Category: MILITARY HISTORY
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Carefully researched and beautifully written, this book is a classic of military history. Alan Clark vividly narrates the course of the dramatic and brutal war between the German and Russians on the Eastern Front during the Second World War. From the invasion of Russia mounted on Midsummer’s Day 1941 and the German Army’s advance to the outskirts of Moscow, to the terrible turning point of Stalingrad and the eventual defeat of the Nazis at the Fall of Berlin after the hard years of fighting and advance by the Red Army, this is epic history narrated by a master.
THE DEATH OF HITLER: THE FINAL WORD ON THE ULTIMATE COLD CASE: THE SEARCH FOR HITLER’S BODY
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After two years of nonstop negotiations with the Russian authorities, Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina were granted access to secret files detailing the Soviets’ incredible hunt to recover Hitler’s body: the layout of the bunker, plans for escaping, eyewitness accounts of the Führer’s final days, and human remains-a bit of skull with traces of the lethal bullet and a fragment of jaw bone. For the first time, the skull, teeth and other elements were analysed by a medical examiner with cutting edge forensics equipment. The authors use these never before seen documents and research to reconstruct the events in fascinating new detail.
SURPRISE, KILL, VANISH: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF SECRET CIA ASSASSINS, ARMIES AND OPERATORS
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Since 1947, domestic and foreign assassinations have been executed under the CIA-led covert action operations team. Before that time, responsibility for taking out America’s enemies abroad was even more shrouded in mystery. Despite Hollywood notions of last-minute rogue-operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually a cog in a colossal foreign policy machine, moving through, among others, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the House and Senate Select Committees. At the end of the day, it is the President, not the CIA, who is singularly in charge.
When diplomacy fails and overt military action is not feasible, the President often calls on the Special Activities Division, the most secretive and lowest-profile branch of the CIA. It is this paramilitary team that undertakes dramatic and little-known assignments: hostage rescues, sabotage, and, of course, assassinations.
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By the summer of 1704 Louis XIV’s vast armies dominated Europe. France defeated every alliance formed against her and Louis was poised to extend his frontier to the Rhine and install a French prince on the throne of Spain. Two men saved Europe from French military domination: the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy. Marlborough masterminded a brilliant campaign, working with Eugene to surprise the French invaders inside Germany. The rival armies clashed in August and the hitherto unbeaten French were utterly destroyed. Blenheim was a major turning point in European history. Charles Spencer’s narrative is drawn from original sources and moves seamlessly from the deliberations of Kings and princes to the frontline soldiers. This is the battle that creates the enduring reputation of the British redcoat and shatters the image of the ‘Sun King’ and his mighty army.
THE DEATH OF HITLER (THE FINAL WORD ON THE GREATEST COLD CASE IN HISTORY: THE SEARCH FOR HITLER’S BO
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After two years of nonstop negotiations with the Russian authorities, Jean-Christophe Brisard and Lana Parshina were granted access to secret files detailing the Soviets’ incredible hunt to recover Hitler’s body: the layout of the bunker, plans for escaping, eyewitness accounts of the Führer’s final days, and human remains-a bit of skull with traces of the lethal bullet and a fragment of jaw bone. For the first time, the skull, teeth and other elements were analysed by a medical examiner with modern equipment. The authors use these never before seen documents to reconstruct the events in fascinating new detail.
The last in the long line of classic Avro bombers, the delta-winged Vulcan served for nearly three decades as the backbone of the RAF’s nuclear and conventional strike force.
Blooded over the Falkland Islands in 1982, the Vulcan ended its career as part of Strike Command’s tanker fleet
D-DAY BOMBERS: THE VETERANS STORY
D-Day Bombers: The Veterans’ Story is largely an eye-witness account of the vital and often ignores heavy bomber contribution to the success of the D-Day landings and therefore the winning of the war in Europe. It is told using considerable first-hand experience from the veterans of the campaign, together with background information from primary source documents on the tactics and strategy employed before, during and after the invasion. By meeting with the veterans themselves, Stephen Darlow has helped to record such deeds. Here is their story, over sixty years on
SMOKY THE BRAVE
The World’s Smallest Dog with the World’s Biggest Heart
Smoky the Brave is the extraordinary touching and true story of a heroic dog and her adoptive masters in the jungles of the Pacific War. In February 1944 as Japanese military advances threatened to engulf Australasia a tiny four-pound Yorkshire terrier was discovered hiding in a Japanese shell scrape amidst the thick jungles of Papua New Guinea. The GIs who discovered her presumed she had been some kind of Japanese army mascot but it soon turned out that she understood neither commands rendered in Japanese nor English. A mystery she was adopted by Corporal William ‘Bill’ Wynne an air-crewman with the US 5th Air Force’s 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron.
