A miraculous true-life Second World War survival story that is being featured on the BBC's ONE SHOW (The show attracts on average a daily audience of 5 million viewers) with a ten minute dramatised documentary to be broadcast in early October 2018.
A Daily Mail true life story feature is in development
Further review and BBC radio coverage
Trade Advertising to accompany the release
`I could see that still no one had been able to get out from the cockpit. It must have been at this moment that I thought I was going to die because I became remarkably calm'.
Trapped inside a burning Lancaster bomber, 20,000 feet above Berlin, airman John Martin consigned himself to his fate and turned his thoughts to his fiancee back home. In a miraculous turn of events, however, the twenty-one year old was thrown clear of his disintegrating airplane and found himself parachuting into the heart of Nazi Germany. He was soon to be captured and began his period as a prisoner of war.
This engaging and compulsively readable true-life account of a Second World War airman, who cheated death in the sky, only to face interrogation and the prospect of being shot by the Gestapo, before having to endure months of hardship as a prisoner of war.
Vichy France under Marshal Petain was an authoritarian regime that sought to perpetuate a powerful place for France in the world alongside Germany. It echoed the right-wing ideals of other fascist states and was a perfect instrument for Hitler, who drew more and more power and resources from a beaten France whose people suffered. Resistance was an unknown until a small number sought to make a stand in whatever way they could. Each would play their part in destabilising the Vichy state, all the while rejecting the Nazi occupation of their eternal France. The Dordogne was one of many hotbeds of early refusal and its dramatic stories are here told against the backdrop of the rise and fall of Vichy France. These stories, like so many others of often ordinary people - men and women, young and old - tell of a period of betrayal, refusal and heroism.
The astonishing untold story of the author's father, the lone American on a four-person team of Allied secret agents dropped into Nazi-occupied France, whose epic feats of irregular warfare proved vital in keeping German tanks away from Normandy after D-Day. When Daniel Guiet was a child and his family moved country, as they frequently did, his father had one possession, a tin bread box, that always made the trip. Daniel was admonished never to touch the box, but one day he couldn't resist. What he found astonished him: a .45 automatic and five full clips; three slim knives; a length of wire with a wooden handle at each end; thin pieces of paper with random numbers on them; several passports with his father's photograph, each bearing a different name; and silk squares imprinted with different countries' flags, bearing messages in unfamiliar alphabets. The messages, he discovered much later, were variations on a theme: I am an American. Take me to the nearest Allied military office. You will be paid. Eventually Jean Claude Guiet revealed to his family that he had been in the CIA, but it was only at the very end of his life that he spoke of the mission during World War II that marked the beginning of his career in clandestine service. It is one of the last great untold stories of the war, and Daniel Guiet and his collaborator, the writer Tim Smith, have spent several years bringing it to life. Jean Claude was an American citizen but a child of France, and fluent in the language; he was also extremely bright. The American military was on the lookout for native French speakers to be seconded to a secret British special operations commando operation, dropping clandestine agents behind German lines in France to coordinate aid to the French Resistance and lead missions wreaking havoc on Germany's military efforts across the entire country. Jean Claude was recruited, and his life was changed forever. Though the human cost was terrible, the mission succeeded beyond the Allies' wildest dreams. Scholars of Mayhem tells the story of Jean Claude and the other three agents in his "circuit," codenamed Salesman, a unit of Britain's Special Operations Executive, the secret service ordered by Churchill to "Set Europe ablaze." Parachuted into France the day after D-Day, the Salesman team organized, armed, and commanded an underground army of 10,000 French Resistance fighters. National pride has kept the story of SOE in France obscure, but of this there is no doubt: While the Resistance had plenty of heart, it was SOE that gave it teeth and claws. Scholars of Mayhem adds brilliantly to that picture, and further underscores what a close-run thing the success of the Allied breakout from the Normandy landings actually was.
