Military History Encyclopedia on the Web

2017 onwards - 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

29 December 2010

Images of War: Berlin, Victory in Europe, Nik Cornish. A pictorial guide to the Soviet offensives that broke through the last German defensive lines in the East and the desperate battle for Berlin, the last major battle of the war against Nazi Germany. A good selection of Soviet and German photographs supported by useful captions and a concise account of the campaign. [read full review]
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Railway of Hell - War, Captivity and Forced Labour at the Hands of the Japanese, Reginald Burton. A thoughtful autobiography, originally written in 1963 and revised in 2002, and recounting the author's experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese between 1942 and 1945, including a period spent building the infamous railway from Siam to Burma. [read full review]
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8 December 2010

The Amber Treasure, Richard Denning. Well written and entertaining historical fiction set in the early days of the Angle invasion of northern England, one of the most obscure periods of the Dark Ages, following the adventures of a young man caught up in the conflict between the Angles and the peoples they had displaced. [read full review]
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Fighter Aces - The Constable Maxwell Brothers, Alex Revell. An unusual double biography, looking at two brothers who served as fighter pilots, one in the First World War and one in the Second. As a result we get a clear picture of the vast increase in the complexity of aerial warfare in the two decades between the wars, from the standing fighter patrols of the first war to the radar guided interceptions of the Battle of Britain or the complexities of the night fighters, both on defensive and offensive duties [read full review]
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The Pacific: Hell was an Ocean Away, Hugh Ambrose. Closely linked to the HBO TV series, this sizable book follows the experiences of five US servicemen (four Marines and a Navy aviator) during the four years of the Pacific War, tracing their experiences from the Japanese invasion of the Philippines to the preparations for the invasion of Japan, through the battles of Midway and Guadalcanal and the long island hopping campaign that followed. [read full review]
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Some Desperate Glory - The Diary of a Young Officer, 1917, Edwin Campion Vaughan. This diary covers the experiences of a young and very inexperienced infantry officer (as he admits himself) from his arrival in France in January 1917 to his participation in the Third Battle of Ypres in August. Casts an unusual light on the relationship between junior officers and the men under their command [read full review]
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28 November 2010

Casca 34: Devil's Horseman, Tony Roberts. This time Casca accompanies the Mongols as they invade eastern and central Europe, overwhelming Russian, Polish and Hungarian resistance on their way to a dramatic victory on the Saja River. With Ogatai Khan fading fast back in Mongolia the horde is split into rival factions as the princes jostle to become his heir, and Casca is dragged into the middle of the dynastic battle.   [read full review]
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Chitral Charlie, The Rise and Fall of Major General Charles Townshend, N. S. Nash. A biography of the general best known for his part in the disastrous Mesopotamian campaign of 1915-16, which ended with the siege and fall of Kut. Townshend is revealed as an intelligent, ambitious and able officer, with a passionate interest in the conduct of military operations but with flaws in his character that combined with the anger caused by the poor treatment of his men in Turkish captivity to leave his reputation in tatters [read full review]
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Chitral Charlie, The Rise and Fall of Major General Charles Townshend, N. S. Nash. A biography of the general best known for his part in the disastrous Mesopotamian campaign of 1915-16, which ended with the siege and fall of Kut. Townshend is revealed as an intelligent, ambitious and able officer, with a passionate interest in the conduct of military operations but with flaws in his character that combined with the anger caused by the poor treatment of his men in Turkish captivity to leave his reputation in tatters [read full review]
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Tracing the Rifle Volunteers, Ray Westlake. A comprehensive reference work detailing the history of the Volunteer Rifle Corps, the infantry component of the volunteer force that preceded the Territorial Force. Provides details of each of the hundreds of companies formed around England, Wales and Scotland, including location, date of formation and eventual fate [read full review]
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Messines 1917: The zenith of siege warfare, Alexander Turner. A good clear account of one of the most successful British offensives of the First World War, and a classic example of the success possible when formal siege techniques were applied to the deadlock on the Western Front. The battle is best known for the massive mines that were detonated at its start, but also saw a significant improvement in the British use of artillery and the benefits of a well organised plan [read full review]
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Wittmann v Ekins: The Death of a Panzer Ace (DVD). A low-key but effective documentary looking at the career and final defeat of the German Panzer Ace Michael Wittman and the experiences of Joe Ekins, a British tank gunner who may have fired the shots that killed him. Nicely presented with much of the filming done on the actual battlefields in Normandy [read full review]
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Notes of a Russian Sniper, Vassili Zaitsev. An utterly compelling account of the battle of Stalingrad as seen by Vassili Zaitsev, the sniper whose exploits inspired the film 'Enemy at the Gates'. A very well written memoir that gives the reader a clear idea of the nature of the fighting in the ruins of the city, and of the skills needed by a sniper in that environment [read full review]
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17 November 2010

