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

27 December 2012

Captured at the Imjin River, David Green. A first-hand account of the experiences of a National Service soldier who served in Korea and was captured by the Chinese during the Battle of the Imjin River. This is a compelling story, and an invaluable account of life as a National Serviceman in Korea, and as a prisoner of the Chinese. [read full review]
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Midget Ninja & Tactical Laxatives - Bizarre Warfare Through the Ages, Philip Sidnell. A look at some of the more unusual aspects of military history, from the oddest of weapons to the peculiar behaviour of military leaders, with enough variety to ensure that anything familiar is followed by something new. [read full review]
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Women Wartime Spies, Ann Kramer. A study of mainly Allied women spies during the two World Wars (plus Mata Hari), with interesting material on the La Dame Blanche spy network that operated in Belgium during the First World War and the role of women in British Intelligence in both wars (including the famous SOE operatives and the less glamorous but just as important work back in Britain). [read full review]
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21 December 2012

In Search of the Real Dad's Army, Stephen M. Cullen. A wide ranging history of the Home Guard, covering topics from the weapons it was equipped with to the competing political theories that developed around it. Also covers the less familiar Northern Irish and Isle of Man Home Guards and has some fascinating sections on the later development of the Home Guard after the real danger of invasion had passed. [read full review]
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Birmingham Pals: 14th, 15th and 16th (Service) Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Terry Carter. A high quality history of the three Birmingham battalions that formed part of Kitchener's 'New Army', fighting on the Somme, at Ypres, in Italy and during the crucial campaigns of 1918. Includes some excellent detailed accounts of trench raids, and gives a feel of how ghastly life in the Trenches could be [read full review]
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Rossano A Valley in Flames, Major Gordon Lett. A first-hand account of life with the Italian partisans during the Second World Word, written by the British commander of the International Brigade, a partisan group that operated in the Rossano valley, and that contained a mix of locals and escaped Prisoners of War and forced labourers. Also includes an account of the battalion's cooperation with an SAS mission that was dropped into the valley. [read full review]
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13 December 2012

The New Zealand Expeditionary Force in World War I, Wayne Stack. Looks at the recruitment, organisation, commanding officers, equipment and campaigns of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, which eventually involved some 40% of the male population of military age, a most impressive level of recruitment and that served in the Pacific, at Gallipoli, in the Middle East and on the Western Front. The author packs a great deal of information into the books forty-eight pages. [read full review]
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Blood & Iron: Letters from the Western Front, Hugh Montagu Butterworth, ed. Jon Cooksey. A collection of letters written in the Ypres salient between May and September 1915. Built around the letters written by Hugh Montagu Butterworth during his time on the Western Front, supported by a detailed biography of Butterworth himself, a sports mad student who emigrated to New Zealand where he worked as a teacher. A fascinating selection of letters that give a glimpse into the brutality of trench warfare. [read full review]
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Knight: The Warrior and the World of Chivalry, Robert Jones. A study of the Knight, from their humble origins in the 11th century through their dominance of society and battlefield in the high Middle Ages to their decline in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Looks at their arms and armour, role on the battlefield, place in society and eventual decline. An excellent overview of a complex issue. [read full review]
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6 December 2012

George Washington, Mark Lardas. One of the more successful entries in the command series, with an interesting emphasis on how Washington learnt from his early unsuccessful campaigns and on his overall strategic ideas during the War of Independence, focusing on the survival of his army rather than the defence of any particular city. [read full review]
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Ask Forgiveness Not Permission, Howard Leedham. A fascinating account of a successful covert operation funded by the US State Department using Pakistani Special Forces troops and American helicopters and for a year commanded by the author, a former member of British Special Forces. Operating on a financial shoe-string while US attention was focused on Iraq, the author achieved a great deal of success during his year. [read full review]
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Posters of World War II, Allied and Axis Propaganda 1939-1945, Peter Darman. A beautifully produced look at the propaganda posters produced in seven of the main combatant nations of the Second World War, with a supporting text that explains who controlled poster production and useful individual captions. The text is good, but the brilliantly well printed posters are undoubtedly the stars of this very attractive book[read full review]
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4 December 2012

The Strike Wings - Special Anti-Shipping Squadrons, 1942-45, Roy Conyers Nesbit. A history of Coastal Command's Strike Wings, dedicated groups of anti-shipping squadrons that devastated German coastal shipping during the Second World War, but at a very high cost, written by someone who flew in the same role after the war and with a great use of eyewitness accounts and both Allied and German sources. [read full review]
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Assault Crossing: The River Seine 1944, Ken Ford. Looks at the 43rd (Wessex) Division's crossing of the Seine at Vernon, showing how chaotic and closely run an affair it was, despite being seen as part of the 'Great Swan', the rapid Allied advance across France after the breakout from Normandy. An interesting account of a battle found between two opposing infantry divisions. [read full review]
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The Territorials 1908-1914: A Guide for Military and Family Historians, Ray Westlake. A reference work built around a complete list of Territorial units and the larger formations they were part of, and a gazetteer listing the units associated with every town and locality. Very useful for the dedicated researcher, but not aimed at the casual reader! [read full review]
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21 November 2012

