Book picks similar to
The British Soldier of the Second World War by Peter Doyle
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.
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.
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
Dambusters: A Landmark Oral History
Max Arthur - 2008
The raiders would have to fly across occupied Europe at a perilously low level and drop their bombs at a mere 60 feet above the water to destroy the dam walls. Eight planes never returned.Bestselling author Max Arthur has collected together first-hand accounts of the preparation, practise, organisation and the raid itself, and the sense of emptiness and loss at RAF Scampton when 52 men failed to return. From RAF personnel and civilians to Germans who witnessed the raid, this landmark oral history collection paints a moving and personal picture of one of the most famous operations of the Second World War.
The Battle for Moscow
David Stahel - 2014
Army Group Centre was pressed into the attack for one last attempt to break Soviet resistance before the onset of winter. From the German perspective the final drive on Moscow had all the ingredients of a dramatic final battle in the east, which, according to previous accounts, only failed at the gates of Moscow. David Stahel now challenges this well-established narrative by demonstrating that the last German offensive of 1941 was a forlorn effort, undermined by operational weakness and poor logistics, and driven forward by what he identifies as National Socialist military thinking. With unparalleled research from previously undocumented army files and soldiers' letters, Stahel takes a fresh look at the battle for Moscow, which even before the Soviet winter offensive, threatened disaster for Germany's war in the east.
Invasion Diary: A Dramatic Firsthand Account of the Allied Invasion of Italy
Richard Tregaskis - 1944
Following the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, Allied military strategists turned their attention to southern Italy. Winston Churchill famously described the region as the “soft underbelly of Europe,” and claimed that an invasion would pull German troops from the Eastern Front and help bring a swift end to the war. On July 10, 1943, American and British forces invaded Sicily. Operation Husky brought the island under Allied control and hastened the downfall of Benito Mussolini, but more than one hundred thousand German and Italian troops managed to escape across the Strait of Medina. The “soft underbelly” of mainland Italy became, in the words of US Fifth Army commander Lt. Gen. Mark Clark, “a tough old gut.” Less than a year after landing with the US Marines on Guadalcanal Island, journalist Richard Tregaskis joined the Allied forces in Sicily and Italy. Invasion Diary documents some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, from bombing runs over Rome to the defense of the Salerno beachhead against heavy artillery fire to the fall of Naples. In compelling and evocative prose, Tregaskis depicts the terror and excitement of life on the front lines and recounts his own harrowing brush with death when a chunk of German shrapnel pierced his helmet and shattered his skull. An invaluable eyewitness account of two of the most crucial campaigns of the Second World War and a stirring tribute to the soldiers, pilots, surgeons, nurses, and ambulance drivers whose skill and courage carried the Allies to victory, Invasion Diary is a classic of war reportage and “required reading for all who want to know how armies fight” (Library Journal). This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richard Tregaskis including rare images from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.
War Beneath The Sea
Peter Padfield - 1995
The canvas is broad and deep, from the strategic perspective at the top to the cramped and claustrophobic life of the crews in their submersible steel tubes; from the feats of ‘ace’ commanders to the terrifying experiences of men under attack in this most pitiless form of warfare. Peter Padfield describes the technical and tactical measures by which the Western Allies countered Admiral Karl Dönitz’s U-boat ‘pack’ attacks in the all-important North Atlantic battle; the fanatical zeal with which, even after defeat, Dönitz continued sacrificing his young crews in outmoded boats, dubbed by one veteran ‘iron coffins’; while in the Pacific the superiority of American fleet submarines and radar allowed the U.S. to isolate Japan from her overseas sources of supply. Padfield argues that if this strategic potential had been realised earlier it could have saved thousands of lives in the bloody Pacific island campaigns, and even rendered the use of atomic bombs unnecessary. ‘Peter Padfield is the best British naval historian of his generation…His book…will now become the standard work on the subject.’ John Keegan, The Daily Telegraph‘This looks set to become the definitive work on submarine warfare in the Second World War…’ Paul Hoxton, Military Illustrated‘By far the best and most complete critical history of the submarine operations of all the combatants in the Second World War, at the same time providing vivid narrative accounts of particular actions…’Alan Cameron, Lloyd’s List‘Peter Padfield has written a superb history of a complex and controversial subject. It is a valuable addition to our body of history of World War II, and I recommend it highly.’Vice Admiral James F. Calvert USN Rtd., U.S.N.I Proceedings‘This monument to the submarine arms of the major belligerents tells the story of their triumphs and tragedies and comes from one of our ablest naval historians…’Graham Rhys-Jones, R.U.S.I.Journal‘…the book is very well written and enjoyable to read. The facts and statistics are mixed with well penned character studies and fast-moving descriptive narrative in a way that confirms the author’s stature as a leading military historian…’The Naval Review‘…a near flawless work of history that can be recommended both as a serious study and a compelling read.’The Officer Magazine‘Probably one of the most valuable books ever written on submarine operations and countermeasures for World War II history…in the ‘Bravo’ category.’Canadian Military History Book Review Supplement‘Padfield keeps an unwavering balance between providing the depth of history and maintaining an exciting narrative.’The Times
The Black Sheep: The Definitive History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II
Bruce Gamble - 1998
The popular television series Baa Baa Black Sheep added to their legend—while obscuring the truly remarkable combat record of the Black Sheep and Boyington. A retired naval flight officer and former historian for the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Bruce Gamble provides a highly readable account that serves to both correct and extend the record of this premier fighting force. From the Paperback edition.
