DESERT WAR by Russell Hill


Email this review


Correspondent of the Herald Tribune has brought together his material on the Libyan campaign of 1941 -- and over the turn of the year into 1942. Today it reads as a twice or thrice told tale, yes, even down to the reasons for German superiority. Was nothing learned? It is disheartening to know that last year the German anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns were the 88-millimeter variety, with longer range than the British (and American) guns, and therefore outshooting us. That the failure to win a complete victory was due not wholly to inferior armament, but ""to greater resourcefulness, ingenuity and ability to organize and plan on the part of the German command"". ""Perhaps"", says Hill, ""it will be done better next time"". Enlightening as a vivid picture of desert fighting, a sprawly affair at best; and as a revealing aspect of interrelation -- or lack of it -- between the fighting arms. The aims of the campaign and its importance, and the conclusion that was inconclusive are fairly appraised. A book which does not date, in that the elements are still there. Much of it is important for better understanding, and throughout it is enlivened with human interest bits, anecdotes and pen portraits of men whose names recur in communiques, and glimpses of places we have all come to recognise today.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1942
Publisher: Knopf