Today I will be reviewing two books that deal with “Behind-the-Lines” Operations during World War Two. I have been doing quite a bit of research lately on the OSS and SOE Operations throughout the War, and both of these book are rich with material.
It is amazing to me that even after 60+ years after World War Two, we are still finding out about missions undertook by Military Special Operations, including the first ever paratroopers and the OSS and SOE. A Critical Survey of Special Operations in World War II by Michael F. Dilley, Casemate Publishing, 280pp dives into 20+ missions undertook at different stages of the war .Military historians will find this book very similar to Vice Admirals William H. McRavens outstanding book Spec-Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare; Theory and Practice.
I got this book fully expecting it to be more of a historical “survey” type WW2 book, but was pleasantly surprised to find it written in a very catchy narrative. Operation Jedburgh: D-Day and America’s First Shadow War, By Colin Beavan, Viking Adult Publishing, 432pp, follows several brave young men as they are selected, trained and deployed by the fledgling OSS as the “Tip of the Spear” in one of the most famous “behind-the-lines” operations of the war: Operation Jedburgh. One of the reasons this book is better than most on the subject is the author’s Grandfather, Gerry Miller, was an OSS “Plank Owner” (One of the founding members) who later went on to serve with distinction in the CIA. Consequently, the author had access to personal notes, diaries and and memoirs of his Grandfather’s time in the OSS.