Books - General Second World War

 

Aces of the Reich: The Making of a Luftwaffe Fighter Pilot by Mike Spick

Pegasus Archive review: A chronicle of the evolution of the Luftwaffe from its origins in the First World War to the supremacy that it attained at the beginning of the Second. Mike Spick, whose knowledge of military aviation is impeccable, provides a highly detailed analysis of the Luftwaffe's strengths and shortcomings, discusses their tactical outlook and the numerous personalities who helped, or indeed hindered their development, and profiles a number of the leading German aces and their incredible records. The narrative follows the course of the War from the Luftwaffe's perspective and examines the reasons for the gradual decline of German strength in the air, and how their squadrons were changed from a devastating weapon of attack into one of increasingly desperate defence. He also explores the new aircraft which became available as the war progressed and the ever-changing face of aerial combat, with the introduction of new concepts such as night-fighters and jet aircraft. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/aces-of-the-reich/p/4142/

 

Agent Michael Trotobas and SOE by Stewart Kent and Nick Nicholas

Pegasus Archive review: Michael Trotobas enlisted in the Middlesex Regiment before the war, and following Dunkirk was selected for officer training where he caught the attention of the Special Operations Executive. He was captured during his first mission to France, but played a leading role in a mass breakout from the Mausac internment camp and managed to reach the UK via Portugal. Eager to return to France, Trotobas did a very great deal to organise the Resistance around Lille, and the many reports and first hand accounts which are scattered throughout this narrative reveal not just his methods but also those used by SOE across Europe. In 1943, Trotobas was trapped by the Gestapo, but he refused to surrender and killed one and seriously wounded another before being shot dead. For his remarkable actions with the resistance, Trotobas was posthumously recommended for the Victoria Cross. This did not materialise, yet he was long remembered in France by those he fought alongside, who lamented the catastrophic loss of their most revered leader, but also continued to take inspiration from his example until their homeland was at last liberated. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Agent-Michael-Trotobas-and-SOE-in-Northern-France-Hardback/p/11216

 

Anti-Tank: The Story of a Desert Gunner in the Second World War by Mark Carter

Pegasus Archive review: Mark Carter served in the Royal Horse Artillery during the Desert War, and his lively, flowing and detailed account describes his experiences from the arrival of the Afrika Korps to victory at El Alamein and the advance of the 8th Army. Equipped with 25-pounder guns, it would be expected that he and his gun crew would engage targets at a distance from well behind the line, but, such was the ferocity of the Desert War and the early ineffectiveness of British anti-tank weaponry, the 25-pounder became an indispensable front line weapon, frequently engaging enemy armour at point blank range. Carter vividly describes the campaign from the perspective of the ordinary soldier, of confusion and horrendous close-quarters fighting, but he also dwells on life out of action, of humour, army bureaucracy, and also his relentless pursuit of an Australian nurse. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Anti-Tank/p/3515/

 

The Archaeology of the Second World War by Gabriel Moshenska

Pegasus Archive review: With the possible exception of the castles built during the medieval period, few conflicts have made so great a mark on the British landscape as the Second World War. This book catalogues the extensive range of archaeological remains which, to this day, can still be found scattered across the country; including airfields, pillboxes, anti-aircraft positions, air raid shelters, crash sites, dockyards and prisoner of war camps. The background details of each are discussed in turn, with several key moments highlighted, accompanied by details of the various excavations which have taken place. The result is an inspiring introduction to a subject which really makes you want to wander off into the countryside and see what you can find for yourself. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/the-archaeology-of-the-second-world-war/p/3723/

 

The Armed Rovers: Beauforts and Beaufighters Over the Mediterranean by Roy Conyers Nesbit

Pegasus Archive review: It is a mystery why so little has been written about the anti-shipping operations carried out by the RAF during the Second World War, as it is a story of great heroism and sacrifice, where the dangers to the attacker were as high as they were to the attacked. The operations also had a highly influential impact on campaigns on the ground, with each ship sunk sapping the ability of the enemy land forces to resist. In the Mediterranean theatre, with which this book is concerned, the efforts of the RAF and the Royal Navy at times so disrupted the German and Italian supply lines to North Africa that only a fraction of their ships arrived safely, and this was one of the decisive factors in their defeat. This excellent book tells the story of a campaign which raged, almost unnoticed by posterity, throughout the entire duration of the War, and the vicious struggle which developed, in the air as well as on the surface, as the British attempted to take on the heavily protected convoys. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/the-armed-rovers/p/3707/

 

Armoured Warfare from the Riviera to the Rhine 1944-1945 by Anthony Tucker-Jones

Pegasus Archive review: The invasion of Southern France in August 1944 is a subject which has all too often been overlooked by history, despite its considerable size, and indeed controversy. This book is a photographic history of that campaign, consisting of large, detailed and rare images which follow the American and French forces from the beaches to their arrival on the banks of the Rhine in 1945, highlighting the Battle of Montélimar, the Belfort Gap and the Colmar Pocket. Each chapter is accompanied by a concise history of that stage in the campaign, and as is typical of the Images of War series, the photographs cover a broad range of subjects, above all focusing on the Army element, but attention is also given to the Allied air forces and navies, as well as the French Resistance who played a very active role. The wide array of both Allied and German equipment is clearly displayed and described, and includes anything from tanks and artillery, to amphibious craft and supply trucks. Price £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Armoured-Warfare-from-the-Riviera-to-the-Rhine-1944-1945-Paperback/p/11846

 

Armoured Warfare in Northwest Europe 1944-45 by Anthony Tucker-Jones

Pegasus Archive review: A photographic history of the last years of the Second World War in the west, focusing on those offensives where tanks played a particularly prominent role, beginning with Operation Goodwood, the aborted effort of the British to breakout of the Normandy beachhead in July 1944, and going on to describe the Falaise Gap, Arnhem, the clearing of the Scheldt Estuary, the Ardennes campaign, the Rhine Crossing of March 1945, and finally the encirclement of the Army Group B in the Ruhr Pocket. Each of these are explored with the aid of several hundred photographs accompanied by detailed captions, and in them there are a considerable range of armoured vehicles of all types from both sides on display; from main battle tanks, to the 'funnies', amphibious vehicles and even heavy artillery tractors. This is an impressive and informative record of the many vehicles which played important roles in the Allied success, a number of which have rarely glimpsed the limelight. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/armoured-warfare-in-northwest-europe/p/3895/

 

The Battle East of Elsenborn and the Twin Villages by William Cavanagh

Pegasus Archive review: The Battle of the Bulge is commonly associated with the courageous defence of Bastogne, yet there were many other forces who had a hand in resisting Hitler's last offensive in the west. Amongst these was the untried and inexperienced 99th Infantry Division, on whom a large part of the initial onslaught fell. The Germans had hoped to brush them aside and drive deep into the rear areas of the 1st US Army, however the 99th Division sufficiently recovered from the hammer blow to resist tenaciously, gradually yielding ground as they struggled to hold the sheet weight of force being directed against them. William Cavanagh presents a comprehensive day-by-day study of the events on the front of the 99th Division and their neighbours, including the veteran 2nd Infantry Division, describing the numerous resolute defensive actions which succeeded in sapping the momentum of the German attack until, on the Elsenborn ridge, it was finally brought to a halt. This book sheds light on a chapter of the Ardennes offensive which has not received as much attention as it should, for it was here that the battle in the 1st Army's sector was decided. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Battle-East-of-Elsenborn/p/3538/

 

Battle For Crete by John Hall Spencer

Pegasus Archive review: The Battle of Crete is one of the few occasions in military history where both sides can claim a disaster; the dreadful casualties suffered by the victorious Germans in this exclusively airborne invasion being matched only by the failure of the British to organise a counter-attack on Maleme airfield when the odds were entirely in their favour. This book outlines the preamble to the battle, exploring the political state of Greece, the wider Balkans area, and how the Germans and British came to be drawn to the island. It also considers the short-comings in the Allied strategy, above all the lack of political and military clarity which frustrated the defence throughout the campaign. The complete pandemonium which ensued during the opening phases of the assault on Crete is wonderfully described, using the stories of numerous personalities to highlight the action at key points. This excellent narrative closes with the decision to evacuate the Allies from Crete, and the subsequent, desperate trek across the mountains to the only embarkation point. Price £8.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Battle-for-Crete-Hardback/p/1642

 

 

The Battle of Kursk 1943 by Hans Seidler

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series. Hans Seidler draws on rare and previously unpublished photographs to describe, from the German perspective, the course of this most decisive of battles. The photographs, with their descriptive notes, illustrate the wide range of equipment used and the scale and ferocity of an offensive from which the German war machine never recovered. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Battle-of-Kursk-1943/p/3163/

 

Blitzkrieg in the West by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the Images of War series of books, Blitzkrieg in the West uses a very broad range of large, clear, and rare photographs, each accompanied by detailed notes, to describe the German offensive of May 1940. Chapters cover their training and preparations prior to the attack, the advance through Holland and Belgium, Dunkirk and the culmination of the campaign in France. Many of the photographs have been taken in the rear areas, showing the construction of pontoon bridges and transport columns of all types; from horses and trucks to panzers, armoured cars and aircraft. Yet there are still some images of German troops in combat, as well as scenes of destruction caused by air attack and artillery. Included are photographs of the victory parade through Paris and an overview Order of Battle of the participating armies of both sides. Price £12.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Blitzkrieg-in-the-West-Paperback/p/2459

 

Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front by Günter K Koschorrek

Pegasus Archive review: Based on the diary which Günter Koschorrek illegally kept throughout the war, this is a superb memoir of a typical German infantryman on the Russian Front. The writing at first exudes innocence and optimism when he arrives as a reinforcement in Stalingrad, but grim reality rapidly descends, particularly after the Russian offensive which encircled the city, when Koschorrek's unit narrowly escaped and became embroiled in the desperate defence of the River Don. Here he gives a vivid sense of the sheer horror and hopelessness which ensues when infantry, devoid of cover and heavy weapons, are overrun by tanks. Following the rapid, demoralising retreat from the Caucasus, Koschorrek describes the innumerable futile defensive actions which took place throughout the summer of 1944. It is clear from his descriptions of the various characters around him that the rate of attrition was utterly horrendous, so much so that this once inexperienced and youthful soldier becomes regarded as one of the last remaining old hands. Told without any trace of enmity or political ideology, this is simply a soldiers' story, of a man who does his duty and fights for the lives of his comrades. Price £13.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Blood-Red-Snow-Paperback/p/2946

 

British Tanks: The Second World War by Pat Ware

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series. This splendid volume covers the extremely wide range of tanks, foreign and domestic, which were used by the British during the Second World War, from the common light, medium and heavy varieties to the specialist "funnies" which were used for mine-clearance, bridge-laying, bulldozing, etc. Excellent photographs of all models are included alongside descriptive notes, but also a brief yet comprehensive service history of each. An absorbing read, whether or not one has a particular fascination with armour. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/British-Tanks-The-Second-World-War/p/3287/

 

Catalina Over Arctic Oceans by John French

Pegasus Archive review: Compiled from the notes of Wing Commander John French, this fascinating memoir catalogues his service with the RAF from 1938 until retirement in 1962, and in particular his wartime association with the Catalina flying boat. With this iconic aircraft he flew sorties in the Mediterranean in support of the landings of the 1st Allied Army in Morocco and Algeria in November 1942, but above all it is the story of that more unfamiliar war in the distant north, flying anti-submarine patrols out of Shetland, searching for downed airmen, attempting to locate the Tirpitz and Scharnhorst battleships hiding in the Norwegian fjords, and escorting the Arctic Convoys to Murmansk. It was on one of the latter sorties that his crew spotted and sank German submarine. French developed an interest in Russia as a consequence of these missions, and in the post-war period he made many official trips behind the Iron Curtain, meeting a number of key personalities, including Marshal Georgy Zhukov and Nikita Khruschev. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Catalina-Over-Arctic-Oceans/p/3726/

 

The Crushing of Army Group North 1944-1945 on the Eastern Front by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images at War" series describing the fighting which took place around the Baltic States in the final months of the war; an encounter which, even by the standards of the Russian front was savagely fought, and culminated in the destruction of Germany's Army Group North. Each chapter provides a concise summary of events followed by a plethora of large, carefully selected and rare photographs from the German perspective, each accompanied by detailed notes. These span a considerable variety of subjects, showing a number of different unit types, including SS and Estonian volunteers, equipped with a very broad range of infantry weapons, armoured vehicles and artillery pieces, but it also devotes a few pages to much less emphasised aspects such as mine laying. The photographs give a sense of the varied conditions which the troops encountered; from a dry summer to an arctic winter, and the inevitable muddy thaw which followed, turning roads to swamps. The book closes with an Order of Battle of Army Group North as it evolved throughout the campaign. Price £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Crushing-of-Army-Group-North-1944-1945-Paperback/p/12688

 

Daring Raids of World War Two by Peter Jacobs

Pegasus Archive review: This book describes thirty famous raids undertaken by the British during the Second World War; including the attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto, the sinking of the Bismarck, the raids on Bruneval, Dieppe and St. Nazaire, the Dambusters, Pegasus Bridge, the reconnaissance of the Normandy beaches, the Chindit expeditions, and Operation Market Garden. Each of these subjects are worthy of a book in their own right, and as they are typically described in ten pages or less, obviously much detail has had to be sacrificed. Nevertheless, Peter Jacobs has done a remarkable job of accurately and concisely summarising the important points of these incredible operations, making for an extremely fast and entertaining read, and one which will certainly inspire further reading.

 Price: £25.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Daring-Raids-of-World-War-Two-Heroic-Land-Sea-and-Air-Attacks-Hardback/p/10792

 

Darwin Spitfires by Anthony Cooper

Pegasus Archive review: A beautifully presented book devoted to the forgotten defence of Darwin during the Second World War. Several books and indeed Hollywood movies have drawn attention to the Japanese air raids which took place on the 19th February 1942, yet the ensuing battles for control of the airspace over Northern Australia, which raged until the end of 1943, have managed to escape the notice of not just the world but many Australians themselves. It was not a campaign of such life and death importance as the Battle of Britain; the Japanese attacks failed to make any noticeable impact and were never mounted on a scale to be anything more than a nuisance, whilst the British and Australian Spitfires of No.1 Fighter Wing were unable to exact an impressive toll on the aggressors and in fact struggled against the more reliable armament and superior battle drill of the Japanese Zero's. Yet this campaign successfully defended Australia from the only sustained attack that it has known in its history, and this thorough and impeccably researched book does a very fine job in bringing it to wider notice. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/darwin-spitfires/p/4188/

 

Death on the Don: The Destruction of Germany's Allies on the Eastern Front 1941-1944 by Jonathan Trigg

Pegasus Archive review: A superb account of the grim fate which befell Germany's allies on the Eastern Front, above all Romania, Hungary and Italy. Meticulously researched, Death on the Don reveals the state of these armies which, despite a respectable strength on paper, were badly led, poorly equipped and quite unprepared for a modern war of heavy weaponry and rapid movement. It examines the paths which led to their involvement in Operation Barbarossa; Hitler's immense attack on Russia in 1941, and follows their actions during the first year before describing their part in the advance on Stalingrad in 1942. Whilst the destruction of the German Sixth Army there has been well documented, little attention has been paid to these foreign armies which were relied upon to hold the increasingly fragile flanks. Although some formations had proved themselves capable of spirited action, they remained utterly deficient in the tanks, artillery and anti-tank guns which were capable of standing up to the new Russian army which was thrown against them in November 1942. In horrendous winter conditions, Germany's allies quickly disintegrated beneath the onslaught and suffered such severe losses in men and equipment that they never recovered. An impressive addition to an overlooked chapter of the Second World War. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/index.php/death-on-the-don.html

 

Eighth Army in Italy 1943-45 - The Long Hard Slog by Richard Doherty

Pegasus Archive review: The invasion of Italy, infamously described by Churchill as the soft underbelly of the crocodile, did not result in the swift advance into Central Europe that the Allies had hoped, but became mired in a series of difficult and bitterly-fought engagements around a succession of German defensive lines until the end of the war. With the exception of famous battles such as Anzio and Monte Cassino, much of the campaign remains an unfamiliar subject to most, and it would be difficult to find a better introduction to it than this excellently researched account. It does not dwell on the innumerable political problems or the experience of the front line soldier, but concisely and chronologically details the expansion of the 8th Army's campaign from their arrival in Calabria in September 1943 to the conclusion of hostilities in May 1945. It is, therefore, a superb guide for anyone seeking to understand the course and context of the Italian campaign. Price: £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Eighth-Army-in-Italy-1943-45-Paperback/p/6755

 

Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Panzer Lehr Division in World War II by Franz Kurowski

Pegasus Archive review: The Panzer Lehr Division was one of the most formidable units in the German army; fully mechanised, equipped with the latest and best tanks, and staffed by some of the Wehrmacht's finest cavalry commanders. This all-encompassing volume traces their history from their formation, in December 1943, to the last weeks of the war when the shattered remnants laid down their arms in the Ruhr Pocket. The Division was formed with the intention of throwing the British and American invasion forces into the sea as they tried to gain a foothold in Normandy, yet when they arrived at the front their role became entirely defensive as they struggled to contain the offensive moves of the British and Canadians around Tilly, and later the Americans at St. Lô. In this they were enormously successful, gradually yielding ground but extracting a painful price for it. Their own losses were no less severe, with just a third of their number emerging from the chaotic retreat through France. Using a mixture of vivid narrative and veterans accounts, Franz Kurowski brilliantly describes the actions of this true elite, going on to document the Division's role in the Ardennes campaign and the final, desperate and fragmented defence of their homeland as the irresistible might of the Allies gradually encircled them. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/elite-panzer-strike-force/p/3447/

 

The Fatal Decisions: First Hand Accounts by Hitler's Generals by Seymour Freidlin and William Richardson

Pegasus Archive review: A superb book of six essays written by German generals, each providing an account of their involvement in campaigns which ultimately ended in defeat. Werner Kreipe describes the Battle of Britain, Günther Blumentritt the Battle for Moscow, Fritz Bayerlein profiles El Alamein, Kurt Zeitzler the disaster at Stalingrad, Bodo Zimmerman describes Normandy, Hasso von Manteuffel the Ardennes, and Siegfried Westphal writes the narrative which connects each of these accounts to the next. Their reports give an extremely clear description of the problems which faced the German forces in each theatre, and they are quite frank in chronicling their numerous exchanges with Adolf Hitler. Convinced of his own genius, Hitler continually interfered in military matters, and his amateurish judgement became even more and catastrophically involved as the war began to turn against him. Had he been inclined to heed their sound advice and act on their recommendations, it is possible that victory could have been achieved or else entirely probable that defeat would not be so painful. As it was, he never lost confidence in himself and instinctively blamed failure on incompetent generals and soldiers; all of whom, it is quite clear, did everything in their power to carry out his flawed orders to a successful conclusion. A fascinating read, highly recommended. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Fatal-Decisions/p/3480/

 

The Few: Preparation for the Battle of Britain by Philip Kaplan

Pegasus Archive review: As a part of the Images of War series, this book contains the usual range of excellent photographs, each accompanied by detailed notes to describe the course of the campaign as it unfolded. Starting with the desperate preparations of the British, with Spitfires and Hurricanes in varying degrees of construction on the assembly line, it proceeds to describe the struggle to defend Channel shipping, the vital radar stations, the airfields, and ultimately London. Accompanying all of this is Philip Kaplan's not inconsiderable narrative, which concisely accounts for these phases of the Battle of Britain, with individual stories from both sides cleverly woven in to give a very personal feel to quite typical engagements. Price: £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/the-few-preparation-for-the-battle-of-britain-paperback/p/6073/

 

Fighter! Fighter! Corkscrew Port! : Vivid Memories of Bomber Aircrew in World War Two by Pat Cunningham

Pegasus Archive review: This book consists of ten accounts of Bomber Command veterans, whose dramatic stories describe their first days in the Royal Air Force and the numerous sorties in which they were involved. The accounts cover a broad spectrum of the experience of aircrews, be they flying Mosquitos, Stirlings, Lancasters, Wellingtons or Baltimores, describing the numerous situations that any crew might encounter, with one account even covering the conversion of his squadron to Transport Command, ferrying SOE agents behind enemy lines and towing gliders and dropping parachutists of the British Airborne Divisions. The result is a comprehensive cross-section of life in Bomber Command which pays tribute to the courage and sacrifice of the aircrews who, despite terrible casualties, played a decisive role in the defeat of Germany. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Fighter-Fighter-Corkscrew-Port/p/3242/

 

Fighter Operations in Europe & North Africa 1939-1945 by David Wragg

Fighter Operations in Europe and North Africa 1939-1945 tells the inspiring story of Allied and German fighter pilots in Europe, over the Mediterranean and in North Africa during the Second World War. The book starts with the early skirmishes as each side tested the other's defences, moves through the Battle of Britain and onto the Blitz, when the emphasis switched from single-engined day fighters to twin-engined night fighters. At this time, fighters were increasingly used to conduct destructive sweeps over occupied France. This overlapped with the need to provide air cover for the strategically vital island fortress of Malta, as well as defensive operations against Axis forces in Crete and North Africa. The contribution of the too often neglected Desert Air Force, formed from elements of many Allied air forces, is well covered as is the shift to offensive operations as the balance of power changed. The invasions of Sicily, mainland Italy and the South of France also relied heavily on fighter cover, initially by carrier-based aircraft. From June 1944 the lessons learnt in North Africa were put to good use by the 2nd Allied Tactical Air Force, working closely with the advancing Allied armies and achieving overwhelming air supremacy. The book also covers the actions of Luftwaffe fighter pilots as they took on the RAF by night and the USAAF by day. For a well-informed description of the development of tactics and aircraft types as well as exploits of the combatants, Fighter Operations in Europe and North Africa 1939-1945, written by a much published authority, is unlikely to be bettered. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/fighter-operations-in-europe-and-north-africa-1939-1945/p/3324/

 

Fighters Under Construction in World War Two by Graham Simons

Pegasus Archive review: Rare and unpublished photographs show numerous aircraft of the Royal Air Force as they have scarcely been seen before; divided into their component parts on a production line. Chapters cover the Spitfire, Seafire, Hurricane, Mosquito, Hornet, Typhoon, Tempest, Beaufighter, Walrus and Aircobra, as well as the production of propellers, the Merlin engine and 20mm Hispano cannon. The photographs alone give a vivid sense of the production stages of each, showing the numerous phases by which the airframe was fashioned by expert craftsmen, long before the days of modern robotic assembly. Extensive notes accompany each photograph and they give a real insight into the manufacturing process as well as a brief overview and service history of the aircraft. Price: £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/fighters-under-construction-in-world-war-two/p/3804/

 

Fighting with the Desert Rats by Major H.P. Samwell

Pegasus Archive review: This is the memoir of Major Hugh Samwell MC of the 7th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, describing his experiences with the Battalion from its arrival in Egypt in June 1942, through to El Alamein, the advance into Tunisia and the invasion of Sicily. Any first hand account of the Second World War is valuable, but what sets this book apart from so many others is that it was written at the time, without the benefit of hindsight, historical analysis or even the certainty that the war would be won. In the preface, Samwell laments the absence of books which record the war from the perspective of the ordinary infantryman, and so he set out to document his own experiences without reference to the wider war or anything which occurred beyond the range of his vision. The result is an extremely vibrant story which may be taken to speak for any junior officer who served in the Western Desert. It is a tragedy that Major Samwell did not survive the war but was killed in January 1945, having accompanied the 51st (Highland) Division from the Normandy beaches to the German border. We can only reflect on the loss of any subsequent manuscript which he may have produced, for together, they would have accounted for so much of the British Army experience in the Western theatre. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Fighting-With-the-Desert-Rats/p/3671/

 

Final Days of the Reich by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series. Ian Baxter has assembled a superb collection of rare and previously unpublished photographs which tell the story of the German Army's gradual collapse from winter 1944 to May 1945. Each photograph comes with descriptive notes, explaining not just the image but the wider battle raging at this time. Highly recommended. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Final-Days-of-the-Reich/p/3194/

 

Front-Line Stalingrad by Victor Nekrasov

Pegasus Archive review: Front-Line Stalingrad is a work of fiction by a veteran who commanded an engineer battalion during this most epic of battles, and continued to serve in the Red Army until he was wounded in Poland, in early 1944. It follows events from the retreat to the Volga in 1942, and the bitter fighting which took place from building to building in the shattered ruins of Stalingrad. Although its characters are an invention, they have been heavily coloured by Nekrasov's personal experience, and show the mindset of the typical Red Army soldier as this savage, attritional struggle progressed. The result is a highly realistic and gritty account which is remarkably devoid of the slightly false-feeling patriotic triumphalism which generally pervades such novels. The book was critically acclaimed on its release in 1946 and is now a recognised classic of the period, which is an extraordinary achievement for a man who had no previous experience of writing. Price £12.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Front-Line-Stalingrad-Paperback/p/3434

 

German Army on the Eastern Front - The Advance by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: A very impressive collection of photographs following the German Army from the invasion of Russia in 1941, through to the advance on Stalingrad, the chaotic retreat which followed and the recovery of Spring 1943. Each of these phases are covered in individual chapters, introduced with a concise account of the state of the German Army at the time and the chief events as they unfolded. The photographs are accompanied by detailed notes which explain the scene, and they have been particularly carefully selected to cover an extremely diverse range of units and subjects, with a wide variety of uniforms and equipment, supplied or improvised, on display. These include river crossings, ski troops, mountain troops, pack animals, tanks, artillery, anti-tank guns, motorcyclists, mortar and machine gun teams. In contrast to propaganda images of the era which try to make light of obviously difficult situations, these feel much more real, and the numerous photographs taken during the winter months look thoroughly grim. Price: £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/German-Army-on-the-Eastern-Front-The-Advance-Paperback/p/10124

 

German Army on the Eastern Front - The Retreat by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: Beginning with the German defeat at Kursk in 1943, this photographic study goes on to describe the subsequent winter fighting and the catastrophic defeats of 1944, culminating in their collapse during the final year. Yet despite the increasingly hopeless situation, the photographs also reveal the relentless dedication and fighting spirit of the ordinary German soldier. The infantry and artillery receive the most attention, although some armour is present, including images of captured Russian tanks put into the service of the Wehrmacht. As with all books in the "Images of War" series, the superb photographs have been carefully selected to depict a wide range of situations, terrain, weather conditions, uniforms and equipment, and come with detailed captions. Included amongst these are images of observation posts, mortar teams, improvised river crossings, the construction of defensive positions with forced labour, and the impact of the scorched earth policy. Price: £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/German-Army-on-the-Eastern-Front-The-Retreat-1943-1945-Paperback/p/11650

 

German Secret Weapons of the Second World War by Ian V. Hogg

Pegasus Archive review: A fascinating overview of the menagerie of ground-breaking weapons which Germany developed during the Second World War. Most famous amongst these are the V1 flying bomb, V2 rocket and the Me 262 jet fighter, but also covered are the much less known yet brilliant jet aircraft, radio controlled bombs and guided missiles, immense but ultimately impractical artillery, ingenious innovations in ammunition types, U-Boat development, nuclear and biological research, and a number of bizarre concepts which are remarkable solely for being allowed to develop as far as they did. Hogg examines the weaknesses in the German procurement strategy, where identical projects were allowed to develop in parallel instead of pooling their resources. He also dwells on the continual interference of Hitler, whose blessing could give a project every support it needed, but his unyielding demands for offensive armaments led to the loss of many a wonder weapon and unnecessarily stalled the introduction of others. In this the Allies were most fortunate, as it is clear that a number of these weapons would have placed them at a severe disadvantage if they had appeared sooner. Price: £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/German-Secret-Weapons-of-World-War-II-Paperback/p/9770

 

German Tank Hunters: The Panzerjäger edited by Bob Carruthers

Pegasus Archive review: This is a fascinating little book on several levels, for not only does it describe in detail the full range of anti-tank weaponry available to the Wehrmacht, from the famous 88mm flak gun to improvised mines and molotov cocktails, but it is also of historical interest as it is entirely based upon contemporary US Army intelligence pamphlets. The appearance, characteristics and capabilities of these weapons are described in typically concise military language, accompanied by photographs, drawings and diagrams, as well as notes on their typical tactical deployment, as uncovered by the experiences of British and American troops in the field. It is, therefore, an extremely useful reference guide for anyone with an interest in militaria. Price: £7.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/german-tank-hunters/p/3688/

 

Hitler Versus Stalin: The Eastern Front 1941-1942 by Nik Cornish

Pegasus Archive review: A wonderful photographic history of the first year of the Russian campaign, following the initially triumphant German advance through Ukraine and into the outskirts of Leningrad and Moscow. It is a challenge to condense this immense subject into a book of 128 pages, but in the tradition of the "Images of War" series, each photograph has been carefully selected to provide a snapshot of the unfolding campaign and illustrate, with the assistance of detailed captions, a very broad range of subjects and equipment. Included amongst these are the appalling human cost, with prisoners of war of both sides being marched towards a very uncertain future, and the plight of civilians overtaken by the advance. The book naturally closes with a series of images which capture the chaos of Germany's retreat from Moscow in dreadful winter conditions, but it also includes a chapter which looks as the lesser known contribution of the Western Allies, of aircraft and particularly tanks and other armoured vehicles supplied by the British and Americans to keep the Red Army fighting. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitler-versus-Stalin-The-Eastern-Front-1941-1942-Paperback/p/11845

 

Hitler's Arctic War by Chris Mann and Christer Jörgensen

Pegasus Archive review: The Scandinavian theatre of WW2 is often overlooked as a peripheral area of limited significance, yet this book demonstrates its strategic importance and the considerable resources which both sides were obliged to commit there, despite the extraordinary challenges of moving and supplying armies in horrendous weather across utterly remote, inaccessible terrain. Much of it concerns the remarkable efforts of the Finns, in resisting the Russian invasion of 1939, then later fighting alongside their German Allies to destabilise Stalin's northern flank, and their ultimately successful struggle to preserve their independence in the face of inevitable defeat. The book also describes the invasion of Norway in 1940, and Hitler's obsession with this country which, despite desperate need elsewhere, remained garrisoned by an extremely large force until the end of the War. A large chapter is devoted to the British Arctic Convoys, which ran a perilous gauntlet of bombers, u-boats and battleships, to bring desperately needed supplies to Russia. Each of these are enormous subjects in their own right and so this book can only be seen as an overview, yet it is lavishly furnished with photographs, and the concise narrative provides a gripping introduction to this very different war. Price £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Arctic-War-Paperback/p/12449

 

Hitler's Artillery 1939-1945 by Hans Seidler

Pegasus Archive review: An impressive array of over two hundred photographs of the powerful range of artillery used by the Germans throughout the Second World War. It is divided into four chapters; the first two dealing with divisional and infantry artillery, almost universally focused on the 105 and 150mm calibres together with a few 75's, with the last two chapters looking at anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns. The Pak 35/36, 38 and 40 feature heavily in the former with a broad selection of FlaK guns in the latter, although both naturally feature extensive coverage of the famous and much-feared 88mm. As usual with the "Images of War" series, all the photographs are large, clear, and accompanied by detailed explanatory notes. They also show each weapon being used by the Wehrmacht and SS in a variety of situations; in training or on active service in Poland, Western Europe, North Africa and Russia; on the move aided by a mixture of transport, or in action, dug-in and camouflaged. Price £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Artillery-1939-1945-Paperback/p/11139

 

Hitler's Boy Soldiers: The Hitlerjugend Story by Hans Seidler

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series, this book draws on rare photographs to describe the history of the Hitler Youth movement. It begins with their pre-war indoctrination, with parades and propaganda images, and then their gradual militarisation, with photographs of training exercises and their introduction to armaments. This enterprise culminated in the founding of the 12th SS Panzer Division "Hitlerjugend", which despite being derided as the "Baby Division" by the Allies, was to prove itself in Normandy, and in all subsequent engagements, as an extremely capable unit with a fanatical determination which bordered on the reckless. Many photographs follow the progress of this Division, as well as other members of the Hitler Youth serving on both the Western and Eastern Fronts. In the final pages, the focus shifts towards the desperate defence of Germany, with a series of increasingly young faces being pressed into service, some of whom appear pleased when they were taken prisoner, but others displayed an unswerving loyalty to Nazi ideology and continued to fight even after the war had ended. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/hitlers-boy-soldiers/p/3838/

 

Hitler's Final Fortress - Breslau 1945 by Richard Hargreaves

In January 1945, the Red Army unleashed its long-awaited thrust into Germany with terrible fury. One by one the provinces and great cities of the German East were captured by the Soviet troops. Breslau, capital of Silesia, a city of 600,000 people, stood firm and was declared a fortress by Hitler. A bitter struggle raged as the Red Army encircled Breslau, then tried to pummel it into submission while the city’s Nazi leadership used brutal methods to keep the scratch German troops fighting and maintain order. Aided by supplies flown in nightly and building improvised weapons from torpedoes mounted on trolleys to an armoured train, the men of Fortress Breslau held out against superior Soviet forces for four months. The price was fearful. By the time Breslau surrendered on May 6, 1945, four days after Berlin had fallen, the city was a wasteland and 25,000 soldiers and civilians had died. Savage retribution was visited on the survivors by the Russian conquerors. What was left of the city was pillaged, its women raped and every German inhabitant driven out of the city which became Wroclaw in post-war Soviet-occupied Poland. Hitler's Final Fortress is the first full length account of the notorious siege of Breslau in English, is based on painstaking research of official documents, newspapers, letters, diaries and personal testimonies. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Final-Fortress-Breslau-1945/p/3286/

 

Hitler's Heavy Panzers 1943-1945 by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series, looking at Germany's fearsome array of heavy panzers which entered the battlefield from 1943 onwards. As one would expect the Tiger I and II's, Mk IV and Panther Tanks receive considerable attention, but besides these and their numerous variants, many tank destroyers and assault guns also feature, including the StuG III, Brummbar, Hummel, Nashorn and Ferdinand Elefant. Superb photographs and detailed captions show each in a variety of situations on both the Western and Eastern Fronts; at rest, on the move and sometimes heavily-laden with infantry, knocked out, refuelling, and a number which demonstrate a range of camouflage techniques. Unlike many other books in the series, this one concludes with several appendices giving more precise information on crew uniforms, the composition of typical armoured units, and a brief order of battle of the panzer divisions. Price £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Heavy-Panzers-194345-Paperback/p/11810

 

Hitler's Jet Plane: The ME 262 Story by Mano Ziegler

Pegasus Archive review: The ME 262, the first military jet to enter service, was amongst the most significant of Adolf Hitler's so-called "miracle weapons" which were to save the Reich. The author of this book is well placed to tell the story of this famous aircraft as he not only flew it but helped to design it. Consequently we are treated to a most comprehensive account of the ME 262, from the initial development stages through to its belated entry into service during the final months of 1944. Ziegler correctly focuses on the reasons behind this late arrival as it could have reached the front line much earlier, and may well have had a significant impact on the efforts of the Allies to win air supremacy over the continent. Yet Hitler's peculiar conviction that it should only be developed as a bomber, rather than the fighter which it quite clearly was, resulted in it only coming into service once that battle was effectively over. Despite numerous successes, the Luftwaffe's dwindling resources and pilots were faced with the insurmountable, and it became apparent that even a miracle weapon could only do so much. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Jet-Plane/p/3650/

 

Hitler's Spyplane Over Normandy 1944 by Philippe Bauduin

Pegasus Archive review: The Arado 234 was one of Adolf Hitler's "miracle weapons", and yet, built on only a very small scale, it was never able to achieve the fame of the Me-262 and the V weapons. It nevertheless made aviation history, first by completing several very successful reconnaissance sorties over the Normandy beachhead, flying so fast and so high that it passed unnoticed by the Allies, and when a later variant was equipped with a payload of bombs it became the world's first jet bomber. This book describes the origins of Germany's jet technology and the evolution of the Ar-234, helped in no small measure by the contributions of Erich Sommer, who flew its maiden sortie over Normandy. This is as much his story as it is that of the aircraft he flew, and gives an insight into how pioneering men such as himself came to be involved with these remarkable projects. Included in the book are a great many rare and unpublished photographs, including the quite fabulous results of the Normandy reconnaissance. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Spyplane-Over-Normandy-1944-Hardback/p/6775

 

Hitler's Terror Weapons by Geoffrey Brooks

Pegasus Archive review: The German nuclear programme is not a subject which has received widespread attention, and it remains unclear how close Hitler came to the appalling prospect of being able to deploy this potentially war-winning "miracle" weapon. Geoffrey Brooks makes a bold attempt to find answers, digging deep into the origins and evolution of German atomic research, as well as the personalities who developed it. The majority of the book is dedicated to the nuclear question, but it also considers the experiments carried out with the more conventional yet no less devastating pressure bomb, before delving into some truly ambiguous areas of Nazi research. Much of this remains either as rumour or classified information, but it includes the electro-magnetic tests which were apparently aimed at developing gravity-defying aircraft, and this introduces the wartime Foo Fighter phenomenon and post-war UFO sightings of craft which seemed to flout several laws of physics. Price £19.95. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Hitlers-Terror-Weapons-Hardback/p/319

 

Horrocks: The General Who Led From the Front by Philip Warner

Pegasus Archive review: Sir Brian Horrocks, with his extraordinary energy and charisma, was one of the more familiar and certainly amongst the most respected British generals of the Second World War. He is chiefly remembered as one of Montgomery's corps commanders, serving with distinction in North Africa, and from the final phases of the Normandy campaign to the end of the war in North-West Europe. This book also looks at his early life and service during the Great War, much of which was spent making repeated attempts to escape having been severely wounded and taken prisoner early on. In the post-war period it follows his adventures with Britain's little known and militarily suspect expedition against the Communists in Eastern Russia, before going on to describe his meteoric rise during the Second World War; advancing from a battalion to a corps commander in just three years. "Jorrocks", as he was affectionately known, enjoyed a remarkably diverse retirement, first as Black Rod in the House of Lords, then a spell as a television presenter before entering the construction industry. A fascinating portrait of a remarkable man. Price £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Horrocks-The-General-who-led-from-the-Front-Hardback/p/985

 

I Was Hitler's Chauffeur by Erich Kempka

Pegasus Archive review: Erich Kempka first met Adolf Hitler in 1932, and became, not only his personal driver, but one of his closest and most trusted associates. His memoir describes their relationship from this early time, but its chief topic is the final days of Hitler's life inside the Führer-Bunker in Berlin, April 1945, when, after his suicide, his body and that of Eva Braun were cremated by Kempka. It is an utterly absorbing memoir which does not dwell at all on matters of Nazi ideology, instead it paints a rare portrait of the last hours of the Third Reich, and also shows the quite unfamiliar, human side of the tyrant who had inflicted such misery on the world. In this aspect, we do not see a deluded follower desperately clinging to his fallen idol, rather the simple relationship that exists between an employer and his loyal servant. Price: £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/I-Was-Hitlers-Chauffeur/p/3260/

 

Ian Fleming and SOE's Operation Postmaster by Brian Lett

Pegasus Archive review: This book describes an extremely successful mission carried out by the Special Operations Executive and British Commandos in January 1942, to steal two German and one Italian merchant vessels moored on the island of Fernando Po off the west coast of Africa. Although a minor operation in the grand scheme of things, it is nevertheless fascinating for a number of reasons. There is the far from inconsequential fact that the vessels were in a port which belonged to neutral Spain, and as the price of discovery could well have been severe, it was essential that there should be no evidence of British involvement, and so the planning was meticulous with all manner of deceptions laid before and after the event. Although it was inevitable that suspicion would fall on Britain, the deceptions worked and blame was ultimately directed elsewhere following a number of outright lies told by British officials. It is also fascinating because Ian Fleming, the future creator of James Bond, had a large hand in proceedings as the liaison between Naval Intelligence and SOE. He later remarked that 90% of his inspiration for the character came from the people whom he met in the service, and by reading this book it is possible to discern familiar traits in a number of the personalities involved. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Ian-Fleming-and-SOEs-Operation-POSTMASTER/p/3596/

 

Ireland's Generals in the Second World War by Richard Doherty

This book looks at the wartime careers of nineteen Irishmen who reached general officer rank - from brigadier upward - and assesses their records. As well as the best-known (Alexander, Auchinleck and Montgomery), the author also reminds us about Britain's first successful general of the war, Richard O'Connor, and the commander of the UK's anti-aircraft defences, Tim Pile, as well as two commanders of the Irish Brigade (Nelson Russell and Pat Scott), another infantry brigade commander (Adrian Gore) and tank brigade commander David Dawnay. Here also is one of the most successful divisional commanders of the war - Freddie Loftus Tottenham - who led a West African division in Burma, as well as the man who took over command of the Chindits after Orde Wingate's death - Joe Lentaigne. The book also includes three generals of English birth who were of Irish stock - Sir Richard McCreery, whose family roots were in Co. Tyrone, Sir Brian Horrocks, whose mother came from Co. Antrim, and Sir Allan Adair, also from an Antrim family. To buy: http://www.four-courts-press.ie/cgi/bookshow.cgi?file=irishgens.xml

 

It Had to be Tough: The Origins and Training of the Commandos in World War II by James Dunning

Pegasus Archive review: The Commandos developed an approach to warfare which was the complete antithesis to the conventional and defensive mindset of the British infantryman of 1940. Trained to fight in complete isolation and to make rapid and aggressive progress with only their small arms and personal determination and initiative to assist them, they evolved into a truly elite fighting force which was capable of causing mayhem and destruction out of all proportion to their size. James Dunning does not dwell upon the numerous raids which made them famous, instead he explores the unorthodox and notoriously gruelling training regime through which every Commando had to pass; a regime which would tolerate nothing less than the keenest, fittest, most self-disciplined and capable soldiers that Britain could produce. Covering every aspect of this system, from physical training to rehearsals for large-scale amphibious operations, "It Had to be Tough" reveals what it was which shaped each individual Commando and so made possible their legendary achievements. Price: £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/it-had-to-be-tough/p/3397/

 

Jocks in the Jungle: The Black Watch and Cameronians as Chindits by Gordon Thorburn

Pegasus Archive review: Jocks in the Jungle follows the experiences of the 1st Cameronians and 2nd Black Watch from the time of their arrival in the Far East to their becoming Chindits, and the expeditions which this celebrated brotherhood launched deep behind the Japanese lines into occupied Burma. Using various reports, veterans accounts and extracts from the battalion war diaries, Gordon Thorburn explores the driving forces behind the creation of the Chindits, detailing their hurried period of training before the first operations. He also dwells extensively on an issue which has frequently been overlooked in previous discussion, that of the human cost and the immense difficulties in administering proper medical care on such expeditions. The casualties suffered from actual combat were nothing out of the ordinary, especially considering the nature of their role and the precarious supply lines, but by far and away the largest drain on manpower was sickness, sometimes rendering as much of 50% of the force committed as unfit for service. A well researched book, casting fresh light on a famous episode of the Second World War. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Jocks-in-the-Jungle/p/3615/

 

Kaigun: Strategy, Tactics and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy 1887 - 1941 by David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie

Pegasus Archive review: A sterling account of the rapid rise of the Imperial Japanese Navy, from its feudal origins to the dominant position which it attained in the Western Pacific by 1941. Kaigun follows the evolution of their naval ideology and tactics through the experience of the Russo-Japanese War, to the political tensions and conflicting priorities which emerged during the Inter-War years, and the limitations of this otherwise impressive force which were to lead it to disaster. On the way it details the Japanese approach to the design of its vessels, the arrangement of their shipyards, and the focus on and introduction of new technologies; from aircraft carriers, cruisers, submarines and the torpedo, to the magnificent but ultimately tactically redundant Superbattleships. This is a highly authoritative account of a much neglected subject, and one which compresses an extraordinarily complex series of events into a most lucid narrative. Price: £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Kaigun/p/3652/

 

The Luftwaffe over Germany: Defense of the Reich by Don Caldwell and Richard Muller

Pegasus Archive review: A superbly presented account of the Luftwaffe and its ultimately doomed attempt to dominate the skies of Europe in the face of continuous bombing by the impressive might of the RAF and the USAAF. It was a campaign which was enormously important for the outcome of the Second World War, and although it is a subject which has been very well documented from the Allied perspective, remarkably little research has been forthcoming from that vital and all too often overlooked component of properly understanding any battle; matters from the enemy's point of view. In this the authors have delivered a veritable tour de force, using new information, in the form of official records and interviews with veterans, to describe the course of the campaign in chronological order, highlighting the tactics employed and the ongoing technological battle to gain an edge over their opponents. The result is a meticulously researched book which is deserving of a place on the shelf of any enthusiast of the air war, and one which truly establishes a benchmark for future studies. Price: £28.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/luftwaffe-over-germany-hardback/p/6137/

 

Missing Believed Killed: Casualty Policy and the Missing Research and Enquiry Service 1939-1952 by Stuart Hadaway

Pegasus Archive review: While most military personnel were stood down at the end of the Second World War, the Missing Research and Enquiry Service, formed from a small nucleus established in 1941, was expanded and began to trace the remains of those 41,881 RAF aircrew who had been posted as "Missing Believed Killed". With no front line, no definite battlefields and many aircraft lost at night in unknown locations, it was an enormously complex undertaking with investigators having to draw on what little information was available from all manner of sources. Stuart Hadaway first outlines the establishment and development of the MRES throughout the war, and goes on to describe each of the areas where their work took them; from the Arctic Circle to Western Europe, the Mediterranean and Burma. He paints a vivid picture of what they encountered, be it hostile landscapes and climates, uncomfortable forays across the Iron Curtain, or the locals on whose assistance they relied; people who, depending on whether they had regarded the RAF as friend or foe, ranged from the extremely helpful to the decidedly unfriendly. With numerous examples following the progress of specific investigations and the methods used to discover their final resting place, this is a fascinating read which lifts the lid on an aspect of the Second World War which has received little or no prior attention. Price: £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Missing-Believed-Killed/p/3365/

 

Mosquito Menacing The Reich by Martin Bowman

Pegasus Archive review: The Mosquito has never received the public acclaim which the Spitfire and Lancaster enjoyed, yet it was one of the most remarkable aircraft, arguably the best, to emerge from the Second World War. Used as a reconnaissance aircraft, precision bomber, pathfinder, night fighter and long range escort to name but a few of its many and varied roles, the Mosquito had the rare distinction of being a jack of all trades and master of them all. This book dedicates a chapter to each of its more popular roles, using a mixture of the author's narrative and a series of vivid first hand accounts to describe in detail some of the remarkable feats which it carried out. The result is a fine tribute not only to a superb aircraft, but to those who flew it and crafted its legend. Price: £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Mosquito-Menacing-the-Reich/p/3394/

 

Mussolini's Navy: A Reference Guide to the Regia Marina 1930 - 1945 by Maurizio Brescia

Pegasus Archive review: A simply magnificent book describing the Italian Navy of the Second World War, profiling all classes of vessels, from battleships and aircraft carriers to motor torpedo boats and submarines, each complete with technical summaries, descriptions, service histories, plans, and a plethora of superb photographs. In addition, a number of chapters are dedicated to detailing the organisation of the Regia Marina, its bases around the Mediterranean and colour plates illustrating various forms of camouflage, as well as notes on naval uniforms, insignia and flags, and also a "Who's Who" of the Italian Navy, profiling some of its central personalities. This is an essential volume for anyone who has a keen interest in maritime aspects of the Second World War, and not least because the impressive vessels of the Regia Marina have been sadly neglected from major discussion in many an English language naval history book. Price: £32.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Mussolinis-Navy/p/3585/

