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Breaking the Panzers Paperback – 11 May 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sutton Publishing; New Ed edition (11 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750937548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750937542
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,421,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael A Dorosh on 5 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had the honour of meeting the author in, of all places, Caen in Normandy, in the run up to the D-Day commemorations of 2010. He was on a book tour with Ian Daglish, I was on a battlefield tour with The Calgary Highlanders. If I had absolutely nothing good to say about this book, I suppose I might have included all that as filler; I mention it because he was kind enough to take time from an incredibly busy schedule to talk to someone interested in his work. His enthusiasm in the subject matter was apparent in person, and if you are wondering if it translates to the printed page, I have no reason to believe you would be disappointed.

If anyone is familiar with J. Allan Snowie's book BLOODY BURON, which is an hour-by-hour account of that battle by the HLI of Canada during Operation CHARNWOOD, this book follows a similar format, though it takes advantage of the graphical advantages of the intervening years. The author's personal attachment to the subject material - his father's presence at the one day battle - is an obvious advantage, as it gives not a bias, but an impetus to telling the story correctly, and from both viewpoints, Axis and Allied.

Multiple, primary, sources have been consulted, and the book is laid out logically, hour by hour. Direct quotes from participants in the battle give an immediacy to the text, and situational awareness is highlighted by a series of excellent full-colour maps and diagrams.

Whether your interest is in this particular battle, the units involved, or battalion-level operations in general, this is an excellent insight into the British Army in Normandy. One might think that there is a deluge of "British Army in Normandy" books in recent years, but this one is truly unique for the personal approach to the subject, the short timeline of the subject matter, and frankly, the quality of the presentation. If tactical studies are your interest, this book deserves pride of place on your bookshelf.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Normandy 1944: once again the Brits will be bumbling through an attack on the much-vaunted Germans? Well no, this time the Germans have launched a tactical action and face the British on defence, notably the author's dad and his mates. By reversing the typical image of the campaign, and by considering it in great detail Baverstock brings a lot that is fresh to my understanding. Maps and diaries have been plundered to give you a feel of a local battalion under attack from some experienced formations; will it hold? How can it hold?

A useful specific to histories that cover the higher level where this battle might be a glorious footnote.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carl on 31 July 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Baverstock presents the story of the 1st Tyneside Scottish (Black Watch) during the Battle of Rauray, a German counterattack on 1st July 1944 aimed at pushing the British back from their gains made during Operation Epsom. Baverstock's work is well researched, based on his enthusiasm to present the facts of what happened that day due to his father's involvement in the battle, while also building upon the work of Major John Samson (of the 1st Tyneside) who started to collect personal accounts of the battle aimed at providing an authentic account of the battle.

The book opens with the raising of the battalion, their training, and their eventual arrival in Normandy before moving onto the main subject of the work: the battle. This is presented in twelve stages supported by a weight of personal testimony from men of the battalion, supplemented by information from the German point of view from the 9th SS Panzer Division's divisional history. Baverstock is able to present the battle without bias while at the same time highlighting the efforts made by the British infantry, artillery, and armour in defending their lines throughout the day and counterattacking. In addition, while focusing on the Tyneside Scottish, Baverstock ensures that the supporting role of the Durham Light Infantry and King's Own Scottish Borderers on the flanks, as well as the anti-tank, artillery, and tank units are also mentioned; that the story of the Battle of Rauray is one of the entire British front near the town, coming under a sustained and aggressive day long German attack. The book provides a graphic insight into the tactical nature of fighting in Normandy as well as its gruesome reality.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike many recently written histories of the second world war, this book does not seek to revise what has been written before but to describe in convincing detail detail events which have not previously been recorded. The author thus has the advantage of being able to tell a story for the first time without having to resort to ‘revising the received wisdom’ approach that is the lot of journalist-historians.

The book is based largely on field reports and personal reminiscence. This gives it an on-the-spot clarity in which the actions and feelings of men in battle can be seen vividly.
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