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Nearly forty female agents were sent out by the French section of Britain's Special Operations Executive (SOE) during the Second World War. The youngest was 19 and the oldest 53. Most were trained in paramilitary warfare, fieldcraft, the use of weapons and explosives, sabotage, silent killing, parachuting, codes and cyphers, wireless transmission and receiving, and general spycraft. These women - as well as others from clandestine Allied organisations - were flown out and parachuted or landed into France on vital and highly dangerous missions: their task, to work with resistance movements both before and after D-Day. Bernard O'Connor uses recently declassified government documents, personnel files, mission reports and memoirs to assess the successes and failures of the 38 women including Odette Sansom, Denise Colin, and Cecile Pichard. Of the twelve who were captured, only two survived; the others were executed, some after being tortured by the sadistic officers of the Gestapo. This is their story.
In June 2005 four US Navy SEALs left their base in Afghanistan for the Pakistani border. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious al-Qaeda leader known to be ensconced in a Taliban stronghold surrounded by a small but heavily armed force. Less than twenty-four hours later, only one of those Navy SEALs was alive. This is the story of team leader Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of Operation Redwing. Blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade, blown over a cliff, but still armed and still breathing, Luttrell endured four desperate days fighting the al-Qaeda assassins sent to kill him, before finding unlikely sanctuary with a Pashtun tribe who risked everything to protect him from the circling Taliban killers.
From a brave American veteran comes an eyewitness account of a gruesome chapter in World War II history. Captured when America surrendered the Philippinesi Bataan Peninsula, James Bollich experienced first-hand the march that cost more than 8,000 American and Filipino lives. Now, he shares the unforgettable experience of his three and a half years of Japanese imprisonment. This journal relates his personal experience, first focusing on the sixty-five-mile march that deprived prisoners of food, water, and rest. Prisoners received harsh punishments for any infraction, one of the most brutal of these being the policy of beheading them for taking a sip of water. Rather than force him to give up, these things made Bollich fight for life even more. Witnessing his comrades falling beside him and watching his own body waste away to ninety pounds, he never yielded his will to survive. After completing the march, he remained a prisoner of war, first at an old Philippine army base, then in another camp at Mukden, Manchuria. He relates his imprisonment in detail, from starvation and torture to digging their own comrades graves in the hot sun, without hats or water. Through it all, he remained courageous and hopeful that he would one day make it back home. His story reminds both past and present generations of the horror and brutality of the Pacific war, all the while providing an inspiring testament to the will of the human spirit.
Collecting these excerpts from Wallace Chambers' Vancouver diary and World War I letters has been a labour of love for author John Gillis. The result is an extraordinary record of one ordinary young man's life just after the turn of the century. Wallace Chambers kept a diary from 1907 to 1913 while he lived in Vancouver. He filled each day with as much as he could, especially outdoors activities. Wallace was also passionate about cultural and social activities and enjoyed many of the events and venues Vancouver offered. His diary gives a rare glimpse into the world of middle-class young people in Vancouver of the early 1900s. Over the years a tender love story unfolded in Wallace's diary as he gradually fell in love with Cecie, the woman he hadn't seen since 1905. When Wallace went off to war in 1914, he and Cecie were briefly reunited in England before he left for the front. His letters home were graphic and poignant. Wallace was killed in 1915 at the age of 29.
As a twenty-three-year-old veterinarian, William W. Putney joined the Marine Corps at the height of World War II. He commanded the Third Dog Platoon during the battle for Guam and later served as chief veterinarian and commanding officer of the War Dog Training School, where he helped train former pets for war in the Pacific. After the war, he fought successfully to have USMC war dogs returned to their civilian owners.Always Faithful is Putney's celebration of the four-legged soldiers that he both commanded and followed. It is a tale of immense courage as well as of incredible sacrifice. For anyone who has ever read "Old Yeller" or the books of Jack London, here is a real-life story that rivals any fiction. At once a wistful tribute and a stirring adventure, "Always Faithful" will enthrall readers with one of the great animal stories of all time.
