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Posted on May 2, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Seeing the Elephant at Kasserine Pass. “Patton’s Payback: The Battle of El Guettar and Patton’s Rise to Glory”. Book Review

Seeing the Elephant at Kasserine Pass. “Patton’s Payback: The Battle of El Guettar and Patton’s Rise to Glory”. Book Review

Patton’s Payback : The Battle of El Guettar and General Patton’s Rise to Glory. Author: Stephen L. Moore. Publisher: Caliber. Price $ 30.00 Stephen L. Moore’s 2022 book, Patton’s Payback: The Battle of El Guettar and General Patton’s Rise to Glory explores a chapter of the US Army’s history that rarely gets as much attention – the battles of Kasserine Pass and El Guettar. These events are perhaps best known in popular culture from the opening act of the 1970 movie Patton. Moore’s book is a narrative of the events following the Allied landings in French North Africa. The story carries across the German push through Kasserine Pass, the following US Army counterattack and the collapse of the Axis troops in Tunisia. Moore focuses the narrative at the operational level on the events that impact the US Army’s II Corps, initially commanded by General Lloyd Fredenhall, but famously commanded by George S. Patton from March into April of 1943. Despite its title, the book is less directly about George...

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Posted on Mar 8, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

In The Sailor’s Bookshelf, James Stavridis Tackles a Deep Subject – The Sea. Book Review.

In The Sailor’s Bookshelf, James Stavridis Tackles a Deep Subject – The Sea. Book Review.

The Sailor’s Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea. Admiral James Stavridis.  Publisher: Naval Institute Press.  Price $ 24.95 I’ve read a fair number of books the past few years. It’s made me realize that there are authors, there are good authors and then there are authors that have you devouring their book from cover to cover. Admiral James Stavridis book, The Sailor’s Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea is squarely in this last category. Now this might be the strangest book review I’ve yet written, because it’s basically a book review about a book composed of… book reviews. Still with me? Good! If you are going to read one book this year, you would do well to read The Sailor’s Bookshelf. Similar in structure to Stavridis’s earlier book The Leader’s Bookshelf, The Sailor’s Bookshelf is a list of, as the subtitle states ‘…Fifty Books to Know the Sea….’. But this book is much more than just a list. Admiral Stavridis clearly conveys his appreciation of both the...

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Posted on Feb 28, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Never Give Up! Never Surrender! The Tin Can Sailors Have Their Finest Hour in ‘The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors’. Book Review

Never Give Up! Never Surrender! The Tin Can Sailors Have Their Finest Hour in ‘The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors’. Book Review

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary WWII Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour.  Author: James D. Hornfischer, adapted by Doug Murray. Drawn by Steven Sanders. Colored by Matt Soffe. Lettered by Rob Steen. Publisher: Dead Reckoning, Annapolis, Maryland. Price $ 29.95 James D. Hornfischer wrote the definitive book on the naval battle off Samar – The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. Published by Bantam Books in 2004, Hornfischer recounts the tale off an outgunned force of U.S. Navy sailors stoically enduring all that the Japanese Navy could throw at them in a daylight surface action. The battle should have been the big gun shootout the Navy’s battleship admirals had sought for years. Instead, a support group of escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts faced off against capital ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, including the powerful battleship Yamato. In the balance hung the fate of the invasion of Leyte.   You’d think it would make an epic movie, but sweeping naval battles...

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Posted on Feb 22, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

David Poyner’s Latest Book ‘Arctic Sea’ Updates the Modern Techno-Thriller. Book Review

David Poyner’s Latest Book ‘Arctic Sea’ Updates the Modern Techno-Thriller. Book Review

Arctic Sea.  Author: David Poyer. Publisher: St. Martin’s Press. Price $28.99 Arctic Sea is the latest installment in the 22-book series following the fictional exploits of U.S. Navy officer Dan Lenson.  If you’ve not read the prior books in the series, a brief recap of this near future history has resulted in the US and China having fought a short, nasty war. Both China and Russia are pushing for greater control of the world’s waters, including the thawing Arctic Ocean. On top of that, a pandemic is afflicting the world’s population and political differences in the United States have erupted into open conflict with an autocratic Federal administration intent on retaining power. If that recap comes across as horribly bleak, well, it’s tough to characterize this as the ‘feel good’ novel of the year. However, the book true to the events of the prior novels and Poyer conveys a plausible future in line with predictive science fiction works of the past. Reading Arctic Sea, I’m reminded of H.G. Well’s...

