The brilliant television comedy series Dad’s Army inevitably caracatured the volunteers who flocked to the defence of their country. This book goes a long way to painting a clear picture of a group of people who were too young, too old, or too unfit to volunteer to join the regular army, but in no way did they lack the enthusiasm and courage – Most Highly Recommended.
NAME: To The Last Man, The Home Guard In War & Popular Culture FILE: R2968 AUTHOR: Malcolm Atkin PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword, Air World BINDING: hard back PRICE: £30.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, Home Defence, innovation, desperation, determination, courage, old soldiers, raw young recruits, Dad's Army
IMAGE: B2968.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y5zd9pvk LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The brilliant television comedy series Dad's Army inevitably caracatured the volunteers who flocked to the defence of their country. This book goes a long way to painting a clear picture of a group of people who were too young, too old, or too unfit to volunteer to join the regular army, but in no way did they lack the enthusiasm and courage – Most Highly Recommended. The Land Defence Volunteers were a desperate attempt to reinforce the regular army in defence against a German invasion. The first volunteers included retired generals, shop keepers, mechanics, school teachers and those too young to serve in the regulars. Initially they did not even have any uniform beyond armbands. Weapons were virtually non-existent and what they had was most commonly sporting guns, small bore rifles, and pistols issued during WWI in which many had served. The regulars had first call on what military weapons were available as Britain rebuilt its army after the Dunkirk evacuation of the BEF. For most, training used broom sticks or pitch forks in place of rifles for drills. Private vehicles were used to increase mobility but often nothing beyond bicycles. It was desperate and it looked desperate. Equipment may have been lacking but there was no shortage of spirit, determination and personal courage. As the LDF migrated to the Home Guard, uniforms began to arrive and, most importantly, weapons. Many weapons were WWI vintage but there were also American Tommy guns and anti-tank rifles. There were grenades but most often gammon grenades or WWI Mills Bombs, together with the crates of home made petrol bombs using increasingly hard to come by petrol and oil, mixed and used to fill lemonade bottles, beer bottles and any suitable glass container. The author has provided a very detailed account of the Home Guard and painted an authentic picture of their organization, equipment, deployment and training. As the weeks passed, and the regular troops were being supplied from increasing stocks of weapons and equipment, starting to make supplies available to the Home Guard. This led to a remarkably effective military group that would have given a very good account of themselves had the Germans attempted to invade and, most importantly, reduced considerably the number of young trained and equipped regular soldiers needed to guard military installations and points of strategic importance. Also described are the almost unknown 'resistance' groups within the Home Guard. Very early on Churchill had called for a resistance army to be set up and given priority for equipment and arms. Unlike the occupied countries on the European mainland, there was to be no desperate grouping of individuals trying to build a force to fight back at occupiers. As a result units were formed in extreme secrecy, carefully trained, given the best available equipment, arms and explosives and also given underground command centres and 'safe houses'. These were built in a similar manner to corrugated iron air raid shelters and stocked with food, medicines, ammunition and equipment to enable the groups to function as self-sufficient groups with also the provision of covert communications. Many readers will be surprised how well the Home Guard functioned and how effective they would have been against an invader and under enemy occupation.