The Book – Feat of Arms

Galpin's Horsa glider over the Ponte Grande bridge near Syracuse in Sicily in Operation Ladbroke - book cover of Feat of ArmsFEAT OF ARMS – SAS, Airborne & Commandos – D-Day Sicily & the Battle for Syracuse – Operation Ladbroke and its role in Operation Husky.

Landing from the sea, 280 men of Britain’s SAS take gun battery after gun battery by storm. Beside them fight the elite airborne troops of the 1st Airborne Division, christened ‘Red Devils’ by their enemies. Of more than a thousand men sent by glider to Sicily, many of them to capture the Ponte Grande, a crucial bridge near Syracuse, only a handful reach the objective. They seize it and hold it for the seaborne troops of General Montgomery’s Eighth Army,  the famous “Desert Rats’. Supported by Commandos, the leading units of Eighth Army advance to the rescue – but too late. The airborne defenders at the bridge, outgunned and outnumbered, fight to the last round before being overwhelmed. Have they failed?

This is the dramatic story that will be told by the book “Feat of Arms”. A film documentary of the same story, with the same title, is also in production. The journalism and historical analyses in this blog are based on the field trips and archive visits that have been undertaken to research and produce the book and film. Extensively using primary sources found in archives all over the UK, in Italy and in America, the book will unravel mysteries and dispel myths about one of the most extraordinary, and most neglected, stories of World War II.

 

The book’s front cover illustration, “Galpin’s Glide”, is a specially commissioned painting by artist Anthony Cowland. It shows Glider 133, a Horsa piloted by Staff Sergeant Dennis Galpin, carrying a platoon of the 2nd South Staffords coup-de-main force, coming in to land in the centre of LZ 3, next to the Ponte Grande bridge near Syracuse in Sicily.

2 Responses to The Book – Feat of Arms

  1. Jeremy Langlands says:

    Do you have an aerial photo showing the ground S of the Ponte Grande as far S [4 miles or so] as the Sta Teresa railway station please?

    • Ian Murray says:

      Sorry, Jeremy, I can’t help with aerial photos, but I’ve posted an article here which I hope will be the next best thing. It links to satellite maps of Operation Ladbroke coup-de-main objectives.

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