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In the Face of the Enemy: A Battery Sergeant Major in Action in the Second World War
 
 

In the Face of the Enemy: A Battery Sergeant Major in Action in the Second World War [Kindle Edition]

E A Powdrill
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

In Part One Powdrill describes his experiences in France during ‘the Phoney War’ and then their baptism by fire in May 1940, culminating in the evacuation from Dunkirk having left their disabled guns behind. Ernest was wounded but many of his colleagues were killed by ferocious German counter-battery fire.

Part 2 tells a very different story in more detail. By now a Sergeant Major in an armoured tracked regiment, the author fought through from the Normandy beaches to the River Maas. He describes the near constant action in graphic terms. In the Face of the Enemy is a splendid soldier’s story full of understatement and atmosphere. Success is tinged with sadness for lost comrades and admiration for his fellow men.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1504 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pen and Sword (19 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ADXJVYK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,643 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Battery Sergeant Major's War 25 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I borrowed this from the library and liked it so much that I bought my own copy. I found it very interesting because it is unusual for an other rank to write a memoir. Especially one where the author was a battery sergeant major who also had access to the battery clerk's notes. So, much of the 1944-45 campaign is very well documented with grid references for gun positions, ammo expenditure and times of moves. It is a fantastic reference book for WW2 operations of a Royal Horse Artillery battery in self propelled guns.

There is also some of the human element to it as well. I was especially moved by the mystery of Gunner E T Jones who disappeared in the middle of a battle between the authors casualty evacuation runs. Gunner Jones was never found and is commemorated on the memorial for the missing at Bayeux.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a worthwhile read 30 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I value the accounts of wars written by soldiers actually in the thick of things because these complement 'top-down' histories. 'In the face of the enemy' does exactly that.

Powdrill gives a detailed and honest picture. He was a Regular senior NCO in the Royal Artillery operating for the most part just behind the front line. He first describes action with the BEF leading to Dunkirk, and then describes action following the D-Day landings.

Often, Powdrill says, he had no idea of campaign aims: they were allocated targets and his troop fired the guns where directed. "Again, I was unaware of what we were firing at". It seems the British army did not fully integrate its forces, but relied on individual arms being able to support each other.

When Powdrill's troop happened to work regularly with a RTR unit in the post 1944 campaign, cooperation was actually close. But this was practical cooperation, not integration as such. Comparison could be made with the German so-called blitzkreig approach - fast mobile attacks with combined forces.

Broader issues aside, this is a worthwhile read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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A good read as this is another book NOT written by a historian so gives a front line perspective.

Some may find it a bit tedious in part 2 as he the text is often "Moved to grid ref 9933, shot 25 rounds" and so on but for me this conveyed the unrelenting nature of the fighting very well. The fact they didn't know what they were shooting at most of the time and found this frustrating was also an interesting insight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a first class read. 16 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author writes clearly and powerfully giving a first class description of his battle experience. The reader is drawn in to the story line,turning every page in ken anticipation. This is clearly the story of a very brave man. The only real disappointment is the story stops suddenly on his last day in the battlefield . I would really have liked to know the rest of his military service and what happened to him afterwards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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A good insight into the activities of the Field artillery, written in a most unassuming way. Perhaps there could have been more detail in the recounting of activities but it leaves a clear understanding of the danger in which these men existed and the dedication they gave to their support of others. Sometimes, what becomes obvious but is not actually stated says more than extra detail.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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Readable account of certain actions experienced by the author. I liked it probably because it gave an insight of 'other ranks' experience and perspective during action rather than a purely timeline account of actions and military units involved which is often the style of historians and commanding officers. Good value and worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
for anyone seeking an insight into the royal artillery in ww2 This is an excellent book.the author uses the 25 pounder..in its various forms..drilled out ww1 guns .plus the traditional 25 pounder moving onto the Sexton a sherman chassis with 25 pounder..

A Very insightful book

Chris Jenkins Aug 2014
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In the face of the enemy. 17 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Not the usual war narrative. Whilst the writing is a bit stilted, to read about a branch of the armed forces that is often neglected. Usually thought of as long range snipers the gunners in this book are in the thick of it. It seems that WO Powdrills Military Cross was well deserved.
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