The Battle of Kursk TV - William Manchester - Andrew Marr TV - Secret D-Day Disaster TV - Ben Macintyre TV - Ernest Hemingway - General Douglas MacArthur - Shoichi Tokoi - Spying on Hitler’s Army TV - Spike Milligan - Simon Heffer TV - Timewatch TV - Catch 22 1970 - The Great Escape 1963 - The Dam Busters 1954 - Ice Cold in Alex 1957 - The Cruel Sea 1952 - The Cockleshell Heroes 1955 - Where Eagles Dare 1968 - The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 - Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970 - The Colditz Story 1954 - Carve Her Name With Pride 1958 - Waterloo Road 1944 - Operation Crossbow 1965 - Kelly’s Heroes 1970 - The Desert Rats 1953 - The Tenth Man 1988 - The Last Drop 2005 - Hell Squad 1958 - Oliver Stone TV - Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror 1942 - The Fall of Singapore: The Great Betrayal TV - Singapore 1942: End of Empire TV - Anne Frank: The Nazi Capture TV - Ken Burns: The War TV - World War II: Countdown to Victory TV - Battle of Midway TV - Dan Snow TV - Peter & Dan Snow TV - D-Day Sacrifice TV - David Reynolds TV - How the Bismark Sank TV - GPO: The First Days TV - Battle of Britain: The Real Story TV - The Bombing of Darwin TV - James Holland TV - 13 Hours That Saved Britain TV - Churchill’s Toyshop TV - Ike and Monty: Reputations TV - The Monuments Men 2014 - The War in the Air TV - Charles Wheeler TV - The Eagle Has Landed 1976 - The World Wars TV - World War II: The Complete History TV - The Nazis: A Warning From History TV -
This battle of epic proportions between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union deserves to be considered as the most important battle of the Second World War if not in all wars in history. More than 6,000 tanks and over 2,000,000 men clashed there. The Battle of Kursk, 2009
Dogfights involving up to 150 aircraft at any one time. ibid.
This was a fight to the finish. ibid.
The battle was lost and the fault was Hitler’s. ibid.
You could smell the front long before you saw it. It was one vast cesspool. It was hideous. But it was also strangely familiar. William Manchester
The little ships were coming to the rescue. A motley flotilla of hundreds of yachts, cockle-boats, fishing-smacks and pleasure cruisers with names like the Richmond, the Resolute and Queen Boudica, and no fewer than eleven boats called the Skylark ... Over nine days the flotilla of nine hundred naval and civilian craft rescued over a third of a million men from the beaches of northern France. Andrew Marr, The Making of Modern Britain, BBC 2009
Over ten thousand men and women of Italian and German and Austrian origin were interned here [the Isle of Man]. ibid.
The location and timing of the attack had become the most crucial secret of the War. On June the 6th 1944 German troops finally faced a surprise assault on five Normandy beaches by American, British and Canadian forces. D-Day. ibid.
D-Day 6th June 1944: The greatest military operation in history as the Allies launched a massive assault on Nazi occupied France. Secret D-Day Disaster: Revealed, Channel 5 2012
Behind the success of D-Day lies a terrible tragedy many had kept secret for years. A training exercise that turned into a bloody massacre on the south Devon coast. ibid.
The use of live ammunition was standard operating procedure. ibid.
Hundreds of men had been lost at sea. ibid.
The true story that follows is based on official papers, letters, diaries, newspaper reports, contemporary accounts and memoirs.
I was first alerted to the existence of the Englishman Eddie Chapman by his obituary in The Times. Among the lives of the great and good, here was a character who had achieved a certain greatness, but in ways that were far from conventionally good. The obituary was intriguing as much for what it did not say – and could not know – about Chapman’s exploits in the Second World War, since those details remained under the seal of MI5’s secret archives. At the time, it seemed the full story of Eddie Chapman would never be told. Ben Macintyre, Agent Zigzag, author’s note
A web of espionage that drove the biggest deception in military history and helped ensure Allied victory on the beaches of Normandy. Ben Macintyre, Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, BBC 2019
Alongside the Allied troops that day was another unseen force: they fought not with guns, bombs and bullets but with subterfuge and stealth and a web of espionage spun from a thousand little lies. ibid.