 

Naval Aviation in the Second World War by Philip Kaplan

Pegasus Archive review: Unlike other books in the Images of War series, which contain a heavy bias in photographs over text, Naval Aviation in the Second World War possesses a far more comprehensive narrative which explores the gradual rise to dominance of the aircraft carrier. Its main focus is the Second World War, and above all else the war in the Pacific where the carrier assumed a central role in the island-hopping campaign, yet it also contrasts this experience with those of future conflicts where naval aircraft played an important role, including Korea, the Falklands and the Gulf War. In addition to the usual range of dramatic and indeed rare photographs on display, there are several individual stories of aircrews in action which have been woven into the text, and the result is an engaging introduction into the emergence of a vessel which quickly supplanted the battleship as the primary naval weapon. Price £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/naval-aviation-in-the-second-world-war/p/4096/

 

The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-1943 by Jack Greene and Alessandro Massignani

This superbly researched book gives a complete account of the war in Mediterranean on, above and beneath the sea up until Italy's armistice in September 1943. Written with full access to Italian sources, it not only provides a detailed and fascinating narrative of the entire naval war, but also sets the individual actions fully in their strategic context for both the Axis and the Allies. Topics include the complex and distrustful relationship between the Italians and their German allies, which culminated in open conflict after the Italian armistice in 1943, the battle for Malta, and that island's vital strategic role threatening Axis supply lines to North Africa, the exploits of the Italian 'human torpedoes' of the X MAS flotilla, which threatened to change the balance of power in the Mediterranean. This book is essential reading for all those interested in one of the major naval theatres of the Second World War. Price: £13.59. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Naval-War-in-the-Mediterranean/p/3104/

 

Notes of a Russian Sniper by Vassili Zaitsev

Pegasus Archive: Vassili Zaitsev is best known to a western audience as the hero of the Jude Law film, "Enemy at the Gates", but a quick glance at this memoir will show that the real man was quite different. Far from being the illiterate peasant who became a pawn in a propaganda war, Zaitsev was an educated, intelligent, dedicated member of the Communist Party, who had joined the Navy before the War and volunteered to serve in Stalingrad. This epic battle is the central subject of the book, and, as an ordinary infantryman, he gives a vivid account of the savage, close-quarters fighting which took place amongst the shattered ruins. When his ability as a marksman was recognised, Zaitsev was given command of a sniper group, and while the famous duel with Major Konings is described, this is only a minor part of his story. What he provides is a fantastically detailed description of the snipers' art, particularly the hunt for enemy snipers, demonstrating how they discovered their likely location by interviewing wounded survivors, and how his team would then observe, establish decoy positions and employ all manner of tricks to tempt the enemy into revealing his position. Zaitsev was one of the most prolific snipers that there have ever been, so there are none better to describe this highly intricate game of cat and mouse, where the slightest moment of carelessness can be fatal. Price: £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Notes-of-a-Russian-Sniper-Hardback/p/2505

 

 

Operation Dragoon: The Liberation of Southern France 1944 by Anthony Tucker-Jones

Pegasus Archive review: The Allied invasion of Southern France, in August 1944, is a subject that is unfamiliar if not unknown to most with only a casual interest in the Second World War, not least because this "other D-Day" was seen as something of an expensive distraction from the main campaigns which were well underway in Normandy and Italy at the time, and whose achievements, in the years since, have generally been derided by a succession of commentators. Anthony Tucker-Jones presents a comprehensive overview of the landings, the aftermath and their impact on the wider campaign, revealing a number of useful successes which made no small contribution to the liberation of France, but which might have been small compensation for the potentially more decisive prizes which could have been won had this force and its vast resources been concentrated elsewhere. He also places very considerable emphasis on the political aspects of this operation, the planning of which caused considerable disharmony between the Allies, and indeed reached a point where an enormously sceptical Winston Churchill threatened to collapse his government. Fascinating reading. Price £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Operation-Dragoon/p/2041/

 

Panzer III: Hitler's Beast of Burden by Anthony Tucker-Jones

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series, looking at the ubiquitous but strangely often ignored Panzer III, which played a central role in the German military machine during the Second World War. The large and diverse photographs in this book describe its evolution from the first model to enter service to the last of its numerous variants, which saw it gradually upgunned and armoured in a losing battle for parity against the more modern and capable Allied tanks. Each of these modifications are briefly described, with the rare and carefully selected photographs showing the Panzer III in a range of theatres and situations. It also details the specialist variants, including the flame-thrower, amphibious, and command models, as well as the famous StuG-III Assault Gun, and captured vehicles which were converted and put into service with the Red Army. Price £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Panzer-III-Paperback/p/13475

 

Panzer IV at War 1939-1945 by Paul Thomas

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series, this book provides a photographic history of the Panzer Mk IV; a mainstay in the German arsenal and their only tank to remain in production throughout the Second World War. Many superb and rare photographs are displayed with detailed explanatory captions, mostly covering events on the Russian Front. The photographs also describe the development of the tank through its numerous variants to the Mk IV J model, as well as spin-off designs including the Hummel, Jagdpanzer IV, StuG IV and Brummbär. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Panzer-IV-at-War-1939-1945/p/3392/

 

Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Hans von Luck

Pegasus Archive review: Hans von Luck was amongst the first to join Germany's fledgling panzer arm in the 1930's, he had the privelege of being a student of Erwin Rommel and went on to fight on all of the major fronts of the Second World War. His is a remarkably varied account, not just in terms of the places he served and the enemies he fought, but it also provides a superb insight into the activities of a panzer commander, from squadron to regimental level. He was a company commander in Poland and France, before serving as Adjutant of the 7th Panzer Division in the first year of the Russian campaign, and then being personally summoned to North Africa by Rommel to take over a reconnaissance battalion. Given command of the 125th Panzergrenadier Regiment, his was amongst the first armoured formations to contest the D-Day landings, and in July 1944 played a pivotal role in the containment of Operation Goodwood. Having took part in numerous actions during the retreat through France, von Luck returned to the Eastern Front to participate in the final hopeless attempts to hold back the Russians. This is a very lucid and absorbingly told story, and one which is thoroughly deserving of its acclamation as a classic. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/panzer-commander/p/3917/

 

Panzer Killers: Anti-Tank Warfare on the Eastern Front by Artem Drabkin

Pegasus Archive review: Each chapter of this splendid book records the first hand experiences of Russian anti-tank gunners, from the time of their joining the Army to the end of the war, covering many of the major engagements on the way; from the defence of Moscow in 1941 and the siege of Leningrad, to the advance into Germany and the capture of Berlin in 1945. It is strange that a war which came to be dominated by the tank should have forgotten the vital contribution made by their unglamorous nemesis. This book helps to fill the considerable void and reveals the importance of their role in numerous defensive actions, as well as the considerable dangers faced by the closely-knit gun teams who, unlike their opponents, possessed little in the way of protection or freedom of manoeuvre, but simply had to stand their ground and face down an increasingly fearsome array of panzers. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/panzer-killers/p/3850/

 

Panzers at War 1939-1942 by Bob Carruthers

Pegasus Archive review: This is the first of two books describing the German panzers of the Second World War, and despite a deceptively small number of pages it provides a comprehensive study of the numerous models of the first years. It begins with the development of Germany's interest in armoured warfare, the unveiling of the first tanks and the tactics which were introduced and came to dominate their strategic thinking throughout the war. Tanks up to the MkIV are discussed in detail, together with their numerous variants, as well as the captured British, French and Russian vehicles which were pressed into service. The book contains many photographs and specifications of the main vehicles, together with an extensive narrative describing how the panzers evolved to meet the latest challenges encountered on the battlefield. Price £8.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/panzers-at-war-1939-1942/p/3814/

 

Panzers at War 1943-1945 by Bob Carruthers

Pegasus Archive review: The second of two books describing the German panzers of the Second World War, this volume chiefly focuses upon the introduction of the heavy Panther and Tiger tanks, the later tank destroyers, captured enemy vehicles pressed into service, and even the experimental super-heavy tanks which were being developed as the next generation of German armour. The narrative begins with the titanic clash of these new tanks and the Russian T-34's at Kursk, and goes on to describe the Normandy campaign, the Ardennes offensive, and the last days of fighting in Berlin. This chronology of the final years of the war from the perspective of the panzers serves to highlight the desperate efforts to create new and superior weapons to stem the seemingly irresistable tide of events. Price £8.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/panzers-at-war-1943-1945/p/3815/

 

Red Army Tank Commander: At War in a T-34 on the Eastern Front by Vasiliy Bryukhov

Pegasus Archive review: Vasiliy Bryukhov joined the Red Army in 1941, but did not see active service until 1943 when he commanded a T-34 during the Battle of Kursk; the largest tank battle in history. He then participated in the advance through Ukraine and Romania, and took part in a series of bitterly fought actions in Hungary, before celebrating the end of the war in Austria. By this time, aged 21, he had become the youngest battalion commander in his Corps, and was nominated for and belatedly awarded the coveted title of Hero of the Soviet Union. During several severe engagements his unit repeatedly suffered casualties to the point of extinction, his own tank was knocked-out many times and there were a number of occasions where he was the only survivor to emerge from the burning wreckage. It is a wonder that he survived, and we must be thankful that he did because here is a rich account of life at all levels within a typical Red Army tank brigade, revealing how they operated in conjunction with supporting infantry and artillery, and the tactics which they frequently used to considerable effect. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/red-army-tank-commander/p/3805/

