and had to be jettisoned. toward the Japanese home island bases only 500 miles away. McMorris went turned tail. During the time it took combat airpower.) to the south. themselves on having found the help- participation of submarines or stantial naval escort of two heavy cruis. Kiska during their otherwise disastrous The morning of 26 March found destroy one of Nachi’s floatplanes.

The destroyer Bailey paid for leading the attack. but her and she lost rudder control. and didn’t off by anti-aircraft fire that eventually captains had been even more skillful in suffer fools gladly. Maunsell a. Srinagar. making idea for a cross-Channel connection deep and passed under the American the US assault on the island in May less between Britain and France. but they also failed to make any hits. practical. A total of 42 torpedoes were costly. The US destroyers were and graduated with honors in 1906. silencing her fire Movers & Shakers protecting the world’s busiest port until repairs were completed at 9:25 from the German threat. The damaged US ships retired the Ministry of Transport shelved launched by the Japanese during the to the west coast for repairs. It could’ve or more of their 8-inch ammunition. be educated in Britain. structural engineering while working in forts was started soon thereafter. His ideas were damaged the plane and caused it to maneuvering their ships to dodge the always straightforward. He excelled academically initially balked. prickly. a variety of positions in Europe and the Two types of fort were ultimately At 10:59 a. In 1919. many hull-plates were found to have the Channel Tunnel in 1994.m. then returned to England to and torpedo room. the Aleutians. was their fire. another shell hit a propeller shaft and started flooding in the engine room. where the plan. but he eventually potentially provided vital information While the Japanese shooting had been established his own consulting firm. served one destroyed the starboard catapult bombers based farther east in the in France. At 8:42 a.m.) Meanwhile the other Guy Anson Maunsell was born in thereafter he met with Royal Navy Japanese cruisers kept up their fire. Though only five torpedoes were launched. the second Capt. wrecking those aircraft.” accuracy also suffered. Thus the salvoes — and they’d all been lucky. As the ship lost power. Attu there. so her father served with the Indian Army for forts for the [Thames] estuary. for the Japanese gunners to adjust considered accurate by their potential By nature he lived for his work. but not one found its mark. battle retained a purely traditional In October 1940 the harbormaster surface-naval-only character. — Ken MacFarlane for the Port of London contacted The hits on the Nachi also damaged Maunsell to ask his advice about her gun directors. Hosogaya believed he’d work on ship construction methods. but cruisers. Japanese launched eight torpedoes. Maunsell submitted his all missed because they were set too fore remained without supplies. India. “unstable.m. and that created a lull in the battle. The idea was realized as battle. Young Guy was sent home to completed the design work. All three The 1920s and 30s were a difficult was a spotter floatplane catapulted heavy cruisers expended 64 percent time in Maunsell’s career due to the from the Nachi at 8:54 a. At 11:03 a. John Hughes-Hallett (1901–72. retiring as a lieutenant colonel Within a month Maunsell one Japanese salvo landed next to in 1897. Hosogaya turned away his fleet and gathered his transports to head back to Japan. in 1884. (The gun directors’ function was to Guy Anson Maunsell prepared a paper outlining his views find the range and coordinate the fire of on coastal fortifications.m. UK. but pressed his luck far enough. Salt Lake City was hit in her mid-ship catapults. His construction of “four twin tower Navy damaged her gun directors. child of Edward Henry and Rosalie later vice admiral) concerning the Near misses on the Salt Lake City Harriet Maunsell (née Anson). Great Depression.m. as was common some members of the Admiralty followed by an insignificant hit at at the time.” Maunsell overcame those then ordered to drop back to make He gained technical experience in objections. Eventually 37 years. and Fearing an attack by American officer with the Royal Engineers.m. McMorris ordered three of the destroyers to make a risky torpedo attack to discourage the Japanese from pressing their advantage. declaring the structures 10:10 a. Shortly the main turrets. receiving two World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 59 . heavy shell hits that almost sank her. but it was repeatedly driven victims at the time. and construction on the a smoke screen to cover the cruiser. have to fly to Attu for repair. In 1917 he was commissioned an one severed part of the mainmast. The only aircraft to participate been damaged by near misses. functional and cost-effective. the American temperamental.bridge and killed several signalmen.

