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This collection of both well-known and previously unpublished World War II incidents highlights the truism, plans often go awry in war. The margin can be narrow between negligence, incompetence, and simple error that results in tragedy. While miscalculations by those involved in the international game of power politics can bring setbacks to nations, in war mistakes by generals and battlefield commanders cost lives. The author, a veteran of the British air force, recounts more than sixty cases of costly battle errors or blunders and asks the question: was the tragedy a matter of incompetence, bad planning, or simply bad luck? He tells the story of how nature conspired against a squadron of Stukas that dove into the earth after mistaking ground fog for clouds and how an unanticipated low tide at Tarawa left the U.S. Marine landing force exposed to prolonged and deadly enemy fire. The infamous sinking of the USS Indianapolis and Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess's bizarre 1941 defection are also included in this survey of futility and sacrifice.