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4.3 out of 5 stars
Monty's Highlanders: 51st Highland Division in the Second World War
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This in a nutshell is a very affordable, first rate history of first rate division written by a first rate author with actual wartime battlefield experience and therefore I am sure it will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially those with an interest in this particular division and the men who served in it .

Monty once described the 51st Highland Division as one of the finest formations that had ever served under his command. In fact, it was the only infantry division that had served with him from his time in the Western Desert at El Alamein through to the invasion of Normandy and then the final entry into Berlin.

After facing a disaster at St Valery in 1940 when many members of the division were either killed or captured, the division soon re-formed and fought with distinction throughout the war, however this was not without cost either, as they suffered over 2,000 casualties at El Alamein plus a further 1,500 men were lost whilst liberating Sicily. During the 11 month period between 1944 and 1945 they also sustained a further 9,000 casualties too!

After hard fighting in North Africa and Italy, the division returned to England in time to take part in the Second Front, they landed in Normandy and successfully fought through the Bocage to triumphantly re-occupy St Valery. After taking Le Havre, they continued on through Holland and the Ardennes and were amongst the first troops to cross the Rhine.

Famous for their HD cipher, they were sometimes referred to as the "Highway Decorators" however they were highly skilled troops who were well led and their achievements during this conflict will be immortal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2014
This series is always good. This volume covered more ground but the 51st fought longer. Why 'depressing'? Simply because of the continuous and heavy losses they suffered. It is humbling to think how much this generation gave to win the war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 August 2014
A well written and very readable comprehensive history.
The terrible routine detailing of heavy casualties brings home the cost paid by these front line assault troops only too clearly.
My recently deceased uncle was a Colour Sergeant with the Cameron Highlanders at this time,and I have often been curious about his war history. Like most of his generation he very rarely gave much away about his experiences,( and we obviously never pressed him for details),consequently this book has explained a lot of the danger and routine slaughter that these men were subjected to ,the places that were liberated by them,and how..
I always knew that this front line Division had a "tough time", but we can never come near to understanding what these men
actually went through to secure victory,and the freedom that we have subsequently enjoyed at such a cost.
An excellent informative book, which is unavoidably quite depressing in parts, but well worth the read by anyone interested in
the truth about the real cost of the victory in Europe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2014
Raises many questions apart from being a good read - why so many casualties from this reformed division, why was it always at the sharp end?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2014
Seems like full accounts of all the major actions of the period but slightly let down by the heavy use of acronyms with no explanation. OK if you know all the terminology.

Has lots of logistical movements which do not add much to the narrative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2014
A very good read and a tribute to the officers and men of HD. I recommend this book despite the photographs being missing, maybe a download fault? Worth buying none the less.
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on 8 October 2014
I found reading this book fascinating as it follows the 51st Highland division from its campaign in Africa to final triumph in Germany.

As a boy, I listened spellbound to stories told by ex-soldiers who had been part of the original Division, that was surrounded and forced to surrender, and their time as prisoners of war. Also by those in the reformed 51st who fought all the way and lived to tell the tale.

This book pulled it all together and left me with a deep respect for the suffering and sacrifice the older generation made for us.
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on 4 May 2015
Boring and could not stick with it. I should have realised from the opening each from Montgomery in which he says he put the Highlanders alongside Dominion troops because being..."a little uncivilised "they would be expected to get on together!
What an arrogant little man!
After that I tried to stick with it but just got fed up with what seemed to be an exercise in name dropping with various officers.
Maybe I should have read it all before posting a review, but I could not put myself through it..and I rarely fail to finish a book.
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on 25 November 2014
Wonderful read and very humbling considering how the soldiers kept advancing while loosing friends and colleagues for every step they took.
Recommend the book to all for an insight into the horrors of war and the bravery of the young men who fought.
This book reminds us of the gratefulness and thanks we owe to the HD and all of the British and allies.
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on 20 October 2014
The description of the strategies involved in the campaines and the observations of the individual soldiers down to platoon level
gave the impression that you were reading on the spot diaries of the actions.First class. read.

on the down side ,even using maximum magnification the maps were difficult to follow.
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