The ASL Book Club

Michael Dorosh

Elder Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2004
Messages
14,088
Reaction score
817
Location
Calgary, AB
First name
Michael
Country
llCanada
Could you provide a link please, thank you?

Any for Australia or Canada?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Canada's official war histories are all online also, in two places.

Hyperwar has HTML versions: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/
For example: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/CA/OpSumm/index.html

The Canadian government has pdfs: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/official-military-history-lineages/official-histories.html

Some background on the Canadian ones at my website: https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/research/officialhistories.htm
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Zealand: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-WH2.html

New Zealand went the whole hog and did individual unit histories. Canada had four main volumes for the Army history, plus some shorter summaries.
 

Eagle4ty

Elder Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
1,195
Location
Eau Claire, Wi
Country
llUnited States
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Canada's official war histories are all online also, in two places.

Hyperwar has HTML versions: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/
For example: https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/Canada/CA/OpSumm/index.html

The Canadian government has pdfs: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/military-history/history-heritage/official-military-history-lineages/official-histories.html

Some background on the Canadian ones at my website: https://www.canadiansoldiers.com/research/officialhistories.htm
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Zealand: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-corpus-WH2.html

New Zealand went the whole hog and did individual unit histories. Canada had four main volumes for the Army history, plus some shorter summaries.
Thanks Michael!
 

djohannsen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
646
Reaction score
476
Location
Within 800 meters.
Country
llUnited States
I just finished Drury's and Clavin's "The Last Stand of Fox Company." The book recounts the heroic efforts of F Co. 7th Marines to hold open the Toktong pass in the face of massed CVPA attacks (and the subsequent relief by Lt Col Davis' 1/7 (reinforced)). The book is universally praised, and deservedly so. In fact, despite being incredibly busy, I finished the book in about two and a half days - it's so good that I simply couldn't put it down! No high level picture here, the book focuses on the experiences and actions of individual Marines. As I was a grunt many moons ago, I can attest that the dialogue has the "ring of truth" to it - I think that the authors really get it right. In fact, since finishing the book I've pulled out "Forgotten War" and I can't wait to play the CPVA! If you've been struggling with finding enthusiasm for "Forgotten War," this book will have you punching counters in no time.
 
Last edited:

TopT

Elder Member
Joined
May 2, 2004
Messages
1,897
Reaction score
624
Location
PA
Country
llUnited States
I just finished Drury's and Clavin's "The Last Stand of Fox Company." The book recounts the heroic efforts of F Co. 7th Marines to hold open the Toktong pass in the face of massed CVPA attacks (and the subsequent relief by Lt Col Davis' 1/7 (reinforced)). The book is universally praised, and deservedly so. In fact, despite being incredibly busy, I finished the book in about two and a half days - it's so good that I simply couldn't put it down! No high level picture here, the book focuses on the experiences and actions of individual Marines. As I was a grunt many moons ago, I can attest that the dialogue has the "ring of truth" to it - I think that the authors really get it right. In fact, since finishing the book I've pulled out "Forgotten War" and I can't wait to play the CVPA! If you've been struggling with finding enthusiasm for "Forgotten War," this book will have you punching counters in no time.
I concur. I thought this was a very good read with a lot of first hand accounts. Plus it is an easy read.
 

HansK

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2013
Messages
581
Reaction score
138
Location
Hoorn
Country
llNetherlands
Ready to Strike by Adam Lunney.

Assie Spits over Normandy.
 

djohannsen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
646
Reaction score
476
Location
Within 800 meters.
Country
llUnited States
I have finished a couple of books lately and have a few in-progress, so it seems like a good time to post some very brief remarks. The first book that I completed is Hess' Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864. Though I looked forward to this book, I didn't enjoy it near as much as I thought that I would. I don't feel that Hess very effectively established his various theses in the text (regarding the evolution of the use of entrenchments and field fortifications in the East, prior to Grant's overland campaign). The text seemed to degenerate to a recap of the various campaigns and battles, followed by brief remarks on what fortifications/breastworks were present and to what degree they may have influenced the outcome; i.e., it felt a bit like a cursory summary. I don't know that even this information is easily found in other sources, so if fortifications is your interest this book may be satisfying (though it is in no way a technical examination of fortifications or their construction). The one chapter that I found to be of great interest was the description of the investment and reduction of battery Wagner in Charleston harbor, where the Union employed offensive use of entrenchments.

