Sunday, 26 February 2012

Book review – In Rommel’s backyard

In Rommel’s backyard – A memoir of the Long Range Desert Group, by Alastair Timpson with Andrew Gibson-Wait, 2000, close to 200 pages.
Alastair Timpson was the second-in-command, and later commander, of “G” (Guards) Patrol of the Long Range Desert Group during September 1941 to December 1942. He kept records during the war and didn’t think them very interesting for anyone but himself and his family. He died in 1997 leaving a lot of materials for a book, but it was unfortunately not very readable for the public. His son offered it for publication, and Andrew Gibson-Watt edited the material down to this book.
It is about G patrol, and more in detail on what happened to Alastair’s half-patrol, “G1” or “G2”.
This is a very good read, and will give you a real feeling for what happened, both during the desert trips, road-watch, attacks on and by the enemy and much more. A couple of good maps in the front of the book made it possible to follow the movements of his patrol and that is so important in a book like this. Good maps really makes a difference, and here they are just right. Maps have unfortunately been rather bad in the other LRDG books I’ve read or is reading. Now I have this book on the side to be able to follow what is happening in the other stories.
Lots of interesting details, like when in March -42 “G” Patrol painted their new vehicles in “the most glorious pink, yellow and green” with the comment “if they did not elude detection from enemy aircraft they would at least dazzle them”. One of the drivers said he would not be seen driving in Cairo in such a thing, but he grudgingly obeyed orders.
Also details on how the patrols were organized, life and difficulties in the field, in-depth about some of the rather scary action they went through, and much more. In the end there is a real good list of books about the LRDG.
This book seems to be the book to read if you would like to get a feeling on what the LRDG did. Highly recommended! I give it a rating of 4,5 of 5. 

No comments:

Post a Comment