Book Review 'Catch That Tiger' - Churchill's secret order that prompted the most dangerous mission of WW2

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by BlakePub, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. BlakePub

    BlakePub John Blake Publishing


    Unleashed by Hitler in 1942, the German Tiger tank was by far the most powerful tank ever built at the time. The 60-ton monster could destroy any Allied tank from more than a mile away, and it soon became the most feared tank in the world. Desperate to discover the secret technology used in the Tiger's manufacture, Winston Churchill close a brilliant young army engineer, Major Doug Lidderdale, as his special agent. In a late-night briefing in the subterranean War Rooms under Whitehall he ordered him: 'Go catch me a tiger'.

    Doug did not hesitate and by February 1943 was facing Rommel's desert army. After several unsuccessful and hair-raising efforts to bag a Tiger on the battlefields of Tunisia, Doug and his team put their lives on the line in a terrifying, close-hand shoot-out with the five-man crew of a Tiger, capturing the tank intact. The morale boost to the Allies was such that both Churchill and King George VI flew to Tunis to examine the Tiger first hand.

    But the Germans were not finished with Doug. They did not want the secrets of the Tiger benefitting the Allies' sabotage attempts, and constant attacks by the Luftwaffe and U-boats pursued Doug and his men on every step of the journey back to England. But eventually, by October 1943, the Tiger - number 131 - was delivered to London and gifted to Churchill, who had it placed on London's Horse Guards Parade. Lidderdale went on to use some of the Tiger technology to develop war machines for the D-Day landings and was promoted to Colonel. Tiger 131 is now kept at Bovington Tank Museum and is the only working Tiger in the world.


    Catch That Tiger - Noel Botham and Bruce Montague | Facebook



    Catch That Tiger: Noel Botham, Bruce Montague: Books

    Thanks and enjoy!
    James S likes this.
  2. Stephen

    Stephen Member

    Is this an an advertisement for a novel? The Tiger at Bovington was captured by 48 RTR after its crew abandoned it. It had been hit several times and the turret jammed. The men inside the turret were possibly injured and panicked failing to destroy the tank.
  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Hmmm, certainly being presented as fact by 'Newspapers', and listed in Non-fiction.

    The heroic WWII mission to capture a deadly Tiger Tank from the Germans, is revealed for the first time - Mirror OnlineWith 250,000 enemy troops bottled up in north-east Tunisia, the Allies had been just a day away from forcing the enemy to surrender or sweep them into the sea. But the Germans had got wind of the plans and launched a surprise attack.
    Douglas knew it was his big chance. Turning to Reg, he said: “You can bet your life that among them are Tigers on the prowl. This could be our lucky day, the chance to nab one at last.”
    Climbing into their Churchill Mark IV tank they went Tiger-hunting, heading to the Xbattlefield where a firefight was raging.
    Douglas told his team: “We must spot one that’s in trouble and pounce.”
    Almost straight away he saw his Xopportunity. Less than half a mile away he spotted the turret of a Mark VI Tiger – Tiger 131. The hatch was open and a soldier was examining the gun. The turret Xwas jammed.
    “We’ll cut around the edge of the ridge and then down the slope,” said XDouglas. “At top speed, we can be right up his Xbackside in just a few minutes.”
    He opened fire and Xpeppered the XGerman with bullets – the first time he had shot a man. He shouted to Bill to get alongside the Tiger and climbed on to the roof. As he swayed, trying to maintain his balance, one of the German crew emerged with an MP 40 machine gun.

    Shall we just begin by saying that this is all a little... 'unusual'... and somewhat off the beaten track of what is known about 131 & the chaps who captured and later analysed it (this may be an understatement... I could be more direct).
    My cynicism is definitely triggered, but then I'm often confused. Wonder what Gerry & Tom might have to say.

    Doesn't seem to be a mention on the Bov website... hmmm indeed.
  4. Gerry Chester

    Gerry Chester WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Absolute rubbish and not worthy the paper it is printed on. Several Tigers were destroyed in Tunisia - the one knocked by Tom's outfit now sits in Bovington's Tank Museum.

    There is no excuse for publishing such a travesty of the truth!

  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    And to think I was just leaving you a visitor message, Gerry. :)

    Now that the Guru :unsure: has spoken , I'll slip into more directness and ask the OP what on earth this is all about, and why it's being touted as Non-fiction?

    The Newspapers are easily misled it seems, but those who already have a large amount of info on 131 (some would say too much) will be needing more explanation?

    Distorting the record? Naivety? Or fiction masquerading as fact? If intended as fiction, why is it not sold as such?

    Bit from that Mirror article I hadn't noticed (you'd have thought they'd have learnt to avoid military stories by now... not exactly their forte):
    Douglas used its technology to develop war machines for the D-Day landings,
    In what way? I wonder if Hobart & Straussler knew how a heavy Tank was so important to their work...
  6. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    I call BS. And it is a travesty that someone feels the need to diminish the achievements of the men who actually did the job by coming up with this garbage.

    I suggest the thread deleted as it is blatant advertisement, the account banned, and everybody to give a wide berth to books from this 'publisher'.

    All the best

  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Deleting the thread would remove the discussion, and that would be a real shame. We have a very solid Google presence.

    I'm prepared to believe that there might have been a previously un-noted chap who was involved in 131's capture and a few more bits & pieces may have turned up, but that description of a special crew seeking out the beast, and the account of the attack is just... well... I refer anyone to Gerry's comment.

