World War II
The Story of The Spitfire
An Operational and Combat History
The Spitfire is often cited as being superior to its competitors during the Battle of Britain and beyond, but the aircraft was continually in a development race with rivals and its ultimate effectiveness was in the hands of the pilots. Drawing on official reports and summaries as well as pilots' accounts, this study focuses on the evolution of the Spitfire, pilot training and the changing combat tactics employed in different theatres throughout the war.
Voices of the Flemish Waffen-SS
The Final Testament of the Oostfronters
Following the Nazi occupation of Belgium in 1940 and the German invasion of Soviet Russia in 1941, thousands of young Flemish men volunteered to enlist in the Waffen-SS and fight on the Eastern Front. In 2007, the publication of Hitler’s Flemish Lions, Jonathan Trigg’s history of these volunteers, led to meetings between the author and surviving Oostfronters: in a series of interviews, on themes from the 1940 invasion to the aftermath of war, this book lets them tell their stories.
A Spitfire Pilot's Story
Wine, Women and Song
After the Battle of Britain, there was a call for extra manpower from the Commonwealth. By 1941, more than 3,000 New Zealanders were serving in the RAF. Funds raised in the former colony also paid for the first New Zealand unit, 485 Squadron, in which Doug Brown began his service. Based largely on his many letters home, this book tells the fascinating story of one pilot’s recruitment, training and wartime experiences.
With the Jocks
Hidden away for more than 50 years, this remarkable memoir records the author's experiences as a platoon commander with the King's Own Scottish Borderers in the aftermath of D-Day. Illustrated with the author's own drawings and photographs, it is a lively, vividly observed record of the drama and human tragedy of war, from a daring night-time attack on Flushing in October 1944 to the final capitulation of Germany in May 1945.
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.
Soldiers With Spanners
The Ground Crews' View During the Second World War
During the spring of 1943, American B-24 and B-17 bombers with their USAAF aircrew became an increasingly familiar sight in the towns and villages of East Anglia. This collection of more than 230 photographs focuses on the servicemen who undertook the vital task of maintaining the planes and supporting the crews over the next two years. Drawn from several private archives, the snapshots show GIs hard at work as well as relaxing on base and venturing into local communities.
The Nazi Leadership at Rest and Play
Reporting for the British and, after 1939, the American press, Ernest Pope was a Reuters correspondent in Munich, watching and meeting many of the leading Nazis, including Hitler, between 1936 and 1940. First published in October 1941, this book collects his experiences of the period, describing the boorish excesses and private predilections of the Nazis; the growing Nazification of Germany as the police state took hold; and the gossip and attitudes of ordinary Bavarians caught up in the madness.
Goldfish, Caterpillars & Guinea Pigs
Accounts of Pilots and Air Crews from the Second World War
Pilots who underwent pioneering reconstructive plastic surgery after being shot down in the Second World War became members of The Guinea Pig Club and there were also informal societies for those who escaped from crippled aircraft by parachute (The Caterpillar Club) or ditched in water and survived thanks to their dinghy or lifebelt (The Goldfish Club). This book collects 35 stories of miraculous escapes and recoveries, and outlines the history of the clubs that recognized the survivors’ achievements.
German Night Fighter Force
Concentration on the offensive capabilities of the Luftwaffe in the late 1930s meant that German night defence fighters were not employed until the success of British bombing raids made it a necessity in 1940. Organizational problems and the Allies' superior radar technology continued to make air defence problematic thereafter. Originally published in German, this book assesses the development of the Luftwaffe's night fighter force and its considerable operational and technical achievements during the war.
Wartime Bombing Decoys in Wales
Pathfinder bombers in the Second World War dropped incendiary bombs so that the main force could target the resulting fires. This system led to a network of decoys being built across Britain, where fires were created in an unpopulated area to divert enemy bombs. Ivor Jones’s investigation into the once-secret sites across Wales includes details of how they were constructed, contemporary aerial images and modern photographs of what remains of 'Q' and 'starfish' decoys, as well as dummy airfields.
