Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In | Register
Historical Book Reviews
Group HomeGroup Home Blog Home Group Blogs

BOOK REVIEW: Morning Star Midnight Sun: The Early Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign of World War II August-October 1942

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Morning Star Midnight Sun: The Early Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign of World War II August-October 1942

by Jeffrey R Cox.

Impressive. Lots of detail, good writing, and a nice juxtaposition of strategy amid the tactical events surrounding land battles on Guadalcanal, naval battles of Savo Island and Santa Cruz, and air battles ranging up and down the Slot. Incisive examination of the fortes and foibles of the commanders on both sides. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Asia-Pacific  Naval  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: The Admirals

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Tuesday, September 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Admirals

by Walter R Borneman.

Biography of the four 5-star Admirals in WWII: Nimitz, Halsey, Leary, and King. Fortes and foibles aplenty and an excellent view of the interlocking personalities surrounding them, including Spruance, Fletcher, MacArthur, Kimmel, Marshall, Knox and others at top echelons of US command. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Asia-Pacific  Naval  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: Arnhem: Defeat and Glory -- A Miniaturist Perspective

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Arnhem: Defeat and Glory -- A Miniaturist Perspective

by G. S. W. DeLillio.

Upon first glance, this 2002 book seemed like a nice picture book of the author's diorama of 1944 Operation Market Garden. Nicely crafted, the diorama used thousands of 20mm figures and includes vehicles. True, photos a plenty show off vignettes that track the operation, but that hardly does the book justice.

You get a comprehensive overview of the battle, complete with wargame-friendly OOBs, commander bios, drop times, and a running narrative of how the battles swayed back and forth illustrated by 114 photos of the diorama. It presents wargamer-friendly info in an oversized 8.75x11.5-inch hardcover format.

And what magnificent modeling he did: Regular shots, close-up shots, and shots of the same vignette but from different angles show excellence. Gliders, aircraft, tanks, jeeps, artillery, and troops of all forces involved, including a couple of French Char B tanks used by the Germans, show up. My favorite? Boat landing on the river bank amidst smoke (top page 86).

I am not sure, but some of the vignettes remind me of just such a diorama in 20mm that was 60 feet long and presented at the HMGS Fall-In convention in Maryland a decade ago.

Sadly, what is missing is a chapter on the creation of the diorama. As this is the illustrative centerpiece of the book, it would have been nice to learn what he used, how he emphasized this event over that event, and so on.

Given that 2019 is the 75th anniversary of Market Garden, Arnhem books should see an uptick in interest. It's not as dramatic as Cornelius Ryan's A Bridge Too Far, but it deserves to be on a Market Garden reading list, with the photos as a distinct bonus.

Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Modeling  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: French Bombers of WWII: White Series

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: French Bombers of WWII: White Series

by Jose Fernandez and Patrick Laureau

To call this a 'specification' book does Fernandez and Laureau an injustice. To call it a 'camouflage and markings' book doubles that injustice. To call it an 'air combat' book triples that injustice. French Bombers of WWII combines all three of these into a single, well-written volume on a subject most WWII histories skip over.

The 26 bombers each gets full descriptions of design and development, prototypes, modifications, specs, and WWII service. Each garners a plethora of black and white photos and color camouflage profiles. How many in total? 334 photos (handful in color), 132 profiles, 72 scale drawings (most at a little less than 1cm = 1m, others at a little more than 1cm = 1m, and some at 1.5cm = 1m -- seems like the drawings were expanded or shrunk to fit the page instead kept at the same scale), and a handful of other black and white illustrations. Most photos are in French patterns, but some are shown with German and Italian markings, and even a few in Finnish, Romanian, and Spanish Civil War markings. I may have missed one or two in my count, but you get the idea.

Better yet, some of the photos are paired with profiles so you see the aircraft in black and white and then in color.

This also includes French purchases of imported bombers such as Glenn Martin 167F and Douglas DB-7, bomber training aircraft, and a couple prototypes only. After the armistice, many ended up in German and Italian hands and service. Others were flown to Africa. There's a full Order of Battle by squadron for May 10, 1940 and June 4, 1940 for those with campaign ideas.

