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51 The German Airborne Threat to Britain & the Psychological Impact

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

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

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

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

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

The Covenanter Tank

As many of you know I bang on about supporting me via Patreon at the start of each episode. These small donations pay for hosting, software and help me to find the time to dedicate to the show. After two years of plugging away I’ve finally reached my first funding goal on Patreon, $250 per month! Now I've reached this goal I’m going to upgrade my hosting package allowing me to potentially post more and longer podcasts. As a thank you to everyone for their support, and a very big thank...

Duration: 00:43:46

46 - Fighting Through From Dunkirk to Hamburg

In this episode we’re going to be discussing Bill Cheall. Bill joined the Green Howard's in 1939, a regiment in the British army, and fought throughout the whole war. He was evacuated through Dunkirk, fought in the Desert, took part in the invasion of Sicily and in 1944 landed on Gold beach on D-Day… Bill wrote his memoirs which have been edited by his son Paul and publish as “Fighting Through from Dunkirk to Hamburg: A Green Howard’s Wartime Memoir”. [asa2 tplid="14" align="center"...

Duration: 00:52:43

45 The Jersey Brothers

In this episode we’re looking at three brothers all in the US Navy at the start of the war, and their remarkable story. Today I’m joined by Sally Mott Freeman, her book “The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home” follows her father and his two brothers through the war. Bill Mott would start the war in FDR’s Whitehouse Map room, his brother Benny would be on the Carrier USS Enterprise and Barton was a supply officer based in the...

Duration: 00:44:56

44 - The Winter War: The British Reaction to the Invasion of Finland

Last year I talked to Irish Historian Bernard Kelly about his book “Military Internees, Prisoners of War and the Irish State during the Second World War”, thats episode 23 for those who haven’t listened. We discussed how the Republic of Ireland walked the tightrope of neutrality and how it treated troops of belligerent nations who found themselves within its borders.. Chatting with Bernard after that recording I discovered his MA thesis looked at the Russia’s Winter War with Finland. Yet...

Duration: 00:41:26

43 - The Red Cross: Humanitarians at War

The role of the International Committee of the Red Cross during WWII is complicated. Closely bound to Switzerland the ICRC tried to remain neutral whilst at the same time operating with in the boundaries of the Geneva Conventions. Criticised for its failure to speak out during the holocaust as the war came to a close it went into overdrive to remain relevant in a post war world. I'm joined by Gerald Steinacher. Gerald is Associate Professor of History and Hymen Rosenberg Professor of...

Duration: 00:57:41

42 - The Battle of the Coral Sea

In January I had an email from Bob Drury, if that name sounds familiar it’s because I chatted to Bob in episode 30 talking about Old 666. He wondered what I had planned for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. As it happens I’d not actually thought about the Battle of the Coral Sea! Bob suggested that he and his writing partner of Lucky 666 Tom Calvin come on the podcast and have a chat. The naval clash at in the Coral sea was pivotal in the war against Japan. Since the...

Duration: 00:44:16

Amphibious Operations in WWII

We’re looking at amphibious operations during the war in this episode. Until I started researching I hadn’t realised how many there were. We’re all pretty familiar with the handful in the European Theatre but in the Pacific the list is long… In this episode I’m talking to Mike Walling. Mikes is the author of Bloodstained Sands, US amphibious operations in WWII, he is a veteran of the US navy coast guard and has spent the last forty years collecting stories from veterans.

Duration: 00:39:40

40 - Homefront to Battlefront

I’ve been planning to look at some individual soldiers stories for some time, the first was going to be the story of a Green Howard who fought through from D-Day until the end of the war. As his story is similar to my great uncles everyone in my family was interested and the book has gone on it’s travels passed from my mother to my sister to my brother… As of typing I haven't got it back... In the meantime when I was given the opportunity to talk to Frank Lavin about his father's war time...

Duration: 00:58:54

39 - Allen Dulles and the German Resistance

In this episode we’re looking at a topic we touched up on in way back in episode 06 when we looked at the OSS. We’re looking at the OSS station chief in Bern, Switzerland, Allen Dulles and his connections with the German resistance during the WWII. Dulles incredibly was approached by a number of Germans unhappy with the Nazi regime who fed him information from 1943 onward. I’m joined by Scott Miller. Scott’s book Agent 110: An American Spymaster and the German Resistance in WWII, looks...

Duration: 00:54:31

38 - The Race for the Rhine

Once the Allies had crossed the English Channel on D-Day the next large natural barrier would be the crossing of the Rhine into Germany. Toward the end of 1944 the fighting had been hard, the Americans had slogged through the Hürtgen Forest, everyone had reeled against the German counter attack in the Ardennes. The Rhine is a perfect natural border, the crossing of which would be symbolically crossing the last line of defence in to Germany from the West. The task was given to...

Duration: 00:48:55

82nd Airborne at Operation Husky

In 1943 the Allies made their first mass use of Airborne troops in support of the landings on Sicily. By this time the Germans had already ruled out any further mass use of the airborne Fallschirmjäger after Crete, though a huge success the price paid was costly. I’m joined by Lieutenant Colonel Joe Buccino of the 82nd Airborne, to discuss how those initial landings went. Joe is a currently serving officer and can be heard on the excellent All American Legacy Podcast.

Duration: 00:51:01

Volunteers and Pressed Men

In this episode we’ll looking at how Britain found the manpower to fight the war. By the end at least four and a half million had served from Britain, if we add to that figure Empire and Commonwealth forces we’re looking it perhaps upwards of ten million. Its an astounding figure…. I’m joined by Roger Broad. Rogers New book Volunteers and Pressed Men looks at recruitment during both the First and second World War in both Britain and its Empire.

Duration: 00:38:54

Air Campaigns on the Eastern Front

In this episode I’m talking to Edward Hooton and we’re looking at the air war over the Eastern Front, a topic I’m not familiar with. From my own point of view it's always been overshadowed by the ground war. Edward has written a number of books on aviation history during WWII. His latest book “War over the Steppes: The air campaigns on the Eastern Front 1941-45” is a fascinating look at the air operations carried out by both the Russians and Germans during the war.

Duration: 00:46:45

Surviving the Nazis, Gulags and Soviet Communism

In this episode we’re looking at the plight of those Jews fleeing Poland who headed east into Russia after the German invasion of 1939. It’s a story I wasn’t at all familiar with. I’m joined by Annette Libeskind Berkovits. Annettes father Nachman fled the Polish City of Lodz, he had an incredible life… She tells his story in the most remarkable book I think I’ve read in a long time, “In the Unlikeliest of Places”

Duration: 00:56:51

The American St Nick

With the holiday season upon us I've a festive episode for you. The US 28th Infantry Division landed in France in July of 1944. After fighting through the Bocage and taking part in the parade through Paris to mark its liberation they were sent to the Hürtgen Forest. Badly shot up they we're withdrawn and sent to a small town in Luxembourg called Wiltz. To tell the story of the American St Nick I'm joined by Peter Lion whose book "The American St Nick" tells the story.

Duration: 00:39:28

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