Monday, July 24, 2017

Battle of Lake Fucinus (89 BC)

The battle of Lake Fucinus (89 BC) was a Roman defeat at the hands of the Marsians, which came after the Roman commander Lucius Porcius Cato was killed (Italian Social War).

Siege of Firmum (90 BC)

The siege of Firmum (90 BC) saw Pompey Strabo besieged in the city after suffering a defeat at Mount Falernus, delaying his attempt to besiege Asculum (Italian Social War).

Saturday, July 22, 2017

No Victory in Valhalla: The untold story of Third Battalion 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment from Bastogne to Berchtesgaden, Ian Gardner

The third part of a history of the Third Battalion, 506 PIR, covering the period from the battle of the Bulge to the end of the Second World War and the immediate post-war period. A good example of the genre, with a careful balance between eyewitness accounts and an overall narrative. Also includes interesting sections on the occupation of Berchtesgaden and the fate of the battalion's POWs.
[read full review]

The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England, Hilda Ellis Davidson

One of the first serious studies of the Anglo-Saxon sword, comparing the literary and archaeological records, examining the physical nature of the swords and their accessories in some detail, and including an early example of experimental archaeology, a successful attempt to recreate the pattern welded swords of the period, a lost technique until then. Does a really good job of linking the surviving swords to their literary cousins, suggesting that the language used to describe swords was accurate
[read full review]

'The Devil's to Pay' John Buford at Gettysburg, a History and Walking Tour, Eric J. Wittenberg.


Focuses on the role played by John Buford's cavalry brigade on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg, where it held up the Confederate advance, and allowed the Union infantry to take up the defensive positions that were held on the second and third days of the battle. Includes a wide range of detailed maps and good material on the Confederate side of the battle and the activities of Buford later in the battle
[read full review]

Friday, July 21, 2017

Consolidated XPT-4

The Consolidated XPT-4 was a version of the PT-3 that used an experimental Fairchild-Caminez engine in place of the 220hp Wright J-5 (R-790) Whirlwind nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine.

Consolidated PT-3 'Husky

The Consolidated PT-3 'Husky' was an updated version of the PT-1 trainer that used the same Wright J-5 engine as the Navy's Consolidated NY trainers.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

USS Dent (DD-116/ APD-9)

USS Dent (DD-116/ APD-9) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service just in time to escort one convoy across the Atlantic during the First World War, but that saw more service as a fast transport in the Pacific during the Second World War.

USS Waters (DD-115/ APD-8)

USS Waters (DD-115/ APD-8) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service just in time to escort three convoys across the Atlantic during the First World War, and that had a much more active career as a fast transport during the Second World War.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Action of Göhrde (16 September 1813)

The action of Göhrde (16 September 1813) saw the Allies intercept a column sent out of Hamburg by Marshal Davout and force it to retreat back into the city after suffering heavy losses.

Combat of Peterswalde (16 September 1813)

The combat of Peterswalde (16 September 1813) was the second step in a French counterattack that forced the Allies back into Bohemia, and briefly gave Napoleon a chance to operate on the southern side of the Bohemian mountains.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Operation Vulcan (22-28 April 1943)

Operation Vulcan (22-28 April 1943) was the first stage of the final Allied attack in Tunisia, and involved a series of attacks all around the Axis bridgehead that pushed the defenders back from most of their best defensive positions, but didn’t quite break through into the open ground around Bizerte and Tunis

Battle of Enfidaville (19-21 April 1943)

The battle of Enfidaville (19-21 April 1943) was the Eighth Army's last significant battle in North Africa, and saw them fail to break through unexpectedly tough Axis resistance in the mountainous terrain around Enfidaville.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Battle of Mount Falernus (90 BC)

The battle of Mount Falernus (90 BC) was a victory for the Italians over a Roman force under Pompey Strabo that was moving to besiege Asculum (Social War).

Battle of Teanum Sidicinum (90 BC)

The battle of Teanum Sidicinum (90 BC) saw the Roman consul Lucius Julius Caesar suffer a defeat at the hands of the Samnite leader Marius Egnatius (Social War), probably during an attempt to lift the siege of either Aesernia or Acerrae.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cherbourg 1944: The first Allied victory in Normandy, Steven J. Zaloga.

Looks at the entire Cotentin campaign, from the first battles to expand the D-Day beach head, through the advance west across the Peninsula, the attack on Cherbourg itself and the final mopping operations west of the port. A good account of this campaign, supported by a series of high quality campaign maps and well illustrated, and telling the story from both sides.
[read full review]

Storming Monte La Difensa: The First Special Service Force at the Winter line, Italy 1943, Bret Werner.


Covers two unusual topics - an attack on an Italian mountain other than Monte Cassino, and a joint US-Canadian Special Forces unit. This was the only time the First Special Service Force was used in a truly Special Forces role, and it performed brilliantly, successfully climbing a cliff behind the German position and attacking them from above, in an attack that resembles many later war movies! [read full review]

Givenchy in the Great War - A Village on the Front Line 1914-1918, Phil Tomaselli

Traces the fighting that took part on the Givenchy sector of the Western Front during the First World War, following the village through the major battles of 1914-15 and 1918 and the quieter spells of 1916-17. Covers the fighting above ground and the massive mining campaign that went on under the front. An interesting idea that gives us a snapshot of the fighting on the Western Front as it affected a single heavily fought over location
[read full review]

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Nachtjagd Defenders of the Reich, Martin W. Bowman.


A series of eyewitness accounts of the battle between German night fighters and British bombers between the start of the bombing campaign in 1940 and the battle of Berlin at the end of 1943. A bit repetitive in places, due to the vast number of accounts included, but as a result a useful source of information on the attitudes and achievements of the German night fighter forces
[read full review]

In Pursuit of the Essex - Heroism and Hubris on the High Seas in the War of 1812, Ben Hughes

Follows two main participants in one of the more unusual naval duals of the War of 1812, the clash between the Essex and the Phoebe at Valparaiso on the coast of Chile. Follows both of the main participants on their long voyages from home ports into the Pacific, their attempts to find each other, the standoff after they met at Valparaiso and the eventual battle, triggered by an unsuccessful attempt by Porter to escape out to sea
[read full review]

Fighters over the Fleet – Naval Air Defence from Biplanes to the Cold War, Norman Friedman.


A history of naval air defence from the First World War to the present day, looking at the systems used to control air defence, and the aircraft and weapons involved. Gets a bit bogged down in post-war aircraft design, but otherwise a detailed but readable account of a remarkably complex topic that has dominated fleet design since the Second World War, covering an impressive wide range of topics over a century of naval aviation.
[read full review]

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Battle of Gabes or Wadi Akarit (6-7 April 1943)

The battle of Gabes or Wadi Akarit (6-7 April 1943) saw the Eighth Army quickly force their way past an improved defensive line occupied by the Axis forces after their retreat from the Mareth Line.

Operation Wop (16-23 March 1943)

Operation Wop (16-23 March 1943) was an American attack carried out in order to help Montgomery's attack on the Mareth Line, the key Axis defensive position in southern Tunisia.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Boulton Paul P.131

The Boulton Paul P.131 was a design for a jet trainer, designed in response to Specification O.R.AIR/37, but that didn’t enter production.

Boulton Paul P.125

The Boulton Paul P.125 was a jet version of the P.108 Balliol, designed to replace the Percival Provost, but that didn't enter production.

Boulton Paul P.124

The Boulton Paul P.124 was a jet trainer designed to replace the Percival Provost, but that didn't enter production.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

USS Talbot (DD-114/APD-7)

USS Talbot (DD-114/APD-7) was a Wickes class destroyer that served briefly towards the end of the First World War, but that was much more active as a fast transport in the Pacific during the Second World War.

