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Waterloo The Truth at Last Why Napoleon Lost The Great Battle  by Paul L. Dawson   To merde or not t...

Watrloo The Truth at Last by Paul L. Dawson Watrloo The Truth at Last by Paul L. Dawson

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

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  To merde or not to merde, that is the question. Did General Cambronne say it, or did he utter "The Guard dies but never surrenders", or was he as this book says lying unconscious on the ground? 

 This book is large at roughly 500 pages, and it is jam packed with first person accounts of the battle. What makes this book different from so many others is that these accounts do not gel at all with the history as we have been told until now. We have been taught through word and screen that the Old Guard was destroyed by English troops. The author shows more than just a few accounts that say the Old Guard was actually destroyed by the Prussians. Another 'myth' the book tries to do away with is why the French attack was so delayed. We have been taught it was because of the condition of the ground that morning. There are many accounts and the author shows us that the French were just not ready to attack early. The author also questions if this army was one of the better ones that Napoleon commanded. This has been put forth in many written accounts of the battle.

 Mr. Dawson backs up his assertions with a lot, and I mean a lot, of facts and figures. The book can stand on all of the points the author shows that can be backed up by figures etc. The only problem with these first hand accounts is what if they are not correct, or are remembered incorrectly? 

 This book is one that everyone should have in their library, whether they agree with all of its findings or not. It is good to have a book that makes us question what we have believed in for the past two hundred years. The only thing I can fault the book for is a total absence of maps. A map to show where the author believes the Old Guard was destroyed/surrendered would have helped the reader to understand what exactly, and how much, the author was trying to correct the historical record. Even with the lack of maps, it is still a great book for a reader to ponder over. Do yourself a favor and read the author's other books on the campaign.

Robert

Book: Waterloo: The Truth at Last
Author: Paul L. Dawson
Publisher: Frontline Books
Distributor: Casemate Publishers


 

Aces of The Luftwaffe The Jagdflieger In The Second World War  by Peter Jacobs  Adolf Galland, Werner Molders, ...

Aces of The Luftwaffe by Peter Jacobs Aces of The Luftwaffe by Peter Jacobs

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

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 Adolf Galland, Werner Molders, Erich Hartmann, Gordon Gollob, and possibly the best of them, Hans Joachim Marseille, are all here. All of the above, and nine more fighter pilots, were awarded the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds (Brillanten). Many other pilots are in the book also. Gunther Rall was the greatest deflection shooter in the Luftwaffe (deflection shooting is shooting where the enemy will be, instead of from straight behind etc). This book shows the titanic struggle in the air over the East front. It also shows the almost suicidal courage of the Luftwaffe pilots when they flew against the massive bomber streams in the west.

 The book is 200 pages long, and it has twenty-four pages of black and white photos of the pilots and war. Some of these are posed propaganda pictures, but most are candid shots from the pilots' lives.

 The author does not get involved with the argument of the German fighter pilots' claims of 'kills'. He states his case in the introduction and then leaves the matter to the reader. If we take one fighter pilot and compare his 'kills' to his sorties, I believe it will clear up the issue. Erich 'bubi' Hartmann is credited with 352 'kills'. The number of sorties that he flew was 1,404. He was in air combat over 800 times. There were many instances where he notched up more than one 'kill' on a sortie. So roughly he is credited with one kill for every four sorties. The East front was an environment full of Soviet airplanes of all types. Also, as the writer points out, German fighter pilots flew until they were killed, wounded too much to fly, or the war ended. If the Allied pilots were given the same number of sorties and a rich target environment I believe they too would have tallied up impressive scores.

 Mr. Jacobs was in the Royal Air Force for over thirty years. So if anyone is qualified to write this book, it is him. He manages to tell the story of the war, and weave in the different pilots' lives and actions into it. It is true they fought for a horrible cause, but many of the people we history lovers read about would be listed in that way also. I congratulate Mr. Jacobs for this excellent volume on the German Jagdflieger. It is a great book for the novice and the expert alike on German WW II fighter pilots. The book not only describes the day fighters, but also the Reich's night fighters.As the author points out, many of these men were in their very early twenties when the war took place. At the same time that many people are just finding their way in the world, these men were in a life and death struggle with other young men and women (at least on the Soviet side). The appendices list the top scorers and their medals. 

Robert

Book: Aces of The Luftwaffe
Author: Peter Jacobs
Publisher: Frontline Books
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

 

The Luftwaffe Over Germany Defense of the Reich  by Donald Caldwell and Richard Muller   This book has a ton of...