Living in Bill Wynne’s tent sleeping on a piece of green felt salvaged from a card table and sharing his rations Smoky became the de facto mascot of the regiment. She went on to fly numerous photo-recce and air-sea rescue missions cocooned in a soldier’s pack hanging next to the machine-guns used to repel marauding Japanese fighters. She was awarded eight battle stars surviving dozens of Japanese combat raids on Papua New Guinea and braving a typhoon that ravaged Okinawa. After saving Wynne’s life by warning of a falling shell as their landing craft approached an enemy-held beach – a shell that killed the eight men that Wynne was standing beside – he nicknamed her the ‘angel from a foxhole’. In one of her most famous exploits Smoky parachuted using a special rig designed to fit one of the world’s smallest but toughest dogs.
In perhaps her most heroic exploit of all Smoky ran a cable through a seventy-foot pipe no wider in places than four inches to enable telephone lines to be run across the recently occupied airbase of Luzon. Her efforts saved hundreds of ground-crew from being exposed to enemy bombing preventing injury and loss of life. Amongst her many other awards she was given the PDSA’s Certificate for Animal Bravery or Devotion in 2011 a relatively new class of PDSA award.
This is the all-action story of how the Royal Navy’s silent service transformed itself from the piratical, maverick outfit it was in WWII into an all nuclear fleet with enough firepower to destroy a continent.
From cat-and-mouse games with the Russians in old second world war diesel boats ill-equipped for operating under the ice to serious underwater collisions between British and Soviet boats, and from a near nuclear meltdown in Liverpool to a torpedo attack by the Russians against a Royal Navy warship in the late eighties, the book is packed with stories revealed for the first time by men who’ve never spoken before.
This is the dramatic untold story of Britain’s most secret service.
SOUL FULL OF COAL DUST
Big coal companies-along with their allies in the legal and medical professions-have continually flouted the law and exposed miners to deadly amounts of coal dust, while also systematically denying benefits to miners who suffer and die because of their jobs. Indeed, these men and their families, with little access to education, legal resources, and other employment options, have long been fighting to wrench even modest compensation and medical costs from our nation’s biggest mining interests-all to combat a disease that could have been eradicated years ago.
In today’s increasingly hostile climate people are anxious about how to keep themselves safe. Chris Ryan is an expert in dangerous situations and here he tells you how to keep yourself and your family safe from the perils of modern urban life. He leads you through a variety of situations including what to do if:
– You are walking down the street and think you are being followed
– You find yourself confronted by a threatening group of people or a gang
– You find yourself caught in the middle of a riot
– You hear gunfire or explosions in a crowed place (eg shopping centre)
– You hear on the radio that Russia has launched nuclear missiles that will land in the centre of London in two hours.
Totally thrilling, totally poignant. Bringing the greatest special forces operation of modern times blazingly to life’ Simon Sebag Montefiore
At 15.40 hours on 3 July 1976, four Hercules C-130 transport planes carrying a secret Israeli special forces unit take off from an air force base in the Sinai Desert and fly south down the Red Sea.
Codenamed Thunderbolt, the operation carries huge risks. The flight is a challenge: 2,000 miles with total radio silence over hostile territory to land in darkness at Entebbe Airport in Idi Amin’s Uganda. On the ground, the Israeli commandos have just three minutes to carry out their mission. They must evade a cordon of élite Ugandan paratroopers, storm the terminal and free more than a hundred Israeli, French and US hostages held by German and Palestinian terrorists. So much can go wrong: the death of the hostages if the terrorists get wind of the assault; or the capture of Israel’s finest soldiers if their Hercules planes cannot take off. Both would be a human and a PR catastrophe.
Now, with the mission largely forgotten or even unknown to many, Saul David gives the first comprehensive account of Operation Thunderbolt using classified documents from archives in four countries and interviews with key participants, including Israeli soldiers and politicians, hostages, a member of the Kenyan government and a former terrorist.
General Bill McRaven, architect of the successful US mission to kill Osama Bin Laden, calls Operation Thunderbolt ‘the best illustration of the theory of special operations yet presented.’ Its legacy is still felt today: rather than give in to terrorist blackmail, western governments prefer to use specialist counter-terrorists units like Britain’s SAS and the US Army’s Delta Force to rescue hostages; while in Israel the very success of the operation may, ironically, have made it harder for politicians to force through the compromises required for peace.
Both a thrilling page-turner and a major piece of historical detective work, OPERATION THUNDERBOLT shows how the outcome of Israel’s most famous military operation depended on secret diplomacy, courage and luck-and was in the balance right up to the very last moment.
Commando Dad Raw Recruits is a must-have manual for all dads-to-be. It demystifies pregnancy and childbirth; provides the essential back-up information men need to support their partners and prepares them for the radical changes to their life that a new BT (baby trooper) will inevitably bring. It is packed with straightforward advice, guidance, clear diagrams, advice and tips.This accessible guide is loosely based on the British Army’s Basic Battle Skills – and has a light-hearted military flavour throughout. With Commando Dad’s rules and specially adapted military phrases such as: ‘deployment date’ (due date); ‘BT’ (baby trooper); ‘CO’ (Commanding Officer – the person in charge – or, in this context, the mum-to-be), ‘Deployment Kit List’ (the essential kit needed for the birth) and ‘Sensory Overload’ (used to explain the situation when you get so overwhelmed with new information being thrown at you that it impacts your ability to act effectively) – this a fun but ultimately useful book for every man about to embark on his greatest ever mission: fatherhood. http://www.commandodad.com
The history of the modern SAS is one of the great successes of post-war Britain. Since it was revived in 1950 to combat Communist insurgents, the Regiment has gone from strength to strength, fighting covert wars in Oman, Borneo, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Persian Gulf and beyond. In the process, it has become one of the most indispensable, and at times controversial, units in the British army
Today, the SAS is regarded as the world’s leading Special Forces unit, renowned for its demanding Selection course and its relentless ability to adapt to the changing nature of warfare. More than anything else, however, it is the determination and ingenuity of the SAS soldiers that has made the Regiment what it is today.
Drawing on his extensive network of contacts and his own experiences, Chris Ryan tells the story of the men on the ground. From the earliest patrols in the Malayan jungle, through to the storming of the Iranian Embassy, the daring raids behind enemy lines in the Gulf War, and up-to-minute missions to capture or kill notorious terrorists – this is the gripping, no-holds-barred account of Regiment operations. Above all, it is a story of elite soldiers fighting, and triumphing, against seemingly impossible odds.
The incredible story of the radar wars – Britain’s most secret battle
In the winter of 1941 an alien-seeming object was captured in a death-defying dash by an RAF reconnaissance pilot flying a lone unarmed Spitfire across the French coast. Balanced upon the cliffs near Le Havre was what appeared to be a giant convex dish, directed across the Channel at the war-torn British coastline.
With Britain’s cities being pounded by fearsome bombing raids, teams of experts studied the photograph worriedly. Might the dish constitute a highly-secret form of radar – one that had the capacity to tip the balance of the war decisively in the enemy’s favour? If so, Nazi Germany would have leapfrogged British technology many-fold.
A top-secret mission was devised to steal what had become known as the ‘Wurzburg Dish,’ after Enigma intercepts of coded German messages. Appropriately christened Operation Biting, this was to be the first-ever Allied raid using airborne forces. Commanded by legendary Major John ‘Johnny’ Frost, he demanded blind loyalty from his band of piratical raiders. ‘A wild crew … they looked horrible,’ he admitted. Each and every rehearsal had proved disastrous; it was a suicide mission in all but name.
YASUKE: THE TRUE STORY OF A LEGENDARY AFRICAN SAMURAI
WARRIOR. SAMURAI. LEGEND.
The remarkable life of history’s first foreign-born samurai, and his astonishing journey from Northeast Africa to the heights of Japanese society.
The man who came to be known as Yasuke arrived in Japan in the 16th century, an indentured mercenary arriving upon one of the Portuguese ships carrying a new language, a new religion and an introduction to the slave trade. Curiously tall, bald, massively built and black skinned, he was known as a steadfast bodyguard of immense strength and stature, and swiftly captured the interest, and thence the trust, of the most powerful family in all of Japan. Two years later, he vanished.
Yasuke is the story of a legend that still captures the imagination of people across the world. It brings to life a little known side of Japan – a gripping narrative about an extraordinary figure in a fascinating time and place.
The intrepid band of warriors, led by Captain James Keane, once of the 27th Foot, have been given their toughest job yet by Wellington.
