Smoky the Brave
The World's Smallest Dog, The World's Biggest Heart
In 1944 Allied troops discovered a tiny Yorkshire terrier which had been abandoned in a Japanese foxhole. Given the name Smoky after her distinctive colouring, the dog became the mascot of the 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. This book describes the exploits that won her eight Battle Stars – not only entertaining the troops with tricks and comforting traumatized soldiers, but even calmly joining crews in daring sorties behind enemy lines.
The Soldiers' Story
Giles Milton narrates the momentous events of 6 June 1944 through the voices of individual survivors on all sides. As well as describing the experiences of the young soldiers who helped to secure the beachheads, he tells the stories of those caught in the front line of Operation Overlord, including the German women transcribing coded messages about ‘something serious’, and the commander whose intimate evening with a local lady was cut short by the Allies.
European Resistance to the Nazis, 1940–1945
First published in 1976, this classic history surveys the entire range of resistance activity across occupied Europe, from France to Yugoslavia, including within Germany itself. It looks at who resisted, what their motives were, and the actions they took, including sabotage and direct attacks on troops. The mechanics of espionage – codes, ciphers and forged papers – are explained, the many resistance groups are profiled, and their impact on the post-war settlement is assessed.
Safe in Wartime Devon
Deposited with an aunt in Devon in 1939, Angela (12) and Hugh McBride (3) saw little of their parents for the next five years, moving between various boarding schools and lodgings and finally joining their family after the war on a posting to Australia. This record of their unusual experience is told as two separate memoirs, one by each of the siblings, highlighting their different perspectives on an eventful but unsettled upbringing.
University mathematicians and chess champions were invited to work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War but problem solvers were also sought amongst the general public, most famously through a competition to solve the Daily Telegraph crossword in under 12 minutes. That puzzle and over 100 other tests of lateral thinking are included in this book which also tells the story of how Station X recruited its talented staff.
A History of the Long Range Desert Group, 1940–1945
The brainchild of desert adventurer Ralph Bagnold, the LRDG carried out clandestine acts of sabotage behind enemy lines in the North African desert during the Second World War. This account of the British unit, which was among the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of special forces, details their formation and deployment in Libya and later activities in the Mediterranean, where they retrained as mountain guerrillas and fought alongside the notorious Partisans in the Balkans.
The Hawker Hurricane was designed and built to counteract the growing aerial power of the Axis nations in the 1930s. With its stable firing platform and robust construction, it played a vital role in the RAF’s success. This illustrated guide details the technical history and combat performance of the aircraft, which chalked up more kills than the better-known Spitfire in the battles over Britain and France.
Voices of the Scandinavian Waffen-SS
The Final Testament of Hitler's Vikings
Thousands of members of the Waffen-SS were recruited from countries Germany had conquered. This title focuses on Scandinavian volunteers, who were motivated by fascist sympathies, hatred of Russia, and anti-communism, and who fought first at a national level before being united in the Wiking Panzer and Nordland Panzer-grenadier Divisions. Trigg uses first-hand accounts, award citations, photographs and contemporary documents to explore their experiences, including their post-war reception in their homelands.
Love Among the Ruins
A Memoir of Life and Love in Hamburg, 1945
The author and activist Harry Leslie Smith recalls how, as an RAF serviceman stationed in Hamburg, he met the love of his life, a young German woman named Frieda. In a city reduced to rubble by Allied bombing, and populated with refugees, black-marketeers, corrupt businessmen and cynical soldiers, their relationship flourished, despite suspicion and disapproval on both sides. Slightly off-mint.
The Battle of Arnhem
The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II
The bold Allied plan to defeat Germany quickly in September 1944 by capturing the bridges leading to the lower Rhine, was ultimately a failure and led to the complete destruction of Arnhem and cruel reprisals on the Dutch population for the remainder of the war. Anthony Beever’s account describes the airborne assault, its planning and aftermath, drawing on many overlooked and new sources from Dutch, German, Polish, British and American archives. Slightly off-mint.
