Military History Encyclopedia on the Web

2023 onwards -2022 - 2021 - 2020 - 2019 - 2018 - 2017 - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - April-December 2012 - November 2011-March 2012 - July-October 2011 - January-June 2011 - March-December 2010 - January-April 2010 - September-December 2009 - January-August 2009- 2008 - 2007

31 March 2024

Case White – The Invasion of Poland 1939, Robert Forczyk. A detailed history of the Polish campaign of 1939, starting with a history of the revived Polish Republic, its attempts to industrialise and create a powerful military, and its political problems, before moving on to the increase of tension with Nazi Germany, the outbreak of war and the actual campaign. Also covers the lacklustre performance of Poland’s new allies, Britain and France, in the months before the outbreak of war and their lack of real action once the fighting began. Shows us a campaign that was nowhere near as one-sided as many accounts would suggest, although one that the Poles would have struggled to win without external support that never came (Read Full Review)
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Dunkirchen 1940 – The German view of Dunkirk, Robert Kershaw. Looks at the Dunkirk campaign from the German point of view, examining why they were unable to prevent the British evacuating most of their own army, and a significant number of French troops. Covers the entire campaign from the initial German invasion onwards, so we can trace the entire course of events, and see how the nature of the campaign changed after the initial period of rapid German success, how much significance the Germans gave to the battle, and why they weren’t able to eliminate the Dunkirk pocket more quickly (Read Full Review)
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Jagdpanzer, Thomas Anderson. Looks at the dedicated tank hunters built by the Third Reich, ranging in size from the small but effective Hetzer to the massive and far less mobile Jagdtiger. Traces their development from an emergency measure to cope with the unexpectedly effective Soviet tanks to purpose built machines designed alongside their turreted equivalents as well as weapons based on outdated chassis produced to keep factories in production. Well supported by wartime German reports on most of the machines, which reveal what their users felt about them (Read Full Review)
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25 February 2024

British Celtic Warrior vs Roman Soldier – Britannia AD 43-105, William Horsted. Looks at three early battles between the Romans and the British, Caratacus’s last battle, the invasion of Mona (Anglesey) and Mons Graupius. Inevitably provides more detail on the Roman side than the Celts, simply because of the limits of our sources, but does a good job of recreating these three battles (as far as is possible) as well as examining their impact on the overall state of the Roman conquest. (Read Full Review)
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Blazing Star, Setting Sun – The Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign November 1942-March 1943, Jeffrey R. Cox. A very well researched and written account of the second half of the battle of Guadalcanal, focusing on the second half of the battle and the series of costly naval battles found around the Solomons late in 1942. Excellent use of American and Japanese sources give us a clear account of what happened in each of these battles as seen from both sides, often making events much clearer than in older works that focused more heavily on the US side of the picture (Read Full Review)
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Cowpens 1781 - Turning Point of the American Revolution, Ed & Catherine Gilbert . Looks at one of the most important battles of the American War of Independence, the defeat of Tarleton’s British Legion and the succesful Patriot retreat into the safety of Virginia that helped trigger the campaign that ended at Yorktown. Shows how remarkable the leadership of Danial Morgan was, taking advantage of the weaknesses of Tarleton’s leadership and the terrain at Cowpens and compensating for the known weaknesses of his own militia to come up with a plan that survived two potential disasters to produce one of the most one sided Patriot victories of the war (Read Full Review)
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18 February 2024

Japanese Soldier vs US Soldier, New Guinea 1942-44, Gregg Adams. Looks at three battles spread over a year and a half that show the changing nature of the fighting on New Guinea. At Buna the inexperienced Americans were at the end of a long supply chain, and struggled. At Biak the Japanese had to adapt new tactics to avoid being defeated on the beachs, but the Americans were soon able to adapt themselves. At the Driniumor River the Japanese were the attackers, but it was a desperate venture that ended in evitable and costly defeat (Read Full Review)
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Roman Plate Armour, M.C. Bishop. A good examination of the most famous type of Roman armour, focusing on the Lorica Segmentata most often seen in modern depictions of the Legions, as well as the muscled cuirasses worn by the officers. Includes a clear decription of each of the three types of Lorica Segmentata, looking at how they were constructed, how they differed and way, as well as sections on how it was made, its flaws and how it probably performed in and out of battle (Read Full Review)
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F3D/ EF-10 Skyknight Units of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Joe Copalman. Looks at the combat record of the US Navy’s first jet powered night fighter, starting with its limited use as a night fighter over Korea, where it suffered six losses and claimed six victories, to its more succesful time as an electronic warfare aircraft, operating around Cuba and in Vietnam, detecting and jamming enemy radar (Read Full Review)
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11 February 2024

F-8 Crusader Vietnam 1963-73, Peter E. Davies. Looks at the track record of the US Navy’s best dogfighter of the Vietnam War, covering its development, weapon systems, the rival MiG-17 and MiG-21, and the key combats in the most active period in the late 1960s, when most of the direct clashes between the rival fighters took place. There aren’t many of these clashes, but they are well described, and are unusual for the combination of classic dogfighting and guided missiles (Read Full Review)
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Syria and Lebanon 1941 – The Allied Fight against the Vichy French, David Sutton. A useful account of a campaign that is often just a footnote in wider histories of the fighting in the Middle East, but that saw the Vichy French in Syria put up a rather harder fight than expected, but also saw the Allies adapt well to the changing circumstances, taking Damascus early in the campaign and completing the conquest of Syria in just one month (Read Full Review)
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Japanese Infantryman versus US Marine Rifleman: Tarawa, Roi-Namur and Eniwetok, Gregg Adams. Looks at the three of the island attacks during the US invasion of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, showing how difficult it was to defend these small flat atoll islands against the massive concentration of firepower the Americans were able to bring to bear combined with the training and high morale of the attacking US Marines, especially when the Americans were willing to bypass the most strongly defended islands in the Marshalls. Good material on the types of Japanese troops to be found on the islands, their plans for defending them and why they failed (Read Full Review)
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4 February 2024

Crecy, Battle of Five Kings, Michael Livingston. A fascinating reconstruction of the Crecy campaign and battle, using a very wide range of contemporary sources to reconsider every aspect of the campaign, from the original invasion of Normandy to the attempt to reach Edward’s allies in Flanders, the location of the battle, and the course of the fighting itself. Very well researched and makes good use of a wide range of sources, to successfully argue that the traditional location is wrong, convincing argue in favour of a new location and to provide good evidence that some aspects of the battle went rather differently to the standard account (Read Full Review)
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Absolute Emperor – Napoleonic Wargame Battles, Boyd Bruce. An interesting approach to Napoleonic wargaming, aimed at getting large battles fought with relatively few figures and in a reasonable timespan, focusing on the division as the unit of maneuver and the corps as the command level. Simple core rules combine with a set of changes for each major combatant in the conflict, to give a nice feel to the game. The control system takes some getting used to, with all orders set at the start of the game, corps commanders limited in their options, and divisions freer as long as they stay within command range of the commander (Read Full Review)
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Ju 87D/ G Stuka vs T-34 – Eastern Front 1942-45, Robert Forsyth. An interesting look at how the Stuka dive bomber was pressed into service as an anti-tank weapon, first as a dive bomber and later as a cannon armed ground attack aircraft, and how it faired against the T-34. Covers the development of both weapon systems, the training of their crews, the combat record of the Stuka against the tanks, along with good sections on German research into exactly what was the best method to attack T-34s with the Stuka (Read Full Review)
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28 January 2024

Anglo-Saxon Kings and Warlords AD 400-1070, Raffaele d’Amato & Stephen Pollington. Looks at the nature of the military leaders of the Anglo-Saxons, their kings and other war leaders, covering their arms, armour, possible use of cavalry, the titles by which they were known and how they fitted into Anglo-Saxon society, finishing with a look at four of the many battles fought in this period, all involving external enemies (Read Full Review)
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Corregidor 1945 – Repossessing the Rock, Mark Lardas. An account of the US return to Corregidor which shows out an ambitious plan for a paratroop drop on the key high ground neatly bypassed the strongest Japanese defences, decapitating the Japanese commands structure in the first few minutes and giving the paratroops the high ground. This was a rare example of a Pacific island landing where the result was decided on the very first day (Read Full Review)
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Roman Mail and Scale Armour, M.C. Bishop. Looks at two types of armour that were used throughout the Roman period, by legionaries, Praetorians and auxiliaries and in many different variants. Covers the evidence for their use, the variants known to exist, how they were manufactured and maintained and even how easy it was to put them on! A useful guide to some of the most significant Roman military equipment. (Read Full Review)
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21 January 2024

