Military History Encyclopedia on the Web

2017 onwards - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - April-December 2012 - November 2011-March 2012 - July-October 2011 - January-June 2011 - March-December 2010 - January-April 2010 - September-December 2009 - January-August 2009- 2008 - 2007

26 March 2017

The Mongol Conquests - The Military Operations of Genghis Khan and Sübe'etei, Carl Fredrik Sverdrup. A detailed examination of the campaigns of the two greatest Mongol military leaders, using a wide range of sources, including previously un-translated Chinese materials. Gives a clear picture of the true nature of the Mongol conquests, from Genghis's own establishment of power in Mongolia to the invasions of Western Europe and northern China. Not always the easiest of reads (mainly because of the complexity of the story), but a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the rise of the Mongols. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Merchant Seafaring Through World War 1 - 1914-1918, Peter Lyon. Looks at the fate of British merchant seaman during the periods of German surface raiding and the U-boat war. Rather firmly takes sides, with a hostile view of the U-boat commanders and their tactics, although one that is supportable by the evidence provided. Contains a series of impressive tales of survival against the odds, as well as tracing the development of U-boat tactics and the British countermeasures.  [read full review]
cover cover cover
Europe: Chained by History, Larry J. Hilton. A generally well meaning book looking at the history of Europe, and suggesting that a truly united Europe is the continent's best chance for a safe and prosperous future, somewhat marred by a series of minor historical errors that rather niggle (including Vienna's attempt to claim Mozart as a native son). Includes a very strong examination of hyper inflation and the rise of anti-Semitism in Vienna, a dark shadow that marred an otherwise impressive city [read full review]
cover cover cover

19 March 2017

T-64 Battle Tank - The Cold War's Most Secret Tank, Steven J. Zaloga. A brief history of a tank that was too advanced for its own good, combining advanced features that meant it couldn't be exported with an unreliable engine that made it unsuited for service with the Red Army for many years after it first appeared. The limited service life of the T-64 allows the author to focus on the complex and troubled development process, giving us an interesting picture of the way tank development worked in the Soviet Union [read full review]
cover cover cover
Special Operations South-East Asia 1942-1945: Minerva, Baldhead and Longshanks/ Creek, David Miller. Focuses on three Special Forces operations in South East Asia – a failed attempt to gather intelligence on Sumatra, a series of similar but successful operations on the Andaman Islands and a 'cutting out' operation conducted in the Portuguese enclave of Goa. These were three very different operations, and perhaps the only thing they have in common is that they are now hardly remembered, so this is a useful study of the three. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Palestine - the Ottoman Campaigns of 1914-1918, Edward J. Erickson. An interesting study of the Ottoman side of the Palestinian campaigns of 1915-1918, looking at the failed Ottoman attacks on the Suez canal, the first two unsuccessful British attacks on Gaza and Allenby's successful campaign that eventually forced the Ottomans to sue for peace. A useful book somewhat marred by the author's approach to the Armenian Genocide, which is briefly discussed as if it was a valid response to a major security threat instead of a deliberate genocide ordered from above. [read full review]
cover cover cover

2 March 2017

Picket's Charge at Gettysburg, James A. Hessler and Wayne E. Motts. An excellent guide to the most famous Confederate attack on the third day at Gettysburg, combining four battlefield trails with a detailed examination of the attack itself, covering the impact of the terrain on both sides, the performance of individual units and commanders, and many of the controversies that have dogged the subject ever since the fighting stopped. The trails appear to make sense, but for me the main value of the book is its account of the Confederate attack, supported by a detailed knowledge of the landscape over which it took place [read full review]
cover cover cover
Railway Guns of World War II, Steven J. Zaloga. Although the heyday of the railway gun came during the First World War, the most famous example of the type, the massive German 80cm K(E) guns 'Dora' and 'Gustav', came from the Second World War. In reality these were useless vanity projects, but as this book makes clear every major combatant used a least a handful of railway guns during the Second World War. This book combines  brief technical descriptions of each country's railway guns with a look at their combat service [read full review]
cover cover cover
Valentine Infantry Tank 1938-45, Bruce Oliver Newsome. Looks at the most numerous British tank of the Second World War, but one that only saw limited combat service, mainly in North Africa. Notable for the amount of information packed into a series of tables, including specifications and identifying features of the many versions of the Valentine, as well as the interesting material on the interior of the tank, how it was driven, and on the many special variants such as the Archer self -propelled gun, which carried its main gun pointing backwards. [read full review]
cover cover cover