The African Wars - Warriors and Soldiers of the Colonial Campaigns, Chris Peers. This is an invaluable examination of a number of the most successful African armies and societies of the nineteenth century, examining their organisation, weapons and success or failures against the Colonial powers, in particular Britain, Germany and the independent colony run by the king of Belgium. [read full review]
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Tanks on the Somme, from Morval to Beaumont Hamel, Trevor Pidgeon. A very detailed tank-by-tank account of the 'penny packet' operations that followed the initial larger scale introduction of the tank into warfare during the battle of the Somme. Supported by detailed maps and battlefield guides, this is one of the most detailed accounts of armoured warfare you will ever read! [read full review]
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16 November 2010

Army of the Republic of Vietnam 1954-75 , Gordon L. Rottman, This Osprey Men at Arms book covers the Republic of Vietnam's forces which fought alongside the US and Australian forces. They remain a much maligned and little understood force which undertook the bulk of the fighting during the conflict and have an extremely mixed reputation. The author was a US Special Forces veteran of the Vietnam war and this helps give the book authority but at times it feels like he goes out of his way to defend the subject. The book is well illustrated with colour plates of uniforms and equipment and plenty of photographs but is brief at 48 pages and at times doesn’t make organisation that clear as organisational charts would have been helpful. [read full review]
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French Foreign Legion 1872-1914, Martin Windrow This is an excellent little book although only 48 pages long (standard size for osprey men at arms books) it covers a wide ranging period of this legendary military unit. Packed with colour plates of uniforms and equipment as well as line drawings, contemporary photographs and maps it’s a great introduction to both this famous unit and the French colonial wars. The book covers from 1872 up till the start of World War I so covers a wide range of conflicts in South East Asia (including Vietnam which was to be such a graveyard of French forces after World War II) and North and West Africa. [read full review]
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15 November 2010

The Black Bull: From Normandy to the Baltic with the 11th Armoured Division, Patrick Delaforce.  A narrative history of the role played by 11th Armoured Division in Normandy, northern France, Belgium, Holland and northern Germany, written by a professional historian and member of the division who took part in the events he describes. Well supported by eyewitness accounts, and with some interesting material on less familiar aspects of the fighting. [read full review]
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Raglan: From the Peninsula to the Crimea, John Sweetman. A deservedly lengthy biography of Lord Raglan, most famous as the British commander in the Crimea and for his role in the Charge of the Light Brigade, but also a Peninsular War veteran and close associate of the Duke of Wellington, and a rather more successful commander than is generally realised. [read full review]
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Ancient Warfare Magazine: Volume IV, Issue 4, Darkness descends: End of the Bronze Age EmpiresAncient Warfare Magazine: Volume IV, Issue 4, Darkness descends: End of the Bronze Age Empires. Focuses on the collapse of the Bronze Age empires of the Eastern Mediterranean, a period that saw the Hittite and Mycenaean civilisations disappear and Egypt come under serious pressure. Also looks at unusual tactics in Greek battles, metal working and the Imperial Roman Fleet. [see more]

Ancient Warfare Magazine: Volume IV, Issue 5, Fighting for the Gods: Warfare and ReligionAncient Warfare Magazine: Volume IV, Issue 5, Fighting for the Gods: Warfare and Religion. All but one of the articles are focused on the central theme, while still covering a very wide range of time and of topics, from the first introduction of religion into warfare in Ancient Persia to the conversion of the Frankish king Clovis almost at the end of antiquity. [see more]

10 November 2010

Historical Dreadnoughts - Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battles for Naval History, Barry Gough. An unexpectedly absorbing look at the careers of two of the twentieth century's greatest naval histories and the rivalry that developed between them when they were at the height of their fame. Should be of value to anyone interested in the writing of history, or in British naval history during the world wars [read full review]
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8 November 2010

Churchill's Spearhead: The Development of Britain's Airborne Forces during World War II, John Greenacre. This is an analytic study of the development of Britain's parachute and glider borne forces during the Second World War, looking at the reasons they were created, the way they were equipped and led, and the way in which a doctrine for the deployment developed over time. [read full review]
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Kommando, Hitler's Special Forces in the Second World War, Charles Whiting. An account of some of the main missions carried out by the Brandenburgers and later SS Commandos, supported by valuable eye witness accounts from some of the participants. Dominated by the very different figures of Canaris and Skorzeny this is an interesting look at the varied activities of some notorious units and individuals. [read full review]
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The Rise of Militant Islam, Anthony Tucker-Jones, Despite the rather sensationalist cover this is a highly detailed and thought provoking book which chronicles the Western powers campaigns against the threat of  militant Islam. It looks at the countries involved in turn covering far more than the traditional look at the Middle East and Afghanistan, detailing conflicts from the Russian Republics and Bosnia to North Africa and Sudan. It helps the reader understand the wider context of Islamic terrorism and the complex international interactions where the misguided policies of West then had an impact across several countries and in many ways helped grow the problem. It is very up to date and detailed but at times the level of detail can be hard to follow across several countries with a wide range of names; it does end on a hopeful if cynical note about how effective Western efforts have been.[read full review]
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4 November 2010

The Battle of Norway: April-June 1940, Geirr H. Haarr. Following on from the same authors German Invasion of Norway, this volume looks at the battles that followed, with an emphasis of the naval aspects of the fighting, and on the cooperation between Norwegian, British and French forces. Brilliantly researched and very detailed, this will become the definitive work on this subject. [read full review]
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Guthrie's War: A surgeon of the Peninsula and Waterloo, Michael Crumplin. A biography of George Guthrie, one of the most distinguished British military surgeons of the Napoleonic Wars, looking at both the outline of his career and the details of many of his surgical cases during the Peninsular War, complete with extracts from his own post-war publications. [read full review]
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Wellington's Peninsular War Generals & Their Battles, A Biographical and Historical Dictionary, T. A. Heathcote. A useful reference work with biographies of forty one of Wellington's subordinates, mostly his divisional commanders, but also including staff officers and men from the support services. The biographies are supported by thirty-five articles looking at every campaign or battle that involved at least five of the men covered in the biographies. [read full review]
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1 November 2010

Killing the Bismarck - Destroying the Pride of Hitler's Fleet, Ian Ballantyne. A compelling account of the hunt for the Bismarck, told almost entirely from the British point of view, until the final battle between the crippled Bismarck and the British home fleet, when we are taken onboard the doomed German battleship for a graphic account of her fate. [read full review]
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30 October 2010

SS Charlemagne, Tony Le Tissier. An account of the military record of the French SS division, SS Charlemagne, as it fought in the German retreat towards Berlin and the final dramatic battle for that city. Told largely in the words of the general commanding the remains of the division in Berlin, and the captain in command of the remaining battalion, this account focuses tightly on one small unit's experiences of that battle. [read full review]
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Through Hitler's Back Door - SOE Operations in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, 1939-1945, Alan Ogden. A look at some of the most obscure operations carried out by SOE, in areas that became part of the Soviet sphere of influence before falling behind the iron curtain at the end of the war, after having sided with the Germans during the fighting. [read full review]
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22 October 2010

US Air Force Special Operations Command, Rick Llinares and Andy Evans. A look at eight types of aircraft either currently or recently in use with the US Air Force Special Operations Command, from the AC-130 Hercules Gunship to the CV-22 Osprey Tilt-Rotor aircraft, with a large number of impressive detailed photographs show each aircraft from a wide variety of angles. [read full review]
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1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs, Volume II: Aspern, John H. Gill. The second volume in this high quality series looks at the fall of Vienna and Napoleon's first defeat at Aspern-Essling, as well as widening the picture to look at events in Italy and Dalmatia. Brilliantly researched and yet thoroughly readable, this is an essential book for anyone interested in the period. [read full review]
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The British Army Against Napoleon - Facts, Lists and Trivia 1805-1815, Robert Burnham and Ron McGuigan. A useful collection of lists, statistics, regimental details, seniority charts, and endless bits and pieces of information about the British army during the wars against Napoleon - a very useful reference work, and an entertaining volume to dip into as well! [read full review]
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Unconditional Surrender, Walter Lüdde-Neurath. An account of the final days of the Third Reich as seen by Dönitz's adjutant during the last year of the war, a period that ended with Dönitz briefly succeeding Hitler as ruler of what was left of Nazi Germany. Lüdde-Neurath thus gives us an invaluable insider's view of the last days of the Third Reich. [read full review]
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19 October 2010

Air War over Kursk - Turning Point in the East, Dmitriy B. Khazanov. A detailed examination of the epic clash between the Luftwaffe and the Soviet Air Force in the skies of Kursk, with a slight emphasis on the Soviet experience and some good attempts to reconcile the often contradictory evidence about the battle [read full review]
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If the Allies had Fallen: Sixty Alternative Scenarios of World War II, ed. Dennis E. Showalter & Harold C. Deutsch. A collection of alternative scenarios looking at sixty of the most familiar 'what ifs?' of the Second World War, with some articles examining why they didn't happen and others looking at what might have followed if they had [read full review]
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Brief Glory - The Life of Arthur Rhys Davids DSO MC, Alex Revell. A biography of a classic representative of the First World War's 'lost generation', a brilliant scholar with a promising future who went straight from Eton to the Royal Flying Corps, before gaining fame as a talented 'ace', shooting down Werner Voss just before his own death in battle over Ypres [read full review]
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War for the Throne: The battle of Shrewsbury 1403, John Barratt War for the Throne: The battle of Shrewsbury 1403, John Barratt. A military history of the turbulent early years of the reign of Henry IV, including his seizure of the throne, early conflicts with Scotland, the Glyn Dwr revolt in Wales and the rebellions by Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, and his son Hotspur, with a special focus on the battle of Shrewsbury [read full review]
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30 September 2010

