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Posted on May 16, 2021 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

“War and Resistance in the Philippines 1942-1944.” Book Review.

“War and Resistance in the Philippines 1942-1944.” Book Review.

War and Resistance in the Philippines 1942-1944. 2021.  Author: James Kelly Morningstar. Naval Institute Press. 384 pages. ISBN: 9781682475690 The popular perception of the Philippines during the Second World War is shaped by a handful of key events – the surrender of Corregidor, The Bataan Death March, MacArthur’s pledge to return and of course, the actual return of US combat forces to the Philippines beginning in 1944. But between the bookends of General Wainwright’s surrender of Corregidor and General MacArthur’s return at Leyte was a period of over a thousand days during which the Philippine islands were occupied by the Japanese Empire. Conventional histories suggests that the Filipino people were a people without agency, led into resistance by a handful of American troops that took to the hills, with a s trickle of aid provided by the United States and motivated by the remote directions of General MacArthur from Australia.  Dr. James Kelly Morningstar’s recent book War and Resistance in the Philippines 1942-1944 dispels that traditional interpretation and explores the...

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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 Mar 5, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Remember to Always Be Bold – The Campaigns of the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla. “By Stealth and Sea” Board Game Review.

Remember to Always Be Bold – The Campaigns of the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla. “By Stealth and Sea” Board Game Review.

By Stealth and Sea. Publisher: Dan Verssen Games. Designer: David Thompson. Price $72.00 Passed inspection: Quality components. Glossy rules and scenario book. Engaging gameplay that explores in detail a rarely covered aspect of the naval war in the Mediterranean. Failed basic: No faults with game play. A minor component fault with one warped game board. When I was a lad, Saturday afternoon B-movies were quite popular. One of these films was The Silent Enemy which depicted British efforts to defend Gibraltar against attacks from Italian frogmen on mini submarines. While it may seem like something straight out of a James Bond adventure, the exploits of the Italian “Decima Flottiglia MAS” (or the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla) are firmly in the historical record. While the Italian Royal Navy struggled to compete against the British on the surface of the Mediterranean Sea as well as in the air, it was beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea where the efforts of these Italian commando frogmen demonstrated how skill and determination lead...

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Posted on Aug 17, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Under the Sea, For the Glory of Rome. GMT Games ‘Beneath the Med’ Board Game Review

Under the Sea, For the Glory of Rome. GMT Games ‘Beneath the Med’ Board Game Review

Beneath the Med: Regina Marina at Sea, 1940-1943. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Gregory M. Smith. Price $52.00 Passed inspection: Great narrative-based game focused on World War Two Italian submarine operations. Game generates a solid narrative of the combat patrols of your submarine commander. Represents many of the Italian submarine classes used during the war. The game includes some narrative role-playing elements for leader and crew skill development. The game covers the war from Italy’s entry in June 1940 through the 1943 surrender. Allows operations in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, Caribbean and more. Special operations include the ‘S.L.C.’ attacks, commando raids and supply runs to Singapore. Failed basic:  In common with other entries in this series, the game play can feel ‘fiddly’ with the need to reference multiple charts and tables as you move through each location in the patrol. Combat resolution lacks the detailed tactical feel of maneuvering the submarine to reach attack position against the target. August ’43 – the war was going badly for Italy. Sicily was falling...

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