5 March 2017

The Hindenburg Line, Patrick Osborn & Marc Romanych. A good study of the full network of defences generally known in English as the Hindenburg Line, and which spread from the Channel coast to the St. Mihiel salient east of Verdun. Looks at the original purpose behind their construction, the actual shape they took on the ground, and how they performed under attack. Very useful to have a book that focuses on the entire length of this key German fortification [read full review]
cover cover cover
Hitler's Nordic Ally? Finland and the Total War 1939-1945, Claes Johansen. A wide ranging examination of Finland's two wars with the Soviet Union, the period leading up to the Winter War, the uneasy peace, and the aftermath of the wars, looking at the political debate within Finland, the fighting, and the wider impact of the war in the other Nordic countries. Especially interesting for the light it shines on the rather murky period between the two wars, where parts of the Finnish government entered into a de-facto alliance with Germany without the authority to do so, and on the varying Soviet aims. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Normandy June 1944: The Night of Liberation, Gilles Vallée and Christophe Esquerré. A heavily illustrated book that follows one stick of paratroops from the 3rd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment as they dropped behind Utah Beach on D-Day. A splendid educational publication that doesn't pull its punches, following a stick that saw its leader killed before reaching the ground, suffered heavy losses and fell into German hands almost immediately. Also follows the aircraft that flew them to Normandy and its aircrew. [read full review]
cover cover cover

26 February 2017

German Half-Tracks and Wheeled Vehicles 1939-1945, Alexander Lüdeke. Looks at the armoured cars and half-tracks used by the German Army before and during the Second World War, focusing on the development and technical descriptions of each type and its major variants. Each type gets one or two pages, supported by photos of the vehicle. A useful short reference book on these essential vehicles, covering both the many types developed in Germany and the smaller number of captured vehicles pressed into service. [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Gempei War 1180-85 - The Great Samurai Civil War, Stephen Turnbull. Looks at the civil war between the Taira and Minamoto clans that saw the samurai replace the Imperial Court as the main source of power in Japan, and ended with the establishment of the Shogunate, the system of military rule that lasted for nearly seven hundred years. A fascinating account of this crucial conflict that helps make sense of a war that sometimes appears as a collection of unconnected battles involving a series of different commanders. [read full review]
cover cover cover
BT Fast Tank - The Red Army's Cavalry Tank 1931-1945, Steven J. Zaloga. Looks at the fast BT series tanks, based on the American Christie tank. Produced in vast numbers in the Soviet Union in several main variants, the BT tanks were used in Spain, against Japan on the Mongolian border and during the Winter War, before being destroyed in equally vast numbers during the first year of the Great Patriotic War. Traces the development of the Soviet version of the tank, the many versions produced, and its mainly unimpressive combat career. [read full review]
cover cover cover

19 February 2017

British and German Battlecruisers - Their Development and Operations, Michele Cosentino & Ruggero Stanglini. A useful volume that covers the development, design and construction of British and German battlecruisers, their wartime deployments and both side's plans for the next generation of battlecruisers, of which only HMS Hood was ever completed. Having all of this material in a single volume gives a much better overview of the two Navy's battlecruisers, their advantages and flaws, and their performance in and out of battle. Concludes with a look at other nation's battlecruisers and battlecruiser designs [read full review]
cover cover cover
Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944, Ben Kite. Looks in detail at the role of each element in the British and Canadian military machine during the Normandy Campaign, including each aspect of the ground forces from the infantry to the armour, intelligence, reconnaissance and medical services, as well as the air support and the fire power provided by the massive Allied fleets off the Normandy coast. A very useful companion to narrative accounts of the campaign, helping to explain how the British and Canadians managed to overcome the determined German resistance on their front [read full review]
cover cover cover
Brutus - Caesar's Assassin, Kirsty Corrigan. A well balanced biography of Brutus, one of the more consistent defenders of the Roman Republic, and famously one of Caesar's assassins on the Ides of March. Paints a picture of a man of generally high moral standards (with some flaws in financial matters), but also an over-optimistic plotter, who failed to make any realistic plans for the aftermath of the assassination. Does a good job of tracing Brutus's fairly obscure early years, as well as distinguishing between later legends and historically likely events [read full review]
cover cover cover

12 February 2017

Alesia - The Final Struggle for Gaul, Nic Fields. A useful history of the siege and associated battles that secured Caesar's conquest of Gaul and ended Vercingetorix's revolt, the first (and only) time that the Gallic tribes united against Caesar. Starts with a history of Vercingetorix's revolt and the earlier failed siege of Gergova, before moving onto the climatic siege of Alesia, the massive Gallic relief effort and its defeat by Caesar. A good account of this siege, supported by excellent maps showing the besieged town and its surroundings. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Sailors on the Rocks - Famous Royal Navy Shipwrecks, Peter C. Smith. Looks at a long series of Royal Naval shipwrecks, from the loss of HMS Coronation in 1691 to the grounding of HMS Nottingham in 2002. Covers the background histories of the ships involved, their actions in the period before their loss, the lead-up to the loss, the rescue attempts and the aftermath of the loss. An interesting book that covers a great deal of ground [read full review]
cover cover cover
US Navy Carrier Aircraft vs IJN Yamato Class Battleships, Pacific Theatre 1944-45, Mark Stille. Looks at the two battles that resulted in the sinking of Yamato and Musashi, the two most powerful battleships ever completed, and the US aircraft, weapons and tactics that sank them. Interesting to bring together all of the relevant technical histories – the ships themselves, Japanese anti-aircraft guns, the US aircraft and their main weapons – in a single volume, followed by detailed accounts of the air attacks that sank the two battleships [read full review]
cover cover cover

5 February 2017

By the Knife, Steve Partridge . A historical novel set largely at sea in the middle of the eighteenth century, following two intertwined lives from their formative years in England, to their repeated encounters across the oceans. Written across a very broad canvas, from the Caribbean to the west coast of Africa, Britain to the Mediterranean, and with a good feel for the naval warfare and general lawlessness of the period. [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Great Siege of Malta - The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John, Bruce Ware Allen. Looks at one of the pivotal conflicts of the Sixteenth Century, when a massive Ottoman army attempted to capture Malta, then the main base for the Knights of St. John. This excellent history traces events from the earlier siege of Rhodes, where the Knights were defeated, through the intervening years of intermittent conflict, and on to the Great Siege itself, covering both the fighting on Malta and the attempts to raise the siege [read full review]
cover cover cover
Critical Convoy Battles of WWII - Crisis in the North Atlantic, March 1943, Jurgen Rohwer. Focuses on the successful U-boat attacks on convoys HX.229 and SC.122, looking at how earlier convoys were able to avoid attack, why those particular convoys were hit so hard, the methods being used by both sides, and their impact on the longer term result of the Battle of the Atlantic. A useful study, despite its age (first published in 1977), in particular because of its focus on the successful German attacks of March 1943, which thus get the attention they deserve rather than being seen as a precursor to the Allied victories later in the summer. [read full review]
cover cover cover

31 January 2017

Bayonets for Hire - Mercenaries at War, 1550-1789, William Urban. A history of warfare that covers the period of the European Wars of Religion, the wars of Louis XIV and the near constant conflicts of the Eighteenth Century, with a general focus on the role of the mercenary, although with a fairly broad definition that includes the multinational officer corps of the period. A useful book that includes the less familiar conflicts in Eastern Europe as well as the more familiar conflicts in Western Europe [read full review]
cover cover cover
Long Range Desert Group - Behind Enemy Lines on North Africa, W.B. Kennedy Shaw. A thrilling history of the Long Range Desert Group, one of the most famous of the many Special Forces that popped up in the British Army in the Middle East during the Second World War, although it is often seen in the background of other stories. Written in 1943 by the Group's Intelligence Officer, this book brings the exploits of the LRDG to life, and brings it into a justified foreground position. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Wellington against Soult - The Second Invasion of Portugal, 1809, David Buttery. Looks at the second French invasion of Portugal, which saw Marshal Soult occupy parts of northern Portugal, invading from the north and capturing Oporto, before being expelled from the country by Wellesley, at the start of his second spell of command in Iberia. This is a readable account of one of Wellesley's most aggressive campaigns, including a surprisingly risky river crossing that helped force Soult to begin his retreat. [read full review]
cover cover cover

 