The Author's naval war experiences make the most exciting reading. After being mined on the battleship Nelson in 1939, he served on the Prince of Wales, during the Bismarck action, witnessing the sinking of the Hood and Churchill and Roosevelt's historic meeting. He survived the disastrous sinking by Japanese dive-bombing in December 1941 but within two days of reaching Singapore, the Island fell. Evacuated in a coastal steamer, only to be sunk the next morning, he was stranded on a deserted island for a week before setting out for Ceylon in a native boat. His epic journey covered 1660 miles and took 37 days. Thereafter his adventures continued, with the North African landings, Russian convoys and, returning to the Far East, he was in the carrier Formidable when she was hit twice by Japanese Kamikazes before VI Day August 1945.
Thomas Pearson, a country parson's son, was commissioned in the 23rd Foot, Royal Welch Fusiliers, in 1796. In a career spanning 47 years he fought on three continents, was wounded five times, received two battlefield promotions and achieved the rank of general.Fix Bayonets! follows this hard-biting soldier in the deserts of Egypt, the dikes of the Netherlands, the jungles of the West Indies, the mountains of Spain and the wilderness of America. Through Pearson's true-life adventures we learn about war, wine, women and song in a fascinating epoch and meet a cast of famous and infamous characters, including King George III, Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, James Madison, Winfield Scott, Marichal Soult, Lord Nelson and Major General William ("Auld Grog Willie") Stewart.The centrepiece is a detailed account of the bloody battle of Albuera in 1811. Albuera was the high point of Pearson's career he went into it as a junior major in his brigade and came out as the brigade commander because he was the only officer above the rank of captain still standing.
Fragments is a story about how war can make everything explosive--even love--and how two friends try to put the pieces of their lives together again. "[Fragments] makes the usual semi-autobiographical account [of the Vietnam War] ...seem flimsy and discursive in comparison...The shapeliness and sense of larger design [is] so elegantly executed in Fragments."--Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "The plot is believable, the characters sharply drawn, the prose clean and distinctive...Stand[s] with Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato, James Webb's Fields of Fire, Josiah Bunting's The Lionheads and John Del Vecchio's The 13th Valley...A strong, compelling novel."--Marc Leepson, Washington Post "There have been many books on Vietnam, and there will be many others. This is more a novel than the rest...Fuller has reassembled the exploded grenade."--Bob MacDonald, Boston Sunday Globe "Should our children ask about Vietnam, we would not go wrong to place this book in their hands...[Fragments] purveys more than information--it gives the war a literary form."--David Myers, New York Times "The best novel yet about the Vietnam War...It ranks with Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and James Jones's From Here to Eternity. "--Daniel Kornstein, Wall Street Journal
The Nazi's: The Hidden History draws on the latest research to answer many of the unanswered questions about the Nazi state and provides many fascinating and original insights into the period. The book places in perspective how early racial and eugenic theory developed into the sterilization and euthanasia campaigns which in turn heralded the mass slaughter of the extermination camps. The development and role of the Einsatzgruppen and Police Battalions, plus their role in the holocaust, is also covered. Another unique aspect of the text is its treatment of the military history of the period. It details in several chapters how the promising military potential of the reinvigorated Wehrmacht placed world domination at Hitler's fingertips. The blunders and catastrophic errors that Hitler made are covered in detail proving, in an entertaining way, that it was his flaws and neuroses that stopped the German run of early victories and turned the tide of the War. The book finishes with chapters on the escalating air war over the Reich and the sticky end that befell many of the top Nazi leadership.The author of this text is both a teacher and an authority on military history, thus offering a unique story and providing something new to readers interested in the period. Military books on the rise and fall of Nazism are incredibly popular, and The Nazi's: The Hidden History is a fascinating read that will appeal to an international readership.
NOW WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY W. STANLEY MOSS'S DAUGHTER GABRIELLA BULLOCK AND AN AFTERWORD BY PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR Ill Met By Moonlight is the true story of one of the most hazardous missions of the Second World War. W. Stanley Moss is a young British officer who, along with Major Patrick Leigh Fermor, sets out in Nazi-occupied Crete to kidnap General Kreipe, Commander of the Sevastopool Division, and narrowly escaping the German manhunt, bring him off the island - a vital prisoner for British intelligence. As an account of derring-do and wartime adventure, made into a classic film starring Dirk Bogarde, Ill Met By Moonlight is one of the most brilliantly written, exciting and compelling stories to come out of the Second World War.
