Special NEWS Item – 12 December 2016:
UK financier acquires screen rights to WWII story 'Operation Suicide’
Motion Picture Capital has acquired the screen rights to the historical novel Operation Suicide: The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid.
The story, based on real events, is written by military historian Dr Robert Lyman and depicts the daring raid of a German shipping base in Bordeaux by 12 British royal marines in 1942. Read more here >
JAIL BUSTERS: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho has been included in the prestigious CAS' Reading List 2016
Read the full Review here
June 2016: Among the Headhunters tells the previously untold story of the loss of USAAF Flight 12420 in August 1943 over the vast, jungled borders of northern Burma, deep within Japanese-held territory. Of the twenty one passengers and crew on board that day were senior OSS operative Duncan C. Lee (a descendant of Robert E. Lee) clandestinely working as a Soviet spy, en route to meet the Chinese intelligence chief; Eric Sevareid, the celebrated CBS journalist sent by President Roosevelt to ascertain the ‘truth about China’ and General ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stilwell’s political adviser, John Paton Davies of the State Department, and Bill Stanton a senior operative from the Department of Economic Warfare.
Sevareid found fame as the man who announced the German entry into Paris in June 1940 and was one of the most feted radio journalists of the age. For his part the brilliant Davies was to lose his Foreign Service career in the McCarthy witch hunt of the following decade, merely for predicting that the Communists would win the decades long Civil War in China; Super-spy Duncan C. Lee would, surprisingly, never be indicted and go on to have a successful post-war career as a lawyer.
Read more here...
May 2015: Quercus announce that they are publishing Robert Lyman’s The Real X-Men September 2015.
Between 1942 and 1945 the Royal Navy engaged in a type of warfare so secret that very few people knew about it at the time, and few people have heard about since. It was extraordinarily tough work, and demanded unusually high standards of personal courage, physical fitness, determination, training and leadership from those engaged, not merely to get through training, but to survive a live operation against the enemy. It was concerned with using tiny sub-surface craft to take the war to the enemy.
The two main types were manned torpedoes, known in British Service as ‘Chariots’, and 4-man 30-ton ‘midget’ submarines, known as X-craft, which were designed in the first place to take on the mighty Tirpitz in 1943, but whose use extended to other strategic targets in the Far East in 1945. Mini-submarines were an idea that had been long in consideration by navies around the globe, but which was applied with success by only a few. The Japanese experimented with this concept, but no other belligerent during the Second World War developed it as thoroughly, or enjoyed as much success with it, as the Royal Navy.
Read more here...
September 2013: Robert Lyman was commissioned to investigate the RAF raid on Amiens Prison in 1944
JAIL BUSTERS: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho
Richard Milner of Quercus has announced that he has commissioned Dr Robert Lyman to investigate the RAF raid on Amiens Prison in February 1944, widely but erroneously known as Operation Jericho and described as 'mysterious' by the late historian of the SOE, Professor Michael Foot.
In recent years doubts have been cast on the original RAF account of the raid, in which the gallant Group Captain Charles Pickard led 19 Mosquito fighter-bombers to break down the walls of the prison, so as to allow the prisoners to escape, many of whom were members of the various local branches of the French Resistance, and some of whom would inevitably face execution at the hands of the Nazis.
Following on from the popular Operation Suicide and his recent Into the Jaws of Death Robert's new book will be an exciting and analytical evaluation of the raid. Early research already shows that the story is an exciting and largely unknown combination of RAF low-flying precision bombing, French Resistance operations against the Nazi V-weapon programme in north east France and secret MI6 intelligence operations in preparation for D Day.
The book will open up to modern scholarship one of the remaining mysteries of World War Two. Pleasingly, it is also clear that the essential narrative of the raid stands up to objective scrutiny, disproving some of the more recent, fanciful views of the reasons for the raid. Robert has already extensively examined archives as far afield as France and the United States in his pursuit of this story. Jail Busters: The Secret Story of MI6, the French Resistance and Operation Jericho will be published by Quercus in 2014, the 70th anniversary of the raid.
