Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 608121 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Offline Gusington

  • The Jewish Missile
  • Global Moderator
  • Tercio
  • *****
  • Posts: 45195
  • You must be at most 'this tall' to ride the Gus.
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5250 on: November 24, 2020, 02:57:21 PM »
Of course!
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

- Toonces

Offline airboy

  • Crossbowman
  • *
  • Posts: 6814
    • averysgameblog
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5251 on: November 27, 2020, 08:22:03 AM »
I did not know very much about the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930s.  Tower of Skulls is just horrifying in terms of the loss of Chinese lives.  The rape of Nanking, the flooding of the Yellow River - just horrifying.

It is amazing that the Imperial Japanese Army sent troops into China with no means to feed them and just barely enough logistical train to keep them in ammunition.  It is like Japan is trying to wage modern war with Napoleonics logistics systems.  But from my reading about the US-Japanese war in the Pacific the Japanese Navy only did somewhat better in logistics and the Army was just as bad.

Offline ArizonaTank

  • Man-at-Arms
  • *****
  • Posts: 1763
  • Honus Wagner - "The Flying Dutchman"
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5252 on: November 27, 2020, 09:27:48 AM »
In celebration of GMT's recently released Battle of the Bulge monster game, "A Time for Trumpets", I recently finished Charles MacDonald's book, "A Time for Trumpets".

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Trumpets-Untold-Story-Battle-ebook/dp/B082XGLWSQ/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

The book is a finely detailed telling of the Battle of the Bulge. The author was an infantry officer during the battle, and one of his other books, "Company Commander", is a classic WWII memoir; as a side note, "Company Commander" was still required reading when I went through officer's advanced training in the US Army in the eighties.

"A Time for Trumpets" gets straight to point and does well at describing the entire battle...and that is one of the strengths. Instead of concentrating on just the most well known actions, the book records the fighting by hundreds of small units, often desperate fire fights at the battalion, company or even sometimes the platoon level. This comprehensive approach makes certain the reader sees the whole battle while old "truths" about the battle are often cleared away. For example, Allied airpower was not completely absent during the battle. Even from the first days of fighting, there were occasional breaks in the weather, and the Allied jabos jumped on German columns to telling effect. Kampfgruppe Pieper suffered severe air attacks just days into the battle. Another example of an old "truth" swept away is the idea that the German use of English speaking troops in American uniforms caused havoc. In fact, the "fear" of them caused more panic and confusion than the very few isolated cases where these Germans were actually effective. The biggest thing these troops may have done was to cause Eisenhower's headquarters to "lock-down" for fear of an assassination attempt (while there was some buzz about such an attempt, Eisenhower was never actually a target), somewhat restricting the American leader's effectiveness. 

The book is "just the facts" and has only minimal analysis. The author concentrates on telling "what happened where", while spending less time on "why". It is the kind of book you will want to read with some good maps at your side.

The book has plenty of first hand accounts generously distributed throughout the text. Most of these accounts are American, a few British, some Belgian civilians, and a sprinkling of German. When taken as a whole, these accounts convey a "you are there feel". Many of them showing the true face of war; for example, a Belgian civilian describing some SS grenadiers, who were not hardened Nazis, but just scared boys fresh out of the Hitler Youth. These boys were terrified and began to cry when they were rousted out of their bunks and sent into battle. Overall, because so many of the first hand accounts are American, the book has a noticeable tilt toward the American experience of the battle.   

The book was written back in the eighties so is a little long in tooth as far as Bulge scholarship goes. But analysis and scholarship is not the reason to read this book. Instead, the book is a great blow by blow retelling of the fighting that occurred in the Ardennes during that last December of the war. And for that purpose, it should definitely be read by anyone interested in the battle.   
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 05:50:35 PM by ArizonaTank »
Honus Wagner
"The Flying Dutchman"
Shortstop: Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1917
Rated as the 2nd most valuable player of all time by Bill James.

Offline ArizonaTank

  • Man-at-Arms
  • *****
  • Posts: 1763
  • Honus Wagner - "The Flying Dutchman"
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5253 on: November 27, 2020, 08:42:59 PM »
It is amazing that the Imperial Japanese Army sent troops into China with no means to feed them and just barely enough logistical train to keep them in ammunition.  It is like Japan is trying to wage modern war with Napoleonics logistics systems.  But from my reading about the US-Japanese war in the Pacific the Japanese Navy only did somewhat better in logistics and the Army was just as bad.

Tower of Skulls is eye-opening.

After early 1942, most important campaigns in the Pacific and SE Asia were arguably lost by the Japanese because of poor logistics. The Japanese weren't prepared for the high levels of Allied interdiction by submarines and airpower. In many battles, Japanese troops were half-starved. During the Japanese attack from Burma into India in 1944 for example, the Japanese plans actually depended on "Churchill's rations" (captured supplies) to feed the troops. When the British destroyed the supply depots as they retreated, the Japanese were only able to capture a small amount of what they had planned on. Most of the Japanese starved, and in a weakened state were sent into a rout.

At the same time, the US was giving a master class in how to do logistics over the vast distances of the Pacific. One of the most amazing features of the US logistics chain was that it eventually became a "push", not a "pull" system. In the end, the pure US logistical muscle that the "push" system represented, meant that the Japanese just never had a chance.

Honus Wagner
"The Flying Dutchman"
Shortstop: Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1917
Rated as the 2nd most valuable player of all time by Bill James.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 18223
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5254 on: December 04, 2020, 10:45:30 AM »
Send supplies to that island! -- Marines will follow the food.  >:D
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 18223
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5255 on: December 04, 2020, 10:53:15 AM »
In celebration of GMT's recently released Battle of the Bulge monster game, "A Time for Trumpets", I recently finished Charles MacDonald's book, "A Time for Trumpets".

I'm a fan of Merriman's Dark December; published in 1947 from notes he took interviewing Allied and German troops and officers after the fight. I recall he reached much the same conclusions about the myths of the Bulge as MacDonald does, so it's interesting to see the overlapping corroboration from people who were there (in his case as the chief US Army historian assigned to the Ardennes sector.) Eventually he became a deputy assistant to Ike during the President's administration.
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Gusington

  • The Jewish Missile
  • Global Moderator
  • Tercio
  • *****
  • Posts: 45195
  • You must be at most 'this tall' to ride the Gus.
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5256 on: December 04, 2020, 10:55:24 AM »
The real tragedy is that a lot of Japanese knew they never had a chance like ArizonaTank says and still went to war.
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

- Toonces

Offline Lotti Fuehrscheim

  • Equites
  • ***
  • Posts: 157
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5257 on: December 04, 2020, 04:53:21 PM »
I have been reading selected paragraphs of Claudius Ptolemaeus' Γεωγραφικὴ Ὑφήγησις, commonly known as Geographia.

http://www.nifterlaca.nl/eigen_assets/Saksen/001_Saksen_Bron.html

Why is that interesting?

It is actually the only historical reference to Saxons in the 2nd century, before they start to appear in the historical sources from the 4th century.

However, there are good arguments that this reference appeared as a copying error (through the Greek alphabet) from Aviones, lit. Island People.

The oldest surviving copy of the Geografia was copied in the 13th century, so that was after more than 1000 years of copying the original.

Skipping a load of arguments and an exhausting historical source listing of the name Saxons in the first half of the 1st millennium, the hypothesis is that there was never a tribe of the Saxons. Instead, the word Saxon meant knifebearer, and was used from the 4th century for various groups of aggressively operating Germani all over the Roman Empire, from the Balkans, Northern Italy, Southern Gallia and the coasts of the Southern North Sea.

In that last area a large group of such Saxons ended up, in part because of warring Roman factions who employed them, in Southern England, adopting their 'soldier's name' as the name of their nation. These soldiers originated mainly from the area of the Angles, and their Northern Jutish neighbours.

Once established as petty kings in Britain, the royal dynasties, or more probably their bards, started to create honourable histories on their past, thereby creating a myth of a Saxon tribe at the Elbe estuary. These myths got their own lives and became historical canon in Britannia. Which made the copying error by Mediaeval clerics a logical background.

