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The attack on the British frigate Amethyst on the Yangtze River by Chinese Communists in 1949 made world headlines. There was even more publicity when the ship made a dramatic escape after being trapped for 101 days. Eulogised by the British as an example of outstanding courage and fortitude, the 'Yangtze Incident' was even made into a feature film, which depicted the ship and her crew as innocent victims of Communist aggression. ??The truth was more complex, and so sensitive that the government intended that the files should be closed until 2030. However, these have now been released and in making use of these documents this book is the first to tell the full story. What emerges is an intriguing tale of intelligence failure, military over-confidence and a hero with feet of clay _ it is by no means as heroic as the well-publicised official version, but every bit as entertaining. While the reputations of diplomatic and naval top brass take a knock, the bravery and ingenuity of those actively involved shines even more brightly. Written with verve and including much new and surprising information, this book is both enjoyable and informative.
In 1927, Chiang Kai-shek - the head of China’s military academy and leader of the Kuomintang (KMT) - began the ‘northern expeditions’ to bring China’s northern territories back under the control of the state. It was during this period that the KMT purged communist activities, fractured the army and sparked the Chinese Civil War - which would rage for over twenty years. The communists, led by General Mao Tse-Tsung, were for much of the period forced underground and concentrated in the Chinese countryside. As the author argues, this resulted in China’s war featuring unusually high levels of espionage and sabotage, and increased the military importance of information gathering. Based on newly declassified material, Panagiotis Dimitrakis charts the double-crossings, secret meetings and bloody assassinations which would come to define China’s future. Uniquely, The Secret War for China gives equal weighting to the role of foreign actors: the role of British intelligence in unmasking Communist International (Comintern) agents in China, for example, and the allies’ attempts to turn nationalist China against the Japanese. The Secret War for China also documents the clandestine confrontation between Mao and Chiang and the secret negotiations between Chiang and the Axis Powers, whose forces he employed against the CCP once the Second World War was over. In his turn, Mao employed nationalist forces who had defected - during the last three years of the civil war about 105 out of 869 KMT generals defected to the CCP. This book is an urgent and necessary guide to the intricacies of the Chinese Civil War, a war which decisively shaped the modern Asian world.
This is the untold story of the Falklands War as experienced by a below-decks seaman on one of the most important ships to be despatched to the South Atlantic. It is a no-holds-barred account as seen through the eyes of a Royal Navy matelot who shared the terror of the first encounter with Argentinean forces when South Georgia was retaken from the invaders in Operation Paraquat. Then HMS Antrim lead the first attack into the North Falklands Sound where she destroyed enemy defences and later became part of the main force anti-aircraft defences in the infamous 'Bomb Alley' or San Carlos Water. During one of the many air attacks the ship was struck by a bomb that destroyed her defensive missile system, but through pure chance the bomb did not explode and remained aboard wedged in the aft 'heads'. All around the stricken ship other RN vessels were taking extreme punishment from the almost continuous onslaught from low-flying Argentinean jets. HMS Antelope, HMS Coventry and the Atlantic Conveyer were all lost within a short period whilst the army was trying to establish a bridgehead.
For the British, the Battle of the Atlantic was a fight for survival. They depended on the safe transit of hundreds of convoys of merchant ships laden with food, raw materials and munitions from America to feed the country and to keep the war effort going, and they had to export manufactured goods to pay for it all. So Britain's merchant navy, a disparate collection of private vessels, became the country's lifeline, while its seamen, officially non-combatants, bravely endured the onslaught of the German U-boat offensive until Allied superiority overwhelmed the enemy.??In this important, moving and exciting book, drawing extensively on first-hand sources, the acclaimed maritime historian Richard Woodman establishes the importance of the British and Allied merchant fleets in the struggle against Germany and elevates the heroic seamen who manned them to their rightful place in the history of the Second World War.
The flawed characters of 27 men who were awarded the world's most prestigious bravery award, some of whom ended up in prison or were shunned by officialdom and a once adoring public.

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