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.

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.

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.

Phantom Warrior: The Heroic True Story of Private John McKinney's One-Man Stand Against the Japanese in World War II


Forrest Bryant Johnson - 2007
    On May 11, 1945, McKinney returned fire on the Japanese attacking his unit, using every available weapon-even his fists-standing alone against wave after wave of dedicated Japanese soldiers. At the end, John McKinney was alive-with over forty Japanese bodies before him. This is the story of an extraordinary man whose courage and fortitude in battle saved many American lives, and whose legacy has been sadly forgotten by all but a few. Here, the proud legacy of John McKinney lives on.

Fire In The Sky: The Air War In The South Pacific


Eric M. Bergerud - 1999
    Despite operating under primitive conditions in a largely unknown and malignant physical environment, both sides employed the most sophisticated technology available at the time in a strategically crucial war of aerial attrition. In one of the largest aerial campaigns in history, the skies of the South Pacific were dominated first by the dreaded Japanese Zeros, then by Allied bombers, which launched massed raids at altitudes under fifty feet, and finally by a ferocious Allied fighter onslaught led by a cadre of the greatest aces in American military history. Utilizing primary sources and scores of interviews with surviving veterans of all ranks and duties, Eric Bergerud recreates the fabric of the air war as it was fought in the South Pacific. He explores the technology and tactics, the three-dimensional battlefield, and the leadership, living conditions, medical challenges, and morale of the combatants. The reader will be rewarded with a thorough understanding of how air power functioned in World War II from the level of command to the point of fire in air-to-air combat.

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

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.

War on the Eastern Front: The German Soldier in Russia 1941-1945


James Sidney Lucas - 1980
    Few of them were to survive the five long years of bitter struggle.A posting to the Eastern Front during the Second World War was rightly regarded with dread by the German soldiers. They were faced by the unremitting hostility of the climate, the people and even, at times, their own leadership. They saw epic battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk, and yet it was a daily war of attrition which ultimately proved fatal for Hitler s ambition and the German military machine. In this classic account leading military historian James Lucas examines different aspects of the fighting, from war in the trenches to a bicycle-mounted antitank unit fighting against the oncoming Russian hordes. Told through the experiences of the German soldiers who endured these nightmarish years of warfare, War on the Eastern Front is a unique record of this cataclysmic campaign."

The Battle for Tinian: Vital Stepping Stone in America's War Against Japan


Nathan N. Prefer - 2012
    There were 20,000 Japanese troops on Saipan, but the US obliterated the opposition after a horrific all-arms campaign. The sudden silence only indicated it was now Tinian’s turn.By the time the US 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions switched their sights to Tinian, the island had already been bombarded for a month; meantime both sides had learned their lessons from the previous island-hopping invasions. The Americans had learned the arts of recon, deception, plus preliminary firepower so as not to suffer the huge casualties they’d suffered at Saipan, Guadalcanal, and Tarawa; the Japanese, for their part, had learned not to contest US strength on beaches but to draw it further inland where terrain and bomb-proof fortifications could assist.When the battle for Tinian finally took place the US acted with great skill. Historian Samuel Elliot Morrison called it “the most perfectly executed amphibious operation of the entire war.” Nevertheless, the Japanese resisted with their usual stubbornness, and the already decimated US Marines suffered hundreds of more casualties.During the battle Japanese shore batteries were able to riddle the battleship Colorado, killing scores, plus make multiple hits on a destroyer, killing its captain. On the island itself the US used napalm for the first time, paving the way for Marines painstakingly rooting out strongpoints. One last Banzai attack signaled the end to enemy resistance, as Marines fought toe-to-toe with their antagonists in the dark.In the end some 8,000 Japanese were killed, with only 300 surrenders, plus some others who hid out for years after the war. But those Japanese who resisted perhaps performed a greater service than they knew. After Tinian was secured the US proceeded to build the biggest airport in the world on that island—home to hundreds of B-29 Superfortresses. Among these, just over a year later, were the Enola Gay and Boxcar, which with their atomic bombs would quickly bring the Japanese homeland itself to its knees.

The Battle of the River Plate: The Hunt for the German Pocket Battleship Graf Spee


Dudley Pope - 1956
    Through clever subterfuge and daring, the Graf Spee takes ship after ship, ultimately forcing the British Navy to send twenty ships in search of the elusive Spee.

