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United Kingdom

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English


Episodes

91 - USS Arizona: Brothers Down

5/15/2019
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In this episode I’m joined by Walter Borneman, if you cast your mind back I talked to him in episode 25 about General Macarthur. That was nearly three years ago! How time flies! Since then Walter has been busy researching the history of the sinkingof the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbour in December 194 and the fate of the crew, including a remarkable 23 sets of siblings. He has a new WWII book out called Brothers Down, so I thought we’d get him back to discuss it.

Duration:00:56:49

90 - Storm On Our Shores

5/1/2019
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On the 6th of June 1942 Japanese troops invaded the island of Attu which is part of Alaska, it was the first time since 1812 that continental America had been invaded. In this episode we’re looking at the US attack to recapture the island, the fighting was bitter in a very hostile environment, and the discovery of a diary of a Japanese army surgeon who had been trained before the war in the USA. I’m joined by Mark Obmascik, author of The Storm on our Shoreswhich traces the story of the...

Duration:00:47:09

89 - Cork Wars

4/15/2019
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A few months ago I got email from David Taylor asking if I’d ever considered looking at the cork industry in WWII? I'm sure like you, it had never crossed my mind. The more I looked into it the more I got enthused by the story of cork, it was a wonder product during the early 20th century, used in all manner of things - almost anything that needed a seal such as a gasket used cork, so it was crucial to the auto industry, aviation and munitions. The American government defined it a...

Duration:00:32:13

88 - Division Leclerc

4/1/2019
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In this episode we’re going to be looking at the Free French and the Division Leclerc, commanded by Philippe de Hauteclocque. Raised in the French Colonies of Africa, they fought with distinction in the deserts of Libya and with the British 8th Army. They also took part in the fighting in North West Europe after D-Day, being one of the units that liberated Paris in 1944. This is not just a story of a unit, but is very much the story of the growth of the Free French. For this episode I’m...

Duration:00:55:54

87 - Hitler's Death

3/15/2019
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We’ve all see the film Downfallabout the Führerbunker in Berlin, in the closing days of the war. And we all know the story of how Adolf Hitler, with his new wife Eva Braun, committed suicide and the body was destroyed. Well, how much of that story do we actually know? Since the end of the war a series of newspaper reports, books and more recently the TV series Hunting Hitler have all put forward the idea that Hitler escaped at the end of the war and the official history, for want for a...

Duration:00:41:14

86 - The SAS in Italy, 1943-45

3/1/2019
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The SAS made their name in the North African desert, but less well known is after that they continued to fight in the mediterranean theatre. They carried out raiding missions in advance of the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky, and then operating behind enemy lines during the Italian Campaign. For this episode I’m joined by Malcolm Tudor. Malcolm's father actually fought in Italy during WWII, his Italian mother’s family worked with the partisans and aided escaped allied POW’s. Malcolm...

Duration:00:54:53

85 - Alarmstart East

2/15/2019
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"There are no more than a handful of Second World War Luftwaffe members alive today. Patrick Eriksson had the foresight to record these experiences first-hand before it was too late. Some witnesses ended up as senior fighter controllers. The recollections and views of the veterans are put within the context of the German aerial war history. By no means all the witnesses were from the ranks of the so-called ‘aces’." Last year I discussed the experiences of German Luftwaffe pilots fighting...

Duration:00:49:00

84 - Shot Down

2/1/2019
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In this episode we’re going to be looking at the story of Howard Snyder, a B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ pilot, flying with the US 8th air force from Britain. Through letters Howard wrote to his family, and exhaustive research, his son Steve Snyder has pieced together the remarkable story of his father, and what happened after he was shot down in Belgium. You can find more about Steve Snyder and his father, Howard, at stevesnyderauthor.com

Duration:00:47:03

83 - Operation Crossbow

1/15/2019
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In 1943 allied surveillance picked up the construction of V1 and V2 rocket sites in France. Without quite knowing the extent of the threat allied planners decided to embark upon a pre-emptive campaign to deny the Germans the use of these sites, the code name was Operation Crossbow. It would be an Anglo-American Operation with ran up until the end of WWII, in 1945. I’m joined by Steven Zaloga. Steven is a prolific military historian and analyst, he has also written a book on Crossbow...

Duration:00:36:47

82 US Navy vs IJN Fleet Submarine, 1941-42

1/1/2019
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In this episode we’re going to be looking a Japanese submarine operations in the Pacific in the early part of the war. While I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Imperial Japanese surface fleets actions during 1941-42, especially if you’ve listened to my discussions with Jeff Cox in episode #14 and #63, but there seems to be very little mention of submarines. Which is interesting because if we look at the Battle for the North Atlantic it was all about the German U-Boats. Joining me today...

Duration:00:41:45

81 - Britain's Blockade of Europe & the response of the ICRC

12/15/2018
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At the outbreak of WWII Britain put into motion the strategy of using the Royal Navy to blockade Germany, depriving her of essential goods. When Europe fell the blockade was widened to include all of Europe. This provided a dilemma for the British, the Ministry of Economic Warfare was in favour of depriving all occupied countries of goods, for the Foreign Office depriving occupied countries would mean negatively affecting countries that were allied with Britain. In Greece this would lead...

Duration:00:47:25

80 - The Italian Army In North Africa

12/1/2018
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Long standing listeners will have heard me chat to Walter Zapotoczny before, in episode 57 we looked at Ardennes offensive, and in episode 63 we looked at German penal battalions. Patrons of the podcast might recall on both occasions after I’d finished recording we got to talking about the Italians in North Africa. Well, Walter’s book on the topic was released a couple of months ago ‘The Italian Army In North Africa: A Poor Fighting Force or Doomed by Circumstance’ Hopefully we can...

Duration:00:28:40

Last Man Standing: Geoffrey Rothwell

11/26/2018
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“'Stay low, stay on track, and stay alive' was the motto of the RAF's most secret Station, Tempsford. That's exactly what Geoffrey Rothwell did ‒ DFC & Bar, 1939-45 Star, Aircrew Europe Star with France/Germany Clasp, Defence Medal, Victory Medal, Order of Leopold II & Palme, Croix de Guerre 1940 & Palme, Bomber Command Medal, POW medal, La Légion d’honneur ‒ from Bomber Command via SOE to Stalag and back.” In episode 53 I talked to Gabrielle McDonald-Rothwell about the SOE agent Diana...

Duration:01:10:24

79 - The Forgotten Dead: Exercise Tiger

11/15/2018
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‘On a dark night in 1944, a beautiful stretch of the Devon coast became the scene of desperate horror. Tales began to leak out of night-time explosions and seaborne activity. This was practice for Exercise Tiger, the main rehearsal for the Utah Beach landings…’ This is very much an episode in two halves, I start by looking at the disastrous Exercise Tigerwhich took place in April 1944, at Lyme Bay and Slapton Sands in Devon. Then move on to talk about a Sherman tank! I’m joined by Dean...

Duration:00:50:44

78 - Bones of My Grandfather

11/1/2018
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US Marine, Lt Alexander Bonnymanlanded on Tarawa in December 1942. He was mortally wounded leading an assault on a Japanese bunker, which was key to defense of the island, and act for which he would posthumously receive the Medal of Honor. In this episode of the podcast I talk to his grandson, Clay Bonnyman Evansabout the events surrounding his death and about how his grandfather's remains, along with hundreds of others who had been hastily buried, were lost after the war.

Duration:01:01:53

Hitler's Vikings

10/15/2018
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At the beginning of WWII Germany invaded and occupied Denmark and Norway, but left neutral Sweden alone. Less than a year later citizens from all three of those Scandinavian nations were volunteering to join the Waffen-SS. By the end of the war in 1945 the number of Scandinavians who had fought in the Waffen-SS had reached the thousands. Casualties were high, but there were survivors and they returned home, often to face retribution and condemnation. In episode 55, I discussed the Flemish...

Duration:01:02:44

76 - RAF Flight Engineers

10/1/2018
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Way back in episode four of the podcast, I talked to Andrew Panton about the Lancaster Bomber; Andrew is the pilot of Lancaster ‘Just Jane’ here in the UK. Whilst chatting the role of flight engineer came up, I had no clue what they actually did, I wasn’t aware they worked in tandem with the pilot to fly the plane. Ever since I’ve been on the lookout for someone to talk to about the role, if you do a search on Amazon you’ll discover how overlooked the Flight Engineer has been in the...

Duration:00:46:44

75 - The Rise of Hitler and National Socialism

9/15/2018
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September 2018 marks the 80th anniversary of the Munich agreement, where the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, flew to Germany to meet Hitler; in an attempt to avert war. He famously returned with an agreement which he believed would deliver ‘peace in our time’. It got me thinking about Hitler's rise to power, in 1933 he joined the government one of only three Nazi’s in it. Five years later he was dominating European foreign policy, as he pushes forward with his agenda. In this...

Duration:01:04:06

74 - The M3 'Grant' Tank

9/1/2018
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The American built M3 tank was one of the first tanks purchased and supplied in large numbers to the British army in WWII, where it was known as the 'Grant' or the 'Lee'. It's the first American built tank I became aware of as a child, when I saw 'Monty's' at the Imperial War Museum. In this episode I'm joined by prolific tank writer and former employee of Bovington Tank museum, David Fletcher. With Steven Zaloga, David is the author of British Battle Tanks: American-Made World War II...

Duration:00:33:00

73 - Ghost Riders: Operation Cowboy

8/15/2018
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Last year I talked to Mark Felton about the escape attempts of British VIP prisoners, held by the Italians. That was episode 49 Castle of Eagles, the book is possibly my favourite read of last year. Well Mark is back, with another cracking story he’s managed to turn up in the archives, that of Operation Cowboy; the book is Ghost Riders. It recounts the activities of an American unit which raced into Czechoslovakia to accept the surrender of a group of Germans, in doing so they manage to...

Duration:00:42:46