The End of the Gallop
The Battle for Kharkov, February–March 1943
A leading military historian, who specializes in the Second World War’s Eastern Front, analyses one of the most intriguing periods of the Battles for Kharkov, when German forces retook the city. The conquest seemed decisive, but the complex daily troop manoeuvres and tactical switches that were involved laid the groundwork for the Soviets to reframe their strategy for a final victory later in the year.
Out in Front
A Polish Fighter Pilot's Dramatic Air War
Fighter pilot Lanowski tells the story of his Second World War – escape from Axis soldiers in his native Poland, his combat experience with three separate Allied air forces, and his legendary, rebellious exploits – with previously unpublished photographs of his comrades and aircraft.
The Flying Hours
The Compelling Memoir of Squadron Leader Andrew Millar, DSO, DFC, and the Second World War Battle Against Japan
In 1942–45 Andrew Millar carried out combat operations against the Japanese from India and Burma, initially in Westland Lysanders and then in Hawker Hurricanes, before commanding No. 20 Squadron and being awarded the DFC and DSO. He used his comprehensive logbook and notes from the period, and previously unpublished photographs, for this memoir of the ‘Forgotten War’, which gives an insight into not only the challenges and dangers of operations, but also everyday life and camaraderie.
The Life and Death of Germany's Last Great Battleship
Sister ship to the Bismarck, the Tirpitz spent most of the Second World War in the Norwegian fjords but remained a looming threat to the important Arctic convoy routes. This examination of Hitler’s mightiest ship describes how it came to be built, its wartime service and the repeated Allied efforts to destroy it, including the famous midget submarine raid and the successful ‘Tallboy’ bombing mission of 1944.
From War to Peace
A Photographer's View of British Aviation During the 1940s
As an aircraft inspector during the Second World War, Eddie Riding could only take pictures of the planes surreptitiously, but from 1946 to his death in 1950 he amassed many more images and his collection showcases the British aviation scene of the period. Accompanied by detailed captions, the photographs include air-to-air shots of light aircraft, the new generation of passenger craft operating from Croydon and Heathrow and innovations on display at the Farnborough Airshow.
One of the mainstays of the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, the Focke-Wulf Fw190 was less effective at high altitude and its designer Kurt Tank worked on numerous developments that used turbojets, turboprops, ramjets and rocket engines to increase power. This analysis of these prototype aircraft contains detailed technical information and the author’s hand-drawn diagrams and sketches of each design.
Blenheims Over Greece and Crete
To help Greece respond to Italian attacks from October 1940, the RAF sent three squadrons of Bristol Blenheims (30, 84 and 211 Squadron) to reinforce the Greek Air Force’s own complement of 12 Mark IV Blenheims. Drawing on first-hand accounts, this study describes the efforts of British and Greek airmen against superior forces (particularly after Germany invaded) up to the fall of Crete in May 1941.
Bismarck and Hood
The Battle of the Denmark Strait: A Technical Analysis for a New Perspective
HMS Hood was instantly destroyed by the Bismarck in May 1941, sinking rapidly after an explosion in its magazine. This detailed examination of the famous engagement is written by a gunnery expert and rear admiral of the Italian Navy who, through a ballistic analysis of Bismarck’s fire and assessment of the two commanders’ actions, questions some of the long-held assumptions about the battle.
Axis Suicide Squads
German and Japanese Secret Projects of the Second World War
The need to gain some material advantage from the inevitable loss of men and machinery in aerial warfare led both the Japanese and German air forces to resort to ramming and suicide tactics during the Second World War. This study of these attacks features detailed technical drawings of the planes used, from the various Japanese kamikaze planes to the Messerschmitts of Germany’s suicide squadron, Rammkommando Elbe.
True Adventures of the Gentleman Commando Who Took on the Nazis
Robert de La Rochefoucald was a French aristocrat who was taught sabotage and combat skills by Britain's SOE before teaming up with the French Resistance to organize cells, blow up munitions factories and assassinate prominent Nazis. Drawing on family archives and wide-ranging historical documents, this account tells how he was captured and tortured for months, making two remarkable escapes, one of them from the hands of a firing squad.
