Under the Black Flag [EPUB]

Under the Black Flag [EPUB]
Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates by David Cordingly
1996 | EPUB | 7.53MB

Though literature, films, and folklore have romanticized pirates as gallant seaman who hunted for treasure in exotic locales, David Cordingly, a former curator at the National Maritime Museum in England, reveals the facts behind the legends of such outlaws as Captain Kidd, Blackbeard, and Calico Jack. Even stories about buried treasure are fictitious, he says, yet still the myth remains.

Though pirate captains were often sadistic villains and crews endured barbarous tortures, were constantly threatened with the possibility of death by hanging, drowning in a storm, or surviving a shipwreck on a hostile coast, pirates are still idealized. Cordingly examines why the myth of the romance of piratehood endures and why so few lived out their days in luxury on the riches they had plundered.

The Hill Fights [EPUB]

The Hill Fights [EPUB]
The Hill Fights: The First Battle of Khe Sanh by Edward F Murphy
2003 | EPUB | 1.83MB

While the seventy-seven-day siege of Khe Sanh in early 1968 remains one of the most highly publicized clashes of the Vietnam War, scant attention has been paid to the first battle of Khe Sanh, also known as “the Hill Fights.” Although this harrowing combat in the spring of 1967 provided a grisly preview of the carnage to come at Khe Sanh, few are aware of the significance of the battles, or even their existence. For more than thirty years, virtually the only people who knew about the Hill Fights were the Marines who fought them. Now, for the first time, the full story has been pieced together by acclaimed Vietnam War historian Edward F. Murphy, whose definitive analysis admirably fills this significant gap in Vietnam War literature. Based on first-hand interviews and documentary research, Murphy’s deeply informed narrative history is the only complete account of the battles, their origins, and their aftermath.

The Marines at the isolated Khe Sanh Combat Base were tasked with monitoring the strategically vital Ho Chi Minh trail as it wound through the jungles in nearby Laos. Dominated by high hills on all sides, the combat base had to be screened on foot by the Marine infantrymen while crack, battle-hardened NVA units roamed at will through the high grass and set up elaborate defenses on steep, sun-baked overlooks.

Murphy traces the bitter account of the U.S. Marines at Khe Sanh from the outset in 1966, revealing misguided decisions and strategies from above, and capturing the chain of hill battles in stark detail. But the Marines themselves supply the real grist of the story; it is their recollections that vividly re-create the atmosphere of desperation, bravery, and relentless horror that characterized their combat. Often outnumbered and outgunned by a hidden enemy—and with buddies lying dead or wounded beside them—these brave young Americans fought on.

The story of the Marines at Khe Sanh in early 1967 is a microcosm of the Corps’s entire Vietnam War and goes a long way toward explaining why their casualties in Vietnam exceeded, on a Marine-in-combat basis, even the tremendous losses the Leathernecks sustained during their ferocious Pacific island battles of World War II.

The Hill Fights is a damning indictment of those responsible for the lives of these heroic Marines. Ultimately, the high command failed them, their tactics failed them, and their rifles failed them. Only the Marines themselves did not fail. Under fire, trapped in a hell of sudden death meted out by unseen enemies, they fought impossible odds with awesome courage and uncommon valor.

Flying Among Heroes [EPUB]

Flying Among Heroes [EPUB]
Flying Among Heroes: The Story of Squadron Leader T S C Cooke by Norman Franks, Simon Muggleton
2012 | EPUB | 3.73MB

T.S.C. Cooke joined the RAF as war began in 1939, aged 18, and trained to be a bomber pilot. Rising to the rank of squadron leader and decorated three times, Cooke bombed Berlin on 7 October 1940 in a Whitley Mk V, nearly ditching in the North Sea. Throughout this tour he faced the usual dangers of wartime aircrew, his aircraft being hit by AA fire on several occasions, once almost having to order his aircrew to bail out but landed safely at the last minute. They were also attacked by night fighters, encountered icing and even shot up a train and bomber station at tree-top level. Flying Wellingtons and Stirlings, Cooke took part in the infamous 1,000-bomber raid on Cologne and Essen, before returning to operations flying Special Ops Halifax aircraft, dropping agents into enemy-occupied France.

After a dozen missions, he was shot down but he and his navigator survived and evaded capture. Helped by the French resistance, they got into Spain and returned home via Gibraltar. Both men received the DFC for their bravery. While their story is not totally unique, their adventures and courage make this tale akin to an adventure novel.