By Felix Römer

17 Millionen »ganz normale Männer« kämpften während des Zweiten Weltkriegs in Hitlers Armee. Erstmals zeigt sie der Historiker Felix Römer nicht als uniforme Masse, sondern als individuelle Einzelne: Wir sehen den Krieg mit den Augen der Soldaten. Zwischen 1942 und 1945 hörte der US-Nachrichtendienst im Geheimlager fortress Hunt bei Washington mehrere Tausend deutsche Kriegsgefangene heimlich ab. Zehntausende Abhörprotokolle blieben erhalten, die erst jetzt, nach über sechzig Jahren, entdeckt wurden. Der Historiker Felix Römer hat diesen Aktenbestand als Erster ausgewertet und eröffnet mit seiner examine eine völlig neue Sicht auf den Krieg: Unter »Kameraden« erzählen sich die Soldaten ihre Fronterlebnisse, sie prahlen mit »Heldentaten« und schrecklichen Verbrechen. Sie zeigen ihre geheimen Ängste und ihre wahre Haltung zu Hitler. Die dazu überlieferten Biografien machen die Lebensumstände und Handlungsspielräume, das Denken und Handeln des Einzelnen konkret. Mit diesem einzigartigen fabric bekommt die uniforme Wehrmacht zum ersten Mal ein individuelles Gesicht.

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HMS Rodney took part in the sinking of the battleship Bismarck, during which she fired 340 of her 16in. shells at the stricken German warship. The American battleship USS Nevada (ten 14in. guns) was a veteran of World War I. She was at anchor in Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor when attacked by the Japanese in December 1941. She even managed to get underway in an attempt to make an escape, but was struck by torpedoes and beached. She was then salvaged and modernized, later taking part in many trans-Atlantic convoys.

A total of 44 vessels were involved, including five cable ships, three tugs, five cable barges, four accommodation barges, three trawlers, one yacht (as a dispatch vessel) and 12 miscellaneous launches. PROTECTING THE NEPTUNE ARMADA The ‘grand old lady’ of the Royal Navy, the Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Warspite. She was the Royal Navy’s most famous ship with the most battle honours awarded to any British warship in World War II: Atlantic, 1939; Narvik, 1940; Norway, 1940; Calabria, 1940, Mediterranean, 1940, 1941 and 1943; Malta Convoys, 1941; Matapan, 1941; Crete, 1941; Sicily, 1943; Salerno, 1943; English Channel, 1944; Normandy, 1944; Walcheren, 1944; and Biscay, 1944.

ASSAULT LANDINGS – FORCE U Bombardment Force A was scheduled to open fire on its pre-arranged targets at 0550hrs, just before dawn. At 0505hrs they were pre-empted in this matter by the enemy opening fire first. German coast defence observation had spotted two American destroyers, the USS Fitch and the USS Corry, some 3 miles off the coast moving into their bombardment positions. Then other guns along the Cotentin Peninsula joined in as they found other targets at sea when minesweepers were spotted offshore.

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