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The History of WWII Podcast - by Ray Harris Jr

The History of WWII Podcast - by Ray Harris Jr

A biweekly podcast covering the last great war. Join Ray Harris Jr as he explores World War Two in intimate detail.


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Episode 393-Interview w/ James Shone: The Host of the Taiwan Through Time Podcast & Operation Harpoon

Two Episode Special! James Shone comes on to share what Taiwan, then Formosa was going through during, but also, before the war. Then, as Rommel prepares to surround Tobruk, Churchill and the War Cabinet decide to once again, try to get supplies to Malta. What follows is more disaster and death. The dark year that is 1942 continues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 392: Interview w/ Dr. Paul Gill Jr. about his father?s book: Armageddon in the Arctic Ocean. 2nd Ep: Tobruk is Surrounded

First, Dr. Paul Gill Jr. comes on to talk about his dad?s book about his life and war time adventures, Armageddon in The Arctic Ocean: Up the Hawse Pipe from Galley Boy to Third Mate on a Legendary Liberty Ship in the Biggest Convoy Battle of WWII and then the North Africa campaign continues with Tobruk is Surrounded.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 391-Two Episode Special! Interview w/ Taylor Downing about his book 1942: Winston Churchill and Britain's Darkest Hour and The British 8th Army is Outfoxed

First, historian Taylor Downing comes on to talk about his new book, 1942: Winston Churchill and Britain?s Darkest Hour and then we pick up with Rommel and Ritchie battling it out in North Africa. The Desert Fox will push his men to the breaking point, but the Axis Forces will win the Battle of Gazala. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 390-The Battle of Knightsbridge Box

With the Battle of Bir Hakeem over Rommel is ready to drive on Tobruk, but first he has to get passed the Knightsbridge Box, where the 2nd and 4th Armored Brigades are waiting. What follows is mistakes by both sides, but Rommel reacts more quickly because he is with his men. Meanwhile, 8th Army Commander Ritchie is far away and has no idea what?s going on. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 389-Interview w/ Saul David about his book Devil Dogs

Historian Saul David talks about his latest book, Devil Dogs: From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan. King Company of the legendary 1st Marine Division will take part in 4 major battles in the Pacific; Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu and Okinawa. But first comes the Canal. The Marines were only meant to establish a beach head and pave the way for others to fight. Instead, they will be on Guadalcanal for 4 long months with never enough food, support or men. Still, they have a job to do, hold at all costs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper Stalks London?s War-Torn Streets

Here?s a preview of Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper. Over a single week in February 1942, a depraved serial killer stalked London?s dark and WWII bomb-ravaged streets, hunting for victims in the city?s bars and clubs. Using new research from police files, court transcripts and exhaustive genealogical studies, season 2 of Hallie Rubenhold?s Bad Women reconstructs the lives of the women The Blackout Ripper brutally attacked and murdered. These were women who were dismissed as asking for trouble for choosing to lead independent lives. Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper examines what placed these women at the margins of society and why the war years were perilous for so many women. Listen to Bad Women at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 388-The Battle of Bir Hakeem: The Redemption of French Honor

Now that the Battle of the Cauldron was over, Rommel could come for the Free French at Bir Hakeem, to his SW. With this outpost removed, Africa Corps would be free to drive to the NE and take Tobruk. But the Desert Air Force would strive mightily to save the French, now dubbed, The Fighting French. And those men, a mixed bag of nationalities would show the Nazis and the world, the heart of a warrior. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 387-The Battle of the Cauldron

Rommel anticipates British 8th Army?s attack and prepares. The attack, Operation Aberdeen is launched, but will come to a sad end. This allows Rommel to commence his own attack, scattering thousands of Allies troops before him. The Battle of the Cauldron was supposed to be the beginning of end of The Desert Fox. Instead, it will be the beginning of the end of Gen. Neil Ritchie.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 386-Damien Lewis talks about his book, Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy

Writer Damien Lewis returns to discuss his latest book about the beautiful Josephine Baker. She has found everything she wanted in France, but soon the country is over run by Nazis. Now she will be enlisted to spy for the Allies so France can, one day, return to its position as one of Europe's most powerful countries. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 385-The Cauldron

Rommel?s lunge at Tobruk causes his panzers to get trapped. So the Desert Fox changes his plans and 8th Army Commander Ritchie gives Rommel days of freedom, while the Commonwealth troops set up to push on to Libya. Rommel uses this time to attack the isolated 150th Brigade Group over and over.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 384-The English GI: A Yorkshire Schoolboy's Adventures in the US and Europe

