Posted: July 16, 2014 in armed forces, army, book reviews, books, great britain, history, iraq, kuwait, textbooks, the first gulf war, the sas
Tags: armed forces, army, book reviews, books, great britain, history, iraq, kuwait, textbooks, the first gulf war, the sas
I am reviewing the war memoir book Sabre Squadron by Cameron Spence which is a very good book which I bought from a local secondhand bookstore. This is a true story of an SAS mission that occurred during the First Gulf War and was the longest mission ever undertaken by SAS soldiers at 6 weeks. The mission was part of the search for Scud missiles in the wake of Iraq attacking Israel with these in the hope of breaking the Arab part of the coalition which was essential if the armed forces amassed in Saudi Arabia were going to oust Iraq from Kuwait. It was ultimately successful and Israel wasn’t drawn into the war but SAS soldiers on the ground in Iraq had to find the mobile Scud sites. The permanent Scud missile sites were taken out quite early on and the Iraqis smuggled the missiles to the sites in buses under the Allied Forces noses. Once they SAS found the sites they often had to use a laser guider to guide the bombs in. In this particular mission they thought they were dealing with 30 soldiers and it was actually more like 300 and one of the land rovers thought a place with barbed wire and concrete structures which are always bad signs was deserted and it turned out they got ambushed and if they had turned around would have been killed so had to slam the vehicle in reverse and make a speedy exit. I think if you enjoy books by Chris Ryan and Andy McNab you will be in your element. It has lots of delicious details about warfare and I think will especially appeal to anyone considering a career in the army or soldiers. I really enjoyed this book and Cameron Spence was a NCO in the SAS who carried out this mission. It rivals books like Bravo Two Zero. It’s an enjoyable read and is a decent length at around 400 pages.
Posted: July 15, 2014 in armed forces, army, book reviews, books, british history, great britain, history, insurgency, military history, textbooks
Tags: armed forces, army, book reviews, books, british history, great britain, history, insurgency, military history, textbooks
The book I read to research this post was British Military Operations 1945-85 which is an excellent book which I bought from a car boot sale. This book was published around 1986 and covers the various theatres of conflict Britain has been involved in, in quite a lot of detail and is quite informative. Britain at least up until 1985 had been involved in armed conflict somewhere in the world every year with the exception of 1968. Britain has a relatively small but extremely capable army that has unsurpassed experience in dealing with terrorists or insurgents. Most of these conflicts the British armed forces have achieved notable victories. There were conflicts like the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya when they had to move all the villagers out of the war zone when the civilians weren’t too happy but even in that they did have success in dealing with the Mau Mau. One thing they did was use ex Mau Mau who had changed sides to hunt down the others in small groups often accompanied with one soldier. They had a lot of success with this in the Boer War too. The enemy would have no idea if these units were friendly or not and could be captured etc. In Northern Ireland a ploy used by the security services was taking people off the street and questioning but because they couldn’t interrogate them they let them contribute information if they wanted to. This was done on such a large scale the PIRA couldn’t work out who had told them what as they were overwhelmed with the number of people involved. I learned a lot from this book and it is a very interesting read certainly worth the 50 p I paid for it. If you see it for sale secondhand I definitely recommend it. Britain wanted wealth from the empire just after World War 2 to help pay off the loans from America but gradually decided the best path was to let her subject countries become independent which allowed her to scale back her military. As with things like the Suez Crisis she couldn’t stick to one policy and couldn’t accept the Egyptians nationalizing the Suez Canal. This was partly to pay for the Aswan Dam which the West was threatening to pull the finance for. Britain in particular feared British ships might be banned from the canal. It wasn’t just loss of earnings. Of course at this time Britain just couldn’t afford to fight a war and hadn’t thought it out properly.
Posted: July 3, 2014 in agincourt, book reviews, books, history, john keegan, military history, somme, textbooks, warfare, waterloo
Tags: agincourt, book reviews, books, history, john keegan, military history, somme, textbooks, warfare, waterloo
The book I read to research this post was The Face Of Battle by John Keegan which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This book takes an indepth look at 3 great British battles, Agincourt, Waterloo & the Somme. The first 2 were successful for Britain and the last was a bit of a stalemate. Keegan writes absolutely brilliant history books mostly from around the 2 World Wars. Agincourt along with the somewhat similar battle Crecy is the kind of battle at first glance makes you proud to be British and was between them and the French. The French outnumbered the English but there cavalry hesitated big time in a relatively narrow space were due to the mud the horses were sinking and they were slain by archers. The British longbowmen had a reputation for being lethal. The resultant prisoners were mostly slain due to there larger numbers as the British thought they might pick up weapons and start fighting again. At Waterloo some of the soldiers most notably the Belgians were allowed to leave with out being captured despite losing the battle and many of these soldiers fought in other battles so in hindsight it was probably the wrong decision. At the Somme in World War 1 most of the shells fired by the British were shrapnell containing lots of steel balls due to a shortage of high explosive but this did little damage to the German fortifications. Many of the British were mowed down by machine guns as they advanced and gains despite the heavy losses were minimal. A lot of lessons were at least learned from this offensive that were applied to later battles. I did really enjoy this book and it’s a substantial length with lots of useful information. Keegan is one of my favorite history book authors.