Gallantry in Action
Airmen Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Two Bars 1918–1955
The DFC was introduced as the medal for gallantry by airmen when the Royal Air Force was formed after the First World War; multiple awards are recognized with silver ribbon bars. There were sixty recipients of a second bar up to 1955 (only three have been awarded since) and this book profiles each one with a brief biography, contemporary photograph and the original citation that accompanied the award.
The Veteran's Story
For the bombers of the RAF and USAF, supporting the invasion on D-Day was the culmination of a planned series of strategic raids in preparation for the landings. Focusing on the service of eight crews, and drawing on first-hand accounts, this analysis of the campaign explains the wider strategy and describes the personal experiences of the airmen, from raids on German infrastructure in spring 1944 to supporting land forces several months after D-Day.
The Plots Against Hitler
Danny Orbach explores the perennial question of what could have been done to stop Hitler in this exploration of the Third Reich’s anti-Nazi underground. Disparate small groups based on academic, political, personal and religious affiliations tried repeatedly to end the Führer’s genocidal reign. This is their story of the sometimes ingenious but always doomed efforts, looking at the assassination plans and ethical conflicts surrounding the attempts.
The Fear and the Freedom
How the Second World War Changed Us
The Second World War was one of the most destructive in history, but also one of the most innovative, sweeping away empires and creating new global institutions. Ranging over five continents, this study examines how the war shaped the modern world, inaugurating the arms race and the space race, the United Nations and Bretton Woods, decolonization and globalization. With demagoguery on the rise again, it argues, we cannot afford to ignore this legacy.
Mercedes Benz Type G4 (W31)
The Ultimate Study
The extravagant and impressive six-wheeled, all-terrain Mercedes G4 was developed for the Nazi leadership in the 1930s, providing a powerful symbol of state. Only 57 of the exclusive limousines were ever built and this tribute traces its history, development and manufacture, examines its use by Hitler and General Franco, and provides an extensive photographic study of one of only four surviving examples.
X-Craft, Agents and Dambusters - The Epic Quest to Destroy Hitler's Mightiest Warship
The mere presence of the German battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord was enough to haunt Allied war planners and keep a significant part of Britain's fleet tied to home waters. Consequently, repeated attempts were made throughout the Second World War to sink the ship, including mini submarine raids and many bomber attacks. Patrick Bishop's book is a tale of technology, ingenuity and daring, culminating in the final, successful assault of Autumn 1944, using Barnes Wallis's 'Tallboy' bombs.
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car
Owner's Workshop Manual 1915–44 (All Models)
The Rolls-Royce armoured car first saw action in the First World War in Gallipoli, on the Western Front and with Lawrence of Arabia in the north African deserts, and it ended its active service in Libya in 1941. As well as the history of the vehicle, this Owners’ Workshop Manual covers its design, construction, operation and maintenance, with diagrams, wartime photographs and new photographs of the Tank Museum’s surviving example.
Who Betrayed the Jews?
The Realities of Nazi Persecution in the Holocaust
In The Other Schindlers Agnes Grunwald-Spier wrote of the many unsung individuals who helped the Jews during the Nazi persecution; in this study she uncovers the individuals and groups who betrayed them. Quoting extensively from survivors' accounts, and in sometimes shocking detail, she examines betrayals made for ideology or greed, but also the 'commercial betrayals' by the railway companies who transported Jews and the industries that used forced labour, and the betrayals made in fear and desperation.
Utility Furniture of the Second World War
The 1943 Utility Furniture Catalogue
When furniture shortages in Britain hit an all-time high following the Blitz, the government responded by setting up the Utility Furniture scheme. This comprehensive guide, which accompanies a facsimile reproduction of the first catalogue, offers an insight into the privations of the war years and, for those who remember this sturdy furniture, a chance to reminisce.
