Tuesday, July 31, 2018

325th Fighter Group

The 325th Fighter Group fought in Tunisia, Pantelleria, Sicily and mainland Italy, then became a escort unit supporting the Italian based heavy bombers on their raids across Germany and occupied Europe.

324th Fighter Group

The 324th Fighter Group fought in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, the south of France and the final advance into Germany, mainly operating as a close support unit.

318th Fighter Group

The 318th Fighter Group spent two and a half years based on Hawaii, before moving to the front in June 1944 to take part in the invasion of the Marianas and the air attack on Japan.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Combat of Bilbao (10 April 1813)

The combat of Bilbao (10 April 1813) was an unsuccessful Spanish attempt to capture the city while it was weakly defended, but failed after one of the key forces failed to arrive in time to support the initial attack.

Combats of Guernica (2 and 5 April 1813)

The combats of Guernica (2 and 5 April 1813) saw a French column force the Spanish guerrillas to abandon their HQ in Biscay, but the majority of the Spanish troops were able to escape, reducing the value of the success.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The 1916 Battle of the Somme Reconsidered, Peter Liddle

A modified version of a 1992 original that attempted to produce a new perspective of the battle of the Somme, seeing it as an essential step towards the eventual Allied victory, both for the damage it did to the German army and the improvements it forced on the British, as well as looking at the contemporary views of the soldiers involved in the fighting, suggesting that the average soldier wasn’t the disillusioned figure painted by the war poets or of the post-war period
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Bac Si: A Green Beret Medic's War in Vietnam, Jerry Krizan and Robert Dumont

An unusual perspective on the Vietnam War, written by a Special Forces Medic serving at Loc Ninh, one of the more active Green Beret bases during his year in the country. As well as fighting alongside a Vietnamese Army force, he also had more contact with the locals that you find in many of these accounts. Nicely organised, largely by topics, the result is a valuable memoir looking at a less familiar part of the war
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Bomber Offensive, Sir Arthur Harris

The autobiography of Bomber Harris, giving his view of the strategic bombing campaign in its immediate aftermath. Invaluable for the insights it provides into Harris’s approach to the war, what he was trying to achieve and the problems he faced. Harris perhaps overstates his case, not entirely surprisingly given how soon after the end of the war this book was written
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Battle of the Bernhardt Line (5 November-17 December 1943)

The battle of the Bernhardt Line (5 November-17 December 1943) saw the Allies capture the mountains that guarded the ‘Mignano Gap’, on the approaches to the main Gustav line positions behind the Garigliano and Rapido Rivers after a series of costly infantry assaults.

Battle of the Trigno (27 October-4 November 1943)

The battle of the Trigno (27 October-4 November 1943) saw the Eighth Army overcome the second of a series of German defensive positions on the Adriatic coast of Italy, in the aftermath of the initial landings in the south.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lockheed R5O

The Lockheed R5O was the US Navy’s designation for the Model 18 Lodestar transport, of which nearly 100 were used during the Second World War.

Lockheed R3O

The Lockheed R3O was the designation for two versions of the Model 10 Electra used by the US Navy, one purchased for the Navy and one impressed during the Second World War

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

80cm Kanone (Eisenbahn)

The 80cm Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the largest artillery gun ever built, and was a vanity project that consumed far more resources than its limited impact could possibly justify.

28cm K(E) ‘neue Bruno’

The 28cm K(E) ‘neue Bruno’ was the last of four models of railway gun produced by mounting old naval guns on railway carriages. It was an attempt to produce a weapon that was more powerful than the ‘short’, ‘long’ and ‘heavy’ Brunos,

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

USS Semmes (DD-189)

USS Semmes (DD-189) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the US Coast Guard in the interwar period and carried out a mix of experimental, training and escort work during the Second World War.

USS Goldsborough (DD-188/ AVP-18/ AVD-5/ APD-32)

USS Goldsborough (DD-188/ AVP-18/ AVD-5/ APD-32) was a Clemson class destroyer that spent much of the Second World War supporting amphibious aircraft, before being converted into a fast transport to take part in the invasions of Saipan, the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Monday, July 23, 2018

87th Fighter Group

The 87th Fighter Group was a short lived replacement training unit for P-47s.

86th Fighter Group

The 86th Fighter Group was mainly used as a close support unit, and took part in the invasions of Sicily, mainland Italy and the south of France, before ending the war operating over Germany.

85th Fighter Group

The 85th Fighter Group was a training group that served with the Second and Third Air Forces in the United States in 1942-44.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Paper Caper, Tim Topps

A fun and generally light hearted spy caper, based in the immediate post-war period, at the start of the Cold War. After arriving at a large military depot in the Midlands, our hero is soon involved in an attempt to track down a Soviet sleeper agent, while at the same time running the base newspaper and getting involved in romances. An entertaining read, presumably rather loosely based on the author’s own experiences to give the convincing feel for the period
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I, Horatio, Donald A. Tortorice

A novelised biography of Nelson, written from his point of view, and largely in the style of the period. Suffers from some historical errors, including minor matters of titles, and one major error about the status of Nelson’s ship at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, but the result is still a readable and fairly convincing life of Nelson, from an unusual point of view
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The Social History of English Seamen 1650-1815, ed. Cheryl A. Fury

A selection of articles looking at the live of British sailors during the period that saw the Royal Navy evolve into the foremost naval power in the world, after overcoming the trauma of the Civil Wars. A mix of general and very specific articles, the choice of an earlier than normal start date means that this covers some unfamiliar topics, and unfamiliar twists on familiar topics
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Friday, July 20, 2018

Battle of the Barbara Line (31 October-4 November 1943)

The battle of the Barbara Line (31 October-4 November 1943) saw the Allies break through the outlining defences of the ‘Winter Line’, a hastily constructed line of outposts between the Volturno and the more strongly defended Bernhardt and Gustav Lines.

