World War II

Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, "The war made my mother who she was."  Audrey Hepburn's war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor's assistant during the "Bridge Too Far" battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem's most famous young ballerina.  Audrey's own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries,...

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Lt Gen Lewis “Chesty” Puller, U.S.Marine Corps (1919-1955)

Lt Gen Lewis “Chesty” Puller, U.S.Marine Corps (1919-1955)

"Lewis Burwell ' Chesty' Puller, born in the 19th century, fought in the heaviest fighting of the 20th century and is now a legend in this century. The most decorated Marine to ever wear the uniform, and also the most beloved, Puller left a mark on the Marine Corps that would define its culture for years to come." - Michael Lane Smith Biography of Lewis "Chesty" Puller The son of a grocer, Lewis "Chesty" Puller was born June 26, 1898, at West Point, Virginia, to Matthew and Martha Puller. He loved hunting and fishing and was a military history buff who grew up listening to old veterans' tales of the American Civil War and idolizing Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. He was forced to help support his family after his father's death when he was ten. Puller attempted to join the U.S. Army in 1916 to take part in the Punitive Expedition to capture Mexican leader Pancho Villa, but he was too young and his mother refuses to grant parental consent. In 1917, he followed his martial interest to...

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Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

Thunder Below! by Admiral Eugene B. Fluckey

The thunderous roar of exploding depth charges was a familiar and comforting sound to the crew members of the USS Barb, who frequently found themselves somewhere between enemy fire and Davy Jones's locker. Under the leadership of her fearless skipper, Captain Gene Fluckey, the Barb sank the greatest tonnage of any American sub in World War II. At the same time, the Barb did far more than merely sink ships-she changed forever the way submarines stalk and kill their prey. This is a gripping adventure chock-full of "you-are-there" moments. Fluckey has drawn on logs, reports, letters, interviews, and a recently discovered illegal diary kept by one of his torpedomen. And in a fascinating twist, he uses archival documents from the Japanese Navy to give its version of events. The unique story of the Barb begins with its men, who had the confidence to become unbeatable. Each team helped develop innovative ideas, new tactics, and new strategies. All strove for personal excellence, and success...

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Capt. David McCampbell, U.S. Navy (1933-1964)

Capt. David McCampbell, U.S. Navy (1933-1964)

All available fighter pilots! Man your planes!" boomed the squawk box in Essex' ready room. The ship's radar had detected three large groups of Japanese planes coming in. David McCampbell, the CAG, and the Navy's most famous aviator considered this announcement. Earlier that morning, Admiral Sherman himself had forbidden McCampbell from joining a dawn sortie. Given his responsibilities as Commander of Essex' Air Group and his public prominence as a top ace, McCampbell was too valuable. He decided that he was indeed "available" and headed for his airplane, Minsi III. His plane crew hurried to fuel Minsi III, which had not been scheduled to fly that day. With the Hellcat only partially fueled, the Flight Officer ordered it off the flight deck - either into the air or below to the hangar deck. McCampbell went up, leading Essex's last seven fighters toward the Jap strike force. He and Ens. Roy Rushing got out in front of the other Hellcats, putting on all speed to intercept the...

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Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

Witness to the Storm by Werner T. Angress

On June 6, 1944, Werner T. Angress parachuted down from a C-47 into German-occupied France with the 82nd Airborne Division. Nine days later, he was captured behind enemy lines and, concealing his identity as a German-born Jew, became a prisoner of war. Eventually, he was freed by US forces, rejoined the fight, crossed Europe as a battlefield interrogator, and participated in a concentration camp's liberation. Although he was an American soldier, less than ten years before, he had been an enthusiastically patriotic German-Jewish boy. Rejected and threatened by the Nazi regime, the Angress family fled to Amsterdam to escape persecution and death, and young Angress then found his way to the United States.  In Witness to the Storm, Angress weaves the spellbinding story of his life, including his escape from Germany, his new life in the United States, and his experiences in World War II. A testament to the power of perseverance and forgiveness, Witness to the Storm is the compelling tale...

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Famous Army Air Force Unit – 336th Fighter Squadron

Famous Army Air Force Unit – 336th Fighter Squadron

The annals of Air Force history are rich with the performance and accomplishments of individual units, but often reflect specific battles, a conflict, or other such moments in time. Due to ever-changing budgets, technology, restructuring, and more, tenure alone is a barrier to the creation of longstanding unit heritage and tradition. Nonetheless, select organizations can trace a significant lineage with associated individual and group exploits. Perhaps not well known to other than their sister units, the 336th Fighter Squadron is one such organization, serving with distinction for eighty years while continually reinventing themselves to embrace advancing fighter aircraft and technology. History of the 336th Fighter Squadron The earliest roots of the 336th Fighter Squadron track to World War II prior to entry of the United States, then known as 133rd Eagle Squadron. The unit was constituted in August 1941 (Coltishall, England) as the third of three British fighter squadrons manned by...

