16 October 2017

Alarmstart: The German Fighter Pilot's Experience in the Second World War

Alarmstart (scramble) charts the experiences of the German fighter pilots in the Second World War, based on extensive recollections of veterans as well as primary documents, diaries and flying log books, with photographs from the veterans themselves, many never previously published.

For anyone interested in this period, and specifically the experience of members of the Luftwaffe, the information provided is of  great value as there are no more than a handful of WW2 Luftwaffe members alive today. Patrick Eriksson had the foresight to record their experiences first-hand before it was too late. Some witnesses ended up as senior fighter controllers, and one was even a Luftwaffe psychologist. The recollections and views of the former pilots are put within the historical context of the German aerial war.

By no means all the witnesses were from the ranks of the ‘aces’, and the awful strain of the conflict is manifest: ‘My friend Leo, Kapitän of the 8/JG 54, in the last weeks on the Channel front developed insomnia, anxiety attacks. He was “flown out” (abgeflogen) and should have been relieved. He was shot down and killed in September 1940.’

This first volume covers Poland, Denmark and Norway, the Phoney War, the invasion of France and the Low Countries, the Battle of Britain, combating the RAF sweeps in the West, and finally, the Battle of Germany (home defence).

Available from:
Amberley Publishing
 

3 October 2017

Lilliput Fleet

To guard our harbours and coastal convoys, Britain called up the Lilliput Fleet, a tiny fighting force of trawlers and drifters hastily converted into warships to face the might of Nazi technology, the Luftwaffe, mines and E-boats. The fishing fleet became the Royal Naval Patrol Service - a vital arm in the war at sea.

Their resources were few but their courage boundless. The little ships tackled any task, sweeping safe channels for merchantmen, dealing with each and every mine, hunting U-boats, participating in all landings from Madagascar to Normandy.

The ex-fishermen were joined by amateur yachtsmen and unabashed landlubbers. United by their dauntless determination, they welded themselves into a force to be reckoned with.

A. Cecil Hampshire, at the time a naval officer at the Admiralty, was intimately connected with the formation of the Patrol Service, and from his own experiences and the official records he has written a unique history of these little ships.

Available from:
Amazon

22 September 2017

WWII & NYC

Published in conjunction with the groundbreaking exhibition 'WWII & NYC at the New-York Historical Society', WWII & NYC captures the little-told but epic story of New York in the years 1939 - 1945, and the war's impact on the metropolis. 

This story unfolds in four different sections. The first covers the years 1933-41 and recreates the noisy contest of opinions in New York over whether the U. S. should involve itself in the war, and introduces the scientists at Columbia University who conducted top-secret research to develop the atom bomb. 1942-45 saw a city mobilising for war, as industries converted to wartime production and huge terminals surrounding the port shipped men and supplies to Europe. The reader then follows New Yorkers to war with stories of individuals who served. The concluding section captures scenes of war's end with the surrender of Germany and Japan. 

Available from: 
Scala Publishers

20 September 2017

The Exbury Junkers - A World War II Mystery

On a fine spring morning in 1944, seven weeks before D-Day, a lone German bomber emerged from the clouds over the Isle of Wight. It circled low over the northern part of the island and somehow managed to withstand a barrage of anti-aircraft fire before flying across the Solent to the Hampshire coast, where it fell victim to an attack by two RAF Typhoons and to further anti-aircraft fire. The bomber crash-landed in a field close to Exbury House which, at this time, was the home of HMS Mastodon, a naval headquarters closely involved in preparations for the Normandy landings. None of the men on board the Junkers survived.

In the aftermath of the crash, a number of questions began to arise... Why had the Junkers flown alone in broad daylight directly to an area of the south coast of England where preparations for D-Day were reaching a crescendo? Why had it loitered suspiciously over the Isle of Wight? Why, when it was under attack, had it appeared to take little or no defensive action? Why had it fired red Very lights? And, crucially, why were there seven bodies in the wreckage at Exbury when the Ju 188 should only have been carrying a crew of four?

