We think after three years it might be time for an update, also because the project has changed considerably in the course of researching it.
1) Change of Scope
There is a slight change of scope, in that it has now been extended to provide the most extensive cover yet of the Operations of Oasis Force under Brigadier Reid. This will be a stand-alone book, co-authored by me, Andreas, Kuno Gross (co-author of ‘Incident at Jebel Sherif’, ‘The Occupation of Kufra’, and author of ‘The Bagnold Sun Compass’), and Roberto Chiarvetto, who co-authored the former two books with Kuno. This is a book we are very excited about. It’ll be a self-publishing venture, and we hope to have it out by early 2012. More on that in a few weeks.
Nevertheless, the project is still focused on Operation CRUSADER, and nothing else.
2) Change of Approach
The initial intent was to publish a very simple, one-volume history of CRUSADER from the German perspective. In the course of developing this, it became clear that there is no satisfactory treatment of this very important operation from the Commonwealth side. In the conceptualisation of this, it became clear that it will not be possible to fit this into one volume. We have undertaken very considerable archival research at Kew, the UK’s National Archives, to lift a lot of the original unit records, messages, reports, etc., and have by now probably the foremost library on this matter outside the archive.
We will also be giving a much higher importance to the air battle than originally planned. For this we will lean on Michele Palermo’s ‘Le Battaglie Aeree in Africa Settentrionale’ (The Air Battles over North Africa), which covers November and December (see for this link for a preview, and this link to order. As well as Michele’s and Ludovico Slongo’s earlier ‘Ali d’Africa’, the history of 1st Italian Fighter Wing (see this link for preview, and this link to order). Both books are bilingual, and a very important addition to our knowledge. Especially Michele’s Battaglie supercedes Shores and Ring’s prior standard work.
Michele has confirmed that he is interested to work with me on Vol. III, which will cover a period he has not yet addressed in detail.
First, obviously the book on Oasis Force.
For the main opus, we are now looking at a 3-volume edition, with the first edition to be published in January 2013 (if all goes well). The order will be somewhat off, being Vol. III (El-Agheila and the Counteroffensive), Vol. I (Sidi Rezegh, Tobruk), Vol.II (Pursuit, Gazala, Agedabia, siege and occupation of Bardia and Halfaya). This will follow the way the Germans split the battle into phases. It will also ensure that each volume will have sufficient amounts of things going on to be of interest in its own right.
We are in detailed discussions about a publishing contract for Vol. III, and would presume that the same publisher will go with all three volumes.
We welcome comments on this.