Allied Warships vs The Atlantic Wall, Normandy 1944, Steven J Zaloga. Looks at the duel between USS Texas and the German Batterie Hamburg at Cherbourg, a clash in which the gun battery was largely undamaged and the Texas perhaps lucky to only suffer minor damage. Demonstrates that really well built heavily protected gun emplacements weren’t vulnerable to destruction by naval gun fire in 1944, and well designed ones were even quite hard to disrupt (Read Full Review)
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Bf 109D/E Blitzkrieg 1939-40, Malcolm V. Lowe. Looks at the development and combat record of the Bf 109D and Bf 109E from the Spanish Civil War through the invasion of Poland and onto the campaign in the west in 1940, a period in which the Bf 109F in particular proved to be as good or better than any contemporary fighter, and had the advantage of superior fighter tactics developed in Spain and a core of pilots with more experience than their rivals (Read Full Review)
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Castles in the Sky: A Wargame of Flying Battleships, Eric Farrington. An interesting game that combines First World War naval warfare with post War of the Worlds flying ships, to give us a world of flying dreadnoughts and cruisers, generally armed with variations of their familiar weaponry, but with the added complication of altitude to cope with. A fun game, complete with a good random scenario generator and campaign system, and an unusual way to use a collection of small warship figures. (Read Full Review)
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14 January 2024

Carrhae 53 BC – Rome’s Disaster in the Desert, Nic Fields. Looks at one of the most one-sided defeats suffered by the Roman Republic when the army led by Crassus was almost wiped out during an invasion of Parthia, and Crassus and his son killed either in the battle or the aftermath. Includes good background information, an examination of Crassus’s actual army and a look at the nature of the Parthian military, all of which helps explain why the battle was so one sided (Read Full Review)
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The Texas Revolution 1835-36 – Texian Volunteer versus Mexican Soldier, Ron Field. Looks at three battles of the Texan Revolution – the Alamo, Coleto Creek and San Jacinto, two Mexican and one Texian victories. Shows that in the right circumstances the Mexican army could be very effective, but it was also fragile and collapsed very quickly when caught out by a surprise attack at San Jacinto (Read Full Review)
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Spitfire Photo-Recce Units of World War 2, Andrew Fletcher. Covers both the technical development of the PR Spitfire and its cameras and the operation history of the type, from the early days of one experimental aircraft to its use in many squadrons around the world and to provide coverage of topics from the German Navy to Hitler’s secret weapons as well as making vital contributions to the D-Day landings (Read Full Review)
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7 January 2024

F4U Corsair vs A6M Zero-Sen – Rabaul and the Solomons 1943-44, Michael John Claringbould. A well researched examination of the most intense period of aerial combat for the Corsair, facing Japanese Navy Zeros in the Solomon Islands and over Rabaul, a period in which the Japanese could still hold their own against their American opponents in individual battles, but were worn down by the ever increasing numerical advantage possessed by the Americans. Proves that the Corsair wasn’t that dominant in 1943, when faced with skilled Japanese opponents, and demonstrates just how hard fought these battles were (Read Full Review)
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F4F Wildcat – South Pacific 1942-43, Edward M. Young. Looks at the most intense period of combat for the Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat, over the Solomon Islands in the summer and autumn of 1942, when the Americans learnt how to take advantage of the slower Grumman fighter’s greater robustness and firepower to come to terms with the Zero, which before that had swept almost all opposition from the skies (Read Full Review)
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The Aircraft Carrier Hiryu, Stefan Draminski. An excellent study of the carrier Hiryu, combined a good history of her with very impressive plans. Makes very good use of 3D illustrations, which are placed alongside the detailed 2D plans so we can see what the element being show on the plans looked like as well as having the accurate details of the plan. Especially effective for deck plans and cross sections, where it gives us an idea of just how crowded these carriers could be (Read Full Review)
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10 December 2023

Eastern Front 1945 – Triumph of the Soviet Air Force, William E. Hiestand. Looks at the last major contested air campaign of the Second World War, where the revitalised Soviet Air Force clashed with the bulk of what was left of the Luftwaffe during the campaigns that saw the Soviets advance into Germany and capture Berlin. Looks at how the Red Airforce had caught up with and then surpassed the Luftwaffe to gain and largely keep air supremacy in the final campaigns of the war, even after the Luftwaffe shifted most of its remaining aircraft east (Read Full Review)
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Soldiers of Fortune – Mercenaries and Military Adventurers, 1860-2020, Anthony Rogers. Looks at the widespread use of mercenary forces by governments and rebel forces in Africa, the Indian Ocean, South America, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia, demonstrating that there were a wide range of types of mercenaries, very varied levels of success, and varied motives, as well as the difficulities with defining what a mercenary actually is (Read Full Review)
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A War of Empires – Japan, India, Burma & Britain, 1941-45, Robert Lyman. An impressive account of the four year long Burma campaign, a multi-national affair involving Japanese, British and Commonwealth, India, Africa, Chinese and American troops, and which began with a crushing British defeat and the longest retreat in British military history and ended with some of the biggest defeats suffered by the Imperial Japanese Army. Very good on the Indian involvement in the conflict. (Read Full Review)
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3 December 2023

Pebble Island: The Falklands War 1982, Francis MacKay with Jon Cooksey. Looks at the first SAS raid on an enemy aircraft since the end of the Second World War, a successful attack that say every aircraft on Pebble Island damaged or destroyed and the airfield itself made unusable by the Argentineans themselves. A good account of the raid and everything related to it, with material from both sides giving a clear idea of why both sides were interested in the island (Read Full Review)
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Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2) – 3rd Century AD, Raffaele D’Amato. Combines a brief introduction looking at the history of the period and the location of the units known to have been posted in the Roman East at this time with a longer section looking at their arms, equipment and cloths, organised on a province-by-province basis, so giving us an idea of how things changes as you moved around from the Danube provinces into Roman Syria and down into Egypt. An unusual but effective approach (Read Full Review)
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Sunderland vs U-Boat – Bay of Biscay 1943-44, Mark Lardas. A good account of one of the iconic clashes of the Second World War, with the Sunderland often being the face of Coastal Command despite the relatively limited number of U-boats it sank. Covers the development of both weapons, the nature of their crews, the earlier clashes, and the key battles of 1943-44 when the Sunderland’s numbers increased, their ability to detect U-boats improved and their enemies decided to stand and fight on the surface, leading to 24 sinkings (Read Full Review)
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19 November 2023

D-Day 1944 – The Deadly failure of Allied heavy bombing on June 6, Steven A. Bourque. Looks at the near total failure of the USAAF and RAF attacks on the German coastal defences on D-Day, in which the largest combined air operation of the war missed almost all of its targets, leaving the German beach defences intact on all but Utah beach. Combines a detailed examination of each of the planned attacks with a look at just why they failed to achieve almost all of their objectives (Read Full Review)
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Stalingrad 1942-43 (3) – Catastrophe – the Death of 6th Army, Robert Forczyk. Covers the final act of the battle of Stalingrad, from the start of the Soviet counter-attack, Operation Uranus, to the final German surrender, a period of two and a half months, looking at the initial Soviet attacks on the flanks which cut off the Sixth Army, the battles on the outer side of the pocket, including the German relief efforts and further Soviet attacks, and the brutal battle in the Stalingrad pocket. A good account of one of the most crucial battles of the Second World War (Read Full Review)
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Operation Pedestal 1942, The Battle for Malta’s Lifeline, Angus Konstam. Looks at one of the largest of the many attempts to get supplies through to Malta, a desperate attempt to prevent the island from being forced to surrender and which succeded although at heavy cost in fast merchant ships. Covers the reasons the operation was needed, the complex planning needed to bring together such a large naval force, and then gives a detailed account of the fighting itself, tracing each of the Axis attacks (Read Full Review)
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5 November 2023

