In this compelling account of the decisive World War II battle of El Alamein, Jon Latimer brings to life the harsh desert conflict in North Africa. In October 1942, after a two-year seesaw campaign across the wasteland of western Egypt and eastern Libya, the British Eighth Army not only achieved a significant military victory over the combined German-Italian Panzer Army but also provided an enormous psychological boost for the Allies.This is the story of two of the most intriguing commanders of the war. Latimer offers remarkably balanced portraits of Bernard Law Montgomery, whose real achievement was overshadowed by his prickly ego, and Erwin Rommel, whose tactical brilliance could not overcome his disdain for the administrative side of war. Alamein, Latimer notes, was a victory for modern armaments, with concentrated artillery used on a scale not seen since 1918. Equally important were the critical contributions of naval and air forces in cutting off the German supply lines and supporting the ground troops, roles largely overlooked in standard accounts.But Alamein is at heart the story of the infantry soldiers who fought in a scorched wilderness. Often using their own words, Latimer vividly describes the experiences of the gunners, sappers, cavalrymen, and airmen--Britons, Canadians, Australians, Indians, Germans, Italians, and others--who struggled in the heat, sand, and dust of this brutal environment.With their success at El Alamein, the British forces would drive Rommel's army into Tunisia--and ultimate destruction in the North African Campaign of 1943.
Alexander William Doniphan (1808-1887)--Missouri attorney, military figure, politician, and businessman--is one of the most significant figures in antebellum Missouri. From the 1830s to the 1880s, Doniphan was active in a variety of affairs in Missouri and held firm to several underlying principles, including loyalty, hard work, the sanctity of the republic, and commitment to Christian charity. However, the key to Doniphan's importance was his persistent moderation on the critical issues of his day.
Doniphan became a household name when he served as the commanding officer of the famed First Missouri Mounted Volunteers during the Mexican-American War. It was during this time that he won two battles, established an Anglo-American-based democracy in New Mexico, and paved the way for the annexation of the territory that became New Mexico and Arizona. He is also recognized by the Mormons for his assistance to their beleaguered church during Missouri's "Mormon War" and for his refusal to execute Joseph Smith when ordered to do so by his commanding officer.
Although Doniphan was a slaveholding unionist, he sought a middle ground to stave off war in the 1850s and early 1860s and served as a delegate to the Washington Peace Conference in 1861. When conflict escalated along the western border of Missouri in 1862, Doniphan moved to St. Louis, where he worked as a lawyer with the Missouri Claims Commission, seeking pensions for refugees.
Doniphan early adopted the Whig ideal of the "positive liberal state" and sought to use the power of government to remake society into something better. Once he saw the heavy-handed use of state power during Reconstruction, however, Doniphan reversed his views on the role of the government in society. For the rest of his life, he resisted government incursions into the lives of the people and sought to restore a healthy Union.
Alexander William Doniphan will be of interest to academic specialists and general readers alike, especially those interested in Mormon studies, Missouri history, military history, and Western history.
A first-hand account of the USS England's accomplishments, written by its commanding officer
The USS England was a 1200-ton, 306-foot, long-hull destroyer escort. Commissioned into service in late 1943 and dispatched to the Pacific the following February, the England and its crew, in one 12-day period in 1944, sank more submarines than any other ship in U.S. naval history: of the six targets attacked, all six were destroyed. For this distinction, legendary in the annals of antisubmarine warfare, the ship and her crew were honored with the Presidential Unit Citation.
After convoying in the Atlantic, John A. Williamson was assigned to the England—first as its executive officer, then as its commanding officer—from the time of her commissioning until she was dry-docked for battle damage repairs in the Philadelphia Naval Yard fifteen months later. Besides being a key participant in the remarkable antisubmarine actions, Williamson commanded the England in the battle of Okinawa, where she was attacked by kamikaze planes.
Williamson narrates his memoir with authority and authenticity, describes naval tactics and weaponry precisely, and provides information gleaned from translations of the orders from the Japanese high command to Submarine Squadron 7. The author details the challenges of communal life aboard ship and explains the intense loyalty that bonds crew members for life. Ultimately, Williamson offers a compelling portrait of himself, an inexperienced naval officer who, having come of age in Alabama during the Depression, rose to become the most successful World War II antisubmarine warfare officer in the Pacific.
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