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The WW2 Podcast

The WW2 Podcast is a history show looking at all aspects of the Second World War; military history, social history, the battles, the campaigns, tanks, guns and other equipment, the politics and those who ran the war. In each episode of the podcast, Angus interviews a WWII expert on a subject. No topics are out of bounds. Angus Wallace is a long-time military history podcaster, he holds a Master's degree in History, has lectured at university level and is just in the process of completing his PhD.
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The WW2 Podcast
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Now displaying: 2024
May 15, 2024

On the morning of May 20, 1941, the Germans launched Operation Mercury. The invasion of Crete was the largest airborne operation yet attempted during the war, with thousands of Fallschirmjäger deployed.

Key to the operation's success would be the capture of the airfield at Maleme. Outnumbered and having suffered horrendous casualties, when the airborne troops secured Hill 107, overlooking the airfield, it opened the door for reinforcements and, ultimately, the Allied withdrawal from the island.

For this episode, I'm joined by Robert Kershaw, a now-regular show participant who was last with us to discuss Dunkirk. He has a new book available, The Hill: The Brutal Fight for Hill 107 in the Battle of Crete.

Patreon
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May 1, 2024

In this podcast episode, we will discuss the different approaches to command and control of the British Army and the German Army. From a management point of view, both organisations developed different doctrines to deal with the 'fog of war' or 'friction', which affected how commanders responded as a battle unfolded.

We'll do this by delving into the origins of each nation's different approaches to doctrine and training and, most importantly, how these strategies played out during the pivotal Battle for France in 1940.

Joining me today is Martin Samuels.

Martin is the author of Piercing the Fog of War: The Theory and Practice of Command in the British and German Armies, 1918-1940, which builds upon his early work Command or Control? Command, Training and Tactics in the British and German Armies, 1888-1918.

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Apr 22, 2024

In this podcast episode, I'm looking at the work of LCI's, Landing Craft Infantry. These are not the smaller Higgins Boats we see storming the Normandy beaches in Saving Private Ryan but large beaching craft intended to transport and deliver fighting troops, typically a company of infantry or marines, to a hostile shore once a beachhead was secured.

Joining me is Zach Morris.

In When the Beaches Trembled, Zach writes about his grandfather, Stephen Ganzberger, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on LCI's during the war. Zach is also the former editor-in-chief of Elsie Item, the quarterly magazine newsletter of the USS Landing Craft Infantry National Association.

Apr 15, 2024

Operation Jubilee, the Dieppe Raid on the coast of France, was a disaster in 1942. However, it did highlight the need for more reconnaissance before any other amphibious operations were mounted.

In London, a small group of eccentric researchers, experimenting on themselves from inside pressure tanks in the middle of the London air raids, explored the deadly science needed to enable the critical reconnaissance vessels and underwater breathing apparatuses that would enable the Allies’ future amphibious landings, specifically D-Day.

Joining me today is Dr Rachel Lance.

Rachel is an Assistant Consulting Professor at Duke University, where she conducts research out of their Hyperbaric Medicine facility. She is also the author of Chamber Divers: The Untold Story of the D-Day Scientists Who Changed Special Operations Forever.

Patreon:
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Apr 1, 2024

The Indian Army was the largest volunteer army during the Second World War. Indian Army divisions fought in the Middle East, North Africa and Italy - and went to make up the overwhelming majority of the troops in South East Asia. Over two million personnel served in the Indian Army.

In this episode, I am joined by Dr Alan Jefferys to discuss how the Indian Army developed a more comprehensive training structure than any other Commonwealth country during WWII. This was achieved through both the dissemination of doctrine and the professionalism of a small cadre of Indian Army officers who brought about a military culture within the Indian Army - starting in the 1930s - that came to fruition during the Second World War.

Alan is the Head of Equipment and Uniform at the National Army Museum and the author of Approach to Battle: Training the Indian Army During the Second World War.

Patreon
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Mar 22, 2024

From late 1944, an ungainly piece of equipment was introduced into service in the British and Canadian armies. Referred to at the time as the ‘Valentine 17-pounder SP’, and later as the ‘Archer’, it was a tracked vehicle with an open compartment at the front and a large gun facing to the rear.

Joining me to tell the story of the Archer's development is loyal patron of the show, and author of ‘Self Propelled 17 Pounder - Archer’, Christopher Camfield.

