The Ordnance QF 25-pounder, or more simply 25-pounder or 25-pdr, was the major British field gun and howitzer during the Second World War, possessing a 3.45-inch (87.6 mm) calibre. It was introduced into service just before the war started, combining high-angle and direct-fire, relatively high rates of fire, and a reasonably lethal shell in a highly mobile piece. It remained the British Army's primary artillery field piece well into the 1960s, with smaller numbers serving in training units until the 1980s. Many Commonwealth of Nations countries used theirs in active or reserve service until about the 1970s and ammunition for the weapon is currently being produced by Pakistan Ordnance Factories.
Major General Robert Knox Ross CB DSO MC (23 August 1893 – 3 November 1951) was a senior British Army officer who, during World War II, commanded the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division throughout the campaign in North-West Europe from June 1944 until May 1945.
Robert Knox Ross was born on 23 August 1893, the son of a British Army officer, Brigadier General Robert James Ross of the Middlesex Regiment, he was educated at Cheltenham College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He graduated from Sandhurst and was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment), the second most senior line infantry regiment of the British Army, on 5 February 1913. He served with the 2nd Battalion, Queen's in South Africa and Bermuda.
Lieutenant-General Gerard Corfield Bucknall CB, MC, DL (14 September 1894 – 7 December 1980) was a senior British Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II, where he commanded the 5th Infantry Division and later XXX Corps during the Battle of Normandy in mid-1944.
Early life and World War I
Gerard Bucknall was born on 14 September 1894 in Rock Ferry, Cheshire, England, the son of Harry Corfield Bucknall and Alice Frederica Oakshotta. He was educated at Repton School and West Downs School. Entering the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1913, Bucknall was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Middlesex Regiment on 25 February 1914. During World War I Bucknall, promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant on 5 October 1914 (made permanent on 11 December 1914), served with the 1st Battalion, Middlesex in France and Belgium with some distinction, in particular during the Battle of the Somme on 25 August 1916 where he took command of the battalion and was awarded the Military Cross (MC). From 16 June 1917 he served as a brigade major with the 114th Brigade, part of the 38th (Welsh) Division, until war's end, and in 1918 he was awarded a Bar to his MC and mentioned in dispatches.
Field Marshal Sir Archibald Armar Montgomery-Massingberd, GCB, GCVO, KCMG, DL (6 December 1871 – 13 October 1947), known as Archibald Armar Montgomery until October 1926, was a senior British Army officer who served as Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) from 1933 to 1936. He served in the Second Boer War and in the First World War, and later was the driving force behind the formation of a permanent "Mobile Division", the fore-runner of the 1st Armoured Division.
The 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army that fought in both the First and Second World Wars. Originally raised in 1908 as the Welsh Division, part of the Territorial Force (TF), the division saw service in First World War, being designated 53rd (Welsh) Division in mid-1915, and fought in the Gallipoli Campaign and in the Middle East. Remaining active in the Territorial Army (TA) during the interwar period as a peacetime formation, the division again saw action in Second World War, fighting in North-western Europe from June 1944 until May 1945.
The 53rd Division was temporarily disbanded at the end of the war, but was reactivated in 1947 when the Territorial Army was reformed and reorganised. In 1968 the division was finally deactivated, but its 160th Brigade remains in service today. As the name suggests, the division recruited mainly in Wales, but also in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.
The division was raised in 1908 as part of the Territorial Force originally as the Welsh Division and had under command the North Wales Brigade, the Cheshire Brigade and the Welsh Border Brigade, together with support units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Army Service Corps and Royal Army Medical Corps. The South Wales Brigade was also attached.
Indian Army Service Corps (IASC) is a corps and an arm of the Indian Army, which handles its logistic support function. While the history of supply and transport services is as old as the history of organized warfare itself it was in 1760 that the very rudimentary supply and transport organizations of the three presidencies of the East India Company were brought under the council of a single authority. The corps celebrated 258 years of its raising on 8 December 2018.
Max Simon (6 January 1899 – 1 February 1961) was a German SS commander and war criminal during World War II. Simon was one of the first members of the SS in the early 1930s. He rose through the ranks of the SS, and became a corps commander during World War II. After the war, Simon was convicted for his role in the Marzabotto massacre.
