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Sitting Ducks (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Steve Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 49 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Sitting Ducks pieces together the story of an impossible and lesser-known WWII mission. In December 1944, during the bloody Battle of the Bulge, teams of German commandos disguised as American soldiers slipped behind the US front lines. Riding in captured US jeeps, they committed sabotage, sowed confusion and caused paranoia among American troops. Word quickly spread that the undercover commandos were out to kill US General Eisenhower.

Popular legend has made the false flag operation out to be a skilled and menacing ploy with cunning German spies speaking American English. Their commander, propaganda hero SS Lt. Col. Otto Skorzeny, seemed a mastermind. But the reality was much different, and all the more deadly. The planning and training were slapdash, the mission desperate, its chances slim to none. Sitting Ducks is a fast read equaling about 49 print pages.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 168 KB
  • Print Length: 49 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006P5FQGC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #317,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Steve Anderson is the author of Under False Flags: A Novel and Liberated: A Novel of Germany, 1945 as well as the novel The Losing Role and the nonfiction Kindle Singles Double-Edged Sword and Sitting Ducks. Anderson was a Fulbright Fellow in Germany. He is also a literary translator. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debunking the legends 28 Dec. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a factual account of Operation Grief (Griffin), the German false-flag operation during the Ardennes offensive of late 1944. The operation and its leader, SS Lieutenant Colonel (SS-Oberstürmbannführer) Skorzeny, are the stuff of legend.

Anderson debunks the legend, and presents the facts, insofar as they can be determined (he notes in his blog that "Doomed secret agents don't write journals or reports and their commanders didn't keep intricate records"). The result is a compelling piece of work that reveals the unvarnished truth of the operation's planning and execution.

This is an easy to read, well researched piece, covering a part of history that is well known, but about which few factual accounts have been written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short work 20 Jan. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have always been interested in Operation Greif and other than Skorzeny's self serving stuff there is little out there. This does add to the pool of info and although it seems to lean on Meuse First and Then Antwerp(see my other reviews) there was a fair bit I had not come across before. Bearing in mind the minimal cost it represents excellent value and is also a good introduction to the subject.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Personal. 2 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting and methodical insight. Have enjoyed reading this book, very different to what I would normally read but commendable. Will search another book similar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Special buy! 29 Dec. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyed the story and the price
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  79 reviews
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A false flag operation as ill-conceived as it was ill-fated 28 Dec. 2011
By Rett01 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In "Sitting Ducks" Steve Anderson manages to set straight a fragment of WWII history and tell what amounts to a thrilling potboiler involving a cat-and-mouse game between German commandos and American troops in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.

It's the story of Operation Griffin, a daring but unquestionably doomed mission by Hitler's High Command to send German soldiers impersonating American GIs behind enemy lines to disrupt the Allied war machinery with acts of sabotage and destruction.

Led with bluff and bravado by Waffen-SS commando Otto Skorzeny an elite German unit named "Einheit Stielau" and made up of 150 English-speaking recruits and volunteers foolishly set out in American Jeeps and other captured military vehicles during the opening salvo of the Ardennes Offensive on Dec. 16, 1994. [Copy edit to correct: 1944]

Popular lore has glorified the false flag operation in fiction and movies. Anderson tells the story straight and wants to right the historical record by stripping away any myth or hype.

"Operation Griffin" was anything but a carefully planned mission carried out by a highly trained commando unit. Instead, it was a last-ditch, ill-conceived frenetic tactic pulled off by ill-equipped volunteers that was damned from the start.

In addition to correcting history Anderson tells a gripping story of how it must have felt to be a German infiltrator where "one can only imagine what it was like, moving among the enemy while disguised as one."

You get a sense of being pummeled by the winter weather, the sights and smells war, "from the black putrid smoke of exhaust and burning rubber to the sour vapors of leaking gasoline." Added to that was the pungent stink of "charred and rotting flesh of men, civilians and cows in all their grotesque death poses."

Once they had crossed the enemy lines, the Germans had means to identify themselves to each other. They should wear pink or blue scarves, leave the second button on their American jackets unbuttoned or tap their helmet twice if stopped by a German sentry.

If cornered or challenged by Allied forces the imposters were told to improvise with American slang such as "Go lay an egg" or "So's your old man." If the situation was grim, the infiltrators were advised to pretend to have diarrhea, drop their pants and trot off to nearby bushes.

