License Plates and Vehicle Identification Marks of the Wehrmacht

License Plates and Vehicle Identification Marks of the Wehrmacht


Charles McCain

copyright (c) 2017

author of An Honorable German published in hardback 2009 by GCP/Hachette & paperback 2010. Available on Kindle and Nook.


the first two letters on the number plate identify this as a Luftwaffe truck. This is a Mercedes “type LG3000”. This guy was probably stuck in Russia which isn’t a place you wanted to be stuck. Note the relatively narrow tires.

WL is the abbreviation of Wehrmacht Luftwaffe (that is W=Wehrmacht [which translates as ‘Defense Forces’ or ‘Armed Forces’] L=Luftwaffe –Air Force)

It may seem odd that German military vehicles – not tanks but other vehicles – had license plates or number plates as the Brits call them. But they did. One sees them in lots of photographs of German vehicles although as the war goes on one notices the plates are either missing or have been painted over or smeared with oil since the back color of the plates was white and stood out.

Tank 411 fires its flamethrower

The markings on tanks were normally a large three digit number painted on each side of their turret and often on the back of the turret. This was their radio call sign so their squadron commander could identify and direct specific tanks under his command to do specific things instead of just saying over his radio, “hey you, the tank under the tree…”

Tiger tank in Russia identified as Number 323 (German National Archive)

Soviet tanks did not have radios so once a battle started they could not be controlled by a superior officer which is why they normally attacked in waves. This was a major issue for their tank forces. At the same time, I should point out that radios in American and British tanks often didn’t work because of battery problems or having their antennas ripped off or having wires come loose after repeated firings of the main battery.


Sd.Kfz.250 German Army halftrack. The first two letters of the number plate identify this as an army vehicle. (W=Wehrmacht H=Heer (Army)

German military police constantly set up checkpoints and the number plate was one of the key issues they checked. Did the number plate correspond to the registration which was required to be carried in every vehicle? To drive a German Army vehicle, you had to have a license to drive that specific type of vehicle. That is, you had to have a license to drive a passenger car, a license to drive various classes or trucks, etc.

One can imagine the Feldgendarmarie knocking on one’s vehicle window and demanding, “license and registration.”

German Navy truck. You can see the first two letters on the number plate are WM. (W=Wehrmacht  M=Marine (navy)

On German vehicles, the number plates were coded in the following way: WH (Wehrmacht, Heer (army)), WL (Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe), WM (Wehrmacht, Marine (navy)), or SS. Each license plate began with one set of these letters. These two letter combinations were followed by five to six numerals, usually divided into a group of two numerals followed by a group of three or four numerals.

The first two numerals indicated which command the vehicle belonged to such as Army District, 10th U-Boot Flotilla, etc. and specifically what type of vehicle it was. The last three or four numerals comprised the actual code letters of the vehicle.

Each type of vehicle would have its own code. So each type of truck made by Mercedes or Ford would have had a different designation. Ford’s German subsidiary, as well as GM’s Opel subsidiary, continued to manufacture trucks for the German Army all through the war. German units tended to prefer Fords over Mercedes because the Fords were more durable and and easier to maintain.

WH on the license plate identifies this as a German Army truck. This happens to be a Ford. Ford-Werke in the Third Reich manufactured trucks for the German Armed forces. This continues to be a subject of great controversy as you might imagine. Henry Ford himself was a notorious anti-Semite.


This is a restored German Army Ford truck. You will note the ‘WH’ on the left front fender. The marking above the number plate indicates this truck belongs a specific company. The number of the company is hidden by the headlamp. On the right front fender is the divisional symbol of the Großdeutschland division. (This photo appears on so many websites that I was unable to determine who I should credit)

So a license plate on a German Armed Forces truck which began WH, belonged to the Army. The next two numerals would indicate what specific model of truck and to which type of unit such as a panzer or infantry division or Armee Korps it belonged to and the last three numerals would indicate which specific truck of a specific model it was. It was a bit more complex than this but this will give you a sense of what the number plates mean.

Note the numeral ‘3’ as the first numeral on the license plate of both trucks pictured above. Since these are both the same model of Ford truck they have the same letter designation.


A Luftwaffe (WL) Ford V3000 truck in Italy, 1943. photo courtesy of German National Archive.

Each type of vehicle would have its own code. So each type of truck made by Mercedes or Ford would have had a different designation. Ford’s German subsidiary continued to manufacture trucks for the German Army all through the war. German units tended to prefer Fords over Mercedes because the Fords were more durable and and easier to maintain.


