The Long Range Desert Group in World War II

The Long Range Desert Group in World War II PDF Author: Gavin Mortimer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472819357
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 256

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Book Description
Formed in June 1940 for the purpose of gathering intelligence behind enemy lines, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) played a secretive but vital role in North Africa during World War II. Highly trained in mechanized reconnaissance and specializing in desert operations, the unit provided support to the Special Air Service (SAS) in missions across the vast and treacherous terrain of the Western Desert. In this highly illustrated history of the LRDG, Gavin Mortimer reveals the origins and dramatic operations of Britain's first ever special forces unit.

The Long Range Desert Group

The Long Range Desert Group PDF Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 9781984225399
Category :
Languages : en
Pages : 78

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Book Description
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading "The desert was quivering with heat. The gun detachments and the platoons squatted in their pits and trenches, the sweat running in rivers down their dust-caked faces. There was a terrible stench. The flies swarmed in black clouds upon the dead bodies and excreta and tormented the wounded. The place was strewn with burning tanks and carriers, wrecked guns and vehicles, and over all drifted the smoke and the dust from bursting high explosives and from the blasts of guns." - Cecil Ernest Lucas-Phillips The fighting in North Africa during World War II is commonly overlooked, aside from the famous battle at El Alamein that pitted the British under General Bernard Montgomery against the legendary "Desert Fox," Erwin Rommel. But while the Second Battle of El Alamein would be the pivotal action in North Africa, the conflict in North Africa began all the way back in the summer of 1940, when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared Italy's entrance into the war. From his perspective, the fact that the British and French had their hands full with the Germans created an opportunity for Italy to enlarge its colonial holdings in Africa by seizing portions of the British Empire. However, British troops in the colony of Egypt responded to Italy's declaration of war by driving through the Egyptian-Ethiopian border and attacking Italian troops stationed in the Italian colony of Ethiopia. By September 13, 1940, Italian commanders in Ethiopia were finally ready to put Mussolini's plan into action and attack British colonial holdings, but British troops had already attacked a series of Italian frontier posts and had inflicted 3,500 casualties among Italy's North African troops. Although British maneuvering in North Africa began successfully against the Italians, the British forces suffered a series of defeats over the next two years, due to several problems the British army faced as a result of inadequate preparation and weaponry. For example, when the war began, junior officers were unprepared for the kind of cooperation between units that was necessary in the battles of North Africa. At the same time, while British tanks were capable of opposing Italian tanks, they were vastly inferior to German models. Dealing with the Italians was one thing, but the British faced an entirely different monster in North Africa when Erwin Rommel, a German general who had gained much fame for his role in the invasions of Poland and France, was sent to North Africa in February 1941. For the next two years, the Allies would face off against the legendary Desert Fox and his Afrika Korps. As a specific unit, the Afrika Korps represented only a small part of the German forces deployed in the North African theater, but the term "Afrika Korps" has since come to imply all forces under Rommel's command, and the Afrika Korps is now associated with all German war efforts in North Africa. On August 1, 1945, a month before the formal end of World War II, the British War Office announced the disbanding of a small, eclectic unit, the Long Range Desert Group. Since its founding five years earlier, in June 1940, the LRDG had pioneered and refined the concept and tactics of deep penetration, covert reconnaissance in both the North African desert, and later as a more varied special forces operations unit in the Aegean, Italy and the Balkans. The LRDG, although built on work done during the North African desert campaigns of World War I, suffered a difficult gestation at the onset of World War II, and it was only much later revived after World War II in the era of Vietnam and the African counterinsurgency wars to become a standard configuration in most modern armies. The Long Range Desert Group: The History of the Elite British Army Unit during World War II chronicles one of World War II's most famous fighting units.

Vehicles of the Long Range Desert Group 1940–45

Vehicles of the Long Range Desert Group 1940–45 PDF Author: Gavin Mortimer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472842162
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 48

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Book Description
The Long Range Desert Group was one of the most famous special units of World War II, operating heavily modified vehicles deep behind enemy lines to gather intelligence and support the raids of David Stirling's new Special Air Service. When war broke out, a pre-war explorer and army officer, Ralph Bagnold, convinced Middle East Command of the need for a reconnaissance force to penetrate into Italian-held desert. Bagnold tested four types of vehicles over rocks and through soft sand to find the best one for his new unit. Bagnold selected the Chevrolet WB (30 CWT) as the signature vehicle of the Long Range Desert Group because it is "fast, simple and easy to handle". With left-hand steering, horizontal grill and round fenders on the rear wheels, these trucks proved themselves popular and effective. The durability of the Chevrolets was demonstrated in January 1941 with an audacious raid on the Italian fort/air strip at Murzuk, hundreds of miles behind enemy lines. This book explains the detail of all the vehicles of the LRDG, as well as their modifications, driving techniques, and special kit for surviving behind enemy lines in one of the most hostile environments on earth.

The Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945

The Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945 PDF Author: David Lloyd-Owen
Publisher: Pen and Sword
ISBN: 0850527120
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 238

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Book Description
This splendid record takes the reader behind enemy lines not only in North Africa but in Italy, the Aegean and the Balkans.The Author, who commanded the LRDG, paints a vivid picture of the unit's colourful characters: for example, Ralph Bagnold who put to good use the knowledge he gained from his pre-war desert travels.The LRDG was truly international with New Zealanders and Rhodesians playing key roles.This classic book won acclaim from the critics on its first publication by virtue of the author's unique knowledge, experience and narrative skills.

Special Operations in World War II

Special Operations in World War II PDF Author: Andrew L. Hargreaves
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 0806151250
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 432

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Book Description
British and American commanders first used modern special forces in support of conventional military operations during World War II. Since then, although special ops have featured prominently in popular culture and media coverage of wars, the academic study of irregular warfare has remained as elusive as the practitioners of special operations themselves. This book is the first comprehensive study of the development, application, and value of Anglo-American commando and special forces units during the Second World War. Special forces are intensively trained, specially selected military units performing unconventional and often high-risk missions. In this book, Andrew L. Hargreaves not only describes tactics and operations but also outlines the distinctions between commandos and special forces, traces their evolution during the war, explains how the Anglo-American alliance functioned in the creation and use of these units, looks at their command and control arrangements, evaluates their impact, and assesses their cost-effectiveness. The first real impetus for the creation of British specialist formations came in the desperate summer of 1940 when, having been pushed out of Europe following defeat in France and the Low Countries, Britain began to turn to irregular forces in an effort to wrest back the strategic initiative from the enemy. The development of special forces by the United States was also a direct consequence of defeat. After Pearl Harbor, Hargreaves shows, the Americans found themselves in much the same position as Britain had been in 1940: shocked, outnumbered, and conventionally defeated, they were unable to come to grips with the enemy on a large scale. By the end of the war, a variety of these units had overcome a multitude of evolutionary hurdles and made valuable contributions to practically every theater of operation. In describing how Britain and the United States worked independently and cooperatively to invent and put into practice a fundamentally new way of waging war, this book demonstrates the two nations’ flexibility, adaptability, and ability to innovate during World War II.

George Jellicoe

George Jellicoe PDF Author: Nicholas C Jellicoe
Publisher: Pen and Sword Military
ISBN: 1399009478
Category : Biography & Autobiography
Languages : en
Pages : 336

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Book Description
George Jellicoe, son of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, commander of the British Grand Fleet at Jutland, was never compromised by his privileged upbringing. In this insightful biography, his son describes a life of action, drama, public service and controversy. George’s exploits with the newly formed SAS, as David Stirling’s second-in-command, and later commanding the SBS, make for fascinating reading. Over four years it embraced the North African and Mediterranean campaigns and culminated in the saving of a newly-liberated Athens from the communist guerrillas of ELAS. The brutality of Stalinist communism led him to join the post-war Foreign Office. In Washington he worked with Kim Philby and Donald Maclean in the cloak and dagger world of espionage. Resigning in 1958 so he could marry the woman he loved, he turned to politics. Although his ministerial career ended in 1973 after unwittingly become entangled with the Lambton scandal, he continued to sit in the House of Lords becoming ‘Father of the House’. He held numerous public appointments including President of the Royal Geographical Society, Chairman of the Medical Research Council, President of the SAS Regimental Association and the UK Crete Veterans Association. Thanks to the author’s research and access, this is more than a biography of a significant public figure. It provides fascinating detail of Special Forces operations and the characters of the countless figures with whom he mixed.

The Long Range Desert Group and SAS

The Long Range Desert Group and SAS PDF Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 9781985723696
Category :
Languages : en
Pages : 138

Get Book

Book Description
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading "The passive resistance to war, in which we have acquitted ourselves so well, must come to an end." - Prime Minister Winston Churchill The fighting in North Africa during World War II is commonly overlooked, aside from the famous battle at El Alamein that pitted the British under General Bernard Montgomery against the legendary "Desert Fox," Erwin Rommel. But while the Second Battle of El Alamein would be the pivotal action in North Africa, the conflict in North Africa began all the way back in the summer of 1940, when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared Italy's entrance into the war. From his perspective, the fact that the British and French had their hands full with the Germans created an opportunity for Italy to enlarge its colonial holdings in Africa by seizing portions of the British Empire. However, British troops in the colony of Egypt responded to Italy's declaration of war by driving through the Egyptian-Ethiopian border and attacking Italian troops stationed in the Italian colony of Ethiopia. Although British maneuvering in North Africa began successfully against the Italians, the British forces suffered a series of defeats over the next two years, due to several problems the British army faced as a result of inadequate preparation and weaponry. For example, when the war began, junior officers were unprepared for the kind of cooperation between units that was necessary in the battles of North Africa. At the same time, while British tanks were capable of opposing Italian tanks, they were vastly inferior to German models. Dealing with the Italians was one thing, but the British faced an entirely different monster in North Africa when Erwin Rommel, a German general who had gained much fame for his role in the invasions of Poland and France, was sent to North Africa in February 1941. For the next two years, the Allies would face off against the legendary Desert Fox and his Afrika Korps. As a specific unit, the Afrika Korps represented only a small part of the German forces deployed in the North African theater, but the term "Afrika Korps" has since come to imply all forces under Rommel's command, and the Afrika Korps is now associated with all German war efforts in North Africa. On August 1, 1945, a month before the formal end of World War II, the British War Office announced the disbanding of a small, eclectic unit, the Long Range Desert Group. Since its founding five years earlier, in June 1940, the LRDG had pioneered and refined the concept and tactics of deep penetration, covert reconnaissance in both the North African desert, and later as a more varied special forces operations unit in the Aegean, Italy and the Balkans. The LRDG, although built on work done during the North African desert campaigns of World War I, suffered a difficult gestation at the onset of World War II, and it was only much later revived after World War II in the era of Vietnam and the African counterinsurgency wars to become a standard configuration in most modern armies. One of the units tasked to coordinate with the LRDG was the Special Air Service. Traditionally, defeated armies resorted to guerrilla warfare, at least those unwilling to acknowledge defeat, but the British were certainly not prepared to do that just yet. What the situation produced was one of the most storied covert special forces units in military history, one that influenced several other Western nations. Ironically, the SAS itself would become one of the foremost units in counterinsurgency doctrine and putting down guerrilla campaigns across the globe in the wake of the war.

Hitler's Island War

Hitler's Island War PDF Author: Julie Peakman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1786722992
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 368

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Book Description
*Highly Commended by the British Records Association for the 2019 Janette Harley Prize* In September 1943, at the height of World War II, the Aegean island of Leros became the site of the most pivotal battle of the Dodecanese campaign as the British tried, in vain, to retain control of the island. Over the course of two short months - from 15 September 1943 to 17 November 1943 - almost 1500 men lost their lives and hundreds more ended up in Prisoner-of-War camps. In this book, Julie Peakman, a modern-day resident of Leros, brings to life the story of the men caught up in the battle based on first-hand interviews and written accounts including diaries, letters and journals. She tells of the preparations of the soldiers leading up to the battle, the desperate hand-to-hand fighting, and the suffering endured from continual bombings. She also shows the extent of the men's despair at the allied surrender, the many subsequent daring escapes as well as the terrible years of incarceration for those who were captured and imprisoned. Many of the heart-rending accounts of the battle are told here for the first time, providing a unique eyewitness take on this forgotten corner of World War II.

The Eyes of the Desert Rats

The Eyes of the Desert Rats PDF Author: David Syrett
Publisher:
ISBN: 1912174634
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 330

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Book Description
Made up of members of the Coldstream and Scots Guards, British Yeomanry cavalry regiments, New Zealanders, South Africans, and Indian Army men, the Long Range Desert Group was perhaps the most effective of all the "special forces" established by the Allies during the Second World War. It was able to go thousands of miles into enemy territory, well-armed and carrying its own supplies of petrol, food and even water to last for weeks at a time - something quite new in military history. Using experience acquired in WWI and inter-war exploration travels, the LRDG thus developed the ability to appear almost anywhere in the desert to carry out almost every type of ground reconnaissance mission possible in desert warfare, exploring and mapping the terrain, transporting agents behind enemy lines or determining the strength and location of enemy forces with an extraordinary degree of accuracy and detail and thus able to verify or hide Ultra intelligence. Equally important were their skills in the art of desert navigation, demonstrated in the outflanking of the enemy during the Allied advance from El Alamein westward to Tunisia, as led by the LRDG. Once it had teamed up with the Special Air Service (SAS), made up of British, Free French, Commonwealth and Jewish Palestinian soldiers, the LRDG perfected the art of irregular mechanized warfare conducted in the rear of the enemy's forces in the desert, attacking enemy installations of all kinds, mining roads, raiding airfields, destroying enemy aircraft on the ground and inflicting losses upon the enemy in inverse proportion to their own remarkably low rate of casualties. Through meticulous research in original archival material, this book thus tells the extraordinary story of how a relatively small number of dedicated men developed the methods and techniques for crossing by motor vehicle the depths of the then unmapped and seemingly impassable great deserts of Egypt and Libya, the Western Desert, during the British Army's North African Campaign of 1940-43. The Long Range Desert Group and the Special Air Service as a matter of course did extraordinary things - the heroic was the commonplace. Their tactics, techniques and remarkable success in desert warfare continue to make them of great interest to the student of military affairs. Likewise, as it seeks to answer how the deep desert can best be used for military purposes, this study is pertinent to today's military operations, perhaps more so than at any time since World War II. "…this study provides fresh insights into the nature of desert warfare, past, present and future… [and] reveals the peculiarities of this warfare often lost to modern armies… a virtual primer, useful to commanders and soldiers alike. At long last this book can find its rightful place in the classroom of military courses and colleges and in the hands of those interested in the intricacies, complexities and problems of military operations in desert regions". From the Foreword to the book by Colonel (Retired) David M. Glantz.

The Long Range Desert Group in World War II

The Long Range Desert Group in World War II PDF Author: Gavin Mortimer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472819357
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 256

View

Book Description
Formed in June 1940 for the purpose of gathering intelligence behind enemy lines, the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) played a secretive but vital role in North Africa during World War II. Highly trained in mechanized reconnaissance and specializing in desert operations, the unit provided support to the Special Air Service (SAS) in missions across the vast and treacherous terrain of the Western Desert. In this highly illustrated history of the LRDG, Gavin Mortimer reveals the origins and dramatic operations of Britain's first ever special forces unit.

The Long Range Desert Group

The Long Range Desert Group PDF Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 9781984225399
Category :
Languages : en
Pages : 78

View

Book Description
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading "The desert was quivering with heat. The gun detachments and the platoons squatted in their pits and trenches, the sweat running in rivers down their dust-caked faces. There was a terrible stench. The flies swarmed in black clouds upon the dead bodies and excreta and tormented the wounded. The place was strewn with burning tanks and carriers, wrecked guns and vehicles, and over all drifted the smoke and the dust from bursting high explosives and from the blasts of guns." - Cecil Ernest Lucas-Phillips The fighting in North Africa during World War II is commonly overlooked, aside from the famous battle at El Alamein that pitted the British under General Bernard Montgomery against the legendary "Desert Fox," Erwin Rommel. But while the Second Battle of El Alamein would be the pivotal action in North Africa, the conflict in North Africa began all the way back in the summer of 1940, when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared Italy's entrance into the war. From his perspective, the fact that the British and French had their hands full with the Germans created an opportunity for Italy to enlarge its colonial holdings in Africa by seizing portions of the British Empire. However, British troops in the colony of Egypt responded to Italy's declaration of war by driving through the Egyptian-Ethiopian border and attacking Italian troops stationed in the Italian colony of Ethiopia. By September 13, 1940, Italian commanders in Ethiopia were finally ready to put Mussolini's plan into action and attack British colonial holdings, but British troops had already attacked a series of Italian frontier posts and had inflicted 3,500 casualties among Italy's North African troops. Although British maneuvering in North Africa began successfully against the Italians, the British forces suffered a series of defeats over the next two years, due to several problems the British army faced as a result of inadequate preparation and weaponry. For example, when the war began, junior officers were unprepared for the kind of cooperation between units that was necessary in the battles of North Africa. At the same time, while British tanks were capable of opposing Italian tanks, they were vastly inferior to German models. Dealing with the Italians was one thing, but the British faced an entirely different monster in North Africa when Erwin Rommel, a German general who had gained much fame for his role in the invasions of Poland and France, was sent to North Africa in February 1941. For the next two years, the Allies would face off against the legendary Desert Fox and his Afrika Korps. As a specific unit, the Afrika Korps represented only a small part of the German forces deployed in the North African theater, but the term "Afrika Korps" has since come to imply all forces under Rommel's command, and the Afrika Korps is now associated with all German war efforts in North Africa. On August 1, 1945, a month before the formal end of World War II, the British War Office announced the disbanding of a small, eclectic unit, the Long Range Desert Group. Since its founding five years earlier, in June 1940, the LRDG had pioneered and refined the concept and tactics of deep penetration, covert reconnaissance in both the North African desert, and later as a more varied special forces operations unit in the Aegean, Italy and the Balkans. The LRDG, although built on work done during the North African desert campaigns of World War I, suffered a difficult gestation at the onset of World War II, and it was only much later revived after World War II in the era of Vietnam and the African counterinsurgency wars to become a standard configuration in most modern armies. The Long Range Desert Group: The History of the Elite British Army Unit during World War II chronicles one of World War II's most famous fighting units.

Vehicles of the Long Range Desert Group 1940–45

Vehicles of the Long Range Desert Group 1940–45 PDF Author: Gavin Mortimer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472842162
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 48

View

Book Description
The Long Range Desert Group was one of the most famous special units of World War II, operating heavily modified vehicles deep behind enemy lines to gather intelligence and support the raids of David Stirling's new Special Air Service. When war broke out, a pre-war explorer and army officer, Ralph Bagnold, convinced Middle East Command of the need for a reconnaissance force to penetrate into Italian-held desert. Bagnold tested four types of vehicles over rocks and through soft sand to find the best one for his new unit. Bagnold selected the Chevrolet WB (30 CWT) as the signature vehicle of the Long Range Desert Group because it is "fast, simple and easy to handle". With left-hand steering, horizontal grill and round fenders on the rear wheels, these trucks proved themselves popular and effective. The durability of the Chevrolets was demonstrated in January 1941 with an audacious raid on the Italian fort/air strip at Murzuk, hundreds of miles behind enemy lines. This book explains the detail of all the vehicles of the LRDG, as well as their modifications, driving techniques, and special kit for surviving behind enemy lines in one of the most hostile environments on earth.

The Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945

The Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945 PDF Author: David Lloyd-Owen
Publisher: Pen and Sword
ISBN: 0850527120
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 238

View

Book Description
This splendid record takes the reader behind enemy lines not only in North Africa but in Italy, the Aegean and the Balkans.The Author, who commanded the LRDG, paints a vivid picture of the unit's colourful characters: for example, Ralph Bagnold who put to good use the knowledge he gained from his pre-war desert travels.The LRDG was truly international with New Zealanders and Rhodesians playing key roles.This classic book won acclaim from the critics on its first publication by virtue of the author's unique knowledge, experience and narrative skills.

Special Operations in World War II

Special Operations in World War II PDF Author: Andrew L. Hargreaves
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
ISBN: 0806151250
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 432

View

Book Description
British and American commanders first used modern special forces in support of conventional military operations during World War II. Since then, although special ops have featured prominently in popular culture and media coverage of wars, the academic study of irregular warfare has remained as elusive as the practitioners of special operations themselves. This book is the first comprehensive study of the development, application, and value of Anglo-American commando and special forces units during the Second World War. Special forces are intensively trained, specially selected military units performing unconventional and often high-risk missions. In this book, Andrew L. Hargreaves not only describes tactics and operations but also outlines the distinctions between commandos and special forces, traces their evolution during the war, explains how the Anglo-American alliance functioned in the creation and use of these units, looks at their command and control arrangements, evaluates their impact, and assesses their cost-effectiveness. The first real impetus for the creation of British specialist formations came in the desperate summer of 1940 when, having been pushed out of Europe following defeat in France and the Low Countries, Britain began to turn to irregular forces in an effort to wrest back the strategic initiative from the enemy. The development of special forces by the United States was also a direct consequence of defeat. After Pearl Harbor, Hargreaves shows, the Americans found themselves in much the same position as Britain had been in 1940: shocked, outnumbered, and conventionally defeated, they were unable to come to grips with the enemy on a large scale. By the end of the war, a variety of these units had overcome a multitude of evolutionary hurdles and made valuable contributions to practically every theater of operation. In describing how Britain and the United States worked independently and cooperatively to invent and put into practice a fundamentally new way of waging war, this book demonstrates the two nations’ flexibility, adaptability, and ability to innovate during World War II.

George Jellicoe

George Jellicoe PDF Author: Nicholas C Jellicoe
Publisher: Pen and Sword Military
ISBN: 1399009478
Category : Biography & Autobiography
Languages : en
Pages : 336

View

Book Description
George Jellicoe, son of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, commander of the British Grand Fleet at Jutland, was never compromised by his privileged upbringing. In this insightful biography, his son describes a life of action, drama, public service and controversy. George’s exploits with the newly formed SAS, as David Stirling’s second-in-command, and later commanding the SBS, make for fascinating reading. Over four years it embraced the North African and Mediterranean campaigns and culminated in the saving of a newly-liberated Athens from the communist guerrillas of ELAS. The brutality of Stalinist communism led him to join the post-war Foreign Office. In Washington he worked with Kim Philby and Donald Maclean in the cloak and dagger world of espionage. Resigning in 1958 so he could marry the woman he loved, he turned to politics. Although his ministerial career ended in 1973 after unwittingly become entangled with the Lambton scandal, he continued to sit in the House of Lords becoming ‘Father of the House’. He held numerous public appointments including President of the Royal Geographical Society, Chairman of the Medical Research Council, President of the SAS Regimental Association and the UK Crete Veterans Association. Thanks to the author’s research and access, this is more than a biography of a significant public figure. It provides fascinating detail of Special Forces operations and the characters of the countless figures with whom he mixed.

The Long Range Desert Group and SAS

The Long Range Desert Group and SAS PDF Author: Charles River Charles River Editors
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 9781985723696
Category :
Languages : en
Pages : 138

View

Book Description
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading "The passive resistance to war, in which we have acquitted ourselves so well, must come to an end." - Prime Minister Winston Churchill The fighting in North Africa during World War II is commonly overlooked, aside from the famous battle at El Alamein that pitted the British under General Bernard Montgomery against the legendary "Desert Fox," Erwin Rommel. But while the Second Battle of El Alamein would be the pivotal action in North Africa, the conflict in North Africa began all the way back in the summer of 1940, when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared Italy's entrance into the war. From his perspective, the fact that the British and French had their hands full with the Germans created an opportunity for Italy to enlarge its colonial holdings in Africa by seizing portions of the British Empire. However, British troops in the colony of Egypt responded to Italy's declaration of war by driving through the Egyptian-Ethiopian border and attacking Italian troops stationed in the Italian colony of Ethiopia. Although British maneuvering in North Africa began successfully against the Italians, the British forces suffered a series of defeats over the next two years, due to several problems the British army faced as a result of inadequate preparation and weaponry. For example, when the war began, junior officers were unprepared for the kind of cooperation between units that was necessary in the battles of North Africa. At the same time, while British tanks were capable of opposing Italian tanks, they were vastly inferior to German models. Dealing with the Italians was one thing, but the British faced an entirely different monster in North Africa when Erwin Rommel, a German general who had gained much fame for his role in the invasions of Poland and France, was sent to North Africa in February 1941. For the next two years, the Allies would face off against the legendary Desert Fox and his Afrika Korps. As a specific unit, the Afrika Korps represented only a small part of the German forces deployed in the North African theater, but the term "Afrika Korps" has since come to imply all forces under Rommel's command, and the Afrika Korps is now associated with all German war efforts in North Africa. On August 1, 1945, a month before the formal end of World War II, the British War Office announced the disbanding of a small, eclectic unit, the Long Range Desert Group. Since its founding five years earlier, in June 1940, the LRDG had pioneered and refined the concept and tactics of deep penetration, covert reconnaissance in both the North African desert, and later as a more varied special forces operations unit in the Aegean, Italy and the Balkans. The LRDG, although built on work done during the North African desert campaigns of World War I, suffered a difficult gestation at the onset of World War II, and it was only much later revived after World War II in the era of Vietnam and the African counterinsurgency wars to become a standard configuration in most modern armies. One of the units tasked to coordinate with the LRDG was the Special Air Service. Traditionally, defeated armies resorted to guerrilla warfare, at least those unwilling to acknowledge defeat, but the British were certainly not prepared to do that just yet. What the situation produced was one of the most storied covert special forces units in military history, one that influenced several other Western nations. Ironically, the SAS itself would become one of the foremost units in counterinsurgency doctrine and putting down guerrilla campaigns across the globe in the wake of the war.

Hitler's Island War

Hitler's Island War PDF Author: Julie Peakman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1786722992
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 368

View

Book Description
*Highly Commended by the British Records Association for the 2019 Janette Harley Prize* In September 1943, at the height of World War II, the Aegean island of Leros became the site of the most pivotal battle of the Dodecanese campaign as the British tried, in vain, to retain control of the island. Over the course of two short months - from 15 September 1943 to 17 November 1943 - almost 1500 men lost their lives and hundreds more ended up in Prisoner-of-War camps. In this book, Julie Peakman, a modern-day resident of Leros, brings to life the story of the men caught up in the battle based on first-hand interviews and written accounts including diaries, letters and journals. She tells of the preparations of the soldiers leading up to the battle, the desperate hand-to-hand fighting, and the suffering endured from continual bombings. She also shows the extent of the men's despair at the allied surrender, the many subsequent daring escapes as well as the terrible years of incarceration for those who were captured and imprisoned. Many of the heart-rending accounts of the battle are told here for the first time, providing a unique eyewitness take on this forgotten corner of World War II.

The Eyes of the Desert Rats

The Eyes of the Desert Rats PDF Author: David Syrett
Publisher:
ISBN: 1912174634
Category : History
Languages : en
Pages : 330

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Book Description
Made up of members of the Coldstream and Scots Guards, British Yeomanry cavalry regiments, New Zealanders, South Africans, and Indian Army men, the Long Range Desert Group was perhaps the most effective of all the "special forces" established by the Allies during the Second World War. It was able to go thousands of miles into enemy territory, well-armed and carrying its own supplies of petrol, food and even water to last for weeks at a time - something quite new in military history. Using experience acquired in WWI and inter-war exploration travels, the LRDG thus developed the ability to appear almost anywhere in the desert to carry out almost every type of ground reconnaissance mission possible in desert warfare, exploring and mapping the terrain, transporting agents behind enemy lines or determining the strength and location of enemy forces with an extraordinary degree of accuracy and detail and thus able to verify or hide Ultra intelligence. Equally important were their skills in the art of desert navigation, demonstrated in the outflanking of the enemy during the Allied advance from El Alamein westward to Tunisia, as led by the LRDG. Once it had teamed up with the Special Air Service (SAS), made up of British, Free French, Commonwealth and Jewish Palestinian soldiers, the LRDG perfected the art of irregular mechanized warfare conducted in the rear of the enemy's forces in the desert, attacking enemy installations of all kinds, mining roads, raiding airfields, destroying enemy aircraft on the ground and inflicting losses upon the enemy in inverse proportion to their own remarkably low rate of casualties. Through meticulous research in original archival material, this book thus tells the extraordinary story of how a relatively small number of dedicated men developed the methods and techniques for crossing by motor vehicle the depths of the then unmapped and seemingly impassable great deserts of Egypt and Libya, the Western Desert, during the British Army's North African Campaign of 1940-43. The Long Range Desert Group and the Special Air Service as a matter of course did extraordinary things - the heroic was the commonplace. Their tactics, techniques and remarkable success in desert warfare continue to make them of great interest to the student of military affairs. Likewise, as it seeks to answer how the deep desert can best be used for military purposes, this study is pertinent to today's military operations, perhaps more so than at any time since World War II. "…this study provides fresh insights into the nature of desert warfare, past, present and future… [and] reveals the peculiarities of this warfare often lost to modern armies… a virtual primer, useful to commanders and soldiers alike. At long last this book can find its rightful place in the classroom of military courses and colleges and in the hands of those interested in the intricacies, complexities and problems of military operations in desert regions". From the Foreword to the book by Colonel (Retired) David M. Glantz.

The Role of Airpower in Guerrilla Warfare (World War II)

The Role of Airpower in Guerrilla Warfare (World War II) PDF Author: Air University (U.S.). Aerospace Studies Institute. Concepts Division
Publisher:
ISBN:
Category : Guerrilla warfare
Languages : en
Pages : 264

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