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  • Pruitt
    replied
    Volume II Army of the Potomac, by Beatie. I have had all three for a while. Maybe it is age but I don't like to just sit and read through a book as I used to.

    Pruitt

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Phibbs, as a regimental task force surgeon, relates a briefing from Creighton Abrams who handing off the sector to the relieving force.

    Abrams draws a finger across a map.

    “Krauts have eighty-eights here, here, here. Lost four of our tanks yesterday. Damned careless, we were, but at least we made the Krauts give themselves away. We know where they are, so they’re dead. They have Panthers, Mark Fives with eighty-eights and long-barreled seventy-sixes and they’ve got them down behind the old Maginot line forts with twenty feet of concrete in front of them. Plus all that armor.”

    Taking his helmet off, running his hand through steel-pale hair, he shakes his head a little with the effort of emphasis.

    “Charge head on into something like that, it’s committing suicide. Some dumb bastard orders it, he commits murder. I can’t tell you that loud enough or often enough.”

    …. Abrams lights a cigar. …. Around the smoke, he talks more quietly. “It’s about people learning. Two plus two, sure. War, usually no, or so slow whole countries can disappear in the process. Nineteen fourteen to nineteen eighteen. Four years. Everybody finally learned you can’t run men against machine guns and barbed wire because most of them die. Western civilization almost got wrecked because that’s how dumb commanders were.

    “Okay, we now have tanks ….

    “An American tank battalion is a lot of concentrated violence, but to use it you have to go back to Indian fighting. Sneak, stalk, flank: pull the bastards out in the open and hit them before they know you’re there. Sucker them, fool them. Modern fighting is backwoods fighting: nobody charges anything in lines anymore. Our tanks have thin armor and weak guns, Christ knows why, but that’s how they are. On our side we have speed and a fast power traverse to get our sights on the other guy first. They have to crank those big guns around by hand and it takes time. We are committed to two things, speed and brains. Sneak, stalk, bang, you win. This business tomorrow. Do not—repeat, do not—attack those positions head on. You know where they are and that makes them helpless. Shake them up with heavy artillery, drop smoke on them, flank them. You’ll have them out and running in an hour.”

    “Brains and speed, that’s how you survive.” Creighton faces Beaky (incoming regiment commander) and exhales a sigh full of smoke. “Speed and, “ he pauses and almost shakes his head, “brains.” The word echoes tragically: the hero seems to shrug as he turns and walks quickly through the blackout curtain.

    What do you think Beaky ordered the next day?
    Last edited by R.N. Armstrong; 11 May 18, 06:46.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Berndan Phibbs, “The Other Side of Time: A Combat Surgeon in World War II”. He served in the 12th US Armored Division in eastern France and into southern Germany.

    I was drawn to this extraordinary memoir, published in 1987, by a reviewing quoting the author about “history’s quiet corners”—I had to read more from such a perceptive sense of history. I was not disappointed; the memoirs are incredibly good on insights and a quiet corner of the fighting in 12th Armor Div. In his preface, he notes, “Everything in this book happened as it’s set down: the conversations, while not verbatim, are reproduced accurately enough for the needs of reason and history.

    “Ho, ho, cries cynic, and of course you had a tape recorder in the tank column.

    “Of course I didn’t: nobody did. …

    “What I had, and what I used, was some advice I I’d picked up, at a long remove, from a couple of heroes. Two hundred years ago, Stendhal came down from the mountain with the first and second commandments for all writers: never describe a face you haven’t seen, never write a line of dialogue you haven’t heard. The obvious corollary states that the writer must record faces and speeches before they’re forgotten.

    “Scott Fitzgerald’s (sober) life was a sustained frenetic attempt to find words to catch the present before it plunged away into the past: he was a compulsive recorder of images and phrases, scribbling notes like “the yolks of their eyes” on the back of envelopes….”


    To be cont'd

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  • Mountain Man
    replied
    Stephen Ambrose's outstanding book on the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

    Found out that Lincoln gave such a terrific deal to the railroad robber barons because he was a railroad lawyer prior to running for office.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    Just finished Eliot Pattison's "Skeleton God", An Inspector Shan Tao Yun mystery which began with an Edgar Award for the author's "The Skull Mantra" back in 1999. Inspector Shan is a fallen Chinese inspector placed in the "Gulag" of Tibet prison's. The author highlights Chinese takeover and control of the Tibetan population. The books are laced with cogent observations, here are few examples from the series:


    "Criminal investigations [in Communist China and Tibet] made into social parables." ... "...the socialist dialectic. Prosecution of murder is usually a public phenomenon. You must be ready to explain the basics for prosecution here. There is always a political explanation.... That is the evidence you need."

    "It is the socialist context that's important. Find the reactionary thread and build from there. A murder investigation is pointless unless it can becomes a parable for the people."

    Inspector Shan's advice "...to keep shuffling the available facts unit he grasped the political truth of his case." ... "The best investigators, he had been taught in his first assignment, knew their job wasn't about assembling facts but about acquiring the right perspective on the facts.[Sound familiar?]"

    "The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go, the greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances."

    "Reality is nothing but a shared perception...."

    "The Chinese are very clever. They study a people and determine what is most important to all to that people, then they find a means to hollow that thing out, to first take ways its power, then eventually remove it completely. In Tiber they take your holy men. Tell me, friend, without your holy men can a Tibetan be a Tibetan?" [Advice for US today?]

    "The ultimate weapon wielded by Beijing had always been population. As in the western province of Xinjiang, the home of millions of Moslems belonging to Central Asian cultures, Beijing was turning the native population of Tibet into a minority in their own lands. Half of Tibet had been annexed to neighboring Chinese provinces."

