Martin King & Ken Johnson: Warriors of the 106th
Published by Casemate 19th July 2017
The 106th were fresh, green and right in the pathway of the 5th German Army
when the Battle of the Bulge began at 0530 hours on December 16, 1944. This book
covers the history along with the individual stories of the incredible heroism,
sacrifice and tenacity of these young Americans in the face of overwhelming
odds. From this division 6,800 men were taken prisoner but their story didn't
end there. For the ones who miraculously escaped, there was a battle to fight,
and fight it they would with every ounce of strength and courage they could
muster. They would fight debilitating weather conditions more reminiscent of
Stalingrad than the Belgian Ardennes. They would fight a determined enemy and
superior numbers and despite all adversity they would eventually prevail. One
106th GI waged his own personal war using guerilla tactics that caused serious
consternation amongst the German troops. For another GI his main concern was
recovering his clean underwear. These stories are heartwarming, heartbreaking,
nerve-wracking and compelling. They aim to put the reader right there in the
front lines, and in the stalags, during the final months of WWII.
King and Johnson's stirring account of the 106th is the stuff that legends are made of...
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John Sadler & Rosie Serdiville: Tommies - The British Army in the Trenches
Published by Casemate Short Histories 14th June 2017
British soldiers have been known as Tommies for centuries, but the name is
particularly associated with the British soldier in World War I. In 1914, a
small professional force of British soldiers crossed the Channel to aid the
French. It soon became apparent that the war would be protracted, and a vast
drive for volunteer soldiers began. By 1918 the army was transformed, fielding
5.5 million men on the Western Front alone. These Tommies were fighting an
entirely new type of war, living and dying in vast trench systems, threatened by
death from the air or by gas attack as well as by rifle or bayonet. This book
explores the development of the ‘Tommy', and his experience of war.
On this page, the first five titles in Casemate's brilliant new series, Short Histories: other publishers have gone down this route, notable OUP and Amberley, wth their excellent "...in one hundred facts"; now Casemate jump on board this bandwagon with the first of five new titles this month, and four more later in the year. Tommies is concise, intelligently written, but contains everything you need to know to get you started on the subject of the men of the British Army who found themselves in the trenches in WW1. Superb.
Other titles in this series:
Angus Konstam: Big Gune - Artillery on the Battlefield
Published by Casemate Short Histories 14th June 2017
Ever since the first appearance of large-calibre guns in the Middle Ages,
gunpowder artillery has had an enormous impact on military strategy and warfare.
Cannons were initially developed to tackle fortifications, but then technology
enabled the development of lighter, more manoeuvrable field artillery which
could change the outcome of battles. By the 19th century most European armies
had artillery, and Napoleon, originally an artillery officer, took the use of
artillery to a new level, using his Grand Batteries to great effect. In the late
19th century German industrialist Krupp produced the first steel guns, paving
the way for the devastatingly powerful heavy artillery of World War I, while the
innovative French soixante-quinze was the forerunner of a new generation of
field artillery. In WWI the use of artillery literally transformed the
landscape, and shaped how armies fought, and by World War II the range of
artillery had expanded to include self-propelled guns, and anti-tank and
anti-aircraft guns. This book covers the development and use of artillery over
the centuries to its central role in modern warfare.
Angus Konstam looks at field artillery from its earliest uses right up to the modern day in the second of Casemate's brilliant new Short HIstory series.
Gary Yee: Sharpshooters - Marksmen Through The Ages
by Casemate Short Histories 14th June 2017
From the Middle Ages on the most precise shooters have been employed as
marksmen or sharpshooters, and equipped with the best available weapons. The
German states made the first serious use of sharpshooters on the battlefield
during the Seven Years War. Some of these talented riflemen were then employed
as mercenaries in America, where the tactical use of the rifle in wooded terrain
was valued. By the Revolutionary Wars, American riflemen were formidable, able
to blend into the landscape and take out targets at long range. Their potential
was noted by the British who began to train rifle units; during the Napoleonic
Wars, the Green Jackets were the elite of the British army. The mid-19th century
saw the advent of mass-produced high-quality firearms, and the development of
optical sights, meaning that the units of sharpshooters raised in the Civil War
were even more lethal. In World War I the press coined the term ‘sniper' at a
time when accurate German rifle fire was terrorizing the British trenches,
leading to the creation of dedicated snipers and developments in weapons
technology, sniper training and counter-sniping that has continued ever
I've always thought that the term "sharpshooter" referred either to cowboys during the period we used to refer to as the Wid West, or else the guns they carried. Gary Yee sets the record straight with a brilliant account of marksmen through the ages, since the use of rifles and guns became prevalent.