Simon was born in Breslau. In 1917 he joined the army and served in the 11th Division. He served in Macedonia and on the Western Front, being awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class (1914). At the end of the war he joined the Freikorps in Silesia and fought against the Polish forces. His unit was later incorporated into the Reichswehr as the 16th Cavalry Regiment and Simon was promoted to Unterfeldwebel.
In May 1933 he joined the SS service number 83 086 and the NSDAP party number 1 350 576, and was assigned to the 47th SS-Standarte in Gera and was promoted to Untersturmführer (Second Lieutenant) in November 1934, until ordered to raise a new unit in 1935, 1st SS Totenkopfstandarte Oberbayern and given the rank of Standartenführer (Colonel). In 1934 he was appointed as the commander of the Sachsenburg concentration camp. In 1938 he took part in the Anschlussof Austria, the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia and the occupation of the Sudetenland.
Theodor Eicke (17 October 1892 – 26 February 1943) was a German SS functionary during the Nazi era. He was one of the key figures in the development of the Nazi concentration camp system in Germany used to suppress dissent and during the Holocaust.
Eicke served as the second commandant of the Dachau concentration camp from June 1933 to July 1934, and together with his adjutant Michael Lippert, was one of the executioners of SA Chief Ernst Röhm during the Night of the Long Knives purge. In 1939, Eicke became commander of the SS Division Totenkopf of the Waffen-SS, leading the division during the Second World War on the Western and Eastern fronts, and continuing to expand and develop the concentration camp system.
Eicke was killed on 26 February 1943, when his plane was shot down during the Third Battle of Kharkov.
The 3rd SS Panzer Division "Totenkopf" (German: 3. SS-Panzerdivision "Totenkopf") was one of 38 divisions of the Waffen-SS of Nazi Germany during World War II. Its name, Totenkopf, is German for "death's head", and it is thus sometimes referred to as the Death's Head Division.
Prior to achieving division status, the formation was known as Kampfgruppe (battlegroup) "Eicke". Most of the division's initial personnel belonged to the SS-Totenkopfverbände (concentration camp guards), and others were members of German militias that had committed war crimes in Poland.
203 mm howitzer M1931 (B-4) (Russian: 203-мм гаубица обр. 1931 г. (Б-4), GRAU index 52-G-625) was a 203 mm (8 inch) Soviet high-power heavy howitzer. During the Second World War, it was under the command of the Stavka's strategic reserve. It was nicknamed "Stalin's sledgehammer" by German soldiers. These guns were used with success against Finnish pillboxes at the Mannerheim Line, heavy German fortifications and in urban combat for destroying protected buildings and bunkers. This weapon was used until the end of the war in the Battle of Berlin where the Red Army would bring these guns up at point blank range to smash German fortifications with their heavy 203mm shells. In the spring of 1944, a KV-1s tank chassis was used to create a self-propelled variant, the S-51. The heavy recoil from the muzzle blast threw the crew off their seats and damaged the transmission, and so it was cancelled.
With an elevation angle of up to 60 degrees and 12 propellant loads to choose from, the B-4 virtually met all the expectations it was given, capable of crushing its targets via an optimal projectile trajectory.
In the photo above we see: Bismarck (right) with Erwin Rommel.
Georg von Bismarck (15 February 1891 – 31 August 1942) was a German general during World War II who commanded several divisions. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of Nazi Germany.
Bismarck joined the army in 1910 and took part in World War I. During the interwar years he served as an officer in the Reichswehr. During World War II, Bismarck took part in the Invasion of Poland in September 1939. During the Battle of France in 1940, he commanded a motorized infantry regiment of Erwin Rommel's 7th Panzer Division.
In 1941 he was promoted to commander of the newly formed 20th Panzer Division. He led the division during Operation Barbarossa on the Eastern Front as a part of Army Group Centre. In January 1942 he was transferred to Africa to serve in the Africa Korps as commander of the 21st Panzer Division. Here he again served under Rommel. Bismarck was killed by a mine while leading the 21st Panzer Division in the Battle of Alam el Halfa, 31 August 1942.
In the photo above we see: Böttcher and Erwin Rommel
Karl Böttcher (25 October 1889 – 21 October 1973) was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded several divisions. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.
Böttcher served in the Deutsches Afrikakorps under Erwin Rommel where he commanded an artillery regiment. Later Böttcher was made commander of the 21st Panzer Division. Böttcher surrendered to the Western Allies in 1945 and was interned until 1947.