Book Review: Churchill's Shadow Raiders: The Race to Develop Radar, World War II's Invisible Secret Weapon


by Damien Lewis

New York / Kensington, Citadel Press, 2020. Pp. xxiv, 390+. Illus., maps, biblio., index. $27.00. ISBN: 080654063X

Special Operations and the Development of Radar

War correspondent Lewis, author of several books on special operations and unconventional warfare, gives us a look at a critical event in the British development of radar, the commando raid on the German “Würzburg” radar station at Bruneval, France, on Feb. 27-28, 1942. This raid not only proved that Germany had radar, but brought back examples of key hardware and a live German radar operator, but showed that the German radar was in some ways superior to Britian’s. In the process Lewis not only tells us about the planning and execution of the raid, but also about the early history of rboth adar and British special operations forces.

Lewis opens with “Operation Colossus”, Britain’s first commando raid of the war, on Feb. 10, 1941, when a daring band blew up a critical aqueduct near Calitri, Italy. Initially thought to have been a failure, the raid helped refine the organization, training, planning, and techniques of special operations forces, leading to the success of the Bruneval raid, and numerous others.

The Bruneval raid is told in considerable detail, and at times Lewis’s account can get the pulse beating faster. He writes well, with some impressive battle pieces, and Churchill’s Shadow Raiders is a particularly good read for anyone with an interest in special ops.



Note: Churchill’s Shadow Raiders is also available in audio- and e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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