´´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.
The Third Reich´s Luftwaffe began World War II with significant advantages over other European air forces, playing a critical role in the German war machine´s swift, powerful advance. By war´s end, however, the Luftwaffe had been decimated by combat losses and crippled by poor decisions at the highest levels of military decision-making, and it proved unable to challenge Allied air superiority despite a last-minute upsurge in German aircraft production. Given its unique strengths and distinctive weaknesses by the personal quirks of the men who developed it, the Luftwaffe initially overwhelmed the more conservative, outdated military aviation of other countries. Its leaders embraced such concepts as the dive-bomber, which proved both utterly devastating and extremely useful for supporting the sweeping, powerful movements of Blitzkrieg, while other martial establishments rejected dive-bombers as impractical or even impossible. Though the superb fighting qualities of highly trained and motivated German soldiers, and the Third Reich´s technological superiority in tank and weapon design, also had crucial roles to play, the Luftwaffe represented the key element making the successes of all other branches possible. While the Luftwaffe enjoyed air superiority, the combat fortunes of the Third Reich continued to ride high. When control of the air passed decisively to the Allies, Germany´s hopes of victory began accelerating into a spiral of defeat. The Luftwaffe: The History of Nazi Germany´s Air Force during World War II looks at the role the German air force played during the war, from its origins to its near demise. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Michael Gilboe. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/036138/bk_acx0_036138_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
´´In unserer Zeit, Junge´´, hatte der alte Mann gesagt, ´´ist es wichtig - überlebenswichtig - niemandem zu trauen.´´ Der Deutsch-Norweger Johann Göbbs tut gut daran, sich an die Maxime seines Großvaters zu halten: Traue niemandem! Als Spion der Alliierten während der Wirren des zu Ende gehenden 2. Weltkrieges dient er als Angehöriger der Luftwaffe im Reichsluftfahrtministerium - ständig in Gefahr, entlarvt zu werden. Sein Auftrag: Informationen über ein geheimes Projekt der Nazis zu sammeln. Dafür muss er tief in deren verhasste Strukturen vordringen. Das Geheimprojekt nördlich von Berlin - ein neuer Flugzeugtyp - entpuppt sich aber nur als Anfang von etwas noch Größerem, etwas, das die sich andeutende Nachkriegsordnung grundsätzlich in Frage stellen könnte. Wohin verschwinden die Flugzeuge? In die legendäre Alpenfestung? Haben sie etwas mit dem rätselhaften Verschwinden hochrangiger Mitglieder der Nazi-Elite zu tun? Bald schon verschwimmen die Grenzen zwischen Freund und Feind. Kann Johann seine Überzeugung für das größere Wohl opfern? In seinem neuesten Roman vermischt Carsten Zehm gekonnt Vergangenheit mit Fiktion, Agentengeschichte mit Romanze und schafft so einen fesselnden Geheimagententhriller.
Few perspectives epitomize the sheer drama and sacrifice of combat more perfectly than those of the fighter pilots of World War II. As romanticized as any soldier in history, the World War II fighter pilot was viewed as larger than life: a dashing soul waging war amongst the clouds. In the 65-plus years since the Allied victory, stories of these pilots´ heroics have never been in short supply. But what about their adversaries - the highly skilled German aviators who pushed the Allies to the very brink of defeat? Of all of the Luftwaffe´s fighter aces, the stories of Walter Krupinski, Adolf Galland, Eduard Neumann, and Wolfgang Falck shine particularly bright. In The German Aces Speak, for the first time in any book, these four prominent and influential Luftwaffe fighter pilots reminisce candidly about their service in World War II. Personally interviewed by author and military historian Colin Heaton, they bring the past to life as they tell their stories about the war, their battles, their lives, and, perhaps most importantly, how they felt about serving under the Nazi leadership of Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler. 1. Language: English. Narrator: P.J. Ochlan. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/008625/bk_tant_008625_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The much-anticipated sequel to The German Aces Speak gives voice to four more of WWII´s most noteworthy German pilots. When The German Aces Speak was published in 2011, Air & Space/Smithsonian magazine welcomed Colin Heaton´s and Anne-Marie Lewis´ masterful command of interview-based narrative, writing, ´´[W]hat might have been numbing recitations of dogfights are instead vivid descriptions of life as a warrior during World War II.” Indeed, it is this unexpected perspective, brought to life by the authors´ neutrality and thoughtful research, that illuminates a side of war largely hidden from the American public: the experience of the German Luftwaffe pilot. In The German Aces Speak II, Heaton and Lewis paint a picture of the war through the eyes of four more of Germany´s most significant pilots - Johannes Steinhoff, Erich Alfred Hartmann, Guther Rall, and Dieter Hrabak - put together from numerous interviews personally conducted by Heaton from the 1980s through the 2000s. The four ex-Luftwaffe fighter aces bring the past to life as they tell their stories about the war, their battles, their off-duty lives, their lives after the war, and perhaps most importantly, how they felt about serving under the Nazi leadership of Hermann Göring and Adolf Hitler. Together, the memories of the events captured in The German Aces Speak II continue one of today´s most unique World War II series, unearthing a facet of the war that has gone widely overlooked for the American public. 1. Language: English. Narrator: P.J. Ochlan. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/012369/bk_tant_012369_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
A soldier´s first duty is to obey, otherwise you might as well do away with soldiering. (Kesselring) 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. Ultimately, his sentence was commuted to one of life imprisonment, making him one of the few top Nazi leaders to pen memoirs after the war, but it goes without saying that Kesselring´s time was marked by controversy. Kesselring had the skills of a politician and a diplomat, as well as those of a soldier, which carried his career through both World War I and World War II, and during the Second World War, he served in almost every theater of the fighting in Europe. He was undoubtedly a gifted commander, but one who served at a time when the German military was tainted with the evils of Nazism. Who was Albert Kesselring, and what made this seemingly contradictory man tick? Field Marshal Albert Kesselring: The Life and Legacy of Nazi Germany´s Most Popular Commander analyzes the life and career of the controversial military leader. You will learn about Kesselring like never before. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Colin Fluxman. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/097325/bk_acx0_097325_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
My Luftwaffe is invincible.... And so now we turn to England. How long will this one last - two, three weeks? (Hermann Goering, June 1940) One of the most famous people in the world came to tour the city of Paris for the first time on June 28, 1940. Over the next three hours, he rode through the city´s streets, stopping to tour L´Opéra Paris. He rode down the Champs-Elysées toward the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower, where he had his picture taken. After passing through the Arc de Triomphe, he toured the Pantheon and old medieval churches, though he did not manage to see the Louvre or the Palace of Justice. Heading back to the airport, he told his staff, ´´It was the dream of my life to be permitted to see Paris. I cannot say how happy I am to have that dream fulfilled today.´´ Four years after his tour, Adolf Hitler would order the city´s garrison commander, General Dietrich von Choltitz, to destroy Paris, warning his subordinate that the city ´´must not fall into the enemy´s hand except lying in complete debris.´´ Of course Paris was not destroyed before the Allies liberated it, but it would take more than four years for them to wrest control of France from Nazi Germany after they took the country by storm in about a month in 1940. That said, it´s widely overlooked today given how history played out that as the power of Nazi Germany grew alarmingly during the 1930s, the French sought means to defend their territory against the rising menace of the Thousand-Year Reich. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Christian Carvajal. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/039607/bk_acx0_039607_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.
It is World War II, and while the RAF struggles to keep the Luftwaffe at bay, Britain faces an even more sinister threat from ´´the enemy within´´: Nazis posing as ordinary citizens. With pressure mounting, the Intelligence service appoints two unlikely spies, Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Their mission: to seek out a man and a woman from among the colourful guests at Sans Souci, a seaside hotel. But this assignment is no stroll along the promenade. After all, N and M have just murdered Britain´s finest agent. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Hugh Fraser. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/hcuk/000250/bk_hcuk_000250_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.