Battleground Gallipoli: Suvla August Offensive, Stephen Chambers. A detailed history of the disastrous British landing at Sulva Bay in August 1915, an offensive that showed the British high command at almost its worst. Ends with three day-long walks around the battlefield area. All well supported by eyewitness accounts and contemporary photographs. [read full review]
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Nelson to Vanguard, Warship Design and Development 1923-1945, David K Brown. A study of the design of British warships during the period of the Naval Treaties and the Second World War, written by a post-war Deputy Chief Naval Architect. A fascinating and invaluable book that greatly benefits from the expert knowledge of the author. [read full review]
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Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, Steve Backer. A modelmaker's guide to the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, including a brief history of the ships, reviews of the best models and accessories, a showcase of some very impressive models, some useful plans of the two ships and an examination of the various camouflage schemes used and changes to the ship's appearances. [read full review]
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12 November 2012

Iowa Class Battleships, Lester Abbey. A modeller's guide to the four ships of the Iowa class, the best American battleships and the longest serving capital ships of the modern era. Includes a history of the ships and their designs, a section of model reviews, a modellers showcase showing some very impressive models, and a section on the changing appearance of these ships over time. [read full review]
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Wake Island 1941, Jim Moran. A well-illustrated look at the Japanese siege of Wake Island in 1941, which involved two amphibious assaults and repeated aerial assaults, and saw the only unsuccessful amphibious invasion of the Second World War when the first Japanese attack on the island was defeated. Well supported by some excellent maps, and with a clear, well written text. [read full review]
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Walking the Somme (Second Edition), Paul Reed. Sixteen walks on the Somme battlefield, each with a discussion of the historical significance of the area, supported by a good selection of contemporary and modern photographs, useful sketch maps and contemporary trench maps. Produced twenty years after the first edition, the author's knowledge of the battlefield shines through.[read full review]
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1 November 2012

He Who Dared and Died: The Life and Death of an SAS Original, Sergeant Chris O'Dowd MM, Gearóid O'Dowd. The story of an Irish volunteer in the British Army who became an early member of the SAS and fought with them in North Africa and on Sicily before being killed during the invasion of Italy. [read full review]
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Borodino 1812, Napoleon's Great Gamble, Philip Haythornthwaite. Two thirds a history of the 1812 campaign and one third an account of the battle of Borodino itself, this is a successful shorter history of Napoleon's doomed invasion of Russia. Gives a clearer view of a battle than is sometimes the case in longer works [read full review]
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The World at War, Taylor Downing. Looks at the making of the excellent ITV documentary series the World at War, examining the environment at ITV that allowed such an ambitious series to be made, the background of the team behind the series, the historical approach and use of sources and the decisions that went into the making of each of the twenty six episodes. [read full review]
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26 October 2012

An Incomparable Project, T.E. Crowdy. Four essays that expand on Incomparable, a history of the 9th Light Infantry Regiment by the same author. Looks at the earliest version of the regiment of the Seven Years War, its immediate precursor, its first combat after the Revolution and its time as the 9th demi-brigade. [read full review]
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Allies at Dieppe: 4 Commando and the US Rangers, Will Fowler. A study of the 4 Commando and US Ranger attack on the gun battery at Le Mesnil, west of Dieppe, one of the few successes of the otherwise disastrous 1942 attack on Dieppe. An interesting use of the Kindle format to produce a longer text that is normal for Osprey, with extensive use of eyewitness accounts of the raid. [read full review]
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Images of War: Final Days of the Reich, Ian Baxter. Contains some interesting pictures of the Germany army of 1945, with a mix of pictures of late-war military equipment and the troops themselves, many obviously posed but some that give a real feel of an army in collapse. Let down somewhat by the quality of the text, but still of interest. [read full review]
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25 October 2012

Medieval Warfare Vol 1 Issue 4: Mercenaries and mighty warlords: The Normans in the MediterraneanMedieval Warfare Vol 1 Issue 4: Mercenaries and mighty warlords: The Normans in the Mediterranean. Focuses on the Norman conquests in southern Italy and Sicily, a period that saw the Hauteville family dominate the central Mediterranean and even conquer parts of North Africa. Also looks at the medieval fire arrow, the fate of English archers after the battle of Morat, head wounds and the work of a duelling master. [read full review]
Medieval Warfare Vol II Issue 3: Pikes, bows and war wagons: The rebirth of infantry. Focuses on the revival of infantry in the late middle ages, a trend that ended a period where the mounted knight had dominated warfare, and that possibly played a major part in changes in wider society. Also looks at the diseases of siege warfare, fortifications of Tunisia and the Mongol invasion of the Khwarazmian Empire. [read full review]
Medieval Warfare Vol II Issue 4: The Steppe warrior defeated: Otto I versus the Magyars. Combines an overview of the Magyar's impact on early Medieval Europe with an examination of their early successes and the sequence of German victories that ended their raids and indirectly led to the foundation of the Hungarian kingdom. Also looks at Glyn Dwr in Wales, the fortifications of the Bosporus and Dardanelles and the Byzantine Empire's attitude to the Armenians. [read full review]

