The ASL Book Club

Yuri0352

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Hello everybody!

I decided to resurrect this thread in a non-gameplay, ASL sub-forum primarily because I miss hearing about the books which everyone has been reading lately.

I was also motivated by the arrival in my mailbox today of 'After the Battle' #176, which includes a fascinating and well researched article about the identities of the marines who were involved in the second flag raising on Iwo Jima. The article includes extensive, irrefutable photographic evidence, most of which I have never seen before.

Anyways, feel free to share your reading recommendations as well, some of us would love to hear all about it.
There goes my Amazon gift card balance.
:)
 

Paul M. Weir

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While it would be of little advantage to an ASL designer (too high a level), I got a book on the the various warlord era battles in China.

The Bitter Peace. Conflict in China 1928-37 by Philip S. Jowett ISBN 978-1-4456-5192-7.

Though it has little information at the ASL level, it does give an idea of the utter confusion and destruction of that period. While you would have to look elsewhere for ASL information, it does give a Who's Who of the ever changing alliances and infighting of that period and may spur further investigation.
 

Eagle4ty

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Recently read a nice little book by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar about the 761st Independent "Negro" Tank Battalion, Brothers In Arms . Well researched and written, it provides several backdrops for ASL related scenarios though some additional research would certainly provide further detail. All in all a quick and enjoyable read about a unit with an outstanding combat record that suffered through some of the more unsavory trails of their time without making it a work of crying about their circumstances, but more a long overdue record of their combat accomplishments. I recommend this as a good read for anyone interested in the actions of a small tank unit as viewed from the perspective of the commander's hatch interspersed with a good overview of the general situation at the time.
 

Bob Walters

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One book I finished recently is Nomonhan, 1939 The Red Army's Victory That Shaped World War II published by the Naval Institute. This not only discussed the action itself but also went into detail of what led up to the conflict. It gives a good understanding of the causes of the conflict and why the Japanese reacted the way they did. It also offers enough detail of some of the actions that one can use it as a source for scenarios. I don't think one should use it as a sole source but then I don't think any book should ever be a sole source. Of course, like any true history book it has extensive and thorough documentation. It does regress sometimes but that is done so one can see how certain actions affected the situation.
 

sfcmikej

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Interesting T.Y. I read some of the operational records of the 761st at the National Archives while doing research compiling information for my unit's history. At the time I was attached to the 315th Infantry which was part of the 79th Infantry Division that the 761st was attached to for a time. It is fascinating that the author is the former Lew Alcindor. I was not aware of his talent for writing.

Mike
 

RandyT0001

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In the Presence of Soldiers by Woody McMillen. The book is about Second Army's corps versus corps training exercises or maneuvers held in Middle Tennessee before and during WW2. In the first exercise, conducted before Pearl Harbor, Patton demonstrated that concentrated armor attacks, like the Germans had performed in Poland, were superior to the French doctrine of spreading the armor throughout the army as infantry support. Patton was the first to use the light observation plane as an operational command platform. Based on this first exercise, Second Army established an outline of training protocols to be conducted in three phases, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The first period consisted of eight weeks of miscellaneous and advanced unit training. Activities to be stressed during this period included defense of air bases and of other installations against airborne attacks, destruction of road blocks, defense of road blocks, stream crossing, defense against river crossing, jungle operations, guerilla warfare, night fighting, tank stalking, and street fighting.

The second phase of six weeks was to be devoted to preliminary air-ground training. Subjects listed for this phase included identification of aircraft, air-ground communication, designation of safety limits, execution of observation, bombing and ground strafing missions, use of airplane photographs for intelligence purposes, dispersion, concealment, and camouflage of men and material, hasty entrenchments, antiaircraft security measures on the march, and defense against parachute and airborne troops.

The maneuver period was conducted last. Each maneuver period lasted eight weeks with one operation a week. These consisted of the following, set by Army Ground Forces:
  1. Movement to contact, meeting engagement, and aggressive action by both sides.
  2. Meeting engagement, aggressive action by a larger force, and the withdrawal of a small force.
  3. Aggressive action against a covering force, with a view to forcing it to withdraw across or through an obstacle.
  4. Attack and defense of a river line, the objective of the attacker to require the crossing of his major elements.
  5. Coordinated attack of a prepared position. Situation to be drawn as to permit at least 24 hours of uninterrupted and unobserved work on the defensive position.
  6. Delaying action on successive positions over a considerable distance.
  7. Breakthrough of an over-extended position and a withdrawal of the defender over a considerable distance.
Number 4, the attack and defense of a river line, was run twice in each period to make the total of eight operations.

Over 800,000 soldiers in 25 divisions participated in one of the seven maneuver exercises from 1941 through 1944.
 

Mike205

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Currently reading James Jones' The Thin Red Line and just picked up Peter Caddick-Adams' Monte Cassino: Ten Armies in Hell.
 

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I recently finished Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes. This book paints an interesting picture of the BEF in Flanders during the so-called Phony War. The book is a literate and amusing read that I found incredibly enjoyable (a much more enjoyable read than My First War by Capt. Sir Basil Bartelett, which covers the same period and conveys much the same sense of the preparedness of the BEF) .

