Author: Geoffrey Brooke
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Release Date: 2004-10-14
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.
HUNTER KILLER: a submarine designed to pursue and attack enemy submarines and surface ships using torpedoes. HUNTER KILLERS will follow the careers of four daring British submarine captains who risked their lives to keep the rest of us safe, their exploits consigned to the shadows until now. Their experiences encompass the span of the Cold War, from voyages in WW2-era submarines under Arctic ice to nuclear-powered espionage missions in Soviet-dominated seas. There are dangerous encounters with Russian spy ships in UK waters and finally, as the communist facade begins to crack, they hold the line against the Kremlin's oceanic might, playing a leading role in bringing down the Berlin Wall. It is the first time they have spoken out about their covert lives in the submarine service. This is the dramatic untold story of Britain's most-secret service.
Author: John R. Stilgoe
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Release Date: 2003-01
The fire extinguisher; the airline safety card; the lifeboat. Until September 11, 2001, most Americans paid homage to these appurtenances of disaster with a sidelong glance, if at all. But John Stilgoe has been thinking about lifeboats ever since he listened with his father as the kitchen radio announced that the liner Lakonia had caught fire and sunk in the Atlantic. It was Christmas 1963, and airline travel and Cold War paranoia had made the images of an ocean liner’s distress—the air force dropping supplies in the dark, a freighter collecting survivors from lifeboats—seem like echoes of a bygone era. But Stilgoe, already a passionate reader and an aficionado of small-boat navigation, began to delve into accounts of other disasters at sea. What he found was a trunkful of hair-raising stories—of shipwreck, salvation, seamanship brilliant and inept, noble sacrifice, insanity, cannibalism, courage and cravenness, even scandal. In nonfiction accounts and in the works of Conrad, Melville, and Tomlinson, fear and survival animate and degrade human nature, in the microcosm of an open boat as in society at large. How lifeboats are made, rigged, and captained, Stilgoe discovered, and how accounts of their use or misuse are put down, says much about the culture and circumstances from which they are launched. In the hands of a skillful historian such as Stilgoe, the lifeboat becomes a symbol of human optimism, of engineering ingenuity, of bureaucratic regulation, of fear and frailty. Woven through Lifeboat are good old-fashioned yarns, thrilling tales of adventure that will quicken the pulse of readers who have enjoyed the novels of Patrick O’Brian, Crabwalk by Günter Grass, or works of nonfiction such as The Perfect Storm and In the Heart of the Sea. But Stilgoe, whose other works have plumbed suburban culture, locomotives, and the shore, is ultimately after bigger fish. Through the humble, much-ignored lifeboat, its design and navigation and the stories of its ultimate purpose, he has found a peculiar lens on roughly the past two centuries of human history, particularly the war-tossed, technology-driven history of man and the sea.
Author: Paul Kemp
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Release Date: 1993-09-14
During the Second World War, there were over 100 instances of naval engagements between ships, submarines and aircraft of the same side. In the past there has often been a reluctance by the authorities to admit to these losses but with operational records now available, it is possible for historians to explain how a good number of ships and submarines were attacked, damaged or sunk by the forces of their own side.
Author: Matthew B. Wills
Publisher: The History Press
Release Date: 2013-08-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The biography of a lauded war hero who went down with his ship John Leach embodied the best of the service, and truly was in "the highest traditions of the Royal Navy"—this biography analyzes the influences which shaped him and led him ultimately to his heroic end. On December 10, 1941, the Royal Navy battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese bombers in the South China Sea. Among the several hundred men who went down with her was her Captain, John Leach, who had fought against frightful odds and to the very end made the best of an impossible situation with courage and calmness. This book traces his life from his time at Royal Naval College through his time as commander during the Battle of the Denmark Strait. This is an authoritative portrait of one of the service's finest.