'Come see my little dugout - way up on the hill it stands, Where I can get a lovely view of Anzac's golden sands.' The Anzac Book was the finest 'trench publication' produced during the Great War and was an instant bestseller when first released in 1916. Created by soldiers under enemy fire and in extreme hardship, the illustrations, stories, cartoons, and poems were intended as a Christmas and New Year diversion for soldiers facing a harsh winter in the trenches on Gallipoli. The way these young men powerfully captured their felt experiences and struggles in the trenches had a huge emotional effect on readers back home in Australia. From Desk to Dugout explores this particular moment in Australian literary and educational history and its intersections with the war at Gallipoli and the history of ANZAC.
In this sequel to the hugely-popular This Man's Wee Boy, young Tony Doherty struggles to come to terms with the murder of his father, Paddy, on Bloody Sunday and the impact it has on his mother, Eileen, and his brothers and sisters. At nine years old, he knows a terrible wrong has been committed against his family but lacks the understanding or the means to do anything about it - yet. For his fractured family, life goes on, with Tony determined to preserve the memory of his father and the bond they shared, even as he becomes increasingly immersed in the violent conflict raging on Derry's streets. As the 1970s unfold his father's absence remains the backdrop to the teenage Tony's newfound friendships and relationships, an ever-present ache amidst the craic and excitement of Sunday dances, first kisses and a trip to Butlins. Then, at seventeen, Tony decides it's time to join the fight.
"From the moment I got to Auschwitz I was completely detached. I
disconnected my heart and intellect in an act of self-defense,
despair, and hopelessness." With these words Sara Nomberg-Przytyk
begins this painful and compelling account of her experiences while
imprisoned for two years in the infamous death camp. Writing twenty
years after her liberation, she recreates the events of a dark past
which, in her own words, would have driven her mad had she tried to
relive it sooner. But while she records unimaginable atrocities,
she also richly describes the human compassion that stubbornly
survived despite the backdrop of camp depersonalization and
Born on the Fourth of July, the New York Times bestseller (more than one million copies sold), details Ron Kovic's life story (portrayed by Tom Cruise in the Oliver Stone film version) - from a patriotic soldier in Vietnam, to his severe battlefield injury, to his role as the country's most outspoken anti-Vietnam War advocate, spreading his message from his wheelchair. This 40th anniversary edition includes a powerful and moving new introduction, setting this classic anti-war story in a contemporary context.
When Hitler's forces poured into France and the Low Countries in 1940, the uneasy peace of the `Phoney War' was shattered, and Europe was ripped apart by another Blitzkrieg. Forming the backbone of the German advance were the well-equipped Schutzen (Rifles), motorized infantry who embodied the essence of the fluid, swift warfare that had characterized World War II thus far. Facing them were infantrymen of the British Expeditionary Force, units of considerable fighting quality who had nevertheless received no special training to conduct combined-arms warfare in conjunction with armour. This study investigates the combat between the two adversaries at small-unit level, recreating the ferocity of the fighting on the front lines of the Battle of France in three key clashes at Arras, Calais and Merville. Assessing the training, organization and unit ethos of both sides in the context of a new type of mobile warfare, David Greentree reveals the extraordinary difficulties encountered by infantry units in trying to remain in contact with their armoured and mechanized formations.
Two months after being posted to France in 1917, Edward Thomas wrote: 'I already know enough to confirm my old opinion that the papers tell no truth at all about what war is and what soldiers are - '. This anthology provides an impression of what it meant to be a soldier on the Western front in the First World War and, above all, what it meant to be a Welsh soldier. Although this collection of writings, prose and poetry, includes such famous names as Edward Thomas, Robert Graves, David Jones and Saunders Lewis, the pieces have been chosen not purely by literary criteria, but to reflect as wide a range as possible of experience within Welsh military units. These personal reminiscences record not just horrific and dramatic events, soldiers under artillery bombardment or coping with mud, or the confusion of attacks or retreats, but also routine activities - the everyday working parties to repair trenches, the tunnelling, the waiting, the food, the blisters and the cold - and the comradeship in the Welsh regiments. Some additional background military information is provided in the appendices.
