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T he Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 Volume 1 by Quintin Barry     The Franco-Prussian War in 1870 set Europe on a course of dea...

The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 Volume 1 by Quintin Barry The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 Volume 1 by Quintin Barry

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

Helion and Company






  The Franco-Prussian War in 1870 set Europe on a course of death and destruction for seventy-five years. The French loss engendered the revenge seen in World War I, which in turn brought on the vengeance of World War II. You might tie the Franco-Prussian War to the collapse of Europe from its dominant place in world politics, due to the above.

 In order for Germany to be united, the War had to happen. The smaller German states would never have rallied around Prussia if there was still a powerful outside nation to play them one against the other. The defeat in 1866 of Austria-Hungary set up Bismarck for his final challenge: to defeat France and then unify Germany over her prostrate form. Had Bismarck not taken Alsace-Lorraine as one of the spoils of war, maybe France would not have seethed so long and hard with the idea of revanche.

Helmuth von Moltke the elder
           

 The Franco-Prussian War was brought on by a telegram, helped by Bismarck's artful editing, before it was released to the press. The Ems telegram was made to look by Bismarck to be a French ultimatum for assurances that the crown of Spain would not go to a Hohenzollern.

 Mr. Barry, in this first volume about the war, goes into all of the different sticks laid on the proverbial camel's back from 1866 until the aforementioned telegram. He also goes into the building of the Prussian Army, and especially of its general staff under Moltke the elder. The book shows all of the different strengths and weaknesses of both the France and Prussia and her allies' armed forces. The technological superiority of the French Chassepot rifle had almost twice the effective range of the Prussian needle gun. It also explains how the French also misused their 'secret' weapon, the Mitrailleuse, which was the world's first effective machine gun, although it was much closer to a Gatling gun in its actual operation. The Prussian steel breech loading cannon, and their more effective use by them in 1870 compared to 1866, is shown to the reader.

Napoleon III


 The book goes into all of the battles on the frontier, and shows how the French gave better than they received through most of the engagements. The French, with a determined and centralized command structure, might have been able to at least bloody the Prussian nose enough to give Moltke pause. Unfortunately for them, the French soldiers' magnificent fighting was thrown away time after time by their generals. The near suicidal attacks by the Prussian and German soldiers on the French at Spicheren, Weissenburg, and W├Ârth pushed the French relentlessly back out of some excellent defensive positions. This was only after the French had inflicted large casualties on their attackers.

 The encirclement battles of the siege of Metz, and the final battle of the first part of the campaign Sedan are told to the reader along with all of the might have-beens had the French been able to work as an army instead of just as separated units.

 In the beginning of the book there is an interesting memorandum written by Moltke on the subject of the possibility of Austria entering into the war on the side of France:

  "If the political situation brings about a war of France against Prussia then the attitude of Austria will be either decidedly hostile or at least very doubtful. Should we oppose one half of our army to each of these two powers, we would be superior to neither. Therefore the first thing to be considered is: against which enemy will we in the start assume the defensive with minor forces, in order to advance offensively as strong as possible against the other?"

 Seeing that Schlieffen was tutored in the great general staff under Moltke, is it possible that this is where the 'Schlieffen Plan' actually comes from?

   The book was published by Helion and Company and distributed by Casemate Publishing. It includes seventy-four black and white pictures and also has seventeen maps of the campaign and battles.


Robert


Book: The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 Volume 1
Author: Quintin Barry
Publisher: Helion and Company
Distributor: Casemate Publishing
Date of Review: 11/12/16

Demolishing the Myth by  Valeriy Zamulin translated by Stuart Britton  Kursk it brings to mind nebelwerfers and Stalin&#...

Demolishing the Myth by Valeriy Zamulin and translated by Stuart Britton Demolishing the Myth by Valeriy Zamulin and translated by Stuart Britton

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

Helion and Company

Demolishing the Myth


by 


translated by

Stuart Britton




 Kursk it brings to mind nebelwerfers and Stalin's organs screaming, but most of all the oily pall of burning tanks. That one sentence sent to Koba, "the tigers are burning", was supposed to have summed it up. The only question is, did it really happen? Was the Panzerwaffen destroyed on July 12th 1943 at Prokhorovka, or are the earlier histories all wrong, and the true history is very different. 'Demolishing the Myth' looks to answer that question.




 Kursk is probably the second most written about battle following Waterloo. The tank battle at Prokhorovka has been stated many times to be the largest tank battle in history. Unfortunately, due to Soviet propaganda and other untruths, it has been very hard for historians to peel back the layers and find the truth about Kursk. The actual battle of Prokhorovka has been wrapped even tighter in an impenetrable fog than the rest of the Kursk battle. Long known as the 'death ride' of the panzers, Prokhorovka was really much smaller in scale than was imagined. Only in some Soviet dreams was the ground littered with burned out panzers. That is not to say that the fighting was not bitter and to the death, as was all the fighting in the Kursk salient. I want to stress that point. Just because we now know that Dubno in 1941 saw the greatest amount of tanks in one battle, with approximately 5,000 Soviet and 1,000 German tanks, it does not mean that the battle of Prokhorovka was any less important or earth shattering in its consequences or the lives of its veterans.




 "Demolishing the Myth' is a book that was first released in Russian and written by Valeriy Zamulin. It was translated into English by Stuart Britton. Zamulin was a staff member of the Prokhorovka state museum, and has immersed himself deeply in the battle of July 12th. This is a book about that day, and the tremendous conflict that took place there. The book shows more light on the Soviet side, but is sweeping enough to keep you informed about what was happening on both sides of the war. There is some background given on the Soviet main force in the battle, the 5th Guards tank army, and its leader Pavel Rotmistrov. The reason for the battle of Kursk, the German plan, and the days from July 5th to the 11th are gone into, is to give the reader a good foundation of the facts leading to the clash on July 12th. The book itself is over six hundred pages long, and is well supplied with photos from the war. It also has a set of color photos taken to show how the battlefield looks today. The author has also liberally supplied the reader with tactical maps of the engagement. The book continues with an overview of the end of the battle of Kursk. One of the book's greatest assets is the numerous Soviet after battle assessments, and their conclusions on why the 5th Guards tank army was given a bloody nose by the SS panzer grenadier divisions. The hour by hour description of the battle is top notch. The book also comes with a complete Soviet and German order of battle and copious notes. The author brings up the fact, but does not belabor the point, that it is possible that an attack by the 5th Guards tank army should have happened at another site, and not straight into the SS panzer grenadiers. The possibility of using this large force in a flank attack would have brought the German attack to a stand still without the commiserate loss of vehicles and soldiers.





 The author also uses personal accounts to try and put the reader into the contestants' shoes. All in all, the book gives all the whys, and not just the facts of what happened. 



 There have been numerous books written about the battle of Kursk. There are some with a Soviet slant and others that have a German one. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the ability of authors to view the official and non-official reports of the battle, we are now much better informed as to what really did take place. Helion and Company is to be heartily thanked and congratulated on this book. The information alone is worth the price, let alone the top notch physical components of the book. There are so many books on the market about Kursk that one cannot at this time say "this is the one book you need to understand Kursk", however I can state categorically that 'Demolishing the Myth' deserves a spot on your shelf.


 Robert


Author: Valeriy Zamulin
Translator: Stuart Britton
Publisher: Helion and Company
Distributor: Casemate Publishing
Date of Review: 10/23/2016

                                
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