John Sadler & Rosie Serdiville: Fighter Aces - Knights of the Sky
by Casemate Short Histories 14th June 2017
Just over a decade after the first powered aeroplane flight, fearless
pioneers were flying over the battlefields of France in flimsy biplanes. As more
military aircraft took to the skies, they were equipped with weapons and their
pilots began to develop tactics to take down enemy aviators. In 1915 the term
‘ace' was coined to denote a pilot adept at downing enemy aircraft, and top aces
like Albert Ball and the Red Baron became household names. Flying more advanced
fighters, top aces would accrue scores of over 100 in the swirling dogfights of
WWII. This book covers the history of the fighter ace from the first
developments in 1915 to the jet aces of the later 20th century.
In the fourth of Casemate's new short histories, John Sadler and Rosie serdiville look at WW1 fighter pilots and how they changed the face of modern warfare.
Oscar E Gilbert & Romain Cansiere: Tanks - A Century of Tank Warfare
by Casemate Short Histories 14th June 2017
Tanks made their first appearance on the battlefield in September 1916 and
have captured the public imagination ever since. Other countries scrambled to
develop tanks of their own, and by the time war broke out again in 1939, a wide
variety of tanks, and tank tactics, had been developed around the world. In
World War II tanks were integral to the fighting in almost every theatre, and
the war saw the vast tank battles of El Alamein and Kursk. Tank crews were feted
for their fortitude and bravery in fighting in such difficult and dangerous
conditions. Tank development continued apace during the Cold War and tanks have
featured in most modern conflicts. From the slow and clumsy Mark IV, through the
terrifying Tiger and nimble Sherman Firefly to the Challenger 2, this book
covers the development of tanks, and how they have been used in warfare through
the two world wars and beyond.
And the final title in Casemate's Short Histories series looks at tanks and how they came to be used in WW1 and how they, too, changed the face of modern warfare.
Mario Overall & Dan Hagedorn: The 100 Hour War
by Helion 15th June 2017
In July 1969, while the world was expectant about the upcoming first manned
landing on the moon, two little-known Central American States crossed sabers in
what was derogatorily coined by the media as 'The Soccer War'. Far from a simple
out-of-hand sports passion, this conflict had its complicated origins back in
the early 20th century when the North American companies United Fruit and its
rival, Standard Fruit, operated in Honduras - and both deemed it necessary to
import workers from El Salvador, since the locals were insufficient in numbers.
What followed was an exodus of more than 300,000 Salvadorans who settled in
Honduras - and for a while, the latter country's government saw this with good
eyes. That is until the early 1960s, when political changes and the
liberalization of the region's commerce through the Common Market Treaty made it
painfully evident that the country that benefited the most from it was El
Salvador, while Honduras would be destined to carry a heavy economic burden.
Inevitably, it chilled the relations between the two countries and had a direct
bearing in the treatment from the Hondurans towards the Salvadoran peasants.
Amidst sporadic violence against the immigrant peasants, the two
governments began negotiations aimed at solving the immigration problem and
signed three agreements. However, while the negotiations were taking place,
clandestine armed groups were organized in Honduras with the purpose of
harassing and controlling the Salvadoran people living in that country. This
situation was worsened by a coup d'etat that brought to the presidency the
Honduran General Oswaldo Lopez Arellano, who had a very different point of view
than his predecessor regarding the immigrants' situation. Shortly after, the
expelling of thousands of Salvadorans began. The return of the peasants to El
Salvador brought a series of problems for that country, since all were returning
unemployed and needing food, clothing and some kind of shelter - all of this in
the midst of an economic crisis that not even the advantages obtained through
the Common Market Treaty had been able to alleviate. Thus, it didn't take long
for the Salvadoran society to begin clamoring for some sort of military response
With this delicate political background, the
eliminatory rounds for the Jules Rimet World Soccer Cup (to be held in Mexico
the next year) began - and during these, the national teams of El Salvador and
Honduras would have to face each other in order to obtain a classification.
During those games, the violence against Salvadoran immigrants in Honduras
increased and caused strong protests from the Salvadoran Government, which ended
in the rupturing of diplomatic relations and followed by additional border
incidents, which included the strafing of a Honduran airliner while it was
taking off from Nueva Ocotepeque. Eleven days later, the war began.
book, backed by more than 20 years of research, explores meticulously the
actions undertaken by both countries in the air and on the ground during this
short but intense confrontation, and that saw the last dogfights between World
War II-era piston-engine aircraft in the world. Besides an impressive selection
of photos, the book also features a section of color profiles and markings, and
a set of tables detailing the identities of the aircraft operated by both
countries during the conflict.
A hundred-hour war seems like something of a dream, given the prolonged fighting that has taken place in the Middle East during the past quarter of a century... I would have been twenty-three when this conflict took place, but 1969 sticks in my mmemory chiefly for the Apollo Moon landings, and I don't think I was paying attention to world events that year... time to set the record straight with this excellent history by Overall and Hagedorn.
William Park: Beyond Adversity
by Big Sky October 31st 2016
In November 1941, about 100 university students began their short-term
compulsory military training with the 15th Infantry Battalion. Most were aged
19-22, had daytime jobs and were evening or external students from the arts,
commerce and law faculties. They were ambitious, hard-working young men anxious
to make their way in the world. This book tells the story of those Queensland
University students of 'U' Company, 15th Battalion during its brief existence.
It covers their wartime service in all its tragedy and triumph and how they
resumed their lives, studies and careers once the war was over. Most regard
themselves as being very fortunate-to have survived the war, learned to cope
with adversity, learned the importance of getting on with life in spite of
insurmountable obstacles and in having been able to make the most of
opportunities that arose. They have been fortunate to find a life beyond
Superb biopic of a specific group of young men from Queensland University who found themselves caught up in the worst conflict in world history.
Jacques R Pauwels: The Great Class War 1914-1918
by Formac/Lorimer March 1st 2016
Historian Jacques Pauwels applies a critical, revisionist lens to the First World War, offering readers a fresh interpretation that challenges mainstream thinking. As Pauwels sees it, war offered benefits to everyone, across class and national borders. For European statesmen, a large-scale war could give their countries new colonial territories, important to growing capitalist economies. For the wealthy and ruling classes, war served as an antidote to social revolution, encouraging workers to exchange socialism's focus on international solidarity for nationalism's intense militarism. And for the working classes themselves, war provided an outlet for years of systemic militarization -- quite simply, they were hardwired to pick up arms, and to do so eagerly. To Pauwels, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 -- traditionally upheld by historians as the spark that lit the powder keg -- was not a sufficient cause for war but rather a pretext seized upon by European powers to unleash the kind of war they had desired. But what Europe's elite did not expect or predict was some of the war's outcomes: social revolution and Communist Party rule in Russia, plus a wave of political and social democratic reforms in Western Europe that would have far-reaching consequences. Reflecting his broad research in the voluminous recent literature about the First World War by historians in the leading countries involved in the conflict, Jacques Pauwels has produced an account that challenges readers to rethink their understanding of this key event of twentieth century world history.
Pauwels takes an alternative view of the causes of WW1 and the social and political upheavals that followed as a result of the conflict. Fascinating.
John Boileau et al: Too Young To Die
by Formac/Lorimer March 1st 2016
John Boileau and Dan Black tell the stories of some of the 30,000 underage
youths - some as young as fourteen - who joined the Canadian Armed Forces in the
Second World War. This is the companion volume to the authors'’ popular 2013
book Old Enough to Fight about boy soldiers in the First World War. Like their
predecessors a generation before, these boys managed to enlist despite their
youth. Most went on to face action overseas in what would become the deadliest
military conflict in human history.
