From the Plough is a fictionalised account based on the story of 4th or 5th Wiltshires. It is a good read and fits with many of the British memoirs.Cult Icon wrote: ↑08 Jun 2021 15:02Please explain to me why British accounts have prose like this- sounds like the veteran is projecting a trope of sorts from his own culture, stemming from the popular perception of the working class tommy of the great war. Simple minded, loyal, and long-suffering... as opposed to the oppressive elitists who lead them into war and tragedy.Gooner1 wrote: ↑08 Jun 2021 12:14
"The counter-attacks came in one after another. Panzer grenadiers came creeping like cats through the corn and swarming in from the surrounding woods. A forward platoon was overrun. A field was lost. A company was forced out of a village, went stumbling forward to win it again, huddled in the ruins under ceaseless mortar fire, was driven out and won it back once more. The frightened country boys were facing troops who, man for man, were craftier and better trained, who had been reared as warriors; they were outfought at every turn; but they managed, heaven only knew how they managed, to stay where they were."
You are correct that this depicts a British trope. That doesn't mean that it is not based on three realities.
Firstly it captures the inferiority complex instilled by first years of the war. The Germans were fitter and better trained in 1940-41. They out fought the British in Norway, France Belgium Greece Crete and North Africa. The American journalist William Shirer contrasted the bronzed fit young Germans soldiers with the physically weak flabby specimens of the British and French PoW. This is why the British Army focused on fitness and introduced battle schools, why we fight etc. It took Monty and El Alemein to deliver a level of self confidence. Even then it was based on superiority through material. The Germans might be damned good at infiltration and willing to die for the Fuhrer, but we will batter the crap out of them from five miles. The British experience was that the Germans were determined, aggressive and dangerous. My father served in the same brigade as that depicted in From the Plough. The incident he told me was that at Mount Pincon, although being firmly on the back foot, a German patrol raided their lines and stole a cart with the rations. Ballsy eh?
Secondly, the ordinary Tommy or GI new that they were selected from the bottom of the allied manpower pool. The RN and RAF had the pick of volunteers. Aggressive infantrymen volunteered to join a plethora of raiding forces - commandos, rangers, paratroops, one of the many private armies known by their MLAs (SAS, LRDG, SSRF,) and SOE. So what sort of people are left? Not exactly guaranteed to fill those left with confidence in their that position in the pecking order of fighting prowess.
Thirdly, these were national images. The NAZI state projected its armed forces the new Germany. Its propaganda showed the Germans as heroic supermen from the master race in newsreels. The British were reluctantly mobilising its population for the second time. Its soldiers are portrayed by Lancashire superman George Formby.
The image is erroneous. Arguably the British who apply a more professional approach at a national level to war than the Germans. The army though lags behind the RAF and RN in resources.