Caribbean Volunteers at War
The Forgotten Story of the RAF's 'Tuskegee Airmen'
In telling the story of the Caribbean and West African RAF crews, Mark Johnson reveals how volunteers, usually from poor backgrounds in the West Indies, equipped themselves for military service through education, hard work and personal commitment; and he gives a full account of their wartime experience, including for some imprisonment in the Stalag Luft PoW camps for Allied aircrew. The book includes the full listings of Coloured Caribbean Volunteer Aircrew and black PoWs.
Twilight of the Gods
The Decline and Fall of the German General Staff in World War II
David Stone tells the story of the progressive demise of the German general staff, from its revival and rearmament in 1935 to its downfall in the final years of the Second World War. The study examines why the army high command entered into its ‘unholy alliance’ with the National Socialists and Hitler; traces the worsening relationship as the war progressed; and analyses the general staff’s role in von Stauffenberg’s 1944 assassination attempt and the failed Operation Valkyrie.
German Resistance in the Last Year of WWII
The failed 1944 'Valkyrie' plot to assassinate Hitler is evidence of a strand of resistance to the Nazi regime that existed within the German army and among German civilians. Here, Randall Hansen describes how dissenting voices were silenced, how a number of key officers and officials defied the Fuhrer's direct orders to destroy everything they could in retreat and how, by disobeying Hitler, they saved lives and delivered historic cities and cultural landmarks from annihilation. Off-mint.
A Hard Way to Make a War
The Italian Campaign in the Second World War
In September 1943, the Anglo-American allies took the offensive against the German and Italian Axis, taking Sicily and crossing the Straits of Messina, and it was in Italy, in May 1945, that Nazi forces made their first surrender in Europe. This in-depth account of the Campaign discusses the decision-making and planning, as the Allies learned to work together to force their way up the length of Italy, and also considers the role of Sicily and the Italian Campaign within the overall war strategy.
For Kaiser and Hitler
The Memoirs of Luftwaffe General Alfred Mahncke 1910-1945
Alfred Mahncke was witness to some of the earliest experiments in military aviation, served as a pilot throughout the First World War and was a senior Luftwaffe officer, working with Goring and other leading figures, during the Second. His recently translated memoir provides an eyewitness account of German military aviation through both conflicts, but also describes the political upheavals of the inter-war years, the rise of Nazism and the formation of the new German air force in the late 1930s.
Agent Fifi and the Wartime Honeytrap Spies
Marie Chilver, codenamed 'Agent Fifi', was used by the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War to test trainee agents' resolve: she befriended them in hotel bars to see if they would reveal their true identities. Compiled from information declassified in 2014, this book tells the story of the London-born Latvian seductress and of other women agents used as honeytraps, decoys, infiltrators and double agents by British spymasters Maxwell Knight and John Masterman.
The British Spy Manual
The Authentic Special Operations Executive (SOE) Guide for WWII
In addition to their training in the arts of espionage and sabotage, SOE agents were introduced to a bewildering array of special equipment. This book reproduces, in facsimile form, the original catalogues prepared for agents in 1944, which contain illustrated details of field supplies and specialist kit such as underwater breathing apparatus and booby-trap mechanisms, as well as ingenious gadgets for clandestine operations such as explosive cigarettes and a tiny dagger in a pouch that could be sewn into clothing.
A Most Secret Squadron: The First Full Story of 618 Squadron
and its Special Detachment Anti-U-Boat Mosquitos
While 617 Squadron was training for its attack on the dams of the Ruhr Valley, 618 Squadron, formed a month after the 'Dambusters' in 1943, was preparing a low-level daylight raid on the German battleship Tirpitz, using Mosquito aircraft to deliver another of Barnes Wallis's ingenious bombs. This meticulously researched account of 618's wartime activities and the development of the 'highball' bouncing bomb was written by one of the original members of the squadron. First published in 1995.
