Book picks similar to
The Commandos of World War II by W. Hodding Carter II
Steve Anderson - 2011
In December 1944, during the bloody Battle of the Bulge, teams of German commandos disguised as American soldiers slipped behind the US front lines. Riding in captured US jeeps, they committed sabotage, sowed confusion and caused paranoia among American troops. Word quickly spread that the undercover commandos were out to kill US General Eisenhower. Popular legend has made the false flag operation out to be a skilled and menacing ploy with cunning German spies speaking American English. Their commander, propaganda hero SS Lt. Col. Otto Skorzeny, seemed a mastermind. But the reality was much different, and all the more deadly. The planning and training were slapdash, the mission desperate, its chances slim to none. Sitting Ducks is a fast read equaling about 49 print pages.
Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944
Joseph Balkoski - 2004
-- John Hillen, New York PostIn this unforgettable narrative of D-Day, Joseph Balkoski describes the minute-by-minute combat as it unfolded on Omaha Beach, allowing soldiers to speak for themselves as they recall their attempts to maneuver bombers through heavy cloud cover, the claustrophobic terror aboard transports, and the relentless fire that greeted them on the beach. Equal parts oral history and meticulous reconstruction, Omaha Beach is the closest the modern reader can get to experiencing the Normandy landings firsthand.
Gestapo: Hitler's Secret Terror Police
Lucas Saul - 2015
These men were leaders of the Gestapo, the secret police during the times of the Nazis. This book outlines who the Gestapo were, how they operated, what their numbers were, the terrible crimes they committed and how they paid for these in the end when they were hunted down after the war.
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
Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-43
James Holland - 2003
Italian aircraft pummel the idyllic Mediterranean island of Malta. It is the first of more than three thousand raids that the island will suffer as it becomes the most bombed place on earth.The day before, Mussolini had declared war on Britain, and in that moment, the tiny island of Malta'slightly larger than Cape Codbecame one of the most important strategic pieces of land in the world.Today, this valiant story is largely forgotten, but James Holland offers a riveting portrait of the siege that helped determine victory or defeat in World War II. For nearly three years, Malta held the key to dominance in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Lying between Italy and Libya, Malta was the ideal place from which to attack shipping lines supplying Italian and German forces in North Africa. To save Egypt, the Suez Canal, and the Middle East oil fields from Nazi control, it was essential that the island be held at all costs.The Axis powers were equally determined to annihilate Malta. In two months aloneMarch and April 1942more bombs fell on Malta than on London during the entire Blitz. A small band of fighter pilots facing the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica; a garrison of British and American troops; and a stubborn local population refused to surrender to vastly superior forces. Despite starvation and disease, the Maltese bravely held out. Not only did they hang on, their torpedo bombers and submariners continued to sink critical amounts of Rommel's supplies. In honor of this tenacity and bravery, George VI bestowed the George Cross, the highest civilian award for valor, upon the entire island.Fortress Malta follows the story through the eyes of individuals who were there: the pilots, submariners, soldiers, and civilians who provide the tales of heroism, resilience, love, and loss. Using interviews with survivors, letters, and diaries never-before-published, James Holland brings to life this extraordinary real-life David-and-Goliath battle in a moving, astonishing narrative.
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.
Ginger Lacey: Fighter Pilot
Richard Townshend Bickers - 1969
But who would have thought that the slim and pale looking boy would become one of the most successful fighter pilots of the war? Almost unknown outside the RAF, Sgt. Pilot J.H. Lacey shot down more enemy aircraft in the Battle of Britain than any other fighter pilot. He shot down the Heinkel 111 which had just bombed Buckingham Palace and had the highest score (twenty-three) of enemy aircraft destroyed, as late as 1941. Thereafter commissioned, early in 1941, he was for a time an instructor at an operational training unit, passing on to others the knowledge that he had won in the toughest series of air battles ever fought. Returning to operations, he served under another fabulous air fighter, ‘Paddy’ Finucane; then was posted to rocket (airborne weapons) development, a task almost as dangerous as combat flying. Later he commanded a famous fighter squadron in the Far East. and shot down the first Japanese he encountered. Unorthodox, autocratic in his command but resentful of unreasonable interference from those above him, Ginger Lacey was a boyish-looking figure with a fantastic gift for leadership, and sharp eyes, bravery and an innate sense of timing. He died in 1989, but his amazing story was recorded by an experienced writer who was a fellow officer in the RAF until 1951 and knew him well. It is a memorable and stirring biography. ‘The best all action war story yet produced.’ - Yorkshire Post ‘A top-scoring story.’ - Evening Standard ‘Fast-moving biography.’ - Sunday Times ‘The best biography of a fighter pilot ever written.’ - Yorkshire Evening Post Richard Townsend Bickers volunteered for the RAF on the outbreak of the second world war and served, with a Permanent Commission, for eighteen years. He wrote a range of military fiction and non-fiction books, including ‘Torpedo Attack’, ‘My Enemy Came Nigh’, ‘Bombing Run’, ‘Fighters Up’ and ‘Summer of No Surrender’. 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.
