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The Black Bull (Paperback)

From Normandy to the Baltic with the 11th Armoured Division

WWII Military

By Patrick Delaforce
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 60 black and white
ISBN: 9781526784285
Published: 3rd April 2020

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The 11th Armoured Division, famous for its Black Bull insignia, was widely recognized as being among the best armoured divisions in north-west Europe during the Second World War. This book tells the story of the Division in the words of the soldiers who fought with it: of its part in the three ferocious battles in Normandy Operations EPSOM, GOODWOOD and BLUECOAT, the great Swan to Amiens, the taking of Antwerp; right flanking for MARKET GARDEN, back-up in the Ardennes and the final slog into Germany across well-defended river barriers, to the liberation of Belsen, Lbeck and the Danish frontier. The Division suffered 10,000 casualties, with almost 2,000 lost in action, and so this is also a story of courage and the hardships of a winter campaign, of being wounded, comradeship and fighting fear.

Contributions are included from twelve of the regiments who proudly wore the sign of the Black Bull. Memories from troop commanders and riflemen, bombardiers and signalmen, tank crews, troop leaders and from the dashing GOC are brought together to reveal what life was like at the sharp end.

The Black Bull is liberally illustrated with contemporary photographs showing the Division in action. It will appeal not only to those who still have memories of the battles and to those who fought in the Second World War, but also to readers interested in the day-to-day actions and thoughts of soldiers in the front line for almost a year.

This is a book that will be of great interest to military historians.

Ray Mehlberger, AMPS Indianapolis

This is a great addition to the bookshelf-- and a welcome treat for those times when you are suffering from a modeling burnout and looking for inspiration or just wanting to enjoy a good read by the fire or the air conditioner depending on the season. One has to search extensively for movies and entertainment that has British armour operations as the focus, but hopefully with good resources such as this, one might see something forthcoming. I was reminded in reading of one episode in Band of Brothers ("Replacements") that featured the 11th- which made me pull out my DVD copy to re-watch. If you are looking for a good account of operations from the perspective of those who were there, look no further.

Highly Recommended for those interested in British WWII armour operations.

Michael Reeves, Armor Modeling and Preservation Society, July 2020

Armoured warfar in the closing year of the war.

This gives a readable account of one armoured warfare units action from day until the end which makes this an amazing and readable book.

For anyone who likes their book to be full of action and puts you in the tank with the men.

Read the full review here

Richard Domoney-Saunders

This re-release of a 1993 publication really stands the test of time. It offers a description of the progress of the 11th Armoured Division from Normandy to the end of WW2. It uses personal accounts and some very good insights into some lesser known actions. Being very well aquatinted with Antwerp, I found the detailed descriptions of the actions in the city and docks area most interesting.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 Patrick Delaforce

About Patrick Delaforce

Patrick Delaforce served with 11th Armoured Division during the advance through NW Europe.

After a career in the wine trade he became a professional writer. Among his books in print with Pen and Sword are Churchill’s Desert Rats in North Africa, Burma, Sicily and Italy, Wellington Le Beau and Monty’s Marauders.

In 2015 he was appointed to the rank of Chavalier in the Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour). This is in recognition of his ‘acknowledged military engagement and steadfast involvement in the Liberation of France during the Second World War’.

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