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A ward or guard (translating German Hut "protection") is a defensive position in the German school of swordsmanship. In Royal Armouries Ms. I.33 the concept is rendered as custodia "guard".
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The Battle of Kursk was a Second World War engagement between German and Soviet forces on the Eastern Front near Kursk in the Soviet Union, during July and August 1943. The battle began with the launch of the German offensive Operation Citadel, on 5 July, which had the objective of pinching off the Kursk salient with attacks on the base of the salient from north and south simultaneously. After the German offensive stalled on the northern side of the salient, on 12 July the Soviets commenced their Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Kutuzov against the rear of the German forces in the northern side. On the southern side, the Soviets also launched powerful counterattacks the same day, one of which led to a large armoured clash, the Battle of Prokhorovka. On 3 August, the Soviets began the second phase of the Kursk Strategic Offensive Operation with the launch of Operation Polkovodets Rumyantsev against the German forces in the southern side of the Kursk salient.
A paramilitary organization is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is not formally part of a country's armed forces.
John Demjanjuk was a Ukrainian-American accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out while serving as a guard at Nazi extermination camps during World War II. Legal cases concerning his participation in the Holocaust began during the 1970s and continued until his death in 2012. He was prosecuted on charges of war crimes in Israel and Germany. During that time, Demjanjuk's trials attracted global media attention.
The Iron Guard is the name most commonly given to a fascist movement and political party in Romania founded in 1927 by Corneliu Zelea Codreanu as the Legion of the Archangel Michael or the Legionnaire movement. The Legion was ultra-nationalist, antisemitic, antimagyar, antiziganist, anti-communist, anti-capitalist and promoted Eastern Orthodox Christianity. In March 1930 Codreanu formed the "Iron Guard" as a paramilitary political branch of the Legion, and in 1935, the Legion changed its official name to the "Totul pentru Țară" party. It existed into the early part of World War II. Its members were called "Greenshirts" because of the predominantly green uniforms they wore.
The Home Guard was an armed citizen militia supporting the British Army during the Second World War. Operational from 1940 to 1944, the Home Guard had 1.5 million local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, such as those who were too young or too old to join the regular armed services or those in reserved occupations. Excluding those already in the armed services, the civilian police or civil defence, approximately one in five men were volunteers. Their role was to act as a secondary defence force in case of invasion by the forces of Nazi Germany and other Axis powers.
Stutthof was a Nazi concentration camp established by Nazi Germany in a secluded, marshy, and wooded area near the small town of Sztutowo 34 km (21 mi) east of the city of Danzig in the former territory of the Free City of Danzig. The camp was set up around existing structures after the invasion of Poland in World War II and initially used for the imprisonment of Polish leaders and intelligentsia. The actual barracks were built the following year by prisoners.
USCGC Eagle (WIX-327), formerly the Horst Wessel and also known as the Barque Eagle, is a 295-foot (90 m) barque used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard. She is one of only two active commissioned sailing vessels in the United States military today, along with USS Constitution which is ported in the Boston Harbor. She is the seventh Coast Guard cutter to bear the name in a line dating back to 1792, including the Revenue Cutter Eagle.
Operation Bagration was the codename for the 1944 Soviet Belorussian Strategic Offensive Operation, a military campaign fought between 23 June and 19 August 1944 in Soviet Byelorussia in the Eastern Front of World War II. The Soviet Union destroyed 28 of 34 divisions of Army Group Centre and completely shattered the German front line. It was the biggest defeat in German military history and the fifth deadliest campaign on in Europe, killing around 450,000 soldiers.
The Western Group of Forces (WGF), previously known as the Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany (GSOFG) and the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany (GSFG), were the troops of the Soviet Army in East Germany. The Group of Soviet Occupation Forces in Germany was formed after the end of World War II in Europe from units of the 1st and 2nd Belorussian Fronts. The group helped suppress the East German uprising of 1953. After the end of occupation functions in 1954 the group was renamed the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany. The group represented Soviet interests in East Germany during the Cold War. After changes in Soviet foreign policy during the late 1980s, the group shifted to a more defensive role and in 1988 became the Western Group of Forces. Russian forces remained in the eastern part of Germany after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the German reunification until 1994.
