Oflag VI-B, Warburg, Germany: On the night of 30 August 1942 - 'Zero Night' - 40 officers from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa staged the most audacious mass escape of the Second World War. It was the first 'Great Escape' - but instead of tunnelling, the escapers boldly went over the huge perimeter fences using wooden scaling contraptions. This was the notorious 'Warburg Wire Job', described by fellow prisoner and fighter ace Douglas Bader as 'the most brilliant escape conception of this war'. Months of meticulous planning and secret training hung in the balance during three minutes of mayhem as prisoners charged the camp's double perimeter fences. Telling this remarkable story in full for the first time, historian Mark Felton brilliantly evokes the suspense of the escape itself and the adventures of those who eluded the Germans, as well as the courage of the civilians who risked their lives to help them in enemy territory. Fantastically intimate and told with a novelist's eye for drama and detail, this is a rip-roaring adventure story, all the more thrilling for being true.
This is the story of the famous ‘Warburg Wire Job’, the mass escape from Oflag VI-B, Warburg, during the Second World War. To Douglas Bader, fighter ace and fellow prisoner at the camp, it was ‘the most brilliant escape conception of this war’. One night in August 1942, dozens of Allied officers – British, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans – climbed wooden scaling devices positioned against the camp’s double perimeter fences, while German-speaking colleagues distracted the guards with bogus commands. In all, 28 men managed to escape from the camp. As Mark Felton demonstrates in this engrossing book, the escape – Operation Olympia – was only made possible by months of painstaking planning and training, as well as precise coordination on Zero Night itself. Felton’s action-packed account provides a fitting tribute to the ingenuity of the escapees, and the bravery of the civilians who subsequently assisted them.
'Major Tom Stallard, born in this city in 1904, masterminded one of the most daring and ingenious bids for freedom ever, yet he remains an unsung hero. That is until now, because a major new book plans to put the record straight, and give Bath's hero the place in history he deserves.'
'The story of a lesser known - but perhaps the greatest - escape of Second World War prisoners has been told in a new book.'
'This generally untold story of the daring night escape of August 30, 1942, is now skilfully retold by author Mark Felton [...] in his new book Zero Night. For once, the book's blurb is accurate in describing Felton's racy work as a rip-roaring adventure, all the more thrilling for being true .'
Mike Scanlon The Newcastle Herald
'Felton's action-packed account provides a fitting tribute to the ingenuity of the escapees and of the brave civilians who subsequently assistant them.'
The Good Book Guide
'The story of what is being hailed as the greatest escape of the Second World War has been told for the first time.'
John Coles Western Daily Express
'The story of the greatest escape of World War II has been told for the first time. The audacious breakout saw dozens of Allied prisoners of war scale the wire at a camp deep in Nazi Germany using four huge ladders they had made and disguised as bookshelves. During the breakout 32 prisoners got out and legendary pilot Douglas Bader, who was a prisoner in Oflag VI-B camp near Warburg, described it as the most daring escape of the war.'
Keiligh Baker Daily Mail
Publication date: 02/10/2014
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
|Publication date:||2nd October 2014|
|Publisher:||Icon Books Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, History,|
|Categories:||Second World War, Prisoners of war, European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Mark Felton has written over a dozen books on prisoners of war, Japanese war crimes and Nazi war criminals, and writes regularly for magazines such as Military History Monthly and World War II. He is the author of Today is a Good Day to Fight, an acclaimed history of the American west, and Japan's Gestapo (named 'Best Book of 2009' by The Japan Times). His most recent book is China Station: The British Military in the Middle Kingdom, 1839-1997. Originally from Colchester, Dr Felton has returned to the UK after living for almost a decade in Shanghai, China. He is ...More About Mark Felton