Op GRANBY - 25 Years Ago

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
He (along with several veterans) was a guide when my Staff College course toured the battlefieldin that year.

I have posted MP3 recordings of all of them bar one* on the web (try the Pegasus Archive for links)

He was a very good speaker.

His written style, however, left much to be desired. I seriously hope he's improved with time.

* I still have not found the cassette on which I recorded the stories told by a bloke who was a Pl Comd at the bridge, to my lasting regret.
I found both his books I've read so far to be very engaging, not at all muddled - despite the breadth of the subjects, a good pace but not hurried. Certainly as good as Trigg or Holland for example.
 
For the panzers, one reason was the Vickers presence in theatre, led by two former RTR Colonels, Brian Trueman and John Slade.
By their own accounts, they visited units during the build up, with a maint team, ensured all maintenance was being conducted as per for desert conditions. They forcefully impressed on the troops that this was not an exercise and if tasks weren’t completed properly and at the correct intervals, lives were seriously at risk.
The Vickers presence was deliberate. On the eve of her decision to commit 7 Armd Bde, Maggie called in CDS, DRAC and the MD of Vickers Defence.
She explained she was a tad concerned about reliability and availability of Challenger which, she had been briefed, were not of the highest order.
She said she would only commit 7 Armd if she had an assurance the tanks would prove their worth.
All three gents were invited to retire and consider their response.
They subsequently replied there would be no untoward problems and that all best efforts would be made to ensure the highest availability.
On hearing this, Maggie thanked them, said 7 Armd would be going based on their assurances, then invited all three to sign prepared letters to that effect, adding she was sure she did not have to emphasise the import on their future careers of their signatures, if things went mammaries up with reliability.
When I first heard that tale, very shortly after the decision to send 7 Armd had been announced, my reaction was to put it down to a touch of urban myth.
However, a few months after Granby, when MoD signed the contract for Chall 2 with Vickers, I was at the celebratory Vickers drinkies and had a chat with Gerry Boxall, MD - an old friend.
‘I bet you’re hoping she tore up those letters before she went,’ I commented.
‘Too bloody right I am,’ came his reply. Thus confirming what I had heard.
The Vickers teams did a great job supporting CR. I saw the fit/ready within 24/non fit tables for all AFV/Arty on a daily basis. I still have a few used Vickers-subsidised 4-minute phone cards which were like gold dust back in Al Jubail!
 
Some of my pics (I've lost most).

I think the name of the place was Hafir Al Batin; kinda top leftish of Saudi, under Iraq, like nearish the corner bit.

Taff Jones.

2.jpg


Capt Bligh:

1a.jpg


The good looking moi. I didn't dig all the trench, the REs did it with a digger. But our SSM wanted the trench a bit deeper. Not sure why he didn't ask the digger drivers.

2b.jpg
 
Al Jubail!

We were there for about a month I think. Tent city. I've got no sense of direction and got annoyed with going for a shower/Efi/shit and then walking into the wrong tent. "Ooops, sorry, lads, wrong tent" and then going into another "Sorry lads, wrong tent", so I chalked three massive "XXX" on the side of my tent and went for a shower.

On my return, every tent in that particular row had "XXX" chalked down the side of them.
 

Yes, it beat walking 100 paces and digging a hole. That desert was flat as a pancake and nowhere to hide.

Mates would throw stones at you when you were trying to squeeze one out. Or Apache pilots would go out of their way to buzz you and you were waving back at them snapping one off.

The worst were the shitters at Tent City. They were hell.
 
Yes, it beat walking 100 paces and digging a hole. That desert was flat as a pancake and nowhere to hide.

Mates would throw stones at you when you were trying to squeeze one out. Or Apache pilots would go out of their way to buzz you and you were waving back at them snapping one off.

The worst were the shitters at Tent City. They were hell.
Pull up a sandbag! We did have relatively-organised shitting arrangements, but not one of those smart wooden constructions. Our column accidentally collided with one of those while returning from a practice night march, with some poor chap in occupation, fortunately uninjured. I was sworn to secrecy at the time, but after 30 years... The evening shit burning was an early precursor of the oilfield fires. Tent City (Baldrick Lines?) looked miserable, but mercifully I only spent a few hours there on the way out.
 
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Strange to think back then of Brig Cordingley gathering us together and giving us a sombre pre departure briefing with talk of casualty percentages, warning of chaos, noise and stress ahead, then finishing with an excerpt from Kipling's 'If'... girding your loins and all that... memorable and stirring stuff.....