The Vistula–Oder Offensive was a Red Army operation on the Eastern Front in the European theatre of World War II in January 1945. The army made a major advance into German-held territory, capturing Kraków, Warsaw and Poznań. The Red Army had built up their strength around a number of key bridgeheads, with two fronts commanded by Marshal Georgy Zhukov and Marshal Ivan Konev. Against them, the German Army Group A, led by Colonel-General Josef Harpe, was outnumbered five to one. Within days, German commandants evacuated the concentration camps, sending the prisoners on their death marches to the west, where ethnic Germans also started fleeing. In a little over two weeks, the Red Army had advanced 300 miles (483 km) from the Vistula to the Oder, only 43 miles (69 km) from Berlin, which was undefended. However, Zhukov called a halt, owing to continued German resistance on his northern flank (Pomerania), and the advance on Berlin had to be delayed until April.
The 13th Poltava Guards Rifle Division was an infantry division of the Red Army that earned honours during the Great Patriotic War.
The Slovene Home Guard was a Slovene anti-Partisan military organization that was active during the 1943–1945 German occupation of the formerly Italian-occupied Province of Ljubljana. It consisted of former Village Sentries, part of Italian-sponsored Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia, re-organized under Nazi command after the Italian Armistice.
The Vienna Offensive was launched by the Soviet 2nd and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts in order to invade Vienna, Austria, during World War II. The offensive lasted from 2 April to 13 April 1945.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard is a minor armed forces and honour guards unit maintained by the Holy See that protects the Pope and the Apostolic Palace, serving as the de facto military of Vatican City. Established in 1506 under Pope Julius II, the Pontifical Swiss Guard is among the oldest military units in continuous operation.
The 90th Guards Rifle Vitebsk Division was an infantry division of the Red Army during World War II. Formed from the 325th Rifle Division in recognition of its actions during the winter of 1943, the division fought in the Battle of Kursk, the Belgorod-Khar'kov Offensive Operation, Operation Bagration, the Baltic Offensive, the Vistula–Oder Offensive, and the East Prussian Offensive.
The Grenadier Guards is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It can trace its lineage back to 1656 when Lord Wentworth's Regiment was raised in Bruges to protect the exiled Charles II. In 1665, this regiment was combined with John Russell's Regiment of Guards to form the current regiment, known as the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards. Since then, the regiment has filled both a ceremonial and protective role as well as an operational one. In 1900, the regiment provided a cadre of personnel to form the Irish Guards; while later, in 1915 it also provided the basis of the Welsh Guards upon their formation.
The 87th Guards Rifle Division was created on April 16, 1943, from the veterans of the 300th Rifle Division, in recognition of that division's leading role in the penetration of the German/Romanian defenses south of Stalingrad in the opening stages of Operation Uranus, its subsequent defense against Army Group Don's attempt to relieve the German Sixth Army at Stalingrad, and later for its pursuit of the defeated German forces along the Don River to Rostov-na-Donu as far as the Mius River. The 87th Guards continued a record of distinguished service through the rest of the Great Patriotic War, first in the southern sector of the front, where it participated in the liberation of the Donbass region and the Crimea, and then, after a major redeployment, in the north-central sector, advancing through the Baltic states and into East Germany. After the war it was restructured into a rifle brigade, before being reestablished as 87th Guards Rifle Division in October, 1953. In June, 1957, it was reorganized as a motor rifle division, but appears to have been disbanded in 1959.
