Hackett, General Sir John "Shan"

1980 TLS of the British WW II hero in No. Africa & Arnhem, later commanded in Middle East & Northern Ireland

Price: $95.00

Description:
(1910-1997) Australian-born British soldier. He joined the British Army, commissioned into the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars in 1933. He served in Mandate Palestine and with the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force 1937-41. In WW II, he was wounded in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign and awarded the Military Cross. In North Africa he led “C” Squadron of the 8th Hussars and was wounded again when his tank was hit during the battles for Sidi Rezegh airfield and severely burnt when escaping the stricken vehicle, receiving his 1st DSO. While recuperating in Cairo, he was instrumental in formation of the Long Range Desert Group (formed specifically to carry out deep penetration, covert reconnaissance patrols and intelligence missions behind Italian lines), the Special Air Service (SAS, special forces unit) and Popski’s Private Army (one of several raiding units formed in the Western Desert, one unit formed specifically to attack Rommel's fuel supplies). In 1944, Hackett raised and commanded the 4th Parachute Brigade for the Allied assault on Arnhem. At Arnhem, he was severely wounded in the stomach, captured and taken to a hospital where a Jewish South African doctor saved his life. After some recuperation, he escaped with the help of the Dutch underground. He was taken by a Dutch resistance worker and hidden by a Dutch family who nursed the brigadier back to health over several months; he then escaped with the help of the Dutch underground. He wrote of his experience in “I Was A Stranger” (1978). He received his 2nd DSO for his service at Arnhem. He returned to Palestine in 1947 and assumed command of the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force, disbanded as part of the British withdrawal from the region. After attending Staff College in 1951, he led the 20th Armoured Brigade; on promotion to Major General he assumed command of the 7th Armoured Division, promoted to Lieut. General 1961. He then led the Northern Ireland Command, knighted (KCB) 1962. In 1963, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Ministry of Defence, responsible for forces organization and weapon development and became the leading figure in the reorganization of the Territorial Army which made him unpopular. In 1966, he was appointed to command the British Army of the Rhine and parallel command of NATO’s Northern Army Group. After retirement from the Army, from 1968-75 he was Principal of King’s College. In 1978, he wrote “The Third World War: August 1985”, a fictionalized scenario of WW III based on a Russian invasion of West Germany, followed in 1982 by “The Third World War: the Untold Story” which elaborated on the original, including more detail from a Soviet perspective. US author Max Brooks cited Hackett's work as a source of inspiration for his novel, “World War Z”. TLS “Shan Hackett” on 10 x 8 Coberley Mill letterhead, Gloucestershire, England, October 29 1979, 2 1/3pp (2 sheets), to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, US Army War College, salutation and closing in his hand. Hackett praises his visit to, and the hospitality of, the Army War College. He was particularly interested in his visit to the Military History Institute occupying the building that housed the AWC on Hackett’s last visit. He praises Mrs. Smith’s hospitality and the gift of a Washington Cup which his wife calls his “champagne goblet”. He asks of general criticism of his book (likely his 1985 novel, “The Third War: August 1985”) and would like to have critical comments “from such a well-informed source as the War College”. He provides information on a hallmark on a silver piece shown him by Mrs. Smith and mentions reading a book about General “P” Wood (led 4th Armored Div. under Patton), a pity his talents were not more fully exploited in WW II. He also remarks on his visit to Gettysburg battlefield with Dr. Richard Sommers. IMAGE NOTE: dark area on image at top right corner is from a shadow when image was taken, there is no staining or other darkening! DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former Deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the Army, commissioned 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to war’s end. Wounded 3 times, he was awarded a Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, returned to active duty in the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, and was a battalion XO and commander in Germany, and served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He led a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Ft. Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. He retired in 1980. JOHN S. “P” WOOD (1888-1966) US Army major general most notable for training and commanding the 4th Armored Division which spearheaded Patton’s Third Army drive across France in WW II. He was the subject of a1979 biography, “Tiger Jack”, by Hanson W. Baldwin.

Condition: Very good, scant rust clip remnants at top, ink dockets at top right on 1st page, folds
Type:Letter






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