This graphic novel by Jonathan Sandler covers the story of a young Jewish British citizen on vacation in NY when Pearl Harbor is attacked. Soon he is swept up in the US Army fighting for Uncle Sam, while his family back in Leeds worries over his safety. The story is taken from the main character?s real wartime experiences and unofficial memoir.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 383-Rommel Comes For Tobruk

The day of battle is here. Both sides have made flawed plans. The question is who can adapt faster. Still, the first phase of the Battle of Gazala goes to The Desert Fox. But there is always the question of fuel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 382-Dale Jenkins Covers The Battles of Coral Sea and Midway

Retired Naval Officer Dale A. Jenkins, who served in the Pacific has a book coming out in December: Diplomats and Admirals. Today he sets up and examines the two battles, Coral Sea and Midway, then how their outcomes affected the rest of the Pacific War. His website is Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 381-The Battle at Gazala: The Waiting is All

As The Allies and Axis prepare for a battle at Gazala, Rommel and Gen. Ritchie both feel confident that their plan is best. Yet both sides have weaknesses: Rommel doesn?t know where all the Allied formations are and the British led forces think they have it easier in only defending their positions. Both sides will make mistakes, but who will exploit them better? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 380-The British 8th Army vs The Desert Fox

Rommel is able to take Cyrenaica back from the British 8th Army, but between his fuel issues and C in C, ME Auchinleck?s personnel changes, the two sides will stare at each other for a while. But the combat will return as North Africa?s fate will determine the future of the Middle East and the Suez Canal. It?s all or nothing, but having to deal with the Japanese Empire, now in the war, is stretching the Allies to the breaking point. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 379: Rommel Strikes Back

With the failure of Gen. Auchinleck's Operation Crusader, at the end of 1941, Rommel resupplies and heads out again, before the British can start Operation Acrobat, the drive on Tripoli. As it was a year ago, the Allies are stretched far too thin and the men are under trained and under staffed. Rommel hopes to take Cyrenaica, then Tobruk, all in preparation for a much larger offensive that will finally end the war in North Africa, Egypt and possibly, the Middle East. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 378: West Africa and Charles De Gaulle

Before moving on to Operation Pedestal and then the Eastern Front, Gen. Charles De Gaulle?s moves in West Africa have to be covered. He seeks to rebuild the French Empire by grabbing African lands that went with the Vichy Government after France fell to German forces. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 377-Iceland: A Peaceful Invasion

In this one off episode, Iceland and Greenland?s participation in the war is covered. Denmark leads these two islands to the north, but when Nazi Germany occupies Denmark, the islands are on their own. Churchill, as the First Lord of the Admiralty decides that these two islands must come under British control. But it will take American and Canadian help to pull it off, for once Hitler finds out about any talks, Berlin will react as they did in Norway, with their own invasion force. At the end is a recording of FDR and listen how he leads the American people into believing, it's only a matter of time before the US has to fight, because the Nazis are set on world domination. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 376-The Falcon of Malta

In the mold of Adrian Warburton, one George Beurling comes to Malta in July. Like Warby, George or Screwball as he is called, does not care for much for anything really, only flying and fighting. And in a short time, he will cause hell for the Axis pilots. However, Kesselring has ordered Fliegerkorps II to be given more pilots. The overwhelming air attacks on Malta are gearing up again. But this time, it will be Vice Air Marshall Keith Park leading the defense of Malta. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 375-Starvation and Betrayal

Lord Gort will have his own Quisling to deal with as a Malta youth comes ashore to spy for Mussolini. Meanwhile, another convoy is attempted, but it too will fail. Gort has no choice but to reduce rations further. His biggest fear is if the Maltese people want to give up or will his soldiers give up the fight before a massive supply convoy can finally make it through. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 374-Churchill: Malta's Patron Saint

As Field Marshall Kesselring loses some of his planes to other theaters, Malta, thanks to Churchill, gets a large influx of Spitfires. The defenders may be able to retake control of their skies, but this does nothing to bring in food, fuel and ammunition. The people of Malta are suffering and the military?s ability to project power is still weak. A convoy is desperately needed, but nothing is expected for months. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 373-Malta: A Thunderstorm of Steel

As April 1942 comes to an end, a spot of hope is dashed as the Axis continue their daily bombing of Malta. The ships and subs have been driven away, the island?s air force is weak. The only thing holding the invaders back is Malta?s AA gun crews and they are running out of ammunition. Gen. Kesselring?s plan of breaking Malta is working. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 372-Malta Loses A Hero

As Field Marshall Albert Kesselring ramps up his attacks on Malta, Adm. Andrew Cunningham and others will leave the theatre as they are beyond exhausted. Still, the fight goes on. And those still defending the island are about to experience hell on earth, for months. Kickstarter for Don't Shoot the Messenger- Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 371-Interview w/ Thomas McKenna about his book Moro Warrior

