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The Phantom Army of Alamein: The Men Who Hoodwinked Rommel [Paperback]

Rick Stroud
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

6 Jun 2013
In 1940 a group of artists, sculptors, film makers, theatre designers and set painters came together to form the Camouflage Unit. They were so successful that in August 1942 Montgomery ordered them to to hide the preparations for the Battle of Alamein. In six weeks two entire divisions were conjured from the sand, while real units, stores and men vanished into thin air. Then, right in front of the German's eyes they made 600 tanks disappear and reappear fifty miles away disguised as lorries. Rommel had been bamboozled by an army made of nothing but string and straw and bits of wood.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (6 Jun 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408831287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408831281
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 130,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Stroud is the author of The Phantom Army of Alamein: The Men Who Hoodwinked Rommel and The Book of the Moon. He is also the author, with Victor Gregg, of Rifleman: A Front Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall and King's Cross Kid: A London Childhood Between the Wars. He lives in Chelsea, London.

Product Description


A wonderful book: charming, fascinating, crammed full of extraordinary nuggets of information ... The result is a gem of a book and a classic of its kind (James Holland Literary Review)

Stroud has a storyteller's eye for human detail matched with a researcher's diligence ... A fascinating study of how the most unlikely characters can become heroes (Independent on Sunday)

The unit's tale is told with clarity, humour and precision (The Times)

Book Description

Camouflage was one of the most surprising elements of the Battle of Alamein - the story is now told in full for the first time.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I never knew 6 Nov 2012
I never knew that camouflage really mattered and was key, not just part of, winning El Alamein and other pivotal battles in the 2WW. He gets the oddity and unmilitary character of the people who did it spot on, and shows how as with Bletchley one of the strengths of the British was to take risks with techniques which weren't in the book and would have looked mad if they had gone wrong. A great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revelation 14 Nov 2012
Had no idea that the history of camouflage was so fascinating, and its role in the war so crucial. This book is partly a thriller but it is also an inspiring account of the role of unexpected and often quite unmilitary people in an extraordinary military victory. You can tell you are in the hands of a film director as the author sketches in with just the right amount of detail the cast of artists and other unlikely characters who created the phantom army, and sets the scenes with fluent knowledge of the military facts combined with an eye for the vivid and memorable detail of people and landscape. The battle scenes are expertly portrayed but never laboured. If only you could always learn about the events of war so enjoyably!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars camouflage 8 Nov 2012
This is a haunting story, immaculately researched. Both warfare and art are illuminated in this investigation. Which will make everyone look twice at everything.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Try this test 5 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story of the development of camouflage in the Desert, mainly by enthusiastic amateurs. Try this test. You are besieged in Tobruk. All your fresh water is in a huge tank visible for miles and everyone knows exactly what it is and where it is, especially the enemy. A very few bombs will force a surrender. How do you camouflage it so that the Germans don't bomb it?

Now read the book. None of the rest of it will disappoint either.
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4.0 out of 5 stars new slant on well known history 25 Nov 2013
By John
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think of the battle of El Alamein as field guns firing wheel hub to wheel hub, yet here is a well researched insight to the other aspects of turning the tide of the Second World War. A must read for any would be military historian.
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5.0 out of 5 stars pleased 17 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my son to read - he is interested in this subject. He has found it a good read and a fascinating insight to a different way the war was fought.
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