Why is a tribe of Saxons at the Elbe estuary in the 2nd century problematic?

For one, the Germanic area was rather well investigated and documented in that time, and all other tribes there are mentioned in several places, but these Saxons only appear in that script from Egypt.

But more importantly, the Frankish chronicles from the late 7th century start to call all the Germanics to the North-East of their empire Saxons, and all of Northern Germany ended up as some form of Saxony. But these Lower Saxons (the Saxony in the East arose much later, and is a migrated name) are not descending from the tribes from which members migrated to England.

There is a hard language border between Lower Saxon and Anglian, the ancestor of Frisian and English. With a common tribal ancestry there would have been a dialect continuum between Frisian and Lower Saxon, as they would always have been neighbours with a common past. But there is no such continuum, they are two separate languages with differences that go very deep into time.

Is this somehow important? Well, for me living on the old border of Lower Saxons and Frisians it is somewhat interesting, but for the Anglo-Saxon identity it does change the origins myths quiet a bit.


Offline ArizonaTank

  • Man-at-Arms
  • *****
  • Posts: 1763
  • Honus Wagner - "The Flying Dutchman"
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5258 on: December 04, 2020, 05:42:26 PM »
In celebration of GMT's recently released Battle of the Bulge monster game, "A Time for Trumpets", I recently finished Charles MacDonald's book, "A Time for Trumpets".

I'm a fan of Merriman's Dark December; published in 1947 from notes he took interviewing Allied and German troops and officers after the fight. I recall he reached much the same conclusions about the myths of the Bulge as MacDonald does, so it's interesting to see the overlapping corroboration from people who were there (in his case as the chief US Army historian assigned to the Ardennes sector.) Eventually he became a deputy assistant to Ike during the President's administration.

Interestingly MacDonald gives much credit to Hugh Cole who gave MacDonald much help and advice. Cole wrote two of the official US Army campaign histories of WWII. The best of these was The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge. Cole's book is almost required reading if you want to start any serious study of the Bulge.

The Ardennes book by the way is a free download...thanks to the generosity of the US taxpayer... 
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-8-1/CMH_Pub_7-8-1.pdf

And while you are at it, here is Hugh Cole's other book, also free, The Lorraine Campaign
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-8-1/CMH_Pub_7-8-1.pdf

Admittedly these are "official" histories, and therefore present mostly the US side, but I don't really detect any cheerleading in them. There is even an attempt to bring in German information gathered post war. The purpose of the books was mostly to serve as history lessons for future military leaders.   
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 08:27:02 PM by ArizonaTank »
Honus Wagner
"The Flying Dutchman"
Shortstop: Pittsburgh Pirates 1900-1917
Rated as the 2nd most valuable player of all time by Bill James.

Offline Tripoli

  • Viking
  • ****
  • Posts: 744
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5259 on: December 05, 2020, 05:01:58 PM »
Just finished Lehman's "Oceans Ventured".  Its not a bad book about the role of the Regan-era Maritime Strategy in ending the Cold War.  However, it feels incomplete.  I think Lehman spent too much time talking about naval exercises without adequately explaining the Maritime Strategy and how it fit into Regan's National Security Strategy.  IMHO,  Lehman wrote a book that spent too little time on  how the maritime strategy was developed.  Alternatively, he could used this book as a section in a larger book about development and execution of Regan's National Security Strategy.  As it is, the book ends up being neither fish nor fowl, as it fails to completely address either the Regan national or maritime strategy, nor the current lessons we can draw from the experience of the USN in the 1980's.

I'm about to state "War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires" by Peter Turchin. 

Offline airboy

  • Crossbowman
  • *
  • Posts: 6814
    • averysgameblog
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5260 on: December 05, 2020, 08:53:34 PM »
In celebration of GMT's recently released Battle of the Bulge monster game, "A Time for Trumpets", I recently finished Charles MacDonald's book, "A Time for Trumpets".

I'm a fan of Merriman's Dark December; published in 1947 from notes he took interviewing Allied and German troops and officers after the fight. I recall he reached much the same conclusions about the myths of the Bulge as MacDonald does, so it's interesting to see the overlapping corroboration from people who were there (in his case as the chief US Army historian assigned to the Ardennes sector.) Eventually he became a deputy assistant to Ike during the President's administration.

