Combined Operation

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Combined Operation

Postby SaintedAunt » 06 May 2013, 22:25

I have just finished reading Combined Operation - we don't talk about that one very often. Not perhaps one of WEJ's best and rather improbable: an older Biggles ("This is nervy work. I'm afraid I'm getting a bit old for this commando drill. I hope you realise this is sabotage in a big way. if we're caught at it---") tries to rein in a 24-year-old excitable American (""I've gotta gun. I'm an American citizen, ain't I? They wouldn't dare touch me. ... We're tough where I come from") and even Ginger thinks Biggles is being too cautious ("I think Eddie's right...").

But the person who really shines is Bertie, who suggests he be left in the sea in front of the bad guys' ship, hoping he'll be picked up and will discover where it's going! He later sings to tell them where he is, destroys a vital ship, and finally as the strongest swimmer, helps drag GInger out of the sea. I'd say, definitely a Bertie is the delightfully-crazy-hero of the book.

It's also the book in which Biggles at last appears to recognise Ginger's ability for getting lost :!:

"Ginger do you think you could find your way back over the hill to Marcel?"

"I doubt it, in the dark." ... "It won't help matters if I lose my way."

---

"You're right. It's a big risk." :nono:

Lucky Algy, having a good time in Canada for a month, giving lectures to the Mounties on modern crime in London :lol:
The corners of Biggles' mouth twitched. "It's a sad thing to grow old without learning a thing or two." [Biggles Hunts Big Game]
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Re: Combined Operation

Postby Purple Pigeon » 07 May 2013, 10:39

I say good on Ginger for knowing his limitations.

Actually if you look at all the occasions when Ginger is lost and you take out the instances where he is sick, drugged or he is caught up in severe weather conditions, you will find out that he has been lost only twice in his career (and that includes Sweeps the Desert where there are extenuating circumstances). Biggles and Algy have also been lost twice!

Furthermore, if one was to award a prize for the most stupid instance of getting lost in a Biggles book, the honours would surely have to go to Algy in Hits the Trail!
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Re: Combined Operation

Postby Jennifer » 07 May 2013, 11:19

I love Bertie in Combined Operation - very much his book in the second half. I also love Biggles trying to rescue Ginger from the Laughing Horse night club at the beginning of the book.

I do agree Ginger does not get lost etc. that often and when he does it is always a good section of the book. The way Ginger dashes about makes the books very quick and exciting. I always love the contrast between Biggles - cool, calm and collected and Ginger - dashing about either very happy or very upset and always, always looking out for Biggles.
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Combined Operation

Postby Inactive User 171 » 17 Apr 2014, 12:45

Does anyone like this book? It is very much in two parts with the early part in France when Biggles and then Marcel dash into the Club to rescue Ginger and then Bertie being cast adrift on the open sea. This is a typical Bertie plan and it is hard to understand why Biggles agreed to it. When I read the book as a child I thought Eddie Ross would think Biggles and the chaps were tame but in fact he thinks Bertie is nuts but very brave.
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Re: Combined Operation

Postby RAAF Spitfire Girl » 17 Apr 2014, 13:36

Haven't read this one for quite a few years, Jenny. I do have it on my bookshelf, so must revisit before I can comment, but will do so before too long :D
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Re: Combined Operation

Postby kylie_koyote » 17 Apr 2014, 13:46

I just finished my re-read of this last week. I quite like it. I love the little "domestic" scenes where they're sitting around on the Mediterranean killing time by fishing and swimming.

I like Eddie. He's enthusiastic about getting drugs away from kids, even if he doesn't always think things through as thoroughly as Biggles does.

I love Biggles talking to Ginger about the situation and Biggles says something like "Some of our teenagers back home are pretty wild already. Imagine how much worse it would be if they were on drugs." And Ginger agrees with him. (Right, Biggles, because you and Ginger were average run-of-the-mill teenagers in your day.)

I like the bit where Biggles tells Ginger to do something and Ginger says "well, okay, if those are your orders" and Biggles says shortly "they are". This just makes me grin. Ginger will do whatever Biggles wants, any time, any place, no matter the circumstances. What a joy to have such loyal compatriots!
"For goodness sake stop that Yankee drawl, or you'll have us all doing it before you've finished."
"OK baby - sorry - I mean, righto."
"That's better."
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Re: Combined Operation

Postby saladin » 17 Apr 2014, 14:00

haven't read it for a while, a long time in fact, but i always liked this one. its consistently good all the way through, with a little bit of Lissie absurdity for entertainment. one of the original 11 books passed on by my father to kick start my interest as a young bloke. I have a soft spot for this title.
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Re: Combined Operation

Postby Inactive User 171 » 17 Apr 2014, 14:01

Yes but only if it is an "order". If Biggles tells Ginger he will have to use his initiative then he does it quite willingly.
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