With the SAS Across the Rhine

With the SAS Across the Rhine

Ian Wellsted
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
In this book the author describes his Army service in WW2 followed by an account of joining the SAS and being parachuted into occupied France to work alongside the Resistance for three months in 1944. After a further three months in the UK he is again parachuted into the Morvan area of southern France for two months at the Ecole Haute Montagne where he trains with a group for a potential clandestine operation in Norway.

Back in England in March 1945 the author is immediately assigned as Commander of several specially equipped reconnaissance Jeeps for Operation Archway, which is the main subject of this publication. It is at this point where the book goes into finer detail including the building of the Jeeps, those involved, the equipment and armaments used and the logistics of the forthcoming action.

Moving on to mid March 1945, Wellsted's group has assembled in Brussels then sets off for Allied front line just beyond the River Rhine in western Germany, where they start operations in earnest. In their early encounters the author's group support 6 Airborne Brigade in a variety of engagements with German weaponry including panzerfausts, self propelled guns and Spandau machine guns. However, the enormous amount of fire-power laid down by the SAS Jeeps and men resulted in many victories against numerically superior opponents with few casualties. The narrative of these battles has plenty of fine detail of movements and tactics, and is accompanied by a number of sketches hand-drawn by the author.

These early frantic battles really set the scene for more of the same as the group work their way through the area in their support and reconnaissance role, onwards via Rhade, Raesfeld, Sudlohn then across the River Weser where they work alongside British Armoured and Airborne divisions.

The epilogue covers events immediately after the European victory and includes the author's subsequent service in France, Norway and elsewhere.

It is at this point that I, as a reviewer, include an important note: I must stress that this is a very good book about the SAS in the latter part of WW2. It contains a wealth of information of great importance to historians, scholars and the casual reader alike but, I had endeavoured not to include this in my simple overview. However, to give a couple of spoilers, and to whet the appetite of potential readers, within the book are details of the French and Belgian SAS, descriptions of weaponry and tactics, and men involved such as Reg Seekings, Paddy Mayne and other 'characters'.

A good read!

Arrse rating: 4.5

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