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British and American commanders first used modern special forces in
support of conventional military operations during World War II.
Since then, although special ops have featured prominently in
popular culture and media coverage of wars, the academic study of
irregular warfare has remained as elusive as the practitioners of
special operations themselves. This book is the first comprehensive
study of the development, application, and value of Anglo-American
commando and special forces units during the Second World War.
Bold Venture tells an important and riveting untold wartime story of the American airmen who flew combat missions over Hong Kong during the Second World War. Steven K. Bailey sheds light on a key narrative about a larger American campaign against Japanese forces throughout occupied China. Bailey begins with the discovery of an unexploded one-thousand-pound bomb in Hong Kong in 2014, which unfolds a rich history of American heavy bombers in World War II. As Bailey fills in the missing gaps of these heavy bombers' role in World War II, he reveals the story behind the American air raids and the airmen who were eventually shot down over Hong Kong. Bold Venture's exploration of World War II and its aftermath in Hong Kong goes into detail about the British civilians and soldiers who were released from prison and repatriated, and a U.S. military investigative team's recovery of the remains of the crew of Bold Venture, the B-25 that went down in Hong Kong in March 1945. Today unexploded aircraft bombs are unearthed with frightening regularity by construction crews in Hong Kong. Residents are eager to know where these bombs originated, who dropped them, when they dropped them, and what--or who--the targets were. Bailey's account helps answer some of these questions and also provides a unique historical perspective for Americans seeking to understand our contemporary military context and the complexities of foreign military involvement.
During the Second World War, the German occupiers built a coastal defence line along the Dutch, Belgian and French seaboards. The Atlantic Wall was designed to protect the Reich against an Allied invasion. Yet the coastal population suddenly found itself living in a Sperrgebiet of immense strategic importance, as a result of which the dunes and the beaches became no-go zones. Despite the countless restrictions, the rationing and curfews, blackouts, air raids, conscriptions and evacuations, the residents of the coast tried to continue life as normal. The result of a prestigious two-year European research project, Occupied Coast chronicles life behind the Atlantic Wall, from the outbreak of war in 1940 until D-Day. Drawing on over one hundred Belgian, French, Dutch, British and German testimonies, four historians describe the wartime experiences of the coastal population and the impact of the Atlantic Wall upon daily life.
Operation Overlord was one of the greatest ever military offensives, working to free Europe from the yoke of Nazism. Starting with the landings on D-Day, Victory in Europe traces the Allied struggle to create a foothold in "Fortress Europe". Overcoming initial setbacks, the final crossing of the Rhine and the advance into Germany changed the course of European history forever. This gripping story is told from the perspective of the service men at the centre of the operation, and how their bravery and doggedness made the defeat of Hitler's hordes possible. Illustrated with over 100 black and white photos and maps, Victory in Europe is a thrilling read on the final offensive push against Adolf Hitler. Features: * Normandy landings * The liberation of Paris * Battle of the Bulge * The fall of Berlin * VE Day
"Operation Vengeance is colorful, intimate, eye-popping history, delivered at a breakneck pace. I loved it." -Lynn Vincent The New York Times bestselling author of Viper Pilot delivers an electrifying narrative account of the top-secret U.S. mission to kill Isoroku Yamamoto, the Japanese commander who masterminded Pearl Harbor. In 1943, the United States military began to plan one of the most dramatic secret missions of World War II. Its code name was Operation Vengeance. Naval Intelligence had intercepted the itinerary of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet, whose stealth attack on Pearl Harbor precipitated America's entry into the war. Harvard-educated, Yamamoto was a close confidant of Emperor Hirohito and a brilliant tactician who epitomized Japanese military might. On April 18th, the U.S. discovered, he would travel to Rabaul in the South Pacific to visit Japanese troops, then fly to the Japanese airfield at Balalale, 400 miles to the southeast. Set into motion, the Americans' plan was one of the most tactically difficult operations of the war. To avoid detection, U.S. pilots had to embark on a circuitous, 1,000-mile odyssey that would test not only their skills but the physical integrity of their planes. The timing was also crucial: the slightest miscalculation, even by a few minutes-or a delay on the famously punctual Yamamoto's end-meant the entire plan would collapse, endangering American lives. But if these remarkable pilots succeeded, they could help turn the tide of the war-and greatly boost Allied morale. Informed by deep archival research and his experience as a decorated combat pilot, Operation Vengeance focuses on the mission's pilots and recreates the moment-by-moment drama they experienced in the air. Hampton recreates this epic event in thrilling detail, and provides groundbreaking evidence about what really happened that day. Operation Vengeance includes 30 black-and-white images.
