What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Gage, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Ploughing through books at the moment:

    Return Via Dunkirk - Gun Buster - Plenty of threads on this one already. I enjoyed this, plenty of everyday detail. The best Gun Buster book I've read so far.

    Dunkirk (Great Escape) - AJ Barker - Very well written account from the late 70s. The veteran accounts were garnered mainly from people living in South Africa, so not the usual UK based interviews that are more common.

    Fairey Battle - A reappraisal - Greg Baughen - The third of Baughen's books I've read. I enjoy the style as it gets you thinking, but I can understand his detractors as he tends to get blinkered once he's got a particular theme going. The main assessment here is that the Battle has been unfairly treated as it was not provided with armour or self sealing fuel tanks, and was sent on long range daylight strikes without fighter escort. He argue that if the plane had been used more in an army cooperation role, it may have been far more successful. Unfortunately he then concludes that the whole course of The Battle of France could have been altered, which is a hell of a jump into 'what if' territory for a short book based on one aircraft type.
    Chris C, Waddell and CL1 like this.
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    Last night I finished

    Outpost of Occupation, How the Channel Islands Survived Nazi Rule 1940-1945, Barry Turner, 2010, Aurum Press Ltd, 312pp, photos, endnotes, index

    I finished this last night, after starting it before Christmas. I had put the book down because of a lack of time during the holiday season and picked it back up this weekend past.

    Overall, I learned a great deal about the islands, specifically how they are governed and the association then and now with the United Kingdom. As a US citizen, I did not realize that the islands are a Crown possession and not necessarily subject to the same laws and other governances as British subjects in Old Blighty.

    The manuscript seems to have been well sourced utilizing a broad list of records and the author used direct quotes as often as he could. The writing style was engaging and held my interest well, in spite of me having to put it down for a few weeks because of time constraints.

    I did feel at times, though, the author went a bit beyond necessity as an apologist where collaboration was concerned, but this was not a constant, over-riding theme.

    The author noted the lack of significant resistance to the German occupation and I felt his reasoning held merit, which was the small size of the island and 3:1 to 1:1 ratio of occupiers to residents. The inhabitants had nowhere really to hide.

    This was a good read and I recommend it.

    CL1, Dave55, Little Friend and 4 others like this.
  3. Trackfrower

    Trackfrower Member

    Raymond Chandler books. Quite refreshing
    TTH likes this.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Dipped out of WW2 just now and am reading And Away..... Bob Mortimer's autobiography. I've always liked him and Vic Reeves from the Big Night Out onwards and the fishing program he does with Paul Whitehouse is brilliant too. You wouldn't let it lie!

    CL1, Markyboy and AB64 like this.
  5. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    I'm... 1/3 or 1/2 of the way through this.

    He does NOT paint a positive portrait of the Army at the start of the war. Good lord.

    CL1, Orwell1984, Don Juan and 2 others like this.
  6. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    I personally think the British Army were absolutely terrible for the first three years of the war, and were far worse than most people think. They weren't competitive with the Germans at all.
    Andreas likes this.
  7. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian Patron

    Well, that's a pretty reasonable assessment when you look at bad planning and bad outcomes. It's more the institutional problems that Allport identifies, like an inter-war culture in which regimental commanders did little to allow subalterns to learn, or how until wartime reforms by the Adjutant General, the army wasn't bothering to identify pre-existing skills like engineering and ensuring that the men with those skills were actually put in positions where the army could benefit from them.

    It has left me feeling more sympathy for Monty's approach (can't remember if it was stated or not) that basically most officers were terrible and plans had to be kept simple for that reason.

    It also makes the success of Operation Compass look like even more of an anomaly.
    Osborne2, TTH, Andreas and 2 others like this.
  8. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Curently reading this.
    Following up with this:

    Does a good job of demonstrating the constraints policy, politics and industrial capacity can place on what kinds of weapons a country goes to war with. The Italian navy was particularly hobbled in certain areas by this.
    CL1, Juha and Chris C like this.
  9. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Alan is a stand-up guy. I did a quick review of his draft section on the Mediterranean before he finalised it, so any errors in there are mine.

    All the best

    ltdan and Orwell1984 like this.
  10. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    Sadly, Commander Bagnasco just passed away a few days ago.

    All the best

  11. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Thanks for the news. And sorry to hear that as he was a great historian.
  12. Little Friend

    Little Friend Senior Member

    DSCF0607.JPG DSCF0608.JPG

    I bought this during our visit, a good read, but a totally miserable way of life !
    4jonboy, CL1, Slipdigit and 1 other person like this.
  13. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Battle for the Grebbeberg.
    The fighting in and around Wageningen and Rhenen in May 1940

    Dutch vs German Army

    Grebbeberg 1.jpg Grebbeberg 2.jpg
    Grebbeberg 3.jpg
    Grebbeberg 5.jpg
    Grebbeberg 4.jpg

    Soldiers of the Waffen-SS Standarte "Der Führer" attacked the Dutch main defensive line at the Grebbeberg, hard west of Wageningen, on 11 May 1940. In the ensuing three day battle Dutch casualties were heavy. In total, 18 officers and 399 NCOs and men had lost their lives. German casualties were lower. The official number is 238 KIA, but estimates move between 250 and 300 killed
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  14. USSAshlandLSD1

    USSAshlandLSD1 New Member

    Lightning Down, Tom Clavin. VERY good! Starts off a bit slow. Not much detail about the intricacies of piloting a P-38. But bailing out, Buchenwald... YES!

    And if you've ever read Guy Sajer's, "The Forgotten Soldier" (excellent/top 5) you can almost smell the stench of Guy as he walks in the frozen footsteps of Buchenwald survivor/P-38 pilot, Joe Moser, who is also forced to retreat from the advancing Russians.

    Currently searching for non-American authors if anyone has any suggestions.

    Already read Iron Coffins, Herbert A Werner (A++); Japanese Destroyer Captain, Tameichi Hara (B-); and Guy Sajer (A+)
    CL1 likes this.
  15. USSAshlandLSD1

    USSAshlandLSD1 New Member

    Not my favorite Ambrose book. But still worth the read.

    Iron Coffins (Werner) is an EXCELLENT read if you haven't gotten to it. And the Forgotten Soldier (Sajer) is close behind.
    Little Friend likes this.
  16. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    London Main Line War Damage
    by B W L Brooksbank
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  17. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Definitely wish for an English translation on this one like Bronger's book on the Hague 1940.
    stolpi likes this.
  18. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I think the men and junior officers were OK. The BEF did at least fight stubbornly in 1940, as the Germans admitted. What the army most lacked at the start was good higher leadership and adequate training in combined arms warfare.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2022
    Osborne2 and Don Juan like this.
  19. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I believe most of the units of Western Desert Force had been in the theater for a good while and so had time to acclimatize, build teams, and work out proper tactics. Also they had O'Connor.
    Dan M and Chris C like this.
  20. TTH

    TTH Senior Member


    At the risk of being immodest, I would like to mention that the title of the book is the same as a chapter heading in my own book. I feel flattered that he would use it.

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