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 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.