The second book was Hyde's Following the Greek Cross; or, Memories of the Sixth Army Corps. This book describes the personal experiences of Thomas Hyde in the Civil War, first with the 7th Maine and then on the staff of the Sixth Army Corps. Though details of any engagement are sparse (he wrote his memoir almost thirty years after the war), I found this book to be an enjoyable read, as it offers great insights into the people and life that they led during the war – it fleshes out more substantial historical or military accounts. If you already have a basic familiarity with the campaigns/battles of the Eastern theater, then this book is a great way to make the events come alive (if you aren't already familiar, then it might be hard to piece together a coherent picture of events from this book).

The final two reviews are in-progress, so will be more brief. The first is Robert Tanner's Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862. I am only about 150 pages into this book, but so far find it to be some of the best Civil War history that I have yet read. The account is only from the CSA perspective (not surprising, given the title), but it is not a Stonewall adoration piece - the insights and analysis of the the campaigns and organization and people are keen and balanced/dispassionate. If you have an interest in the 1862 Shenandoah campaign, I can recommend this book very highly. The final book is S. L. A. Marshal's The River and the Gauntlet: Defeat of the Eighth Army by the Chinese Communist Forces, November, 1950 in the Battle of Chongchon River. I have this book to be a fascinating read, though the ineptness and ill-preparedness of the Army will make you feel sick or angry, alternately (the young soldiers deserved much better training and leadership that they were given). Though there were obviously numerous acts of heroism and sacrifice, you can't read this without seeing just how ill-prepared the Army was for war in 1950 (failure to patrol, failure to tie-in with adjacent units, failure to establish communication with headquarters, allowing warming fires for the soldiers,... - it goes on and on). With Chosin getting so much attention, I am finding this account of what happened in the West to be very interesting.
 

Yuri0352

Elder Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
1,662
Reaction score
604
Location
25-30 Hexes
Country
llUnited States
I have finished a couple of books lately and have a few in-progress, so it seems like a good time to post some very brief remarks. The first book that I completed is Hess' Field Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War The Eastern Campaigns, 1861-1864. Though I looked forward to this book, I didn't enjoy it near as much as I thought that I would. I don't feel that Hess very effectively established his various theses in the text (regarding the evolution of the use of entrenchments and field fortifications in the East, prior to Grant's overland campaign). The text seemed to degenerate to a recap of the various campaigns and battles, followed by brief remarks on what fortifications/breastworks were present and to what degree they may have influenced the outcome; i.e., it felt a bit like a cursory summary. I don't know that even this information is easily found in other sources, so if fortifications is your interest this book may be satisfying (though it is in no way a technical examination of fortifications or their construction). The one chapter that I found to be of great interest was the description of the investment and reduction of battery Wagner in Charleston harbor, where the Union employed offensive use of entrenchments.

The second book was Hyde's Following the Greek Cross; or, Memories of the Sixth Army Corps. This book describes the personal experiences of Thomas Hyde in the Civil War, first with the 7th Maine and then on the staff of the Sixth Army Corps. Though details of any engagement are sparse (he wrote his memoir almost thirty years after the war), I found this book to be an enjoyable read, as it offers great insights into the people and life that they led during the war – it fleshes out more substantial historical or military accounts. If you already have a basic familiarity with the campaigns/battles of the Eastern theater, then this book is a great way to make the events come alive (if you aren't already familiar, then it might be hard to piece together a coherent picture of events from this book).

