A military history podcast that looks at all aspects of WWII.
With WW2 slipping from living memory I aim to look at different historical aspects of the Second World War.
210 - The Battle for Italy, 1943
Hot on the heels of victory in Sicily, the Allies crossed into Southern Italy in September 1943. They expected to drive the Axis forces north and be in Rome by Christmas. Although Italy surrendered, the German forces resisted fiercely, and the swift, hoped-for victory descended into one of the most brutal battles of the war.
I am joined by James Holland, author of The Savage Storm: The Battle for Italy 1943 and co-host of the We Have Ways podcast.
Hospital Trains of WWII
From the middle of the 19th century, the railways had an integral role in warfare. Trains brought food, ammunition and essential supplies. They also transported troops into the combat zone, and then trains would be used to bring men home.
Hospital trains were not a new concept in WWII, but their development moved the carriages away from being ambulances for evacuating the wounded to mobile hospital units with operating theatres.
Joining me is Alexandra Kitty, author of A Different Track: Hospital Trains of the Second World War.
2SAS and Bill Sterling
David Stirling is the name synonymous with the wartime SAS, but the real brains behind the operation was, in fact, Bill Stirling, David’s eldest brother.
Having originally joined the SOE in March 1940, Bill Stirling sailed for Cairo in 1941 and there had the idea for a small special forces unit to be led by his mercurial brother. But despite some success, David allowed the legendary 1SAS to drift under his leadership. Following his capture, Bill re-directed 2SAS, under his personal command, to the strategy he had originally envisaged: parachuting behind enemy lines to gather intelligence.
Joining me is Gavin Mortimer.
Gavin is the author of several books focusing on the SAS, including a biography of David Sterling. His latest book is 2SAS: Bill Stirling and the forgotten special forces unit of World War II.
Tank Warfare in North Africa, 1942-43
If you cast your mind back to episode 187, I discussed the war in the North African desert in 1940-41 with Robert Forczyk. The war in the North African desert was pure mechanised warfare and, in many respects, the most technologically advanced theatre of World War II. It was also the only theatre where, for three years, British and Commonwealth, and later US, troops were in constant contact with Axis forces.
Robert’s follow-up book has just been released, 'Desert Armour: Tank Warfare in North Africa: Gazala to Tunisia, 1942-43’. In this episode of the show, Robert joins me once more. This time, we discuss the fighting in the desert in 1942 through to Mongomery’s victory at El Alamein.
Robert Forczyk has a PhD in International Relations and National Security from the University of Maryland. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the US Army Reserves, having served 18 years as an armour officer and is the author of numerous books focusing on WWII.
The Extraordinary Life of Journalist Wallace Carroll
Journalist Wallace Carroll had a career that spanned 45 years as a journalist. His first foreign posting, in 1929, was to London with the United Press newswire service. Throughout the 1930s, he covered the major events in Europe and witnessed the Spanish Civil War first-hand. Posted back to London, he dictated his early reports of the Blitz from his office rood top. Carroll had a knack for being in places at the right time.
His talents and connections got him noticed, and he finished the war working for the US government with the Office of War Information. Here, he was tasked with counteracting German propaganda and conducting 'physiological warfare'.
Joining me is Mary Llewellyn McNeil.
Mary has written the biography of Carroll, Century's Witness: The Extraordinary Life of Journalist Wallace Carroll.
205 - Victory to Defeat: The British Army 1918-40
As some of you may know, I am also a First World War historian, and the academic history of the war can be very different from the public perspective, which dwells on the first two years of the war.
Forgetting the victories of 1917 and 1918 is not new; it is something the British army did during the inter-war period. Added to this corporate amnesia, there was very little discussion in Britain on who the army might be expected to fight. All this culminated in 1939 with a British army unprepared for war and the defeat in France in 1940.
Joining me once more is Robert Lyman, who, with Richard Dannatt, has written Victory to Defeat: The British Army 1939-40. The book is a compelling account of the mismanagement of the British army from the end of the First World War to the start of the next war.
Absolutely awesome podcast
This podcast gets a double thumbs up from this listener. Great interviews and information.
The best World War II podcast Out There
This podcast is incredibly interesting and fun. I’ve been listening for years.
I can listen to without my mind wandering. I appreciate the guests.