A vivid and flowing account of the North Africa armoured engagements by the late Lt Col Cyril Joly, MC & Bar. This book was highly acclaimed in 1955 when it was first published and remains the outstanding account from a ‘tanker’ who served throughout the Western Desert campaign, was wounded and awarded the Military Cross and Bar – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Take These Men, Tank Warfare With The Desert Rats FILE: R2924 AUTHOR: Cyril Joly PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: soft back PAGES: 276 PRICE: £14.99 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, World War Two, Second World War, armour, North Africa, Afrika Korps, tank warfare, 7th Armoured Division, 8th Army, desert warfare
IMAGE: B2924.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y6ymzkpt LINKS: DESCRIPTION: A vivid and flowing account of the North Africa armoured engagements by the late Lt Col Cyril Joly, MC & Bar. This book was highly acclaimed in 1955 when it was first published and remains the outstanding account from a 'tanker' who served throughout the Western Desert campaign, was wounded and awarded the Military Cross and Bar – Very Highly Recommended This is one of those rare battlefield books that does not require illustration, the text carrying the reader through the hell of armoured warfare in the desert. The vivid descriptions hold the reader in a ringside seat. Cyril Joly was born in China, educated at Clifton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, joining the Royal Tank Regiment in 1939. Much has been written about the British use, or lack of use, of armour in a modern all-arms context. It is entirely true that politicians cut the services to the bone between the two World Wars and many senior officers failed to grasp the principles of mobile armoured warfare, with the integration of mechanized infantry, motorized artillery and close air support. However, the first publications advocating this form of warfare were first published by British and French tank officers. The German Army prepared detailed plans before WWII but, in 1939, were initially still equipped with training tanks that were less than ideal for their purpose. As the Royal Tank Regiment demonstrated convincingly at Arras, in buying time for the Dunkirk evacuation, British armour, in the form of the Matilda, were more than equal to the task of halting a panzer advance, provided adequate numbers of tanks were dedicated to the battle. They were also supported by mechanized infantry and the much under- rated Universal Carriers. The only thing lacking was close air support. In the battles around Arras and the Dunkirk perimeter, the RAF Fairy Battle was highly vulnerable but was still committed and flown with courage. The Royal Navy also deployed its Skua dive bombers effectively and, had they been able to train with the army before 1939, it is possible that the RTR could have repeated the successes of the 'Old Contemptibles' in 1914 in a skilled fighting retreat that blunted and then halted the German advance. North Africa was to prove the British armour in a difficult and dangerous environment. The author's account of the ebb and flow of fortunes provides a unique insight from his own direct experiences. The British land forces in Egypt were seriously under strength and equipped largely with obsolete equipment. The Italians comfortably outnumbered the British and yet British armour forced them back with large numbers of prisoners and much equipment being taken by the British. The process of rapid advance and rapid defeat then alternated until the Germans were badly mauled at El Alamein and never recovered the initiative. By that stage, the British had finally cracked the problem, providing equipment and men in adequate numbers, with tanks supported by self propelled artillery and effective towed guns, with close air support from a Desert Air Force that soon established air superiority. The author has told this story from the perspective of a junior officer who distinguished himself in the bitter fighting. In the process, he has written the definitive account of the action.