Book picks similar to
Ginger Lacey: Fighter Pilot by Richard Townshend Bickers
Fighting Fox Company: The Battling Flank of the Band of Brothers
Bill Brown - 2013
history, thanks to Stephen Ambrose s superb book Band of Brothers, followed by portrayals in film. However, to date little has been heard of Fox Company of that same regiment the men who fought alongside Easy Company through every step of the war in Europe, and who had their own stories to tell.Notably this book, over a decade in the making, came about for different reasons than the fame of the Band of Brothers. Bill Brown, a WWII vet himself, had decided to research the fate of a childhood friend who had served in Fox Company. Along the way he met Terry Poyser, who was on a similar mission to research the combat death of a Fox Company man from his hometown. Together, the two authors proceeded to locate and interview every surviving Fox Company vet they could find. The result was a wealth of fascinating firsthand accounts of WWII combat as well as new perspectives on Dick Winters and others of the Band, who had since become famous.Told primarily through the words of participants, Fighting Fox Company takes the reader through some of the most horrific close-in fighting of the war, beginning with the chaotic nocturnal paratrooper drop on D-Day. After fighting through Normandy the drop into Holland saw prolonged ferocious combat, and even more casualties; and then during the Battle of the Bulge, Fox Company took its place in line at Bastogne during one of the most heroic against-all-odds stands in U.S. history.As always in combat, each man s experience is different, and the nature of the German enemy is seen here in its equally various aspects. From ruthless SS fighters to meek Volkssturm to simply expert modern fighters, the Screaming Eagles encountered the full gamut of the Wehrmacht. The work is also accompanied by rare photos and useful appendices, including rosters and lists of casualties, to give the full look at Fox Company which has long been overdue.
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.
On the Devil's Tail: In Combat with the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front 1945, and with the French in Indochina 1951-54
Paul Martelli - 2014
Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS "Charlemagne" and, later, as a soldier with French forces during three years (1951-1954) in the Tonkin area, Vietnam. Paul recounts his time at the Sennheim military training base, where he was introduced to the rigorous discipline of body and mind: he then goes back to 1940, during the German invasion of France, when he was still a boy in Lorraine, hinting at his motivations for enlisting with the Waffen SS. He reveals his and many young soldiers' exciting and often humorous escapades at Greifenberg, his first love with a German girl helping refugees, his experiences and feelings during the combats at Korlin, during the strenuous defense of Kolberg, while regrouping at Neustrelitz and at the German defeat. With a companion he ends up at a castle delivering a group of women camp prisoners to a Russian officer, living in disguise among enemy soldiers until he escapes and surrender to the Americans. After his sentence, imprisonment, evasions and military service in Morocco, Paul is sent to fight in defense of bases north of Hanoi, Vietnam. He survives three years of fierce combats, assaults, ambushes, night patrols, fatal traps and mortal risks but, deep down, he compares his service with the Waffen SS during the last year of war with the inefficiency of the French Expeditionary Force in the Far East and comes out deeply frustrated. At almost 26, he has fought and lost in two wars, both against the communists, be they Soviet or Viet-Minh. Unemployed, and with the ideals of a 'Nouvelle Europe' in pieces, he briefly joins the French Foreign Legion, his last hope, but in the end choses another path. This is a unique memoir, packed with incident and recounting the story of one individual caught up in a series of life-changing events."
Escaper's Progress: The Remarkable POW Experiences of a Royal Naval Officer
David James - 2009
In December 1943 he succeeded in escaping during the weekly bath house visit and was on the run for almost a week disguised as an officer of the Royal Bulgarian Navy. He was captured after several close calls while attempting to board a ship at Lubeck.In February 1944 he escaped again this time dressed as a Swedish sailor and traveled by train to Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck, Rostock finishing up in Danzig, all the while searching for a suitable ship. He eventually succeeded in reaching Stockholm after 2½ days in the extreme heat of a ship’s engine room. His superbly written narrative is full of suspense and excitement.
