Friday, September 22, 2017

Fourth day of the battle of Leipzig (19 October 1813)

The fourth day of the battle of Leipzig (19 October 1813) saw the French attempt to carry out a fighting retreat from the city, but their efforts were marred when the only bridge heading west out of the city was destroyed while tens of thousands of French troops were still in the city.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

'Battle' of Teanum (83 BC)

The 'battle' of Teanum (83 BC) saw Sulla win over almost the entire army of the consul Scipio Asiaticus, winning a bloodless victory over the second of the two consular armies that had been sent against him as he advanced towards Rome (Sulla's Second Civil War).

Battle of Mount Tifata or Casilinum (83 BC)

The battle of Mount Tifata or Casilinum (83 BC) was the first major battle during Sulla's invasion of Italy after his return from the east, and saw him defeat the army of the consul Gaius Norbanus (Sulla's Second Civil War).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Consolidated P-30/ PB-2

The Consolidated P-30/ PB-2 was the only two man single engined fighter to see service with the USAAC between the wars, and was based on the P-25, itself a development of the Detroit/ Lockheed P-24.

Consolidated P-25

The Consolidated P-25 was a two-seat single engined fighter that was produced in prototype form and then ordered into production as the Consolidated P-30.

Monday, September 18, 2017

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130)

USS Jacob Jones (DD-130) was a Wickes class destroyer that was sunk by U-578 on 28 February 1942 leaving only 11 survivors.

USS DeLong (DD-129)

USS DeLong (DD-129) was a Wickes class destroyer that was scrapped after she ran aground on 1 December 1921, only two years after being commissioned.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Chindit vs Japanese Infantryman 1943-44, Jon Diamond

Looks at the battles between the Japanese infantryman in Burma and Wingate's Chindits, a deep penetration force that operated deep into Japanese held territory. Covers the training and plans for both sides, one battle from the first Chindit operation in 1943 and two from the larger operations of 1944. Includes some interesting material on the Japanese view of the Chindits
[read full review]

The Italian Folgore Parachute Division – Operations in North Africa 1940-43, Paolo Morisi

A history of an elite Italian paratrooper division that was trained for the invasion of Malta, but used as normal infantry on the El Alamein front and in Tunisia, where it was almost wiped out. Covers the units formation, training, the extensive preparations for the invasion of Malta, and its short combat career at Alam Halfa and 2nd Alamein, where the original division was almost wiped out, and the final days in Tunisia where the survivors fought under a parent division
[read full review]

Guardian Angel: Life and Death Adventures with Pararescue, the World's Most Powerful Commando Rescue Force, William F. Sine, USAF (Ret.)


The autobiography of a member of a parachute rescue unit in the USAF, a special forces unit dedicated to rescue and retrieval missions, capable of operating in just about any environment. A likeable account of life in an extraordinary unit, although one that doesn’t hide some of the grimmer aspects of their work, which also involves recovering the bodies of dead American servicemen as well as the more positive rescue missions.
[read full review]

Friday, September 15, 2017

Third day of the battle of Leipzig (18 October 1813)

The third day of the battle of Leipzig (18 October 1813) was dominated by a general Allied assault on three sides of the city, and by the start of Napoleon's retreat west towards the Rhine.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sulla's Second Civil War (83-82 BC)

Sulla's Second Civil War (83-82 BC) saw Sulla overthrow the Marian establishment of Rome, reform the Roman constitution and then unexpectedly retire into private life, giving up formal power.
Military History Encylopedia on the Web

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Consolidated XB2Y-1

The Consolidated XB2Y-1 was a design for a dive bomber produced for the US Navy, but that didn't get past the prototype stage.

Consolidated PT-6

The Consolidated PT-6 was a training aircraft based on the Fleet 2 civilian biplane.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Social History of British Naval Officers 1775-1815, Evan Wilson

 A different take on a familiar topic, uses a database of randomly selected commissioned and warrant officers to examine the overall experiences of the British naval officer during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and their place in Georgian society - who were they, where did they come from, what was the typical career for the different types of naval officers. Also examines how (and if) they qualified as 'gentlemen', a key element of social status in Georgian Britain
[read full review]

Spies, Scouts and Secrets in the Gettysburg Campaign, Thomas J. Ryan

Looks at the intelligence resources available to the Union and Confederate commanders during the Gettysburg campaign, the information they provided and the impact (or lack of) that that information had on the events of the campaign. A valuable addition to the literature on Gettysburg, looking at a key element of the campaign, and an area in which the Union forces had a clear advantage of their Confederate opponents
[read full review]

