each book cover is a link to an exclusive excerpt
which I hope will give you a flavour of the book.
Also see below for links to some of the newly discovered photographs now published in the Pen and Sword Images of War series.
Comprehensive new study of submarine warfare during the opening period of the war.
The merchantman carried no flag and no markings but her course was suspicious, coming from due south, apparently heading for Norwegian waters. Grudzinski approached slowly with the periscope at maximum magnification. Eventually he was able to read the name Rio de Janeiro on her bows. Aft, the home port had been painted over, but rather sloppily, and to his joy he could read ‘Hamburg’ when close enough. Finally – a legal German prey they could attack.
Gripping first person account by one of the first men to land at Arnhem.
The first day of the sixteen day stand against the Japanese by the massively outnumbered Queen’s West Kents.
Canadian Spitfire Ace ‘Hap’ Kennedy with a vivid account of the action over Malta.
“Tally ho,” I called. “Bullet Red Section. Bandits dead ahead. A little below.” We were at 31,000 feet. They were perhaps four miles away and already losing height in a wide sweeping turn to starboard over Grand Harbour. Now they straightened out on a northerly course with their noses down, and I knew they would be exceeding 400 mph. They would be across the seventy miles to Sicily in ten minutes. Unless we could do something about it, that is.
Lying there, listening to the sounds of tempest, straining my ears for any sounds to indicate the proximity of guards, it was grimly amusing to think of what might happen in the next hour or two. Having seen the reactions of the Japanese to previous alarms, it was easy to imagine the scene should a false move cause me to short-circuit the electrified wires on the fence. Before my frizzled body hit the ground there would be guards yelling and rushing about the camp.
After returning to Japan, I saw photographs of bodies scorched pitch-black by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima. As I looked at them, the red corpse I had seen in Manchuria, of someone killed out of vengeance and then skinned, ﬂoated before my eye. The two corpses, the red and the black, became overlain in my mind. Together, those two corpses tell the whole story of 1945.
The place was like a disturbed ant heap; Italians, for the most part dressed only in trousers, ran grimly for their lives, silent and scuttling, fell screaming when brought down with fire, knelt with raised hands before bayonets, crying pitifully, or just whimpered as they grovelled underfoot. The top of the pimple we had bumped was chaos. Some of the Italians as they ran threw their absurd grenades at us, they flashed and filled the air with smoke and dust; the shots from our own men were crackling past from behind, and more and more men were climbing up the mound.
In his opening statement, Ferencz charged the defendants with “the deliberate slaughter of more than a million innocent and defenseless men, women, and children . . . dictated, not by military necessity, but by that supreme perversion of thought, the Nazi theory of the master race.” Then he broke down the big number to show exactly how this was possible. The evidence showed that the four Einsatzgruppen, each composed of five hundred to eight hundred men, “averaged some 1,350 murders per day during a 2-year-period; 1,350 human beings slaughtered on the average day, 7 days a week for more than 100 weeks.”
It was a long wade out to join the waiting line and when we reached the tail we were waist deep. Progress was slow and I suppose we were in the water for about an hour, by which time we were in as deep as the shortest men could stand without having to be supported. The further the troops could wade the quicker was the Navy’s turn round of pinnaces taking men out to the ships. It became bitterly cold, but I never heard one word on the subject.
Some stalwarts dig snow from a hole with a plank they have found, while others use their mess tins. Afterwards, like badgers in their setts, they cover themselves with everything available and try to sleep. If only I had the option of sleeping! For many of the men hunger is all-consuming as a result of the painful stress the march has inflicted, crushing their bodily strength.
The second volume of this superb overview of the whole war.
Captain Baldwin then ordered the other four planes from the 198th Squadron to follow him. They dove fast and low on the Cap Arcona. No smoke billowed from its large stacks, indicating it was still at anchor in the bay. The target was locked, and the Typhoons released their rockets on the defenseless liner. All of them found their mark, the first rockets striking the large gray liner directly be- tween the first and second smokestacks atop the ship. The next barrage hit the third funnel and sports deck.
Here and there a Verey light was red into the air such as we had seen on the first morning patrol. The forward troops were signalling to their gunners who usually replied by plastering our positions more heavily than ever with their mortars. The nauseating smell of explosives permeated the air. Despite the noise and discomfort, the sand in my clothing, cracked lips and scraped hands, I found time for a short sleep.
Then shortly before 2.00 p.m., as I was getting ready to head back, accurate artillery fire suddenly began hitting the village. I took cover in an anti-tank bunker. After ten minutes and as many explosions in the immediate area, the houses to the left and the right were burning and the bunker was in shambles. Even the stairway had collapsed. Despite the artillery fire, we scrambled out because the house next to us was threatening to collapse on us. There was more to come.
Shortly afterwards the gendarmes brought three men to me dressed as civilians and asked me to shoot them as they were 5th Columnists and spies. I said, ‘In that case why not shoot them yourselves?’ ‘Ah,’ they said. ‘If we do and the Germans get here tomorrow, we shall be shot ourselves but if the British Army does it, all is well’.
In between times there was the simple question to be faced of making yourself scarce. You had to eat somewhere, sleep somewhere and occasionally you felt a desperate need to talk to someone, even though you were aware that to do so could be dangerous, if not fatal. Boredom was, in fact, a menace that no one was taught to contend with at the training school. Boredom was something individuals had to deal with themselves, and it cost quite a few men and women their lives when they came up with the wrong solution.
The highly collectable Pen & Sword Images of War Series continues to unearth new and rarely published photographs of the war:
These are largely the work of dedicated connoisseurs of wartime photographs, people who have built up collections of material from different theatres, whose research and commentary on individual images greatly adds to their interest.
Collection of rare photographs of the Americans who fought in the RAF before the USA joined the war.
Photographs taken from five unpublished albums focussing on the German invasion of Russia in 1941 – Operation Barbarossa.
A study of the Battle of the Britain and the Blitz with many rare German photographs.
The latest book in the Images of War series uses over 300 rare contemporary photographs to capture the scale, intensity and brutality of the fighting that was unleashed on 22 June 1941
The world was not prepared for the massive onslaught launched by Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 – the scale of the invasion, the speed of the German advance, the hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers taken prisoner, the chaotic, headlong retreat of Stalin’s forces eastwards, towards Leningrad and Moscow.