In this photograph you can clearly see the silhouette of the German Army helmet used to mark vehicles of the Großdeutschland division. The mark below that indicates this vehicle is assigned to a reconnaissance unit.

All German Army divisions had a distinctive symbol which they put on signs, equipment, vehicles, etc. Example: the elite Großdeutschland (Greater Germany) division had as its symbol a white silhouette of a German Army helmet (1935 pattern). A tank or other vehicle of GD (as it was abbreviated) would also have had a tactical symbol indicating which type of unit the vehicle belonged to: infantry, armor, medical, engineers, etc.

Additionally, vehicles were marked with the insignia of the division and/or higher formation or ad hoc formation they were assigned to. Example: vehicles assigned to the 4 Armee during the invasion of France in 1940, had a ‘K’ on their vehicles which stood for ‘Kluge’. Günther von Kluge commanded 4 Armee during the attack on France.


You can see the Balkenkreuz clearly on this German dive bomber Ju 87 Stuka. The Luftwaffe was the first of the German Armed Forces to use the symbol.


German Luftwaffe Tornado attack jet with post-war design of the Balkenkreuz

Every German military vehicle, tank, or plane was also, then and now, marked with a version of the Balkenkreuz, which is said to be the symbol of the Teutonic Knights, a Germanic Catholic military/religious Order which conquered and ruled parts of Prussia and Eastern Europe in medieval times.

Sources: Wehrmacht Camouflage and Markings 1939-1945 by W.J.K. Davies and Wehrmacht Divisional Signs 1938-1945 by Theodor Hartmann. If you have a deep interest in this subject I would purchase one or both of these books. A lot of information on the internet is wrong.

Information on the Teutonic Knights can be found here:





Charles McCain

copyright (c) 2017

author of An Honorable German available from any online bookstore as well as Kindle and Nook.


German Light Cruiser Köln

Reichsmarine Light Cruiser Köln

Reichsmarine sailors pose in front of a turret on light-cruiser Köln during a visit to Sydney, Australia.


Köln was the third of the three ‘K’ class light cruisers built for the Reichsmarine.



The K class light cruisers suffered from many design problems since they were designed and built in the late 1920’s and had to adhere to the strict limit’s imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. As the design problems became increasingly apparent, the duties of the ships were limited to compensate and they increasingly failed to serve in the roles they were supposed to perform in the fleet.

The Köln patrolled the coasts of Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and then spent the remainder of her life in the Baltic and North Sea. She participated in the Invasion of Norway and then she resumed mining operations and limited attacks on Allied Convoy shipping. In February 1943, the Köln was damaged in a submarine attack and remained out of service until March 1944 receiving repairs.

Light cruiser Koln in Baltic Stripe camouflage


She recommissioned as a training ship for cadets. On 12 December 1944, she was heavily damaged by a British bombing raid. She was transferred to Wilhelmshaven in February 1945 to begin extensive repairs. Once there, she was sunk on even keel during another British bombing raid on 3 March 1945. Her turrets remained above water and continued to shell the oncoming Allied advance.

The Köln was captured on 5 May 1945 by the Polish First Armored Division along with 200 other ships of the Kriegsmarine in the surrender of the Wilhelmshaven garrison. She was finally scrapped in 1946. Collected below are photographs of Köln during World War Two.

“Conquest of Bergen by German Light Cruisers”
Artwork by Adolf Bock, 1941, published in a book on the German Navy published by Erich Klinghammer, Berlin, during World War II. It depicts the light cruisers Köln and Königsberg landing troops at Bergen, Norway, on 9 April 1940.


Köln (German Light Cruiser, 1930-1945).
Reconnaissance photograph, probably taken by the British Royal Air Force, showing the ship (marked by arrow) moored to the shore in the Fætten Fjord, about 30 KM ENE of Trondheim, Norway, 19 July 1942. Note rafts and netting used to camouflage the ship, and anti-torpedo booms moored to protect her from attacks from abeam and astern. Booms abeam have been folded to simulate a ship.


Köln (German Light Cruiser, 1930-1945).
Reconnaissance photograph, probably taken by the British Royal Air Force, showing the ship (marked by arrow) moored to the shore in the Fætten Fjord, about 30 KM ENE of Trondheim, Norway, 19 July 1942. The southern side of the Fjord is in the top center of the image.


