The ASL Book Club

pwashington

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Yuri0352

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During the past month I've begun reading (in chronological order) the volumes of the Marines in The Korean War Commemorative Series. These concise volumes are available to read free online, and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in the USMC involvement in that conflict.

I started with 'Fire Brigade' by Capt. John C. Chapin, which describes the deployment of the first marine units to the Pusan perimeter. Absolutely fascinating, with plenty of material within for scenario designers, such as the first M-26 vs. T34/85 tank battles.

Next was 'Over the Seawall' by B.Gen. Edwin H. Simmons, which is an account of the planning and execution of the Inchon landings, and the breakout from the beach head. The account of the landing on Wolmi-Do island reminded me somewhat of the Gavutu-Tanambogo operation terrain-wise (without the fanatical resistance of the Japanese defenders in the earlier conflict of course!). This volume should be of interest to anyone desiring some insight in to the actions portrayed within the Smith's Ridge HASL.

Presently I am reading the third volume, 'Battle of the Barricades', by Col. Joseph H. Alexander, which details the battle for Seoul. I just finished the account of the night battle near Ma Po Boulevard, upon which scenario FT S2 'Besting Basilone' is based.

I apologize if my descriptions of these volumes appear to be too concise, but this should in no way discourage anyone with an interest in the Korean War from reading this series. I might also add that although this series is focused upon the USMC, I was very pleased to see that the actions of the U.S. Army's 7th ID were not neglected in these books.

Perhaps my greatest 'take away' from my reading of this series thus far has been the astonishing amount of research which is evident in LFT's 'The Fight for Seoul' HASL. I have been playing this module almost constantly ever since receiving it over a month ago. The level of realism from the stunning maps to the HASL-specific special rules are absolutely amazing. Yes, I realize that this is supposed to be a book review of sorts, however it is my fascination with the Seoul module which has led me to seek out and start reading the USMC Korean War series. In my humble opinion, 'Fight for Seoul' is nothing less than a ASL masterpiece, the likes of which I haven't experienced since Festung Budapest.
 

jtsjc1

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During the past month I've begun reading (in chronological order) the volumes of the Marines in The Korean War Commemorative Series. These concise volumes are available to read free online, and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in the USMC involvement in that conflict.

I started with 'Fire Brigade' by Capt. John C. Chapin, which describes the deployment of the first marine units to the Pusan perimeter. Absolutely fascinating, with plenty of material within for scenario designers, such as the first M-26 vs. T34/85 tank battles.

Next was 'Over the Seawall' by B.Gen. Edwin H. Simmons, which is an account of the planning and execution of the Inchon landings, and the breakout from the beach head. The account of the landing on Wolmi-Do island reminded me somewhat of the Gavutu-Tanambogo operation terrain-wise (without the fanatical resistance of the Japanese defenders in the earlier conflict of course!). This volume should be of interest to anyone desiring some insight in to the actions portrayed within the Smith's Ridge HASL.

Presently I am reading the third volume, 'Battle of the Barricades', by Col. Joseph H. Alexander, which details the battle for Seoul. I just finished the account of the night battle near Ma Po Boulevard, upon which scenario FT S2 'Besting Basilone' is based.

I apologize if my descriptions of these volumes appear to be too concise, but this should in no way discourage anyone with an interest in the Korean War from reading this series. I might also add that although this series is focused upon the USMC, I was very pleased to see that the actions of the U.S. Army's 7th ID were not neglected in these books.

Perhaps my greatest 'take away' from my reading of this series thus far has been the astonishing amount of research which is evident in LFT's 'The Fight for Seoul' HASL. I have been playing this module almost constantly ever since receiving it over a month ago. The level of realism from the stunning maps to the HASL-specific special rules are absolutely amazing. Yes, I realize that this is supposed to be a book review of sorts, however it is my fascination with the Seoul module which has led me to seek out and start reading the USMC Korean War series. In my humble opinion, 'Fight for Seoul' is nothing less than a ASL masterpiece, the likes of which I haven't experienced since Festung Budapest.

https://archive.org/details/USMCOperationsInKorea1950-1953VolTwo/mode/2up Check these out if you haven't already.
 

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The White Sniper: Simo Hayha (2016) is an quick and interesting read from a Finland Defense Force officer and sniper Tapio Saarelainen. The author spent a lot of time Hayha who remained humble about his exploits his whole life.

"I did what I was told to, as well as I could. There would be no Finland unless everyone else had done the same." --Simo Hayha
 

Michael Dorosh

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Received this as a gift from a friend, blasted through it in the last week.

The book is masterfully done. Viewers of the History Channel in Canada may recognize the author, or may recall his book on Dieppe from 2013 called One Day In August that postulated the raid was a massive cover for a special forces pinch of German code machine rotors. (He also did a television special that coincided with the Dieppe book.)

The title of this one is a bit of a misnomer in that it doesn't just focus on the scout platoon, or the snipers of the scout platoon, but is a well researched yet lively retelling of the first week of combat that the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada fought in Normandy in July 1944. The story of Operation Spring has been told many times before, but the author has done well to bring the subject material to life in ways the story has never been told before. A very intimate and up-close account that focuses on the men at the pointy end, yet still manages to step back and give a good overall view, including brigade and division level, and even the view from the German side.

