In Search of the Real Dad's Army
The Home Guard and the Defence of the United Kingdom 1940–1944
By the summer of 1940 nearly a million and a half British men had joined the Local Defence Volunteers (LDV), a response to the very real threat of invasion by a rapidly advancing German Army. This book explores the LDV’s transformation from an enthusiastic yet ill-equipped organisation into the capable Home Guard, which, as the threat of invasion receded, nevertheless became key to the UK’s local defence strategy, as well as a means of combating the purported Fifth Column. Off-mint.
The Birth of the Royal Marines
Before 1802 the Royal Marines were known as the Marine Corps, a small but powerful contingent that operated amphibiously to link land and sea, Army and Navy. This detailed history of the Corps charts its transformation into the first modern rapid reaction force and includes the evolution of its operational structures, methods of recruitment (often from criminals) and its role in Britain’s notorious ‘gunboat diplomacy’.
Jewish Commandos and the Raid on Tobruk
During the North African campaign in 1942, the British used a special force of German-speaking Jews recruited from displaced Germans in Palestine. This ‘Special Interrogation Group’ was equipped with German military police uniforms and equipment and tasked with gathering crucial information from behind enemy lines. This book outlines the formation of the unit and describes its part in the raid on Tobruk in September 1942, which involved trekking across hundreds of miles of desert disguised as German soldiers transporting PoWs.
German Special Forces of World War Two
German paratroopers scored notable successes in the invasion of Holland in 1940 and Crete in 1941 but were not developed during the war to the extent of Allied special forces. This analysis, first published in 1985, investigates the reasons for this and explores the irregular units that were deployed by Germany, including the Brandenburgers, an elite force recruited from fluent speakers of foreign languages who were able to work covertly behind enemy lines.
Special Ops Liberators
223 (Bomber Support) Squadron,100 Group and the Electronic War
Although the value of radar to the defence of southern England during the Battle of Britain is well known, little has been written about the electronic arms race that developed thereafter. In addition to radar tracking and communication, radio technology became increasingly important in target and bomb-guidance systems. This book tells the story of the RAF support squadron that provided vital protection to Bomber Command operations by employing radio jamming and radar countermeasures against German defences.
The Atlas of Special Operations of World War Two
From the German use of paratroopers on Crete (convincing the British and Americans to form their own airborne units) to the Chindits of the Burmese jungle and the Partisans of Yugoslavia, special units and clandestine tactics were a key feature of the Second World War. This analysis uses over 100 colour maps to describe some of the major operations ranging from daring raids, such as the Dam Busters bomber attacks, to large-scale special-forces assaults such as Operation Market Garden.
At Close Quarters: SOE Close Combat Pistol Instructor
Colonel Hector Grant-Taylor
Many of the tales about Hector Grant-Taylor, the legendary Second World War SOE instructor, who had an enormous influence on techniques and training in close quarters combat, are revealed to be apocryphal in this biography. Nevertheless the real story is no less colourful as the aristocratic-sounding army officer turns out to have been born plain Leonard Taylor in a working class area of Manchester and to have spent time in Wormwood Scrubs for bigamy.
When volunteers were called for at the outbreak of the First World War, new recruits had to be at least 5 feet 3 inches tall with a minimum chest size of 34 inches. It soon became clear that valuable manpower was being wasted and new 'bantam' regiments were raised to accommodate the undersized soldiers. This updated edition of a book first published in 1981 tells the story of the 50,000 men who served in over 20 British and Canadian bantam battalions.
Allied Special Forces Insignia
Of the many special forces set up after 1940 to 'set Europe ablaze', in Churchill's phrase, some have since become household names, such as the Parachute Regiment and the SAS, while others, having had brief and covert existences, are little known today. This well-illustrated book, aimed at the militaria collector, sets in context the growth and development of Allied Special Forces during the Second World War and provides a guide to the distinctive insignia that they wore.
Stosstrupptaktik: The First Stormtroopers
German Assault Troops of the First World War
The stalemate of trench warfare in the First World War precipitated a gradual move towards more dynamic attacks by smaller units. These tactics became especially associated with the German 'stoss' or shock troops, the term later giving way to the more colourful 'stormtroopers'. This analysis of tactical developments in the German Army demonstrates how the elite units emerged and built their reputation, setting the groundwork for the fearsome agents of blitzkrieg in the 1930s.
The Secret War Against Mussolini, 1940–1943
British intelligence had limited resources in fascist Italy, but still played a crucial role in the conflict there, not least when agent Dick Mallaby was plucked from imprisonment to undertake clandestine communications about the Italian surrender. Commissioned by the Cabinet Office and drawing on many previously classified documents, this is the official history of the Special Operations Executive in Italy, revealing missions as daring as a plot to assassinate Mussolini and plans to arm the Mafia.
The Sea Devils
Operation Struggle and the Last Great Raid of World War Two
The midget submarines that were famously used to attack the battleship Tirpitz in 1943 were developed further and the improved 'XE-class' craft were used in a daring attack on Singapore harbour in 1945. This history recounts how 18 British, Australian and New Zealand submariners, two of whom were awarded the Victoria Cross and several others decorated, piloted two XE craft through the Japanese defences to successfully incapacitate the heavy cruiser Takao.
The Daring Dozen
12 Special Forces Legends of World War II
During the Second World War, the unique conditions of the various theatres together with advances in transport and communications technology opened up new tactical possibilities for a number of daring and unorthodox leaders and their units of elite 'special forces'. This book explores the careers of the most important British, American, German, and Italian Special Forces leaders of the war, including Orde Wingate of the Chindits and David Stirling, founder of the SAS.
By Air to Battle: The Official History
of the British Paratroops in World War II
British paratroops played a significant role in the Second World War, not just on D-Day and at Arnhem but earlier in North Africa and the Mediterranean. First published in 1945, this official account gives an important contemporary perspective on how events unfolded and were initially understood. Including eyewitness reports from combatants, the book covers all the airborne missions of the war as well as the training and preparation of parachutists and glider crew.