Anderson tells a compelling tale. He corrects the historical record. What I appreciated most is that he does a thorough, well researched job of following the story through to an ill-fated conclusion that for many of the reluctant German soldiers meant execution by an Allied firing squad.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account of a now-legendary operation 1 Jan. 2012
By J. Chambers - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reading Steve Anderson's marvelous novel "The Losing Role," a fictional narrative about the World War II Battle of the Bulge. The story was told through the eyes of a German actor who was forced to participate in Operation Greif, a false flag operation intended to sow confusion and chaos behind the American lines.

"Sitting Ducks" relates the story of Operation Greif with a nonfiction approach. The author noted that over the years since the war, the German plan to sabotage the American forces has become legendary, despite the fact that the operation was largely a failure and had no real impact on the outcome of the battle.

In fact, the operation was doomed to failure from the outset. The leader of the operation, SS Lt. Colonel Otto Skorzeny, although a hero to the German people and to Hitler himself, had never commanded a full-fledged combat unit. Also, he was only given a few weeks to recruit English-speaking soldiers and train them enough that they could pass for American GIs, a virtually impossible task. Skorzeny had been promised thousands of men, captured Sherman tanks, plus all of the military uniforms and hardware that GIs would be expected to have, but he only received a few hundred men, some jeeps, and a smattering of other equipment. Most of his men were soon killed or captured and shot as spies. Many of them could barely speak English - an obvious giveaway - and others were betrayed by not having GI dog tags, not knowing the day's password, or their mannerisms.

The author's writing was very tight, with no wasted words. His story of Operation Greif was more than just a recitation of facts; he included names of actual participants and recounted their experiences, noting, however, that many had been killed or shot as spies, and dead men told no tales.

It was obvious that the author did extensive research, and he included a helpful bibliography of sources used.

"Sitting Ducks" was a fascinating story about one of the most interesting footnotes of World War II. I recommend it to anyone who reads history, especially military history.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Follow-Up 30 Dec. 2011
By 19933 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I read Steve Anderson's "The Losing Role" which followed a failed German actor trying to survive a desperate mission to impersonate American officers in WWII. This was an intriguing story that I enjoyed very much. But after reading this work of fiction I wanted to know more about the doomed operation. Now we have the Kindle Single "Sitting Ducks" which was a perfect follow-up to "The Losing Role" and sets the story straight about this failed mission, "Operation Griffin," leading up to the Battle of the Bulge. "Sitting Ducks" is written in a way that non-historians can enjoy learning about some scared German soldiers who volunteered for this mission thinking it would get them away from the front lines. Instead these soldiers, who exaggerated their English speaking ability, were led by egotistical and incompetent officers. This was clearly a desperate attempt to change the course of the war but was put together quickly and had no chance of success.The Losing Role
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'The Battle of the Bulge' revisited...4 1/2 Stars 20 Jan. 2012
By R. Nicholson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Sitting Ducks" is a book of historical fiction by author Steve Anderson. This Kindle e-book was 168 Kb download and was price at $1.99 at the time of writing this review.

In December of 1944, the desperate Nazi war machine throws the dice and decides on an all or nothing gamble to try and salvage victory...a secret invasion of the Ardennes forest area (that bordered the boundary between Germany and Belgium) that was to become known as 'The Battle of the Bulge'. The goal was to split the American and English forces and then defeat least that was the idea.

This book gets much of its information from interviews from combatants (of both sides) post-event. The author uses the true accounts and embellishes some of the tale by adding some fictional details to personal stories...details outlining what might have transpired during maneuvers or meetings that unexpectedly occurred with the enemy.

The book gives compelling evidence that this last gasp effort was almost doomed from the start.

An interesting perspective on one of WWII's final, major conflicts.
A mix of major facts with a little fiction that result in an new look at this memorable conflict.

As it is...4 1/2 Stars

Ray Nicholson
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars propertim 6 Jan. 2012
By propertim - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
I am big reader and read a wide variety of books and magazines. This is truely an awesome single..a must read for sure. Mr Anderson is a great writer and has really done his research, and knows alot about World War II, and the small details, and intricacies that alot of writers do not know about. It's a quick read..If you dont't read it you are missing out
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