Liberating Europe: D-Day to Victory 1944-1945
Despatches from the Front
Part of the Despatches from the Front series, this book begins with the official report on the Dieppe Raid in 1942, in which vital lessons were learned that were to assist in the planning of Operation Overlord. Further despatches describe the activity of the Allied Expeditionary Air Force in north-west Europe and the assault phase of the Normandy landings; and the book ends with Montgomery’s report on land operations from D-Day to the German surrender.
Capital Ships at War 1939-1945
Despatches from the Front
Although powerful and fast, the heavy cruisers and battleships of the German fleet, such as Graf Spee and Tirpitz, achieved comparatively little and were defeated by overwhelming numbers of smaller Royal Navy ships. Meanwhile, British battleships, notably HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Hood also succumbed to torpedoes and shelling. This volume presents despatches of the commanders of ships engaged in actions ranging from the Battle of the River Plate in 1939 to Pacific operations in 1945.
The Crime and The Silence
A Quest for the Truth of a Wartime Massacre
The massacre of hundreds of Jews by residents of the small Polish town of Jedwabne in 1941 remained secret for 60 years after the war; it was an atrocity that attested to the level of anti-Semitism in Poland at the time. In this award-winning book, Anna Bikont tells the story of the massacre through the testimony of survivors, but also chronicles her own quest to uncover the truth, and looks at how the town has faced up to its past.
Dunkirk and the Evacuation of Western Europe
The so-called 'miracle' of Dunkirk was the saving of almost 340,000 British and Allied troops to fight another day but it was not the final withdrawal; two further evacuations, from Le Havre and the Atlantic ports, took place over the next few weeks. As well as examining these remarkable operations, Henry Buckton's analysis recounts the events that led to them and highlights the lessons of the Battle of France that would inform the later Allied war effort.
Air Battle for Arnhem
In this new study of the Battle for Arnhem, Alan Cooper focuses on the role of the re-supply aircraft of the RAF. Operation Market Garden relied on being re-supplied by air, but it was a costly undertaking resulting in the loss of 309 aircrew, 79 air despatchers and 107 aircraft. Day-by-day, from 17 September 1944 to 25 September, this book tells the story of the RAF's role at Arnhem, and ends with details of its awards and casualties.
The Last Torpedo Flyers
The True Story of Arthur Aldridge: Hero of the Skies
Flying torpedo-bombing missions was an especially perilous business during the Second World War, requiring a smooth, steady approach to the target ship in the teeth of enemy fire. This book tells the story of Arthur Aldridge who joined the RAF at the age of 19 in 1940 to fly Bristol Beauforts and survived to the end of the war, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross and bar in the process for repeated bravery in action.
The Final Witness
Following their improbable canoe assault on the port of Bordeaux in 1942, the heroes of Operation Frankton were left to make their own escape from France on foot. This study of the famous mission relies on meticulous new research to tell the complete story of the attack and its aftermath and profiles all the leading figures as well as revealing previously unnamed players in the drama.
Burning the Reichstag
An Investigation into the Third Reich's Enduring Mystery
Although the burning of the German parliament building in 1933 has become associated with the seizing of new powers and the beginning of Hitler's dictatorship, the fire is usually attributed by historians to the independent actions of a Dutch Communist, Marinus van der Lubbe. This investigation into one of the last mysteries of the Nazi period examines new sources and the actions of key figures, including Goring and Goebbels, and concludes that van der Lubbe could not have acted alone.
The Life of Georgy Zhukov
It is arguable that Georgy Zhukov was the greatest of the Allied generals of the Second World War, surpassing Eisenhower, Montgomery or Patton in military effectiveness. Unlike his rival Red Army generals he was prepared to stand up to Stalin when necessary and although charming in his private life, was a brutal and decisive commander. This is the first major biography of the Soviet hero, drawing on newly available sources in the Russian archives and previously unpublished excerpts from Zhukov's own memoirs. Slightly off-mint.
