Men of the Red Beret; Airborne Forces 1940 -1990

New York, NY: Warner Books, 1992. Presumed First U. S. Paperback Edition. Trade paperback. xxiv, 632 pages. Includes Epigraph, Foreword, Preface, List of Illustrations (including 22 black and white maps, as well as 19 black and white photographs between pages 328 and 329), A brief History of British Airborne Forces, and Index. Minor cover wear. Some page discoloration noted. Max Arthur OBE (25 February 1939 – 2 May 2019) was a military historian, author and actor who specialized in firsthand recollections of the twentieth century. In particular his works focussed on the First and Second World War. In the earlier years of his life, Arthur was an actor appearing in a number of roles on television. Most notably as Zuko in the Doctor Who episode Planet of Fire. He also appeared in the film Bloodbrothers (1978 film) and the television series Grange Hill. Later in his life he changed direction and became a historian. As a historian his scholarship focussed in drawing together testimony from soldiers of their experiences during wartime. His most noted works were Forgotten Voices of the Great War (2002) and Forgotten Voices of the Second World War (2004) both in association with the Imperial War Museum. He also presented two television documentaries: The Brits Who Fought For Spain (2008-9), for The History Channel UK and 'Dambusters' for Optimum Releasing. Arthur was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to military history. Men of the Red Beret has been written to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Airborne Forces and is the result of extensive interviews with the men who served during this period. The major operations since 1940 are recalled in their own words and provide a unique record of Airborne Forces in action. The author also included accounts of those who were closely involved with the Airborne Forces, including the RAF, the WAAF parachute packers, the RANYs and Kate ter Horst who, along with so many of the Dutch, sacrificed so much for those who fought a Arnhem. They are all an integral part of the Airborne family and rightly have their place in this very fine book.

The Parachute Regiment, colloquially known as the Paras, is an airborne infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment is one of the most elite units in the world. The first battalion is part of the Special Forces Support Group under the operational command of the Director Special Forces. The other battalions are the parachute infantry component of the British Army's rapid response formation, 16 Air Assault Brigade. The Paras are the only line infantry regiment of the British Army that has not been amalgamated with another unit since the end of the Second World War.

The Parachute Regiment was formed on 22 June 1940 during the Second World War and eventually raised 17 battalions. In Europe, these battalions formed part of the 1st Airborne Division, the 6th Airborne Division and the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade Group. Another three battalions served with the British Indian Army in India and Burma. The regiment took part in six major parachute assault operations in North Africa, Italy, Greece, France, the Netherlands and Germany, often landing ahead of all other troops.

At the end of the Second World War, the regiment was reduced to three regular army battalions first assigned to the 16th Parachute Brigade and later the 5th Airborne Brigade. The reserve 16th Airborne Division was formed using the regiment reserve battalions in the Territorial Army. Defence cuts gradually reduced the TA formations to a parachute brigade and then a single reserve battalion. In the same time period, the regular army battalions have taken part in operations in Suez, Cyprus, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Kosovo War, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan, at times being reinforced by men from the reserve battalion.

One example of the Para performance was in The Falklands War. On 2 April 1982, the Falklands War began when Argentine forces began the invasion of the British Overseas Territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announced on 3 April that a naval task force was being sent to the South Atlantic to "restore British administration to the Falkland Islands". On 20 April, the British war cabinet ordered the repossession of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The force dispatched to carry this out was based on the 3 Commando Brigade, reinforced by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, Parachute Regiment. At 04:40 21 May, the 2nd Battalion was the first major unit to land in the Falklands, just south of San Carlos on the eastern side of San Carlos Water. They immediately moved south to the Sussex Mountains to cover the landings. By daylight, all troops had landed with little opposition. The first battle in the campaign was the Battle of Goose Green, undertaken by the 2nd Battalion on 28 May. After a day long battle the Argentine commanders, agreed to surrender at 09:30 29 May. The battle had cost the battalion 15 dead and 37 wounded. The Argentinians had lost 55 dead, about 100 wounded and 1,500 were taken prisoner. Lieutenant-Colonel H. Jones was later awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Over the night 11/12 June, the 3rd Battalion fought the Battle of Mount Longdon. Longdon is a prominent feature to the north-west of the island's capital, Port Stanley, which dominates the surrounding area. During the battle Sergeant Ian McKay, was killed in a single handed attack on a machine gun position. For his actions, he was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, the second of only two such awards during the war. Other members of the battalion received a DSO, two DCMs.

The last battle of the war was the Battle of Wireless Ridge by the 2nd Battalion. The ridge was taken with minimal casualties and an Argentinian counter-attack defeated. The Argentines now had their backs to the sea, and only the capital, Stanley, remained to be liberated. Later that day, 14 June 1982, General Menéndez surrendered all Argentinian forces. The cost to the two battalions was 40 dead and 93 wounded, the highest death toll of any British regiment on land in that conflict.
Condition: Good.

Keywords: Airborne Forces, RAF, WWAF, RANYs, Kate ter Horst, Arnhem. Paras, British Parachute Regiment, Special Forces, Tragino, Bruneval, Sangshak, Normandy, D-Day, Arnhem, Ardennes, Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus, Suex, Radfan, Falklands, Northern Ireland, Aden

ISBN: 0747411948

[Book #79658]

Price: $25.00

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