America's Commandos: U.S. Special Operations Forces of World War II and Korea, Leroy Thompson

America's Commandos: U.S. Special Operations Forces of World War II and Korea, Leroy Thompson

When the United States entered the Second World War their only real Special Forces units were part of the Marine Corps, but as the war went on a series of other units were formed, including the Army Rangers, members of the OSS, Merrill’s Marauders and the 1st Special Service Force. Each of these tended to have their own special purpose, and they saw service in the Pacific, Italy and Northern Europe. This book covers a wide range of these units, starting with a brief introduction that discusses the history of the various units, before moving on to a large picture section.

The picture section certainly covers a wide range of topics. I was particularly interested to see a picture of W.E. Fairbairn, co-designer of the Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Knife, the veteran of twenty years with the Shanghai Police, a key figure in commando training and the author of ‘All-in-Fighting’, a deliberately brutal guide to hand-to-hand fighting that includes advice on how to knock out an opponent using a match box and six ways to kill someone with his knife. Perhaps inevitably he appears here as a perfectly amiable elderly gentleman.

It would have been useful if the pictures had been split into chapters relating to the different organisations involved, or at least into Second World War and Korean War. Although they are organised by topic, there are not even sub-headings to guide you to particular units, which makes it rather tricky if you are looking for a particular detail of a uniform. The pictures are of a generally high quality, with useful if perhaps rather short captions, and cover a wide range of subjects.

Not split into Chapters

Author: Leroy Thompson
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 72
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2015

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