Churchill’s Army 19391945: The Men, Machines and Or­gan­i­sa­tion

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - THE GUIDE - By Stephen Bull

At first glance this looks like a cof­fee table book, but the au­thor is a well-re­spected mil­i­tary his­to­rian who has cre­ated a nec­es­sary guide to the Bri­tish Army in the Se­cond World War from the very top (Churchill and his gen­er­als) down to the men and women on the front line.

Start­ing with Churchill’s own mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal ca­reers (which were var­ied and ex­ten­sive) and ex­plain­ing how they in­flu­enced his de­ci­sions (both good and bad – it isn’t un­crit­i­cal) the book giv ves pen-por­traits of lead­ing g com­man­ders then look ks at the reg­i­ments and corp ps. There are plenty of il­lus­tra­tions of things that might help in­ter­pret old fam­ily pho­to­graphs, with chap pters on uni­forms and per­sonal nal equip­ment, badges and medals, per­sonal weapons, ar­tillery, tanks and ve­hi­cles.

Churchill also sup­ported the cre­ation of spe­cial forces from the com­man­dos and air­borne forces to the Long Range Desert Group, SAS and Chin­dits, which are well cov­ered as are the aux­il­liary forces such as the Home Guard (most of whom were young men, though at least one 8484-yearyear-old Su­dan vet­eran gotg in) and the Aux­il­liaryA Ter­ri­to­rial S er­vice and other wo omen’s units. As the gen­er­a­tion thatt did Na­tional Ser­vice fades s away, we’ve be­come less faa­mil­iar with our armed d forces and have less un­der­standin­gun­derst of their ethos, struc­ture and meth­ods, mak­ing it harder for fam­ily his­to­ri­ans to un­der­stand what their sol­dier an­ces­tors went through. This is an ex­cel­lent in­tro­duc­tion that will flesh out their records and ex­pe­ri­ences.

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