The Long Range Desert Group in Action 1040-1943
---more Images of War from Pen & Sword
Title: The Long Range Desert Group 1940-1943
Author: Brendan O'Carroll
Publisher: Pen & Sword
A new addition to the Images of War series and also to the list of books looking at the work of the Long Range Desert Group, the LRDG, during WW2. A fine collection of archive images, the large majority of which I had mot seen before, as they were taken by the patrol members themselves, images collected from private collections. A 215-page soft-cover book packed with archive images. Many of the pictures come from veterans of the Rhodesian S Patrol, the British Y Patrol, along with the New Zealand Patrols.
Following the Acknowledgements and Introduction, the book is split into 8 chapters. These cover The Early Days: LRDG Operations in the Fezzan,1941: 1941-42, An Overview - the CMP Ford F30: 1942-43, Chevrolet 1533X2 4x2 30cwt: The LRDG Air Section: The Barce Raid: The Final Days in the Desert: and closing with The Dodecanese Operations - The Aegean, 1943.Each chapter starts with a few pages of text which explains the background and a lot of detail to each story. The rest is held within the well captioned images themselves. The photos tell us a lot about the LRDG, not only the people who crewed the patrol vehicles, but illustrating the non-regulation nature of their dress, plus the conditions in which they lived and fought. The plus point for me is the wealth of material on their variety of equipment. From the early Ford F30s, which were 4x4 trucks using the CMP chassis but later replaced with the lighter, and popular, 4x2 Chevrolet. There are also Jeeps of course, maybe a surprise to many, their own Waco Cabin aircraft and heavy weapons such as the Bofors 37mm anti-tank gun and the captured Italian 20mm Breda. Reflecting their roles of Road Watch as well as convoy ambush and raids, there are pictures showing destroyed/damaged enemy equipment and some of their own lost trucks. One aspect which struck me is the number of vehicles which had disruptive camouflage painting, not just the single plain sand colour we generally see on models. The work of the LRDG in the North African Desert is well known, but less so I think their operations in the Aegean, which followed the end of the fighting in North Africa itself. That part of the story is told in the final chapter and I suspect may be new to many.
So a fine illustrated history of the LRDG, with interesting material for the WW2 historian while I think it will be of particular interest to the modeller with the level of detail we see on the vehicles and equipment they used, and what a well equipped LRDG truck actually carried, let alone their camouflage patterns.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our review copy.