From his stable of double agents, Tar [Robertson] had selected the five spies he knew were most trusted by the Germans. ibid.
To bolster the illusion of strength, large numbers of inflatable tanks and dummy aircraft were assembled in the Kent countryside which would look like the real thing to German reconnaissance aeroplanes. ibid.
The Allies biggest secret: the codebreakers of Bletchley Park. ibid.
The hoax had been more successful than anyone would have dared to predict. ibid.
Her German spymaster was delighted with her reports, congratulating her on her sterling work for the Third Reich. In fact, this German spy was not what she seemed; every word she sent was false. Her lies were part of a web of espionage that drove the biggest deception in military history, and helped ensure Allied victory on the beaches of Normandy. ibid.
On the morning of June 6th 1944, 150,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. ibid.
A web of espionage spun from a thousand little lies. ibid.
Throughout the war Hitler believed he had a fully functioning highly efficient network of spies reporting on the British war effort. In fact, every one of those spies was acting as a double agent under British control. ibid.
Hitler’s war had become the bloodiest in history. ibid.
The codename for the great D-Day deception: Operation Bodyguard. ibid.
Large numbers of inflatable tanks and dummy aircraft were assembled in the Kent countryside. ibid.
Over 10,000 Allied troops fell on the first day of invasion. ibid.
Unbelievably, the D-Day lie was still holding. ibid.
Inspired by none other than Ian Fleming ... The job of British Intelligence was to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the target was Greece. Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat, Yesterday 2015
A fiction so dazzling the Germans would accept it as truth. ibid.
The body was inserted into a specially designed canister ... The fake letter landed in the lap of the Germans. ibid.
As we moved in towards land in the gray early light the coffin shaped steel boats took solid green sheets of water that fell on the helmeted heads of the troops, packed shoulder to shoulder in the stiff awkward uncomfortable lonely companionship of men going to a battle. Ernest Hemingway, war correspondent
It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past. General Douglas MacArthur
It is a terrible shame for me – I came back, still alive without having won the war. Shoichi Yokoi, on returning to Japan after surviving 28 years in jungles of Guam before surrendering to Americans 1972
We beat the bastards. Spike Milligan
The Cruel Sea … The Dam Busters … The Colditz Story … Welcome to the 1950s British war film. Simon Heffer, Fifties British War Films: Days of Glory, BBC 2013
The massive cultural impact of these films. ibid.
Our Fifties’ war films have been looked down upon and mocked. ibid.
Hawkins’ towering performance is a masterclass of reserve. ibid.
‘It’s the war – the whole bloody war.’ ibid. Jack Hawkins, The Cruel Sea
The Colditz Story 1955: Sir John Mills plays the lead role of escapee Pat Reid, on whose memoir the film is based. ibid.
Fascinating in its depiction of the Germans. ibid.
The legendary, the incomparable Dam Busters ... A tone of powerful understatement. ibid.
A working-class heroine … Carve Her Name With Pride … Szabo is superbly played by Virginia McKenna. ibid.
A cynical film of epic proportions: Dunkirk 1958 ... Dunkirk was remorseless in showing war’s horrors. ibid.
Ice Cold in Alex 1958: women won the war too. ibid.
Landmarks of our culture. ibid.
It’s 17.00 on a cold starlit night in December 1942. Royal Navy Submarine HMS Tuna is surfacing from the dark waters of the Atlantic … One of the most daring and courageous operations of the Second World War … blow up enemy shipping … A daring raid on the coast of France. Timewatch: The Most Courageous Raid of WWII: The Cockleshell Heroes, BBC 2011
As a leader, [Herbert] Hasler always inspired his men by example. ibid.
Hasler was ordered back to the Combined Operations Headquarters in London. Here he was given the file on the Bordeaux operation – now christened Operation Frankton. ibid.
This would be a one-way journey. ibid.
There was another operation under way: organised by the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, their agents had been given exactly the same mission as Hasler and his men. ibid.
A Whitehall cock-up on a mighty scale. ibid.