Bloody Ridge and Beyond: A World War II Marine's Memoir of Edson's Raiders in the Pacific


Marlin Groft - 2014
    Col. Merritt A. Edson's battalion, and author of the Dick Winters biography Biggest Brother and coauthor of A Higher CallOn the killing ground that was the island of Guadalcanal, a 2,000-yard-long ridge rose from the jungle canopy. Behind it lay the all-important air base of Henderson Field. And if Henderson Field fell, it would mean the almost certain death or capture of all 12,500 marines on the island . . .But the marines positioned on the ridge were no normal fighters. They were tough, hard-fighting men of the Edson’s Raiders; an elite fighting unit within an already elite U.S. Marine Corps. Handpicked for their toughness, and submitted to a rigorous training program to weed out those less fit, they were the Marine Corps’s best of the best.For two hellish nights in September 1942, about 840 United States Marines—commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Merritt Austin “Red Mike” Edson—fought one of the most pivotal battles of World War II in the Pacific, clinging desperately to their position on what would soon be known as Bloody Ridge.Wave after wave of attacking Japanese soldiers were repelled by the Raiders, who knew that defeat and retreat were simply not possible options. But in the end, the defenders had prevailed against the odds.Bloody Ridge and Beyond is the story of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, which showed courage and valor in the face of overwhelming numbers, as told by Marlin Groft, a man who was a member of this incredible fighting force.

The Battle Of The Atlantic: The Allies' Submarine Fight Against Hitler's Gray Wolves Of The Sea


Andrew Williams - 2002
    Andrew Williams focuses on the first four years of this bitter conflict, during which time German submarines sank an astounding twelve million tons of Allied shipping. The story reaches its climax in May 1943, when the introduction of new weapons and tactics turned the tide of the battle and enabled the Allies to contain and finally defeat the dreaded German "wolf packs." Interweaving scores of first-person accounts from survivors of both sides, The Battle of the Atlantic follows the exploits of the charismatic U-boat commanders who led their crews to the hunt-and often to their deaths. It goes aboard the merchantmen and escort ships that were both victim and nemesis to the "gray wolves" of the sea. And it enters the war rooms of the German, British, and American navies, where code-breakers and strategists angled for any advantage in a race that spelled doom to its loser. This dramatic chronicle sheds new light on one of the most dangerous conflicts of the Second World War.

The Bridge at Remagen: A Story of World War II


Ken Hechler - 1957
    On March 7, 1945, a small group of American infantrymen, engineers, and tank crews secured the Ludendorff Bridge that crossed the Rhine. The successful mission saved thousands of American lives and spearheaded the invasion of Nazi Germany.The Bridge at Remagen is the detailed narrative of this surprising but crucial military action, one that stunned the German army. It is also the moving story of men who did not consider themselves heroes, but who performed magnificently under fire. In this amazing true story, Ken Hechler gives you the hour-by-hour account of brilliant military daring, human courage, and almost incredible luck that profoundly changed the course of the war.

The Most Dangerous Enemy: A History of the Battle of Britain


Stephen Bungay - 2000
    But in this rigorous re-investigation of the Battle of Britain, Stephen Bungay tells a story full of revelations. Whether assessing the development of radar or the relative merits of the Spitfire, Hurricane, and Messerschmitt, he uncovers the unexpected truth behind many time-honored myths. Not only a major work of modern history but also a truly compelling narrative, The Most Dangerous Enemy confirms the Battle of Britain as a crucial event in European history.

Triple Sticks: Tales of a Few Young Men in the 1960s


Bernie Fipp - 2010
    The author assures us it is not!Three years before they came together, four young American men left their fraternities and college campuses for an adventure exceeding their imaginations. Wanting something more than the draft and unknown to each other, they chose Naval Aviation as the next step in their lives. Generally, they were better than their navy peers, all qualifying for high performance aircraft to be flown from steel decks over foreign seas. They would become the pointy end of the stick in aerial battles over North Vietnam, the most heavily defended patch of real estate in the history of aerial warfare. They were to do this in 1967, the year in which Naval Aviation experienced its greatest losses.These four young men, now Lieutenants Junior Grade, United States Navy, were ordered to Attack Squadron 34 to fly A4 Skyhawks into combat. They were assigned Junior Officer's stateroom 0111 aboard USS Intrepid, a venerable aircraft carrier with a distinguished history. This "bunkroom" better known to them as Triple Sticks was the repository for a log (in navy terms) or journal written by these four young aviators. Forty years later this log was the genesis of this memoir.In the lethal environment over the northern reaches of North Vietnam or ashore in the Officer's clubs and bars of Asia, the writing brings to life wonderful humor, bizarre behavior, vivid aerial battles, uncommon loyalty, anger, frustration and respect. One survived or did not according to his skill and luck.