Force Recon Diary, 1969: The Riveting, True-to-Life Account of Survival and Death in One of the Most Highly Skilled Units in Vietnam
Bruce H. Norton - 1991
Doc Norton, leader of 3d Force Recon, recounts his team's experiences behind enemy lines during the tense patrols, sudden ambushes and acts of supreme sacrifice that occurred as they gathered valuable information about NVA operations right from the source.
Shadow Commander: The Epic Story of Donald D. Blackburn—Guerrilla Leader and Special Forces Hero
Mike Guardia - 2011
The fires on Bataan burned on the evening of April 9, 1942—illuminating the white flags of surrender against the dark sky. Outnumbered and outgunned, remnants of the American-Philippine army surrendered to the forces of the Rising Sun. Yet US Army Captain Donald D. Blackburn refused to lay down his arms. With future Special Forces legend Russell Volckmann, Blackburn escaped to the jungles of North Luzon, where they raised a private army of 22,000 men against the Japanese. His organization of native tribes into guerrilla fighters would lead to the destruction of the enemy’s naval base at Aparri. But Blackburn’s amazing accomplishments would not end with the victory in the Pacific. He would go on to play a key role in initiating Army Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia, spearheading Operation White Star in Laos as commander of the 77th Special Forces Group and eventually taking command of the highly classified Studies and Observations Group (SOG), charged with performing secret missions now that main-force Communist incursions were on the rise. In the wake of the CIA’s disastrous Leaping Lena program, in 1964, Blackburn revitalized the Special Operations campaign in South Vietnam. Sending reconnaissance teams into Cambodia and North Vietnam, he discovered the clandestine networks and supply nodes of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Taking the information directly to General Westmoreland, Blackburn was authorized to conduct full-scale operations against the NVA and Viet Cong in Laos and Cambodia. In combats large and small, the Communists realized they had met a master of insurgent tactics—and he was on the US side. Following his return to the US, Blackburn was the architect of the infamous Son Tay Prison Raid, officially termed Operation Ivory Coast, the largest prisoner-of-war rescue mission—and, indeed, the largest Army Special Forces operation—of the Vietnam War. During a period when US troops in Southeast Asia faced guerrilla armies on every side, America had a superb covert commander of its own. This book follows Blackburn through both his youthful days of desperate combat and his time as a commander, imparting his lessons to the new ranks of Army Special Forces.
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.
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.
Undersea Warrior: The World War II Story of "Mush" Morton and the USS Wahoo
Don Keith - 2011
Among submariners in World War II, Dudley "Mush" Morton stood out as a warrior without peer. At the helm of the USS Wahoo he completely changed the way the sea war was fought in the Pacific. He would relentlessly attack the Japanese at every opportunity, going through his supply of torpedoes in record time on every patrol. In only nine months, he racked up an astounding list of achievements, including being the first American skipper to wipe out an entire enemy convoy single-handedly.Here, for the first time, is the life and legend of a heroic, dynamic, and ultimately divisive submarine commander who fought the war on his own terms, and refused to do so any other way.
Woodbine Red Leader: A P-51 Mustang Ace in the Mediterranean Theater
George G. Loving - 2003
His first fighter was the famed Spitfire, hero of the Battle of Britain. By 1943, however, it was obsolescent and did not match up well against the first-line German Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs. Yet Loving survived 101 combat missions flying the Spitfire. In the spring of 1944, Loving’s 31st Fighter Group started flying P-51 Mustangs and was transferred to the new Fifteenth Air Force to escort heavy-bomber formations on long-range strategic strikes across southern Europe, including southeastern Germany. In the flak-filled skies over Ploesti, Vienna, Bucharest, Munich, and Stuttgart, where a number of the war’s fiercest air battles took place, Lieutenant Loving flew head-to-head against some of the Luftwaffe’s top fighter aces.By the time George Loving completed his 151st, and final, combat mission on August 21, 1944, he had risen from a lowly second lieutenant and untested wingman to captain, group leader, and Mustang ace. Loving’s gripping account captures the savage action he experienced in all its intensity.