MORO WARRIOR tells the remarkable true story of the Philippine Muslim (Moro) resistance fighters of World War II?the most successful and least-known guerrillas of the Pacific Theater. It is the story of Mohammad Adil, a sword-wielding warrior chieftain commissioned as a junior officer in Douglas MacArthur?s guerrilla army while still a teenager. Confident in his secret protective powers learned from a Sufi master, Adil roamed the highland rainforests with a price on his head, attacking Japanese outposts, surviving ambushes, and gaining a reputation as a man who could not be killed. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 370-Interview w/Peter Bradley about his book, The Last Train: A Family History of the Final Solution

Former Labour MP Peter Bradley comes on the show to discuss his book that covers his family's history during WWII. This retelling of their lives also forced him to dig into the history of the Holocaust and of Anti-Semitism for the last 2000 years. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Car Show! Episode: The Jeep during WWII

We?re shaking things up today and sharing a preview from Car Show!, a new podcast from our friends at Pushkin Industries. Longtime Car and Driver editor Eddie Alterman tells the stories of the vital cars ? the ones that have changed how we drive and live, whose significance lies outside the scope of horsepower or miles per gallon. In this episode, Eddie talks about the military background of the Jeep, a vehicle made for the battlefields of World War II, and its lasting popularity in America decades after the war. You can listen to the full episode and more from Car Show! at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 369-Interview w/ Paul Brandus about FDR?s Use of the Media and Midway

Writer and White House Correspondent Paul Brandus comes on the show to cover FDR's brilliant use of the media, before Pearl Harbor. Also, we discuss the significance of the Battle of Midway. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 368-Interview w/Damien Lewis about his book Churchill's Great Escapes

Writer Damien Lewis comes on the show to discuss his new book Churchill's Great Escapes: Seven Incredible Escapes Made by WWII Heroes. During the war, there was no standing order for Allied Officers to try to escape a POW Camp. However, the men of the British Special Forces saw it differently. What follows is a testament to the courage and endurance of humans with a clear goal and unflappable belief in their cause. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 367-The Second Battle of Sirte

Desperate, Adm. Cunningham arranges another convoy for Malta. But the Italian Fleet and German Air Arm are ready. The result, a tiny fraction of supplies will get through. Malta?s days as a forward base are coming to an end. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 366-Interview with Brandon Gauthier about his book Before Evil

Professor Brandon Gauthier comes on to discuss his book Before Evil, where he examines the making of 20th Century?s greatest tyrants. He reminds us to never forget that the world?s monsters are humans too, with dreams, fears, ambitions and childhoods. That they were the hero in their own story. Stalin was trying to bring Russia up to date, Hitler was carving out an empire for himself and the German people, Mussolini wanted to be great and at the head of a new roman empire. And Mao wanted to bring order to the chaos around him. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 365-The Spitfires Are Coming!

The RAF on Malta actually run out of Hurricane fighters on March 3rd. Fortunately, the promised Spitfires arrive. But how are 15 Spitfires supposed to hold back the entirety of Kesselring?s air arm of Italian and German planes. The dark time for Malta are far from over. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 364-Mussolini's PR Nightmare

As 1942 opens up the Axis have the upper hand. Still, those in London make plans to invade Sicily. What follows only fills up Davie Jones' locker all the more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 363-Guest Host Lindsey Graham of History Daily Recounts the Attack on Pearl Harbor

The host of several well known podcasts, Lindsay Graham, of History Daily, American Scandal and American History Tellers, is allowing me to share with you, his coverage of the day that will live in Infamy. Here is the three episode arc from The History Daily Podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 362-Interview w/ Michael Benson about his book Gangsters vs Nazis

Author Michael Benson comes on the show to talk about his latest book, Gangsters vs Nazis: How Jewish Bobsters Battled Nazis in Wartime America. Some of the most notorious Jewish gangsters, Meyer Lansky, Charles Lucky Luciano, Mickey Cohen and Bugsy Siegel team up with the more respectable side of American politics to take on the growing trend that is the Pro Hitler German American Bund. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 361-Interview w/ Edward Aldrich: The Partnership: George Marshall, Henry Stimson and the Extraordinary Collaboration That Won WWII

Edward Aldrich comes on the show to discuss his book that covers the highly effective teamwork of Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Army Chief of Staff George Marshall. Once they are both in position, they will have 17 months to ready the American Armed Forces before Pearl Harbor. Not that they know this. What they do know is war is coming, yet half of the country wants to stay out and FDR can?t say much to publicly support to their efforts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 360-The Germans Have Returned

