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New Additions

 

2 SAS: Bill Stirling and the Forgotten Special Forces Unit of World War II by Gavin Mortimer

Pegasus Archive review: The story of the founding of the SAS in North Africa by David Stirling is one that has been told many times, but much less studied are the activities of the 2nd SAS, which was raised in 1943 by his brother, Bill Stirling, and still less the significant and often disregarded contribution which he made, not just to the development of this unit, but to the very concept of the SAS from the time of its origin. This extensively researched book explores his involvement from those first days up to his dismissal from his post shortly before D-Day, due to his ultimately heeded objections to the reckless manner in which the SAS Brigade was to have been deployed in France. His role has since been reduced to little more than a footnote, but Mortimer argues that it was Bill Stirling, rather than his more flamboyant younger brother, who had by far the greatest impact on its creation and development. The 2nd SAS have similarly received less attention than the originals of the 1st SAS, but this book vividly describes their story and the remarkable operations they carried out in Sicily, Italy, France and Germany, referencing interviews with veterans, official reports and recently declassified files, and containing many rare photographs. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or Osprey Publishing.

 

Cape Matapan 1941 by Angus Konstam

Pegasus Archive review: In March 1941, a powerful Italian fleet attempted to disrupt the British convoys ferrying troops and supplies to Greece, but was itself ambushed and seriously defeated by the Royal Navy, suffering over 3,000 casualties and the loss of 3 heavy cruisers and 2 destroyers, with a battleship and a further destroyer damaged, at the cost of just 3 dead and 4 damaged light cruisers. This superbly researched and presented book gives a thorough yet concise analysis of the events which led up to the engagement and its various phases as they unfolded, making extensive use of illustrations, photographs, and in particular large and very well annotated maps. Although the battle was ultimately decided in the traditional manner, with battleships using their immense firepower to overcome their opponents, Angus Konstam demonstrates that pivotal to the British success was their superior naval intelligence, the use of carrier-borne aircraft, and above all the new technology of radar which allowed them to perfectly ambush the Italian 1st Cruiser Division at night, and catch them completely unawares. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or Osprey Publishing.

 

German Field Artillery of World War II by Steven J. Zaloga

Pegasus Archive review: As its synopsis points out, the importance of artillery is often overlooked in favour of infantry, armour and aircraft, and yet it is estimated that field artillery, with which this book is solely concerned, was alone responsible for an incredible three-quarters of all casualties during the war. With photographs, illustrations, and tables of technical and production data, it briefly summarises each of the models used, including rocket artillery and guns taken from occupied countries, but above all it focuses on the 10.5cm and 15cm field howitzers which were the mainstay of German artillery throughout the Second World War. It also looks at its declining impact on the battlefield as the war progressed, with an initial dominance in the West and the East gradually giving way as units became over-stretched and were continually hampered by a dearth of mechanisation, ultimately becoming considerably outnumbered, yet effectively even more so due to desperate shortages of ammunition caused by continual air attacks on their supply lines. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or Osprey Publishing.

 

The Armour of Hitler's Allies in Action by Ian Baxter

Pegasus Archive review: The armoured components, and indeed the entire contribution of the Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian armies to the German effort on the Eastern Front is often overlooked if not ignored altogether. In some respects this is understandable as many of their vehicles were of German origin, such as the StuG III, Panzer IV, Panther and Tiger, but they also included the Czech-designed Panzer 35 and 38 light tanks, the Romanian R-2 and Hungarian Nimrod self-propelled anti-tank guns, the Csaba armoured car, Toldi light tank, Turan Medium tank, and the Zrinyi assault gun. As one would expect of the Images of War series, all of the above vehicles and more besides are profiled alongside a broad range of excellent quality photographs which show them in a variety of situations and settings. They also show the men of these armies and in so doing shed some light on their neglected role, not only in the bitter defensive battles against the Red Army from 1943-45, but also the fighting in the rear areas against the partisans. Price: 14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or Pen and Sword.

 

The Three Battles of El Alamein by Jon Diamond

Pegasus Archive review: The battles fought around El Alamein in 1942 marked a turning point in the war for the British, who after three years of defeat and a few disasters, managed to achieve a decisive victory which ultimately pushed the Axis out of North Africa. This very large entry in the Images of War series provides a solid background to the North African campaign, with two-thirds describing the events leading up to the first battle, the vehicles and equipment used, the key commanders involved, and the life of the ordinary soldier in this uniquely challenging environment. It goes on the describe the inconclusive First Battle of El Alamein which was nevertheless a strategic British victory stopping the advance of the Afrika Korps into Egypt; the Battle of Alam el Halfa which prevented a second attempt at a breakthrough; and finally the British offensive at the Second Battle of El Alamein, a hard and attritional struggle which gradually broke the German line and resulted in their retreat to Tunisia. The many superb photographs in this collection describe all aspects of the campaign, touching on the contribution of the Royal Air Force and the irregular units which emerged from the desert war, including the SAS and Long Range Desert Group, but it is above all a rich tribute to the ordinary infantryman of the 8th Army. Price: 18.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or Pen and Sword.

 

Books - ArnhemNormandyRhine CrossingSicilyGeneral AirbornePrisoner of WarEastern Front,  The Air WarGeneral Second World WarOther

 

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