23 October 2012

Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare, Sam Willis. An analysis of the practical aspects of war at sea in an elongated Eighteenth Century, looking at the basics of fighting under sail, command with limited communication, the impact of damage on tactics, the unwritten rules that governed naval commanders and how all of these elements combined in small and large scale naval engagements. [read full review]
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Caporetto and the Isonzo Campaign, The Italian Front 1915-1918, John Macdonald with Zeljko Cimprié. An excellent study of the First World War on the Italian front, focusing on the twelve battles of the Isonzo, one of the most costly campaigns of the entire war. A good background to the campaign is followed by useful accounts of each of the battles, something quite difficult to find. [read full review]
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Hitler's Final Fortress: Breslau 1945, Richard Hargreaves. An account of the longest siege of any German city during 1945, the four month siege of Breslau, which ended four days after the fall of Berlin. Gives a clear picture of the desperate struggle for the city, the ghastly conditions within the besieged 'fortress' and the heavy cost suffered by the Soviet and Polish troops attacking the city. [read full review]
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15 October 2012

Lady's Men: The Story of World War II's Mystery Bomber and her Crew, Mario Martinez.  Partly the story of a doomed bomber crew and partly the tale of the detective work that saw their aircraft rediscovered and solved the mystery of the crew's fate. A fascinating if inevitably rather downbeat story. [read full review]
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Wellington in the Peninsula, Jac Weller. A single volume history of the British involvement in the Peninsula War, focusing on Wellington's campaigns in Spain, but also including Sir John Moore at Corunna, the costly battle of Albuera and Wellington's campaign in France in 1814. Despite being fifty years old the book has aged well and is still a useful overview of the topic. [read full review]
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Tracing Your Family History on the Internet, Chris Paton. A useful guide to the most valuable websites for researchers in family history, with an emphasis on those sites that are likely to be around for some time. Particularly good on local and regional societies and their websites, with a county-by-county guide to local resources. [read full review]
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8 October 2012

Surgeon at Arms: Parachuting into Arnhem with the First Airborne, Lipmann Kessel. The memoirs of a surgeon who parachuted into Arnhem, operated in a hospital that was soon occupied by the Germans, and who then escaped from captivity and spent weeks with the Dutch underground making a series of attempts to cross the front line. [read full review]
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The Fatal Decisions: First Hand Accounts by Hitler's Generals, ed. William Richardson and Seymour Freidlin. Six accounts written by German army generals ten years after the end of the Second World War presenting their view of a series of the main events of the war, from the Battle of Britain to the Battle of the Bulge via Moscow, Stalingrad, El Alamein and D-Day. [read full review]
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Lost Legion Rediscovered: The Mystery of the Theban Legion, Donald O'Reilly. An attempt to find an historical basis for the story of a martyred legion that was first mentioned in an account written by the Bishop of Lyon in 383 after the discovery of a mass grave. Cleverly argued, with the evidence examined in some detail. [read full review]
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26 September 2012

The Battle of Maida 1806, Fifteen Minutes of Glory, Richard Hopton. A detailed account of the first significant victory won by the British army against the troops of Napoleonic France, fought in southern Italy after the failure of the Third Coalition. An excellent account of the background to the battle, the fighting at Maida, the aftermath and its significance within the wider Napoleonic War. [read full review]
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American Missiles 1962 to the Present Day, The Complete Smithsonian Field Guide, Brian D. Nicklas. A spotter's guide to American missiles since the introduction of the 'M for Missiles' designation in 1962. Most get a single page, with one or more photos, basic specifications and a paragraph or two of text. Useful both as an overview of missile development over the last half century and for anyone who needs to identify a particular missile. [read full review]
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My Seventy-Five, The Journal of a French Gunner August-September 1914, Paul Lintier. The diary of a talented young French author covering the first two months of the First World War, covering mobilisation, the advance to the French frontier and the long retreat, the counter-attack on the Marne and the eventual stalemate on the Aisne. A fascinating view of one of the most important campaigns of the First World War. [read full review]
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20 September 2012

