Sitting Ducks (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
|Length: 46 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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It's the story of Operation Griffin, a daring but unquestionably doomed mission by Hitler's High Command to send German soldiers impersonating American GIs behind enemy lines to disrupt the Allied war machinery with acts of sabotage and destruction.
Led with bluff and bravado by Waffen-SS commando Otto Skorzeny an elite German unit named "Einheit Stielau" and made up of 150 English-speaking recruits and volunteers foolishly set out in American Jeeps and other captured military vehicles during the opening salvo of the Ardennes Offensive on Dec. 16, 1994. [Copy edit to correct: 1944]
Popular lore has glorified the false flag operation in fiction and movies. Anderson tells the story straight and wants to right the historical record by stripping away any myth or hype.
"Operation Griffin" was anything but a carefully planned mission carried out by a highly trained commando unit. Instead, it was a last-ditch, ill-conceived frenetic tactic pulled off by ill-equipped volunteers that was damned from the start.
In addition to correcting history Anderson tells a gripping story of how it must have felt to be a German infiltrator where "one can only imagine what it was like, moving among the enemy while disguised as one."
You get a sense of being pummeled by the winter weather, the sights and smells war, "from the black putrid smoke of exhaust and burning rubber to the sour vapors of leaking gasoline." Added to that was the pungent stink of "charred and rotting flesh of men, civilians and cows in all their grotesque death poses."
Once they had crossed the enemy lines, the Germans had means to identify themselves to each other. They should wear pink or blue scarves, leave the second button on their American jackets unbuttoned or tap their helmet twice if stopped by a German sentry.
If cornered or challenged by Allied forces the imposters were told to improvise with American slang such as "Go lay an egg" or "So's your old man." If the situation was grim, the infiltrators were advised to pretend to have diarrhea, drop their pants and trot off to nearby bushes.
Anderson tells a compelling tale. He corrects the historical record. What I appreciated most is that he does a thorough, well researched job of following the story through to an ill-fated conclusion that for many of the reluctant German soldiers meant execution by an Allied firing squad.
"Sitting Ducks" relates the story of Operation Greif with a nonfiction approach. The author noted that over the years since the war, the German plan to sabotage the American forces has become legendary, despite the fact that the operation was largely a failure and had no real impact on the outcome of the battle.
In fact, the operation was doomed to failure from the outset. The leader of the operation, SS Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny, although a hero to the German people and to Hitler himself, had never commanded a full-fledged combat unit. Also, he was only given a few weeks to recruit English-speaking soldiers and train them enough that they could pass for American GIs, a virtually impossible task. Skorzeny had been promised thousands of men, captured Sherman tanks, plus all of the military uniforms and hardware that GIs would be expected to have, but he only received a few hundred men, some jeeps, and a smattering of other equipment. Most of his men were soon killed or captured and shot as spies. Many of them could barely speak English - an obvious giveaway - and others were betrayed by not having GI dog tags, not knowing the day's password, or their mannerisms.
The author's writing was very tight, with no wasted words. His story of Operation Greif was more than just a recitation of facts; he included names of actual participants and recounted their experiences, noting, however, that many had been killed or shot as spies, and dead men told no tales.
It was obvious that the author did extensive research, and he included a helpful bibliography of sources used.
"Sitting Ducks" was a fascinating story about one of the most interesting footnotes of World War II. I recommend it to anyone who reads history, especially military history.
of the war was so close.
Despite all effords the action was not succesful on German side. The book is rather short, so everybody can read its end. After II World War Skorzeny refuge to Spain; he cooperate with Franco. He died in 1975 ;and he had his furneral with honors.
Most recent customer reviews
The brief look at the situation and feelings of those involved is interesting and informative.