SAS in Tuscany 1943 – 1945
Brian Lett is an author of World War Two history, who has seven books currently in print. He is a recently retired Queen's Counsel who practised at the Bar of England and Wales for forty-seven years.
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- 9781848844469 - SAS in Tuscany 1943-45 by Brian Lett.
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Stock Image. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. As a reader I do enjoy a fair amount of detail but the book became a bit of a record rather than a story. The bravery of the soldiers and some of the italian partisans was unbelievable. One person found this helpful. Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase.
Very good book. Excellent book, a true story about the early SAS in Tuscany during the war and excellent work they did and how they worked in partnership with the local Italian partisans. Book contains how the authors Dad works with the locals in what sounds like horrible conditions. Excellent book Brian, looking forward to the new one about the Secret Service.
An excellent and detailed read that has inspired me to visit Liguria to see the terrain and communities in which these brave soldiers and local people attempted to distract the German army away from the main Allied front.
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The whole book is well crafted, packed with information and transports you back to this terrible era in our recent history. An excellent read about the SAS in this part of Italy in the war? Brian Lett , the author, is the son of. Major Lett who was the commander of British units in this area until liberation. On this basis it has a far richer understanding of the people and the environment than perhaps other authors as it is, and must be, personal Highly recommended.
The first, the bravest, Operation Speedwell 2, under Captain Patrick Dudgeon, MC, saw six men being dropped blindly behind enemy lines, without radios, on September 8th, , date of the Italian surrender, to cause the Germans as much irritation through troop ambushes and rail and road traffic attacks. Four of team, sadly, were taken prisoner, and then executed without trial under Hitler's Commando Order. The author effectively recounted each step, like a brief; for on the termination of hostilities, certain of the German officers faced charges of war crimes.
Lett's legal training and specialist interest in military law helps readers understand clearly and schematically the reasons why only two of the charged were convicted, and then unjustly with minimal sentences, since the principal accused, had already been executed. Students of the law would find this case most interesting for the great leniency of the Court Martial. Its historical value, is a comparison of the military differences on the ground since Speedwell; its military importance is to view the individual activities as part of a wider Allied assault in December to take the pressure off a planned attack by the US 92nd Negro Div on the west coast, and in the Serchio valley, south of Massa.
He was familiar with, and well trusted by the locals, simple small farmers. He was even in contact with the nascent resistance movement, having also been active in the formation of the International Battalion, composed of British ex POWs, unhappy Russian and Polish deserters from the Wehrmacht, as well as Italians. He was much respected as an official contact with the Allies on the ground, having set up an escape line, the "Railway" or the "Ratberry Three" which became fully operational from September It was he who had laid the groundwork for a potentially viable operation by outsiders, and when they flew in in December Lett showed those who did not know and still do not that contrary to being good for running away as between the Italians could fight if properly led as occurred after the reorganization of the Italian Army in the South in late when trained by the Allies.
Brian Lett not only recounts of the savage reprisals carried out by Germans against local villages, for partisan activities almost on the scale of Eastern Europe, but as his father explained he had witnessed different types of Italian partisans: honest fighters with the sole dream of freeing themselves from the Nazi jackboot, and common criminals, with their own personal or political agendas, who used the struggle simply to carry out vendettas even against rival partisan groups, with the innocent local bystanders becoming the main victims of violence.
This local detail, sometimes purposely ignored by several Italian historians until the s, themselves with political agendas, the author recounts had been used by them in past days even to muddy the facts and discredit his father's judgement of two subsequently convicted "rogue" partisans, Primo Battistini, alias "Tullio" and his accomplice Schiazzeloni. In the day by day account of the operation, the author stresses that Major Gordon Lett was critical of the Allies' preparations, stating that with more personnel the Gothic Line would have been broken through before the start of the Spring, and the War in Italy concluded before May He also records it is probable that Rossano was the first place where a team of the SAS fired a salute to a fallen comrade, so questioning an earlier claim that such a practice only began in the s.
The third, very short, tale, Operation Blimey, has little material documented: this is for various possible explanations: a partly because the War in April had already passed the Rossano area; b partly because the documents were not written or lost, c partly because the enemy realised that the War was ending and did not wish to undertake severe reprisals so facing unnecessary casualties, and d perhaps as the author contends the principal officers Major Henderson, and Captain Scott seemed the least ideal individuals to conduct guerrilla actions.
Readers may assume that the word SAS is synonymous for success.
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It might be. In any war there are as many failures as successes even by the most specialized, experienced fighters. For Captain Walker Brown and his men, the knowledge of the terrain and active support given by local courageous resistors, not forgetting the support of local neutral inhabitants with food and shelter, was that which for those with the beret with the motto, "He who dares, wins", could keep going when the goings were getting worse.
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A valuable addition to the library of these special heroes helped by a little great valuable help from their Italian friends. A well written book, both gripping and historically correct. One of those rare books that has your whole attention from start to finish. There has just been a programme about BrianLett on radio 4 which really put it all into context. What a remarkable man! See all 8 reviews.
SAS in Tuscany
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