Marcel Krueger’s grandmother, Cäcilie Barabasch was from a farming family in what is now Poland but was then East Prussia. In the severe cold of January 1945, aged around 20, Cäcilie was ‘mobilized’ and taken by the Red Army to the Soviet labour camps in the Urals, where she remained for five years before returning to Germany. Marcel Krueger tells her story and his own, as he retraces her journey by road and rail across today’s Poland and Russia.
Retreat to Victory
Julian Thompson, himself a commander in the Falklands War, recreates the experiences of the ill-equipped, under-trained soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force in May 1940, when they endured weeks of a desperate fighting withdrawal inland and were then trapped on the beaches at Dunkirk, awaiting evacuation.
A City in the Jazz Age
Cathy Ross describes London in the 1920s as a city ‘shot with diversity and criss-crossed with nervous energy as it stared at an uncertain future’. Her book explores the cultural currents that circulated in the city, drawing on the Museum of London’s collections to examine the influence of America and Russia, trends in art, design and fashion, and the architecture and character of the city itself, while also discussing the social and political ideas of the decade.
The Last Escaper
The Untold First-Hand Story of the Legendary Bomber Pilot, 'Cooler King' and Arch Escape Artist
Seven escape attempts earned Peter Tunstall 415 days of solitary confinement during his captivity in prison camps (including Colditz) during the Second World War. Written shortly before his death in 2013, this memoir is a mature reflection of his experiences as a bomber pilot and POW, balancing the excitement and adventure of his exploits with the pain, hunger, fear and boredom that came with it.
Consequences of the Peace
The Versailles Settlement: Aftermath and Legacy 1919–2010
In this concluding volume of the Makers of the Modern World: The Peace Conferences of 1919–23 and Their Aftermath series, Alan Sharp investigates some of the most significant, long-term legacies and contributions of the peace treaties signed at the end of the First World War, including the creation of the League of Nations and the United Nations.
Children in the Second World War
Memories from the Home Front
Drawing on the archives of the Second World War Experience Centre, this collection presents the personal accounts of over 200 people who grew up during wartime. Their testimony reveals a childhood of extremes, from the excitement and terror of living under heavy bombardment to the culture shock and upheaval of evacuation. Arranged by subject, including Air-Raid Shelters, Schools and Entertainment, the recollections of those who survived offer a child’s-eye view of life on the Home Front.
The True Story of the Wooden Horse
The Wooden Horse escape from Stalag Luft III in 1943 has inspired many books and a famous film, but this is the first to place the story in the context of a comprehensive history of the camp, from its establishment to its demise. Drawing on recently declassified documents and new eyewitness accounts, it also records how the men were first captured, their preparations for the escape, their flight across Germany, and their subsequent careers.
Their Finest Hour
Stories of the Men Who Won the Battle of Britain
Squadron Leader Reginald Peacock was the only Blenheim light bomber pilot of the war to become a fighter ace, forming a team with his navigator to overcome superior German aircraft in combat. This collection of stories from six Battle of Britain pilots, whose contributions to the RAF’s effort were previously little known, draws on personal accounts as well as squadron Operational Record Books and combat reports.
An Official Account of How Britain Planned to Defend Itself in the Second World War
The British Government drew up detailed schemes for the defence of the country against German aggression from the mid 1930s, altering the proposals as the situation developed. This review of their plans was compiled in 1948 by the Cabinet Office Historical Section and breaks the period into four parts, dealing with the pre-war situation, the imminent threat of invasion immediately after Dunkirk, the vulnerable years from 1940 to 1941 and the situation from 1942 as Britain became the base for counter-offensives into Europe.
Messerschmitt Bf 109
The Early Years – Poland, the Fall of France and the Battle of Britain
The most numerous and successful Luftwaffe fighter of the Second World War, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a formidable opponent for the RAF’s Spitfires and Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain. This photographic collection assembles over 150 archive images of the plane in active service in 1939 and 1940, from pilots and crew with their machines at base to the wreckage of downed aircraft.
