I'm trying to track down two books from the same collection that I read back in 2004 (they may have been published many years before then however)

I vaguely remember the series being called "Armada war stories", but I do not recall the titles of the actual books.

The first book was about an operation during world war two, where two commandos sailed from the UK to a Norway in a little fishing boat, with their mission being to train the locals to engage in guerrilla resistance fighting against the Nazis who are occupying the area. I vaguely remember the boat being loaded with military equipment rather than fish, and the commandos sailing it were concerned that they might be inspected by German patrols and found out. The operation goes horribly wrong: one of the commandos is killed, while the other is severely disabled (If I recall correctly he loses the use of his legs). The remainder of the book describes this commando being assisted by an underground chain of resistance fighters to get to Sweden. I recall at one point he is laid on a sleigh, because his legs have been amputated, and people are dragging him up this really snowy mountain. Then there is a bit where the sleigh is parked in a tiny shed up the mountain for an extended period. The cold and snow were unbearable. I vaguely remember an action sequence where the sleigh is flying down a hill at top speed while nazis on skis are chasing it and shooting (but this is incredibly vague and may not have actually occurred in the book). I recall that when they finally get to sweden, they are dismayed because the first thing they see is a nazi soldier. I forget the conclusion of the tale but I think it was a happy ending/successful escape.

The second book was about the experiences of some prisoners of war who were stuck in a nazi concentration camp. They were attempting to escape by digging a tunnel out of the camp. This digging of the tunnel was complicated by the fact that the camp was using seismic sensors to detect underground movement, so if they just tried to go ahead and dig the tunnel they would be found out. The way they get around this is by convincing the camp authorities to let them do some athletics out in the courtyard. They would carry out a vaulting block - with a POW hiding in it - and place it in the middle of the courtyard. The POW hiding in the block would start to dig, while the other POWs were vaulting over the block. Due to the impact to the ground caused by the vaulting, the seismic sensors were going nuts and this masked the fact that they were also digging a tunnel out of the compound. The guy who was digging the tunnel would bring back all the dirt with him at the end of the day, and distribute it among the other prisoners. The other prisoners would load their pockets with it and then shuffle around the courtyard slowly shaking it back out onto the ground. This carried on for months and amazingly they were not discovered, despite the fact that their tunnel was being dug right underneath the noses of the guards, out in plain sight in the middle of the courtyard. Once the tunnel is complete, a couple of the POWs successfully escape, complete with forged documents. I'm not sure how the story ends because I never finished the book. I got up to the part where they had just got out of the camp.

If you are able to help me identify even one of these books, that would go a long way to identifying the other because I'm pretty sure they were part of the same series. I would really love to track them down and read them again. I hope someone on here knows their titles.

1 Answer 1


The first story sounds like a version of We Die Alone by David Howarth, an account of Jan Baalsrud's ordeal.

The second story sounds like Paul Brickhill's 1950 account The Great Escape, or a derivative rewrite. See this for an account of the events.

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