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Guest Hans Engström

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Just finished 1948 the first Arab-Israel war by Benny Morris. Interesting book, I found it notably that the invading Arab armies were generally quite good at treating captured Israel soldiers and citizens properly, even protecting them from the local palestinians. Likely due to their British training.

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Just finished "Tobruk" by our very own BillB. IMO it gets top marks, and is quite readable, which is helped by an extensive setting of the stage retelling the war in Africa since1940. Rommel gets a rap, as accostumed in this forum, probably too harsh, and the Italians get mixed reviews, leaving me a bit confused as to how they could fight valiantly and then surrender "en masse" but facts do bear this out.

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Tobruk-The-Great-Siege-1941-42/dp/0752452215

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  • 3 years later...

, and the Italians get mixed reviews, leaving me a bit confused as to how they could fight valiantly and then surrender "en masse" but facts do bear this out.

 

 

 

 

o me that is kudos to them as soldiers: you fight gallantly, and when there is no hope for retreat/escape etc... you surrender gallantly en masse...in stead of fighting to the death uselessly....

Edited by Inhapi
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, and the Italians get mixed reviews, leaving me a bit confused as to how they could fight valiantly and then surrender "en masse" but facts do bear this out.

 

 

 

 

o me that is kudos to them as soldiers: you fight gallantly, and when there is no hope for retreat/escape etc... you surrender gallantly en masse...in stead of fighting to the death uselessly....

 

 

Not necessarily im that order... :)

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  • 1 year later...

reading "designing the T-34" by P. Samsonov.

 

This is a refreshing and well researched book. 90 pages on a rather small format.

 

Samsonov integrates much material directly from Russian archives, so a lot of new stuff is in this book.

 

A really welcome addition on the history of the T 34 tank and precursors in the late 30'ies and up to operation Barbarossa.

 

The only downside is that IMHO it i'd rather have had 300 pages..... (Still the pages are double column and smallish print, so still a lot of material in such a smallish book)

 

Also for the price it is a real steal.

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Get this on Kindle (or hardcover if you like):

 

https://www.amazon.com/Tank-Warfare-Eastern-Front-1941-1942-ebook/dp/B00OZ3HSNA

 

It is a steal and guy really knows his stuff!

 

Forczyk has recently written a book on Case White, the Nazi (and Soviet) invasion of Poland. I find his writing a little dry, but its absolutely fascinating and well worth picking up. Not least because its the first effort ive seen to put what happened into a context, rather than as a precursor for the wider war.

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My review on Haynes latest book on the AMX-30 as published in amazon.co.uk. A real pity as the good is pretty good overall:

 

The AMX-30 is possibly the least known tank of its generation and I was thrilled by the fact the Haynes publishing house had the detail of editing this book, filling that void.

 

I ordered it as soon as it was released but, unfortunately, Ive been disappointed. The parts dedicated to the development, operational history and operation of the vehicle in the French context is very good, but it seriously lacks on its coverage of the export customers, Spain being the most important one and the only licensee that manufactured and upgraded the vehicle locally.

 

The selection of pictures of Spanish vehicles is generally in the good side, although one has a somewhat low resolution. Unfortunately, the quality of the related text is quite poor.

 

To begin with, I cannot fathom how the authors got that ENOSA (National Optics Company, now part of Indra) took the responsibility of the multiple AMX-30 revision / update programs. Even if they are speaking of ENASA (Empresa Nacional de Autocamiones, designers of the BMR series and Pegaso engines and trucks), the information would still be inaccurate. ENOSA built optical and electronic elements of the original E and EM2 versions but little else.

 

The authors also discuss the known issues with engine and transmission reliability ..... in the Spanish produced vehicles as opposed to the French experience. As far as I know and has been widely reported (even in this book), the French army had similar problems with the powerpack (most notably the clutch) and indeed the B2 version was developed with the Minerva transmission to solve these problems, Spain opting for an alternate solution for the ER and EM2 variants as correctly stated in the text.

 

Another odd statement is that Spain adopted the OFL-105 APFSDS round,never used by the Spanish army in any of their vehicles. Santa Barbara did develop an APFSDS round (the C-437) but as far as I know it wasn`t based on the French round.

 

On the AMX tanks used by the Venezuelan and Chilean armies, the information is limited and not exactly correct. For example, the Venezuelan army AMXs fire control system is of Israeli, not Belgian, origin..

 

At least it brings good pictures of El Niño (the first alternate powerpack prototype fitted with and AVDS-1790 engine and a CD-850 transmission of US origin) and tells its story acceptably. The authors however do not mention the Leox project (AMX-30 turret on a Leopard 1 hull). Theres at least one image of this prototype and the Leopard hull is still in GDSBS`Seville plant were it has been in use as a prime mover for a long time.

 

This is a real shame and a missed opportunity because it is not that difficult to obtain this information using a simple Google search, nor find very knowledgeable individuals on the history of the AMX-30 in Spain (and Latin America), and this book will only serve to confuse international readers without knowledge of the Spanish language.

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Any comments on the accuracy of historian Stephen E. Ambrose? Am 3/4 of the way through Crazy Horse and Custer. He seems to take much of the personal dialog between these two men and their associates for granted. I don't know if it is because Ambrose has the information to support this or is assuming? He seems to write this book for the overall, general reader. 

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Can't say anything about this specific work of him.

I'm somewhat reserved on Ambrose, mostly because of the way he took oral history at face value with Band of Brothers. It's okay is you want to spin a good yarn, and that he delivered. But if you present yourself as a serious historian you got to dig a big deeper. There weren't many Tigers on the West Front to begin with, so whenever someone tells that he had an encounter with one, even interested laymen's spider senses will tingle. From a historian I expect that he doesn't brush them off when inconvenient, but that he goes the extra mile to confirm the tale or add a footnote that it could not be confirmed and that records show Pz IVs operating in the area. Something like that.

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16 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Can't say anything about this specific work of him.

I'm somewhat reserved on Ambrose, mostly because of the way he took oral history at face value with Band of Brothers. It's okay is you want to spin a good yarn, and that he delivered. But if you present yourself as a serious historian you got to dig a big deeper. There weren't many Tigers on the West Front to begin with, so whenever someone tells that he had an encounter with one, even interested laymen's spider senses will tingle. From a historian I expect that he doesn't brush them off when inconvenient, but that he goes the extra mile to confirm the tale or add a footnote that it could not be confirmed and that records show Pz IVs operating in the area. Something like that.

 

I have much the same view.

His books are what I call "McHistory". Meant for broad consumption by the public but not serious studies.

Which is fine for the most part. My late mother enjoyed his books but would've been bored with the more in-depth history books that I prefer reading.

 

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Nah, Tankograd proves that much better value to price ratios are achievable.

For me it's business expense, otherwise I wouldn't bother with them at all unless there was absolutely nothing else to be found about a subject of interest. If you're a modeller and need references how to paint soldier figurines or so, I suppose they have their place.

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It varies an awful lot.  Bojan is right, the vs books are rubbish. Except when they are not, because the SA2 vs B52, the F15 Vs Mig23 and Centurion vs T55 prove its not always so. The Lancaster vs Me110 was dreck.

The 3 books on Harrier operations in the War on Terror are also really very good, as are most of the aircraft units books.  I have one on Vulcan units, and most of the information in them can admittedly be found in the HMSO book on Bomber Command. Which when I bought it nearly 20 years ago cost something like 50 quid, probably closer to a hundred now.

The individual books on tanks, most of them are mediocre. The King Tiger one was very good, the one on Challenger 2 was really very good. Although that isnt to say even the good ones are not bettered by the relevant Haynes books.

The preview option on Kindle is really a very useful option here...

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On 5/11/2021 at 12:18 PM, Rick said:

Any comments on the accuracy of historian Stephen E. Ambrose? Am 3/4 of the way through Crazy Horse and Custer. He seems to take much of the personal dialog between these two men and their associates for granted. I don't know if it is because Ambrose has the information to support this or is assuming? He seems to write this book for the overall, general reader. 

If you want to know about Stephen Ambrose, watch the D Day episode of 'The World at War', and you will here him rattle off about how poorly the British fought in Normandy. Overlooking they were advancing through the thickets Bocage, agains the Heaviest German Armour. He also apprently came out with priceless gems of why this was so including the theory that they were not as well fed as American soldiers.

Needless to say it created a very large myth that took the better part of 4 decades to tear down. I was some years ago given his book on Pegasus Bridge, but I refused to read it. At least David Irving could admit he was opinionated.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

"Titans of the Seas" by James H. and William M. Belote. A good, overall view of mainly I.J.N. and U.S.N. W.W.2 aircraft carrier combat. Good review of the early 1942 U.S.N. carrier raids, the poor bombing accuracy of U.S. planes -- the best was at Coral Sea and Midway -- and the superb ability of the U.S. to shoot down via V.F. and A.A. attacking I.J.N. planes.

