The Kaiser's Battle

Pen and Sword
2
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At 9.30am on 21 March 1918, the last great battle of the First World War commenced when three German armies struck a massive blow against the weak divisions of the British Third and Fifth Armies. It was the first day of what the Germans called the Kaiserschlacht (‘the Kaiser’s Battle’), the series of attacks that were intended to break the deadlock on the Western Front, knock the British Army out of the war, and finally bring victory to Germany. In the event the cost of the gamble was so heavy that once the assault faltered, it remained for the Allies to push the exhausted German armies back and the War was at last over. Critics accounts: The clever blending of written and oral accounts from some 650 surviving British and German soldiers makes the book an extremely convincing reconstruction. SUNDAY TIMES Mr Middlebrook’s industry and patience are displayed in his amazing collection of eyewitness accounts, the compassion in his commentary, the good sense in his analysis’ DAILY TELEGRAPH
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Additional Information

Publisher
Pen and Sword
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Published on
Feb 15, 2007
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Pages
430
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ISBN
9781473819429
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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When you arrived at work today, what was on your to-do list? On 6 February 1944, this landed on the desk of General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, a request from General Dwight D Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe: 'Count up all the divisions that will be in the Mediterranean, including two newly arrived U.S. divisions, consider the requirements in Italy in view of the mountain masses north of Rome, and then consider what influence on your problem a sizeable number of divisions, heavily engaged or advancing rapidly in southern France, will have on OVERLORD.'It puts that late delivery or forgotten invoice into perspective. Eyes Only is not a history of the campaigns that swept across Europe between June 1944 and May 1945 – it is military command at its rawest, in real time and with no benefit of hindsight. It follows the planning, execution and aftermath of the campaigns through the highest security level day-to-day correspondence between the two Generals; the ‘Eyes Only’ cables. These candid words passed over their desks between December 1943 and December 1945, here fully annotated with background information.The cables start with the fraught six-month planning period for D-Day, followed by the establishment of the beachhead and the exhilarating advance across France. A difficult winter followed, culminating in attack and counterattack in the Ardennes. As Germany’s collapse became imminent, attention focused on how to conclude the war without coming into conflict with the Soviet Army. After V-E Day, the problems of occupying Germany, de-Nazification, redeployment and humanitarian efforts are all on the agenda.Messages from the key politicians – Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin – are included. The two Generals have to deal with differences between the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff, the effect of the Mediterranean battles on the Western Front campaign — and of course ‘man management’ of figures such as Patton, Montgomery and de Gaulle.Judge for yourself how two of the United States’ greatest military leaders dealt with the burden of command in the eye of the storm of history.
The complete story of the remarkable canoe raid on German ships in Bordeaux Harbour – by the man who himself served in the Special Boat Squadron.

In 1942, before El Alamein turned the tide of war, the German merchant fleet was re-supplying its war machine with impunity. So Operation Frankton, a daring and secret raid, was launched by Mountbatten’ s Combined Operations and led by the enigmatic ‘ Blondie’ Hasler – to paddle ‘ Cockleshell’ canoes right into Bordeaux harbour and sink the ships at anchor.

It was a desperately hazardous mission from the start – dropped by submarine to canoe some hundred miles up the Gironde into the heart of Vichy France, surviving terrifying tidal races, only to face the biggest challenge of all: escaping across the Pyrenees. Fewer than half the men made it to Bordeaux; only four laid their mines; just two got back alive. But the most damage was done to the Germans’ sense of impregnability.

Paddy Ashdown, himself a member of the Royal Marines’ elite Special Boat Squadron formed as a consequence of Frankton, has always been  fascinated by this classic story of bravery and ingenuity - as a young man even meeting his hero Hasler once. Now, after researching previously
unseen archives and tracing surviving witnesses, he has written the definitive account of the raid. The real truth, he discovers – a deplorable tale of Whitehall rivalry and breakdowns in communication – serves only to make the achievements of the ‘ Cockleshell’ heroes all the more heroic.
Stephen E. Ambrose’s iconic New York Times bestseller about the ordinary men who became the World War II’s most extraordinary soldiers: Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, US Army.

They came together, citizen soldiers, in the summer of 1942, drawn to Airborne by the $50 monthly bonus and a desire to be better than the other guy. And at its peak—in Holland and the Ardennes—Easy Company was as good a rifle company as any in the world.

From the rigorous training in Georgia in 1942 to the disbanding in 1945, Stephen E. Ambrose tells the story of this remarkable company. In combat, the reward for a job well done is the next tough assignment, and as they advanced through Europe, the men of Easy kept getting the tough assignments.

They parachuted into France early D-Day morning and knocked out a battery of four 105 mm cannon looking down Utah Beach; they parachuted into Holland during the Arnhem campaign; they were the Battered Bastards of the Bastion of Bastogne, brought in to hold the line, although surrounded, in the Battle of the Bulge; and then they spearheaded the counteroffensive. Finally, they captured Hitler's Bavarian outpost, his Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden.

They were rough-and-ready guys, battered by the Depression, mistrustful and suspicious. They drank too much French wine, looted too many German cameras and watches, and fought too often with other GIs. But in training and combat they learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever knew. They discovered that in war, men who loved life would give their lives for them.

This is the story of the men who fought, of the martinet they hated who trained them well, and of the captain they loved who led them. E Company was a company of men who went hungry, froze, and died for each other, a company that took 150 percent casualties, a company where the Purple Heart was not a medal—it was a badge of office.
A “meticulously documented” account that covers the RAF’s controversial attempt to end World War II by the aerial bombing of Berlin (Kirkus Reviews).
 
The Battle of Berlin was the longest and most sustained bombing offensive against one target in the Second World War. Bomber Command Commander-in-Chief, Sir Arthur Harris, hoped to wreak Berlin from end to end and produce a state of devastation in which German surrender was inevitable. He dispatched nineteen major raids between August 1943 and March 1944—more than ten thousand aircraft sorties dropped over thirty thousand tons of bombs on Berlin. It was the RAF’s supreme effort to end the war by aerial bombing. But Berlin was not destroyed and the RAF lost more than six hundred aircraft and their crews. The controversy over whether the Battle of Berlin was a success or failure has continued ever since.
 
Martin Middlebrook brings to this subject considerable experience as a military historian. In preparing his material he collected documents from both sides (many of the German ones never before used); he has also interviewed and corresponded with over four hundred of the people involved in the battle and has made trips to Germany to interview the people of Berlin and Luftwaffe aircrews. He has achieved the difficult task of bringing together both sides of the Battle of Berlin—the bombing force and the people on the ground—to tell a coherent, single story.
 
“His straightforward narrative covers the 19 major raids, with a detailed description of three in particular, and includes recollections by British and German airmen as well as German civilians who weathered the storm.” —Publishers Weekly
“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns
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