Books


Great War Tommy

I found this hardback in the local charity shop yesterday for three quid. It's actually pretty good despite the silly 'Owner's Workshop Manual' format and obviously written by someone who really knows their stuff. I particularly like the emphasis on drill and training, together with a lot of detail on equipment and tactical aspects relating to trench warfare. If you find a copy and are interested in the subject matter, I can definitely recommend this book as a good all round treatment of soldiering on the Western Front, based on contemporary training  manuals, historical records and artefactual evidence. 

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Bookworm

I have finished Max Hastings' Vietnam tome, it was a good read, very much an overall history from the political and military viewpoints, the main thing to take away for me was what an overwhelming disaster for the Vietnamese people North and South the war was. The whole thing was a lesson in how not to fight a war, was anything learned, not if Iraq and Afghanistan are anything to go by. A good book which covers every aspect of the war.I have now started on Passchendaele: A New History by Nick Lloyd, I am lucky to have Helion's First World War editor and Third Ypres expert Michael LoCicero on hand to ask for recommendations and he recommended this book on the battle. By the time I had finished the prologue I knew I was going to like it. I still find myself appalled by the sheer number of casualties during these battles, year after year, Lloyd however is very good at explaining why these battles were fought and how close they came at times to success.I got a book token for my birthday and what better way to esc

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The Hardest Day

In have read this book a couple of times but found a pristine hard back copy in the local Oxfam bookshop today, so thought I'd get it anyway. It's timely, as I'm thinking of starting a 1/600th scale Battle of Britain project at some point this year, both for Bag the Hun and Wings at War: Scramble For Britain, which means that I can double up on the aircraft. I already have some 1/285th RAF and Luftwaffe aircraft for this but 1/600th scale makes a lot more sense, given the numbers of bombers involved for the Luftwaffe, especially if I set up a campaign using Finest Hour.I also found a hardback copy of Marked For Death, which I have also read in digital format but thought would sit well with my other books on the First World War in the air. It's really well written and has an interesting approach to the subject matter, with a thematic rather than chronological angle that explores the process and experience rather than just the historical development of the war above the trenches. To round off my shopping trip I

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Great Escapes of the First World War

Just how far would you go to escape? Would you bury yourself under the floor? Would you board a boat with a rotten bottom? Would you tunnel underground? Contained within this book are the daring true stories of fifteen soldiers and their escapes from prison camps during the Great War.What makes these tales special is that they are first-hand accounts, written at the time when the experiences were still fresh in the soldiers' minds. Shocking, moving, exhilarating, humorous, dark.There is not an emotion left unexplored in this selection of accounts, where a group of brave individuals risked all they had to escape and get back to their own country. The adventures span everything from unexpected alliances and remarkable kindness to exceptional ingenuity and considerable danger to foolhardy audacity and, quite frankly, jammy luck.Included in the text are rarely seen images, maps and plans of the escapes, along with biographical information on each soldier about their time during the war. This book pays tribute to

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Bag the Blenheims Back to the Drawing Board

I've had yet another re-think about the Bag the Blenheims scenario today, based on some more background research, this time using the Osprey Aviation Jagdgeschwader 53 'Pik As' book. As I already suspected the Bf-109F4's of JG53 retained their Eastern Front temperate camouflage when they were re-deployed to Sicily in December 1941, apart from repainting the theatre band from yellow to white. This means that my desert scheme Bf-109F4 Trop's will stand out like a sore thumb to anyone who has an interest in the air war over Malta, of which there's always bound to be one!In addition the first combat flight by JG53 didn't occur until the 19th December 1941, which is five full days after the supposed scenario date, largely due to the terrible weather, which just adds yet another complication to the whole set up as it will really mess with the visibility and I was hoping to avoid having to use any bogeys or spotting. At the same time, the Italian pilots of 73 Squadriglia had left Sicily on the 3rd December to re-equ

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Armenian Genocide: The Great Crime of World War I

Crammed into cattle trucks and deported to camps, shot and buried in mass graves, or force-marched to death, over 1.5 million Armenians were murdered by the Turkish state, twenty years before the start of Hitler's Holocaust.The United States' government called it a crime against humanity and Turkey was condemned by Russia, France and Great Britain. But two decades later the genocide had been conveniently forgotten.Hitler justified his Polish death squads by asking in 1939: 'Who after all is today speaking about the destruction of the Armenians?' Armenian Genocide is a new, gripping account that tells the story of the 'Megh Yeghern' - the Great Crime - against the Armenians through the stories of the men and women who died, the few who survived, and the diplomats who tried to intervene.

