Thursday, October 31, 2019

Fokker O-27

The Fokker O-27 was a two engine observation that was produced in small numbers and saw front line service with the USAAC in the early 1930s.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

USS Barry (DD-248/ APD-29)

USS Barry (DD-248/ APD-29) was a Clemson class destroyer that served on escort duties early in the Second World War, with a hunter-killer anti-submarine group in 1943 and then as a fast transport, taking part in the invasion of the South of France and Okinawa, where she was so badly damaged by a kamikaze attack that she wasn’t worth repairing.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

HMS Erne (1903)

HMS Erne (1903) was a River class destroyer that was under the direct command of the C-in-C of the Grand Fleet early in the First World War, before being lost when she ran aground near Rattray Head on 6 February 1915

Monday, October 28, 2019

Thomas-Morse O-41

The Thomas-Morse O-41 was a version of the successful O-19 observation aircraft that was given sesquiplane wings and a Curtiss Conqueror engine, but failed in two attempts to win a USAAC contract, and was eventually sold to Republican Spain, although probably got no further than Mexico.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hannibal’s Road, The Second Punic War in Italy, 213-203 BC, Mike Roberts

A history of the last ten years of Hannibal’s campaign in Italy, after the most famous victories had already been won, and he had won over large areas of southern Italy. Suffers somewhat from the author’s pro-Hannibal bias, which sees him discount any reports of Roman victories while believing every tale of Punic success, but is otherwise a useful account of an often neglected period in which Hannibal was still able to win battlefield victories, but was unable to defend his new allies, slowly being pushed back into the far south before eventually having to return to Africa
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A Tough Nut to Crack: Andersonstown, Steve Corbett

The story of a successful deployment of troops from an artillery battery in one of the most violent areas of Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles. A clear demonstration of the correct way to run a peacekeeping operation in difficult circumstances, a tour in which despite the best efforts of the IRA none of the soldiers were killed, and in which they managed to massively disrupt IRA operations in the Andersonstown area of Belfast. Covers the Bloody Sunday period, so we get to see the impact of that incident in Andersonstown
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The British Navy in the Mediterranean, John D. Grainger

A nice approach to a key aspect of British military history, looking at the rise and fall of British naval power in the Mediterranean, from the earliest appearance of British warships protecting merchant ships in the sixteenth century, through the intermittent presence of British fleets in the sea during the long sequence of wars with France and Spain and on to the almost century and a half of dominance that began late in the Napoleonic Wars and lasted well into the Second World War. A fascinating examination of one of the key elements of Britain’s naval power
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Thursday, October 24, 2019

USS Goff (DD-247)

USS Goff (DD-247) was a Clemson class destroyer that spent most of the Second World War on escort duties in the Caribbean and Atlantic, apart from spell in 1943 when she was part of the successful submarine hunting group built around the carrier USS Card.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

River Class Destroyers (E class)

The River Class Destroyers (E class) saw a significant change in the design of British destroyers, with a greater emphasis on seaworthiness and robustness at the cost of a reduction in the theoretical top speed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Thomas-Morse O-23

The Thomas-Morse O-23 was a version of the successful O-19 observation aircraft that was powered by a Curtiss Conqueror engine, making it the first member of the O-19 family to be powered by an inline engine since the original O-6 prototypes.

Monday, October 21, 2019

USS Bainbridge (DD-246)

USS Bainbridge (DD-246) was a Clemson class destroyer that escorted convoys to Iceland in 1941, served on escort duty along the US coast in 1942, trans-Atlantic convoys and one spell with a hunter-killer group in 1943 and helped training up new warships in 1944-45.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Somme 1916 Battlefield Companion, Commonwealth War Graves Commission

A guide to the battle of the Somme built around a series of battlefield trails that visit the many Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries on the battlefield. An effective approach to this familiar topic, linking the cemeteries to the battles fought in their vicinity and attempting to explain where the men buried in each one were killed. Well designed for use as a guide, ring bound with oversized covers fold out covers useable as bookmarks, as well as keeping rain off the book. The tours themselves are largely road based, with visits the key cemeteries
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Bayly’s War - The Battle for the Western Approaches in the First World War, Steve R. Dunn

A fascinating history of the first battle of the Atlantic in the Western Approaches, the waters around Ireland, looking at the overall course of the battle, the role of Admiral Bayly, commander-in-chief on the Irish station, and the impact of the American arrival in Ireland. Paints a picture of a very different battle to the more familiar one from the Second World War, with the key difference being the lack of any way to detect a submerged U-boat, leading to very heavy shipping losses. Also includes interesting material on the problems caused by Irish nationalism, peaking with the Easter uprising, but also causing more low key problems for most of the war
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Eagles over the Sea 1936-42, A History of Luftwaffe Maritime Operations, Lawrence Paterson

Looks at the origins of German naval air power during the First World War, its revival in the 1930s, the first combat tests of the Spanish Civil War and its role in the key battles during the first half of the Second World War, a period that included the battle of Norway, the battle of Britain, the forced German intervention in the Mediterranean, the battle of the Atlantic, the Arctic convoys and the period of most German success on the Eastern Front, all campaigns that involved naval aviation in some way
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Thursday, October 17, 2019

HMS Taku (1898)

HMS Taku (1898) was originally built in Germany for China, where it entered service as the Hai Nju, but she was captured by the British in 1900 and taken into the Royal Navy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Thomas-Morse O-33

The Thomas-Morse O-33 was a version of the successful O-19 observation aircraft that was powered by a Curtiss Conqueror engine and given a revised tail.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

USS Reuben James (DD-245)

USS Reuben James (DD-245) was a Clemson class destroyer that became famous as the first US warship to be sunk by enemy action during the Second World War, several weeks before the official US entry into the war.

