18 October 2009

Sharpshooter - Memories of Armoured Warfare 1939-45

J L Cloudsley-Thompson served in an armoured regiment, the 4th County of London Yeomanry (The Sharpshooters) from 1941 to 1944.

He discovered that a battlefield bore little resemblance to the parade grounds and training areas at home; and he pulls no punches in describing the frustrations of fighting against an enemy whose tanks, for the most part, were better armed and armoured than our own. He graphically describes tank battles in the deserts of North Africa and his experiences in Normandy where his Cromwell was knocked-out by a Tiger from a squadron commanded by German ‘ace’ Michael Wittmann near Villers-Bocage.

There follows a gripping account of the escape he and his crew made back to British lines, which included an alarming encounter with a French butcher. He does not shrink from describing the ghastly results from direct hits by anti-tank guns or land mines, nor the fearsome casualties suffered by wildlife, farm animals and domestic pets. On the lighter side, he and his men found and cared for a baby desert fox-cub until, as he puts it, ‘she decamped into the desert during a heavy barrage, having decided that she was now old enough to look after herself in her native environment.’

This book will inevitably become one of that body of war reminiscences distinguished by their uncompromising commitment to telling it as it was, not as the propagandists would have it.

Available from:
Arcturus Press

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