World War II
The Original Multi-Role Combat Aircraft
Geoffrey de Havilland and his team went against the prevailing trend of bomber aircraft design with the Mosquito, opting for speed and manoeuvrability rather than firepower and load carrying. The resulting wooden-framed, unarmed plane proved one of the most versatile workhorses of the war, put to use as bomber, fighter, reconnaissance and weather aircraft, and even airliner. This analysis describes the conception and design of the Mosquito and reviews its long and multifarious service record.
Combat Biplanes of World War II
A Personal Selection
Aircraft design evolved rapidly in the 1930s and although front-line planes at the beginning of the Second World War were monoplane designs like the Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf109, all the leading nations still had operational biplanes. This book analyses a selection of 18 German, Japanese, Russian, Italian and British biplanes that saw service during the war including the Fairey Albacore (not introduced until 1940) and Swordfish, which scored some notable victories despite its shortcomings.
1 Group: Swift to Attack
Bomber Command's Unsung Heroes
Formed in June 1940, No1 Group Bomber Command became one of the principal offensive weapons wielded by Britain over the next five years, the force including squadrons that flew the most sorties, dropped the most bombs and suffered the highest casualties of any during the war. This account describes 1 Group's wartime activities, explaining its structure, analysing its aircraft, reviewing principal operations and paying tribute to the 8,760 men who lost their lives.
Military Despatches From Dunkirk to the Battle of Britain
Churchill's rousing speeches and the popular narrative of the Battle of Britain and the 'miracle of Dunkirk' belie the grave reality of Britain's military position in 1940, when defeat seemed the most likely outcome. Presenting the contemporary situation without the romantic interpretations of hindsight, this book reproduces, with contextual commentary, the detailed despatches of contemporary generals Gort and Brooke and Air Chief Marshal Dowding, analysing the Battle of France, the withdrawal of the BEF and the Battle of Britain.
At Leningrad's Gates
The Story of a Soldier with Army Group North
The refusal of the author's unit to replace the army salute with the Nazi Party one, as directed in July 1944, shows the growing dissent of ordinary German soldiers and also illustrates the conflict that loyal and patriotic soldiers faced as they became disillusioned with Nazism. Explaining his thoughts and motivations at the time, this memoir follows a German soldier's experience on the Russian front from 1941–1944 as well as describing the chaos of post-war Germany.
Hitler's Wave-Breaker Concept
An Analysis of the German End Game in the Baltic
Hitler could have marshalled his resources for the defence of Berlin more effectively had he not clung on to ground on the Baltic coast on the theory that fortified enclaves could be more easily defended than attacked. There were, however, valid reasons for protecting the territory beyond this so-called 'wave-breaker' concept. Analysing Hitler's strategy and his military thinking in general, this book provides a detailed appraisal of the Russian campaign between 1941 and 1945.
The Fourth Reich
and Operation Eclipse
Operation Eclipse was an Allied plan conceived to achieve strategic goals in the final phase of the Second World War in Europe and manage the immediate post-war period. From protecting Denmark from occupation by the Russians and dealing with Admiral Doenitz's short-lived government after Hitler's suicide (the 'Fourth Reich' of the title), the book goes on to examine the liberation of Holland and Norway, the release of PoWs and forced labour from German camps and the War Crimes Trials.
Blood and Steel
The Wehrmacht Archive: Normandy 1944
The defending German army faced an overwhelmingly superior force in terms of troop numbers and materiel during the Normandy campaign in 1944, but that did not always mean that the soldiers had respect for their enemy's fighting qualities. This book reveals the attitudes and opinions of Wehrmacht soldiers through contemporary orders, field reports, letters, diaries and PoW interviews, mostly drawn from the intelligence summaries of the First Canadian Army, which also contained material from British and American sources.
Langsdorff and the Battle of the River Plate
The scuttling of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in Montevideo harbour in 1939 was the culmination of one of the first engagements of the war and resulted in the German captain's suicide two days later. This study analyses the events from Langsdorff's point of view, considering the choices available to him, given the imperfect information he possessed, and also examines his, and the British officers', notably honourable behaviour.
