Fatal Decisions: Errors and Blunders in World War II

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9781557502858: Fatal Decisions: Errors and Blunders in World War II
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This collection of both well-known and previously unpublished World War II incidents highlights the truism, plans often go awry in war. The margin can be narrow between negligence, incompetence, and simple error that results in tragedy. While miscalculations by those involved in the international game of power politics can bring setbacks to nations, in war mistakes by generals and battlefield commanders cost lives. The author, a veteran of the British air force, recounts more than sixty cases of costly battle errors or blunders and asks the question: was the tragedy a matter of incompetence, bad planning, or simply bad luck? He tells the story of how nature conspired against a squadron of Stukas that dove into the earth after mistaking ground fog for clouds and how an unanticipated low tide at Tarawa left the U.S. Marine landing force exposed to prolonged and deadly enemy fire. The infamous sinking of the USS Indianapolis and Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess's bizarre 1941 defection are also included in this survey of futility and sacrifice.

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Copy from the front book flip (to me, a very accurate description of the book): In the heat of battle it is all too easy for the fighting man to become disoriented, confused or to misread a tactical situtation. This is true of any fighting unit operating in the air, on land or at sea. By today's standards, communication facilities in WWII were primitive, unreliable and prone to enemy interception. It is these major factors which are generally at the root of the incidents of war that are included in this book. IMHO, the 69 incidents in this 236 content page book are very interesting indeed. However, I am obliged to comment that if the author had employed a good editor, the outcome will be far better. Frequently I had to read the same passages several times to make sure I understood the whole stuff. In case you are a fan of war stories, this one will satisfy you well. If you know little about WWII and just want to read for leisure, I suggest you to give this a pass. Below please find one of the shortest incident "The Bodenplatte Aftermath" for your reference. On New Year's Day 1945, while Allied troops and airmen were to some extent celebrating, over 1000 German planes struck in Operation "Bodenplatte", able to take the Allied air bases on the continent completely by surprise. But, if the Allies blundered by not waking up until too late, the enemy too made an error that proved devastating to the attackers. First, eighteen Polish Spitfires, about twelve other Allied planes and several petrol bowsers went in flames at St Denis Westrem in Belgium. At Brussels, eighty five planes were destroyed on the ground. At Eindhoven in Holland a Canadian unit lost all its Typhoons. The Germans claimed 439 Allied planes destroyed on the ground or in the air, admitting a loss of ninety-three. But on their return flights a further 184 German aircraft fell victim to their own flak gunners, who had not been warned of these planes' routing. --Servant of God

When I first saw this book, it was on sale in a bookstore for very cheap. I had some money so I bought it, figuring if it was bad, at least I didn't waste a lot of money on it. However now that I have read it, it has become one of my favorite books! It tells little known stories of WWII and all of them are very interesting. Like the synopsis says "some will make you laugh, and others will make you cry". I recommend this book to anyone, not just history buffs, because it is a wonderfully written book about events you normally wouldn't hear about from the standard WWII books. --martianaeg

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780785813668: Fatal Decisions: Errors and Blunders in World War II

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ISBN 10:  0785813667 ISBN 13:  9780785813668
Publisher: Castle Books, 2001
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9781840371048: Fatal Decisions: Errors and Blunders in World War II

Airlif..., 2002
Hardcover

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