Kidnap in Crete
The True Story of the Abduction of a Nazi General
On a moonlit night in April 1944 a small band of partisans, led by the British SOE agent Patrick Leigh Fermor, kidnapped the Nazi general in charge of the German-occupied island of Crete and spirited him away to captivity in Egypt. Drawing on unprecedented access to the testimony of Cretan guerrillas, SOE papers and Fermor's own account, this book tells the full story of this daring raid, the epic drive across the island, and the devastating reprisals that followed.
Voices of the British Airborne Forces in the Second World War
Volunteering for the new airborne forces in 1941 did not guarantee entry - the selection process eliminated all but the fittest and most resilient soldiers. The men who made it were therefore an elite band with a supreme esprit de corps. This book collects first-hand accounts from Paras who fought in the Second World War, recalling their experiences from the brutal training to action in the Mediterranean, Normandy, Arnhem and the Rhine.
A Collective Diary of the Last Days of the Third Reich
The German writer Walter Kempowski (1929-2007) devoted many years to his Echolot ('Sonar' or 'Echo Soundings'): a vast collection of autobiographies, letters and diaries that describe personal experiences of the Second World War. In this final volume, Abgesang '45, Kempowski's 'collage' of writings crosses national and social borders to give a many-layered portrayal of four days between 20 April and 9 May 1945: the end of the war, as seen by people ranging from Hitler to a Buchenwald inmate. American-cut pages.
Snow and Steel
Battle of the Bulge 1944-45
Confidence that the Allied advance and ultimate defeat of Germany were inevitable was severely dented by the surprise German counterattack in the Ardennes in December 1944. This comprehensive new assessment of the month-long campaign draws on interviews with hundreds of veterans and local civilians to tell the story, and explores the legacy of the engagement: the largest and bloodiest of the war for the Americans, and arguably the greatest in its history.
The West Point Atlas of War
World War II: European Theater
Originally used to train cadets at the US Military Academy, the maps in this book were created by the Department of Military Art and Engineering and were first commercially published in 1959. The 62 detailed plans are accompanied by commentaries and describe the troop deployments and movements of the key European battles of the Second World War (including the North African campaign), from the German invasion of Poland in 1939 to Allied operations in Germany in April and May 1945.
Battle of Britain Voices
37 Fighter Pilots Tell Their Extraordinary Stories
The RAF's resources in facing the Luftwaffe in 1940 may have been meagre, but 'the few' left an abundance of first-hand testimony in the form of combat reports, letters, diaries, contemporary interviews and memoirs written in the immediate aftermath of the battle or shortly after the war. This book compiles a selection of accounts from Fighter Command pilots covering the period from the Battle of France in May 1940 to the end of the year.
Mapping the Second World War
Not to be confused with Michael Swift and Michael Sharp's study of the European theatre with the same title (Postscript 24148), this book makes use of Imperial War Museums' extensive collection of charts from all conflict zones, many carrying significant tactical markings. Notable among more than 150 examples are planning maps for the projected German invasion of Britain, RAF target maps of German cities, naval charts of U-boat sightings and sinkings, and an American target map of Hiroshima.
One of the leading British aces of the Battle of Britain, Bob Doe (1920-2010) had the rare distinction of flying both Hurricanes and Spitfires in combat. This biography, written by his historian daughter, charts his career from unpromising beginnings without qualifications of any kind, through pre-war flight training and the action of 1940, to leading a squadron of the Indian Air Force against the Japanese in Burma and a posting to Egypt during the early 1950s.
The Final Few
The Last Surviving Pilots of the Battle of Britain Tell Their Stories
When this book was published in 2015, there were 27 remaining of the nearly 3,000 Fighter Command aircrew who fought the Battle of Britain in 1940. Taking a final chance to record the memories of these last eyewitnesses, all now well into their nineties, Sarkar presents six in-depth interviews with Battle of Britain pilots as well as a chapter of shorter excerpts from the author's correspondence with several other veterans of the conflict.
The River Seine 1944
Crossing the Seine was an important step in the Allied advance into occupied France. This book tells the story of one of a number of assaults on the river in August 1944 that pitted one British division (the 43rd, Wessex) against one rather depleted German division. The action has since become something of a classic and a training example, but this analysis - first published in 1988 - shows that the operation in fact 'lumbered from crisis to crisis'.
