This summer we welcome back Military Historian Max Hastings. Known for such gripping and thoroughly researched works as _Abyss_ [https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/books/max-hastings/abyss/9780008364991/] and _Operation Pedestal_ [https://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/books/max-hastings/operation-pedestal/9780008364946/], we are looking forward to an engaging talk about _Operation Biting: The 1942 Parachute Assault to Capture Hitler's Radar_.
This is the first time that Max has visited us since taking part in our inaugural Literary Festival all the way back in 2019.
In February 1942 RAF intelligence was baffled by a newly-identified radar network on the coast of Nazi-occupied Europe, codenamed Wurzburg. The brilliant scientist Dr RV Jones proposed an assault to capture key components. The nearest accessible enemy set stood upon a steep cliff at Bruneval in Normandy. Winston Churchill enthused, as did Lord Louis Mountbatten, chief of Combined Operations.
A company of the newly-formed Airborne Forces was committed to the operation, which took place on the night of 27/28 February. Amid heavy snow 120 men landed, some of whom were misdropped almost two miles from their objective. They nonetheless launched the assault, dismantled the German radar, and after three nail-biting hours in France and a fierce battle with Wehrmacht defenders, escaped in the nick of time by landing-craft across stormy seas to Portsmouth.
Recounted in Hastings' familiar best-selling blend of top-down and bottom-up action detail, Operation Biting tells a story that has become almost forgotten yet deserves to rank among the epic tales of courage and daring that took place in the greatest conflict in history.
Max Hastings is the author of thirty books, most about conflict, and between 1986 and 2002 served as editor-in-chief of the _Daily Telegraph_, then editor of the _Evening Standard_. He has won many prizes both for journalism and his books, of which the most recent are _All Hell Let Loose_, _Catastrophe_ and _The Secret War_, bestsellers translated around the world. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London and was knighted in 2002. He has two grown-up children, Charlotte and Harry, and lives with his wife Penny in West Berkshire, where they garden enthusiastically.
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