Military History Encyclopedia on the Web

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17 December 2008

Junkers Ju 87 Stukageschwader of North Africa and the Mediterranean, John Weal Osprey Combat Aircraft 6. This book looks at the second phase of the Stuka's career, fighting around the Mediterranean. Having met its match in the skies above southern England, the Stuka groups moved south, first to attack Malta and take part in the campaign in the Balkans, and then to fight in North Africa. This second successful period ended once the Allies were able to build up their fighter strength in the desert, but the Stuka remained in limited use to the end of the war in Italy, eventually reducing to night nuisance raids and anti-partisan work. Weal also looks at the relatively small number of Ju 87s that served with the Italian Air Force, concentrating on the brief period at the start of the war when they were operating independently of the Germans.  [see more]
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Casca: The Avenger, Tony Roberts. Barry Sadler's The Eternal Mercenary #28. After a series of three books set in the American Civil War, this entry in the Casca series jumps back nearly a millennium and a half, to the Byzantine Empire at the time of Justinian. The book follows on from an earlier entry in the series, and sees Casca return to Constantinople in an attempt to gain revenge on his enemies in the Brotherhood of the Lamb. The time period gives Roberts a chance to explore the chariot racing that had such an impact on the politics of the time, as well as Justinian's wars in Italy and Persia, which dominate the second half of the book.  http://www.casca.net/
Casca: The Avenger, Tony Roberts. Barry Sadler's The Eternal Mercenary #28. After a series of three books set in the American Civil War, this entry in the Casca series jumps back nearly a millennium and a half, to the Byzantine Empire at the time of Justinian. The book follows on from an earlier entry in the series, and sees Casca return to Constantinople in an attempt to gain revenge on his enemies in the Brotherhood of the Lamb. The time period gives Roberts a chance to explore the chariot racing that had such an impact on the politics of the time, as well as Justinian's wars in Italy and Persia, which dominate the second half of the book.  http://www.casca.net/

8 December 2008

We Are Soldiers Still, Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore and Joseph Halloway. A thought provoking account of a return visit to the Ia Drang Valley, the site of the first large scale clashes between American and North Vietnamese troops. Both of the authors were present at that battle, one as the commander of first American platoon to enter the area, the other as a war correspondent. Together with a number of their opponents in the Ia Drang Moore and Galloway return to the remote battlefields where they first clashed. The central theme of this book is one of conciliation between former enemies, who thirty years after the battles became unexpected friends.[see more]
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7 November 2008

Battle for Crete, John Hall Spencer. A valuable reprint of one of the classic accounts of the German invasion of Crete. Hall Spencer has produced a book that combined a clear overview of the battle, from the moment the British decided to intervene in Greece, to the final evacuation from Crete, while at the same time using eye witness accounts to bring us right down to the level of the individual platoons and soldiers fighting around the crucial airfields on Crete. As a result the course of the battle becomes much clearer, as do the reasons for the Allied failure to hold Crete. One of the best accounts of an individual battle I have read. [see more]
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1 November 2008

PBJ Mitchell Units of the Pacific War, Jerry Scuts Osprey Combat Aircraft 40. This entry in the Combat Aircraft series looks at the seven Marine Corps squadrons to operate the Mitchell in the Pacific theatre, starting in March 1944. The small number of units involved means that this book looks at each of their wartime careers in some detail. [see more]
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22 September 2008

Vietnam Airmobile Warfare Tactics, Gordon L. Rottman. This is a very interesting Osprey and is well written by a former veteran of the conflict and illustrated to the usual high Osprey standard. It discusses the use of various types of helicopters and the rapid introduction of new types. Organisation and tactics are discussed but not in huge depth as this book covers a lot in its 64 pages. This book generally wets the appetite for more information and would go well with other Ospreys covering different aspects of the Vietnam War [see more].
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C-47/R4D Skytrain Units of the ETO and MTO, David Isby. The C-47 was used in every major Allied attack from Operation Torch to the crossing of the Rhine, and played a crucial part in the final Allied victory in Europe. This book focuses on those major offensives, from the often flawed planning to the courageous implementation. For many of the crews involved these huge aerial attacks were their first combat mission and the plans required almost impossible levels of precision, but despite this most of these attacks ended in success. Here we discover why. [see more]
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C-47/R4D Skytrain Units of the Pacific and CBI, David Isby. Although the war in the Pacific is often seen as predominantly a naval war, very few of the Allied offensives would have been possible without the C-47/R4D (known as the Dakota in RAF service). Isby packs a great deal into this book, looking at the role the C-47 played in every part of the war against Japan, from the frozen Aleutians to the jungles of Burma. Often operating in areas within range of Japanese fighters, the Air Force's C-47s and Navy's R4Ds flew supplies into forward bases, dropped paratroopers and flew troops directly into newly captured or built airfields and flew casualties away from the front line. [see more]
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14 September 2008

Love and Sand, Howard M. Layton. The autobiography of a RAF Navigator who took part in the campaign in East Africa and the evacuation from Greece, flew on the Trans-Africa ferry route and fought in the El Alamein campaign. Layton weaves his military experiences into the wider story of his life, taking us from pre-war Coventry, through North Africa, and on to his post-war life in America [see more]
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7 September 2008

