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Warren Thompson: F-51 Mustang Units of The Korean War

Published by Osprey 20th December 2015

 

By the time the Korean War erupted, the F-51 Mustang was seen as obsolete, but that view quickly changed when the USAF rushed 145 of them to the theatre in late 1950. They had the endurance to attack targets in Korea from bases in Japan, where the modern F-86 fighters and other jets did not. Rather than the interceptor and escort fighter roles the Mustang had performed during World War 2, in the Korean War they were assigned to ground attack missions - striking at communist troop columns advancing south. This is the chronicle of the Mustang units that fought in the Korean War, detailing the type's involvement in a series of intense actions, its successes and its considerable losses. Drawing on meticulous research and gripping first-hand accounts from aircrew, this book explains how the faithful Mustang was able to roll back the years, fight, and prove itself in a new era of aerial warfare.

 

The illustrations in this amazing book are one of Osprey's unique selling points. Amazingly detailed.

 

 

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Mark Stille: US Standard-Type Battleships 1941-1945

Published by Osprey 20th December 2015

 

This book completes an authoritative two-part study on the Standard-type US battleships of World War II - ships that were designed to fight a different type of war than the one that unfolded. It gives precise technical details of the design history and features of the Tennessee, Colorado and the unfinished South Dakota and Lexington classes, whilst providing an operational history of the former two. Much like the earlier classes, these ships' design adhered to consistent levels of performance to simplify battle-line operations, but they still incorporated evolutions of technology to match the latest Japanese types for the predicted decisive fleet engagements. In the end it was clear that war at sea would no longer see dreadnoughts slugging it out in open water, and these battleships were mostly utilized for fire support in US amphibious landings in the Pacific. Written by a leading expert on the US Navy in World War II and augmented by contemporary photographs and specially commissioned illustrations, this is the other half of the story of the US Standard-type battleships - from the terrible damage they sustained at Pearl Harbor, to their support of the war-winning landings of the US Marine Corps and US Army.

 

Crammed with fine illustrations and a superb commentary. Terrific.

 

 

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Martin Pegler: Winchester Lever-Action Rifles

Published by Osprey 20th October 2015

 

Winchester lever-action repeating rifles are an integral part of the folklore of the American West. Introduced after the American Civil War, the first Winchester, the M1866, would go on to see military service as far afield as Bulgaria, but it was in the hands of civilians that it would become known as 'The gun that won the west'. Offering a lethal combination of portability, ruggedness and ammunition interchangeability with pistol sidearms, the Winchesters and their innovative and elegant breech-loading system represented a revolutionary design. They were used by a staggering variety of military and civilian groups - gold-miners, trappers, hunters, farmers, lawmen, professional gunmen and Native Americans. It equipped a whole generation of settlers and as such left an imprint on American culture that continues to resonate today. This book explores the Winchesters' unique place in history, revealing the technical secrets of their success with a full array of colour artwork, period illustrations and close-up photographs.

 

This unique weapon has an assured place in history, particularly the history of the American West, a history that is celebrated in some style in this superb book.

 

 

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Ryan K Knoppen: German Commerce Raiders 1914-1918

Published by Osprey 20th November 2015

 

This is the story of Germany's commerce raiders of World War I, the surface ships that were supposed to starve the British Isles of the vast cargoes of vital resources being shipped from the furthest reaches of the Empire. To that end pre-war German naval strategists allocated a number of cruisers and armed, fast ocean liners, as well as a complex and globe-spanning supply network to support them - known as the Etappe network. This book, drawing on technical illustrations and the author's exhaustive research, explains the often overlooked role that the commerce raiders played in World War I. Whilst exploring the design and development of the ships, it also describes their operational history, how they tied up a disproportionate amount of the British fleet on lengthy pursuits, and how certain raiders such as the SMS Emden were able to wreak havoc across the oceans.

 

The story of how the Germans attempted to prevent supply ships from bringing essential food and other supplies to these shores during WWII is one that's been told many times before but never in such detail and possibly not from the point of view of the German vessels whose task it was to sink those ships. Fascinating.