On 21 June 1919 the ships of the German High Seas Fleet - interned at Scapa Flow since the Armistice - began to founder, taking their British custodians completely by surprise. In breach of agreed terms, the fleet dramatically scuttled itself, in a well-planned operation that consigned nearly half a million tons, and 54 of 72 ships, to the bottom of the sheltered anchorage in a gesture of Wagnerian proportions.
This much is well-known, but even a century after the Grand Scuttle' many questions remain. Was von Reuter, the fleet's commander, acting under orders or was it his own initiative? Why was 21 June chosen? Did the British connive in, or even encourage the action? Could more have been done to save the ships? Was it legally justified? And what were the international ramifications?
This new book analyses all these issues, beginning with the fleet mutiny in the last months of the War that precipitated a social revolution in Germany and the eventual collapse of the will to fight. The Armistice terms imposed the humiliation of virtual surrender on the High Seas Fleet, and the conditions under which it was interned are described in detail. Meanwhile the victorious Allies wrangled over the fate of the ships, an issue that threatened the whole peace process.
Using much new material from German sources and a host of eye-witness testimonies, the circumstances of the scuttling itself are meticulously reconstructed, while the aftermath for all parties is clearly laid out. The story concludes with the biggest salvage operation in history' and a chapter on the significance of the scuttling to the post-war balance of naval power.
Published to coincide with the centenary, this book is an important reassessment of the last great action of the First World War.
The iconic Spitfire found fame during the darkest early days of World War II. But what happened to the redoubtable fighter and its crews beyond the Battle of Britain, and why is it still so loved today?
In late spring 1940, Nazi Germany's domination of Europe had looked unstoppable. With the British Isles in easy reach since the fall of France, Adolf Hitler was convinced that Great Britain would be defeated in the skies over her southern coast, confident his Messerschmitts and Heinkels would outclass anything the Royal Air Force threw at them. What Hitler hadn't planned for was the agility and resilience of a marvel of British engineering that would quickly pass into legend - the Spitfire.
Bestselling author John Nichol's passionate portrait of this magnificent fighter aircraft, its many innovations and updates, and the people who flew and loved them, carries the reader beyond the dogfights over Kent and Sussex. Spanning the full global reach of the Spitfire's deployment during WWII, from Malta to North Africa and the Far East, then over the D-Day beaches, it is always accessible, effortlessly entertaining and full of extraordinary spirit.
Here are edge-of-the-seat stories and heart-stopping first-hand accounts of battling pilots forced to bail out over occupied territory; of sacrifice and wartime love; of aristocratic female flyers, and of the mechanics who braved the Nazi onslaught to keep the aircraft in battle-ready condition. Nichol takes the reader on a hair-raising, nail-biting and moving wartime history of the iconic Spitfire populated by a cast of redoubtable, heroic characters that make you want to stand up and cheer.
The Battle of Kursk was one of the defining moments of World War II. In July 1943, German forces under Erich von Manstein--one of Germany's best generals--launched a massive attack in an offensive code-named Citadel. A week later, the Soviets counterattacked, sparking a huge clash of tanks at Prokhorovka, the largest armor battle in history, pitting more than 600 Soviet tanks against some 300 German panzers. Though the Germans gained a tactical victory, destroying huge numbers of Soviet tanks, they failed to achieve their objectives, and in the end the battle marked a turning point on the Eastern Front. The Red Army gained the strategic initiative and would not lose it.
D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the seventy-six days of bitter fighting in Normandy that followed the Allied landing, have become the defining episode of World War II in the west--the object of books, films, television series, and documentaries. Yet as familiar as it is, as James Holland makes clear in his definitive history, many parts of the OVERLORD campaign, as it was known, are still shrouded in myth and assumed knowledge.
Drawing freshly on widespread archives and on the testimonies of eye-witnesses, Holland relates the extraordinary planning that made Allied victory in France possible; indeed, the story of how hundreds of thousands of men, and mountains of materiel, were transported across the English Channel, is as dramatic a human achievement as any battlefield exploit. The brutal landings on the five beaches and subsequent battles across the plains and through the lanes and hedgerows of Normandy--a campaign that, in terms of daily casualties, was worse than any in World War I--come vividly to life in conferences where the strategic decisions of Eisenhower, Rommel, Montgomery, and other commanders were made, and through the memories of paratrooper Lieutenant Dick Winters of Easy Company, British corporal and tanker Reg Spittles, Thunderbolt pilot Archie Maltbie, German ordnance officer Hans Heinze, French resistance leader Robert Leblanc, and many others.