Battle of the Biferno (1-7 October 1943)

The battle of the Biferno (1-7 October 1943) saw the British Eighth Army break through the eastern flank of the first German defensive line in Italy, the Volturno Line.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Lockheed XF-90

The Lockheed XF-90 was a design for a penetration fighter, capable of escorting bombers and carrying out ground attack missions, but never got beyond the prototype stage.

Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star

The Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter to enter US service, but despite an impressively quick development didn’t arrive in time for the Second World War. It saw extensive service early in the Korean War, before being replaced by the F-86 Sabre.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

28cm ‘Schwere Bruno’ (Heavy Bruno)

The 28cm ‘Schwere Bruno’ (Heavy Bruno) was the third of four models of railway gun loosely modelled on the First World War 28cm ‘Bruno’ railway guns.

28cm lange Bruno Kanone (Eisenbahn)

The 28cm lange Bruno Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the second of four models of railway gun loosely based on a First World War original, and carried a L/45 gun.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

USS Dalhgren (DD-187)

USS Dalhgren (DD-187) was a Clemson class destroyer that was used on experimental and sonar training duties during the Second World War.

USS Clemson (DD-186/ AVP-17/ AVD-4/ APD-31)

USS Clemson (DD-186/ AVP-17/ AVD-4/ APD-31) was the name ship of the Clemson class of destroyers. She entered service too late for the First World War, but had a varied career during the Second World War, serving as aircraft tender, a destroyer with an anti-submarine group and a fast transport.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Battle of the Volturno Line (9-19 October 1943)

The battle of the Volturno Line (9-19 October 1943) saw the Germans under Kesselring delay the Allied advance north from Naples for over a week, winning crucial time for the construction of defences further to the north.

Operation Giant III, (14-15 September 1943)

Operation Giant III, (14-15 September 1943) was an unsuccessful American airborne operation carried out to the north of the Salerno beachhead in an attempt to reduce the flow of German reinforcements from the north.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

War Birds - The Diary of a Great War Pilot, Elliot White Springs

The compelling diaries of an American volunteer serving with the RFC and RAF during the First World War, covering his time in training, which became increasingly light-hearted (and drunken) and his six month long combat career during 1918. Provides a fascinating study of the way in which combat stress could affect someone, as well as the contrast between the fairly safe life on the airfield and the dangers in the air
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Patricians and Emperors - the Last Rulers of the Western Roman Empire, Ian Hughes

Looks at the final decades of the Western Roman Empire, focusing on the series of short-lived Emperors, some of whom came tantalisingly close to winning significant victories, while others were shadowy non-entities who came and went without having any visible impact. Takes an interesting approach, organising the period by the Emperors and not by the series of military commanders who normally dominate the period, and as a result giving us a rather different view of the final years of the Empire in the west
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A Soldier for Napoleon - The Campaigns of Lieutenant Franz Joseph Hausmann, 7th Bavarian Infantry, ed John H. Gill

. A look at the Bavarian Army’s role in the Napoleonic Wars, built around the war diaries and surviving letters of Franz Joseph Hausmann, a junior officer who served on many of Napoleon’s greatest campaigns, then on the opposite side during the invasion of France of 1814. Most valuable for the collection of letters from the Russian campaign of 1812, covering the activities of one of the flank armies that attempted to protect the Grande Armée as it advanced to Moscow and back
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Friday, July 06, 2018

Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lighting

The Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lighting was a two-man version of the P-38 that suffered from repeated changes of purpose, and that never entered production.

Lockheed XP-49

The Lockheed XP-49 was a design for a more powerful fighter to be based on the P-38 Lightning, but it never got beyond the prototype stage, and by the time the prototype was ready, it was outclassed by existing P-38s.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

28cm kurze Bruno Kanone (Eisenbahn)

The 28cm kurze Bruno Kanone (Eisenbahn) was the first of four models of railway artillery loosely based on a First World War original, and carried a L/40 gun.

28cm Kanone 5 (Eisenbahn) (schlanke Bertha or slim Bertha)

The 28cm Kanone 5 (Eisenbahn) (schlanke Bertha or slim Bertha), was one of the most effective railway guns ever produced, and was large enough to have a major impact on the fighting, without being so large that it became too cumbersome to be used effectively.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Clemson Class Destroyers

The Clemson Class Destroyers were the second class of standardized flushdecker deck destroyers produced for the US Navy during the First World War, but none of them were completed in time to see service. Instead they formed the backbone of the inter-war destroyer force, were used for a large number of specialised modifications, and performed valuable service during the Second World War.