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I will have to check that out.  I'm always interested in hearing the other view because only then can you really form your own.

 

Similary I'm on the hunt for any historical accounts wars (any war really) from the loser's perspective.  Given the amount of material on WW1 & 2, there's surprisingly little written by Germans, Italians and Japanese that are not apologies.

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Did very recently finish The Good Soldier by Alfred Novotny. Wasn't terribly bad, but not great by a long shot either. Almost all details are left out, only a very rare few events and friends are mentioned. Basically, if you've read one German soldier's account of the Eastern front, you've pretty much already read half this book.

 

Frontschwein by Günter Koshorrek though is a very good, comprehensive first hand account, from the time of just before Stalingrad to the end of the war.

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Guest JE5TER

Just finished Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz, was a fantastic novel about a US government black ops program. Well worth a gander.

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The Horus heresy

Bloody massive sci fi series published by Black library, owned by games workshop and set in the Warhammer 30/40,000 universe. (10,000 years before the board game stuff for those who care).

 

absolutely stunning series written by a host of authors, one of which has written everything from well known comics, the mister men, alien isolation, doctor who and more.

 

Set in the year 31,000 ish, the human empire reigns almost all of the galaxy ruled by the emperor. some shit goes down with his favored son, and well, galaxy spanning war. the series covers everything from spies and subterfuge, giant naval engagements spanning thousands of kilometers, both mass land battles and special forces stuff, politics, life on and off the front line, he supernatural/occult and a shitload more.

 

if you dont know much about warhammer, id 100% follow the reading order, and i think you can read a small bit of each book for free for those who are interested.

 

http://www.blacklibrary.com/horus-heresy

 

ES7Lgg4.jpg

 

heres some of the book cover art- http://imgur.com/gallery/WwyJW

 

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Think I've read 6 or 7 books from the Horus Heresy, very good. Takes you to know 40K universe, but certainly good.

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The early books are good. Then they started churning out guff ones too because they realised it was making them a fortune (I was chatting to some of the BL team a year or two ago and at the time, they were the third largest indie publisher in the UK). They're on 30 or 40 now and no end in sight for a story with an ending everyone already knows.

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Id agree for the most part, though it does finally seem as though we are reaching the end, im missing a couple of books but have most of them.

The short stories instead of new books are kind of a pain, but at the same time they are really good, and the scope of the story leaves a lot of room for books, short stories and the like, there's just so much to tell.

 

Either way whether you just have a look through a few, or really invest in the series, its well worth it.

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I'm not sure I'd use the phrase well worth it. Reasonably enjoyable tie in fiction, yes. Well worth it is something I would ascribe to Pratchett, or Rothfuss or Erikson.

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Here's a change of pace, and (for me) a welcome contrast to some of the 'by-the-numbers' Afghan-war accounts I've been reading lately.

 

OREN, Michael B. (2003) "Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East" Penguin (0141014350) 464p 

 

This work rightly won critical acclaim for its account of the triumph of the IDF simultaneously fighting against several Arab nations in June 1967. It's one of the best top-to-bottom accounts of war and diplomacy I've ever read - and covers not just the immediate combatants, but also the UN and the Superpowers. Given from a relatively even-handed standpoint (despite the author's past career in Israeli diplomacy) it knits together a massive wealth of sources covering political, military and diplomatic issues. I've praised Beevor for his clear handling of big war topics, but Oren is much better - I could almost feel my head swelling with new knowledge as I read, and given the scope it's not as dry as dust either.

 

Not only is the account interesting, but it clearly points out that as well as leadership and preparation just how much in war hangs on sheer chance, timing and the ability to recognise and sieze opportunities - and is especially instructive on how the fear of reporting a 'true' (if politically unwelcome) military situation up the chain to despotic commanders can cripple effective reaction. Topically the book helps explain Russia's continuing heavy involvement in the Middle East (especially Syria) and also why the West continues to have such a tetchy reputation with the Arab states e.g. the so-called  'Big Lie' of Egypt's President Nasser who claimed US/UK direct military air support in smashing the Egyptian air force on the ground in a few hours was very widely believed across the Arabic world. The work also explains that despite Israel's victory why it was not the last to be fought in the region - ie Israel proved itself strong enough to aggressively defend itself, but was not strong enough to dominate the region.

 

It does take a bit of getting into, but fascinating stuff.

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EZQUERRA Carlos & ENNIS, Garth (2016) "Adventures in the Rifle Brigade". Image Comics ( 978-1632158024) 144p

 

You've probably guessed I'm into comics, even my avatar is a classic piece of British art by Joe Colquhoun. Ever since I was a snivelling little snot-nose when I hunched over Battle, Action, Warlord, Score, Valiant, Commando books, War Picture Library and many more including of course the ground breaking 2000 AD (oh dear God... I clearly remember buying Issue 1).

 

So with that history going for me I can confidently state that 'Rifle Brigade' isn't exactly a classic.

 

The plot lines are vague and nonsensical, the whole is filled with military anachronisms, and there's a surprising amount of repetition given its brevity. Of all its failings though I really wish there was more character development and background (or even more dialogue) for the protagonists who (apart from Capt. 'Khyber' Darcy, and 2nd Lt 'Doubtful' Milk) are all so thin that they aren't even 2 dimensional.

