Mr. Woolhouse has written one of the most outstanding battalion histories I have had the pleasure of reading in many years. Having had a long interest with WW2 Airborne related publications - and in particular the 13th Parachute Battalion with whom my ancestor served - I have collated a large library of books relating to the British Parachute and Glider-borne forces of WW2. Amongst these, " 13 - Lucky For Some" must rate as one of the very best ; exceptionally well researched, drawing extensively from official records and a plethora of eye-witness accounts to put the reader in amongst the heat of battle. The author has produced a tour-de-force of military publications that inform the reader exactly what it was like for these young volunteers to the newly formed and elite 6th Airborne Division, their training and subsequent baptism of fire on D-day when they liberated the first town in France (Ranville) and the subsequent fight for Normandy. There followed their little known involvement in the Battle of the Bulge and the bloody fight for the village of Bure in Belgium followed by a holding action in Holland. Shortly, after their return home they once again parachuted into action - this time into the German heartland - and then fought a rapid series of actions across Germany to meet up with Russian forces near Wismar. This is a 600 page book of superlative research presented in an extremely accessible format that honours the sacrifice and achievement of this under-recorded Parachute Battalion. I was under the impression that I knew pretty much all there was to know about the battalion with whom my great-uncle served and died with but this author has delved deep and provided a much fuller picture of the 13th than I ever thought possible - including a photograph of my relative that I had searched 20 years for. Wonderful stuff Mr. Woolhouse - a must read for anyone interested in Para history or indeed to know just what it was like for a soldier in the toughest of actions during WW2 .
I bought this book because my late father was in the 13th Parachute Battalion, in fact won the M.C. for bravery whilst serving in it, and I hoped it would give me a deeper insight into what he might have experienced. It certainly does, and much more ! The use of numerous quotations from everyone involved in what were critical events of WW2, even including French villagers, offers a kaleidoscope of views of the various historic episodes. I am finding it a gripping read. I particularly like the way Mr. Woolhouse is quite minimalist in giving his own introductions to the various episodes, and instead relies on the personal accounts to speak for themselves, so that history is reported, rather than interpreted. I cannot praise this work enough. It should be read not just by those whose own ancestors were involved, but also anyone wanting to understand the reality of what people experienced at a key historic time, as well as learning more about how we ended up overcoming the Germans.
Fabulous in depth account of this regiment. This is what my father has been hoping for for many many years. An account of what actually happened to his elder brother, the maneuvers, plans, photos, letters and detailed accounts of the missions. I am very grateful to Mr Woolhouse for all the trouble and effort in putting this together and paying tribute to the battalion. Thank you very much indeed for filling in the gaps for my Dad.
My late father was in the 13th and would be so very proud to see this well written and painstakingly researched book in print.The fact that the author has used interviews with the men of the battalion is what keeps this book head and shoulders above it's peers. A labour of love by Andrew, and it shows. When I contacted him last year with a few photographs of my dad with the 'Paradogs' he said in his reply ''No book has been written about the 13th, so I decided to give it a go'' He has done much more than that and has produced a superbly entertaining and readable tribute to very some brave men.Thanks Andrew.
I found this book prior to our visit to Bure . This was the second visit the family has made . This one was special as we were the son, grandson and two great grandsons of Maj Andy McLoughlin. Before the trip I only had time to read the section on the battle for Bure but since then I have been absolutely enthralled by this book. I am the daughter - in - law of Andy McLoughlin. I simply couldn't put the book down. Many times I shed tears. Subsequently my husband Andy's son, our son his grandson and his son in law have all read it. Also his daughter and son in law in New Zealand. Both my husband and our brother in law are former members of 2 Para and 3 para resp. Our brother in laws father dropped at Ranville and on Operation Varsity. Andy also dropped on Varsity. One thing we would love to have cleared up - Andy always said he took the surrender of the German garrison in the ballroom on the top floor of the Hotel d'Angleterre in Copenhagen I wish we could find out if this was true - or an embellishment ! Thank you Mr Woolhouse. Next year we - son, son-in law, grandson are planning to visit Normandy and trace the battalions route and pay homage at hill 13. More people should know about this - TV companies - what about our own ' Band of brothers '
I like to think I have a good knowledge of the Airborne operations in Normandy. Its been an interest of mine for as long as I remember and I enjoy reading first hand accounts of those who were there. Recently, new books seemed to rehash the same accounts and offered little in the way of new stuff.
Then came 13 - Lucky for Some. This book is incredible. The accounts are mostly all new to me and are fantastic, ranging from the comic to the gut wrenching and gritty. The warts and all approach, and the authors ability to not offer judgement or opinion, just adds to the credibility of the book.
Mr Woolhouse does an incredible job of including many participants but keeps the accounts relevant and unconfused. This is a worthy salute to an incredibly tough PARA Battalion and a fantastic effort by the author. It is now one of my favourite Normandy books and has pride of place on my bookshelf.
absolutely brilliant book, facts and pictures and maps. perfect for the world war 2 geek! I am currently working my way through this huge book. would definitely recommend for people who want to read history books but also want to feel they are with the 13th parachute battalion as it happening. this book is huge, there are pages and pages of actual accounts of what the battalion encountered. When i first saw the book, i thought it was a little bit expensive compared to some of the other d-day books etc. but it is worth every penny. I also have a huge collection of D-day books but this book is most definitely unique in the way it is written. after reading just 20/30 pages, i felt I was with these soldiers watching it all take place.
Fantastic book, I, like the author was looking for some information about a family member ( my Uncle ) who was killed in the battle for Bure. Not only did I find more about him and his company in the said battle, but there is a picture and piece about him, very moving. I would highly recommend this book to those looking for information about the battalion.
This has been a thouroughly good read throughout. The personal accounts give the reader a terrific insight into the hardships, Brutality and loss that the members of 13 Para experienced as well as the humour and comradeship that are forged in battle. Andrew Woolhouse should be congratulated on a excellent book. The only thing I would improve would be the maps that are a little dark and sometimes not easy to make out.