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NEW FROM FRENCH L. MACLEAN

Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk

The Men of SS Panzer Regiments 1, 2 & 3 in Operation Citadel, July 5-15, 1943

Now Available
Waffen-SS Tiger Crews at Kursk

Books by French MacLean

This Date in History: July 5

 

The Fifth Field, the location northeast of Paris of the remains of U.S. soldiers executed in World War II

On Thursday, July 5, 1945, U.S. Army official executioners hanged U.S. Army Private John T. Jones and Private Henry W. Nelson for the crime of rape and Private Charles H. Jefferies for the crime of murder at the Peninsular Base Section Stockade in Aversa, Italy.  (The Fifth Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II)

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Peter Cremer

Peter Cremer, Navy Lieutenant Commander, born March 25, 1911 in Metz, commander U-333, commander 31st U-Boat Flotilla, winner Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, author of U-Boat Commander: A Periscope View of the Battle of the Atlantic, died on July 5, 1992 in Hamburg, said of courage:

“A fighting man will allow matters to come to the crunch and accept the risks – and is usually buoyed by the feeling: it won’t happen to me.  But once he has been marked…and, barely recovered, returns to the fight, then things look different: he has experienced wounds and pain and knows he can suffer the experience again at any moment.  He knows that imminent death is not merely possible but indeed probable.”  (2,000 Quotes From Hitler’s 1,000-Year Reich)

Welcome to an Adventure!

Do you enjoy solving mysteries ? Do you like to travel in time when you read ? Are you looking to discover history books that tell what really happened ? Then come on in.

I had a great life spending over thirty years in the Army; was able to help defend the country in two wars with a bunch of tremendous soldiers and any success I may have had was due to each and every one of them; as I frequently tell my friends — I am no hero, but I served with heroes and you can’t do any better than that. I was also able to see the world, help develop complex technology and understand that I lived in a pretty special country. The only downside to all that Army time was that after I retired, doing regular day-to-day living was pretty boring.

So I started to write. It didn’t and doesn’t bring you much money, but it sure has been interesting traveling around the country and the world to chase after historical mysteries. I came across a page or two in some World War II history books, for example, on some special Waffen-SS unit in World War II that was composed of criminals let out of jail — but there were not that many details about it — and by luck I ran into detailed records of the unit buried in our National Archives. That led to The Cruel Hunters: SS-Sonderkommando Dirlewanger Hitler’s Most Notorious Anti-Partisan Unit.

Several more books on Germany in World War II followed: the dark side with works on concentration camps, Einsatzkommandos, and the Destruction of the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto, and more-traditional writings on Luftwaffe Knights Cross winners and U-Boat sailors. That was fun, because I was able to interview many of them.

On a trip out to the Little Bighorn, I began to wonder what life was like for the basic enlisted cavalryman. All the existing books talked about officers — George Custer, Marcus Reno and Frederick Benteen — but what about the hundreds of privates and sergeants? That search led to Custer’s Best: The Story of Company M, 7th Cavalry at the Little Bighorn, which was able to win the John M. Carroll Award.

Then, in 2001, I discovered U.S. Army records that were languishing outside Washington, D.C. that contained the story of 96 American soldiers who were court-martialed in Europe and North Africa in World War II and subsequently executed by the Army — not the German Army, but our own Army. And they were buried in a secret cemetery northwest of Paris that is not shown on any map! It took me a decade to run down all the loose ends, but we finally got the story, which led to The Fifth Field: The Story of the 96 American Soldiers Sentenced to Death and Executed in Europe and North Africa in World War II, which subsequently received the Lieutenant General Richard G. Trefry Award. In fact, if you only read one of the books, read this one! Because it will show you that if you are willing to hunt for the truth long enough, you can find it and document it.

More recently, I stumbled across a little known battlefield in southeast Montana on a bed & breakfast ranch, and just turned in into Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Gold and Guns: The 1874 Yellowstone Wagon Road and Prospecting Expedition and the Battle of Lodge Grass Creek. It is the saga of a Montana wagon train in Montana in 1874 that was searching for gold. The 150 gold miners, buffalo hunters and Civil War veterans did not find any gold, but they did run into Sitting Bull and 1,400 of his closest friends. You can visit the route they took today as many of their campsites and their three major skirmishes with Sitting Bull are all shown with GPS coordinates that you can just plug into your device.

I helped a great friend finish his own non-fiction book on the murder of Tsar Nicholas II, as well as a magazine article analyzing the Little Bighorn Cook-Benteen Note (it might have been “doctored” after the battle.) His book is titled Romanovs’ Murder Case: The Myth of the Basement Room Massacre. (Spoiler Alert: The Bolsheviks lied about what happened, and there was an American Army officer closely involved with the event.)

Then I finished a massive book on the German offensive at Verdun in 1916, but so far have been unable to contract with a publisher, so if you know of one that might be interested let me know!

More successful is a book, which came out in October 2019, a biography of Master Sergeant John C. Woods, the U.S. Army hangman in Europe at the end of World War II, who stayed on to hang numerous Nazi war criminals at Landsberg and Nürnberg in 1945-46. American Hangman: MSgt. John C. Woods: The United States Army’s Notorious Executioner in World War II and Nürnberg.

The latest book is on the Tiger tank crews of the 2nd SS Panzer Corps at the Battle of Kursk in July 1943. This is the first work in any language concentrating on the crews, rather than the tank; there are over 220 crewmen that rode on these super tanks. It is published by Schiffer, came out October 28, 2020, and is shown above.

I have finished a book on my father’s experience as an Infantry soldier in the 9th Infantry Division in World War II. He fought in the Hürtgen Forest and The Battle of the Bulge and will be about what it was like to be a young infantryman in these two bloody battles. They had a really tough time; in just the last eleven months of the war, they had 87 killed in action and several hundred wounded. But they only had 177 soldiers assigned and you’ll see some guys were wounded up to three times and some replacements arrived at the company in the morning and were dead by sundown. I’m now searching for a publisher. I’ve put my heart and soul in this because of my father and I think it will be the last book I write, so wish us luck! It’s tentative title will be Dying Hard.

Two books are ready for you right now, completely FREE, and can be found in the E-Books section. Both are novels. One is a crime novel set in Puerto Rico that touches on the murder of famed boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho, and the other a new version of “Dante’s Inferno” with World War II personages occupying the various levels of hell. Both books are downloadable in three formats. There are no ads or commercials in either one, and both are ABSOLUTELY FREE.

Another observation I made while in the Army was that the world is a dangerous place and unfortunately a lot of that danger is coming to our own country. September 11, 2001 should have been a wake-up call, but too many lessons have already been forgotten and acts of terror now occur in large cities and small towns across the country. So I have also started several projects to help people organize their thoughts on personal protection (such as the Walther PPQ M2 .45 ACP pistol,) and how we might want to analyze some of these enemies to our nation (see Strategy, Weapons and Tactics).

So come on inside and go on Your Own Adventure!

Latest News

In many World War II death penalty cases, military psychiatrists, using intelligence tests, found that the accused were substantially below average.  Such was not the case with Private First Class Paul M. Kluxdal.

Paul Kluxdal

Born on July 17, 1907 in Merrill, Wisconsin, Kluxdal was a radio operator in his unit, an occupation that required some real skill.  From November 19, 1924 to July 14, 1927, he had served in the Wisconsin National Guard; he also attended the University of Wisconsin for two years.  Prior to enlisting, Kluxdal, who was white, was married and lived in Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois; he was a construction foreman, building commercial chimneys.  His wife worked for the War Department in Chicago; the couple had no children.  Then Private First Class Paul Kluxdal did two stupid things.  For several months, he made threatening statements against his first sergeant.  Then, on August 12, 1944, he shot and killed his first sergeant.  Despite his intelligence, that combination of events would get him hanged.

Master Sergeant John C Woods, US Army Hangman

Master Sergeant John C. Woods hanged Paul Kluxdal at the Seine Disciplinary Training Center on October 31, 1944, Halloween.  And just like some of the scary visions of that holiday, the hanging was botched and it appears that it took eighteen minutes for the condemned man to die.

The Fifth Field analyzes the entire Kluxdal case and its contradictory evidence, as well as the execution (which is also discussed in American Hangman) and you can come to your own conclusion as to what should have happened in this case.

British historian Paul Johnson kindly found this photograph of Paul Kluxdal and sent it to me, […]

June 27, 2022|

Henry U.S. Survival AR-7

In an iconic scene in From Russia with Love, James Bond assembles an ArmaLite AR-7 takedown rifle, removing the barrel and receiver from their storage slots in the weapon’s buttstock.  Attaching a small scope, he scans for his quarry, the dastardly Krilencu, a Bulgarian assassin who works for SMERSH.  Bond is about to take the shot when his ally, Kerim Bey, whom Krilencu had recently wounded in the shoulder, asks to pull the trigger, which he does with success.  The scene ends with Kerim Bey remarking, “That pays many debts.”

Good enough for Bond, James Bond

Today, the Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 has replaced the older ArmaLite model, and while the .22 rifle may not repay the type of debts Kerim Bey was referring to, it will accomplish many tasks and just might keep you alive in the process.  Henry says, “Don’t Leave Civilization Without One”, and while that is excellent advice, you may also need it when some elements in your day-to-day life become positively  “uncivil”.  It is a deadly rat gun.

Since 1959, when it was designed for U.S. Air Force flight crews that might have to bail out over rugged terrain, the AR-7’s reputation for portability, ease of operation and reliability has carried over to the civilian world, around the world.  It is a favorite of bush pilots, backpackers and backcountry adventurers around the world who, like their Air Force counterparts, need a rifle that’s easy to carry, but also has the accuracy to reliably take down small game as food sources.

An eight-shot semi-automatic, it is lightweight (3.5 lbs.) and highly portable.  At just 16.5″ long, when all the components are stowed, it easily fits into the […]

May 17, 2022|
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