Hitler's Island War
The Men Who Fought for Leros
Italy's surrender in September 1943 opened the opportunity for the Allies to take control of strategically important Greek islands. The British moved to strengthen the Italian garrison on Leros, only to lose it in one of the last significant Allied defeats of the war. Drawing on first-hand accounts, this book tells the story of the siege and battle, the daring escapes from the German invaders and the years of incarceration for those captured.
The Battle for Burma
1943-1945 From Kohima and Imphal through to Victory
The British were unprepared for the campaign in the Far East when the Japanese invaded and the fighting in Burma provided some of the severest conditions and logistical challenges encountered in any theatre. This book reproduces the original despatches of the commanders in the field during the operations, describing the strategy and actions of the campaigns from 1943 to 1945, including the major battles at Imphal and Kohima, the naval campaign at Ramree Island and the final recapture of Mandalay and Rangoon.
The American Arsenal
The World War II Official Standard Ordanance Catalogue
During the Second World War, the US Ordnance Department set about producing a definitive catalogue of army equipment to counteract inconsistent information in circulation in unofficial publications and to avoid the parallel development of similar equipment by different departments. The exhaustive master guide, reconstructed from the original loose-leaf version, contains descriptions, specifications and over 900 photographs and drawings of vehicles, weapons, ammunition and equipment from the M4 Sherman tank to the M1 helmet.
A History of Horror
Jacques Delarue was a member of the French Resistance during the Second World War and as a policeman from 1945 was able to interview many of the Gestapo leaders that operated in France when they were brought to trial. His analysis of the organization, originally published in 1962, explores how it was formed and run, examines the motivation of the men responsible for unspeakable brutalities and reveals how dissent began to emerge as the regime collapsed.
Legacy of the Lancasters
The backbone of Bomber Command's mass sorties to Germany during the Second World War, as well as the chosen aircraft for specialist missions such as the Dam Busters raid, the Lancaster bomber ranks alongside the Spitfire as one of the iconic RAF aircraft of the Second World War. This celebration of the famous bomber collects memoirs and first-hand accounts of pilots and crew and tells the stories of some of the Lancaster's most important missions.
Hitler in Cartoons
Lampooning the Evil Madness of a Dictator
German cartoonists mocked Hitler when he came to prominence in the 1920s, but such satire was not possible once the Nazis were in power and the job was left to foreign illustrators. This book follows the career of the Führer through a collection of political cartoons, demonstrating how artists such as Herb Block, EH Shepard and Ding Darling were able to show Hitler as he was – in contrast to the German propaganda image of god-like superman.
Bombers Over Berlin
The RAF Offensive November 1943 - March 1944
Berlin was distant enough from RAF airfields during the Second World War that to make it there and back during the hours of darkness was only possible during the winter. This book, first published in 1985, examines the 16 attacks on Berlin that took place between November 1943 and March 1944, following the stories of individual crews that either came through successfully or were shot down, taken prisoner or nursed crippled aircraft back to England.
Ghosts of the ETO
American Tactical Deception Units in the European Theater, 1944–1945
Within a few weeks of D-Day, the American 23rd Headquarters Special Troops landed in France and positioned a number of inflatable howitzers to draw German fire away from regular artillery units nearby. The 23rd were thereafter engaged across France and into Germany, creating fake radio transmissions, deploying dummy materiel and impersonating other troops in over 20 operations during 1944 and 1945. This book pieces together the long-classified activities of the unusual unit.
Somewhere in England
American Airmen in the Second World War
In 2012 the Imperial War Museums acquired a remarkable collection of 15,000 photographs showing American servicemen who were stationed at air bases in Britain during the Second World War. This selection presents more than 70 of the images illustrating the GIs’ work and recreations, both at military sites and among local communities. The accompanying text gives brief biographies of those pictured and celebrates the resilience and bravery with which pilots flew deep into enemy territory.
Finding World War II's Abandoned, Sunk and Preserved Warships
German U-boats sent more than 2,775 Allied ships to the bottom of the sea during the course of the Second World War, and in the Pacific, the Allies sank more than 3,000 Japanese vessels. This book investigates some of these historic wrecks and reports on work to locate, study, salvage and even restore some of them, from the Japanese midget submarines of Pearl Harbor to iconic losses such as HMS Repulse and the Admiral Graf Spee.
The Dam Buster Raid
A Reappraisal, 70 Years On
Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb and its use on the Ruhr dams is one of the best-known stories of the Second World War. This reappraisal of the events examines the mission itself but also assesses the real effectiveness of the attack on the German war effort, follows the careers of the protagonists of 617 Squadron beyond May 1943, and explores the legacy of the raid and how the legend of 'the Dam Busters' was born.
Behind the Lines
A Critical Survey of Special Operations in World War II
Michael F Dilley offers a critical examination of the use and success of special purpose, special mission units during the Second World War, including groups used by both Allied and Axis powers, and in every major theatre of war. The missions discussed range from direct action raids to intelligence gathering, and include the raid to kill Rommel, code named Operation Flipper; the activities of Popski’s Private Army; and the SOE’s Jedburgh Project.
A Complete Account of the RAF's Support Role during the Audacious Commando Raid on St Nazaire, March 1942
The British raid on St Nazaire in March 1942 deprived Germany of an important seaport for the duration of the war but the RAF's diversionary role in the attack has been criticized as ineffectual. This new assessment of the RAF's part in Operation Chastise explains the restrictive orders that hampered the bombers and outlines the other crucial functions that they performed: sweeping the Bay of Biscay and searching for survivors in the aftermath.
The location, strength and operational status of enemy ships was of primary concern to the belligerent nations during the Second World War, with the threat of powerful vessels such as Tirpitz significantly affecting military planning. Aerial and surface reconnaissance photographs were acquired whenever possible and this book presents a collection of such images, drawn from contemporary intelligence files, assessing the vessels of the German, Italian, French and Japanese navies. Former USAF photo interpreter Roy Stanley provides expert commentary.
In Bomber Command
Gerry Anderson, the creator of Thunderbirds and Joe 90, was clearly influenced in his stories by his pilot brother Lionel who was tragically killed flying a Mosquito over France in 1944. This book tells the story of Lionel Anderson's life and career, and includes excerpts from his many letters commenting on his experiences of flying combat missions with the RAF and training in America, where he made friends with actors Gene Tierney and Preston Foster.
The Secret Life of Fighter Command
The Men and Women Who Beat the Luftwaffe
The Battle of Britain may have been won by 'the Few' but resistance to German aerial attack in the early part of the Second World War also relied on a well-organized network of support staff. Based on interviews with members of this formidable team, the book pays tribute to the men and women who enabled the Spitfires and Hurricanes to prevail, from radar engineers and coastal spotters to Wrens in the control rooms and pilots in the air.
Double Cross in Cairo
The True Story of the Spy Who Turned the Tide of War in the Middle East
With a talent for invention and a taste for adventure, Italian Jew Renato Levi operated as a double agent in the Middle East and North Africa during the Second World War. This book uncovers the story of the remarkable spy, which has only come to light in recent years, and his CHEESE network, an entirely fictitious ring of intelligence sources providing misdirection that helped to defeat Rommel in North Africa and diverted German defences from the D-Day landing sites.
North Wales Airfields in the Second World War
Critical to protecting the port of Liverpool and the industrial North West, as well as discouraging attack via Ireland, airfields were quickly established in North Wales after the outbreak of war in 1939. This book assesses the role of the twelve bases in the area from fighter stations such as Valley and Mona on Anglesey to training and support centres such as Penrhos, Wrexham and Hawarden, the airfield associated with the factory producing Wellington bombers.
The Rise and Fall of the German Air Force
The success of the Luftwaffe in the early years of the Second World War was partly to blame for its ultimate defeat, according to this report compiled by British intelligence officers. First published by the Air Ministry in 1948, it is a detailed contemporary analysis of the Luftwaffe's operational performance and the character and achievements of its senior officers, including Göring and Hitler, whose decisions and actions are identified as significant factors in Germany's loss of air superiority.
When the Spitfire was designed in the mid 1930s, the RAF, and most other major air forces, were still operating fabric-covered bi-plane fighters with open cockpits; by the time it was retired, the jet age was well underway. This book, a compilation of Alfred Price's three-volume series, first published in the 1970s, examines the development and operational duties of the leading fighter of the period through the stories of the pilots who flew it and accompanying archive photographs.
