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The Mareth Line 1943: The end in Africa (Campaign) Paperback – 20 Oct 2012
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The Mareth Line 1943 is a high quality title filled with great maps, photos, illustrations, and information; and it's all presented in a magnificent way. --boltaction.net
The publisher, Osprey, should be applauded on the as always very clear maps and illustrations, which makes their books a joy to read. --Martijn Lak (The Journal of Slavic Military Studies)
This is a useful look at a period that is often skipped over in accounts of the fighting in North Africa.[…]The standard Campaign series structure works well here, with sections on the opposing commanders, armies and plans before the narrative, so the progress of the fighting can be understood in the context of each commander's aims. The text is clear, and is supported by excellent maps. Overall this is a good entry in this series, and provides useful detail on an important but unappreciated campaign. --History of War
A highly illustrated account of the hard fighting in North Africa from the battle of El Alamein to defeat of the Axis forces in May 1943.See all Product description
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From my point of view this is a very welcome addition to the Campaign series as the Mareth Line is one of those forgotten battles of WW2. Now that Osprey has covered most of the major battles of WW2 we now get down to the lesser known operations. It is though easy to see why this is an overlooked campaign. With the benefit of hindsight it is clear that the Axis forces in North Africa are finished and it is just a matter of time before the inevitable surrender happens. What we have therefore is the account of a series of retreats from one holding position to another with the British in pursuit. Could the campaign have been brought to a quicker end? It's hard to know for sure as Osprey format doesn't allow the space to argue the details of logistics and intelligence although I suspect that Mr Ford believes this was the case.
The main Operations of `Pugilist' and `Supercharge II' are well described and the text and maps makes these easy to follow. A big plus point are three superb original colour artworks by Steven Noon, easily some of the best seen in any of the WW2 Campaign titles. The author has managed to find some interesting photos of the terrain which helps enormously explain some of the problem faced by the Allied forces in attacking this Mareth position. The only weakness with the book is that the final section feels very rushed as if the author had run out of space with no opportunity to summarise the significance of the campaign or the lessons learned. This is a real shame as otherwise I'd have happily awarded this top marks.
Hopefully we'll soon see an Osprey title to cover Operation Torch and I'll be interested to see what Ken Ford has lined up next now that North Africa is out of the way.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"The Mareth Line 1943" follows the standard Osprey Campaign format. It includes an introduction to the North African theater of war; descriptions of the opposing commanders, their armies, and their plans; and a narrative of the fight for the Mareth Line. A well-written text is nicely supplemented by an outstanding collection of photographs, illustrations, maps and diagrams of the various battlefields.
Author Ken Ford offers much of interest in this concise account. He narrates the growing disenchantment of an exhausted Rommel with a doomed campaign, which attitude led to his removal from the theater after he had somehow shepherded his forces to the relative safety of the Mareth Line. Ford is quite critical of General Montgomery, whose mastery of the set-piece battle did not extend to the fluid conditions of the pursuit across Libya and the initial attempts to "break-in" the Mareth Line. The much-maligned Italian leadership shows surprisingly well at the end of the campaign.
"The Mareth Line 1943" is highly recommended to the interested general reader and to the student looking for a quick version of the end of the North African campaign.
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