The Fighting Captain


Alan Burn - 1993
    Without the convoys no supplies; without supplies certainly no Second Front. Captain Frederic Walker RN devised and employed tactics which were the only sure means of combating and ultimately defeating the U-boat Wolf packs, but it was only when the Lords of the Admiralty came to employ these tactics that the U-boats were finally defeated.No one did more to regain control of the North Atlantic than Captain Walker. His relentless battle with the U-boat Wolf packs, amounting almost to a personal duel with Admiral Donitz, is an epic saga which has long deserved a larger page in the story of our nation's history, though he did achieve the rare distinction of winning the DSO and three bars. Alan Burn, who served under Walker, brilliantly recaptures the feeling of those dramatic days - the sheer bloody hell of the Atlantic weather, the ever-present menace of the lurking U-boats, but above all the quite remarkable and indomitable spirit which Walker managed to inspire in all who served in the ships under his command. Not only the citizens of Liverpool, where Walker is still revered as a local hero, but all who hold freedom dear will appreciate this well-merited tribute to a largely unsung hero who did as much as any man to preserve that freedom.

Island Victory: The Battle of Kwajalein Atoll


S.L.A. Marshall - 1982
     This was the first time the Americans had penetrated the “outer ring” of the Japanese Pacific sphere. From now until the end of the war the combined forces of the Navy, Marine Corps and Army would island hop their way to the Japanese mainland. Yet, the Battle of Kwajalein Atoll, particularly on the island of Roi-Namur where there were only 51 survivors of the original 3,500 garrison left, gave the Americans an insight into the fierce resistance that the Japanese would put up over the remaining months of the war. Drawn directly from the testimonies of several hundred infantrymen, Island Victory provides insight into what it was like to feel the heat of battle on the beaches of those Pacific islands. "Written accounts of war simply do not get any closer to the actions and feelings of those [who] were there. Island Victory is a highly recommended, 'must read' book." — The Midwest Book Review "The real value of Island Victory lies in the unadorned words of these soldiers, recorded so openly and methodically by Marshall after the battle. . . . The Kwajalein victors interviewed so painstakingly by Sam Marshall provide a priceless candor and authenticity, the emotional testimonies of young men still flushed with adrenalin, guilt, and relief." — Joseph H. Alexander, Journal of Military History S. L. A. Marshall was a chief U.S. Army combat historian during World War II and the Korean War. He had served on the border with Mexico during the Pancho Villa Expedition before serving in France during World War I. He wrote over thirty books about warfare. Island Victory was first published in 1944. Marshall passed away in 1977.

Night Action


Alan Evans - 1990
    Lieutenant David Brent and his crew are waiting on a torpedo boat – fast, agile and terribly vulnerable.They are the sole members of a Commando raiding party, poised to charge ashore on a carefully orchestrated rescue mission. Little do they know that Hell is about to break loose…The near-suicidal mission has been ordered at the very highest level of government. Now, engines idling, alert for the tell-tale sounds of patrolling E-boats, they can only pray to come out of this alive… A nerve-shredding war thriller that crackles with intensity, perfect for fans of Anthony Trew, Douglas Reeman and Philip McCutchan.

The Fighting 30th Division: They Called Them Roosevelt's SS


Martin King - 2015
    In World War II it spent more consecutive days in combat than almost any other outfit. Recruited mainly from the Carolinas and Georgia and Tennessee, they were one of the hardest-fighting units the U.S. ever fielded in Europe. What was it about these men that made them so indomitable? They were tough and resilient for a start, but this division had something else. They possessed intrinsic zeal to engage the enemy that often left their adversaries in awe. Their U.S. Army nickname was the “Old Hickory” Division. But after encountering them on the battlefield, the Germans themselves came to call them “Roosevelt’s SS.”This book is a combat chronicle of this illustrious division that takes the reader right to the heart of the fighting through the eyes of those who were actually there. It goes from the hedgerows of Normandy to the 30th’s gallant stand against panzers at Mortain, to the brutal slugs around Aachen and the Westwall, and then to the Battle of the Bulge. Each chapter is meticulously researched and assembled with accurate timelines and after-action reports. The last remaining veterans of the 30th Division and attached units who saw the action firsthand relate their remarkable experiences here for the first, and probably the last time. This is precisely what military historians mean when they write about “fighting spirit.” There have been only a few books written about the 30th Division and none contained direct interviews with the veterans. This work follows their story from Normandy to the final victory in Germany, packed with previously untold accounts from the survivors. These are the men whose incredible stories epitomize what it was to be a GI in one of the toughest divisions in WWII.

Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer


Brian D. O'Neill - 1989
     A well-researched, highly readable account of a B-17 combat crew's experience In 1943, when the outcome of World War II hung in the balance, B-17 crews of the Eighth Air Force flew harrowing, unescorted daylight bombing missions deep into Occupied Europe and Germany. These devastating raids have long been storied in film and fiction, but here is a firsthand, blow-by-blow account of these perilous missions as they really happened. In these pages, you'll see the events unfold as they were recorded and recalled by one crew's officers and enlisted men (pilot, copilot, navigator, radioman, and gunners), corroborated by other crews they flew with, and painstakingly correlated with the official records of the men's 303rd Hell's Angels Bomb Group.The publication of Half a Wing, Three Engines, and a Prayer in 1989 prompted a flood of fresh recollections, correspondence, and personal records from other veterans of the 303rd. This Special Revised Edition incorporates that wealth of new material into a vivid, thorough recreation -- complete with actual combat photographs -- of one of the most dramatic chapters in military aviation history.New in this Special Revised Edition: * New veteran interviews* Expanded coverage * Revised data * 90 photographs & illustrations* Epilogue: crewmen's post-war careersA well-researched, highly readable account of a B-17 combat crew's experience...excellent. -- Roger A. Freeman, author of The Mighty EighthThe best collection of stories about a B-17 Bomb Group that has ever been published. -- Harry D. Gobrecht, President, 303rd Bomb Group Association and author of Might in Flight: Daily Diary of the Eighth Air Force's 'Hell's Angels' Bomb Group

Stay the Rising Sun: The True Story of USS Lexington, Her Valiant Crew, and Changing the Course of World War II


Phil Keith - 2015
    Another carrier was nearly ready for launch when the news arrived, so the navy changed her name to Lexington, confusing the Japanese.The men of the original "Lady Lex" loved their ship and fought hard to protect her. They were also seeking revenge for the losses sustained at Pearl Harbor. Crippling attacks by the Japanese left her on fire and dead in the water. A remarkable 90 percent of the crew made it off the burning decks before Lexington had to be abandoned. In all the annals of the Second World War, there is hardly a battle story more compelling.Lexington's legacy did not end with her demise, however. Although the battle was deemed a tactical success for the Japanese, it turned out to be a strategic loss: For the first time in the war, a Japanese invasion force was forced to retreat.The lessons learned by losing the Lexington at Coral Sea impacted tactics, air wing operations, damage control, and ship construction. Altogether, they forged a critical, positive turning point in the war. The ship that ushered in and gave birth to a new era in naval warfare might be gone, but fate decreed that her important legacy would live on.

Tail-End Charlies: The Last Battles of the Bomber War, 1944--45


John Nichol - 2003
    The airmen of the United States 8th Army Air Force and British Bomber Command were among the greatest heroes of the Second World War, defying Hitler in the darkest early days of the war and taking the battle to the German homeland when no one else would.Toward the end of the conflict, too, they continued to sacrifice their lives to shatter an enemy sworn never to surrender. Blasted out of the sky in an instant or bailing out from burning aircraft to drop helplessly into hostile hands, they would die in their tens of thousands to ensure the enemy's defeat. Especially vulnerable were the "tail-end Charlies"---for the Americans, which meant two things: the gunners who flew countless missions in a plexiglass bubble at the back of the bomber, and the last bomber in the formation who ended up flying through the most hell, and for the British, the rear-gunners who flew operations in a Plexiglas bubble at the back of the bomber.Following their groundbreaking revelations about the ordeals suffered by Allied prisoners of war in their bestselling book, The Last Escape, John Nichol and Tony Rennell tell the astonishing and deeply moving story of the controversial last battles in the skies of Germany through the eyes of the forgotten heroes who fought them."This is the best account that has been written of the heroic American and British bomber crews . . . the best of its kind." ---George McGovern"Rivaling the best of Stephen Ambrose's work, Tail-End Charlies gives a breathtakingly intimate look at the lives, loves, and deaths of the brave airmen of the greatest generation. This fascinating book is as valuable for its stories of joyous life on the ground as it is for its sobering tales of death in the air. You see the whole picture of the war here from the eyes of the strong young men who fought it." ---Walter J. Boyne, bestselling author of Beyond the Wild Blue"Adds new dimensions to the saga of the air war in Europe. The eyewitness accounts, reported within the context of the battle against Nazi Germany, provide a sense of the ordeals, the terror, the gore, and the heroism of ordinary men thrust into the savagery of aerial combat." ---Gerald Astor, author of The Mighty Eighth

