Winning World War II was about more than military force. It required guile, and tremendous acts of bravery by Special Forces and intelligence operatives who had the odds stacked against them. Using hundreds of documents and images from The National Archives, including some that have never been seen in print before, this book reveals some of World War II's most audacious missions. These include Operation Anthropoid, the plot to assassinate SS General Reinhard Heydrich in Czechoslovakia in 1942, Operation Chariot, the attempt to damage the mighty German warship Tirpitz while she was in dock in St-Nazaire in France; and Operation Mincemeat, a complex plot whereby a corpse, replete with documentation designed to mislead the enemy, was dropped in southern Spain to spread misinformation.
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The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops was a force of only 1,000 men who, with skilled deceptions, often masqueraded as 34,000.
Few World War II stories are more gripping than those fought behind enemy lines by spies, underground members and special forces. In this collection, the author brings to light largely unknown stories of behind the scenes bravery and covert activities that helped the Allies win critical victories both on the ground and in the air. In historian William Breuer’s latest collection, he brings to light largely unknown stories of behind the scenes bravery and covert activities that helped the Allies win critical victories both on the ground and in the air. Here are more than seventy tales of espionage, sabotage, and derring-do, including thrilling accounts of “impossible” rescues, ingenious secret networks, and high-stakes U.S. Ranger missions within enemy territory. Vivid, fast-paced, and dramatic, Daring Missions of World War II introduces you to the heroes and heroines who risked their lives for victory—and sometimes notoriety.
Hailed as "a monumental achievement!" (Douglas Brinkley) and "an essential part of anyone's library" (Doug Stanton), The Force tells the riveting, true story of the group of elite US and Canadian soldiers -- mountainmen, lumberjacks, hunters, and explorers -- who sacrificed everything to accomplish a crucial but nearly impossible WWII mission. In December of 1943, as Nazi forces sprawled around the world and the future of civilization hung in the balance, a group of highly trained U.S. and Canadian soldiers from humble backgrounds was asked to do the impossible: capture a crucial Nazi stronghold perched atop stunningly steep cliffs. The men were a rough-and-ready group, assembled from towns nested in North America's most unforgiving terrain, where many of them had struggled through the Great Depression relying on canny survival skills and the fearlessness of youth. Brought together by the promise to take part in the military's most elite missions, they formed a unique brotherhood tested first by the crucible of state-of-the-art training-including skiing, rock climbing, and parachuting-and then tragically by the vicious fighting they would face. The early battle in the Italian theatre for the strategic fort cost the heroic U.S.-Canadian commando unit-their first special forces unit ever assembled-enormous casualties. Yet the victory put them in position to continue their drive into Italy, setting the stage for the Allies' resurgence toward victory in WWII. The unit, with its vast range of capabilities and mission-specific exercises, became a model for the "Green Berets" and other special forces groups that would go on to accomplish America's most challenging undertakings behind enemy lines. Knitting first-hand accounts seamlessly into the narrative-drawing on interviews with surviving members and their families; the memoirs, letters, and diaries of Forcemen; and declassified documents in the American, Canadian, British, and German archives -- The Force tells a story that is as deeply personal as it is inspiring.
The Ghost Army of World War II describes a perfect example of a little-known, highly imaginative, and daring maneuver that helped open the way for the final drive to Germany. It is a riveting tale told through personal accounts and sketches along the way—ultimately, a story of success against great odds. I enjoyed it enormously. – Tom Brokaw In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of young GIs—including such future luminaries as Bill Blass, Ellsworth Kelly, Arthur Singer, Victor Dowd, Art Kane, and Jack Masey—landed in France to conduct a secret mission. Armed with truckloads of inflatable tanks, a massive collection of sound-effects records, and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, their job was to create a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the German Army as their audience. From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the Ghost Army, conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions, and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Between missions the artists filled their duffel bags with drawings and paintings and dragged them across Europe. Every move they made was top secret and their story was hushed up for decades after the war's end. The Ghost Army of World War II is the first publication to tell the full story of how a traveling road show of artists wielding imagination, paint, and bravado saved thousands of American lives.
July 1945. Eighteen young British, Australian and New Zealand special forces from a top-secret underwater warfare unit prepare to undertake three audacious missions against the Japanese. Using XE-craft midget submarines, the raiders will creep deep behind Japanese lines to sink two huge warships off Singapore and sever two vitally important undersea communications cables. Success will hasten ultimate victory over Japan; but if any of the men are captured they can expect a gruesome execution. Can the Sea Devils overcome Japanese defences, mechanical failures, oxygen poisoning and submarine disasters to fulfil their missions? Mark Felton tells the true story of a band of young men living on raw courage, nerves and adrenalin as they attempt to pull off what could be the last great raid of World War Two.
A navy admiral’s firsthand accounts of three triumphant operations in Europe and North Africa during World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, naval engineering genius Edward Ellsberg came out of retirement to serve his country once again. In these three riveting histories, he recounts the incredible salvage missions and audacious battle plans he took part in during the Second World War. Under the Red Sea Sun: In 1942, Mussolini’s forces were on the run in East Africa. At Massawa, Eritrea, the fleeing Italians left the largest mass wreck in the world, turning a vital port into a tangle of shattered ships and dangerous booby traps. In order to continue the war effort and push back the Axis powers in Africa, the Allies enlisted Commander Ellsberg, who navigated the complicated American and British bureaucracies to pull off a historic feat of engineering—the largest of its kind the world had ever seen. The Far Shore: Rear Admiral Ellsberg describes in detail the meticulous preparation and efforts behind the Normandy Invasion—efforts that would keep the flow of men and materials streaming onto the beaches and into the heart of Europe. From dealing with the extremes of engineering possibilities to wrestling with the knowledge that countless lives depended on the success of his intricate planning, Ellsberg worked himself into exhaustion to do his part. Vividly described by a man who saw firsthand the horrors of war and the cost of victory, The Far Shore takes readers through the brutal surf, onto the bloody beaches, and into the mind of one of World War II’s little-known heroes. No Banners, No Bugles: In Oran, Algeria, a crucial port city, Ellsberg helped the Allies prepare for Operation Torch, the fight to reclaim North Africa from the Axis powers. As General Eisenhower’s chief of salvage in the Mediterranean, Ellsberg had to sort out the disorganized mess left by the Vichy French and find a way to open the harbor, though his flagging health proved to be a dangerous obstacle. No Banners, No Bugles is the riveting story of how Ellsberg, the miracle worker, tackled his greatest mission yet.
"The Ghost Army" is full of art and photographs telling the story of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, an extraordinary US Army unit that used inflatable tanks and sound effects records to stage a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe during WWII. Many who served in this to-secret unit were artists destined for illustrious post-war art careers, including a budding fashion designer named Bill Blass. In their spare time they painted and sketched their way across war-torn Europe. The book is a catalog for a museum exhibit about the unit, and a companion to the forthcoming documentary film.
The astonishing, never before told story of the greatest rescue mission of World War II—when the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia... During a bombing campaign over Romanian oil fields, hundreds of American airmen were shot down in Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. Local Serbian farmers and peasants risked their own lives to give refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, and in 1944, Operation Halyard was born. The risks were incredible. The starving Americans in Yugoslavia had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes—without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back—without getting shot down themselves. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time ever. The Forgotten 500 is the gripping, behind-the-scenes look at the greatest escape of World War II. “Amazing [and] riveting.”—James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers