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ARCHIVED READS > 2018 - June - Any Campaign/Battle (land, air or sea) during 1941-1942 (inclusive)

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments This theme read is on any book or books of your choice that covers any campaign or battle (land, air or sea) that occurred during 1941-1942 (inclusive).


message 3: by KOMET (new)

KOMET | 384 comments Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-1943 by James Holland

Fortress Malta An Island Under Siege 1940-1943 by James Holland

One of the finest books I've ever read about the Siege of Malta.


message 4: by Dimitri (new)

Dimitri | 1342 comments 1941-1942... apart from Barbarossa, these years are underrepresented in my library. Since I'm trying to tackle my TBR in order of has been gathering dust since 20XX, this could qualify exactly, if the group doesn't think it has been reviewed to death already?

Pacific Crucible War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll Pacific Crucible: War at Sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942 by Ian W. Toll


message 6: by Liz V. (new)

Liz V. (wwwgoodreadscomlizv) | 534 comments Seeing whether I can get ahold of Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle Of Crete 1941 by Peter Thompson.


message 7: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Dyer | 8 comments An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943

Rick Atkinson is a master of research and story telling.


message 8: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Dimitri wrote: "1941-1942... apart from Barbarossa, these years are underrepresented in my library. Since I'm trying to tackle my TBR in order of has been gathering dust since 20XX, this could qualify exactly, if ..."

I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on the book Dimitri, I still haven't read my copy.


message 9: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Marc wrote: "I actually have several books planned out which fit the theme:

Desert War The Battle of Sidi Rezegh by Peter Cox Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh

[bookcover:The Sieg..."


Nice list of titles Marc, which one are you starting off with?


message 10: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1534 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Marc wrote: "I actually have several books planned out which fit the theme:

Desert War The Battle of Sidi Rezegh by Peter Cox Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh

[bookc..."


I think I'll end up reading them in the order I listed them.


message 11: by Chin Joo (new)

Chin Joo (quekcj) | 284 comments I'll read this one:

Operation Matador by Chit Chung Ong Operation Matador

The operation that did not take place.


message 12: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Nice choice Chin Joo!


message 14: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Liz wrote: "Can't get Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle Of Crete 1941 or Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh in a timely manner, so switching to [book:Fortress Malta: An Island Und..."

I think you will still enjoy "Fortress Malta" Liz, its a pretty good book.


message 15: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments If I can finish one of my current books in time I will try and read this book for the June theme but I only have till the 13th to do so as after that I'm travelling overseas for a few weeks.

Miracle at the Litza Hitler's First Defeat on the Eastern Front by Alf R. Jacobsen Miracle at the Litza: Hitler's First Defeat on the Eastern Front by Alf R. Jacobsen


message 16: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)


message 17: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments I hope you enjoy the book Mike. If I recall correctly I came a cross a few errors early in the book but it was still a very good account.


message 18: by James (last edited Jun 03, 2018 08:31AM) (new)

James Martin (albacore) | 49 comments I think I'll be reading Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island this time.


message 19: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments James wrote: "I think I'll be reading Pacific Alamo: The Battle for Wake Island this time."

Another excellent choice James!


message 20: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments OK so I have managed to get started on my book for this theme read; "Miracle at the Litza". I've finished the Prologue and into the first chapter and I'm enjoying it so far except the author has this annoying habit of referring to Stalin as that despot or tyrant in Moscow. Most of us know what sort of person Stalin was but I don't think he needs to be referred to like that in a serious military history book. Hitler hasn't been referred to in any such manner by the author so far so why Stalin? Its just a little annoying at the moment.

