On 16 July 1940, Hitler issued Directive No. 16, setting in motion Operation Sea Lion: his plan to invade England. The success of Operation Sea Lion hinged entirely on the destruction of the RAF and the Royal Navy, but even as Hitler's plans swung into action and England, barely recovered from Dunkirk, rallied her defences, the Battle of Britain began and in just a few months Germany had lost all hope of dominating England's skies and with it, the key to the invasion. On 17 September, 1940, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion indefinitely and the entire episode faded from memory. It would be another 17 years before Peter Fleming rescued the story from military archives and, together with the recollections of those involved, pieced together the dramatic preparations for what could have been one of the most significant and potentially world-changing battles in history.
Public Domain ©1957 Peter Fleming (P)2012 Audible Ltd
Fleming was Bond author Ian's brother, and the book dates back to a time sufficiently soon after the war that he could draw on a lot more eye-witness accounts than more recent books.
It's read by the amazingly prolific Gordon Griffin, who's done well over 600 audio books, and who has, to be fair, the perfect delivery to do Fleming's delightfully British prose justice, as well as slipping into a quite subtle German accent where necessary. I have to admit, I really enjoyed it - Fleming isn't a journalist per se, so you won't find this having the tone of something by, say, Max Hastings. He's very much a crafter of words, with some delightful turns of phrase and astute observations.
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