Have you ever wondered where to find surviving WWII tanks? Craig Moore's tank-hunter.com is a invaluable resource in tracking them down.
What could be better than a summer holiday roaming Europe ticking tanks off your tank-spotter list!
Craig also writes for tanks-encyclopedia.com.
In this episode we’re in the Pacific in 1943 looking at the exploits of Lieutenant Hugh Miller. After his ship the USS Strong is sunk he washes up on a Pacific island terribly injured. It’s is a remarkable story of survival, and a one man war against the Japanese after being sunk
I’m joined by Stephen Harding.
Stephen is long time journalist specialising in military affairs, he’s written a number of books including the New York Times bestseller “The Last Battle”... His latest book is “The Castaway’s War" tells the story of Hugh Miller and the subsequent events of him after the sinking of the USS Strong.
In this episode we’re looking at the attempts to disrupt and destroy Germany's access to heavy water, which was essential for their atomic research.
If that sounds familiar that could be because you’ve seen the film “The Heroes of Telemark” or watched one of the many documentaries on the operations against the Norsk Hydro plant at Vemork.
I talk to Neal Bascomb, his new book “Winter Fortress” is painstaking researched, with access to the diaries of some of the men involved. It sheds light on a remarkable series of operations in Norway where the weather was as big a threat as the Nazi's
In this episode we’re look at Nazi war criminals and those that tracked them down.
I’m joined by Andrew Nagorski.
Andrew is an award winning journalist who for three decades served as a foreign correspondent, and editor for Newsweek. He has written a number of books focusing on the Second World War and his latest is The Nazi Hunters (if you're in the UK the title is In Pursuit).
As the war closed many lower ranking Nazi’s escaped capture, scattering across the world, blending in with the millions of displaced people. In the following decades a small band of individuals would devote themselves to tracking down and highlighting these former Nazi’s. The search would see Adolf Eichmann being discovered in Argentina and snatched by Mossad, though to uncovering former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim’s attempt to cover up his wartime history.
It’s a little known fact that during the second world war drugs were issued to those men on active service on a monumental scale, hundreds of millions of pills were produced.
The drug of choice was amphetamines, stimulants used to help push troops beyond there not made endurance and keeping pilots alert on long missions.
In this episode of the show I’m talking to Lukasz Kamienski. Lukasz is Associate Professor at the Faculty of International and Political Studies, at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland
His new book “shooting up” investigates the long history of intoxicants and drug use within the military.
In today’s episode we’re looking at the De Havilland Mosquito. It was fast, extremely versatile and made from wood, affectionately referred to as the “Mossie”. Over 7,000 were built, yet only two remain flying today.
I’m joined by John Lilly, Ross Sharp and Nick Horrox. They are from the People’s Mosquito, a project aiming to get another "Mossie" flying.
John is the Chairman and Managing Director, Ross is Director of Engineering and Nick is communications.
By the end of June 1940 the Battle of France was over, the British Army had been plucked from the Beaches of Dunkirk, but much of its heavy equipment had been abandoned in France.
It looked like Britain would be the next target for the Nazi war machine… Having witnessed the debacle in France a betting man might have put his money on the Germans when it came to invading England.
On the 14th of May 1940 Anthony Eden had called on men between 17 and 65 in Britain who were not in military service but wished to defend their country to enrol in the Local Defence Volunteers. By July over 1.5million Britons has volunteered…
Another group was also created, a clandestine army that in the event of invasion would be called upon. Britain would be the first nation to have a pre-planed resistance network, the went under the unassuming name of Auxiliary, or Aux Units.
I’m joined by Tom Sykes from the ColesHill Auxiliary Research Team.
In this episode we’re looking at the Java Sea Campaign, with Jeffrey Cox.
Jeff’s book Rising Sun, Falling Skies: The disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II from Osprey publishing, examines the events following Pearl Harbor.
In their own lighting offensive the Japanese attacked Singapore, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. The Allies reeled against the well planned assaults, struggling to hit back with any useful resistance in the first major sea battles of the war in the Pacific.
In this episode I’m looking at the use of Gliders during the war and I’m joined by Matt Yates.
Matt is a member of Chalk a living history group in the north of England who specialise in the British Glider Regiment and its activities from 1942 to 1945.
The StuG started development before the war and was in full production by 1940. Designated an Assault Gun it was designed round a Panzer III chassis but no turret, this gave it an extremely low profile. It's role was to support infantry as they followed close behind the panzer assaults. But the Assault gun soon proved to be very versatile, in Russia they were often called upon to provide an anti-tank role.
The StuG would be produced throughout the war. The bombing of the factory in 1943 forced a change in design to a Panzer IV Chassis as production was moved to a different facility. To deal with the better armour that the Germans were now facing it was found the StuG with its larger crew compartment could accommodate the 75mm Pak40 allowing it to pack enough punch to knock out the new Soviet T34s.
The StuG became the most produced armoured fighting vehicle of the war!
In this episode I’m talking to John Phillips and we’re talking StuG, Jon owns one and currently in the process of restoring it.
At a time when Britain stood alone there was one shining light in North Africa.
Richard O'Conner's Operation Compass was on the cusp of capturing the whole of North Africa, before his troops were diverted to Greece. His stunning victories in 1940/41 are now rarely remembered.
Mark Buehner and I discuss O'Conner's career.
Parcels delivered by the International Red Cross proved to be a lifeline for many Prisoners of War. These were guaranteed by the Geneva Convention of 1929 providing PoWs with tobacco, food and some hygiene products. For many they supplemented the meagre rations provided by their captors.
Remarkably these parcels were shipped all round the world, they crossed war zones and a complex operation that ensured they got through.
In this episode I'm joined by Mark Webster.
Mark has written two books on the subject from the perspective of New Zealand, a country who had 1 in 200 of its population held as PoWs. As a result New Zealand would pack, by hand one parcel for every 1.7 of its population and ship them halfway round the world mainly to European camps.
Parcels From Home and Parcels From Home: Trainspotter Edition by Mark Webster and Paul Luker are available from the Apple iBook Store.
In this episode I'm joined by Professor Theresa Kaminski.
We look at the Japanese occupation of the Philippines and the extraordinary stories of those women who escaped internment and help American POWs and those interned.
Theresa’s speciality is American women’s history at the University of Wisconsin. Her new book Angels of the Underground: The American Women who Resisted the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II tells the story of four American women who avoided being captured by the Japanese in Manila and were part of a little-known resistance movement.
By the end of 1940 Britain defiantly stood alone against Nazi tyranny. Appeasement of the late 1930s was a reaction against the slaughter of the First World War, even after the fall of France some in power advocated a peace with Germany.
In this episode of the podcast I talk to John Kelly. We discuss why Britain chose to fight with the odds stacked against her following the fiasco in Norway, the fall of Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. We examine how the public mood changed and Churchill's rise to Prime Minister.
John is the author of "Never Surrender'.
The invasion of Sicily would be the largest Allied amphibious landing at that time undertaken. After just 38 days of bitter fighting the Allies conquered the Island, but thousands of Germans had escaped capture, evacuated over the Straits of Messina.
The Allied Air force had a crucial role to play, but it wasn’t just over Sicily they operated in support of the operation…
In this episode I'm joined by Alexander Fitzgerald-Black.
Alex gained his MA at the University of New Brunswick. His thesis “Eagles over Husky: The Allied Air Forces and the Sicilian Campaign” investigates the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.
In this episode I talk to Douglas Waller about the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS.
The US entered the Second World War with no foreign intelligence service. Roosevelt selected William Donovan, WW1 Medal of Honor recipient, to create an agency based on the British MI6 and SOE.
A task he did with gusto.