Köln (German Light Cruiser, 1930-1945).
Reconnaissance photograph, probably taken by the British Royal Air Force, showing the ship (marked by arrow) moored to the shore in the Fætten Fjord, about 30 KM ENE of Trondheim, Norway, 19 July 1942. Note rafts and netting used to camouflage the ship, and anti-torpedo booms moored to protect her from attacks from abeam and astern. Booms abeam have been folded to simulate a ship. The southern side of the Fjord is just beyond the top of the image.


German cruiser Köln sunk by Allied bombing on 7 May 1945 in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

[Images courtesy of Wikimedia and the Department of the Navy – Naval History & Heritage Command.]

Which Requires the Most Extensive Training? A Dog Walker, a Manicurist, or a Personal Trust Trustee?


This is an article I ghosted for with my colleague, Daniel Smith, who knows this stuff backwards and forwards.

Which Requires the Most Extensive Training? A Dog Walker, a Manicurist, or a Personal Trust Trustee?

by Daniel Smith



Obviously, the requirements to be a dog walker are simple. All you need is the ability to walk and an affinity for dogs, right? Actually, you probably need a business license and since you are going in and out of people’s homes, you will probably want to be bonded. Most brand name dog walking businesses are.

Liability insurance is also important. If you are walking a dog on a long leash and the dog inexplicably bites someone you want to be protected if you are sued. There are many other issues. In fact, the Dog Walking Agreement and Guide from LegalZoom is eight pages long and doesn’t include the legal agreement. *

What about a certification? Not required but it looks good on your list of qualifications. If you want to be a certified dog professional, you can take a four-day course leading to this certification at different locations around the country. The cost is $850.00.**

OK. That seems a bit extensive just to walk dogs. What about being a manicurist? All one must know is how to give a manicure. Right? Not exactly. To work in a high-level beauty salon as a nail technician, that is, a manicurist, you will need to pass the written Nail Technician Licensing Examination, given by the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology (NIC). ***  Before you laugh, let me say I read some of the sample questions and concluded there are valid reasons one of the most popular study guides is 128 pages long and costs $50.97 plus shipping.

What about the qualifications to serve as the trustee or a personal trust and/or executor of someone’s estate? This can be an onerous task requiring extensive knowledge of trusts and estates. Presumably to serve in this position one must have some legal and financial training, have passed a certification exam, and register with the state. Therefore, serving as a trustee must require substantially more training than being a dog walker or manicurist.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. What qualifications must an individual possess to be a trustee? The willingness to act. That’s all. The person doesn’t have to take a licensing exam to act as a trustee or executor because there isn’t one.  Background check? No. Knowledge of legal and financial issues a trustee will be confronted with? No. Registration with the state? No. A minimum standard of education? No. You don’t even need to be literate as we shall see.

Anyone can serve as trustee of a personal trust and/or executor of an estate and anyone has. A year prior to her death in 1993, tobacco heiress Doris Duke named her butler, Bernard Lafferty, as co-executor of her 1.2-billion-dollar estate and as one of a small number of trustees of her charitable trust. An article which appeared in the New York Times on 11 April 1996, alleged that Mr. Lafferty (who died in November of 1996) was “an admitted alcoholic and barely literate.” In addition, that same article alleged that Mr. Lafferty “moved into her (Doris Duke’s) mansions and traveled around in her chauffeured Cadillac and her private Boeing 737 at estate expense.”

Did lawsuits come riding? Yes, like a brigade of cavalry. According to the same article in the New York Times, dozens of accusations were made against Mr. Lafferty including several of a most scandalous nature. Legal wrangling between interested parties went on for thirty months and eventually involved more than forty lawyers from ten different firms.  At the end of that time, all parties reached a settlement approved by the court.

Mr. Lafferty received a handsome settlement from the estate and in return, he resigned his posts as co-executor of Ms. Duke’s estate and as a trustee of the Doris Duke Charitable Trust. While Mr. Lafferty may have acted poorly, all allegations against him were withdrawn. Did he do something illegal? Impossible to say since none of the allegations were followed up.

I think we would all agree that Ms. Duke should have given more thought about whom she chose to carry out the duties of settling her estate. Yet over the years, I have seen people spending more time researching the options and prices of a new car they want to buy than selecting a trustee for their personal trusts. This is where you as an FA must step in and acquaint your client with the damage an incompetent trustee can do.

You further need to impress upon your client that the person they choose to succeed them as trustee must know what they are doing. Selecting the right person to supervise and distribute your wealth for the benefit of your loved ones is far, far more important than saving $500 on a new Mercedes.

