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After the Battle Bound Volume No. 36...
After the Battle Bound Volume No. 36
ISBN: 9 781870 067720
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The 36th bound volume of After the Battle (Nos. 141-144) features a mix of stories from around the globe.
In the opening article, Jean Paul Pallud gives a detailed description of Ob. West, the headquarters of the German supreme commander in the West, a fascinating complex of command bunkers, shelters and villas at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris, many of which survive intact today.
Two main stories deal with events concerning Poland — one from the beginning of the war, the other from the final phase of the conflict. First, Dennis Whitehead describes the notorious Gleiwitz Incident of August 31/September 1, 1939, when the German security service staged a series of fake ‘Polish’ attacks along the frontier, including the seizure of a German radio station in the town of Gleiwitz, to provide Hitler with an excuse for the invasion of Poland.
Four years later, in August 1944, the Polish underground army in Warsaw rose in rebellion against the Nazi oppressor. The Warsaw Uprising, which lasted 63 days, ended with the valiant Poles capitulating before overwhelming German might.
Turning to North Africa, the battle of El Guettar, fought in the mountain passes of the Tunisian desert in March-April 1943, saw the American corps under newly appointed General Patton defeating a strong German panzer force. Though only a local victory of subsidiary importance, it meant a rehabilitation of the US Army after its ignominious defeat at Kasserine.
From the Italian campaign comes a revelation concerning the 1944 battles for Monte Cassino. In a detailed analysis, Perry Rowe shows that many of the photos that have become standard illustrations of that struggle were in actual fact not taken at Cassino during the battle but shot, or even restaged, many miles behind the front line.
Two stories deal with the dilemmas of attack and retaliation in occupied France. A bomb strike on a German police squad in the village of Ugine in Haute Savoie, in which 11 were killed, led to 28 innocent civilians being rounded up and shot in reprisal. Two months later, in a reversal of roles, a German raid on the village of Saint-Julien in the Dordogne, in which 17 villagers were shot, resulted in the Resistance taking justice into their own hands after liberation by executing the same number of German POWs.
The mystery of the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, which disappeared with all hands in November 1941 after an encounter with the German raider Kormoran off western Australia, was finally solved in March 2008 when a search team discovered both wrecks, giving closure to a tragedy that had long troubled the nation. The Kormoran crew survived the battle, was captured and ended up in POW Camp No. 13 at Murchison, in south-eastern Australia. In a nicely complementary story, David Green recounts the history of this camp, which housed German, Italian and Japanese prisoners.
From the UK comes the story of a little-known secret establishment: the RAF Target Mapping Centre at Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire.