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Alexander of Tunis, as Military Commander, by W.G.F. Jackson

Discussion in 'ETO, MTO and the Eastern Front' started by ColHessler, May 25, 2020.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Length, 344 pages, including bibliography and index

    Mr. Jackson gives us a life story of Field Marshal Sir Harold Alexander from his WWI experience to the end of the WWII Mediterranean Campaign. We start off with "Alex" joining the Irish Guards Regiment in 1911 and going into the Great War with the BEF in Flanders. The young lieutenant learns from the retreat at Mons, the Battle of Loos, and other great engagements what works and what doesn't, and also impresses his men and superiors with the calmness under pressure that would be his hallmark.

    We go from there to Latvia in 1919, where he commands a German Free Corps unit in holding off the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War, helping Latvia gain independence. This is followed by service in India on the Northwest Frontier in dealing with hostile tribes.

    With the outbreak of WWII. Alexander commands the British 1st Division, and the Dunkirk rearguard, where his supernatural calmness keeps everyone from losing their heads and help the evacuation go relatively smoothly. This calmness also serves him well in the Burma retreat against the Japanese, and gives him his first touch with the Americans in the form of Vinegar Joe Stillwell.

    Next, we have the Egyptian Theater and his command of Montgomery, culminating in the Tunisia campaign, and Alexander's use of the "one-two punch" strategy he would use again in Italy.

    We finish up with the well-known campaign in Sicily and Italy, where he puts devotion to duty above all else, and does his job keeping the Germans busy there.

    Jackson has several good photos of the field marshal and those he worked with, both British and American, as well as sketch maps of the various engagements in which he served. An American reader might think Jackson, who served under his fellow Briton, might be praising him too much, but he does give criticism of Alex's shortcomings, such as not being forceful in giving orders.

    All in all, this is a good insight into one of the perhaps not so well known leaders on the Allied side.
  2. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2013
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    .. WW2 Burma, NAfrica, then Italy,etc....that sort of tells you the immensity of WW2 ....5.5 years doesn't seem '''long''' for the greatest ''event'' in human history

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