The Maginot Line
History and Guide
Built between the world wars to defend France from German attack, the Maginot Line was a state-of-the art fortification running from Belgium to the Mediterranean. Illustrated with photographs, maps and plans, this book explains its construction, technology, and the reasons for its failure to halt the Wehrmacht in 1940. It also provides a visitor’s guide to the surviving artillery posts, forts, bunkers and stretches of wall.
Luftwaffe Fighter Force
The View from the Cockpit
Compiling the first draft of the history of the air war, Allied interrogators debriefed senior Luftwaffe officers – leading ace, Adolf Galland, chief among them – in the immediate aftermath of the cessation of fighting in 1945. The accounts presented here outline the operations, tactics, training and technology of the German air force, including their attitudes to Allied planes and pilots, and focus mainly on the later years of the conflict.
The Life of Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Browning
The husband of Daphne du Maurier, Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning was the founding commander of the British Airborne forces in the Second World War. This biography charts a colourful life in which he also achieved distinction in the First World War and competed in the Olympics .
The Dambuster Raid
A German View
Although successful in its primary objectives, the ingenious ‘Dambusters’ bombing raid of May 1943 failed to halt production in the Ruhr factories but it did devastate infrastructure and inundate towns and villages over a wide area. Using eyewitness accounts and archive photographs, this analysis examines the Allied operation itself, looks at the resulting destruction and aftermath from the German perspective, and describes the rapid rebuilding programme.
The Life of Major General Sir Robert Laycock KCMG, CB, DSO
In 1943 Bob Laycock succeeded Louis Mountbatten as Chief of Combined Operations, becoming the youngest major general in the British Army. This biography examines a military career that began with the Royal Horse Guards in 1927, ended with a period as Governor of Malta in the 1950s but is chiefly notable for involvement in the Battle of Crete, the Rommel Raid and in particular for a part in establishing the Commando special forces units.
Britain's Wartime Evacuees
The People, Places and Stories of the Evacuations Told Through the Accounts of Those Who Were There
The mass evacuations during the Second World War had a seismic impact on many hundreds of thousands of people – both those (mostly school-aged children) who were sent far away from their homes and families and those who had to accommodate and care for them. This illustrated study is based on interviews with evacuees from across the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar as well as contemporary newspaper coverage and official documents.
Bomber Command Airfields of Yorkshire
Only two of Yorkshire’s wartime airfields are still in use by the RAF but during the Second World War the county was home to 33 stations of No.4 Group and No.6 Group, staging raids against the Ruhr, Hamburg and Berlin. Brief histories of the airfields are given in this volume, together with stories of notable characters and events and details of what remains of the bases today.
At the Heart of the Reich
The Secret Diary of Hitler's Army Adjutant
As Hitler’s Army Adjutant from 1938 to 1943, Gerhard Engel was a member of Hitler’s inner circle and privy to the Führer’s thoughts and preoccupations. His diary provides valuable insights into the personalities of Hitler and others at the centre of the Nazi state. Translated by Geoffrey Brooks.
Thank God and the Infantry
From D-Day to VE-Day with the First Battalion, The Royal Norfolk Regiment
The delay to D-Day, owing to bad weather, resulted in the men of the 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment spending a rough night at sea, during which most of them were violently sick. Told from the soldiers' point of view and including many first-hand accounts, this description of their progress in the following months includes the assault on Sword Beach and later battles at Caen and in the Netherlands and Germany. Slightly off-mint.
The Full Story
Major Pat Reid, himself a PoW in Colditz, presents a detailed account of the experiences of the men from across Britain and Europe, the Commonwealth and the USA who were incarcerated in the Nazis' apparently inescapable fortress. Reid describes the unique atmosphere of loyalty and cooperation among the prisoners, and the courage and grim determination involved in the 300 or so escape attempts. The book ends with lists of all prisoners, staff, escapees and attempted break-outs.