USS Rathburne (DD-113/ APD-25)

USS Rathburne (DD-113/ APD-25) was a Wickes class destroyer that performed convoy escort duties during the First World War and served as a fast transport during the Second World War, serving in the Philippines and at Okinawa.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Combat of Berggiesshübel (15 September 1813)

The combat of Berggiesshübel (15 September 1813) was the first step in a French counterattack that restored their position after an Allied attack on 14 September, and ended with some fighting on the southern side of the Bohemian mountains.

Combat of Nollemdorf (14 September 1813)

The combat of Nollemdorf (14 September 1813) was an Allied counterattack that forced the French out of their most advanced positions in Bohemia, and triggered a brief French offensive that ended with Napoleon's troops briefly fighting south of the mountains.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Early Iron Age Greek Warrior 1100-700 BC, Raffaele d'Amato and Andrea Salimbeti

Looks at the period between the heroic warriors of Homer and the rise of the Hoplite, a fairly obscure period where the bulk of the evidence comes from contemporary artworks or archaeological remains (and which only contains one certain major war, the First Messenian War). As a result the book focuses largely on reconstructing the changes in military equipment over this 400 year period, which ended with the first evidence of the hoplites
[read full review]

Hitler's Russian & Cossack Allies 1941-1945, Nigel Thomas

Provides an overview of the organisation of six of the nine categories of Russian and Cossack troops who fought for the Germans during the Second World War, a total of around half a million men, who helped make up for some of the huge losses suffered by the Germans and their allies on the Eastern Front. Focuses on the origins, structure and organisation of these units rather than their combat record, which wouldn't fit in a book of this size.
[read full review]

Holding the Home Front - The Women's Land Army in the First World War, Caroline Scott

Looks at the effort that went into getting women accepted on farms during the First World War, starting with a variety of voluntary bodies, leading up to the formation of the Women's Land Army early in 1917. Tells a similar tale to that of the more famous Land Army of the Second World War, but with more emphasis on volunteering and voluntary organisations for most of the war, and as a result a wider variety of experiences
[read full review]

Friday, June 30, 2017

Battle of the Tolenus or Liris River (11 June 90 BC)

The battle of the Tolenus or Liris River (11 June 90 BC) was a victory for the Italian rebels in which they killed the consul Publius Rutilius Lupus, although Marius, who was serving under him, partly restored the situation.

Siege of Acerrae (90 BC)

The siege of Acerrae (90 BC) saw the Italian rebels defeat a series of Roman attempts to lift the siege, but frustratingly we don't actually know how it ended.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Battle of the Mareth Line (20-26 March 1943)

The battle of the Mareth Line (20-26 March 1943) was the Eighth Army's last major setpiece battle in North Africa, and saw Montgomery force the Germans and Italians to retreat from their last significant defensive position in southern Tunisia.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Consolidated PT-2

The Consolidated PT-2 was a single example of a PT-1 that was powered by the same Wright J-5 engine that was used in the Navy's Consolidated NY family.

Consolidated PT-1 'Trusty'

The Consolidated PT-1 'Trusty' was an excellent training aircraft that laid the foundations for the Consolidated Aircraft Company.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Heavy Assault Tank, A39, Tortoise

The Heavy Assault Tank, A39, Tortoise  was one of the largest armoured vehicles produced in Britain during the Second World War, and proved to be surprisingly reliable, but at the same time utterly impractical.

Shelled Area Infantry Tank A20

The Shelled Area Infantry Tank A20 was a heavy tank designed to operate in the muddy no-mans-land that might have developed between the Maginot and Siegfried Lines, but that was cancelled due to a combination of its own poor performance and the German blitzkrieg of 1940.

Monday, June 26, 2017

USS Ludlow (DD-112/ DM-10)

USS Ludlow (DD-112/ DM-10) was a Wickes class destroyer that served with the Atlantic Fleet in 1919-20 and the Pacific Fleet in 1921-29, after being converted into a light mine layer in 1920.

USS Ingraham (DD-111/ DM-9)

USS Ingraham (DD-111/ DM-9) was a Wickes class destroyer that carried out one cruise to Europe and then operated as a mine layer at Pearl Harbor in 1921-22.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Canaris - the Life and Death of Hitler's Spymaster, Michael Mueller

A biography of one of the most intriguing and mysterious figures in the German hierarchy during the Second World War,  at the same time head of Hitler's military intelligence service and an early plotter against the Fuhrer, a man of uncertain loyalties and motives who had a distinguished naval career during the First World War, before getting drawn into the murky world of the far right in post-war Germany. Gives us a good idea of what Canaris actually did, but as the author admits, the why will probably remain a mystery
[read full review]

Warfare in Tenth-Century Germany, David S. Bachrach.


A look at warfare under Henry I and Otto I, two of the most successful of the medieval Kings of Germany, and argues convincingly that warfare during their reign was both more professional and carried out on a larger scale than many historians are willing to admit. Makes an excellent use of a wide range of sources to paint a picture of a sophisticated kingdom, capable of maintaining large armies, and carrying out operations across much of central and southern Europe, including a series of expeditions across the Alps.
[read full review]

Air Raids on South-West Essex in the Great War, Alan Simpson

 Looks at the impact of German air raids on the north-eastern suburbs of London, which at the time into south-west Essex, and on the rural approaches to the city. Despite the sub-title the book covers both the Zeppelin raids and the later aircraft raids. As well as looking at the raids themselves, the author also follows the British response, both on the ground and in the air, to provide a useful snapshot of the 'first blitz'.
[read full review]

Friday, June 23, 2017

Combat of Geiersberg (10 September 1813)

The combat of Geiersberg (10 September 1813) saw Napoleon get into a position from where he could attack the Prussian and Russian contingents of the Army of Bohemia, but then decide not to risk a descent into Bohemia.

Treaty of Teplitz (9 September 1813)

The treaty of Teplitz (9 September 1813) saw Austria formally join the Sixth Coalition, although she had been at war with France since mid-August, and had already fought and lost the major battle of Dresden.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Siege of Aesernia (90 BC)

The siege of Aesernia (90 BC) was a success for the Italian allies, and saw them capture the Latin colony of Aesernia after a lengthy siege (Italian Social War).

Battle near Grumentum (90 BC)

The battle near Grumentum (90 BC) was an setback suffered by the Romans in Lucania early in the Social War.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Battle of Medenine (6 March 1943)

The battle of Medenine (6 March 1943) was Rommel's last offensive in Africa, and was an unsuccessful attempt to disrupt the Eighth Army's preparations for their upcoming attack on the Mareth Line, the main Axis defensive position in southern Tunisia.

Operation Ochenskopf (Oxhead) (26 February-19 March 1943)

Operation Ochenskopf (Oxhead) (26 February-19 March 1943) was a minor German offensive in northern Tunisia, carried out at the expense of Rommel's more promising assault on the Kasserine Pass.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Boulton Paul P.123

The Boulton Paul P.123 was a design for a radio guided surface-to-surface missile, produced to fill a gap between the entry into service of the post-war 'V' bombers.

Boulton Paul P.122

The Boulton Paul P.122 was a design for a rocket powered interceptor, designed in response to Specification F.124T.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Infantry Tank, Valiant, A38

The Infantry Tank, Valiant, A38, was an improved version of the Valentine infantry tank, but by the time the prototypes were ready there was no longer any need to it, and work stopped in 1945.

Heavy Assault Tank A33 (Excelsior)

The Heavy Assault Tank A33 (Excelsior) was a design for a heavier version of the Cromwell A27M and was produced when the Churchill infantry tank appeared to be a failure.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

In the Name of Lykourgos – The Rise and Fall of the Spartan Revolutionary Movement 243-146BC, Miltiadis Michalopoulos.