Interestingly MacDonald gives much credit to Hugh Cole who gave MacDonald much help and advice. Cole wrote two of the official US Army campaign histories of WWII. The best of these was The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge. Cole's book is almost required reading if you want to start any serious study of the Bulge.

The Ardennes book by the way is a free download...thanks to the generosity of the US taxpayer... 
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-8-1/CMH_Pub_7-8-1.pdf

And while you are at it, here is Hugh Cole's other book, also free, The Lorraine Campaign
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-8-1/CMH_Pub_7-8-1.pdf

Admittedly these are "official" histories, and therefore present mostly the US side, but I don't really detect any cheerleading in them. There is even an attempt to bring in German information gathered post war. The purpose of the books was mostly to serve as history lessons for future military leaders.

I bought the Battle of the Bulge book on your recommendation.  Lord only knows when it will get to the top of my kindle stack.

Offline Pete Dero

  • Condottieri
  • ******
  • Posts: 2974
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5261 on: December 06, 2020, 03:28:21 AM »
The Ardennes book by the way is a free download...thanks to the generosity of the US taxpayer... 
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-8-1/CMH_Pub_7-8-1.pdf

And while you are at it, here is Hugh Cole's other book, also free, The Lorraine Campaign
https://history.army.mil/html/books/007/7-8-1/CMH_Pub_7-8-1.pdf

I bought the Battle of the Bulge book on your recommendation.  Lord only knows when it will get to the top of my kindle stack.

All these (and a few hundred more) books are available for free at the US Army Center of Military History : https://history.army.mil/catalog/browse/title.html
Most as PDF (a Kindle can open them) but some also in the EPUB format.

Arranged by topic : https://history.army.mil/catalog/browse/pubnum.html  (Civil War, Vietnam, WWII, WWI, War of 1812 ...)

BUT many of those are also sold online for around $2 :

https://www.amazon.com/Ardennes-Battle-Bulge-Military-History-ebook/dp/B008L1MM7O
https://www.amazon.com/Last-Offensive-Army-Green-Book-ebook/dp/B00BVT454Q
https://www.amazon.com/Guadalcanal-First-Offensive-Military-History-ebook/dp/B008LIRBGE/
https://www.amazon.com/United-States-Army-WWII-Illustrated-ebook/dp/B06XGKPVQS/


And only a few times the other option is mentioned :

The many maps, table and diagrams of the original have been removed to make a portable 'pocket' version for reading on the plane or train.
The complete version is available in PDF from the US Army Historical Center.

Offline airboy

  • Crossbowman
  • *
  • Posts: 6814
    • averysgameblog
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5262 on: December 06, 2020, 08:43:01 AM »
^ Thanks.  This is amazing.

If you click the link "View this online" for almost everything it takes you to a free pdf download of the book.

Everything I clicked through (I was looking more at WW1 and earlier) was FREE.

Thanks again Pete - you are a wellspring of useful knowledge.

Offline Pete Dero

  • Condottieri
  • ******
  • Posts: 2974
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5263 on: December 06, 2020, 09:33:20 AM »
^ Thanks.  This is amazing.

If you click the link "View this online" for almost everything it takes you to a free pdf download of the book.

Everything I clicked through (I was looking more at WW1 and earlier) was FREE.

Thanks again Pete - you are a wellspring of useful knowledge.

It is the same website ArizonaTank mentioned and yes : everything is free.

And you could have been reading them 3 years ago : http://www.grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=21457.msg588937#msg588937  >:D
« Last Edit: December 06, 2020, 09:37:25 AM by Pete Dero »

Offline JasonPratt

  • Arquebusier
  • ***
  • Posts: 18223
  • Now let us see what the future will bring...
    • The Evangelical Universalist
Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5264 on: December 08, 2020, 07:42:35 PM »
Too... many... shiny.... thingggsss!!!  :D

Thanks again Pete - you are a wellspring of useful knowledge.

 :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.