Saturday 20 October 2012

Book review: Kenneth Macksey, "Battle"

One of several covers
for the various editions
of the book.
A long overdue book review, in fact. I've had a copy of this book since before I started this blog, and that was due to having read it from the library at home when I was a teenager and needing to re-read it! Being blessed with my first chance at a lie-in for several weeks, I actually got a chance to finish it this morning.

Kenneth Macksey's "Battle" is an account of a fictitious (although drawn from his own experiences as a tank commander during the era) battle during Operation Bluecoat in mid-1944. I thought it was a rattling good yarn when I read it as a kid, and it grows the better for my greater understanding of WW2 tactics and history.

Macksey focuses on the various commanders, from Colonel down to Corporal, who develop and implement the battle plan, and how they act and react under fire and the changing conditions of the battle. What was actually really interesting for me was to re-read this book now I have a reasonable grasp of the IABSM3 rules... there is, in fact, very little in Macksey's fictitious account of the action that didn't cause me to nod, and think 'yup, I can see how that would happen under the IABSM system'.

It is, sadly, a bit big to game as one IABSM encounter - there's four+ companies on the Allied side plus a whole squadron of tanks, pitted against a somewhat depleted three companies of Germans. There's a couple of key actions that might well make decent scenarios if extracted from it, though.

All in all? An excellent read, well recommended. One of the books that originally got me into WW2 wargaming.


  1. Sounds very interesting... and though fictitious, possibly a sounder grounding in battalion and below level practices and methods than many other sources. I enjoyed Kenneth Macksey's book on tank warfare and found his style - as analyst and former practitioner - very readable and engaging.

  2. Couldn't agree more - excellent book..

  3. Thanks Mike. I'm definately going to look out for this one!

  4. Thanks for the review - I've just bought and read this book based on your recommendation, and very much enjoyed it.

  5. I've seen you mention this one over on the yahoo group. Will be picking up a copy next payday!


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