The most iconic German aircraft of the Second World War, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the Luftwaffe's principal fighter from 1939 until 1942 when the superior Focke-Wulf Fw 190 came into greater prominence. The Bf 109 served in every theatre of the war, though in this book the author examines the Tip and Run era, D-Day and the Eastern Front.
In the later years of the war, the Bf 109 fought with some success in the defence of Germany against Allied bombers. The Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history and more aerial kills were made with this fighter than any other aircraft. Indeed, A total of 105 Bf 109 pilots were each credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft; thirteen of these men scored more than 200 kills, while two scored more than 300\. The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of the war: Erich Hartmann, the top-scoring fighter pilot of all time claiming 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Gunther Rall, who claimed 275 victories. All of them flew with JG 52, a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was credited with over 10,000 victories, chiefly on the Eastern Front.
The Bf 109 was also supplied to several of Germany's allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia.
In this selection of unrivalled images collected over many years, the operations of this famous aircraft in the latter part of the Second World War are portrayed and brought to life.
Dramatic, highly readable, and fresh, The Great Desert Escape brings to light an illuminating and little-known account of how twenty-five determined German U-Boat crewmen tunneled from American POW camp, crossed the unforgiving Arizona desert, and attempted to return battle. It was the only organized, large-scale domestic escape by foreign prisoners in U.S. history.
Painstakingly wrung from contemporary newspaper articles, interviews and first-person accounts from escapees and the law enforcement officers who pursued them, The Great Desert Escape brings history alive.
From 1942 to 1946, the United States swarmed with captured enemy troops. Nearly 400,000 German soldiers and officers were held in more than 500 POW camps throughout the country.
One such camp was the U.S. Army's prisoner of war camp at Papago Park just outside of Phoenix, Arizona, where on December 23, 1944 25 German Kreigsmariners tunneled free, determined to reach Mexico and find sympathizers who would get the back to the Fatherland.
For the prisoners, life was at the best of times uneasy. On the outside of their prison fences were Americans who wanted nothing more than to see them die slow deaths for their perceived roles in killing their fathers and brothers in Europe. Many of these stranded German prisoners had heard rumors of castrations and worse for those who had escaped.
On the inside were on occasion rabid Nazis determined to get home and continue the fight. At Papago Park in March of 1944, a newly-arrived prisoner who was believed (correctly) to have divulged classified information to the Americans was murdered--hung in one of the barracks by seven of his fellow prisoners.
RODNEY SCRASE's life in the RAF began in an old airship shed when he took the King's shilling in May 1941. He learnt to fly at a British Flying Training School in America and went on to fly Spitfires with Nos 72 and 1 Squadrons, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944. He was released from service with a record of four enemy aircraft destroyed and three damaged, having taken part in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Italy, following up with a stint as an instructor in the art of air-to-air gunnery in Egypt. He finished the war flying escort missions with No. 1 Squadron from Manston, Kent.
In Spitfire Saga Angus Mansfield presents the unique story of one man's experience of flying the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War, using Rodney's own logbooks and first-hand interviews with him and several other pilots. Complete with thorough historical context and a selection of Rodney's personal photographs, this book is an excellent addition to any history enthusiast's library.
A true insider's view of life as an RAF fighter pilot.
"It took me three minutes to get through the tunnel. Above ground I crawled along holding the rope for several feet: it was tied to a tree. Sergeant Bergsland joined me; we arranged our clothes and walked to the Sagan railway station.
'Bergsland was wearing a civilian suit he had made for himself from a Royal Marine uniform, with an RAF overcoat slightly altered with brown leather sewn over the buttons. A black RAF tie, no hat. He carried a small suitcase which had been sent from Norway. In it were Norwegian toothpaste and soap, sandwiches, and 163 Reichsmarks given to him by the Escape Committee. We caught the 2:04 train to Frankfurt an der Oder. Our papers stated we were Norwegian electricians from the Labour camp in Frankfurt working in the vicinity of Sagan.'
Jens Muller was one of only three men who successfully escaped from Stalag Luft III in March 1944 - the break that later became the basis for the famous film the "Great Escape".