Douglas is a veteran journalist and has work for Time Magazine and Newsweek. For twenty years as a Washington correspondent he has covered the Pentagon, Congress, the State Department, the White House and the CIA.
He has written two books looking at the American Office of Strategic Services, the OSS, which was America’s Intelligence service during WWII. His first book on the subject “Wild” Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage is a biography of William Donovan who ran the organisation up until it was disbanded in 1945.
His new book Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan takes a closer look at the activities of the OSS, through the careers of four future CIA directors who were active during the war.
In this episode I talk to Canadian historian Mark Zuehlke, and we look at Operation Jubilee, the Raid on Dieppe.
In August of 1942 a force of 6,000, predominantly Canadians, including the Calgary Tank Regiment, mounted a raid on the French port of Dieppe, now occupied by the Germans.
This would be the largest allied raid yet launched.
Almost all the objectives of the main raid failed to be met. Most of those troops who made it ashore struggled to get off the beach, and for hours were pinned down under withering fire.
At the same time the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force mounted a huge operation to provide the troops on shore and the fleet, support and cover for the duration of the Raid.
Casualties were high for the Allies, the mission judged a failure, yet it has since been justified as a vital precursor with lessons been learnt for D-Day, in 1944.
In this episode I talk to Andrew Panton of the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage centre. Andrew is lucky enough to be one of the pilots for their Lancaster Bomber “Just Jane”.
The Lancaster is arguably, one of the most well known planes designed and built in Britain during the Second World War.
When it went into production it quickly became the mainstay of Bomber Command, with 7,377 being made, of which 3,249 would be lost.
125,000 aircrew served with bomber command, and 55,573 would be killed. Thats a 44% kill rate, higher than any other service during the war. A large proportion of which, would have been in Lancaster's.
This is perhaps one reason why the Lancaster is close to people’s hearts.
For more information on NX611 "Just Jane" and to book a taxi ride in her have a look at the Lincolnshire Aviation website lincsaviation.co.uk.
Omar Bradley commanded more Americans in combat than any other General before or since, at its peak his 12th Army Group numbered 1.7 million men! In the pantheon of World War II leaders he is over shadowed by bigger characters such as Patton or MacArthur. Yet in 1943 Patton was his commander, but by 1944 he commanded Patton.
The war reported Ernie Pyle dubbed him the "GI's General" and wrote:
"If I could pick any two men in the world for my father except my own dad, I would pick General Omar Bradley or General Ike Eisenhower.”
I'm joined by Jeffery Lavoie, his new book The Private Life of General Omar N. Bradley investigates the legend. Jeffrey is a PhD researcher at the University of Exeter (UK) where his studies concentrate on Modern Religious Movements and Victorian Studies. He is also a minister, lecturer, editor and a WW2 researcher .
The USS Neosho was a fleet oiler during WW2. She was delivering fuel at Pearl Harbour when it was attacked in December 1941. Laiden with fuel, if hit she would have caused and an enormous explosion. The quick thinking Captain saved her on that day.
Dispatched with Task Force 17 to the Coral Sea, she was the only big oil tanker serving the fleet until the battle began, when she was ordered to leave the fleet for her own safety.
I'm joined by Don Keith to discuss the USS Neosho.
His book The Ship That Wouldn't Die is the story of the attack on the oiler by 78 Japanese planes, three quarters of the planes available to their Carriers. Its an incurable story of duty, determination and survival.
To find Don's other books have a look at his website donkeith.com.
In this first episode of the WW2 podcast Angus talks to Paul Hilditch, of the Northern WW2 Association, about the iconic German halftrack, the Sd.Kfz 251.
This is a test transmission for the new WW2 Podcast launching on 1st of May 2015.
This monthly podcast will look at all aspects of the Second World War.
The first episode will look at the German Halftrack, the Sd.Kfz. 251, when I talk to Paul Hilditch of the Northern WWII Association.