A groundbreaking reexamination of the Holocaust and of how Germans understood their genocidal project Why exactly did the Nazis burn the Hebrew Bible everywhere in Germany on November 9, 1938? The perplexing event has not been adequately accounted for by historians in their large-scale assessments of how and why the Holocaust occurred. In this gripping new analysis, Alon Confino draws on an array of archives across three continents to propose a penetrating new assessment of one of the central moral problems of the twentieth century. To a surprising extent, Confino demonstrates, the mass murder of Jews during the war years was powerfully anticipated in the culture of the prewar years. The author shifts his focus away from the debates over what the Germans did or did not know about the Holocaust and explores instead how Germans came to conceive of the idea of a Germany without Jews. He traces the stories the Nazis told themselves-where they came from and where they were heading-and how those stories led to the conclusion that Jews must be eradicated in order for the new Nazi civilization to arise. The creation of this new empire required that Jews and Judaism be erased from Christian history, and this was the inspiration-and justification-for Kristallnacht. As Germans imagined a future world without Jews, persecution and extermination became imaginable, and even justifiable.
On his wedding day Brian is captured by the Germans. He never thought that the Second World War would upset his plans and change his life forever. Brian and Margery are engaged in 1939, just before Brian is sent to France. Army life stimulates his sense of adventure and he eagerly awaits his first leave in May 1940 when he will marry Margery. She starts work as a volunteer nurse and, as young men are called up, she misses the pre-war parties. She issues invitations, plans the reception and visits the Vicar about their wedding. When Hitler invades, all leave is cancelled, and Brian is deployed to hold Dunkirk while Margery nurses those who return from France. After a hard fought battle, Brian is captured, putting his life and love in jeopardy. He doesn't know whether he will survive nor whether Margery's love will endure. He suffers psychological abuse, casual brutality and fifteen months in shackles while the war grinds on for five long years. On His First Leave is a remarkable story of love, loss and separation during the Second World War.
The second novel in the uplifting railway girls series that shows just how important friendship and love is in a time of uncertainty and change. Perfect for fans of Nancy Revell. Manchester, November 1940 As the war continues and secrets threaten the railway girls, they will discover the true meaning of friendship. --------------------------------- For Dot, her job on the railways is everything. Transporting parcels around the country gives her pride that she is doing her bit for the war effort, but a growing friendship causes problems when home and work collide. Joan loves her boyfriend Bob dearly, but when tragedy strikes, her heart is torn apart, and she is forced to make a decision that could hurt those she loves most. Meanwhile Mabel has finally found a place to call home and her relationship seems to be going from strength to strength. However, the relentless bombing in the Christmas blitz is about to destroy everything she holds dear, and she will need her friends' courage and generosity now more than ever. Brought together by their work on Manchester's railways, the three women find that with the support and encouragement of each other, they can get through even the most challenging of times.
As the Holocaust passes out of living memory, future generations will no longer come face-to-face with Holocaust survivors. But the lessons of that terrible period in history are too important to let slip past. How Was It Possible?, edited and introduced by Peter Hayes, provides teachers and students with a comprehensive resource about the Nazi persecution of Jews. Deliberately resisting the reflexive urge to dismiss the topic as too horrible to be understood intellectually or emotionally, the anthology sets out to provide answers to questions that may otherwise defy comprehension. This anthology is organized around key issues of the Holocaust, from the historical context for antisemitism to the impediments to escaping Nazi Germany, and from the logistics of the death camps and the carrying out of genocide to the subsequent struggles of the displaced survivors in the aftermath. Prepared in cooperation with the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, this anthology includes contributions from such luminaries as Jean Ancel, Saul Friedlander, Tony Judt, Alan Kraut, Primo Levi, Robert Proctor, Richard Rhodes, Timothy Snyder, and Susan Zuccotti. Taken together, the selections make the ineffable fathomable and demystify the barbarism underlying the tragedy, inviting readers to learn precisely how the Holocaust was, in fact, possible.