Muller was no. 43 of the 76 prisoners of war who managed to escape from the camp (now in ?aga? Poland). Together with Per Bergsland he stowed away on a ship to Gothenburg. The escapees sought out the British consulate and were flown from Stockholm and were flown to Scotland. From there they were sent by train to London and shortly afterwards to 'Little Norway' in Canada.
Muller's book about his wartime experiences was first published in Norwegian in 1946, titled, 'Tre kom tilbake' (Three Came Back). This is the first translation into English and will correct the impression - set by the film and Charles Bronson - that the men who escaped successfully were American and Australian.
In a vivid, informative memoir he details what life in the camp was like, how the escapes were planned and executed and tells the story of his personal breakout and success reaching RAF Leuchars base in Scotland.
The English Civil Wars tore families and friendships apart, setting father against son and brother against brother. Raging across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the conflict was the greatest political upheaval in the British Isles in six hundred years, and led directly to the execution of King Charles I in 1649. Keith Dowen tells the absorbing story of the arms and armour of the civil wars, and demonstrates how emerging weaponry contributed to some of the most well-known battles in British history.
The book forms part of a series of introductions to aspects of the Royal Armouries' collection of arms and armour. Written by specialists in the field, they are packed full of fascinating information and stunning photography.
Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour, with sites at Leeds, the Tower of London and Fort Nelson, Hampshire.
After the guns fell silent in May 1945, the USSR resumed its clandestine warfare against the western democracies. Stalin installed secret police services in the satellite countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Trained by his NKVD officers of the Polish UB, the Czech StB, the Hungarian AVO, Romania's Securitate, Bulgaria's KDS, Albania's Sigurimi and the Stasi of the German Democratic Republic spied on and ruthlessly repressed their fellow citizens on the Soviet model. When the resultant hatred exploded in uprisings they were put down by brutality, bloodshed and Soviet tanks.
Not so obvious was that these state terror organisations were also designed for military and commercial espionage in the West, to conceal the real case officers in Moscow. Specially trained operatives undertook `wet jobs', including the assassinations. Perhaps the most menacing were the sleepers who who married and raised families in the west while waiting to strike against their host countries; many are still among us.
In Moscow Rules Douglas Boyd explores the relationship between the KGB and its ghastly brood - a family from hell.
North Korea's Armed Forces: On the path of Songun seeks to bring order and coherence to the chaotic state of affairs in the intelligence community of North Korea-watchers, as well as to disprove the much-echoed stance that there is little to fear from the DPRK by providing information on a plethora of never-before described weapons systems and modernisation programmes.
North Korea's Armed Forces maps the most important events from the inconclusive ceasefire struck at the end of the Korean War, throughout the Cold War until modern day, and an especially heavy emphasis is placed on the current status of the Korean People's Army by examining their wealth of indigenously-designed weaponry. In the course of the book not only will many of the Korean People's Army's most secret projects and tactics be unveiled, but also new light will be shed on the deadly flare-ups between the North and the South, and novel evidence on tragic incidents such as the Cheonan sinking and Yeongpyeong bombing of 2010 is brought forth. Moreover, an up-to-date, comprehensive listing of the equipment holdings of several branches of the Korean People's Army is included, offering a numerical assessment of its naval and aerial capabilities. From the recently introduced stealth missile boats, ballistic missile submarines and main battle tank families to their often-ignored indigenous aircraft industry, virtually all indigenous weapons systems are discussed extensively.