Afrikakorps Soldier 1941-43, Pier Paolo Battistelli. A look at the recruitment, training, equipment and daily life of the soldiers of the Afrikakorps, with useful details on how things changed over the life of the Korps, as the nature of the desert war changed and the Axis powers went onto the defensive [read full review]
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Ancient Warfare Special Issue 2010: Core of the Legion - The Roman Imperial centuria. Ancient Warfare Special 2010 - Core of the Legion, The Roman Imperial centuria. Special issue looking at the early Imperial century, the best known sub-unit of the Roman Legion. Articles look at the organisation, equipment and battlefield role of the century and the careers of their centurions, as well as a fascinating look at the fragmentary administrative documents that have survived. [see more]

22 September 2010

A Soldier of the Seventy-first, From De la Plata to Waterloo 1806-1815, Joseph Sinclair. The memoir of an educated private soldier who enlisted in the British after a family argument, and who went on to serve in South American, Walcheren and the Peninsular War, producing a thoughtful and literate account of the life of a private soldier in a period when very few of his fellow private soldiers left any record of their experiences [read full review]
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The Right of the Line: The Role of the RAF in World War Two, John Terraine. This is the classic account of the RAF's role in the Second World War, a massive piece of work that focuses on the main threads of the air war, from pre-war preparations to the final victory in Europe, through the Battles of Britain and the Atlantic and the long and costly strategic bombing campaign. An essential read on an crucial part of the war [read full review]
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Colditz: Oflag IV-C, Michael McNally. An interesting approach to a familiar subject, covering the historical development of Colditz castle from the earliest wooden fort of the eleventh century to the modern attempts to restore the castle, as well as looking at its time as a Prisoner of War camp and location for some famously ambitious escape attempts [read full review]
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The Battle of Britain, John Frayn Turner. A account of the battle of Britain centred around a day-by-day account of the fighting, and with a bias towards Leigh Mallory, Douglas Bader and the 'Big Wing'. A refreshing change from some of the drier recent works on the battle, although presenting one particular view of events. [read full review]
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In a Bosnia Trench, A Wartime Memoir of a Muslim Bosnian Soldier, Elvir Kulin with Maury Hirschkorn. A impressively un-judgemental account of the Bosnia War as seen by a young Bosnian Muslim from the Sarajevo area, of value both for its account of the fighting, and of the rapid descent into civil war in the former Yugoslavia. [read full review]
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17 September 2010

Sheffield City Battalion, The 12th (Service) Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment, Ralph Gibson & Paul Oldfield. An excellent battalion history, looking at a unit that went to Egypt for a short period before returning to Europe to take part in the disastrous first day of the Battle of the Somme. Includes a good section on the reasons for the failure at the Somme, providing more detailed background material than is often the case in regimental histories.[read full review]
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V Weapons Hunt - Defeating German Secret Weapons, Colonel Roy M. Stanley II, USAF (Ret). An utterly fascinating look at the role photo reconnaissance played in the hunt for the German 'V' weapons during the Second World War, written by a former photo-interpreter and illustrated with a vast number of well annotated wartime aerial photographs. [read full review]
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The Royal Air Force at Home, The History of RAF Air Displays From 1920, Ian Smith Watson. A comprehensive look at the history of RAF air displays and the aircraft that took part in them, focusing to a large extend on the post-war displays, including the huge number of 'at-home' displays inaugurated to commemorate the Battle of Britain [read full review]
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Churchill's Desert Rats in North-West Europe, From Normandy to Berlin, Patrick Delaforce. An account of 7th Armoured Division's part in the fighting between D-Day and the final German surrender, a period that saw the Desert Rats take part in some of the most famous battles in Normandy, the 'Great Swan' across France, the liberation of parts of Belgium, the crossing of the Rhine and the capture of Hamburg [read full review]
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27 August 2010

Report on Experience, John Mulgan. A thoughtful if often rather melancholy account of one man's experiences of the British Army during the Second World War, encompassing time spent in England, in the Western Desert and in Greece, cooperating with the partisans, focusing more on his views on war and the British at war than on the battles he took part in. [read full review]
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1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs, Volume I: Abensberg, John H. Gill. The first volume in a monumental account of the 1809 war between France and the Habsburg Empire, Napoleon's last victorious war, looking at the reasons behind the Austrian declaration of war and the early battles that ended the Austrian invasion of Bavaria and paved the war for Napoleon's campaign around Vienna. [read full review]
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US Combat Engineer 1941-45, Gordon Rottman. A look at the impressively large US Army Corps of Engineers - the selection of its men, their training and equipment and the role its combat engineer battalions played in the successful Allied campaigns in North Africa and Europe. [read full review]
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23 August 2010