Of news to me is the SNCAC NC 223 nicknamed the Jules Verne that took off from Bordeaux on June 6, 1940, flew along the coast, across Denmark, into the Baltic Sea, and then angled back to bomb Berlin with eight 250kg bombs, 80 10kg incendiary bomblets, and the shoes of flight engineer Corneillet (lost in the moment, he tossed them out when they ran out of bombs). They angled back across Germany to land at Paris. That's a 13.5 hour flight (p116).

The French had their own gull-winged dive-bombing attack aircraft, the Loire-Nieuport LN.411, built for the Navy and intended for the trio of French aircraft carriers (Joffre and Painleve on paper only -- p282). The Germans captured 12 and the Italians captured 15 of the 411s, however, all but two of the Italian aircraft were scrapped due to lack of spare parts (p190).

The Germans weren't particularly known four-engine bombers, with the HE-177 (two engines back to back in each wing) and the pressed into service FW-200. However, they also had a captured French Bloch MB 162 prototype bomber in service with I/KG 200. It's fate is unknown (p275).

There's more information, always interesting and often surprising, about French bombers and actions, throughout this book. Indeed, modelers will revel in the profiles, but buffs of obscure air actions will enjoy the text as much as the photos and profiles.

Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Air  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: US Army Vehicles Markings: 1944

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: US Army Vehicles Markings: 1944

by Jean Bouchery and Philippe Charbonnier.

If this isn't the definitive guide to US Army vehicles markings in 1944, any contender will be hard pressed to top this collection of 324 black and white photos (handful in color) and 396 color illustrations (for placement purposes on bumpers, sides, tops, etc., with most of these bumper markings paired with photos). Plus, TO&E charts, use and allocation for each type of vehicle, a chapter on camouflage patterns with 41 color illustrations, and a couple of charts that list all organic units (regts, bttns, and some lower level formations) within the US Army by division (but not including temporary attachment units).

For wargamers with a spray can, this is overkill, but for modelers who want to get everything right, at least for 1944 US Army in Europe, this book offers a one-stop encyclopedia of markings. With a little imagination and some of the broader based explanations of markings, you can alter the markings to represent just about any unit in theater. Impressive. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Tanks  Vehicles  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: Gloster Gladiator: Mk I and II (And Sea Gladiators) - Monographs # 65 (3rd edition)

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Gloster Gladiator: Mk I and II (And Sea Gladiators) - Monographs # 65 (3rd edition)

by Adam Cotton and Marek Rys.

The first 96 pages of this 216-page examination of the Gloster Gladiator biplane consists of a detailed history, including extensive air battles with Italian and German aircraft that would make a considerable number of tabletop scenarios. Inserted within the history portion are 119 black and white photos. After the text comes 155 3D drawings of various systems and subsystems, 22 3D 'walkaround' drawings of the aircraft, and 18 color profiles showing camouflage patterns and markings (including in other countries' service than UK).

The most famous Gloster Gladiators were nicknamed Faith (aircraft N5520), Hope (N5519), and Charity (N5531), the story being they were the only three Gladiators to defend Malta against all comers. The reality is somewhat different, with a fourth plane nicknamed Desperation (N5522) that was used for spare parts and quite a number of non-nicknamed, or at least non-famous nicknamed, Gladiators (including Sea Gladiators) that defended the island just as zealously. Incidentally, Faith was rescued in 1943 and partially restored (p60), although what happened to it after that is not mentioned.

If you're interested in Gloster Gladiators, and especially if one or more are on your painting table, here's your book. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Air  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: Operation Drvar: Facsimile Report May 25, 1944

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Operation Drvar: Facsimile Report May 25, 1944

edited by Branislav Radovic.

This English translation of a German war reporter's first-hand account of the German operation to capture Marshal Tito on May 25, 1944 is rather short on details, but long on purple prose.

The propaganda is what it is, with 10 pages of text, 15 pages of black and white photos of the operation (33 photos), 14 pages of enlargements of some of the previous photos (14 photos), and five pages of additional black and white photos of SS Fallschirmer Battalion 500/600 (6 photos). The original German report is included.

An OOB of German and partisan forces is included. As it turns out, the Germans captured three British war correspondents sent to glorify Tito, who successfully escaped and was airlifted to Bari (Italy).

Tags:  Balkans  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: M3A1 Scout Car: The US Army's Early World War II Reconnaissance Vehicle

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: M3A1 Scout Car: The US Army's Early World War II Reconnaissance Vehicle (Legends of Warfare: Ground series)

by David Doyle.

