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Take These Men (Paperback)

Tank Warfare with the Desert Rats

WWII Tanks Memoirs Military

By Cyril Joly
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 357
ISBN: 9781526752093
Published: 9th May 2019

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Few accounts of the tank battles in the Western Desert during the Second World War have provided so vivid an evocation as Cyril Joly’s classic account Take These Men. In such inhospitable conditions, this was armoured warfare of a particularly difficult and dangerous kind.

From 1940 to 1943 battles raged back and forth as one side or the other gained the upper hand, only to lose it again. Often the obsolescent British armour was outnumbered by the Italians or outgunned by Rommel’s Afrika Korps, and frequently it suffered from the ineptitudes of higher command.

Cyril Joly’s first-hand narrative of these campaigns, highly praised when it was originally published in 1955, tells the story through the eyes of a young officer in the 7th Armoured Division, the famous Desert Rats. It describes in accurate, graphic detail the experience of tank warfare over seventy years ago, recalling the fortitude of the tank crews and their courage in the face of sometimes overwhelming odds.

I found this book to be very thought provoking, reading how two of the writers friends were killed and how this affected the rest of the men, and the way that things could change at the drop of a hat, is very hard to comprehend. I would think that when this was first published in 1955 that it was still very raw in the minds of those that had taken part in these most horrifying of campaigns. This book shows the resilience of those men who were ready to sacrifice themselves for King and country. Although Cyril Joly died in 2000, but we should continue to read and record these stories, as very soon they will be lost to history as they leave living memory.

Read the full review here

Armorama

About Cyril Joly

Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Joly was born in southern China and educated at Clifton College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He joined the Royal Tank Regiment in 1939 and served throughout the Western Desert campaign during which he was wounded and awarded the Military Cross and bar. He also wrote Silent Night: The Defeat of NATO. He died in 2000.

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