Charging against Wellington: The French Cavalry in the Peninsular War 1807-1814, Robert Burnham. A valuable reference book that covers the organisation of the French cavalry, looking at changes in structure and command, biographies of eighty French cavalry generals and brief histories of each cavalry regiment to serve with the French in Spain and Portugal. [read full review]
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The Art of War, Sun Tzu. A beautifully presented edition of one of the classics of military thought. Printed on high quality paper (it shows), and bound using a traditional Chinese method which involves sewing the pages together using holes punched close to the inner edge. Has the Chinese text on one page with the English translation facing it. [read full review]
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The British Field Marshals 1736-1997: A Biographical Dictionary, T A Heathcote. A biographical dictionary looking at the first 138 British Field Marshals, a mixed group containing military leaders of varying quality and members of the British and foreign royal families. A useful reference work that gives us an idea of just how varied a group of people the British Field Marshals actually were. [read full review]
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14 September 2012

Isandlwana, How the Zulus Humbled the British Empire, Adrian Greaves. An excellent examination of this famous battle and the campaign that led up to it, written by someone with a detailed knowledge of the battlefield and surrounding areas. Uses a wide range of contemporary sources to paint an accurate picture of this battle and the Zulu achievements and the British mistakes that led to the great Zulu victory. [read full review]
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The Campaigns for Vicksburg, 1862-1863, Kevin J. Dougherty. An unusual approach to military history, this book looks at the leadership lessons that can be learnt from the successful Union attempts to capture Vicksburg, one of the key battles of the American Civil War. Organised into case studies that combine a particular element of the battle with an aspect of leadership. [read full review]
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Wingate Pasha, R J M Pugh. A biography of an important figure in the British Empire, the ruler of the Sudan for twenty years. Wingate was also involved in the defeat of the Dervishes and played a major part in the success of the Arab Revolt of the First World War, and is an interesting figure. [read full review]
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5 September 2012

Missing, Believed Killed: Casualty Policy and the Missing Research and Enquiry Service 1939-1952, Stuart Hadaway. A history of the effort to track down every member of the RAF lost in combat during the Second World War, one of the largest detective missions ever undertaken, including a large number of example cases. [read full review]
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The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy's Most Powerful Strike Force, David Hobbs. A history of the most powerful fleet in British naval history, tracing its rapid development from shaky early days in the Indian ocean to its involvement in the invasion of Okinawa and operations alongside the Americans off the coast of Japan. [read full review]
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SAS Trooper - Charlie Radford's Operations in Enemy Occupied France and Italy, Charlie Radford, ed. Francis Mackay. Follows the military career of a pre-war army apprentice through his time as a sapper and in the SAS, where he fought behind German lines in France and took part in Operation Cold Comfort, one of the less successful SAS missions in Italy. [read full review]
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27 August 2012

Small Arms 1914-1945, Michael E. Haskew. A largely chronological look at the development of small arms during the two World Wars, organised into chapters based on different parts of the conflict, subdivided by nations or major battles. Makes it easier to compare the weapons in use by the different nations at any one time. [read full review]
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El Alamein, The Battle that Turned the Tide of the Second World War, Bryn Hammond. Looks at the four months the Allies and Axis armies spent fighting over the Alamein position, including Rommel's two attacks on the Allied positions and the eventual Allied victory at the Second Battle of Alamein. [read full review]
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The Great Chevauchée, John of Gaunt's Raid on France, 1373, David Nicolle. An account of an unsuccessful English raid that crossed France from Calais to Bordeaux, lost one third of its strength and was probably lucky to survive. This is a good account of an important but often neglected incident that played a part in the decline of the English position in France. [read full review]
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22 August 2012

Home before the Leaves Fall, Ian Senior. Looks at the fighting in France in 1914 from the outbreak of war to the defeat of the German invasion at the battle of the Marne. Focuses mainly on the role of the German and French armies in the fighting, the two side's plans, the way in which they unfolded and unravelled after the fighting began and the reactions of Joffre and Moltke. [read full review]
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Norman Naval Operations in the Mediterranean, Charles D. Stanton. Based around a narrative history of the Norman's maritime empire in the central Mediterranean, this interesting book looks at the naval operations involved in the Norman conquest of a kingdom in southern Italy and Sicily, in the maintenance of that kingdom and during increasingly grandiose campaigns in the eastern Mediterranean. [read full review]
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Roman Warships, Michael Pitassi. Takes an interesting approach to the problem of reconstructing Roman warships, beginning with artistic and literary sources, moving onto a detailed plan based on the known limits of rowers and ending by constructing accurate models to see if the plan actually works in practise. The results are fascinating and his arguments very convincing. [read full review]
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15 August 2012

