What are you currently reading ?

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

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sultanbev

Quote from: T13A on 13 January 2022, 08:56:49 AMHi

Coincidentally Marc Milner is on James Holland and Al Murray's 'We have ways of making you talk' podcast today talking about the Canadians after D Day;

https://play.acast.com/s/wehaveways/from-normandy-to-the-scheldt

I have not had a chance to listen to it yet.

Cheers Paul

Thanks for that link, good podcast, shows how little we know about D-Day. Or rather, how much more there is to learn about the fighting in Normandy. Bought a couple of his books as a consequence!

Ithoriel

Excellent and informative (to me at least) podcast. Thanks for flagging it up, Paul.
Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

T13A

T13A Out!

kipt

Finished "Sharpe's Assassin" by Bernard Cornwell. (Who, I assume, most of this forum know?).

Waterloo has been fought and won and Sharpe has a couple of missions to do for Wellington.  One on the way to Paris ahead of the army and another (related) in Paris.  Usual rip roaring fighting with Harper beside him. (A nit-pick however as Cornwall had voltiguers with red collars - pity).

A good, fast read.

Chris Pringle

Santa was kind to me. I have just finished reading two very different books.

"Frederick the Great", by Nancy Mitford (1970)

Straying off my usual C19-C20 turf but I am currently interested in FtG's wars. This was a great complement to more conventional military histories, being about FtG as a person - and what an extraordinary character he was. Imagine an aristocratic English lady airily dispensing amusing anecdotes in a manner both informative and entertaining and you will get the idea. A great read.

"The Western Front", by Nick Lloyd (2021)

First volume of his planned trilogy covering the whole of the Great War. Although it's not a conflict I have much interest in gaming tactically, I always like reading about generalship. Dr Lloyd describes the course of events at the operational and strategic level, in a way which I found was pitched just right for my state of knowledge and particular enthusiasms. 500pp of text consumed in under three weeks by someone who usually struggles to finish a book has to be a recommendation.

Steve J

Trial by Fire by Jonathan Sumption, his second book on the Hundred Years War. Quite a while since I read the first book, but this is just as good and very well written. I had forgotten how many small scale conflicts there were in Brittany and the South West of France, which are perfect for Lion Rampant.
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Gwydion

'Battlegroup!: The Lessons of the unfought battles of the Cold War' by Jim Storr.

A sort of 'what if' book but not the usual narrative idea, rather an analytical look at what we can deduce from what might have happened. (It does not attempt to suggest who would have won).

There is a view of the armies and their constituent parts (mostly the NATO forces, and of those, mostly the British, US, German and French), how they planned to fight, what might have happened and what we can learn from the planning successes and failures.

One of the 'sources' is a massive series of wargames fought by the author with his late brother, for which they kept copious notes on scenarios and outcomes. Those who think there is no link between wargames and reality may turn off at this point but don't; if nothing else it shows you how some people think it might work. He is as dubious as anyone about 'hobby wargames' providing insight into real combat, but the approach he took was interesting and he thinks valid in offering a view of something that thank God was otherwise unknown. (The set of rules was the WRG 1950-85 set -with their own amendments).

I haven't finished the book yet, but cheated and skipped ahead to the Observations and Conclusions section. I mentioned Storr doesn't attempt to say who would have won but he does make a salutary observation for wargamers and those planning politico-military interventions in the real world about victory. Storr quotes Peter Vigor, one of the authorities on the Soviets in the Cold War, saying that military thinking was often bedevilled by a lack of precision as to what was meant by victory.


If you haven't come across the name before - Storr is Lt Col(retd)Jim Storr PhD, who served 25 years in the British Army and is a serious thinker and writer about military matters

T13A

Hi

Just finished 'Monty's Men, The British Army and the Liberation of Europe', by John Buckley.

Very interesting counter to the German Army being the 'best' of WWII. That said the author gives a fair (IMHO) appraisal of the good and the not so good methods and experience of the British Army in Europe in 1944-45.

Cheers Paul 
T13A Out!

Ithoriel


QuoteVery interesting counter to the German Army being the 'best' of WWII.

If the Americans were as good as they thought they were, the British as bad as they said they were and the German army as good as everyone reckoned they were, World War Two would have gone very differently.
Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

sultanbev

Quote from: Gwydion on 22 January 2022, 10:02:38 AM'Battlegroup!: The Lessons of the unfought battles of the Cold War' by Jim Storr.

A sort of 'what if' book but not the usual narrative idea, rather an analytical look at what we can deduce from what might have happened. (It does not attempt to suggest who would have won).

An excellent read, he comes to the same conclusion as me a long time ago, that IFVs are pointless, because the enemy only has to have 1 tank left to render them unusable in the advance. There is too much tendency to treat them as tanks by wargamers and officers, which is great if the enemy has no tanks or no serious anti-tank weapons, but even a T-34/85 platoon lurking about would make you think twice about showing your IFVs - whereas battle taxis (FV432, M113, BTR-50/60) you know to dismount from and leave them in the rear. I personally also suspect, after a week of combat, all infantry on both sides would be walking.

The same week I read it I without intention recreated a battle similar to one in the book in a club game:
 a Belgian recce force of a troop of 2 each Scimitars and Scorpions destroyed 11 AFV of an East German force, including some T-55s, before they broke when their covering force Leopard squadron lost it's CO tank and the force retreated. Total losses 2 light tanks and 1 Leopard, for 15 enemy AFV, but left the table. Who won?




kipt

Finished "Life Of General Nathan Bedford Forrest" by John A. Wyeth (who was a Confederate soldier, a private, in an Alabama cavalry regiment that was previously under Forrest).

An amazing person, Forrest, who became head of his family at 16 when his father died, and became a success in farming and business (but was a slave trader).  Wyeth wrote in the late 1800's, so his spin on racial relations was definitely colored (no pun intended) by his times and living in the South.

Forrest killed or wounded 30 federal soldiers in hand to hand combat, survived an assassination attempt from a disgruntled artillery lieutenant, who shot Forrest, but who was then chased down and mortally wounded by Forrest using a pen knife, and had 26 or so horses shot from under him.

His exploits against Federal troops read like a fairy tale.  He fought and captured at least 3 major units (up to brigade size) when outnumbered over the course of his wartime career.  He also captured gunboats and for a short time had his marine cavalry, Forrest's navy.

A very interesting read.  This book was published in 1996 by Blue and Grey Press, and I found it in an antique store.

The Fort Pillow "massacre" is discussed, but Wyeth denies that black soldiers were murdered.