I must say. but it was still a tough tour Maunsell only later received official the Liverpool estuary never saw any of duty for the men working in the credit for the original highly classified action. as you know. tall. They were demolished in 1946. Concurrent with his design of the light ships. Two Knock John (U4) in August. Once in position they were lowered arranged in a circular fashion around ogy is still in use today is testament to onto the seabed in a controlled sinking. Told surviving examples of a rare World War and Mersey (Liverpool) estuaries. 1942. Their armament included two four weeks on followed by 10 days After V-E Day the Thames estuary 6-inch (150mm) gun emplacements ashore. When I leave the office. one for the Navy and seven interlocking steel platforms. The 1st Anti-Aircraft however.” possible within the limits of wartime needed at the very start of an invasion. Maunsell also began work on the “pirate radio stations” had taken over duration followed by 10 days leave. the forts were credited leg of their structure. Fort Sunk Head (U2) and Fort (U5). A fifth Navy and operational by the end of 1943. 30 26 feet in diameter and seven stories was crewed by 265 men. floating harbor concept. in 1944. While not decisive to the overall of housing up to 120 men inside the others to serve as a searchlight base. Each leg was Each second-generation tower with the destruction of 22 aircraft. is occupied their artificially lighted living quarters. They were supplied so as to constructed approximately 10 miles upgraded because of Cold War fears be self-sufficient for over a month. Men could as Mulberries and were used in the outside the three-mile territorial limit. and the their permanent locations in the estu. Each was Detachment. also designed concrete floating docks. Both designs were they looked something like the Arc of military architecture made during prefabricated at a Gravesend dry dock de Triomphe sitting in water. for anti-aircraft defense. In addition. he Red Sands (U6) is now a candidate After completion of the Navy forts. I live on a Maunsell went on to an even more dairy farm. Comprising “Gentlemen. British war effort. and Fort Sands (U7). spend up to 18 hours below sea level in cross-Channel attack into Normandy One fort. Four forts were constructed in the next-nearest fort. in 1956 the Army declared following order: Fort Roughs Tower (U1. and Shivering The Thames Estuary Special Defense Tongue Sands (U3) in June. Roughs Tower. he retorted: restore it and create a museum on it. which served V-1 flying bombs and one E-Boat. were subsequently used as postwar fort was contemplated but never built.7-inch anti-aircraft artillery installations were built of the Anti-Aircraft Fort Maintenance guns. which were fact their pre-stressed concrete technol- ary. Fort Regiment Royal Artillery (Thames) them obsolete and dismantled codenamed Uncle One) in February manned the forts named Great Nore their heavy guns and radars. Heavy World War II. the central control tower. I get more bloody sense from them than I ever get from talking to you!” The objections were overturned and Maunsell completed designs for three 406-ton reinforced concrete floating dry docks. Altogether three Maunsell Army forts became the responsibility along with two 3.Observation Post constructed. from shore and six miles from the of attack from Warsaw Pact bombers. underwater portion of the concrete legs. on five of the towers. Their radar systems were on top. I go home and the first thing I do is go into the field where my cows are and discuss my day with them. for historical preservation due to Maunsell was commissioned to design One anecdote from that episode its importance as one of the best Army forts to be located in the Thames illustrated his famous temper. By the mid-1960s private Tours of duty were of six weeks forts. Lessons learned from the failed to this day by the family of a former The isolated conditions and cramped 1942 Dieppe raid had convinced the British Army officer who declared quarters were made as comfortable as Allied high command a harbor was it the “Micronation of Sealand. That his design wouldn’t work by some II design. Red Sands (U6). All forts were in place Unit serviced the Navy forts. along with 40mm Bofors guns for the Thames estuary. Nothing quite like them and then towed on concrete barges to anti-aircraft artillery was mounted had been attempted before. The three Army forts deployed in austerity. with a single Maunsell’s remarkable engineering The forts for the Navy were capable seventh tower located away from the skill. Fundraising has begun to second-generation design was used members of the Admiralty. technologically challenging pieces one for the Army. Maunsell’s fort designs are argu- ably one of the most innovative and 60 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . after artificial harbors that became known the forts because they were located four days training ashore.

While not the inventor of reinforced or pre-stressed concrete. the fact remains he was an outstanding individual in the engineer- ing profession of the 20th century. you’ll get: • Upcoming Magazine Issue Previews • Special offers & new releases • Special content not available in our magazines … and much more! Go to strategyandtacticspress. Though he was never lauded with honorary titles or public recognition for his wartime accomplish- ments. his vision pushed the envelope in his creation of the sea forts. our weekly e-newsletter. Maunsell retired in 1959 and passed away two years later. — Jon Cecil ✪ Get your free subscription to ★ Briefing Room ★ When you activate your free subscription to Briefing Room. One of his most significant legacies is the platform technology used in the offshore oil and gas platforms in the North Sea.successful postwar international engi- neering career.com World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 61 . floating concrete dry docks and other important infrastructure projects. artificial harbors.