 

 

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Steven J Zaloga: T-64 Battle Tank - The Cold War's Most Secret Tank

Published by Osprey 20th October 2015

 

The T-64 tank was the most revolutionary design of the whole Cold War, designed to provide the firepower and armour protection of a heavy tank in a medium-weight design. It pioneered a host of new technologies including laminate armour, stereoscopic tank rangefinders, opposed-piston engines, smooth-bore tank guns with discarding sabot ammunition, and gun-fired guided projectiles. These impressive features meant that the Russians were loath to part with the secrets of the design, and the T-64 was the only Soviet tank type of the Cold War that was never exported. Written by an armour expert, this detailed technical history sheds light on the secrets behind the Cold War's most controversial tank, revealing how its highly advanced technologies proved to be both a blessing and a curse.

 

This is where Osprey publishers come firmly into their own, with commissioned works written by experts in their fields - the detail in this hugely fascinating book on the T-64 are of particular interest to students of armoured vehicle warfare, and no one does it better than Osprey!

 

 

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Gordon L Rottman: Victory 1945 - Western Allied Troops in Northwest Europe

Published by Osprey 20th November 2015

 

Even when Western Allied troops gained a foothold in Normandy, World War II in Europe was far from over. The route to Germany's interior and the Nazis final surrender was long, arduous and blood-stained. The Wehrmacht's stubborn resistance and the shocking losses suffered by US, British, Canadian and 'Free European' troops meant that the Allies had to adapt and refine small-unit tactics, battle-drills, and their use of weapons and munitions. The troops who finally met up with the Red Army in Germany were a very different fighting force to the one that struggled up the beaches of northern France. This book offers a comprehensive guide to the late-war Allied troops, exploring their uniforms, equipment, organization and tactics. Detailed description and accurate colour pictures illustrate the means by which the Allied troops on the ground evolved to the point of winning the war on the Western Front.

 

Another brilliant book from Osprey - the illustrations are superb, but the detailed commentary is just as fascinating - facts that aren't for me, common knowledge make this a terrific contribution to the literature of the later stages of WWII. Brilliant!

 

 

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Jeffrey R Cox: Rising Sun, Falling Skies - The Disastrous Java Sea Campaign of World War II

Published by Osprey 20th November 2015

 

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese offensive in the Far East seemed unstoppable. Allied forces engaged in a futile attempt to halt their rapid advance, culminating in the massed fleet of American, British, Dutch, and Australian forces (ABDA) clashing with the Japanese at the battle of the Java Sea - the first major sea battle of World War II in the Pacific. But, in a campaign crippled by poor leadership and disastrous decisions, the Allied response was catastrophic, losing their largest warships and their tenuous toe-hold in the south Pacific within the first 72 hours of the battle. This defeat left ground troops cut off from reinforcement and supply, with obsolete equipment, no defense against endless Japanese air attacks, and with no chance of retreat. However, although command decisions were to condemn the Allies to defeat, the Allied goal was never an outright victory, simply a delaying action. Facing a relentless and thoroughly vicious enemy, the combined forces responded not by running or surrendering, but by defiantly holding on in a struggle that was as much a test of character, bravery, and determination as it was a test of arms, ultimately costing the Allies ten vessels and the lives of 2,100 brave sailors. In Rising Sun, Falling Skies, Jeffrey Cox examines the events and evidence surrounding the Java Sea Campaign, reconstructing battles that in hindsight were all but hopeless and revealing where fatal mistakes and missed opportunities condemned the Allied forces in an insightful and compelling study of the largely overlooked clash in the Java Sea.

 

The term "collateral damage"springs to mind as you read this fascinating account of the allies' disastrous campaign in the Java Sea following Pearl Harbour. Another previously untold story discovered and published by Osprey...

 

 

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Andrew Rawson: Schindler's Krakow - The City Under the Nazis

Published by Pen and Sword, hardback, on 16th September 2015

Nazi Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 and five days later Krakow fell. Hans Frank's General Government then subjected the Polish and Jews to four and a half years of terror. The story begins with the plundering of the city's treasures, the relocation of the people and the first arrests and executions. The Jews were soon confined to Podgorze Ghetto, where they were forced to work in factories such as Oskar Schindler's. The terror increased with deportations and the bloody liquidation of the ghetto as the Jews were moved into Amon Goth's Plaszow concentration camp. Selections and murders followed, while Schindler bribed and conned his way to save his workforce before moving them to his Sudetenland home town. The Polish underground also fought back through sabotage, assassinations and propaganda, until the Soviets captured Krakow. This is an essential guide to Krakow - a city of contrasts, with a medieval centre and communist-era outskirts. Rawson details the relevant sights, including the Jewish Quarter, Wawel Castle, Podgorze Ghetto and Plaszow camp. He also explores the relevant museums, including the Schindler factory, the Gestapo headquarters and the Home Army Museum.The city is an ideal base for visiting nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau.

 

Everyone, surely, by now, knows the story of Askar Schindler and how he saved hundreds of Jewish children from certain death by getting them out of Krakow during the second world war. Andrew Rawson's excellent history of Krakow under Nazi occupation puts this story firmly into context with his intimate look at the city and how it fared under the hands of the occupying army. Amazing, essential reading.

 

 

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John Sadler: Ghost Patrol - A History of the Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945

Published by Casemate, hardback, on 20th October 2015

The origins of most of the west's Special Forces can be traced back to the Long Range Desert Group which operated across the limitless expanses of the Libyan Desert, an area the size of India, during the whole of the Desert War from 1940 - 1943. After the defeat of the Axis in North Africa they adapted to serve in the Mediterranean, the Greek islands, Albania, Yugoslavia and Greece. They became the stuff of legend. The brainchild of Ralph Bagnold, a pre-war desert explorer, featured, in fictional terms in The English Patient, who put all of his expertise into the creation of a new and, by the standards of the day, highly unorthodox unit. Conventional tactical thinking shunned the deep heart of the vast desert as it was thought to be a different planet, a harsh, inhospitable wilderness where British forces could not possibly survive, even less operate effectively. Bagnold, Pat Clayton and Bill Kennedy Shaw created a whole new type of warfare.Using specially adapted vehicles and the techniques they'd learned in the '30s, recruiting only men of the right temperament and high levels of fitness and endurance, the first patrols set out bristling with automatic weapons. The 30-cwt Chevy truck and the famous Jeep have become iconic, the LRDG, in a dark hour, was the force which took the fight to the enemy, roving over the deep desert - a small raider's paradise, attacking enemy convoys and outposts, destroying aircraft and supplies, forcing the Axis to expend more and more resources protecting their vulnerable lines. Their work was often dangerous, always taxing, exhausting and uncomfortable. They were a new breed of soldier.

 

An amazing tale of how the world's very first spcial force was created specifically for North Africa during WWII...

 

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John Clancy: The Most Dangerous Moment Of The War - Japan's Attack on the Indian Ocean, 1942

Published by Casemate, hardback, on 20th October 2015

In early April 1942, a little-known chapter of World War II took place, said by Sir Winston Churchill to be 'the most dangerous moment of the war' when the Japanese made their only major offensive westwards into the Indian Ocean. Historian, Sir Arthur Bryant said, 'A Japanese naval victory in April 1942 would have given Japan total control of the Indian Ocean, isolated the Middle East and brought down the Churchill government'.War in the Far East had erupted with the attack on Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941 and it appeared that the British naval bases at Ceylon would be next. The Japanese had a vast new coastline to defend, stretching from New Guinea to Northern Burma, and having destroyed the American fleet at Pearl Harbour, could not accept the threat of the British Eastern Fleet based at Ceylon. Occupation of Ceylon was vital as it was a springboard into India. Without control of Ceylon, essential convoys from India to Europe and the Western Desert would be in constant danger and Allied naval strength in the Far East was at a dangerously low level. With the Japanese forces seeming unstoppable, the Indian Ocean lay open and undefended. So far the Japanese had suffered no significant losses and the offensive continued unabated as they steamed westward, unopposed. It was generally felt Ceylon would be next to fall. It was a situation that could not be allowed to happen but the question on everyone's lips was how soon would Japan take advantage of this strategic situation. After the war Churchill acknowledged that the potential disaster at Ceylon had been averted by the brave actions of one pilot, Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall who in flying his Catalina flying boat on a regular patrol, spotted the Japanese warships massing some 350 miles from Ceylon. He was spotted by the Japanese whose aircraft shot him down but before so doing, Birchall sent a brief radio message back to his base.

