Not quite my holiday reading, but I did finish this book by James Holland on the plane. The Odin Mission is part of his fictional WW2 series featuring Sargeant Jack Tanner.
I enjoyed the last book I read in the series, The Devil's Pact, set in the Sicily Campaign. This one goes back to the Norway campaign, one of my favourite early war campaigns.
Our hero is cut off from his battalion with a rifle squad in the Gudbrandsdal Valley. This was a predominantly British and Norwegian effort to slow the German advance into northern Norway. The units arrived with very little artillery or AA guns, and air cover was limited to a handful of Gladiator fighters. It became a gruelling fighting withdrawal, as the Luftwaffe pounded them from above and trained mountain troops often outflanked their positions.
Tanner's squad joins a squad of French mountain troops and a small contingent of the Norwegian Royal Guard. They are escorting a Norwegian scientist (Code name Odin who must be gotten out of Norway.) Tanner doesn't get on with the French officer and suspects a traitor amongst the Norwegian troops.
As this is fiction, I won't spoil the story. However, Holland does give the bigger picture, and you get cameos of the brigade and divisional decision-making, which sticks pretty closely to the history. However, this is all about squad-level tactics and the importance of experienced NCOs like Tanner. It's another cracking read, which I highly recommend.
|My 28mm early war 25pdr. The British had limited numbers of these in Norway.|