Friday, September 28, 2018

Ordnance BL 2.75in mountain gun

The Ordnance BL 2.75in mountain gun was a significantly modernized version of the 10-pounder mountain gun, and was given a modern recoil system that put it almost on a par with the cavalry and field artillery guns.

Ordnance QF 15-pounder Ehrhardt

The Ordnance QF 15-pounder Ehrhardt was a German produced gun bought for the British Army after the Boer War, and used in limited numbers in France in 1915.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

USS Long (DD-209/ DMS-12)

USS Long (DD-209/ DMS-12) was a Clemson class destroyer that fought in the Aleutians, at Hollandia, in the Marianas, the Palaus and the Philippines, before being sunk during the landings at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon.

USS Hovey (DD-208/ DMS-11)

USS Hovey (DD-208/ DMS-11) was a Clemson class destroyer that fought at Gualadcanal, Bougainville and Leyte before she was sunk by a torpedo during the landings at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

506th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 506th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a P-51 group that operated with the Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific, carrying out a mix of ground attack and bomber escort missions.

479th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 479th Fighter Group (USAAF) served with the Eighth Air Force, and operated as a ground attack and bomber escort unit from May 1944 to the end of the war in Europe.

478th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 478th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a home based training unit that served as a replacement training unit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Battle of Maya (25 July 1813)

The battle of Maya (25 July 1813) saw the French force Wellington’s men to abandon the pass of Maya and retreat toward Pamplona, and was the only occasion in which an army under Wellington’s command lost guns (battle of the Pyrenees).

Battle of the Pyrenees (25 July-2 August 1813)

The battle of the Pyrenees (25 July-2 August 1813) saw Marshal Soult unexpectedly launch an offensive across the mountains in an attempt to raise the siege of Pamplona. After some early successes he was turned back to the north of the city, and was lucky to escape back into France with his army largely intact.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Battle of Ascurum (46 BC)

The battle of Ascurum (46 BC) was a minor defeat for the Republican forces during the final African campaign of the Great Civil War and saw an attempt to invade Mauritania fail

Battle of Ruspina (46 BC)

The battle of Ruspina (46 BC) was a minor defeat suffered by Caesar soon after he arrived in Africa, but his Republican opponents failed to take full advantage of their success, and allowed Caesar to recover from the early setback

Sunday, September 23, 2018

In the Legions of Napoleon - the Memoirs of a Polish Officer in Spain and Russia 1808-1813, Henrich von Brandt

The memoirs of a Polish officer from a German background who served with the French from 1808-1813, covering the four years he spent in Spain and the disastrous invasion of Russia of 1812. Provides a rather different viewpoint on these famous campaigns, especially in Spain, where Brandt fought in a part of the war rarely covered by British memoirs. Also includes some more lighthearted moments from Spain, as well as a vivid account of the disastrous retreat from Spain
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Voices from the Peninsula - Eyewitness Accounts by Soldiers of Wellington's Army, 1808-1814, ed. Ian Fletcher

Covers the long series of campaigns fought by Wellington’s army, from the initial victories at Rolica and Vimeiro to the eventually invasion of France, when his troops became the first Allied troops to cross onto French soil as the net closed in on Napoleon. Uses a wide range of authors to bring us into the heart of the action, and to give us accounts of many of the key moments of Wellington’s many victories as well as his rare setbacks
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American Amphibious Gunboats in World War II, Robin L. Rielly

Looks at the creation of armed gunboats based on the Landing Craft, Infantry (LCI), at first as a weapon for use against Japanese barges and later used to support amphibious landings and to defend against suicide boats and kamikaze attacks. An impressive example of how an improvised weapon could turn into a vital weapon, playing a major part in the second half of the Pacific War, and especially at Okinawa
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Friday, September 21, 2018

Fourth battle of Cassino or Operation Diadem (11-18 May 1944)

The fourth battle of Cassino or Operation Diadem (11-18 May 1944) was a large scale Allied attack that finally broke the stalemate on the Cassino front, and allowed the Allies to occupy Rome just before the start of Operation Overlord.

Operation Shingle, or the battle of Anzio (22 January-5 June 1944)

Operation Shingle, or the battle of Anzio (22 January-5 June 1944) was one of the most controversial battles of the Italian campaign, and saw a joint Anglo-American force land close to Rome to break the deadlock at Camino, only to get bogged down and besieged in a narrow beachhead for months

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Martin B-12

The Martin B-12 was a modified version of the successful B-10, powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet A engines.

