Books of Interest

This is a list which will grow over time… Eventually, I guess the aim will be to provide a review for each of them.

  • Agar-Hamilton & Turner ‘The Sidi Rezegh Battles’
    Official South African history
  • Carver ‘Dilemmas of the Desert War’
    Analysis of why Ritchie was not as bad as he is usually portrayed.
  • Carver ‘Tobruk’
    Standard work on the battles for Tobruk, leading up to its fall.
  • Clifton ‘The Happy Hunted’
    Biography by NZ Brigadier Clifton who was in charge of the Royal Engineers during the battle
  • Cocchia ‘Convoglio’
    Cocchia was an Italian escort commander, and later head of the USMM (historical office of the Italian Navy)
  • Crisp ‘Brazen Chariots’
    A must read – Crisp was a troop (platoon) commander in 3 RTR
  • Hargest ‘Farewell Campo 18’
    NZ Brigadier Hargest was captured when 5th Brigade HQ was overrun, and evacuated from Bardia by submarine. He escaped through Switzerland and France, and was eventually killed in Normandy, while acting as observer to the British forces there.
  • Hinsley ‘British Intelligence in World War 2’ Vol. II
    Standard work, including a lot of interesting information on ULTRA and the Y (radio intercept) services.
  • Kippenberger ‘Infantry Brigadier’
    NZ Brigadier Kippenberger was badly wounded on Belhamed.
  • Kriebel/Gudmundsson ‘Inside the Afrika Korps’
    Kriebel was Operations Officer of 15th Panzer, and wrote this in captivity.
  • Montanari ‘Tobruk’
    Italian official history ground and air
  • Playfair ‘The Med and The Middle East’
    British official history
  • Santoni ‘Il Vero Tradittore’
    The role of ULTRA in the Mediterranean uncovered
  • Smith, P. and Walker, E. ‘Battles of the Malta Striking Forces’
    Anything by Peter is worth reading. This one deals in particular with Force K (see also my book review
  • USMM ‘La Difesa del Trafico’
    Italian official navy history
  • Terraine ‘The Right of the Line’, a one-volume history of the RAF in Europe and the Med.
  • Smith, Peter ‘Fighting Flotilla’, on the development and fate of the ‘L’ class destroyers which featured so prominently during Crusader (HMS Lance and Lively of Force K)
  • National Archives ‘Special Forces in the Desert War 1940 – 43’
  • Pope, Dudley ‘Flag 4’ on coastal forces in the Med.

3 thoughts on “Books of Interest

  1. Some additions:

    (Cambridge, 2009). Brisk day-by-day narrative on
    17 Nov.-8 December ’41. Thesis is that CRUSADER
    rollback + Battle of Moscow + Jap botch at Pearl
    Harbor were absolutely decisive. I agree; later
    and much more ballyhooed Stalingrad, El Alemain,
    etc. occurred when Axis had no real chance of
    winning war as a whole.

    > Joly, TAKE THESE MEN. Most people, following Crisp (maybe with a
    tinge of jealousy, as J. far the better
    writer), call this a “novel”. I don’t think
    so: Joly commanded 8th RTR supply column
    during the 1st couple of weeks of the
    battle, then took over a tank squadron. So
    I take it as a first-hand account.

    > Watt, Jock: A TANKIE’S TRAVELS. New, don’t have a copy yet. With
    3rd RTR at Dunkirk, Greece, N. Africa….maybe did

    > Hans-Joachim Schraepler, AT ROMMEL’S SIDE: THE LOST LETTERS OF…
    New, R’s adjutant during 1940-41; may
    cover CRUSADER, I’ll see.

    > Almasy, Laszlo: WITH ROMMEL’S ARMY IN LIBYA. Apparently Almasy
    was one of the real characters referenced in “The
    English Patient”; I’ll order Watt, Schraepler,
    this, later today and see if any bear on CRUSADER.

    > Fish, Kevin: PANZER REGIMENT 8 (Schiffer, 2008). Two chapters on
    CRUSADER, with lots of f/h interview material.

    Etc., see “Notes” to my CRUSADER essay for much other f/h. Also have 16 Italian books, all first-hand accounts, coming in from a source in Milan. 4 or 5 of these I think (hope) will involve CRUSADER; we’ll see.


    • Joly is very very good. I have Schraepler in French. He was killed early in CRUSADER, so his letters don’t cover much of it. The others sound very interesting, I’ll have a look-see. Many thanks for this.


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