Daring Young Men
The Heroism and Triumph of the Berlin Airlift, June 1948-May 1949
As Stalin's troops cut off the surface connections to Berlin in 1948, the Western allies were left with the choice of abandoning the city to Soviet hegemony or supplying the western zones from the air. Analysing the role of politicians and generals as well as the airmen who kept the supply chain going for almost a year, this bestseller describes the extraordinary effort that saw more than 250,000 flights delivering over two million tons of food.
The Wooden Horse
The Classic WWII Story of Escape
Eric Williams, an RAF bomber captain, was shot down over Germany and imprisoned in the notorious POW camp Stalag Luft III. In this lightly fictionalized account - a classic since its first publication in 1949, and filmed a year later - he tells the gripping story of his escape: how he constructed a tunnel, concealing its entrance beneath a vaulting horse; dodged searchlights and guard dogs; crossed Germany on foot and by train; and stowed away aboard a Danish ship.
They Fought Alone
The True Story of SOE's Agents in Wartime France
French Section was the largest division of the Special Operations Executive spy operation during the Second World War, running over 80 resistance groups. At its head was Maurice Buckmaster, who had built up a prodigious knowledge of the country while working there before the war. This edition of his classic 1958 memoir contains a new introduction assessing criticism of Buckmaster in recent years and putting his contribution to the war into context.
The French Resistance Heroine Who Defied the Gestapo
For carrying out an audacious ambush to free her husband and other prisoners from a Gestapo van in 1943, Lucie Aubrac (1912-2007) is still hailed as a heroine of the French Resistance. This first full English-language biography tells her compelling story but also analyses the Aubracs' defence of inconsistencies in her account, which were exposed when the former head of the Gestapo claimed that the couple had become informers and betrayed their comrades.
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.
German Kampfgruppen Action of World War Two
Kampfgruppen or 'battle groups' were specially created units within the German army formed to undertake specific operations. They often brought together members of disparate military units and could vary from small bands up to substantial formations, which were usually disbanded afterwards. First published in the 1990s, this title examines the role of these flexible shock troops and the part they played in executing Germany's blitzkrieg tactics throughout the Second World War.
German Action in the Field, 1939-1945
Compared with its British and American counterparts, the leaner command structure of the German Army during the Second World War placed more emphasis on the initiative and motivation of senior commanders in the field. This book, originally published in 2000, profiles 14 of the most successful of these officers, including Eduard Dietl, leader of land forces in the invasion of Norway and later in Eastern Europe, and Werner Kempf, the supreme Panzer tank commander.
Churchill's Secret Invasion
Britain's First Large-scale Combined Operations Offensive 1942
In the first major amphibious assault of the war, British troops invaded the island of Madagascar in 1942, fearful that the Japanese would get there first and threaten British shipping routes to Egypt and India. This book describes the attack, known as Operation Ironclad, and the ensuing six-month campaign on the Vichy French-controlled island, assessing the operation's strategic importance and the assault's influence on the planning and execution of seaborne attacks later in the war.
The Red Army in WWII
Order of Battle
The Red Army's fearsome reputation in the Second World War was earned at the cost of countless lives as Soviet battle tactics took full advantage of the vast human resources (up to 12.5 million men and women) at its disposal. Arranged by campaign and battle, this study shows the strengths and organizational structure of the Red Army at every key conflict from 1939 to the capture of Berlin in 1945.
The World at War, 1939-1945
Originally published as All Hell Let Loose, this hardback edition of Max Hastings's ambitious work examines the Second World War, in all theatres of conflict around the world, in one epic volume. Concentrating on the experiences of ordinary people rather than the generals and politicians, Hastings explains the essential strategic developments while using the diaries and letters of military and civilian participants to build up a picture of the human experience of the war. Published in the UK as All Hell Let Loose (also available in Postscript). Slightly off-mint. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge. American-cut pages.