Babi Yar
A ravine northwest of the Ukranian capital Kiev. On 29 and 30 September 1941, 33,771 Jews were killed and dumped into the ravine by Sonderkommando 4a under command of Paul Blobel.
Bahnschutzpolizei
“Railway Police”. Railway Police in the Third Reich. Like several other police departments the Bahnschutzpolizei was part of the Ordnungspolizei.
Bailey bridge
Emergency bridge consisting of several prefabricated parts. Designed during World War 2 by the English engineer Bailey.
Barrage balloon
Balloons anchored to the ground that could be launched to prevent enemy aircraft from attacking a large concentration of troops or large groups of vehicles.
Batallion
Part of a regiment composed of several companies. In theory a batallion consists of 500-1,000 men.
Battery
Unit of the artillery operating a number of guns. In size comparable to a company. In various countries the staff unit with the artillery is also called a battery. Batteries can be independent units and can be assigned to other units, for example toa regiment or a division, or be part of a larger artillery formation which is usually a battalion. In the Netherlands an artillery battalion is designated as “afdeling”.
Battle for Stalingrad
The battle for Stalingrad took place in the south of the Soviet Union during World War nearTwo the river Volga. The battle lasted from 23 August 1942 until 2 February 1943. Approximately one million Soviets and one hundred and fifty thousand axis soldiers were killed. The battle was one of the cruellest of the World War 2 and considered a turning point, because the Axis-countries lost the battle and it triggered the start of their retreat.
Battleship
Heavily armoured warship with very heavy artillery.
Bayonet
Pointed weapon that can be placed at the end of a rifle and used in man-to-man combat.
Bazooka
American antitank rocket launcher weapon. Rocket with shaped charge is put in a long tube which is electrically fired from the shoulder of an infantry man. The bazooka can be reloaded. The bazooka produces a large flame to the rear which makes it unsuitable for fighting from closed compartments or from homes. British counterpart is the PIAT, Projector Infantry, Anti- Tank, also a man-portable anti-tank weapon. Germany used Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck, “armour fist “ and “armour terror”.
Beachmaster
Naval officer who commands a so-called beachmaster-unit. Such a unit is part of the naval beach group, which is responsible for creating a naval component, or beach party, on the coast where one (reinforced) division will be able to land.
Berghof
A villa hidden deep in the Alps built at the top of the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden. This villa was property of Hitler and centre of the ”Alpenfestung”. The villa has an enormous complex of tunnels with a length of nearly 11 km. From the Berghof the Third Reich was ruled by Hitler and his close companions. Eva Braun, Hitler’s companion, spent a lot of time there.
Bevrijdingsdag
Liberation Day. Every fifth of May the day of remembrance for the liberation of the Netherlands. On 5 May 1945 the German capitulation was signed in hotel “De Wereld” in Wageningen. Ever since this day 5 May is a national holiday.
Bierhalle Putsch
The nickname for the failed coup d’état by the NSDAP on 8 and 9 November 1923, named after the Bürgerbräukeller. Germany was on the brink of economic collapse and social unrest was tremendous. In Bavaria a putsch was decided but due to lack of leadership Adolf Hitler chose to adopt the putsch hoping that he would be chosen as leader. The putsch however was opposed and when Hitler found out he rallied a march to get the masses on the barricades. The police shot up the march and the coup d’état was suppressed. Hitler fled the scene but was arrested on 11 November.
Billet
To lodge soldiers in a particular place, especially a civilian's house.
Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten (BS)
Domestic Forces. Active resistance in the Netherlands under command of Prince Bernhard. The BS was established on 5 September 1944 and consisted of the three major resistance organisations, i.e. OD, LKP and RVV.
Blackshirts
Nickname for all followers of Mussolini dressed in black.
Blaue Division
A division (of volunteers) in the Spanish army, founded by the Spanish fascist dictator Franco to fight alongside Hitler. This division also fought at the eastern Front This division suffered a great deal and in 1943 it was partly added to the German 81st division. The division ceased to exist and the majority of its soldiers returned to Spain.
Blitzkrieg
The meaning of this word is “Lightning War”. Short and fast campaign. As opposed to a trench war the Blitzkrieg is very quick and agile. Air force and ground forces work closely together. First used against the Germans (September 1939 in Poland.
Blut und Boden
“Blood and soil”. Term used by Adolf Hitler to describe the idea that people from German descent (German blood) had the right to live on German soil. Although not necessarily negative, the Nazis turned this idea into an ideology which they actually put into practice following the example of Walther Darré, head of the Rasse-und Siedlungs Hauptamt (RuSHA) (”Race-and Settlement bureau”).The Nazis also used this term to justify the extermination of the Jewish people.
Blutorden
“Blood Order”. German decoration awarded in 1934 to those members of the NSDAP who had participated in the Bierhalleputsch of 1923.
Bocage
The characteristic Normandy landscape with hedges. After D-Day this landscape causes the Allied forces much delay and casualties, because the hedges were easy to defend and had to be taken one by one from the Germans.
Bomber Command
RAF unit which controlled strategic and sometimes tactical bombing (as in Normandy)
Book burnings
In 1933 the Nazis first staged mass book burnings in public areas. Especially targeted were books by Jewish, communist, socialist and pacifist authors.
Bridge head
Area of conquered territory on other side of a (natural) obstacle from which the attacker can continue his advance.
Brigade
Consisted mostly of two or more regiments. Could operate independently or as part of a division. Sometimes they were part of a corps instead of a division. In theory a brigade consisted of 5,000 to 7,000 men.
Brisant bomb
Highly explosive bomb causing fragmentation. From the French verb “briser” meaning to shatter or to crush.
Brown House
Society house of the national-socialist movement.
Brown Shirts
Nickname for members of the Sturm Abteilung (SA), the paramilitary assault groups of the NSDAP because of the colour of their uniform shirts.
Browning
American weapon’s designer. Famous guns are the .30’’ and .50’’ machine guns and the famous “High Power” 9 mm pistol.
Buchenwald
Concentration camp established in 1937 near the city of Weimar.
Bund deutscher Mädel /BDM
Female counterpart of the Hitlerjugend (HJ). Only girls could become a member. Aim of the BDM was to prepare German girls to become the perfect mothers and spouses the Nazis wanted them to become.
Bureau Bijzondere Opdrachten (BBO)
“Bureau of Special Orders”. Established in 15 March 1944, as successor to the MID (Militaire Inlichtingen Dienst) or Military Intelligence Service. This was the Dutch main liaison to the Special Forces.

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