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A Pilot’s Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts to General Montgomery’s Flying Fortress by Richard Eager

A Pilot’s Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts to General Montgomery’s Flying Fortress by Richard Eager

Some say the decades between 1930 and 1970 were the golden age of aviation. For many pilots, this was certainly the case. Aviation technology took a great leap forward during and after World War II. Pilots began testing the limits of their craft, from altitude to the sound barrier. Most importantly, the years saw the creation of the U.S. Air Force as an independent military branch.  About the Author of A Pilot's Story from Tennessee Eagle Scouts Starting from a must-win air war like World War II, pilots like Col. Richard Ernest Evans could really make a name for themselves and thrive in the skies. Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, Evans was practically born to serve. He started his service life with the Eagle Scouts and became a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot in the Mediterranean theater of World War II.  He continued his service after the war as Deputy Director of Operations for the USAF Strategic Air Command. During the Cold War, he was promoted to colonel and was the...

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Famous Air Force Unit – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

Famous Air Force Unit – 6th Special Operations Squadron (Commando)

To those not deeply immersed in US Air Force operations, the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS) may appear a bit of an enigma as Commando is most often associated with ground units. The squadron's title actually derives from roots reaching back to WWII together with hard-fought experience, all leading to a mission that's responsive to contemporary, global needs. Constituted initially as a fighter squadron, the 6th SOS acquired broad skills extending through Vietnam and beyond, keying on counterinsurgency, special operations, and international advisory assignments. Armed with exhaustive training and comprehensive combat aircraft experience, the primary role of the 6th Special Operations Squadron is to assess, train, advise and assist foreign aviation forces in the use of their aircraft throughout the world. Though initially developed and honed in the chaos of a world at war, the unique skill sets provided by the 6th Special Operations Squadron are particularly relevant for...

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Donovan: America’s Master Spy by Richard B. Dunlop

Donovan: America’s Master Spy by Richard B. Dunlop

One of the most celebrated and highly decorated heroes of World War I, a noted trial lawyer, presidential adviser and emissary, and Chief of America’s Office of Strategic Services during World War II, William J. Donovan was a legendary figure. Donovan, originally published in 1982, penetrates the cloak of secrecy surrounding this remarkable man. During the dark days of World War II, "Wild Bill" Donovan, more than any other person, was responsible for what William Stevenson, author of "A Man Called Intrepid", described as "the astonishing success with which the United States entered secret warfare and accomplished in less than four years what it took England many centuries to develop." Drawing upon Donovan’s diaries, letters, and other papers; interviews with hundreds of the men and women who worked with him and spied for him; and declassified and unpublished documents, author Richard Dunlop, himself a former member of Donovan’s OSS, traces the incredible career of the man who almost...

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Russian Sniper Roza Shanina

Russian Sniper Roza Shanina

In the deep silence of the vast Russian pine forest, a small, lonesome figure was walking. It was just a few years before the outbreak of the Second World War. She had set out alone, without the permission of her parents, carrying only enough food to keep her on her feet for the long march. She was used to walking. Every day for years she had walked eight miles to and from her school in the little village closest to her home; she knew she could do it. Her self-belief and determined spirit drove her steadily on. She was fourteen years old. This was Roza Shanina. She walked one hundred and twenty miles all alone, at last reaching a train station. From the station, she took the train to the city of Arkhangelsk, where she enrolled in the city's college. She loved the city. The cinemas, the lights, the people and the bustle were worlds away from the isolation of her early years. She was friendly, quick, talkative, and highly intelligent, and so she made many friends. Often, she would...

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General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Meteoric Rise

General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Meteoric Rise

Speaking of Eisenhower, Field Marshal Lord Montgomery once said, "nice chap, no general." General George Patton once lamented that it was too bad that Eisenhower had no personal knowledge of war. General Omar Bradley would write that Eisenhower "had little grasp of sound battlefield tactics." That might seem like some pretty harsh criticism considering the West tends to look back on Eisenhower as the man who led the allies to victory in Europe. His iconic status was further cemented in history when he became President of the United States in 1952. However, the historical facts would prove that Eisenhower was but a LtCol at the start of 1941 and an officer who had never personally seen combat. Yet, that wouldn't stop him from getting the keys to one of the largest military force the world has ever known. General Dwight D. Eisenhower: A Mediocre Rise to Power Dwight D Eisenhower entered the halls of West Point in 1911 with a greater chance of becoming a football star than the Supreme...

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The Only Woman Ever to Join the French Foreign Legion

The Only Woman Ever to Join the French Foreign Legion

The Legion Etrangere is better known as the French Foreign Legion - a military organization open to men who are foreign nationals. In 1945, however, the Legion made one exception (and so far, the only one) for a very deserving person. Biography of Susan Mary Gillian Travers Susan Mary Gillian Travers was born in London on September 23, 1909, to a wealthy family. Her father was Francis Eaton Travers, a Royal Navy Admiral, who married the heiress Eleanor Catherine Turnbull for her money. Theirs was not a happy home, and Travers later claimed she was happier the further away she was from it. Susan made up for it by becoming a semi-professional tennis player, financed by a doting aunt who helped her become independent. When the Phony War (precursor of WWII) broke out in late 1939, Travers was living in the South of France and loving it. She joined the Croix Rouge -the French Red Cross. It was a decision she regretted immediately. Susan Travers in the Second World War Having lived a...

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