What are you currently reading ?

Started by goat major, 03 November 2012, 06:40:05 PM

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Finished a great booklet "Studies From The Franco-Prussian War: 1. The Mitrailleuse" by Steve Shann.  If you are interested in the FPW I strongly suggest you get this booklet.

It discusses the weapons development, trial tests, its tactical use, combat reports by battery commanders and its subsequent testing and retirement after the war.  very effective in the right conditions, even able to force Prussian batteries to retreat, but often targeted by multiple batteries when starting to fire.  This in itself shows that the Prussians thought it was a dangerous opponent.

Highly recommended!


Quote from: kipt on 16 May 2024, 07:52:42 PMFinished a great booklet "Studies From The Franco-Prussian War: 1. The Mitrailleuse" by Steve Shann.  If you are interested in the FPW I strongly suggest you get this booklet.

I think Shann wrote a set of Franco-Prussian wargame rules
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And 2 books on the French Army; Empire and Republic.  Have the first but can't find the second.


Just started 'Destruction of the Imperial Army' vol 1 covering 1870.



Finished "Lossberg's War: The World War I Memoirs pf a German Chief of Staff" by Fritz von Lossberg.  Edited and translated by MG David Zabecki and LTC Dieter Biedekarken.

Lossberg fought all through WWI, mainly in the West, but some time in the East.  He was Chief of the General Staff (COGS)for the XIII Corps (as a Lieutenant Colonel), Deputy Chief, Operations Division, OHL (still LTC), Third Army CoGS (Colonel), Second Army CoGS, First Army CoGS, Sixth Army CoGS, Fourth Army CoGS (promoted to Major General - equivalent to a US Brigadier General), Army Group Boehn, CoGS, and Army group Duke Albrecht of Wurttemberg CoGS.  As can be seen he was assigned all over because he had a reputation as a defensive expert.

As Chief of the General staff in his various assignments. he essentially ran the corps and armies, but getting agreement with the General in command.  This is a peculiar trait of the German Army.  The heads of corps and armies were typically high ranking nobles, but not trained in the General staff procedures.  Most often when the high command had meetings and briefings, only the various Chiefs of General staffs were there.

Often von Lossberg would request, and receive, Vollmacht, which let him issue orders under his own authority.  He was highly regarded by the majority of the German high command.

A lot of the book describes the various battles he was involved in and shows how much transfer of divisions from the front lines to the rear and their relief going to the front.  Because of the high attrition rates this happened very frequently.  This activity doesn't show in the high level books on WWI.


Finished "The Journal of Military History" Vol 87, No. 4
Articles include:
American Prisoners of War in the Captive Atlantic, 1812-1815,
"An Uninteresting Mass of Correspondence": Censorship and the Mundane in the British Epistolary History of the First World War,
American Military Misfits: The U.S. Army's Special Organizations and Enemy Alien Servicemen, 1942-1966,

as well as 106 book reviews.


Finished "The Union Assaults at Vicksburg: Grant Attacks Pemberton, May 17-22, 1864" by Timothy B. Smith.

After Grant's crossing of the Mississippi and beating the Confederates defending the Vicksburg area 5 times, he felt that the rebel defenders would be demoralized and by attacking Vicksburg's defenses right away, the city would fall.  It did not.  Sherman's Corps attacked on the 19th but actually with only one division, Blair's.  A brigade from McClernand's Corps also attacked.

All attacks were handily repulsed due to the extensive works by the Confederate engineer, Captain Samuel Lockett, and the terrible terrain.  Vicksburg is on a bluff and there are many drainage streams and bayous surrounding the city.  This resulted in many ravines adjacent to the high ground where the roads into the city were located.  The ravines were blocked by abbatis and cut trees, and the road were all targeted by the defensive works.

The battle on the 22nd was to be simultaneous by all three Union Corps (Sherman, McPherson and McClernand) starting at 10:00 AM.  Again, all were repulsed.

So this is the story of those attacks and the commanders and regiments involved on both sides.  Good descriptive writing and even though it would be an interesting game, making the terrain at a regimental level would be daunting.  And ultimately frustrating for the attacks.


Not reading, but I recently discovered the "We have ways of making you talk" podcast.

Historian James Holland and Comedian / History Grad Al Murray talk in detail about aspects of WW2.

Fascinating stuff, the two obviously enjoy each other's company, and love the subject.
Al Murray is far better informed than necessary for a modest history graduate.
They also take a popular yet "top down" view of the conflict, with proper consideration for production, logistics and operational art.

Worth listening, if only for their 9 parts on D-day



Thanks for the recommendation, will have a listen
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Listened to their D-Day podcasts (actually 10 part iirc) on Thursday and Friday. I agree with Steve, well worth a listen.
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