    If some bits & bobs had indeed turned up (and there are gaps in 131's story), why blend them into such strangeness?
    Nothing wrong with fiction in my opinion (WW2Talk - Historical Fiction - Worthy or Worthless?), couldn't care less about stories, but it becomes a more serious matter when presented as fact without solid substantiation.
  8. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I saw this in Waterstones the other day and was intrigued. It was being sold in the History section as non-fiction.

    Its certainly presented as Fact as one Amazon fellow said

    Amazon Quotes:

    "I always wondered how 131 was captured and this book tells it all. An excellent read, well written and researched. I would recommend it to everyone, especially those who think only special forces can produce miracles."

    "Written in the form of a 'docu drama ' which keeps you entertained from start to finish. The story itself could almost be from an issue of 'commando war stories in pictures ' or the ' Victor ' which makes it all the more remarkable that this story is true !! Anybody interested in the ture story of how Tiger 131 was captured and shipped safely to the UK needs to read this book."

    I mean the unnoted theory you put forward is plausible, however I agree the specially assigned crew seems fantastical at best.
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Some of the eBay pages include: The full extent of Doug Lidderdale's adventures in North Africa only came to light after his son, Dave Travis, revealed the existence of his father's diaries. With exclusive access to these and dozens of photographs, Catch That Tiger tells the incredible story of one of the most dangerous and thrilling secret missions of World War II.

    And there is 122532 Aubrey Douglas Lidderdale in the RAOC in 1940 and transferred to REME in 1943...

    Someone's going to have to buy it to read it!
  10. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    I don't mind fiction. I am an avid reader of Patrick O'Brian. But it needs to be labelled as such, and not intentionally mis-labelled.

    If not deleting the original message, then I would at least change the thread title to make sure that it is a correct reflection of reality.

    All the best

  11. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  12. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Some of the eBay pages include:

    And there is 122532 Aubrey Douglas Lidderdale in the RAOC in 1940 and transferred to REME in 1943...

    Someone's going to have to buy it to read it!

    There's always inter-library loan.

    Even if the crew story was correct (anyone got the WD for 48 RTR?), the idea that the Germans then specifically hunted the ship transporting the tank beggars belief.

    All the best

  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Copy inbound, hopefully.

    While I've been interested in 131 since I first saw it as a kid, and am open to any new stuff on her, I am very sceptical about much/most of this as presented in the blurb and quotes we've seen.
    Only way to take it further really is to read the thing.

    We shall see.
  14. PeterG

    PeterG Senior Member

    Turning to Reg, he said: “You can bet your life that among them are Tigers on the prowl. This could be our lucky day, the chance to nab one at last.”

    “We’ll cut around the edge of the ridge and then down the slope,” said XDouglas. “At top speed, we can be right up his Xbackside in just a few minutes.”

    I take it they had captured an early German magnetic voice recorder?
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Never mind that the Soviets had already captured one in Nov. 42 IIRC but they hung on to it, the bastards :D

    There may be a film out of this someday, featuring what, John Travolta as Rommel? :lol:
  16. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    It's cringeworthy.

    Just have a look at the first few pages in the 'look inside' section on Amazon.

    Like the rank 'Lieutenant Corporal' though (see pictures). Some choice editing went into that book! :p

    All the best

  17. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    There may be a film out of this someday, featuring what, John Travolta as Rommel? :lol:

    Gotta be Nicolas Cage, before making Windtalkers II

    All the best

  18. SDP

    SDP Incurable Cometoholic

    Whether fact or fiction or something in between, the aim of the initial posting on this forum and, no doubt, the articles in newspapers, is to sell copies of the book and apparently by whatever means necessary. It therefore would appear, on the basis of previous postings, that it's a case of 'mission accomplished' as several of you appear determined to buy said book! In my own case, I will look for a copy in Waterstones and in the shop at Bovington, I will thumb through a few pages......and then put it down again without buying it. As 'exceptions always prove a rule', if the original poster (who appears to have only joined the forum for the purpose of placing an 'advertisment') posts scans of the source material which proves the authors claims then I may well buy a copy. Anything else would show, in my mind, disrespect for those who actually did capture Tiger 131.

    "The problem with fiction is that, if you repeat it as fact often enough, it becomes fact"..........
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    can only agree with Gerry and the others who very politely call this epic - "Fiction"

    "rubbish " et al - I have a different name for this as it is on record that a member of 4th

    troop - "B' squadron 48th RTR of the 21st Army Tank Bde - as it was called at that time

    shot a six pounder AP round at this Tiger # 131 - jammed the Turret - the crew baled out

    the NIH - Gerry's mob - recovered this Tiger moved it to I think Bizerta - then Bone - and

    onto Glasgow where it made it's way to the Horse Guards Parade for many weeks before

    ending up in Bovvy to be - eventually completely restored at a very high cost .....

    This was to be the main highlight of the 48th's career as they enjoyed the nickname of

    "Golden Tracks" owing to their shoulder colours of Blue and Gold .....
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    I think it's only me so far, mate, and I've requested a review copy.

    What I'm suspecting, is that a core story of 'something' relating to 131 has been handled with a flowery over-dramatised 'docu-drama' approach with not enough understanding of wider military history or what was possible at the time. we can only go on a few quotes so far, which do look like an over-egging of a small pudding - but I can only really confirm that by reading the thing.

    I don't know if that means I have too much agenda already for a fair review, but I would think the "The problem with fiction is that, if you repeat it as fact often enough, it becomes fact"
    issue is best dealt with by reading the whole presentation and then highlighting what's supportable fact & what's not, maybe on an Internet forum or something, where it might get read.

    Glad you popped in, Tom.
    Thought this might just raise an eyebrow ;).

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