With its front end reminiscent of a half track, the M3A1 Scout Car served in the US and 17 other countries. A total of 21,175 were built, with 10,975 sent to those 17 countries (UK with 6,997, USSR with 3,340, and the rest to 15 other countries), from 1939 to the end of production in April 1944.

This book offers 184 black and white photos of the M2A1 and successor M3A1, most of them covering pre-war years. Most photos came from the National Archives, Library of Congress, and the Patton Museum. Many show variations, such as various canvas tops, the 37mm gun, Patton's two-star M3A1 during the 1941 Tennessee Maneuvers, and more.

In addition, 22 color photos, taken by the author, of fully restored M3A1 Scout Cars offer up painting schemes and markings. Captions describe the vehicle and accoutrements.

Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Vehicles  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEW: Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Six Armies in Normandy: From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris

by John Keegan.

A little dated, but still classic account of WWII Allied and German operations, mostly in Normandy, but edging into Brittany, covering the Falaise Pocket, and ending with the liberation of Paris.

Lots of tabletop scenarios just waiting to be created as the text veers from operational explanation to tactical anecdotes. Army Group OBs, down to divisions, from June 6 to Aug 25, 1944, with one German and seven Allied OBs down to regiment level. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Normandy  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 

BOOK REVIEWS: Flyby of Six Aircraft Books

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 12, 2019

BOOK REVIEWS: Flyby of Six Aircraft Books

I should note that I was in the right place and right time to scarf up the following used WWII aircraft books for $1 each. Of interest was performing some spot comparisons of specifications in each book for a couple of the same aircraft. Just about everything was identical, but each book added, subtracted, or refined different specs. Just shows it's good to cross reference several sources when you're researching specifications. Most of them offered great painting references.

German War Birds: From World War 1 to NATO Ally

by K Munson. An older book (1986) with 113 aircraft profiles -- 58 WWI, 51 interwar/WWII, and four 1960s-1970s-era NATO -- each with specifications, history/anecdotes, and multiple marvelous sideview and top/bottom color illustrations. Top/Bottom meant that half the airplane is seen from the top down and the other half from the bottom up. The history and anecdotes were interesting; especially for WWI aircraft I never knew existed. Enjoyed it.

The Pocket Encyclopedia of Bombers at War

by Kenneth Munson. Compiled from two Munson books, it contained 150 pages of full color illustrations covering 147 different bombers of WWI and WWII. Short development history plus specs with great color illustrations (side plus top/bottom) plus additional details inserted in the text. Enjoyed it.

World War II Airplanes: Volume 1 (Rand McNally)

by Enzo Angelucci and Paolo Matricardi. This 1976 book covers European aircraft. Presumably Volume 2 covers US, USSR, Japan, and other countries. Digest sized, with fantastic full-color 3/4 illustrations and specifications of each major combat aircraft: 45 UK, 44 German, 34 Italian, 19 French, 3 Czech, 4 Netherlands, 3 Polish, 2 Swedish, 2 Yugoslavian, 1 Romanian, 1 Belgian, and 1 Finnish. Included foreign-made aircraft in service to the above countries, short section on camouflage patterns, and short, illustrated sections on engines. Short histories of the aircraft proved interesting enough. Enjoyed it.

British Aircraft of World War II

by David Mondey. This 1994 (originally published in 1982) book provided information and specifications on 113 UK aircraft. Provided 86 diagrams, 204 magnificent color illustrations (side, top, and front), and 126 photos. Short histories of aircraft included anecdotes of note. Enjoyed it.

British Aircraft of World War II

by John Frayn Turner. A 1976 book. No drawings, but plenty of photographs, including a central section with color photos. Covered 49 aircraft, many with variations, and including US models flown by the RAF, with short histories, specifications, and a number of Victoria Cross anecdotes. Last section contained 13 more extensive write-ups of various missions, including dam busters, sink the Bismarck, and so on. Hit or miss at times, but generally enjoyed it.

Brassey's Air Combat Reader: Historic Feats and Aviation Legends

edited by Walter J. Boyne and Philip Handleman. Offered 28 recaps of fighter, bomber, and rescue missions from WWI through Gulf War. Usual bell curve mix of good, bad, and ugly ranging from great writing to skipping to the next chapter.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Air  reviews  WW2  WWII 

PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 4
1  |  2  |  3  |  4

Fall In! Toys for Tots Sponsors