Miracle at the Litza Hitler's First Defeat on the Eastern Front by Alf R. Jacobsen Miracle at the Litza: Hitler's First Defeat on the Eastern Front by Alf R. Jacobsen


message 21: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Update, a few pages in and the author has also called Hitler a despot and a tyrant :)


message 22: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1942 comments I've managed to cut a swathe through my backed up 'reading' pile, so I'll wade in with
44 Days 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia by Michael Veitch 44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia
A bit more detail on a story I first read in
Fortress Rabaul The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942-April 1943 by Bruce Gamble Fortress Rabaul: The Battle for the Southwest Pacific, January 1942-April 1943


message 23: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1534 comments I'm finally joining the party and have started this one:

Desert War The Battle of Sidi Rezegh by Peter Cox Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh

Good read so far, especially since I have not read much about the New Zealand Army during World War II, aside from the Battle of Crete.


message 24: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Some good books there Jonny and Marc, thanks for letting us know which books you are reading for this theme.


message 25: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments The author makes this point in relation to the German planning for the arctic pincer in Operation Barbarossa:

"The problems were that the Finns still knew nothing about the plans, and that the map didn't match the terrain. The officers sitting behind desks in Berlin interpreted vague lines on the maps as passable roads. In reality, they represented old reindeer tracks, telegraph lines and former boundaries. The hill ranges between Petsamo and Murmansk stood only 300-400 metres above sea level, but the vegetation resembled what could be found at 2,000-3,000 metres in the Alps. The landscape was tundra scored with ravines, ice-cold rivers and lakes. The contrasts were fierce. The temperature could rise above 30°C in summer and fall below -40°C in winter. In the two Soviet divisions which had advanced from Petsamo towards Lappland in the Winter War, 22,000 Red Guards had sustained frostbite. The remaining combat-worthy troops had been held in check by a small but hardy Finnish battalion."

Some more details on this German offensive:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operati...

http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-...


message 26: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments The author of "Miracle on the Litza" mentions how the British were having issues with assisting Russia against the German forces involved in this operation. Stalin kept requesting the Royal Navy take action against the Germans however when Britain asked for some intelligence details on German troop movements and naval convoys obtained from Russian air reconnaissance Stalin refused to share the information.


message 27: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Jun 07, 2018 05:47PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments I also found this information quite interesting in regards to the level of casualties due to the combat conditions and the ferocious defence of the Soviet forces:

"The losses had reached frightening levels. Up to 12 August the 2nd Mountain Division alone had 671 dead, 151 missing and 2,257 wounded. This amounted to 3,079 men, 36 per cent of the fighting force, the highest losses among the divisions operating on the Eastern Front in the summer of 1941."


message 28: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments The author mentions how the Soviet Navy gave a gift of a reindeer named Pollyanna to the crew of HMS Trident:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/hampshire...


message 29: by Betsy (new)

Betsy | 503 comments What an interesting story. That must have been memorable under water!


message 30: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments I bet it was quite an interesting event when they had to crash dive!


message 31: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 3119 comments Not much of Destiny in the Desert The Story Behind El Alamein - the Battle That Turned the Tide by Jonathan Dimbleby Destiny in the Desert: The Story Behind El Alamein - the Battle That Turned the Tide is about the actual soldiers who fight the battles but there are some passages of interest:

In an echo of the First World War, the besieged formed a strangely comradely relationship with the besiegers as though, despite knowing they would kill and he killed, they had a common bond through sharing the same ghastly rituals of war; mutual hatred was notable by its absence. Sergeant Bolzano, serving in the Afrikakorps, described an occasion when his unit was laying mines around the perimeter. In the darkness, he heard a voice say, ’What are you doing here?’ One of his men replied ’We are laying mines.’ The British soldier answered, ’That’s exactly what we are doing.’ According to Bolzano, both sides went on laying mines, not shooting at each other; and left at the end.

The Aussies in Tobruk had a tough reputation:

After four months bearing the brunt of the siege, the Australians had acquired a powerful reputation for bloody-minded fearlessness. ’They were quite different to British troops. They were much more dedicated soldiers ...’ commented Brian Wyldbore-Smith, a British staff officer based in Tobruk who could not resist adding with the prejudice of his rank and class, ’They were a pretty rough lot. Many of them were ex-jailbirds and convicts.’ Whether there was any truth in this smear, the Australians were renowned for an egalitarian disregard of hierarchy, a trait which was widely admired by the British rank and file, though not by their superiors. Wyldbore-Smith, for example, observed with anxious disapproval, “They hadn’t got much use for their officers. They clipped their officers over the head every now and then.”


message 32: by Manray9 (last edited Jun 07, 2018 08:52PM) (new)

Manray9 | 4532 comments Mike wrote: "Not much of Destiny in the Desert The Story Behind El Alamein - the Battle That Turned the Tide by Jonathan Dimbleby[book:Destiny in the Desert: The Story Behind El Alamein - the Battle That Turne..."