Tanks at the Iron Curtain 1975-90 – The ultimate generation of Cold War heavy armour, Steven J. Zaloga. Looks at the last generation of Cold War tanks, many of which are still in use today (M1A1 Abrams, Challenger II, T-80, Leopard II etc), the generation in which advanced technology such as reactive armour or advanced fire control systems became at least as important as armour thickness or firepower in decided which tank was most effective (Read Full Review)
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The Balkans 1940-41 (2) – Hitler’s Blitzkreig against Yugoslavia and Greece, Pier Paolo Battistelli. Looks at the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece, two rapid but rather different campaigns – in Yugoslavia resistance collapsed within days and without significant fighting, while the short Greek campaign did at least see some solid resistance from the Greeks on the Metaxas Line and a determined fighting retreat by British and Commonweath troops (Read Full Review)
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Hungarian Soldier versus Soviet Soldier – Eastern Front 1941, Peter Mujzer. Looks at three clashes between the Hungarians and the Red Army during the rapid Axis advance on the southern part of the Eastern Front in the initial campaigns of 1941, before the Hungarians withdrew from the front line. Interesting because of the material on the Hungarians, whose participation in the fighting of 1941 is largely unknown (Read Full Review)
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29 October 2023

Berezina 1812 – Napoleon’s Hollow Victory, Alexander Mikaberidze. Looks at the last relative French success of the Russian campaign of 1812, when a combination of Russian mistakes and hard fighting by the French and their allies allowed some of the survivors of Napoleon’s Grand Armee to cross the Berezina River, despite being hunted by much larger Russian forces. Good coverage of the build-up to battle, looking at the disjointed Russian pursuit of Napoleon, the reasons their attempt to trap him at the Berezina failed, as well as the French efforts to escape from the trap (Read Full Review)
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Tanks at the Iron Curtain 1960-75, Steven J. Zaloga. Looks at the first generation of NATO and Warsaw Pact tanks developed after the Second World War, including the German Leopard 1, French AMX30, British Chieftain, American M60 and Soviet T-62 and T-64 as well as projects that never reached production and the first missile tanks, a technology that was expected to replace the gun tank but didn’t live up to expectations (Read Full Review)
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Tanks in the Battle of Germany 1945 – Eastern Front, Steven J. Zaloga. A look at the tanks, tank hunters and armoured assault guns on the German and Soviet sides of the fighting in 1945, looking at the numbers available, how they were organised, and the tanks themselves. Covers the campaigns where the bulk of German armoured vehicles were deployed during 1945, but despite that were still massively outnumbered by the Red Army, and had lost much of their tactical and technological edge (Read Full Review)
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22 October 2023

Athenian Trireme vs Persian Trireme – The Graeco-Persian Wars 499-449 BC, Nic Fields. Combines a detailed examination of the triremes of this period with an account of four of the main battles – Lade, Artemisia, Salamis and Eurymedon. Benefits from focusing on the actual triremes, looking at how they were built, their design (with more differences between types of trireme than you might think), how they were manned and how their condition might affect their effectiveness in battle, before moving on to look at the four battles (Read Full Review)
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15 October 2023

US Navy Gun Destroyer 1945-88 – Fletcher class to Forrest Sherman class, Mark Stille. Looks at the gun destroyers of the Cold War period, giving brief overviews of their design, weaponry, sensors and service, before moving onto a larger class-by-class examination that gives useful details on how each class was modified, along with tables showing which members of each class got which modification, making it a useful reference work for these ships (Read Full Review)
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US Navy Protected Cruisers 1883-1918, Brian Lane Herder. An interesting look at the first steel warships built for what became the Steel Navy or New Navy, a group of largely experimental protected cruisers that were mainly significant for their impact on US industry, but that also played a major role in late 19th American Imperialism, the Spanish-American War and the conquest of the Philippines (Read Full Review)
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The US Marine Corps 1775-1859 – Continental and United States Marines, Ron Field. Combines a history of the Continental Marines and pre Civil War US Marine Corps with a look at their changing uniforms, arms and equipment, during a period that saw them evolve from a purely ship-borne force into an organisation capable of making a major contribution during the Mexican-American War, and of being called on to deal with John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry (Read Full Review)
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8 October 2023

Polish Vickers E, Adam Jonca. Aimed very firmly at someone wanting to build a model of the Vickers E in Polish service, so has a good selection of photographs and plans of the different versions of the tank, as well as surviving technical drawings, a wartime poster showing different versions and one colour plate showing the standard camouflage scheme. Very useful for the modeller aiming at as accurate as possible a result (Read Full Review)
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2cm Flak 38 Flakvierling 38, Alan Ranger. Excellent selection of photographs looking at the single barrel 2cm Flak 38 and four barrel Flakvierling 38, showing both of these weapons in a wide range of locations, and from multiple angles. A very impressive selection of photographs, mainly from soldier’s private collections, so most of these pictures are unfamiliar and give a more realistic view of how these guns were used than the official photos (Read Full Review)
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With Hot Lead and Cold Steel, Arthur van der Ster. An interesting set of American Civil War wargaming rules that focus on using genuine Civil War era formations, manoeuvres and orders to give a more accurate feel for the period. Uses an interesting system where regiments are the individual units but brigades give orders. All units use the same basic set of infantry, artillery and cavalry stats, but with modifiers for green or veteran units, commanders come with their own abilities and flaws, and with plenty of special rules to give a feel of Civil War battles. Aimed at those wanting to recreate genuine Civil War battles with their unbalanced armies and different objectives, rather than allowing for artificially balanced games. (Read Full Review)
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1 October 2023

German High Seas Fleet 1914-18, The Kaiser’s challenge to the Royal Navy, Angus Konstam. Looks at why the Germans chose to build the second most powerful fleet in the world, what sort of ships they filled it with, what its purpose was, and how it performed when war broke out. Paints a picture of a Navy that was equipped with some of the best warships in the world, generally well organised and led (although did suffer from interference from the Kaiser), but that lacked a clear purpose. This was a fleet that could inflict some defeats on the Royal Navy, but never managed to serious challenge British naval dominance (Read Full Review)
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Japanese Combined Fleet 1941-42 – The IJN at its zenith, Pearl Harbor to Midway, Mark Stille. Looks at the nature of the Japanese Navy that entered the war at Pearl Harbor – the philosophy behind the design of its ships, the quantity and quality of ships and aircraft available to it, its plans for the war, but also the weaknesses of its intelligence and logistics systems. We then look at the first few months of the war, in which the Japanese achieved a remarkable series of victories, overrunning the Philippines, Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies, defeating anything the Allies could throw at them, and examine why the Japanese Navy was able to win that series of victories (Read Full Review)
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Lion Rampant Second Edition, Daniel Mersey. An entertaining small scale medieval skirmish game, using a relatively small number of unit types and fairly simple rules (with plenty of optional extras) to cover the millennium from the late Roman world to the high middle ages. Aimed at armies of up to about 70 figures, with an interesting system where different units have different changes to obey orders to attack, move or shoot, and with a nice simple combat system, produces fast moving fun games (Read Full Review)
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24 September 2023

The Red Army 1922-41 – From Civil War to ‘Barbarossa’, Philip Jowett. Covers the period from the end of the bitter Russian Civil War to the disasterous start of Operation Barbarossa, a period of frequent instability but that saw the Red Army expand from its low point just after the Civil War to become an apparently powerful force by the end of the 1930s. First half looks at the size, structure and general status of the Red Army as well as the often quite sizable campaigns it was involved in during this period, as well as the purge that ripped the heart out of its officer corps in the 1930s, second half at the uniforms of the period (Read Full Review)
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Bloody April 1917 – The Birth of modern air power, James S. Corum. Looks at the aerial battles of April 1917 from an operational, tactical and strategic level, instead of focusing on individual air battles, thus giving us a much clearer picture of what both sides were attempting to achieve in the air, and why the Germans won an equally impressive victory in the air as they did on the ground. Finishes with a useful look at how the three combatants learnt from the battles of April 1917 (Read Full Review)
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10 September 2023

The Soviet Destruction of Army Group South, Ian Baxter. Looks at the two years of battles that saw the Germans pushed out of Ukraine and southern Poland, ending with the Soviets only a few miles from Berlin. The text provides a good framework to events, with army lists, brief biographies of the key commanders and about twenty pages per major campaign, giving us a useful overview of events, rather than getting too bogged down in details. The text is supported by a plentiful supply of wartime photographs and some useful maps showing the various phases of the Soviet advance (Read Full Review)
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US Destroyers vs German U-Boats – The Atlantic 1941-45, Mark Lardas. Looks at the weapons available on both sides, how their crews were selected and trained, and how the US Navy in particular improved during the years it was involved in the battle of the Atlantic, gaining powerful weapons such as the Hedgehog anti-submarine projector which could be tied directly into the ships sonar. Followed by four examples of combat between US escorts and U-boats, from 1941, 1942, 1944 and 1945, which demonstrate how far the US Navy had come in a short time(Read Full Review)
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The Futile Pursuit of Power – Why Mussolini Executed His Son-in-Law, Andrew Sangster. Focuses on the political career of Galeazzo Ciano, which lasted from his rise to power in 1936 to his execution in 1943 and saw him become Italian Foreign Minister, the youngest in Europe at his appointment, before turning against Italy’s German allies, taking part in the plot that first deposed Mussolini, seeking help from the Germans and ended up executed after a political trial in Mussolini’s northern Italian Fascist State. Paints a picture of a playboy largely unsuited to the job he was given, but who gained some political maturity after it was too late for himself and his country (Read Full Review)
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3 September 2023

British Cavalryman vs German Cavalryman – Belgium and France 1914, Alan Steele. Looks at the brief month at the start of the First World War where British and German cavalry forces were involved in a series of clashes that lived up to pre-war expectations, and wouldn’t have looked far out of place in the Napoleonic period, with clashes between scouting squadrons of cavalry and cavalry screens protecting open flanks (Read Full Review)
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British Light Infantryman versus Patriot Rifleman, Robbie MacNiven. Looks at the famous Patriot riflemen and their nearest British equivalent, the Light Infantry, covering their equipment, training, tactics in battle and their relative strengths and weaknesses, before looking at three occasions where the two troop types fought each other directly in significant numbers. Provides a realistic idea of the relative effectiveness of the two troop types, and shows that the American riflemen was a valuable part of the rebel forces, if not quite the war winning weapon many had expected (Read Full Review)
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The Capture of U-505 – The US Navy’s controversial Enigma raid, Atlantic Ocean 1944, Mark Lardas. Looks at the US capture of U-505, raid that was both daring and carefully planned, and succeeded both because of those factors and because of German failings and luck. Controversial because it risked triggering a change of German codes, but also valuable because of the haul of intelligence material captured on the U-boat. Excellent material from both sides, giving us a picture of the increasingly desperate situation faced by the U-boats and the impressive work by Captain Daniel Gallery and the men of TG 22.3 (Read Full Review)
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20 August 2023

Post-Roman Kingdoms – ‘Dark Ages’ Gaul & Britain, AD 450-800, Raffaele D’Amato & Andrea Salimbeti. Looks at the lingering remants of the Roman world in post-Roman Britain and Gaul, a range of new kingdoms emerging from the Romano-British and Gauls and the shattered remnants of Roman power in Gaul. Strongest on the arms and equipment and organisation of the forces, but sometimes fails to acknowledge how shaky our knowledge of some of the possible kingdoms and individuals probably involved in this period actually is. An interesting reminder of how important the Roman world remained after the Legions left (Read Full Review)
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Soviet Machine Guns of World War II, Chris McNab. Looks at the main Soviet Light, Medium and Heavy Machine Guns of the Second World War, showing them to be capable if unexceptional weapons that had the great advantage of being produced in very large numbers. Contains excellent information on the doctrine for how these guns were used, the roles of the gun crews as well as the technical details, making this one of the best books of its type (Read Full Review)
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Tanks in Operation Bagration 1944 – The demolition of Army Group Center, Steven J. Zaloga. A useful study of the balance of the armoured forces on the Eastern Front during the main Soviet offensives of the summer of 1944, showing that the Soviets had caught up with the Germans in the quality of their tanks, outnumbered them, and were catching up in tactical skill, as well as catching the Germans by surprise with their choice of target, all building towards one of the most significant Soviet victories of the war (Read Full Review)
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6 August 2023

Tannenberg 1914 – Destruction of the Russian Second Army, Michael McNally. Looks at the first part of the German victory in East Prussia in 1914, the destruction of the Russian Second Army at what became known as the battle of Tannenberg, after a campaign in which the Germans were often outnumbered and frequently considered themselves to be in serious trouble, before winning a crushing victory that undermined the entire Russian position in East Prussia (Read Full Review)
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The Ancient Assyrians – Empire and Army, 883-612 BC, Mark Healy. An impressively detailed military history of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, covering the rise and fall of the Empire, the activities and policies of the Emperors, the nature of the Assyrian army and its many campaigns. The survival of a massive number of cuniform tablets, combined with the monumental wall art created to celebrate the achievements of the Emperors, allows the author to create an impressively detailed military and political history of what became the largest Empire yet to exist(Read Full Review)
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23 July 2023

Norway 1940 – The Luftwaffe’s Scandinavian Blitzkrieg, James S. Corum. A good overall history of the German invasion of Norway, with a general focus on the aviation aspects of the campaign, but not at the expense of telling the wider story. Tells the story of a campaign in which the Germans were simply far more prepared for modern warfare than their opponents (Read Full Review)
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Battle of Malta June 1940-November 1942, Anthony Rogers. Looks at the long battle of Malta, covering the Italian and German aerial assault on the island, the many convoys that attempted to bring supplies and reinforcements to the island, the daring but unsuccessful Italian Navy attack on Grand Harbour of July 1941 and the offensive operations carried out from the island. Gives a good feel for how the tempt of operations pulsed during the course of the battle, generally peaking when the Germans were present, and in particular early in 1942 (Read Full Review)
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15 July 2023

Armies in Southern Russia 1918-19, Phoebus Athanassiou. Looks at the armies involved in the very confusing fighting in Ukraine in 1918-19, with pro-Bolshevik, Red Army, White Russian, Ukrainian, Allied forces and even some German forces all involved in the fighting, with a brief overview of events, and a look at the size, organisation and perhaps most importantly in this campaign the character of the many forces involved (Read Full Review)
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The Hydaspes 326 BC – The Limit of Alexander the Great’s Conquests, Nic Fields. Starts with a useful look at the main sources for Alexander and his Indian opponents, and an impressively full examination of the armys on both sides, before moving onto a good account of the last of Alexander the Great’s main battlefield victories, and perhaps his most difficult and hard fought battle, involving the crossing of a major river followed by the defeat of a powerful army based around a large number of elephants (Read Full Review)
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Mongol Warrior vs European Knight – Eastern Europe 1237-42, Stephen Turnbull. An excellent study of the Mongol invasion of Poland and Hungary in 1241, looking at their famous victories at Liegnitz and Muhi as well as their failures at Esztergom and Székesfehérvár. Despite the title, this book serves as a good history of the overall campaign, with a focus on the Knights on the Hungarian and Polish sides, with good accounts of the main battles but also an examination of the overall campaign and the wider performance of the armies involved (Read Full Review)
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9 July 2023

Nambu Pistols – Japanese Military Handguns 1900-45, John Walter. Looks at the family of pistols generally known as the Nambu, including the 14th Year Type, a later, modified version of Nambu’s original design, with smaller sections on other Japanese produced pistols used in the Second World War. Covers what is known about their development, how they worked and their known use in combat (Read Full Review)
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Selling Schweinfurt, Brian D. Vlaun. Looks at how the USAAF picked its targets, in particular in the period to the end of 1943, the time when the Eighth Air Force was commanded by Ira C. Eaker. Very good on the American side of the story, looking at how the targets were selected, who influenced that selection and how effective the raids were seen as being from the American side (Read Full Review)
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2 July 2023

