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Mailed Fist [Paperback]

John Foley
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Mayflower; n.e. edition (23 Jan 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0583124917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0583124911
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Mailed Fist

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars three tanks & fifteen men 10 Mar 2004
Format:Unknown Binding
I first purchased this book in aprox 1962, & am now on my 5/6 copy & am looking for a replacement, why?. Because this is a true story, I have been to the places in england, the french bocage, the ardenne, where so much of their action took place, I have seen, their training grounds, the beaches they landed on,the ground they fought over, their tanks now used as memorials in small french towns, their graveyards. I understand some of the type of people these tank crew were, & this account of three tanks & fifteen men is full of; fun, sadness, mystery, fear, guts, determination, grief, dispair, frustration when they watch their shells bounce of the opposing tanks, this book will take you from Regimental H.Q. to the Rhine through the full range of these emotions, it does this to me every time. My Father went onto the beach on June 12, this give me an account of what was happening around him during that time, something he would never speak of.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Personal reasons. 22 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as it was written by my Grandfather's Squadron Leader. The book gave me an insight into the operations and conditions experienced by my Grandfather. The high rating was partly based on my personal interest in the story, more general reading would still be informative and enjoyable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A British Army Churchill Tank Troop in WW2 15 Nov 2008
By Kiwi - Published on Amazon.com
The author, Major John Foley, commanded a troop of Churchill Tanks in WW2. The books a "real-life" story - from Normandy through the Ardennes campaign to the final victory over Germany. It's a really well-written account of the life of a tank troop during the war. History up close and personal. No grand strategy but plenty of action and tactics at a single tank troop level. As well as giving you the life of a tank troop in action. The funny bits, the long gaps between baths, the food, the humor.
4.0 out of 5 stars Commanding Churchill tanks in the battle for Europe 10 April 2012
By John E. Larsen - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
John Foley was a regular soldier from 1936. Mid war he was reassigned from some sort of a quarter-master role into a tank troop officer and as such fought in Normandy, the drive through France and into Germany. He is not too specific but he served with 107th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, of the independent 34th Tank Brigade. This unit operated Churchill tanks in support of a variety of infantry divisions, though it was assigned to the 79th Armoured Division in early 1945.

Foley is assigned to command 5 Troop of A Squadron and his first activities are in training for the invasion of France. It is fascinating to see how their methods changed when an experienced commander takes over. Indeed, this allows a very interesting comparison with some of the other senior regimental officers that Foley encountered early on. Armies can be very peculiar things and the people in them just as strange. Thankfully the unit is combat ready when they arrive at Normandy shortly after D-day.

Initially Foley's unit is in reserve and when they do enter combat they are not committed to any of the infamous big battles. It is therefore an account of infantry support, with the Germans rarely seen. With the breakout though, operations become unpredictable with the establishing of a bridgehead over the Orne attracting a heavy counterattack by 12 SS Panzer Division. It is here that Foley's Churchill comes face to face with a Tiger with predictable results. This section is the most interesting of the book and reveals the confusion and cost of battle made clear. Later episodes follow a pattern of clearing villages and pushing forward against ambushes by SPGs. It is a good account of what the majority of armoured crews experienced for the last months of the war.

Aside from battle, there is a lot on the operations of the Churchill tanks, including some remarkable material on negotiating the ice covered roads in the Ardennes. There is also a lot on the camaraderie of a tank troop, the costs of battle, the occasional comic relief and Foley's role as an officer, managing everyone through it all. Particularly enjoyable are the stories of the liberation.

Foley's memoir was first published in 1957 and was popular enough to be reprinted several times since, including after the author's death in the 1970s. The author writes fluently (he is frequently quoted in history books) and has a wry sense of humour which helps when he is telling stories where he made a mess of things. It does cover combat and sad losses occur and it is quite exciting at times but the author's tone is matter-of-fact, almost understated. This is particularly so where the author recounts his personal very close calls with death. It is very British in that regard I think. All up, it is a good read. It gives a lot of detail regarding training and the typical experiences of men operating tanks. Recommended - 4 stars
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