Monday, October 14, 2019

HMS Stag (1899)

HMS Stag (1899) was a D class destroyer that served with the Eighth Destroyer Flotilla on the Firth of Forth, the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla on the Humber and the Irish Sea Hunting Flotilla during the First World War.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

British Cruiser Warfare – The Lessons of the Early War, 1939-1941, Alan Raven

A very detailed study of the first two years of cruiser warfare, looking at how the Royal Navy operated against its German and Italian enemies. A detailed chronological account of the fighting is followed by a series of invaluable studies of particular topics, providing an impressive level of detail of issues from anti-aircraft tactics and damage control to life onboard ship. Also includes a useful section on the impact of code breaking on both sides, and some excellent plans of key British cruisers

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The Normandy Battlefields - Bocage and Breakout, From the Beaches to the Falaise Gap, Simon Forty, Leo Marriott & George Forty

A good visual guide to the fighting in Normandy, combining a good narrative of the battle, with an impressive selection of photographs, including a series showing the locations of key battles as they were in 1944 and how they are now, supported by a good introduction to the campaign and a series of studies of key aspects of the battle, from Allied air power to the Tiger tank. A good combination of well written history and illustrations
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Courage After the Battle – Peter Jackson-Lee

A thought provoking look at the long term impact of combat on military veterans, how they cope, and the various systems in place in help. Written by an ex-Royal Marine and Falklands veteran, and covers an impressively wide range of subjects, from the basics of evacuation to the treatments of the many wounds suffered, to the non-physical problems suffered by many veterans. Each section includes a historical survey, looking at how things have changed over the last century or so. A book that will be of great value for anyone trying to understand the long term impact of combat on Britain’s veterans, both civilian and veteran
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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thomas-Morse O-21

The Thomas-Morse O-21 was a version of the successful Thomas Morse O-19 observation aircraft that was powered by a Curtiss Chieftain engine then by a Wright Cyclone.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

USS Williamson (DD-244/ AVP-15/ AVD-2)

USS Williamson (DD-244/ AVP-15/ AVD-2) was a Clemson class destroyer that served as seaplane tender in the Aleutians, and was then used to refuel spotter aircraft to support the battleships and cruisers during the later stages of the island hopping campaign.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

HMS Cynthia (1898)

HMS Cynthia (1898) was a D class destroyer that served with the Nore Local Defence Flotilla throughout the First World War.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Thomas-Morse O-20

The Thomas-Morse O-20 was a version of the successful O-19 observation aircraft that was powered by a Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Book of Five Rings and Other Works, Miyamoto Musashi

Not what I’d expected – often portrayed as more of a philosophical guide to the life of the Samurai, it actually comes across as an advert for the author’s dojo, describing the benefits of his fighting style and attacking the flaws of his rival’s styles and schools. Also includes a good biography of Musashi and the context of his life, and five other works that are also attributed to him, giving us a good single volume edition of his entire works
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Escaping Hitler - A Jewish Boy's Quest for Freedom and his Future, Phyllida Scrivens

The fascinating story of Gunter Stern, a Jewish boy from the rural Rhineland to came to Britain on one of the ‘kindertransports’, where he became Joe Stirling, served in the Army and later became a Labour Politian, and a very successful businessman, Sheriff of Norwich and charity fundraiser with the Lions Clubs. You’ll struggle to find a better case for the benefits of immigration!
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How Churchill Waged War - The Most Challenging Decisions of the Second World War, Allen Packwood

Looks at how Churchill operated as a war leader, the reasons behind many of his key decisions, the limits on his power and how he dealt with, and his changing level of influence as the war developed. Finishes with a look at his disasterous 1945 election campaign. Looks at his methods of working, and how he interacted with his military and political colleagues and international Allies to make the key decisions
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Friday, October 04, 2019

Panzergrenadier-Division Kurmark

History of Panzergrenadier-Division Kurmark, also known as Panzer Division Kurmark, and formed on 30 January 1945 on the Eastern Front

Thursday, October 03, 2019

USS Sands (DD-243/ APD-13)

USS Sands (DD-243/ APD-13) was a Clemson class destroyer that took part in the early fighting in the Aleutians, supporting the fighting in the Solomons and on New Guinea, the invasion of the Palau Islands, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, Iwo Jima and Okinawa

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

HMS Cygnet (1898)

HMS Cygnet (1898) was a D class destroyer that served in the Mediterranean early in her career and with the Nore Local Defence Flotilla throughout the First World War.