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

Normandy June 1944: The Night of Liberation, Gilles Vallée and Christophe Esquerré. 
A heavily illustrated book that follows one stick of paratroops from the 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment as they dropped behind Utah Beach on D-Day. A splendid educational publication that doesn't pull its punches, following a stick that saw its leader killed before reaching the ground, suffered heavy losses and fell into German hands almost immediately. Also follows the aircraft that flew them to Normandy and its aircrew.
[read full review]
Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945, Claes Johansen. 
A wide ranging examination of Finland's two wars with the Soviet Union, the period leading up to the Winter War, the uneasy peace, and the aftermath of the wars, looking at the political debate within Finland, the fighting, and the wider impact of the war in the other Nordic countries. Especially interesting for the light it shines on the rather murky period between the two wars, where parts of the Finnish government entered into a de-facto alliance with Germany without the authority to do so, and on the varying Soviet aims.
[read full review]

The Hindenburg Line, Patrick Osborn & Marc Romanych.

The Hindenburg Line, Patrick Osborn & Marc Romanych. 
A good study of the full network of defences generally known in English as the Hindenburg Line, and which spread from the Channel coast to the St. Mihiel salient east of Verdun. Looks at the original purpose behind their construction, the actual shape they took on the ground, and how they performed under attack. Very useful to have a book that focuses on the entire length of this key German fortification
[read full review]

Friday, March 03, 2017

Battle of the Cephisus River (c.352)

The battle of the Cephisus River (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 Orchomenus (c.352 BC)

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

Thursday, March 02, 2017

North African Campaign (1940-1943)

The North African Campaign (1940-1943) produced some of the British army's most iconic moments of the Second World War, and the Allied and Axis armies repeated advance back and forward across Libya, before the Allied victories of El Alamein and Operation Torch forced the Axis forces back into an increasingly small bridgehead in Tunisia.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Boulton Paul P.104

The Boulton Paul P.104 was a design for a pusher naval fighter produced in response to Specification N.7/43.

Boulton Paul P.103

The Boulton Paul P.103 was a design for a naval fighter based on the Defiant turret fighter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Heavy Tank T29

The Heavy Tank T29 was developed in response to the appearance of heavy German tanks in the European theatre, and carried a 105mm gun on a chassis similar to that used on the M26 Pershing.

Heavy Tank Mark VIII

The Heavy Tank Mark VIII (Liberty Tank or International) was originally meant to be a joint Anglo-American-French tank that would have been used in large numbers if the war had continued into 1919, but that was eventually built in small numbers in British and American versions.

Monday, February 27, 2017

USS Dyer (DD-84)

USS Dyer (DD-84) was a Wickes class destroyer that operated from Gibraltar late in the First World War and then served as flagship of the US naval forces in the Eastern Mediterranean in 1919.

USS Stringham (DD-83/ APD-6)

USS Stringham (DD-83/ APD-6) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw limited service towards the end of the First World War, before serving throughout most of the Pacific Campaign of the Second World War as a fast transport.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

BT Fast Tank - The Red Army's Cavalry Tank 1931-1945, Steven J. Zaloga.

BT Fast Tank - The Red Army's Cavalry Tank 1931-1945, Steven J. Zaloga. 
Looks at the fast BT series tanks, based on the American Christie tank. Produced in vast numbers in the Soviet Union in several main variants, the BT tanks were used in Spain, against Japan on the Mongolian border and during the Winter War, before being destroyed in equally vast numbers during the first year of the Great Patriotic War. Traces the development of the Soviet version of the tank, the many versions produced, and its mainly unimpressive combat career.
[read full review]

The Gempei War 1180-85 - The Great Samurai Civil War, Stephen Turnbull.

The Gempei War 1180-85 - The Great Samurai Civil War, Stephen Turnbull. 
 Looks at the civil war between the Taira and Minamoto clans that saw the samurai replace the Imperial Court as the main source of power in Japan, and ended with the establishment of the Shogunate, the system of military rule that lasted for nearly seven hundred years. A fascinating account of this crucial conflict that helps make sense of a war that sometimes appears as a collection of unconnected battles involving a series of different commanders.
[read full review]

German Half-Tracks and Wheeled Vehicles 1939-1945, Alexander Lüdeke.

