Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided to SOFREP for review purposes.
Damien Lewis’ latest book, “Churchill’s Shadow Raiders: The Race to Develop Radar, WWII’s Invisible Secret Weapon” is a gripping popular history book. It recounts the beginnings of British paratroopers and Britain’s struggle to win the Radar War against Nazi Germany.
Nowadays, the value afforded by a paratrooper is self-evident. Nevertheless, that was not the case in Britain during the first years of WWII.
At the beginning of 1941, Britain was losing everywhere and domestic morale was low. Churchill needed to show that British teeth could bite. The nascent concept of the paratrooper, and his ability to deploy far and wide, was chosen as the means of doing so. Thus Operation Colossus, the first British airborne operation, was born. Its target would be the destruction of an aqueduct in southern Italy. The aqueduct’s destruction would be both a logistics and morale blow to the Italians. Following Operation Colossus’ outcome, the idea of paratroopers lost favor. This was soon to change.