If your client selects an individual as trustee they need to vet this person as thoroughly as possible and be guided by the principle of caveat emptor— let the buyer beware.

To learn more about this topic, register for our Cannon Trust I curriculum.

Copyright ©2017 Cannon Financial Institute – All Rights Reserved

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Contributing Writer: Subject Matter Expert Charles McCain

COMMENT FROM CHARLES McCAIN: Cannon Financial Institute is the “gold standard” for wealth management training, development, and consulting. I worked at the firm for many years and my colleagues were the most talented people I have ever worked with.

I started writing articles directed to Financial Advisors for Cannon in January of  2016. After a hiatus of nine years, I am pleased to report that my colleagues continue to be the most talented people I have ever worked with and it is a pleasure to be working with them again.  I usually post these articles on my blog a week or two after Cannon posts them on their site. Cannon’s main website is here:

The article is here: dogwalker manicurist or trustee

Three Wars Shot in Face, Head, Stomach, Ankle, Leg, Hip, and Ear Sir Carton de Wiart

CECIL BEATON PHOTOGRAPHS: POLITICAL AND MILITARY PERSONALITIES (IB 3449C) Political Personalities: Half length portrait of Lieutenant General Adrian Carton de Wiart VC, Mr Churchill’s special representative in Chungking. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


The most decorated man in the British Army in the 20th Century or certainly close to it. Given the various medals handed out during wars, it is difficult to say who is the most decorated. But Lieutenant General Carton de Wiart is certainly in the top five most decorated soldiers of the British Army.


World War One. Carton de Wiart, center. Photo courtesy of London Daily Mail


http://wdailymail says de Wiart bio best-Wikipedia-entry-VC-winning-officer-shot-face-head-stomach-ankle-leg-hip-ear.html

Says Wikipedia: “He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a prisoner-of-war camp; and tore off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in the First World War, he wrote, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.” Carton de Wiart


In great britain, when something official is done it is said to have been “gazetted” since it appears in the official London Gazette. Carton’s Victoria cross was “gazetted’ ON 9 September 1916.
For the award of the Victoria Cross, La Boiselle, France, 2 – 3 July 1916, Captain ( T / Lieutenant Colonel ) Adrian Carton de Wiart, DSO, 4th Dragoon Guards, command 8th Bn, Gloucestershire Regiment.

For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during severe operations of a prolonged nature. ( La Boiselle, France ).

It was owing in a great measure to his dauntless courage and inspiring example that a serious reverse was averted. He displayed the utmost energy and courage in forcing our attack home. After three other battalion Commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands, and ensured that the ground won was maintained at all costs. He frequently exposed himself in the organisation of positions and of supplies, passing unflinchingly through fire barrage of the most intense nature.hIS GALLANTRY WAS INSPIRING TO ALL.

Adrian Carton de Wiart was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 29th November 1916.


Lt. Gen. Carton de Wiart, oil on canvas, 1919. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery London.

THE BRITISH MILITARY MISSION TO POLAND, 1919-1921 (Q 92207) Major-General Adrian Carton de Wiart VC, the Chief of British Mission to Poland, on his charger. Photograph possibly taken in Lwów. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


LIEUTENANT COLONEL ADRIAN CARTON DE WIART (Q 68300) Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Carton De Wiart VC KBE CB CMG DSO. Unit: 4th Dragoon Guards (Royal Irish), attached to 8th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment as Commanding Officer. Death: 5 June 1963. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


Lieutenant Colonel Carton de Wiart was awarded the Victoria Cross for the following action: “On 2 July – 3 July 1916, at La Boisselle, France, Lieutenant-Colonel Carton de Wiart’s dauntless courage and inspiration averted what could have been a serious reverse. He displayed the utmost energy in forcing the attack home and after three other battalion commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands and made sure that the ground was held at all costs. In organising the positions to be held, he exposed himself fearlessly to enemy fire.” Carton de Wiart was born in Belgium.

He joined the British Army and fought during the Boer War of 1899-1902, sustaining a serious chest wound. On the outbreak of the First World War, Carton de Wiart was serving with the Somaliland Camel Corps and engaged in suppressing a rebellion by Mohammed bin Abdullah’s Muslim forces. In an attack upon an enemy fort at Shimber Berris, Carton de Wiart was shot in the face, losing his left eye. He served on the Western Front from 1915, commanding three infantry battalions and a brigade. He was also seriously wounded seven times, losing his left hand in 1915.

