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Desert Rat 1940-43 (Warrior) [Paperback]

Tim Moreman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 Nov 2011 Warrior (Book 160)
"Desert Rat 1940-43: British Commonwealth Troops in North Africa".

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey (20 Nov 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849085013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849085014
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 18 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 563,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"It is not a history of the war in the desert, but an excellent look at what it was like. Thanks to some great period photos and the superb artwork or Steve Noon, we get a glimmer of the hardships these men faced and how they were overcome. Another superlative title in the series and a book that I can easily recommend to you." - Scott Van Aken, Modelling Madness

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Osprey's best efforts 5 Dec 2012
By MarkBT
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best Osprey books I have come across in recent years. Given that it is only 64 pages, there is a mass of information, some very well chosen photos, and some excellent original artwork in these pages. Tim Moreman as the author and Steve Noon as the illustrator have done a fine job with a big subject here. Particularly pleasing is the way that the content concerning weapons, equipment and battles is combined here and there with information about some of the more mundane yet essential aspects of everyday living and surviving in the desert. An essential addition to the book collection of anyone interested in the War in the desert 1940-43.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptionally well-illustrated volume 14 Dec 2011
By No More Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER
The colour plates build up through the various stages of the book, showing the men, equipment, organisation and training, leading eventually to the battle and its aftermath. The quality of the paintings is exceptional; the artist has captured the quality of the desert light. The monochrome photographs are also of excellent quality and support the text, which is clear, informative and well-written.

The Contents are –
P04: Introduction
P05: Chronology
P07: Recruiting the Desert Rat
P13: Fighting Methods, Doctrine and Training
P23: Belief and Belonging
P027: Appearance and Equipment
.Uniforms and Equipment; Weaponry; Tanks
P037: Life on Campaign in the Western Desert
P45: Experience of Battle
.The battle of Omars, November 1941; The 150th Infantry brigade at Gazala, May 1942
P58: Aftermath
P62: Museums and Collections
P63: Select Bibliography
P64: Index

The Colour Plates are –
A: The Australian ‘Digger’. This shows a full figure holding a rifle, with various items of kit shown in close-up illustrations, plus ‘variant’ and optional items of kit.
B: The Land Mine. This is a plate showing two Royal Engineers demonstrating the ‘Polish’ mine detector – the circular plate at the end of a long handle – with 4 Sikh soldiers receiving instruction.
C: The Attack. Two page diagrammatic illustrations showing: 1. a formal attack on a defensive position; 2. an in-depth defensive position.
D: The Desert Rat. This plate shows a figure, leaning on a Bren gun and smoking, with several items shown separately in close up, along with variant items of kit.
E: Weaponry. This plate shows a selection of rifles and machine guns, along with a pistol, mortar, grenade and bayonet.
F: A Brew Up.
Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A complete overview 2 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book seems complete, well balanced and fulfilling all the needs of anyone interested in operations, details and temper of Commonwealth Forces in the North Africa theatre of war. It i s especially good in giving a full picture of the real combat conditions faced by these troops and of their changing composition following the different needs of other war theatres.
Highly advisable.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only for those new to the subject! 28 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you ever read a book about ww2 in north africa, you can disregard this. Even the pictures are few and average.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-illustrated portrait of the Desert Rats up close 6 Dec 2011
By Jonathan Lupton - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This short book makes a modest but poignant contribution to the history of the desert war. Much will be familiar to those already well-versed in the desert war of 1940-1943. But, as such a reader, I gained some new insights too. The early Desert Rats of Seventh Armored Division and Fourth Indian Division exemplified prewar professionalism. But the force was soon diluted, as large numbers of less experienced recruits and conscripts joined the fighting. While superior to the Italians, British forces came out second best against the small but highly trained, well-led German forces of Rommel's Afrika Korps. Some of the material covered on training, tactics and doctrine can also be found in Paddy Griffith's World War II Desert Tactics and Mr. Moreman's other Osprey title on the Eighth Army.

