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Britain’s Guerrilla Army (Paperback)

Plans for a Secret War 1939-45

P&S History > British History WWII > Espionage & the SOE

By Malcolm Atkin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 240
Illustrations: 60 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 9781399077859
Published: 30th May 2024


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THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE account of Britain’s complex plans to fight a secret war in the event of a Nazi invasion. When Winston Churchill made his ‘we shall never surrender’ speech in 1940 he was speaking in the knowledge that Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service had already created a civilian guerrilla organisation to oppose any invasion and a separate resistance network to mobilize if the country had been occupied. There then followed a fierce battle between the Secret Intelligence Service and the War Office for the control of guerrilla warfare, and conflicting ideas over the legitimacy of armed civilians.

A multi-layered system of secret organizations was the result. The Auxiliary Units are now the best known of these ungentlemanly forces, but in this perceptive new study Malcolm Atkin unravels the considerable mythology that has grown up around them. He explains their origins and how they were never intended as a resistance organization. Instead, the Auxiliary Units patrols were designed as uniformed guerrilla to support an active military campaign, whilst their Special Duties Branch would spy on the British public as much as any Nazi invader. other Home Guard and army units were also preparing to 'go to ground'. Meanwhile, deep in the shadows, was the real resistance organization known only by its cover as Section VII of SIS – so secret that the first detailed account was not published until 2015, by the present author.

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 Malcolm Atkin

About Malcolm Atkin

Malcolm Atkin is a former head of the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service for Worcestershire. After becoming a leading authority on the English Civil War, he has more recently made a special study of home defence and the development of British intelligence during the Second World War. His many publications include Cromwell's Crowning Mercy: The Battle of Worcester, The Civil War in Evesham: A Storm of Fire and Leaden Hail, Worcestershire under Arms, Worcester 1651, Fighting Nazi Occupation: British Resistance 1939-1945, Myth and Reality: The Second World War Auxiliary Units, Section D for Destruction: Forerunner of SOE, To the Last Man: The Home Guard in War and Popular Culture and Pioneers of Irregular Warfare: Secrets of the Military Intelligence Research Department in the Second World War.

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