The Jedburghs: The Secret History of the Allied Special Forces, France 1944

Will Irwin, Author PublicAffairs $26.95 (323p) ISBN 978-1-58648-307-4
Filling a significant gap in World War II scholarship, Irwin, a former U.S. Special Forces colonel, tells the story of the pioneering special forces units known as the Jedburghs-three-man teams comprised of American, British and French soldiers dropped deep into enemy-controlled territory, where they armed and trained local resistance fighters in support of the Allied invasion of Normandy and the subsequent liberation of France. Holed up in rural France, the resistance often consisted of loose factions of teenagers with no military training that were especially vulnerable to spies and infiltrators. Despite the risks associated with Jedburgh operations, many Jed teams thrived under these extraordinary circumstances. ""By the end of June,"" writes Irwin, ""the resistance, aided by the Jedburghs had made nearly five hundred more railway cuts, ambushed untold numbers of German convoys, and rendered the enemy's telecommunications almost completely ineffective."" Furthermore, the author notes, ""The most important task assigned to the resistance was that of disrupting the movement of German reinforcements to the Normandy beachhead...And this they did remarkably well, delaying many divisions and completely stopping others."" The narrative occasionally veers off course in an attempt to fit in extraneous details-the inevitable product of a tireless research effort-but Irwin's detailed retelling of these early covert operations and his ability to place these relatively small operations in the context of the Allied campaign will please military history readers.
Reviewed on: 09/01/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
MP3 CD - 978-1-4001-5183-7
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