Those of us who grew up watching The Rat Patrol harbor a latent interest in desert warfare of World War Two. While The Rat Patrol was entertaining TV, it also took some historical liberties. The series was loosely based on the British Army’s Long Range Desert Group, an elite unit that used Chevrolet trucks (shown above) more often than jeeps to conduct raids and reconnaissance patrols behind the lines of the German Africa Corps.
If you share my interest in this topic and are looking for a quick summer read, check out Killing Rommel, a novel by Steven Pressfield, the author of numerous works of historical fiction, some of which are required reading in today’s US military. Killing Rommel follows a young British Army lieutenant who is originally assigned to a tank unit but who is then detached to the LRDG and embarks on a series of dangerous missions across the desert. While the story is enjoyable fiction, Pressfield’s detailed description of the tactics, equipment and logistics of both armored units and mounted reconnaissance units in the North African Campaign of World War Two make this a valuable and very interesting book.