There is something very exciting about seeing your book 'in the flesh' for the first time.
It is of course an old friend, affection being rekindled by the distance from periods of agony in its creation! I had of course seen the pdf file sent off to the printers. I had seen all the photographs. The total result though was so much better: the clarity of the images especially.
Thank you, History Press for a job well done.
There was one small glitch which has been bothering me. In the 'blurb' on the back page a couple of words have been omitted. I wrote, 'through the near disaster of the BEF, Desert War and Italian invasion, to preparations for D-Day and war in the Far East.'
The words 'the BEF' are missing from the back cover and so it reads, 'from the near disaster of the Desert War and Italian invasion...'
It made me wonder whether, from a supply point of view, the Desert War and invasion of Italy were near disasters.
Neither was perfect. The start of the desert war demonstrated all too clearly the challenges of supplying a mechanised army. The invasion of Italy showed up the drawbacks of having the place of command far removed from the action.
I don't think they were disasters.
The BEF could have been a total disaster, had it not been for Dunkirk. Yet, from a supply point of view, the vast amounts of equipment left behind certainly represented a near disaster.
Having said all this, it is all too easy to be wise after the event.
What was happening in WW2 was all a learning process. It had never been tried before. Had there not been failures, you could argue that those concerned weren't trying hard enough.
The final result though is for me the proof of the pudding as Max Hastings puts it in Overlord:
‘To almost every man of the Allied Armies, the predominant memory of the campaign, beyond the horror of battle, was the astounding efficiency of the supply services.’