Each year we bind the latest four issues of the magazine into hardback 'Bound Volumes', complete with index. Order early to avoid disappointment as we only produce a specific number of copies.
The 41st bound volume of After the Battle (issues 161-164) again features a mix of stories from around the globe.
In the opening article, Jean Paul Pallud describes the battle for Metz, the capital of the Lorraine region in north-eastern France, in the autumn of 1944. The US Third Army first attacked the city, with its many outlying fortresses, in September but it took a series of difficult and costly set-piece assaults before they finally overcame the dogged German defenders in late November.
Metz was defended as an outpost of the German Siegfried Line, which ties in well with the next main story. In a special feature, Karel Margry describes the history of this 630-kilometre-long chain of fortifications along Nazi Germany’s western frontier. The result of a massive building programme in 1936-40, it was seen as impregnable. Since the war, there has been a determined effort to erase all traces of it, with the result that today out of some 18,000 bunkers, only about 850 remain. Travelling down the line from north to south, we describe the bunkers and sections of dragon’s teeth that are left intact.
Turning to the Pacific, Phil Bradley gives a detailed account of the battle for ‘Bloody Buna’. From late November 1942 to January 1943, American and Australian troops fought a bitter jungle battle for possession of this small settlement on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, which the Japanese had turned into one of their final strongholds. The encounter produced some of the most iconic combat images to come out of the war, including that of the ‘Blinded Digger’ and the very first picture to be released by the US censor showing American GIs killed in action.
From the ‘Phoney War’ of 1939-40 comes the story of the first British soldier to be killed in action in the Second World War. Jean Paul Pallud investigates the incident which took place on the night of December 9/10 in which Corporal Thomas Priday of the 1st KSLI was killed, and also another on January 7 in which Lieutenant Patrick Everitt of the 2nd Norfolks was fatally wounded by the Germans. He was the first man killed in action on the Western Front.
Making an excursion to the First World War, Karel Margry gives an in-depth account of the event that triggered off that global conflict: the assassination by Gavrilo Princip of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Heir to the Habsburg throne, and his wife Sophie during an official visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.
David Mitchelhill-Green reveals the history of the secret underground headquarters of Japanese Emperor Hirohito and the Japanese Imperial General Staff. Built into a mountain at the remote town of Matsushiro, it was to serve as a last-ditch command centre in the case of an Allied invasion of the Japanese mainland.
Carl Barwise describes the history of Holleischen concentration camp, a little-known sub-camp of Flossenbürg, occupied by slave labourers put to work in a nearby German munitions factory.
Smaller stories include an account of the British war film Fires Were Started, produced in 1942 and one of the best-remembered movies documenting the Blitz to come out of the war; the harrowing story of the disarmament of a German parachute mine that fell near the Woolwich Arsenal in March 1942; and the story of the recovery of the world’s only remaining Dornier 17 bomber by the RAF Museum in June 2013 — 73 years after it crashed into the sea off Goodwin Sands.
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