Looks at the last desperate attempts to restore the power of Sparta, nearly a century and a half after her defeat at Leuctra was followed by a collapse of Spartan power. Three Spartan rulers, Agis IV, Cleomenes III and Nabis, made revolutionary attempts to increase the power of the Spartan army and to return Spartan society to a perceived golden age, but these efforts ended in military defeat, occupation and eventually permanent conquest by the Romans.
[read full review]

Menus, Munitions & Keeping the Peace – The Home Front Diaries of Gabrielle West, 1914-1917, ed. Avalon Weston.


The wartime diaries of Gabrielle West, following her as she worked in (and set up) various canteens scattered around military hospitals the vast wartime armaments industry, before a chance of career saw her become a paid wartime Woman Police Office, serving in munitions factories. Provides a fascinating view of the munitions industry, and a very different view of the Home Front to any other I've read
[read full review]

The Seleukid Empire of Antiochus III 223-187 BC, John D. Grainger

Looks at the life and achievements of Antiochus III, one of the most successful of the Seleukid Emperors, but now best remembered for his defeats at the hands of the Romans. During a long reign he regained control of most areas that had been claimed by his predecessors, defeated the Ptolomies, secured most of Asia Minor, but overstretched himself with an invasion of Thrace and his activities in mainland Greece, which helped trigger the clash with Rome.
[read full review]

Friday, June 16, 2017

USS Hart (DD-110/ DM-8)

USS Hart (DD-110/ DM-8) was a Wickes class destroyer that operated in the Far East during the 1920s.

USS Crane (DD-109)

USS Crane (DD-109) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service too late for the First World War, but that served with the Neutrality Patrol and off the US West Coast during the Second World War.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Combat of Dohna (8 September 1813)

The combat of Dohna (8 September 1813) was a minor French victory over the troops of Barclay de Tolly, then advancing up the left bank of the Elbe towards Dresden.

Combat of Dahme (7 September 1813)

The combat of Dahme (7 September 1813) saw Allied troops capture 3,200 French prisoners in the aftermath of the battle of Dennewitz.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Italian Social war (91-88 BC)

The Italian Social war (91-88 BC) was a conflict between Rome and her Italian allies, triggered by the refusal of the Romans to give their allies Roman citizenship, and with it a say in the government of the empire that the allies had helped create and defend. 

Battle of Kasserine Pass (19-22 February 1943)

The battle of Kasserine Pass (19-22 February 1943) was Rommel's final success in North Africa, and saw the inexperienced Americans suffer a heavy defeat at the hands of the Germans.

Operation Morgenluft (16-18 February 1943)

Operation Morgenluft (16-18 February 1943) was Rommel's contribution to a joint operation with von Arnim's Fifth Panzer Army, and saw his forces expel the Americans from Gafsa and then advance north to Kasserine.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Boulton Paul P.121

The Boulton Paul P.121 was a design for a supersonic fighter that was produced with fixed or variable sweep wings.

Boulton Paul P.120

The Boulton Paul P.120 was a modified version of the delta winged P.111, briefly used to test an all-moving horizontal tail, before being lost in a crash.

Friday, June 09, 2017

TOG II Heavy Tank

The TOG II Heavy Tank was the second design produced by a group of First World War tank experts in 1940-41, and was a more modern looking vehicle than the TOG I, carrying its main gun in a large turret.

TOG I Heavy Tank

The TOG I Heavy Tank was a design for a massive tank that was developed by a group of tank experts from the First World War. Despite several years of effort and tests on the sole prototype very little came of their efforts.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

USS Williams (DD-108)

USS Williams (DD-108) was a Wickes class destroyer that was completed too late for service in the First World War, but that saw extensive use as a convoy escort as HMCS St. Clair during the Second World War.

USS Hazelwood (DD-107)

USS Hazelwood (DD-107) was a Wickes class destroyer that served in the Mediterranean just after the First World War, off the US West Coast in the early 1920s, and as a training ship in the second half of the 1920s.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Battle of Dennewitz (6 September 1813)

The battle of Dennewitz (6 September 1813) was a French defeat that ended Napoleon's second attempt to take Berlin during the autumn campaign of 1813.

Combat of Zahna (5 September 1813)

The combat of Zahna (5 September 1813) was a French success during Marshal Ney's attempt to capture Berlin, but on the following day Ney suffered a defeat at Dennewitz and was forced to abandon the attempt.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Phalacus

Phalacus was the last leader of the Phocians during the Third Sacred War, and survived the defeat of Phocis, only to die during a siege on Crete.

Phayllus

Phayllus was the third leader of the Phocians during the Third Sacred War, succeeding his brother Onomarchus. After a fairly unsuccessful period in command he died of natural causes, and was succeeded by his nephew Phalacus.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

'Allies are a Tiresome Lot' - The British Army in Italy in the First World War, John Dillon.


 Looks at the experience of the British Italian Expeditionary Force, sent to support the Italian war effort in the aftermath of their defeat at Caporetto. Organised by theme, covering topics such as morale, discipline, relations with the Italians and how these all impacted on the two main British battles in Italy, one defensive battle and their participation in the battle of Vittorio Veneto. An interesting study of a less familiar part of the British war effort
[read full review]

1 Group Bomber Command - An Operational Record, Chris Ward with Greg Harrison and Grzegorz Korcz


Split into two halves – a narrative account of the Group's activities within Bomber Command and a reference section covering each squadron and its aircraft. The narrative takes us day-by-day through the Group's main raids, including losses and a look at the success or failure of the raids. A useful reference work, and also a sobering reminder of the scale of losses suffered by Bomber Command throughout the war.
[read full review]

The Vikings and their Enemies: Warfare in Northern Europe 750-1100, Philip Line.


Looks at who the Vikings were, how and why their fought and how they compared to their neighbours and victims. Does a good job of dealing with the limited sources, which were either written by the Viking's victims, or produced in Scandinavia centuries after the events they portray. Makes good use of contemporary accounts of warfare elsewhere in Europe, and the limited reliable sources for the Vikings, to produce a detailed picture of their military world
[read full review]

Friday, June 02, 2017

Supermarine Type 545

The Supermarine Type 545 was a design for a jet fighter to replace the Supermarine Swift.

Supermarine Swift

The Supermarine Swift was the first British swept wing jet to enter service, the first RAF aircraft to use power-operated ailerons and the first to be armed with guided missiles, it served for a fighter for about a year then became a low level reconnaissance aircraft

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Black Prince Infantry Tank (A43)

The Black Prince Infantry Tank (A43) was produced in an attempt to mount the 17-pounder anti-tank gun on a tank that used as many components from the Churchill as possible.

Alecto

The Alecto was a self-propelled gun based on the chassis of the Light Tank Mk VIII 'Harry Hopkins'.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

USS Chew (DD-106)

USS Chew (DD-106) was a Wickes class destroyer that was present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and operated from Hawaii during the rest of the Second World War, although her career was blighted by repeated engine problems.

USS Mugford (DD-105)

USS Mugford (DD-105) was a Wickes class destroyer that served as a seaplane tender in the period immediately after the First World War.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Second day of the Battle of Dresden (27 August 1813)

The second day of the Battle of Dresden (27 August 1813) saw Napoleon launch a massive counterattack that forced the Allies to retreat, and that might have given him a decisive victory if Marshal Vandamme had made more progress to the south of Dresden.

Combat of Plagwitz (29 August 1813)

The combat of Plagwitz (29 August 1813) was a second French disaster in the aftermath of their defeat on the Katzbach (26 August 1813), and cost them all of Puthod's division.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Battle of Embata (346 BC)

The battle of Embata (346 BC) was a minor naval defeat for Athens during the Social War, but in the aftermath two of her best commanders were put on trial, and the remaining commander soon provoked the Persians.

Battle of Chaeroneia (c.352 BC)

The battle of Chaeroneia (c.352 BC) was an early defeat in the career of Phalacus as leader of the Phocians (Third Sacred War).

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Roman Empire and the Silk Routes - The Ancient World Economy & the Empires of Parthia, Central Asia and Han China, Raoul McLaughlin.


Looks at the silk trade in China, its impact on the Roman economy, the states and civilisations along the various Silk Routes. A fascinating book that links together the two great superpowers of the Ancient world. At its best when examining the silk trade itself or the cultures along the land and sea routes, although sometimes gets a bit distracted and wanders away from the main topic. Also examines the possibility of direct contact between the two ancient superpowers, but comes to the conclusion that although this probably came close to happening, it never quite did
[read full review]

Battlespace 1865 - Archaeology of the Landscapes, Strategies and Tactics of the North Platte Campaign, Nebraska, Douglas Scott, Peter Bleed and Amanda Renner.


An archaeological study of two minor skirmishes in the North Platte valley of Nebraska, fought between the US cavalry and a largely Cheyenne force reacting to an earlier massacre. Looks at the concept of 'battlespace' to see how it relates to the battlefields, and uses a series of modern archaeological techniques to locate the two battlefields and see how the surviving remains match with the primary sources
[read full review]

America's Modern Wars - Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, Christopher A. Lawrence.


A largely statistical analysis of post-war counterinsurgency warfare, looking to see if there are any patterns that might help explain the outcome of insurgencies. Provides some thought provoking data, suggesting that high force ratios are key, as long as the insurgency doesn't get too big, and also goes some way to disproving other ideas. Not great on the human element of these conflicts, but still a very valuable study of the sort of conflicts that look to dominate in the future
[read full review]

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tunisian Campaign (8 November 1942-13 May 1943)

The Tunisian Campaign (8 November 1942-13 May 1943) was the final stage of the North African campaign, and saw a combined British, American and French army slowly eliminate the Axis bridgehead in Tunisia.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Self-Propelled Gun, Avenger, A30

The Self-Propelled Gun, Avenger, A30, was a tank destroyer armed with a 17-pounder gun and based on the Cruiser Tank Challenger (A30).

120mm gun tank T110

The 120mm gun tank T110 was a series of designs for a heavy tank armed with a hull mounted main gun, developed as an alternative to the Heavy Tank T43 and its long term replacements.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

USS Champlin (DD-104)

USS Champlin (DD-104) was a Wickes class destroyer that spent almost all of her short career operating as a training ship in the reserve, before being sunk during experiments in 1936.

USS Schley (DD-103/ APD-14)

USS Schley (DD-103/ APD-14) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service in the last weeks of the First World War, but saw most service as a fast transport during the Second World War, earning 11 battle stars in the Pacific.

Monday, May 22, 2017

First day of the Battle of Dresden (26 August 1813)

The first day of the Battle of Dresden (26 August 1813) saw Napoleon defeat an Allied attack on the city, and launch a successful counterattack that prepared the way for his offensive on the second day.

Battle of Pirna (26 August 1813)

The battle of Pirna (26 August 1813) was a key part of Napoleon's plan to win a major victory at Dresden, and saw Vandamme attempt but fail to cut off the Allied lines of retreat from Dresden back into Bohemia.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Marlborough's Other Army - The British Army and the Campaigns of the First Peninsula War, 1702-1712, Nicholas Dorrell.


A history of the British intervention in Spain and Portugal during the War of the Spanish Succession, sometimes known as the First Peninsular War. Focuses mainly on recreating the armies involved in the campaigns, a tricky job in a period that saw units change their name whenever they changed commander. A useful study of this difficult and somewhat neglected campaign, which ended with the failure of the Allied attempt to put a Hapsburg on the Spanish throne
[read full review]

M48 Patton vs Centurion - Indo-Pakistani War 1965, David R. Higgins.


Looks at the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, a rare example of a post-war conflict in which British and American tanks served on opposite sides. Includes a useful account of the development of the two tanks, the versions in service during the war and an account of the fighting itself. Not so strong on the direct comparison between the effectiveness of the two types when operating against each other
[read full review]

Luftwaffe Fighter Force - The View from the Cockpit, ed. David C. Isby.

Luftwaffe Fighter Force - The View from the Cockpit, ed. David C. Isby. 
The results of a series of interrogations of senior Luftwaffe officers, carried out immediately after the end of the war, focusing on the German use of fighters and ground attack aircraft during the Second World War. Written without access to documents, but also before their views were distorted in the post-war period
[read full review]

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chares

Chares was a competent but reckless Athenian general during the thirty years before the rise of Alexander the Great, and who gained a reputation for being unusually greedy and corrupt. The length of his military career was probably due to a combination of his alliance with Demosthenes and a lack of more successful rivals at Athens.

Onomarchus (d.353 BC)

Onomarchus (d.353 BC) was a Phocian commander who temporarily halted the advance of Philip II of Macedonia, but who was killed in a battle against the Macedonians in 353. He was the brother of Philomelus, the first leader of the Phocians during the Third Sacred War.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Battle of El Agheila (12-18 December 1942)

The battle of El Agheila (12-18 December 1942) was a rearguard action during Rommel's retreat in the aftermath of his defeat at El Alamein, and saw Montgomery outflank a strong defensive position, forcing Rommel to resume his retreat

Operation Perpetual (11-12 November 1942)

Operation Perpetual (11-12 November 1942) saw British troops capture a number of ports on the coast east of Algiers in the aftermath of Operation Torch.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Supermarine Scimitar

The Supermarine Scimitar was the first swept wing single seat jet fighter to be produced for the Fleet Air Arm, and was the first FAA aircraft to be capable of supersonic flight and to carry an atomic bomb.

Supermarine Attacker

The Supermarine Attacker was the first jet fighter to enter first line service with the Fleet Air Arm, but it was something of a interim design, with wings developed for the piston engined Spiteful, and had a fairly short front line career.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Light Tank Mk VIII 'Harry Hopkins' (A25)

The Light Tank Mk VIII 'Harry Hopkins' (A25) was an improved version of the Light Tank Mk VII Tetrarch, but entered production after light tanks had gone out of favour and never saw combat.

Light Tank Mk VII 'Tetrarch' (A17)

The Light Tank Mk VII 'Tetrarch' (A17) was the last British designed light tank to be used in combat during the Second World War, and saw limited use as a glider-borne aircraft on D-Day and during the crossing of the Rhine.

Monday, May 15, 2017

USS Mahan (DD-102/ DM-7)

USS Mahan (DD-102/ DM-7) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service just before the end of the First World War, and served as a fast minelayer during the 1920s.

USS Lansdale (DD-101/ DM-6)

USS Lansdale (DD-101/ DM-6) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service in the last days of the First World War, serving in the Mediterranean in 1919, then as a minelayer in the 1920s.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

German Commerce Raiders 1914-18, Ryan K. Noppen.


Looks at the surface vessels that operated against Allied shipping during the First World War, a mix of warships, converted liners and converted freighters, including one fully masted sailing ship. Although nowhere near as successful as the later U-boat campaign, these surface ships did embarrass the Royal Navy, especially early in the war, and forced the diversion of sizeable RN and Allied naval forces, so they are well worth studying
[read full review]

Images of War: Great War Fighter Aces 1914-1916, Norman Franks.


Covers the air war from the outbreak of conflict to the end of 1916, the period in which fighter aircraft were first developed, and the first 'aces' appeared. The majority of the photos are of those aces, a mix of formal portraits and pictures around their aircraft, with a smattering of other related pictures. Each chapter starts with a brief introduction to the air war in that period, along with potted biographies of the main people shown in the photos
[read full review]

The First VCs - The Stories behind the First Victoria Crosses of the Crimean War and the Definition of Courage, John Grehan.

The First VCs - The Stories behind the First Victoria Crosses of the Crimean War and the Definition of Courage, John Grehan. 
 Combines a history of the earliest winners of the Victoria Cross with a history of the foundation of the medal itself, all taking place against the background of the Crimean War. Looks at the sort of deeds that were felt to be worthy of reward when the first Victoria Crosses were awarded after the end of the war, as well as the debate that led to the creation of the award in the first place
[read full review]

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Pericles (c.495-429 BC)

Pericles (c.495-429 BC) was an Athenian statesmen and general largely responsible for the development of the mature form of Athenian democracy, the restoration of the city after the Persian sack of 480 and the rise of the Athenian Empire, but also for the outbreak of the Great Peloponnesian War, which ended with the destruction of that empire and the temporary humbling of his city

Mardonius (d.479 BC)

Mardonius (d.479 BC) was a successful Persian general who helped reconcile the Ionian Greeks after the end of the Ionian Revolt, took part in Xerxes's invasion of Greece, and who was killed at the decisive battle of Plataea in 479 BC.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Operation Torch (8-11 November 1942)

Operation Torch (8-11 November 1942) was the Allied invasion of Vichy occupied North Africa, and was the first significant land operation carried out by American troops in the war against Germany.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Monday, May 08, 2017

Light Tank AA Mark II

The Light Tank AA Mark II was an improved version of the AA Mark I, and featured better sights and a larger turret.

Light Tank AA Mark I

The Light Tank AA Mark I was an attempt to produce an anti-aircraft tank on the chassis of the obsolete Light Tank Mk VI, but it wasn't a terribly effective design, and only a handful were produced.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Republican Roman Warships 509-27 BC, Raffaele D'Amato.

Republican Roman Warships 509-27 BC, Raffaele D'Amato. 
Looks at the development of Roman naval power from its very earliest mentions, through the first flowering of Roman sea power during the First Punic War to the battle of Actium, the last naval battle before Augustus founded the principate, a period of almost 500 years. Covers the ships themselves, the weapons they carried, how they operated, and the wars in which they were used. Has a great deal of info packed into its 48 pages
[read full review]

The 1915 Campaign, Andrew Rawson

The 1915 Campaign, Andrew Rawson. 
 Covers the fighting on the British front of the Western Front between the start of 1915 and the first half of 1916, up to the start of the battle of the Somme. Reveals at period in which the British army introduced new weapons and new techniques, but was still unable to win any significant victories, even when the initial part of an attack achieved success
[read full review]

Austro-Hungarian Cruisers and Destroyers 1914-18, Ryan K. Noppen.

Austro-Hungarian Cruisers and Destroyers 1914-18, Ryan K. Noppen. 
Looks at the largest Austro-Hungarian warships to see regular action during the First World War, four light cruisers and eighteen destroyers and the less valuable armoured cruisers, an obsolete type by 1914. Begins with a look at the ships themselves, before moving on to an examination of their generally successful use in the Adriatic during the First World War, one of the more successful theatres for the Austro-Hungarian armed forces.
[read full review]

Friday, May 05, 2017

USS Maury (DD-100)

USS Maury (DD-100) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service in the last weeks of the First World War, operating in the Aegean in 1919, and as a minelayer for most of the 1920s.

USS Luce (DD-99)

USS Luce (DD-99) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service late in the First World War, served in the Adriatic and eastern Mediterranean in 1919 and was converted into a minelayer after her return to the United States.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Combat of the Bobr or Lowenberg (21 August 1813)

The combat of the Bobr or Lowenberg (21 August 1813) was the first occasion on which Napoleon was frustrated by the Trachenberg Plan, in which the Allies had agreed not to risk a battle against the Emperor in person.

Trachenberg Plan (12 July 1813)

The Trachenberg Plan (12 July 1813) was the Allied plan for the Autumn Campaign of 1813 (War of Liberation), and called for each of the three Allied armies to avoid fighting Napoleon in person, but to threaten his communications and attack his Marshals, wearing down the French army and denying Napoleon the chance to win a decsisve victory.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Amynas I, fl.508-498 BC,

Amynas I, fl.508-498 BC, was the king of Macedon at the start of the Greco-Persian Wars, and was forced to submit to Persian authority.

Alexander I of Macedon (fl.507-463 BC)

Alexander I of Macedon (fl.507-463 BC) was the king of Macedon during Xerxes' invasion of Greece, and although he was forced to serve in the Persian army, he was also willing to provide information to the Greeks.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Second battle of El Alamein (23 October-4 November 1942)

The second battle of El Alamein (23 October-4 November 1942) was Montgomery's first great offensive victory, and forced Rommel to begin a retreat that didn't end until he had reached the Mareth Line in Tunisia, ending any last Axis hopes of conquering Egypt.

Operation Treatment (1942)

Operation Treatment (1942) was the intelligence element of the deception plan for the second battle of El Alamein, and focused on convincing the Germans that the offensive would start on 6 November, two weeks later than was planned.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bright Eyes of Danger - An Account of the Anglo-Sikh Wars 1845-1849, Bill Whitburn.

Bright Eyes of Danger - An Account of the Anglo-Sikh Wars 1845-1849, Bill Whitburn. 
Traces the development of the Sikh Empire under Ranjit Singh, his careful relationship with the British, the chaos that followed his death and the two wars that followed. Treats the two sides as equally valid, so we get a picture of the wars as they may have appeared at the time. Makes it clear that the first war in particular was a very close thing, with the British close to defeat on several occasions, only to be saved by the failure of Ranjit Singh's successors
[read full review]

John and Sebastian Cabot - The Discovery of North America, Charles Raymond Beazley.

John and Sebastian Cabot - The Discovery of North America, Charles Raymond Beazley. 
 Originally published in 1898, this is a classic, and still useful, examination of the careers of John and Sebastian Cabot, two key figures in the early history of English exploration. Beazley focused very heavily on an examination of the contemporary records of their voyages, and attempted to untangle the rather confused web of the activities of the father and son explorers, concentrating mainly on their time in English service. Includes most of the key documents, allowing the book to retain much of its value
[read full review]

Casca 40: Blitzkreig, Tony Roberts.

Casca 40: Blitzkreig, Tony Roberts. 
Follows Casca through the initial campaigns of the Second World War, serving as a tank commander in a panzer division in Poland, Belgium and France. A fairly convincing fictional account of tank warfare, with Casca fighting in northern Poland and Belgium, although bookended with Casca the Nazi apologist, an unwelcome appearance
 [read full review]

Friday, April 28, 2017

Supermarine Spiteful

The Supermarine Spiteful was developed to replace the Spitfire, but by the time it was ready to enter service it was no longer needed, and only a handful were ever completed.

Supermarine Seafang

The Supermarine Seafang was the naval version of the Spiteful, produced as a replacement for the Spitfire and Seafire. Like the Spiteful only a handful of aircraft were ever produced.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

120mm gun combat tank M103

The 120mm gun combat tank M103 was the only one of a series of late war and early post-war American heavy designs to actually reach production, and was a lighter version of the earlier Heavy Tank T34.

105mm gun tank T96

The 105mm gun tank T96 was a design for a long term replacement for the Heavy Tank T43 (M103), but work on the design was abandoned after it became clear that the gun would fit on the Medium Tank T95, under development at the same time.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

USS Israel (DD-98)

USS Israel (DD-98) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service late in the First World War, then served as a minelayer in the immediate post-war period.

USS Murray (DD-97)

USS Murray (DD-97) was a Wickes class destroyer that operated in European waters late in the First World War and then served as a minelayer in the immediate post-war period.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Convention of Reichenbach (27 June 1813)

The Convention of Reichenbach (27 June 1813) was an agreement between Austria, Prussia and Russia, in which the Austrians agreed to join the war against Napoleon unless he agreed to a series of demands.

Armistice of Pleischwitz (2 June 1813)

The Armistice of Pleischwitz (2 June 1813) was a truce between between Napoleon and his Russian and Prussian opponent that ended the Spring Campaign of 1813 (War of Liberation).

