When shall their Glory Fade? The Stories of the Thirty-Eight Battle Honours of the Army Commandos, James Dunning

When shall their Glory Fade? The Stories of the Thirty-Eight Battle Honours of the Army Commandos, James Dunning

The Army Commandos only existed for five years, from their creation in 1940 to their abrupt disbanding in October 1945, but during that short period they earned thirty eight battle honours (actually awarded some time after the end of the war). Most were earned fighting the Germans, although three came in Burma. In those five years the Commandos served on just about every front, from the frozen north to the deserts of North Africa, as well as taking part in most of the great set-piece battles, from the raids on St. Nazaire and Dieppe to the invasions of Sicily, Italy and the D-Day landings.

This book focuses on the raids and battles that led to battle honours. Its author served with No.4 Commando, and was thus a participant in some of the raids he describes, before becoming a commando instructor. This might lead one to expect that the book was written some time ago, but that isn't the case – this is a very recent piece of work, first published in 2011. The author thus has two advantages – in the nearly seventy years that have passed many of his fellow commandos had published accounts of their actions, and most official documents have been declassified. There are thus plenty of eyewitness accounts and extracts from official documents, and in particular war diaries.

The battle accounts are clear and well written. The author looks as the wider context of each raid, as well as at the development of the Commandos over their existence, tracing the way in which the nature of the unit changed as it grew and became more experienced. An excellent book, and one that provides a good idea of the sort of missions that earned the Commandos their great reputation.

1 - Churchill Calls for Volunteers
2 - Norway 1941
3 - Middle East, 1941-1942
4 - St. Nazaire
5 - Dieppe
6 - North Africa 1941-1943
7 - Sicily 1943
8 - Italy 1943-1945 (Part I)
9 - Italy 1943-1945 (Part II)
10 - Adriatic and Greece 1944-1945
11 - North-West Europe 1944
12 - North-West Europe 1945
13 - Burma 1943-1945

Author: James Dunning
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 286
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2011

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