German Half-Tracks and Wheeled Vehicles 1939-1945, Alexander Lüdeke. 
Looks at the armoured cars and half-tracks used by the German Army before and during the Second World War, focusing on the development and technical descriptions of each type and its major variants. Each type gets one or two pages, supported by photos of the vehicle. A useful short reference book on these essential vehicles, covering both the many types developed in Germany and the smaller number of captured vehicles pressed into service.
[read full review]

Friday, February 24, 2017

Combat of Weissenfels (29 April 1813)

The combat of Weissenfels (29 April 1813) was one of the first clashes between Napoleon's new army of 1813 and the advancing Prussian and Russian forces, which by late April had reached the Saale River in Saxony.

Battle of Möckern (5 April 1813)

The battle of Möckern (5 April 1813) was the last significant fighting during the Spring Campaign of 1813 before Napoleon arrived at the front to take over command in person.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Battle of Hermeum (354 or 353 BC)

The battle of Hermeum (354 or 353 BC) was a Phocian victory over the Boeotians (Third Sacred War), which followed a brief Phocian intervention in Thessaly that saw them inflict two rare battlefield defeats on Philip II

Battle of Neon (354 BC)

The battle of Neon (354 BC) was a battle of the Third Sacred War, and was notable for the death of the Phocian leader Philomelus.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Operation Brevity (15-16 May 1941)

Operation Brevity (15-16 May 1941) was a short-lived British offensive carried out to see if the German position east of Tobruk was fragile enough for the siege to be lifted without a major battle.

Siege of Tobruk (10 April-16/17 December 1941)siege of Tobruk (10 April-16/17 December 1941)

The siege of Tobruk (10 April-16/17 December 1941) saw a beleaguered Allied garrison hold out for eight months against German and Italian attacks, and helped prevent Rommel taking full advantage of his victory in his first offensive, which had seen him conquer Cyrenaica only a few weeks after it had fallen to the British

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Supermarine Sea Lion

The Supermarine Sea Lion was a racing version of the Sea King scout plane. Three versions were produced and were entered in the Schneider Trophy Races of 1919, 1922 and 1923, winning in 1922.

Supermarine Sea King

The Supermarine Sea King was an amphibian scout and fighter aircraft that was produced in two variants, but didn't receive any orders. It did become the basis for the Sea Lion racing aircraft, and as the Sea Lion II won the 1922 Schneider Trophy.

Monday, February 20, 2017

USS Gregory (DD-82/ APD-3)

USS Gregory (DD-82/ APD-3) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service late in the First World War, and was then converted into a fast transport. She was sunk while carrying out her new role off Guadalcanal in September 1942.

USS Sigourney (DD-81)

USS Sigourney (DD-81) was a Wickes class destroyer that operated from Brest during the First World War, and served with the Royal Norwegian Navy and Royal Navy as HMS Newport during the Second World War.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Brutus - Caesar's Assassin, Kirsty Corrigan

Brutus - Caesar's Assassin, Kirsty Corrigan. 
A well balanced biography of Brutus, one of the more consistent defenders of the Roman Republic, and famously one of Caesar's assassins on the Ides of March. Paints a picture of a man of generally high moral standards (with some flaws in financial matters), but also an over-optimistic plotter, who failed to make any realistic plans for the aftermath of the assassination. Does a good job of tracing Brutus's fairly obscure early years, as well as distinguishing between later legends and historically likely events
[read full review]

Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944, Ben Kite

Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944, Ben Kite. 
Looks in detail at the role of each element in the British and Canadian military machine during the Normandy Campaign, including each aspect of the ground forces from the infantry to the armour, intelligence, reconnaissance and medical services, as well as the air support and the fire power provided by the massive Allied fleets off the Normandy coast. A very useful companion to narrative accounts of the campaign, helping to explain how the British and Canadians managed to overcome the determined German resistance on their front
[read full review]

British and German Battlecruisers - Their Development and Operations, Michele Cosentino & Ruggero Stanglini.

British and German Battlecruisers - Their Development and Operations, Michele Cosentino & Ruggero Stanglini. 
A useful volume that covers the development, design and construction of British and German battlecruisers, their wartime deployments and both side's plans for the next generation of battlecruisers, of which only HMS Hood was ever completed. Having all of this material in a single volume gives a much better overview of the two Navy's battlecruisers, their advantages and flaws, and their performance in and out of battle. Concludes with a look at other nation's battlecruisers and battlecruiser designs
[read full review]

Friday, February 17, 2017

Siege of Glogau (15 March-27 May 1813)

The siege of Glogau (15 March-27 May 1813) was a rare example of a successful French defense of one of the isolated fortresses left behind by the retreat from Poland and eastern Germany at the start of 1813, and saw a sizable garrison hold out for three months before the siege was lifted in the aftermath of the battle of Bautzen.

Convention of Kalisch (28 February 1813)

The Convention of Kalisch (28 February 1813) was signed between Russia and Prussia, and committed Prussia to rejoined the war against Napoleon, setting the stage for the War of Liberation of 1813.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

20mm quad AA Tank, Skink

The 20mm quad AA Tank, Skink, was the most successful attempt to mount an anti-aircraft gun on the chassis of a Sherman tank, but only a handful were produced, and their main use was against ground targets.

T53 90mm Gun Motor Carriage

The T53 90mm Gun Motor Carriage was a design for a combined tank destroyer and self propelled anti-aircraft gun that was rejected after extensive development work had been carried out.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rommel's First Offensive (24 March-30 May 1941)

Rommel's First Offensive (24 March-30 May 1941) saw him push a weakened British army out of Cyrenaica, and all the way to the Egyptian border, undoing all of the British conquests at the start of 1941 and setting a pattern for the desert war that would last until the second battle of El Alamein late in 1942.

Operation Sonnenblume (Sunflower) (February-March 1941)

Operation Sonnenblume (Sunflower) (February-March 1941) was the codename for the initial movement of German troops to North Africa, after the Italians had been forced out of Cyrenaica and appeared to be struggling to hold on to Tripolitania.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Boulton Paul P.102

The Boulton Paul P.102 was a project to fit a jet engine in an existing aircraft, but it suffered from high level indecision and was eventually cancelled.

Boulton Paul P.101

The Boulton Paul P.101 was a radical design for a staggered biplane fighter, produced in response to an Air Ministry specification for a manoeuvrable fighter with a high rate of climb.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

US Navy Carrier Aircraft vs IJN Yamato Class Battleships, Pacific Theatre 1944-45, Mark Stille

US Navy Carrier Aircraft vs IJN Yamato Class Battleships, Pacific Theatre 1944-45, Mark Stille.
 Looks at the two battles that resulted in the sinking of Yamato and Musashi, the two most powerful battleships ever completed, and the US aircraft, weapons and tactics that sank them. Interesting to bring together all of the relevant technical histories – the ships themselves, Japanese anti-aircraft guns, the US aircraft and their main weapons – in a single volume, followed by detailed accounts of the air attacks that sank the two battleships
[read full review]

Sailors on the Rocks - Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks, Peter C. Smith.

Sailors on the Rocks - Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks, Peter C. Smith. 
Looks at a long series of Royal Naval shipwrecks, from the loss of HMS Coronation in 1691 to the grounding of HMS Nottingham in 2002. Covers the background histories of the ships involved, their actions in the period before their loss, the lead-up to the loss, the rescue attempts and the aftermath of the loss. An interesting book that covers a great deal of ground
[read full review]

Alesia - The Final Struggle for Gaul, Nic Fields

Alesia - The Final Struggle for Gaul, Nic Fields. 
 A useful history of the siege and associated battles that secured Caesar's conquest of Gaul and ended Vercingetorix's revolt, the first (and only) time that the Gallic tribes united against Caesar. Starts with a history of Vercingetorix's revolt and the earlier failed siege of Gergova, before moving onto the climatic siege of Alesia, the massive Gallic relief effort and its defeat by Caesar. A good account of this siege, supported by excellent maps showing the besieged town and its surroundings.
[read full review]

Friday, February 10, 2017

USS Kimberly (DD-80)

USS Kimberly (DD-80) was a Wickes class destroyer that served in European waters during the First World War, but that was scrapped soon after the end of the war.

USS Little (DD-79)

USS Little (DD-79) was a Wickes class destroyer that was used as a fast transport during the Second World War, and was sunk off Gualalcanal in September 1942.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Combat of Kalisch (18 February 1813)

The combat of Kalisch (18 February 1813) was one of the first clashes of the War of Liberation of 1813 and played a part in forcing the French to abandon any attempt to defend eastern Germany.

Combat of Zirke (11-12 February 1813)

The combat of Zirke (11-12 February 1813) was one of the first clashes during the War of Liberation, and came during the French retreat from the Vistula to the Oder.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

T52 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage

The T52 Multiple Gun Motor Carriage was a failed design for a self propelled anti-aircraft vehicle armed with one 40mm Bofors gun and two machine guns.

T36 40mm Gun Motor Carriage

The T36 40mm Gun Motor Carriage was an unsuccessful attempt to mount a Bofors anti-aircraft gun on the chassis of the Medium Tank M3.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Siege of Perinthus (340-339 BC)

The siege of Perinthus (340-339 BC) was an unsuccessful attempt by Philip II of Macedon to defeat a wavering ally, and was conducted alongside an equally unsuccessful siege of Byzantium. Both sieges took place in the period just before the Fourth Sacred War.

Battle of the Crocus Field or of Pagasae (353 BC)

The battle of the Crocus Field or of Pagasae (353 BC) was a significant victory for Philip II of Macedon and saw him defeat and kill Onomarchus, the Phocian leader, a victory that helped to secure Philip's dominance over Thessaly.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Supermarine Seal

The Supermarine Seal was an amphibian reconnaissance and fleeting spotting aircraft that served as the prototype for the successful Supermarine Seagull, which was itself the basis of the more famous Supermarine Walrus.

Supermarine N.1B

The Supermarine N.1B was a single-seat scout designed to escort the RNAS's patrol flying boats.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Critical Convoy Battles of WWII - Crisis in the North Atlantic, March 1943, Jurgen Rohwer.

Critical Convoy Battles of WWII - Crisis in the North Atlantic, March 1943, Jurgen Rohwer. 
Focuses on the successful U-boat attacks on convoys HX.229 and SC.122, looking at how earlier convoys were able to avoid attack, why those particular convoys were hit so hard, the methods being used by both sides, and their impact on the longer term result of the Battle of the Atlantic. A useful study, despite its age (first published in 1977), in particular because of its focus on the successful German attacks of March 1943, which thus get the attention they deserve rather than being seen as a precursor to the Allied victories later in the summer.
[read full review]

The Great Siege of Malta - The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John, Bruce Ware Allen.

The Great Siege of Malta - The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John, Bruce Ware Allen. 
Looks at one of the pivotal conflicts of the Sixteenth Century, when a massive Ottoman army attempted to capture Malta, then the main base for the Knights of St. John. This excellent history traces events from the earlier siege of Rhodes, where the Knights were defeated, through the intervening years of intermittent conflict, and on to the Great Siege itself, covering both the fighting on Malta and the attempts to raise the siege
[read full review]

By the Knife, Steve Partridge .

By the Knife, Steve Partridge . 
A historical novel set largely at sea in the middle of the eighteenth century, following two intertwined lives from their formative years in England, to their repeated encounters across the oceans. Written across a very broad canvas, from the Caribbean to the west coast of Africa, Britain to the Mediterranean, and with a good feel for the naval warfare and general lawlessness of the period.
[read full review]

Friday, February 03, 2017

USS Evans (DD-78) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered US service just after the First World War, briefly took part in the Neutrality Patrl and then entered British service as HMS Mansfield

USS Woolsey (DD-77)

USS Woolsey (DD-77) was a Wickes class destroyer that sank in 1921 after being cut in half in a collision with a merchant ship.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Second siege of Danzig (24 January-29 November 1813)

The second siege of Danzig (24 January-29 November 1813) saw General Rapp defend the city against the Russians for most of 1813, but without any genuine hope of being rescued (War of Liberation).