Author: Harry Yeide
Release Date: 2005-01-19
The Tank Killers is the story of the American Tank Destroyer Force in North Africa, Italy, and the European Theater during World War II. The tank destroyer (TD) was a bold-if some would say flawed-answer to the challenge posed by the seemingly unstoppable German blitzkrieg. The TD was conceived to be light and fast enough to outmaneuver panzer forces and go where tanks could not. At the same time, the TD would wield the firepower needed to kill any German tank on the battlefield. Indeed, American doctrine stipulated that TDs would fight tanks, while American tanks would concentrate on achieving and exploiting breakthroughs of enemy lines. The Tank Killers follows the men who fought in the TDs from the formation of the force in 1941 through the victory over the Third Reich in 1945. It is a story of American flexibility and pragmatism in military affairs. Tankdestroyers were among the very first units to land in North Africa in 1942. Their first vehicles were ad hoc affairs: Halftracks and weapons carriers with guns no better than those on tanks and thin armor affording the crews considerably less protection. Almost immediately, the crews realized that their doctrine was incomplete. They began adapting to circumstances, along with their partners in the infantry and armored divisions. By the time that North Africa was in Allied hands, the TD had become a valued tank fighter, assault gun, and artillery piece. The reconnaissance teams in TD battalions, meanwhile, had established a record for daring operations that they would continue for the rest of the war. The story continues with the invasion of Italy and finally that of Fortress Europe on 6 June 1944. By now, the brass had decreed that half the force would convert to towed guns, a decision that dogged the affected crews through the end of the war. The TD men encountered increasingly lethal enemies, ever more dangerous panzers that were often vulnerable only to their guns while American tank crews watched in frustration as their rounds bounced harmlessly off the thick German armor. They fought under incredibly diverse conditions that demanded constant modification of tactics. Their equipment became ever more deadly. By VE day, the tank destroyer battalions had achieved impressive records, generally with kill/loss rates heavily in their favor. Yet the Army after the war concluded that the concept of a separate TD arm was so fundamentally flawed that not a single battalion existed after November 1946. The Tank Killers draws heavily on the records of the tank destroyer battalions and the units with which they fought. Veterans of the force add their personal stories.
Author: Geoffrey Till
Release Date: 2014-01-15
Using four warship-centered examples, this book shows how naval battles are won or lost—and how technological advantage is rarely as decisive in defeat or victory as is often claimed. • Focuses on four ship-centered battle narratives: the battle of Trafalgar, the battle of Jutland, the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse, and the Falklands War • Identifies 11 perspectives that explain victory and defeat in naval operations • Provides a history-based survey of successful naval operations while highlighting the nature of naval operations in the 21st century • Presents information written in a clear, reader-friendly style without compromising on its scholarly standards of content and accuracy • Offers fascinating reading for naval college students, general audiences who enjoy naval history, and naval historians alike
The career of John Davis was inextricably and paradoxically intertwined with that of Chin Peng, the leader of the Malayan Communist Party and the man who was to become Britain’s chief enemy in the long Communist struggle for the soul of Malaya. When the Japanese invaded Malaya during WWII, John Davis escaped to Ceylon, sailing 1,700 miles in a Malay fishing boat, before planning the infiltration of Chinese intelligence agents and British officers back into the Malayan peninsula. With the support of Chin Peng and the cooperation of the Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army, Davis led SOE Force 136 into Japanese-occupied Malaya where he operated from camps deep in the jungle with Freddy Spencer Chapman and fellow covert agents. Yet Davis was more than a wartime hero. Following the war, he was heavily involved in Malayan Emergency affairs: squatter control, the establishment of New Villages and, vitally, of tracking down and confronting his old adversary Chin Peng and the communist terrorists. Historian and biographer Margaret Shennan, born and raised in Malaya and an expert on the British in pre-independence Malaysia, tells the extraordinary, untold story of John Davis, CBE, DSO, an iconic figure in Malaya’s colonial history. Illustrated with Davis’ personal photographs and featuring correspondence between Davis and Chin Peng, this is a story which truly deserves to be told.
Author: Will Iredale
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Release Date: 2016-06-07
An extraordinary story of courage, valor, and dogged determination, the vivid account of how a few brave young pilots ensured lasting peace during World War II. In May 1945, with victory in Europe established, the war was all but over. But on the other side of the world, the Allies were still engaged in a bitter struggle to control the Pacific. And it was then that the Japanese unleashed a terrible new form of warfare: the suicide pilots, or Kamikaze. Drawing on meticulous research and unique personal access to the remaining survivors, Will Iredale follows a group of young men from the moment they signed up through their initial training to the terrifying reality of fighting against pilots who, in the cruel last summer of the war, chose death rather than risk their country's dishonourable defeat—and deliberately flew their planes into Allied aircraft carriers.
