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  Blue Water War The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean and Middle East 1940 - 1945 by Brian E. Walter  The thinking about the war in th...

Blue Water War: The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean and Middle East 1940 - 1945 by Brian E. Walter Blue Water War: The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean and Middle East 1940 - 1945 by Brian E. Walter

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

August 2022

Blue Water War: The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean and Middle East 1940 - 1945 by Brian E. Walter





 Blue Water War


The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean and Middle East 1940 - 1945


by


Brian E. Walter






 The thinking about the war in the Mediterranean is now often colored by hindsight and error really. The threat of the Italian Armed Forces is often thought of as laughable. This was not the case in reality, and most certainly not in 1940 when Italy declared war on Britain and France. Mussolini was afraid that if he did not declare war before France fell, he would not be invited to the peace talks to pick up some scraps from both countries' colonies in Africa. The book shows us just how seriously the British took the Italian threat. The British Admiralty had actually suggested to Churchill to remove all of their naval forces from the Mediterranean. Luckily for Britain, he squashed the idea immediately.


 The author starts out the book by showing us a bit of the previous history of the Mediterranean and what country held what and where. He then goes on to give a complete rundown of all of the Armed Forces of Britain and Italy and Germany in the Mediterranean at the start of the fighting. On paper, the Italian forces look formidable, as do the British. However, both sides had distinct advantages and disadvantages to cope with. Italy's physical location in the middle of the Mediterranean was its greatest asset. British naval training and morale was theirs. The author shows something that I had never known before. The Italian Merchant fleet had almost one third of its tonnage outside of the Mediterranean when Italy declared war. This included most of its largest and newest ships. Most never made it back to Italy. This hogtied the Italian ability to supply their troops throughout North Africa during the war. Italy did not have the manufacturing ability to really fight a war, let alone replace those ships. Italy did have one great advantage in that she had the largest fleet of submarines in the world then (115), either ready or near completion. Unfortunately for them, the Italian Navy did not really use this asset to its best advantage.


 The Mediterranean was after the Normandy Landings seen as a backwater; that thinking continues to this day. The author does a fine job in showing how in 1940 the British Armed Forces were dismayed to find themselves at war in the Mediterranean. He shows how it became a war of defeating the other side's convoys, along with the desperate battles over and around Malta. The book then continues inexorably to the capitulation of Italy and the battles for the Italian mainland. While it is a book about the naval war, the author does a very good job of letting the reader know about the land war operations.


 This is an excellent volume that shines a searchlight on a part of World War II that is often overlooked. The book comes with maps and a large number of tables showing a multitude of pertinent information following the text. The first Appendix is a timeline of the entire events in during World War II. The second Appendix is of biographies of prominent Royal Navy Officers who served in the Mediterranean Theatre. Thank you, Casemate Publishers for not only printing this great book, but also for allowing me to review it.


Robert

Book: Blue Water War: The Maritime Struggle in the Mediterranean and Middle East 1940 - 1945

Author: Brian E. Walter

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

 


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  By Defeating My Enemies Charles XII of Sweden and the Great Northern War 1682-1721 by Michael Glaeser    The Vasa family of Swedish Kings ...

By Defeating My Enemies: Charles XII of Sweden and the Great Northern War 1682-1721 by Michael Glaeser By Defeating My Enemies: Charles XII of Sweden and the Great Northern War 1682-1721 by Michael Glaeser

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

August 2022

By Defeating My Enemies: Charles XII of Sweden and the Great Northern War 1682-1721 by Michael Glaeser





 By Defeating My Enemies


Charles XII of Sweden and the Great Northern War 1682-1721


by


Michael Glaeser




 

 The Vasa family of Swedish Kings gave us two military geniuses, Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII. Gustavus is considered a hero because of the religious undertones to his campaigns in Germany during the Thirty Years War. Charles XII is not so lucky. He is now considered a warmonger at worst, or sometimes derided as a fool. What is not generally known is that Gustavus spent about the same amount of time trapsing through Poland as Charles XII did, before getting Sweden involved with the Thirty Years War. In actuality, Charles XII is much like Henry V of England. He inherited the throne at a young age and was considered a reckless fun-loving teenager. Just like Henry V, once he heard the trumpets of war, he threw all of that aside and became hardnosed general. 


 The author starts us out by going back in time to the time of Gustavus Adolphus. He lived between 1594 - 1632. So, both he and Charles XII lived only thirty-six years. We are shown how small in population and wealth Sweden was and how strange it is that there actually was a Swedish Empire. Charles's father, Charles XI, was the first Swedish King to make Sweden follow the rule of absolutism, meaning that all power derived from the king. The book then goes to Charles's childhood. He was born on June 17th, 1682. His father died in 1697, so he was only fifteen when he was crowned. At this time the Baltic Sea was considered the 'Swedish Lake'. Because of the age of Charles, Denmark, Russia, and Saxony/Poland (the Elector of Saxony Augustus II the Strong was also king of Poland) secretly declared war on Sweden in 1700. The first thing Sweden knew about it was when enemy troops entered their lands. 


 Charles was only eighteen when the Great Northern War started. Denmark was not the inconsequential country she is now in world affairs. So, Charles had three of the great powers of Europe lined up against him. The name of the book comes from a quote of Charles  from Voltaire's biography of him " I have resolved never to start an unjust war, but only to end a legitimate one by defeating my enemies". His three foes were Frederik IV of Denmark, Augustus II, the Strong (French Marshal deSaxe was one of his 350 or so illegitimate children), and Peter I, the Great the Czar of Russia. Charles's sense of chivalry was quite strong. So, we are shown how the idea of defeating all three of these men became a fixation in Charles's mind. Not mind you to come to a peaceful treaty with the above, but to conquer them in open battle and have Charles dictate the terms.


 The author takes us through the tumultuous eighteen remaining years of Charles's life, from the lighting strike on Denmark that prostrated that country in no time flat to the incredible victories of Narva etc. By 1708 Charles had knocked both Saxony/Poland and Denmark out of the War. He had also placed another King on Poland's throne. The only man left to conquer was Peter. Thus, Charles determined to force his ill-fated invasion of Russia, which ended in the great Swedish defeat at Poltava in 1709. The War continued after that in spits and spurts with Charles the unwelcome guest of the Ottoman Sultan. 


 The author continues with his life and the history of the war after Charles made a wild ride to freedom across most of the breadth of Europe in 1714. Even Charles's death was controversial, with many trying to prove that he was killed by someone in his own army while invading Norway in 1718. 


 This book is part of Helion & Company's 'Century of the Soldier 1618 - 1721'. All of the books I have read so far from the series have been serious and well-done histories of their subject. This book is no exception. While the book itself is less than 200 pages, it still gives the reader all of the history of the period. There is no glossing over of any part of Charles's life or the history of The Great Northen War. Thank you, Casemate Publishers for letting me review this great book.


Robert

Book: By Defeating My Enemies: Charles XII of Sweden and The Great Northern War 1682 - 1721

Author: Michael Glaeser

Publisher: Helion & Company

Distributor: Casemate Publishers

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