After the Battle magazine has published issue # 141. After the Battle covers all theaters of WW 2, with the main articles on the ETO. From small engagements to large battles the magazine covers interesting topics with lots of photographs (then & now) to help the reader relive events
In Depth Part One The first feature story is the OB West HQ at Saint-Germain-En-Laye, by Jean Paul Pallud. OB West Hq was developed after the fall of France in 1940. The Hq was needed to deal with the defense of the coastal areas and occupation duties in Western Europe. Saint Germain-En-Laye Is a suburb Northwest of Paris. The Headquarters was lightly guarded until late 1942 when the area was hardened with bunkers and wire entanglements. Many of the wartime bunkers have been removed but several remain to be seen. Not a lot of wartime photo's were made for security reasons.
In the winter months the high staff moved to Paris because of heating fuel shortages. The highest ranking officers to command were General field marshal's Von Rundstedt ,Von Witzleben, Von Kluge and Model. One of the visitors to the headquarters was Japanese General Oshima Hiroshi, Ambassador to Berlin. General Hiroshi reported to Tokyo via radio detailed knowledge of the defenses in the west. The Ambassador transmitted his report in the 'Purple' code not knowing it had been broken in 1940. The detailed plans were being read by the allies almost as soon as they were sent. With the fall of France the German staff were withdrawn to the Metz area, with some personnel being withdrawn just before the capture of the area.
By August 24, 1944 most of the German combat troops had been ordered to withdraw behind the Seine river. August 26th marked the liberation of Saint Germain-En-Laye by American tanks. After the war the French government surveyed the German bunkers and decided that those that were of use to national defense were used by French forces. Other defenses were destroyed or turned over to the land owners for their use. Most of the remaining bunkers today are in private hands or government departments. Most of them are off limits or on private property so visitation is not advised. This was a very nice article and I was not able to tell the whole story in this review.
In Depth Part Two The second feature is RAF Target Mapping Center at Hughenden Manor, by Karel Margry. Hughenden Manor some 30 miles north-west of London has a long and distinguished history. The manor was purchased by Benjamin Disraeli in 1848 and extensively remodeled around 1862. The manor was the location of a top secret intelligence facility run by the air ministry. The mapping center was officially known as the survey production center and was in London at the start of the war. The air campaign grew in size during the first year of the war and a site outside London was needed for a larger staff. The manor was requisitioned in Oct 1941 due to it's proximity to bomber command hq just five miles away. At peak strength about 100 people were based at the manor. Maps were drawn up from reconnaissance photos and checked of accuracy before being forwarded to bomber command.
As the years went by the role of the manor in WW 2 was almost lost. The wartime work was so secret that few people knew about it. The air ministry lost touch with what had been done at the manor. When the manor was taken over by the national trust, a decided to researching the wartime history was started. Strokes of good luck allowed the national trust staff to find out about mission and people of the secret facility. You can check www.nationaltrust.org.uk for more information about the manor and opening hours.
In Depth Part Three Part three is The discovery of the HMAS Sydney, by Karel Margry. March 17, 2008 an announcement that the wreck of the light cruser HMAS Sydney had been found ended one of the mysteries of WW 2. HMAS Sydney sank after a naval action with the German commerce raider Kormoran. Both ships were sunk in the action, but the whole compliment of 645 men of the HMAS Sydney were lost. The Kormoran crew of 395 men all were saved except 78 men and two captives. Five days after the battle survivors of the Kormoran were found and suspicions that the Sydney had been lost were confirmed. Very few remnants from the Sydney were found.
Three and a half months after the battle a Carley float with a corpse washed ashore on Christmas Island 1300 nautical miles from the battle site. There was no information that the float or corpse was from the Sydney. In 2006 the body was exhumed from Christmas Island for further study. The loss of the Sydney left hundreds of Australian bereaved and unable to close this sad chapter.
In 1995 the Sydney foundation was founded to try and find the warship. Using wartime records and other information the search was started by ship Feb 29 2008. The first week was dogged by bad weather but the Kormoran was located on March 12, 2008. On March 16 the Sydney was found and both ships were filmed by remote vehicle. Both wrecks have been declared protected sites and will be treated as war graves. A website for finding the Sydney foundation is listed below. A color photo of wreath laying over the Sydney. http://www.findingsydney.com
After the Battle magazine is a quarterly publication of Battle of Britain International Ltd. The magazine has 56 pages and color pictures on the front, center & back pages. The central theme of all After the Battle publications is 'then and now' photographs and there are usually three or more articles or stories per issue. The magazine is published with high quality paper, enhancing the wartime photo's. This edition has three stories of interest. For more information on After the Battle magazine and their books, their web site is www.afterthebattle.com. US readers can obtain subscriptions from RZM imports.
Highs: Excelent story on the HMAS Sydney. Remaining bunkers in Saint-Germain-En-Laye are shown as of today with the permission of the owners and French Goverment agencies.Lows: A slightly higher price for a years subscription. Verdict: A great issue for little known subjects. I look forward to the next issue.