Book Review – Lion Rampant by Robert Woollcombe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The author was a platoon commander in Normandy (going ashore on D+8) and then a Company 2ic from the breakout until the end of the war (although with six Company Commanders in six months he spent almost as much time in command as any of the ‘permanent’ OCs). He served with a battalion of the KOSB in 15th Scottish Division in 1944 & 1945.
Like all first hand accounts it has a certain pathos to it. Detailed descriptions of people and his interaction with them, like the young sniper he shared a slit trench with under fire in Holland for six hours until the other older more experienced member of the sniper team comes to meet him. Later only the older man returns from the patrol, although the enemy sniper was dealt with too.
If you want to know what infantry life was like then this is worth reading. There is a high level of personal detail, especially of a the author’s first battle experiences in Normandy and of his last where he talks about fighting in an urban area against German paratroopers on the Dutch/German border. There are no feelings spared, the horror and sights and smells of modern war are described. Some of the battle passages are not for the faint of heart.