Blitzkreig no Longer - The German Wehrmacht in Battle, 1943, Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. A look at the campaigns fought by the German armed forces during 1943, the year that saw the initiative permanently slip from their hands, with the failure of the Kursk offensive, defeat in the Atlantic, Tunisia, Sicily and southern Italy and the collapse of fascist power in Italy.   [read full review]
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The Military Life and Times of Sir Miles Dempsey, GBE KCB DSO MC - Monty's Army Commander, Peter Rostron. A much needed full-length biography of a commander who led a corps during the invasions of Sicily and southern Italy and the British Second Army on D-Day and during the campaign in Normandy, the break-out from Normandy, the advance across France, at Arnhem and the crossing of the Rhine [read full review]
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German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser, Robert Forczyk. A look at the series of six battles between German commerce raiders and British and Australian cruisers and armed merchants cruisers during 1940 and 1941, a period that saw the converted German warships perform surprisingly well against more powerful opponents while at the same time taking a toll of Allied shipping [read full review]
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14 August 2010

Victory at Poitiers: The Black Prince and the Medieval Art of War, Christian Teutsch. A look at the military career of the Black Prince, focusing on the lessons he could have learnt from his early experiences, especially at Crecy, and how he may have used them to win his great victory at Poitiers. [read full review]
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Eagles and Bulldogs in Normandy, 1944, Michael Reynolds. An account of the experiences of the British 3rd and American 29th infantry divisions during the fighting in Normandy, looking at their experiences on Omaha and Sword beaches and their roles in the capture of St. Lo and Caen, two early targets that took more than a month to reach [read full review]
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Saturday at M.I.9: The Classic Account of the WWII Allied Escape Organisation, Airey Neave. A compelling account of the author's time at M.I.9, the section of the British secret service that was dedicated to supporting the networks that helped Allied servicemen escape from occupied Europe while fighting the Gestapo and treacherous double agents [read full review]
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The Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759, Nicholas Tracy. Written for the 250th anniversary of this battle, won at night, in a storm, and in a difficult bay on the French coast, Tracy looks at the wider context of a battle that ended a real threat of French invasion, with sections on the strategy of naval warfare in the period, the career of Admiral Hawke as well as on the battle itself [read full review]
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British and Commonwealth War Cemeteries, Julie Summers. A look at the impressive achievements of the Imperial War Graves Commission in building and maintaining tens and thousands of cemeteries and memorials to the dead of the two World Wars and a look at commemoration of the dead in the post-war world, including the National Arboretum [read full review]
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Mirage III vs MiG-21, Six Day War 1967, Shlomo Aloni. Looks at the development of both aircraft, their entry in Israeli and Arab service and the actual fighting during the Six Day War, a short enough conflict to allow the author to look at every clash between the Mirage III and MiG 21 [read full review]
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2 August 2010

On the Deck or in the Drink, Flying with the Royal Navy 1952-1964, Lieutenant Brian R. Allen RN. The autobiography of a pilot in the post-war Fleet Air Arm, recounting his experiences flying a wide range of aircraft from old wartime Avengers to the Fairey Gannet and some alarming early helicopters [read full review]
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Race for the Reichstag - the 1945 Battle for Berlin, Tony Le Tissier. A detailed but still coherent and readable account of the desperate fighting around and in Berlin in April and May 1945 (and within the two high commands), looking at events from both the Soviet and German sides and supported by some useful maps [read full review]
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The Fortress of Rhodes 1309-1522, Konstantin Nossov. A lavishly illustrated look at one of the strongest fortresses of its time, the home of the Knights of St. John until its fall to the Turks in 1522, tracing the development of the fortifications as the development of the cannon made the medieval walls dangerously vulnerable to attack. [read full review]
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Swift to Battle: No. 72 Fighter Squadron RAF in Action: III 1947 to 1961 Into the Jet Age & Cold War Operations, Tom Docherty. This third part of a history of No.72 Fighter Squadron takes us from the immediate post-war period to the end of the squadron's existence as a fixed-wing fighter unit, a period that saw its pilots adapt to the new jet age [read full review]
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One Pilot's War - The Battle of Britain and Beyond, W.A. Wilkinson. The very readable autobiography of a pre-war RAF volunteer, tracing his progress from the workshops at Cranwell to the cockpit of a Hurricane during the battle of France and the battle of Britain, long patrols over the Irish Sea and finally a career as an instructor. [read full review]
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Blood, Sweat and Steel: Frontline accounts from the Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq, Peter Darman. A collection of frontline accounts from a wide range of participants in the two recent wars in Iraq and the current war in Afghanistan that makes a valuable contribution to the literate on the nature of combat, as well as being published for a good cause in Help for Heroes. [read full review]
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21 July 2010

