Smoking Snakes: Brazil’s Forgotten WW2 Fighting Men

Reading time: 12 minutes
One of the most unusual forces ever to join the fighting in Europe: the 25,000 Brazilian soldiers and pilots of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. An idea born out of political necessity, the “Smoking Snakes” played a brief, important, and fascinating role in the fighting in Europe.

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HMAS Nestor: The remarkable tale of an Australian destroyer

Reading time: 16 minutes
A convoy of 11 merchant ships escorted by 56 warships and submarines was making its way through “bomb alley” to deliver precious supplies to the besieged garrison on Malta. HMAS Nestor was just one of these warships assigned to protect this vital convoy. It was June 15, 1942, and this would be the last sunset the destroyer would ever see. 

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The Blue Division: Franco’s Soldiers on the Eastern Front

Reading time: 12 minutes
From 1939 to 1945, scarcely one of the 99 countries on Earth went untouched. Just 14 nations remained neutral throughout the Second World War, and even those couldn’t completely escape the gravity well of war.
Nor did they all want to. A prelude to the European war – bloody, massive, and unspeakably destructive – had played out in Spain from 1936 until just a few months before Germany invaded Poland in the fall of 1939.

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Virginia Hall, SOE Agent to CIA Pioneer

Reading time: 10 minutes

Virginia Hall (1906–1982) was an American woman who served with the British Special Operations Executive in France in 1941–1942. She then joined its US equivalent, the Office of Strategic Services, and became a founding member of the Central Intelligence Agency.

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THE FORGOTTEN WAR CRIMES OF FASCIST ITALY

Reading time: 14 minutes
In just five short years, the combined forces of the Axis powers managed to commit atrocities and war crimes on a scale never equalled before or after. But while Axis war crimes came into sudden shocking clarity with the Allied victory in 1945, one Axis power is still overlooked to this day: Italy. 

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Earning the Enemy’s Respect: Victoria Cross Recommendations from the Other Side

Reading time: 7 minutes
Many readers will be familiar with the 1964 epic movie Zulu, which depicts the 1879 landmark Battle of Rorke’s Drift in the Anglo-Zulu War. In the film, perhaps the most iconic scene takes place at the end of the movie, whereby the Zulu warriors chant in respectful salutation towards the British soldiers before withdrawing after the battle. Moving, cinematic, and honourable, it’s clear why the scene lives so memorably in the hearts of fans today.

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History’s Greatest Nicknames

Reading time: 7 minutes
A browse through any military history book will no doubt bring up titles of famous officers, often bearing unusual, surprising, or sometimes downright hilarious nicknames. In many cases, it’s clear where the sobriquet originated, while other examples hold a less-obvious significance.

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Fear Was Not in My Dictionary: The Revolutionary Work of Sara Fortis

Reading time: 6 minutes
When the small Greek town of Kuturla burned in 1943, teenage Sara Fortis had been on the run from German occupying forces for two years already. From the raw age of fourteen, she had hidden her Jewish status and worked for underground resistance movements as a nurse and teacher. But when her sanctuary burned, when she was separated from her mother, Fortis was no longer willing to hide. She was no longer willing to limit her resistance to ‘women’s work.’

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Black and white photo of French troops in a German town.

The Saar Offensive 1939: When France invaded Germany

Reading time: 7 minutes
In September 1939, as German armies overran large swathes of Poland far to the east, the French launched an offensive of their own. Their goal was to capture the Saarland, the area between the French border and the German Siegfried line and force the Germans to transfer divisions away from Poland. The Saar Offensive of 1939 had begun.

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