Book picks similar to
Cockleshell Commando by Bill Sparks


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The Silver Spitfire: The Legendary WWII RAF Fighter Pilot in His Own Words


Tom Neil - 2013
    Acting as a British representative, Neil was tasked with negotiating and overcoming the countless culture clashes that existed between the two allies. From encountering unfamiliar planes and uncomfortable attitudes towards the British to meeting the King of Yugoslavia and General George Patton and falling in love, Neil's time with the Americans was anything but dull. As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire. Love affair and culture clashes on hold, he took the silver Spitfire into battle alongside his US comrades until - with the war's end - he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again. 'The Silver Spitfire' is the first-hand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.

Born A Soldier: The Times And Life Of Larry Thorne


J. Michael Cleverley - 2002
    Capturing the "times" as well as the "life" of its protagonist, it is a journey with a truly amazing and colorful man. Born "Lauri Törni," Thorne fought in Finland's first to last battles with Russia winning the country's equivalent of the Congressional Medal of Honor. As the legendary leader of one of the most elite companies in the Finnish army, one of the best armies of World War II, Thorne carried a price on his head, dead or alive, from the Red Army, reputedly the only Finnish soldier so singled out. When World War changed to Cold War, Thorne was a refugee, political prisoner, fugitive, exile, and illegal alien, and eventually gained legal status in the US through an Act of Congress. An early member of the Green Berets he was soon a legend there, too: the book The Green Berets' first Vietnam hero, "Kornie" in Chapter One, the chapter that served as the basis for the movie.

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.

Can Do!: The Story of the Seabees


William Bradford Huie - 1944
    — Admiral Ernest J. King, Commander in Chief, United States Fleet, and Chief of Naval Operations. Three hundred and twenty five thousand men served as Seabees through the course of World War Two. During those years they constructed over four hundred advanced bases in both the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters. Their bravery and determination enabled the Allied Forces to gain the upper hand over the enemy by quickly reconstructing harbors, repairing airstrips and laying thousands of miles of roads. Can Do! The Story of the Seabees by William Bradford Huie is a fascinating examination one the most interesting forces in the Second World War. The impact that they made upon the war can be seen from the following statements from leaders from across the military: “. . . the Seabees are the find of this war.” — Major General H. M. Smith, USMC “. . . It had been a constant source of wonder to me how one unit — the Seabees — could possess so many skills and accomplish such a huge amount and variety of work.” — Major General A. M. Patch, USA, Commanding General, the Seventh Army “. . . The Navy will remember this war by its Seabees.” — Vice-Admiral W. L. Calhoun, USN “. . . the Seabees are proving themselves one of our most important military units in this life-and-death struggle throughout the world.” — Captain Edward V. Rickenbacker “. . . no obstacle was ever too great for the Seabees.” — Brigadier General Henry L. Larsen, USMC This book should be essential reading for anyone interested in the military history of World War Two and finding out more about one of the United States’ most effective forces William Bradford Huie was an American journalist and novelist. During the Second world War Huie served in the United States Navy, for a time as aide to Vice Admiral Ben Moreell of the Seabees, and it was during this time that he chronicled the wartime activity of these battalions. This book was first published in 1944 and Huie passed away in 1986.

Super Nuke!: A Memoir About Life as a Nuclear Submariner and the Contributions of a "Super Nuke" - the USS RAY (SSN653) Toward Winning the Cold War