For both sides, the challenges were enormous. The Allies confronted a disciplined German army stretched to its limit, which nonetheless caused tactics to be adjusted on the fly. Ultimately ingenuity, determination, and immense materiel strength--delivered with operational brilliance--made the difference. A stirring narrative by a pre-eminent historian, Normandy '44 offers important new perspective on one of history's most dramatic military engagements and is an invaluable addition to the literature of war.
Peter Campbell advances a unique argument centering on military realism to explain the complex evolution of Army doctrinal thinking from 1960 to 2008. He demonstrates that decision makers, while vowing in the wake of Vietnam to avoid counterinsurgent missions, nonetheless found themselves adapting to the geopolitical realities of preparing for and fighting so called "low intensity" conflicts, particularly in the twenty-first century. In essence, he demonstrates that pragmatism has won out over dogmatism. At a time when American policymakers remain similarly conflicted about future defense strategies, Campbell's work will undoubtedly shape and guide this debate.
Poisoned dissidents. Election interference. Armed invasions. International treaties thrown into chaos. Secret military buildups. Hackers and viruses. Weapons deployed in space. China and Russia (and Iran and North Korea) spark news stories here by carrying out bold acts of aggression and violating international laws and norms. Isn't this just bad actors acting badly?
That kind of thinking is outdated and dangerous. Emboldened by their successes, these countries are, in fact, waging a brazen, global war on the US and the West. This is a new Cold War, which will not be won by those who fail to realize they are fighting it. The enemies of the West understand that while they are unlikely to win a shooting war, they have another path to victory. And what we see as our greatest strengths-open societies, military innovation, dominance of technology on Earth and in space, longstanding leadership in global institutions-these countries are undermining or turning into weaknesses.
In The Shadow War, CNN anchor and chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto provides us with a revealing and at times disturbing guide to this new international conflict. This Shadow War is already the greatest threat to America's national security, even though most Americans know little or nothing about it. With on-the-ground reporting from Ukraine to the South China Sea, from a sub under the Arctic to unprecedented access to America's Space Command, Sciutto draws on his deep knowledge, high-level contacts, and personal experience as a journalist and diplomat to paint the most comprehensive and vivid picture of a nation targeted by a new and disturbing brand of warfare.
Thankfully, America is adapting and fighting back. In The Shadow War, Sciutto introduces readers to the dizzying array of soldiers, sailors, submariners and their commanders, space engineers, computer scientists, civilians, and senior intelligence officials who are on the front lines of this new kind of forever war. Intensive and disturbing, this invaluable and important work opens our eyes and makes clear that the war of the future is already here.
1973. US participation in the Vietnam War ends. As troops withdraw, President Nixon pledges to assist the South in the event of invasion by the North.
1975. North Vietnam begins a full-scale assault on the South. Congress does nothing. Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese face execution or life in concentration camps. An iconic photograph is taken of the Fall of Saigon, depicting desperate Vietnamese people scrambling to board a helicopter evacuating the last of the American soldiers. It is an image of US failure and shame. Or is it?
In Honourable Exit, Clarke revisits the last days of the Vietnam War to uncover the previously untold story of a life-saving mass evacuation. During those final days, a number of Americans - diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, missionaries, contractors, and spies - risked their lives and disobeyed orders to help their translators, drivers, colleagues, neighbours, friends, and even perfect strangers to escape. By the time the last US helicopter left Vietnam on 30 April 1975, these heroic Americans had helped to spirit over 130,000 South Vietnamese to resettlement in the US and life as American citizens.
Groundbreaking, page-turning, and authoritative, Honourable Exit is a deeply moving history of Americans in one of their little-known finest hours.