World War Two introduced large numbers of special forces, some traditional raids from the sea, and large scale raids by air. This fascinating book covers a selection of raids to illustrate the new scope for attacks on and behind enemy lines, with the blurring of military operations, intelligence and spying, a great read with some truly inspiring stories.
NAME: Daring Raids of World War Two, Heroic Land, Sea & Air Attacks FILE: R2380 AUTHOR: Peter Jacobs PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 237 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World War 2, training, special forces, covert operations, behind the lines, commando, paratrooper, amphibious assault, technology acquisition, sabotage, espionage, intelligence gathering ISBN: 1-78346-333-3 IMAGE: B2380.jpg BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/zmdps6b LINKS: Current Discount Offers http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/sale DESCRIPTION: World War Two introduced large numbers of special forces, some traditional raids from the sea, and large scale raids by air. This fascinating book covers a selection of raids to illustrate the new scope for attacks on and behind enemy lines, with the blurring of military operations, intelligence and spying, a great read with some truly inspiring stories. One of the challenges a reviewer faces is in picking new publications, from a heavily covered topic group, that strongly merit the attention and money of readers and viewers. This is particularly true in the cases of military history and crime. These topic groups are in such heavy demand that they justify large numbers of new books and films/videos every year. Very rarely does a writer produce an account of something that has never been covered before, but virtually every new publication introduces fresh insights and conclusions to some extent. This new book justifies the readers time and money for several reasons, even though the stories have been covered many times before. The author has started by selecting a number of stories that illustrate the innovation in raiding that was introduced during WWII. He has then made a very good job of describing each action and relating them to the overall course of WWII. Each of the raids described nicely represents an area of raiding, from the small daring adventure to the large raids that might almost be considered an invasion. In 1940, Great Britain and the Commonwealth stood virtually alone against the Nazi threat. At the closest point, the enemy was only 20 miles away and had a well practised war machine with great numbers under arms. The British were desperately short of equipment, having sent much to France where it had to be left behind when the BEF and French troops were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk. Churchill, a dynamic and decisive war leader, had replaced the shambling appeaser Chamberlain. He did not want to sit licking his wounds, but take the battle back to the enemy. Special Forces were the only way forward as land forces, with Bomber Command as the only option from the air. Both could strike deep behind enemy lines and cause shock and actual damage far beyond their size. The Royal Navy was in a slightly different position, having most of the necessary resources intact and centuries of carrying out innovative raids on enemies around the world. Britain and her allies had access to some new technology that was ideal for a war of raiding. The Royal Navy had a unique fleet of aircraft carriers and torpedo bombers. This enabled FAA crews to fly from land and from ship to raid enemy ships in port. These raids proved highly productive, with the raid on the Italian Fleet in port giving the RN a vital six months naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. The RAF also carried out pin point raids of high value targets in Occupied Europe, aided by the first true multi-role warplane, the Mosquito. These versatile aircraft were used to hunt U-boats in the Bay of Biscay and mark targets precisely for raids by large formations of heavy bombers, but there were also special squadrons trained for low level pinpoint attacks. In raiding Amiens jail and other similar facilities in France, these aircraft performed miracles. In more than one raid, French inhabitants were able to look down into the cockpits as Mosquitoes hurtled along their streets at near suicidal height. On reaching their targets they dropped their bombs with amazing accuracy, in one case dropping a bomb through the door of the SS barracks where it then skidded along the floor before going down a staircase to explode in the air raid shelter. At Amiens, the outer prison walls were breeched, enabling a coordinated attack by the French Resistance that freed large numbers of prisoners. At sea, the RN had a fleet of hundreds of small fast attack craft, MTBs and MGBs, and slightly larger MLs. In addition to their normal duties, these vessels provided a way of inserting or extracting commandos from French and Dutch beaches. In addition, the RN also had midget submarines and human torpedoes built as a means of covertly attacking major enemy warships in port, including Japanese warships. Conventional submarines were employed to land small number of people for covert operations In terms of great numbers, the special land forces were a very impressive part of the raiding activities, being delivered by parachute or glider and extracted by fast patrol vessels from beaches, the commandos rapidly expanded their activities to render Germans in all of Occupied Europe unsafe. Their attacks demonstrated careful training excellent equipment and great courage and determination. Their counterparts in North Africa relied mainly on specially equipped vehicles to navigate the desert on the enemy flank and then attack, using the desert again to provide the escape route The military value of these methods of attack has been open to debate, but their propaganda value was enormous. There was also much evidence that serious damage was done to the enemy and that the raids helped shorten the war. There were also larger raids. The raid on St Nazaire was virtually an invasion and denied the Germans the use of a huge dry dock that could have been used to repair capital ships. An even larger raid on Dieppe was effectively a rehearsal for the Liberation Invasion that became the Normandy Landings. Critics have attempted to play down the value of raiding but with less than convincing arguments. Above all, these attacks made the Germans spread their resources more thinly, draw back forces from Russia to defend against attacks, and no German could have felt safe along the Atlantic Coast or in North Africa, Greece and the Balkans.