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The Long Range Desert Group in the Aegean (Hardback)

WWII SAS & Elite Forces Military

By Brendan O'Carroll
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9781526777379
Published: 7th August 2020


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Shortly after the invasion of Sicily and to distract German attention from the Italian campaign, Churchill ordered the occupation of the Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean.

The Long Range Desert Group, retraining in Lebanon, were now part of Raiding Forces, Middle East, along with the Special Boat Service and No 30 Commando. In support of 3,000 regulars in 234 Brigade, the LRDG landed covertly on Leros establishing observation posts, reporting movement of enemy shipping and aircraft.

In October the LRDG were ordered to assault the island of Levitha losing forty highly skilled men killed or captured. The Germans invaded Leros with overwhelming force on 12 November 1943, five days later the battle was over. While many British troops were captured most of the LRDG and SBS escaped. Their individual stories make for enthralling reading.

A measure of the intensity of the fighting is the fact that the LRDG lost more men in three months in the Aegean than in three years in the desert operating behind enemy lines.

The author, an acknowledged expert on the LRDG uses official sources, both British and German, and individual accounts to piece together the full story of this dramatic, costly but little-known campaign. It is a valuable addition to the history of special forces in the Second World War.

I have to commend Brendan O'Carroll on his new book. I always start by looking at the bibliography to see what primary sources I am missing and it is clear that this has been superbly researched, using many first hand accounts from actucal combatants.
Superbly written in a style that engages the reader from the very first page to the last, this book fills a gap in LRDG history, that of the ill fated Aegean campaign. It was a campaign that was unnecessay and poorly planned by senior allied commanders, resulting in the LRDG sustaining more losses in 3 months than it had in 3 years campaigning in the deserts of North Africa. There are many excellent photos, many of which are new to me. It's great to read about this period in the LRDG history. A must for any collection.
I am looking foward to Brendan's next book "LRDG in Action 1940-1943" to be published in October!


Well I have just finished Brendan O’Carroll’s latest book release titled “The Long Range Desert Group in the Aegean”. I currently have read all of his books except “Khaki Angels”, which I have just ordered. I hadn’t ordered it before as it didn’t have anything to do about the Long Range Desert Group. But since he is such a detailed researcher in anything he writes it has got to be good.
I have been a fan of the Long Range Desert Group since I was a boy, now 81 years young. There was not much written about the LRDG in the early years. I really got active in researching the LRDG back in 1992 and was instrumental in having constructed a 1942 Chevrolet in the LRDG pattern, at that time the only one in the U.S.A. Buying any title that had any association with the LRDG.
Brendan’s first venture into the LRDG realm was “The Kiwi Scorpions” first published in the year 2000. I’m sure his interest in the LRDG started long before his book was published. Then because the demand got so great it was updated and reprinted in 2008. The title is still in great demand and prices far exceed the cover price in 2008.
His second venture into the LRDG field was “Bearded Brigands” which were based on the diaries of “Trooper Frank Joplin” of the LRDG, published in 2002. Followed by the “Barce Raid” in 2005. Then in 2008 in conjunction with Kuno Gross & Roberto Chiarvetto, he co-Authored “Incident at Jebel Sherif”, where they actually went to Libya and visited the site and examined the remains of the battle. I had planned to join them on that trip but “Muammar Gaddafi” has other thoughts of Americans visiting his country.
Now to the current title: if you are new to the LRDG scene, if nothing else the first chapter gives an excellent overview of the LRDG activities in the desert and then their activities with training at the Cedars of Lebanon, in skiing and mountain climbing.
When looking at Brendan’s bibliography; I have many if not all that he has listed there, but he masterfully encompasses passages from books and association newsletter articles plus other sources previously published to convey what transpired on those fateful days in November 1943.
Another item he includes; that is missing from many other LRDG publications, is the names of the Troopers in the patrols. Many in the past have listed the officer and OR (other ranks), but Brendan includes the name of the other ranks. Many names that I recognize from years of researching the LRDG.
Now if you can find copies of his other books at a reasonable price – do buy them, but if you can only afford to buy this one do as it is a great one to have in any LRDG Library.

Jack Valenti
LRDG Preservation Society

Jack Valenti

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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