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What are you reading


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Thanks Marc. Naval engagements are not my thing, really. I would but the Osprey Campaign on the Graf Spee, as they have lovely pics and just enough information.
    I do hope you have been well. (I have had a bad year, unfortunately: trouble with my eyes!).


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @wittmann:

    (I have had a bad year, unfortunately: trouble with my eyes!).

    Sorry to hear this.  When I read your previous post about your good eye, I was reminded of the time when Nelson (back in the days when he was a ship captain rather a fleet commander) was told by a subordinate that the flagship had hoisted a flag signal to do something-or-other.  Nelson, who wanted to do something else, pointed his telescope at the flagship, held it up to his blind eye, and told his subordinate that he could see no such order being displayed.



  • Yesterday I got the best WWII book I ever had, WAR at SEA, A naval atlas 1939-1945 by Marcus Faulkner, published 2012 by Seaforth Publishing in England. Cost me £ 50. The best book ever. Most of the information are pictures of maps, maps that looks like A&A maps, and the ships and aircrafts are pictured in the same way as the A&A Rulebook. It feels like reading the A&A Rulebook, or a book about A&A. And the text are almost statistic only, how many ships, how many men, how many aircrafts and so on. Not that nonsense you usually see in WWII books, that private Schumacker write letters home to his family, and tell them how poor it is at the front, he is wet, frozen and hungry, and the enemy kill his friends and so on, all the off topic stuff that have ruined so many WWII books. This Atlas is free from that BS. Statistics only, and pics of the situational maps that tell the story.

    Best buy ever  🙂

    faulkner_war_sea.jpg


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Im buying this for sure right now. I also bought the Great War version .

    Eagle you should also buy the WW2 and WW1 Data books. The same thing . no stories about dysentery to grandma. Just the facts. Im with you on this completely. I just want raw data for me to interpret.


  • 2018 2017

    Anything by Stackpole books.  These are amazing.  Currently reading “Tank Tactics”, next “Panzer Wedge!”  Luthwaffe Fighters and Bombers was a great read of short action reports and biographies…

    Only problem is that Half-priced books got a huge run of these, sold for $5-11, now they have all been picked up and only AMZN carries the full catalog of both theory books and eye-witness accounts.



  • One that I like is The Longest Winter by Alex Kershaw.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Just finished Burma '44 by James Holland.

    It is about the largely forgotten Battle of the Admin Box, which was the first decisive victory by the allies against Japanese mainland forces. Of course, the US was already winning the war at sea and across the islands.

    The Japanese attacked British Empire forces in southern Burma and for the first time were defeated. What makes this a fascinating read is the succession of tactical and strategic lessons the allies had learned, which were here deployed so effectively, despite the Empire forces at hand being “a ragtag collection of clerks, doctors and muleteers, a few Yorkshiremen and a handful of tank crews” to quote the book cover.

    The later larger and better know Battles of Imphal and Kohima, followed by the Burma campaign, have rather eclipsed this battle, whose name invites relegation. But prior to the Admin Box the Japanese were perceived as unbeatable in the jungles of Burma.



  • @Imperious:

    Im buying this for sure right now. I also bought the Great War version .

    Eagle you should also buy the WW2 and WW1 Data books. The same thing . no stories about dysentery to grandma. Just the facts. Im with you on this completely. I just want raw data for me to interpret.

    In case you are talking about The military Atlas of WW II by Chris Bishop, the 2013 edition from Amber Books, then I just got it, based on your suggestion. This book is good, maybe one of the best books ever to get an understanding of the conflict. But what I miss, if nitpicking, is a correct number of men in each battle. This book only deals with divisions and corps, but a division could be from 7000 men to 18000 men, and a panzer division could have from 500 Tanks in the early war, dropping to 250 Tanks for the late war division, and Bishop dont go deep into that. But nevertheless, one of the best WWII educational books ever, and absolutely short of any dysentery to grandma stories.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10



  • @ABWorsham:

    Just got in the mail the book Ship 16, a story of a German Surface Raider.

    Finished Ship 16, overall was a very good read.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    I’m just finishing Crete 1941: The Battle and the Resistance, by Antony Beevor. It’s a great read. I’ve heard his name before but never read any of his books, but I’ll be searching them out now and highly recommend this one. Classic example, for me, of a subject on the war that I knew about generally, but not a ton of the specifics. The biggest surprise to me was Freyberg’s misunderstanding of the invasion, thinking the main assault would come by sea, thus giving paratroopers more time to regroup and take Malame airfield. Beevor has done great research and made everything very compelling to read. I loved that he prefaced with the mainland invasion of Greece first, and also went into the resistance to the occupation as well. The actual invasion is enough for a book itself, but I always love more context. Great read.


  • 2017 2016

    I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but at the end of the book… the Germans win.


  • 2018 2017

    after their boy scout army got shellacked, they won.

    Losses;

    4 paratrooper units and 2 transport aircraft for Germany,

    2 infantry, 1 AAA, 1 DD, 2 partisans lost for UK

    …good trade.


  • 2019 2018 2017

    @Wolfshanze:

    I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but at the end of the book… the Germans win.

    Yea…definitely know that. As I said, if you read my post, I know the basic history of the battle. Costly paratroop operation, lacking defensive forces, etc. It was the intimate details that were new to me as someone who hadn’t read about the battle in depth before.

    And if we’re being technical, they lose in the end! As I said, the book covers the resistance/end of the war as well. Don’t want to spoil WWII history for you, but at the end of the war…the Germans lose.  8-)


  • 2017 2016

    @Chris_Henry:

    And if we’re being technical, they lose in the end! As I said, the book covers the resistance/end of the war as well. Don’t want to spoil WWII history for you, but at the end of the war…the Germans lose.  8-)

    Ah, dammit, you ruined it for me… [closes Time-Life’s History of WWII book]… no point reading the final chapters now…  😞



  • Currently reading Jurassic Park


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Nemesis by Max Hastings. I have enjoyed every one of his books and recommend him unreservedly.


  • 2017 2016

    @ABWorsham:

    Currently reading Jurassic Park

    Try this link for the summary:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh4zvQfDhi0


  • 2017 2016 2015

    well this thread encouraged me to go to the library instead of just walking by : )

    I’ve read this before , I think : )

    How Hitler Could Have Won World War II  The fatal errors that lead to nazi defeat

    Bevin Alexander


  • 2017 2016

    @barney:

    well this thread encouraged me to go to the library instead of just walking by : )

    I’ve read this before , I think : )

    How Hitler Could Have Won World War II  The fatal errors that lead to nazi defeat

    Bevin Alexander

    Hindsight is always 20/20… there’s many ways almost any war could have gone the other way from history if the losing side knew then what is known now.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    I reccomend everyone read the Rum and the Fury!

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21878245-the-rum-and-the-fury

    by our own Karl7 from A&A.org!


  • 2018 2017 2016 '12

    I recently read and would highly recommend Ian Toll’s “Pacific Crucible” and “Conquering Tide” covering the war in the Pacific.  I especially liked the insight into what was going on in Japan in the lead up to war, as well as the leadership and strategy on both sides.  A very good read, but for those looking for an order of battle level of detail this is not the book for you (does have some of the horrors of war stuff - - but not overdone).  After reading these I went on to read Six Frigates, also by Toll, which turned out to be the best of the three - - about the founding of the US navy.  Has a lot about post revolutionary war politics in addition to the naval battles and commanders, which I found really interesting but might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  I would also highly recommend the “The River War” by Winston Churchill an account of the re-conquest of the Sudan.  Well written with a dose of dry humor (no surprise given the author) and includes a detailed description of the battles (including order of battle and troop strengths).  Very interesting to read the book and think about who is writing it at the same time.



  • @Wolfshanze:

    Hindsight is always 20/20… there’s many ways almost any war could have gone the other way from history if the losing side knew then what is known now.

    Agreed. It’s easy to construct “what if?” scenarios with a few throwaway sentences. A more challenging task is to develop a compelling picture of Germany’s overall economic, political, and military picture; and to demonstrate a viable military strategy within the context of that picture.

    Germany had a prewar population of 69 million, as opposed to 169 million for the Soviet Union. In the key year of 1942, the Soviet Union produced 3 - 4 times as many land weapons as Germany, and nearly twice as many military aircraft. Germany lacked oil, food, and raw materials. Major Western nations were pro-Soviet and anti-German. By the late fall of 1941, the Red Army consisted of 600 divisions, compared to just 150 divisions for the German Army. (Granted, a German division was somewhat larger than a Soviet division, so the disparity was less than 4:1.) The United States had virtually unlimited industrial potential. Even if it had stayed at “peace,” the plan was to produce overwhelming numbers of military aircraft, and to send half of those aircraft to Britain for use against Germany. Moreover, the U.S. was led by a highly pro-war president, who by gradual steps was moving the U.S. ever closer to war. “Don’t declare war on the U.S.” sounds good as a throwaway line, but does not by itself constitute a strategy for preventing escalating levels of American industrial and military involvement.

    My best “victory scenario” for Germany would be as follows:

    Step 1: Invade Poland and France, as happened in the actual war.
    Step 2: Invade Britain, as proposed by General von Manstein in his book Lost Victories.
    Step 3: Grab much of the Middle East in 1940, when it was weakly defended.
    Step 4: Launch Operation Barbarossa about when it was launched. Put von Manstein in charge, to achieve even better initial results than those the Germans actually achieved.
    Step 5: Accept Stalin’s peace offer in the fall of '41.
    Step 6: Sign a peace treaty with the remnants of the British Empire. Or, if the British government is still unwilling to discuss peace, continue conquering British colonies. Recruit large numbers of soldiers among the inhabitants of German-held colonies to counter the soldiers the British recruit from the colonies they control.

    These six steps, in themselves, would not be sufficient to win Germany the war. In particular, the United States would stand unfought, with an extremely anti-German and pro-war president. The Soviet Union would also be able to lick its wounds, and harness a core of military and industrial strength to resume its war against Germany at a time of its own choosing. These dangers would be exacerbated by the American invention of the nuclear bomb.

    In 1944, Germany’s military production was triple what it had been in 1942. Germany’s 1944 production was roughly the same as that of the Soviet Union, and about half that of the United States. For Germany, increased military production was a necessary, but not a sufficient, component of a strategy to defend itself against an alliance between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

    Quite possibly Germany would have been well-served to resume its war against the Soviet Union in 1946. (Assuming, of course, that Stalin hadn’t chosen an earlier resumption date.) By 1946 Germany would have had better tanks than the Soviet Union, better handheld anti-tank weapons, the world’s only assault rifles. Unlike the Soviets, Germany would have had jet aircraft. Given these qualitative advantages, as well as the advantages obtained by having tripled its military production between '42 and '44, Germany’s offensive against the Soviet Union would likely have been successful. Moreover, its jet aircraft could have kept the skies clear of Allied aircraft, thus protecting German cities from nuclear devastation. This time, Germany would not make peace with the Soviet Union on any conditions other than unconditional surrender.

    With the fall of the Soviet Union, and with Britain’s colonial empire either conquered or pacified, the only strategic threat left would be the United States. By itself it would be difficult for the United States to wage war against Germany. It wouldn’t have Britain to use as a base from which to perform its strategic bombing, and it wouldn’t have the Red Army to engage and destroy the bulk of the German Army. Germany’s jet aircraft would provide initial protection against American nuclear attack. Later, Germany would develop the ability to engage in retaliatory strikes. Its chemical weapons program was about ten years ahead of any Allied nation, so it could have used a devastating chemical attack as a substitute for a nuclear attack. It was in the process of developing intercontinental ballistic missiles when the war ended, and those missiles could have carried payloads to the eastern seaboard of the United States. Eventually Germany would have developed nuclear weapons of its own. Those weapons–in combination with its ICBM technology–would have provided the ultimate long-term guarantee of German security.

    I recognize the above plan is not without risks. It contains a number of opportunities for things to have gone wrong. But it’s also the best, most likely to succeed plan I can think of to protect Germany from Allied invasion.


  • 2017 2016

    Without getting into super-heavy detail, even within the confines of WWII as it was fought, without major “okay, totally go on tangents that weren’t even a-thing” theories, I can follow the actual WWII timeline and give Germany some very doable things that could have turned the war around completely.

