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No Better Place to Die by Robert M. Murphy

Kandu

FGM Sergeant
FGM MEMBER
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
195
Age
70
Location
London Ontario Canada
For my purposes as a CMBN scenario creator, this was a great acquisition via Kindle. This small to medium sized, easy to read account of the 505 PIR,s capture and defence of La Fiere bridge during WWII is both detailed and confusing. The amount of detail provided by the amalgamation of first hand accounts is its strongest point for scenario creators or readers who love the moment by moment accounts of WWII battles. However, the fact that it is an amalgamation is also its weakest point, for two reasons. The first is the expected, natural contradictions within the account caused by participants in the battle experiencing events from different locations at different times. But there is also a matter of poor editing resulting in repetition of events separated by only a few paragraphs or pages. Being an old grognard myself, I have certainly noticed that there has been a decline in editing, grammar and vocabulary in literature these days. I blame this on cost-cutting, decline in English language education and overly much reliance on computer spell-checkers. With that gripe out of the way, I really enjoyed the book and highly recommend it. To sort out the details and contradictions, and separate the actions of the 505, 507 and 508 PIR troopers, I found it helpful to highlight portions of the text with the Kindle provided highlighters. One must be prepared to do some puzzling to understand the events. Sometimes hours of time separate one paragraph from the next without the author noting the fact. At other times a paragraph or page will have jumped back a few hours without informing the reader. Again - an editing issue. I am also 'almost' convinced that in one or two instances, the text confuses East and West or North and South as units who are approaching from one direction on one page are suddenly found approaching from the opposite on another page. Puzzles, unresolved questions and contradictions aside, it's still a great source of information. And isn't that the way it is in war? Confusion? Rated 4 out of 5.
 
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Guardsman

FGM Colour Sergeant
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Dec 18, 2020
Messages
206
Age
54
Location
kent, UK
you must have become quite a battlefield expert on this action now Kandu. I had a similar intensity of interest a few years ago about the British & commonwealth airborne drops in Normandy for the bridges, reading every book and account i could get my hands on, i found it fascinating and absorbing. I think its the underlying 'backs against the wall' of being heavily outnumbered and outgunned yet trying to achieve great gains with small measures, as i have a similar fascination with Arnhem and Nijmegen. Keep up the great work and reviews!
 

Kandu

FGM Sergeant
FGM MEMBER
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
195
Age
70
Location
London Ontario Canada
Thank you for the kind words Guardsman, but I'm hardly an 'expert'. To rise to that level I would have to have access to primary sources but all I am working with are at best secondary and a whole lot of less reliable web-based summaries by other persons.
 

Kandu

FGM Sergeant
FGM MEMBER
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
195
Age
70
Location
London Ontario Canada
I should have mentioned an important point. "No Better Place to Die" was written by a trooper of the 3rd Platoon, 'A' Company, 505 PIR, 82nd Airborne, who fought in the front line to the left of the la Fiere bridge during the two German counter-attacks. In other words, one of the few first-person accounts. However, he does integrate other sources into his report and that is what causes the confusion.
 
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