John Stanley first encountered the mystery when on a family holiday on the Isle of Wight and determined to uncover the truth about the mystery. He subsequently spent many years of his spare time painstakingly researching the incident, including contacting every known eyewitness and all the relatives of the seven young Germans who died in the crash. The results of his patient detective work are to be found in this fascinating book.

Available from:
Woodfield Publishing

31 August 2017

Eastern Front Sniper - The Life of Matthäus Hetzenauer

Eastern Front Sniper is a long overdue and comprehensive biography of one of World War II’s most accomplished snipers.

Mathäus Hetzenauer, the son of a Tyrolean peasant family, was born in December 1924. He was drafted into the Mountain Reserve Battalian 140 at the age of 18 but discharged five month’s later.

He received a new draft notice in January 1943 for a post in the Styrian Truppenübungsplatz Seetal Alps where he met some of the best German snipers and learned his art.

Hetzenauer went on to fight in Romania, Eastern Hungary and in Slovakia. As recognition for his more than 300 confirmed kills he was awarded on the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross on April 17, 1945.

After nearly five years of Soviet captivity Mathäus Hetzenauer returned to Austria on January 10, 1950. He lived in the Tyrol's Brixen Valley until his death on 3 October of 2004.

Available from:
Greenhill Books

7 August 2017

Beyond Adversity - 'U' Company, 15th Battalion 1941-1942

In November 1941, about 100 Queensland University students began their short-term compulsory military training with the Australian 15th Infantry Battalion. Most were aged 19-22, had daytime jobs and were evening or external students from the arts, commerce and law faculties. They were ambitious, hard-working young men anxious to make their way in the world.

Their compulsory military training was due to end on 4 February 1942 and the students would then be released to return to their jobs and continue their part-time studies. The outbreak of the Pacific War on 7 December changed everything. In April 1942, the 15th Battalion was given 24 hours' notice to move from Caloundra to Townsville. In January 1943 the Battalion went to New Guinea to take part in the Salamaua and Lae campaigns and did not return to Brisbane until July 1944. In November it was sent to fight in Bougainville. The Battalion finally returned home in January 1946 and most returned to resume their studies and jobs within the community.

This book tells the story of those Queensland University students of `U' Company, 15th Battalion during its brief existence. It covers their wartime service in all its tragedy and triumph and how they resumed their lives, studies and careers once the war was over. Most regard themselves as being very fortunate - to have survived the war, to have learned to cope with adversity, to have learned the importance of getting on with life in spite of insurmountable obstacles and in having been able to make the most of opportunities that arose. They have been fortunate to find a life beyond adversity.

Available from:
Big Sky Publishing (Australia)
Casemate Publishing

5 August 2017

Captive Memories: Far East POWs & Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Conditions for Far East Prisoners of War were truly hellish. Appalling diseases were rife, the stench indescribable. Food and equipment were minimal or non existent. Men died daily, many in agony from which there was no relief. And yet, in the midst of such horrors, the human spirit steadfastly refused to be broken. Captives helped each other, intense bonds were formed, selfless sacrifces made. Tools and medical equipment were fashioned from whatever could be found, anything that could make life more bearable. Resilience, resourcefulness, pride and camaraderie; these were the keys to survival. Freedom, for those who made it, meant many things: home, family, comfort, of course; but also adjustment, loss of friendships, and a difficult road to recovery that for some would be lifelong. Most refused to talk about their experiences, coping alone with the post traumatic stress and chronic health problems. It was these ongoing physical after effects of captivity that brought a group of men into contact with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Beginning in 1946 and lasting right up to the present day, LSTM's involvement with the health (and latterly the history) of these veterans represents the longest collaborative partnership ever undertaken by the School. Out of this unique and enduring relationship came knowledge which has improved the diagnosis and treatment of some tropical infections, together with a greater understanding of the long-term psychological effects of Far East captivity. Using eyewitness accounts and the personal perspectives of this group of now elderly POWs as the backdrop, Captive Memories charts this fascinating history.

For more information, see the project website - Captive Memories

Available from:
Carnegie Publishing