One thought on “18 Platoon”

  1. There is something about the onset of December that always gets me thinking about the 1944 winter offensive into Germany - it's an odd mental connection but there it is. The weather is bleak - but at least you're not being shot at in cold wet slit trenches in the Ardennes; a dubious privilege my grandfather's generation enjoyed. Sydney Jary was a platoon commander in 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry and this is his brief account of his wartime experiences from Normandy to Bremen. I believe [...]

  2. Reading 18 Platoon, it is hard to keep in mind that its narrator was only 20 years old when dropped into Normandy in 1944. The older Jary, looking back on his experience forty years later, is a much wiser and more reflective figure, but it's still remarkable to watch such a young man, largely untrained and – by his own admission – rather hopeless at school, suddenly placed in command of a platoon of strangers, and quietly informed that his life expectancy stands at roughly three weeks. It is [...]

  3. Part history, part memoir, part opinion-piece, 18-Platoon is a relatively quick read that takes you through one subaltern's journey from being assigned to command a platoon of British infantry in Normandy (replacing it's previous leader after a vicious battle in which he was wounded) to the end of the war in Europe. His brash methods and thinking clash at first with those of his superiors, but under the guidance of his senior NCO's he becomes a trusted and effective platoon leader. That is part [...]

  4. This is quite a good book dealing well with the small-scale everyday action of war rather than the corps/army-group level of most WW2 histories. That said the author does come across as rather arrogant and forthright in his opinions. It is a good study in leadership for sub-unit commanders and NCOs, about keeping your head and making sensible decisions within the context of mission-command. I'm glad I read this which has been on my wishlist for a while but is quite hard to find. I can understand [...]

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