Monday, April 24, 2017

Epaminondas (410-362 BC)

Epaminondas (410-362 BC) was a Theban general and statesman who was responsible for a series of battlefield victories that smashed the power of Sparta, ending a short period of Spartan dominance in Greece.

Themistocles (c.524-460 BC)

Themistocles (c.524-460 BC) was a great Athenian naval leader who played a vital role in the defeat of Xerxes I's invasion of Greece in 480, but who like so many Athenian leaders ended his life in exile.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Atlantic Wall (3) - The Südwall, Steven J. Zaloga.

The Atlantic Wall (3) - The Südwall, Steven J. Zaloga. 
Looks at the Mediterranean section of the German coastal defence lines, covering the south of France and part of the north Italian coast. These fortifications consumed a significant amount of resources, but when the invasion finally came proved to be largely ineffective, although some did play a part in some of the battles as Allies troops cleared the French coast. This volume looks at the design of the fortifications, their distribution and construction, and the role they played in the fighting in 1944
[read full review]

Despatches from the Front: Capital Ships at War 1939-1945, compiled John Grehan & Martin Mace.

Despatches from the Front: Capital Ships at War 1939-1945, compiled John Grehan & Martin Mace. 
Reproduces a series of Royal Navy reports covering some of the key battleship actions of the Second World War, including the battle of the River Plate, loss of the Hood, Prince of Wales and Repulse, the sinking of the Bismarck, X-boat attacks on the Tirpitz and the operations of the British Pacific Fleet in 1945. Helps trace the decline of the battleship during the Second World War, a conflict in which direct clashes between battleships were very rare, but air power came to dominate
[read full review]

Byzantium Triumphant - The Military History of the Byzantines 959-1025, Julian Romane.

Byzantium Triumphant - The Military History of the Byzantines 959-1025, Julian Romane. 
 Looks at the military (and to a lesser extent political) history of Byzantium during the lifetime of Basil II Porphrogenitus (the Bulgar Slayer). Tells an interesting story that really brings Byzantine society alive, although perhaps at the cost of skating over some of the complexities of some of the sources Byzantine history. This was a period that saw Medieval Byzantium at its most powerful, despite the rather convoluted series of civil wars that dominate the first part of the book!
[read full review]

Friday, April 21, 2017

Operation Bertram (1942)

Operation Bertram (1942) was the tactical element of the deception plan for the second battle of El Alamein, and focused on convincing the Germans both that the offensive wouldn't begin until some time in November and that the main attack would come on the southern end of the front line.

Battle of Alam Halfa (31 August-7 September 1942)

The battle of Alam Halfa (31 August-7 September 1942) was Rommel's last offensive in Egypt, and Montgomery's first victory after taking command of the Eighth Army, and was a British victory that removed any chance of Rommel reaching Alexandria or the Suez Canal.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Boulton Paul P.111

The Boulton Paul P.111 was an experimental delta winged jet aircraft used for research into the performance of delta wings at high speed.

Boulton Paul P.109

The Boulton Paul P.109 was a design for an advanced trainer powered by a Bristol Perseus engine.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

T93 8in Gun Motor Carriage

The T93 8in Gun Motor Carriage was one of a series of attempts to mount heavy artillery on the chassis of the M26 Pershing tank.

T92 240mm Howitzer Motor Carriage

The T92 240mm Howitzer Motor Carriage was one of two attempts to mount very heavy artillery pieces on the chassis of the M26 Pershing tank.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

USS Stribling (DD-96)

USS Stribling (DD-96) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw limited service late in the First World War, was based in the Adriatic in 1919, and briefly served as a minelayer after her return to the United States.

USS Bell (DD-95)

USS Bell (DD-95) was a Wickes class destroyer that escorted convoys across the Atlantic late in the First World War, but entered the reserve in 1922 and was never recommissioned.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Combat of Luckau (6 June 1813)

The combat of Luckau (6 June 1813) was a French defeat during Marshal Oudinot's first attempt to threaten Berlin, but came after an armistice had already ended the fighting in the spring campaign in Germany.

Combat of Hoyerswerda (27 May 1813)

The combat of Hoyerswerda (27 May 1813) was a French victory that encouraged Marshal Oudinot to advance towards Berlin, after a Prussian attack on his positions was repulsed.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

J2M Raiden and N1K1/2 Shiden/ Shiden-Kai Aces, Yasuho Izawa with Tony Holmes.

J2M Raiden and N1K1/2 Shiden/ Shiden-Kai Aces, Yasuho Izawa with Tony Holmes. 
Looks at the limited careers of three late Japanese Navy interceptors of the Second World War, tracing their development and performance in combat. Includes an interesting account of the combat record of the 343rd Kokutai under Genda Minoru, a late war Japanese leader who didn't believe that the kawikaze ramming attack was the best way to attack American bombers.
[read full review]

The Vikings, R Chartrand, K Durham, M Harrison & I Heath.

The Vikings, R Chartrand, K Durham, M Harrison & I Heath. 
A nicely organised overview of the Vikings, looking at Viking society, the Hersirs (medium ranked men who played a key part in early raids), the Vikings in battle and finally Viking ships. More than an introduction to the topic, there are some excellent sections, in particular on the various types of ships used by the Vikings and on their voyages to North America
[read full review]

Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance 1864-70: Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay & Argentina, Gabriele Esposito.

Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance 1864-70: Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay & Argentina, Gabriele Esposito. 
 Looks at one of the most costly wars in South American history, between Paraguay's military dictator and an alliance of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Begins with a history of the war itself, triggered by the ambitions of Paraguay's dictator, before moving on to examine the four armies involved in the conflict. A useful English language account of the largest war in the history of South America
[read full review]

Friday, April 14, 2017

Memnon of Rhodes (d.334 BC)

Memnon of Rhodes (d.334 BC) was one of the few successful Persian commanders during the wars against Philip II of Macedon and Alexander the Great, despite have started his military career as a rebel against Artaxerxes III.

Mentor of Rhodes (385-340 BC)

Mentor of Rhodes (385-340 BC) was a Greek mercenary who fought for and against Artaxerxes III and played a part in the final major Persian military success, the reconquest of Egypt of 343 BC.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

First battle of El Alamein (1-27 July 1942)

The first battle of El Alamein (1-27 July 1942) was a series of engagements in the area south of El Alamein in which Rommel's run of victories in 1942 was finally brought to an end. A series of British counterattacks also achieved little, and the battle ended as a stalemate.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Supermarine S.4, S.5, S.6 and S.6B

The Supermarine S.4, S.5, S.6 and S.6B were a series of Schneider Trophy winning floatplanes that were designed by R.J. Mitchell, and that played a part in the design of the Supermarine Spitfire by giving him experience of designing high speed stressed skin monoplanes.

Supermarine Nanok (Polar Bear)/ Solant

The Supermarine Nanok (Polar Bear)/ Solant was designed as a torpedo bomber for the Danish Navy, but was rejected and ended up being used as a pleasure craft by the Guinness family.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

T84 8in Howitzer Motor Carriage

The T84 8in Howitzer Motor Carriage was the first attempt to mount a heavy artillery gun on the chassis of the M26 Pershing tank, but only two pilots were ever built.

T58 155mm gun tank

The T58 155mm gun tank was designed to fire HEAT and HESH shells and used an oscillating turret in an attempt to save weight.

Monday, April 10, 2017

USS Taylor (DD-94)

USS Taylor (DD-94) was a Wickes class destroyer that served with the US Atlantic Fleet late in the First World War, but that had been reduced to a hulk by the outbreak of the Second World War. Later her bow was used to repair USS Blakeley, after that destroyer was damaged by a U-boat.