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Posted on Jan 26, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

If You Want Cyber Peace, Prepare for Cyberwar. Book Review.

If You Want Cyber Peace, Prepare for Cyberwar. Book Review.

Cyberspace in Peace and War.  Author: Martin C. Libicki. Publisher: Naval Institute Press. 512 pages. Price $ 60.00 The headlines are dominated with the risk of cyberattacks against corporate and national entities. Is there a cyberwar looming over the horizon? Are you ready for cyberwar? How do you respond to a cyberattack? But hold on a moment – what exactly *is* a cyberattack? It clearly involves computers – but what is it and how does it fit into broader tactical and strategic operations? Would you like to know more? You can turn to Martin C. Libicki’s recent book Cyberspace in Peace and War (2021, Naval Institute Press).  Dr. Libicki’s tackles the subject of cyberwar with an eye towards educating the reader as to the various types of cyber activities and how they fit into modern concept of conflict. It’s a well-organized book that starts with a brief history of cyber-attacks. You get a good summation of the broad types of attacks along with numerous real-world examples that might jog...

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Posted on Jan 22, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

The Straight Shooter of Savo Island – The Life of Vice Admiral Willis Lee Jr. Book Review.

The Straight Shooter of Savo Island – The Life of Vice Admiral Willis Lee Jr. Book Review.

Battleship Commander: The Life of Vice Admiral Willis A. Lee Jr.  Author: Paul Stillwell. Publisher: Naval Institute Press Price $ 37.95 The battle of Midway rightfully gets a lot of attention, but the Guadalcanal campaign marked the shift in momentum in the Pacific War. No longer just blocking Japanese attacks, at Guadalcanal the Allies began the series of offensives that would lead to victory in the Pacific. But Guadalcanal was far from a certain outcome and the series of naval battles in the waters of the Solomon Islands were pivotal in securing the island. In this environment, Vice Admiral Willis A Lee, Jr played a key role commanding United States Navy ships in action against the Japanese in November of 1942. He’d remain in command of elements of the fast battleship force until June, 1945. Against the plethora of well-known naval leaders like Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, and Burke, Vice Admiral Lee blended into background, focused on accomplishing his assigned mission. Willis “Ching” Lee’s life has never been documented in...

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Posted on Jan 10, 2022 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Documenting Black Jack Pershing’s War. Book Review

Documenting Black Jack Pershing’s War. Book Review

John J. Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, 1917-1919, Volume 1: April 1917 – September 30, 1917.Author: John T. Greenwood (editor). Publisher: University of Kentucky Press. Price: $ 65.00 I’ll admit my knowledge regarding the United States military in the First World War is not a deep river. But you can argue that the Allied Powers may not have won the war without the declaration of war by the United States of America in April, 1917. The outbreak of war found the United States Army having to pivot from its recent ‘punitive’ campaign against Pancho Villa in Mexico to recruiting, training, equipping and transporting an entire army across the Atlantic into action in Europe. Fortunately, the country had a capable officer available for the task – John J. Pershing. General Pershing was faced with the intimidating task of transforming the US Army from a force engaged in counter-insurgency operations into a large standing force capable of waging modern war on a foreign battlefield. How General...

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Posted on Nov 28, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Jutland: The Latest Salvo. Book Review

Jutland: The Latest Salvo. Book Review

Clash of Capital Ships: From the Yorkshire Raid to Jutland Author: Eric Dorn Brose. Publisher: Naval Institute Press.  Price $ 49.95 There’s been a lot of ink spilled on Battle of Jutland, so much so that it is reminiscent of the Battle of Gettysburg, and rightly so. While a common perception of Jutland is that it revealed defects with the British battlecruisers, it’s best known as a decisive moment where the Royal Navy could have lost the war in a single afternoon. Eric Dorn Brose wades into this clash of historical narrative with his book Clash of the Capital Ships: From the Yorkshire Raid to Jutland published in 2021 by Naval Institute Press. Cover of Clash of the Capital Ships Dr. Brose has crafted a narrative that synthesizes the work of prior historians into an engaging and informative narrative of the battle. Dr. Brose charts a course through British and German naval strategy from the beginning of the war through the Battle of Jutland. The story explores how the...

