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A Full Life - Brian Horrocks

Discussion in 'Biographies and Everything Else' started by merdiolu, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    Just finished A Full Life autobiography of Sir Brian Horrocks cmdr of 13th Corps in 8th Army and 30th Corps in Europe. One of the best autobiographies I have ever read. He starts his life in UK , his experiences and time as a German POW during WW1 then his time in Russian Civil War at Whites side. Then WW2 , Dunkirk , training his division and battles he got involved in North Africa and Europe. What struck me most is author's humble and down to earth attitude. He freely admits his operational mistakes , defends his and others controversial decisions or at least discusses and evaluates them before final judgement. I found his decriptions of Operation Market Garden and Operation Veritable very illuminating. He freely admits that it was his fault that Scheldt peninsula was not sealed off in September 1944 and any great commander would see it but Brian Horrocks couldn't. I also agree him fully that in longer term failure of Market Garden was probably a benefit to Allied strategy in long term since crossing of Rhine would extend flanks of 30th Corps to untenable levels at the face of regrouped and revitalized German Army. His description of Operation Veritable is great. It was the largest land operation he got involved and under very unfavorable conditions he triumphed and German Army at west bank of Rhine was crushed in February 1945. It is full of amusing incidents too only ones you can get in wartime and in Horrocks adventurous life. For exampe :

    There is an incident how an Arab living in Bengazi saw when 8th Army retreated in 1942 they removed a vital part of railway engine and dumped it into sea. After Axis captured city he showed Germans where this engine part lies in sea and got a substantial reward from them. Ten months later when Axis retreating the city they did same thing , removed same vital machinery from stream engine and thew it into sea. Same Arab saw them and when British recaptured Bengazi he showed them where engine part lies in sea and got even a bigger reward. Horrocks comments that if Bengazi changed hands a few more times this guy would die as a very rich man !

    Highly Recommended
     
    lwd and pistol like this.

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