Uh-oh...ex-jailbirds and convicts!


message 33: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments We've been libelled and maligned again :)


message 34: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1534 comments While we're on the subjects of fighting prowess and unfair(?) characterizations, here are two passages from my current book which some might find entertaining:

Desert War The Battle of Sidi Rezegh by Peter Cox Desert War: The Battle of Sidi Rezegh

Brigadier James Hargest has been captured by the Germans and comes face to face with Erwin Rommel:

When he (Rommel) sent for Hargest, the latter bowed, but did not salute, which clearly did not please Rommel.

'I replied that I intended no discourtesy, but I was in the habit of saluting only my seniors in our own or Allied armies. I was in the wrong, of course, but had to stick to my point. It did not prevent him from congratulating me on the fighting quality of my men. "They fight well," he said.
"Yes, they fight well," I replied "but your tanks were too powerful for us."
"But you also have tanks."
"Yes, but not here, as you can see."
"Perhaps my men are superior to yours."
"You know that is not correct."

Confusion on the battlefield was very common in desert, and this story of a major with a tank unit pursuing German armored cars illustrates this clearly. It was published in a newspaper in November, 1941.

"The unit had reached British headquarters. The major said that since leaving Sidi Rezegh he had crossed four different British and German lines. 'The forces seem interwoven everywhere,' he said. 'One moment we seemed to be cutting them off and the next moment they seemed to be doing the same to us. I saw British in German vehicles and Germans in British. The only people you can recognize are the Bedouins, and you can't be sure of them.'"


message 35: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1942 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "We've been libelled and maligned again :)"

Rick, sometimes coinky-dink just isn't your mate. John Jackson, CO of 75 Squadron, while he was serving in the Western Desert:
"He was fond of typical Australian larrikinism also. At one time, 3 Squadron was known by its simple but descriptive nickname, ‘hydraulic’, in that it could apparently ‘lift anything’, and Jackson played his part in upholding the unit’s traditions. Once, he managed to obtain a car that had been spirited away from outside Cairo HQ, and was mortified when the rightful owner turned up to take it back , despite Jackson claiming to have painted it three different colours."
Some days it's just best to roll with it...
44 Days 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia by Michael Veitch 44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia


message 36: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Got me there Jonny :)


message 37: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Marc wrote: "While we're on the subjects of fighting prowess and unfair(?) characterizations, here are two passages from my current book which some might find entertaining:

[bookcover:Desert War: The Battle of..."


Good post Marc.


message 38: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 3119 comments How demoralizing was this exchange:

(view spoiler)

Destiny in the Desert: The Story Behind El Alamein - the Battle That Turned the Tide is really the story of the North African campaign from the strategic-political level of generals and politicians, not much from the soldiers in the field. Nevertheless it is fascinating. Dimbleby paints such a picture of almost continuous defeats prior to El Alamein.


message 39: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Pretty demoralizing for the poor bloke on the Gazala-Line reporting the details!


message 40: by Gregg (new)

Gregg | 194 comments I guess I already completed my read for June with Force Benedict. An excellent account of a RAF wing sent to protect Murmansk as Churchill promised Stalin. Highly recommended.


message 41: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments I'm glad you enjoyed your book Gregg, a very interesting look at something a bit different during WW2.


message 42: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1942 comments It's a good little story Greg, and not as controversial as made out; pleased you enjoyed it.


message 43: by Jonny (last edited Jun 11, 2018 01:20PM) (new)

