Operation 'Perch': The Complete Account
Operation Perch, the complete account
Villers-Bocage remains lodged in the imagination of many readers as a costly and controversial defeat for the British Army in Normandy. This point of view is entirely reliant on just ten minutes of fighting plucked from a two-day battle. This account sets out to rectify that view.
Based on prolific first-hand information, including extensive interviews with veterans of the battle, this book explores every facet of the available information, subjecting it to in-depth analysis. Far from being the crushing defeat popularised in many histories, which tend to rely on German propaganda, Villers-Bocage can, in fact, be viewed as a remarkable and compelling recovery from an ambush. The shortcoming was that much of the territory gained in the advance was relinquished, so the first telling of the story was given to the Germans who, quite legitimately under wartime conditions, made the most of their advantage.
In this book, Daniel Taylor provides a minutely detailed examination of the course of the fighting, exploring both sides of the debate, allowing the reader to evaluate the strength of the argument. Dozens of first-hand accounts are brought together and placed into a comprehensible and accurate time-line. Both German and British official histories and personal accounts have been pieced together providing an astonishing level of corroboration. Accompanying the written history is extensive mapping and an unprecedented quantity of photographs, from multiple sources, which add definition and visual verification. This book lays to rest the myths built up around the battle.
Daniel Taylor is well known for his encyclopedic knowledge of the two day battle fought at Villers Bocage between the Tiger tanks of SS Panzer Abteilung 101, under the command of Obersturmfuhrer Michael Wittmann, and men of the 4th County of London Yeomanry, the Sharpshooters as they were known, in their superficially inferior Cromwell and Sherman Firefly tanks, and the 1st Bn Rifle Brigade and 5 RHA who supported them. This is a most welcome and long awaited addition to the After the Battle series and follows their long established and popular format where a very clear narrative is magnificently illustrated by contemporary and recent, then and now, photographs and superb maps and plans. Daniel Taylor has earned an international reputation as the “go to” tour guide for Operation Perch and the Normandy Campaign and his hugely revised After the Battle title is an absolutely gripping and balanced account of the battle. The author’s description which covers every detail of the fighting; street by street, bush by bush and tank by tank, and the topography, the weapons and equipment, tactics and key personalities of each side is, to say the least, a model of clarity. His analysis which follows his compelling account is outstanding and dispels many of the myths which have grown up around, in particular, Michael Wittman. This is a must have for anyone with an interest in the battle of Villers Bocage or in the wider Normandy campaign or in the units and personalities involved. The lessons which emerge have resonance today for modern war fighting in built up areas.Military Historical Society
Review as featured inModel Military International
Highlight: 'Well worth having if you are interested in the Normandy or WWII campaigns and highly recommended!'
“If you're looking for a tactical WWII battle in a French village, this provides a top-rate resource.”The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society
Review as featured inAfter Action Report Newsletter, August 2023
Review as featured inGun Mart Magazine
Highlight: 'Terrific history and a must-read in understanding armoured warfare during the Normandy campaign.'
I can't imagine this new book will ever be bettered, so one I highly recommend, and among my top new books of this year.Military Model Scene
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Highlight: Well worth having if you are interested in the Normandy or WW2 campaigns and highly recommended!
Read the full review at: http://www.missing-lynx.com/reviews/britain/villersbocagebookreviewpb_1.html
Review as featured inPeter Brown, Military Modelcraft International
Highlight: 'Books like this mean someone spending a lot of time, effort and money, then putting it all together so others can share their knowledge. The result is well worth having if you are interested in the Normandy campaign or armoured warfare during World War II and highly recommended!'
This brilliant book is surely the definitive account of the Battle of Villers Bocage and Operation Perch. The author's decades of research shine through in the sheer attention to detail and determination to uncover the truth. There are a staggering number of photographs, maps and diagrams that allowed me as the reader to thoroughly understand this famous battle blow-by-blow. This is a really high-quality production by Pen & Sword and the book is a very attractive, glossy volume. The author's conclusions present the battle in a new light compared to many accounts and it is hoped that this book will finally turn the tide of misrepresentation and myth that surrounds Villers Bocage. I cannot recommend Taylor's book highly enough to anyone interested in the Normandy campaign and armoured warfare in WW2.Alexander Clifford