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  • Martok
    replied
    Currently reading stories from this book, which is itself part of a larger series:



    Also reading this, after finding a copy in a local bookstore:



    And giving a look at this series as well, which is just Tomb Raider only not Lara Croft:

    Leave a comment:


  • Wolfe Tone
    replied
    Originally posted by Tuebor View Post
    Currently re-reading Nuremberg Raid by Martin Middlebrook (a favorite author). He has such a nice smooth, but choked fully of information style.



    Tuebor
    Its a Good one all right - that and the Berlin Raids.

    Leave a comment:


  • SmackUm
    replied
    An Infinity of Nations

    An Infinity of Nations (How the Native New World Shaped Early North America) by Michael Witgen (2012).
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...ity-of-nations
    The book deals with the European Colonies on the Atlantic Seaboard and their interaction with the Wild Native New World which lay in the heart of North America time period (1600-1850).

    Leave a comment:


  • Capt AFB
    replied
    Just finished "Backs to the Wall".

    The book is about what happens after the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, which is the battle that decided the fate of New France, which becomes a British colony. Quebec City falls into the hands of the British as a result of that battle.

    Well, the book provides info about what happens next, included the French almost recapturing Quebec City a year later at the Battle of Sainte-Foy and the following British campaign to end the French colony in Canada.

    Quite interesting read about early military forces in North America, and where the Amerindians stood during the French-British fight over Canada. Very informative and well researched.

    A map of the Battle of Sainte-Foy may have been useful to better guide the reader, but that would be my only negative critic of the book.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Capt AFB; 07 Apr 18, 09:03.

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  • Tuebor
    replied
    Currently re-reading Nuremberg Raid by Martin Middlebrook (a favorite author). He has such a nice smooth, but choked fully of information style.



    Tuebor

    Leave a comment:


  • Elers
    replied
    I am currently reading 3 books.

    Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization by Nicholson Baker
    I found it at the Dollar Store. It is done in little vignettes so that you can pick it up, read a little, then put it down for a while. I am ¼ of the way through it. So far I find it sobering but interesting. It will probably take me all year to get through it, a few pages at a time.

    The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson: Good fun read. ¾ through it and enjoying it much!

    The third one is Aethelstan: The First King of England by Sarah Foot. I have just started it and it is slow going. It is from the library. I can renew 6 times, which means that I can have it for 14 weeks if no-one else reserves it. It will probably take every bit of that time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chukka
    replied
    Around 3 months ago I was browsing a bookshop sci-fi section and bought a book on impulse called Ready Player One. At that stage I didn't realise it was going to be a movie.

    Anyhow, this book is the worst pile of trash I have read. Boring, stunted, juvenile rubbish. I like computer games and sci fi, but this novel is literally just an account of someone playing a computer game. I haven't finished it, go about 40 pages in , and tried another 20 pages last week. It didn't improve, and I looked up the ending on Wikipedia so I didn't have to wade through the rest of this rubbish.

    The bit that bugs me is that it really is just teen fiction, marketed to adults. This is Ernest clines first novel, but he did scriptwrite a film called Fanboys, that I quite liked, about 4 uber nerdy Star Wars fans in the lead up to the release of the phantom menace. Fanboys was fun, this is not.

    And not only that, but it is SOCIALIST! The villains are trying to actually make money from a product people want. Woooo, scary. While the hero wants to take possession something someone else has built, without putting any work into it himself, the leftist dream.


    If you are thinking about this book, just save your $18 and read the subtitles on a YouTube World of Warcraft walk through.
    Last edited by Chukka; 03 Apr 18, 06:09.

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  • Chukka
    replied
    Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
    There are a number of books written about the SAS involvement in Gulf War I, and, at least,three books about Bravo Two Zero. (IIRC, the books are: Bravo Two Zero, The One That Got Away, The Real Story Behind Bravo Two Zero.)

    SAS patrols pretty much plan for their own mission, including how they want to be inserted (depending on available assets) and travel method once on the ground.

    The decision to walk to their target area was the patrol's decision, unlike other patrols, which decided to use Pink Panther jeeps or other vehicle to move around once on the ground...I recall the SAS leadership questionning the patrol about not using a vehicle (they were available) but McNab and his patrol made a case for not needing one...So blaming the brass for bad planning here does not stand.

    As for warmer clothing, again, its a decision by the patrol members what to carry...It is not like SAS members are raw recruits going on their first patrol...And if I recall correctly, they lost their Bergen bags after dropping them during a heavy contact with the Iraqi Army, which may explain why nobody had a extra layer of clothes or sleeping bag when they were escaping Westward towards Syria.
    Close Quarter Battle by Mike Curtis is an interesting read, Curtis was a coal miner who joined the Paras just in time for the Falklands and went through Goose Green. He joined the SAS afterwards and had a pretty successful time in Iraq. Everything was planned out and flexible, especially in terms of clothing and how they used their vehicles. They had dramas with driving at first few nights, so they decided to drive by day. Everyone had their say, with the officer having final veto. Also, with everyone being caught out with poor clothing, one of the QM's bought a few dozen overcoats from a Saudi market, and they were in the field within days.

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  • jeffdoorgunnr
    replied
    reading "Truman"............last of the honest presidents..............

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  • Poor Old Spike
    replied
    Originally posted by Capt AFB View Post
    ..SAS patrols pretty much plan for their own mission..So blaming the brass for bad planning here does not stand..
    Yes, the patrol members have to share most of the blame, personally I'd have refused pointblank to go.
    In fact I read somewhere that one SAS lieutenant(?) did just that, refusing to go on a mission that he didn't agree with, I can't remember if it was the Bravo Two Zero job or another one.
    The writer said something like- "As we embarked without him, we saw him sitting in the HQ office sipping tea".
    Full credit to him..

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