By June 1941, Germany´s war machine looked to be unstoppable. The Nazi blitzkrieg had taken Poland, France, and Holland with shocking speed. The Luftwaffe had bombed London, while German U-boats wrought havoc on Allied shipping on the Atlantic. And yet, as James Holland shows at the start of The Allies Strike Back, 1941-1943 - the second volume in his magisterial narrative of World War II in the West - cracks were already appearing in Germany´s apparent invincibility. Shortages of food and materiel were becoming critical. And, having failed to defeat Britain, Adolf Hitler fatefully pivoted east to invade the Soviet Union - territory he felt compelled to conquer for Germany´s protection - and on June 22, 1941 precipitated the largest clash of arms the world had ever seen. Built for speed and quick conquest, German forces by that fall were bogged down in a horrible war of attrition that blunted the Nazi momentum. The Allies Strike Back offers fascinating new perspective on the critical middle years in World War II´s western theatre, as the advantage between Axis and Allied forces swung back and forth on the Atlantic and eastern front, and in north Africa and Europe. Acclaimed historian James Holland has spent years conducting original research and interviews, mining newly available archives, visiting battlefields and uncovering letters and diaries previously unread. Acknowledging that strategy and tactics have been the focus of previous histories, he gives equal space to the logistics and supply of men and materiel without which no war can be fought. Allied and Axis leaders criss-cross Holland´s narrative, but he also memorably introduces listeners to heretofore unknown participants: Sgt. Ralph Schaps, who experienced the Louisiana Maneuvers that propelled him into Europe; Colonel Hermann Balck, in command of a German panzer regiment in Africa; U-boat captain Teddy Suhren, operating against Allied shipping in the Atlantic; Billy Drake, squad... 1. Language: English. Narrator: David Baker. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/032040/bk_adbl_032040_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
November 1942, Russia: The Red Army closes the net around Stalingrad near Kalach, surrounding one of the most formidable armies on the planet, the German Sixth Army. One of the Wehrmacht´s finest and strongest fighting units. As the German High Command desperately tries to re-establish the initiative and plan a relief effort to the beleaguered city, the army inside Stalingrad is ordered to stand firm on the banks of the freezing Volga River. The German Air Force, the Luftwaffe, mistakenly commits to supplying the city from the air, failing to realistically consider the distance, roaming Russian fighters, ground to air fire and the extreme temperatures. As temperatures plummet and ammunition becomes rationed, the food and combustible material begin to run out forcing the desperate defenders to continue fighting in the most miserable and chilling conditions imaginable to man. The story follows a small group of soldiers as they attempt to continue day to day in the most brutal and desperate of situations. The hope of rescue or potential victory is sustained only by camaraderie and the determination to survive. Leutnant Hausser returns as the young squad leader with a past shrouded in mystery. A black Iron Cross hanging uncomfortably around his neck, concealed from all but the closest to him. With temperatures dropping to between minus 25 and 40 degrees Celsius, survival against a Red Army hellbent on revenge and the Sixth Army´s destruction will continue as the men face a sustained challenge of survival on a day to day basis. Across the frozen Russian Front from the suburbs of Leningrad in the north to the southern banks of the Black Sea in the Caucasus mountains, two facts are now emerging: this merciless war will now not be over by Christmas, and the myth of German military invincibility had been cracked, if not finally shattered on the banks of the Volga. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Skyler Morgan. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/083839/bk_acx0_083839_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.