Culture & Literature
World War II

World War II June 2018

World War II magazine covers every aspect of history's greatest modern conflict with vivid, revealing, and evocative writing from top historians and journalists. Each issue provides a lively mix of stories about soldiers, leaders, tactics, weapons, and little-known incidents of the war, including riveting firsthand battle accounts and reviews of books, movies, and video games. And the most authoritative magazine on the war features a striking design that highlights rare, archival photographs and detailed battle maps to convey the drama and excitement of the most famous battles and campaigns.

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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

DUANE SCHULTZ (“At First It Was Quiet…”) is a psychologist and the author of Crossing the Rapido: A Tragedy of World War II (2010); his story on the 1944 truce between Allied and German units in Italy grew out of his research for that work. Schultz says he wondered what it was like for the Allies to meet the enemy face to face. “I learned that they reacted rather much as we all do when we meet strangers in a peaceful situation—we react to them as fellow human beings.” STEVEN TRENT SMITH (“Captain Cromwell’s Decision”) is a five-time Emmy Award-winning television photojournalist with a passion for military history. He is the author of two books on sub warfare in the Pacific: The Rescue (2008) and Wolf Pack (2003). While researching the…

4 min.
grasping at air

REGARDING YOUR STORY on Japanese fire balloons (“An Ill Wind,” February 2018), there was one interesting fact missing. Late in the war the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, consisting of all-black troops, was sent to Oregon and California to fight fires caused by the balloons, jumping from aircraft as the smokejumpers do today. No fires were ever started from these devices, as the Japanese had hoped for, but the 555th—known as the “Triple Nickels”—did fight 46 fires started mainly by lightning. STAN COHEN MISSOULA, MONT. One of my fellow World War II veterans had an interesting experience involving Japanese balloon bombs. My friend Alan was a young deck officer on an old battleship, the USS New York. Late in the war the ship had been assigned to shore bombardment and, at the time the…

1 min.
from the editor

Take a moment to study the photo on page 35 of this issue: a beautiful American family. Captain John Cromwell had the time to contemplate what he was giving up when he made the cool-headed decision to bid farewell to his wife and children along with his life—which is what makes his sacrifice in service to his country so remarkable. I’m pleased to introduce readers to him in these pages. May Captain Cromwell live long in our memories. PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO: World War II 1919 Gallows Road, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038 OR E-MAIL: worldwar2@historynet.com Please include your name, address, and daytime telephone number.…

3 min.
wartime icon lost—after being found

ROSIE THE RIVETER HAS DIED. If the news sounds familiar, it is. It comes eight years after the death of another woman who was believed to have inspired the World War II poster of the defiant, bandanna-wearing defense factory worker. But an academic’s search revealed two years ago that the strongest claim belonged to Naomi Parker Fraley, who died January 20 at 96 in Longview, Washington. Graphic artist J. Howard Miller created the 1943 poster to boost morale at Westinghouse plants. It shows a woman flexing her right arm beneath the slogan “We Can Do It!” but never bore the name Rosie. In the 1980s the image reemerged as a pop-culture icon, appearing on mugs, shopping bags, and t-shirts as a symbol of home-front fortitude and feminist power. But what woman inspired it? After the attack…

1 min.
d-day lead aircraft flies again, thanks to a kickstarter boost

SOME DETECTIVE WORK and a little luck salvaged the plane that led Allied aircraft on D-Day, and put it back in the air. The twin-engine Douglas C-47 Skytrain That’s All, Brother returned to the skies in January. The plane led the main formation to Normandy. But it was almost lost well afterward. In 2007 Matt Scales, working at the Air Force Historical Research Agency in Alabama, was researching Lieutenant Colonel John M. Donalson, who piloted the plane on June 6, 1944. Scales and historian Ken Tilley found the C-47’s tail number and traced its postwar journey. They discovered it languishing in Arizona, but couldn’t raise the money to buy it. A few years later, Scales tracked it down again; by then the C-47 was at Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Basler planned…

1 min.
good dog!

AN ITALIAN MACHINE GUN had American soldiers pinned on a Sicilian beach when an unlikely hero came to their rescue: Chips, a sentry dog, broke away and charged into the Italians. A gunshot sounded. One Italian appeared with Chips at his throat; the man surrendered with three other members of the machine gun crew. Later the same day, Chips sniffed out more enemy soldiers; 10 surrendered. For his heroism on July 10, 1943, Chips—who died in 1946—in January posthumously became the latest animal to be awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British charity. California writer Robin Hutton nominated Chips. The author of the 2015 book Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse, Hutton discoveredChips’s story while researching that book. She also nominated the 2016 Dickin Medal winner,…