After the Great War, there was much debate in the USA whether the country should isolate itself from old world' conflicts or follow an imperialist path and become the world's only super-power. If the USA was to become a super-power, then conflict with Great Britain might result. Consequently, the US drew up War Plan Red. This was a scheme for the USA to invade Canada and the Caribbean which would draw the Royal Navy into North American waters where it would be destroyed. Without the Royal Navy, the rest of the British Empire would be vulnerable to American attacks.
It became clear, however, as the decade wore on, that the Imperialists were not going to gain a clear-cut victory, so other means of achieving their aims would be needed. In 1939 the American military establishment created an intelligence-gathering machine within their Embassy in London under the Ambassadorship of Joseph Patrick Kennedy. Then in spring 1941, a small group of US Army officers travelled to Britain to plan for Anglo-American cooperation should the United States became involved in the Second World War. This was the US Army Special Observer Group, or SPOBS as it was commonly known.
It is questionable whether the Military Attach s and SPOBS activities were spying', for they were operating - at least in the early days - with the full permission and knowledge of the British Government. Their intelligence-gathering activities spread out as far as the Middle East, Africa, South America, Russia and Asia - far beyond the terms of the original brief. It did not cease with the outbreak of peace - the advent of the Cold War between East and West brought forth a whole new range of subterfuge and behind-the-scenes activities by the CIA.
So, were the Americans allies or spies? Certainly, the SPOBS bled Great Britain white of data and information, sending it all back to the War Department in Washington under the guise of helping. It was also a blueprint that America used in one form or another to encourage' regime change around the world through the seventy years or so after the Second World War and which continues to this day.
During the Second World War, the Soviet Union's Petlyakov Pe-2 Peshka dive-bomber was unique in that it was as fast as most fighter aircraft. This was in a period when it was considered by the RAF that it was impossible for monoplane aircraft to conduct vertical bombing with any degree of success.
During the war the Pe-2 was the principal dive- and light-bomber of Russia's air power across the vast Eastern Front and it continued in service until the early 1950s with the air forces of the Warsaw Pact countries and Yugoslavia. Conceived by a team of top aircraft designers whom Stalin had incarcerated in a prison camp on trumped-up political charges, the Pe-2 had originally been designed as a high-altitude twin-engine fighter plane, but, due to the outstanding success of the German Stukas in the Blitzkrieg, its role was quickly changed to that of a fast dive-bomber. The Pe-2 arrived in service around the time of the German attack on its hitherto ally.
Although only a handful had reached front line units by the start of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, the Pe-2 soon became the main dive-bomber in both the Soviet VVS and Naval service. Mass production, by factories hastily moved back beyond the front, meant that numbers increased rapidly, and more than 11,000 of the type, including many variants, were built up to 1945. The Peshka became the mainstay of the Soviet counter-offensive that ultimately resulted in the fall of Berlin. Pe-2s also led the way in the brief but annihilating Manchurian campaign against Japan in the closing days of the war in 1945.
Using official sources, including the official Pe-2 handbook, and numerous colour and black-and-white photographs made available to the author from both official and private sources and collections, this book is the definitive record of the Pe-2 - the dive-bomber supreme!
_ May the army of millions of dead of all nations bear witness to humanity for the hope that future generations may learn to discard war as the best way to resolve their differences.'_ Helmut Schneider
This is the little-known story of Heavy Panzer (Tiger) Battalion 507 told through the recollections of the men who fought with the unit.
The book was conceived during a reunion of the 507' at Rohrdorf in 1982, where it was agreed to set up an editorial committee under Helmut Schneider, himself a veteran of the battalion, to search for as many survivors of the unit as possible and gather their reminiscences. The resulting account is a treasure trove of first-hand material, from personal memories, diary entries and letters to leave passes, wartime newspaper cuttings, Wehrmacht bulletins and more than 160 photographs.