'Gripping' Wall Street Journal ________________________ At first, gunner Clarence Smoyer and his fellow crewmen in the legendary 3rd Armored Division - 'Spearhead' - thought their tanks were invincible. Then they met the German Panther, with a gun so murderous it could shoot through one Sherman and into the next. Soon a pattern emerged: the lead tank always gets hit. After seeing his friends cut down breaching the West Wall and holding the line in the Battle of the Bulge, Clarence and his crew are given a weapon with the power to avenge their fallen brothers: the Pershing, a state-of-the-art 'super tank', one of twenty in the European theatre. But with it comes a harrowing new responsibility: now they will spearhead every attack and, in doing so, will lead the US Army into its largest urban battle of the war, the fight for Cologne, the 'Fortress City' of Germany... 'Spearhead shimmers in eclipsing moments of valor, luck and compassion.' Washington Times
Operation Dragoon is the story of the Allied invasion of the South of France on August 15, 1944. It was, in effect, the second D-Day, launched two months after "Overlord", the Allied invasion of Normandy. As such, it has often been overshadowed by its predecessor, but its significance cannot be underestimated. "Dragoon" was a largely American-French operation in which the British, who had argued for action in northern Italy, played a smaller role. After nearly five years of conflict, British war stamina had been severely sapped. In contrast, the French, who had been excluded from the overall planning of D-Day, played an important role in Dragoon, supplying the majority of the ground troops in a campaign which began on the beaches of the Riviera and ended in the cool, clear air of the Alpes Maritimes, the sacred ground of France. Operation Dragoon provides for the first time a complete overview of the liberation of the South of France-from strategic decisions made from the Allied and German high commands to the intelligence war waged by Allied code-breakers; from the German defeat of French resistance forces on the Vergers to the exploits of individual OSS agents on the ground as they strove to keep pace with a fast-moving battlefield. This is the story of the Allies inflicting on the Germany Army a Blitzkrieg-style defeat, expunging the lingering memories of the catastrophe of 1940.
This remarkable story exposes the Sherman tank scandal of World War II, involving some of the biggest American names and stretching from the White House and Pentagon to factories and battlefronts. Outgunned by more powerful German opponents, the inferiority of American tanks led to some of the worst setbacks of the war, prolonging it in Europe. US tankers ultimately prevailed, but over 60,000 armored division soldiers were killed and wounded; their preventable sacrifice inspired the Hollywood movie Fury. Included are striking images of the Sherman's adversaries (photographed exclusively at the National Museum of Cavalry and Armor), along with original equipment, documents, period propaganda, and vintage photos of Sherman tanks in action. As a German officer noted, "I was on this hill with six 88mm antitank guns...Every time they sent a tank, we knocked it out. Finally we ran out of ammunition, and the Americans didn't run out of tanks."
An Irish solicitor and international rugby player, Blair 'Paddy' Mayne became one of the most outstanding soldiers and leaders of the Second World War. After seeing action in Syria with the Commandos, he joined the new unit that David Stirling was establishing, the Special Air Service. The raids Mayne led in the Western Desert destroyed over one hundred enemy aircraft on the ground. The common factor in these successes was Mayne's ability to read the situation, anticipate how the enemy would react, and then attack. Mayne was twenty-seven when he won the DSO for the first time. Mayne subsequently led the unit in Italy, France and Germany, winning a further bar to the DSO in each of these campaigns, as well as the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d'Honneur. At the end of the war, after a short period with an Antarctic Survey, Mayne returned to the law. In 1955 he died in a car accident, aged forty. Soon after his death, misinformation about Mayne began to appear. He was portrayed variously as a classical tragic hero of drama, and a man of anger and aggression. Hamish Ross's work largely refutes these standard interpretations, using official war diaries, the early chronicle of 1 SAS, Mayne's papers and diaries, and a number of extended interviews with key contemporaries. It has the support of the Mayne family and the SAS Regimental Association. Hamish Ross strips away the legend and leaves Mayne not diminished but enhanced.