 

BUT... and here's the plot twist...  it IS huge fun. Crude, rude, and really laugh out loud, funny, entertaining and a natural irreverent homage and piss-take on all those old war comics. It is also beautifully drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, a long standing master artist of British comics, hell it even has some extra full page art panels by Brian Bolland (another great British artist) and as for those Nazis? Well THEY they have lederhosen of personality, albeit 1000% stereotypical comic book stuff. I really wish there were more than 2 main stories (a parachute drop on Berlin and a 'Raiders' inspired mission in North Africa) but perhaps it's better left as it is - Short and sweet. 

 

It is ALSO unadulterated VCB through-and-through. The hardest thing is not scanning in the whole bally thing and posting it on Slack.

 

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You can read it in an e-version but go on treat yourself... Get it in hard copy (fnaar, fnaar)!

 

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In many ways it's a relief that you need 90+ super nerds and some serious computing power to make it happen.  At least it means we're not simply missing something really obvious.

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EZQUERRA Carlos & ENNIS, Garth (2016) "Adventures in the Rifle Brigade". Image Comics ( 978-1632158024) 144p

 

You've probably guessed I'm into comics, even my avatar is a classic piece of British art by Joe Colquhoun. Ever since I was a snivelling little snot-nose when I hunched over Battle, Action, Warlord, Score, Valiant, Commando books, War Picture Library and many more including of course the ground breaking 2000 AD (oh dear God... I clearly remember buying Issue 1).

 

 

Charles were you a Warlord Secret Agent?

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Charles were you a Warlord Secret Agent?

 

Vince... woah major nostalgia rush. Thanks for that.

 

Of course I was. That's when free gifts in comics were actually good. Seem to remember sending off for the little agent book.

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The brown vinyl wallet,  with card id endorsed by Peter Flint and the secret handbook. Think every kid in my street was a Warload secret agent. Fun times.

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MALLINSON Allan  (2011) "The Making of the British Army" Bantam (0553815407) 752p

 

I really enjoyed this whistle-stop history of the British Army from the 17th Century's 'New Model Army' up to recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a good, comprehensive view of a very big subject - you can't say the British Army has ever really being inactive can you?

 

The text is readable and often (speaking as a civvie) fascinating. Demonstrating how, and why, the Army has changed in character through the centuries AND also why the Army hasn't changed - or sometimes why hard learned lessons were forgotten e.g. there is nothing new about counter insurgency operations. Mallinson doesn't omit the failures, sometimes in war, sometimes in organisation (though these tend to be quickly glossed over) but he does rejoice in the Army's resilience and -in global terms- its capacity to punch above its weight. The nature of Empire, and Great Britain as an island nation on the military are also explored, as are the British establishment/Government's long running distrust of an over powerful Army.

 

In-depth analysis is minimal but the book does contain interesting pen-sketches of key campaigns and personnel (not just the big-gun Marlborough’s and Wellington's) plus factual snippets e.g. why 'Rifles' do NOT fix bayonets - but Swords. Mallinson's major hobby horse is stressing the unique role of the Regiment pointing out how new recruits are encouraged to know and emulate their forebears. The very long practice of merger and dissolving of historic regiments is constantly revisited and constantly criticised.

 

As an aside... One minor element I'd like to know more about is Mallinson's throwaway comment that British Army drill has always reflected the unique (bayonets and closely controlled fire) fighting ideology of the Army - which is apparently different, and recognisably so (!) to the drill used by OTHER European and Superpower armies. Is this true? if so, how so?

 

Afterwards I learned that Mallinson (who is an ex-Cavalry officer) also writes Napoleonic 'Light Dragoon' fiction (Matthew Hervey series) though afraid I've never read them - I might well do now though, anybody here recommend them?

 

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He was my brother's CO in the Light Dragoons (and his daughter is an utter bitch but that's another story).  His Hervey series are well-worth reading, especially the first one about Waterloo.

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Interesting link Rasa.

 

Most of the utility companies in his top 50 companies are a bit dubious (save the water lot)... I very seriously doubt UKPN and MLP have such huge holdings, I feel like he might be counting the rights over land they hold which do not equate to freehold title. Edit: Seeing the information was sourced from a FOI request, this is almost certain. Equally a lot of the historic estates will be having their Manorial rights counted in the acreage and not just the freehold title.

 

There's also a serious amount of guffy opinon on some of his posts, claiming the land registry isn't open and that grouse moors seriously damage ecosystems. Without said moors there would be woodland of incredibly low biodiversity!

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His Hervey series are well-worth reading, especially the first one about Waterloo.

 

Just finished 'A Close Run Thing' (Book 1 in Mallinson's 'Matthew Hervey' series) and agree it's not bad. Some rather sly little digs at Cornwall's Sharpe which were amusing (best being his tongue-in-cheek mockery of seeking promotion by capturing an imperial eagle). I suspect Mallinson is trying to write the Cavalry equivalent of the Aubrey-Maturin series, with lots of unintelligible technical detail about horses (like the naval terminology littering Patrick O' Brian's epic series). The whole is good and the use of language captures something of the rhythm and issues of the Napoloeonic era and the military.

 

That said Mallinson isn't as good as O'Brian (hell who is? and if you've never read any of the Aubrey-Maturin drop everything and start now with 'Master and Commander'). Hervey comes across as just a little too perfect and accomplished as a young officer, but its enjoyable and instructive nonetheless and I will read more in the hope the character deepens a little.

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