Stalag 17B:Prisoner of War
Germany continued to expand and invade more European nations including France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, Denmark and Norway.
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The German offensive was to invade countries through Blitzkrieg lightening war : short, fast and powerful attacks with armoured and motorized infantry with air support. In the ocean, the Battle of the Atlantic had begun.
German Camps –British & Commonwealth Prisoners of war 1939-45
German U-Boats targeted convoys of Allied ships transporting troops and supplies. By May , the British public were discontent with the progress of the war and, as a result, Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain as the Prime Minister. In France, the Allies found themselves trapped when the German military moved through the Ardennes region, an area which had been thought to be a natural and impenetrable barrier against armoured vehicles. Thousands of British and French were evacuated at Dunkirk, but many more were taken prisoner. The Dunkirk evacuation known as Operation Dynamo lasted over a week under the heavy bombardment of the German Luftwaffe air force.
The British Expeditionary Force abandoned most of its equipment, vehicles and tanks. In total, 68, lives were lost. Italy entered the war by invading France and declaring war on both France and Great Britain.
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In France, Paris was surrendered to the Germans on 14 June In Britain, the Germans had started their aerial attack. The Germans were not able to gain superiority and this lead to Hitler abandoning his plan of a full invasion of Britain. The Luftwaffe continued to strategically bomb the United Kingdom in the Blitz until the following year. The alliance was extended to Hungary, Slovakia and Romania a few months later.
The Soviet Union was not in the pact but still enjoyed non-aggression from the Axis powers. Germany tried to get the Soviets to enter the Tripartite Pact, but found their terms to be unacceptable. On 18 December , Hitler gave the order to prepare to invade the Soviet Union and the invasion took place on 22 June Germany made serious gains by October and had reached the outskirts of Moscow, but the troops were exhausted from months of fierce fighting. Soviets mobilised fresh military reserves in early December and a counter-offensive started.
Germany continued to make gains in the Soviet Union in and launched a summer offensive in June to capture oil fields in Caucasus.
Stalag - Wikipedia
The battle ended with a German surrender and one of the biggest defeats of the German army during the war. In , the momentum was growing for the Allies. They invaded Sicily on 9 July and arrested Mussolini a month later. By 3 September they had invaded and liberated mainland Italy. In retaliation, Germany seized control of Italian areas, rescued Mussolini and established the Italian Social Republic, leading to a civil war in Italy.
The Soviet army continued to make progress through central and south Eastern Europe. The Germans launched a final offensive at the Battle of the Bulge to try to re-capture Belgium, but the battle ended with a German retreat.
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In early , the Soviet army had liberated Warsaw and Krakow and by April they had encircled Berlin. To avoid capture, Adolf Hitler committed suicide on 30 April. Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies on 8 May and thus ended the war in Europe. Cookies on Findmypast: We use our own and third-party cookies to improve your experience, for advertising purposes, and to understand how people use our website. That's fine Learn more. The collection is extensive and comprises: Lists of British prisoners in Germany, Austria, Italy, Africa and Poland Awards of mention to personnel killed while attempting escape Lists of men reported missing List of military personnel and civilians evacuated from France Alphabetical lists of imperial prisoners of war For a full list of The National Archives records included in this collection go to the The National Archives POW Archival Reference List.
In prison camps in Eastern Europe, Soviet prisoners were not given the same treatment as the British or American prisoners from the German forces. It had been torn down years ago and only one large pile of rubble overgrown with grass remained. Nearby was the abandoned hangar of the old USAAF liaison airfield at Langenlois and the square-shaped woods where many Soviet soldiers were mass-buried after an outbreak of typhus in their section of the camp.
That day, the beautiful blue sky and rolling green fields showed no signs of the place where my father was imprisoned for almost eighteen months. My dad seldom talked about the camp and his forced march across Austria in April, , during one of the worst winters there. He died unexpectedly in May, He never told me his story. I started this web site and another one about my father's bomber squadron twenty years ago in memory of his service in WWII, and to help find and share answers to the many unanswered questions I had about what he experienced during the war.
Over the years, as I read more books, found other web sites and met and spoke with other POWs and their families from around the world, I now have a better idea of what happened in Stalag XVII B and how it has affected the lives of so many people. In this website, I can only present a small part of the whole story of Stalag XVII B, but I hope it can help us understand what the prisoners experienced, and what so many of them did not want to talk about after they returned home. This site will always be a work in progress, so check back occasionally for new information and pictures.
I welcome any information, documents, letters or pictures that you would like to share.