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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Officer and a Gentle Man, 17 May 2009
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
Sydney Jary led 18 platoon of 4/Somerset Light Infantry in Normandy, the Netherlands and Germany in 1944 and 1945. Working with excellent NCOs he built the sort of "band of brothers" that forms the backbone of all armies; and had the ability to encapsulate this bond in a splendid little book. Jary's writing is almost in the same class as John Masters' BUGLES AND A TIGER (I think I've read Masters a dozen times and had four versions "liberated" by chums). Not only does it perfectly encapsulate friendship and pride of corps; but it avoids either a winsomely Great War Poets approach or that of the opposite Captain Hurricane Jerry killers persuasion. Jary clearly enjoys combat, yet admits to be being a pacifist at times. His section on looking into the destroyed assault guns is a good example of the latter.

For the military reader there are some very useful points on the supposed superiority of the Wehrmacht over the BLA and some interesting comments on the American army and how it treated its squaddies. There is also plenty of the chaos and sudden surprise of close combat, and with Jary close is exactly what combat is.

For those interested in leadership this (and Masters' book) are very thought-provoking though perhaps one cannot carry over principles hardened in combat to how you run a board meeting. Jary has some poignant comments on re-entering civilian life. Perhaps the book's strongest point is its decency.

Thoroughly recommended.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any aspiring leader........, 2 Sep 2005
This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
Simply, this is one of the best accounts of military biography every written. Thoroughly inspirational and captivating is Sydney Jary's bio of a his naive yet unwittingly forward thinking infantry command. Sydney Jary writes with an accessibility ensuring all can be enveloped in 18 Platoon.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking Stuff, 23 May 2001
By 
James Kemp (Merstham, Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
An absolute must-read for all those interested in military history. Jary tells the story of his time as an infantry platoon commander from Normandy to the end of the war. He joined his platoon on D+3 and was the only platoon commander to serve in Normandy that was still with the Battalion at the end of the war.
It is a brutal and bloody existence and the book pulls no punches, or if it does then I'm sure glad I never went to war.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brutal and honest account of war from a man at the coal face, 17 May 2006
This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
I've met the man - a more humble gentleman you would struggle to meet. His common sense approach to war fighting, training and leadership is perfectly recounted in this classic yet under-stated account.

It's a must for anyone who wants to know what war fighting is like for real, who wants to learn how to lead soldiers. It is compulsory reading for OCdts at Sandhurst and provides a sane balance to the sometimes over the top attitude of military trainers.

Equally, for anyone interested in human nature in hard times, read this book - it'll make you think how lucky you are that you never had to face what S Jary and his soldiers did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lucky man, 7 Feb 2012
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This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
Jary was a lucky man. That he survived doing the things he did is truly astonishing. This book is a fitting tribute to an unorthodox junior officer in a difficult war. The book is easy to read and the enthusiasm with which he writes sucks you into his world and you do find yourself picturing his surroundings and the people he shares his experiences with.

How it must have been for someone so young to take such a responsibility and do it in such an effective way is difficult to comprehend. Jary deflects much of the platoon's achievements away from himself and on to the men he commanded.

This is a really inspiring book and one that should be read by anyone with even a passing interest in the fighting in North-West Europe.

It's easily as good a Trevelyan's book, which is saying something.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true picture of life as an infantry subaltern in WW2, 12 Oct 2011
By 
K. S. Hutchence "Kelland" (Paris) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
This book is one of the most excellent books to be found on what life as an infantry officer in WW2 was like. Written in a sensitive and reflective manner, this is no gung-ho account, full of blood and thunder. True, they were there, and in large amounts, but Jary was a man who loved his men and had a healthy respect, coupled with compassion, for the enemy. It emphasises the importance of patrolling and how good infantry tactics can be used most effectively on the battlefield without resorting to artillery or armour. The book came about almost by accident but I understand it is required reading for every aspiring young officer at Sandhurst, and rightly so. Highly recommended and a page turner throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top insight into British Army Infantry in WWII N Europe., 20 Jan 2013
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This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
Should be read by any young man considering soldiering as a career. EXcellent and gripping read....on a par with "With the Jocks".
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Oct 2014
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This review is from: 18 Platoon (Hardcover)
Perfect book. Very realistic written
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18 Platoon
18 Platoon by Sydney Jary (Hardcover - Sep 1998)
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