19 November 2019

Killing Hitler's Reich: The Battle for Austria 1945

In the dying days of World War Two, when the fate of nations was being decided by the triumvirate of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Josef Stalin, Hitler’s Austrian homeland provided a scenic backdrop for the last stand of Army Group South. Killing Hitler’s Reich, The Battle For Austria 1945, is the history of the bloody Battle for Austria in 1945. Austria’s fate held major ramifications for postwar Europe and the entire free world, yet there is no complete account of the campaign written in English.

Given the scale of the fighting and the scope of the consequences, this book fills a major gap in the literature of World War Two. On VE Day Army Group South listed 450,000 men still under arms in four armies. It was this massive force that made General Dwight Eisenhower change the entire focus of American ground operations to cut off Germans from retreating into the National Redoubt.

Moreover, it was Austria not Berlin, that proved to be the graveyard of the Waffen SS. No less than 15 of Himmler’s divisions ended the war there. And as the German war effort disintegrated into chaos, high ranking Nazis fled the dying Reich through Austria and into Italy. Some made it, many didn’t. Killing Hitler’s Reich follows the chase and capture of some of the most notorious, such as Himmler’s Second in Command, Ernst Kaltenbrunner. Long overlooked by historians, Killing Hitler’s Reich finally places this critical campaign in its proper historical place.

Available from:
Casemate Publishing

16 November 2019

Voices from the Arctic Convoys

With the invasion of Russia by Germany in 1941, Britain gained a new ally and a responsibility to provide material for the new front. More than four million tonnes of supplies such as tanks, fighters, bombers, ammunition, raw materials and food were transported to Russia during a four-year period. The cost was high and by May 1945, the campaign had seen the loss of 104 merchant ships and sixteen military vessels, and the thousands of seamen they carried.

The Arctic route was the most arduous of all convoy routes. The ever-present threat of attack from German U-boats and Luftwaffe bombers such as the dreaded Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor were not all the Arctic convoys had to contend with. They had to deal with severe cold, storms, fog, ice floes and waves so huge they tore at the ships’ armour plating.

It is to the memory of these brave men that this book is dedicated and the stories of the immeasurable contribution they made to the Allied efforts during the Second World War have been collected for this book by their veteran comrades.

Voices from the Arctic Convoys contains the personal stories of 28 veterans, who served on ships including: 
  • HMS Ledbury
  • HMS Nabob
  • HMS Sheffield
  • HMS Swift
  • HMS Javelin
  • HMS Bulldog
  • HMS Shera
  • HMS Belfast
  • HMS Bluebell
  • HMS Nigeria
  • HMS Keppel
  • HMS Malcolm
  • HMS Milne
  • HMS Wren
  • HMS Apollo
  • HMS Magpie
  • HMS Berwick
  • HMS Zephyr
  • HMS Achates 
  • HMS Bermuda
  • SS Induna
  • SS Empire Baffin
  • SS Empire Elgar
  • SS Soborg
  • SS Charlbury
  • Northern Wave
Available from:
Fonthill Media

30 September 2019

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs - The Netherlands 1940-1945

The Persecution of the Jews in Photographs, the Netherlands 1940-1945 is the first book of
photographs about the persecution and deportation of the Jews in the Netherlands. A remarkable number of photographs have survived of the process from the initial isolation to the final extermination of the Jews. Both the professional photographers commissioned by the occupying forces, and amateurs, took moving photographs. Ordinary Dutch citizens recorded razzias, in some cases secretly. They also photographed the introduction of the Star of David, the Jews who went into hiding, and the role of perpetrators and bystanders.

On 10 May 1940, the day of the German invasion, there were 140,000 Jewish inhabitants living in the Netherlands. In addition, there were more than 20,000 German-Jewish refugees in the country. The German occupying forces gradually introduced anti-Jewish measures, step by step. The first train left for the Westerbork transit camp on 14 July 1942, followed up by the deportations to the Auschwitz extermination camp. 107,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands, The full extent of their terrible fate only became known after the war: at least 102,000 were murdered, died of mistreatment or were worked to death in the Nazi camps. This tragedy has had a profound effect on Dutch society.

Photographic archives and private collections were consulted in the Netherlands and abroad. Extensive background data was researched, which means that the moving pictures have an even greater force of expression. The result is an overwhelming collection of almost 400 photographs, accompanied by detailed captions. This book reflects the memory of the persecution of the Jews in photographs.

The book supports an exhibition at the National Holocaust Museum in Amsterdam. Find out more about the exhibition. 

Available from:
W Books

Arras Counter-Attack 1940

On 21 May 1940 during the ill-fated Dunkirk Campaign the British launched an operation spearheaded by two tank regiments to help secure the city of Arras. This was the only significant armoured operation mounted by the British during the campaign.

Poorly coordinated and starting badly, the Matilda tanks ran into the flanks of Rommel’s over extended 7th Panzer Division. With the German anti-tank guns unable to penetrate the armour of the British tanks, Rommel’s infantry fell into chaos as the Matildas plunged deep into their flank. The Germans were machine gunned and started to surrender in large numbers but with the British infantry lagging well behind, fighting their own battles in the villages, there was no one to round them up.