In 1941-44, Nazi Germany's Gebirgsjager - elite mountain troops - clashed repeatedly with land-based units of the Soviet Navy during the mighty struggle on World War II's Eastern Front. Formed into naval infantry and naval rifle brigades, some 350,000 of Stalin's sailors would serve the Motherland on land, playing a key role in the defence of Moscow, Leningrad, and Sevastopol. The Gebirgsjager, many among them veterans of victories in Norway and then Crete, would find their specialist skills to be at a premium in the harsh terrain and bitter weather encountered at the northern end of the front line. Operating many hundreds of miles north of Moscow, the two sides endured savage conditions as they fought one another inside the Arctic Circle. Featuring archive photographs, specially commissioned artwork and expert analysis, this is the absorbing story of the men who fought and died in the struggle for the Soviet Union's northern flank at the height of World War II.
The incredible story of Gyles Mackrell and his Burmese, elephant-assisted wartime rescue mission.
In the summer of 1942, Gyles Mackrell a decorated First World War pilot and tea plantation overseer, performed a series of heroic rescues in the hellish jungles of Japanese-occupied Burma with the aid of twenty elephants.
At the age of 53, Mackrell went into the green hell of the Chaukan Pass on the border of North Burma and Assam. Here, Mackrell and a team of elephant riders rescued Indian army soldiers, British civilians and their Indian servants, from the pursuing Japanese, directing the elephants through raging rivers, and territory infested with sand flies, mosquitoes and innumerable leeches. Those he saved were all on the point of death from starvation or fever: that summer was spent in a fight against time.
Now in Andrew Martin s hands this tale of heroics is given the shape of a suspenseful adventure, a wartime rescue whose facts are the stuff of fiction. Flight By Elephant is a gripping chronicle of war and survival, starring everyone s favourite animal the powerful, exotic and hugely loveable elephant."
During the intense, sprawling conflict that was the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces fielded substantial numbers of cavalry, which carried out the crucial tasks of reconnaissance, raiding, and conveying messages. The perception was that cavalry's effectiveness on the battlefield would be drastically reduced in this age of improved infantry firearms. This title, however, demonstrates how cavalry's lethal combination of mobility and dismounted firepower meant it was still very much a force to be reckoned with in battle, and charts the swing in the qualitative difference of the cavalry forces fielded by the two sides as the war progressed. In this book, three fierce cavalry actions of the American Civil War are assessed, including the battles of Second Bull Run/Manassas (1862), Buckland Mills (1863) and Tom's Brook (1864).
A classic account of one man's experiences on the Western Front,
now republished in a revised and expanded edition in anticipation
of the centenary of the First World War.
Dr Jan Luijten (1932), a neurologist and psychiatrist by profession, was living in Bergen op Zoom during the Second World War. He describes the battles of the Canadian forces for the liberation of the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant in this well documented and finely illustrated book. The author offers interesting new insights into the fighting and the decisions made by the Allied Commanders and their German counterparts.
It is 1941, and the German High Command has sent General Irwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps to bolster the faltering Italian ground forces in North Africa and take over the beleaguered fortress of Tobruk. The defenders hang on grimly, but prisoners are taken on both sides in the ebb and flow of battle. In Greece and Crete, the reverse occurs; commonwealth forces are overwhelmed by the might of the Wermacht, and many fall into the hands of the Germans. Many of the Australian and New Zealand prisoners eventually find themselves incarcerated in Campo 57, Gruppignano in north east Italy, under the iron fist of the notorious Colonel Calcaterra of the Caribinieri. Unbroken is the true story of Australian POWs, their capture, their attempted escapes and their ultimate liberation.
In March 1943 a team of expatriate Norwegian commandos sailed from the most northerly part of Britain for Nazi-occupied Norway. Their mission was to organise and support the Norwegian resistance. They were betrayed, and only one man survived the ambush by the Nazis. Crippled by frostbite, snow-blind and hunted by the Nazis, Jan Baalstrud managed to find a tiny arctic village. There - delirious, near death - he found villagers willing to risk their own lives to save him. David Howarth narrates his incredible escape in this gripping tale of courage and the resilience of the human spirit.
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