 

The kind of story you'd find in illustrated form inone of the 1960s boys' comics such as Warlord, or Commando. Abslutely enthralling.

 

 

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Brian Lavery: The Last Big Gun - At War At Sea with HMS Belfast

Published by Pool of London Press, hardback, on 31st October 2015

As she lay in dry dock, devastatingly damaged by one of Hitler s newly deployed magnetic mines after barely two months in service, few could have predicted the illustrious career that lay ahead for the cruiser HMS Belfast. After three years of repairs to her broken keel, engine- and boiler-rooms, and extensive refitting, she would go on to play a critical role in the protection of the Arctic Convoys, would fire one of the opening shots at D-Day and continue supporting the Operation Overlord landings for five weeks. Her service continued beyond the Second World War both in Korea and in the Far East before she commenced her life as one of the world s most celebrated preserved visitor ships in the Pool of London. Her crowning glory however came in December 1943 when, equipped with the latest radar technology, she was to play the leading role in the Battle of the North Cape sinking the feared German battlecruiser Scharnhorst, the bete noir of the Royal Navy. In doing so the ship s crew made a vital contribution to, what was to be, the final big-gun head-to-head action to be fought at sea.In The Last Big Gun, Brian Lavery, the foremost historian of the Royal Navy, employs his trademark wide-ranging narrative style and uses the microcosm of the ship to tell the wider story of the naval war at sea and vividly portray the realities for all of life aboard a Second World War battleship. The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs and illustrations and will appeal to all those with an interest in military history and life in the wartime Royal Navy.

 

Another stirring story of WWII that in days gone by would have been handled by someone like author Paul Brickhill. No student of WWII history should pass this one by...

 

 

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Hannes Wessels: A Handful of Hard Men - The SAS and the Battle for Rhodesia

Published by Casemate, hardback, on 31st October 2015

During the Wests great transition into the post-Colonial age, the country of Rhodesia refused to succumb quietly, and throughout the 1980s fought back almost alone against Communist-supported elements that it did not believe would deliver proper governance. During this long war many heroes emerged, but none more skillful and courageous than Captain Darrell Watt of the Rhodesian SAS, who placed himself at the tip of the spear in the deadly battle to resist the forces of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo. It is difficult to find another soldier's story to equal Watts's in terms of time spent on the field of battle and challenges faced. Even by the lofty standards of the SAS and Special Forces, one has to look far to find anyone who can match his record of resilience and valor in the face of such daunting odds and with resources so paltry. In the fight he showed himself to be a military maestro. A bush-lore genius, blessed with uncanny instincts and an unbridled determination to close with the enemy; he had no peers as a combat-tracker (and there was plenty of competition). But the Rhodesian theatre was a fluid and volatile one in which he performed in almost every imaginable fighting role; as an airborne shock-trooper leading camp attacks, long range reconnaissance operator, covert urban operator, sniper, saboteur, seek-and-strike expert, and in the final stages as a key figure in mobilizing an allied army in neighboring Mozambique. After 12 years in the cauldron of war his cause slipped from beneath him, however, and Rhodesia gave way to Zimbabwe. When the guns went quiet Watt had won all his battles but lost the war. In this fascinating biography we learn that in his twilight years he is now concerned with saving wildlife on a continent where they are in continued danger, devoting himself to both the fauna and African people he has cared so deeply about.

 

What we saw on the BBC TV news while all this was going on was the various meetings between Harold Wilson, his ministers and Ian Smith, who had declared independence for Rhodesia. We were unaware of what was actually taking place in the country... Hannes Wessels redresses the balance with an amazing tale of daring and courage.

