The renowned historian and author of Normandy ’44 recounts the operations and personal experiences of the legendary Sherwood Rangers during WWII.
One of the last cavalry units to ride horses into battle, the Sherwood Rangers were transformed into a “mechanized cavalry” of tanks in 1942. After winning acclaim in the North African campaign, they spearheaded one of the D-Day landings in Normandy and became the first British troops to cross into Germany. Their courage, skill and tenacity contributed mightily to the surrender of Germany in 1945.
Inspired by Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers, historian James Holland profiles this extraordinary group of citizen soldiers. Informed by never-before-seen documents, letters, photographs, and other artifacts from Sherwood Rangers’ families, Holland offers a uniquely intimate portrait of the war at ground level.
Brothers in Arms introduces heroes such as Commanding Officer Stanley Christopherson, squadron commander John Semken, Sergeant George Dring, and others who helped their regiment earn the most battle honors of any in British army history. Weaving their exploits into the larger narrative of D-Day to V-E Day, Holland offers fresh analysis and perspective on the endgame of WWII in Europe.
The heroic exploits of the British Army's Sherwood Rangers tank unit over the last 11 months of WWII are richly documented in this sweeping chronicle from historian Holland (Sicily '43). After helping to secure victory in North Africa, the regiment, which up until 1941 had fought on horses, re-assembled and trained in England before taking part in the D-Day landings at Normandy. Weeks of "inch-by-inch, yard-by-yard" fighting ensued, as regimental officers struggled to coordinate with infantry, artillery, and air support, while crews quickly learned how to get out of a burning tank before being incinerated. Holland describes the unit's chaplain bringing bodies back from the front lines for burial, and commanding officer Stanley Christopherson's agony over the condolence letters he wrote to families. There are also lighter moments, such as when a trio of officers swilled champagne at the Hotel Ritz in recently liberated Paris. By the time the Rangers crossed the German border in November 1944, the regiment had suffered more than 300 casualties. In May 1945, they were battling the last diehard Nazis near Bremen when word came down that Germany had finally surrendered. Vivid eyewitness accounts, colorful character sketches, and lucid tactical discussions make this a must-read for military history buffs. Agent: Patrick Walsh, PEW Literary.