World War II
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 Buchenvald 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.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress
The Giant Bomber of World War Two and Korea
One of the largest and most advanced aircraft to serve in the Second World War, the Boeing B-29 was a heavy bomber designed for high-altitude daytime raids but in practice used in low-altitude night-time incendiary missions, and B-29s were used to drop the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This well-illustrated book is a detailed history of the 'Superfortress', from design and construction to variants such as the B-50 and copies such as the Soviet Tupolev Tu-4.
Desert Rats 1940-1942
The successes achieved by British forces in the Libyan desert provided the first major land victories of the war, giving a much-needed boost to morale and the first signs of a turning of the tide. These three documentary films, produced by official War Office and Army film units shortly after the events, describe the North African campaign against the Italians and Germans, focusing on the strategic port of Tobruk. World War II from Primary Sources series. 1 DVD 60min
Burma: The Forgotten Army
As Louis Mountbatten explains in the first of the three programmes on this disc, there were more than 1,300,000 men in his South East Asia Command, and the challenges of climate and conditions and the importance of their mission rivalled anything in the European theatre. Using battlefield footage, contemporary newsreels and captured enemy film, the documentaries were produced by the British War Office in the late 1940s and 1950s. World War II from Primary Sources series. 1 DVD 165min
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.
Churchill and his Airmen
Relationships, Intrigue and Policy Making 1914-1945
Usually quick to see the possibilities of new technology, Winston Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911, was an early champion of the military use of aeroplanes, supported the creation of an independent RAF in 1918, and even took flying lessons himself. This detailed analysis charts his impact on the development of military aviation in the first half of the 20th century and his relationships with key airmen such as Hugh Dowding and 'Bomber' Harris.
Today most people believe that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 forced the surrender of Japan and spared the millions of deaths that would have resulted from a continued war. Examining the bombings, the science and politics leading up to them and, through harrowing personal testimonies, the experiences of some of the survivors, Paul Ham concludes that, despite the American claim that they had opted for 'the least abhorrent choice', viable alternatives were never considered.
The Price of Peace
With the end of the Second World War in sight, the 'Big Three' Allied leaders - Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill - met at Yalta in February 1945. Their decisions on the shape of post-war Europe had far-reaching consequences and, many believe, led to the Cold War. This assessment of the conference makes use of newly discovered documents from US and UK government sources as well as Russian archive material only available since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The Desert War 1940-3 in the Words of Those Who Fought
While the failure of the Luftwaffe to overcome the RAF in 1940 brought an end to major confrontations on the Western Front until the Normandy invasion four years later, in North Africa British troops toiled away in hellish conditions from mid 1940 until May 1943, when victory in Tunisia proved the tide of the war had finally turned. This account of the desert campaign highlights the human experience of the attritional fighting through the testimonies of surviving 'Desert Rats'.
The Long Road
The Trials and Tribulations of Airmen Prisoners
The last Luftwaffe POW camp to be built during the Second World War, Luft 7 in Silesia, was operational between June 1944 and January 1945, when the Russian advance forced its hurried evacuation. Using diary entries and first-hand accounts, this book tells the story of the camp and its prisoners who, weakened by incarceration and in Arctic conditions, made a 150-mile walk to a camp near Berlin, where they suffered further hardships before liberation in April 1945.
Storming the Eagle's Nest
Hitler's War in the Alps
In a mountain resort in the Bavarian Alps, Hitler built his 'Eagle's Nest' headquarters: here he conceived and directed the war as the surrounding territory fell to fascism. 'The Alps as much as Berlin were at the heart of the Third Reich', writes Jim Ring and here he reveals the alpine training and battle grounds, the secret rocket factories and slave labour camps, and how, as the war progressed, the occupied Alps became a cradle of resistance to the Nazis. Slightly off-mint.
The Secret Listeners
How the Y Service Intercepted German Codes for Bletchley Park
The celebrated code breakers of Bletchley Park would have had no messages to decipher without the efforts of the 'Y' ('Wireless') Service, which sent men and women across the globe to listening stations where German messages were intercepted. Sinclair McKay uses interviews with surviving veterans of the Service to tell both the history of this shadowy organization and the personal stories of the young interceptors and their life-changing experiences far from home.
The Spade as Mighty as the Sword
The Story of the Second World War Dig for Victory Campaign
It was probably Michael Foot, leader writer for the London Evening Standard in 1939, who coined the memorable slogan, 'Dig For Victory', that would help transform parks, gardens and playing fields into vegetable patches. This history reviews the remarkable success of the wartime campaign, explores the groundbreaking design and advertising that drove it and recounts the experiences of the home front gardeners themselves.
German Luftwaffe in World War II
Order of Battle
Germany's air force played a critical role in the Third Reich's early victories in the Second World War, providing the airborne component of the irresistible Blitzkrieg tactic that swept all armies before it from 1939 to 1942. This volume provides a detailed guide to the organization and performance of the Luftwaffe, arranged by campaign - from the invasion of Poland to the final, defiant formations of 1945 - and illustrated with maps, order of battle diagrams and photographs. From the Order of Battle series.
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.
D-Day to Berlin
The Long March to Victory
The final phase of the Second World War began on 6 June 1944 but it had been years in the planning and preparation. This collection of archive reports, photographs and facsimile pages from the Daily Mirror captures the drama as it unfolded, from the growing political clamour for a Western front and the trial attack on Dieppe in 1943 to the preparation and execution of D-Day and the subsequent advance across Europe to Berlin.
Portrait of a Bomber Pilot
Flight-Lieutenant Jack Wetherby (1914-1943) was one of those Second World War senior RAF Bomber Command captains who had survived one tour of 30 operations and whose experience, skill, courage and example made a vital contribution to their squadron's life and operational success. This book traces his development from novice second pilot of a Wellington in the pioneering days of 1940 to senior captain of a Halifax in what Sir Arthur Harris called his 'Main Offensive'.
A Trenchard Brat at War
Receiving his early training via Lord Trenchard's Aircraft Apprentice Scheme, Tom Lancashire switched from ground crew to flight duties in 1940 and took part in almost 40 bomber raids to Germany. He was eventually shot down over Belgium but escaped with help from the local Resistance. This biography recounts his extraordinary experiences, which continued after the war, as he was involved in important aviation projects for Avro in Canada and Boeing in the USA.
Coastal Dawn:Blenheims in Action from the Phoney War
through the Battle of Britain
The fighter aces who flew Spitfires and Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain have received just acclaim, but the efforts of the airmen who flew in the Bristol Blenheim are all but forgotten. Drawing on contemporary diaries, logbooks and interviews with survivors, this book tells the somewhat less successful but no less proud operational history of the Blenheim, which played its part during a critical period of the war despite being outclassed by its adversaries.