Where this account excels, however, is in the short but discerning section on the soldiers' beliefs and sense of belonging. The Desert Rats were a diverse lot, with troops from India, South Africa, Australia, the British Isles and elsewhere. Yet they shared a sense of pride built up from O'Connor's early victories over the Italians. Language differences caused problems, but also built a unique jargon with terms from beyond the English-speaking world, such as sangar, an Urdu term for a hastily-built rock fort. There is an informative write-up on the problems of moving and fighting in the desert. Did you know that most combat took place during the morning and late afternoon, because heat haze made it difficult to see targets at midday?

The write-up ends with two brief stories from the desert fighting, the Battle of the Omars during the Crusader offensive and the stand by 150th Brigade at Gazala. Both accounts integrate well the tactical realities of desert combat, emphasizing the ordeal of ordinary foot soldiers. These concise and fascinating accounts are marred only by the lack of maps of either action.

The account of British tactics at First Alamein balances nicely a battle that has yielded much controversy. As Tim Moreman points out, Auchinleck's creative tactical rethinking may have saved the day in that crucial battle, yet the radical changes he proposed also caused confusion. It was Montgomery who really stamped his personality on Eighth Army, building a myth that counter-acted the Desert Rats' loss of self-confidence in face of Rommel.

The illustrations are extremely good. They include several original paintings that convey Desert Rat infantrymen with pathos and honesty, a quality that is enhanced by informative captions. All in all this is a brief but informative account of ordinary soldiers' life and trials as they fought a tough enemy in one of Earth's harshest environments.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Desert Rats... 21 Mar 2014
By D. S. Thurlow - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The British and Commonwealth troops who made up first the 7th Armoured Division, then the Western Desert Force and finally the British Eighth Army have come down through history known as "The Desert Rats." Under a series of commanders, most notably Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery, they fought first Mussolini's Italian Army in North Africa and then Rommel's famous Afrikakorps during 1940 to 1943 in North Africa. This is their story.

"Desert Rat 1940-43" is an Osprey Warrior Series entry, authored by Tim Moreman and illustrated by Steve Noon. It is less about the battles in North Africa and more about the soldiers who fought them. In a brisk 64 pages, the author discusses where the troops came from, how they fought, what they believed in, and their weapons and equipment. There is an astonishing amount information here, and the text is nicely supported by photographs, maps, and some excellent illustrations.

The most interesting takeaway for this reviewer was how the composition of the Desert Rats changed over time. The long-serving professionals of the 7th Armoured Division became the far less trained collection of draftees and Commonwealth troops of the Western Desert Force. The Eighth Army would require extensive retraining and reequipping to achieve its victories from El Alamein to Tunis. "Desert Rat" is too short to provide more than a good introduction to that process, but it is a decent read. Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Desert Rat 18 Mar 2014
By Michael GreenWest Coast British - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great little book...
My dad was a Desert Rat, Valentine driver... Captured June 21, 1942 in what is sometimes called the "First Battle of El Amamein" A battle many seem to overlook, including this book -for the most part. Even Rommel talks about this battle... Dad was Point tank and the first one to get hit. RTR was like cavalry in that they shot on the run... it worked fighting the Ital's but not Jerry. Jerry hit back with 75mm & 88mm guns... and wiped out the British tank regiment.
Any tanker -like my son- should read this
4.0 out of 5 stars Desert Rat 1940-43: British and Commonwealth troops in North Africa 31 Jan 2014
By ROSS WOOD - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked the book.

The information, I found was similar to the recognized Official Histories of the British and Commonwealth Forces that participated. The captions to the majority of photographs appear correct. As well as the history in order 1940 to 1943 of specific battles and campaigns, I found the author picked, what I would assume are his particular favourite battles, and dealt with them in detail. I also feel it is very obvious the author is British. However, I feel the diagrams are good quality and the information accurate.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small Informational book of Desert Rat of WWII 17 Sep 2012
By FilmBook1 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a small book covering the British Desert Rats of North Africa. There is good information about the equipment, uniforms, weapons, and general fighting of the desert campaign. The book could have been more detailed about all the elements.
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