Full disclosure, the author is in my FB friends list and I get a mention in the acknowledgements though I am positive I did not contribute in any material way to the book and certainly never saw a word of it til it was published.

Well researched, without going into the weeds, there is also a focus, perhaps overdue, on psychological stress and battle exhaustion casualties that is often missing from the standard historical accounts. The Canadian Army was very conscious of psychological stress by 1944, and Terry Copp wrote extensively on the subject. But it's rare to see that kind of discussion integrated into a battle account the way O'Keefe has done here.
 

Michael R

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Uncle_Duke

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Thanks very much for that. Were you able to have it work? I had a web site error; something like "value outside of range".
Site worked just fine for me. The key is that the only books it applies to are the five in the link. If you have AdBlock, NoScript, or the like, it may take some tweaking there to get the functionality you need.

It'll ask you to create an account. If you don't feel like giving them personal info, that's just fine-- they'll accept dummy e-mail accounts and phone numbers without question or hassle.
 

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Helion Company has Bloody Streets available for sale now
Just received this in the mail 5 minutes ago.

I am reading " The Coldest Winter" right now but I may alternate and read the two at the same time. I have been waiting for years to read this book. The Army War College had a copy but I could not take the book home and read it.
 

Uncle_Duke

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I've done a bunch of digging into the early part of the Pacific War lately:


Crenshaw, Russell Sydnor. The Battle of Tassafaronga. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1995.

This is a short and very specific work. Crenshaw served as gunnery officer on USS Maury, and wrote this book fifty-odd years later, trying to piece together what exactly happened on the night of Nov 30, 1942. I'm not sure I agree with all of his conclusions, but he makes some interesting observations, particularly relating to the differing narratives about the battle. He presents the American understanding of the battle, followed by the battle as understood by the Japanese, followed by a composite that might actually somewhat resemble what really happened. I found this work to be most valuable as a study in the effects of the fog of war.​


Hara, Tameichi with Fred Saito and Roger Pineau. Japanese Destroyer Captain. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1967.
A fascinating book that needs to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt. Hara was one of the only Japanese destroyer skippers to serve and survive through the entire course of the war. This memoir provides an incredible inside look not only at a number of naval engagements (don't take the cover text at face value-- Midway and Guadalcanal are only briefly touched on), but at Japanese officer culture as well.​
Hara is intensely critical of the Naval General Staff, particularly regarding what he sees as a refusal to commit heavy cruisers and battleships to Rabaul. I'm not sure this is an entirely fair criticism. Hara either didn't know or chose to overlook the extent to which fuel shortages dictated where heavy fleet units were dispatched.​
Overall, an excellent book that could potentially be adapted into one heck of a movie.​


Peattie, Mark. Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909- 1941. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2001.

If you are at all curious about how Japanese naval aviation got where it was in 1941 and early 1942, this is the book for you. Not merely content to discuss the rapid evolution of aviation technology in the 1920s and 1930s, Peattie also provides a thorough exploration of doctrine and techniques.​
I never expected that a book on air power would make me sympathetic to the views of the 1930s 'gun club' admirals, but Peattie makes an excellent case that during the interwar period, the effectiveness of aircraft against warships was at best unproven.​
This work is probably most valuable to people with an interest in aviation history or Japanese air doctrine.​


Russell, Ronald W. No Right To Win: A Continuing Dialogue With Veterans Of The Battle Of Midway. Lincoln: iUniverse, 2006.

An excellent contrast to Werneth's work. Russell has compiled various accounts from the Battle of Midway Roundtable into a comprehensive and engaging narrative. This work provides excellent insight not only into the history of the Battle of Midway, but also the historiography of the battle. A must for students of the Pacific War or naval history generally.​


Werneth, Ron. Beyond Pearl Harbor: The Untold Stories of Japan's Naval Airmen. Atglen: Schiffer Military History, 2008.
A deeply frustrating book from which I expected much more than I received. While the idea-- compiling interviews from surviving Japanese combat aircrew-- is sound, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.​
First, the interviews generally cover only a very high level summary of the subject's service in WWII.​
Second, the quality of translation is mediocre. The English is certainly comprehensible, but it isn't always idiomatic. My sense is that the translator had Japanese as a first language and English as a second.​
Finally, the book is missing a page. I don't mean that a leaf has been torn out, rather that it was skipped entirely in the production process. Fortunately, this page is in the endnotes rather than the main text.​
Pass on this one unless you have an overwhelming interest in both naval aviation and the Japanese perspective on WWII.​


Willmott, HP. Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies To April 1942. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1982.

HP Willmott is first and foremost a scholar of the grand strategy of the Pacific War. This work covers the initial Japanese expansion-- the assaults on The Philippines, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and Burma.​
"Empires in the Balance" illustrates just what a motivated and well lead force with an audacious plan can get away with when opposed by fragmented foes whose leadership can at best be described as "sketchy."​
My only regret is the title should read "Japanese and Western Allied Pacific Strategies December 1941- April 1942" [emphasis mine]. Willmott unfortunately does not address any of the conflict in China during the period covered by this otherwise excellent work.​
Highly recommended if you like Action Pack 9 and want to get a picture of how it fits into the greater Pacific War. Also if you want to see the British make pretty much every possible mistake over a five month span.​
 
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