As winter sets in on the Eastern Front, Field Marshal Albert Kesselring is given Luftflotte 2, submarines and motor torpedo boats. His task is to subdue Malta. And he is well on his way as the Italians launch a daring underwater raid on Adm. Cunningham?s Mediterranean Fleet at Alexandria and London is loath to send Spitfires, the only plane the British have to take on the vaunted Messerschmitt 109s. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 359-All Good Things Must Come to an End

As the war goes on, some key personnel leave Malta, heading for new assignments or some much needed rest. But as winter comes, Hitler will send his German pilots back to Sicily. Malta will need help and soon. Instead, Adm. Cunningham looses the carrier Ark Royal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 358-The Saturday Night Club Run

Adm. Cunningham is given Force K, a gift from Churchill. And right away Force K will prove itself by annihilating an entire convoy, looking to resupply Rommel.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 357-Operation Halberd

Malta based subs and planes are having a surge of success against Axis shipping heading to North Africa, but increased operations means more fuel is needed. Thus, another convoy is headed to the Mediterranean. This one will be the largest so far, but the Italians will send a massive force to intercept it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 356-Interview with Philip Martin about his book-From Orphan to High Flyer

Philip Martin comes on the show to talk about the book he wrote with RAF Pilot Denis Elliott. Denis' early life was full of pain, which caused a lack of confidence. But then comes the war and young Denis will find himself and grow in belief in himself as a part of the RAF, fighting the Japanese. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 355-Interview with Robert Child about his book Immortal Valor

Robert Child, an Emmy® Nominated Producer / Director comes on the show to discuss his latest book, Immortal Valor. The Black Medal of Honor winners of WWII. Just over one million African Americans participated in the war against The Axis, but only 7 of them were given the nation?s highest award. And it took decades. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 354-The Battle of Valletta

Though Operation Substance successfully resupplied Malta in July 1941, the Allies lost planes, ships and men. What followed was the Battle of Valletta, as the Italians try to finish off the convoy while in the Grand Harbor. Paying in kind, sub commander Shrimp Simpson will send 3 subs, HMS Unique, P32 and P33 to Tripoli to wipe out the latest Axis convoy, bound for Rommel. Both sides draw blood and many lives are lost. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 353-Malta's Magic Carpet Service

Adm. Cunningham begins to believe that he may loose Malta. The Germans are gone, but he only has half his normal fleet and the Axis are not slowing down in transporting men to Rommel in North Africa. Picture-HMS Olympus, a part of the Magic Carpet Service. She lost all but 9 men of her crew and passengers out of 98 on May 8, 1942, 7 miles out from Malta after hitting a mine. She was discovered in 2019.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 352-Interview with Ray Boomhower about his book: Richard Tregaskis-Reporting Under Fire From Guadalcanal to Vietnam

Ray Boomhower has written about 3 important war correspondents, Richard Tregaskis, Ernie Pyle and Robert L. Sherrod. Today we discuss the young Tregaskis as he covers events like Midway, Guadalcanal, and the invasion of Sicily. Tregaskis will almost die in Italy, but will return to the Pacific to cover the approach to the Japanese home islands.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 351-Interview with Scott Rank of The History Unplugged Podcast

Scott Rank comes on the show to discuss the more impactful events of the Pacific Campaign: The East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, The Battle of Midway, the Fire Bombing of Tokyo and the likely casualties of an Allied invasion onto the main Japanese Islands.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 350-Operation Primrose

As the Battle for the Atlantic is not going well for the Allies, Churchill?s War Cabinet puts into motion a plan to steal a Nazi Enigma machine. Bletchley Park has been trying to break the German Naval codes for years, but more is needed. Meanwhile Malta is about to get a reprieve from the Germans who are preparing for Operation Barbarossa. But one last air raid is needed. Pic-U-110 and the HMS Bulldog. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 349-Malta's Orders: KBO-Keep Buggering On

With Crete falling so quickly Churchill and Adm. Cunningham have to assume that Malta is next. Still, ABC expects his subs, like the Upholder, to hold the line until Malta can be reinforced. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 348-Interview with Scott Bury about his Eastern Front Trilogy

Author Scott Bury joins us to talk about his Eastern Front Trilogy. The story centers around Maurice Bury, a Canadian who is forced to fight for Soviet Russia against Nazi Germany. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 347-Malta: Dark Days are Coming

We return to Malta as Adm. Cunningham is at his low point. Churchill wants total war, but Cunningham needs more of everything, including time. The short term answer seems to be more subs, but Malta will have to make do, for now. Doing his part is Lt. Commander Wanklyn and the sub HMS Upholder. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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Episode 346A-The Everything Everywhere Daily Podcast

Today's offering is an episode from Gary Arndt's Podcast, Everything Everywhere Daily. On this show, he covers the important contribution of Native Americans using their language to stump the Nazi Intelligence services from breaking the Allied Code. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
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