 

 

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Frank Van Lunteren: Blocking Kampfgruppe Peiper

Published by Casemate, hardback, on 30th September 2015

In December 1944 an enormous German army group crashed through the thin American line in the Ardennes forest. Caught by surprise, the Allies were initially only able to throw two divisions of paratroopers to buttress the collapsethe 82nd Airborne, which was rushed to the area of St. Vith, and the 101st, which was trucked to Bastogne. After their successful campaign in Holland, Colonel Reuben Tuckers elite 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment was resting and refitting in France when news came of the German breakthrough. Most dangerous to the Allies was the German spearhead of the 1st SS Panzer Division led by Jochen Peiper, which aimed to sever the Allied front. The 504th was committed to block the SS advance, and within 48 hours of their arrival Colonel Tucker's paratroopers were attacking the SS-Panzergrenadiers of Peipers battlegroup, eventually forcing them to withdraw. More ferocious fighting ensued as follow-up German units forced a U.S. retreat from St. Vith. In adverse weather conditions against the German 9th SS Panzer and 3rd Fallschirmjäger Divisions, the 504th lived up to its regimental motto--Strike and Hold. Although some rifle companies were whittled down to less than 50 paratroopers, the Americans doggedly fought on until victory was achieved. Moving quotations of letters to the next-of-kin provide insight into the impact of their deaths both on the battlefield and homefront.

 

An inspiring and heart-breaking account of just one part of one campaign in the bloodiest war on record...

 

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Robert F Curtis: The Typhoon Truce - Three Days in Vietnam when Nature Intervened in the War

Published by Casemate, hardback, on 31st October 2015

It wasn't rockets or artillery that came through the skies one week during the war. It was the horrific force of nature that suddenly put both sides in awe. As an unofficial truce began, questions and emotions battled inside every air crewman's mind as they faced masses of Vietnamese civilians outside their protective base perimeters for the first time. Could we trust them not to shoot? Could they trust us not to drop them off in a detention camp? Truces never last, but life changes a bit for all the people involved while they are happening. Sometimes wars are suspended and fighting stops for a while. A holiday that both sides recognize might do it, as happened in the Christmas truce during World War I. Weather might do it, too, as it did in Vietnam in October 1970. The typhoon truce was just as real, and the war stopped for three days in northern I Corps--that area bordering the demilitarized zone separating South Vietnam from the North. The unofficial typhoon truce came because first, Super Typhoon Joan arrived, devastating all the coastal lowlands in I Corps and further up into North Vietnam. Then, less than a week later came Super Typhoon Kate. Kate hit the same area with renewed fury, leaving the entire countryside under water and the people there faced with both war and natural disaster at the same time. No one but the Americans, the foreign warriors fighting throughout the country, had the resources to help the people who lived in the lowlands, and so they did. For the men who took their helicopters out into the unending rain it really made little difference. Perhaps no one would shoot at them for a while, but the everyday dangers they faced remained, magnified by the low clouds and poor visibility. The crews got just as tired, maybe more so, than on normal missions. None of that really mattered. The aircrews of the 101st Airborne went out to help anyway, because rescuing people was now their mission. In this book we see how for a brief period during an otherwise vicious war, saving life took precedence over bloody conflict.

 

An extraordinary of courage, bravery and sheer humanity...

 

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Brian Best: Reporting The Second World War

Published by Pen and Sword, hardback, on 2nd September 2015

After a slow start, the Second World War produced an enormous number of war correspondents. Correspondents like Ernest Hemingway, John Dos Passos and George Orwell were all inspired to put their experiences on the printed page. Hemingway and his wife, Martha Gellhorn, went on to cover the D-Day Landings and the final victory in Germany. The British Broadcasting Corporation was the first to use live broadcasts from the front. Encouraged by the RAF's favourable acceptance of Richard Dimbleby's commentary from the flight deck of a Lancaster bomber over Berlin, which was piloted by the legendary Guy Gibson VC, the public's reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Increasingly, war correspondents sought danger by flying bombing missions, parachuting with airborne forces and taking part in amphibious attacks against the enemy. Many were killed in plane crashes, by sniper fire and freak accidents. Several performed acts of bravery recognized with a 'Mentioned in Despatches' and in some cases, a gallantry award. As a consequence, many were killed - the United States alone has a memorial dedicated to more than eighty. Although there was much 'purple prose' reporting, there was also some excellent writing, which has stood the test of time. To name a few such journalists like Alan Moorehead, Robert Sherrod, Richard Tregaskis, Osmar White, Martha Gellhorn and Chester Wilmot, who were all perceptive eyewitnesses to the world's greatest war. Reporting the Second World War is an in-depth account of the war, as seen through the newspapers of the day. It illustrates the momentous efforts of the correspondents and is a timely reminder of their dedication, skill and bravery in reporting the Second World War.

