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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
17


on 3 October 2017
This is one of the finest accounts of any type I've read, ever. It is charming, touching, and surprisingly amusing in places. Dickens writes in a far less verbose style than his great grandfather and is more like P.G Wodehouse in the way he conveys character descriptions. Jolly interesting and informative about a branch of the Royal Navy so sadly lacking in literature. Well worth reading.
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on 10 June 2017
An enjoyable read by someone honest enough to admit that the muddle of war means exactly that, nothing was as clear during action as you'd be led to believe watching war on film. Shame narrative stopped when it did, would love to know more
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on 27 September 2017
Very interesting and informative
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on 5 May 2017
read before gift for friend
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on 22 September 2010
Three qualities of the book. The Royal Navy's (he says "the Establishment") failure to prepare for narrow and shallow sea operations in both World Wars cost lives,unnecessary defeats and failed to attempt a strategic victory against the Swedish supply route to Rotterdam. It meant they went to sea in muddled boats, the wrong weapons and far down the list of priorities for supply. A story of leadership; how a 25 year old regular officer commanded a flotilla of torpedo boats on offensive operations night after night in the early years of the war. The responsibilities of decision making, team building, controlling fear and the consequences that led to the death of one's friends, collegues and crew as well as the enemy. Finally the actual tale; night action in the North Sea described so well that you can imagine being on the open bridge on a black night approaching the confusing noises of enemy ships. Brilliant.
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on 28 June 2010
To read this book is an act of self indulgence. Not only is it an authoritative and detailed account of the war of the MTBs, it is also superbly well written. I was particularly taken with Capt Dickens' sensitive descriptions of members of his crew and flotilla, and with his modest assessments of his own qualities and achievements. I should have no hesitation in recommending his book to anyone.
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on 7 April 2011
Yes, indeed a fine book. Unlike most other Coastal Forces men Dickens was a regular RN, not a temporary RNVR, officer. His account of the MTB actions off Holland (1941-43) is a first-class one. You not only understand the boats, personnel and tactics, but have a sense that you're there. It is highly readable, without sacrificing accuracy. Anyone wanting additional memoirs on same area might add Peter Scott "Battle of the Narrow Seas" and Hichens' "We Fought Them in Gunboats", Phelan and Brice "Fast Attack Craft", Foynes "Battle of the East Coast" also useful. But as for Dickens, must certainly be on the list!
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on 2 March 2009
A brilliant description of the feelings of a young regular navalofficer given the task of leading a flotilla of MTB`s commanded by very gallant RNVR Officers into action at night against german shipping. The boats had no radar and very limited wireless communication I knew the Author well A very quiet brave man with a DSO and a DSC to his name by the age of 25
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on 31 December 2014
Dickens wrote this book as, when he was given command of the 21st MTB Flotilla, there was no guidance available to him so that he could learn from the use of MTBs in the Great War. From Dickens' point of view the book is mainly about the development of the tactics they used and the problems they faced with their boats.

If you are ever in the situation of bringing a new weapon system into service this book will give you some ideas about how tactics might be developed and tried in action.

It is also useful from the point of view of someone with an independent sub-unit fighting command.
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on 28 July 2015
Describes early days of Coastal Forces getting established and battling the enemy, weather, untried equipment and attitude from the RN and shows the determination of the men, the majority being reservists, to succeed in trying situations. my admiration of these people who were involved in this theatre of war grew as I read the book. An enlightening and informative description of the way it was.
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