The Dr. Harold C. Deutsch World War II History Round Table has announced programs for 2009 sessions.
All presentations are held at the Historic Fort Snelling Visitor Center the second Thursday of each month through May.
Dec. 11 – The Alamo in the Ardennes: Attack on the Center of the Bulge – John McManus, author of “Alamo in the Ardennes,” will be joined by veterans of the 28th Infantry and 10th Armored Divisions in telling the story of the December 1944 race for Bastogne. That critical Belgian town, essential to the German Ardennes offensive, was successfully defended over five critical days by American troops who sacrificed themselves to buy time for reinforcements to arrive.
Jan. 8, 2009 – The Battle for Moscow – Between Sept. 30, 1941, and April 20, 1942, seven million German and Soviet troops took part in the battle for Moscow, and nearly 2.5 million of them became casualties. In “The Greatest Battle,” Andrew Nagorski explains why Hitler’s mistakes eventually trumped those of Stalin – and why Hitler eventually lost the war.
Feb. 12 – The OSS, Office of Strategic Services – Patrick K. O’Donnell, author of OSS and the upcoming “The Brenner Assignment” will weave personal stories with historical documentation of the complex organization and widespread activities of this intriguing WWII agency. Veterans will tell their stories of largely overlooked clandestine operations.
March 12 – Air to Ground Operations – Thomas Hughes, author of “Overlord,” will describe the critical role of close air support in the battle for Normandy and across France, and its ongoing importance to the Air Force. Ace P47 pilot Ken Dahlberg and others who were part of those battles will present some of their experiences in materially aiding the ground fight.
April 9 – Invasion of Okinawa – Bill Sloan, author of “The Ultimate Battle,” will make the case that the suicidal defense by the Japanese on the doorstep of Japan’s mainland was a major factor in the decision to drop the atomic bomb. Marine, Army and Navy veterans of the battle will relate their personal experiences.
May 14 – Glider Operations in WWII – Gerard Devlin, author of “Silent Wings,” will relate how successful German glider operations led to the development of a U.S. Army glider program. Minnesota companies built almost 1,600 gliders used in every major campaign from Sicily to the final victory in Asia. Veterans who flew and fought with gliders will tell their stories about the “flying coffins.”
May 15 – WWII Glider Symposium – Multiple speakers will present at all-day sessions on glider development, fabrication, combat history and museum restoration. This session will be at the Fort Snelling Officers’ Club.
The Fort Snelling Visitor Center is located at the Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul MN 55102. Cost is $5 per person.
A World War II Weekend at Fort Snelling will be held June 13-14. Those attending will explore a military encampment, see artifacts and firing demonstrations and discover Minnesota’s contribution on the WWII battlefield and at home. Hands-on crafts, games and an obstacle course are part of the featured attractions. For more information about the weekend, contact 612-726-1171 or see www.mnhs.org/fortsnelling.