Martin B-10

The Martin B-10 was the first of the new generation of monoplane bombers to enter USAAC service in the 1930s, and when it first appeared was a revolutionary aircraft that was faster than the standard fighter aircraft of its day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ordnance QF 18-pounder field gun Mk.IV

The Ordnance QF 18-pounder field gun Mk.IV was a modernised version of the 18-pounder Mk.I, but didn’t enter service until late in the First World War.

Ordnance QF 18-pounder field gun Mk I

The Ordnance QF 18-pounder field gun Mk I was the British Army’s standard field gun of the First World War, and after some teething troubles developed into a reliable weapon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

USS Southard (DD-207/ DMS-10)

USS Southard (DD-207/ DMS-10) was a Clemson class destroyer that fought at Guadalacanal, Bougaunville, the Palaus, the Philippines and Okinawa, before being damaged beyond repair by typhoons after the end of the war.

USS Chandler (DD-206/ DMS-9)

USS Chandler (DD-206/ DMS-9) was a Clemson class destroyer that served as a fast mine sweeper during the American invasions of the later stages of the Pacific War.

Monday, September 17, 2018

476th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 476th Fighter Group (USAAF) was briefly activated with no squadrons in China, before being activated for a second time as a home based training unit.

475th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 475th Fighter Group (USAAF) was created in Australia in 1943, and supported the Allied advance across New Guinea and into the Philippines.

474th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 474th Fighter Group (USAAF) served with the Ninth Air Force in Europe, taking part in the Allied invasion of Europe and the advance across north-western Europe into Germany.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Napoleon and the Archduke Charles - A History of the Franco-Austrian Campaign in the valley of the Danube 1809, F. Loraine Petre

Covers Napoleon’s final victorious campaign, the hard fought victory over Austria that also saw him suffer his first significant battlefield defeat at Aspern-Essling, as well as the eventual victory at Wagram. Traces the failures and successes of both senior commanders, and the early signs of a reduction in the quality of the French army. A good account despite being over a century old
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Panzer I & II Blueprint for Blitzkrieg 1933-1941, Robert Jackson

A well illustrated history of the Panzer I and Panzer II, the most numerous German tanks of the early Blitzkrieg victories, and still present in very large numbers at the start of Operation Barbarossa, by which time they were utterly outclassed. Covers their development, technical specifications, variants and modified vehicles using the same chassis and their combat record, all supported by a good selection of photographs and plans
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Conquerors of the Roman Empire: The Goths, Simon Macdowall

Looks at the long period of interaction between the various Gothic tribes and the Roman Empire, as well as the post-Roman history of the two main Gothic kingdoms in Italy and Spain. Produces a more complex picture than the normal image of the Goths as simply rampaging destroyers of the Empire, showing that Rome and the Goths were allies almost as often as enemies, and looking at the brief attempt to produce a combined Roman and Gothic society in Italy
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Friday, September 14, 2018

Siege of San Sebastian (28 June-31 August 1813)

The siege of San Sebastian (28 June-31 August 1813) saw Wellington successfully capture the last French stronghold on the northern coast of Spain, although after a longer siege than had been originally expected.

Siege of Fort San Felipe de Balaguer (4-7 June 1813)

The siege of Fort San Felipe de Balaguer (4-7 June 1813) was the one success during Murray’s disastrous attempt to capture Tarragona in the summer of 1813, and saw a small Anglo-Spanish force capture a fort that blocked the best road from Tortosa to Tarragona, making it harder for Marshal Suchet to intervene in the siege.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Battle of Zela (May 47 BC)

The battle of Zela (May 47 BC) saw Caesar defeat Pharnaces, king of the Cimmerian Bosporus, so quickly that it inspired his most famous quote, ‘Veni, vidi, vici’, or ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’.

Battle of Nicopolis (48 BC)

The battle of Nicopolis (48 BC) saw Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates the Great of Pontus, defeat a Roman army that was attempting to stop him taking advantage of Caesar’s absence in Egypt to regain control part of his father’s old Empire.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Third battle of Cassino (15-22 March 1944)

The third battle of Cassino (15-22 March 1944) was the last attack at Cassino to be carried out by the US Fifth Army alone, but the attack failed after a week of bitter fighting.

Second battle of Cassino (15-18 February 1944)

The second battle of Cassino (15-18 February 1944) was the most controversial of the four battles, and saw Allied bombers destroy the ancient Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino without any military benefit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Lockheed C-140

The Lockheed C-140 was the designation given to a small number of Lockheed Jetstars that were ordered as cargo aircraft, after the original military requirement for the aircraft had been cancelled.

