Sunday, February 23, 2020

Panzer IV 1939-1945, Paul Thomas

A mix of a history of the Panzer IV and a modelling guide, combined with an excellent selection of photographs of the tank, showing the many variants produced and their identification features. A good introduction to the topic, with an especially good selection of well captioned photographs
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Casca 41: The Longbowman, Tony Roberts

An atmospheric retelling of the Agincourt campaign, mainly looking at it from the level of a group of archers in a minor retinue, so away from the main decision makers. Takes us through the mud and confusion of a Medieval campaign, with all of its disease and confusion, and gives a good idea of how it must have felt for the common soldiers as Henry V’s army attempted to escape from far more numerous French forces. A strong entry in this long running series
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The Trafalgar Chronicle New Series 2, ed. Peter Hore

Mainly built around a series of articles looking at the early history of the US Marine Corps and the Royal Marines in the period around the Napoleonic Wars. An interesting mix of articles, ranging from the American campaigns against the Barbary Pirates to the life of an officer stranded ashore in Dorset, taking in many of the major campaigns of the period, and in particular Trafalgar. Includes a splendid selection of illustrations, most memorably those produced by one naval officer to illustrate his career
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Thursday, February 20, 2020

HMS Eden (1903)

HMS Eden (1903) was a River class destroyer that served with the Ninth Flotilla on the Tyne in 1914-15 and with the local Defence Flotilla at Portsmouth from 1915 until she was sunk in a collision with a merchant ship on 18 June 1916.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

USS McDermut (DD-262)

USS McDermut (DD-262) was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the Pacific Fleet for most of the 1920s, before being scrapped in 1932 under the terms of the London Naval Treaty.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

HMS Derwent (1903)

HMS Derwent (1903) was a River class destroyer that served with the Ninth Flotilla in 1914-15, then at Portsmouth from 1915 until she hit a mine and sank on 2 May 1917 while escorting a convoy.

Monday, February 17, 2020

USS Delphy (DD-261)

USS Delphy (DD-261) was a Clemson class destroyer that was most famous for being one of the seven destroyers lost in the Honda Point disaster of 1923.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Bren Gun Carrier – Britain’s Universal War Machine, Robert Jackson

A look at one of the most numerous tracked vehicles in British service during the Second World War, originally designed to carry machine guns to the location where they were needed, but soon adapted to fulfil a much wider range of functions. Found wherever British and Commonwealth forces fought during the Second World War, this was one of the most flexibly vehicles in British service
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Admiral Albert Hastings Markham – A Victorian Tale of Triumph, Tragedy & Exploration, Frank Jastrzembski

A biography of a Victorian admiral most famous for his part in the disastrous lost of HMS Victoria in 1893, but who deserves to be better known for his role in Arctic exploration, and the general adventurousness  of his life! This saw him serve in Chinese waters, the South Seas, and reach the furthest point north yet achieved by explorers
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Whitehaven in the Great War, Ruth Mansergh

Looks at the impact of the war on Whitehaven and the surrounding area, including the one German attack on the area, the exploits of the area’s winners of the Victoria Cross, the impact on industry, the location of the many war memorials in the area, the impact of Belgian refuges, and a wide range of other topics
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Monday, February 10, 2020

HMS Garry (1905)

HMS Garry (1905) was a River class destroyer that was attached to the Grand Fleet at the outbreak of the First World War, then served with the North Channel Patrol in 1915-1917 then escorted the Scandinavian Convoys in 1917-18.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The Royal Navy in the Napoleonic Age – Senior Service, 1800-1815, Mark Jessop

An unusual approach to naval history, with each chapter built around fictional individuals who experiences shine a light on a particular aspect of the war. Covers the period from 1801 to the end of the war, so including the piece of Amiens, the victory at Trafalgar and the long years of blockade that followed, with a focus on the impact of the war on Plymouth and what became Devonport
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SS: Roll of Infamy - A Biographical Guide to Leading Members of the SS, Christopher Ailsby

