From Arromanches to the Elbe...


...Marcus Cunliffe and the 144th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps 1944-45, from Pen and Sword Books



Title: From Arromanches to the Elbe

Author: Charles More

Publisher: Pen & Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52675-291-8


For anyone interested in the history of the 1944/45 campaign in NW Europe this new book is well worth reading. The author used a variety of reference sources, but in particular the diary of Marcus Cunliffe, an officer of the unit who took part in the Regiments' journey from landing on Gold Beach on the 14th June 1944, through to the end of the war, by which time they had reached the River Elbe.

When they arrived in Normandy they didn't go straight into action. Then the unit played a part in Operation Pomegranate, one of the operations to support the better known attack of Operation Goodwood. Their role in this was to attack the village of Noyers-Bocage, and the account makes interesting reading. Following that they had a greater involvement in the successful Operation Totalize. In this I found Marcus Cunliffe's account of moving off in his Sherman and the navigation difficulties for them created by the large clouds of dust thrown up by the number of tanks taking part especially interesting to read.

The book goes on to tell their story during another phase of the Normandy fighting which is often glossed over, the advance to the Seine following the breakout. A time when German units did fight small delaying actions but did not have the time/opportunity to create any significant defensive lines. After this it goes on to Holland and the advance of 30 Corps to move toward Arnhem. As they moved towards Germany they went through a very significant change, as the regiment swapped their Sherman tanks for the LVT-4 Buffalo. This involved a period of training prior to their taking part in the Rhine crossing.

The book does include extracts from personal accounts other than Marcus Cunliffe, but they mesh together to tell about an interesting range of experiences involving members of the regiment as they experienced WW2 in NW Europe. A really good read.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.