Entries by James Holland

On the Road with Brothers in Arms

When Sicily 43 came out last autumn, we were still in the grip of the pandemic, still in lockdown and unable to travel very far and wide.  A year on and I’m glad to say I can now get out and about and actually give a few talks.  So, this is what is lined up […]

WORLD WAR II TV DOCUMENTARIES

A few years ago, I was having lunch with Richard Lake, a businessman based in Bomber County, Lincolnshire.  Richard is a great fellow and has an especially keen interest in the Second World War.  It was he who personally paid for the Canadian Lancaster to fly over to the UK for the summer, for example.  […]

SICILY ’43: The Assault on Fortress Europe

  In terms of men landed in a single day, Operation HUSKY, the Allied assault of Sicily on 10 July 1943, remains the largest amphibious invasion ever mounted in the history of the world.  More than 160,000 American, British and Canadian troops were dropped from the sky or came ashore that day, more than on […]

The Triumph of the Dams Raid

Such was the secrecy in which Operation CHASTISE was mounted, the first anyone other than those directly involved knew about it was on the afternoon of Monday, 17th May, 1943.  Some nine hours after the last Lancaster had touched back down, a carefully worded BBC communiqué announced that the giant Möhne and Eder Dams in […]

The Bengal Famine – Was Churchill to Blame?

This is an extract from my book Burma 44:  Before heading across the Bay of Bengal, the men and tanks of the 25th Dragoons were based briefly at barracks to the south of the centre of Calcutta. Because it was suspected that the city was seething with Japanese agents, the tanks were hidden away in […]

Dick Winters

The main reason for being in Gettysburg was to visit Erik Dorr and his partner Cheryl, who run the truly amazing Gettysburg Museum of History. This is in Baltimore Street right in the very heart of old Gettysburg and is also housed in Erik’s family home – Erik’s forebears have been living there for generations […]

Gettysburg

I was first at Gettysburg some ten years ago – staying there while I was researching at the nearby Army Heritage Centre at Carlisle Barracks, some fifteen miles away from the town. It was November and stupidly, I’d forgotten about Thanksgiving Day, which fell while I was there. Since it was a public holiday, the […]

DUNKIRK: DOES HISTORICAL ACCURACY MATTER?

I’ve just been to a screening of this very exciting new movie by Christopher Nolan. By all accounts, it was a long-time-coming passion project and it’s just fantastic that Nolan, an A-list Hollywood director, should have the clout to persuade a major studio like Warner Bros to back a film that does not have a […]

Battle of Britain Day 76 Years On

Even today, we still tend to paint a picture of plucky little Britain against mighty Germany in 1940 and the myth persists, incredibly, that the RAF was on its last legs in early September and that had it not been for the Luftwaffe switching tactics and attacking London and cities instead of airfields, it would […]

Wine & War: Sicily

Sicily: an island of myths and legends, and of ancient ruins; a land that has been repeatedly invaded and conquered, that has inspired travellers and adventurers, great artists and writers.  It is a land of mystery and magic, of the Mafia and of revolutionaries, and a place where the Arab world meets the European.   It […]

Dunkirk 1940: Hitler’s Halt Order

Just why Hitler gave his infamous order to halt the advancing panzer divisions on 24 May 1940 has been the subject of speculation and controversy ever since.  But I reckon I’m pretty sure how and why it happened in this short extract from my book, The Battle of Britain…   Momentous decisions were now about to made […]

General Mark Clark & the Fall of Rome

On the whole, historians have not been kind to General Mark Clark and his handling of the Italian campaign. He wavered at Salerno, say his detractors, sent the Texans of the US 36th Division to needless deaths across the River Rapido, and most heinous of all, disobeyed General Alexander’s orders to cut off the retreating […]