Into this scene of chaos entered Rommel whose personal leadership and example started to steady his troops and organise an effective response. This was classic Rommel but in the aftermath, he claimed to have been attacked by five divisions.

The Arras counter-attack contributed to Hitler issuing the famous ‘halt order’ to his panzers that arguably did much to allow the British Army to withdraw to Dunkirk and escape total destruction.

Available from:
Pen & Sword

13 September 2019

Steel Wall At Arnhem: The Destruction of 4 Parachute Brigade 19 September 1944

The deployment of the British 1st Airborne Division somewhere in Europe prior to the end of the War was indeed a case of coins burning holes in the pockets of SHAEF . The Allied High Command was anxious to commit to battle a Division that, while it contained some elite units, was not fully trained, had carried out only one divisional exercise and was contained several officers who were either unfit or unsuitable for Airborne command.

On Monday 18 September 1944, the aircraft and gliders carrying the men and equipment of 4 Parachute Brigade took off from airfields in the south of England. For the first time from its creation in North Africa the Brigade was going into battle as a unified formation albeit not fully trained and far from experienced.

Within 24 hours the Brigade would cease to exist, having achieved nothing more than the deaths of good men for no good reason. Despite the fine words of Winston Churchill that the operation had not been in vain and Montgomery was 90% successful, there is more logic to be found in the words of the Great War poet Wilfred Owen when he wrote in his poem Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. There were those commanders who were indeed ardent for some desperate glory .

This is a full account of the Brigade and its actions at Arnhem. Contains 221 photos & 3 maps.

Available from:
Helion
Casemate Publishers

30 August 2019

Arnhem 1944 - The Human Tragedy of the Bridge Too Far

The airborne battle for the bridges across the Rhine at Arnhem ranks amongst the Second World War’s most famous actions – inspiring innumerable books and the star-studded 1977 movie. This book, however, is unique: deeply moved, the author provides a fresh narrative and approach – concentrating on the tragic stories of individual casualties.

These men were killed at different junctures in the fighting, often requiring forensic analysis to ascertain their fates. Wider events contextualise the author’s primary focus – effectively ‘resurrecting’ casualties through describing their backgrounds, previous experience, and tragic effect on their families. In particular, the emotive and unresolved issue of the many still ‘missing’ is explored.

During the course of his research, the author made numerous trips to Arnhem and Oosterbeek, travelled miles around the UK, and spent countless hours communicating with the relatives of casualties – achieving their enthusiastic support. This detailed work, conducted sensitively and with dignity, ensures that these moving stories are now recorded for posterity.

Included are the stories of Private Albert Willingham, who sacrificed his life to save civilians; Major Frank Tate, machine-gunned against the backdrop of blazing buildings around Arnhem Bridge; family man Sergeant George Thomas, whose anti-tank gun is displayed today outside the Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’, and Squadron Leader John Gilliard DFC, father of a baby son who perished flying his Stirling through a hail of shot and shell during an essential re-supply drop. Is Private Gilbert Anderson, who remains ‘missing’, actually buried as an ‘unknown’, the author asks? Representing the Poles is Lance-Corporal Czeslaw Gajewnik, who drowned whilst escaping the hell of Oosterbeek, and accounts by Dutch civilians emphasise the shared suffering – sharply focussed by the tragedy of Luuk Buist, killed protecting his family. The sensitivity still surrounding German casualties is also explained.

This raw, personal, side of war, the hopes and fears of ordinary men thrust into extraordinary circumstances, is both deeply moving and revealing: no longer are these just names carved on headstones or memorials in a distant land. Through this thorough investigative work, supported by those who remember them, the casualties live again, their silent voices heard through friends, relatives, comrades and unpublished letters.

Available from:.
Pen and Sword

12 August 2019

Arnhem: The Complete Story of Operation Market Garden 17-25 September 1944

On 21 August 1944 German Army Group B was destroyed in Normandy and Allied troops began pressing east from the beachhead they had occupied since the D-Day landings. Within days British troops had liberated Brussels and reached the Dutch border. Encouraged by seeming total German collapse, the Allies gambled their overstretched resources on a high-risk strategy aimed at opening the way into Germany itself crossing the Rhine river.

On the afternoon of Sunday 17 September British tanks advanced into Holland in concert with 1,534 transport aircraft and 491 gliders. Their objective was a series of bridges across the Rhine, possession of which would allow the Allies to advance into Germany. In the event the operation was dogged by bad weather, flawed planning, tardiness and overconfidence, and ended with the Arnhem crossing still in German hands despite an epic nine-day battle that cost the British 1st Airborne Division over two thirds of its men killed, wounded or captured.

Arnhem, the Battle of the Bridges combines analysis and new research by a leading authority on Operation MARKET GARDEN with the words of the men who were there, and provides the most comprehensive account of the battle to date.

Available from: