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Secret Flotillas: 1 Paperback – 15 Nov 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Maritime (15 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178159080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781590805
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 655,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Fluent in French and with a very well-developed political nose, Richards opens with a brilliant account of the politics of the Fall of France and how de Gaulle came to lead those Frenchmen who sought to carry on the fight. Brooks also explains the genesis of the SOE and SIS and their often prickly relationship, and difficulties of working with the Free French, whose initial amateurishness and woefully poor grasp of security caused endless problems. There are a number of photographs of people and boats that put flesh on the bones of the stories recounted. This is an important, permanent work of naval history - Army Rumour Service


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Format: Paperback
(Publisher's review copy)

Imagine you are looking down through time and space at the Second World War. First you see a swirl of nations at each others' throats. Then you zoom to look at the fighting side. Zoom again to focus on naval matters. Vast battles in the Atlantic and Pacific surge before you. Close in some more to look at lesser actions, and away from the oceans to the English Channel. A part of what you now see is Coastal Forces, frail, small boats dashing in the dark to close with the enemy. As a sideshow to this, there is the clandestine insertion and retrieval of personnel from occupied Europe. This tiny fragment of the war, never looked at categorically by anyone else, is the subject of this book. Operations of this nature by air have been fully before the public for many years but the seaborne side of it was, like the operations themselves, in darkness until this author brought it to notice in 1996.

The original book has now been expanded, particularly to cover operations in the Mediterranean more fully. This has meant splitting the work into two parts and what is here presented covers operations at home, specifically between the West Country and Brittany although there is a nod towards seaborne support for resistance in Norway. I eagerly await the second part! Richards has had full access to official records here and elsewhere, and as that doyen of Special Operations, MRD Foot, writes in a Foreword "This is not a piece of history that will need writing again: it is conclusive".

Sir Brook Richards KCMG DSC*, 1918-2002, served in the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War and was personally involved in the activities and operations he has chronicled in this work. He had already taken a First in History at Cambridge in only two years.
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The nearest to an official record of secret naval/ espionage landings as possible in view of the official secrets act.
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This is an important record of one of the small secret wars which made such a difference to Allied victory. It was written by a modest and noble man whom I knew and liked.
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After the fall of France in 1940, Britain needed a pipeline to get secret agents and equipment in and out of France. The book describes efforts to establish a smuggling route across the Channel to Brittany, hampered by poor equipment, bad weather, rivalry between different agencies and the occasional German.
Based on personal diaries and memories, it provides an insider's view of a secret campaign.
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