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65 Lt Col William Edwin Dyess

4/15/2018
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This episode, is released just after the 75th anniversary of the escape of ten American prisoners of war, and two Filipino convicts, from the Davao Penal Colony. The following year when the story broke, the US War Department would call it the ‘greatest story of the war’. The man made famous at the time for escaping, and recounting the story, was Lt. Col. William Edwin Dyess. A fighter pilot who not only fought in the air, but during the defence of Bataan led and amphibious assault as an...

Duration:01:07:05

64 - The Early Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign 1942

4/1/2018
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One of my first guests was Jeffrey Cox, we discussed in length the Java Sea campaign in episode 14. Jeff has been busy for the last couple of years writing his follow up book Morning Star, Midnight Sun – The Early Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign of World War Two. So I asked Jeff back to discuss the campaign. Jeff and I talked for nearly three hours, so whilst the podcast is trimmed to keep us on message if you want some more why not become a patron and have another 30min of us talking what...

Duration:01:18:18

Strafbattalion: Hitler's Penal Battalions

3/15/2018
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In episode 57 I talked to Walter Zapotoczny about Ardennes Offensive, chatting with him it told me had had a new book out in 2018 looking at German Penal Battalions. That sounded like a topic right up my street so I got him back to talk with us. When war broke out in 1939, Hitler created `Strafbattalion' (Penal Battalion) units to deal with incarcerated members of the Wehrmacht as well as `subversives'. His order stated that any first-time convicted soldier could return to his unit after...

Duration:00:38:24

Betrayed: The Buchenwald Airmen

3/1/2018
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In this episode we’re going to be discussing the plight of 168 Allied Airmen who found themselves imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp. It’s something that even to this day governments seem unwilling to admit to. “As we got close to the camp and saw what was inside... a terrible, terrible fear and horror entered our hearts. We thought, what is this? Where are we going? Why are we here? And as you got closer to the camp and started to enter [it] and saw these human skeletons walking...

Duration:01:13:16

61 - RAF Liberators Over Burma

2/15/2018
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If Slim’s 14th army was the ‘Forgotten Army’ the RAF bombing campaign in the Far East is even more forgotten! In this episode I'm talking to Matt Poole. Matt's mother is from Liverpool, her first husband was in the RAF serving in Burma when he was shot down over Rangoon. In trying to find out what happened that night Matt was introduced to Bill Kirkness who served in the same squadron. Bill had written a memoir of his wartime experience, though he's sadly now passed away Matt has edited...

Duration:00:51:40

60 Alarmstart: German Fighter Pilots in Europe

2/1/2018
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When I plan the podcast episodes I don’t usually sit down and look at the subject and how it relates to those episodes around it, hence we’ve often found ourselves in the pacific in quick succession. In this instance it seems serendipitous that we’re going from looking at the fall of France, in the last episode, to looking at the experiences of German fighter pilots in Europe. The two topics compliment one another rather well. Joining me is Patrick Eriksson. Patrick is the author of...

Duration:00:49:41

59 - Case Red: The Collapse of France

1/15/2018
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In this episode I’m looking at ‘Case Red’ the German attack on France post Dunkirk. Often when we talk about the Battle of France the history seems to stop at Dunkirk, in actual fact the fight carried on for a few more weeks. There was still British 100,000+ troops in France, Churchill was keen to keep the French fighting… Joining in me is Robert Forczyk, if you recall last year we discussed Operation Sealion with Bob. He’s been beavering away and has a new book out, ‘Case Red: The...

Duration:00:56:16

58 Lost Warriors: Seagrim and Pagani of Burma

1/1/2018
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In this episode we’ll be looking at two British soldiers in occupied Burma. Major Hugh Seagrim operated for two years behind the Japanese lines, organising Karen resistance before he was eventually forced to surrender. Seagrim crosses paths with Roy Pagani, trying to make his way back to British army in India, after escaping as a POW working on the Burma railway. Pagani is a remarkable man he had already escaped from Dunkirk in 1940, and Singapore when it fell in 1942. Joining me today...

Duration:01:01:31

57 - The 110th Holds In The Ardennes, 1944

12/15/2017
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This episode is being released on the 15th of December, the eve of the Battle of the Bulge. It was the 16th of December 1944 that Hitler launched Operation Watch on the Rhine, the last great offensive in the West. Joining me today is Walter Zapotoczny, author of The 110th Hold In The Ardennes: The Blunting of Hitler’s Last Gamble and the Invasion of the Reich.The 110th Infantry Regiment were part of the 28th Division which bore the brunt of the German offensive in the first few...

Duration:00:34:06

56 - Haile Selassie’s Mongrel Foreign Legion.

12/1/2017
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In the classic narrative, the second world war starts with the invasion of Poland in 1939, though for the Chinese it started with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931. I notice wikipedia solves the start date by stating ‘relate conflicts started earlier’, and that is what we’ll be looking at today the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and those foreigners who volunteered to fight for Haile Selassie. I’m joined by Christopher Othen Christopher is the author of the Lost Lions of...