New Zealand Infantryman vs German Motorcycle Soldier Greece and Crete 1941, David Greentree. Looks at the two campaigns where New Zealand infantry came up against largely motorbike equipped German reconnaissance units, in Greece and Crete, two occasions where the Germans were attacking and New Zealanders defending or retreating. Looks at how the light but mobile German motorbikes were able to find the New Zealanders in the rugged landscape but not well armed enough to defeat them (Read Full Review)
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The Long March 1934-35, The rise of Mao and the beginnings of modern China, Benjamin Lai. Looks at one of the most significant events in modern Chinese History, viewing it as a massive military campaign in which the Communists suffered appalling losses – over 90% - before reaching the relative safety of Shaanzi in north-eastern China, where they were able to rebuild. Also looks at the rise of Mao, who began the March as one of many potential leaders and ended it as the clear leader of the Chinese Communist Party (Read Full Review)
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25 June 2023

Hunt the Bismarck – the pursuit of Germany’s most famous battleship, Angus Konstam. Looks at the entire story of the Bismarck, from its design and construction, through the arrival and training of crew and onto its only mission, the failed attempt to break undetected into the Atlantic to act as a commerce hunter but that instead saw Bismarck destroy the Hood, become the target of a massive Royal Navy hunt and then be destroyed in a final and very one sided battle. Has a good balance of the British and German views, and is ideal for the general reader interested in this battle (Read Full Review)
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Yalu River 1950-51, Clayton K.S. Chun. Looks at one of the biggest defeats in US Military History, which saw the largely American UN forces pushed out of North Korea by the Chinese, and all the way back into South Korea, leading to the prolonged period of stalemate that dominated the later part of the Korean War. Good material on both sides of the conflict, helping to put a more realistic face on the Chinese side in particular (Read Full Review)
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Constantinople and 717-18 – The Crucible of History, Si Sheppard. Looks at the second Arab siege of Constantinople, which saw the apparently terminal decline of the Byzantine Empire end with the succesful defence of the city by Leo III, a victory that gave the Empire nearly another millennium of life. An interesting account of one of the most important sieges of the period, which ended a major threat to the survival of Byzantium (Read Full Review)
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1 June 2023

Zulu Terror – The Mfecane Holocaust, 1815-1840, Robin Binckes. Looks at a period in which a series of violent clashes between the Zulu and related groups (probably) triggered a period of forty years of violent mass migration in which hundreds of thousands of people (if not more) were killed. Follows the traditional historical view of this period, so traces the activities and impact of a series of leaders, including Shaka, Matiwane, Mzilikazi and Dingane, a group of men who very clearly left a massive impact on southern Africa (Read Full Review)
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The SAS in Occupied France – 1 SAS Operations June to October 1944, Gavin Mortimer. Looks at the six main 1 SAS operations in France in 1944, when a new focus was needed for the organisation, and it wasn’t always clear if it was to be working with the French Resistance or independently. These operations were a mixed bag, with some great successes, one disaster and one controversial underperformance. Combines the historical accounts with guided tours to the areas of operation (Read Full Review)
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First Polish Armoured Division 1938-1947, Evan McGilvray and Janusz Jarzembowski. Looks at the previous experience of General Maczek, commander of the division, in Poland in 1939 and France in 1940, the escape of many Poles from France to Britain, the often argumentative formation of the division, and its impressive performance in the later stages of the Normandy Campaign and during the advance across northern Europe, ending with the occupation of the German port of Wilhelmshaven (Read Full Review)
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5 June 2023

The First Anglo-Sikh War 1845-46 – the betrayal of the Khalsa, David Smith. Looks at a conflict in which the large Sikh army was so poorly led that it became clear that some of the Sikh leaders had betrayed their army, allowing the British to turn a potential defeat into a clear but costly victory. Provides a good background to the war, looks at the conflicts within Sikh society and then good accounts of fiercely fought battles themselves, in which an uninspired British commander was handed victory by the even worse performance of the Sikh leadership (Read Full Review)
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The Great Bear at War – The Russian and Soviet Army 1917-Present, Chris McNab. Looks at the emergence of the Red Army in the civil wars that followed the Bolshevik revolution, how it coped with the initial defeats in 1941 and evolved into the force that eventually captured Berlin in 1945, how that shaped the post-war army and how that armed failed in Afghanistan, then the post-Soviet decline and more recent rise of the new Russian Army. Ends before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but describes the army that has fought in that war, and outlines some of the potential weaknesses that have been starkly exposed in combat (Read Full Review)
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Ghost Patrol, A History of the Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945, John Sadler. Covers the entire history of the LRDG from its formation and heyday in North Africa, and through the more difficult years where it was sometimes difficult to find a clear purpose for the group, and in which they suffered heavy losses in the Aegean and often struggled to cope with the political motivation of their partisan allies in the Balkans, but were still able to prove their value (Read Full Review)
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28 May 2023

Holocaust – The Nazis’ Wartime Jewish Atrocities, Stephen Wynn. A good introduction to the topic, covering many of the main elements of the holocaust, including the most infamous of the camps, the Wannsee Conference and some of the German planning behind the holocaust and their attempts to cover it up. Could do with a proper summary of the subject, but otherwise serves as a good introduction to the topic, which doesn’t pull its punches and leaves us in no doubt as to what happened (Read Full Review)
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Raiders from New France – North American Forest Warfare Tactics, 17th-18th Centuries, René Chartrand. Looks at how the French in Canada learnt from the native Americans to develop a method of warfare that was effective in the forests of North America, allowing them to carry out a series of daring long range raids against the English colonies of New England, New York and Newfoundland, taking advantage of their dominance in the wilderness to attack British settlements all along their frontier and sometimes deep into the colonies, then defeat most attempts to pursue (Read Full Review)
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21 May 2023

H6K ‘Mavis’/ H8K ‘Emily’ vs PB4Y-1/2 Liberator/ Privateer – Pacific Theatre 1943-45, Edward M Young. Looks at the relatively small number of clashes between American and Japanese four engined aircraft over the Pacific, which saw the US patrol aircraft shoot fifteen down H6Ks and H8Ks for no loss, part of a wider dominance of the PB4Y against Japanese bombers and patrol aircraft. The small number of clashes allows the author to look at every single example in some detail, and in every case the victory was certain, with fourteen aircraft seen to crash and the fifteenth known to have gone down in China (Read Full Review)
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Nakajima Ki-49 ‘Helen’ Units, George Eleftheriou. Looks at the combat record of the Ki-49 Donryu, a significant Japanese army bomber in 1943-44, but one that was normally available in small numbers and suffered heavy losses in conventional operations, and had little success in kamikaze missions from the Philippines. One gets the impression of an aircraft that entered combat too late, making it very vulnerable to improved American aircraft, and after Japan had been forced onto the defensive, and thuis suffered heavily in almost all of the theatres it was used (Read Full Review)
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14 May 2023

Leyte Gulf – A New History of the World’s Largest Sea Battle, Mark E. Stille. An excellent account of the battle of Leyte Gulf, looking at the flaws in the basic Japanese plan, the background to the battle, then covering each of the individual battles that made up the overall fight seperatly, and including the fighting around Formosa in the days before the invasion of Leyte. A good history of this massive naval battle, with good detail on the overall Japanese plan and its many flaws, the divided US command structure and the four main battles and several subsidiary battles (Read Full Review)
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Normandy 1944 – German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness, Niklas Zetterling . Looks at the actual strength in men and equipment of the German units that fought in Normandy, how many casualties they suffered, how many reinforcements reached them, when they arrived (and which parts of the unit reached Normandy), and their fate at the end of the battle for Normandy. Also includes an examination of the impact of Allied air power, the relative combat effectiveness of the Allied and German armies and a very useful look at the different way in which their armies were organised, and how much of the combat strength was in divisions or supporting units (Read Full Review)
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Churchill - Master and Commander, Anthony Tucker-Jones. Focuses on Churchill’s military experiences looking at his brief but adventurous career in the British Army, military experiences as a journalist (sometimes overlapping), his First World War era experiences as First Lord of the Admiralty, an active commander on the Western Front, and return to politics as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Minister of Air, and most famously his time as Second World War Prime Minister (Read Full Review)
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7 May 2023

The Russian S-300 and S-400 Missile Systems, Steven J Zaloga. Looks at the development and deployment of the last Soviet strategic air defence missile system, developed during the 1970s to defend Soviet cities and other high value targets, looking at how the original version was developed into longer range and more effective systems, often for the export market. A useful guide to a system that evolved through several different generations in three distinct models, for the air defence force, army and navy (Read Full Review)
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British Frigates and Escort Destroyers 1939-45, Angus Konstam. Covers the Hunt class escort destroyers, and the River, Loch and Bay class frigates, a series of essential escorts that entered service during the Second World War, and played a major role in the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. Looks at the design process, lists all of the ships in each class with key dates, and then follows the careers of the Hunt class escort destroyer Atherstone and River class frigate Swale to give some idea of the activities of typical members of the class (Read Full Review)
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Early Pacific Raids 1942 – The American Carriers Strike Back, Brian Lane Herder. Looks at the early US carrier raids, small scale attacks on isolated Japanese garrisons that came while the Japanese were conquering the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, Malaya and Burma that nevertheless improved US morale, worried the Japanese and gave the US carrier force valuable experience before the bigger battles to come later in 1942. Covers each of these relatively small raids in great detail, filling a gap in most accounts of the Pacific War (Read Full Review)
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30 April 2023

Panzer Reconnaissance, Thomas Anderson. Combines descriptions of the various vehicles used by the reconnaissance units (bikes, armoured cars, half tracks and fully tracked) with a history of the reconnaissance units themselves, their official orders of battle, and how they actually performed in action. Gives a much broader picture of the role of these vehicles than books that focus more on the vehicles, and makes it clear that in reality units used whatever vehicles were available, rather than the neat orders of battle (Read Full Review)
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Power, Treason and Plot in Tudor England – Margaret Clitherow an Elizabethan Saint, Tony Morgan. Looks at the tragic life of Margaret Clitherow, a Catholic convert in York who was executed for refusing to enter a plea when she was accused of sheltering Catholic priests. Covers the religious history of England from Henry VIII onwards, the increasingly harsh anti-Catholic laws introduced under Elizabeth I, the life and times of Margaret and her family, her earlier brushes with the law, and the events that led to her death. A somewhat depressing but still interesting history of a dark period of religious persecution (Read Full Review)
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Meat Grinder – The Battles for the Rzhev Salient 1942-43, Prit Buttar. Looks at the massive battles west of Moscow in 1942 and early 1943, most of which involved unsuccessful Soviet attempts to push the Germans away from Moscow, including Operation Mars, launched alongside the counterattack at Stalingrad, and which ended as a costly Soviet defeat (only to be redeemed by the success at Stalingrad, which forced the Germans out of the salient). Includes a series of costly Soviet defeats, but also an interesting spell where an entire cavalry corps survived for five months behind German lines, and the eventual German retreat from the salient (Read Full Review)
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23 April 2023

Leuctra 371 BC – The Destruction of Spartan Dominance, Murray Dahm. An excellent account of this crucial battle, looking at the four different accounts of the fighting in the ancient sources as well as what we know about the commanders, and the Theban plan of battle, and how that contributed to their victory, and with it the start of the rapid decline of Sparta. Especially strong on the differences between the four sources, where they can be reconciled, and where they can not, and the reasons for the differences, especially in Xenophon (Read Full Review)
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Ju 87 Stuka vs Royal Navy Carriers – Mediterranean, Robert Forsyth. Looks at three attacks made by German Stukas on British carriers in the Mediterranean in 1942 – Illustrious, Formidable and Indomitable – each of which ended with the carriers damaged but not sunk. Includes interesting chapters on the training of Stuka crews and British naval anti-aircraft gunners, the design of the armoured carriers, and the impact of these battles on the naval war in the Mediterranean (Read Full Review)
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Roman Legionary vs Gallic Warrior 58-52 BC, David Campbell. Looks at three of the key battles between Caesar’s legions and the Gauls, all of which were close fought battles that could have gone the other way, but which this book suggests were won by a combination of Caesar’s own leadership and personal courage and the professionalism of the Roman infantry, which knew what to do in a crisis without waiting for orders. (Read Full Review)
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16 April 2023

The HAWK Air Defense Missile System, Marc Romanych & Tacqueline Scott. Looks at the standard US air defence missile system of the Cold War, tracing the repeated upgrades to the system (effectively becoming a totally different system more than once), how it was deployed by the US (but never actually fired in anger), and its actual combat record with Israel, Iran and Kuwait. An interesting technical study of the family of HAWK missile systems, (Read Full Review)
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British Coastal Weapons vs German Coastal Weapons – The Dover Strait 1940-44, Neil Short. Looks at the somewhat uneven dual between the German guns around Calais and the smaller number of British guns on the Kent coast, a battle that saw parts of Kent under direct German artillery fire from 1940 until the German guns were captured in September 1944. The book looks at the guns themselves, how they were operated, the impact they had, and how the German guns were eventually captured by the Canadians in 1944 (Read Full Review)
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Armies of the First Sino-Japanese War 1894-95, Gabriele Esposito. Combines a useful account of the build-up to war and the course of the war itself, before moving on to look at the modernised Japanese army and the very varied Chinese forces that opposed them. Provides a good overview of the war that saw Imperial Japan emerge forcefully onto the world stage, and marked a stage in the decline of Qing China. (Read Full Review)
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9 April 2023

Enigma - How Breaking the Code Helped Win World War II, Michael Kerrigan. Takes a different look at the story of Bletchley Park, focusing on how the information that came from the broken codes was used and how it affected the course of the war. Includes enough material on the code breaking to give proper context, along with accounts of the various campaigns it affected, with the positive and negative results. An interesting approach, that helps place the work of Bletchley Park more firmly in the context of the wider war, looking at both the successes and failures to use the intelligence it provided (Read Full Review)
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How Armies Grow, ed. Matthias Strohn. Looks at how the major Western armies expanded to deal with the threat of major wars from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic to Second World Wars, looking at the contrast between the peace-time conscription based armies of Prussia/ German and France and the largely voluntary tradition in Britain and the United States. Shows how the Continental system was able to produce large armies quickly, but the Anglo-American system, if given time, could eventually match them (Read Full Review)
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Japanese Conquest of Burma 1942 – The Advance to the Gates of India, Tim Moreman. A look at the Japanese conquest of Burma, a campaign that lasted for five and a half months, most of which saw the British retreating, and which saw experienced Japanese soldiers repeatedly defeat inexperienced British, Indian and Burmese troops and eventually overcome experienced Chinese troops in central Burma. An excellent account of this impressive Japanese victory, which completed their conquest of the British Empire east of India, with good material on the Chinese contribution to the campaign (Read Full Review)
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2 April 2023

F6F Hellcat – Philippines 1944, Edward M. Young. Looks at the massive air battles fought by the F6F over the Philippines, first against conventional opposition and later against the Kamikaze. Covers the background to the campaign, the development of the F6F, the status of the rival air forces at the end of 1944, how the US fighter pilots were trained (impressively) and finishes with a look at the combat itself, giving the book a nice balance between background information and the combat accounts (Read Full Review)
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Gothic Line 1944-45 – The USAAF starves out the German Army, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver. Looks at Operation Bingo, a six month long USAAF campaign to bomb the Brenner Pass, and thus cut the German supply line into northern Italy, fought in a long narrow battlefield surrounded by mountains in the middle of an Alpine winter. Includes good accounts of the two sides, the difficulties posed by the terrain, the difficult targets and the actual campaign itself (Read Full Review)
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F2H Banshee Units, Richard R Burgess. Looks at the career of one of the US Navy’s first generation jets of the 1950s, which saw brief combat as a fighter and fighter-bomber in Korea, and longer use as a photo-reconnaissance aircraft, as well as becoming the Navy’s first tactical nuclear bomber, briefly a night fighter (in rather small numbers) and serving with the Canadian air force (Read Full Review)
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26 March 2023