 

Red Partisan by Nikolai Obryn'ba

Pegasus Archive review: Nikolai Obryn'ba was a raw recruit to the Red Army when he was captured during the first calamitous months of war in 1941. The first chapters of this memoir describe all the horrors of life as a starving, neglected and diseased Russian prisoner, yet his story becomes more different than most when his considerable talents as an artist were noticed and led to him being in constant demand for painting the portraits of German officers. Half of the book is devoted to his frankly unusual experience as a prisoner of war, with the remainder focusing on his escape to a partisan group. Here too, his artistic flair was exploited, but more towards creating maps and propaganda posters which were distributed throughout the enemy-held localities. But he was first and foremost a soldier who participated in numerous patrols and raids, and it is clear from his descriptions of these that they were not mere bandits who had fled to the woods, but a motivated, daring, well-organised and ruthlessly disciplined fighting force; one of a great many which operated deep behind the front line and inflicted considerable damage on the long and perilous German supply lines. Price £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Red-Partisan-Hardback/p/1252

 

Red Sniper on the Eastern Front by Joseph Pilyushin

Pegasus Archive review: Joseph Pilyushin was a prolific Russian sniper who was credited with 136 kills during the Siege of Leningrad. His memoir vividly documents this truly epic encounter, which resulted in a combined 3.5 million casualties, from its encirclement in 1941 to its relief three years later. Initially serving as an ordinary infantryman, he was badly wounded during the first months and lost his dominant eye, yet remarkably he quickly taught himself to shoot left-handed and went on to become a leading sniper. Amongst the unending routine of holding the line, raiding and sniping, Pilyushin takes time to describe the many personalities he encountered, in which we see the humour, determination and comradeship of the Red Army soldier, yet the toll on human life is quite evident as few of these make it to the end. He also dwells on the desperate plight of the starving civilian population, and he was not immune to this tale of human suffering as his wife and two sons lived in the city and were killed in bombing raids. The story culminates in the end of the siege and the attacks to drive the Germans back, during which he was again badly wounded and ultimately discharged from the army. Price £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Red-Sniper-on-the-Eastern-Front-Hardback/p/2308

 

The Rise of Hitler by Trevor Salisbury

Pegasus Archive review: A collection of rare images from a photograph album which was taken as a souvenir by a British soldier from the ruins of Germany in 1945, following Hitler from his birth to the brink of war, with pictures of his childhood and early life, including service during the First World War, to his entrance into extremist politics, the struggle between fascism and communism in the 1920's, and his eventual mastery of the Nazi Party in the 1930's. They depict a much more relaxed figure than the ranting and raving psychopath with which we are accustomed, yet these are not genuinely private photographs but have an air of a carefully staged public relations exercise about them. They can therefore be seen as a snapshot of propaganda, and the Messiah-like image of Hitler which was presented to the German people; that of the courageous, refined, brilliant and benevolent statesman which he abundantly was not. This can also be seen in the original captions which accompany some of the photographs, containing no trace of cynicism, rather a complete an unflinching belief in his leadership. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Rise-of-Hitler-Paperback/p/9799

 

Rommel's Desert Warriors 1941-42 by Michael Olive and Robert Edwards

Pegasus Archive review: A wonderful and lavishly presented photographic study of the Afrika Korps throughout the Desert War of 1941 and 1942. Many photographs are displayed which show the Germany Army, and occasionally their Italian allies and British opponents, either on the move or at rest between actions, each accompanied with explanatory notes. Together they paint a vivid picture of life and conditions within this most famous of brotherhoods, and, with the wide range of vehicles, equipment and uniforms on display, will certainly be of significant interest to historians of the period. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/rommels-desert-warriors/p/3488/

 

SAS In Tuscany 1943-45 by Brian Lett

While always dangerous and daring, SAS operations are by no means invariably successful and when they go wrong, they do so very badly. This point is well made in SAS in Tuscany 1943-1945 which describes three such operations in enemy-occupied Italy during the latter half of the Second World War. Speedwell 2, the first of the three, saw six men drop blind into Northern Tuscany on 8 September 1943, which was by chance the day of the Italian Armistice. But, with no radios or air-to-ground support their courageous three week operation ended in disaster; four members were captured and executed and only one successfully ex-filtrated after an epic journey lasting seven months. The second and third operations, Galia (winter 1944/1945) and Blimey (April 1945), provided contrasting results. Galia, involving thirty-four men led by Captain Walker-Brown, tied up many thousands of enemy troops for nearly two months under extreme winter conditions - an extraordinary achievement, thanks in measure to cooperation with an SOE mission led by Major Gordon Lett, the author's father. Operation Blimey sadly achieved little before being caught up in the Allied advance. The reasons for the success and failure of these two operations are carefully analysed. Thanks to the Author's research into these little known operations and his detailed knowledge of the area, SAS in Tuscany 1943 - 45 is a significant addition to the bibliography of SAS operation in the Second World War. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/SAS-In-Tuscany-1943-45/p/3164/

 

Scotland on the Frontline: A Photographic History of Scottish Forces 1939-45 by Chris Brown

Pegasus Archive review: An excellent introduction to a most broad subject. Chris Brown makes extensive use of numerous photographic archives to present an overview of all theatres in which Scottish troops served; from the Home Front to the North African desert, Italy, North-West Europe and the Far East. Mixing a highly informative narrative with veterans accounts describing typical front line actions, this is a fine tribute to the Scottish soldier of the Second World War. Price £13.49. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/products/Scotland-on-the-Frontline.aspx

 

The Secret Army: The Memoirs of General Bór-Komorowski by Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski

Tadeusz Komorowski was born in 1895 in Galicia, a region then ruled by the Austrians, and he served in the Austro-Hungarian Army in the First World War. Poland regained its independence in 1918, and Komorowski fought against the Russians in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919–21. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Komorowski was the commander of units defending the Vistula River, but he was pushed eastwards by the fierce advance. Despite being surrounded by German forces, he escaped to Cracow. Although he planned to escape to the West, he was ordered to stay and start a resistance movement. He stayed in Cracow until the summer of 1941, when he sent to Warsaw. The legend of ‘Bór’ was about to begin.  Komorowski was appointed to lead the Home Army in June 1943. The Polish Resistance carried out sabotage and vital intelligence for the Allies, but their main task was to prepare for an uprising when the Nazis were in retreat to help liberate the country. The Polish Government-in-Exile gave the order to commence on 1 August 1944. Tragically, Stalin had plans for Poland after the war: Soviet troops sat outside Warsaw and left the Poles to their fate. The Resistance lasted, incredibly, 63 days. Komorowski was sentenced to death by Hitler, but the order was rescinded. The tale of Bór and the Uprising is the story of a proud nation and their fight against enemies and betrayal by allies. Price: £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Secret-Army/p/2921/

 

Secret Flotillas: Clandestine Sea Operations in the Western Mediterranean, North African & the Adriatic 1940-1944 by Brook Richards

Pegasus Archive review: Part two of a magnificent chronicle which follows the activities of the numerous civilian ships which operated in the perilous waters of the Mediterranean throughout the Second World War, ferrying SOE agents and small scale raiding parties to their objectives. Due to the unofficial nature of their role, little has ever been said and perhaps is likely to be said of their story. This book, therefore, is a treasure trove of information, not least because its author participated in some of the operations and later became their official historian. What he presents is a combination of his own commanding narrative, which details the course of these operations throughout the war and analyses their success, interspersed with numerous and colourful first hand accounts. Also included is an extensive appendix which lists all of the 390 operations carried out, the vessel involved, the nature of their task and the results. Price: £13.50. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/secret-flotillas-vol-ii/p/3880/

 

Servants of Evil: Voices from Hitler's Army by Bob Carruthers

Pegasus Archive review: There has never been any shortage of first hand accounts to lavishly document every aspect of the Second World War from the Allied perspective, but accounts by their German counterparts are often conspicuous by their absence. Bob Carruthers presents a number of fascinating stories in his book which, helped along by his own lively narrative, gives us a taste of life on the opposite side of the line. The chapters adopt a chronological approach, beginning with the Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine at the peak of their powers, and they later give a vivid sense of the enormous odds which were weighed against them, covering the horrors of combat on the Eastern Front, the gradual decline of the Luftwaffe, and the increasing perils faced by U-Boatmen in the Atlantic. No history can be complete without considering events from all perspectives, and Servants of Evil is a fine start towards addressing the imbalance. Price: £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Servants-of-Evil-Voices-from-Hitlers-Army/p/3785/

 

Some of the People all the Time by Alastair Mackay

Alastair Mackie was formerly an Air Commodore and H-bomber pilot, twice decorated in war and twice again in peace. He left his RAF career early because he disagreed with British and NATO defence policy - in particular with what he describes as "Britain's idiotic nuclear so-called deterrent". On leaving the RAF he studied law and then became Under Treasurer at the Middle Temple... He is currently a Vice-President of CND and a volunteer mental hospital visitor. A self-styled battler Briton, Mackie tells with combative gusto the story of the extraordinary array of characters he came across, running the gamut from monarch and presidents by way of peers, paedophiles, clerics, peddlers of tobacco, booze and much else, as well as politicians and other villains. No holds barred or expletives deleted. Aviators and other ex-service people will enjoy the account of 47 aircraft types, 5,000 hours and 26 years of flying including 70 odd bombing raids, as well as airborne operations in Normandy and at Arnhem and the Rhine. Order from Book Guild Publishing, Pavilion View, 19 New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1UF or info@bookguild.co.uk, prices £20.00 in pp (UK), £21.50 (Europe) or £24.50 elsewhere overseas. Or from Vine House Distributors Ltd, Mullany Business Park, Deanland Road, Golden Cross, BN27 3RT, 01825 873133. Also available from good bookshops from 30th November 2006, or on the internet from Amazon.