Brings together biographies of SS members from every branch of that vast, appalling organisation, from the staff of the extermination camps to the many war criminals of the Waffen-SS. Demonstrates the dreadful scale of the atrocities committed by the SS, from the extermination camps to the murder of civilians across occupied Europe or of POWs on every front
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Lost Heirs of the Medieval Crown – The Kings and Queens who Never Were, J.F. Andrews

An unusual but interesting choice of topic, looking at all of those people who could reasonably expect to have inherited the throne of England, but for whatever reason either didn’t survive to take the throne,  or were usurped by someone with a worse claim but more determination, luck or support. Starts with the sons of William the Conqueror and ends with the career of Richard III, a king involved with two of these lost heirs
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Thursday, February 06, 2020

USS Gillis (DD-260)

USS Gillis (DD-260) was a Clemson class destroyer that was converted into a seaplane tender and served in Alaskan waters in 1941-44, then as a plane guard before taking part in the invasion of Okinawa.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

HMS Welland (1904)

HMS Welland (1904) was a River class destroyer that was on the China station at the outbreak of the First World War, before moving to the Mediterranean at the end of 1914, where she remained for the rest of the war.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Beechcraft L-23/ U-8 Seminole

The Beechcraft L-23/ U-8 Seminole was a general utility aircraft that remained in US Army service for four decades, from the early 1950s to the early 1990s.

Monday, February 03, 2020

USS Turner (DD-259)/ Moosehead (IX-98)

USS Turner (DD-259)/ Moosehead (IX-98) was a Clemson class destroyer that had a very varied later career. After a very brief time as a destroyer in the early 1920s she was turned into a water barge in 1936, but was then turned back into an active warship at the Moosehead, serving as a ferry in the San Diego, and then as an advancing training ship for the staff of the advanced Combat Information Centers being installed on more modern warships

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Steel Wall at Arnhem - The Destruction of 4 Parachute Brigade, 19 September 1944, David Truesdale

A detailed account of the part played by the 4th Parachute Brigade in the fighting at Arnhem – their arrival on the second day, their failed attempt to break through the German defensive line between the bridge and the landing grounds and the prolonged defence of the Division position at Oosterbeek. A very detailed account of the Brigade’s activities, focusing on the entire battle, not just the events of 19 September
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Walcheren to Waterloo - The British Army in the Low Countries during the French Revolutionary & Napoleonic Wars 1793-1815, Andrew Limm

A good history of the unsuccessful British campaigns in the Low Countries between 1793 and 1814, looking in detail at how each army was organised and led, and examining the reasons for their general lack of success. Less convincing when looking at the idea of a transformation of the British military, although this does provide a different viewpoint of these campaigns
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Roman Emperor Zeno, Peter Crawford

A biography of the Eastern Roman Emperor most famous for being on the throne when the last western Emperor was deposed, but who managed to maintain his own position despite facing a wide range of internal and external opponents. Looks at his background, his rise to power, his difficult reign, his achievements, his rather negative later reputation, and if it was genuinely deserved
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Thursday, January 30, 2020

HMS Usk (1903)

HMS Usk (1903) was a River class destroyer that was on the China station at the outbreak of war and took part in the siege of Tsingtau. Late in the year she moved to the Mediterranean, where she spent the rest of the war. She took part in the Gallipoli campaign, supporting the landings at Anzac cove.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Aeronca L-16 Champion

The Aeronca L-16 Champion was a post-war development of the L-3 Grasshopper, originally intended for use with the National Guard but forced into front line service during the Korean War.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

USS Aulick (DD-258)/ HMS Burnham

USS Aulick (DD-258)/ HMS Burnham was a Clemson class destroyer that was transferred to the Royal Navy under the terms of the destroyers for bases deal. In British and Canadian service she operated on Atlantic convoy escort duties in 1941-43 and as an Air Target Ship in 1944.