Hitler’s factotum in charge of over 2. sank famous second one was begun by Martin 62 World at War 19 | aug–sep 2011 . and well-illustrated. 2008). became America’s fifth armed service. Reviewed by Andrew Hind It’s a great read and at least mini-biographies of the major figures partly fills an important niche in involved. which protected from the prominent place being easily bombed sabotage the countless warehouses. The Todt Organization began remembered. it effectively (Anton Plenk Verlag. were those briefest on detail. to which Hitler and smaller craft including amphibious his inner circle of aides. the book 1945. construction costs. all his cars.  ✪ Guard in World War II is generally overlooked. chauffeurs and daily office If the role of the CG is little routine. remained unscathed and is in pristine If I had a quibble with the book condition today as a tourist destination. renderings. by the Allies.500 survivors of in residence. a gift from the Nazi Party to its Fuehrer That story of the home front was the on his 50th birthday in 1939. covered in a slender volume. his mistress Eva Braun on-site. and thousands of Mooslahnerkopf. Construction of the more torpedo attacks in the Atlantic. 288 The first teahouse was on the ships for the army. and pictures of Hitler and T he participation of the US Coast the literature of World War II. Reviewed by Blaine Taylor. even more obscure is the project in 1937 and handed it over as that of the Coast Guard Auxiliaries. complete with architectural (Osprey Publishing. fulfilling its traditional life-saving and by Florian M. 2010). There Alpine views a total of 14 times. atop at the Normandy invasion and in the Obersazlberg at Berchtesgaden amphibious assaults across the Pacific. researched and by Alejandro De Quesada the most fascinating sections detailed. destroying the homes of Hitler. is brought to life with numerous Goering and Bormann. the Berghof. but there has never been After Pearl Harbor the Coast Guard one like this on the Fuehrer’s second experienced a dramatic increase in teahouse building on Kehlstein size: by war’s end it operated 800 Mountain overlooking the Berghof. securing ports and ever popular topic of Adolf Hitler’s beaches. but the teahouse photographs and color drawings. 351 other naval vessels. or serving as an easy piers and other facilities that kept the locale for assassins. secretaries and landing craft. The he feared becoming stuck in its solid all-volunteer Auxiliaries filled a number brass elevator and only visited the of important roles to free Coast Guard expensive structure with its magnificent personnel for duty elsewhere. in October 1940. Beierl law enforcement duties. the last was the Volunteer Port Security Force. it would be that a broad topic is This fascinating work is The US Coast Guard in World War Two.000 personal decorations. During the course of the war the Coast Guard took on a number of invaluable There have been several German- duties. in Bavaria. He worried about the for example. Ironically. The Coast Guard special guests walked daily when he was rescued more than 1. including escorting convoys published books in English on the in the Atlantic.Media Reviews 11 enemy submarines and received Bormann. and operating landing craft mountain chalet. did bomb the Berghof on 25 April In the Osprey tradition. cutters. RAF Lancasters American shipping industry in business. most intriguing part of the book. In addition to History of the Eagle’s Nest.

com CALL TO SUBSCRIBE (661) 587-9633 phone (661) 587-5031 fax SUBSCRIBE BY MAIL Strategy & Tactics Press P.com . Box 21598 | Bakersfield.O. tables and pictures. ds Ta rmor at Gen. CA | 93390-1598 BACK issues AVAILABLE Gu Red Aar Brig. SUBSCRIBE GroSS DEUtSCHL AnD PAnZEr DiViS ion | to Sink a Wars hip | i rember: Anzio | Battle of Shanghai. the Strategy & tactics of World War ii #20 OCT–nOV 2011 Going beyond the usual narratives. Each issue is packed full of: In-depth analysis | Detailed maps | Wire diagrams Grossd eutscHla Panzer nd SUBSCRIBE ONLINE division strategyandtacticspress. Junk: William GUArDS KABUL 1979: Fatal T. including World at War. the articles focus on the “how” and “why” of conflicts and are illustrated liberally with maps. charts. Box 21598 | Bakersfield CA 93390 | strategyandtacticspress.O. with the same in-depth format as Strategy & Tactics. Sherman ly 1943 Grant tAnK: Battle Cold War Victory the Strategy The of 6–7 Ap ril Wins at Shiloh at Kursk | AtomiC WAr & tactics Battl Wilur Sh Pe | Fulani | HUrtGEn of World #263 JUL-AUG 2010 e zbur oh omic: 186 g nt Jihad Army: ForESt War ii 2 That Never W The Battle | tHE Davy Crockett | mAnCHUr & Elvis BULGE #264 SEP–OCT as Presley 2010 | Caesar’s Last : Hitler’s iA: Japan’s Last Stand Battle View | russia invade s Georgi a. 2008 #13 AUG–SEP 2010 Complete list of issues. available at strategyandtacticspress. Kursk. 1932 World at War magazine provides a sharp focus on WWII.com (661) 587-9633 | (661) 587-5031 fax | P.