The XB-40 and XB-41 were secret, little-known experimental modifications of the B-17F and B-24D, respectively, into heavily-armed bomber gunships sometimes referred to as "bomber escorters". They were developed during early World War II in response to the lack of a USAAF long-range fighter aircraft able to escort and protect regular B-17 formations making the round trip from Britain deep into Germany. Using many formerly-classified documents from his large microfilm collection, William Wolf presents their previously-unpublished history. It describes in depth for the first time the politics and development and associated problems of both escorter types. Unfortunately, these "protecters" were found wanting in several ways - after the addition of guns and ammunition they became overweight and tail-heavy causing center of gravity problems and each encountered numerous delays in the development and delivery of their various armament additions and improvements, particularly the Bendix chin turret. In the end, the YB-40 participated in only 14 lackluster operational service test missions during mid-1943 before being withdrawn from service. The XB-41 Liberator never saw operational testing before also being cancelled for its poor performance. The failure of the gunship concept left a huge hole in the capabilities of the Eighth Air Force. Their failure, however, spurred the adoption of the Merlin-powered P-51 Mustang, the outstanding escort fighter that was key to Allied victory in the air war over Europe.
The tragedies of World War II are well known. But at least one has been forgotten: in September 1939, four hundred thousand cats and dogs were massacred in Britain. The government, vets, and animal charities all advised against this killing. So why would thousands of British citizens line up to voluntarily euthanize household pets? In The Great Cat and Dog Massacre, Hilda Kean unearths the history, piecing together the compelling story of the life and death of Britain's wartime animal companions. She explains that fear of imminent Nazi bombing and the desire to do something to prepare for war led Britons to sew blackout curtains, dig up flower beds for vegetable patches, send their children away to the countryside and kill the family pet, in theory sparing them the suffering of a bombing raid. Kean's narrative is gripping, unfolding through stories of shared experiences of bombing, food restrictions, sheltering, and mutual support. Soon pets became key to the war effort, providing emotional assistance and helping people to survive a contribution for which the animals gained government recognition. Drawing extensively on new research from animal charities, state archives, diaries, and family stories, Kean does more than tell a virtually forgotten story. She complicates our understanding of World War II as a "good war" fought by a nation of "good" people. Accessibly written and generously illustrated, Kean's account of this forgotten aspect of British history moves animals to center stage forcing us to rethink our assumptions about ourselves and the animals with whom we share our homes.
Though historians have largely overlooked Robert Horton, his public relations campaigns remain fixed in popular memory of the home front during World War II. Utilizing all media -- including the nascent technology of television -- to rally civilian support, Horton's work ranged from educational documentary shorts like Pots to Planes, which depicted the transformation of aluminum household items into aircraft, to posters employing scare tactics, such as a German soldier with large eyes staring forward with the tagline "He's Watching You." Iconic and calculated, Horton's campaigns raise important questions about the role of public relations in government agencies. When are promotional campaigns acceptable? Does war necessitate persuasive communication? What separates information from propaganda? Promoting the War Effort traces the career of Horton -- the first book-length study to do so -- and delves into the controversies surrounding federal public relations.
A former reporter, Horton headed the public relations department for the U.S. Maritime Commission from 1938 to 1940. Then -- until Pearl Harbor in December 1941 -- he directed the Division of Information (DOI) in the Executive Office of the President, where he played key roles in promoting the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's unprecedented third-term reelection campaign, and the prewar arms-production effort. After Pearl Harbor, Horton's DOI encouraged support for the war, primarily focusing on raising civilian and workforce morale. But the DOI under Horton assumed a different wartime tone than its World War I predecessor, the Committee on Public Information. Rather than whipping up prowar hysteria, Horton focused on developing campaigns for more practical purposes, such as conservation and production. In mid-1942, Roosevelt merged the Division and several other agencies into the Office of War Information. Horton stayed in government, working as the PR director for several agencies. He retired in mid-1946, during the postwar demobilization.
Promoting the War Effort recovers this influential figure in American politics and contributes to the ongoing public debate about government public relations during a time when questions about how facts are disseminated -- and spun -- are of greater relevance than ever before.
