Ian Fleming’s Commandos: The Story of the Legendary 30 Assault Unit
Nicholas Rankin. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. 416 pp. Illus. Maps. Source notes. Index. $29.95.
Reviewed by Colonel Jonathan M. House, U.S. Army (Retired)
After the British Army withdrew from the continent at Dunkirk in 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s government sponsored a variety of special-operations units. Most of these organizations appeared to be very amateurish, in the best tradition of British eccentricity and improvisation. Frequently their only purpose was to make trouble, raiding the continent in a manner that would raise British morale and force the Germans to devote more resources to coastal defense. In turn, the British commando units helped inspire President Franklin Roosevelt to sponsor the Rangers in the U.S. Army and the Raiders in the Marine Corps.