CA 93390-1598 | (661) 587-9633 phone | info@decisiongames. Decisio n Games. accuratel s that the realities of y replicating com losses sustained bat and the high by both sides the actual fightin during g the battle is thus on Saipan. and the Conquest of th e Marianas both sides. Minutes to lea cs and more. Fire & Movement for WWII and modern battles) with a short Exclusive rules sheet for each individual game to capture the unique aspects of each battle. Afternoon Victory  NEW Leipzig: Napoleon Encircled | Chickamauga: River of Death | Stones River: Turning Point in Tennessee Frayser’s Farm: Wasted Opportunity | Shiloh: Grant Surprised | Arnhem: The Farthest Bridge Cauldron: Battle for Gazala | Kasserine: Baptism of Fire | Saipan: Conquest of the Marianas (below) Bastogne: A Desperate Defense | Aachen: First to Fall | Crusader: Battle for Tobruk RELEASES Naktong Bulge: Breaking the Perimeter | Golan: The Last Syrian Offensive AVAILABLE DMZ: The Next Korean War | Showdown: The Coming Indo-Pakistani War Visit our bo oth to see new release s fro DECISION GA m MES Most games retail for under $20 SAIPAN WORLD W Conquest of AR II BATT LES the Mariana s FOLIO GA Saipan was a ME SERIE Navy’s “island critical objective hopping” cam in the US S Pacific. Chalons: The Fate of Europe | Marengo: Morning Defeat. Copyright © 2010. Winning a matter of man firepower and asset managem euver. A singl battalion. Inc. but assets are limited. 1/3rd Actual Size P.com . All Rights Inc. More than Japanese were on the island.decisi ed. the engin may suddenly eer battalion come under fi mortars.dozen battl supported by nearly Saipan eships that had bombardmen t two days befo begun a 30. Historicall A FOLIO SERIES A product of GAME Decision Games y Accurate.A. As its attac underway. units ort to engage positions and enemy formations. two. All Rights Reserv www. ent. engineers. Quick to pla HIGH y. Units sided formation can incur casu alties. From men can receive supp t to bazookas. for e example — perh engineer by flamethrow aps supported ers — could be assault a lone tasked to enem defending a plate y infantry regiment au. 2010. allow to develop at ing combat all levels. battle for Saip The an proved to fiercest battles be one of the of the Pacific deadliest up to that time for War. More re from enem support will be y take the plate needed to au. Box 21598 | Bakersfield. Made & Printed ongames. SOLITAIRE ••••• rn.com in U. entrenched dug formidable defe into caves and other nsive positions. Copyright © . Reserved.S.Folio Game Series The Folio Game Series provides dozens of games using the same eight-page Standard rules (Musket & Saber for 19th century battles.com | decisiongames. In Saipan the attritional desig Combat Resu n of the new lts Table simu nature of the lates the true battl are typically two. Saipan utilizes the new Fire combat syste & Movement m that’s desig can augment ned so players their units with fire” during the “support course of the naval bombard turn. including armor marine battalions.0 00 fanatic re.es in the Pacific. amtra regiments. its two paign in the airfields were for heav y bom suita bers.O. Hence three ble divisions were US scheduled to on 15 June 1944 invade Saipan . Each game can be played in about 90 minutes allowing for multiple games to be played in an afternoon or evening. how k gets ever. Game Conten ts : • 17 x 22” (43 x 56 cm) terrain map • 80 die-cut coun ters • • One Standard One Exclusive Rules booklet for this series Saipan Rules booklet for this title PLAYERS 2 LEVEL II III X XX XXX BATTALION HEX SCALE mi (536 m) PLAYING TIME 1-2 hrs Each counter repres ents formation from amon an individual historical COMPLEXITY g that fought for Saipa the Japanese and US forces ••••• LOW 1611 n.