Ball of Fire: The Fifth Indian Division in the Second World War - Antony Brett-JamesAldershot: Gale & Polden, 1951, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded. Leans slightly. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Text complete, clean and tight but a hint of age-toning.
Contains: Black & white photographs; Maps; Appendices ;
From the cover: “The Fifth Indian Division, whose emblem is the Ball of Fire, was one of the very few formations to fight Italians, Germans and Japanese. The Indian and British troops battled at Keren in Eritrea and at Amba Alagi in Abyssinia. They served in Cyprus and Iraq; and in the Western Desert, being desperately engaged in the crucial battle of the Knightsbridge “Cauldron”. The depleted Division fought a rearguard action for the Eighth Army back to the Alamein Line, and played a notable part in holding back Rommel’s forces from the Nile Valley.
1944 saw the Division, now with the Fourteenth Army, fighting bitterly against Japanese, disease and climate in Burma — from Arakan, and the turning-point victory of the Ngakyedauk “Box”, by way of Kohima, Imphal, down the amazing Tiddim Road through the monsoon, and, after a brief respite, from Meiktila southwards to Pegu near Rangoon. Even this was not the end of the Division’s odyssey, for it was first into Singapore after the Japanese surrender, and then, unhappily, had to fight the Indonesians in Eastern Java.
The history of this remarkable and sustained achievement has now been written with a literary skill that raises it into the top rank of such books. Not only are the detailed events of each campaign narrated with clarity and vigour, but the scenery of a dozen countries is described, the background and atmosphere peculiar to each theatre of war evoked by a wealth of carefully selected detail, and many excellent stories woven in to show the comradeship and spirit of the Division. Here, too, are a brilliant chapter describing life and war in the Desert; revealing portraits of the Division’s leading personalities; the village background of the Indian soldier; views on leadership by Divisional commanders; and many other riches.”