Most helpful critical review
Time for some fact-checking?
on 27 March 2015
I realize that this book is presented as a "popular history", but after all the editions and printings it has gone through, isn't it time for a little fact-checking? For example, in the chapter on weapons used by the HG, it is claimed that the SMLE rifle “was accurate up to 1,600 yards”. 600 would already be optimistic.
Longmate describes the Browning M1917 medium machine gun as a “heavier two-man version” of the Browning Automatic Rifle, which is not very enlightening (and plain wrong technically), and also claims that it had a rate of fire twice that of the BAR (actual rate was 450-600 rpm).
He further states “In 1941 tommy-guns were no sooner issued than they were withdrawn again for use by the Commandos”. Apparently in one or two cases some Thompson submachine guns were in fact withdrawn again after issue to the HG, but as a general statement that is clearly incorrect. Thompsons were distributed to the HG on a remarkably generous scale for such an expensive weapon; according to the official monthly returns, they had no less than 43,017 of them by March 1942, after which they were gradually replaced by Stens.