Book Review: Escaut 1940

I have reviewed one of Jerry Murland’s 1940 books here previously, and it is good to see that he is writing some more on the often neglected 1940 campaign in France and Flanders. This latest title from Pen & Sword books is in the Battleground Europe series of battlefield guidebooks and looks at the fighting on…

Book Review – Retreat & Rearguard: Dunkirk 1940

Retreat & Rearguard: Dunkirk 1940 by Jerry Murland (Pen & Sword 2016, ISBN 978 1 47382 366 2, 257pp, hardback, illustrated, £25.00) Compared to battlefield sites like Arnhem, Bastogne or Normandy, the fields of battle in Belgium and France where the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fought in May-June 1940 are rarely visited, except perhaps Dunkirk…

Maginot Line: Villy la Ferte

The Maginot Line was a huge screen wall developed in the 1930s to protect France from future German invasion. While many believe it was military technology that failed and the Germans simply went round it, few realise that in several locations the German Army attempted to breach it during the Blitzkrieg in May 1940 and…

Escoublac-la-Baule War Cemetery

I visited this cemetery as part of a recent recce trip to Saint Nazaire as this is where the Commandos who died in Operation Chariot are buried. It is located near to the Escoublac airfield in what is now the middle of a housing estate, but as with all Commonwealth war cemeteries it is a…

Book Review: Osprey Combat – France 1940

Osprey Combat 14: German Infantryman versus British Infantryman France 1940 By David Greenacre (Osprey 2015, ISBN 9781472812407, 80pp, illustrated, softback, £11.99) Until this title appeared in Osprey’s Twitter feed, I had no come across the Combat series before. They are a new one looking at different armies facing each other on a particular battlefield. This example…

WW2 Book Review: Colditz – The Full Story

The Colditz Story by Major P.R.Reid (Folio Society 2015, 408pp, illustrated, £39.95) Growing up in 1970s anyone of my generation enjoyed a childhood obsessed with the Second World War: it was in our comics, on our bubblegum cards, in our toys and on our TV screens. One name rises above them all in this respect,…

Eyewitness Museum, Beek

Eyewitness WO2 is a new privately owned museum, which has only been open since 2013. I came across it while researching a new battlefield tour for Leger Holidays and this week had the chance to pay it a visit. It proved to be quite an experience! The museum is located in a large former private…

Fort d’Aubin-Neufchâteau: Bunker Busting Test Site

  While the existence of the Maginot Line in France is well known, but the French were not the only ones to defend their border line with forts. In Belgium a series of forts dated back to the nineteenth century and had been fought over in WW1. In the 1930s the defences were updated and…

Maginot Line: A2 Fermont 1940

The Maginot Line was a defensive structure built along the French border in the 1930s named after the Minister of War, Andre Maginot. In Eastern France there were a number of systems and the A2 Ouvrage Fermont was built from 1931. This was a major section of the Maginot Line and Fermont consisted of two entrance…

Luttange: The First British Army Casualty of WW2

The small village of Luttange in Eastern France, is well off the tourist trail. War swept across it three times in less than a century and at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 the area was protected by a section of the main Maginot Line. British troops came to Luttange during…

BEF Memorial, Risquons-Tout

When the German Blitzkrieg was unleashed on Western Europe in May 1940 the British Expeditionary Force crossed from France into Belgium and attempted to defend the River Dyle. Thrown back, units were split up and often many miles apart – cohesion was a great problem as many individual battles were fought, often in now forgotten…

British Bunkers, Gort Line

The ‘Gort Line‘ was a series of concrete bunkers built by the British Army during the Phoney War period in France during the winter of 1939/40. At this time the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) under their commander Lord Gort VC were preparing for a re-run of the Great War and static positions like these were…