The final two reviews are in-progress, so will be more brief. The first is Robert Tanner's Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862. I am only about 150 pages into this book, but so far find it to be some of the best Civil War history that I have yet read. The account is only from the CSA perspective (not surprising, given the title), but it is not a Stonewall adoration piece - the insights and analysis of the the campaigns and organization and people are keen and balanced/dispassionate. If you have an interest in the 1862 Shenandoah campaign, I can recommend this book very highly. The final book is S. L. A. Marshal's The River and the Gauntlet: Defeat of the Eighth Army by the Chinese Communist Forces, November, 1950 in the Battle of Chongchon River. I have this book to be a fascinating read, though the ineptness and ill-preparedness of the Army will make you feel sick or angry, alternately (the young soldiers deserved much better training and leadership that they were given). Though there were obviously numerous acts of heroism and sacrifice, you can't read this without seeing just how ill-prepared the Army was for war in 1950 (failure to patrol, failure to tie-in with adjacent units, failure to establish communication with headquarters, allowing warming fires for the soldiers,... - it goes on and on). With Chosin getting so much attention, I am finding this account of what happened in the West to be very interesting.
The SLA Marshall book sounds very interesting. I'll have to track down a copy.
 

djohannsen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
646
Reaction score
476
Location
Within 800 meters.
Country
llUnited States
The SLA Marshall book sounds very interesting. I'll have to track down a copy.
I should have mentioned that the accounts are mostly at the company level, and that the book was written, iirc, in 1953. Most chapters include a rough topographic sketch which includes the disposition of the Army/ROK forces - this seems like a scenario designer's dream (fingers crossed).

From Kirkus Reviews:
Don't be misled by the subtitle- ""Defeat of the 8th Army by the Chinese Communist Forces, November 1950, in the Battle of the Chongchon River""- a subtitle which seems designed to warn the unwary rather than intrigue the reader. For this is true drama, true tragedy to be sure, in as absorbing a record of defeat and heroism as modern war has given us. It is -- in factual record- the stuff of which novels like Pat Frank's Hold Back the Night are fashioned. Brigadier General Marshall was Infantry Operations Analyst with the 8th Army in Korea at the time of the Chinese attack. He has set down this record, in minute and personal detail because he feels that in studying the reasons why our forces were deceived and how they reacted to the situation, lessons are to be drawn. The pre-invasion handicaps, the inadequacies of intelligence, the failure to use procedures perfected in World War II (due to breakneck demobilization largely), the lack of maps -- all these were factors. He examines the oriental pattern of deception and its significance, too little understood. And then he goes on to tell the story of one day, comparable percentagewise to the decimation and disaster of the grim winter at Valley Forge. It is a story of men against defeat, superbly told, with no minimizing of the inadequacies as well as the achievements.
 

Yuri0352

Elder Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
1,662
Reaction score
604
Location
25-30 Hexes
Country
llUnited States
I recently finished The Crimean War by Orlando Figes. Highly recommended, and hard to set down. For someone like me who knew next to nothing about this conflict apart from 'the charge of the Light Brigade ', a most informative account. I was especially intrigued by the political and religious factors which led up to this conflict, including the reasons for France's involvement. The book is certainly not a 'dry read', with plenty of personal anecdotes from ordinary soldiers to hold my interest.

I'm currently continuing my habit of reading multiple books at the same time (which accounts for my infrequent reviews). At present I'm enjoying:

'De Gaulle' by Julian Jackson. A 2018 release, which benefits from recent archival material. A huge book covering De Gaulle's entire personal, military and political life. Fascinating so far! I did not know that De Gaulle was a POW during the First World War.

'The Immortal Irishman ' by Timothy Egan. Another biography, this one is about Thomas Francis Meagher and his failed uprising against British rule and his subsequent involvement in the American Civil War. Includes a good deal of background regarding the history of England's oppression of the Irish over the centuries, and the origins of the Australian nation. I can imagine this story being made in to a fascinating movie.

