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War on Wheels: The Mechanisation of the British Army in the Second World War Paperback – 8 Sep 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (8 Sept. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750966238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750966238
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 510,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Philip Hamlyn Williams, a historian and biographer, discovered the story of War on Wheels in papers left by his parents. His father, Major General Sir Leslie 'Bill' Williams, commanded the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in the Second World War.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this as a Christmas gift for my classic military vehicle nut partner, he thinks it is a great book with lots of interesting facts and photographs, although he has pointed out that there are several mistakes in the photo captions. That said he has recommended it to other people.
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Format: Paperback
"War on Wheels" provides the 21st century reader with a masterly account of the huge changes in military strategy in the lead-up to World War II. Not only, as its title suggests, does the book trace the ongoing development of the use of mechanised vehicles from the late 1930s onwards, but it also gives an extraordinary insight into the enormous effort required to convince various key people at the time of the necessity for change.

The book shines light on the dedication of the whole team of people brought together by the man entrusted with the mechanisation of the British Army. That man was the author's father, Leslie Williams (known affectionately and universally as Bill), who, having served as a machine gun officer in the Suffolk Regiment in the First World War, rose to the rank of Major General, commanding the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) in World War II. An intriguing quote from a letter of congratulations on his being awarded a knighthood in 1946 asks whether it was made on account of his work “in Ordnance or as Chief Publicity Officer of the Army” and reflects some of the difficulties constantly encountered during this time of huge change. Managing both military and civilian staff working alongside each other was something entirely new, necessitated by the recruitment of civilians at senior managerial level, notably from the motor industry, who could lend their expertise to the development of the new systems that such a complex military organisation required.

The book features first-hand accounts of those who served in a variety of roles in the RAOC in many of the depots established throughout England and overseas.
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Format: Paperback
A fascinating insight into what it takes to prepare for a war, especially as this was the first time the army had fully mechanised.

The book covers the leaving of equipment from WW1 to the re-imagining of how the allies would provide the troops with the vehicles and tools needed to win the War, covering the War in Europe, Africa and the Far East.

I found the book to also have a personal feel as it recounts lots of information regarding who made the decisions and the processes which were then introduced to provide an organised RAOC.
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Format: Paperback
Toby Neal, a journalist with The Shropshire Star (close to the major armaments depot at COD Donnington) wrote this on 30 September 2016

‘Williams has done a wonderful job in unearthing the story of the miracle of mechanisation of the British Army - a double miracle in fact, because the military had to start again virtually from scratch after losing vast amounts of equipment in the defeat at Dunkirk in 1940.

There is great Shropshire interest because one of the most significant developments was the creation of a major stores depot at Donnington amid an atmosphere of crisis and desperate need. The story of those desperate days is an important place in local history.

With many firsthand memories this is a first rate book covering the unglamorous, but vital role of such depots in final victory.
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