The U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima


Raymond Henri - 1945
     Sixty-thousand marines had landed on the barren, volcanic island that was five miles long and two and half miles wide. For five weeks these men would become involved in some of the bloodiest and fiercest fighting of the Second World War. One third of them would end the battle either dead or wounded. The U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima written by five official marine combat writers, who personally saw action on the island, provides vivid insight into the battle that was described as “a nightmare in hell.” Henri and his fellow correspondents provide a step-by-step chronological overview of the battle as it was fought. They begin with an outline of the months of preparation that were undertaken before the first gun was fired before providing details on how the generals and admirals put their plans into action. Every aspect of the conflict is covered by the authors who interviewed many of the frontline troops to gain a sense of what the battle was like witnessed from the marines on the ground. “Among the Americans who served on Iwo, uncommon valor was a common virtue” — Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, U. S. Pacific Fleet. “The Japanese, despite heavy losses, offered maximum resistance, but the Marines were established on high ground and the conquest of Iwo Jima was assured.” — Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King. This book is essential reading for all who wish to understand what the U.S. Marines went through in their famous capture of Iwo Jima. The authors of this book are three Marine Corps combat correspondents and two Marine Public Relations Officers who were at Iwo Jima. Combat correspondents are trained like other Marines. They live and fight with the outfits to which they are attached and write articles for newspapers and magazines about the men in their units. In battle they can see only what happens in their own units’ limited sectors. In compiling this book, therefore, they drew upon their own experiences on Iwo plus stories written by other combat correspondents and Public Relations Officers who were there. The authors were Captain Raymond Henri, Public Relations Officer, 3d Marine Division, who passed away in 2015, First Lieutenant Jim G. Lucas, Assistant Public Relations Officer, 4th Marine Division, who passed away in 1971, Technical Sergeant W. Keyes Beech, Combat Correspondent, 5th Marine Division, who passed away in 1990, Technical Sergeant David K. Dempsey, Combat Correspondent, 4th Marine Division who passed away in 1999, and Technical Sergeant Alvin M. Josephy, Jr., Combat Correspondent, 3d Marine Division, who passed away in 2005. Their book was first published in 1945.

One Man Air Force


Don S. Gentile - 1944
    

Military Innovation in the Interwar Period


Williamson Murray - 1996
    This volume of comparative essays investigates how and why innovation occurred or did not occur, and explains much of the strategic and operative performance of the Axis and Allies in World War II.

Across the Reef: The Marine Assault of Tarawa


Joseph H. Alexander - 2015
    Smith and his principal staff officers of the 2d Marine Division, Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, commanding the Central Pacific Force, flew to New Zealand from Pearl Harbor. Spruance told the Marines to prepare for an amphibious assault against Japanese positions in the Gilbert Islands in November. The Marines knew about the Gilberts. The 2d Raider Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Evans F. Carlson had attacked Makin Atoll a year earlier. Subsequent intelligence reports warned that the Japanese had fortified Betio Island in Tarawa Atoll, where elite forces guarded a new bomber strip. Spruance said Betio would be the prime target for the 2d Marine Division. General Smith's operations officer, Lieutenant Colonel David M. Shoup, studied the primitive chart of Betio and saw that the tiny island was surrounded by a barrier reef. Shoup asked Spruance if any of the Navy's experimental, shallow-draft, plastic boats could be provided. "Not available," replied the admiral, "expect only the usual wooden landing craft." Shoup frowned. General Smith could sense that Shoup's gifted mind was already formulating a plan. The results of that plan were momentous. The Tarawa operation became a tactical watershed: the first, large-scale test of American amphibious doctrine against a strongly fortified beachhead. The Marine assault on Betio was particularly bloody. Ten days after the assault, Time magazine published the first of many post-battle analyses: Last week some 2,000 or 3,000 United States Marines, most of them now dead or wounded, gave the nation a name to stand beside those of Concord Bridge, the Bon Homme Richard, the Alamo, Little Big Horn and Belleau Wood. The name was "Tarawa."

The Last Zero Fighter: Firsthand Accounts from WWII Japanese Naval Pilots


Dan King - 2012
    All are veterans of the pivotal battles of the Pacific War including; the sinking of the USS Panay, Nanking, Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, Rabaul, Port Darwin, the Indian Ocean Raid, Ceylon, Midway, Guadalcanal, Marshall Islands, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the advent of the Kamikaze in the Philippines, the home defense, and the dropping of the atomic bomb. Approximately, 78 photos are included (many from the veterans' own albums), in addition to 9 original maps and illustrations. The book also includes an introduction to the Japanese pilot training system for both officers and enlisted men. Each pilot is followed from the time he joined the Imperial Japanese Navy until war's end. They explain in their own words why they joined the navy, what they thought about the war, about the aircraft they flew, how they felt about their friends and their former adversaries. The interviews were conducted in Japanese by the author, who is a linguist and Pacific War historian who spent 10 years living in Japan.