Yanks In The RAF
The Story of Maverick Pilots and American Volunteers Who Joined Britain's Fight in WWII
Before Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into the Second World War, American pilots seeking adventure, or with strong political motivations, volunteered for the RAF to fight the Germans. From cultural conflicts with their English hosts to action over France, particularly the Dieppe raid of August 1942, this book charts the experiences of the 270 airmen who flew in the three RAF 'Eagle' squadrons of American volunteers before being reassigned to the USAAF by late 1942.
How One Woman Saved Her Family from Nazi Germany
As the Nazi regime intensified its persecution of its Jewish citizens, many turned to relatives abroad for help in escaping. This extraordinary collection of letters, now housed in the American Jewish Committee Archives, tells of one family’s appeals to a cousin in the United States. It is a riveting tale of bureaucratic obstruction, hostile immigration authorities, French internment camps, and an ordinary American Jew, struggling to keep his business afloat, faced with a tragedy beyond his comprehension.
A Young POW in the Most Audacious Breakout of WWII
The attempt to liberate 200 PoWs in one go from Stalag Luft III through a 340-foot tunnel was the most ambitious prison break of the war, immortalized in The Great Escape – and the head carpenter on the project was John 'Willy' Williams. Written by his niece, this book tells Williams's story, including how he was one of the 76 men who made it beyond the wire, getting as far as Czechoslovakia before being caught and executed when just 24 years old.
The Life and Wars of SS Colonel Jochen Peiper
Jochen Peiper was adjutant to Heinrich Himmler in the early part of the Second World War, accompanying him to key meetings with the Nazi leadership. He later commanded a Panzer division on the Eastern Front and at the Battle of the Bulge, earning a fearsome reputation and later charges of war crimes. This biography of Peiper assesses his personality and military achievements and the controversies that saw him tried in 1946 and eventually murdered in 1976.
Those Who Dared
Awards to the British SAS Regiments and Attached SBS Units 1941–1946
The first incarnation of the Special Air Service (and affiliated Special Boat Service) undertook daring missions in North Africa and Europe during the Second World War and was disbanded immediately afterwards. Aimed at the medal collector and military historian, this book records the awards given to men of the units between 1941 and 1946, and gives brief summaries of the units' operations.
Artie: Bomber Command Legend
The Remarkable Story of Wing Commander Artie Ashworth
New Zealander Artie Ashworth joined the RAF in 1939 at the age of 18, and flew 110 missions over enemy territory in Europe and the Pacific. Drawing on Artie's personal memoir and meticulous log-books, his younger brother charts his remarkable exploits in Bomber Command; his crucial role in developing the early Pathfinder tactics; and the occasion when he flew his damaged Wellington bomber back to England single-handed after ordering his crew to bail out.
Honour to the Airborne
Part One: 1939–48
The British Airborne forces were created during the Second World War and took part in crucial campaigns in Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East between 1939 and 1948. This definitive record of the honours achieved by its personnel during that period is an updated edition of the reference work, now including the battalion of each recipient, brief narratives of the events rewarded and an index of recipients.
Rise Against Eagles
Stories of RAF Airmen in the Battle of Britain
A compilation of tributes to airmen who flew against the Luftwaffe during the Second World, this book tells the stories of pilots from Poland, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand and South Africa as well as five of ‘the Few’ from Merseyside, other British airmen whose stories have not been told before and Squadron Leader Laurence ‘Benny’ Goodman. All these men, apart from Goodman, who flew special bombing operations in 617 Squadron during 1944–5, were RAF fighter crew in the Battle of Britain.
Hitler's Most Successful Spy
Elyesa Bazna took advantage of his job at the British Embassy in Ankara to sell valuable secrets to the Germans from 1943, for which he was paid large amounts of what later turned out to be counterfeit money. Drawing on MI5, MI6 and CIA files as well as personal accounts, this book tells the story of Agent Cicero from first contact to his retirement, still undetected, in 1944, and post-war revelations about his spying career.
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.
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.
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.