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Mar 15, 2024

While at We Have Ways Fest, I caught Paul Woodadge, the host of WW2TV, giving an excellent talk on D-Day tourism. I thought I would ask him on the show to discuss tourism, how it has changed and what to see.

Base in France, Paul has been a battlefield tour guide for over 20 years. More recently, he launched WW2TV and became a Second World War YouTube sensation.

You can find Paul at DDayHistorian.com and ww2tv.com.

Patreon
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Mar 1, 2024

In January 1945, Admiral Halsey, with the third Fleet, conducted a raid into the South China Sea. This was designated Operation Gratitude. The raid was to support the landings on Luzon, in the Philippines, with the aim of destroying the Japanese navy, supply convoys and any air assets in the area.

As part of this operation, Hong Kong would be attacked.

Steven Bailey joins me.

Steven is the author of Target Hong Kong, which looks at the raid from numerous angles, including an eyewitness account from a British prison officer held in a Japanese internment camp on the island.

 

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Feb 23, 2024

Starting with small raids at the start of the war, the aerial offensive grew into a massive operation. Huge air armadas would eventually pulverise Germany, with the Mighty Eigth Airforce flying by day and the Lancasters of Bomber Command by night. This 24-hour campaign seriously damaged Germany’s ability to make war and killed hundreds of thousands.

Joining me is Jonathan Trigg, whose new book is The Air War Through German Eyes: How the Luftwaffe Lost the Skies over the Reich, which looks at the air war from the point of view of the Germans.

 

Patreon
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Feb 15, 2024

'In Arctic blizzards between January and March 1945, the Latvian 15th SS Division - a core of Russian Front veterans but most raw teenage conscripts from Nazi-occupied Latvia - tried to stop the Red Army sweeping across Pomerania, now Poland. One in three died: the majority never returned home.'

In this episode, I'm joined by Vincent Hunt, and we discuss the Latvians fighting with the Germans in the Latvian 15th SS Division.

Through interviews, diaries, and never-before-utilised sources, in his book The Road of Slaughter: The Latvian 15th SS Division in Pomerania, January-March 1945, Vince has built a compelling narrative of desperate fighting as the Latvians were withdrawn from defending their own country to Poland.

For listeners of the podcast, Helion has offered us a discount code for copies of the book purchased from their website helion.co.uk. The code is VHRS10.

Patreon
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Feb 1, 2024

This episode will look at Japanese propaganda during the imperial era. With the rise of mass production of newspapers and magazines amidst the Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese population became instilled in nationalism and militarism. Despite the era of demilitarisation and democratisation after the First World War, the Japanese Empire, once again, became fixated on expansion. Harnessing film, radio and cultural institutions, the country was galvanised for total war.

Ray Matsumoto, author of Echoes of Empire: The Power of Japanese Propaganda, joined me.

Patreon
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Jan 15, 2024

The Green Howards landed in the first wave on D-Day. With them was Company Sergeant Major Stan Hollis, who had seen action in France in 1940, being evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk. He fought in North Africa and took part in the invasion of Sicily.

It is fair to say Hollis was a seasoned soldier. He is also the only recipient of the Victoria Cross for his actions on the 6th of June 1944.

I have made a field trip to the Green Howards Regimental Museum in Richmond, Yorkshire. In this episode, Steve Erskine joins me to discuss Hollis and the Green Howards on D-Day.

The museum is hosting a special 80th D-Day anniversary event on the 6th of June, 2024. This is a unique event to be held at the museum in Richmond. Those attending will have the chance to explore items from the museum collection relating to this crucial phase of the Second World War. Hear accounts of the day itself and understand more about the impact of the events of 6 June 1944. You can find out more on the museum website greenhowards.org.uk.

Patreon
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Jan 1, 2024

The war in Asia and the Pacific against Japan is often seen as an American affair. While the US did play a dominant role, the British and Commonwealth forces also made major contributions – on land, at sea and in the air – eventually involving over a million men and vast armadas of ships and aircraft.

Joining me to discuss Britain and the Commonwealth's war in the Far East is Brian Walter, author of  Forgotten War: The British Empire and Commonwealth’s Epic Struggle Against Imperial Japan.

Long-time listeners might recall I discussed the war in the Atlantic with Brian in episode 127, and we looked at the naval campaign in the Mediterranean in episode 173.

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