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

 

31 October 2011

Up to Mametz and Beyond, Llewelyn Wyn Griffith. A classic account of life on the Western Front (Up to Mametz, first published in 1931), accompanied by the same author's unpublished memoirs covering his time as a staff officer during the last two years of the war. The two books are very different in tone, well written and of great value. [read full review]
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ANZAC Infantryman 1914-15, From New Guinea to Gallipoli, Ian Sumner. Looks at the raising, training and deployment of the Australian and New Zealand armies in 1914-15, a period that saw them deployed in the south Pacific, Egypt and most famously at Gallipoli. Gallipoli rather dominates, but it is nice to have more of the background than normal. [read full review]
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Retreat and Retribution in Afghanistan 1842 - Two Journals of the First Afghan War, Margaret Kekewich. An account of the First Afghan War, based on two diaries produced during the war, one by Lady Florentia Sale, the wife of a British officer caught up in the disaster at Kabul, the second by the Reverend Isaac Allen, a clergyman who accompanied the army of retribution that rescued the prisoners taken during the retreat from Kabul. [read full review]
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Sparta at War, Scott M. Rusch. A study of the rise, dominance and fall of Sparta, the most famous military power in the Classical Greek world. Sparta dominated land warfare for two centuries, before suffering a series of defeats that broke its power. The author examines the reasons for that success, and for Sparta's failure to bounce back from defeat. [read full review]
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The Maginot Line: History and Guide, J.E Kaufmann, H.W. Kaufmann, A. Jankovic-Potocnik and P. Lang. A combination of a history of the Maginot Line, from its design and construction to its use in battle in 1940 and 1944-45, with a detailed guide to the individual fortified areas (or ouvrages). A very useful guide to this controversial line of fortifications, and to the brief periods when it was caught up in the fighting [read full review]
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3 October 2011

Vietnam Gun Trucks, Gordon L. Rottman. A study of the armed trucks used to escort vulnerable supply convoys as they crossed South Vietnam, looking at their origins as an impromptu solution to an unexpected problem, the development of more powerfully armed versions of the trucks, the tactics used by the truck crews and the often flamboyant decorative paint schemes used on the truck names. [read full review]
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Ian Fleming's Commandos: The Story of 30 Assault Unit in WWII, Nicholas Rankin. Partly a history of 30 Assault Unit and partly a look at Ian Fleming's wartime service and Naval Intelligence. This is an accessible look at an interesting topic, with plenty of background material as well as some fascinating accounts of the technological intelligence gathering activities of the unit. [read full review]
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Great War Lives: A Guide for Family Historians, Paul Reed. An unusual approach to family history, looking at the wartime experiences of twelve very different British soldiers (including the only black pilot in the RFC and a rare example of a major war poet of low rank). Each of these biographies is followed by research notes which explain where the information was found. [read full review]

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Haig - Master of the Field, Major General Sir John Davidson. An account of the events on the Western Front in 1917 and 1918, written by Haig's Director of Operations. The author was motivated by a desire to restore Haig's reputation against what he believed were unfair attacks, and to a large extent he succeeds, although on occasions he does rather over-state his case. [read full review]
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2Women in the Second World War, Collette Drifte. A collection of personal reminiscences from Women who served in the armed forces, industry or farming during the Second World War, looking at the ATS, WAAF, WRNS, the Land Army, the Timber Corps, the Voluntary Aid Detachment, Queen Alexandra's Nurses, the Fire Service, the NAAFI and finishing with the stories of three famous SOE operatives. [read full review]
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War in the Ruins: The American Army's Final Battle against Nazi Germany, Edward G. Longacre. A history of the US Army's 100th Infantry Division's involvement in the Second World War, focusing on the battle for Heilbronn, the last major battle fought by American troops in Europe in 1945, as well as covering the division's training, their advance to the German border, attacks on part of the Maginot Line and the impact of the Battle of the Bulge. [read full review]
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22 September 2011

