Theirs The Strife by John Russell

ARRSE Rating
5.00 star(s)
The forgotten battles of the British Second Army and Armeegruppe Blumentritt April 1945

Unless you are a Student of History, or perhaps have served in one of the Regiments named in this book, then the vast majority of people tend to think of the Liberation of Europe starting with the D Day landings in Europe, the Fierce fighting in the Falaise Gap, the total annihilation of Caen to clear the hardened pockets of troops, followed by a steady push northwards, with the failures of Market Garden, and the Freezing Winter months of Bastogne to delay the end , after this a race to Germany.

Strife 2.jpg

But for many of the fighting men the battles were about to become worse, far worse, in spite of Monty's assurances to his men, that they would encounter nothing more than boys, old men, and wet nurses, the troops soon found otherwise, they had to fight for every inch of the land, so where did this tough resilient and well armed German fighting force appear from ? John Russell takes the reader through the entire campaign, and from much diligent research , he illustrates how the Germans brought back young Naval officers and men, whose ships and submarines were either damaged or unfinished, stripping them of their weapons, and forming them in very short time into a disciplined cohesive fighting force, along with soldiers who had lost their units, recovered from injuries, and young boys, keen to avenge the attacks on their homeland, the sheer amount of weapons supplied, even at a time when the war was near its end , took our Army by surprise , issued with a seemingly endless supply of Panzerfausts, and with snipers to delay the troops, the toll on armoured and soft skin vehicles was immense, whereas in most cases our troops firing the PIAT at German armour merely scratched the paint, and as the author shows, German tank crews baled out, only to find minimal damage and returned to their tanks and harried our armoured columns once again , also recorded by the author are the suicide missions flown by young pilots against the American bomber stream, using the Jet aircraft to harry the fighter escort, while the piston engined planes attempted to shear of wings and control surfaces, our high command knew of this via Enigma, but to prevent a fall in morale it was wisely hushed up. By far the worst problem our troops faced was the boggy ground, forests where the German troops could vanish, and rivers, with bridges easily blown, along with home made roadside bombs.

There were so many individual actions over a wide area, that the author has sensibly broken each battle down into separate chapters ,and takes you through it from the point of view of both sides, his experience gained while serving in the area, along with the hundreds of high quality images he took back then, combined with period images and official reports, and highly accurate maps allow the reader to clearly understand the progress and the sheer doggedness of the German fighting men.

For those who have served in Germany, they will recognise many of these places, and it will bring to life the bravery of their ancestors in tearing a path through a hardened well disciplined and well armed opposition, a great many of whom now lay in their own soil.

This superb, informative and well researched volume runs to some 500 pages, and will reward anybody purchasing it, by the immense amount of knowledge, personal histories and oral histories their recounted.

Amazon product
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Is this a reprint of his ‘No Triumphant Procession’ on exactly the same subject in 1994? Or has he just taken 27 years to rewrite it?
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Is this a reprint of his ‘No Triumphant Procession’ on exactly the same subject in 1994? Or has he just taken 27 years to rewrite it?

I just had a look at the foreword, and the author said the following, ( thought it better to quote directly from him)

Since writing "No Triumphant Procession" a number of developments have greatly increased my sources of material. First and foremost is the internet, in the early 1990s in its infancy and the information and contacts it would make unimaginable , While considerable care need to be taken with the veracity of its information- for instance sites can feed each other the same incorrect material, giving an illusion of collateral - the internet has enabled me to access a wide range of materials and authorities, allowing me to add new information and greater depth, Additionally the internet has made me aware that the origional book was something of a treasure trove for the war-gaming fraternity , and so I hope the additional information in this book will be of particular interest to them.. Lastly with regard to the Internet, at Appendix A is a list of online video sources showing contemporary film of events inthis book, adding a fascinating additional dimension to the written word. However it needs to be noted that most of these sources tend to re-inforce the image of the advance being the uncontested "SWAN" referred to above and there is little in them that reveals the misery of the closing weeks. Besides the Internet, I have been able to make use of books and accounts written in the 1990s by veterans recording their wartime experiences before memories faded, and include Ultra decrypts , a classified source of information previously unavailable but now released by the National Archives at Kew and providing an extraordinary and near tangible impression of the Third Reich in its death throes , Lastly, I have benefitted from recently-published academic works covering the last stage of the European war, in particular Professor John Buckleys " Montys Men" and Professor Ian Kershaws " The End"

So in a word yes
I have not read the origional book, but from the size of this one and the sheer weight of information contained within it I would think it worth re reading it as it were in its new format to glean further insights
J Slocum
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I read the original and found it pretty good especially as I had an uncle who fought that part of the war in 6 KOSB. If you can get hold of it, read ‘With the Jocks - a Soldier’s struggle for Europe’, I think it is by far and away the best history of that time, and it spares no punches.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
I read the original and found it pretty good especially as I had an uncle who fought that part of the war in 6 KOSB. If you can get hold of it, read ‘With the Jocks - a Soldier’s struggle for Europe’, I think it is by far and away the best history of that time, and it spares no punches.
would you like this copy to add to your collection?
its nice to have a personal link
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Is this a reprint of his ‘No Triumphant Procession’ on exactly the same subject in 1994? Or has he just taken 27 years to rewrite it?
No, it is not a reprint of NTP. It includes some of the NTP material but is greatly expanded in terms of depth of research, units and actions described, maps, photographs etc. It is to all intents and purposes a new book. The description on Amazon tells all.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top