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The Long Range Desert Group in Action 1940–1943 (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

WWII Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books North Africa in WWII SAS & Elite Forces Military

By Brendan O'Carroll
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 250 integrated black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526777416
Published: 15th October 2020
This Week's Best Sellers Rank: #11


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The Long Range Desert Group has a strong claim to the first Special Forces unit in the British Army. This superb illustrated history follows the LRDG from its July 1940 formation as the Long Range Patrol in North Africa, tasked with intelligence gathering, mapping and reconnaissance deep behind enemy lines. Manned initially by New Zealanders, in 1940 the unit became the LRDG with members drawn from British Guards and Yeomanry regiments and Rhodesians.

So successful were the LRDG patrols, that when the Special Air Service were formed, they often relied on their navigational and tactical skills to achieve their missions.

After victory in North Africa the LRDG re-located to Lebanon before being sent on the ill-fated mission to the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean.

Serving independently, when the Germans overwhelmed and captured the British garrisons, many LRDG personnel escaped using their well-honed skills.

Many images in this, the first pictorial history of the LRDG, were taken unofficially by serving members. The result is a superb record of the LRDG’s achievements, the personalities, their weapons and vehicles which will delight laymen and specialists alike.

This is a good, interesting book about a famous, but relatively small, group of men who, through their early work, facilitated the start and future success of their somewhat more famous and flamboyant group, the SAS. Indeed, without the skills, knowledge of the desert and equipment of the LRDG the SAS probably would not have gone further than a couple of raids.

An excellent addition to the Images of War series from Pen & Sword.

Read the full review here

Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

This was an excellent book indeed, the rogue LRDG and I feel I can call them that as some of the characters involved in the group did seem to be a bit roguish or seen as the less desirables. But this shouldn’t take away from the men indeed because as your reading the book, what comes through is the fact that these were men that were willing to do what it took and they often succeeded. I should say that whilst reading this book I discovered a programme on the BBC about the LRDG too, which I watched too which was fine but I can honestly say I got more from the book. If anything the programme was able to give more layers to the characters in the book. If you want bravery and conviction these were certainly the guys you wanted on your side, and you can certainly see why they were seen as the beginning of the SAS. A thoroughly good book packed with great pictures, the pictures are most of ‘time off’ but it’s a great collection. The written information is also really good and very informative, I’ve learnt a lot from this book. Highly recommended.

5 stars

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UK Historian

Here is another of the Images of War series from Pen & Sword. All of the others of the series have had good reviews on this site but, for me, this book stands out. The author, Brendan O’Carroll, admits that over twenty years of research went into this book. Dozens of people gave permissions, support and their stories. All of this was not in vain for here we have a superb, unique visual record of the men and their exploits. Every photograph contains more than at first meets the eye.
The Long Range Desert Group punched far above its weight and as the first of Britain’s Special Forces was a large influence on the present S.A.S. As with other books of this series there is very little text other than annotations. What text there is makes one want to read the other books on this subject by this author.
We highly recommend this book to both the browser and the ‘studier’.

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Clash of Steel

Brendan O'Carroll's latest book, is a triumph.
Three hundred photographs, many of which will be new to even ardent LRDG enthusiasts. Most of the images were taken by the troopers on privately owned cameras and provide a unique insight into life whilst out on patrol.
Fantastic as a stand alone book or to accompany Brendan's other books, the photographs are amazingly detailed and broken down into eight chapters detailing the early days of the LRDG, operations in the Fezzan, the types of vehicles, equipment and weapons used, the LRDG air section, Barce raid, the units final days in the desert and the Aegean campaign.
An outstanding resource for the amateur historian, researcher, militaria collectors, re-enactors, military modelers' and vehicle restorers
If a picture paints a thousand words here are more than three hundred thousand for you to savour and enjoy.


About Brendan O'Carroll

Brendan O’Carroll lives in Auckland, New Zealand and recently retired from the New Zealand Customs Service. With a long time interest in military history, the Long Range Desert Group has become his speciality. He has interviewed over 30 veterans while writing The Kiwi Scorpions: The Story of the New Zealanders in the LRDG (2000), Bearded Brigands (2002) and Barce Raid: The LRDG’s Most Daring Exploit in World War Two (2005). This book follows The LRDG in the Aegean (2020) under the Pen and Sword Military imprint. He has numerous other published works and articles to his credit. In 2006 his work was recognised by awards from the New Zealand Military Historical Society.

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