10 thoughts on “Warriors for the Working Day

  1. Cathy Cathy says:

    By focusing predominantly on the experiences of the five men who form the tank crew those very much at the sharp end of the fighting the author creates a vivid picture of the reality of living for much of the time in what the Germans referred to as Tommy cookers so called because of the Sherman tank s propensity to burst into flames when hit As the men of One Troop discover, a tank with its hatches closed is like a blind monster at the mercy of a fast sharp eyed enemy , and an enemy By focusing predominantly on the experiences of the five men who form the tank crew those very much at the sharp end of the fighting the author creates a vivid picture of the reality of living for much of the time in what the Germans referred to as Tommy cookers so called because of the Sherman tank s propensity to burst into flames when hit As the men of One Troop discover, a tank with its hatches closed is like a blind monster at the mercy of a fast sharp eyed enemy , and an enemy with superior fire power to boot It was even worse for the tank commander in the turret Despite the fact their head was a prime target for an enemy sniper, it was impossible in practice to command a tank with the turret closed.The reader really gets to know the individual characters, in particular Brook, and become invested in their feelings and their welfare Their letters home, downplaying the danger they face and full of hopes and plans for the future, are incredibly poignant especially since the reader is aware they probably won t all make it As those higher up the chain of command congratulate themselves on successes hard won by those on the front line, the contrast with the experiences of the tank crews becomes evenstark.As the book eloquently shows, battle fatigue mental as much as physical becomes a major issue, even if the men themselves may not realise it Most of them were unaware that anything much was wrong with them, for they were uncomplicated men not given to introspection They knew they were frightened, but they knew that everyone else was frightened too, and had come to realise that wars are fought by a few frightened men facing each other the sharp end of the sword Each man at one point or another wonders about his capacity to carry on and whether he has reached breaking point With echoes of Catch 22, one muses, He could go to the M.O and say he had had enough, but as long as you could go and say that you d had enough you were still able to direct your mind and your body and you hadn t had enough The men are bound together by an inspiring sense of camaraderie that means even when ordered to advance into dangerous territory and offered the chance to reduce their personal risk, the feeling is Look, if you re a tank crew, you re a tank crew Either we all bale out or we all stay in.As well as being a compelling human story, I learned a lot from Warriors for the Working Day For example, the different roles in a tank crew commander, driver, co driver, gunner and wireless operator and the recipe for the rather disgusting sounding burgoo Army biscuits dissolved in tinned milk, slowly heated in a mess tin with treacle or brown sugar, if you re wondering The book s title comes from Shakespeare s play Henry V The mention of that play always conjures up in my mind an image of Kenneth Branagh in his terrific 1989 film version or Laurence Olivier in the splendid earlier version made in 1944 Incidentally, the latter was intended as a wartime morale booster and was partly funded by the British government Leading his bedraggled army through France, Henry says We are but warriors for the working day But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim Brook and his crew members certainly demonstrate their hearts are in the trim as they endure the close confinement of the tank s interior and the constant need to stay alert, aware that any moment could be their last As one of the final missions described in the book ends in disarray and confusion, it illustrates if further illustration was needed the futility of war and the sheer waste of young lives it represents.The following quotation from historian James Holland sums up my feelings about the book exactly Few other novels of the war describe the grinding claustrophobia, violence and lethal danger of being in a tank crew with the stark vividness of Peter Elstob a forgotten classic that deserves to be read and read


  2. Lel Budge Lel Budge says:

    Based on Peter Elstob s personal experience of tank warfare, Warriors For The Working Day is a tale of fear and the horrors of war.It really captures the heat and aggression of a tank battle, mixed with the claustrophobia of being baked in a flammable tin can with a crew of men all battling their own demons, doubts and fear at the same time.Incredibly compelling and a must read for any fan of classic war fiction.Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate i Based on Peter Elstob s personal experience of tank warfare, Warriors For The Working Day is a tale of fear and the horrors of war.It really captures the heat and aggression of a tank battle, mixed with the claustrophobia of being baked in a flammable tin can with a crew of men all battling their own demons, doubts and fear at the same time.Incredibly compelling and a must read for any fan of classic war fiction.Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a copy of the book This is my honest, unbiased review


  3. Pam Robertson Pam Robertson says:

    This is a novel which took me surprise I was soon engrossed in the story of a group of young soldiers who enlisted midway through the Second World War and who fought their way through it The pace of the story is most surprising as it reflected the unrelenting pace of the war as events followed on and there was no time to stand back and reflect Amongst the young soldiers, you get to see what happens to each one as the battles take their toll The ending is a bit of a shock but fits in perfectl This is a novel which took me surprise I was soon engrossed in the story of a group of young soldiers who enlisted midway through the Second World War and who fought their way through it The pace of the story is most surprising as it reflected the unrelenting pace of the war as events followed on and there was no time to stand back and reflect Amongst the young soldiers, you get to see what happens to each one as the battles take their toll The ending is a bit of a shock but fits in perfectly with the direction of the novel You are certainly shown the claustrophobic lives of the tank crew as they try to follow orders Their lives are ones of unrelenting routine as they dream of home and try to support each other Full of the atmosphere of the battlefield, this is a novel which shows you the effect of war on the ordinary man in the street and at the same time, shows you the heroism of those who seek to do their duty In short A bri liant retelling of the challenges of war Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book


  4. Steve Brooker Steve Brooker says:

    Loosely based on the author s experiences during WWII, this book is an immersive account off what it was like to be at the sharp end during the liberation of Europe.


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