War in the Desert: The Eighth Army at El Alamein Hardcover – 1 Aug 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
There were quite a bit a few bits of info in the book that was'nt in other books i've read on the desert campaign
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The book brings you down into the desert with the men of Eighth Army. You get a good idea of what it was like as they tried to ward off the effects of the searing midday heat or battle the hordes of flies which would annoy them to no end. And you also learn what types of cigarettes they smoked, what they ate, what they did for fun, how they took care of nature's functions(if you know what I mean) and how Monty retrained them for the battle of their lives.
An Army group is made of many different types of men and each has a disinct job to do that lends itself to the bigger picture of winning a war. But to me, the two most terrifying duties that I learned more about had to be the Sapper and the Tankman. To hear what it was like for a Sapper to clear a German minefield so that tanks, armoured vehicles and infantry could pass through was truly frightening. While there were different ways to clear a minefield (flailing tanks, Polish electronic detectors), the method most commonly used was by hand. The Sapper would use his bayonnet to prod the sand until he felt the mine; the fuse would be carefully removed and then the mine would be dug out. Even that didn't mean you were safe, because the Germans would booby-trap some of the mines together with a wire. Talk about a job that had to be done but nobody wanted!
Also, being inside a tank was no walk in the park, especially if a German .88 gun had its sites set on you. Just being cramped up inside the tank with the smells of oil, cordite, and sweat doesn't sound too great, but when a high explosive hits your tank and shakes you like a paper cup can you then truly know what the phrase "having a bad day" really means. I will always have a tremendous amount of respect for those men and the fact that they would still continue to perform their jobs under extremely trying circumstances.
Besides being a very good writer, Mr. Lucas is also a great teacher: all through the book he always explains the bigger picture even when talking about very specific details and never takes for granted that the reader knows every specific component of an Army group. Thanks, Mr. Lucas, for providing the average reader an idea of what war is truly like.