Images of War: Hitler's Tank Killer: Sturmgeschütz at War 1940-45, Hans Seidler. A large collection of high quality pictures of the StuG, from its combat debut in France in 1940 to the final days of the war in 1945, and supported by a brief history of the development of the StuG and its use on the battlefield. [read full review]
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The Red Army at War, Artem Drabkin. An impressive collection of rare photographs showing the everyday life of the Red Army soldier during the Second World War, looking at every aspect of life in the army apart from combat, and with some useful captions and first hand accounts from veterans. [read full review]
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The Crisis of Rome: The Jugurthine and Northern Wars and the Rise of Marius, Gareth C. Sampson. A study of a forgotten crisis of the Roman Republic, threatened by wars in Gaul, Macedonia and North Africa, and by a series of massive defeats at the hands of the Cimbri. Rome was saved by Marius, the first of a series of soldier-statesmen who eventually overthrew the Republic. [read full review]
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The Battle for France: Six Weeks that changed the World, Philip Warner. Tells the dramatic story of the German victory in the west in May-June 1940, the six week long campaign that led to German domination of the European continent and turned a mainly European conflict into a genuine World War. [read full review]
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9 July 2010

The Ironclads of Cambrai, Bryan Cooper. A classic account of the first large scale tank battle, a brief triumph that despite ending as a draw helped pave the way for the eventual Allied victories of 1918, and that saw the tank emerge as an important weapon of war after a rather low-key introduction into service [read full review]
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The Sieges of Alexander the Great, Stephen English. Part of a three-part series looking at Alexander the Great, this volume focuses on his many sieges, from the early days in Greece to the famous sieges of Tyre and Gaza and on to the mountain top forts at the far east of the Persian empire and the cities of India [read full review]
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Dragon Rampant: The Royal Welch Fusiliers at War, 1793-1815, Donald E. Graves. A superb regimental history tracing the role played by the 23rd Regiment of Foot, The Royal Welch Fusiliers during the long years of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, a period that saw the regiment fight in northern Europe, Spain and Portugal and at Waterloo. [read full review]
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Ancient Warfare Vol IV, Issue 2, Blockade and Assault: Ancient siege warfareAncient Warfare Vol IV, Issue 2, Blockade and Assault: Ancient siege warfare. Six widely spread articles on siege warfare, looking at Thucydides' accounts of sieges, the defences of Spartan, the sieges of Alexander the Great, Punic Fortifications, Masada and the siege of Jerusalem, giving a good overview of the development of the siege during the Ancient world. [see more]

Ancient Warfare Vol IV, Issue 3, Justinian's fireman: Belisarius and the Byzantine EmpireAncient Warfare Vol IV, Issue 3, Justinian's fireman: Belisarius and the Byzantine Empire. A look at the life and times of Belisarius, one of the most talented generals to serve the Byzantine Empire and a man who came close to restoring the Western Empire, conquering North Africa, Italy and parts of Spain, and recovering Rome for the Empire. [see more]

 

8 July 2010

Tracing Great War Ancestors: Finding Uncle Bill, Tim Saunders and Richard Hone (DVD). A mix of a practical guide to tracing any ancestor who served in the Great War, one of the presenter's efforts to trace his own Uncle Bill, and a look at the four main medals awarded during the war. Low key but both informative and encouraging. [read full review]
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Sunderland over Far-Eastern Seas, Group Captain Derek K. Empson. The autobiography of an RAF navigator who served in Sunderland flying boats in the mid 1950s, and a successful attempt to explain why the crews of flying boats felt that 'being on boats' was so special. Looks at the unusual nature of service on flying boats, as well as the author's combat experience over Korea and Borneo. [read full review]
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Bloodline: The Origins and Development of the Regular Formations of the British Army, Iain Gordon. This is a very useful guide to the sometimes confusing evolution of the British Army, starting with the original formation of each unit, and tracing them through the days of the numbered regiments and the later county regiments, and into the long period of amalgamation that continues to this day [read full review]
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The Medieval Soldier, Vesey Norman. A solid but now somewhat dated look at the fighting men of Medieval Europe, from the early Lombards and Franks to the Crusaders. Well researched at the time, and written by a respected expert on medieval arms and armour, this is now best seen as a starting point for further reading, especially in the sections on chivalry, a subject on which views have changed significantly over the last forty years [read full review]
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Devotion to a Calling: Far-east flying and survival with 62 Squadron, RAF, Group Captain Harley Boxall and Joe Bamford. A mix of autobiography and biography tracing the career of Group Captain Harley Boxall from his pre-war training, to the Far East in 1939, through the chaotic events of the Japanese invasion of Malaya and on to his later career in the RAF [read full review]
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Images of War: Blitzkrieg in the West, Ian Baxter. A collection of often dramatic pictures showing the unstoppable advance of the Germany army and air force across the Low Countries and France in the summer of 1940, Germany's greatest victory of the Second World War and the campaign that established German mastery of much of the European continent. [read full review]
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Guns against the Reich - Memoirs of an Artillery Officer on the Eastern Front, Petr Mikhin. The autobiography of a Soviet artillery officer who fought in front of Moscow, at Stalingrad and Kursk, and on the long advance into central Europe. This is an excellent account of life on the front line on the Eastern Front, and a valuable contribution to our understanding of life in the Red Army. [read full review]
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Fishermen Against the Kaiser 1: Shockwaves of War, 1914-1915, Douglas d'Enno. The first part of a two-part examination of the role of British fishermen and their boats during the First World War. As well as the obvious risks of fishing in a war zone, the fishermen served as minesweepers, in home-waters and at Gallipoli and in the Adriatic, and on anti-submarine duties, suffering very heavy losses of men and ships. [read full review]
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1809 Thunder on the Danube: Napoleon's Defeat of the Habsburgs, Volume III: Wagram and Znaim, John H. Gill. The third part of a very impressive narrative history of the War of the Fifth Coalition, looking at the final battles at Wagram and Znaim and the subsidiary campaigns in Poland, Hungary, Dalmatia, Styria and the Tyrol. Manages to be both very detailed and readable and coherent, a very impressive achievement. [read full review]
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10 June 2010