Lockheed P2V (P-2) Neptune

The Lockheed P2V (P-2) Neptune was a very successful post-war maritime patrol bomber that was developed during the Second World War, but didn’t enter service until after the war was over.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ordnance, BL converted, 15-pounder field gun

The Ordnance, BL converted, 15-pounder field gun was a modified version of a pre-Boer War weapon that was given a more modern recoil system and used to equip the Territorial Army before the First World War.

Ordnance jointed BL 10-pounder

The Ordnance jointed BL 10-pounder was the standard British mountain gun at the start of the First World  War, but was rapidly replaced by the more modern BL 2.75in Mountain Gun.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Professor Porsche’s Wars, Karl Ludvigsen

A study of the military aspects of Fredinand Porsche’s career, spanning a wide range of activities from First World War artillery tractors to the vast Maus tank, and including his most successful military design, the Beetle based Kubelwagen. A well balanced account of a long and active career that actually produced a surprisingly small number of militarily significant products.
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German Military Vehicles of World War II, Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage

Main focus is on soft skinned, unarmed vehicles - trucks, cars, bikes etc, but also covers half tracks and armoured cars. For me the soft skinned section is a useful reference, if a bit dry, while the half track and armoured car section is more interesting, covering some of the more famous combat vehicles of the Second World War as well as their less successful contemporaries
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M50 Ontos and M56 Scorpion 1956-70 - US Tank Destroyers of the Vietnam War, Kenneth W. Estes

Looks at two very light tank destroyers developed for the Cold War but that never saw action against enemy army, but instead saw limited use as infantry support weapons during the Vietnam War. Both were seen as expendable weapons, combining heavy firepower with a light and easy to produce vehicle, but neither was produced in very large numbers, both were made obsolete by anti-tank missiles
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Friday, September 07, 2018

USS Dallas (DD-199)

USS Dallas (DD-199) was a Clemson class destroyer that took part in Operation Torch, the invasion of Sicily and the Salerno landings, as well as performing escort duties.

USS Herndon (DD-198)

USS Herndon (DD-198) was a Clemson class destroyer that had a very short career in the US Navy and Coast Guard, before joining the Royal Navy as HMS Churchill, then the Soviet Navy, where she was lost in 1945. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

473rd Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 473rd Fighter Group (USAAF) was a home based training unit that operated in 1943-44.

414th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 414th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a fighter unit that entered combat as a ground attack group with the Twentieth Air Force late in the Second World War.

413th Fighter Group (USAAF)

The 413th Fighter Group (USAAF) was a fighter group that served as a fighter-bomber unit with the Twentieth Air Force, mainly operating over Japan and occupied China.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Siege of Tarragona (3-12 June 1813)

The siege of Tarragona (3-12 June 1813) was an unsuccessful British attempt to recapture the Spanish city and provide a distraction for Wellington’s campaign in the north of Spain.

Battle of Castalla (13 April 1813)

The battle of Castalla (13 April 1813) was a defensive victory that saw General Murray’s largely Anglo-Sicilian army defeat an attack by Suchet’s Army of Valencia.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Battle of the Nile (February 47 BC)

The battle of the Nile (February 47 BC) was the final action of Caesar’s Alexandrian War, and saw him unite with the relief army under Mithridates of Pergamum to defeat the army of Ptolemy XIII.

Siege of Pelusium (early 47 BC)

The siege of Pelusium (early 47 BC) was an early victory for Mithridates of Pergamum during his expedition to rescue Caesar, who was then besieged in Alexandria.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Fighter Aircraft Since 1945, Frank Schwede

This book falls into something of a gap between the two main types of aircraft books - detailed examinations of individual types and encyclopaedic books covering as many types as possible. Instead the author has chosen to provide medium sized articles covering a smaller selection of the most important types. Organised by area, then manufacturer and finally by date, but without losing the overall picture of fighter development
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The Battle of Glendale - The Day the South Nearly Won the Civil War, Jim Stempel

Looks at one of the more obscure of the Seven Day’s Battles, the least organised stage of the Union retreat and the best chance the Confederates had to inflict a heavy defeat on McClellan’s retreating forces, left without an overall commander while attempting to retreat south to a secure base, giving Lee a chance to attack from the west and potentially cut the Union line into two parts
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Sparta - Rise of a Warrior Nation, Philip Matyszak

An interesting fast paced history of Sparta, starting with the earliest inhabitants of the site that became Sparta, tracing the rise of the city and the evolution of its unusual institutions, and up to the high point of Sparta’s status, the battle of Plataea, the final defeat of the most dangerous of the Persian invasions of Greece, focusing on the earlier period.
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