'Corsair ' by Barrett Tillman. I just started this one a few nights ago. Includes a detailed account of the many reasons for this aircraft's delayed employment on board aircraft carriers. I'm especially looking forward to the history of the Corsair's service during the Korean War.
 

djohannsen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
646
Reaction score
476
Location
Within 800 meters.
Country
llUnited States
I hope to have a moment to contribute some reviews shortly, but in the meantime I thought that I would point out Michigan War Studies Review. The site posts occasional reviews of books across the entire range of wars and historical periods, written by professional historians. I've signed-up to get an email notice each time that a new review is posted (generally once or twice a month) and have found the reviews generally to be very useful. I hope that this is useful to some here.
 

djohannsen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
646
Reaction score
476
Location
Within 800 meters.
Country
llUnited States
'Corsair ' by Barrett Tillman. I just started this one a few nights ago. Includes a detailed account of the many reasons for this aircraft's delayed employment on board aircraft carriers. I'm especially looking forward to the history of the Corsair's service during the Korean War.
I look forward to hearing what you think of this. The Corsair was such a performance leap from the Wildcat that I would like to learn more about it's development (though I have the impression that the ranks of Japanese pilots were so thinned by the time of its arrival that I'm not sure how important it was in the Pacific).
 

Eagle4ty

Elder Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
1,195
Location
Eau Claire, Wi
Country
llUnited States
Just got a hold of Mark Bowden's Hue 1968. I had a very good buddy that was an Ontos operator (was in a very famous pic bringing out wounded) in this battle as well as an another old CSM and comrade over the years, then a squad leader, so looking forward to hopefully an enjoyable read.
 

Paul M. Weir

Forum Guru
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Apr 3, 2004
Messages
8,051
Reaction score
2,887
Location
Dublin
First name
Paul
Country
llIreland
From what I read the problem with the Corsair was that it was inclined to be a bit "hot" on landing, combined with the fact that the USN had the Hellcat.

The preceding Wildcat was inferior to the lighter Zero in many ways, speed, horizontal manoeuvrability and most importantly vertical manoeuvrability. It couldn't out dive a Zero, but once in a fast dive the Zero lacked control due to aerodynamic forces while the Wildcat still could turn. To partly compensate, the Wildcat with self sealing fuel tanks and armour could absorb damage that when applied to a Zero turned it into a flaming ball.

The Hellcat with it's much more powerful engine had an edge in a vertical fight equal or greater than the edge the Zero had over the Wildcat. Some early combats had a Hellcat and Zero in a vertical climb and the Zero pilot expected the Hellcat to stall out sooner than his Zero, as what usually happened to a Wildcat, instead it was the Zero which ran out of steam first, giving the Hellcat the tactical advantage.

With a superior fighter in the Hellcat there was less urgency in taming the Corsair for carrier use and early Corsairs were given to delighted land based USMC units. The British also took the Corsair. Their preceding naval fighters the Sea Gladiator, Skua and Roc were totally inferior to any land or naval fighter opposition. They did have the Sea Hurricane and Wildcat and those held their own but it took the Sea Spitfire to gain any real advantage but that was really was a bit too fragile for carrier use. In the Corsair, with all it's tricky landing, they had a big robust and powerful fighter and they under took a good deal of effort to tame it. Once the British showed the way the USN redoubled it's effort to tame the Corsair for carrier use.

The delay was less that the Corsair was particularly unsuited for carriers, harder, yes, but far from impossible, but that they had the Hellcat that also had a very good edge over the opposition.