The account follows the unit from its formation in 1943 and the catastrophic events on the Eastern Front, through battles on the Western Front and engagements against the American 3rd Armoured Division to the confusion of retreat, panic-stricken flight and Soviet captivity in the closing stages of the war. Honest and unflinching, this remarkable collection of autobiographies offers a glimpse into life in Hitler's panzer division and is a stark testimony of a generation that sacrificed its best years to the war.
This is the first English-language translation of the work.
"The enemy bomber grew larger in my sights and the rear gunner was sprayed by my guns just as he opened fire. The rest was merely a matter of seconds. The bomber fell like a stone out of the sky and exploded on the ground. The nightmare came to an end."
In this enthralling memoir, the author recounts his experiences of the war years and traces the story of the ace fighter pilots from the German development of radar to the Battle of Britain.
Johnen flew his first operational mission in July 1941, having completed his blind-flying training. In his first couple of years he brought down two enemy planes. The tally went up rapidly once the air war was escalated in spring 1943, when Air Marshal Arthur Harris of the RAF Bomber Command began the campaign dubbed the Battle of the Ruhr.
During this phrase of the war Johnen's successes were achieved against a 710-strong force of bombers. Johnen's further successes during Harris's subsequent Berlin offensive led to his promotion as Staffelkapitan (squadron leader) of Nachtjagdgeschwader and a move to Mainz. During a sortie from there, his Bf 110 was hit by return fire and he was forced to land in Switzerland. He and his crew were interned by the authorities. The Germans were deeply worried about leaving a sophisticatedly equipped night fighter and its important air crew in the hands of a foreign government, even if it was a neutral one. After negotiations involving G ring, the prisoners were released.
Johnen's unit moved to Hungary and by October 1944 his score was standing at 33 aerial kills. His final one came in March the following year, once Johnen had moved back to Germany.
General Hans von Seekt (1866-1936) was the military counterpart of the Weimar Republic, both attempted to restore Germany's international acceptance and security following defeat in World War I and the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. And the failure of both led eventually to the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. Hans von Seekt was from the traditional German officer caste, served with distinction on the war and became Chief of the Army Command at the Reichewehr Ministry of the Weimar Republic and Germany's 'supreme soldier'and major military strategist. His role was to re-build the shattered German army in face of the punitive terms of post-war settlement imposed by the victorious Entente Powers which drastically reduced its strength and imposed crippling financial conditions. He aimed to build a modern and efficient military - a new German army - with a main strategy of peaceful defence purposes, and to re-introduce Germany into the community of nations. This original and far-sighted policy was opposed by the movement seeking revenge for defeat - a 'stab in the back' - led principally by his rival, General Erich Ludendorff, whose aim was re-build the once-mighty German imperial army as a major international force. The failure of von Seekt's experiment was mirrored by the fall of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany.
A bad reputation has its commitments.' So wrote home Jochen Peiper from the fighting front in the East in 1943, characterizing his battle-hardened command during the Second World War. Peiper's War is a new serious work of military history by the renowned author Danny S. Parker which presents a unique view off the Second World War as seen from a prominent participant on the dark side of history.
The story follows the wartime career of Waffen SS Colonel Jochen Peiper, a handsome Aryan prodigy who was considered a hero in the Third Reich. Peiper had been Heinrich Himmler's personal adjutant in the early years of the war, and, having procured a field command in Hitler's namesake fighting force, the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, he become famous for a flamboyant and brutal style of warfare on the Eastern Front. There, in his sphere, few prisoners were taken, and motives of racial genocide were never far from unspoken orders.
Transferred to the west, Peiper's battlegroup incinerated a tiny town in Northern Italy and killed the village mayor and priest. Being well-connected to Himmler and other generals of the period, Peiper finds a place in the narrative as a storied witness to the inner workings of the Nazi elite along with other prominent SS officers such as Kurt Meyer.
In this meticulously researched work, we witness the apex and then death spiral of Nazi military intentions as Peiper fights for Germany across every front in the conflict. Peiper's War provides a telling inside look at Hitler's war and then how the dark secrets of his security-minded command were improbably unearthed at the end of the conflict by an obscure top-secret surveillance facility in the United States.