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Helion and Company December 2015 Paperback 234mm x 156mm 504 pages profusely ills with b&w photos, maps; 32pp colour maps

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Mettle and Pasture - the story of the part played during the Second World War in Europe by the 2nd Battalion The Lincolnshire Regiment. Entering France in September 1939 as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) they witnessed from the front line the blistering attack on Belgium at Louvain and first-hand the German Blitzkrieg beginning on May 10th 1940. Fighting a fierce rearguard action as part of the British 3rd Infantry Division under command of General Montgomery, the Battalion covered the frenzied withdrawal of the British Army through the carnage of Dunkirk, arriving back to the shores of England with less than 25% of their original force.

On 6th June 1944, almost four years to the day after the demoralizing evacuation at Dunkirk, the Battalion landed on the coast of Normandy on D-Day.

Told in their own words, eyewitness accounts and memoirs are expertly weaved together with official war diaries to recall the experiences of the infantrymen at the front - from the days in France and Belgium in 1939 to the assault on Normandy, spearheading such a great invasion, to resisting and attacking the enemy at Caen and blunting the formidable Panzer counter-attacks in the dangerous Normandy Bocage. From 'out of the frying pan and into the fire', come the bitter battles in Belgium and Holland, the attrition of holding the Maas River during the coldest winter in living memory, and finally on into Germany, fighting the SS around Bremen just hours before hostilities ended on the 8th May 1945. Vivid accounts tell tales of courage and fear, individual sacrifice and how soldiers faced up to the enemy under fire, sharing danger and surviving the savage conditions but also of the pride and honour of belonging to such a famous and historic regiment - The Lincolnshire Regiment.

With an abundance of previously unpublished photographs and clear, concise maps of the battlefields, this is the story of the war the way it really was for an infantryman - told by the men who were there.

“ … this volume stands alongside the likes of Sidney Jary’s legendary 18 Platoon in describing how a British infantry battalion trained, fought, learnt and fought again in a hard campaign, but all done in a very human and readable way. Very much recommended.” Society of Friends of National Army Museum Newsletter


Additional Information

Author Weight, G.J.
Publisher Helion and Company
ISBN 9781909982147
Date of Publication December 2015
Edition No
Binding Paperback
Book Size 234mm x 156mm
Number of pages 504 pages
Images profusely ills with b&w photos, maps; 32pp colour maps
Language English text

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  1. Excellent detail and tightly focussed review by Rob on 23/07/2016

    Having met the author on his battlefield tours - Gary Weight has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Normandy campaign and the units involved - I eagerly awaited this book and it did not disappoint from the view of a wargamer and modeller with an interest in the NW European campaign.

    The number of photos of personnel and the detail on personnel, training, locations in the UK and overseas, and movements will appeal in particular to relatives of veterans wishing to follow the paths of their families.

    It is long (498 pages), well indexed, and concentrates absolutely on the 2nd Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment, including only where necessary the minimum of background on the wider operations the unit took part in. Given the very large number of more or less general books, especially on the Normandy Campaign, this focus is welcome, as is the use only of photographs that are specific to the unit.

    There are two 'prelude' sections on the history of the Lincolnshire Regiment (1685-1857 and 1857-1939), then 14 chapters on the 2nd Lincs part in:
    Entering France with the BEF;
    the Blitzkrieg in Flanders;
    the Dunkirk evacuation;
    Two on rebuilding, training and preparation in the UK;
    Normandy 1 June-6 July (covering the landings and operations inland from Sword beach);
    Normandy 6 July- 11 July (covering Operation Charnwood)s
    Normandy 12 July - 31 July (Covering operation Goodwood);
    the battle of Pont-de-Vaudrey;
    crossing the Escaut Canal;
    The Battle of Overloon and Venray;
    fighting in the Maas Salient;
    Into Germany and Operation Heather; and
    Crossing he Rhine until the German surrender.

    An Epilogue contains a selection of photos of personnel taken immediately after the war, the Roll of Honour, and seven appendices cover Awards and Citations, a note on assault river crossings, background on two particular individuals, the War Establishment (organisation) of a British Infantry Battalion at various stages throughout the War, and the order of Battle (names where known of key personnel and their roles in the battalion command structure).

    Overall the book strikes the right balance between business-like but sympathetic coverage of the Battalion and their actions, and helps redress the balance of the majority of books on the big operations and armoured warfare. It really brings home the unrelenting grind of day-to-day infantry work, punctuated by short but bloody battalion level attacks.

    Appropriate weight is given to the various sections, with the emphasis on the key battalion level engagements. It is not padded out with an overview of the campaigns and is mercifully free of generalisations about the strategic arguments around the Normandy fighting and the capabilities of various German weapons.

    The (30!) maps deserve special mention and are an object lesson in how to present maps in books of this genre. There are wide overviews of movements, the theatre and annotated contemporary maps but the jewels are, firstly, the annotated and faintly colourised contemporary air recon photos of the areas of detailed actions and, secondly, and presumably where suitable photos were not available, original maps by the author that bring out every detail referred to in the text.

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