This exclusive content is illustrated by over forty detailed colour artworks and various maps put together through exhaustive research and analysis, as well as around 170 unique images, many of which have never before been seen by the general public. Through scrutiny of satellite footage, the observation of North Korean propaganda outlets and by carefully examining information from the United States Department of Defense, the DPRK's advances in each of the Korean People's Army's respective branches are uncovered. Nearly all of the'hermit kingdom's' military exploits are included and an accurate picture of the North's capabilities in both symmetrical and asymmetrical warfare is provided. This book was written specifically for anyone interested in North Korea's military capabilities or looking to find answers to many questions raised by the minefield of contradictory statements and misinformation that make up current intelligence about this
The American 345th Bomb Group - the Air Apaches - was legendary in the war against Japan. The first fully trained and fully equipped group sent to the South Pacific, the 345th racked up a devastating score against the enemy. Armed to the teeth with machine guns and fragmentation bombs, and flying their B-25s at impossibly low altitudes - often below 50 feet - the pilots and air crews strafed and bombed enemy installations and shipping with a fury that helped cripple Japan. One of the sharpest tools in the US arsenal, the 345th performed essential missions during Gen. Douglas MacArthur's campaigns in New Guinea and the Philippines, earning an impressive four Distinguished Unit Citations. This was punishingly dangerous work, and the 345th lost 177 aircraft and 712 men - young men doing their duty in the spirit of the Greatest Generation. Neither was this the more gentlemanly war of Europe, with its more temperate climate, resistance networks aiding downed crews, and POW camps. Airmen shot down in the Pacific theater faced drowning in the ocean, disappearing in the jungle, or torturing and beheading by the Japanese in a war of no quarter expected, no quarter given. A compelling follow-up to Stout's Hell's Angels, Air Apaches reconstructs the missions of the 345th Bomb Group in striking detail, with laser focus on the men who manned the cockpits, navigated the B-25s, dropped the bombs, serviced the planes, and helped win the war. To tell this remarkable story, Stout worked closely with the group's surviving veterans and dug deep into firsthand accounts. The result is a compelling narrative of men at war that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats.
'Victor Gregg is the most remarkable spokesman for the war generation' Dan Snow
In Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut fictionalised his time as a prisoner of war in Dresden in 1945. Vonnegut was imprisoned in a cellar while the firestorm raged through the city, wiping out generations of innocent lives. Victor Gregg remained above ground throughout the firebombing. This is his true eyewitness account of that week in February 1945.
Already a seasoned soldier with the Rifle Brigade, Gregg joined the 10th Parachute Regiment in 1944. He was captured at Arnhem where he volunteered to be sent to a work camp rather than become another faceless number in the huge POW camps. With two failed escape attempts under his belt, Gregg was eventually caught sabotaging a factory and sent to Dresden for execution.
Before Gregg could be executed, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on Dresden in four air raids over two days in February 1945. The resulting firestorm destroyed six square miles of the city centre. 25,000 people, mostly civilians, were estimated to have been killed. Post-war discussion of whether or not the attacks were justified has led to the bombing becoming one of the moral questions of the Second World War.
In Gregg's first-hand narrative, personal and punchy, he describes the trauma and carnage of the Dresden bombing. After the raid, he spent five days helping to recover a city of innocent civilians, thousands of whom had died in the fire storm, trapped underground in human ovens. As order was restored, his life was once more in danger and he escaped to the east, spending the last weeks of the war with the Russians.
Operation Dragoon is the story of the Allied invasion of the South of France on August 15, 1944. It was, in effect, the second D-Day, launched two months after "Overlord," the Allied invasion of Normandy. As such, it has often been overshadowed by its predecessor, but it significance cannot be underestimated.
"Dragoon" was a largely American-French operation in which the British, who had argued for action in northern Italy, played a smaller role. After nearly five years of conflict, British war stamina had been severely sapped. In contrast, the French, who had been excluded from the overall planning of D-Day, played an important role in Dragoon, supplying the majority of the ground troops in a campaign which began on the beaches of the Riviera and ended in the cool, clear air of the Alpes Maritimes, the sacred ground of France.
Operation Dragoon provides for the first time a complete overview of the liberation of the South of France--from strategic decisions made from the Allied and German high commands to the intelligence war waged by Allied code-breakers; from the German defeat of French resistance forces on the Vergers to the exploits of individual OSS agents on the ground as they strove to keep pace with a fast-moving battlefield. This is the story of the Allies inflicting on the Germany Army a Blitzkrieg-style defeat, expunging the lingering memories of the catastrophe of 1940.