No Moon Tonight
Don Charlwood - 1956
Accepted as a RAF navigator in 1940, he was posted to 103 Squadron at Elsham Wolds in the winter of 1942. There he crewed up with a pilot from Western Australia and a British crew to fly a Lancaster bomber. In No Moon Tonight he gives a profound insight into the inner lives of the men of Bomber Command and their hopes and fears in the face of mounting losses. He depicts the appalling human cost of the air war in an account which has been favorably compared to other enduring memoirs of the 1st World War, namely Sassoon's Memoirs of an Infantry Officer and Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. A memorable first hand account of the air war over Germany.
Atlantic Nightmare: The longest military campaign in World War II
Richard Freeman - 2019
It raged from the opening day of the war in September 1939 until it ended almost six years later with Germany’s surrender in May 1945. Vital supplies of food, fuel and the raw materials needed by the Allies to wage war had to be transported in merchant ships in escorted convoys across the Atlantic Ocean where they were at the mercy of German U-boats and warships. At first, many were lost. The fall of France in June 1940 gave the U-boats bases on the Atlantic coast, and U-boat production increased allowing the Germans to now hunt in ‘wolf packs’. How seriously did each sides take the battle? How far were they able to innovate their way out of problems they encountered? Who made the crucial decisions on how the battle should be fought? How was the crucial battle for intelligence won? Atlantic Nightmare identifies seven pivotal areas to answer these questions. Praise for Richard Freeman: ‘… especially rewarding for those whose historical interests straddle political and military history – Nathan Albright, Naval Historical Foundation Richard Freeman graduated in mathematics before following a career in distance education. He now writes on naval history. His other books include Midway, Pearl Harbor and Coral Sea 1942.
Why Marines Fight
James Brady - 2007
They have fought from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan and Iraq, in famous battles become bone and sinew of American lore. But why do Marines fight? Why fight so well? Why run toward the guns? Now comes a thrilling new book, pounding and magnificent in scope, by the author some Marines consider the unofficial “poet laureate” of their Corps.James Brady interviews combat Marines from wars ranging from World War II to Afghanistan, their replies in their own individual voices unique and powerful, an authentically American story of a country at war, as seen through the eyes of its warriors. Culling his own correspondence and comradeship with hundreds of fellow Marines, Brady compiles a story---lyrical and historical---of the motivations and emotions behind this compelling question. Included are the accounts of Senator James Webb and his lance corporal son, Jim; New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly; Yankee second baseman (and Marine fighter pilot) Jerry Coleman, and of teachers, firemen, authors, cops, Harvard football players, and just plain grunts, as well as the unforgettable story of Jack Rowe, who lost an eye and other parts and now grows avocados and chases rattlesnakes. Their stories poignantly and profoundly illustrate the lives and legacies of battlefront Marines. Why Marines Fight is a ruthlessly candid book about professional killers not ashamed to recall their doubts as well as exult in their savagely triumphant battle cries. A book of weight and heft that Marines, and Americans everywhere, will want to read, and may find impossible to forget. Praise for James Brady The Scariest Place in the World“[A] graceful, even elegant, and always eloquent tribute to men at arms in a war that, in a way, never ended.”---Kirkus Reviews“James Brady has done it again. A riveting and illuminating insight into a dark corner of the world.”---Tim Russert, NBC’s Meet the Press The Coldest War“His story reads like a novel, but it is war reporting at its best---a graphic depiction, in all its horrors, of the war we’ve almost forgotten.”---Walter Cronkite“A marvelous memoir. A sensitive and superbly written narrative that eventually explodes off the pages like a grenade in the gut . . .taut, tight, and telling.”---Dan Rather The Marine“In The Marine, James Brady again gives us a novel in which history is a leading character, sharing the stage in this case with a man as surely born to be a gallant warrior as any knight in sixth-century Camelot.”---Kurt Vonnegut The Marines of Autumn“Mr. Brady knows war, the smell and the feel of it.”---The New York Times