Monday, July 13, 2020

Odon Counterattack (29-June-1 July 1944)

The Odon Counterattack (29-June-1 July 1944) saw the Germans attack both flanks of the British bridgehead created during Operation Epsom, in an attempt to cut it off at its base. The attacks failed, and forced the Germans to commit the newly arrived II SS Panzer Corps to the Caen front, ending any chance of a major counterattack towards the coast.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Operation Market-Garden 1944 (2) - The British Airborne Missions, Ken Ford

Part two of a three part series on Market-Garden, looking at the 1st Airborne Division’s battle at Arnhem itself, where they were able to hold on for much longer than the plan required (despite a number of serious flaws with the airborne plan and mistakes on the ground), before the survivors were forced to retreat back across the Rhine. A good short account of this famous battle, useful for anyone who wants to understand the battle without getting bogged down in too much detail

The Jacobite Rising of 1715 and the Murray Family – Brothers in Arms, Rosalind Anderson

Looks at the history of the Murray family, one of the senior families of the Scottish aristocracy, in the period leading up to the ’15, where three sons of John Murray, first duke of Atholl, fought on the Jacobite side. Well supported by an impressive array of family letters, this book gives us a real feel for life within this family, and helps explain why so many of the duke’s sons repeatedly rebelled

Japan’s Asian Allies 1941-45, Philip Jowett

Looks at the surprisingly numerous and varied forces raised by the Japanese across their short-lived Empire during the Second World War, ranging from the large, moderately well equipped forces of the Indian National Army to small occupation forces armed with spears or clubs. Includes a number of forces that were later remembered as part of post-war independence movements, and quite a few that changed sides as the war progressed

Thursday, July 09, 2020

HMS Viking (1909)

HMS Viking (1909) was a Tribal class destroyer that served with the Dover Patrol during the First World War, taking part in the early bombardments of the Belgian coast, surviving very serious damage after hitting a  mine early in 1916 and taking part in the battle of the Dover Straits.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

USS Billingsley (DD-293)

USS Billingsley (DD-293) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Atlantic fleet for most of the 1920s, apart from a year spent in European waters.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Curtiss Jenny (Model JN)

The Curtiss Jenny (Model JN) was the most important American primary trainer of the First World War, and played a major role in the development of civil aviation after the end of the war.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Operation Epsom (26-30 June 1944)

Operation Epsom (26-30 June 1944) was the second major British attack on Caen, and the first major British offensive after D-Day, and was an attempt to reach the high ground south of the city and threaten the Caen-Falaise Road. The attack failed to meet those early Overlord objectives, but did force the Germans to move reinforcements to the Caen area.

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Armoured Cruiser Cressy, detailed in the original builders’ plan, Andrew Choong

Looks at the Cressy class armoured cruisers, using the beautifully drawn ‘as-fitted’plans produced after they were completed, to illustrate their actual layout in great detail. Part of a splendid series, this is a good example of a particular type of armoured cruiser, with many of its guns carried in two layers of casemates along the sides. By 1914 the armoured cruiser was almost obsolete, and the Cressy class is most famous for the loss of three to one U-boat on a single day, but when new they were were powerful modern ships. As with all of these books, this answers all sorts of questions about the layout of these ships, and is fascinating to look through.

Battle in the Baltic – The Royal Navy and the Fight to Save Estonia and Latvia 1918-20, Steve R Dunn

Looks at the Royal Navy’s involvement in the Baltic after the Russian Revolution, where it played a significant role in securing the independence of Estonia and Latvia, against threats from the Bolsheviks, expansionist Germans, White Russians who wanted to restore the entire Tsarist Empire, all the time working without any significant political support at home, or any clear idea what the British government policy actually was. Despite the limited resources available the Navy still managed to carry out a motor boat attack on the main Soviet fleet, as well as providing invaluable support for the fighting on land, despite poor conditions that even triggered some minor mutinies.