Carton de Wiart spent the interwar years in Poland, serving with the British Military Mission between 1919 and 1921 and escaping the country as it was overrun by German and Soviet forces in 1939. He then served in Norway and was en route to take up a command in Yugoslavia when his aircraft was shot down. Carton de Wiart was taken prisoner by the Italians by whom he was released in 1943. He spent the remaining war years in the Far East, witnessing the Japanese surrender at Singapore. Carton de Wiart died in 1963. of carton de wiart

THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORWAY APRIL – JUNE 1940 (N 107) The Evacuation from Namsos 2-3 May 1940: British soldiers on the quay at Namsos awaiting evacuation. On the left is Major General Carton de Wiart. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Veteran Royal Navy Battleship Malaya at Sea World War Two

Battleships HMS Barham, HMS Malaya and aircraft carrier HMS Argus at sea circa 1935.  (US Navy Archive)

Both HMS Barham and HMS Malaya were Queen Elizabeth class battleships built during World War One. Neither received significant modification between the wars and were past their design life when World War Two came. They were both old and slow. HMS Barham was sunk in the Mediterranean while HMS Malaya spent much of the war escorting Allied troop convoys. Under specific instructions from the Admiralty, all troop convoys, many from America, had to be escorted by a battleship plus a heavy close escort force.

The Cunard liners, RMS Queen Elizabeth and RMS Queen Mary were exempt from this because of their speed. When accepted into service as troop transports, their designation was changed to HMT/S (His Majesty’s Transport ship)

HMS Malaya, in spite of not being reconstructed like several of her sisters including HMS Warspite, still performed yeoman service in the war. Her engines were not in great condition and she could not make more than 20 knots which limited her from staying with a battle fleet. In the Med, she often feel far behind HMS Warspite, flagship of C-in-C Mediterranean.




After being hit by a German torpedo in March of 1941, HMS Malaya spent four months in dry dock in New York being repaired. She was scrapped in 1948 after long and honourable service.

ON BOARD HMS MALAYA. OCTOBER 1941. (A 5692) Seamen replacing the guard rails after a Fairey Swordfish sea plane had been catapulted from the deck of HMS MALAYA. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


Fairy Swordfish torpedo bombers were rugged planes in spite of their fragile look. A handful of them were made as amphibious planes and used for shot spotting during battle or reconnaissance. Once landed in the water, the plane would position itself so that its home ship only had to slow down but not stop to when a tow rope was thrown to the crew. They attached this to a special fitting and a crane lifted them out of the water.

ON BOARD HMS MALAYA. OCTOBER 1941. (A 5693) After a reconnaissance flight the Fairey Swordfish sea plane returns to HMS MALAYA and is hoisted in board. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


ON BOARD HMS MALAYA. OCTOBER 1941. (A 5691) A Fairey Swordfish sea plane catapulted from the deck of HMS MALAYA. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


ON BOARD HMS MALAYA. OCTOBER 1941. (A 5695) Sunday morning Divisions on board HMS MALAYA. The Captain, Captain C Coppinger, DSC, RN, inspecting a division on the quarterdeck. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Astounding Courage Dambusters Breach Critical German Dams

One of the Great Actions of World War Two

The breach in the Mohne Dam four hours after the Dambusters raid in May 1943. (courtesy Imperial War Museum, Foreign Office Political Intelligence Department, Classified Print Collection). 

It would be interesting to know who took this photograph and how soon after it was taken that the British had it. While not well known today, Polish Intelligence, which went underground after Poland’s defeat by the Nazis, provided the majority of the human intelligence which flowed to the Allies from occupied Europe in World War Two.


OPERATION CHASTISE (THE DAMBUSTERS’ RAID) 16 – 17 MAY 1943  reconnaissance photo of the Ruhr Valley at Froendenberg-Boesperde, some 13 miles south from the Moehne Dam, showing massive flooding. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


THE VISIT OF HM KING GEORGE VI TO NO 617 SQUADRON (THE DAMBUSTERS) ROYAL AIR FORCE, SCAMPTON, LINCOLNSHIRE, 27 MAY 1943 (TR 1002) Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, DSO and bar, DFC and bar, with members of his Squadron. In the front row are Gibson’s flight commanders, on his right Squadron Leader Dave Maltby, and on his left Squadron Leader Mick Martin. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who trained and led 617 Squadron known as Dambusters was an incredibly brave man although according to temporary accounts not a very likeable man. His crew disliked him and said he didn’t even know most of them by name just position in the crew. Gibson had a stormy marriage to put it mildly and was living with another woman instead of his wife when he died in 1944.

