On 17 August 1943, the entire strength of the American heavy bomber forces in England set out to raid two major industrial complexes deep in southern Germany, the vast Messerschmitt aircraft factory and the vital KGF ballbearing plant. For American commanders it was the culmination of years of planning and hope, the day when their self-defending formations of the famous Flying Fortress could at last perform their true role and reach out by daylight to strike at targets in the deepest corners of industrial Germany. The day ended in disaster for the Americans. Thanks to the courage of the aircrews the bombers won through to the targets and caused heavy damage, but sixty were shot down and the hopes of the American commanders were shattered. Historically, it was probably the most important day for the American air forces during the Second World War.While researching this catastrophic raid the Author interviewed hundreds of the airmen involved, German defenders, 'slave workers' and eye witnesses. This took him twice to both the USA and Germany.The result is a mass of fresh, previously unused material with which the author finally provides the full story of this famous day's operations. Not only is the American side described in far greater depth than before but the previously vague German side of the story - both the Luftwaffe action and the civilian experiences in Schweinfurt and Regensburg, are now presented clearly and in detail for the first time. The important question of why the RAF did not support the American effort and follow up the raid on Schweinfurt as planned is also fully covered.
From critically acclaimed world historian Antony Beevor, this is the first major account in more than 20 years to cover the whole invasion, from June 6, 1944, right up to the liberation of Paris on August 25. It is the first book to describe not only the experiences of the American, British, Canadian, and German soldiers, but also the terrible suffering of the French caught up in the fighting. More French civilians were killed by Allied bombing and shelling than British civilians were by the Luftwaffe. The Allied fleet attempted by far the largest amphibious assault ever, and what followed was a battle as savage as anything seen on the Eastern Front. Casualties mounted on both sides, as did the tensions between the principal commanders. Even the joys of liberation had their darker side. The war in northern France marked not just a generation, but the whole of the postwar world, profoundly influencing relations between America and Europe. Beevor draws upon his research in more than 30 archives in six countries, going back to original accounts, interviews conducted by combat historians just after the action, and many diaries and letters donated to museums and archives in recent years. D-Day will surely be hailed as the consummate account of the Normandy invasion and the ferocious offensive that led to the liberation of Paris. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Cameron Stewart. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/peng/001344/bk_peng_001344_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
One of his biographers called him "a complex man: a born leader, a brilliant soldier, a devoted husband, a proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant." As that description suggests, every account of Erwin Rommel’s life must address what appears to be its inherent contradictions. Fittingly, and in the same vein, he remains one of the best remembered generals of World War II and history at large, despite the fact he was on the losing side, and he was defeated at the most famous battle of his career, the decisive Battle of El Alamein. Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was one of the most respected commanders and theoreticians of World War II. An innovative tank commander, he was a pioneer of German Blitzkrieg tactics and therefore, a hugely influential figure in the way the war was fought. Guderian's profile was not always what might have been expected for a man of his abilities and influence warrant due to the shape of his career. Albert Kesselring holds a strange place in the history of World War II. A commander in the Luftwaffe, he is remembered as much for the skill with which he oversaw the German armies as for his mastery of the air fleets. Called "Uncle Albert" by many of his men and "Smiling Albert" by the Allies, he was widely respected by men on both sides of the war and loved by many of his troops, yet he was responsible for massacres in occupied Italy for which he was condemned to death during the post-war trials. He was undoubtedly a gifted commander, but one who served at a time when the German military was tainted with the evils of Nazism. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Fluxman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/104655/bk_acx0_104655_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The Dieppe Raid, also known as The Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM in the morning and by 9:00 AM the Allied commanders had been forced to call a retreat. Over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, were supported by large British naval and Allied air force contingents. The objective was to seize and hold a major port for a short period, both to prove it was possible and to gather intelligence from prisoners and captured materials while assessing the German responses. The Allies also wanted to destroy coastal defences, port structures and all strategic buildings. No major objectives of the raid were accomplished. A total of 3,623 of the 6,086 men who made it ashore were either killed, wounded, or captured (almost 60%). The Allied air forces failed to lure the Luftwaffe into open battle, and lost 106 aircraft. The Luftwaffe only lost 48 aircraft while the Royal Navy suffered 555 casualties.
