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Author Topic: Currently Reading  (Read 7098 times)

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #90 on: January 16, 2018, 12:43:00 PM »
Beevor's Ardennes book is fascinating, and throws up some "anomalies" from normal received wisdom / what is normally provided for within rules

For example:
  • raw Fallschirmjaeger - firstly attacking in a horde and getting badly shot up, then running away and having to be stopped and put back into the line by (an experienced) Volksgrenadier formation
  • a Staghound running round a Tiger faster than the latter could traverse its turret, and knocking it out with shots to the rear engine compartment
  • Panthers charging at top speed to stop bazooka teams getting a shot off at them
  • units being exposed, rather than camouflaged by, snowfall in certain circumstances
  • "first shot wins" in an armoured battle at night as the first tank to brew up silhouettes its comrades, which then get knocked out very rapidly afterwards

I feel sure Big Mike has factored all of the above into some cunning rules for the Ardennes Day...

Leman

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #91 on: January 16, 2018, 01:04:37 PM »
Just finished Douglas Fermer’s  France at Bay 1870-1871. This was a particularly good read and as a by-product it is possible to see how the First World War developed out of this conflict. I would recommend his two volume history of the FPW (volume 1 is Sedan) as the best since Michael Howard’s.

Smiley Miley 66

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #92 on: February 17, 2018, 06:35:49 AM »
Well I had better start reading A Bridge Too Far ???, also got a " Rapid Reader" book one of Amazon's books on the Kindle app. About the Panzers in Arnehem
Miles

Leman

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #93 on: February 17, 2018, 05:20:25 PM »
Just started Stephen Turnbull’s Art of War in the Renaissance. Thus far really enjoyed the sections on the Swiss defeat of the ‘modern’ Burgundian army, and the succinct, yet fascinating, description of the final part of the Spanish Reconquista.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #94 on: March 05, 2018, 08:43:41 AM »
I've recently finished "Quartered Safe Out Here" by George MacDonald Fraser (who went on to write the Flashman books).

Based on his experiences as a young NCO in the 14th Army, this is full of interesting detail on operations (within the wider strategic context) and tactics, kit and prevailing attitudes at the time.

Written in a very engaging manner, it brings out quite how good the 14th Army was ["expert", in the author's own words] against a tough enemy. I'd not previously read about the Forgotten Army, and this was a great introduction.

Leslie BT

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #95 on: March 05, 2018, 06:30:39 PM »
Yes GMF wrote of his experiences in the far east. Great read about the campaigns of the 14th army.

It will lead you into all sorts of histories in this part of the world and in particular to the history of modern china.

Leman

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #96 on: March 08, 2018, 11:36:45 AM »
At the moment reading Quintin Barry’s The Somme 1870-71. This is a very illuminating account of the Prussian army’s confrontations with the French Army of the North, in some very familiar sounding territory (Amiens, Albert, Bapaume, Saint-Quentin, Cambrai etc). It is very detailed at the tactical level and well illustrated with post-war illustrations and even some colour photographs of the battlefields today. My one quibble is that the maps have some places named which do not appear in the text and equally some which appear frequently in the text (such as Mondidier) which do not appear on any of the maps, which makes following troop movements a little more difficult than needed.

Leman

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #97 on: March 12, 2018, 08:28:30 AM »
Naval and Military Press are currently offering ‘Lost Opportunity: The Battle for Ardennes 22nd August 1914.’ Originally published at £25, it is being offered at £14.99, including the separate 60 page book of newly commissioned maps covering the battle.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #98 on: March 16, 2018, 09:06:08 PM »
I have just finished "Tank Action: An Armoured Troop Commander's War, 1944-45" by David Render.

The author was sent out with some Churchills just after D-Day and joined the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry as a Sherman troop commander during the campaigns in Normandy, Operation Market Garden, The Bulge and into Germany.

There is some really good detail about the practicalities of living in and fighting from a tank (specifically Shermans) as well as on their opponents. Key things for me included:

 - all the German armour mentioned during the Normandy campaign is referred to as being painted in grey (I'd previously understood that much of it would have been in Dunkelgelb by 1944...)
 - the standard Sherman gun had little hope of penetrating either Panthers or Tigers with AP unless from the rear, so they used HE from the whole troop instead, in the hope of blowing a track or their target's optics, and generally forcing a withdrawal (assuming they got in the first shot: if not a whole troop of Shermans could rapidly disappear - especially at night as the first one to brew up silhouetted the others...)
 - Panzer IVs and StuGs would be easily taken on with AP from the 75mm gun
 - bocage fighting involved 15 to 20 minutes of "reconnaissance by fire" (HE and machine guns) as each hedgerow was neutralised and taken (ideally - but often not - with close infantry support)
 - the short ranges involved helped to neutralise the advantage of the Germans' longer-ranged guns and target acquisition
 - the 17 pounder-armed Fireflies were initially held back as a mobile reserve within the HQ element in the Normandy campaign, but soon packaged out to each troop, where they typically operated in overwatch and took on anything that the 75mm-armed Shermans could not
 - the Fireflies themselves were particularly vulnerable in close country as they lacked the hull machine (taken out to save space for more main gun ammo)
 - the 75mm Sherman was preferred by many crews to the Firefly as it could also traverse more rapidly (and also faster than the German "big cats")
 - the crews hated the petrol-engined Shermans: not only for their propensity to brew up even faster than the diesel versions, but also because the engine design meant it was liable to conk out at critical moments, as well as lacking the diesel oomph
 - tank commanders were ordered (at least in this unit) to always (except when under artillery fire or air attack) have their head out of the turret for tactical awareness: the casualties they suffered were thus extremely high
 - the standard-issue Webley revolver was deemed useless: crews liked Lugers, but Walter P38s even more so
 - Sten guns were also not universally popular: the MP40 that the author procured saved his life, while his best friend's Sten killed him when it fell and discharged accidentally inside his turret
 - Panzerfausts were very effective against British armour when used properly

All in all a fascinating book and written in a very modest yet honest style: highly recommended!

martin goddard

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #99 on: March 16, 2018, 10:39:56 PM »
That is good information Simon. All contributes toward an understanding of what it was like at the trooper level

Alex918

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #100 on: March 24, 2018, 10:04:13 PM »
To the last man by Lyn MacDonald, the German spring offensive of 1918. I've had this book for many years and taken many attempts to read it cover to cover before being distracted just as I do with painting. However being the centenary  of this action I have retrieved it from the book case, dusted off and am digging in!

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #101 on: April 02, 2018, 04:10:47 PM »
Just finished "Hunting the Nazi Bomb" by Damien Lewis.

Not really one for wargaming, but a fascinating account of various attempts to deprive the Nazis of the Norwegian heavy water needed to complete their nuclear bomb (to which they seemingly got very close).

Mike Tanner

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #102 on: April 02, 2018, 09:00:38 PM »


A golden oldie from 1987 covering Mike Hoare's adventures in the Congo, Colonel Callan's ill-fated operations in Angola, and more. Most here have probably read this book before but it still deserves a mention.

Mike Tanner

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #103 on: April 02, 2018, 10:25:13 PM »
Chickenhawk is an excellent book.

Chickenhawk is my favorite Vietnam book. I had a quick look and my version is ©1985 with yellowing pages. I think it is almost time for another reread.

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Currently Reading
« Reply #104 on: April 03, 2018, 06:24:26 AM »
Agreed - a great book in a number of ways (including the basics of how to fly a Huey!).