Hitler Triumphant: Alternate Decisions of World War II, Peter G. Tsouras. A series of counterfactual scenarios which examine various ways in which the Germans might have won the Second World War, most starting with a single change and working out from there. An entertaining read, even if some of the scenarios do require further dramatic alterations of history to work. [read full review]
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August 1914 - Surrender at St. Quentin, John Hutton. A study of an infamous incident during the British retreat from Le Cateau in 1914, when the commanders of two infantry battalions decided to surrender under great German pressure, only for another officer to intervene and extract their men. Looks at the pressure the two men were under, their subsequent court martial and their different reactions to being disgraced. [read full review]
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Images of War: Operation Barbarossa, Hitler's Invasion of Russia, Hans Seidler. A collection of German photographs from the first six months of the invasion of the Soviet Union, from the triumphal advances in the summer to the first dreadful experiences of the Russian winter. A good selection of high quality pictures, showing the German army at the height of its powers and confidence. [read full review]
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Sacrifice on the Steppe, Hope Hamilton. The tragic tale of the Italian Alpine Corps sent by Mussolini to fight alongside the Germans in Russia, their disastrous  retreat after the Soviet counterattack at Stalingrad, and the fate of the many men who were captured by the Soviets, from the early poor treatment to the later political indoctrination. [read full review]
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15 August 2011

The 16th Durham Light Infantry in Italy, 1943-1945, Peter Hart. Using interviews conducted from the mid 1980s, this book tells the story of the 16th Durham Light Infantry's time in Italy as seen by the men of the unit. The result is a very valuable ground level view of the world of the fighting men, supported by a good overall account of the campaign. [read full review]
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Marshal Vauban and the Defence of Louis XIV's France, James Falkner. A biography of the famous French military engineer, whose fortifications dominated many French towns for centuries after his death. Vauban was both a builder and besieger of fortifications, and this biography looks at both his defensive work, where he created a strongly defended border, and his military career, where by his own count he was involved in over fifty major sieges. [read full review]
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Erich von Manstein - Hitler's Master Strategist, Benoit Lemay. Focuses on Manstein's wartime career, from the planning for the invasions on Poland and France to his time on the Eastern Front. This is an objective account, acknowledging both Manstein's great ability as a general and his involvement in the massive war crimes committed in Russia, with his knowledge, and on occasion encouragement. [read full review]
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8 August 2011

Merville Battery and the Dives Bridges, Carl Shilleto. One part of a two part guide to the British airborne operations at the Merville Battery and Pegasus Bridge on D-Day. The book combined an account of the attack on the Merville gun battery and nearby operations with a guide for visitors to the modern battlefields. [read full review]
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World War II Soviet Armed Forces (1), 1939-41, Dr Nigel Thomas. This is a fairly traditional Osprey Man at Arms book looking at the soviet armed forces during the early stages of the Second World War 1939-1941. The book gives a brief outline of the early course of the war, the purges of high command, and the land forces' main campaigns, with sections on the Air force, Navy and NKVD uniforms. The book is short and gives an introduction to a big subject with excellent detail on uniforms and organisation at this early stage. [read full review]
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Images of the Past: Fishing Industry, Jon Sutherland & Diane Canwell. An interesting photographic record of the fishing industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although there is little directly relevant to military history, these men and these boats did serve in vast numbers in the Royal Navy in both world wars. [read full review]
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Border Reiver, 1513-1603, Keith Durham. An examination of the last century of warfare on the Anglo-Scottish border, which mainly involved the local families, or reivers, who took part in an endless series of border raids. Most were more criminal than military, but the same men were normally involved in the regular battles on the borders, and their activities turned the whole border region into a fortified area. [read full review]
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North American Indian Tribes of the Great Lakes, Michael G. Johnson. Packs a great deal of information into its 48 pages, with a look at the main tribes and tribal groupings in the Great Lakes, or Old North West. Includes a guide to the tribes, an account of the main wars from the mid 18th to early 19th centuries, and some mini biographies of Indian leaders.  [read full review]
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Hitler's Savage Canary - A History of the Danish Resistance in World War II, David Lampe. Tells the story of the Danish Resistance, which from a slow start in 1940 became one of the most effective in occupied Europe, and is now most famous for helping the vast majority of Denmark's Jews escape to neutral Sweden. [read full review]
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3 August 2011