The D-Day Training Pocket Manual 1944, ed. Chris McNab. A useful selection of official British and American publications that helped establish the doctrine and plans used on D-Day. Covers a wide range of topics, from plans for naval and air support to how to consolidate the beachhead, as well as the intelligence available about the nature of German beach defences (Read Full Review)
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Elizabeth’s Navy – Seventy Years of the Postwar Royal Navy, Paul Brown. Traces the evolution of the Royal Navy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, taking it from the huge post-war Navy of 1952 to the tiny fleet of today, dominated by the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Each chapter begins with a history of that decade, including any naval conflicts (mainly the tail end of Korea and the Falklands War) and how it affected the Navy, then moves on to a series of photographs of sample ships of that period with captions normally describing their fate (Read Full Review)
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Operation Crusader – Tank Warfare in the Desert, Tobruk 1941, Hermann Buschleb, translated David Dorondo. Provides an interesting view of the German side of the first part of Operation Crusader, from the start of the battle to the end of November, with a major focus on Rommel and his activities. Would be better if the combat chapter had continued to the end of the battle rather than stopping at the start of December, but a good German view of the battle (Read Full Review)
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19 March 2023

The Phantom Vietnam War – An F-4 Pilot’s Combat over Laos, David R. ‘Buff’ Honodel. The Vietnam memoirs of David R ‘Buff’ Honodel, who served as an F-4 fighter-bomber pilot operating mainly over Laos from a US base in Thailand, often attacking the Ho Chi Minh Trail at its least vulnerable stage. Gives us a very atmospheric account of life as a front line pilot fighting a war that didn’t officially exist, the perils of front line service and the impact of the changing attitude to the war back in the US (Read Full Review)
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III. Germanic SS Panzer-Korps – The History of Himmler’s Favourite SS-Panzer-Korps, 1943-1945: Volume 1: Creation-September 1944, Lennart Westberg, Petter Kjellander & Geir Brenden. A good history of this unit, looking at the very political reasons for its formation, the largely unsuccessful attempts to fill it with Scandinavian volunteers, and the essentially political purpose of the entire Waffen-SS before moving on to look its first year in combat, starting with the brutal anti-partisan actions in Croatia before it moved to the northern end of the Eastern Front where it was caught up in the collapse of the German position at Leningrad and the defence of Estonia (Read Full Review)
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The Trafalgar Chronicle New Series 4. Twenty one articles on Nelson’s Navy, with a focus on individuals who had some connection to Nelson (ranging from serving with him, to having seen him at a distance!), as well as articles on topics ranging from early North American ports to hot air balloons or the role of Women in London’s sailortown. Covers a wide range of people, from American privateers to the longest serving officer in the history of the Royal Navy (Read Full Review)
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12 March 2023

Under the Southern Cross – The South Pacific Air Campaign against Rabaul, Thomas McKelvey Cleaver. Looks at the Allied air campaign that helped neutralise the major Japanese base at Rabaul without a costly invasion, tracing the growth of Allied air power in the South Pacific from the desperate days on Guadalcanal to a position where the Allies had clear air superiority and were able to subject Rabaul to weeks of near constant attack, eventually forcing the Japanese to withdraw their last aircraft from the base, but not until they had attempted to use their elite carrier aviators to defeat the Allied attacks, thus reducing the effectiveness of their aircraft carriers for the rest of the war (Read Full Review)
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Napoleon’s Infantry – French Line, Light and Foreign Regiments 1799-1815, Gabriele Esposito. Looks at the organisation, structure and uniforms of the French infantry units during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. Shows how the Royal army was transformed into the victorious Revolutionary Army with its demi-brigades and attitude of egality, then into Napoleon’s more traditional army, with its regiments, increasingly Imperial rather than Revolutionary insignia and new Imperial nobility (Read Full Review)
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The Killing Fields of Provence – Occupation, Resistance and Liberation in the South of France, James Bourhill. Looks at the impact of the Second World War on Provence, from the French defeat in 1940 to the liberation in 1944 and on to the end of the war. Looks at the nature of resistance and collaboration, the activities of the resistance and the German operations against them, Operation Dragoon and the fighting that followed, the ‘purge’ that followed liberation, and the use of the area as an American rest camp (Read Full Review)
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5 March 2023

Imperium: Classics . A very entertaining asymmetrical deck building card game for up to four players (with a solo option), with sixteen factions between the two versions of the game. Each has a power card which gives that faction special play and scoring rules, and a set of unique cards which mean each play differently – in some cases very differently! Easier to play than explain, and with a well thought out solo play ‘mode’ that is entertaining in its own right. This is the Classics edition, with generally easier to master factions with less dramatic differences between them. (Read Full Review)
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Imperium: Legends . A very entertaining asymmetrical deck building card game for up to four players (with a solo option), with sixteen factions between the two versions of the game. Each has a power card which gives that faction special play and scoring rules, and a set of unique cards which mean each play differently – in some cases very differently! Easier to play than explain, and with a well thought out solo play ‘mode’ that is entertaining in its own right. This is the Legends edition, with harder to master factions, including some with rules that are very different from the standard (Read Full Review)
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The Reign of Emperor Gallienus – The Apogee of Roman Cavalry, Ilkka Syvanne. Looks at the fifteen year reign of Gallienus, a period that saw his father become the First Roman Emperor to become a prisoner of war, the Roman Empire effectively split into three and come under near constant attack from outside, and an impressive series of usurpers emerge in the areas still ruled by Gallienus. Combines something of a bias towards Gallienus with an excellent analysis of the often confusing and contradictory sources which allows the reader to make up their own mind about the author’s own views (Read Full Review)
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Bitter Peleliu, Joseph Wheelan. This book looks at the long and brutal battle for Peleliu, a small but mountainous island attacked by the Americans because its airfield posed a potential threat to the forces about to invade the Philippines. The battle wasn’t expected to last for long, but the Americans had poor intelligence on the geography of the island, and also faced a new Japanese defensive strategy and a bitter struggle in the limestone ridges of the island followed (Read Full Review)
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26 February 2023

The Aviation Pioneers of McCook Field, Jerry Koszyk. A series of interviews with the people who worked at McCook Field when it was the centre of US Army aviation research in the early 1920s, carrying out pioneering work across a range of subjects from the parachute and improving engines to high altitude and long distance flights, often at great risk to the test pilots. A fascinating series of insights into the often dangerous world of these early aviation pioneers, who helped turning flying from a risky venture into a daily part of life (Read Full Review)
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Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin – The Glider Pilots of World War II, Scott McGaugh. Looks at the history of the US glider force, from its formation in 1941, through the years of development and training, to the relatively limited in number but costly combat engagements at Sicily, Normandy, the south of France, Bastogne, Market-Garden the crossing of the Rhine. Combines a history of the glider force with eyewitness accounts from the pilots who actually took part in these daring missions. The result is a grim picture of the life of the glider pilot and the risks they endured (Read Full Review)
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Combat Divers – An Illustrated History of Special Forces Divers, Michael G. Welham. After a brief history of the early combat diver focuses on the modern Special Forces diver, looking at what we know about the various units around the world, how they are trained and what little we know about their deployments, before moving on to look at the technology they use, from the standard diving suit to mini-submarines and on to modern underwater drones. A difficult task because of the secrecy that surrounds all of these forces, but the author has done a good job (Read Full Review)
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19 February 2023

