Book Review – Images of War, Battleships of the United States Navy, rare photographs from wartime archives



This is another title in the fine range of Images of War series. The series stands on the careful selection of rare archive images, but each title is more than a photo essay. There is crisp text to support the image selection in telling the story. In this issue, there are some excellent colour images with the mainly monochrome selection. Enthusiasts and model makers are very well served by the image selection, but this is a very affordable book that is very useful to the younger reader, or anyone wishing to develop knowledge in this area of warfare and technology.

Book Review – Images of War, Coastal Command’s Air War Against the German U-boat, rare photographs from wartime archives



The story of how the RAF fought to deny the Royal Navy control of naval aviation is more damging because the RAF had little interest in providing adequate aircraft. Fortunately, the RN was able to regain control of shipboard aircraft before the start of WWII and had always retained control of development and deployment of aircraft carriers. However, the RAF managed to convince the politicians to let them keep flying boats and land aircraft for maritime patrol and attack. They then gave this duty the lowest priority for re-equipment. That shameful neglect was to a degree compensated by the extreme courage of RAF aircrew who were charged initially with a task for which they lacked adequate equipment. This book tells the positive story in concise text and outstanding photographs. Whatever politicians and senior RAF officers may have thought in 1939, the RAF story is incomplete without the inspiring story of the crews of Coastal Command.

Book Review – Glider Pilots at Arnhem



The research is impeccable, the writing very readable, the illustrations first class. This book is a must for anyone with an interest in airborne forces and vertical insertion of troops, essential to anyone wishing to understand the fight from Normandy to German soil. It is an inspiring story and an absorbing tale. There really isn’t much else a reader could expect of a book, except a great price, which it is.

Book Review – Tyneside Scottish, 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd (service) Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers



This is a very interesting story, with many fine images through the text, all in monochrome.

One of the most curious aspects of the British Army is the nature of its units and their relationship. The basic regiments have been recruited from relatively small geographic areas, most frequently English Counties. In Scotland similar units were raised on much the same basis, although there was a clan element in several Scottish regiments. The result was that regiments often gave way to the particular fashions of the time and the likings of the Colonel. For some reason, several English regiments adopted kilts and include few if any Scots in their ranks. That may not in itself been so strange because the kilt and tartans was largely a romantic invention of the Victorians. The authors have traced the origins and formation of one of those kilted English regiments and its conduct in the Great War.

Book Review – A German General on the Eastern Front, The Letters and Diaries of Gotthard Heinrici 1941-1942



General Heinrici is not a well-know German commander of WWII, at least in terms of others such as Rommel, but he was a very able officer. He was a professional soldier who commanded a Corps during the first two years of the War on the Eastern Front. He therefore provides a very valuable insight into the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the initial lightning successes, the first shock of a Russian winter and the blunting of the German thrusts in a vast territory. The author/editor has made a selection of the General’s papers and diary records that provide a very candid insight into the war on that front, together with Hurter’s perceptive introduction. A fascinating view and rewarding for the reader.

Book Review – Facing Fearful Odds, My Father’s Story of Captivity, Escape & Resistance 1940-45



This is one WWII study that is part of a growing trend with sons writing their fathers’ stories. This book is based on a father’s start on writing down his experiences in war. To this original material is added further research by the author, and his sensitive editing of his father’s work. The result is a book that tells a little told part of the war in Europe, but not an unusual story. There is humour and courage, comradeship, determination, danger and eventual triumph. It is the type of story writers of fiction are keen to plot and enthral. The writing style flows and holds the attention. The story is inspiring and will be much enjoyed by a broad readership.

Book Review – Hitler’s Last Offensive



A very readable and carefully researched full story of the Battle of the Ardennes. This is one of those WWII battles that has many claims and counter claims. The author unfolds the whole story of the battle which was to prove one of the bloodiest of the war in Europe. He offers fresh insight and looks at some of the errors of judgement by US General Patton. This is a book that those following the story of the Allied liberation of Occupied Europe will enjoy and find most informative.

Book Review – No Surrender In Burma, Operations Behind Japanese Lines, Captivity and Torture



The author was a member of the Special Service Detachment II assigned to train Chinese guerilla units. He was then tasked with destroying airfields and taking bullion to India, Betrayed to the Japanese 20 miles short of the Indian border, he suffered prolonged torture. This is a very graphic account of endurance and survival against brutal odds. The story may be difficult to read in parts but that level of brutal treatment usually is. A story that had to be told and deserves to be read.

Book Review – Underground Warfare 1914-1918



Of all the duties soldiers performed on the Western Front, mining was probably the most terrifying and lethal. The author has brought to life this subterranean existence. The text is very descriptive and captures the dangers and terrors underground, aided by a photo plate section with rare photographs, and a host of detailed drawings that explain the technology and methods employed to construct the networks of tunnels, bunkers and explosive mines. This is an area of combat in France during WWI that has previously received very little coverage despite its growing importance to trench warfare. The author has corrected this deficiency with what may prove the definitive book on the subject. Highly commended!!!

Book Review – The Battle Book of Ypres, A Reference to Military Operations in the Ypres Salient 1914-1918



The author died in 1957, a poet, author, supporter of the Ypres League, and dedicated to remembering the efforts of the ‘Tommy’. She wrote first a shorter work, ‘The Imortal Salient’ in 1925 and followed with this book in 1927. It is a remarkably complete study of military action in the Ypres salient through the length of WWI, and the publisher is to be commended for returning this work to print. The author, perhaps with the poet’s eye has brought to life what might have been a very dry but comprehensive study. This is one of those essential books of life and death in WWI on the Western Front. Without it, it is difficult to achieve a firm understanding of the super human efforts of those caught up in the actions.