I am currently working through Death of the Leaping Horseman by Jason Mark. Though the account can get tedious at times (I am not a Stalingrad devotee), the book paints a thoroughly fascinating picture of the day-to-day fighting done by the 24th Pz Div. I can't begin to imagine the physical and mental fatigue of those who were unfortunate enough to have been there. It's piqued my interest enough that I will read one of the similar accounts that exist from the Soviet perspective.
 

thedrake

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Reading Marshall's book "Battle at Best" to give some insight on the fighting that occurred for the bridge at Best. Solo played this scenario in Where Eagles Dare,and pre-ordered the CH ASL module of this fight. Like how the book shows what went both right and wrong for the US paras during this fight.

Also working my way thru Szamveber's second book on the fighting around Budapest, "The Sword Behind the Shield." Bit of a dry read but as long as you use the maps to follow the movements of units during the fighting it is rather good. Very well researched,and have pre-ordered his third book on the subject. https://www.amazon.com/Armoured-warfare-Budapest-Norbert-Számvéber/dp/6155583099/ref=pd_sim_14_91?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=6155583099&pd_rd_r=347JYDW4PP6364R3TZW8&pd_rd_w=Q6XAA&pd_rd_wg=UlWbe&psc=1&refRID=347JYDW4PP6364R3TZW8
 

Yuri0352

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I'm currently reading Robin Old's autobiography 'Fighter Pilot'. I'm only in to the parts about flying P-38's and P-51's in Europe, however I'm enjoying the book immensely. The anecdotes tend more towards the humorous and self-deprecating, which is refreshing for an autobiography.
I can't wait to dive in to the parts about Vietnam, which is the main reason why I chose this book.
Highly recommended.
 

djohannsen

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Also working my way thru Szamveber's second book on the fighting around Budapest, "The Sword Behind the Shield." Bit of a dry read but as long as you use the maps to follow the movements of units during the fighting it is rather good. Very well researched,and have pre-ordered his third book on the subject. https://www.amazon.com/Armoured-warfare-Budapest-Norbert-Számvéber/dp/6155583099/ref=pd_sim_14_91?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=6155583099&pd_rd_r=347JYDW4PP6364R3TZW8&pd_rd_w=Q6XAA&pd_rd_wg=UlWbe&psc=1&refRID=347JYDW4PP6364R3TZW8
I'm thinking of ordering a copy of Festung Budapest before it's gone and I regret not having purchased it, so I definitely appreciate the reference.


Dave
 

Paul M. Weir

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In the second post here I mentioned "The Bitter Peace" a good guide to the various factions running amok in China, poor buggers, the Chinese, to have put up with all that.

By coincidence my latest book is an Osprey Campaign book, #309, "Shanghai and Nanjing 1937" by Benjamen Lai, ISBN 978-1-4728-1749-5, just bought 4 days ago. As usual for an Osprey it covers the fighting in detail, though whether it's an ideal ASL source, I have yet to see. What is unusual is the subject, China not being a popular subject in the West, though books on the Japanese atrocities are moderately common. So I must recommend it for covering a campaign little covered in English.
 

gulliver62

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I just finished No Silent Night by Leo Barron and Don Cygan. It details the attempt by the 115th PGR and 77th VGR to take Bastogne on Christmas day 1944. Good read and might be useful for scenario designers as they detail participants and even vehicle locations and paths to some degree.
 

Yuri0352

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I finished Robin Old's 'Fighter Pilot ' last week. Highly recommended as an insider's look at the development and command philosophies of the early USAF up to the Vietnam war. Old's frank commentaries on the prosecution of the air campaign is very revealing. This would be an excellent companion volume to Dan Hampton's 'The Hunter Killers', which is the story of the creation of the wild weasel squadrons.

My Vietnam reading appetite having been whet, I've now started Mark Bowden's 'Hue 1968'. I'm only up to page 70 or so, however I'm enjoying his presentation of the events leading up to the battle from both the American and Vietnamese perspective.
 

witchbottles

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I finished Robin Old's 'Fighter Pilot ' last week. Highly recommended as an insider's look at the development and command philosophies of the early USAF up to the Vietnam war. Old's frank commentaries on the prosecution of the air campaign is very revealing. This would be an excellent companion volume to Dan Hampton's 'The Hunter Killers', which is the story of the creation of the wild weasel squadrons.

My Vietnam reading appetite having been whet, I've now started Mark Bowden's 'Hue 1968'. I'm only up to page 70 or so, however I'm enjoying his presentation of the events leading up to the battle from both the American and Vietnamese perspective.
You'll want this one if you've not read it - does a great job explaining why we were there in the first place. - and the book Ken Burns used to base his documentary series on.
 

Yuri0352

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You'll want this one if you've not read it - does a great job explaining why we were there in the first place. - and the book Ken Burns used to base his documentary series on.
Yes, very good point!
I consider the explanation of the events leading to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam as presented in 'The Hunter Killers ' to be both engaging and concise.
 

daniel zucker

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I 'read' book's on Audable. just finished "D-day through German Eyes" by Holger Eckhertz.

The book was started by his father who was a Wehrmacht reporter, who in 1944 interviewed Soldiers stationed on the Atlantic Wall. Then in 1954 re-interviewed those same men asking them about their experience on D-Day. Holger Eckhertz took his father's material and organized it into book form. He says he did not alter the interviews. If we take him at his word, and I did, we can hear some of the "I was only taking orders" and "I was doing my job as a soldier" coming throu. It is, as Art Johnson on Laugh In would say "Very Interesting".
But nothing scenario worthey.
 
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