Author: Ian W. Shaw
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Release Date: 2017-06-27
The fascinating - and unknown - story of the Rag Tag Fleet, a collection of hundreds of Australian fishing trawlers and schooners, organised by the US Army, which transported vital supplies for US and Australian forces across the South-East Pacific. Boys under the age of 17 and men over 60, and those who weren't well enough to join the Australian regular forces formed the crews. Each boat was armed with one machine gun - and sailed under the American flag. Conditions on the boats were grim. Numerous crew members contracted diseases including malaria, dysentery and dengue fever. Vulnerable to aircraft attack, the boats were frequently strafed and bombed. The story is told through the experiences of the Australian crew on half a dozen ships - including Jack Savage, boat builder extraordinaire; Ray Parer, air fighter, explorer and gold miner; and Norm Oddy, bandleader, drifter and mechanic. The focus of THE RAG TAG FLEET is the unknown story of the final months of 1942, when these men ran the gauntlet of Japanese air attacks, reefs and shallow, shark-infested waters to bring in the supplies and equipment for the US and Australian troops that defeated the entrenched Japanese forces at Buna on the PNG coast, and so helped turn the course of the war.
Author: Richard Woodman
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Release Date: 2011-07-06
For the British, the Battle of the Atlantic was a fight for survival. They depended on the safe transit of hundreds of convoys of merchant ships laden with food, raw materials and munitions from America to feed the country and to keep the war effort going, and they had to export manufactured goods to pay for it all. So Britain's merchant navy, a disparate collection of private vessels, became the country's lifeline, while its seamen, officially non-combatants, bravely endured the onslaught of the German U-boat offensive until Allied superiority overwhelmed the enemy.??In this important, moving and exciting book, drawing extensively on first-hand sources, the acclaimed maritime historian Richard Woodman establishes the importance of the British and Allied merchant fleets in the struggle against Germany and elevates the heroic seamen who manned them to their rightful place in the history of the Second World War.
Author: Craig L. Symonds
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2018-04-02
Author of Lincoln and His Admirals (winner of the Lincoln Prize), The Battle of Midway (Best Book of the Year, Military History Quarterly), and Operation Neptune, (winner of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature), Craig L. Symonds has established himself as one of the finest naval historians at work today. World War II at Sea represents his crowning achievement: a complete narrative of the naval war and all of its belligerents, on all of the world's oceans and seas, between 1939 and 1945. Opening with the 1930 London Conference, Symonds shows how any limitations on naval warfare would become irrelevant before the decade was up, as Europe erupted into conflict once more and its navies were brought to bear against each other. World War II at Sea offers a global perspective, focusing on the major engagements and personalities and revealing both their scale and their interconnection: the U-boat attack on Scapa Flow and the Battle of the Atlantic; the "miracle" evacuation from Dunkirk and the pitched battles for control of Norway fjords; Mussolini's Regia Marina-at the start of the war the fourth-largest navy in the world-and the dominance of the Kidö Butai and Japanese naval power in the Pacific; Pearl Harbor then Midway; the struggles of the Russian Navy and the scuttling of the French Fleet in Toulon in 1942; the landings in North Africa and then Normandy. Here as well are the notable naval leaders-FDR and Churchill, both self-proclaimed "Navy men," Karl Dönitz, François Darlan, Ernest King, Isoroku Yamamoto, Erich Raeder, Inigo Campioni, Louis Mountbatten, William Halsey, as well as the hundreds of thousands of seamen and officers of all nationalities whose live were imperiled and lost during the greatest naval conflicts in history, from small-scale assaults and amphibious operations to the largest armadas ever assembled. Many have argued that World War II was dominated by naval operations; few have shown and how and why this was the case. Symonds combines precision with story-telling verve, expertly illuminating not only the mechanics of large-scale warfare on (and below) the sea but offering wisdom into the nature of the war itself.
Author: Bill Cheall
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Release Date: 2011-07-12
When Bill Cheall joined up in April 1939, he could not have imagined the drama, trauma, rewards and anguish that lay in store. First and foremost a Green Howard, he saw the sharp end of the Nazis Blitzkrieg and was evacuated exhausted. Next step, courtesy of the Queen Mary, was North Africa as part of Montys 8th Army. After victory in Tunisia, the Sicily invasion followed. The Green Howards returned to England to be in the vanguard of the Normandy Landings on GOLD Beach (his colleague, Sergeant Major Stan Hollis won the only VC on 6 June and Bill Cheall was wounded). Once fit, Cheall returned to the war zone and finished the war as a Regimental Policeman in occupied Germany. Bills many and varied experiences make fascinating reading. He tells his story with modesty, humility and humor.