The German Luftwaffe was one of the strongest, most doctrinally advanced, and most battle-experienced air forces in the world when World War II started in Europe in September 1939. Throughout the history of the Third Reich, the Luftwaffe had only two commanders-in-chief. The first was Hermann Göring, the second was Generaloberst Robert Ritter von Greim as the second (and last) commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, concomitant with his promotion to Generalfeldmarschall, the last German officer in World War II to be promoted to the highest rank. Other officers promoted to the second-highest military rank in Germany were Albert Kesselring, Hugo Sperrle, Erhard Milch, and Wolfram von Richthofen. Göring was prosecuted at the Nuremberg Trials after the war. He was sentenced to death by hanging. He appealed to the court requesting to be shot as a soldier instead of being hanged like a common criminal. The court refused. However, Göring defied the sentence and committed suicide by taking potassium cyanide. Sperrle was prosecuted at the OKW Trial, one of the last twelve of the Nuremberg Trials after the war. He was acquitted on all 4 counts of all charges. He died in Munich in 1953.
Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. The Oberkommando der Luftwaffe (OKL) was the air force High Command of the Third Reich. Air Force Commanders-in-Chief Reich Marshal Hermann Göring (to 1945) Field Marshal Robert Ritter von Greim (1945) On 5 May 1933 the German Air Ministry, with Hermann Göring as Reich Minister for Aeronautics (Reichsluftfahrtminister) was founded. This event came along with the introduction of a command flag that was produced in different sizes, ranging from 200 cm down to 30 cm. The flag consisted of bright red material on which was placed in the centre of the obverse a wreath of silver colored laurel leaves. In the centre of the leaves was a black eagle. Suspended from the base of the wreath was a true-colored representation of the "Pour le Mérite".
By the spring of 1943, after the defeat at Stalingrad, the writing was on the wall. But while commanders close to the troops on Germany's various fronts were beginning to read it, those at the top were resolutely looking the other way.This seventh volume in the magisterial 10-volume series from the Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt [Research Institute for Military History] shows both Germany and her Japanese ally on the defensive, from 1943 into early 1945. It looks in depth at the strategic air war over the Reich and the mounting toll taken in the Battles of the Ruhr, Hamburg, and Berlin, and at the "Battle of the Radar Sets" so central to them all. The collapse of the Luftwaffe in its retaliatory role led to hopesbeing pinned on the revolutionary V-weapons, whose dramatic but ultimately fruitless achievements are chronicled.The Luftwaffe's weakness in defence is seen during the Normandy invasion, Operation overlord, an account of the planning, preparation and execution of which form the central part of this volume together with the landings in the south of France, the setback suffered at Arnhem, and the German counter-offensive in the Ardennes.The final part follows the fortunes of Germany's ally fighting in the Pacific, Burma, Thailand, and China, with American forces capturing islands ever closer to Japan's homeland, and culminates in her capitulation and the creation of a new postwar order in the Far East. The struggle between internal factions in the Japanese high command and imperial court is studied in detail, and highlights an interesting contrast with the intolerance of all dissent that typified the Nazi power structure.Based on meticulous research by MGFA's team of historians at Potsdam, this analysis of events is illustrated by a wealth of tables and maps covering aspects ranging from Germany's radar defence system and the targets of RAF Bomber Command and the US 8th Air Force, through the break-out from the Normandy beachhead, to the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
When Germany initiated Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union in April 1941, the Soviet air forces were inferior to the Luftwaffe in virtually every respect save numerical strength. By 1944-1945, however, Soviet air power exercised almost uncontested air superiority. How and in what timeframe did this dramatic turnaround occur? This question is answered in 'The Russian Air Force in the Eyes of German Commanders', one of a series of historical studies written by, or based on information supplied by, former key officers of the German Air Force for the United States Air Force Historical Division. After an introductory section describing the development and German appraisal of Soviet air power prior to Operation Barbarossa, the book provides a detailed account of German perceptions of Soviet fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, ground-air attack, special air operations, airborne, and other capabilities from the onset of war until the end of 1941 and followed by an examination of the 1942 through 1943 period, at which point a shift in power ratios in favor of the Soviets began and then accelerated through the end of the war. The final section details the achievement of air superiority rather than air supremacy by 1945. Soviet successes on the ground and in air warfare, Soviet numerical superiority, progress in technology, and the increasing combat experience of Soviet airmen, combined with declining German resources in both men and materials, signaled the onset of Soviet air superiority. This did not indicate a decline in German skill or courage, but rather the inevitable grinding down of German resources. As in the past however, Soviet air forces were employed mainly in support of ground forces, and the strategic use of air power remained limited, albeit much improved since the beginning of the war. Given the marked inferiority of Soviet air forces at the beginning of the Soviet-German conflict, The Russian Air Force in the Eyes of German Commanders is a remarkable story of rapid numerical and experiential growth in almost unbelievably adverse conditions. This important study by its adversaries is still of great value to strategists and historians interested in the development of modern air power in war. Originally published in 1960: 450 p. ill.