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Posted on Oct 31, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

From the Sea…To the Blue Water Beyond.  Book Review.

From the Sea…To the Blue Water Beyond. Book Review.

Strategy Shelved: The Collapse of Cold War Naval Strategic Planning.  Author: Steven T. Wills. Publisher: United States Naval Institute.  Price $ 44.95 A common assumption is that since the end of the Second World War, the United States Navy has ruled to world’s seas throughout the Cold War and onward into the 21st Century. The assumption is not without merit. At the end of the Second World War, the United States Navy was the preeminent maritime strike force in the world. Counted separately, US naval aviation was the second largest air force in the world, only behind the U.S. Army Air Force. It was a state of affairs that scaled up the old phrase ‘send a gunboat’ into the more formidable action of sending a carrier battlegroup. And while ships did sail into harm’s way, the American public could assume that the sun never set on the ships of America’s Navy. Steven T. Wills explores how Cold War naval strategy was developed, evolved and implemented in his book Strategy...

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Posted on Sep 25, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

On the Origins of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet. Book Review.

On the Origins of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet. Book Review.

“They pay me to be an Admiral, not to think!” This quote attributed to Berkley Milne sums up an era of change that transformed the organization of the Royal Navy at the dawn of the Twentieth Century.  Author Christopher M. Buckey explores this transformation in his recent book Genesis of the Grand Fleet: The Admiralty, Germany and the Home Fleet, 1896-1914. Buckley examines the factors and personalities that led to the creation of the mighty armada that was a foundational element in the Entente’s victory in the First World War. Buckey spotlights the truism that while technological superiority is definitely important in naval warfare, it means little if not paired with an effective tactical plan that in turn rests on a solid foundation of strategy. Buckey explores the intersection of geography, politics and personality and how these factors shaped the formation of the Royal Navy in the years leading up to the outbreak of the First World War.  The book serves as an effective proof that geography matters. The...

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Posted on Aug 7, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Resentment, Rebellion and Retribution: The Second Anglo-Sikh War 1848-1849. Book Review

Resentment, Rebellion and Retribution: The Second Anglo-Sikh War 1848-1849. Book Review

The Second Anglo-Sikh War.  Author: Amarpal Singh. Publisher: Amberley Publishing.  Price $ 25.00 In the later half of the 1840’s the Sikh state founded by Ranjit Singh found itself in competition with the expanding British Empire’s East India Company. A short conflict in 1845-46 had led to concessions by the Sikhs, with those concessions fostering resentments which sparked a second war in 1848. Amarpal Singh’s book The Second Anglo-Sikh War provides a comprehensive overview of the war, it’s causes and the aftermath. The book is divided between an extensive portrait of the personalities and events that led to the second war and the campaign and battles that resulted in the defeat of the Sikh armies and the annexation of the Sikh territory into the British Empire. Starting from the final events of the First Anglo-Sikh War, Amarpal Singh provides a detailed narrative that delves into the personalities of the coming war. The reader is introduced to the feudal nobility of the Sikh leaders and the families. You’ll gain insights...

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Posted on Jul 24, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Take a Voyage to The Bottom of the Sea with The Bathyscape Trieste. Book Review.

Take a Voyage to The Bottom of the Sea with The Bathyscape Trieste. Book Review.

Opening the Great Ocean Depths: The Bathyscape Trieste. 2021.  Authors: Norman Polmar and Lee J. Mathers. Naval Institute Press. 304 pages. Price: $44.95 ISBN: 978-1-6824-7591-1 The United States Navy submarine branch has long carried the nickname as the “Silent Service”. During the Cold War that phrase referred to both how quiet the boats were as well as the often-clandestine nature of their work. While not as glamourous as the attack boats and boomers, research submersibles like the Trieste, Alvin and the NR-1 performed critical missions and often operated under the cloak of deep waters. Now, Norman Polmar and Lee J. Mather bring the origins of the deep submersible operations to the surface in their recent book Opening the Great Ocean Depths: The Bathyscape Trieste. The Trieste was one of the earliest of the submersibles designed from the pressure hull outward as a way for a human crew to explore the deep ocean and ultimately, to explore the very bottom of the sea. Trieste, and her crew of Jacques Piccard and...

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Posted on Jul 12, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

The Flutist of Arnhem covers “A Bridge Too Far”.

The Flutist of Arnhem covers “A Bridge Too Far”.

The Flutist of Arnhem: A Story of Operation Market Garden. Author: Antonio Gil. Publisher: Dead Reckoning. 152 pages. Price $ 24.95 ISBN: 9781682474631 I first encountered the defense of Arnhem bridge in Cornelius Ryan’s book “A Bridge Too Far”. Later came the movie with a cast of thousands and a number board games covering aspects of the operation. Antonio Gil revisits the events of this battle with his recent graphic novel “The Flutist of Arnhem: A Story of Operation Market Garden”. Gil weaves a good overview of General Montgomery’s big push to end the war with a fictional tale of an SOE agent trying to deliver important documents to the Allied High Command. The two separate story lines intersect during the events of Operation Market Garden – the combined air assault and ground offensive designed to push the Allies over the Rhine and into Germany. The book retells the story Operation Market Garden with enough detail to understand the events, without getting bogged down within individual combat actions. While the...

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Posted on Jun 26, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ArtificiaI Intelligence. Book Review

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love ArtificiaI Intelligence. Book Review

The birth of AI is coming, and it’s going to be messy. You’re thinking about Skynet, aren’t you? Or maybe the visage of giant, self-aware autonomous armored vehicles rolling across the battlefield dealing death and destruction as they execute their instructions. Well, relax, because it’s not going to be a self-aware AI like Skynet or lumbering super tanks…well, probably not like...

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Posted on Apr 14, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

From Biplanes to Ballistic Missiles — The Career of General Thomas S. Power. “To Rule the Skies: General Thomas S. Power and the Rise of Strategic Air Command in the Cold War”. Book Review.

From Biplanes to Ballistic Missiles — The Career of General Thomas S. Power. “To Rule the Skies: General Thomas S. Power and the Rise of Strategic Air Command in the Cold War”. Book Review.

To Rule the Skies: General Thomas S. Power and the Rise of Strategic Air Command in the Cold War. 2021.  Author: Brent D. Ziarnick. Naval Institute Press. 312 pages. ISBN: 978-1-68-2475874 The National Museum of the United States Air Force has an impressive collection of artifacts representing the Cold War and the Strategic Air Command. The hulking airframe of a B-36 Peacemaker heavy bomber dominates the hall. The Peacemaker is flanked by the sleek lines of the B-47 Stratojet and B-58 Hustler jet bombers. The adjacent missile gallery houses the silent pillars of ballistic missiles that made up a third of the nation’s nuclear triad. But you can walk the length and breadth of the museum and not find a mention of General Thomas S. Power. It’s surprising as General Power led the Strategic Air Command through both the trying test of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the transformation of SAC into a strike force encompassing both the bomber and the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Dr. Brent D. Ziarnick aims...

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Posted on Mar 20, 2021 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

The Eagle and the Sun Duel at Okinawa in “Rain of Steel: Mitscher’s Task Force 58, Ugaki’s Thunder Gods, and the Kamikaze War Off Okinawa”. Book Review.

The Eagle and the Sun Duel at Okinawa in “Rain of Steel: Mitscher’s Task Force 58, Ugaki’s Thunder Gods, and the Kamikaze War Off Okinawa”. Book Review.

Rain of Steel is an indispensable reference for understanding the Okinawa campaign. Moore’s book leaves the reader with a good understanding of how the scope of the campaign extended well beyond the waters surrounded Okinawa. Reading the book, the reader gains an understanding of how both the tenacious Japanese defense as well as the cost in lives and material, shaped US planning for the invasion of the Japanese home islands.

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Posted on Jan 25, 2019 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Andrea Casarrubea’s new monograph an essential book for historians Great War aerial combat. Book Review.

Andrea Casarrubea’s new monograph an essential book for historians Great War aerial combat. Book Review.

In the Skies of Forgotten Courage: The RNAS and RAF in the Adriatic and Albania 1917-1918 – Book Review.   Andrea Casarrubea, Aeronaut Books. 2018. 364 pages. Soft Cover. $69.99. ISBN 978-1-935881-62-9   Mention Great War aerial combat and most people immediately think the conflict over the Western Front and pilots such as Ball, Bishop, Fonck, Udet and Von Richtofen. Back in the day my education on the history of air power left you with the impression that the air started at the North Sea and ended at Switzerland. While the Western Front was an important conflict, the war in the air was present almost everywhere that the war was fought. Unfortunately, there’s been a dearth of material on the actions in many of these theaters.   But that situation is changing, in no small part due to Andrea Casarrubea’s 2018 book “In the Skies of Forgotten Courage”. The monograph focuses on the activities of the Royal Navy Air Service and later the Royal Air Force in the southern...

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Posted on Oct 17, 2017 in Armchair Reading, Books and Movies, Front Page Features

David Doyle’s Fantastic New Book on the Panzer IV Tank!  Book Review

David Doyle’s Fantastic New Book on the Panzer IV Tank! Book Review

Legends of Ground Warfare Panzerkampfwagen IV The Backbone of Germany’s WW II Tank Force – Book Review David Doyle, Shiffer Publishing, Ltd.. 2017 112 pages Hard Cover $19.99 ISBN 978-0-7643-5359-8 Rick Martin Prolific military scholar David Doyle has outdone himself with this 2017 look at the venerable Panzer IV medium tank. The Panzer IV (Pz IV) was, as the book’s title indicates, the backbone of the German Army during the 1940s. It was found serving on all fronts and over 8,500 tanks of this type were produced. This 112 page book is arranged with each chapter looking at a different Pz IV model from the prototype and Type As to the last production model, the Type J. Each chapter features a thorough discussion of the Type with a handy table showing the dimensions, engine type and performance, crew, speeds, fording depth and trench crossing ability and armaments of each particular model. In addition, the manufacturers, chassis numbers and quantities of each type are also shown. Crystal clear black and...

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Posted on Sep 11, 2017 in Armchair Reading, Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Book Preview of David Doyle’s New CLEVELAND TANK PLANT Softcover!

Book Preview of David Doyle’s New CLEVELAND TANK PLANT Softcover!

Cleveland Tank Plant – Aircraft and military vehicle production at Cleveland Plant 2 (1942-1970) – Book Preview David Doyle, G-104 Press. 2017 112 pages Soft Cover $25.00 UPC:9781775013303 Silvio Iacuone David Doyle is world renowned for his books and magazine features on military vehicles, ranging from Squadron Walk Around and In Action books to his Ampersand 1100 combined page book set on Dodges in US Military Service. In his latest book though, he is stepping away from that and teaming up with G-104 Press, a new publishing company out of Ontario, Canada founded by Scott and Kim Taylor. Instead of a specific vehicle type or series, his newest title “Cleveland Tank Plant” focuses on a location, a location where parts of one of the best WW2 bombers and most unique Cold War vehicles were manufactured. The book is mainly comprised of well captioned photos featuring images of the XP-75 Eagle fighter, B-29 Super Fortress sub-assemblies, M41 Walker Bulldog, M42 Duster, M56 Scorpion, M114 Armored Recon Vehicle, M551 Sheridan, M108...

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Posted on Jul 14, 2017 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

U.S. Halftracks in Action – a new edition of a classic Squadron Signal book!

U.S. Halftracks in Action – a new edition of a classic Squadron Signal book!

U.S. Halftracks in Action – Book Review David Doyle, Squadron Signal Publications. 2017 80 pages Soft Cover $19.95 ISBN 978-0-89747-829-8 Rick Martin Squadron Signal’s venerable In Action line has been publishing soft cover books on military vehicles, ships and aircrafts since 1971! Now they are going back and updating their past releases adding new content. Their most recent release is U.S. Halftracks in Action and what an improvement! The original U.S. Halftracks In Action was printed in 1996 and was written by Jim Mesko. It was book number 34 in the “In Action” line. It ran a tight 50 pages and was mostly in black and white with some color inserts. This new release written by David Doyle and represents a new effort on the part of Squadron Signal. As David puts it “Squadron is making an effort to standardize their books at 80 pages. The older volume was well short of that. The company is also taking advantage of newer printing methods which allow for more color and...

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