USS Fairfax (DD-93)/ HMS Richmond

USS Fairfax (DD-93)/ HMS Richmond was a Wickes class destroyer that operated in the western Atlantic in 1918, as a training ship between the wars, then with the Royal Navy as HMS Richmond and the Soviet Navy as the Zhivuchi during the Second World War.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Combat of Sprottau (27 May 1813)

The combat of Sprottau (27 May 1813) was a minor French success during their pursuit of the Russians and Prussians in the aftermath of the battle of Bautzen.

Combat of Hainau (26 May 1813)

The combat of Hainau (26 May 1813) was a rare Allied success during their retreat after the battle of Bautzen, and saw a Prussian cavalry force ambush an isolated French division east of Hainau.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Darius II (r.423-404 BC) Ochus

Darius II (r.423-404 BC) Ochus was the Persian Emperor during the second half of the Great Peloponnesian War, and his money played a major part in the eventual Spartan victory.

Xerxes II (r.425-424 BC)

Xerxes II (r.425-424 BC) was a very short lived ruler of the Persian Empire, who was killed by the son of one of his father's concubines after a reign of only 45 days.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Operation Cascade (1942)

Operation Cascade (1942) was a deception plan used to convince Rommel that the British army in Egypt was much larger than it really was.

Operation Sentinel (1942)

Operation Sentinel (1942) was a deception plan used to try and mislead Rommel in believing that Egypt was more strongly defended than it really was during his advance into Egypt after the battle of Gazala.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Boulton Paul P.108 Balliol

The Boulton Paul P.108 Balliol was designed as a turboprop powered trainer but saw limited service as a standard piston engine powered trainer with the RAF and Fleet Air Arm.

The Boulton Paul P.107 was the company's last wartime design for a land based fighter. It was a two-seat long range escort fighter, powered by a Bristol Centaurus CE12SM engine.

The Boulton Paul P.107 was the company's last wartime design for a land based fighter. It was a two-seat long range escort fighter, powered by a Bristol Centaurus CE12SM engine.

Monday, April 03, 2017

T57 120mm gun tank

The T57 120mm gun tank was designed in an attempt to produce a tank that was lighter than the Heavy Tank T34 or 120mm gun combat tank M103, taking advantage of an oscillating turret to reduce weight.

M51 Heavy Recovery Vehicle

The M51 Heavy Recovery Vehicle was produced in the early 1950s to replace earlier recovery vehicles based on the Medium tank M4 Sherman.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Appomattox 1865 - Lee's Last Campaign, Ron Field.

Appomattox 1865 - Lee's Last Campaign, Ron Field. 
 Looks at the final campaign of the American Civil War in Virginia, Lee's failed attempt to escape south to join up with other Confederate troops after the Union army finally broke through at Petersburg. Nice to have a book that focuses on this campaign in some detail, looking at the significant fighting that kept pushing Lee west instead of south, instead of skipping over it on the way between the siege of Petersburg and the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse
[read full review]

Hitler's Last Witness, the Memoirs of Hitler's Bodyguard, Rochus Misch.

Hitler's Last Witness, the Memoirs of Hitler's Bodyguard, Rochus Misch. 
The autobiography of a member of Hitler's bodyguard, who ended up operating the telephone exchange in the Berlin Bunker. More interesting as an account of daily life on the fringes of Hitler's private circle than for its insight into the conduct of the war, partly because Misch chose not to be very curious, a trait that ran the risk of seeing you dispatched to the front. Provides more details of the final days of the war, and is thus a valuable witness to the last moments in the bunker
[read full review]

Sir John Moore - The Making of a Controversial Hero, Janet MacDonald.

Sir John Moore - The Making of a Controversial Hero, Janet MacDonald. 
A full length biography of Sir John Moore, best known for the battle of Corunna and for training the rifle corps at Shorncliffe. As this book proves, he had an active and varied career, serving on Corsica, in the West Indies, Ireland, Holland, Egypt, Sicily and Sweden as well as in Spain and Portugal, so as well as providing a biography of Moore, this book also gives us a cross-section of the British army's activities during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
[read full review]

Friday, March 31, 2017

USS Gridley (DD-92)

USS Gridley (DD-92) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a brief career after the First World War, most notably supporting the first successful transatlantic flight during 1919.

USS Harding (DD-91)

USS Harding (DD-91) was a Wickes class destroyer that had a brief interwar career, mainly as a seaplane tender, before being decommissioned on 1922.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Combat of Reichenbach (22 May 1813)

The combat of Reichenbach (22 May 1813) was a rearguard action during the Allied retreat after their defeat at Bautzen, most notable for the death of one of Napoleon's closest friends, the Grand Marshal Duroc.

Combat of Görlitz (23 May 1813)

The combat of Görlitz (23 May 1813) saw the French force their way across the River Neisse, on the border between Saxony and Silesia, in the aftermath of their victory at Bautzen (20-21 May 1813).

Combat of Reichenbach (22 May 1813)

The combat of Reichenbach (22 May 1813) was a rearguard action during the Allied retreat after their defeat at Bautzen, most notable for the death of one of Napoleon's closest friends, the Grand Marshal Duroc.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Xerxes I (r.486-465 BC)

Xerxes I (r.486-465 BC) was a Persian emperor most famous for the defeat of his massive invasion of Greece of 480-479 BC.

Darius I the Great (r.522-486)

Darius I the Great (r.522-486) was the third Persian emperor of the Achaemenid dynasty, and was a successful leader, despite being best known in the west for the failure of his invasion of Greece.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Battle of Mersa Matruh (26-28 June 1942)

The battle of Mersa Matruh (26-28 June 1942) was Rommel's last victory against the Eighth Army, and saw him brush aside a British attempt to defend the Mersa Matruh position

Siege of Tobruk (17-21 June 1942)

The siege of Tobruk (17-21 June 1942) was one of the more embarrassing British defeats in North Africa, and helped to reduce Churchill's confidence in General Auchinleck's abilities as a commander.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Supermarine Swan

The Supermarine Swan was designed as a civilian airline, but the sole example was completed as a military reconnaissance aircraft.

Supermarine Sheldrake

The Supermarine Sheldrake was an amphibian aircraft produced for the British Air Ministry, but only one was ever built.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Europe: Chained by History, Larry J. Hilton.

Europe: Chained by History, Larry J. Hilton. 
A generally well meaning book looking at the history of Europe, and suggesting that a truly united Europe is the continent's best chance for a safe and prosperous future, somewhat marred by a series of minor historical errors that rather niggle (including Vienna's attempt to claim Mozart as a native son). Includes a very strong examination of hyper inflation and the rise of anti-Semitism in Vienna, a dark shadow that marred an otherwise impressive city
[read full review]

Merchant Seafaring Through World War 1 - 1914-1918, Peter Lyon.

Merchant Seafaring Through World War 1 - 1914-1918, Peter Lyon. 
 Looks at the fate of British merchant seaman during the periods of German surface raiding and the U-boat war. Rather firmly takes sides, with a hostile view of the U-boat commanders and their tactics, although one that is supportable by the evidence provided. Contains a series of impressive tales of survival against the odds, as well as tracing the development of U-boat tactics and the British countermeasures. 
 [read full review]

The Mongol Conquests - The Military Operations of Genghis Khan and Sübe'etei, Carl Fredrik Sverdrup.

The Mongol Conquests - The Military Operations of Genghis Khan and Sübe'etei, Carl Fredrik Sverdrup. 
A detailed examination of the campaigns of the two greatest Mongol military leaders, using a wide range of sources, including previously un-translated Chinese materials. Gives a clear picture of the true nature of the Mongol conquests, from Genghis's own establishment of power in Mongolia to the invasions of Western Europe and northern China. Not always the easiest of reads (mainly because of the complexity of the story), but a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the rise of the Mongols.
[read full review]

Friday, March 24, 2017

Heavy Tank T34

The Heavy Tank T34 was based on the Heavy Tank T29 and Heavy Tank T30, and was armed with a modified 120mm anti-aircraft gun. It didn’t enter production, but the post-war Heavy Tank M103 was largely based on it.

