Throughout WWII, thousands of Allied prisoners dreamed of outwitting their captors and returning to war against the Axis. Their ingenuity knew no bounds: they went over the barbed wire surrounding them and under it as well; they built tunnels of enormous length and complexity, often working with only their bare hands. They concealed themselves in their captors’ vehicles and hitched rides to freedom. They became world-class forgers and tailors; they stole anything that might be useful to their escapes that wasn’t actually red-hot or nailed down.
Some of them made it to freedom; some did not. Many of those who failed simply tried again and again until they succeeded. Some of the escapers who were caught were murdered by the Japanese or the German Gestapo. That did not stop others from risking torture or death to gain their freedom. Many men whose break was initially successful would not have survived save for the dangerous, selfless help of civilians, especially in occupied Europe and the Philippine Islands.
The stories in The Greatest Escapes of WWII highlight the courage, endurance, and ingenuity of Allied prisoners, chronicling their ceaseless efforts and the alarm that spread far and wide when one or more escaped. These escapes tied up thousands of Axis soldiers who might otherwise have prolonged the war for many more bloody months. The troops committed to guard the Allied prisoners and recapture escapers numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Col. Robert Barr Smith (Ret) has a BA in History and Doctor of Laws from Stanford University. He entered the United States Army as a private and retired as a colonel, serving in Vietnam, twice in Germany and with troop units and on posts throughout the United States. He was a senior Parachutist with 65 jumps, and his decorations include the Legion of Merit (two awards) and the Bronze Star. After retiring from the service, Col. Smith became a law professor at the University of Oklahoma. He now lives in Blue Eye, Missouri, where he is a full-time writer.
He is the author or co-author of sixteen books and well over a hundred magazine articles in such periodicals as Military History, Wild West, British Heritage, Vietnam, World War II History, and Civil War Times.
Laurence J. Yadon is an attorney, mediator and arbitrator and speaker on legal subjects and the American West. He is general counsel of a federal power administration which markets federally generated hydropower in a six-state area. Mr. Yadon provides legal and legislative advice on employment, labor, construction, general contract, real estate, telecommunications and utility matters.
Mr. Yadon is the current editor of the Tulsa Lawyer magazine as well as past co-chair and current newsletter editor of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the Oklahoma Bar Association. He also serves on the University of Tulsa, College of Law Sustainable Energy & Resources Law Board of Visitors.
A graduate of the University of Tulsa and University of Oklahoma College of Law, Mr. Yadon has served as a Fact Finder for the Department of Justice. He has been an Adjunct Settlement Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma since 1994.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Tom, Dick, and Harry-Tunneling out of top-security Stalag Luft III 1
Chapter 2 Before Their Very Eyes-No place to start digging a tunnel? Why, dig it in the open prison yard, the entrance hidden by a vaulting horse over which other prisoners carried on vaulting 19
Chapter 3 The Ruth-Lee-Three thousand miles to freedom in Australia … in an open boat 33
Chapter 4 After Midnight-The Danish underground's spectacular rescue of most of Denmark's Jewish population 45
Chapter 5 Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Good-bye-A young Australian's multiple escapes 63
Chapter 6 The Wizards of MI9-The highly effective British escape organization and the men who ran it 71
Chapter 7 The Man Who Wouldn't Quit-Douglas Bader, the RAF wing commander who gave his German captors fits … even though he had two aluminum legs 85
Chapter 8 Deliverance from Evil-American Rangers free more than five hundred POWs threatened with death in the Philippines 93
Chapter 9 Dedee's Way-Young Countess Andree de Jongh, mastermind of the Comete Escape Line, which helped Allied forces personnel escape from occupied Europe 103
Chapter 10 Night Crossing-The Black Watch officer who escaped the Germans by sheer persistence, daring, and small boat handling 117
Chapter 11 Twelve Iron Men-Ten very tough Americans and two Filipino murderers escape the Japanese on the Philippine island of Davao 127
Chapter 12 Come What May-American nurses are snatched from the site of a New Guinea plane crash by glider 143
Chapter 13 Operation Jericho-The RAF bombed the Amiens prison at zero feet, smashing holes in the stone walls and freeing hundreds of prisoners, some condemned to death 161
Chapter 14 Ming, the Dog Who Knew-The pet of the Jericho leader knew when her master was flying, and this time knew he wasn't coming back 177
Chapter 15 Fighting Man-The saga of Jack Churchill, who went to war with a sword and bow 179
Chapter 16 Operation Halyard-The do-it-yourself air strip 197
Chapter 17 Schloss Colditz and Other Delights-Breaching the walls of a thousand-year-old fortress 207
Chapter 18 If at First You Don't Succeed-Walter Granecki, who found help from unexpected places in the heart of Fascist Italy 219
Chapter 19 The Magicians-Christopher Clayton Hutton, who developed remarkable tools for remarkable escapes 227