Sub-titled “Ten unlikely battlefield successes” this book does more or less just that. Perrett has taken 10 battles and described how they progressed and how the final outcome did not really go the way it should have. The Batles are:
- Bryan Perrett
Ø Albuhera 16 May 1811
Ø Battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane July 1814
Ø The Relief of Lucknow 1857
Ø Taking of Taku Forts 1859 & 1860
Ø Dargai 20 October 1897
Ø The Storming of San Juan Ridge 1 July 1898
Ø Mounted Action Palestine 1917
Ø Point do Hoe 6 June 1944
Ø Hill 112 June/July 1944
Ø Ngok Com Leat, Vietnam 1967
Each battle is different, as to be expected, and we have the amazing feats performed in either gaining the objective or by snatching victory where it was definitlely not expected. I am glad that he has not gone down the Rorke’s Drift route but has chosen battles not widely known, in the main, and shown how courage, leadership and pure bloody mindedness gets the job done.
At the Battle of Albuhera the British were soundly beaten by the French. The only trouble being that the British did not know it and kept pressing he French until they ran. What would normally have been a rout by the French was turned completely round by good leadership, not necessarily at the highest level, and extremely brave British soldiers.
Dargai tells the tale of the Gordon Highlanders forcing their way onto an objective which was thought by some to be impregnable. Again the ordinary soldier pushing on when ‘normal’ thinking may have been to withdraw.
In a space of 150 years we have battles being fought by different armies, on different continents, but all with the same ingredient, raw courage and the refusal to give in.
I enjoyed this book and won’t go into the detail of each battle as that would maybe spoil the potential readers’ enjoyment. I do have a couple fo quibbles: the first beuing the naming of Point du Hoe as I have always known it as Point du Hoc. This is obviously not a typo as it is used consistently throughout that chapter and as this book is a reprint, I would have thought this sort of thing would be sorted. However, if someone could direct me to Hoe being used as opposed to Hoc I would be grateful. The second quibble is about some of the maps, the one of Hill 112 in particular. The map covers too small an area so villages and objectives are mentioned but are not on the map, making it difficult to work out the direction of attack without resorting to other means.
Those small caveats aside, a good read, varied battles and wars plus a good tribute to the hard working soldier of many nations.
3.5/5 Mr MRHs