Units of the Dutch Prinses Irene Brigade moving up to the attack, 1944

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Victory in Europe

In the aftermath of the D-Day landings and the subsequent Allied advance across France it seemed for a fleeting moment that the end of the war in Europe might be in sight. The bloody struggles of 1944-45 eventually ended in the final defeat of Nazi Germany.

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Explore Europe stories

The 2nd Lancashire Fusiliers with Achilles tank destroyers near Ferrara, April 1945

The battle for Italy

For almost two years during the Second World War (1939-45), the Allies fought a bitter struggle in Italy against a determined and skilful enemy. Far from being the ‘soft underbelly of Europe’, Italy became one of the war’s most exhausting campaigns.

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Pelisse, Zieten Hussars, worn by The Duke of Connaught, 1900s

A uniform fit for a prince

Flamboyant hussar uniforms belonging to Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, demonstrate the close dynastic links between European monarchies and the tradition of foreign royals serving as honorary heads of military units.

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1st Reserve Regiment of Cavalry in training, 1914

Cavalry on the Western Front

In the First World War, the cavalry could no longer deliver the decisive charges it had performed in the past. But it continued to carry out a variety of useful roles that contributed to British success.

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Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854

Crimean War

The Crimean War was fought by Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia. For the British, the campaign was symbolised by military and logistical incompetence alongside the bravery and endurance of its soldiers.

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Warrington Road in the Ypres Salient, 1917

1917: Year of stalemate

In 1917, Germany adopted a defensive strategy on the Western Front to counter the growing strength of the Allies. Despite launching several offensives, and suffering heavy casualties, the Allies achieved mixed results.

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Major Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler and a colleague paddling a canoe, c1942

Herbert 'Blondie' Hasler: A Cockleshell Hero

Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert ‘Blondie’ Hasler was an inventor, pioneering yachtsman and special forces canoeist. In December 1942, he led the daring ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ raid on Bordeaux harbour.

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Samovar taken from Napoleon’s baggage after the Battle of Waterloo, 1815

The Emperor's samovars

Two samovars that belonged to French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte shed light on his disastrous invasion of Russia in 1812. They also show how practices like tea drinking spread through different cultures.

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A six-inch howitzer of 127th Siege Battery, Royal Artillery, Salonika, 1917

Salonika campaign

From 1915 to 1918, British troops were part of a multi-national Allied force fighting the Bulgarians and their allies in the Balkans. Despite harsh conditions, they eventually brought the campaign to a successful conclusion.

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A 15-inch howitzer being prepared for action on the Somme, 1 July 1916

1916: Year of attrition

1916 witnessed two of the longest and most notorious battles of the First World War. Both resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties for both the Allies and Germans on the Western Front.

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Troops in trenches at Wulverghem, 1915

1915: Early trench battles

During 1915, the British and French undertook a series of unsuccessful attacks against the Germans on the Western Front. For both sides it was a tough learning experience.

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Landrécies, 25 August 1914

1914: Mons to Christmas

In August 1914, the British Expeditionary Force was sent to France. Although small when compared with the German and French armies, it was to play a role out of all proportion to its numbers. But the cost was huge, and by December 1914 it had been almost wiped out.

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The Duke of Marlborough, 1702

The Duke of Marlborough: Corporal John

Marlborough’s long career as a soldier and statesmen spanned the reigns of five monarchs. His triumphs were not only due to his amazing military talents; they were also a result of politics and patronage.

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Explore Europe learning resources

Commonwealth soldiers on the Western Front
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Commonwealth soldiers on the Western Front

Discover the diverse range of soldiers who contributed to the British First World War effort on the Western Front.

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Somme 1916
Video

KS3 (Age 11 to 14)

Somme 1916

Explore the story of the Somme through objects from the National Army Museum's collections.

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