Allied Special Forces Insignia 1939-1948 Book Review

There has been a long fascination by collectors in special forces, their equipment and insignia. These units were often small, short lived and had locally produced insignia making identifying surviving badges difficult and complicated. A good reference book is therefore essential in unpicking this complicated story and Peter Taylor’s book is an excellent starting point to understand these badges.

The book starts with a general introduction to Allied Special Forces, their history and development as well as some of the more prominent actions they took part in. After that the book looks at each unit in more detail, with their histories and insignia. The book covers Combined Operations, The SAS, raiding forces in the middle and far east, airborne troops, the SOE, US special forces and the OSS. The main emphasis is on the British, the US having far more limited special forces throughout the war.

The book is lavishly illustrated with both contemporary photographs and modern images of surviving insignia. The insignia is referenced in the text and it is usually fairly straight forward to match insignia to unit, however I would have appreciated some more detailed captioning of each badge to help make it a little easier to identify each one.

This is a fairly slim paperback, but the paper quality is high as is the reproduction of the images which makes it easy to pick out details. The unit histories are very helpful as they include many obscure and short lived special forces that would otherwise be lost to history, this combined with a price on Amazon of less than £10 makes this a very useful book for the collector to have on his shelf. The book is available here.

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