10 Command was a remarkable force made up of volunteers from occupied Europe and refugees from Nazi persecution, all of whom risked torture and execution if they were captured (even before Hitler issued his notorious 'Commando Order').
Dear begins by looking at the way in which the unit was created, with sections on the official formation and on the often extraordinary lengths that its members took to reach Britain before they signed up. Their routes were very varied - some were pre-war refugees or naturalised British citizens, others escaped from Dunkirk, while some had to make their way across the Channel or North Sea, or across Occupied Europe to semi-neutral Spain and Gibraltar.
The bulk of the book is organised by subject rather than chronologically, so there are chapters on the small-scale raids across the Channel, the unit's role in the Mediterranean where its members fought on Sicily, in Italy and on the islands off the Yugoslav coast; the French troop's role on D-Day and in Normandy and the German speaking troops rather different role in the same battles; and the exploits of the Dutch troops in the Far East, at Arnhem and on Walcheren Island.
Most of this part of the book looks in some detail at the actual fighting carried out by individual elements of the Commando, and is largely based on eyewitness accounts from its survivors, backed up by the sometimes scanty documentary evidence.
This is a rare example of a recent book that covers a previously unexplored by still significant aspect of the Second World War and is a fascinating study of a remarkable unit and its remarkable men.
1 - The International Experiment
2 - Escape and Evasion
3 - The King's Own Enemy Aliens
4 - Early Small-Scale Raids
5 - Later Small-Scale Raids
6 - The Mediterranean
7 - The French go Home
8 - X-Troop in Normandy
9 - The Dutch
10 - The Dunes of Walcheren
Author: Ian Dear
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2010 edition of 1987 original