 

Sometimes, when you read books and newspaper reports of the first and second world wars, it's easy to forget that someone was there to write the report and perhaps even to take the photographs for a public hungry for news of their loved ones. Even now reporters are injured and often killed - some reporters are not worthy of the name or the profession, but these men were special, especially brave...

 

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Bob Carruthers: Images of War 1914-1915 - The British at Ypres

Published by Pen and Sword, paperback, 28th August 2015

This new volume in the long-running Images of War series features the actions of the British Army at Ypres from 1914-15. Rare photographs illustrating the optimistic men of the BEF in the act of mobilization and transport to France are contrasted with photographs from the battlefield during the opening phases of the campaign, which culminated in the four-year struggle for the Ypres salient. The photographs are accompanied by a fascinating text, featuring Bruce Bairnsfather's personal description of the conditions endured by the men in the rudimentary trenches on the Ypres salient during 1914-15 as the early phase of the battle for Ypres raged around them. This book incorporates a wide range of photographic images encompassing the actions of the cavalry, infantry and artillery. Also featured are images, which depict the myriad activity behind the lines, dealing with German prisoners of war, the endless supply columns of the commissariat and the extraordinary efforts to provide proper medical care for the wounded.

 

Amazing photographs, illustrating my point in the review of the book above.

 

Peter Jacobs: Setting France Ablaze - The SOE in France During WWII

Published by Pen and Sword, hardback, 2nd September 2015

During the summer of 1940, as Britain was fighting alone for its survival, the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, instructed the newly formed and clandestine Special Operations Executive to "set Europe ablaze." From that moment on the S.O.E. took its own war to Nazi-occupied Europe by conducting a mix of espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance missions, with its F Section dedicated to aiding the liberation of France. The risks and dangers of being associated with the S.O.E were obvious, and the consequences of being caught could only be imagined by those who volunteered. Yet the volunteers still came, from all walks of life, and each a specialist in their own field. Amongst those recruited were Gus March-Phillipps, who led the Small Scale Raiding Force, Peter Churchill, who survived by convincing his captors he was related to the British Prime Minister, Tommy Yeo-Thomas, known to the Gestapo as the White Rabbit, and the legendary Newton 'Twins' who waged their own private war against the Nazis simply to get personal revenge. As F Section grew in numbers, it turned to recruiting women and from its ranks came some of the bravest to have operated in occupied Europe.These included women such as Odette Sansom, Vera Leigh, Noor Inayat Khan, Violette Szabo and Nancy Wake. Then, as the Allies invaded Europe in 1944, the S.O.E. inserted small elite teams, known as Jedburghs, deep behind enemy lines to link up with the French resistance and to coordinate more widespread and overt acts of sabotage to prevent the German reinforcement of Normandy. Peter Jacobs describes the extraordinary contribution to the Allied war effort made by the S.O.E. in France and tells the gripping story of the men and women who so bravely operated behind enemy lines, many of whom were betrayed and did not live to tell the tale. It pays tribute to the extreme courage and bravery of the individuals who did exactly what Churchill asked of them; they set France ablaze.

 

This is a bok that's dear to my heart - when I was a young teenager, I fell in love with Violette Szabo courtesy of the Virginia McKenna film Carve Her Name With Pride - Szabo's is a name I shall never forget and although the film probably romanticised her story for the viewers, the essential parts were mostly true. This book examines the fates of members of the SOE, including Violette. It's a brilliant book.