Coral Sea 1942
Richard Freeman - 2013
In May 1942, the Japanese were poised to take Port Moresby in New Guinea. At all costs the Americans had to stop them. Admiral Frank Fletcher was dispatched with two aircraft carriers - Yorktown and Lexington - with orders to destroy the Japanese invasion force. The fate of the Pacific was in the balance. 'Coral Sea 1942' tells the dramatic story of that conflict. The battle spread over five days as each side desperately searched for the other. At first, all Fletcher could find were side shows. He smashed a secondary invasion at Tulagi. He sank the light carrier Shōhō protecting the invasion fleet. But only on the fifth day did he find his real prey: the carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku. The Zuikaku fled to hide under thick cloud, while the Shōkaku was pounded by American bombers and torpedo planes. Crippled, she too fled. Meanwhile the Japanese carrier planes mounted attack after attack on the Yorktown and Lexington. The latter was mortally damaged by volcanic-sized explosions in her fuel tanks. But the great Coral Sea victory came at a price. Pilots died in dog-fights; crippled planes fell into the sea; damaged planes crashed onto carrier flight decks; and pilots found themselves stranded on remote islands. But the battle was an American triumph. Japan entered it as an aggressor at the peak of her imperial power. She left the battle with her dominance shattered. The tide had turned. 'Coral Sea 1942' is a brilliantly concise and insightful guide to one of the greatest naval battles of the 20th-century. Richard Freeman graduated in mathematics before following a career in distance education. He now writes on naval history. His other books include ‘Britain’s Greatest Naval Battle’ and ‘A Close Run Thing: The Navy and the Falkland War’. Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.
Mission to Tokyo: The American Airmen Who Took the War to the Heart of Japan
Robert F. Dorr - 2012
Told in the veterans' words, Mission to Tokyo is a narrative of every aspect of long range bombing, including pilots and other aircrew, groundcrew, and escort fighters that accompanied the heavy bombers on their perilous mission. Several thousand men on the small Mariana Islands of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian were trying to take the war to the Empire—Imperial Japan—in B-29 Superfortresses flying at 28,000 feet, but the high-altitude bombing wasn't very accurate. The decision was made to take the planes down to around 8,000 feet, even as low as 5,000 feet. Eliminating the long climb up would save fuel, and allow the aircraft to take heavier bomb loads. The lower altitude would also increase accuracy substantially. The trade-off was the increased danger of anti-aircraft fire. This was deemed worth the risk, and the devastation brought to the industry and population of the capital city was catastrophic. Unfortunately for all involved, the bombing did not bring on the quick surrender some had hoped for. That would take six more months of bombing, culminating in the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As with Mission to Berlin (Spring 2011), Mission to Tokyo focuses on a specific mission from spring 1945 and provides a history of the strategic air war against Japan in alternating chapters.
Sink 'Em All: Submarine Warfare in the Pacific
Charles A. Lockwood - 1951
Lockwood, the U.S. Navy commander of the Pacific submarine fleet during World War II. Lockwood, in his leadership role, knew the skippers and crews of the submarines, and retells their wartime successes and tragedies with an intimacy and realism often missing in second-hand accounts. Lockwood also recounts his efforts to improve the provisions and after-patrol accomodations of the submariners, and of his on-going struggle to improve the effectiveness of torpedoes and other tools vital to the war effort. 'It is a balanced and surprisingly objective account adequately supported by statistics and containing some interesting conclusions.' The Naval Review Charles Andrews Lockwood (May 6, 1890 – June 7, 1967) was a vice-admiral and flag officer of the United States Navy. He is known in submarine history as the commander of Submarine Force Pacific Fleet during World War II. He devised tactics for the effective use of submarines, making the members and elements of "silent service" key players in the Pacific victory.