Both the British and French armies have retreated from the old university city of Coimbra, leaving it in ruins, the inhabitants destitute and the houses full of wounded from all sides. Infiltrating the streets are the Spanish guerrilla fighters who may support either side, the local Portuguese determined to avenge the horrors inflicted upon their city and the rival spies and intelligence agents determined to find the book of ciphers, hidden in the famous library of Coimbra, guarded by a dissident Jesuit group.
James Keane and his men are sent into the midst of this not only to prevent the book falling into enemy hands but also to discover which of the guerrilla groups are to be trusted and supported by the British. But does this mean following their own plans, mostly concentrated on finding Massena’s gold, over Wellington’s orders?
James Keane and his band of brothers are a great creation and the story of a city in a warzone with no frontiers has remarkable echoes of other times.
BROTHERS IN ARMS: A MEMOIR OF WAR AND FRIENDSHIP IN THE SAS
In the words of Andy McNab, Sekonaia Takavesi is ‘The SAS man’s SAS man’.
This extraordinary story will take you from the idyllic beaches of Fiji to a world of high octane conflict with the SAS – culminating with Tak’s crucial role in the Battle of Mirbat. Described by Andy McNab as ‘the stuff of Regimental legend… the SAS’s answer to Rorke’s Drift’.
Offering a rare insight into the making of an SAS legend. BROTHERS IN ARMS also tells the story of the deep and enduring comradeship between Tak and Laba, another legendary Fijian SAS man who remains, to this day, the only trooper whose heroism is enshrined in a statue at the elite regiment’s Credenhill HQ.
100 DAYS TO VICTORY: HOW THE GREAT WAR WAS FOUGHT AND WON
Saul David’s 100 DAYS TO VICTORY is a totally original, utterly engaging account of the Great War – the first book to tell the story of the ‘war to end all wars’ through the events of one hundred key days between 1914 and 1918.
The history of any war is more than a list of key battles and Saul David shows vividly how the First World War reached beyond the battlefield, touching upon events and lives which shaped the conduct and outcome of the conflict. Ranging from the young Adolf Hitler’s reaction to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, through a Zeppelin raid on Scarborough, the tragic dramas of Gallipoli and the battlefields of the Western Front to the individual bravery of the first Indian VC, Saul David brings people and events dramatically to life.
100 DAYS TO VICTORY is a 360 degree portrait of a global conflict that stretched east from the shores of Britain to the marshes of Iraq, and south from the forests of Russia to the bush of German South East Africa. Throughout his gripping narrative we hear the voices of men and women both eminent and ordinary, some who were spectators on the Home Front, others – including Saul David’s own family – who were deeply embroiled in epic battles that changed the world forever.
100 DAYS TO VICTORY is the work of a great historian and supreme story teller. Most importantly, it is also an enthralling tribute to a generation whose sacrifice should never be forgotten.
RUSSIAN ROULETTE tells the story of the first global plot and the British spies who were sent to thwart it.
The Soviet plot was breathtaking in scale: its aim was to destroy British rule in India, as a precursor to toppling the democracies of the West. It was to bring together two deadly forces – Soviet revolutionaries and Islamic jihadis – to form a highly toxic threat.
Unbeknownst to Moscow, a small band of British spies had been secretly smuggled into Russia in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution. They were an unlikely group of men: self taught and highly educated. Their boss was endearingly eccentric. Mansfield Cumming was a monocled, one-legged sea captain with a passion for secret inks and homemade explosives. Cumming gave his agents free range to do whatever they wanted once they were inside Soviet Russia: ‘Just don’t get yourself killed,’ was his only injunction.
Over the course of the next three years, his spies would be involved in murder, deception and duplicity on a grand scale. Living in disguise – and constantly switching identities – they would infiltrate Soviet commissariats, the Red Army and Cheka (secret police), and would come within a whisker of assassinating Lenin.
The pinnacle of their achievement was to unmask Lenin’s plan for global revolution. It would reach its denouement in the Central Asian city of Tashkent. Lenin’s global plot would be spectacularly unravelled.
Britain’s spies proved brilliantly successful in saving the Western world from catastrophe. They found a wholly new way in which to deal with enemies, one that relied on espionage and dirty tricks rather than warfare. As such, they were the unsung founders of today’s modern, highly professional secret services and, in their way, inspiration for fictional heroes to follow, from James Bond to Jason Bourne.
Russian Roulette draws on little known records from India Political Intelligence that have only recently been released into the public domain, including rare duplicated copies of reports from MI6’s closed archives.