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Strafer - Desert General (Hardback)

The Life and Killing of Lieutenant General WHE Gott CB CBE DSO*MC

WWII P&S History

By N.S Nash
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 250
ISBN: 9781781590904
Published: 18th September 2013

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Unexpectedly selected by Churchill to command 8th Army in 1942 in place of the sacked Auchinleck, 'Strafer' Gott was targeted by German intelligence as he flew to Cairo to take up his new post. Six ME109s intercepted his aircraft and, after shooting it down, deliberately machine-gunned the crash scene. Gott became the only Allied general to be successfully targeted by the Germans and, as a result, Montgomery was given command and the rest is history.

But as this long overdue and well researched biography reveals, 'Strafer' deserves to be remembered for his exceptional
talents, meteoric career and record of gallantry. As a young officer in The Great War he won the Military Cross (many thought a VC would have been more appropriate) and he repeatedly attempted to escape. In 1939 he was commanding his Battalion as a Lieutenant Colonel and two years later he became a Lieutenant General. He was recognised as a superb Desert General whose aggression, originality and leadership qualities were supported by charm, warmth and compassion.

While it is fascinating, if unproductive, to surmise what would have happened had Gott and not Monty fought Rommel, it can be confidently said that relations with our allies would have benefitted.

Drawing on primary source material, this first biography of an outstanding soldier and commander is not only a rewarding and revealing read but an important addition to the bibliography of the Second World War.


As featured in the Dover Express, Ashford Herald and Folkestone Herald.

As featured on...

A Blog on Winston Churchill

One wonders how different the relationship with our allies would have been in Gott and not Montgomery had been in charge. Here is a well-told story and well-worth reading.

Journal of the Victoria Cross Society

A sympathetic, but not hagiographic portrait that makes use of unpublished documents and other sources to round out the narrative. [This book] fills a gap in the literature and should be commended highly for that.

Society of Friends of the National Army Museum

The book - well illustrated, with good maps, fascinating in its detail and scrupulous in in its judgement - adds new insights into the war in the Western Desert.

The Spectator

I must confess that I had a very limited knowledge of General ‘Strafer’ Gott prior to reading this book. It was along the lines of ‘Auchinleck fired as Commander 8th Army; Gott selected to take over. Gott killed and Montgomery selected as Commander 8th Army. Montgomery wins the Second Battle of El Alamein.’ This may seem a bit harsh on Gott (you’ll have to read the book as why he was nicknamed ‘Strafer’) but then not much has been written on Gott and this biography goes a significant way in changing that.

The author, NS Nash, has provided an excellent, largely chronological, biography of a most capable officer.

Army Rumour Service

“This first biography of an outstanding soldier and commander is not only a rewarding and revealing read but an important addition to the bibliography of the Second World War.”

www.malmesbury.com

About N.S Nash

N S ‘Tank’ Nash CBE, is a retired brigadier. His highly amusing ’Sustainer’ articles in military journals attracted a wide following. He lives near Edinburgh.

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