Major new Movie: The Lion of Tobruk see PDF
Robert Lyman is advising and supporting a forthcoming major film production. World War II has long provided incredible stories for cinema: tales of remarkable bravery, terrible cruelty and heroism on all sides. But these stories so often seem to come from one place – the battlefields of Europe, or maybe the islands of the Pacific. And the heroes are always white.
The motivation was quite simple: To write a “classic” war film, whilst being very conscious of how trends in cinema have changed, and what an audience would expect in 2013. We want to create a “big” film, whilst still focussing on the “intimate” moments.
We endeavoured to make the battle scenes as realistic as possible, and to this end, our collaboration with esteemed military historian Robert Lyman has helped us to achieve the authenticity we are striving for.
PDF: Read More here
Into the Jaws of Death
Now available 2013 Into The Jaws of Death: The True Story of the Legendary Raid on Saint-Nazaire, Quercus
On the night of 28 March 1942, the Royal Navy and British commandos assaulted the German-held French Atlantic port of Saint-Nazaire in one of the most audacious raids of the Second World War. Their plan was simple: to drive an old destroyer packed with three tons of explosive at full speed into the outer gate of the Normandie dock. Its complement of commandos would then rush out to engage the town’s garrison, and blow up a series of carefully selected targets.
Destroying the dock would deny the formidable Tirpitz battleship, then lurking menacingly in the Norwegian fjords, a base from which it could inflict devastation upon the convoys supplying Britain from the United States. It would also prove that the British were capable of striking back into German-held Europe at a time when the nation’s very existence seemed at peril.
‘Operation Chariot’ was dramatically successful, but at a great cost. Fewer than half the men who went on the mission returned from the maelstrom of fire and bullets provoked by their assault. In recognition of extraordinary bravery, eighty-nine decorations were awarded, including five Victoria Crosses.
Into the Jaws of Death is a gripping story of high daring that demonstrates how the decisive courage of a small group of men brought hope and light during one of their country’s darkest hours.
Launch of Japan’s Last Bid for Victory:
The Invasion of India, 1944
The launch of Japan’s Last Bid for Victory was held at the Army and Navy Club in November 2011, amongst 80 veterans of the battles for Kohima and Imphal between March and August 1944.
Viscount Slim OBE was guest of honour.
Viscount Slim gave a stirring speech at the launch of Robert Lyman's new book, Japan's Last Bid For Victory.
The book, about the Japanese invasion of India in 1944, is the first to be published under Pen and Sword Books' new academic imprint, Praetorian Press, and has been described by author and journalist Fergal Keane as a 'triumph'.
The launch event was held at the Army and Navy Club and was well attended by several veterans of the conflict and their families.
Robert Lyman’s deep knowledge and understanding of the war in Burma, and the great battles at Kohima and Imphal in 1944, are well known.
In this book he uses original documents, published works and personal accounts to weave together an enthralling account of some of the bitterest fighting of the Second World War.
Robert Lyman has produced what is arguably the most balanced history of the battles that were pivotal in ending the Japanese empire.
Japan's last Bid for Victory: The Invasion of India, 1944
Read the review of Japan’s Last Bid for Victory in the HistoryofWar.org
In this book, the first modern narrative account of the Japanese attempt to breach India’s eastern defences in 1944, Robert Lyman tells the story through the eyes of British, Japanese and Naga participants.
Fergal Keane, author of The Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima 1944 has commented on the book: "Robert Lyman is one of the great writers about men and war and in this book he has succeeded magnificently in conveying the courage, genius and folly of an epic struggle. I cannot think of a writer engaged in the subject of the Second World War who can match Lyman for his integrity or the soundness of his judgements."
The Historical Association has chosen Japan’s Last Bid For Victory for one of its 12 Short Spring Reviews. Reviewer Dr Jeremy Black writes:
“An impressive and well-written account of the 1944 campaign. Focuses on the operational and tactical dimension, rather than its strategic counterpart. An interesting guide to current thinking on an important campaign."