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World War II

World War II February 2019

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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United States
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

JESSICA WAMBACH BROWN (“Fine Art of Medicine”) is a frequent World War II contributor and writes about history and veterans’ affairs from her home in Kalispell, Montana. While seeking respite in sunny San Diego from the northwestern winters, she explored Balboa Park, whose world-class museums served as medical wards for the U.S. Navy’s largest wartime hospital. RICHARD A. GRAY (“Down But Not Out”) was a pilot who flew B-24 bombers and, later, P-51 fighters over Europe. After crash-landing his Mustang in Germany in April 1945, Dick Gray spent the war’s final month as a prisoner of the Germans. He returned to the United States to marry his longtime sweetheart, Betty Sue “Betts” Nunn, raise three children, and work as a mechanical engineer until his retirement. Betts died in 2006; Dick died…

5 min.
mail lost and found

HAVING READ ABOUT the tragedy of the USS Indianapolis (“Out of the Deep,” October 2018), as well as other books on the topic, it’s both a shame and gratifying that it took so long to finally exonerate Captain Charles B. McVay for the loss of his ship given the negligence and various behind-the-scenes machinations by the navy. I seem to recall reading that he was the only commanding officer court-martialed for such an occurrence in the war. One can only hope that he now rests in peace. Stuart McClung Hagerstown, Md. Just finished reading the October 2018 issue and I must say I am disappointed in the article about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. While there is a brief mention in the piece about rescue ships, there is not a word about…

2 min.
war’s shock waves touched upper atmosphere

ALLIED BOMBING RAIDS didn’t just devastate the cities of Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe. They damaged the heavens, too, new research shows. Shock waves from the war’s big bombs reached 150 miles above the Earth’s surface, causing temporary damage to the ionosphere, the upper atmosphere. The findings appeared September in Annales Geophysicae, the journal of the European Geosciences Union. Study coauthor Chris Scott of Britain’s University of Reading said he was “absolutely astonished” at the far-reaching impact of the Allied bombing campaigns. “Each raid released the energy of at least 300 lightning strikes.” The researchers studied contemporaneous daily measurements of the ionosphere taken at the Radio Research Station near Slough, England. They decided to focus on the effects to the upper atmosphere during 152 major Allied bombing raids from 1943 to 1945. They did not…

2 min.
last surviving resistance group fighter dies in france

THEY WERE COMMUNISTS AND OUTSIDERS, refugees from Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Armenia, even Germany—a polyglot squad committed to ending the Nazi occupation of their adopted country, France. The Manouchian network staged audacious daylight raids and carried out assassinations and sabotage. Many were executed by the Nazis. The last of them—an Armenian tailor named Arsène Tchakarian—died August 4 in Villejuif, south of Paris, at age 101. Tchakarian, who didn’t receive French citizenship until 13 years after World War II, was in 2012 named a commander of the Legion of Honor, the nation’s highest distinction. French president Emmanuel Macron celebrated Tchakarian on Twitter as “a hero of the resistance and tireless witness whose voice resonated strongly to the very end.” An Armenian born in what is now Turkey in 1916, Tchakarian and his family fled persecution…

1 min.
children’s show-and-tell idea bombs

TWO ELEMENTARY SCHOOLCHILDREN knew just what to do with the leftover World War II antiaircraft shell they found in a Wellington, New Zealand, park during a walk: Take it to class for show and tell. But after taking the bomb to the home of a relative, quick-thinking grandpa Gerard Simblett had a look and immediately called his friend—a former artillery officer—who counseled another approach: carefully take the explosive outside and call the authorities. “I very, very gently picked it up and tip-toed it down” to a small field on his property, Simblett told the New Zealand news website Stuff (stuff.co.nz) in August. “I put it gently down and quickly ran the hell back to the house.” A bomb squad from the New Zealand Defence Force identified the explosive as a 3.7-inch antiaircraft shell and…

2 min.
garand’s own garand sells at auction

THE ONE-MILLIONTH M1 GARAND rifle produced—and the only one that belonged to its inventor—has sold for $287,500 at an auction held by Illinois’s Rock Island Auction Company in September. The rifle—serial number 1000000—was presented by authority of the army secretary to the inventor of the weapon that many say helped win World War II, John Garand, upon his retirement from Massachusetts’s famed Springfield Armory in 1953. Born in Quebec, Canada, in 1888, Garand moved to New England as a child. His skill designing firearms landed him a job at the armory in 1919. He was assigned to design a gas-operated semi-automatic rifle that would eject spent cartridges and reload a new round. Garand patented the M1 in 1932. The U.S. Army approved it in 1936 and put it into mass production four…