Duration:00:51:58

Darkest Hour

11/22/2017
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I’ve been promising you an extra episode since September... Well it never came off, I was all prepared to discuss the end of the war in the Pacific but I struggled to pin down the guest so I gave up! But good things come to those that wait! I was asked if I might be interested in having a chat with the writer of the new WW2 film Darkest Hour, Anthony McCarten. How could I say no? If you would like some background listening I looked at Churchill during this period in episode 8,...

Duration:00:23:40

55 - The Flemish Waffen SS

11/15/2017
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Within a year of Belgium falling to the Germans in 1940, Belgian citizens were volunteering to join the Waffen SS to fight communism on the newly formed Eastern Front. Thousands volunteered, and the suffered heavy casualties. I’m joined by Jonathan Trigg author of Voices of the Flemish Waffen SS. He has been gathering the stories of these men and women. What remarkable stories they are, I devoured the book in just two evenings…

Duration:00:58:18

54 - The Bataan Death March

11/1/2017
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We’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Pacific this year, I didn’t intend to but as its a theatre of the war I’m not very familiar with I’ve been happy to be pulled down that route. One topic we’ve skirted round in a number of episodes is the Bataan Death March, its been a topic I’ve been keen to look at as we’ve mentioned it a few times. Plus it’s seems like an obvious gap in my knowledge I needed to fill. I’m joined by Jay Wertz. Jay has authored a number of books in the War Stories:...

Duration:00:44:56

53 - Her Finest Hour: Diana Rowden, SOE Agent

10/15/2017
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Last year I talked to Greg Lewis about the female agents in the British Special Operations Executive, SOE, who Churchill had tasked with “setting Europe ablaze”. In this episode we’ll be looking specifically at Diana Rowden who was flown into France in 1943. Diana spent her early years in the South of France before being sent to Public School in England. At the outbreak of war Diana was living in Paris with her mother. When Paris fell they fled south, but once her mother was safely on a...

Duration:01:12:08

52 Shadow Over the Atlantic

10/1/2017
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Between 1943-45 Fernaufklärungsgruppe 5 “Atlantik” would fly missions of up to 18 hours at a time over the Atlantic. They acted as the eyes for the U-Boats. Equipped with big, four-engined Junkers Ju 290s fitted out with advanced search radar and other maritime 'ELINT' (electronic intelligence) devices, Fernaufklärungsgruppe (FAGr) 5 'Atlantik' undertook a distant, isolated campaign far out into the Atlantic and thousands of miles away from its home base in western France. I'm joined by...

Duration:00:45:15

51 The German Airborne Threat to Britain & the Psychological Impact

9/15/2017
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I was reading the British Journal for Military History and an article caught my eye titled The Psychological Impact of Airborne Warfare & the British Response to the Airborne Threat by Dr Tim Jenkins. In 1940 the Germans achieved stunning successes with the use of airborne troops, the Fallschirmjäger. The first recorded attack by parachutists was in Denmark against the fortress at Masnedø. The reputed impregnable fortress at Eben Emael in Belgium would surrender to just 78 German airborne...

Duration:00:47:58

50 - Operation Tonga

9/1/2017
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In this episode I’m looking at Operation Tonga, the British airborne element that led the way during the D-Day landings in 1944. I’m joined by Stephen Wright. Stephen is keenly interested in the operation, an operation his uncle was killed taking part in. For the last twenty years he’s been researching the airborne, and particularly the use of Gliders during the closing years of the war. His book, co-authored with Bill Shannon, Operation Tonga brings to the reader first hand accounts of...

Duration:00:48:49

49 - Castle of Eagles

8/15/2017
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In this episode we’re looking at high ranking British POWs held by the Italians and their attempts at escape. The middle east was considered an Italian theatre, rather than prisoners be shipped to Germany high ranking officers such as Generals Richard O’Connor, Phillip Neame, Adrian Carton de Wiart or Air Marshal Owen Boyd were placed into Italian custody as POWs. Neither rank or age deterred their determination to escape It’s arguably a story to rival that of the Great Escape or...

Duration:01:05:33

48 - Fallen Giants: The Russian T-35 Tank

8/1/2017
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In this episode I’m looking at the giant soviet T-35 tank with Francis Pulham. As you will discover the T-35 was a peculiar vehicle with five turrets, very few were ever produced and almost all were knocked out very early in the war. Francis is the author of Fallen Giants, The Combat Debut of the T-35a tank. "The T-35 was a Soviet multi-turreted heavy tank of the interwar period and early Second World War that saw limited production and service with the Red Army. It was the only...

Duration:00:42:01

47 - Flying to Victory: The Western Desert Campaign 1940-41

7/15/2017
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In this episode we’re in the Western Desert in 1940-41 looking at the air campaign fought by Raymond Collishaw and his RAF crews. Collishaw was a WW1 fighter ace. When the war broke out in 1939 now Air Commodore Collishaw he commanded an RAF Group in Egypt. The fighting in the western desert in 1940 and early 41 is often overlooked yet with his army counterpart, Richard O’Connor they scored some stunning successes. Collishaws ideas on tactical air support would become the blue print for...

Duration:00:47:27

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