Panther Medium Tank, 1942-45, Stephen A. Hart, Osprey New Vanguard 67. This look at what was probably the best German tank of the Second World War concentrates on the technical development of the Panther. The text is divided into chapters on each of the major versions of the Panther, looking at their development, production, deployment and combat career. As a result the text flows well, and each new development is placed properly in its context. [see more]
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Il-2 Shturmovik Guards Units of World War 2, Oleg Rastrenin Osprey Combat Aircraft 71. This is a very valuable look at the relatively unfamiliar career of a famous aircraft, written by a Russian aviation historian, and based very heavily on Soviet era archives. Produced in greater numbers than any other Second World War aircraft, the Il-2 was the backbone of the Soviet air force, while the Guards Units were its elite. [see more]
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31 August 2008

US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Pacific War, Louis B Dorny Osprey Combat Aircraft 62. This entry in the Combat Aircraft series looks at the varied uses of the Catalina in the Pacific theatre, where it served as successfully as a long range reconnaissance aircraft, a night bomber (the "Black Cat") and on air-sea rescue, or Dumbo duties. The text is well supported with first hand accounts, contemporary photographs and full colour illustrations. [see more]
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25 August 2008

Pirate of the Far East: 941-1644, Stephen Turnbull, Osprey Warrior 125. This book covers a long period of time and a fascinating and often neglected subject. It shatters some of the myths about the pirates of this area and period and highlights the interaction and impact of the Wako on Japanese historical events.  It described several of the sea lords of the Japanese and works well as a companion book with other Ospreys covering the ships of the period and the Japanese invasion of Korea. [see more]
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19 August 2008

Japanese Tanks, 1939-45, Steven J. Zaloga, Osprey New Vanguard 137. A well written and illustrated look at the tanks produced for the Japanese army from the late 1920s to the end of the Second World War. This is a good overview of this neglected subject, looking at both the development of their tanks and their use in combat. [see more]
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6 August 2008

The Ultimate Sacrifice, David Turner. Written by a nephew of one of the officers lost on HMS Royal Oak, this book looks at the loss of that battleship, sunk at anchor in Scapa Flow on 14 October 1939. After setting the sinking in context, Turner focuses on the fate of the crew of the Royal Oak, reminding us of the terrible price paid by the 833 victims of the sinking. [see more]
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6 June 2008

Casca: Johnny Reb, Tony Roberts. The sequel to Halls of Montezuma sees Casca take part in the key early battles of the American Civil War in Virginia, as well as facing age-old enemies. Another entertaining entry in this long running series, which ends with a dramatic cliff-hanger that leads us into the final part of this trilogy.
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Exploring Intelligence Archives, Edited by R. Gerald Hughes, Peter Jackson and Len Scott A very valuable contribution to the study of secret intelligence, looking at the problems associated with secret material and the uses that can be made of it. The eleven main chapters each look at a small selection of documents and ask several key questions, including who wrote it, who for and what they wanted to achieve, to give a better understanding of the limitations of secret materials. [see more]
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7 May 2008

Napoleon's Cursed War, Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War. Ronald Fraser. A fascinating look at the Peninsular War from the Spanish point of view, tracing the development of the war from the early provincial revolts, through the years of military defeat and the succesful guerilla campaigns. Frasers's work brings to life the people who were willing to risk everything to free their country from Napoleon. [see more]
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Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe, John Nichol and Tony Rennell. A compelling account of the risks that were taken by evaders and the people that helped them attempt to escape from Nazi occupied Europe during the Second World War. This well balanced book uses eyewitness accounts to take us into the escape lines that spirited thousands of Allied airmen back to Britain, with a well judged but somber section that makes it clear just how big a risk their European helpers were taking. [see more]
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Casca: Halls of Montezuma, Tony Roberts. An entertaining novel partly set during the Mexican War, this is the 25th entry in this long running series, and a successful debut for Tony Robert, who has recently taken over the franchise. The main character, Casca Rufio Longinius, is a Roman soldier cursed to wander the world until the second coming, and his wanders bring him to Virginia just before the outbreak of war with Mexico. This is the first part of a trilogy, which will take Casca into the Civil War. [see more]
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24 April 2008

Roll Call to Destiny, Brent Nosworthy. This book takes a very different approach to the Civil War battlefield, looking at a number of well known incidents from the point of view of one or more of the individual units involved. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in the Civil War battlefield. [see more]
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7 March 2008

The Shropshire Lads, Graham Holbrook. This is a very entertaining historical novel set in and around the trenches of the Western Front during the First World War. The book follows a group of Shropshire volunteers from the pre-war period, through training, into combat in the trenches and then into a classic adventure tale. [see more]
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 Inferno: The Devastation of Hamburg, 1943, Keith Lowe. Quite possibly the best book yet written on the Allied bombing campaign against Germany, Lowe examines the week-long attack on Hamburg in July 1943 from the point of view of the bomber pilots, the German night fighter pilots and the citizens of Hamburg. A brilliantly researched and written account of one of the more somber periods in European History. [see more]
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29 January 2008

Men of Fire: Grant, Forrest and the Campaign That Decided the Civil War, Jack Hurst. This is a very well researched and readable account of one of the most significant campaigns of the American Civil War - the Federal attacks on Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, two victories that broke the Confederate defensive line in the west, and set the tone for the rest of the war. [see more]
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Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World, Philip A.G. Sabin. This book is an interesting but most unusual attempt to reconstruct some of the famous battles of the Ancient World. In many cases we have limited information or the sources we have contradict each other, so Sabin has created a simple war gaming system in an attempt to see which of our sources is most credible. [see more]
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Fledgling Eagle: The Politics of Air Power, Mark Andrews. This is a detailed history of the development of British air power from the tiny handful of fliers of 1914 through to the massive aerial armadas of 1945, from the point of view of the anti-strategic bombing camp. Andrews examines the role of air power in the two World Wars, as well as the creation of the RAF during the First World War and the choices it made during the inter-war period [see more]
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