WWII Lost Films (Blu-ray), The History Channel. Ten 45 minute episodes filled with very impressive high quality colour film, and following the wartime experiences of twelve Americans (including an Austrian émigré and the son of Japanese immigrants). Their stories make these documentaries much more interesting than similar films, giving them a sense of purpose that is often lacked. [read full review]
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Waterloo: Netherlands Correspondence, ed John Franklin. A valuable collection of previously unprinted documents relating to the Netherlands army during the Waterloo campaign, shedding light on this often neglected part of the Allied army - the second biggest contingent after the British, and effectively a separate army under the command of the Prince of Orange. [read full review]
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9 June 2010

Hatred is the Key, Graham Sclater. An atmospheric novel set amongst American prisoners of war on Dartmoor at the end of the War of 1812, looking into a forgotten corner of a generally forgotten war. The main plot builds to a satisfyingly dramatic conclusion, loosely based on real events in the overcrowded Dartmoor depot in the awkward period between the end of the war and the repatriation of the prisoners [read full review]
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Operation Iraqi Freedom: US Army Abrams, Bradley & Stryker, Andy Renshaw & Ryan Harden. Combines a look at the history and development of each type of vehicle with a detailed illustrated walk-round of real machines and an interesting modelling guide, in each case taking a base kit and at least one or two upgrade or modification kits, and giving useful advice on how to combine the various components to produce an impressive final model. [read full review]
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Women in the First World War, Neil R. Storey & Molly Housego. A look at the pioneering role played by women during the First World War, and the prejudice that the early volunteers had to overcome before they were accepted. Only as the war dragged on into 1916 and conscription was introduced did the government realise how essential their contribution would be, and by 1918 many of the organisations more familiar from the Second World War were already in place. [read full review]
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British Postcards of the First World War, Peter Doyle. A look at the very wide range of postcards produced in Britain during the First World War, tracing their evolution as the war progressed, from the enthusiastic cards of 1914 to the sombre reflection of 1918. For most soldiers the postcard was the easiest way to communicate with their families back in Britain, so the changing nature of the cards provides a useful insight into the changing mood of the soldiers. [read full review]
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15 May 2010

Casca 32: The Anzac, Tony Roberts. Another entertaining entry in the Casca series, this time dominated by his healing abilities, and set against the backdrop of the fighting at Gallipoli. Roberts gives a good depiction of the brutal close-quarters nature of the fighting on the narrow beach-heads, and the confusion that appeared to dominate the direction of the battle. [read full review]
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Prisoner of the Gestapo: A Memoir of Survival and Captivity in Wartime Poland, Tom Firth. A tale of survival in wartime Poland in which the author saw in the early Russian occupation of eastern Poland, occupied Warsaw, the inside of a Gestapo prison, the front line in 1944 and the paranoid workings of the Soviet state at the end of the war. An enthralling tale of the best and worst of humanity [read full review]
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10 May 2010

Casca 31: The Conqueror, Tony Roberts. After thirty books Casca finally takes part in the Norman Conquest, in one of the better entries in the series. This is a well-written, plot-driven novel with a suitably hissable villain, and makes good use of its backdrop, taking us from Normandy to Hastings to the post-conquest world. [read full review]
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Over the Battlefield: Operation Epsom, Ian Daglish. A detailed account of the first great British set-piece offensive in Normandy, an attack that failed to achieve its own objectives, but that forced the Germans to commit units that had been earmarked for their own never-to-be launched massed attack towards the coast. Well supported with reconnaissance photographs taken during the battle. [read full review]
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Bombs Away, Martin W. Bowman. A very varied selection of stories from the RAF's bomber war, covering the main bomber offensive as well as a section of other topics that include day-time attacks on France, raids into Italy across the Alps, the Dam Busters raid, Coastal Command bombing operations and the bombers of Malta, each told in the words of the air-crews themselves. [read full review]
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US Coast Guard in World War II, Alejandro de Quesada. A good look at the surprisingly impressive contribution made to the American war effort by the U.S. Coast Guard, which included air-sea rescue, anti-submarine work and the manning of landing craft that took part in the island-hoping campaign in the Pacific and the D-Day landings. [read full review]
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In the Ranks of Death: The Irish in the Second World War, Richard Doherty. Doherty looks at the scale of the Irish contribution to the British war effort during the Second World War, as well as the numbers of Irish men and women involved in key actions of the war, and individual acts of heroism. Covers both Northern Island and the Irish Republic. [read full review]
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5 May 2010

