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The Salamander's Brood by Watty McEwan

The Salamander's Brood

by Watty McEwan

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Recently added byJonSowden
1942 (1) 1943 (1) North Africa (1) NZ Army (1) WWII (1)



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Radio interview with Watty McEwan.

Watty McEwan is the author of The Salamander's Brood, which recounts his time spent in the divisional protective troops with General Bernard Freyberg in North Africa in the Second World War.
Readers ought to accept this good-natured yarn for what it is, plainly told, simply laid out and easy to follow. The author is not uncritical of his boss or for that matter one who would cover over his human failings. This is a story of a general who led from the front at a time when the crucial decisions that would eventually win the war in the Middle East had to be made in sight of the enemy. Freyberg knew this and took personal measures to make sure he would not lose Libya as he had been forced to leave Greece and Crete.

The author remained in the army after the war and retired as a major in 1971. He has had a wide life and commercial experience since his time with "the boss''; and has learned well the pitfalls of leadership.

McEwan's assessment of Freyberg and recounting of the events as he saw them deserve to be read by the widest possible readership and any suggestion that McEwan makes a hero out of his general misses the point.

This is the view of a proven military professional when as a soldier he, too, shared the same risks and difficulties as did his general.
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DescriptionThe story of General Freyberg's Divisional Protective Troop, so crucial to the success of the North African campaign in World War 2, is told for the first times by the one living participant. Churchill called Freyberg "The Salamander" and his Protective Troop was dubbed "The Salamander's Brood". Freyberg, whose military legacy has been questioned in recent years, could have won the Battle of Crete with a handful of working radios. After the early chaotic months in North Africa, Freyberg decided, over the opposition of other military commanders, to direct the 2nd NZ Division from a forward mobile tactical headquaters - his own tank, with a small protective troop of other tanks. Wounded for the eleventh time at Minqar Qaim, 'Tiny' Freyberg was trusted and admired by his mean for 'leading from the front' and his military brilliance in assessing possibilities and seeing opportunities made the crucial battlefield difference. Direct radio communications from his command tank to his Division were key to Freyberg's success, and author Watty McEwan was his wireless operator through most of the North African campaign. His is a fascinating insight into a campaign nearly lost to Field Marsgall Rommel and a uniquely close observation of Bernard Freyberg, general and fellow tank crewman. 316 pages 225 x 150mm First published November 2007.
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Story of General Freyberg's Divisional Protective Troop by Watty McEwan, his wireless operator through most of the North Africa campaign.

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