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Will Irwin

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Lieutenant Colonel Will Irwin, USA (ret.) “retired from the United States Army after a career of more than twenty-eight years, half of that in Special Forces.  He received a BA in history from Methodist College and a master in military arts and sciences degree from the US Army Command and General Staff College.  He has done graduate work in modern European history at the University of Kansas and has served as a research fellow at the RAND Corporation.” Lieutenant Colonel Will Irwin is the author of The Jedburghs: France, 1944, and the Secret Untold History of the First Special Forces.


Publisher’s Weekly said of The Jedburghs: France, 1944, and the Secret Untold History of the First Special Forces, “Filling a significant gap in World War II scholarship, Irwin, a former U.S. Special Forces colonel, tells the story of the pioneering special forces units known as the Jedburghs-three-man teams comprised of American, British and French soldiers dropped deep into enemy-controlled territory, where they armed and trained local resistance fighters in support of the Allied invasion of Normandy and the subsequent liberation of France. Holed up in rural France, the resistance often consisted of loose factions of teenagers with no military training that were especially vulnerable to spies and infiltrators.

The Jedburghs: The Secret History of the Allied Special Forces, France 1944
Will Irwin  More Info

Despite the risks associated with Jedburgh operations, many Jed teams thrived under these extraordinary circumstances. "By the end of June," writes Irwin, "the resistance, aided by the Jedburghs had made nearly five hundred more railway cuts, ambushed untold numbers of German convoys, and rendered the enemy's telecommunications almost completely ineffective." Furthermore, the author notes, "The most important task assigned to the resistance was that of disrupting the movement of German reinforcements to the Normandy beachhead...And this they did remarkably well, delaying many divisions and completely stopping others." The narrative occasionally veers off course in an attempt to fit in extraneous details-the inevitable product of a tireless research effort-but Irwin's detailed retelling of these early covert operations and his ability to place these relatively small operations in the context of the Allied campaign will please military history readers.”

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