Over the Battlefield: Operation Goodwood, Ian Daglish. Although it only lasted for two days, Operation Goodwood had a lasting impact on the British army and became a standard part of a staff college education. This very detailed account of the battle attempts to cut through the layers of myths that have accumulated around the battle to produce an accurate picture of what actually happened in this short but famous battle. [read full review]
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Wingate's Lost Brigade: The First Chindit Operation 1943, Philip Chinnery. A detailed account of the first Chindit operation in 1943, focusing particularly on the dispersal of the brigade and the costly return to India. Although this first raid was very costly, Wingate's ideas on air supply would soon become the standard method of operation in Burma. [read full review]
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Night Fighter Navigator: Beaufighters and Mosquitoes in World War II, Dennis Gosling DFC. The autobiography of a radar operator who took part in some of the most important spells of night-fighting during the Second World War, including the early days of radar interception and the desperate defence of Malta. [read full review]
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The Cinderella Service: RAF Coastal Command 1939-1945, Andrew Hendrie. A complete history of RAF Coastal Command during the Second World War, based on the author's PhD and thus backed by some very impressive original research. Covers the Command's aircraft and weapons as well as the anti-submarine, anti-shipping (both military and merchant) campaigns, and Coastal Command's own 'Cinderella' functions of air-sea rescue, photo-reconnaissance and the meteorological flights [read full review]
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The Complete Victoria Cross, Kevin Brazier. This book takes an interesting approach, listing the VC winners in chronological order within each conflict, and as a result giving an excellent feel for the way each war developed. A good introduction gives the history of the VC and includes the original warrant of 1856, setting the scene for the 1,358 tales of bravery that follow [read full review]
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Naval Miscellany, Angus Konstam. This is an entertaining collection of Naval snippets that would be a great 'bluffer's guide' for anyone who wants to learn about many of the most famous or significant aspects of naval history. Konstam has selected a good mix of the better known admirals, ships and battles and some obscure but interesting ones, as well as some suitably miscellaneous aspects of naval lore.  [read full review]
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Spanish Colonial Fortifications in North America, 1565-1822, Alejandro de Quesada. A look at the very varied fortifications built by the Spanish in North America during the two and a half centuries in which they dominated large areas of the continent. These range from wooden forts to formidable eighteenth century fortifications and faced a wide range of enemies, from local tribes to the French and British and finally the newly independent American colonies [read full review]
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The Forts of New France: The Great Lakes, the Plains and the Gulf Coast, 1600-1763, René Chartrand. A look at the many and varied fortifications that protected the vast territories claimed by France in North America, from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes. Ranging from small wooden stockades to Vauban-style forts, these buildings helped defend the French territories that so worried the British colonists on the east coast. [read full review]
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Dervish: The Rise and Fall of an African Empire, Philip Warner. A complete history of the Dervish Empire, which for the best part of two decades maintained its indendence after forcing the British backed Egyptian government to abandon the Sudan. Best known for the death of General Gordon at Khartoum and the final victory at Omdurman, the Dervish Empire also fought a costly war against Abyssinia and attempted to invade southern Egypt. [read full review]
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6 Group Bomber Command: An Operation Record, Chris Ward. This is a very detailed reference book that looks at the wartime service of the Canadian group in RAF Bomber Command. A detailed narrative history of the group is followed by a series of chapters on each squadron, with a brief history, list of stations, commanding officers and types of aircraft, and most impressively a list of every individual aircraft to serve with each squadron and its fate [read full review]
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Escape from Arnhem: A Glider Pilot's Story, Godfrey Freeman. The story of two escapes - the first from German captivity, the second from enemy-held territory, both with the help of the Dutch resistances. Freeman also produces some interesting views on the nature of bravery - as is so often the case he underplays his own actions and saw the most bravery in the Dutch civilians who helped so many men to escape from Arnhem.   [read full review]
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Dunkirk 1940: Operation Dynamo, Douglas C Dildy. A clear well organised account of the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940, supported by a good selection of maps, illustrations and contemporary photographs. Looks at the British & German plans for the evacuation or elimination of the Dunkirk pocket, the forces involved on both sides and the day-by-day events of the battle. [read full review]
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Tyneside Irish: 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th (Service) Battalions of Northumbrian Fusiliers, John Sheen. A detailed history of the four front line battalions of the Tyneside Irish, starting with the raising of the battalions and their training in Britain. We then follow them to the Western Front and the disastrous first day of the battle of the Somme in 1916, the series of battles of 1917 and their last front line service during the German advances of 1918.  [read full review]
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