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Fighting Through to Hitler's Germany (Hardback)

Personal Accounts of the Men of 1 Suffolk 1944–45

Regimental History WWII D-Day & Normandy Hitler & the Third Reich Military

By Mark Forsdike
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 304
Illustrations: 32 black and white
ISBN: 9781526772862
Published: 18th May 2020

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After landing on D-Day, 1st Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment fought through France, Holland and into Germany as part of the 3rd (British) Infantry Division. Ever cheerful, the Battalion were opposed by an increasingly ruthless enemy determined to deny the invader their homeland.

As the campaign developed, 1 Suffolk acquired an enviable reputation for getting the job done with the minimum of fuss. Inevitably casualties mounted up and, of the 850 who landed on D-Day, just 178 were still serving on VE-Day; 215 had been killed and 640 wounded.

The Battalion’s success was due in large measure to fine leadership and all four commanding officers went on to enjoy distinguished careers. But without the stalwart fighting spirit and comradeship of all ranks none of the Battalion’s achievements would have been possible.

This fine book draws on the testimonies of officers and men who served in this historic campaign. Recognition of the fighting record of 1 Suffolk is long overdue and the author is to be congratulated for pulling together these inspiring first-hand accounts along with many previously unpublished photographs.

Well what can I say about this book, well this is probably the best book that I have read all year, in fact I have had it on the desk in front of me where I have quietly and happily read it from cover to cover. This book follows the men of the 1st Suffolk in 1944-45 and this is their personal accounts as they hit the beaches at Normandy and fight their way through to as the title says Hitler’s Germany. From reading this, boy do they have to fight their way through as they come across heavy German opposition along the way. Reading this book was reading like a live commentary of the events, when they try to take a châteaux it’s amazing anyone survived with the amount of small arms fire, shelling and artillery they were having to survive through and dodge. Or how they had to do training in Scotland but nobody knew what they were training for, leaving them to guess it was the Normandy Landings they would be a part of, and even then it seemed harder getting on to the beaches, than get across them.

The book takes extracts from diaries of various men throughout, and these are really good and powerful as they are written by the men who went through the war at that time. What the book also clearly showed was the conveyor belt of war as you have men going through battle and then as each one is injured or killed, so another is ordered up or transferred from another regiment. I really have to commend the author Mark Forsdike for writing such a riveting read that I couldn’t put down. What shines through the book and really does hit home is the sheer bravery and courage of these men in such devastating circumstances. I will happily give this book a 5 star read, and it will definitely be in my Top Ten books of the year, as I will wholeheartedly recommend it to any fans of WW2 history.

Read the full review here

UK Historian

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed the 9+ hours I spent reading this 304-page history book. While the book was on a British unit, it reminded me a lot of Band of Brothers. Many officers are mentioned only to find that they were later killed in action. There was also a great deal about the movement of the 1st Battalion. I found it interesting to follow them on a map of Europe while I read. I like the chosen cover art. I give this book a 5 out of 5.

NetGalley, John Purvis

About Mark Forsdike

Mark Forsdike has strong links with the Suffolk Regiment. His grandfather served with the 4th Battalion in the Second World War spending three and a half years as a Japanese prisoner of war. Mark is proud to be an honorary member of the Old Comrades Association, Standard Bearer of the Ipswich Branch, a volunteer at the Regimental Museum and administrator of the Friends of the Suffolk Regiment.


An engineer by profession, he lives in Ipswich with his wife and two children.

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