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.
Iain Ballantyne - 2001
While this book looks at the lives of all eight vessels to bear the name (between 1596 and the 1990s), it concentrates on the truly epic story of the seventh vessel, a super-dreadnought battleship, conceived as the ultimate answer to German naval power, during the arms race that helped cause WW1. Warspite fought off the entire German fleet at Jutland, survived a mutiny between the wars and then covered herself in glory in action from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean during WW2. She was the flagship of Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham when he mastered the Italian Navy in the Mediterranean, her guns inflicting devastating damage on the enemy at Calabria in 1940 and Matapan in 1941. She narrowly avoided destruction by the Japanese carrier force that had earlier devastated Pearl Harbor. She provided crucial fire support for Allied landings in Sicily, Italy, Normandy and Walcheren. A lucky ship in battle, she survived dive-bombers off Crete and glide bomb hits off Salerno. The Spite had a reputation for being obtuse at unexpected moments, running aground and losing her steering several times; she broke free from her towropes on the way to the breakers and ending up beached at St Michael's Mount where it took a decade to dismantle her. She had fought to the end.But this is not just the story of a warship. Wherever possible the voices of those men who fought aboard her speak directly to the reader about their experiences. Warspite is also the story of a great naval nation which constructed her as the ultimate symbol of its imperial power and then scrapped her when the sun set on that empire.About the AuthorIain Ballantyne is a much published naval author. His other books for Pen & Sword are HMS London, HMS Rodney and Victory as well as Strike From the Sea and Killing the Bismarck. He is editor of WARSHIPS IFR magazine. For more details on Iain Ballantyne and his books, visit: www.iainballantyne.com
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.
They Call It Pacific (Annotated): An Eye-Witness Story of Our War Against Japan from Bataan to the Solomons
Clark Lee - 1943
They Call It Pacific is an insightful account of events leading up to the war and beyond from an authority on Japanese-American affairs at the time. It is also a thrilling journal detailing Lee’s unbelievable real-time escape from the Philippine Islands with the help of the Filipino resistance. The book contains extensive accounts of the battle for the Philippines on Bataan and Corregidor, interviews with soldiers including General Douglas MacArthur, talks with Japanese prisoners, and descriptions of combat as the author accompanied Navy pilots such as Swede Larson on flights over Guadalcanal. This new edition of They Call It Pacific has been updated with footnotes and images from the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. *Includes original footnotes. *Includes photographs from World War 2.
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.
Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
Daniel Ford - 1991
One of America's most famous combat forces, the Tigers were recruited to defend beleaguered China for $600 a month and a bounty of $500 for each Japanese plane they shot down—fantastic money in an era when a Manhattan hotel room cost three dollars a night.To bring his prize-winning history of the American Volunteer Group up to date, Daniel Ford has completely rewritten his 1991 text, drawing on the most recent U.S., British, and Japanese scholarship. New material from AVG veterans—including Erik Shilling and Tex Hill—help fill out the story, along with newfound recollections from Japanese and New Zealand airmen. Ford also takes up the rumors that Royal Air Force pilots "sold" combat victories to the Flying Tigers in order to share in the bounties paid by the Chinese government."Admirable," wrote Chennault biographer Martha Byrd of Ford's original text. "A readable book based on sound sources. Expect some surprises." Even more could that be said of this new and more complete edition.
The Executioner From The Silent Valley: A Historical Fiction Novel
I.V. Olokita - 2019
He victimizes people for being Jews or for just being alive. He is an old Nazi criminal who escaped to Brazil and was caught and prosecuted. He is now forced to write his memoirs as part of his punishment – the same punishment he used to give Jews at the concentration camp. This punishment makes him remember and re-live his cruelty as the concentration camp commander and as a man. Deus Esperanca learns from his mother that what he believed to be his family’s history, was just a bunch of lies. He discovers that his real father is Klaus Holland – the sadistic Nazi fugitive. Having this information and his father being aware of what he knows, their lives intertwine and create chaos.