 

Marcus Faulkner: The Great War At Sea - A Naval Atlas 1914-1919

Published by Pen and Sword, hardback, 30th September 2015

In the vast literature of the First World War there has never been a naval atlas that depicts graphically the complexities of the war at sea, and puts in context the huge significance of the naval contribution to the defeat of Germany. With more than 125 beautifully designed maps and charts, the atlas sets out to visualise the great sea battles as well as the smaller operations, convoys, skirmishes and sinkings. As well as the well known set pieces such as the battles of Coronel, Heligoland, Dogger Bank and Jutland, the Dardenelles campaign, the North Sea and Channel operations, and the responses to merchant ship losses, the atlas looks at the many significant events at sea which impacted on the land war and which have had scant coverage in much of the naval literature of the era. The distant waters defence of trade routes, the impact of the United States navy in Europe, operations in the Baltic and northern Russia, and Japanese naval contributions in the Middle East are just some of the themes given a new and exciting presentation No other work has attempted such an ambitious coverage of the naval war in this period and it will become the definitive reference work for enthusiasts and historians as well as general readers fascinated by the naval war that extended across all the world's oceans and had such a significant impact on the outcome of the war.

 

Simply amazing. Essential for anyone studying this aspect of WW1 history.

 

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William Mortimer-Moore: Paris '44

Published by Casemate, hardback, 30th November 2015

During the fall of 1944, once the Western Allies had gained military advantage over the Nazis, the crown jewel of Allied strategy became the liberation of Paris-the capital of France so long held in captivity. This event, however, was steeped in more complexity when the Allies returned than in 1940 when Hitler's legions first marched in. In 1944 the city was beset by cross-currents about who was to reclaim it. Was it to be the French Resistance, largely ephemeral throughout the war and largely Communist? Or was it to be the long-suffering Parisians themselves, many of them meantime collaborators? Or the Anglo-American armies which had indeed won the victory? Then there were the Free French forces led by Charles de Gaulle, and his second, General Leclerc, who now led a full (albeit American-supplied) armored division? The Germans, too, still retained a hand, with the option to either destroy the city, as per Hitler's wishes, or honorably cede it. This book punctures the myth parlayed by Is Paris Burning? and other works that describe the city's liberation as mostly the result of the insurrection by the Resistance in the capital. In fact, de Gaulle gave Leclerc his orders for the liberation of the city as early as December 1943, and the General's great march down the Champs elysees the day after the liberation was the culmination of a carefully laid plan to re-establish the French state.

 

Sets the record straight. Students of twentieth century French history will find this of particular interest.

 

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Chris Mackowski: Grant's Last Battle - The Story Behind the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant.

Published by Savas Beatie, paperback, 9th October 2015

"The former general in chief of the Union armies during the Civil War . . . the two-term president of the United States . . . the beloved ambassador of American goodwill around the globe . . . the respected New York financier—Ulysses S. Grant—was dying. The hardscrabble man who regularly smoked 20 cigars a day had developed terminal throat cancer. Thus began Grant’s final battle—a race against his own failing health to complete his Personal Memoirs in an attempt to secure his family’s financial security. But the project evolved into something far more: an effort to secure the very meaning of the Civil War itself and how it would be remembered. The news of Grant’s illness came swift on the heels of his financial ruin. Business partners had swindled him and his family out of everything but the money he and his wife had in their pockets and the family cookie jar. Investors lost millions. The public ire that turned on Grant first suspected malfeasance, then incompetence, then unfortunate, naive neglect. In this maelstrom of woe, Grant refused to surrender. Putting pen to paper, the hero of Appomattox embarked on his final campaign: an effort to write his memoirs before he died. The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, would cement his place as not only one of America’s greatest heroes but also as one of its most sublime literary voices. Filled with personal intrigues of its own and supported by a cast of colorful characters that included Mark Twain, William Vanderbilt, and P. T. Barnum, Grant’s Last Battle recounts a deeply personal story as dramatic for Grant as any of his battlefield exploits.

 

Authors Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White have recounted Grant’s battlefield exploits as historians at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, and Mackowski, as an academic, has studied Grant’s literary career. Their familiarity with the former president as a general and as a writer bring Grant’s Last Battle to life with new insight, told with the engaging prose that has become the hallmark of the Emerging Civil War Series."

