From July to September 1940, the British people watched the Battle of Britain play out in the skies above them, aware that the eventual outcome would decide their fate. From September through to the following May, Hitler attempted to ´´blitz´´ London and other major cities into submission. For a year, the citizens of Britain were effectively front-line soldiers in a battle that united the country against a hated enemy. Despite the terror, destruction, and heavy casualties, the British people survived the onslaught, until May 1941, when Hitler re-directed his attention, and that of the Luftwaffe, to the campaign in Russia. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Simon MacCorkindale. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000166/bk_rhuk_000166_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
As Hitler proceeded with his invasion plans, code-named Operation Sealion, he knew that the RAF must not be allowed to threaten the invading forces as they crossed the Channel. It was clear that they would have to be brought to battle and defeated. Still hopeful of a settlement, Hitler believed that a sustained aerial attack, coupled with a U-Boat blockade, might bring Britain to the negotiating table. The Luftwaffe´s specific aim was to win superiority by luring Fighter Command into the air and wiping it out. But Fighter Command, with its pilots, aircraft, and carefully considered systems of control, was waiting. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Simon MacCorkindale. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000165/bk_rhuk_000165_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The first British major success of World War II was when the Royal Navy forced the preying pocket battleship, Graf Spee, to scuttle at sea. Hitler had ordered a blockade of the British Isles and for some months German U-boats and warships caused havoc among allied merchant shipping carrying vital supplies. In 1941, the one sided battle of the Atlantic became more even when the Royal Navy started moving ships in convoy with escorts using radar and information from British scientists who had cracked the Kreigsmarine version of the Enigma Code captured by the Royal Navy. The perils of the Atlantic were only equalled by the convoys on the run to northern Russia. Sub-zero temperatures, pack ice and appalling weather conditions plus the menacing Luftwaffe and the German Navy based in Norway, made it one of the most hazardous actions of the entire war. Meanwhile, in the air, bomber planes of the RAF and U.S. air force were incessantly bombarding German industries and cities. Casualties on the ground were devastating and the life expectancy of the aircrew was alarmingly short. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Timothy West. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000021/bk_rhuk_000021_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
´´The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world except in the abodes of the guilty goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unweakened by their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of world war by their prowess and their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill, August 21, 1940. At the end of August 2012, BBC ran a report about the commemoration of a young man who had been killed more than 70 years earlier. ´´A Battle of Britain pilot who was killed when his Spitfire crashed following a dogfight in the skies above Kent has been honored. Flying Officer Oswald St John ‘Ossie’ Pigg lost his life in the crash at Elvey Farm on 1 September 1940. The 22-year-old had been involved in an aerial fight with a Messerschmitt. A plaque was unveiled near the site by his niece Stephanie Haigh and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight carried out a flypast on Thursday.” Just 12 days before Pigg’s death, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had already immortalized the men of the Royal Air Force with one of the West’s most famous war-time quotes. But the sentiment and gratitude Churchill expressed back in 1940 is very much alive today. The sacrifice made by ´´The Few”, the British and Allied fighter pilots who won the Battle of Britain in 1940, remains close to the hearts of the British public, and the piece by the BBC is typical of the national sentiment manifested in air shows, museums, TV programs, and books. Even as the last of ´´The Few” pass on, it seems unlikely that the legend they helped to create will be forgotten anytime soon. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Fluxman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/113343/bk_acx0_113343_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In 1939 Britain and her allies were completely unprepared for total war.In the spring of 1940, after months of inactivity, the powerful and highly trained German army smashed it´s way through neutral Holland and Belgium and into northern France. The Allies had no choice but to retreat to the costal areas, where the ´Miracle of Dunkirk´ took place. Half a million men were finally evacuated to England. Hitler, anxious to invade Britain, ordered the Luftwaffe to destroy the Royal Air Force. The Battle of Britain started. A climax was reached on September 15th when, following a great raid over London, the RAF shot down 175 raiders. Hitler relentlessly bombed Britain hoping to break the British people. Many were killed or wounded and countless home where destroyed but the British spirit never broke. The British people defied the enemy until May of 1941 when much of the Luftwaffe was moved away to fight on the Russian front. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Timothy West. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/rhuk/000022/bk_rhuk_000022_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The valiant fight for freedom in the air and dignity on the ground He had to sit in a segregated rail car on the journey to army basic training in Mississippi in 1943. But two years later, the 20-year-old African American from New York was at the controls of a P-51, prowling for Luftwaffe aircraft at 5,000 feet over the Austrian countryside. By the end of World War II, he had done something that nobody could take away from him: He had become an American hero. This is the remarkable true story of Lt. Col. Harry Stewart Jr., one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Award-winning aviation writer Philip Handleman re-creates the harrowing action and heart-pounding drama of Stewart´s combat missions, including the legendary mission in which Stewart downed three enemy fighters. Soaring to Glory also reveals the cruel injustices Stewart and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen faced during their wartime service and upon return home after the war. Stewart´s heroism was not celebrated as it should have been in postwar America - but now, his boundless courage and determination will never be forgotten. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Arthur Morey. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/blak/013365/bk_blak_013365_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.