Battleground General: Arnhem 1944, Jon Sutherland & Diane Canwell

Battleground General: Arnhem 1944, Jon Sutherland & Diane Canwell

This is a rather unusual book. It resembles the old Fighting Fantasy game books, in which the reader leapt between numbered paragraphs based on their decisions (go to paragraph 50 if you turn left, paragraph 172 if you turn right). Here the topic is the battle of Arnhem. The reader starts as either the British or German commander, and is presented with a series of decisions (turn to paragraph 56 if you go to the bridge, paragraph 127 if you remain at the landing zone). Eventually these decisions lead to defeat or victory (make the same decisions as the original commander to trace the actual course of events).

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book. It reads well, and quite convincingly. The authors have war gaming experience, and one could certainly look at the book as the equivalent of repeatedly war gaming the battle of Arnhem. On my first game as the British commander I won, as the German commander I lost, but a quick flick through the book looking for the various endings suggests that I was rather lucky as the British.

This is an interesting idea, combining a war game in book form with a whole series of 'what if?' scenarios. An expert on the battle would probably argue with many of the alternative outcomes, but that is rather the joy of the alternative history genre, and they seemed fairly convincing to me.

Major General Robert Elliot Urquhart
Battleground General Arnhem - British
Obergruppenführer und General der Waffen-SS Wilhelm Bittrich
Battleground General Arnhem - German

Author: Jon Sutherland & Diane Canwell
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 176
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011

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