 

The Strike Wings: Special Anti-Shipping Squadrons 1942-45 by Roy Conyers Nesbit

Pegasus Archive review: Coastal Command has never received the attention which has been lavished on the more famous branches of the Royal Air Force, and so the existence of the Strike Wings, formed in November 1942 to attack the heavily defended convoys carrying iron ore from Scandinavia to Germany, may be unknown to all but a few. In taking on these formidable targets, the Mosquito and Beaufighter squadrons suffered losses which were every bit as horrendous as those of Bomber Command, yet Roy Conyers Nesbit, himself a veteran of the Strike Wings, reveals that these anti-shipping sorties had a far more damaging effect on the German economy, sinking so many merchantmen that Hitler even considered stopping them altogether and relying on alternative means of supply. This is a superb book which not only explores the formation of the Strike Wings, the numerous sorties they carried out, and the weapons and tactics which they used, but it also sheds light on a vital yet much neglected chapter of the Second World War. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/the-strike-wings/p/3626/

 

Stuka: Hitler's Lethal Dive Bomber by Alistair Smith

Pegasus Archive review: A part of the "Images of War" series dedicated to the Ju-87 Stuka, one of the most iconic aircraft of the Second World War. The ability of the Stuka to accurately drop its payload of bombs during a steep dive, with the famous Jericho Trumpet sounding a terrifying cry as it accelerated towards its target, made it a most feared weapon, and, although its high losses during the Battle of Britain resulted in its being hastily withdrawn from that front, it continued to be a mainstay of the Luftwaffe's arsenal until the final phases of the War. All of the photographs in this collection belonged to Erich Heine, a Stuka rear gunner and radio operator, and they show the aircraft in action and on the ground in numerous theatres along with the men who crewed them. The accompanying narrative follows Heine's career from training to operations on the Eastern Front, and this unique record which may be taken to describe the typical experience of any Stuka crewman. Price: £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/stuka-hitlers-lethal-dive-bomber/p/3719/

 

Tanks of the Second World War by Thomas Anderson

Pegasus Archive review: A beautifully presented chronological history of the tank during the Second World War. To set this subject into context, it also pays considerable attention to the Great War origins of the tank, the developments of the 1930's and not just those of the major belligerents but also the Poles and Czechs whose contributions are often overlooked, and the next generation of designs which emerged during the post war period. As a very considerable number of variants were produced for each model during the Second World War, it would be a quite enormous book which attempted to describe them all, and so Thomas Anderson focuses on the most important of these developments, briefly describing each along with their technical specifications. Yet this is above all else a photographic history, consisting throughout of large, clear and carefully selected images, many of which have never been published before. Price: £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tanks-of-the-Second-World-War-Hardback/p/12686

 

Traditional Enemies: Britain's War with Vichy France 1940-1942 by John D. Grainger

Pegasus Archive review: Britain and France began the Second World War as Allies, but before the end of the first year France had surrendered and Britain was confronted with the dreadful possibility of its military resouces and colonies being placed at the disposal of Germany and Japan. The subsequent destruction of the French Mediterranean Fleet by the Royal Navy at Mers el Kebir is well known, but history has largely chosen to ignore the numerous other occasions where the British, and later the Americans, came to blows with its former ally. In North Africa, many French troops came over to the Allied cause and fought alongside the 8th Army, but others, in Syria, Madagascar, Morocco and Algeria, remained loyal to the Vichy regime and fought with a surprising determination when tactical necessity compelled the Allies to intervene. Traditional Enemies is a fascinating history of these conflicts, which many will be unaware ever took place, and provides a thorough account of the political background and aftermath of each. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Traditional-Enemies-Britains-War-With-Vichy-France-1940-42/p/3910/

 

Unearthing Churchill's Secret Army: The Official List of SOE Casualties and their Stories by John Grehan and Martin Mace

Pegasus Archive review: The agents of the Special Operations Executive had a profound impact on the course of the Second World War, achieving great success in organising resistance forces, gathering intelligence and carrying out acts of sabotage. Their work, however, was exceedingly dangerous and this superb book reveals the price paid by those whose missions went awry. It profiles every man and woman who are known to have been killed whilst in the service of SOE, concisely detailing what is known of their recruitment and operations, and the circumstances leading up to their death. Executed in concentration camps, tortured, committing suicide when cornered, or simply being killed when their parachute failed to open, this book serves as a sobering reminder of the risks which each agent faced when they entered Occupied Europe, and it is deserving of a prominent place on the bookshelves of anyone with an interest in SOE. Price: £15.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Unearthing-Churchills-Secret-Army/p/3505/

 

The Unknown Warriors by Nick Pringle

I started to hear from World War Two veterans. I had sent out an appeal for memories and also what they thought about the UK in the 21st Century. The second bit is important. There is many excellent books about the war, but very little as far as I could see about what the veterans did afterwards, how they coped in Civvy Street, and what they think about the changes over the last few decades. As most veterans are now in the late eighties or early nineties, they of course have had long lives. The five years of war for most were their most memorable, their happiest and their saddest, five years of their lives, so how did this impact their following six decades. I really didn't know what to expect, would I even hear from anyone. I'll always remember going to the P.O Box to see if anything was there. There was a neat bundle of letters... I was a bit over-awed to begin with. What am I going to do with all these! The letters were just how you would expect them to look. Some were typed using old typewriters, others in elaborate scrawl, taught by Victorian born schoolmasters, and then there was the letters all in capitals in biro. Just like how my grandpa used to write with one of his little red pens from Ladbrokes the bookies! I continued to receive letters now and again for the following two years. One of the letters, stated that he would like to read a book about the war without stupid conclusions. I had read Captain Cooks diaries and although over 200 years old, they took you right back and it was like he was talking to you. That made my mind up. I decided I would set out the book in a letter format, which I hope makes the book a very easy and enjoyable read. Price: Hardback Price £18.99 plus £3.50 p&p, Paperback Price £9.99 plus £3.50 p&p. Ex forces can get a discount at http://www.theunknownwarriors.co.uk/forcesdiscount. See http://www.theunknownwarriors.co.uk for more details.

 

Vichy Air Force at War by Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell

At the beginning of World War II the French faced the German invasion with 4,360 modern combat aircraft and 790 new machines currently arriving from French and American factories each month. When the phony war finally ended, some 119 of 210 squadrons were ready for action on the north-eastern front. The others were reequipping or stationed in the French colonies. Of the 119 squadrons France could bring into action only one-fourth of the aircraft were battle-ready. With France overrun by June 1940, what remained of the French air force was either concentrated in the unoccupied zone or had been hastily redeployed to the colonies. Nonetheless, in retaliation for the British attack on the French fleet in Oran, French bombers, based in French Morocco, carried out retaliatory air raids over Gibraltar. The Armée de l'Air de Vichy was born and would fight to the best of its ability against the Free French's allies in theatres as distant as north-west Africa, Syria, Lebanon, Madagascar and the Far East. Not only would they take to the skies against the British and later the Americans, they would also willingly take part in aerial duels against Free French pilots. Only a handful of books have been written on French aircraft, but never has there been a complete history of the operations of the Vichy Air Force and its fratricidal war. This title literally spans the globe, examining forgotten air combats. It is also important to note that many of the Vichy pilots that survived the air combats later volunteered to join the Free French and would fight with great courage and distinction alongside the very pilots that they had been trying to kill. This book describes all major theatres of combat, examines the aircraft flown and lengthy appendices cover operational units, victory credits and the Aéronautique Navale. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Vichy-Air-Force-at-War/p/2981/

 

Warsaw 1944: An Insurgent's Journal of the Uprising by Zbigniew Czajkowski

Pegasus Archive review: This book chronicles the experiences of a Polish resistance fighter from July to October 1944, covering in vivid detail what was one of the most infamous episodes of the Second World War. Encouraged by the prospect of Soviet support, the Polish Underground began to take control of Warsaw on the 1st August 1944, only for Stalin to halt his armies on the outskirts and so, throughout the next two months, allow the Germans to systematically destroy both the resistance and the city, and with it the political and military leadership which would pose a threat to the regime which Russia planned to impose upon Poland. First hand accounts of the Uprising are rare as many of the participants were killed, and so we are most fortunate to have one passed down to us which gives a very lucid and personal day by day account of this most tragic of episodes. Price: £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Warsaw-1944/p/3636/

 

With Hitler to the End: The Memoirs of Adolf Hitler's Valet by Heinz Linge

Pegasus Archive review: The world has been made only too familiar with the public face of Adolf Hitler; a monster ranting his hatred at a crowd of spell-bound followers, yet there are few eye witness accounts which describe his altogether different behaviour in private. Heinz Linge was perhaps the most superbly placed of any to fully observe Hitler behind closed doors, having served as his valet from 1935 until his suicide in 1945. He was his constant companion throughout, scarcely a confidant, but a loyal servant who was responsible for maintaining every aspect of Hitler's household, and he paints a revealing picture of his personal habits, from his relentless obsession with diet to his relationship with Eva Braun. In other chapters, Linge gives his observations on the Nazi Party elite, and provides a superb account of the assassination attempt by Stauffenberg in July 1944, describing its aftermath and the impact on Hitler's health. The final pages explain the final days in Berlin, Hitler's suicide and the part which Linge played in helping to cremate his body, and then the unpleasant ten years that he spent as a Russian prisoner. Quite essential for anyone seeking to understand the mindset of Adolf Hitler. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/With-Hitler-to-the-End/p/3903/