Email this review


Hitler gets the bright idea of sending three tanks on an invasion of Britain--in a thinly charactered but lively WW II action-fantasy. It's the time of the English retreat to the channel just before the great Dunkirk evacuation, and this is the perfect moment for Hitler to carry out his plan: he has three SS tank crews outfitted with three captured British tanks, which have been perfectly restored and brought to tiptop condition, all loaded onto a Dutch freighter with British flag and sent across the channel as part of the evacuation. The tank crews (all Germans with a deep knowledge of English language and manners) are disguised as British soldiers, and as the freighter crosses the channel, it is protected by a group of U-boats. The tank trio's mission: to attack the Vickers-Submarine Spitfire factory at Southampton, a blow which Hitler thinks will be decisive in bringing about the British surrender. However, one of the tank crews is led by opportunistic, lethal Willi Siegler, who assumes full control when his officer is killed; and Willi decides on his own to capture the full glory of the Fuehrer's praise by leading his tank against the vital airfield at Eastleigh. But the Germans are leaving a trail of corpses over the English countryside; the Army is alerted and does its best to ambush the invasion. One tank is blown up on a railroad flatcar, another is shot to smithereens by a destroyer's guns at Southampton, and Willi finds his own tank landing on some mines planted before its arrival at the airport. Still alive, he tries to escape by yacht with hostages aboard. . . . Short on emotional involvement, heavy on stereotypes--but imaginative, well-crafted hypothetical action for those partial to military what-ifs.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1980
Publisher: Stein & Day