Commanding the British Second Army during the Battle of Normandy, Dempsey was a career infantryman with great intellect and a unique ability to read maps. An expert in combined operations, he knew how to get the most out of Allied troops working together on complicated missions.
Aleda Lutz was perhaps the most experienced flight nurse in the US military service. Fatally wounded when her plane crashed in November 1944, she had by then transported over 3,500 soldiers to safety and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
A German test pilot, Reitsch was the only woman ever awarded the Iron Cross First Class. Setting over forty flight altitude and endurance records during her career, she proposed Operation Suicide to Hitler, where German pilots would be trained to fly Kamikaze style at the enemy, a plan ultimately rejected.
Launching one of the most successful psychological campaigns of WWII, Lauwers was a corporal in the OSS, the American intelligence agency. Assembling a team of German prisoners, she trained them to infiltrate enemy lines and spread propaganda about Hitler and the status of the war, severely damaging the morale of German troops.
A member of the SOE, Eileen Nearne was a British radio operator who flew into Nazi-occupied France and helped resistance groups find sources of financing. Maintaining a vital wireless communication link between Paris and London, she was captured and tortured by the SS in 1944, but managed to escape towards the end of the war.
A Stuka bomber pilot, Rudel was the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. Flying over 2,500 combat missions and destroying over 2,000 targets including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks and a Soviet battleship, he harassed Soviet troops throughout the war and was despised by his enemies for his indifferent cruelty.
An experienced Field Marshal of both the Western and Eastern fronts, Von Kluge took over command of Army Group B after Rommel was injured, but his forces were encircled by Allied troops in the Falaise pocket. Though Von Kluge was not involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, his nephew was, leading Hitler to relieve him from his command.
Regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, the legendary prime minister of the United Kingdom became a symbol of hope during the battle of Britain, when the nation stood alone as the Luftwaffe kept bringing on more and more devastating air raids.
One of the most skillful commanders of Nazi Germany, Kesselring was a Luftwaffe general in command of the Mediterranean theater. Hugely popular among his men, Kesselring put up a fierce defense to Allied troops during the Battle of Italy, much to the chagrin of many Italians who despised him.
Parachuting into France in the spring of 1944, this SEO agent played a crucial part in organizing the Maquis groups of the French Resistance and became one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen. At one point the Gestapo’s most wanted person, the thousands of resistance fighters she led caused great damage to the Nazi occupiers.
A French resistance fighter, Minet took part in the fall of Chartres, was present at the liberation of Paris and was awarded a Croix de Guerre for her bravery. She became a symbol of the French people’s spirit to resist the German occupiers.</sub>
An aggressive panzer commander in the early stages of the war, Model is known as the Third Reich’s most competent defensive commander. Leading troops during the Battle of the Bulge, he failed to keep the momentum going and ultimately took his own life after being defeated at the Ruhr.
The most decorated American soldier of the war, Audie Murphy was a short but tenacious soldier who proved his valor in combat over and over again. Murphy saw action throughout Italy and France, but became legendary when he single-handedly held off 50 German soldiers on top of a burning tank.
A hero of the first world war, Marshal Pétain was an old man by 1940 and resolved to make peace with Germany. Forming a French Third Republic in the spa town of Vichy, he established authoritarian rule and collaborated fully with the Nazis. He is considered a traitor by most French.
One of the most flamboyant commanders of the British army, Monty was a controversial field marshal to say the least. Known for his lack of diplomacy, he had a special talent for angering his superiors but still did whatever it took to win key battles. He was in charge of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord.
An innovative filmmaker, Riefenstahl created propaganda films throughout the 30’s, portraying Hitler and the Nazi party in a majestic, glorious light. Though she would later claim to having refused doing propaganda films, there is no doubt that her propaganda works were a key factor in the early success of Nazism.
Commanding the French First Army, de Lattre’s decision to halt his troops after the battle of Belfort allowed the Germans to form the Colmar pocket, which he failed to bring down until the Americans caught up. Continuing its march through Germany, his First Army eventually numbered over 320 thousand troops.
The Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe was an efficient leader who showed great tact and diplomacy when dealing with allied counterparts such as Churchill, Montgomery and Zhukov. Eisenhower was in charge of the largest military invasion in history, Operation Overlord, and continued to command until Germany’s surrender.
An Austrian colonel of the SS, Skorzeny was Hitler’s favorite commando and considered the most dangerous man in Europe. In charge of German special forces, he helped Italian dictator Mussolini escape from captivity during a daring mission.
One of the most respected and feared paratroopers of the 506th, Speirs jumped into Normandy on D-Day and fought his way across Europe. Often leading fearless assaults over open ground, he would take the enemy completely by surprise and inspired the respect of his men to no end.
The commander of Easy company has become one of the most legendary Paratroopers of all time. A member of the 101st Airborne Division, he jumped into Normandy on D-Day, survived Market Garden, defended Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, captured the Eagle’s Nest and took part in the liberation of a concentration camp.
A founding member of the SAS, Paddy Mayne is one of the British Army’s most highly decorated soldiers. Leading small, fast-moving teams through the Sahara desert using Jeeps behind enemy lines, the SAS wrecked havoc on Axis defenses. Once the invasion of Europe began, Mayne commanded countless raids against the Nazis alongside local resistance groups.
A Native American commando from Canada, Prince was the deadliest member of the infamous Devil’s Brigade. Able to crawl silently through any terrain, he made a sport out of sneaking behind enemy lines and terrorizing Axis units throughout the European continent.
One of the most experienced Field Marshalls of the Wehrmacht, Von Rundstedt stems from a distinguished Prussian family with a long military tradition. Though respected and regarded as a strategic leader by his men, his health has been deteriorating rapidly and Hitler seems to have lost confidence in him.
In command of all US Ground forces during the invasion of Europe, Bradley was a practical general and considered a GI’s general. A gentle man, Bradly was nonetheless a strict disciplinarian who actually had a habit of relieving senior commanders he felt were too independent.
Leading the French government in exile from London,De Gaulle became a symbol of Freedom for occupied French with his frequent BBC speeches.Commanding the Free French forces opposing the Axis, he strongly opposed the Vichy regime and always stood his ground for a fiercely independent France.
One of the leading members of the failed July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler, Von Stauffenberg was a central figure in the resistance movement within the Wehrmacht. Severely injured in North Africa, he was able to commence Operation Valkyrie, an attempted coup that could have been successful had Hitler not been saved by a sturdy table.
A British petty criminal before the war, Chapman was sitting in a French prison when the Germans invaded and was talked into spying for them in exchange for his freedom. The first thing he did once he reached England was to offer his services as a double agent. Having earned the full trust of the Nazis, he was able to confuse them over and over again.
An elite sniper in the 3rd Mountain Division, Sepp was credited with no less than 257 kills during the war. Stationed mainly on the Eastern Front, he would use an umbrella covered with foliage to camouflage himself and terrorize his Soviet enemies across tremendous distances.
The deadliest sniper in history, Simo killed at least 505 men during the Winter War. Referred to as "The White Death" by the Red Army, he dressed completely in white camouflage, didn't use a telescopic sight, operated in freezing temperatures, and performed all his kills in less than 100 days.
Famous for having carried out the last recorded longbow and arrow killing in action, Mad Jack was a British soldier who never went into battle without his sword, bagpipe and longbow. He led commando units throughout the war until his capture in Yugoslavia in 1944.
A French-Canadian scout and sniper, Leo Major proved his bravery on the battlefield time and time again during the Allied advance. On D-Day, he captured an armoured vehicle containing valuable communication gear. A one man army, he is most famous for single-handedly capturing 93 soldiers during the Battle of the Scheldt and liberating the city of Zwolle on his own.
A pioneer of motorized tactics before the war, Guderian became a hugely successful Panzer commander during the invasions of Poland and France. A key component of the Blitzkrieg strategy, he promoted the use of radio between crews and devised deadly shock-tactics.
Considered the best Italian general of the second world war and an expert in armoured warfare, Messe commanded troops in Greece, Russia and Tunisia, ultimately ascending to the rank of Marshal of Italy before surrendering to theallies in May 1943.
Known as one of the toughest generals ever produced by the United States, Patton proved his worth in both world wars. Infamous for his raunchy speeches, he leads from the front and will stop at nothing to ensure the rapid destruction of his enemies.
One of Germany’s top scoring panzer aces, Wittmann was credited with the destruction of 138 tanks, 132 AT guns, and an unknown number of armored vehicles. He was moved to the Western front in 1944, terrorizing allied forces with deadly tank ambushes. During the battle of Villers-Bocage, he destroyed 14 tanks within 15 minutes.
Often credited as the man who won the second world war, Zhukov led the Red Army on its march through Eastern Europe to Berlin. He is the most decorated general in the history of Russia and won huge victories, such as the battles of Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk and Berlin.
A brilliant commander when it came to armored warfare, Rommel is considered one of the few humane commanders of the Wehrmacht. Refusing to carry out orders to kill Jewish soldiers and civilians, he was still a fierce soldier who would often outmaneuver his enemies and leave them scratching their heads in confusion.
The second top scoring tanker ace of the Soviet Union, Kolobanov earned fame during the Battle of Kransnogvardeysk, when his unit ambushed an entire column of Nazi tanks and managed to box it in completely.