Posted: July 3, 2014 in austria, book reviews, books, europe, history, medicine, psychology, textbooks, viktor frankl, world war 2
Tags: austria, book reviews, books, europe, history, medicine, psychology, textbooks, viktor frankl, world war 2
The book I read to research this post was Man’s Search For Ultimate Meaning by Viktor Frankl which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This book is the follow up to Man’s Search For Meaning also by Viktor Frankl and the best book I have ever read. In that book it was about his experiences in a concentration camp during World War 2 and how he found meaning to his existence whilst there which led to him developing logotherapy and becoming a celebrated psychiatrist and psycho therapist. One man went to him devastated about his wife’s death which had left him alone. Viktor told him he should think that he is suffering instead of his wife and has spared her this ordeal. One thing he often focuses on is a life has to have meaning and an example of this is lab rats had a lever that every time they pressed it produced food. At first they ate lots and lots of food but then it lost its meaning and they went off food and sex. It is only by having sad experiences we can appreciate the good times. Everything is relative. In a concentration they enjoyed great happiness eating a bit of stale bread because they were starving and if they had been well fed would have turned their noses up at it. Another thing is expectations where we expect something and if it disappoints we are upset but if it exceeds our expectations no matter how little we expect are happy. This is only a short book of around 150 pages and Viktor is from Vienna in Austria which of course was invaded by Hitler during World War 2. This is a very interesting book and I enjoyed reading it.
Posted: June 21, 2014 in ancient history, andrew collins, biblical history, book reviews, books, europe, gobekeii tepe, gobekli tepe, history, megalithic man, textbooks, the bible, turkey
Tags: ancient history, andrew collins, biblical history, book reviews, books, europe, gobekeii tepe, gobekli tepe, history, megalithic man, textbooks, the bible, turkey
The book I read to research this post was Gobekeii Tepe: Genesis Of The Gods by Andrew Collins which is an excellent book which I bought from kindle. Gobekeii Tepe was discovered in 1994 and is a remote part of South West Turkey and is the earliest archaeological construction in the world. Some historians have claimed we will find things like the Akashic Vaults which are records of human consciousness and thought to be in Egypt but this is more exciting. The Gobekeii Tepe is a series of megalithics on a huge scale that were probably by hundreds of organized workers in 9,400 BC & that is 7,000 years before the time of Abraham. Andrew reckons beings came to Earth from outer space and this was the site of the Garden of Eden built by aliens rather than a God. It is a fascinating book. Apparently a farmer found broken stones whilst ploughing with inscriptions on them and notified the nearest museums in 1984 but it took them until 1994 to get back to him. One things it shows is at the time the local must have had an organized society with agriculture to support the thousands of visitors it received. When this was built and it was lined up with the stars, there was a different pole star called Deneb and there is a hole in one of the stones thought to be aligned with it. The stones were quarried many miles away and we know among the things they worshipped was the volcanic rock/mineral obsidian and in some cases this was highly polished to make the first mirrors. This obsidian was transported hundreds of miles. We know among other things they drilled agate gem stones with diamond drills to thread them into necklaces. Andrew tends to write books on the occult and paranormal and I think this book which is his most recent publication is one of his best. I really enjoyed reading it and found it very interesting. There are also inscriptions on the rocks of creatures that didn’t live in the area and the nearest water source was 3 miles away. There isn’t known to have been any kind of water pipeline which makes you wonder how they supplied the workers and visitors.
Posted: June 21, 2014 in world war 2, history, british history, books, warfare, armed forces, royal navy, textbooks, book reviews, warships, submarines
Tags: history, british history, books, world war 2, warships, armed forces, warfare, royal navy, textbooks, book reviews, submarines
The book I read to research this post was Modern Sea Power by Bernard Brett which is an excellent book which I bought from a car boot sale. This book was written at the height of the Cold War so apart from looking at the history of navies tends to look at the rivalry between NATO & the Soviet Bloc. Bernard is an art teacher who has a strong interest in the navies of the world and I think he has done a commendable job with this book. Much of it looks at the 2 World Wars and it is around 250 pages so is a reasonable length with sumptious photos. The book mostly looks at the development of the modern navy which started with HMS Dreadnought in 1905 which was the first ship to have big guns and heavy armament and of course the dreadnought class of ships was named after her. In World War 2 American ships were limited to 61,000 tons which was all that could pass through the Panama Canal & the Japanese took advantage of this with their Yamamoto Class 72,000 ton ships though which only saw limited production. Another big development in World War 2 was the submarine and the German developed an engine for these which was high performance and used hydrogen peroxide instead of pressurized oxygen to provide combustion. After the Americans looked at nuclear power with the potential that the submarine could almost run indefinitely underwater. Yet another big development has been the change from battleship to aircraft carrier as the most expensive ship in a fleet. The British developed a kind of catapult that would launch a Hurricane aircraft into the air and the fact it couldn’t land and the pilot had to bail out once the enemy had been destroyed was seen as an acceptable loss. Many of the Atlantic convoys had this. It was primarily to take care of enemy battleships. The periscope which allowed a submarine to run submerged but at the same time be able to see above the surface was a Dutch invention during World War 2. Around that time Britain had more merchant shipping than any other nation but they were catching up rapidly. This was largely due to the British Empire. I really enjoyed reading this book which is on an interesting topic and the author has done a good job with it.