Charles Cranston Jett - 2016
    He has succeeded in telling the unclassified story of the journey taken by an extraordinary group of men who built the first operational “Super Nuke” and effectively shared what they developed with others in the entire US nuclear submarine force. He created the SSN Pre Deployment training program, consolidated developments made on the Ray to create the highly useful Geographic Plot (Geo Plot) and wrote the tactical doctrine for the SSN based electronic intelligence collection system, AN/WLR-6. Well done, Charlie. I am proud to have had you as a shipmate.” Albert L. Kelln Rear Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.) Former Commanding Officer and Plank Owner USS RAY (SSN 653) - The original “Super Nuke” “Charlie Jett succeeds in providing an unclassified account of what it was like to be a nuclear qualified submariner who had the unique experience of building and serving aboard the first operational “Super Nuke” - the most modern fast attack nuclear submarine designed specifically to face the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. He describes the contributions of the commissioning crew in developing sonar techniques and operational tactics and how these lessons were ultimately and effectively communicated to later “Super Nukes.” Charlie provided the initial idea and was instrumental in establishing and implementing a new concept of training which significantly improved the operational readiness of the nuclear attack submarine force. He created the “Geographic Plot” to improve operational safety and wrote the tactical doctrine for a new and sophisticated nuclear attack submarine electronic intelligence gathering system. “Super Nuke” is a good read for those who have an interest in life as a submarine officer and how these marvelous machines and their crews contributed to winning the Cold War.” The Honorable John H. Dalton Former Nuclear Submarine Officer and 70th Secretary of the Navy “This is a most interesting work on the U.S. Navy’s program to combat the Soviet submarine threat during the long Cold War. Charlie was in at the beginning and accurately describes the significant efforts, both in individual sacrifice and technical development that led to U.S. undersea superiority. As a junior officer his individual accomplishments were most significant. The submarine efforts were probably the most important U.S. competitive strategy that drove the Soviets to the poor house and led to the demise of the Soviet Union.” Bruce DeMars Admiral, United States Navy (Ret.) Former Commanding Officer, USS CAVALLA (SSN 684) - a subsequent “Super Nuke” Former Director of Naval Reactors

A Soldier Of The Legion: An Englishman's Adventures Under the French Flag in Algeria and Tonquin


George Manington - 1907
     He would remain part of the French Foreign Legion for the next five years. After swearing to the cause of liberté, égalité, fraternité Manington was immediately transported away from France to begin his training in Algeria. But Africa was not where he would be fighting, instead he and his comrades, from Germany, Scotland, America and the rest of the world, were sent to south-east Asia. Tonquin in French Indochina was their destination, to help quell the rebels against colonial rule that had emerged after the Sino-French War. The Yên Thế Insurrection had been continuing for twenty-two years in this area before Manington arrived, and he entered into the midst of this of this vicious war. Manington’s work A Soldier of the Legion is a fascinating account of life in one of the most famous regiments in history. Although loyal to the legion, he saw many faults in the colonial administration and developed friendships with the locals. This work gives brilliant insight into the guerrilla warfare used by the Tonkinese rebels. Methods of warfare that would be once again used in this area in the twentieth century, first against the French and later against the Americans during the Vietnam War. George Manington left the French Foreign Legion in 1895. Prior to joining he had been a student in France and Germany and a prospective doctor in Paris. After his time serving under the French flag he continued to live in Southeast Asia as an interpreter, traveller and journalist. This work was published in 1907.

Hitler's Gladiator: The Life and Wars of Panzer Army Commander Sepp Dietrich


Charles Messenger - 1988
     HITLER'S GLADIATOR is the life of German general Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, who rose from private soldier in the kaiser's army to command of an SS Panzer Army in the closing stage""Clear and detailed . . . most scholarly." —- "The Sunday Times" (London)"An enlightened portrait of both Dietrich and his Germany." —- "Soldier Magazine"

Through the Valley: My Captivity in Vietnam


William Reeder Jr. - 2016
    Army soldier taken prisoner during the Vietnam War. A narrative of courage, hope, and survival, Through the Valley is more than just a war story. It also portrays the thrill and horror of combat, the fear and anxiety of captivity, and the stories of friendships forged and friends lost.In 1971 William Reeder was a senior captain on his second tour in Vietnam. He had flown armed, fixed-wing OV-1 Mohawks on secret missions deep into enemy territory in Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam on his first tour. He returned as a helicopter pilot eager to experience a whole new perspective as a Cobra gunship pilot. Believing that Nixon's Vietnamization would soon end the war, Reeder was anxious to see combat action. To him, it appeared that the Americans had prevailed, beaten the Viet Cong, and were passing everything over to the South Vietnamese Army so that Americans could leave.Less than a year later, while providing support to forces at the besieged base of Ben Het, Reeder's chopper went down in a flaming corkscrew. Though Reeder survived the crash, he was captured after evading the enemy for three days. He was held for weeks in jungle cages before enduring a grueling forced march on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, costing the lives of seven of his group of twenty-seven POWs. Imprisoned in the notorious prisons of Hanoi, Reeder's tenacity in the face of unimaginable hardship is not only a captivating story, but serves as an inspiration to all.In Through the Valley William Reeder shares the torment and pain of his ordeal, but does so in the light of the hope that he never lost. His memoir reinforces the themes of courage and sacrifice, undying faith, strength of family, love of country, loyalty among comrades, and a realization of how precious is the freedom all too often taken for granted. Sure to resonate with those serving in the armed forces who continue to face the demands of combat, Through the Valley will also appeal especially to readers looking for a powerful, riveting story.

