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The Forgotten 500 de By (author) Gregory A…
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The Forgotten 500 (2007 original; edició 2012)

de By (author) Gregory A Freeman (Autor)

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In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped and sheltered for months by villagers behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of Operation Halyard, a story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery, is now being told for the first time.--From publisher description.… (més)
Membre:Tutter
Títol:The Forgotten 500
Autors:By (author) Gregory A Freeman (Autor)
Informació:New American Library (2012), 313 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:****
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II de Gregory A. Freeman (2007)

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Little known but interesting story from the Second World War. ( )
  jamespurcell | Feb 17, 2020 |
This is the wonderful story of how General Mihailovich risked his life to save over 500 airmen who bailed out over Yugoslavia during WWII on missions to bomb the oil fields in Ploesti. It is also the story of the Serbian people who risked their lives to help these airmen, and how many of them lost their lives as retaliation when they were suspected of aiding the airmen. These people died rather than give the airmen up. It is also the story of how Churchill supported Tito and the partisans and called Mihailovich the enemy. The OSS had recruited men, many of them communists, to work in the service. Later, it turned out these communists were working to sabotage their efforts to rescue the men. This book was very good and easy to read. I thoroughly enjoyed learning a little history while reading this true story some unknown heroes. It read just like a novel. ( )
  sandylw | Mar 23, 2019 |
I was fascinated to read the description that this is the unknown story of over 500 airmen who were rescued from capture in WWII. You bet I'd never heard of any such initiative so got a great deal on Kindle for the book.

The USAAF airmen were lost on the many raids on Ploesti in Rumania. These oilfields were Hitler's main abundant source of fuel so it was a prize for the Nazis to keep and the allies to destroy. Once Italy was invaded the trip was easier for the Americans, but certainly not easy or close, and many raids were made on the facility at considerable loss to the US - as most heavy bombings were. Many aircrew bailed out and landed in Yugoslavia - which at the time while fighting the Nazis were also involved in a civil war between Tito's communist partisans and Milhailovich's royalist democrats. The latter and dirt poor peasants in the mountains tended to the American airman moving them around the mountains ending up in one mountain top hideout, giving them their last clothes and meagre rations.

While this was happening traitors in the Britsh forces loyal to communism (think Philby etc.) kept the news quiet and discredited and eventually convinced the Brits, and then the Americans, that Milhailovich were Nazi collaborators. Eventually brave and dogged OSS operators in Italy dug the story out and landed in Yugoslavia to mount a rescue operation. This involved peasants clearing a mountain top runway where in the summer of 1944 C47s landed one night and took out 48 of then over 200 Americans. The next morning US fighters came over the attacked a nearby Luftwaffe air base while more C47s took out the remaining airmen. By the time Italy was pacified 542 airmen were rescued with no loss of allied life. Remarkable.

But what was equally remarkable but depressing was how it was kept a secret - to save British and overall allied embarrassment on how they'd supported delivering Yugoslavia into communist and Stalin's hands. Pres. Truman awarded Milhailovich the highest non-American medal he could in 1948 after lobbying by numerous OSS vets of Yugoslavia but it was kept quiet. Meanwhile, Milhailovich was already dead after being executed by Tito in 1946.

in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of V-E Day US vets returned to the mountain top they'd left from and were honoured by 50 000 Serbians. Who honoured the Serbs though? It makes one weep.

A great and important book and beautifully written, A quick read but no means short on content. Too bad about the ending but it is N/F.

@GregoryAFreeman ( )
  martinhughharvey | Feb 12, 2019 |
This book covers two different topics: operation Halyard to rescue hundreds of stranded allied airmen who had bailed out over occupied Yugoslavia; and the Serb general Draža Mihailović, and his relationships with the various parties.

The coverage of operation Halyard is interesting, as there's not much else in print on this topic. But the writing style is a bit simplistic and sometimes repetitive.

The coverage of Draža Mihailović seemed very one-sided. It seems he can do no wrong, and is misunderstood and attacked by all sides. There may be a need for a revision of the allies' treatment of Mihailović; but this isn't the way to do it. ( )
  Pondlife | Jul 23, 2017 |
A capably told story which accomplishes what the author intended. The simple language would be suitable for young readers. What stands out for me is that here is another example of shady alliances, duplicity and outright falsehoods that were the fabric of WW2, as well as any war. Luckily for the airmen in this case, George Vugnovich and others ignored their commands and assembled a remarkable rescue mission. Roosevelt and Churchill wouldn't have lost sleep if the whole lot had been massacred. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Aug 23, 2016 |
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A sense of duty pursues us ever. It is omnipresent, like the Deity. If we take to ourselves the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, duty performed or duty violated is still with us, for our happiness or our misery. If we say the darkness shall cover us, in the darkness as in the light our obligations are yet with us.
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Introduction: One of the last untold stories of World War II is also one of the greatest.
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In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 airmen trapped and sheltered for months by villagers behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of Operation Halyard, a story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery, is now being told for the first time.--From publisher description.

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