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Catch That Tiger: Churchill's Secret Order…
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Catch That Tiger: Churchill's Secret Order That Launched the Most…

by Noel Botham

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An interesting story but rather far-fetched in places, a cynic might call it fiction. Although purporting to be a non-fictional historical piece, the writing is very much fictional in style and includes elements that cannot possibly be known to the authors such as conversations between well-known historical figures such as Churchill and Hitler. There is also rather too much focus on sex for a book about tanks; and some dealings with a beautiful female spy which is very James Bond - in fact Ian Fleming appears towards the end of the book and it is even intimated that the hero is a basis for James Bond.

The long accepted story is that Tiger 131 was captured after being disabled and abandoned by its crew, and it is hard to believe that this tale of shoot-outs and spies is the true story that has been hidden for 70 years.

All-in-all, this is an interesting account of the capture of an iconic tank but, frankly, I believe at least some of the story is made up. The true story is probably so dull that it would not make an exciting read, even so, it feels like the authors are stretching their material to turn an article into a book.

The lack of any references or details of the so-called historical material reinforces this. Read with a large pinch of salt.

Edit- I have just found out that the Tank Museum, custodians of Tiger 131, reject this account as inaccurate so it seems my suspicions upon reading were correct. ( )
  simon_carr | Jan 28, 2017 |
In one of the lesser known acts of bravery in WWII, this book retells the story of a humble officer and a few hand selected non-comms who were given one simple order, directly from Churchill himself; “Go catch me a Tiger!”

The Tiger tank was the ultimate in tracked terror, an almost perfect combination of destruction and refinement, the largest tank of the North African campaign. Dwarfing anything that Germany, England, or America had in stock, the Tiger housed an 88mm within a 60-tonne shell capable of demolishing Allied armour accurately from 2 miles, while seemingly not having a single flaw. So steps up Major Doug Lidderdale.

When Churchill demanded that an intact Tiger be captured and brought back to England for analysis one would expect a crack team of elite commandos, the envy of every soldier and hero of book-reading youth, but no, Dog and his selected men were just mere tank repairers, which as this book reveals, was a heroic bloody mob in itself as they raced into battlefields with tractors to two back damaged tanks under shell fire.

The book is a mix of fact derived from letters and official documents, including Lidderdale’s own diary, but at times it feels a little fictional as conversations take place between some of the role players. All in all, it is an amazing story as young men risk life and limb to hijack a weapon that had no obvious predators, fiercely protected by the Nazis, and not only get it back to Allied lines, hide it from their own side and try to smuggle it back to Old Blighty.

With scenes of deception and cloak and dagger stuff, it reads at times like a James Bond novel, so it came as no surprise when Ian Fleming himself popped up in a starring role! In a case where any attempt to hide the ending, the Tiger obviously is captured, and shipped to England (with no real sense of urgency, I noted) amongst spies, repeated sub attacks and internal command break downs. ( )
  scuzzy | Jun 16, 2013 |
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Unleashed by Hitler in 1942, the German Tiger tank was by far the most powerful tank ever built at the time--the 60-ton monster could destroy any Allied tank from more than a mile away. Desperate to discover the secret technology used in its manufacture, Winston Churchill chose a brilliant young army engineer, Major Doug Lidderdale, as his special agent. In a late-night briefing in the subterranean war rooms under Whitehall he ordered him "Go catch me a tiger." Doug did not hesitate, and by February 1943 was facing Rommel's desert army.… (more)

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