The big break : the greatest American WWII POW escape story never told

Dando-Collins, Stephen, author

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Stephen Dando-Collins
  • Format Books
  • Publication First edition. New York : St. Martin's Press, [2017]
  • Physical Details
    • xvii, 252 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
  • ISBNs 9781250087560, 1250087562, 9781250087577
  • OCLC ocn965617282

Summary

  • "Oflag 64, a World War II prisoner of war (POW) camp based in Schubin, Poland, was speculated to be one of the only POW camps set up exclusively for U.S. Army ground component officers. About 150 American officers lived in the camp in 1943, and by 1945, that number had expanded to 1,500. When the German commandant Colonel Fritz Schneider received orders to march all of his prisoners to west Germany to escape the Russians in January 1945, that number declined rapidly as the American officers put into place long-existing escape plans that would make history. In The Big Break, we follow famous POWs, such as General Eisenhower's personal aide, General Patton's son-in-law, and Ernest Hemingway's eldest son, as the first American escapes via a tunnel in a stinking latrine, with almost 250 US officers following closely behind in a mass break. The Schubin escapes are by far the largest Allied POW escape of the second World War, surpassing even The Great Escape of 1944. Historian Stephen Dando-Collins chronicles the gripping story of irrepressible Americans determined to be free, brave Poles risking their lives to help them, and dogmatic Nazis determined to stop them"--
  • "The story opens in the stinking latrines of the Schubin camp as an American and a Canadian lead the digging of a tunnel which enabled a break involving 36 prisoners of war (POWs). The Germans then converted the camp to Oflag 64, to exclusively hold US Army officers, with more than 1500 Americans ultimately housed there. Plucky Americans attempted a variety of escapes until January, 1945, only to be thwarted every time. Then, with the Red Army advancing closer every day, camp commandant Colonel Fritz Schneider received orders from Berlin to march his prisoners west. Game on! Over the next few days, 250 US Army officers would succeed in escaping east to link up with the Russians--although they would prove almost as dangerous as the Nazis--only to be ordered once they arrived back in the United States not to talk about their adventures. Within months, General Patton would launch a bloody bid to rescue the remaining Schubin Americans. In The Big Break, this previously untold story follows POWs including General Eisenhower's personal aide, General Patton's son-in-law, and Ernest Hemingway's eldest son as they struggled to be free. Military historian and Paul Brickhill biographer Stephen Dando-Collins expertly chronicles this gripping story of Americans determined to be free, brave Poles risking their lives to help them, and dogmatic Nazis determined to stop them"--

Notes

  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 239-243) and index.

Contents

  • Glossary -- The First American to Escape from Schubin -- On the Loose -- The Yanks Move in -- Under, Over and Through the Wire -- Death Sentences -- The Russians Are Coming -- The Big Break, Day One -- Game On -- Meeting the Russkies -- Moscow or Bust -- The First Schubin Escapee Home Runs -- Kriegies on the Run -- The Hammelburg Schubinites -- Patton Wants them Liberated -- Fighting Through to Hammelburg -- The Battle for the Camp -- Busting Out -- One Helluva Night -- Blood and Fire on the Reussenberg -- Freedom so Close -- Liberation -- Welcome Home, Kriegie
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