Self is just a little over halfway through Antony Beevor’s Arnhem: The Battle for the Bulges, 1944 (p. 214 of 380 pp) She’s enjoying the book, but is distressed that she can’t just hurry it along. Beevor displays tremendous control over his material: his pace is pretty relentless. For the last who knows how many chapters, it’s been one engrossing detail after another. Here are some things self knows for sure, just as a detached observer:
- Never try a tank attack when there is only road to the objective and the tanks have to go in a long, long, looooong line (which can be severed at any point)
- It is better not to attack over flat terrain (like Belgium and the Netherlands)
- It is better not to conduct retreats or river crossings in broad daylight, also while under aggressive enemy fire.
Chapter 17: Crossing the Waal, Wednesday 20 September
At one point Tyler saw a grey horse towing an anti-tank gun on its own toward the railway bridge. The crew must have been killed. He gave the order to fire at it. And one of the tank gunners, a former groom who loved horses, managed to hit the weapon with a solid, armour-piercing round, destroying it utterly without harming the grey. The range was almost a kilometre. The horse walked on ‘as unconcerned as if he had been out making the morning milk deliveries.’
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.