Burma Road 1943-44 - Stilwell's assault on Myitkyina, Jon Diamond

Looks at the multinational Allied invasion of northern Burma, which ended with the capture of Myitkyina and the opening of a land route to China. Nice to have a book that looks at this battle in its own right, rather than a preliminary to the reconquest of southern and central Burma or a footnote to the Chindits
[read full review]

Friday, September 08, 2017

USS Babbitt (DD-128)

USS Babbitt (DD-128) was a Wickes class destroyer that operated on escort duties in the Atlantic during the Second World War, including long spells operating from Reykjavik.

USS Twiggs (DD-127)/ HMS Leamington

USS Twiggs (DD-127)/ HMS Leamington was a Wickes class destroyer that served in four different navies - the US Navy, the Royal Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Soviet Navy, and ended her life as a film star.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Second day of the battle of Leipzig (17 October 1813)

The second day of the battle of Leipzig (17 October 1813) was fairly inactive, and is most notable for the arrival of large numbers of Allied reinforcements, and Napoleon's failure to take a chance to escape.

Combat of Dessau (12 October 1813)

The combat of Dessau (12 October 1813) saw an isolated division from Tauenzien's Corps defeated by French troops who were attempting to intercept Blücher and Bernadotte as they moved west down the Elbe.

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

siege of Rome (87 BC)

The siege of Rome (87 BC) saw the opponents of Sulla seize control of the city after a prolonged campaign in the vicinity of Rome.

Sulla's attack on Rome or the battle of the Esquiline Forum (88 BC)

Sulla's attack on Rome or the battle of the Esquiline Forum (88 BC) was a key moment in the fall of the Roman Republic, and was the first time in at least 400 years that a Roman commander had led an army against the city (Sulla's First Civil War).

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Rodolfo Graziani (1882-1955)

Rodolfo Graziani (1882-1955) was an Italian general most famous for his humiliating defeat in Libya in 1940-41, which saw a small British force destroy the vast Italian army in Libya.

Giovanni Messe (1883-1968)

Giovanni Messe (1883-1968) was a capable Italian general who fought in the Eastern Front before commanding Rommel's old army in Tunisia during 1943.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Consolidated N2Y

The Consolidated N2Y was a version of the Fleet tandem-two seat trainer that was used for familiarization training for skyhook pilots operating with the airships USS Akron and USS Macon.

Consolidated Y1C-22

The Consolidated Y1C-22 was the designation given to three Model 17 Fleetster transport aircraft ordered after the success of the similar Y1C-11.

Friday, September 01, 2017

PanzerKampfWagen VI Ausf E 'Tiger I'

The PanzerKampfWagen VI Ausf E 'Tiger I' was one of the most famous tanks of the Second World War, and was a heavily armed and armoured tank capable of taking on any of its Allied opponents. However it was produced in relatively small numbers, and was mechanically unreliable, and these combined to reduce its impact on the course of the war.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

First day of the battle of Leipzig (16 October 1813)

The first day of the battle of Leipzig (16 October 1813) was Napoleon's last chance to win a significant victory during the War of Liberation, but he was unable to take his chance, and the day ended as a hard fought draw.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sulla's First Civil War (88-87 BC)

Sulla's First Civil War (88-87 BC) was triggered by an attempt to strip him of the command against Mithridates and saw Sulla become the first Roman to lead an army against the city for four hundred years.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Ugo Cavallero (1880-1943)

Ugo Cavallero (1880-1943) was chief of the Italian Defence Staff from late in 1940 until the start of 1943, but despite his best efforts he was unable to improve the performance of the Italian army or its logistic support.

Marshal Ettore Bastico (1876-1972)

Marshal Ettore Bastico (1876-1972) was the Italian commander in chief in Libya during most of Rommel's famous campaigns in North Africa.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

USS Ramsay (DD-124/ DM-16)

USS Ramsay (DD-124/ DM-16) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service too late for the First World War, but that served as a light minelayer and anti submarine patrol vessel during the Second World War.

USS Gamble (DD-123/ DM-15)

USS Gamble (DD-123/ DM-15) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service too late for the First World War, but that was present at Pearl Harbor and served as a minelayer during the Second World War.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Siege of Dresden (10 October-11 November 1813)

The siege of Dresden (10 October-11 November 1813) was triggered by Napoleon's decision to leave a garrison in the city in the days before the battle of Leipzig, exposing it to an inevitable attack and leaving it trapped after his defeat.

Combat of Wethau (10 October 1813)

The combat of Wethau (10 October 1813) was part of an unsuccessful attempt by Allied troops to stop Marshal Augereau's IX Corps reaching Leipzig.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Battle of the Teanus River (88 BC)

The battle of the Teanus River (88 BC) was the last major battle of the Italian Social War, and ended with the death of Quintus Poppaedius Silo, one of the most able of the Italian commanders.

Battle of Canusium (89 BC)

The battle of Canusium (89 BC) was a series of conflicts that saw the Romans under Gaius Cosconius defeat the Samnites in Apulia and regain control of much of the area.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Secret Days - Code Breaking in Bletchley Park, Asa Briggs

The wartime memoirs of Lord Asa Briggs, one of post-war Britain's most distinguished historians, recounting his experiences at Bletchley Park, where he worked in Hut Six, playing a part in decoding the Enigma codes. A valuable mix of personal recollections of Bletchley Park and wider explanations of the role and background of Brigg's colleagues, and the links between BP and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge
[read full review]

Heinkel He 111 - The Early Years - Fall of France, Battle of Britain and the Blitz, Chris Goss

 A photographic history of the early career of the Heinkel He 111, tracing its development, early use in Spain, and the first campaigns of the Second World War, to the end of the Blitz. Provides more context to the pictures than is normally the case, often tracing mission that led to the picture, and the fate of each aircraft's crews, and thus greatly increasing the value of the book
[read full review]

The Illustrated History of the Vietnam War, Andrew Wiest & Chris McNab

Somewhat lacking on coverage of the Vietnamese view of the war, but excellent on the American side of the war, explaining not only what the US did, but why, and why so much of it went wrong. Good coverage of the wider war in South East Asia, looking at how the conflict affected Laos and Cambodia as well as the US Home Front. A good selection of pictures, but again almost entirely from the US side
[read full review]

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956)

Pietro Badoglio (1871-1956) was the chief of the Italian defence staff from 1925 to 1940 and Prime Minister of Italy after the fall of Mussolini, playing a major role in moving Italy from the Axis to Allied camps.

Vittorio Ambrosio (1879-1958)

Vittorio Ambrosio (1879-1958) was an Italian general who was the last chief of the general staff before the fall of Mussolini in 1943.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Consolidated PT-12/ BT-7

The Consolidated PT-12/ BT-7 was an improved version of the PT-1/ PT-3/ NY family of trainers, but only ten were ordered.

Consolidated PT-11/ BT-6

The Consolidated PT-11/ BT-6 was an improved version of the PT-3 trainer, but was only produced in small numbers.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tiger (P)/ VK 45.01(P)/ Typ 101

The Tiger (P)/ VK 45.01(P)/ Typ 101 was Porsche's design for the Panzer VI Tiger, but the drive train and suspension were unreliable, and the project was abandoned with only ten at most completed as gun tanks.

VK 30.01 (P) 'Leopard'/ Typ 100

The VK 30.01 (P) 'Leopard'/ Typ 100 was Porsche's first tank design, and was the basis for the later Porsche Tiger.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Combat of Flemmingen (9 October 1813)

The combat of Flemmingen (9 October 1813) was part of a failed Allied attempt to prevent Marshal Augereau's IX Corps from reaching Leipzig.

Siege of Torgau (8 October 1813-10 January 1814)

The siege of Torgau (8 October 1813-10 January 1814) was one of a series of sieges that saw isolated French garrisons across Germany and Poland slowly forced to surrender in the aftermath of Napoleon's defeat at Leipzig (16-19 October 1813).

Monday, August 14, 2017

Siege of Bovianum (89 BC)

The siege of Bovianum (89 BC) was Sulla's last victory during his campaign of 89 BC, and saw him capture a Samnite town that was the site of the common council of the Italian rebels.

Siege of Aeclanum (89 BC)

The siege of Aeclanum (89 BC) saw Sulla force the surrender of the Hirpini after capturing their chief town (Social War)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Instrument of War - The German Army 1914-18, Dennis Showalter

Looks at the nature of the German Army during the First World War, and how that impacted on its ability to fight the sort of war it ended up having to cope with after the initial attempt to knock the French out of the war in the first campaign failed. An interesting examination of the German Army, and also valuable for giving us the German view of the major battles on the Western Front
[read full review]

The Lost Papers of Confederate General John Bell Hood, Stephen M. Hood

A selection of the private papers of General John Bell Hood, notorious as the general who lost Atlanta and then destroyed his army during an invasion of Tennessee. These papers were believed to be lost for many years, but were actually in the hands of some of Hood's descendents. The documents selected here cover a wide range of topics, from Hood's serious injuries to his time in command and on to his post-war life
[read full review]

Panzer Operations: Germany's Panzer Group 3 during the Invasion of Russia, 1941, Hermann Hoth

 Provides us with the views of one of the senior German tank commanders of the crucial fighting in 1941 on the Eastern Front, the commander of the 3rd Panzer Group. Looks at the problems faced by the Germans during this first campaign, and how some of them were overcome. Makes it clear that there were periods of very hard fighting throughout this campaign, although perhaps overstates the German difficulties. Also gives an idea of the problems caused by a lack of a clear campaign aim after the initial battles. A valuable primary source for this campaign, although as with virtually all such accounts the biases of the author have to be taken into account
[read full review]

Thursday, August 10, 2017

VK 36.01 (H) Panzerkampfwagen VI

The VK 36.01 (H) Panzerkampfwagen VI was the direct precursor to the Henschel version of the Tiger I, but was let down by the choice of a weapon that required scarce tungsten.

VK 30.01 (H) Panzerkampfwagen VI

The VK 30.01 (H) Panzerkampfwagen VI was an early stage in the development of the Tiger tank, and the first to use interleaved road wheels.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

USS Breese (DD-122/ DM-18)

USS Breese (DD-122/ DM-18) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service in the last week of the First World War and then as a fast minelayer during the Pacific campaigns of the Second World War.

USS Montgomery (DD-121/ DM-17)

USS Montgomery (DD-121/ DM-17) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service as the last few months of the First World War and as a fast mine layer during the Second World War.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Battle of Wartenburg (3 October 1813)

The battle of Wartenburg (3 October 1813) was a key battle in the campaign that led to Leipzig, and saw Blücher's Army of Silesia gain a firm foothold on the left bank of the Elbe, putting all three of the main Allied armies on the same side of the river.

Treaty of Ried (8 October 1813)

The treaty of Ried (8 October 1813) saw the Kingdom of Bavaria abandon its long-standing support for France and join the Sixth Coalition

Monday, August 07, 2017

Siege of Pompeii (89 BC)

The siege of Pompeii (89 BC) saw a Roman army under Sulla recapture the city, after it fell into the hands of the Italian rebels in the previous year (Social War).

Battle of Nola (Summer, 89 BC)

The battle of Nola (Summer, 89 BC) was a series of encounters in which Sulla defeated a Samnite attempt to raise his sieges of Herculaneum and Pompeii (Social War).

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Defending India: The Foreign Policy of Governor-General Lord Minto, 1807-1813, Amita Das and Aditya Das

Focuses on the period between 1807 and 1813, which began with the British worried about a possible French invasion of India via Persia, and ended with the conquests of Mauritius and Java, largely eliminating European threats to the British position in India. Also looks at how the perceived external threat from the French influenced Lord Minto's policy towards the other Indian powers and Persia
read full review

The Women's Army Auxiliary Corps in France 1917-1921, Samantha Philo-Gill

A history at the WAAC, formed in a successful attempt to use women's labour to release category A men for service at the front line. Traces the development of the corps from the original debates of 1916 to its formation in 1917 and service in 1917-18. Organised by topic, and covers recruitment, daily life, the work itself and the risks of the being in the Corps, as well as the slow post-war disbandment of the corps
[read full review]

Mad for Glory - A Heart of Darkness in the War of 1812, Robert Booth

Looks at the voyage of Captain David Porter of the US Navy into the Pacific, and his eventual defeat at the hands of Captain James Hillyar of the Royal Navy in the battle of Valparaiso, an isolated naval action on the coast of Chile, that came at the end of a remarkable but controversial voyage. Includes fascinating material on the Chilean revolution, Porter's adventurous if rather misguided voyage across the Pacific, the battle itself and its aftermath
[read full review]

Friday, August 04, 2017

Consolidated XN3Y

The Consolidated XN3Y was a single example of the NY training aircraft powered by a 200-220hp Wright R-790-A engine

Consolidated NY

The Consolidated NY was a Naval version of the Consolidated PT-1 trainer, and was produced in significant numbers in the mid 1920s.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Durchbruchswagen 2

The Durchbruchswagen 2 was the second prototype of a 30 ton break-through tank that was an early stage in the development of  the Panzer VI Tiger.

Durchbruchswagen 1

The Durchbruchswagen 1 was the first in a series of heavy tank designs that ended with the Panzer VI Tiger, and was produced after several years of discussion within the German military establishment.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

USS Radford (DD-120/ AG-22)

USS Radford (DD-120/ AG-22) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service in the last month of the First World War and that was briefly selected for use as a mobile target vessel before being scrapped under the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

USS Lamberton (DD-119/ AG-21/ DMS-2)

USS Lamberton (DD-119/ AG-21/ DMS-2) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw brief service in the last weeks of the First World War, was used as an auxiliary in the interwar period, and then as a fast minesweeper for most of the Second World War.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Buildup to the battle of Leipzig (25 September-15 October 1813)

The buildup to the battle of Leipzig (25 September-15 October 1813) saw the failure of Napoleon's last attempts to defeat one of his opponents in isolation, and ended with him forced to fight the united armies of his Russian, Prussian, Austrian and other enemies.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Siege of Asculum (90-89 BC)

The siege of Asculum (90-89 BC) was one of the longest sieges of the Social War, and eventually saw Pompeius Strabo capture the city, after a siege that may have lasted for over a year.

Siege of Herculaneum (probably to 11 June 89 BC)

The siege of Herculaneum (probably to 11 June 89 BC) is one of the more obscure incidents of the Social War, and saw a Roman army recapture the town after it fell to the Samnites in 90 BC.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Wellington's Hidden Heroes - The Dutch and Belgians at Waterloo, Veronica Baker-Smith.


Looks at the contribution made by the army of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Wellington's victory in the Waterloo campaign, where it made up one third of his army. Makes good use of Dutch and Belgian sources to produce a useful account of the role that this newly formed army played in Wellington's victory, although sometimes exaggerates the bias against this army in English language histories
[read full review]

Thunder Bird in Bomber Command, Sean Feast.


A biography of Lionel Anderson, the brother of Gerry Anderson, covering his all too brief career in the RAF during the Second World War, and built around the lively letters he sent home while training in the United States, covering his flying training, descriptions of the local area and adventures while on leave. Concludes with a look at his period of active service, which tragically ended on his first mission on the de Havilland Mosquito. The result is a very entertaining biography that covers an unusual area of the RAF experience of the war
[read full review]

Cataphracts - Knights of the Ancient Eastern Empires, Erich B. Anderson

Looks at the heavily armoured horsemen found in armies across the Ancient Middle East, most famously in the armies of Parthia, Persia and the Byzantines. Traces the development of heavily armoured troops, their use in battle, the variants in use with different powers, and their eventual decline during the Byzantine period. A useful single volume history of the heaviest cavalry type of the ancient world.
[read full review]

Friday, July 28, 2017

Operation Strike (5-13 May 1943)

Operation Strike (5-13 May 1943) was the final Allied offensive in North Africa, and ended with the surrender of all Axis troops in Tunisia and the capture of around 275,000 prisoners of war.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Consolidated PT-8

The Consolidated PT-8 was an experimental version of the PT-3/ O-17 family powered by a Packard diesel engine.

Consolidated XPT-5

The Consolidated XPT-5 was a version of the PT-3 that used a Curtiss Challenger engine.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

USS Lea (DD-118)

USS Lea (DD-118) was a Wickes class destroyer that saw service very late in the First World War, before operating on convoy escort damage in the Atlantic for most of the Second World War.

USS Dorsey (DD-117/ DMS-1)

USS Dorsey (DD-117/ DMS-1) was a Wickes class destroyer that entered service just in time for service in the last months of the First World War, but that saw more extensive service as a high speed mine sweeper during the First World War before being badly damaged in a typhoon off Okinawa just after the end of the war.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Combat of Bischofswerda (22 September 1813)

The combat of Bischofswerda (22 September 1813) was a minor French success that saw Napoleon push Blücher back from a threatening position between Bautzen and Dresden.

Combat of Dolnitz (17 September 1813)

The combat of Dolnitz (17 September 1813) saw the French briefly descend onto the plains south of Bohemian mountains, but after some limited fighting Napoleon decided to withdraw to Saxony, rather than risk fighting with a mountain range separating his army.

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
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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.