his one was an old hardback from the shelves the cats selected for me by knocking it to the floor. Gave the dust a blow and thought, “Man, I haven’t read this in literal ages.” Yeah, it’s copyrighted 1980, so it’s as far from me today as it was from World War Two when it was written. Anyway, it was penned (probably, given the date) by Major Kenneth Macksey, MC (Retired), who spent twenty-seven years in tanks. So he knows his shit.
This one is an alternate history study, a look at what would have happened if the Germans, looking over the steaming ruin of Dunkirk, had decided that now was the time to invade England. Not in September before the storms came, not after safely grounding the RAF, but in July, 1940. Evidently there were arguments made then. So this book timelines a scenario where they do push off, mining the channel to either side of their route to Dover, then picking a night and setting sail.
Once the landings are made (along a narrow front), and with the Luftwaffe providing direct support and hammering airbases and radar stations (and not wandering off to bomb London), it’s pretty much all over for the English. Sure, they have an army, unsupported, immobile, unarmed. But they do their best, even as the Germans get armor across and start basing air units on advanced bases in England. After this, the English can’t compete, and the book follows the various battles where the Germans sweep around flanks and use their imported 88s on anything that gives them a ghost of a problem.
It was a very interesting read (and felt right, even with the Germans seemingly willing to risk everything on this throw of the dice). In a way, I was reminded of War of the Worlds, where you watch English life being out-maneuvered and gutted, the invader advancing on London.
What most impressed me was the end days, with the Royal family fleeing, of Churchill boarding his battleship to transition to an uncertain future in the Bahamas. And suddenly there is the world, the fascists in control of Europe, of no aid to Russia, the Italians running all over everything, Spain entering the fold. And in the midst of all this, lonely America, isolated behind its seas, cut off from the world.
So, yes, interesting and level-headed account of a world we could have ended up with should fascism win. Good read. Now I’ll put it on the shelf and maybe read it again in, say, forty years.