The first class abilities of the I.J.N early in the war is remarkable, not obtained in the U.S.N. until 1944-45. 

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Been reading this book lately:

"The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia" by Tim Tzouliadis 

It has changed my view of what the Commies call "useful idiots" as that idiocy tipically had fatal, final consequences, be it in the basement of a Moscow prison, be it inside a cattle car travelling the Transiberian, be it inside a prison ship in the Sea of Okhotsk, be it in the deeply freezing winter North Siberian night, be it in a mine, be it after being gang raped by common criminals.

They were idiots, yes, but they deserve pity, and compassion. Especially as they were awoken from their idiocy too late to escape their undeserved fates, as US State Department had no lost sympathy for them, and the first ambassadors  to Moscow appointed by F.D. Roosevelt were quite suboptimal for the task.

Wikipedia has a quite factual entry on that book.

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6 hours ago, sunday said:

Been reading this book lately:

"The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia" by Tim Tzouliadis 

It has changed my view of what the Commies call "useful idiots" as that idiocy tipically had fatal, final consequences, be it in the basement of a Moscow prison, be it inside a cattle car travelling the Transiberian, be it inside a prison ship in the Sea of Okhotsk, be it in the deeply freezing winter North Siberian night, be it in a mine, be it after being gang raped by common criminals.

They were idiots, yes, but they deserve pity, and compassion. Especially as they were awoken from their idiocy too late to escape their undeserved fates, as US State Department had no lost sympathy for them, and the first ambassadors  to Moscow appointed by F.D. Roosevelt were quite suboptimal for the task.

Wikipedia has a quite factual entry on that book.

I don't think these are strictly the useful idiots, but the deceived by those useful idiots, and the victims of Stalin paranoia post WW2. There are reports of Korean war PoWs being sent to the USSR and then disappearing.

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39 minutes ago, RETAC21 said:

I don't think these are strictly the useful idiots, but the deceived by those useful idiots, and the victims of Stalin paranoia post WW2. There are reports of Korean war PoWs being sent to the USSR and then disappearing.

There were useful idiots also, like that father that brought his family to Russia, only to be jailed with his son.

There were the Neruda-like collaborationists like the singer Paul Robeson, Harry Hopkins, Joseph Davies, etc. The snitches, also:
 

Quote

 

(...)Thomas Sgovio never saw Lucy Flaxman again. Instead, in Moscow, he came across other Americans, far guiltier than Lucy, who had survived. These were men like Bernie Cooper, Eddie Ruderman and Joe Adamov, whom he remembered as ‘the Hatchet Man of the American community’. Seeing Thomas approach, they crossed the street to avoid him.

Tzouliadis, Tim. The Forsaken: From the Great Depression to the Gulags: Hope and Betrayal in Stalin's Russia . Little, Brown Book Group. Edición de Kindle. 

 

Of the 19 years Sgovio had stayed in the Soviet Union at that time, 16 had been in prison, including a long stay in Kolyma that he miraculously survived, as the life expectancy in those camps was around 3 months.

I am beginning to think that the man of the 20th Century was not Winston Churchill, despite what Time Magazine publishes - judging for their influence in world affairs, the mark left by Stalin is more long-lasting (consider the current shenanigans of the Western radical Left), deeper, and wider. More evil too.

Edited by sunday
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You go to the totalitarian state. Your funeral.

I have never got people who go to NK as a tourists, especially those from the USA and such. How stupid do you have to be not to see that if anything happens you are both on your own and very expendable.

Edited by bojan
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5 minutes ago, bojan said:

You go to the totalitarian state. Your funeral.

Those naïve Americans in the early 1930s were the first ones to found that.

I am thinking I will never do that coast to coast trip in the Trans-Siberian. Pity, looks like a terrific trip.

Edited by sunday
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Current Russia, with all it's shit is not even close to NK or Stalin era USSR. I would avoid it if I was a in any way connected to a state (police, military, government...) that Russia is hostile to, but otherwise... risk is pretty low. No more than me walking through Brazil's favelas back in early 2000s :D

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Well, the head honcho of that place is who he is.

Just finished the book. It is one of those works that break your heart, but it is a necessary book to keep alive the memory of the (tens of) millions of innocent people tortured, worked to extenuation, raped, massacred, exposed to toxic phosphorous or radioactive uranium, or Ukrainian women in their Sunday's best crunched by tanks after an uprising.

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