Convention of Tauroggen (30 December 1812)

The Convention of Tauroggen (30 December 1812) was an agreement that made General Yorck's Russian corps neutral, marking the start of a break between Prussia and France (War of Liberation).

Friday, January 13, 2017

Boulton Paul P.98

The Boulton Paul P.98 was a design for an advanced pusher fighter, produced in response to an Air Ministry specification for a manoeuvrable fighter with a high rate of climb.

Boulton Paul P.97

The Boulton Paul P.97 was a design for a twin engined night fighter produced after the Air Ministry decided that its F.18/40 specification couldn't be filled by a single engined fighter.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wickes Class Destroyers

The Wickes Class Destroyers were the first of the famous mass produced flush-deckers of the First World War, and the only type to see active service during that war. Along with the Clemson class they provided the bulk of the US destroyer force during the inter-war years, and many survived to play varied roles during the Second World War.

USS Manley (DD-74/ AG­28/ APD­1)

USS Manley (DD-74/ AG­28/ APD­1) was a Caldwell class destroyer that survived a massive explosion during the First World War, and served as a fast transport during the Second World War, taking part in a series of invasions in the Pacific.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Assault Tank M4A3E2 'Jumbo'

The Assault Tank M4A3E2 'Jumbo' was a more heavily armoured version of the Sherman produced to lead attacks during the invasion of Europe.

Cruiser Tank, Grizzly Mk I

The Cruiser Tank, Grizzly Mk I, was the designation given to the Medium Tank M4A1/ Sherman II, when produced in Canada.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Siege of Methone (late 355 BC - early 354 BC)

The siege of Methone (late 355 BC - early 354 BC) saw Philip II of Macedon capture the last potential Athenian base on the Macedonian coast.

Siege of Potidaea (356 BC)

The siege of Potidaea (356 BC) saw Philip II of Macedon capture the strongly fortified city at the head of the Pallene peninsula, but then hand it over to Olynthus in order to secure an alliance with that city.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

The Coward? The Rise and Fall of the Silver King, Steve R. Dunn.

The Coward? The Rise and Fall of the Silver King, Steve R. Dunn.
A look at the life and mistakes of Admiral Ernest Troubridge, a British admiral best known for his failure to intercept the Goeben in the Mediterranean at the start of the First World War. The aim is to try and work out why Troubridge acted as he did in 1914, examining the late Victorian and Edwardian navy, his own career and decisions he made elsewhere in his life to try and work out what made him tick
[read full review]

Operation Oyster: World War II's Forgotten Raid, Kees Rijken, Paul Schepers, Arthur Thorning.

Operation Oyster: World War II's Forgotten Raid, Kees Rijken, Paul Schepers, Arthur Thorning.
Looks at a complex low level raid on the Philips Radio Works at Eindhoven, carried out in daylight by a mixed force of Mosquitos, Venturas and Bostons. Covers the full range of the mission, from the original reasons for the attack, the planning, the mission itself, losses on both sides, the damage done to the factory and the civilian casualties in Eindhoven
[read full review]

SS-Leibstandarte: The History of the First SS Division, 1933-45, Rupert Butler

SS-Leibstandarte: The History of the First SS Division, 1933-45, Rupert Butler.
 Looks at the history of the Leibstandarte, Hitler's bodyguard and later the first SS Division. The Leibstandarte gained an impressive military reputation (after a ropey start), but also committed war crimes on almost every front it served, including mass murder in the east, the murder of British and French POWs in 1940 and US POWs in 1944, and of villagers in Italy
[read full review]

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Boulton Paul P.96

The Boulton Paul P.96 was a series of designs for a night fighter produced in response to Air Ministry Specification F.18/40, for a two-seat aircraft armed with six 20mm cannon.

Boulton Paul P.95

The Boulton Paul P.95 was a design for a two man close support bomber that never progressed beyond the design stage.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

USS Stockton (DD-73)

USS Stockton (DD-73) was a Caldwell class destroyer that served in the First World War with the US Navy and in the Second World War as HMS Ludlow, after taking part in the Destroyers for Bases deal.

USS Conner (DD-72)

USS Conner (DD-72) was a Caldwell class destroyer that served with the US Navy in the First World War, and with the Royal Navy (as HMS Leeds) during the Second World War.