Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Commandos at Dieppe Book Review

This book refreshingly takes a look at one successful part of the disastrous operation that was the attack on Dieppe. This book I gave away as part of my blogs giveaway and I am happy to say it was a good read. Typical of most books of this type it goes into detail regarding the formation and original training of the Commandos which is very welcome and a run through of the war to this point, which is not. It's a specialist book so why do we need what is essentially filler. Anyone who does not know the order of things up to that point really are unlikely to be reading the book anyway. So the question has to be, was it filler to pad out a thin book or worse was other more interesting detail missed out? I really think it's a mix of the two and whilst the actual engagement is well covered further information regarding the run up or after affects of the action could and should have been included in the book. So it's a bit like being cheated out of some detail for the lack of being prepared to go the extra mile. Whilst this is a little unfair it stands up as long as they continue to waste our reading time by putting the usual Germany Invaded Poland etc etc shite in books that clearly the reader already knows. Rant over.

The detail of both the run up and raid itself is both good and well presented. Whilst the area of the fight was relatively small Will Fowler does a great job of keeping the action separated into compartments but also knitting them together. The section on the battle is chock full of possible scenario's for small actions and whilst the famous mortar round would be hard to replicate you have plenty on other small actions that warrant table top representation. As for those just wanting a good read they will be happy with the way it is written. The human element comes through very well and we get a view of the action from all three sides.

What makes this a hit for me is that given the strange habit the Brits have for highlighting our failings in war and the seemingly desperate attempts to make all Generals seem either plodding, stupid or most often both, this book celebrates the part of the action that went right and where it did not, the action taken to get it back under control. Yes the raid was a disaster and yes it was one of many but reading so many other books it's a surprise we ever got to France never mind Germany. It's nice to read a book for a change that does not paint up Tommy as a accident waiting to be shot and as such thank you Mr. Fowler, I will forgive you for the potted history, maybe.

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