24 January 2017

The Barbary Pirates 15th-17th Centuries, Angus Konstam. Looks at the high point for the Barbary Pirates, a mix of corsairs, privateers and slavers based along the Barbary Coast of North Africa, and whose raids at their most daring reached as far as Iceland! Covers the Barbary Coast and its main ports, the types of ships they used, their crews and commanders and their methods of operations. Gives a good idea of the motivation and reasons for success of the infamous Barbary Corsairs. [read full review]
cover cover cover
Tobruk Commando - The Raid to Destroy Rommel's Base, Gordon Landsborough. An early history of Operation Agreement (first published in 1956), one of the more disastrous British Special Operations of the Second War, which evolved from a simple raid on Tobruk into a full scale combined operations attempt to temporarily capture and destroy the port. Mainly follows the mission from the point of view of the special forces groups operating on land and the commanders of the warships [read full review]
cover cover cover
Rome Seizes the Trident - The Defeat of Carthaginian Seapower & the Forging of the Roman Empire, Marc G. Desantis. Looks at the way in which Rome seized control of the western Mediterranean from the long established naval power of Carthage, and then maintained that power for the rest of the Punic Wars, as well as tracing the impact of Roman naval power on the wider course of the conflict. Also asks why Carthage was unable to respond to the Roman naval challenge, rarely winning a naval battle during the First Punic War and not mounting a serious challenge at all during the Second [read full review]
cover cover cover

19 January 2017

Year of Desperate Struggle: Jeb Stuart and His Cavalry, from Gettysburg to Yellow Tavern, 1863-1864, Monte Akers. Follows on from Year of Glory, and looks at the year in which Stuart's personal reputation was marred by his performance in the Gettysburg campaign, and Union cavalry gained in competence and confidence, eventually equalling and even surpassing their Confederate opponents. Stuart's own career ended in a clash with Union cavalry at Yellow Tavern on 11 May 1864, where he was mortally wounded. Together these books provide a satisfying military biography of Stuart [read full review]
cover cover cover
This Bloody Place - With the Incomparable 29th, Major A.H. Mure. A Gallipoli memoir published in 1919, but written during the war, centred on Mure's 43 days on shore at Gallipoli. An honest, largely unvarnished account of the fighting, which despite Mure's pride in the Allied achievement on Gallipoli doesn't skip over the horrors of the fighting, from the constant presence of death to Mure's own nervous breakdown that saw him invalided home. Gives a good impression of how frantic the fighting was in the narrow Gallipoli beachhead [read full review]
cover cover cover
US Army Rangers 1989-2015, Leigh Neville. Looks at the current incarnation of the US Rangers, looking at its involvement in Panama, Iraq (twice), Somalia and Afghanistan. Tracing the development of the Rangers from a unit expected to conduct short sharp operations against high value targets into one capable of operating at a high tempo for long periods of time, repeated conducting several raids on the same day. An interesting book that doesn't skip over the regiment's failures in its current form, as well as looking at its impressive successes [read full review]
cover cover cover

5 January 2017

SS-Leibstandarte: The History of the First SS Division, 1933-45, Rupert Butler. Looks at the history of the Leibstandarte, Hitler's bodyguard and later the first SS Division. The Leibstandarte gained an impressive military reputation (after a ropey start), but also committed war crimes on almost every front it served, including mass murder in the east, the murder of British and French POWs in 1940 and US POWs in 1944, and of villagers in Italy [read full review]
cover cover cover
Operation Oyster: World War II's Forgotten Raid, Kees Rijken, Paul Schepers, Arthur Thorning. Looks at a complex low level raid on the Philips Radio Works at Eindhoven, carried out in daylight by a mixed force of Mosquitos, Venturas and Bostons. Covers the full range of the mission, from the original reasons for the attack, the planning, the mission itself, losses on both sides, the damage done to the factory and the civilian casualties in Eindhoven [read full review]
cover cover cover
The Coward? The Rise and Fall of the Silver King, Steve R. Dunn. A look at the life and mistakes of Admiral Ernest Troubridge, a British admiral best known for his failure to intercept the Goeben in the Mediterranean at the start of the First World War. The aim is to try and work out why Troubridge acted as he did in 1914, examining the late Victorian and Edwardian navy, his own career and decisions he made elsewhere in his life to try and work out what made him tick [read full review]
cover cover cover

 


Delicious Save this on Delicious

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Cookies