At least that's my reading of the situation.
 

djohannsen

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2017
Messages
646
Reaction score
476
Location
Within 800 meters.
Country
llUnited States
I'm currently about halfway through Robert Leckie's Strong Men Armed: The United States Marines Against Japan. If I had to describe the book in a single sentence I would say: A chronologically organized collection of anecdotes that spans all the major engagements of the Marines in World War II. I would also say that, though I have very much enjoyed it, the book reads like a wartime “public morale piece” (despite being written in 1962), not all that dissimilar to, say, Guadalcanal Diary. That being said, it is a very enjoyable read. Leckie is a gifted writer who served as a grunt in the 2nd Marine Division. The book gives a broad history of the Marines in the Pacific, but is focused mainly as brief personal sketches/stories within the context of each battle. Having served, his descriptions of the attitudes and mannerisms of Marines and the stories that he recounts generally have the ring of truth (see below) and are a delight to read (I chuckle each time I think of a Japanese soldier shouting out of the darkness at Guadalcanal “F___ Babe Ruth”). That being said, some of the stories maybe seem a little too good (for example, the young Japanese soldier at Bougainville who, falling into a Marine foxhole, says in impeccable English “I'm too young to die” to which the Marine instantly replies “So am I” before dispatching the soldier with a knife). So, if you aren't looking to read a dry scholarly account of the Marines in the Pacific focusing on organization and doctrine and strategy, I can recommend this book highly. Just remember that “sea stories” sometimes grow better with the telling and just relax and enjoy the tales.
 

jtsjc1

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Messages
380
Reaction score
75
Location
nj
Country
llUnited States
Just got a hold of Mark Bowden's Hue 1968. I had a very good buddy that was an Ontos operator (was in a very famous pic bringing out wounded) in this battle as well as an another old CSM and comrade over the years, then a squad leader, so looking forward to hopefully an enjoyable read.
Excellent book you'll enjoy it.
 

Yuri0352

Elder Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
1,662
Reaction score
604
Location
25-30 Hexes
Country
llUnited States
Just got a hold of Mark Bowden's Hue 1968. I had a very good buddy that was an Ontos operator (was in a very famous pic bringing out wounded) in this battle as well as an another old CSM and comrade over the years, then a squad leader, so looking forward to hopefully an enjoyable read.
I read this book last year, an excellent read with balanced accounts of the battle from all sides... American, VC, and Vietnamese civilians. More than a few accounts of Ontos action too! Possibly the best military book which I read all of last year.
 

Yuri0352

Elder Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
1,662
Reaction score
604
Location
25-30 Hexes
Country
llUnited States
I look forward to hearing what you think of this. The Corsair was such a performance leap from the Wildcat that I would like to learn more about it's development (though I have the impression that the ranks of Japanese pilots were so thinned by the time of its arrival that I'm not sure how important it was in the Pacific).
The book gives a very detailed account of the Corsair's debut during the Solomon islands campaign, a time when the ranks of Japanese army and new fighter pilots were far from thin. Judging by the missions described in the Solomons section, the Japanese fighters usually outnumbered the USMC/USAAF formations, at least until Rabaul was neutralized.

The book also includes an interesting chapter describing the Corsair's service with the Commonwealth forces, including mention of the only Royal Marine fighter ace (!) who achieved this status while flying the F4U.

The account of the airborne ice cream maker employed by a Corsair squadron at Peleliu was an amusing example of marine adaptation and ingenuity.

I haven't yet read the chapters on Korea, Vietnam, and the Soccer War.
 

Mike205

Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Messages
71
Reaction score
95
Country
llUnited States
I recently read Fergal Keane's Road of Bones - great book about Kohima that does a good job of connecting operational history to the human experience of combat. Let's just say I wouldn't have wanted to been in the IJA during the retreat... yikes!!

Now I'm on to Mark Zuehlke's series on the Canadians during WW II which starts in Sicily, covers Cassino and the Gustav line before moving on to Normandy and NW Europe. Hopefully he'll do the PTO and Korea some day. Can't recommend the series enough.

I've got a huge interest in the Rhineland campaigns of 1944-45 so I started with his book Forgotten Victory (ops Veritable and Blockbuster). Plenty of great stuff that any ASL player interested in late war NW Europe will recognize. Its a great companion to the Riley's Road CG.

I'm now working my way backward, finishing up Terrible Victory (The Scheldt campaign) and Breakout from Juno (late June and July 44) just arrived.

Since I recently purchased the Korean War expansion I'm looking forward to learning more about that conflict. Any recommendations?
 
Top