The True Story of the Great Escape
Stalag Luft III, March 1944
by Professor Jonathan Vance
Pub Date 31 Mar 2019
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'It shows the variety and depth of the men sent into harms way during World War II, something emphasised by the population of Stalag Luft III. Most of the Allied POWs were flyers, with all the technical, tactical and planning skills that profession requires. Such men are independent thinkers, craving open air and wide-open spaces, which meant than an obsession with escape was almost inevitable' - John D Gresham Between dusk and dawn on the night of March 24th-25th 1944, a small army of Allied soldiers crawled through tunnels in Germany in a covert operation the likes of which the Third Reich had never seen before. The prison break from Stalag Luft III in eastern Germany was the largest of its kind in World War II. Seventy nine Allied soldiers and airmen made it outside the wire - but only three made it outside Nazi Germany. Fifty were executed by the Gestapo. Jonathan Vance tells the incredible story that was made famous by the 1963 film, The Great Escape. The escape is a classic tale of prisoner and their wardens in a battle of wits and wills.The brilliantly conceived escape plan is overshadowed only by the colourful, daring (and sometimes very funny) crew who executed it - literally under the noses of German guards. From their first days in Stalag Luft III and the forming of bonds key to such exploits, to the tunnel building, amazing escape and eventual capture, Vance's history is a vivid, compelling look at one of the greatest 'exfiltration' missions of all time.