Finnish Armed Forces in the Winter War 1939-40

Finnish instructor for Suomi sub-machine gun

Finnish Army The Finnish army was one of the smallest in Europe and the Red Army expected little opposition. But the Soviet invasion found the Finns well prepared; and they turned to their advantage the sub-zero temperatures and deep snow… learn more

Red Air Force and Navy 1939

Polikarpov I-16 Rata

Russian Air Force Throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s the Soviet Government made enormous efforts to build up a large modern air force, but the difficulties in finding suitable designs and the machines and materials to mass produce aircraft were enormous.… learn more

Red Air Force and Navy 1941-1942

MiG-3 fighters over Leningrad

Russian Air Force 1942 The enforced lull in air operations during the winter period allowed the Red Air Force to recover from the first shocks. Training was improved and the quality of the aircrews rose generally through direct combat experience.… learn more

Japanese Navy 1939-40

Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima

Strength and organisation of the Imperial Japanese Navy The Prime Minister presided over Imperial General Headquarters (GHQ) which was split in two sections – Army and Navy. Holding positions at Imperial GHQ were the Navy Minister and the Chief of… learn more

Japanese Army 1939-40

Japanese soldiers crossing a pontoon bridge in China

Strength and organization of the Imperial Army and Air Force The Japanese Army was a mirror of Japanese society before 1945. It contained a peculiar amalgam of medieval attitudes and modern material, for the Army still followed the code of… learn more

Polish Armed Forces in Exile

Polish troops march through an English town during the summer of 1940

POLISH ARMY IN EXILE Many Polish soldiers, singly or in small groups, had evaded capture or escaped internment after the defeat in 1939, and made their way to France through the Baltic countries in the north, and through Hungary, Romania,… learn more

French Armed Forces 1939

French soldiers moving a heavy artillery gun

Strength and organization of the Army divisions and l’Army de l’Air of France in September 1939 France emerged from World War One with considerable military prestige, but the French Forces and indeed the whole nation were exhausted. After the experiences… learn more

Luftwaffe Orders of Battle September 2, 1939

Ju 87B dive-bomber

Strength and aircrafts of the Luftflotten on the day after Germany invaded Poland The Luftwaffe Orders of Battle gives the strength of the German air force operational units on the day after Germany invaded Poland, and the day before Great… learn more

Polish Armed Forces

Polish soldiers at a pre-war torchlit review.

Strength and organization of the Army divisions, tank inventory, Air Force and Navy of Poland in September 1939 The Polish Forces came into existence after World War One , and, like all the armies of the newly independent states which… learn more

RAF Squadrons in September 1939

Gloster Gladiator launching

Aircrafts and bases of the Royal Air Force By the outbreak of World War Two, most RAF squadrons had modern equipment, the breathing space given by the Munich agreement having given time for the introduction of vital Hurricanes and Spitfires… learn more

Royal Air Force on Eagle Day

Hurricane pilots 'scramble' on Eagle Day.

Aircrafts and bases of the RAF squadrons in August 1940 The first phase of the German plan for the invasion of England was to gain control of the air and so during the months of July and August 1940 the… learn more

RAF Squadrons 1942

Stirling bomber of the RAF Bomber Command

  Aircrafts and bases of the Royal Air Force in June 1942 By July 1941 the strength of Bomber Command stood at 45 RAF squadrons with a theoretical deployment of 1,000 aircraft. In practice, only 37 squadrons could be considered… learn more

RAF Squadrons in May 1940

A trio of Bristol Blenheim IV bombers.

Aircrafts and bases of the Royal Air Force on May 10, 1940 In January 1940 it was decided to unite the Air Component and the Advanced Air Striking Force under the command of the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief British Air Forces… learn more

Danish Armed Forces

crew of a Danish anti-aircraft gun

Strength and organization of the Army, Air Force and Navy of Denmark The Danish Defence Act of 1937 set up a peacetime establishment of two divisions, an independent anti-aircraft and engineer regiment, an army air force, the Bornholm garrison, a… learn more

Chinese Air Force, Fleet, Communist Forces

Pilots of the Chinese Flying Tigers are running to their planes.

Chinese Air Force During the 1930s, the Chinese Air Force was composed largely of foreign volunteers, at first Americans but later Italians. By 1937 the strength of the Air Force stood at 500 aircraft, but few of these were serviceable,… learn more

Bulgarian Armed Forces

Tsar Boris III from Bulgaria

Bulgarian Army Throughout World War II Tsarist Bulgaria was only officially at war with England and America. Her alliance with Germany was due in part to their common experiences during World War I, the hope of territorial gains, and her… learn more

Belgian Armed Forces

Belgian soldiers take a rest by the roadside

Belgian Army In 1914 neutral Belgium had been suddenly attacked by the German Army and had experienced four years of trench warfare. After the German occupation of the Rhineland in 1936 the country was again jolted into awareness of impending… learn more

Slovak Armed Forces

Soldiers of the Slovak Mobile Division on the Eastern Front

Slovak Army In March 1939 Hitler summoned the leaders of the Slovak populist party to Berlin and told them that unless they broke away from Czechoslovakia, he would allow the Hungarians to invade their country. Slovakia declared itself independent on… learn more

Luftwaffe

CinC Luftwaffe Hermann Göring

German Air Force of World War 2 Part I: The victorious years to 1942. Since this page is involved mainly with the Luftwaffe around 1939-1945, the assumption is that the visitor features a fundamental knowledge with Luftwaffe background just before… learn more

Luftwaffe in the second half of war

Me 110 night fighters returned from a misison

German Air Force of World War 2 Part II: The German Air Force in the second half of the war. here to Part I Luftwaffe Jeschonnek’s successor, General Günther Korten, began with the correct concept. He reorganised the Luftwaffe allowing… learn more