Fromelles 1916: No Finer Courage, the Loss of an English Village, Michael Senior. A look the impact of the First World War on the Buckinghamshire village of The Lee, and the tragic losses suffered by that village during the disastrous attack on Fromelles in July 1916. [read full review]
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1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War, Robert L. Tonsetic. Starts with the American cause at a low ebb over the winter of 1780-1 and traces its revival and triumph during 1781, the year that saw the failure of the British southern strategy and the dramatic surrender of Cornwallis's army at Yorktown, the defeat that effectively ended any chance of British success. [read full review]
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The Battle for Tinian, Nathan N. Prefer. A study of an opposed landing on a Pacific island where the American worked nearly perfectly, Japanese opposition ended comparatively quickly and with a lower cost than on most of the island invasions. Prefer looks at the reasons for the American success, the course of the battle and the lessons that could have been learnt from the success on Tinian. [read full review]
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8 August 2012

Albuera 1811, The Bloodiest Battle of the Peninsular War, Guy Dempsey. A detailed account of the battle itself, supported by useful material on the wider campaign, the treatment of the wounded and dead and the arguments wages long after the battle by many of the main figures involved in the fighting. [read full review]
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Who Goes Where?, Stella Rutter. A family history of the Broughton and Towler families combined with the autobiography of Stella Rutter, a member of the Supermarine drawing staff during the Second World War. Finishes with a collection of wartime memories from friends and colleagues. [read full review]
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Scottish Lion on Patrol: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment, W. Kemsley, M.R. Riesco and T. Chamberlain. Originally written in 1950 and updated in 2010 this book tells the tale of a wartime reconnaissance regiment from its formation, through the D-Day landings and on to the end of the war. [read full review]
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3 August 2012

The Armed Forces of the European Union 2012-2013, Charles Heyman. A pocket guide to the forces available to the 27 countries within the European Union. Very much a book of facts and figures with virtually no commentary but if you need to know man power , equipment or exactly how ships and aircraft a country has then this is the book for you. Simple command structures are included and basic lists of current deployments overseas such as in Afghanistan. Every weapon system , vehicle ship , aircraft is listed as well as numbers of personal plus defence budgets and a comparison of EU with the other major world powers such as the USA and China. A reasonable reference book full review [Read Full Review]
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Images of War: Battle of Kursk 1943, Hans Seidler. A collection of photographs showing the German Army during the Battle of Kursk, the great Soviet victory of 1943 that ended the last major German offensive in the east. Focuses largely on the German weapons and vehicles that took part in the battle, with some pictures of the wider battlefield. [read full review]
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Forts of the American Frontier 1776-1891: California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska, Ron Field. Covering a wide range of topics, including Native American forts, Russian and Spanish forts in the far reaches of their empires and US fortifications, and buildings that range from log forts all the way up to multi-storey casements armed with the latest 19th century artillery. [read full review]
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30 July 2012

Images of War: British Tanks of the Second World War, Pat Ware. A good quality selection of photos, organised by the British designations (Light, Cruiser, Infantry and Heavy), along with chapters on the development of the tank, American tanks in British service and the 'funnies' that were the most important British contribution to wartime tank design. [read full review]
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Clydebank Battlecruisers, Ian Johnston. An impressive collection of photographs taken at John Brown & Sons during the construction of the battlecruisers Inflexible, Australia, Tiger, Repulse and Hood during their construction between 1906 and 1920. The pictures are very crisp and provide a fascinating view of these powerful warships under construction. [read full review]
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The WAAF at War, John Frayn Turner. First-hand accounts of the achievements of the WAAFs, organised by topic and supported by a good connecting text. The range of duties carried out by WAAFs is very impressive and ranges from the famous plotting rooms of the Battle of Britain to ferry pilots and even SOE agents. [read full review]
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24 July 2012

German Capital Ships of the Second World War, Siegfried Breyer & Miroslaw Skwuit. A splendid photographic history of the seven completed capital ships to serve with the German navy during the Second World War, with an impressive collection of photos showing each of the ships under construction, in service and showing their eventual fate. [read full review]
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Hobart's 79th Armoured Division at War: Invention, Innovation and Inspiration, Richard Doherty. Combines a biography of General Percy Hobart and a history of the 79th Armoured Division and Hobart's 'funnies', the special purpose tanks that became famous on D-Day. Follows the division from D-Day, though the fighting in Holland and on to the crossing of the Rhine and the end of the war. [read full review]
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Pegasus Bridge & Horsa Bridge, Carl Shilleto. One of two entries in the Battleground Normandy series devoted to the exploits of 6th Airborne Division, this one provides a guided tour of the Pegasus Bridge and Horsa Bridge areas, supported by first-hand accounts of the fighting. [read full review]
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18 July 2012

Casca 36: The Minuteman, Tony Roberts. In this entry in the series Casca is present in the first days of the American War of Independence, living close to Boston when the fighting breaks out. The action takes him to New York, both for the fighting and to rescue his latest love, and finishes at Princeton. [read full review]
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Eisenhower, Steven J. Zaloga. A short biography of Eisenhower, focusing on his time as a senior Allied commander, from North Africa to D-Day and the campaign in North-West Europe, and looking at the reasons he was chosen for such high command and what made him such a successful coalition commander. [read full review]
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Fogg in the Cockpit, Richard and Janet Fogg. The wartime diary of Howard Fogg, later a famous railroad artist, but then a US fighter pilot based in Britain and engaged in the long range escort of American bombers. Fogg's diary is supported by the monthly reports of the official Group Historian, so events are seen from two points of view. [read full review]