SU-152/ ISU-152 vs Tiger – Eastern Front 1943-45, David Greentree. Looks at the clashes between the German Tiger I and Soviet SU-152/ ISU-152 heavy self propelled guns, most common between mid 1943 and the end of 1944. Covers the development and technical specifications of both weapons, the training of their crews, before moving onto a large number of fairly short accounts of clashes that involved both weapons, and for which we have accounts from both sides (Read Full Review)
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Caesar’s Civil War 49-44 BC, Adrian Goldsworthy. A good history of the civil wars that ended the Roman Republic, tracing the decline of the Republic, the pressures that led Caesar to risk a civil war, the campaign itself as the fighting moved from Italy to Spain, Greece, Egypt, Pontus, Africa and back to Spain again, and follow events on to the eventual victory of Octavian and the true death of the Republic. Has a good balance between campaign and battle accounts and the political side of the conflict, as well as acknowledging the limits of our knowledge of Caesar’s true motives and intentions (Read Full Review)
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US Attack Aviation, R.G. Head. A history of US light attack aircraft looking at their development, combat roles, the differences between the USAAF/ USAF and Navy attitudes to the attack role, with an especially big section devoted to the development of the joint Air Force/ Navy A-7. Could do with more on the Second World War, but otherwise good, with interesting insights into how the two US services approach the attack role and how that impacts on the aircraft they have purchased over the years (Read Full Review)
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12 February 2023

McDonnell XP-67 Moonbat – Steve Richardson and Peggy Mason. Looks at McDonnell’s first fighter aircraft, the radical twin engine XP-67, which featured extensive blending between fuselage, wing and engine nacelle. We trace the development of the design and look at the test flights carried out by the single prototype in great detail. The result is a detailed picture of a potentially promising design let down by its reliance on a new engine that never entered production, and which would have been very difficult to replace with a larger engine because of the blending that made the aircraft interesting in the first place (Read Full Review)
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Tanks in the Battle of Germany 1945 – Western Front, Steven J. Zaloga. Looks at armoured warfare on the Western Front in 1945, focusing on the statistical and technical side of things – how many tanks were present on each side, how did they compare to each other, how were they organised, how many were lost and to what causes. Gives a good overview of the nature of armoured warfare in the west in 1945, and in particular demonstrates just how badly the Germans had been defeated by the end of 1944 and how little armour they still had in the west during 1945 (Read Full Review)
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F-86A Sabre - Korea 1950-51, Peter E. Davies. Looks at the role of the F-86 Sabre in Korea, and in particular its battles against the MiG-15s of the Soviet, Chinese and North Korean air forces. Good material on how the two types of aircraft reached Korea, how their units were organised, how their pilots were trained and operated, and how the two types performed in combat (Read Full Review)
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5 February 2023

Chobham Armour, William Suttie. A study of all the post-war armoured vehicles developed at the Army’s centre for military vehicle design at Chobham Common, covering main battle tanks from the Centurion to Challenger II and a wide range of light and medium tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles. Well written and lavishly illustrated, this is an excellent guide to the mainly successful military vehicles designed at Chobham (Read Full Review)
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Super-Battleships of World War II – Montana class, Lion class, H-class, A-150 and Sovetsky Soyuz-class, Mark Stille. Looks at the last and largest generation of battleships to be designed (and in some cases laid down) by the world’s major naval powers, just as the Second World War brought new battleship construction to an end. Compares the more realistic British, American and (some) German designs with the massive Japanese design and the over-ambitious Soviet designs, to paint a picture of the ‘lost’ last generation of battleships (Read Full Review)
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Soviet Pistols – Tokarev, Makarov, Stechkin and others, Leroy Thompson. Looks at the pistols used and produced in the Soviet Union, from the pre-revolutionary Nagant M1895 to post-war automatic pistols, with excellent sections on their development and technical details, greatly aided by the author’s experience with these weapons, supported by good sections on their use in combat (Read Full Review)
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29 January 2023

Teutonic Knight versus Lithuanian Warrior – The Lithuanian Crusade 1283-1435, Mark Galeotti. Looks at three battles of the long Lithuanian Crusade, two Teutonic victories and the crushing Lithuanian victory at Grunwald/ Tannenberg that triggered the decline of the Teutonic Order. Compares the organisation, tactics and equipment of the fighting monks of the Teutonic Order and the initially pagan Lithuanians, who turn out to be more similar than one might have expected before focusing on the three battles. (Read Full Review)
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Me 262 – Northwest Europe 1944-45, Robert Forsyth. Looks at the brief combat carrier of the Me 262, the only jet fighter to see combat during the Second World War, when it outpaced every Allied aircraft it faced, and when things went well could inflict serious damage on individual bomber formations. However as this book demonstrates it arrived too late, there were never enough of them, and too many were lost to non-combat reasons (Read Full Review)
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The Last Viking, Don Hollway. A dramatic telling of the story of Harald Hardrada, making extensive use of later saga sources to fill out the details of an otherwise relatively poorly documented life. May as a result sometimes include material from the sagas that isn’t documented elsewhere, but does make for a more satisfying biography(Read Full Review)
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22 January 2023

Cromwell against the Scots – The Last Anglo-Scottish Wars 1650-1652 (revised edition), John D Grainger. Looks at the war between the former civil war allies, triggered by English fears of a possible Scottish invasion after the Scots accepted Charles II as their king, and which saw Cromwell invade and conquer much of Scotland before the Scots carried out a fairly desperate invasion of England in the hope of attracting Royalist support before being overwhelmed at Worcester. Looks at the political debates in both countries, the skilfully conducted (by both sides) campaign in Scotland, and the final desperate Scottish/ Royalist invasion of England (Read Full Review)
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Hitler’s Fortresses in the East – the Sieges of Ternopol, Kovel, Poznan and Breslau 1944-1945, Alexey Isaev. Looks at four examples of the sieges of cities designated as Fortresses by the Germans as the war turned against them on the Eastern Front, covering the often brutal fighting in these besieged cities, German attempts to either break the siege or at least support the fighters from outside, how the way the Soviets tackled them changed, and if they actually performed the role they were intended to (Read Full Review)
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Dark Waters, Starry Skies – The Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign, March-October 1943, Jeffrey R. Cox. Looks at the fighting in the Solomons from the tail end of the Guadalcanal campaign to the end of the invasion of New George, along with the connected fighting on New Guinea and the naval and air campaigns associated with those campaigns. This was a period when the naval war was finally balanced, with the Americans in control in daylight and the Japanese at night, with both sides able to inflict heavy blows on the other, but against a background of growing American power and a series of Japanese setbacks (Read Full Review)
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15 January 2023

Eben-Emael and the Defence of Fortress Belgium 1940, Clayton Donnell. Looks at the role of the Belgian forts in the campaign of 1940, going beyond the famous fall of Fort Eben-Emael to look at how the remaining forts were able to hold out for much longer than this would leave you to expect, with several fighting on for more than two weeks, despite lacking the infantry support they were meant to rely on. A very atmospheric account of what it was like to be under siege in these isolated fortresses, as the front line moved further away from them (Read Full Review)
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Roman Conquests – Mesopotamia and Arabia, Lee Fratantuono. Looks at the Roman involvement in Arabia and Mesopotamia, two areas that were never fully conquered and that saw some of Rome’s worst defeats during attempts to conquer Parthia and wars with Persia as well as the establishment of provinces of Arabia and Mespotamia in the western part of those areas. An interesting look at Rome’s one border with a power of equal standing and military power (Read Full Review)
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Landing Craft & Amphibians – Seaborne Vessels in the 20th Century, Ben Skipper. Covers a very large topic in a fairly short space, looking at everything from the smallest Infantry landing craft through to the massive Landing Ship Tanks, over a period stretching from Gallipoli, through the Second World War to the end of the 20th Century. As a result each type of vessel only gets a small space, but we do get a good overview of the massive range of landing craft and amphibians produced over the last century, and in particular the huge variant of such craft produced on all sides during the Second World War (Read Full Review)
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1 January 2023

Warship 2022 – ed John Jordan. An interesting collection of high quality articles on topics that vary from the gunboats of Imperial Germany to the massive ‘super-battleship’ designs produced in the Soviet Union in 1939-41, covering a time period from the nineteenth century to the present day. A good selection of high quality articles, many of which could easily be turned into a stand-alone Osprey (Read Full Review)
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Caudine Forks 321 BC – Rome’s Humiliation in the Second Samnite War, Nic Fields. Looks at the early history of Rome, the nature of the Samnites and their expansion in southern Italy, the earlier clashes between the two, the aftermath of the battle, the possible impact of the Samnite wars on the Roman army, and what little we know about the actual battle itself, which may not actually have included much fighting (Read Full Review)
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