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3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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After a reading few rather good Campaign books from Osprey lately this book was a disappointment and I find it hard to think of anyone enjoying it or finding it useful. A mature WW2 reader will find little if anything new and a beginer could be put off from reading WW2 history altogether.

The author makes a decent selection and reasonable arguments about British tactical and command failings as well as lists the generally poor equipment of the early Desert Rats army but most of this has been better presented before, like for example in the first pages of Osprey's Campaign books Tobruk, Gazala or El Alamein, here it is stretched to 96 pages and make that boring 96 pages. Proof reading is also bad, there are text errors and map errors like on page 73 where Montgomery is listed as GOC for the Gazala battle of July, basically wrong on all accounts, wrong Commander, wrong month etc and in the wrong place in the book. But editing is even worse, unabridged I quote from the top of page 38:

"The mechanized war waged in the desert required other skills such as driving in wiedly dispersed desert formations spread out over miles of ground and leaguering at nigh for protection. A practised eye was needed to recognize undulations, depressions and other accidents of ground providing covered approaches, positions for defensive layouts and hull-down positions for tanks. The conduct of armoured warfare under desert conditions placed great demand on crews and high levels of training were required in driving, navigation, tank gunnery, inter-communications and vehicle recognition. For AFV crews an essential skill was to find cover in the slightest undulations in the ground and hull-down positions, and desert driving." /End quote.

There you are - skill in desert driving cannot be stressed enough and why use fancy words like undulations only once? Admittedly this is an extreme example but it gives an idea what the book is like. No wonder it stretches to 96 pages.

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on 19 August 2015
An excellent compendium of the various units in the 8th Army and their organisational composition. These tables help readers to understand how performance in battle was affected by the composition of various units and also how far advanced the Germans were in armoured warfare.
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on 19 May 2010
I have purchased quite a few books from the Osprey Battle orders range of books and they have been excellent providing detailed breakdowns of the composition of different formations as well brief histories of the main combat units covered in the book. This is what I hoped and expected to find in this book. Sadly this was not the case with this book. I was very disappointed.

The text is badly written and poorly edited. Commentary seems long winded and lacks specific information and makes too many generalisations. For example the chapter on weapons and equipment describes the armour but anyone interested in such information would be better advised to look at the Osprey Vanguard series. There was nothing new in this chapter that was of the least interest. Only a complete novice to the 8th Army would find the chapter interesting-possibly.

The maps are poor and leave out significant landmarks. It is difficult to follow the narrative from the maps. The organisation charts were lacking in detail and very often generalised. There are quite a few previously unseen photos which is good.

I am not sure who this book is aimed at as much of the information is too general and vague. I would also expect much of the information to be covered in other Osprey books. It would seem that the book lacked a firm editor and did not seem to full fill the aims of the series as seen in other books.
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on 18 June 2012
This book really brings us down to earth with what happened out in the desert for the ordinary man. My dad was a desert rat and this book concurred with everything he told me so when i read it my dad came back to life again - sadly i lost him in 1984. He would have been 100 this year had he lived.
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on 14 February 2016
Informative but presentation could be better
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