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12 July 2012

Wabash 1791, St Clair's defeat, John F Winkler. A study of one of the first campaigns conducted by the US Army after Independence, one that ended in a crushing defeat at the hands of an alliance of Native American tribes on the Wabash River, the worst ever suffered by US troops. [read full review]
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The Second War of Italian Unification 1859-61, Frederick C. Schneid. Focuses on the three separate conflicts that made up the Second War of Italian Unification (the Franco-Austrian War, Garibaldi's invasion of the kingdom of Naples and the invasion of the Papal State), the conflict that saw the creation of the Kingdom of Italy. [read full review]
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Armies of the Adowa Campaign 1896, Sean McLachlan. More than just a look at the armies that fought at the battle, this book also includes a history of the Italian involvement in East Africa and the Ethiopian victory at Adowa that ended Italian ambitions for the next four decades. [read full review]
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9 July 2012

Camp Z - How British Intelligence Broke Hitler's Deputy, Stephen McGinty. Looks at the year Hess spent at Mytchett Place near Aldershot being examined by British Intelligence in the hope that he might provide some insight into Hitler's plans or any other valuable information. [read full review]
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Mosquito Menacing the Reich, Martin W. Bowman. First-hand accounts from the crews of Mosquitoes, covering a wide range of topics, from high level photo reconnaissance to precision bombing, night intruders and the American use of the aircraft, connected by some useful supporting information. [read full review]
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The Secret Army: The Memoirs of General Bor-Komorowski, Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski. The memoirs of the commander of the Polish Home Army during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. An invaluable source for this heroic but tragic attempt to liberate Warsaw from the Nazis as the Soviet armies approached from the east and for the earlier efforts of the Polish Resistance. [read full review]
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4 July 2012

Child of Loki, Richard Denning. Second in a series of historical novels set in the dark ages, following the early days of the kingdom of Northumbria, this time centred around the battle of Degsastan, a period in while Angles, Britons, Scots and Picts struggled for control of northern England and southern Scotland. [read full review]
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Japan's Last Bid for Victory: The Invasion of India 1944, Robert Lyman. An excellent detailed account of the Japanese invasion of India in 1944, best known for the battles of Kohima and Imphal. Supported by a large number of eyewitness accounts, mainly British but with some valuable Japanese and Naga sources. [read full review]
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The Wars of the Maccabees, John D. Grainger. A military history of the hundred years of warfare between the revolt of the Maccabees in 167BC and the Roman conquest of the Hasmonean kingdom and their capture of Jerusalem in 63BC. The author does an excellent job of comparing the Jewish and other sources to produce a more realistic assessment of the conquests and achievements of the Hasmonean kings. [read full review]
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29 June 2012

Ancient Warfare Vol VI, Issue 1: From heroes to hoplites: Warfare in Archaic Greece. Looks at the nature of warfare as described by Homer and the differences between the heroic conflict portrayed in the Iliad and the hoplite warfare of classical Greece. Also looks at the origins of the hoplite and the phalanx, an apparently endless debate. [read full review]
Ancient Warfare Volume V Issue 5: Securing seas and shores: Fleets of the Roman Empire. Focuses on the Roman navy, the less famous branch of the Roman military but still an important part of the military machine that protected the Empire and the Emperor. Also looks at the death of Alexander the Great, a Scythian helmet and the space needed by Roman and Macedonian troops. [read full review]
Ancient Warfare Vol V Issue 4: Sieges and Terror Tactics, The Assyrian Empire at War. Focuses on a fascinating period, the increasingly well documented Assyrians, one of the earliest known empires, and a civilisation that lasted for a millennium and a half. Also includes an attempt to reconstruct key elements of the battle of Marathon, a fake Roman helmet and the debate over Diocletian's possible reforms of the Roman army. [read full review]

26 June 2012

Axis Warships: As Seen on Photos from Allied Intelligence Files, Colonel Roy M. Stanley II. Based around an impressive collection of aerial photos of Axis and Vichy warships collected by the author, a professional aerial photo interpreter for nearly thirty years. The author examines each picture, providing a professional view of what we are seeing. [read full review]
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Elite Panzer Strike Force: Germany's Lehr Division in World War II, Franz Kurowski. A history of the Panzer Lehr Division in Normandy, on the Westwall and during the Battle of the Bulge, a period when Germany was on the back foot, and the Panzers were almost always used in a defensive role. Mixes a good narrative with some interesting personal memories. [read full review]
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Horsemen in No Man's Land: British Cavalry & Trench Warfare, 1914-1918, David Kenyon. A study of the role of the British cavalry in the trench warfare of 1915-1918, focusing on the Somme, the battles for the Hindenburg Line, the perceived failure of the cavalry at Cambrai and its role in the decisive battles of 1918, from its crucial role in the defensive fighting early in the year to the victories in the Hundred Days. [read full review]
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12 June 2012