Mark of the Lion: The Story of Capt. Charles Upham, V.C. and Bar


Kenneth Sandford - 1962
    He was one of the few people in history to have won the Victoria Cross twice, setting new standards of personal heroism during World War II.

The Giant Killer: The incredible true story of the smallest man to serve in the U.S. Military—Vietnam veteran Green Beret Captain Richard J. Flaherty - Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, & 2 Purple Hearts.


David A. Yuzuk - 2020
    

The Wehrmacht


Bob Carruthers - 2010
    Like old soldiers everywhere, they are fading away. But these soldiers have an incredible and sometimes shocking story to tell. It certainly does not make for comfortable reading. Secrets which have been bottled up for a lifetime are revealed, stories are told at last and memories which have been hidden away for 60 years finally resurface. These are facets of history's most dreadful war being revealed for the very first time. "The Wehrmacht" is a remarkable personal record of the Third Reich's rise and fall from the inside: of how those responsible for the maelstrom sent their armies to conquer only to see them crushed as the world united against them; of men who were seduced by the siren call of Hitler, only to pay a terribly heavy price. It allows the human stories to unfold within the bigger picture behind the major campaigns of the Second World War - from the early Blitzkrieg successes through the submarine warfare of the Battle of the Atlantic, and the brutal hardships of the Russian Front, to the last days of the Reich and the fall of Berlin. "The Wehrmacht" is a brilliantly researched and thought-provoking book that reveals unique human dimensions of the world's greatest military conflict.

Generals: Ten British Commanders who Shaped the World


Mark Urban - 2005
    Some - including the Duke of Wellington, Lord Kitchener and Bernard Montgomery - are names etched in the national mythology. Others are unsung heroes and shadowy presences whose achievements or failures may have had consequences quite different to those they had intended.All ten of these generals revealed either a brilliant ability or a fatal flaw. Success or failure depended largely on their ability to work within Britain's Parliamentary democracy - and against tyrants, despots and emperors who were often free to act alone.Mark Urban, the acclaimed author of Rifles and Fusiliers, is now one of our foremost experts on military history.'One of the most intelligent books on the British Army I have ever read.' Allan Mallinson

Panzer Destroyer: Memoirs of a Red Army Tank Commander


Vasiliy Krysov - 2010
    For the next three years, as a tank commander, Krysov fought against the German panzers in some of the most intense and destructive armored engagements in history-including those at Stalingrad, Kursk and K�nigsberg.This is the remarkable story of his war. As the commander of a heavy tank, a self-propelled gun -a tank destroyer-and a T-34, he fought his way westward across Russia, the Ukraine and Poland against a skillful and determined enemy which had previously never known defeat. Krysov repeatedly faced tough SS panzer divisions, like the SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler Panzer Division in the Bruilov-Fastov area in 1943, and the SS Das Wiking Panzer Division in Poland in 1944. . Krysov was at Kursk and participated in a counterattack at Ponyri. The ruthlessness of this long and bitter campaign is vividly depicted in his narrative, as is the enormous scale and complexity of the fighting.Honestly, and with an extraordinary clarity of recall, he describes confrontations with German Tiger and Panther tanks and deadly anti-tank guns. He was wounded four times, his crewmen and his commanding officers were killed, but he was fated to survive and record his experience of combat. His memoirs give a compelling insight into the reality of tank warfare on the Eastern Front.

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.

Cornered Tigers: The Defence of the Admin Box, Burma 1944


James Holland - 2016
    Not only was it the first decisive victory for British troops against the Japanese, more significantly, it demonstrated how the Japanese could be defeated. The lessons learned in this tiny and otherwise insignificant corner of the Far East, set up the campaign in Burma that would follow, as General Slim’s Fourteenth Army finally turned defeat into victory.It is an amazing and thrilling story: more gripping than that of Rorke’s Drift, with a more justifiable enemy, and with every bit as many moments of extreme heroism. In this fifteen-day battle of terrifying violence, there was incredible human drama: bloody-hand-to-hand fighting, daring airborne drops, valiant attempts to break the siege, increasingly desperate and suicidal charges by the Japanese, repeated breakthroughs that needed counter-attacking, tragedy, black humour and the ultimate triumph of the defenders.