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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The origin of modern airborne and commando operations., 1 Jun. 2009
This review is from: Striking Back: Britain's Airborne and Commando Raids 1940-1942 (Hardcover)
The one commodity which has remained constant in the history of warfare has been the need for men on the ground. Since WW2, men of airborne forces have, generally speaking, become regarded as the elite. Realistically, they are a selection of the hardest and toughest infantry soldiers whose means of transport to any battlefield is by parachute. When British Paratroopers are placed alongside Commandoes of the Royal Marines, you have a force to reckon with.

In this well-researched, perceptive and detailed analysis of the source of those particular troops, author Niall Cherry takes the reader on a journey of discovery into the origins of the British Paratrooper and Commando. Where more famous raids (Arnhem, Dieppe and St. Nazaire) have been well recorded by historians, others - such as Bruneval (a Parachute Regiment Battle Honour), Glomfjord, Lofoten and Tragino have not.

Having served with all three battalions of the Parachute Regiment, mostly on operational service and occasionally alongside the Royal Marines, I understand the bond which binds these men together. In the former it is called the "Airborne Brotherhood" and something similar exists within the latter. The roots of these experts in modern hand-to-hand warfare are firmly exposed in this book.

When the call went out asking for men to "volunteer for special service," none had any idea of the covert and eventually overt operations that would take many of them deep into enemy territory. They had to be tough with their mettle being tested to the limit. Many failed to make the grade, giving considerable respect to those who were successful and even creating some myths. This book is all about the men who met those stringent requirements and of their deeds with particular emphasis on those operations which failed to make the headlines of history.

In short, the dawn of the British Paratrooper is explained in conjunction with a complete description of how the Royal Marine became the Royal Marine Commando. In so doing, this author also sheds light on those early operations which firmly established these particular forces. This book is essential reading for every Paratrooper and Commando (retired or serving) because it explains their birth.

NM
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Review Details

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Ned Middleton
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Location: British professional underwater photo-journalist & author

Top Reviewer Ranking: 44