This first of two volumes presents the P-38 story by focusing on the early models of this historic fighter-XP-38 through P-38H. Each type is examined through carefully researched archival photos, as well as photographs of currently preserved examples. Known to the enemy during World War II as the "Fork-tailed devil," the Lockheed P-38 Lightning was piloted by those who were charged with the responsibility of escorting American bombers deep over heavily defended Europe during the early years of the air campaign against Nazi Germany. Detailed text and captions illustrate not only the design and construction of the early-war Lightnings, but also their combat use in WWII. Large, clear photos, coupled with descriptive and informative captions, put the reader on the airfield and in the sky with this historic aircraft. Part of the Legends of Warfare series.
The definitive and thrilling history of those who wore the famous green beret. COMMANDO is the definitive history of the units raised to answer Winston Churchill's call to arms: 'Enterprises much be prepared with specially trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror.' These units and their courageous operations would take many forms, including the spectacular assaults of the Small Scale Raiding Force, No. 30 Commando's shadowy intelligence-gathering, and the highly secret missions of 'X' Troop. Acclaimed military historian Charles Messenger follows these elite forces from the snowy wastes of Norway to the jungles of South-East Asia, from North Africa and Operation Torch to the Normandy beaches and Operation Overlord. The result, based on extensive research as well as interviews and correspondence with former Commandos, is the true and thrilling story of those who wore the famous green beret.
As a young officer in the prestigious 21st Lancers (motto Death or Glory) Douglas Haig played a leading role in Kitcheners bold expedition which ended in the defeat of the Khalifa of Sudan at Omdurman. He described the action, as he did the whole campaign, vividly in words and diagrams which survived virtually untouched at the family home Bemersyde in the Borders. These letters and diaries allow the reader to trace Haigs career and developing character. What they reveal may well surprise his critics. Field Marshal Lord Haig will remain a hugely controversial figure due to his pre-eminent role during The Great War. He was a hugely popular public figure in the post WW1 years and revered by those who served under him. His death in 1928 was a major occasion for mourning. Only later was he heavily criticised for the slaughter of the trenches.
Meticulously researched and vividly written, Eight Days at Yalta is a
remarkable work of intense historical drama.
In this gripping, previously untold story from World War II,
Michael Smith examines how code breakers cracked Japan's secret
codes and won the war in the Pacific. He also takes the reader step
by step through the process, explaining exactly how the code
breakers went about their daunting task--made even more difficult
by the vast linguistic differences between Japanese and English.
This unique account of the Second World contains extraordinary colour photographs documenting Japan's rise and fall: from its forced entrance onto the world stage in 1854, through its first imperial adventures in China and its sudden attack on the United States and British forces in 1941, to its catastrophic defeat in 1945. Kamikaze pilots, the young Emperor Hirihito on a state visit to England, the attack on Pearl Harbor, propaganda posters from the occupation of China, troops praying for victory, and allied prisoners of war at work are just some of the images in this fascinating portrait of the Japanese nation fighting at first for expansion, then for survival. The background, build-up and the war itself are described here from a Japanese standpoint, to help explain why Japan was prepared to start a war that became a fight to the death. This book contains a unique and fascinating archive of colour photographs, film stills and prints, including photographs of Japanese troops, planes and tanks in action that have never before been seen in the West.
The Holocaust was the systematic murder of Europe's Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Second World War. An understanding of the historical circumstances that fed the Holocaust remains the essential means of making sense of the inexplicable crimes that occurred. This commemorative volume describes Jewish life before the spread of Nazism in Europe and Nazi ideologies. The author discusses the mass murder, the death camps such as Auschwitz, the perpetrators, the witnesses, the escapees, the refugee havens and the 10,000 Kindertransport youngsters who were given safe haven in Britain. We are told stories of the resistance, acts of heroism, survivors and those who risked their lives to save the Jews. Finally, we learn about the liberation of the camps, the resettlement of the Jews and how the events are remembered now. The 15 removable documents included in this book have been carefully selected to take us beyond the horrifying statistics and remind us that each number was a person. They include: letter describing Kristallnacht and a diary extract about life in the ghetto; list of Jews to be transported, including place of departure and destination; and drawings by a child incarcerated at Theresienstadt concentration camp.
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