The Luftwaffe over Germany Defense of the Reich by Donald Caldwell and Richard Muller The Luftwaffe over Germany Defense of the Reich by Donald Caldwell and Richard Muller

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

Frontline Books



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 This book has a ton of information on the daylight defense of German skies during World War II. The authors toiled ten years to bring this excellent history to us. It is filled with facts and figures, but also has 160 photos and numerous maps and diagrams. One of the main points, if not the most, that the authors show us is that before the start of the war Germany gave no thought to defense against bombers. The high command seemed to believe in all of the writing between the two wars that said that "the bomber would always get through". Germany's strategy was to hit first and hardest and let defense be damned. Unfortunately for them, the small pin prick daylight raids up until the beginning of 1942 were dealt with easily by the small slapped together air defense that they had at the time. This led the high command to believe that they did not have much to worry about as far as daylight bombing. The appearance of the U.S. Eighth Air Force would prove them wrong.

 The book continues to show how the off the cuff arrangements for daylight air defense were progressively upped until most German fighters were brought back to Germany to help defend their nation. The various personalities and their successes and failures are shown us, such as Goering, Galland, and Milch etc. The authors have also used many first person accounts to show how the air war over Germany was experienced by the Luftwaffe. The book is filled with many tidbits; one explains that the B-24 bombers had to fly in formation a few thousand feet lower than the B-17 bombers. I had always wondered why the B-24 with its larger payload was not more extensively used in Europe. All of the different steps in the technology war over the skies of Europe including radar and planes are shown by the authors. The gradual loss of the air war by Germany is described, and the desperate measures the Luftwaffe was forced to use. Ramming and the near suicidal use of the Me-163 are gone into. 

  Looking for a better book on the German air defense of the Third Reich in daylight during the war would probably be a useless endeavor. The authors have shown that it was a much closer battle than is usually shown to us. The personal accounts show exactly how much the German fighter pilots were wary of taking on American bomber streams, and for good reason. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone who has an interest in the air war over Germany from 1939-1945.


Robert


Book: The Luftwaffe Over Germany Defense of the Reich 
Authors: Donald Caldwell and Richard Muller
Publisher: Frontline Books
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras by Paul L. Dawson     Within the first chapter of this book, the author shows us the...

Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras by Paul L. Dawson Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras by Paul L. Dawson

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 Within the first chapter of this book, the author shows us the two most important reasons for the failure of the 1815 Belgian campaign. First, the French Army had some royalist officers and men who defected to the Allies. The amount of these defections are usually glossed over in other books on the campaign. Second, without Berthier as Napoleon's chief of staff, the Imperial headquarters seems to have been run in a very sloppy manner. Officers did not know where all their troops were, and many messages between the different staffs seem to have been missed. While not a competent field general, Berthier deserves to be listed as one of the best chiefs of staff ever. His not returning to serve under Napoleon in 1815 is probably one of the key reasons for the failure of the campaign. As far as the desertions, the author states that four Carabiner officers deserted on the field of Waterloo.

 The author does a very good job of detailing the performance of Marshal Ney from the 15th to the 18th of June 1815. He shows that Ney was handicapped by a lack of staff when he was appointed to the command of the left wing of the French Army by Napoleon on June 15th. Mr. Dawson shows how unnaturally timid Ney was on both the 15th and 16th of June. He goes on to show how nearly maniacal Ney became on the field of Waterloo. Unfortunately, we have only the written orders from the campaign, but the accompanying verbal orders have been argued about for more than two hundred years. In the author's eyes, among others, Ney lost the campaign by ordering d'Erlon's 1st corps away from the edge of the Ligny battlefield to help Ney at Quatre Bras. Of course, some of the blame also rests on d'Erlon for following Ney's order and not Napoleon's.

 The book shows the battle of Quatre Bras in all of its details and changes of fortune from French to Allied throughout the battle. The charge of Kellermann's Cuirassiers is explained by the author to be not as suicidal as is sometimes written about. The book comes with a one page colored map of the battle, and seven pages of colored photos of the different places on the battlefield today.

 The author shows that Ney unequivocally was sent, and received, a message from Napoleon that made it plain that Napoleon intended Ney to be part of a 'manoevre sur les derrieres' (move onto the rear) of the Prussian Army at Ligny. Ney's capture of Quatre Bras was supposed to be a movement to forestall Wellington being able to move to help the Prussians. As the book shows, Ney was hardly the best Marshal for Napoleon to have picked to have a ? command. His track record in 1813 should have precluded him in this command, but Napoleon had only so many Marshals to choose from.

 Whilst Ney was nicknamed by Napoleon 'the bravest of the brave' (look at his exploits leading the rearguard from Russia), he was not the smartest of the smart. If Davout or Soult had been in charge of the left wing, they probably would have captured Quatre Bras, and d'Erlon would have helped crush the Prussians at Ligny, thus making the Prussian Army unable to intervene on the field of Waterloo. Ney was the only marshal charged with treason after the second fall of Napoleon. This brave man was sentenced to death, and shot by firing squad.

 Ney's supposed comments at his execution were " Soldiers when I give the command to fire, fire straight at my heart. Wait for the order. It will be my last to you. I protest against my condemnation. I have fought a hundred battles for France, and not one against her ...soldiers,fire!"


Robert

Book: Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras
Author: Paul L. Dawson
Publisher: Frontline Books
Distributor: Casemate Publishers
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