 

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Chris Mackowski: Strike Them A Blow - Battle Along the North Anna River, May 21-25 1864

Published by Savas Beatie, paperback, 9th October 2015

For sixteen days the armies had grappled-a grueling horror-show of nonstop battle, march, and maneuver that stretched through May of 1864. Federal commander Ulysses S. Grant had resolved to destroy his Confederate adversaries through attrition if by no other means. He would just keep at them until he used them up. Meanwhile, Grant's Confederate counterpart, Robert E. Lee, looked for an opportunity to regain the offensive initiative. We must strike them a blow," he told his lieutenants. The toll on both armies was staggering. But Grant's war of attrition began to take its toll in a more insidious way. Both army commanders-operating on the dark edge of exhaustion, fighting off illness, pressure-cooked by stress-began to feel the effects of that continuous, merciless grind in very personal ways. Punch-drunk tired, they began to second-guess themselves, began missing opportunities, began making mistakes. As a result, along the banks of the North Anna River, commanders on both sides brought their armies to the brink of destruction without even knowing it. Picking up the story started in the Emerging Civil War Series book A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, historian Chris Mackowski follows the road south to the North Anna River. Strike Them a Blow: Battle Along the North Anna River offers a concise, engaging account of the mistakes and missed opportunities of the third-and least understood-phase of the Overland Campaign."

 

A fascinating account of just one battle during the American Civil War.

 

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Mr Toc Walsh: Mampara - Rhodesia Regiment Movements of Mayhem by a Moronic, Maybe Militant Madman

Published by 30 Degrees South, paperback, 14th October 2015

Toc Walsh was conscripted into intake 138 Depot Rhodesia Regiment on 18 April 1974 and endured a year of what he deemed to be 'military mayhem'. In July 1976, he was drafted again with the 10th Battalion Rhodesia Regiment to continue his wild ride into the maniacal world of combat. The country was in a state of national emergency and all available men were called up on continuous service. Mampara is a no-holds-barred look at one man's lived experience of war. The title of the book stems from the Shona word mampara that is said to originate from the slurred bark of the male Chacma baboon. The baboon indulges in alcohol-laden fermented fruit in an attempt to attain courage for difficult endeavours such as courting a female. In many ways, we as humans indulge in the same practise especially in times of intense stress or hardships. Young men experiencing the intense stresses of combat become, like the baboon, hungry for a way to cope.

 

Strange but, presumably, true... one for students of the Rhodesian conflict.

 

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Christopher Duffy: Fight For A Throne - The Jacobit '45 Reconsidered

Published by 3Helion and Co., hardback, 13th October 2015

The bid of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobites for the throne of Britain has never lost its grip on the popular imagination. In July 1745 he and a tiny group of companions arrived in Scotland. They came unannounced and unsupported, and yet within less than five months Charles was able to lead an army to within marching distance of London and make King George II fear for this throne. Afterwards the Highland Army continued to out-fight the redcoats in every encounter, except its very last. These were not the achievements of a backward-looking cause, and this ground-breaking study is the first to explain exactly why. Almost to the very end the Jacobites had the literal and metaphorical 'edge' over their enemies, thanks to the terror-inspiring highland charge, and also, as this book is the first to reveal, to the highly-advanced organisation of their forces in 'divisions' - miniature armies that allowed them to out-manoeuvre their enemies on the strategic plane. At the same time Prince Charles made a credible bid for the political and ideological high ground, an appeal based on religious toleration, and a monarchy working in cooperation with an empowered and accountable Parliament. The Prince therefore not only drew on traditional loyalties, but attracted the support of heavyweights of the new 'Enlightenment'. It all made a telling contrast to the demeaning nature of the Hanoverian government in Britain, which was mired deep in corruption. The Hanoverian politicians in London and Scotland, who had honed their skills in petty advantage, were now all of a sudden called upon to act as strategists, and they failed completely. The prime minister lost the Carlisle to the Jacobites simply because he refused to pay the cost of a courier. These revelations, which show the Jacobite enterprise of 1745 as a potent and modernising force, turn the accepted interpretation of this episode on its head.

 

One wonders what would have happened had Prince Charles finally beaten George II's Redcoats - this is a superb examination of Charles's claim to the throne and how he very nearly claimed it.

 

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