Tag Archives: World War II

The Life & Games of Winston Churchill

Eighty years ago, the fate of the world hung in the balance as Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany. It is the legacy of one man that Britain fought on: Winston Churchill. This post will retrace his life from his early days through his deeds in war (World War I and World War II) and peace (the inter-war period and his later years). Unsurprisingly, a man of the historical importance of Churchill has inspired quite a few board games which will be our companions on the way.
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Documents from Dresden and Auschwitz (USEAAR, #24)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Diary entry of Victor Klemperer

Dresden, September 25, 1942

Shells do not discriminate. They fall on Christian and Jewish heads alike, they tear Aryan and non-Aryan limbs off just the same. Fortunately, I have not heard one for two days now. The battle of Dresden – if one can call it such, given how quickly the few Wehrmacht men with assistance of the local SS and Hitler Youth were overwhelmed by our Soviet liberators – is over. To Eva and me, it was deliverance. Continue reading

The Armies Converging (End of World War II, #2)

It’s been 75 years ago since the largest war in human history, World War II, ended. To commemorate this watershed, I’m doing a mini-series here on the blog. The first post has dealt with the conferences in Yalta and Potsdam that decided the post-war order. This one is about the final military campaigns in Europe.
The final act began in the west with the Allied landing in Normandy and the subsequent liberation of France, in the east with the annihilation of the German Army Group Center in Operation Bagration and the following Soviet advance through eastern Europe. In 1945, the Western Allies reached and crossed the Rhine against a disintegrating German army, whereas the Soviets made the final assault on Berlin. Obviously, I’ll discuss some board games along the way. As World War II is the most popular historical subject for board games, I had to pick very selectively. Let me know your favorite games on the end of World War II in Europe in the comments! Continue reading

Letter from Gianni Rossatti to Salvatore Graniti (USEAAR, #23.2)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Letter from Gianni Rossatti, Counsellor of Embassy, posted at the Italian embassy in London, to Salvatore Graniti, Counsellor of Legation, currently in Milan

London, August 23, 1942

My dear Salvatore!
I am so relieved to hear that you have evaded Nazi capture. Since the first news of the German counter-attack have reached me, I have been praying for your delivery. It is uplifting to hear, especially as the good news have been so rare lately. Continue reading

Letter from Salvatore Graniti to Gianni Rossatti (USEAAR, #23.1)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.

Letter from Salvatore Graniti, Counsellor of Legation in the Italian diplomatic service, formerly posted as a liaison with the British Army in Germany, to Gianni Rossatti, Counsellor of Embassy, posted at the Italian embassy in London

Milan, August 13, 1942

Most esteemed Gianni!
You will have heard what has befallen the forces under the command of General Montgomery – and by extension, to our Italian division, and to me as liaison with the British Army in Germany. I am happy to tell you that I am alive, unwounded, and, unlike most others who served with that unit, not in captivity.
When General Montgomery’s headquarters came under attack by German forces, I happened to be on an errand to the 1st Italian division in Alsace. A stray artillery shell hit my jeep, and we crashed into the ditch. My driver was dead immediately. Poor Paolo! He’d been with my all this time since Sicily. Frankly, I write this letter to you so I can postpone writing the one to his parents. What am I to tell them that will not just give them grief? Continue reading

Bulletin of the Soviet 50th Army (USEAAR, #22)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.
Comrades of the Soviet Fatherland!
Under the direction of our generalissimo Stalin, we have waited in the Pripet marshes until the fascists made their dastardly move into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. While our comrades-in-arms have stopped their attack, we have come out of the bog and struck against their flanks. The 2nd Shock Army has conducted a preparatory attack for us which has given us the maneuvering space to annihilate a Hungarian formation tasked with guarding their supply lines. As our front in the south holds firm, we will encircle and annihilate the German Army Group Ukraine before the summer is over. From then on, our battle-cry will be: To Berlin!

You can see the current state of affairs in the game in the Twitter thread:

Declaration of the Stavanger chapter of the (Norwegian) Labor Party (USEAAR, #21)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.
Norwegians!
We have not come to war, and yet war has come to us. For the forthcoming fight, the Stavanger chapter of the Labor Party declares:
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Yalta, Potsdam, and the New World Order (End of World War II, #1)

World War II ended 75 years ago. 1945 was thus a massive watershed year in history. The biggest war that had ever been fought came to a close, and a new world order was forged. I’ll explore the end of World War II in a three-part miniseries. As war is an instrument of politics to achieve a better peace, I’ll kick the series off with this post on the conferences at which the great powers discussed the winning of the war against the Axis as well as the peace and the new world order which would follow. Several such conferences were held from 1943 on, but this post will only focus on the last two – the Yalta Conference in February 1945, three months before the end of the fighting in Europe, and the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, two months after the end of the fighting. 1945 was the end of World War II, but was it also the beginning of the Cold War? We’ll look into that question as well. As usual, board games will feature! Continue reading

Letter of Congratulation on the Italian Campaign (USEAAR, #20)

This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.
Written by Gianni Rossatti, Counsellor of Embassy in the Italian diplomatic service, posted at the Italian embassy in London

London, February 24, 1942

To Salvatore Graniti, currently posted as a liaison with the British Army in Italy
My dear Salvatore,
I have no idea where this letter will reach you. In November, you had just crossed into Calabria, in December, you were in Apulia already, just to embark again, and land in Trieste in January. Having just taken Venice, as I hear, I assume you will be half the way to the Reich Chancellery by now. Continue reading

Minutes of the Wannsee Conference on the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question” (USEAAR, #19)

 

This post is part of a mostly fictitious after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) . The document in question, however, is authentic. Government and SS officials met on January 20, 1942 to coordinate the implementation of the genocide of the Jewish people of Europe. The translation from the German original is mine.

Classified Reich Matter!

Minutes of the Meeting

I. Attendees of the meeting held in Berlin, Am Großen Wannsee no. 56/58 on January 20, 1942, on the final solution to the Jewish question: Continue reading