Notes & Despatches

In our Notes & Despatches section are short, topical articles, first-hand accounts and reviews of books, films and websites. We add new articles and reviews every month and you can keep up to date with what’s being added by subscribing to our newsletter. We welcome suggestions for contributions.

I Was There24 October 2014

Joachim Stempel, 25 October 1942

On 25 October 1942, Joachim Stempel was seconded to the 103rd Panzergrenadier Regiment because most of the regiment’s officers had become casualties. He was to lead the 2nd company in a renewed offensive to force the Red Army back just a few hundred metres to reach the Volga. The first target was the so-called administration building of the “Bread Factory”. This was part of the key complex of factories (by now largely in ruins) that had by October become the focus of the infantry battle.

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Events13 October 2014

October & November 2014

In addition to its permanent collections and exhibitions, the Imperial War Museum is an important centre for ongoing scholarship. It has a vast archive of military documents, photographs, and propaganda material. Along with other similar institutions in London, it also hosts seminars, public lectures, and debates on subjects relating to Britain’s role in world conflicts. Here are a few of the events taking place in London over the next few months.

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Reviews: Museum Review13 October 2014

The Imperial War Museum, London

The Imperial War Museum (properly the IWM London) is tucked away in a small park in Southwark, south London. It was for many years a rather dusty and neglected addition to London’s stable of museums and galleries. This has all changed, however, thanks to a recent £40 million revamp and the surge in public interest that has come with the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

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I Was There13 October 2014

Alfred Regeniter in Northern Poland, 31 January 1945

Lieutenant Alfred Regenniter was the commander of a StuG III Ausf G assault gun, part of Assault Gun Brigade 276, Third Panzer Army. He was in almost constant action on the Eastern Front from the summer of 1944 to February 1945, when he was badly wounded and sent back to Germany. This extract from his journal is an example of a fairly typical day’s action for an experienced panzer commander on the eastern front in the later stages of the war. It describes the fighting for a small village in Northern Poland, close to the border with what was East Prussia.

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Events21 August 2014

August & September 2014

​Here is a list of the forthcoming military history events for August and September 2014 that we think you will be interested in.

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Wehrmacht In Action21 August 2014

The Axis Evacuation of Sicily, 1943

71 years ago this month, in the summer of 1943, the Wehrmacht carried out one of the most impressive maritime retreats of World War II, comparable to the British evacuation of Dunkirk or the Japanese evacuation of Guadalcanal. Between 11 and 17 August some 60,000 Wehrmacht personnel, along with 75,000 Italians, were evacuated from the island of Sicily, saving them from encirclement and capture by the advancing Allied invasion force. The German units that were saved included the élite Hermann Göring Panzer Division and the 15th Panzegrenadier Division as well as detachments from the 1st Parachute Division and the 29th Panzergrenadier Division. If the operation had failed then the German Army in Italy would have been crippled as a fighting force, leaving the Axis position in southern Europe dangerously exposed.

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