Mutiny at Salerno, 1943: An Injustice Exposed
Saul David - 1995
Within six weeks, all but one had been found guilty of mutiny, their sentences ranging from five years’ penal servitude to death. Fifty years on, Saul David became the first military historian to gain access to the court martial papers – normally restricted for 75 years. In addition to crucial defence documents and the testimony of eye-witnesses, these papers have enabled Saul David to expose: •How poorly-equipped Eighth Army veterans, some still recovering from wounds and illness, were needlessly sent as reinforcements to Salerno when Fifth Army men were available.•How transit camp authorities deliberately deceived the reinforcements as to their destination.•How the defence team at the trial was forced, by lack of time, lack of witnesses and the hostility of the court, to offer a case based on no evidence and doomed to fail.•How, after the humane intervention of the adjutant-general and the suspension of the sentences, insensitive staff officers and victimization in their new units caused many mutineers to desert.•How, as a result of their convictions, the former war heroes were stripped of their campaign and gallantry medals and branded as cowards. Concluding that the men were victims of a terrible injustice, Mutiny at Salerno provides a compelling case for a free pardon. It is a book that no one interested in World War Two will want to miss. 'Mutiny' has been critically acclaimed: 'An important book' (Military Illustrated) 'Mr David has added considerably to the knowledge of the Salerno mutiny. This book should be read by anyone with an interest in the episode.' (Prof. Peter Rowe,RUSI Journal)'A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting book and the author makes his case well' (Journal of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst) 'A detailed account... David is right to stress that the mutiny stemmed from the men's reluctance to fight amongst strangers rather than their reluctance to fight at all, and that many of the mutineers preserved a dignified and soldierly attitude throughout the proceedings.' (Richard Holmes, TLS)Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (short-listed for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency, Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstones Military History Book of the Year) and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire.He has also written two best-selling historical novels set in the wars of the late 19th Century, Zulu Hart and Hart of Empire. An experienced broadcaster, he has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent digital publisher.
Humble Heroes, How The USS Nashville CL43 Fought WWII
Steven Bustin - 2010
It started like a Hollywood thriller, secretly transporting from England $25 million in British gold bullion, delivered to the ship in unguarded bread trucks, a pre-war “Neutrality Patrol” that was really an unofficial hostile search for the far bigger and more powerful German battleship Prinz Eugen, and sneaking through the Panama Canal at night with the ship’s name and hull number covered for secrecy. Now, with the ship bulging with an unusual load of fuel and supplies, in the company of a large fleet quietly passing under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the crew was about to learn of their latest (but not last) and most improbable adventure yet as the captain made an announcement that would change the war and their lives forever, “We are going to Tokyo!”. Over three years, scores of battles and hundreds of thousands of ocean miles later, the Nashville and her crew had earned 10 Battle Stars, served from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the Aleutians to the Yangtze River, as McArthur’s flagship and suffered heavy casualties from a devastating kamikaze attack. Tokyo Rose reported her sunk, repeatedly. Earlier, with goodwill trips that included France, England, Scandinavia, Bermuda and Rio de Janeiro, the new, sleek Nashville built a pre-war reputation as a “glamour ship”. But with war came the secret missions, capturing the second and third Japanese POWs of the war, having a torpedo pass just under the stern, being strafed and bombed by Japanese planes, losing a third of the crew in a single devastating Kamikaze attack, swimming in shark infested waters protected by marines with machine guns, enjoying the beauty of Sydney and her people, planning a suicide mission to destroy the Japanese fishing fleet, and bombarding Japanese troops and airfields across the Pacific. The Nashville crew served their ship and country well. They came from Baltimore row-houses, New York walk-ups, San Francisco flats, Kansas wheat farms, Colorado cattle ranches, Louisiana bayous and Maine fishing towns. Many had never traveled more than 25 miles from home and had never seen the ocean until they joined the service. They were part Irish, part Italian, part Polish and All-American. Battered, burnt and bombed, they made the USS Nashville their home and lived and died as eternal shipmates. Historical narrative enriched with the personal stories of the crew, this is the story of a ship and crew of ordinary men who did extraordinary things.
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