Commando Tactics: The Second World War, Stephen Bull. A study of the way in which the Commandos were selected, trained and used during their brief existence and how that changed during the course of the Second World War. The author traces the way in which during their short life the Commandos became increasingly proficient, and expanded dramatically in size, and the early small scale raiding was replaced by larger scale operations. [read full review]
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The Kensington Battalion, G. I. S. Inglis. A history of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (the Kensington Battalion), one of the many service battalions raised as part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. This is one of the best 'unit' histories that I've read, with a good balance between the close-up details and the wider picture.The Kensington Battalion, G. I. S. Inglis. A history of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (the Kensington Battalion), one of the many service battalions raised as part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. This is one of the best 'unit' histories that I've read, with a good balance between the close-up details and the wider picture. [read full review]
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Wandsworth & Battersea Battalions in the Great War, Paul McCue. Tells the story of two battalions raised in neighbouring parts of London as part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. An interesting approach, this allows the reader to compare the experiences of two similar battalions, one of which was captured in large numbers in the German advance of 1918. [read full review]
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The Holy Boys: A History of the Royal Norfolk Regiment and The Royal East Anglian Regiment, 1685-2010, Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. A study of the long history of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, from its formation in the seventeenth century, through its time as the 9th foot, the Norfolk regiment and its current incarnation as part of the Anglian Regiment. The largest sections look at the massively expanded regiment of the two World Wars, when enough battalions were formed to fill a small division. [read full review]
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The Battle of Borodino, Napoleon against Kutuzov, Alexander Mikaberidze. A valuable new study of the bloody battle of Borodino, looking at the course of the battle and examining the many historical controversies that have grown up since the fighting ended, both at the time and in later historical debates. [read full review]
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The Hunt for Martin Bormann - The Truth, Charles Whiting. A look at the post-war hunt for Martin Bormann, the most senior Nazi leader not accounted for in 1945. Bormann died in Berlin in 1945, but his body wasn't found for three decades, and in the gap a wide range of theories grew up to explain his escape, from major Nazi networks in South America to his being a Soviet spy in retirement in Moscow. [read full review]
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29 July 2011

The Battle-Cruiser HMS Renown 1916-1948, Peter C. Smith. Built as a First World War battlecruiser, the Renown survived to become one of the most important British warships of the Second World War. Making extensive use of the memories of the crewmen who served in her, this book tells the tale of a fast, happy, but vulnerable ship that despite her thin battlecruiser armour surivied to play a major part in the most British naval successes, especially in the Mediterranean. [read full review]
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Images of War: Blitzkrieg Poland, Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. Contains three photo albums belonging to German soldiers who took part in the invasion or occupation of Poland in 1939. Each picture is accompanied by an informative caption, discussing either the details of the picture or the wider situation in the fighting. [read full review]
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Britain's Part-Time Soldiers: The Amateur Military Tradition 1558-1945, Ian F. W. Beckett. An in depth study of the amateur military tradition, from its medieval roots to the modern Territorial Army. Looks at the impact of the militia, volunteers and territorials on society, their composition and their relationship with the professional army. [read full review]
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Rising Sun, John Toland. A well researched and compelling history of the Second World War in the Pacific, mainly told from the Japanese point of view. As a result we learn more about the Japanese strategy for the war, the reasons for each decision, and the political background in Japan. [read full review]
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26 July 2011

The Soviet Union at War 1941-1945, ed. David R. Stone. An examination of the impact of the German invasion on the Soviet Union, and how effective the various elements of the Soviet system were in fighting the war. Topics covered include the collective farming system, Soviet industry, the structure and attitudes of the military, the role of Women and the fate of non-Russians on both sides of the front line. [read full review]
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Cross and Crescent in the Balkans - the Ottoman Conquest of Southeastern Europe, David Nicolle. Partly chronological and partly thematic, this book looks at the Ottoman conquest and retention of the Balkans, overcoming the remnants of Byzantium, a number of powerful Balkan states, before  recovering from the devastation caused by Tamerlane. Looks at Ottoman culture, architecture, urban and rural life as well as the military campaigns that established an empire that lasted into the Twentieth Century. [read full review]
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Frigates, Sloops and Brigs, James Henderson. Originally published as two separate books, this single volume edition looks at the frigates and smaller ships that served in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic and Revolutionary Wars. Tales of daring successes mix with stories of bold actions that ended in defeat to produce an picture of life and death in the small ships. [read full review]
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Ancient Warfare Magazine: Volume IV, Issue 5, Fighting for the Gods: Warfare and ReligionAncient Warfare Vol V Issue 1: The 'new man' who saved Rome: Gaius Marius at War. An examination of the career of one of the great military and political leaders of the late Republic, looking at his military achievements, the innovations attributed to him and the political background to his rise and career. Also looks at professionalism under Alexander the Great and the role of the chariot on the battlefield. [see more]

Ancient Warfare Magazine: Volume IV, Issue 5, Fighting for the Gods: Warfare and ReligionAncient Warfare Vol IV, Issue 6: Royal Stalemate: Hellenistic kingdoms at war. An examination of the long series of wars between the successor states to Alexander the Great, often seen as a series of futile wars that only ended when Macedonia, Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Empire were swept away by the Romans. [see more]


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