Panzers in the Sand: The History of Panzer-Regiment 5, Volume 2 1942-45, Bernd Hartmann. Part two of a history of the oldest panzer regiment in the German Army, following it to destruction in North Africa in 1942-43 and its partial revival in 1943 and deployment (and destruction) on the Eastern Front and its second revival and use in both Eastern and Western Fronts. [read full review]
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Fighting Through from Dunkirk to Hamburg, Bill Cheall. The Memoirs of a Green Howard who was called up in 1939, moved to France just before the German invasion, was evacuated from Dunkirk, fought in the desert and Sicily, took part in the D-Day landings before being wounded on D+30. A down-to-earth account of momentous events and an interesting view of the development of the British army. [read full review]
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The Teutonic Knights - A Military History, William Urban. Traces the Teutonic Knights from their origins in the Holy Land, through a brief period in Transylvanian and on to the area they are most famously associated with, Prussia and Livonia, where they fought against Pagans, Orthodox Russians, Tatars and eventually Catholic Poles and Lithuanians. [read full review]
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29 May 2012

Twilight of the Hellenistic World, Mike Roberts and Bob Bennett. A fascinating history of the last thirty years before the Romans began to dominate the Hellenistic World, looking at the struggles between Macedon, the Greek Leagues, the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires, a resurgent Sparta and the kings of Asia Minor at the end of the third century BC. [read full review]
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Images of War: Armoured Warfare on the Eastern Front, Anthony Tucker-Jones. A photographic guide to the development of armoured warfare on the Eastern Front, with an impressive selection of photos of German and Soviet armoured vehicles, all supported by accurate informative captions and useful chapter introductions, placing the pictures in context. [read full review]
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Images of War: Blitzkrieg Russia, Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. Five photo albums from the first year of the war in Russia in 1941, the period of German success. Four are anonymous, one named although without many details about the original owner. Each illustrates a slightly different aspect of the German army during this last period of major victories. [read full review]
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16 May 2012

Tracing Your East End Ancestors, Jane Cox. A geographically focused guide to family history that greatly benefits from its fixed focus, allowing the author to guide the reader very precisely to specific archives. Also includes a brief history of the East End, tracing its development from a rural area east of London into one a major urban community in its own right. [read full review]
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Culloden, 1746 (2nd Edition), Stuart Reid. A splendid account of the battle of Culloden and the campaigns before and after the battle. Also includes a good survey of the modern battlefield, taking into account recent improvements made by the National Trust for Scotland. Very readable, with a lightness of touch that is unusual on this still controversial topic. [read full review]
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The Battle of Bellecourt Tunnel: Tommies, Diggers and Doughboys on the Hindenburg Line, 1918, Dale Blair. A study of one of the first coalition battles on the Western Front to include large numbers of American troops, fighting as part of the Australian Corps during the successful attack on the Hindenburg Line. Their attack wasn't a success, although the hard-fighting Australians were eventually able to push the Germans back some way. Here Blair looks at this early coalition battle and examines the reasons for its comparative failure. [read full review]
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9 May 2012

Naval Weapons of World War One, Norman Friedman. A very high quality reference work looking at all of the naval weapons in use during the First World War and a number of weapons that appeared just after the end of the conflict. Also covers the tactics used by different navies and the crucial technology of gun control. [read full review]
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Target London: Bombing the Capital 1915-2005, Peter Reese. Falls into three very different sections, examining the small scale bombing of the First World War, the massive bombing campaign of the Blitz and the V weapons of the Second World War, and the terrorist attacks of recent years. Does an excellent job of examining both sides of each campaign, including a look at the aims of each wave of attacker. [read full review]
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The Littorio Class: Italy's Last and Largest Battleships 1937-1948, Erminio Bagnasco and Augusto de Toro. A splendid study of the four Littorio class battleships, looking at their development, design, construction and service history, with a focus on the way in which the design of the ships affected them in combat. Supported by hundreds of excellent photographs and line drawings. [read full review]
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2 May 2012