Air War in the Pacific (Annotated): The Journal of General George Kenney, Commander of the Fifth U.S. Air Force


George C. Kenney - 2014
    Written from the perspective of General George C. Kenney, the man in charge, the book is a candid insider’s account of how America turned the tables on the Japanese in the Pacific through a combination of strategy, tactics, and superior air technology.An entertaining read, as well as an important historical document, Air War in the Pacific features a cast of larger-than-life personalities know to WW2 buffs, from brilliant tactician ‘Big Chief’ General Douglas MacArthur to eccentric hotshot pilot Paul ‘Pappy’ Gunn.

We Will Not Go to Tuapse: From the Donets to the Oder with the Legion Wallonie and 5th SS Volunteer Assault Brigade 'Wallonien' 1942-45


Fernand Kaisergruber - 2016
    However, it also ventures far beyond the usual soldier's story and approaches a travelogue of the Eastern Front campaign, seldom attained by the memoirs of the period. His self-published book in French is highly regarded by Belgian historian and expert on these volunteers Eddy de Bruyne, and Battle of Cherkassy author Douglas Nash. This book merits attention as the SS volunteer equivalent of Guy Sajer’s The Forgotten Soldier, a bestseller in the USA and Europe. By comparison, Kaisergruber’s story has the advantage of being completely verifiable by documents and serious historical narratives already published, such as Eddy de Bruyne’s For Rex and for Belgium and Kenneth Estes' European Anabasis.Until recent years, very little was known of the tens of thousands of foreign nationals from Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France and Spain who served voluntarily in the military formations of the German Army and the German Waffen-SS. In Kaisergruber’s book, the reader discovers important issues of collaboration, the apparent contributions of the volunteers to the German war effort, their varied experiences, their motives, the attitude of the German High Command and bureaucracy, and the reaction to these in the occupied countries. The combat experiences of the Walloons echoed those of the very best volunteer units of the Waffen-SS, although they shared equally in the collapse of the Third Reich in May, 1945.Although unapologetic for his service, Kaisergruber makes no special claims for the German cause and writes not from any postwar apologia and dogma, but instead from his firsthand observations as a young man experiencing war for the first time, extending far beyond what had been imaginable at the time. His observations of fellow soldiers, commanders, Russian civilians and the battlefields prove poignant and telling. They remain as fresh as when he first wrote some of them down in his travel diary, ‘Pensées fugitives et Souvenirs (1941–46)’. Fernand Kaisergruber draws upon his contemporary diaries, those of his comrades and his later work with them while secretary of their postwar veteran's league to present a thoroughly engaging epic.

Hitler's Children - Spitting Fire (Eyewitness Accounts - 12th SS Panzer 'Hitler Youth' in Normandy 1944)


Sprech Media - 2015
    Who were these 15 to 17 year-old Hitler Youth soldiers, why were they so fanatical, and how could they be cleanly defeated? The Allied mood turned to bitterness and hatred as the brutal cunning and sheer ruthlessness of the boy soldiers and their adult leaders became clear. This book assembles a range of astonishing eyewitness testimony to the ferocious combat between Hitler Youth panzer troops, snipers and infantry against British and Canadian forces after D-Day. There are the disturbing combat experiences of surviving 12th SS Panzer fighters themselves, recorded after the war; eyewitness accounts from Allied soldiers who fought tank-to-tank and hand-to-hand against these opponents in the hedgerows, fields and streets of Normandy; and accounts too from terrified French civilians caught up in the firefights. The accounts featured are: The Tank Destroyer (Jagdpanzer IV) The Bocage Ambush (British Sergeant) The Battle for the Bunkers (12th SS Panthers) The Flail Tanks (French Civilian) The Panzerfaust Fighters (Hitlerjugend Panzergrenadiers) The Sniper (Canadian Captain) The War Crimes (12th SS Panzer Radio Operator) Panthers in the Smoke (British Cromwell Commander) Thunderbolts, Typhoons and Flak (12th Panzer Flak Unit) These are graphic and often shocking accounts of one of the strangest phases of the second world war in the west, and one that left a dreadful mark on so many who were involved in it. Sprech Media is an independent researcher and publisher of eyewitness testimonies to armed conflict in the 20th century.