There are few books that follow a subjects from the Battle of France, through to the German unconditional surrender. Those who survived Dunkirk are now very few in number and even those who fought to the German surrender are becoming fewer by the day. This book is therefore a very welcome addition to the available direct accounts of WWII. Recommended.
NAME: Fighting Hitler from Dunkirk to D-Day, The Story of Die Hard Jeff Haward
AUTHOR: Jeff Haward, Neil Barber
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World War Two, Dunkirk, Operation Dynamo, D-Day, Operation Overlord, Territorial Army, volunteers, BEF
DESCRIPTION: There are few books that follow a subjects from the Battle of France, through to the German unconditional surrender. Those who survived Dunkirk are now very few in number and even those who fought to the German surrender are becoming fewer by the day. This book is therefore a very welcome addition to the available direct accounts of WWII. Recommended.
The subject, and co-author, was to receive the Military Medal close to the end of his period of service, although he shared with so many comrades a number of acts of courage under fire that went unrecognized.
This book is particularly valuable because it provides a picture of the fortunes of British warriors through a war that was fought to protect Europe from the attempts of Germans to impose a Union of Europe under their rule.
Haward was a Territorial, that group of peace-time volunteers who gave of their spare time to learning the trade of soldiering and being prepared to mobilize whenever Britain was under threat. As a result, he began the war with a set of equipment that was current and adequate. He went to France and fell back to Dunkirk. The miracle of Operation Dynamo was to see hundreds of thousands of British and French troops lifted from the Dunkirk beaches and brought safely to Britain. However, they left much of their equipment behind. Even rifles and light machine guns had to be left behind to cram the largest number of soldiers into the rescue boats. Back in Britain they were deployed to the coast against an anticipated German invasion. The initial shortage of weapons was such that it was normal for a platoon to share a single rifle and three to five rounds. That contrasted with the situation when Haward’s regiment went to France as a heavy machine gun unit equipped with the Vickers Maxim machine gun in adequate numbers and with a good supply of ammunition.
Haward was then sent to North Africa and onwards to Sicily, before being sent back to Britain to prepare for D-Day. From the Normandy beaches, he fought on to Reichswald and the German surrender.
There are many fascinating insights and this is a rewarding read.