'This was a secret war whose battles were lost or won unknown to the public.... No such warfare had ever been waged by mortal men.' (Winston Churchill)
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, a country house called The Firs in Buckinghamshire was requisitioned by the War Office. Sentries were posted at the entrance gates, and barbed wire was strung around the perimeter fence. To local villagers it looked like a prison camp. But the truth was far more sinister. This rambling Edwardian mansion had become home to an eccentric band of scientists, inventors and bluestockings. Their task was to build devastating new weaponry that could be used against the Nazis.
Led by the gung-ho Millis Jefferis, the men and women who worked at Churchill's Toyshop, as it became known, devised many of the key weapons of the Second World War. Their prototype limpet mine made possible the Cockleshell Raid on Bordeaux Harbour. Churchill said that this one raid alone shortened the war by six months. Next they pioneered the water bomb that closed the Rhine to German shipping.
Although the team at Churchill's Toyshop proved extraordinarily adept, they were not working alone. Other country houses were also requisitioned and handed over to the specialists. Some focused on developing new weapons; some planned sabotage missions in occupied Europe; some became training schools for agents. But all were working towards a common goal: the destruction of the Nazi war machine. Collectively they were known as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare.
©2016 Giles Milton (P)2016 John Murray Press
I never tire of hearing tales of sacrifice and commitment made by those in WWII that allow us the freedom to lead the lives we lead today. These tales are made all the more fascinating when you learn of how those selfless acts of bravery were supported by a small army of crackpots and geniuses who dared stand by their convictions and in the face of conventional thinking.
This book covers the people and the operations undertaken in perfect detail. The narration is well suited and the book an easy listen. One of the best audible books I've bought.
Takes a short while to get going but it takes hold and becomes gripping to the end. I knew so many of the stories contained within but never knew how they were linked to so few people. Story superbly written and fabulously narrated. A top notch purchase.
It brings to life the courage and ingenuity of this small band of men and women who made such a large contribution to the victory of the skies in the second world war.
It's sad that there has been such small credit given to them and I wonder if without them the course of the war might have had a different outcome.
I would recommend this title to anyone interested in world history on war.
The story line was thrilling on how a secret part on the British Army decided this was the time to fight really dirty with underhand ungentle entry method in warfare which proved with great credit how lethal dirty tactics helped destroy Germany's Nazi's.
I found the title thrilling from start to finish.
"Needs Must Chaps"
This title is well worth the read enthralling and many of us will not know the real truths which happened behind the scenes in Wartime. Read and you will find out.
Facinating insight into the birth of the SOE, Comandos and, ultimately, the CIA. Such brave men backed up by the best of British engineering.
Breathtaking gripping shocking
The description of the destruction of the hard water plant in Norway
A fabulous book which gives an insight into the true background boys of the Second World War
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