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The Armour of Rommel's Afrika Korps: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

The Deutsche Afrika Korps (best known as simply Afrika Korps) built up a well-deserved reputation as a superb fighting machine.While this was founded on the leadership and tactical genius of its legendary commander Erwin Rommel and the fighting skills of its officers and men, another vital element was its equipment in general and armour in particular.This superbly illustrated Images of War book reveals the full range of German armoured vehicles that saw service in North Africa over the two year period 1941 to mid-1943\. As well as the formidable panzers , such as the Tiger and Panther tanks, there were Sturmartillerie equipments, reconnaissance vehicles, half- tracks, armoured cars, Panzerkampwagens and motor cycles.All had their roles to play. While the Allies triumphed in North Africa ultimately, the combination of German design and engineering with superb generalship and fighting spirit, very nearly changed the course of the Second World War in 1942\.Military historians and equipment enthusiasts will find

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Antipater's Dynasty: Alexander the Great's Regent and his Successors

Antipater was a key figure in the rise of Macedon under Philip II and instrumental in the succession of Alexander III (the Great).Alexander entrusted Antipater with ruling Macedon in his long absence and he defeated the Spartans in 331 BC. After Alexander's death he crushed a Greek uprising and became regent of the co-kings, Alexander's mentally impaired half-brother (Philip III Arrhideus) and infant son (Alexander IV).He brokered a settlement between the contending Successors but died in 319 BC, having first appointed Polyperchon to succeed as regent in preference to his own sons. Antipater's eldest son Cassander later became regent of Macedon but eventually had Alexander IV killed and made himself king.Three of his sons in turn briefly succeeded him but could not retain the throne. Antipater's female heirs are shown to be just as important, both as pawns and surprisingly independent players in this Macedonian game of thrones.The saga ends with the failed bid by Nikaia, the widow of Antipater's great grandso

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Special Delivery Axis Adaptations

I set about re-jigging the Special Delivery scenario yesterday with the aim to increase the Italian fighter complement from six to nine aircraft in three sections of three planes each. This meant identifying named pilots of 73 Squadriglia for each of the aircraft. To do this I dipped into a new book that I didn't have when I originally wrote the scenario, Brian Cull's Fighters over Malta, only to find that two of the original pilots had already been KIA by the date of the scenario!After I read a little more I also discovered that 73 Squadriglia actually left Sicily in December to re-equip with new Mc202's, although they were around on the 22nd to support an attack on Grand Harbour. While I do now have enough pilots identified for the scenario including replacements for the two shot down, Capitano Pluda and Tentente Bonfatti, I started to think that I could change the set up to a different configuration.It just so happens that the Luftwaffe had deployed Jagdgeschwader 53 to Sicily at the beginning of the month

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Gloomspite Gitz – The Looniest Age of Sigmar Release Yet

With the reveal of the Gloomspite Gitz battletome and the plethora of new models, my mild amusement has shifted into a fervent, feverish fascination. [...] The post Gloomspite Gitz – The Looniest Age of Sigmar Release Yet appeared first on Tabletop Games UK.

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Ardennes 1944

I've just endured a five hour, seven course Christmas  lunch in true French style, so I'm definitely fighting the Battle of the Bulge this evening. To get over this festive food marathon I've been lying down and reading Ardennes 1944, which really is rather good even by Anthony Beevor's usual high standards.I've always thought about wargaming this in 15mm, having already had a go in 28mm using Bolt Action, so may well have another look at IABSM again over the holidays, as I already have a stash of Flames of War US Winter figures from last year's birthday. Nice figures and I do realky enjoy painting AFV's in snow camouflage!

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Beren and Luthien - J.R.R. Tolkien

Edited by Christopher Tolkien, this book retells the tale from the Silmarillion, but also digs deeper in how the story came to be.By going over the original lay of 1917, to the evolutions that the story went through in it's poem form, until the story we have gotten to know from the above book and the changes it underwent along the way.The Tale of Beren and Luthien was, or became, an essential element in the evolution of the Silmarillion, the myths and legends of the First Age of the world conceived by Tolkien.  Returning from France and the Battle of the Somme in 1916, he wrote the tale in the following year.Essential to the story, and never changed, is the fate that shadowed the love of Beren and Luthien, for Beren was a mortal man, but Luthien was an immortal Elf.  Her father, a great Elvish lord, in deep opposition to Beren, imposed on him the impossible task that he must perform before he might wed Luthien.  This is the kernel of the legend; and it leads to the supremely heroic atte;pt of B

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Last Blood - Kristen Painter

The fifth part in the House of Comarre series, this is the conclusion to the vampire tale.Now, don`t expect bloody stories, think more in the lines of popular neckbiters like the Vampire Diaries for this book series.In the final showdown between the forces of dark and light, Mal and Chrysabelle face not only Tatiana, but the ancient evil that now controls her: the Castrum Sanguis.One of them will change sides.  One of them will die.  No one will survive unscathed.  Can Chrysabelle save those she cares about or will that love get her killed?  What price is she willing to pay to draw last blood?Okay, so this was a, for me, horrible book.  I really struggled with myself not to put it aside and keep reading.  It`s boring, it has to many hotch potch jumps... no, not my cup of tea.

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