HISTORY

Churchill’s Shadow Raiders: The Race to Develop Radar, World War II’s Invisible Secret Weapon

Citadel. Apr. 2020. 416p. ISBN 9780806540634. $27. HIST
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Operation Biting was a raid on a German radar installation in Bruneval, Normandy, in February 1942. With the odds against them, British parachutists, assisted by a few scientists, were sent in secret to steal what appeared to be a new form of radar technology. But the tale actually starts a year earlier, with Operation Colossus, the first airborne operation undertaken by the British. Its objective was to destroy a viaduct supplying water to towns and ports in southern Italy. Colossus was prematurely deemed a failure and its soldiers abandoned to capture by Italian forces. Historian Lewis (The Ministry for Ungentlemanly Warfare) maintains that the failure of Colossus set the script for discussions in Winston Churchill’s cabinet about the effectiveness, even possibility, of further airborne missions. From their examination of Bruneval, scientists learned secrets that allowed for later bombing expeditions in Germany and even the D-Day landings.
VERDICT Lewis presents a richly detailed and nail-biting tale. For readers who enjoy well-told history and scholars of World War II.

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