The Allies Strike Back, 1941-1943

The Allies Strike Back, 1941-1943

by James Holland

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By June 1941, Germany’s war machine looked to be unstoppable. The Nazi blitzkrieg had taken Poland, France, and Holland with shocking speed. The Luftwaffe had bombed London, while German U-boats wrought havoc on Allied shipping on the Atlantic. And yet, as James Holland shows at the start of The Allies Strike Back, 1941-1943—the second volume in his magisterial narrative of World War II in the West—cracks were already appearing in Germany’s apparent invincibility. Shortages of food and materiel were becoming critical. And, having failed to defeat Britain, Adolf Hitler fatefully pivoted east to invade the Soviet Union—territory he felt compelled to conquer for Germany’s protection—and on June 22, 1941 precipitated the largest clash of arms the world had ever seen. Built for speed and quick conquest, German forces by that fall were bogged down in a horrible war of attrition that blunted the Nazi momentum.

The Allies Strike Back offers fascinating new perspective on the critical middle years in World War II’s western theatre, as the advantage between Axis and Allied forces swung back and forth on the Atlantic and eastern front, and in north Africa and Europe. Acclaimed historian James Holland has spent years conducting original research and interviews, mining newly available archives, visiting battlefields and uncovering letters and diaries previously unread. Acknowledging that strategy and tactics have been the focus of previous histories, he gives equal space to the logistics and supply of men and materiel without which no war can be fought. Allied and Axis leaders criss-cross Holland’s narrative, but he also memorably introduces readers to heretofore unknown participants: Sgt. Ralph Schaps, who experienced the Louisiana Maneuvers that propelled him into Europe; Colonel Hermann Balck, in command of a German panzer regiment in Africa; U-boat captain Teddy Suhren, operating against Allied shipping in the Atlantic; Billy Drake, squadron commander in Britain’s Desert Air Force that helped turn the tide in North Africa; and many others.

Following the acclaimed first volume of his trilogy, The Rise of Germany, and offering frank assessments of successes and failures on both sides, James Holland has crafted a masterful and gripping narrative of the events that ultimately determined the outcome of World War II.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802190147
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Series: War in the West
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 720
Sales rank: 461,685
File size: 22 MB
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About the Author

James Holland is a historian, writer, and broadcaster. The author of The Rise of Germany, 1939-1941, the first book in The War in the West series, as well as the bestselling Fortress Malta, Battle of Britain, and Dam Busters, he has also written numerous works of historical fiction. Holland regularly appears on television and radio and has written and presented the BAFTA-shortlisted documentaries Battle of Britain and Dam Busters for the BBC, among others. His writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the Sunday Telegraph, for whom he went to Helmand Province in Afghanistan, the Times, Daily Mail, and BBC History Magazine. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and cofounder and program director of the hugely successful Chalke Valley History Festival, Holland has also advised the British government on history curriculum and has his own collection at the Imperial War Museum.

Table of Contents

List of Maps and Diagrams ix

List of Principal Characters Featured xxi

Note on the Text xxvii

Introduction 1

Part I America Enters the War

1 The Largest Clash of Arms 16

2 Manoeuvring 23

3 Summer '41 42

4 The US Navy Goes to War 57

5 The Sinking of the Reuben James 73

6 Crusaders 84

7 Unravelling 95

8 World War 105

Part II Eastern Influences

9 Battles at Sea 114

10 Strategic Blunders 123

11 Carnage Off America 136

12 Fighters and Bombers 146

13 Steel and Strategy 157

14 Seeds of Resistance 170

15 Heat and Dust 182

16 Into the Cauldron 199

17 Combined Production 214

18 The Fall of Tobruk 225

19 Sea and Sand 242

20 Thousand Bomber Raid 252

21 Sea and Steppe 259

22 Gathering Strength 273

23 Last Chance in Africa 288

24 The End of the German Dream 306

Part III The Allies Strike Back

25 A Brief Discourse on Tanks and Fire-power 320

26 A Brief Discourse on Training and Morale 331

27 Return of the Hero 345

28 Getting Ready 355

29 The Vicious Circle 371

30 Lighting the Torch 388

31 Lightfoot 401

32 Supercharge 414

33 Cutting Losses 428

34 Invasion 444

Part IV Crushing the Wolfpacks

35 The Blackest Month 458

36 Setbacks 473

37 Year End 487

38 The Critical Theatre 499

39 Living Dangerously 514

40 Frühlingswind 531

41 Heavy Water 546

42 Regaining the Initiative 558

43 Into the Gap 571

44 Closing In 585

45 Victory for the Allies 598

Glossary 615

Appendices 617

Timeline 621

Notes 626

Selected Sources 649

Acknowledgements 679

Picture Acknowledgements 681

Index 685

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