Gibson drank more than most pilots in a time when heavy drinking by pilots when they finished operations was normal and one of the few ways they had of relaxing. He often insulted other officers in the mess who didn’t have his decorations for bravery and no one could say anything because of who he was.

For leading the Dambusters mission, Gibson was awarded Great Britain’s highest honor, the Victoria Cross, the equivalent of the US Medal of Honor.That he deserved it cannot be questioned. Not only did he lead the squadron in and drop the first bouncing bomb, he circled the dam under a constant stream of ack-ack fire while the other bombers made their runs.

Gibson already held the Distinguished Service Order and Bar (which meant he was given the medal twice). The DSO was awarded for brave and meritorious service in combat. In addition, he also had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar, which was only given for bravery in operational flying against the enemy.


Dramatized on film and in print, the Dambusters raid has become one of the most well known small operations of World War Two in Europe. The raid was conceived of

617 SQUADRON (DAMBUSTERS) AT SCAMPTON, LINCOLNSHIRE, 22 JULY 1943 (TR 1129) Flight Lieutenant Dave Shannon, pilot of ED929/`AJ-L’ on the dams raid, with Flight Lieutenant R D Trevor-Roper, who flew as Gibson’s rear gunner on the dam’s raid; and Squadron Leader G W Holden. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


The King has a word with Flight Lieutenant Les Munro from New Zealand. Wing Commander Guy Gibson is on the right and Air Vice Marshal Ralph Cochrane, Commander of No 5 Group is behind Flight Lieutenant Munro and to the right.

King George VI visited the survivors of 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force, Bomber Command on 27 May 1943. The successful raid had taken place on the night of 16/17 May 1943.


WING COMMANDER GUY GIBSON, VC, DSO AND BAR, DFC AND BAR, COMMANDER OF 617 SQUADRON (DAMBUSTERS) AT SCAMPTON, LINCOLNSHIRE, 22 JULY 1943 (TR 1127) Wing Commander Guy Gibson with members of his crew. Left to right: Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar; Pilot Officer P M Spafford, bomb aimer; Flight Lieutenant R E G Hutchinson, wireless operator; Pilot Officer G A Deering and Flying Officer H T Taerum, gunners. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


AIRCRAFT OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, 1939-1945: AVRO 683 LANCASTER. (ATP 11384B) Type 464 (Provisioning) Lancaster, ED825/G, at Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, during handling trials with the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment. One of some twenty aircraft specially built to carry the ‘Upkeep’ weapon on Operation CHASTISE, ED825/G was delivered to No 617 Squadron RAF at Scampton as a spare aircraft on 15 May 1943, but was subsequently flown on the raid by Flight Lieut… Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


ROYAL AIR FORCE BOMBER COMMAND, 1942-1945. (IWM FLM 2360) Operation CHASTISE: the attack on the Moehne, Eder and Sorpe Dams by No. 617 Squadron RAF on the night of 16/17 May 1943. No. 617 Squadron practice dropping the ‘Upkeep’ weapon at Reculver bombing range, Kent. Third launch sequence (1): Flight Lieutenant J L Munro in Avro Lancaster ED921/G drops his bomb from below 60 feet. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

133 RAF aircrew participated in the Dambusters attack.

Of those, 53 lost their lives–a casualty rate of almost 40 percent. The dead were all young men in the prime of their lives.

Life, to be sure,
Is nothing much to lose,
But young men think it is,
And we were young.

From the poem Here Dead We Lie

by A.E. Housman


All photos courtesy of the Imperial War Museum

movie poster courtesy of Wikipedia

Sweden Sold Arms Both Sides World War Two


THE BRITISH ARMY IN NORTH-WEST EUROPE 1944-45 (B 13136) The crew of a Bofors anti-aircraft gun view vapour trails in the sky high above the Dutch-German border near Brunssum, 25 December 1944. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Famous Swedish Bofors 40 mm anti-aircraft gun used by all sides in World War Two. (Once war came countries which could not get them directly from Sweden manufactured them under license. The gun above is being manned by British troops).

THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 327) A 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew near Douai, November 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


Domestically produced British anti-aircraft manufactured from British designs lacked the effectiveness and versatility of the Bofors 40mm.


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 325) A 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew near Douai, November 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:


THE BRITISH ARMY IN FRANCE 1939 (O 326) A 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft gun and crew near Douai, November 1939. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:



A group of Finnish soldiers operating a Bofors gun during the Continuation War, Suulajärvi