on 2 October 2010
Osprey at its best. A good overall view, factual, simple down-to-earth war account. Maps are good and helpful. No flaws or wild guess comments. The book is serious albeit not too academic.
A view of the raid from the German side would have been a very welcome addition, though. First-hand accounts from the participants would have been the icing on the cake. A dozen more pages wouldn't have been a luxury. Colour plates on the actors from both sides is sadly missed. The large double-page "paintings" depicting action scenes are pointless and especially weak (cheap ?).
All in all a short, concise story of a historical raid.
on 18 April 2012
This is the first book I have read from the Osprey `Raid' series & very interesting it was too. At only 78 pages long it is a short but concise description of a raid on the German-occupied French coast, in order to capture a newly developed type of RADAR device recently put into service by the Germans.
The story of the raid itself by British paratroops is an exciting one, but the book also covers the many reasons for this particular raid: capture of the Wurtzburg equipment & its significance to the battle for technical supremacy; the need to develop a Combined Operations capability across the British Services and the testing of the newly formed Parachute Regiment. I found the story of the RADAR developments on both sides particularly enjoyable. The maps & diagrams are very good, but the citation of original source material was a bit lacking I thought. Perhaps there isn't sufficient space in so short a book. It's a good read for anyone interested in the history of WWII. Four stars.
on 17 September 2011
This book contains a very detailed review of the Bruneval raid. The selection of the troops , their training, frustrations and a excellent description of the operation itself. Also covered are some of the benefits that accrued from this successful operation.
The book is a valuable source of information for anyone interested in airborne operations of WWII as "Operation Biting" formed the basis for the setting up of the parachute troops that were used so successfully as part of the D Day operations.
on 6 September 2010
This is another great volume in a fascinating new series by Osprey. While not perfect, they are a very valuable addition to popular military history, acting as myth busters, and offering fresh perspectives on famous raids.
The literature on the Bruneval raid is worthy but rather thin, resting mainly on Millar's compelling but dated account from 1974. I didn't even know it had a codename (Operation `Biting'). Given the key role of the operation in the `Battle of the Beams' and in the development of Allied airborne forces, and the involvement of figures such as John Frost and RV Jones, the time is right for a new account.
Bruneval was an outstanding success and became the Parachute Regiment's first battle honour, and the cut and thrust of the fighting is well represented by clear prose and Osprey's trademark maps and illustrations. The operational planning and RAF and Navy involvements are well represented, as is the technical aspects of the raid on German radar. Most of the photographs were new to me and were very clearly reproduced. The accounts of heavily laden paratroopers with creaking bladders dropping through the floor of a freezing Whitley were very evocative! I was very pleased to see a firm grounding in primary sources in the bibliography.
I was very pleased with the refreshing perspectives in the companion volume in the series on the `capture' of Mussolini by the outrageous fantasist Skorzeny. This book is less revisionist, but a great read. A schematic of the paratroops' equipment would have been good, and I can't help but feel a little short changed when the size of these books are compared to the Campaign series. I'll be buying more of them nevertheless.
on 24 July 2013
I plan to visit the site of the famous Bruneval Raid soon and need to understand what happened on Operation Biting in 1942. (This will be my second such seaborne 'raid' of my own. In June 2013 I embarked on the trail of another brilliantly successful raid in Norway for which good research was necessary. Search Google for "The Great Norwegian Solo RIB Raid" and see for yourself what happened on my adventure.)
Ken Ford's book is a very neat, compact account of what turned out to be a huge success, and The Parachute Regiment's first battle honour. He tells the story well without too much, or too little detail. The illustrations help to pull it all together so the whole book is easy to assimilate.
If you are interested in WWII raiding actions, or if you are visiting this part of France for any other reason and have time to spare, buying tho slim volume before you go is money well spent.
on 4 June 2013
Good, concise description of the background to the raid- both the RADAR race and the development of Britain's airborne forces- followed by a similar treatment of the raid itself.
Photos are useful, maps (on the kindle edition anyway) are useless, but unfortunately I have to accept that as a necessary evil of the Kindle device.
I am amazed nobody has made a film about this raid- its proper Boy's Own stuff!
on 11 March 2014
This is the story of the parachute regiments first raid. Great tale and very interesting, however I'll repeat what I've said about all the raid series- if you want the beautifully illustrated maps/3d explanations then buy the book ,NOT THE KINDLE VERSION. I buy the kindle version because I travel and do not have the room for the books and this suits me but I do wish I could study the maps in better detail.