They enlisted for a myriad of
personal reasons -- ranging from the appeal of earning regular pay after the
unemployment and poverty of the Depression to the desire to avenge the death of
a brother or father killed overseas. Canada's boy soldiers, sailors and airmen
saw themselves contributing to the war effort in a visible, meaningful way, even
when that meant taking on very adult risks and dangers of
Meticulously researched and extensively illustrated with
photographs, personal documents and specially commissioned maps, Too Young to
Die provides a touching and fascinating perspective on the Canadian experience
in the Second World War.
History is peppered with stories of young men who joined up when they were under age. Boileau's book takes a look at a huge number of young men aged 14+ who joined the Canadian Armed Forces to fight in the second world war.
Jacques Pauwels: The Myth Of The Good War
by Formac/Lorimer 1st September 2015
A fresh and provocative look at the role of the USA in World War II. -
Historian Jacques Pauwels attacks the widely held belief that World War II was
the "good war," the war in which America led the forces of democracy and freedom
to victory over fascist dictatorship and Japanese militarism. - He argues that
the role of the USA in World War II was determined not by idealism, but by the
interests of America's corporations and by the country's social, economic, and
political leaders. - He examines the American elites response to Fascism, and
looks at how American companies' collaborated with Nazi Germany, at how Uncle
Joe was presented as the next enemy, at why bombing Dresden was a warning to the
Soviet Union, he explores ways reasons why anti-fascists were marginalized in
post war Germany, why America did little to support De-Nazification but did
support German business interests. - On the non-fiction bestseller lists in
Belgium for four weeks when first published in 2000. Since then it has been
translated into German, Spanish, French, and English.
Pauwels' second book this month draws a conclusion we've all reached, surely, that there isn't and can never be a "good war"...
Graham Wilson: Dust, Donkeys and Delusions
by Big Sky Publishing 31st October 2016
Dust, Donkeys and Delusion examines and clinically debunks the myth that has
grown up around Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the so-called ‘Man with the
Donkey’, the quintessential Australian ‘hero’ of Gallipoli. While the various
elements of the Simpson myth have now become popularly accepted as ‘history’,
Dust, Donkeys and Delusion shows clearly, based on historical documents, both
official and unofficial, that almost every word ever spoken or written about
Simpson following his death is false.
There is no question that Simpson
performed valuable work at Gallipoli using a donkey to transport lightly wounded
men to medical facilities. However, claims made that Simpson ‘saved 300 men’;
that he ‘ignored orders’ that medical personnel were not to go out to recover
wounded as it was too dangerous; that, in performing his self-appointed task he
was a ‘deserter’ who would probably have been court-martialled and shot had he
been in the British Army; that he was an ill- behaved insubordinate with
discipline problems; that he made ‘lighting dashes’ into no man’s land to rescue
wounded men under enemy fire; — these and every other posthumous statement made
about Simpson are examined in forensic detail, and found to be highly
inaccurate. In particular, the book examines that part of the myth connected
with the supposed ‘official recommendation’ for a Victoria Cross for Simpson, a
campaign that continues to this day.
Dust, Donkeys and Delusion does not
criticise John Simpson Kirkpatrick himself, recognising that he bears no blame
for the nonsensical myth that have grown up around him. The book is very much an
attack on the myth and has been written to strip away the layers of half-truth,
mistruth and untruth that have surrounded Simpson since the time of his death,
revealing the man himself, while at the same time correcting the historical
record. Dust, Donkeys and Delusion also seeks to rehabilitate the memory of
other soldiers who served at Gallipoli, particularly Simpson’s fellow
I was not aware of a "Man with a donkey" at Gallipoli, which is not surprising as I have never really looked at the conflict in that much detail. The fact that campaigners still want Kirkpatrick to be awarded a retrospective Victoria Cross suggests that there may be something to this story which author Graha Wilson seeks to debunk...
