Iron Cross - Issue 13
Why Not Subscribe?
Ensure you never miss an issue of your favourite magazine by taking out a great value subscription.
What's in this Issue?
ZEPPELIN PHOTO ALBUM
When a Zeppelin was brought down over Essex during the First World War, its skeletal structure proved a treasure trove of the airship’s secrets for the British as Ian Castle explains.
THE WOLF’S LAIR
As Germany launched Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in the spring of 1941 it was realised by high command that a secure HQ was required from where operations could be overseen and controlled and from where Hitler could personally manage the war situation. As a result, a huge and secret complex called the Wolfsschanze was built in a Polish forest near the Russian border. Hitler spent much of the war here and John Grehan tells its remarkable story, revisiting the site today where many of the huge concrete structures still remain.
RED BANDS AND SWASTIKAS
As Editor’s Choice for this issue, one of our regular contributors, Chris Goss, examines in detail the story behind the application of broad red stripes on the engine cowlings of one fighter unit’s aircraft. These were by way of ‘punishment’ and obliterated the unit’s emblem when it the Jewish ancestry of the CO was discovered. In solidarity with their CO, one group within the unit obliterated the swastikas on their aircraft by way of protest.
TURN OF THE TIDE
The Second Battle of the Marne in the summer of 1918 was, in effect, the last throw of the dice for the forces of Imperial Germany. More than any other battle across that momentous last year of the war, the fighting of July and August signalled the end for Germany as Dr Jack Sheldon describes in this fascinating article
THE DEVIL’S PACT
As a new war rages in Eastern Europe, we examine the road to war in 1939 and a pre-war Soviet-Nazi pact which led to joint military training, sharing of technology and agreements as to the division of Poland before Germany finally turned on the Soviet Union in 1941.
CHANNEL DASH – AIR CLAIMS AND CASUALTIES
As a follow-up to his full-length feature in our last issue on the February 1942 Channel Dash, in which Chris Goss detailed the principal naval aspects of the ‘Dash’, he now lists and details all the German and British air losses directly associated with that dramatic action.
A QUESTION OF PROVENANCE
In our regular ‘Unlocking History’ series we investigate the back-story to an Imperial German Navy ensign taken as a trophy after the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1919. We ask whether this remarkable relic could have originated from the light cruiser, the SMS Nürnberg.
NOTES FROM THE ARMOURY – THE MG 42
Widely regarded as the best light machine gun of the Second World War, a version of the MG 42 remains in service with some armies to this day. Mark Khan evaluates this significant weapon used by the Wehrmacht and describes its development and operational deployment.
OBJECTS IN FOCUS
A unique emblem taken as a souvenir from a Messerschmitt Bf 109 which was brought down over Malta during 1942 comes under the spotlight.
THE TREASURE CASTLE
When American troops came across a castle near Salzburg during the closing stages of the war, they discovered a treasure trove of Third Reich high awards and decorations. Dietrich Maerz tells the astonishing story in our ‘Orders, Medals, and Decorations’ feature, explaining what became of this astonishing collection of extremely valuable awards – many made with gold, silver and diamonds.
FROM THE ARCHIVES – INTERROGATION OF V1 OFFICER
The interrogation of a Luftwaffe officer closely involved with the V1 Flying Bomb campaign, and who was taken POW during 1944, revealed to the Allies a great deal about the organisation behind the V1 campaign, the order of battle, the assault itself and its rather faltering start. Andy Saunders tells the story of ‘Heinemann’s Hiatus’.
SHOOTING THE PAST
We showcase some of the stunning imagery shot by the Netherlands based Marcel Bahnen of ImageworX which feature the Wehrmacht uniforms and equipment of 1939 – 45, all posed in historical re-enactments and living history tableaux.
WEAPON SPOTLIGHT – THE MG 08
In this new occasional series, we showcase German military weaponry spanning the period 1914 to 1945. Our focus in this issue is on the MG 08 machine gun of the First World War.
This issue’s subject for our occasional ‘Myth Buster’ feature looks at the strange tale of wooden bullets supposedly being used by German troops in Normandy during 1944. We separate fact from fiction!
PHOTOS FROM THE FRONT
Our subject photograph for this issue depicts the Messerschmitt Bf 109 F of a high-scoring Luftwaffe ace who was brought down in the Western Desert in December 1941. The image has been colourised by our in-house colourisation artist, Richard J Molloy.
Featured in this issue we have the rather striking poster advertising the film ‘Stosstrupp 1917’, a film about the First World War but made during the period of the National Socialists, and thus very much in accord with the Nazi messaging of that period.