Heavy Tank T32

The Heavy Tank T32 was an attempt to quickly produce a heavy tank based on the T26E3 version of the Pershing, and was the first of several contemporary designs for heavy tanks to reach the pilot stage.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

USS McKean (DD-90/ APD-5)

USS McKean (DD-90/ APD-5) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service too late for the First World War, but that served in the Solomon Islands campaign of the Second World War as a fast transport, before being sunk off Bougainville.

USS Ringgold (DD-89)

USS Ringgold (DD-89) was a Wickes class destroyer that was commissioned too late to see service in the First World War, but that served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War as HMS Newark.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813)

The battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813) was the second major battle of the Spring Campaign of 1813, and saw Napoleon come close to winning the descisive victory he needed to knock at least one of his opponents out of the war.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Battle of Coroneia (c.352)

The battle of Coroneia (c.352) was the second in a series of defeats suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus during a failed invasion of Boeotia (Third Sacred War).

Battle of Abae (c.352 BC)

The battle of Abae (c.352 BC) was one of a series of setbacks suffered by the Phocian leader Phayllus, and came after a unsuccessful invasion of Boeotia and a failure to capture the city of Naryx (Third Sacred War).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Battle of Gazala (26 May-14 June 1942)

The battle of Gazala (26 May-14 June 1942) was Rommel's most impressive victory in North Africa, and saw him force the British to abandon the defences of the Gazala Line and retreat back towards the Egyptian frontier. In the aftermath of the battle he was also able to capture Tobruk, which had held out for eight months in 1941, but fell after the first serious attack in 1942.

Rommel's Second Offensive (21 January-4 February 1942)

Rommel's Second Offensive (21 January-4 February 1942) was an unexpected counterattack that forced the British to retreat 350 miles, from the western border of Cyrenaica to the Gazala Line, and set the scene for Rommel's advance into Egypt later in the year

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Palestine - the Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918, Edward J. Erickson.

Palestine - the Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918, Edward J. Erickson. 
An interesting study of the Ottoman side of the Palestinian campaigns of 1915-1918, looking at the failed Ottoman attacks on the Suez canal, the first two unsuccessful British attacks on Gaza and Allenby's successful campaign that eventually forced the Ottomans to sue for peace. A useful book somewhat marred by the author's approach to the Armenian Genocide, which is briefly discussed as if it was a valid response to a major security threat instead of a deliberate genocide ordered from above.
[read full review]

Special Operations South-East Asia 1942-1945: Minerva, Baldhead and Longshanks/ Creek, David Miller.

Special Operations South-East Asia 1942-1945: Minerva, Baldhead and Longshanks/ Creek, David Miller. 
 Focuses on three Special Forces operations in South East Asia – a failed attempt to gather intelligence on Sumatra, a series of similar but successful operations on the Andaman Islands and a 'cutting out' operation conducted in the Portuguese enclave of Goa. These were three very different operations, and perhaps the only thing they have in common is that they are now hardly remembered, so this is a useful study of the three.
[read full review]

T-64 Battle Tank - The Cold War's Most Secret Tank, Steven J. Zaloga.

T-64 Battle Tank - The Cold War's Most Secret Tank, Steven J. Zaloga. 
A brief history of a tank that was too advanced for its own good, combining advanced features that meant it couldn't be exported with an unreliable engine that made it unsuited for service with the Red Army for many years after it first appeared. The limited service life of the T-64 allows the author to focus on the complex and troubled development process, giving us an interesting picture of the way tank development worked in the Soviet Union
[read full review]

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Combat of Konigswartha (19 May 1813)

The combat of Konigswartha (19 May 1813) took place on the day before the battle of Bautzen (20-21 May 1813) and saw the French defeat an Allied force that had been sent out to attack Lauriston's corps (War of Liberation).

Combat of Colditz (5 May 1813)

The combat of Colditz (5 May 1813) was a rearguard action during the Allied retreat after their defeat at Lutzen three days earlier.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fourth Sacred War or Amphissean War (339-339 BC)

The Fourth Sacred War or Amphissean War (339-339 BC) was the final step in Philip II of Macedon's rise to a position of dominance in Greece, and ended with the defeat of the joint Athenian and Theban army at the battle of Chaeronea.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45, Bruce Oliver Newsome

Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45, Bruce Oliver Newsome. 
Looks at the most numerous British tank of the Second World War, but one that only saw limited combat service, mainly in North Africa. Notable for the amount of information packed into a series of tables, including specifications and identifying features of the many versions of the Valentine, as well as the interesting material on the interior of the tank, how it was driven, and on the many special variants such as the Archer self -propelled gun, which carried its main gun pointing backwards.
 [read full review]

Railway Guns of World War II, Steven J. Zaloga.

Railway Guns of World War II, Steven J. Zaloga. 
Although the heyday of the railway gun came during the First World War, the most famous example of the type, the massive German 80cm K(E) guns 'Dora' and 'Gustav', came from the Second World War. In reality these were useless vanity projects, but as this book makes clear every major combatant used a least a handful of railway guns during the Second World War. This book combines  brief technical descriptions of each country's railway guns with a look at their combat service
[read full review]

Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts.

Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts. 
An excellent guide to the most famous Confederate attack on the third day at Gettysburg, combining four battlefield trails with a detailed examination of the attack itself, covering the impact of the terrain on both sides, the performance of individual units and commanders, and many of the controversies that have dogged the subject ever since the fighting stopped. The trails appear to make sense, but for me the main value of the book is its account of the Confederate attack, supported by a detailed knowledge of the landscape over which it took place
[read full review]

Friday, March 10, 2017

Operation Crusader (18 November-20 December 1941)

Operation Crusader (18 November-20 December 1941) was Rommel's first defeat in North Africa, and was a confused battle, won in part by a combination of Auchinleck's determination and Rommel's rash 'dash to the wire'.

Operation Battleaxe (15-17 June 1941)

Operation Battleaxe (15-17 June 1941) was an unsuccessful British offensive in North Africa, carried out in an attempt to raise the siege of Tobruk

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Supermarine Scylla

The Supermarine Scylla was a flying boat originally designed to replace the Felixstowe F.5, but that was eventually used for taxing trials only.

Supermarine Scarab

The Supermarine Scarab was an amphibian reconnaissance and bombing aircraft, produced in 1924 for the Spanish Navy.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Heavy Tank M45

The Heavy Tank M45 was a howitzer armed version of the M26 Pershing tank, originally developed as the T26E2

Heavy Tank M6 (Heavy Tank T1)

The Heavy Tank M6 (Heavy Tank T1) was the first American heavy tank to come close to production during the Second World War, but was rejected by the Armored Force and only a handful were ever completed.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

USS Stevens (DD-86)

USS Stevens (DD-86) was a Wickes class destroyer that served from Queenstown during the First World War, and supported the first successful transatlantic flight in 1919.

USS Colhoun (DD-85/ APD-2)

USS Colhoun (DD-85/ APD-2) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw limited service towards the end of the First World War, and was later converted into a fast transport and sunk in a Japanese air attack off Guadalcanal.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Battle of Lützen (2 May 1813)

The battle of Lützen (2 May 1813) was Napoleon's first victory during the Spring campaign of 1813 (War of Liberation), but he was unable to take full advantage of his victory, and the Prussians and Russians were able to escape east with their armies largely intact.

Action of Poserna (1 May 1813)

The action of Poserna (1 May 1813) was a French victory on the road to Lützen, but one that cost them Marshal Bessières, who was killed by a cannon shot during the battle.

Sunday, March 05, 2017