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Villers-Bocage (Hardback)

Operation 'Perch': The Complete Account

Colour Books Military > After the Battle P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century Photographic Books WWII > German Forces & Weaponry

By Daniel Taylor
Imprint: After the Battle
Pages: 160
ISBN: 9781399048736
Published: 10th May 2023



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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's Villers-Bocage is a 'must read" account of Operation Perch' together with 145 pages packed with photographs. He recounts individual skirmish's, tank hunting and facing the awesome Tiger tank.
The book is a page turner, giving its description of the 'firefights' and a useful gazette of German and British Vehicles.

Richard Gough - Historian, writer, author of the Escape from Singapore, The jungle was Red, Outpost of the Empire, SOE Singapore 1941-42. Waiting publication Tony Poe, CIA Paramilitary in SE Asia.

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 in

Highlight: 'Well worth having if you are interested in the Normandy or WWII campaigns and highly recommended!'

Model Military International

“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 in

After Action Report Newsletter, August 2023

Review as featured in

Highlight: 'Terrific history and a must-read in understanding armoured warfare during the Normandy campaign.'

Gun Mart Magazine

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.

Read the Full Review Here

Military Model Scene

Book review

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 in

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!'

Peter Brown, Military Modelcraft International

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
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