Ancient Warfare Magazine: Volume III Issue 2: Alexander's Funeral Games Medieval Warfare Vol II, Issue 2: The Thirteen Years War: The end of the Teutonic Order. This issue focuses on one of the less well known orders of crusading knights and the war that effectively destroyed their state on the shores of the Baltic. Also covers a major chronicler of Eastern Europe, the Church's attempt to ban the crossbow, the fighting skills of mounted troops and the battle of Worringen. [read full review]
Chindit Affair: A Memoir of the War in Burma, Frank Baines. A first-hand account of Operation Thursday, the second and largest of the main Chindit operations, written by a British officer who commanded the Gurkha troops protecting the brigade HQ. An unusual highly literate and very readable account of this operation, written by someone who wasn't afraid to describe how desperate the Chindit position was by the time they were withdrawn. A splendid account of this fascinating campaign. [read full review]
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Fighter Operations in Europe and North Africa, 1939-1945, David Wragg. Mainly focuses on the clash between the RAF and the Luftwaffe, looking at the fighting in France in 1940, the Battle of Britain, the war in the desert, Sicily, Italy and the campaign from D-Day to the end of the war. Also includes a very brief chapter on the Eastern Front [read full review]
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23 April 2012

Battleground Verdun: Fort Vaux, Christina Holstein. A detailed account of the siege of Fort Vaux, a short but important part of the wider Battle of Verdun, combined with a history of the fort and four self-guided tours of Fort Vaux and the surrounding area. A splendid account of a claustrophobic battle fought in horrendous conditions. [read full review]
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The Pacific War Uncensored, Harold Guard with John Tring. The memoirs of a British war correspondent who covered the disastrous campaigns in Malaya, Singapore and Java, before escaping to Australia from where he reported on the Allied fight-back on New Guinea. An invaluable first-hand account of the British and Allied defeats in south-east Asia from someone who was caught up in them. [read full review]
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Ancient Warfare Magazine: Volume III Issue 2: Alexander's Funeral Games Medieval Warfare Vol II Issue 1: Creating a Viking Empire: The Campaigns of Cnut the Great.. Focuses on the career of Cnut the Great, one of the great conquerors of the Medieval World and a man who created an empire all around the North Sea. Also looks at Hunedoara Castle, the late medieval armour industry and the Battle of Tewkesbury. [read full review]

16 April 2012

French Foreign Legionnaire, 1890-1914, Martin Windrow. A study of the French Foreign Legionnaire in the quarter of a century before the outbreak of the First World War, a period that saw them fight in North Africa and Vietnam. Looks at the recruitment, training, daily life and combat experience of one of the most famous and most notorious of military units. [read full review]
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Images of War: Leningrad, Hero City, Nik Cornish. A pictorial history of the long siege of Leningrad, illustrated with a well-chosen and well balanced mix of pictures from both sides of the line. Supported by a brief account of the siege that follows both side's activities and plans and how events elsewhere on the front affected the situation around Leningrad. [read full review]
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Roman Conquests: Asia Minor, Syria and Armenia, Richard Evans. A study of the series of wars that saw the Romans defeat the Seleucid Empire, gain control of much of Asia Minor and then fight a series of costly wars against Mithridates VI of Pontus, a conflict that took them further east than ever before, into Armenia. [read full review]
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5 April 2012

Images of War: German Half-Tracks at War 1939-1945, Paul Thomas. A photographic study of the half-track, a key component in the German Blitzkrieg, allowing the infantry and support troops to keep up with the rapidly moving panzers. A very focused book covering all types of half-track, organised in chronological order and of great value to anyone with an interest in this topic. [read full review]
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Roman Conquests: Gaul, Michael M. Sage. Briefly covers the conquest of the Gaul's of northern Italy and the province in southern France, but most of the book focuses on Caesar's conquest of Gaul, as famously documented by Caesar himself. Other sources are used when possible, so this is more than just a reworking of the Gallic Wars, and is a useful entry in this series. [read full review]
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Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front, Günter K. Koschorrek. Based on diaries and notes taken during the war, these memoirs tell the story of one German soldier during the long years of retreat that began at Stalingrad and ended in this case on the Baltic front. Gives a ground level view of the brutal nature of the fighting on the Eastern Front [read full review]
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3 April 2012

Holy Wars: 3,000 Years of Battles in the Holy Land, Gary L. Rashba. An interesting selection of incidents from the long and warlike history of the Holy Land, ranging from the Israelite conquest to the modern Arab-Israeli Wars. Includes a good mix of ancient, medieval and modern conflicts. A bit lacking in analysis of the value of early religious sources, but otherwise sound. [read full review]
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S.A.S. in Tuscany, 1943-1945, Brian Lett. A study of three S.A.S. operations behind enemy lines in Tuscany between the period of the Italian armistice in 1943 and the end of the war in 1945. The first ended in tragedy, the second was a great success, the third achieved comparatively little, so the author is able to compare and contrast three very different missions that took place in the same small area of Italy. [read full review]
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Operation Suicide: The Remarkable Story of the Cockleshell Raid, Robert Lyman. A splendid account of the famous canoe raid on German blockade runners based at Bordeaux. As well as a detailed narrative of the raid itself, Lyman has included an excellent account of its origins, the development of the necessary equipment, the formation of the unit that carried out the raid and the origins and repercussions of Hitler's notorious Commando Order. [read full review]
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