Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 136

would be used as political pawns for future concessions and for the return of repatriated Russian army prisoners who sought asylum in the West. Capt. Trimble operated in Soviet-occupied Ukraine under the cover of ferrying American aircraft back to England. He would spend several harrowing months outwitting Soviet authorities in returning stranded flight crews, liberated Allied prisoners, and displaced civilians. Capt. Trimble witnessed the horrors of war and a precursor to the crushing brutality of the Soviet oppression that was to come in Eastern Europe. The author provides a riveting account of his father’s greatest accomplishment in rescuing more than four hundred French female forced laborers despite the fact that alerted Soviet authorities had set a trap for Capt. Trimble and the French women. The strengths of Beyond the Call are Trimble’s extensive search of National Archives files in researching his father’s story and his candid account of his father’s difficulty in returning home after the war. Beyond the Call is a remarkable story of courage in the face of incredible danger. It is also a testament of a son’s love for his father and the desire to share his father’s heroic story with others. Beyond the Call is highly recommend for anyone interested in a true story of courage, heroism, or World War II. Jesse McIntyre III, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas THE FORECAST FOR D-DAY: And the Weatherman behind Ike’s Greatest Gamble John Ross, Lyons Press, Guilford, Connecticut, 2014, 235 pages A uthor John Ross admits in his acknowledgments that he is not a historian or a meteorologist. While he may not possess a credential that one might expect in writing such a book, he readily declares a fascination for “the intersection of natural history and human events.” This fascination, coupled with an interest in World War II and an awareness that the invasion of Western Europe in 1944 had been postponed a day because of weather, motivated Ross to write about the forecast and the weatherman who advised Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. That weatherman was Group Capt. James Martin Stagg from the British Royal Air Force. The reader learns that Stagg, a geophysicist, was challenged to assemble one weather forecast from three 130 independent weather forecasting sources: the British Meteorological Office, the United States Strategic Air Force (USSTAF), and the Royal Naval Meteorological Service. Additionally, at that time, divergent schools of meteorological thought influenced forecasting. The civilian meteorological office depended considerably on the emerging science of atmospheric physics to prepare forecasts believed reliable no more than forty-eight hours in advance. The principal USSTAF meteorologists subscribed to analog forecasting that held accurate predictions could be articulated weeks ahead. Stagg, fortunately, subscribed more to the former point-of-view in the face of tremendous pressure to endorse a favorable forecast. Impatient commanders were anxious to move forward with the invasion. Ross is particularly informative when focused on Stagg. One learns about the weatherman’s personal and professional background as well as the stress he was under to deliver appropriate advice. To develop this narrative, Ross relies on several sources, including Stagg’s The Forecast for Overlord, published in 1971. Ross is careful to add a cautionary note about the reliability of memoirs and recollections years after an event occurred. While Stagg is appropriately featured in Ross’s account, the reader is introduced to others who helped shape or influence the forecast. C.K.M. Douglas, Sverre Petterssen, Irving P. Krick, Donald N. Yates, and Edward H. “Iceberg” Smith are among those who had roles in predicting the weather or gathering data to do so. Ross taps interviews, archives, obituaries, histories, and online sources, including Wikipedia, to develop the story. Occasionally, Ross is given to speculation, or the “educated guess.” For example, he ponders and suggests how different the world might have been if “Ike and his meteorologist, James Martin Stagg, had gotten it wrong.” On a lesser scale, Ross suggests that Stagg at an early age, “may well have been fascinated by radio;” while later in life, he may have shared “in the back of his mind, perhaps,” Douglas’s doubts about the value of forecasts beyond three days. Speculation aside, Ross’s book is informative and worth the read.