Monday, January 27, 2020

HMS Teviot (1903)

HMS Teviot (1903) was a River class destroyer that was attached to the Grand Fleet in 1914, the Portsmouth Escort Flotilla in 1915-17 (escorting troop ships to France), the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla in the autumn and winter of 1917-18 and the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth for most of 1918.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Luftwaffe Training Aircraft – The Training of Germany’s Pilots and Aircrew through rare archive photographs, Chris Goss

A comprehensive photographic study of the many types of aircraft used to train the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Good quality pictures and useful captions, but could have done with brief introductions to each aircraft. A good selection of photographs covering a wide range of aircraft, with useful individual captions
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Balloons and Airships – A Tale of Lighter Than Air Aviation, Anthony Burton

A rather fun look at the history of lighter than air aviation, going all the way from the earliest experiments with manned balloons, through the early 20th century heyday of the airship and finishing with today’s leasure ballooning and some of the attempts to revive the airship. A fascinating look at the brave pioneers of air flight, and the impact they had on the world. Also includes a look at the balloon at war – in the Franco-Prussian War and American Civil War and the use of the airship during the First World War
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C-130 Hercules - A History, Martin W. Bowman

A look at the impressive career of the C-130 Hercules, one of the most successful military aircraft of all time, cover its six decades of service with the US military, as well its service with Australian, New Zealand and Great Britain, its use as a straightforward transport, as a gunship and in all sorts of specialist roles. A very readable account of the exploits of this remarkable aircraft and its crews
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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Boeing L-15 Scout

The Boeing L-15 Scout was an advanced liaison aircraft that used the same basic layout as the wartime ‘Grasshopper’ liaison aircraft, but in a much more radical form.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

USS Welles (DD-257)/ HMS Cameron

USS Welles (DD-257)/ HMS Cameron was a Clemson class destroyer that served with the neutrality patrols after the outbreak of war in 1939 before going to Britain under the Destroyers for Bases deal.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

HMS Ribble (1904)

HMS Ribble (1904) was a River class destroyer that was on the China station at the outbreak of war, but moved to the Mediterranean late in 1914, taking part in the Gallipoli campaign. She remained in the Mediterranean for the rest of the war as part of the Fifth Destroyer Flotilla.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Foundations of an African Civilisation - Aksum and the Northern Horn 1000 BC-AD 1300, David W. Phillipson

Focuses on the Kingdom of Aksum, a major civilisation that thrived in the northern Horn of Africa, with material on the long period before it emerged and the dynasty that followed. A detailed academic study of the kingdom most famous for introducing Christianity to Ethiopia and the earlier rock cut churches, focusing largely on the archaeological evidence. Aksum emerges as a fascinating civilisation, capable of producing some impressive monuments and supporting a sizable population in the area around its capital
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French Armoured Cruisers 1887-1932, John Jordan and Philippe Caresse

Looks at a group of ships that when first built posed a real threat to Britain’s naval lines of communication, but that have been largely forgotten because they were seen as badly outdated by the outbreak of the First World War. Includes a great deal of detail of the often complex design process, and some of the best plans of warships I’ve seen. An excellent study of some of the most powerful warships of their time
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Carthage’s Other Wars, Dexter Hoyos

Looks at Carthage’s ‘other’ wars, their repeated conflicts against the Greeks of Sicily, the struggles to maintain their position in Africa and the late conquest of Spain. The nature of the surviving sources mean that most of the material covers the wars against the Greeks of Sicily, whose accounts of the fighting have survived, but there is also good material on the wars in North Africa and Spain. Written by an established expert on Carthage, the military narratives are supported by an excellent understanding of the city’s politics
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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Stinson/ Convair L-13

The Stinson/ Convair L-13 was a post-war liaison aircraft that was designed to replace the L-5 Sentinel and that entered service just after the end of the Second World War.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

USS Bancroft (DD-256)/ HMCS St. Francis

USS Bancroft (DD-256)/ HMCS St. Francis was a Clemson class destroyer that went to Britain under the terms of the destroyers for bases deal. In British service she served on escort duties from 1941-1944, although spent much of her time under repair

Monday, January 13, 2020

HMS Rother (1904)

HMS Rother (1904) was a River class destroyer that served with the Ninth Flotilla on the Tyne in 1914, then with the Portsmouth Local Defence Flotilla in 1915-1917, the Seventh Destroyer Flotilla in 1917-18 and the First Destroyer Flotilla at Portsmouth for most of 1918.