July 2020 – The process of reviewing, amending, and updating the information and pdf documents on this website is continuing. Several sections are now complete, but there are more to do. I am currently working on the biographies sections, which takes time. As many have done, if there is something particular you wish to see that is not there, please contact me.
Thank you, Rob
Slightly off subject, but.....
I appreciate that this is slightly off subject, but I came across it and thought I should share it. It is well made and informative, but most of all I like the general context of military research. I hope you agree.
Video Rededication of War Memorial
The ceremony on Saturday 13 April 2013 to rededicate the war memorial at Torrington following the addition of the M.C. awarded to Major David WALKER. His surviving brother, Ken, attended with his family and it was a privilege to see them all. For more information and a biography of the brothers, contact the webmaster.
Released April 17, 2013
The Burma Boy
Here is a fascinating story told in video. I hope, like me, you find it moving.
In December 1941, the Japanese invasion of Burma (now Myanmar) opened what would be the longest land campaign fought by the British in the Second World War. It began with defeat and retreat for Britain, as Rangoon fell to the Japanese in March 1942. But the fighting went on, over a varied terrain of jungles, mountains, plains and wide rivers, until the Japanese forces surrendered in August 1945.
Some 100,000 African soldiers were taken from British colonies to fight in the jungles of Burma against the Japanese. They performed heroically in one of the most brutal theatres of war, yet their contribution has been largely ignored, both in Britain and their now independent home countries.
In the villages of Nigeria and Ghana, these veterans are known as ‘the Burma Boys’. They brought back terrifying tales from faraway lands. Few survived, even fewer are alive today.
Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips travels to Nigeria, Burma and Japan to find a Nigerian veteran of the war and to talk to those who fought alongside him as well as against him. He even finds the family that saved the life of the wounded veteran in the jungles of Myanmar.
Source: content and video courtesy of Barnaby Phillips and Al Jazeera English.
Two new Book Reviews
The Devils’ Bridge by Anthony TUCKER-JONES
To Defeat the Few – The Luftwaffe’s Campaign to Destroy RAF Fighter Command August – September 1940 – Douglas D. DILDY & Paul F. CRICKMORE
The Devil’s Bridge – The German Victory at Arnhem, 1944
Oxford, Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2020
304 pp ISBN 978-1-4728 3986 2 (hbk)
I enjoy reading a book that brings new perspective to a specific event, which is difficult these days, as so much has been written about what are deemed by the public to be the main events of the Second World War. This book meets that criteria, and so much so, that I stopped reading another book to read this one instead. For some reason, Operation Market Garden in September 1944 has been the subject of a plethora of books and magazine articles, many of which duplicate each other. There is only one other book that covers the operation from the German perspective, so this book helps fill a void. I like to see matters from both sides, to understand the factors that led to the known outcomes. As is said in science, every action begets a reaction.
In eighteen chapters, the author views the events of this operation from a German viewpoint. It chronicles the scramble by the German to escape the rapid Allied advance, and to rebuild its forces in the Netherlands and along the River Rhine. The author draws on a variety of sources to build a captivating narrative of confusion, indecision, and piecemeal responses to the Allied landings and advance towards Arnhem. He provides a portrait of the key participants in the German response, and their personalities and motivations.
There are nine maps included, which in Osprey style, use the standard military symbols. There is a key to there in the front of the book, but even though I am familiar with them, I kept having to go backward and forward to understand the maps. There are some illustrations in the middle of the book, which are mainly of the German officers referred to in the book, together with some general photographs.
In my opinion, there are better maps and photographs, but the reason for reading the book is the narrative. I found it a pleasure to read, flowing and informative. Most importantly, it enhanced my knowledge and understanding of the circumstances and nature of the battle for the bridges over the Maas, Waal and Rhine. I did not realise how disjointed the German response was, and how they seemed to take any male person under their control, give them a gun, and sent them forward to stop the Allied advance. That the Germans managed to defeat the Allies and prevent them gaining a bridge over the River Rhine is remarkable.
From a British perspective, it does not make for easy reading, as it challenges many of the perceptions often circulated about this battle. It is, however, I feel necessary to read this book to gain a broader understanding of this element of the Second World War. Thoroughly recommended.
To Defeat the Few – The Luftwaffe’s Campaign to Destroy RAF Fighter Command August – September 1940
Douglas D. DILDY & Paul F. CRICKMORE
Oxford, Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2020
387 pp ISBN 978-1-47283918 3 (hbk)
Another event of the Second World War that is iconic in British history is the Battle of Britain. Again, much has been written on the subject, generally from the British perspective. The film gives a British perspective of the events of August and September 1940, but why was it fought.
This book answers that question and more. It was a delight to read to it, and I was glued to it for four days. I really enjoyed the strategic elements in the earlier chapters, that lead on to the various stages of the battle. The last Chapter, XIV, is in many ways the most interesting as it assesses the Battle of Britain from the perspective of the Luftwaffe. The book uses a variety of sound sources and is clearly researched well. The photographs and maps add value to the book and complement it nicely.
In conclusion, I so enjoyed reading this book that I read it twice. It brings a new perspective on the events of the summer of 1940, and shows me that the options available to the German High Command were, in fact, limited, and that the air offensive was only viable option to inflict a defeat on the U.K. in the short term (the U-boat campaign was a long-term operation), and that this failed. It was the first defeat of the German military since its rise from 1933 onwards, and is therefore, of great interest and significance. This book more than does it justice.
The new web-site effectively went live in January 2018. Thank you to Really Different for your work and support.
I had over 500 pdf documents loaded on the old site, and I have begun the process to reload them onto the new site. This will take time, so please bear with me.
I am using this process to review, and if appropriate update, the pdf documents before reloading them, which is adding to the timescale for reloading. If you cannot find a document you are looking for, please contact me and I can supply them through a different medium.