    I’ve been studying WWII since the 1970s… read everything I could find on the subject, watched way too many hours of documentaries… have a large library of my own books on WWII… I’ve come up with my own ideas/theories/observations how things could have turned out differently, based on these few turning points… starting with (oddly enough)…

    1. Dunkirk: kinda well-known here… the Germans pretty much botched this and let the British Army get away… there are many questions as to what the reasons were that Germany let them get away… was it intentional, was it a misjudgment, was it hesitation? The reasons don’t really matter as much as the outcome and what could have happened… no delays, no politics… they could have just sent the Panzers in from the start and routed them with their backs to the sea… No more British Army… this is important because it leads to mistake #2…

    2. Battle of Britain: Also well-known, but slightly less focused on was the fact that the RAF was about two weeks from being a non-entity when Goering convinced Hitler to switch form targeting the RAF, their airfields and installations and switch to morale-bombing London instead. The British themselves calculated that just prior to the switch to London bombing, the RAF had about two weeks left of fight in it before it would no longer pose a threat to the Luftwaffe… they were running out of men, planes, airfields, installations… it was going very badly for England… but the switch to bombing London gave the RAF the breathing room it needed to recover and eventually win the BoB… Germany could-have, and should-have just stayed with the original plan, and another two or three weeks of that would have broken the RAF… which leads to the first thing on this list that never actually happened, but could/should have under these first two steps…

    3. Operation Sea Lion: obviously, historically, this never occurred… but it could have, if the BoB had succeeded (as explained in step-2), and if Dunkirk happened the way it could have (explained in step-1), you have an England with no Army and no Air Force… the Navy can’t hold the channel with no air support, so the Germans cross the channel and the British Army doesn’t even really exist (lost at Dunkirk… can’t fight again from a German PoW camp). Simply put, England could have been taken out before Barbarrossa even occurred.

    4. Barbarossa… this is probably the biggest problem the Germans had to solve historically, but it could have been handled, despite popular belief, no country is completely invincible… history has bore that out… under the right circumstances, Russia could have fallen, and it would have been MUCH easier for Germany had England been taken-out first (which I believe could have happened as explained above)… I think the biggest single-mistake Germany made during Barbarossa was the completely wasted timetable of diverting all of Army Group Centers tanks to move to support AG South, then eventually move them back to center… a massive and unneeded delay that cost the Germans dearly in lost time, and allowed the Soviets to build up defenses in the center that weren’t there at the time the Panzers were diverted south. We all know the Germans problems with weather just prior to reaching their goals… even under the traditional start date of Barbarossa, the delay caused by diverting AG Centers panzers south and back again was fatal… also, had my mention of being able to defeat England prior to Barbarossa… I doubt the Yugoslavian proclamation of becoming unfriendly to Germany and supporting the Allies would have ever occurred, which probably would have enabled Germany to avoid the entire Balkans campaign, which literally delayed the start date for Barbarossa… these things combined and no England could have made a very different end to Barbarossa…

    In my opinion, under the right circumstances with the right decisions made within the otherwise entirely historical timeline and reality of WWII, Germany could have knocked-out Poland, France, England and Russia before America was even attacked at Pearl Harbor.

    I think under the above scenario, WWII would have ended early without US involvement in Europe, and probably a new Cold War would have arisen in the 1940s… but between the US and Germany instead of the US and USSR.

    My 2-cents.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Just on technical grounds, based on the Allied cross-Channel invasion that was conducted in the opposite direction in 1944, I’m doubtful that Sea Lion could have succeeded.  Overlord was carried out by two major naval powers (Britain and the the US) who spent two years planning and training and building up their forces for it.  Some of the most critical elements of that preparation involved a) building a large inventory of landing craft specifically designed for infantry or for vehicles; b) creating specialized infrastructure to handle the massive post-invasion logistical support that would have to be sent steadily across the Channel for months at a time, notably the PLUTO pipeline and the Mulberry artificial harbours; and c) spending months before the invasion hammering the Luftwaffe to achieve air supremacy for the invasion, as expressed by the slogan “If you see a plane overhead during the invasion, it’ll be one of ours.”  Germany, by contrast, was a single nation, and traditionally a land power rather than a naval one.  Its contemplated invasion of Britain was woefully improvised in terms of time (a few weeks of planning and preparation rather than two years) and resources (for example, Germany had to scrounge river barges from various parts of Europe for the project).  The Wehrmacht was skilled at river crossings, and it’s been suggested that the Germans more or less viewed Sea Lion as just being a big-scale river crossing, which if true was a simplistic way to look at the concept.


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