Steve Bond et al: Bomber Command Battle of Berlin Failed To Return
by Fighting High Publishing 31st May 2017
‘Tonight you are going to the Big City. You will have the opportunity to
light a fire in the belly of the enemy that will burn his black heart out.' The
message from Commander-in-Chief of RAF Bomber Command Sir Arthur Harris was
clear. As the Second World War continued into a fifth year, the airmen of Bomber
Command were to fly deep into hostile airspace and bring the war direct to the
German Nazi capital Berlin. From the autumn of 1943 to the last days of winter
in early 1944, during the hours of extended darkness, the bomber crews braved
the flak, the searchlights, enemy night fighters and extremes of weather, to
bombard the ‘black heart'. Prior to the all-out campaign against the ‘Big City'
Sir Arthur Harris firmly believed his bomber force could break the German will
to wage war, but he also prophesied that ‘It will cost us between 400 and 500
Fighting High Publishing brings together acclaimed Bomber
Command historians to tell the story of some of the thousands of airmen who
failed to return from operations as part of the 1943 and 1944 Bomber Command
Battle of Berlin. The authors, utilising family archives, personal testimony and
records, wartime memoirs, diaries and letters, witness recollections, logbooks,
and official documents, piece together the remarkable, yet ultimately tragic
events surrounding the losses described. Illustrated throughout with previously
unpublished black and white and colour photographs Bomber Command Battle of
Berlin Failed to Return ensures the memory of those who made the ultimate
sacrifice is kept alive. ‘We Will Remember Them'.
Superb "Bomber Harris" remains a controversial figure to this day, and Steve Bond's and others' accounts of the Battle of Berlin really don't throw that much light on the man, his motives and his methods, but it's all fascinating stuff and well worth a read.
William Earl & Liz Coward: Blood and Bandages
by Sabrestorm Publishing 28th April 2017
War changes everyone and for those lucky enough to survive there can be no
return to the carefree days before the hell of war broke out. William Earl was a
26 year old Chemist's Assistant when his call up papers arrived and his life
changed forever. Leaving a wife and new baby virtually alone to fend for
themselves was a constant worry and circumstances grew worse as the years went
by. Joining the 214th Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps as a Nursing
Orderly William's role was no soft posting. He was assigned to the Field
Ambulance, so followed the infantry into battle to treat and recover the
wounded, often under fire, before removing them from danger. Seeing action in
North Africa and throughout the entire Italian campaign at places such as
Salerno, Anzio and the Gothic Line William recalls his experiences in detail
with the emotion of someone who lost many friends and was the last comforting
voice to many a dying soldier. William is a charming, intelligent and
independent man who will shortly be celebrating his 102nd birthday. Liz Coward
has written his moving story with extracts from his letters home, original
photographs, training manuals and official war diaries. Blood and Bandages is a
very personal, honest and moving account of one man's life over 6 years of war.
A war which left William asking the guilty question on many a soldier's lips:
"Why did I survive when so many of my friends didn't?"
Superb account of William Earl's career as a Nursing Orderly in various WW2 campaigns.
Wieslaw Rogalski: Divided Loyalty
by Helion 15th May 2017
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Poland was a quasi-military State
undergoing rapid political and social change. Nevertheless, Britain signed an
agreement with the country as part of its decision to adopt a policy of
encircling Germany: a resolution requiring an ally in the East. On the collapse
of Poland in October 1939, the country's political opposition executed a coup
against the Polish Government and formed a new administration, which was
recognised by the Allies as the Polish Government in Exile. This regime change
precipitated a feud between the supporters of the new and old governments, which
lasted throughout the war. In 1945, the British removed their recognition of the
exiled government - now based in London - to pave the way for the Soviet Union
to impose a communist administration in Poland. However striking and fateful
these events were, the history of how regime change came to Britain's Polish
ally has largely been ignored until now.
Looks like Britain betrayed its first and most loyal ally in WW2 as Rogalski attempts to set the record straight...
The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its sixteenth year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email and I'll let you know where to send it.