The 22nd Guards Rifle Division was unique in being the only Guards rifle division formed twice during the Great Patriotic War. It was first formed from the 363rd Rifle Division in March, 1942. Soon after forming it provided a command cadre for the second formation of the 53rd Army in Kalinin Front. Later, in the fall of that year, the division provided most of its personnel and equipment to form the new 2nd Guards Mechanized Corps, and was then disbanded. In April, 1943, a new 22nd Guards was formed from the second formation of the 150th Rifle Division in the Moscow Military District, and went on to serve for the duration in 10th Guards Army. This formation first saw service in Operation Suvorov, the summer offensive of Western Front that liberated Smolensk in late September, and then fought through the autumn and winter in grinding battles towards the city of Orsha. During the summer offensive of 1944 it helped break the Panther Line in western Russia and then advanced into Latvia, winning a battle honor for its part in the liberation of Riga, before ending the war in Lithuania, helping to contain the German forces trapped in the Courland Pocket. It was disbanded shortly after the war.
The 26th Guards Rifle Division was reformed as an elite infantry division of the Red Army in April, 1942, based on the 1st formation of the 93rd Rifle Division, and served in that role until after the end of the Great Patriotic War. It would soon after provide the headquarters cadre for the 8th Guards Rifle Corps. It was soon assigned, with its Corps, to 20th Army of Western Front and saw extensive fighting, while also suffering extensive casualties, in two campaigns against the German 9th Army in the Rzhev salient through the rest of 1942. The division, again with 8th Guards Corps, joined the 11th Guards Army when it was formed in April, 1943 and, apart from a brief reassignment in early 1944, remained under those commands for the duration of the war. During that summer the division took part in the liberation of Bryansk. By December, after fighting through western Russia north of Smolensk it was in 1st Baltic Front, attacking south towards Gorodok and won the name of that city as a battle honor. By the start of the offensive against Army Group Center in the summer of 1944 the 26th Guards had been redeployed with its Army to the south of Vitebsk as part of 3rd Belorussian Front, where it would remain for the duration. Driving westward during Operation Bagration the division advanced north of Orsha and then helped to seize a crossing over the Berezina River for which it was awarded the Order of the Red Banner. It continued to advance through Lithuania to the border with East Prussia later that year. As part of the East Prussian Offensive the 26th Guards entered that heavily-fortified region in the winter of 1945 and helped gradually break the German resistance there, particularly at Insterburg and Königsberg, winning the Order of Suvorov for its part in the battle for the former place. The division ended the war at Pillau. The 26th Guards remained in the Kaliningrad Oblast well after the war, becoming the 26th Guards Motorized Rifle Division in 1957 and not finally disbanded until 1989.
The 46th Guards Rifle Division was formed as an elite infantry division of the Red Army in October, 1942, based on the 2nd formation of the 174th Rifle Division, and served in that role until after the end of the Great Patriotic War. It was in the 6th Army of Voronezh Front when it won its Guards title, but was immediately moved to the Reserve of the Supreme High Command for rebuilding, where it was soon assigned to the 5th Guards Rifle Corps. In mid-November it moved with its Corps to join the 3rd Shock Army in Kalinin Front and played a leading role in the Battle of Velikiye Luki, both in the encirclement of the German garrison of that city and then in fighting off several relief attempts. It remained in the area through the spring and summer of 1943 before taking part in the breakthrough battle at Nevel and the subsequent operations to expand the salient and pinch off the German positions that 3rd Shock had partly surrounded. In June of 1944 the 46th Guards was reassigned to the 6th Guards Army of 1st Baltic Front in preparation for Operation Bagration and made a spectacular advance into Luthuania through the "Baltic Gap" between Army Groups Center and North. The division would continue to serve in the Baltic states in 6th Guards for the duration of the war, winning the Order of the Red Banner in the process and ending on the Baltic coast in 22nd Guards Rifle Corps helping to contain the German forces trapped in the Courland Pocket. Despite a creditable record of service the division was disbanded shortly after the end of hostilities.