Savage Will

Savage Will

The Daring Escape of Americans Trapped Behind Nazi Lines

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Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101617533
  • 352 Pages
  • NAL
  • Adult


In the tradition of incredible true stories from The Great Escape to Argo, Savage Will recounts a tale of survival, daring, and evasion behind enemy lines: that of American medics and nurses stranded for two months in Nazi-occupied Albania.
In 1943, men and women of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron boarded a routine flight from Sicily to the Italian mainland to care for wounded soldiers. En route, their plane drifted hundreds of miles off course and crash-landed in remote mountainous Albania.
The unarmed Americans were trapped hundreds of blizzard-plagued miles from Allied lines, in a country torn apart by rival bands of pro- and anti-German guerrillas. Hunted by German soldiers, the castaways relied on what one survivor called their “savage will” to elude their enemy and find their way to freedom.

What followed is the most thrilling untold story of World War II—a saga reaching from President Roosevelt and top Allied intelligence officials to a host of brave Albanian Resistance fighters, the British and U.S. Mediterranean air forces,  and the dashing English lieutenant and the tenacious American captain sent behind enemy lines to carry out a heroic rescue.


“Amazing… Timothy M. Gay’s book informs us of the courage and ‘savage will’ of the men and women of the 807th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron after their Dakota C-53 aircraft crashed-landed in Nazi-held Albania, 850 miles from Allied lines…. As this was one of the rare cases of women being trapped behind enemy lines, the British SOE and the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), along with the Allied air forces, put together a desperate rescue mission to get the nurses and medics out of Albania. Looking over their shoulders with impatience were FDR and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill…. This interesting, well-researched story reads like a thriller, and I suspect, like Argo, it would make an interesting movie.” —The Washington Times

“New and surprising… will shed light on an area you have likely heard little about, and it tells a fine story, worthy of cinematic adaptation.” —America in WWII

“Powerful, intriguing, well-researched, and fierce. Savage Will is a must-read espionage and survival story that will appeal to fans of military non-fiction everywhere. This is Argo meets Ernest Shackleton during WWII’s darkest days.”—Marcus Brotherton, Author of Shifty’s War

Savage Will is a wonderfully entertaining and moving story of survival, heroism, and escape, one of the best to emerge from World War II.”—Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of The Liberator