From the author of D-Day: “an amazing tale of how the world’s very first special force was created specifically for North Africa during WWII” (Books Monthly).
The origins of most of the West’s Special Forces can be traced back to the Long Range Desert Group, which operated across the limitless expanses of the Libyan Desert, an area the size of India, during the whole of the Desert War from 1940 to 1943. After the defeat of the Axis in North Africa, they adapted to serve in the Mediterranean, the Greek islands, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Greece. In the process, they became the stuff of legend.
The brainchild of Ralph Bagnold, a prewar desert explorer featured in fictional terms in The English Patient, the LRDG used specially adapted vehicles and recruited only men of the right temperament and high levels of fitness and endurance. Their work was often dangerous, always taxing, exhausting, and uncomfortable. They were a new breed of soldier, and the Axis never managed to field a similar unit.
Once the desert war was won, they transferred their skills to the Mediterranean sector, retraining as mountain guerrillas, serving in the ill-fated Dodecanese campaign, then in strife-torn Albania, Yugoslavia, and Greece, fighting alongside the mercurial partisans. In addition, the LRDG worked alongside the fledgling SAS and established, beyond all doubt, the value of highly trained Special Forces, a legacy which resonates today.
“Genuinely gripping, a tale of eccentrics and their high adventures during very dangerous times.” —Classic Military Vehicle