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T-Force: The Forgotten Heroes of 1945 Paperback – 27 May 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849012970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849012973
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

First class history from a first class historian. (Military Illustrated)

Compelling (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

Once again, Sean Longden has proved himself a tenacious sleuth of Second World War secrets, and a talented solver of its mysteries. (Andrew Roberts)

Fascinating. (Time Out)

...a rising name in military history, and is able to uncover the missing stories of the Second World War. (Guardian)

Fascinating. (Contemporary Review)

Fascinating. (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

The forgotten Secret Elite Unit whose work inspired Ian Fleming's Moonraker.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The British T-Force has been mentioned before (The Paperclip Conspiracy, Tom Bower) but never in such detail. All of the Allies had similar forces and the race was on to get what they could of documents, equipment and scientists before the official carving up of Germany and Austria into zones of occupation which would 'officially' prevent plunder by the other occupiers. As this book tells the story, such smuggling did occur. In fact, there are a few reports of persons unknown making off with a lorry of captured documents, perhaps to bypass the publication of such knowledge to the later economic benefit of their sponsors.

Only the most casual reading would give the impression of vagueness. The authority given to T-Force was broad and explicit: "The holder of this card is entitled on my authority [Major General Freddie de Guingand - Field Marshal Montgomery's Chief of Staff], to deny any member of the forces entry or access to the building or area which he is guarding." A list of some of the items discovered includes:
"...a submarine 'Schnorkel' with a radar unit attached, the first of its type to be uncovered."
"... a new type of anti-aircraft predictor, only two examples of which were believed to be in existence. Assessors described the find as of the 'utmmost importance.'"
"Beneath the factory were three cellars full of ball bearings... were urgently required for evacuation, since a British ball-bearing manufacturer had recently been bombed, halting production: 'We flew out three Dakotas full of ball bearings, from Rheine airfield to the UK.'"

Not all targets were on the 'black-lists' carried by T-Force. Targets of opportunity were sometimes stumbled upon. (A look at the titles of some B.I.O.S. Reports will find such designations on the cover.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This makes a fascinating read. Aparently GB had units of "ordinary" (!) soldiers who were sent to pinpoint and arrest scientists engaged on secret research - including weapons of mass destruction and poison gas being readied for use against the UK - even getting ahead of our normal forces. "T (for technical) Force" often by passed regular units, ignoring the Allies' official "cease movements" order prior to Germany's surrender, so that the enemy was still heavily armed and highly dangerous, some nazis not even having heard of the Armistice. In one case, a Brit with a leg in plaster so he could not climb the steps of a centre of interest, faced down a German officer threatening him with a pistol and forced their surrender.
Vast secret reserves - the latest subs, aircraft and chemical weapon shells coloured for desert use - were uncovered and crates of research papers, documenting experiments on slave labour were found. Certanly, there is some repetition in the telling of this story as other reviewers have complained. But the miracle of our survival in the face of such advanced terror weapons is driven home by the heroism of this unit and others. The race to capture and occupy German ports before Soviet forces is revealing.
Buy it; it's educational!
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Format: Hardcover
I am amazed that after more than 60 years it has been possible for Mr Longden to find a new story on World War 2! So many books have re-told the stories of so-called 'elite units' that it is refreshing to find a specialist unit I have never previously heard of. More to the point, how come I had never even heard of the unit which (it appears) made the British Army's final advance of the war in north-west Europe? As a result, I did a bit of 'digging around' on the internet but there is virtually nothing on this subject. Even 'deep web' resources do not reveal anything about 'T Force'. I did find the unit mentioned in a piece on post-war economics but even that was inaccurate and failed to mention T Force's wartime actions. I enjoyed the balance between the memories of the individuals involved and the documentary evidence of the unit's activities. In particular, I was fascinated by the stories of how the British Army extracted German scientists from the Soviet zone. It was like something out of a spy novel. The traditional history we are normally fed, of how the Russians exploited Germany post-war, is shown to be unfair: the British extraced vast amounts of industrial material from germany and exploited the country's top military and scientific researchers. this has completely changed my understanding of the end of WW2 and the origins of the Cold War.
P.S. I was shocked to read the 'casahistoria' rview on this page. The writer was surprised that the book read like a history of a British army unit! Of course of reads like that: it is a history of a British Army unit!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I was surprised to see another reviewer complaining that this was merely the history of a unit. Like most of Sean Longden's books it is a very personal story - via new eye witness accounts of what it was like to be in this unique unit, who were given the task of getting Nazi scientific knowhow before the Japanese and the Russians could. It's this personal perspective and focus on the unit, similar to the approach in Band of Brothers which gives the book its strength. James Bond style antics, planned by Ian Fleming but carried out by a group of individuals (raw recruits and recently injured men previously deemed unfit for front line duty) who each have their own story.
That's not to say however that T-Force fails to contribute to the wider debate. As someone who specialised in German/Russian history of this period at University, reading the last chapters I was suprised to see much of what I'd learnt about the Russian impact on the German postwar economy - was equally true - thanks to unit's like T-Force - of the British impact. And what I would have given to have had access to this book back then when I was doing my studies.
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