Montgomery's Rhine River Crossing...

 

...Operation Plunder, from Pen & Sword

 

Title: Montgomery's Rhine River Crossing

Author: Jon Diamond

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52673-173-9

 

Another from a batch of recent books in the Images of War series from Pen & Sword, and one which returns to the topic of WW2 in North West Europe. The content is spread over 5 chapters which follow the Introduction, and they cover the build-up of the campaign, starting at the Normandy Beaches, through to the eventual Rhine Crossing operations. Each one has an initial section of text, some with some very useful maps to give some context to the stories.

The first chapter sets out the Strategic Prelude to the Campaign and that is followed with consideration of Terrain, Fortifications and Weapons. Chapter 3 examines the Commanders & Combatants. Then we get to some to some of the early river crossing operations, with Clearing the Rhineland, and this is one of the chapters which has 2 helpful maps. This all leads into the final chapter which gets us to The Rhine River Crossings and Airborne Assaults. This is Operation Plunder, the 21st Army Group operations in the north and Operation Varsity, the airborne assault to the south of 21st Army Group.

The heart of the book, as an Images of War title, rests with the large number of well chosen archive photos that have been selected to illustrate each element of the campaign. One or two are quite well known, but the bulk of them were new to me. Interesting to the historian who studies the NW Europe campaign, as well as detail for the re-enactor and for the modeller. Plenty of pictures show the river crossing equipment, with Bailey Bridges, rafts, amphibious vehicles such as the Buffalo. Add all the AFVs, trucks of US bridging equipment and airborne forces and their gliders there is just so much to find in here. This book has jumped straight in as among my favourite books in the Images of War series.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin