In the second volume of his acclaimed new history of the Second World War, James Holland examines the momentous turning points of 1941-1943: Hitler's invasion of Russia, America's entry into the conflict, the devastating Thousand Bomber Raids over Germany, the long struggle in the deserts of North Africa and the defeat of the U-boats in the crucial Battle of the Atlantic. As in his first volume, Germany Ascendant, he interweaves his account of the well-known events of the period with the personal stories of individuals caught up in them - on all sides.
For seven decades, our understanding of World War II has been shaped by a standard narrative built on conventional wisdom, propaganda, the dramatic but narrow experiences of soldiers on the ground, and an early generation of historians. For his new history, James Holland has spent over 12 years unearthing new research, recording original testimony, and visiting battlefields and archives that have never before been so accessible.
"Good Book painfully read"
The night of 16 May, 1943: Nineteen specially adapted Lancaster bombers take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, each with a huge 9000-lb cylindrical bomb strapped underneath it. Their mission: to destroy three dams deep within the German heartland, which provide the lifeblood to the industries supplying the Third Reich's war machine.
"A must for anyone interested in Air Warfare"
August, 1942. North Africa. The desert war hangs in the balance. When the commander of the Eighth Army, General Gott, is killed, it's clear that foul play is at work. An impenetrable Axis spy circuit is compromising any hope the Allies have of stemming the Nazi tide. Jack Tanner, recovering from wounds in a Cairo hospital, is astonished to receive a battlefield commission which will propel him into a very different world when he returns to action. Fit once more, he finds himself facing the full onslaught of Rommel's latest offensive.
It was the night of May 16th, 1943. Nineteen specially adapted Lancaster bombers take off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, each with a huge cylindrical bomb strapped underneath them. Their mission: to destroy three dams deep within the German heartland, which provide the lifeblood to the Third Reich's war machine. What followed was an incredible race against time, which, despite numerous set-backs and against huge odds, became one of the most successful and game-changing raids of all time.
"Great Story Poor Narration"
Are you ready for the truth about World War Two? In the first of an extraordinary three-volume account of the war on land, in the air and at sea, James Holland not only reveals the truth behind the familiar legends of the Second World War but he also unveils those lesser known events which were to have the greatest significance. The first book to consider the economic, political and social as well as the military aspects of World War Two, this is a unique retelling of a monumental event in all its terrible and majestic glory.
April 1940: Nazi Germany has invaded neutral Norway. Fleeing north from their brutal blitzkrieg advance are three officers of the King's Guard - men who have been entrusted by the Norwegian King with a vitally important mission. The only military force which stands between the Nazi forces and total victory are the poorly equipped, undertrained squaddies of the British 148th Brigade. Among them is Sergeant Jack Tanner, recently returned from the Middle East. As the British are pushed back from Lillehammer, Sergeant Tanner and his patrol are left stranded in the mountains in the chaos of retreat.
May 1940: Sergeant Jack Tanner has been posted to a training company on the southeast coast of England where the mysterious deaths of two Polish refugees lead him to believe there has been foul play. As the Germans launch their blitzkrieg in Europe, the entire company are sent to join the battle to stop Hitler's drive across the Low Countries. Pitted against the die-hard Nazis of the SS "Death's Head" division and the great panzer commander, General Rommel himself, it is left to Tanner to get his men back to Allied lines.
Crete, May 1941. In the face of a German invasion, Sergeant Jack Tanner is embroiled in a deadly game of survival that will test his resolve more than ever before. Not only has he fallen out with his commander but he has mortally offended Alopex, a powerful local chieftain. As if that wasn't enough, Tanner and the rest of his battalion are caught in vicious close-quarter fighting against crack German paratroopers.
July, 1943.With North Africa secured, the Allies launch an invasion of Sicily, and the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Rangers are in the van of the assault on the Italian beaches.But promotion to Company Commander has brought him fresh trouble for Jack Tanner. Not only has his new Battalion Commander decided to make his life as difficult as possible, they soon find themselves battling against some of the toughest, most determined troops in the Wehrmacht.
By June 1942, Britain had reached her lowest ebb. Her military command was in tatters, her armies beaten, and in the Middle East it seemed all might be lost. Her new ally, America, had only fledgling armed forces and was severely under-trained, yet it was this alliance of the weary combatant and naïve newcomer, coming together for the first time in North Africa, that would eventually bring about the defeat of Nazi Germany.