Meanwhile... back in the MQs in Germany my wife along with all the other wives in our block of flats was beside herself with stress and worry as she'd had weeks on her own with the kids being fed a constant stream of Sky News and impending disaster and high casualty rate predictions (I think SSVC got free broadcasts of Sky or something, they certainly showed almost too much rolling news for the worried wives... ) and I do give her a hug every now and then and thank her for what she had to put up with when in fact for us on the ground we ended up having a bit of a fast drive in a tank across the desert with some occasional bangs to keep us excited.. Bless her cotton socks...
I was on rear party, trust me she wasn't ....Savoys was here favourite place
 
Strange to think back then of Brig Cordingley gathering us together and giving us a sombre pre departure briefing with talk of casualty percentages, warning of chaos, noise and stress ahead, then finishing with an excerpt from Kipling's 'If'... girding your loins and all that... memorable and stirring stuff.....

Meanwhile... back in the MQs in Germany my wife along with all the other wives in our block of flats was beside herself with stress and worry as she'd had weeks on her own with the kids being fed a constant stream of Sky News and impending disaster and high casualty rate predictions (I think SSVC got free broadcasts of Sky or something, they certainly showed almost too much rolling news for the worried wives... ) and I do give her a hug every now and then and thank her for what she had to put up with when in fact for us on the ground we ended up having a bit of a fast drive in a tank across the desert with some occasional bangs to keep us excited.. Bless her cotton socks...
Arthur Denaro, CO QRIH, had gold brooches made for presentation to the Regimental wives when QRIH got home.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Meh.

That's a low bar.

Gold standard, for me, would be Richard Holmes.
If only I'd had you education and reading, I'd be a much better critic.
 
Arthur Denaro, CO QRIH, had gold brooches made for presentation to the Regimental wives when QRIH got home.
You could buy them in Bonkers, and the brooches
 
If only I'd had you education and reading, I'd be a much better critic.
Never studied history at skule.

Caught the bug when I was in Berlin. Slowly discovered that much of what is published is very readable, but without solid foundation in fact, nor written by authors with a grasp of the simple 'mechanics' of war, however readable they may be.

Holland may be readable, but he lacks understanding.

Holmes (who supposedly funded his Uni days by writing soft porn for Mayfair magazine :) ) was well informed, very conscientious about facts, sources and analysis, very fluent on paper, more so in (unscripted) person, and better yet when he'd a good couple glasses of red wine inside him before the afternoon leg of that day's bottlefield tour.

Like I said, Gold Standard.
 

OneTenner

LE
Book Reviewer
Never studied history at skule.

Caught the bug when I was in Berlin. Slowly discovered that much of what is published is very readable, but without solid foundation in fact, nor written by authors with a grasp of the simple 'mechanics' of war, however readable they may be.

Holland may be readable, but he lacks understanding.

Holmes (who supposedly funded his Uni days by writing soft porn for Mayfair magazine :) ) was well informed, very conscientious about facts, sources and analysis, very fluent on paper, more so in (unscripted) person, and better yet when he'd a good couple glasses of red wine inside him before the afternoon leg of that day's bottlefield tour.

Like I said, Gold Standard.
Have you read any of Kershaw's books? - they seem to conform to your measure of Holmes IMO
However,
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Have you read any of Kershaw's books?
I flogged my way through It Never Snows, wondering why the fvck the editor didn't give him a few lessons in telling a tale with eloquence, economy and fluency. He wrote like a lecturer in the Big Red Bedroom at Camberley (the gold standard for making historical drama into a soporific experience)

Shame, really, in person, speaking from notes and from memory, he wasn't bad.

I've not plucked up the courage to commit my time or money to his books since.

Hence my comment that I hope his style has improved with time.
 
I flogged my way through It Never Snows, wondering why the fvck the editor didn't give him a few lessons in telling a tale with eloquence, economy and fluency. He wrote like a lecturer in the Big Red Bedroom at Camberley (the gold standard for making historical drama into a soporific experience)

Shame, really, in person, speaking from notes and from memory, he wasn't bad.

I've not plucked up the courage to commit my time or money to his books since.

Hence my comment that I hope his style has improved with time.
30 years ago I can't say that my mind was on the relative merits of military historians, excellent as many of them are, but then again I hadn't yet encountered the phenomenon of ARRSE thread drift! Which of those you mention have written about Op Granby?
 
Kershaw gets a mention at #607.

Thereafter, apparently, one is required to treat him with unequivocal reverence.

So far I have declined to do so.
Thanks. Never heard of him ... edit: on second thoughts, yes, a Para. Thanks again.
 
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