Jonny | 1942 comments Bad news for 75 Squadron, with the delivery if their aircraft:
"At this point the true state of the Kittyhawks they would be taking into action in New Guinea was revealed. Having been transported across the Pacific in crates on the open decks of ships, many of the Kittyhawks’ half-inch guns were rusted and had to be re-honed by the armourers, who complained that there was not nearly enough ammunition to do so properly. The Americans, pointed out one of Jeffrey’s armourers, were allotted 200 rounds per gun to ‘shoot them in’, while the Australians were expected ‘to merely hone the locks and trust to luck’. The armourers got their 200 rounds, but this meant there was virtually nothing left for the pilots to practise with. ‘I know that I had never fired all the guns,’ said John Pettett. ‘I fired four guns at one time – only once on shadow firing – but the first time I used the whole six guns was against a Zero.’"
Not only that, but
"Michael Butler recalls that not simply the radios but the aerials were not up to scratch. ‘The receiving aerial,’he says, went from the wingtip to the tailplane and as soon as you got to a speed over around 250 miles an hour, bang, it would break and when you’d come down they’d fix it and put a new one on or something and away you’d go again. Next time, as soon as you get over that speed, bang. It seemed a simple thing to fix, and how helpful it would have been to have had radio to call up somebody if you were in trouble.'"
44 Days 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia by Michael Veitch 44 Days: 75 Squadron and the Fight for Australia


message 44: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1942 comments And further difficulty with training:
"This cursory period of training went on, when it could, still taking its toll. On 13 March, Sergeant Bink Davies made a tail-up landing according to the new doctrine of ‘driving’ the aircraft down on its two main wheels, but lost control of the aircraft on the runway. One wing stalled, dropped to the ground, and dragged his Kittyhawk violently to port. Davies vainly tried to correct by applying power, but his undercarriage collapsed, tearing through the underside of the wings. As the plane skidded finally to a halt, the watching ground crew knew immediately it was a write -off. Davies was lucky to be uninjured, but his recollections of the incident illustrated the young pilot’s lack of experience. 'I was excused when Jeffrey found I had been trained on Ansons at Service Flying Training School, been sent to Fighter Operational Training Unit at Nhill where I got only about eight hours on Wirraways, then to Williamtown to the 9th Pursuit Squadron USAAC to convert to Kittyhawks, getting only three flights totalling less than three hours.'
Five days later, another of the precious Kittyhawks was badly damaged, again in a landing mishap, when piloted by Sergeant Brown. Little wonder that, in a sober assessment of his pilots’ skills on the eve of their departure to Port Moresby, Turnbull wrote to North East Area Command:
'On the whole, the standard of flying in 75 Squadron was high, but signs of under-confidence showed up in the pilots with less than 100 hours on the Wirraway type of aircraft. This would not have occurred had the pilots been allowed time for training… they were not up to operational standard.'
He assessed that ten of his pilots had less than ten hours’ flying time on the Kittyhawk before being expected to face combat.


message 45: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Some great stories there Jonny, things aren't looking too good for 75 Squadron by the sounds of it. I hope their luck gets better on meeting the Japanese!


message 46: by Leigh (new)

Leigh (wellsmith) | 146 comments Liz V. wrote: "Seeing whether I can get ahold of Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle Of Crete 1941 by Peter Thompson."

Hahaha Liz I just picked that up a hard cover copy at a garage sale still in it packaging on saturday cost me $5 bargain I thought... it my choice for this months read!! I hope you find a copy!


message 47: by Liz V. (new)

Liz V. (wwwgoodreadscomlizv) | 534 comments Leigh wrote: "Liz V. wrote: "Seeing whether I can get ahold of Anzac Fury: The Bloody Battle Of Crete 1941 by Peter Thompson."

Hahaha Liz I just picked that up a hard cover copy..."


Nice! Hope you enjoy. Look forward to your review.


message 48: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments Nice pick up Leigh, I hope you enjoy reading it, keep us posted.


message 49: by Jonny (last edited Jun 13, 2018 11:59AM) (new)

Jonny | 1942 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Some great stories there Jonny, things aren't looking too good for 75 Squadron by the sounds of it. I hope their luck gets better on meeting the Japanese!"

But of trouble with the advance flight arriving at Seven Mile (apparently no-one thought to warn the Army), only a few bullet holes and no lasting harm. Then the daily Japanese reconnaissance flight shows up:
"Two of the four damaged Kittyhawks were quickly patched up, and Flying Officer Wilbur Wackett and his wingman, Barry Cox, took off on 75’ s first combat sortie. The short but fiery spectacle that followed, played out over the natural arena of Moresby Harbour, electrified the weary garrison, whose defenders had come to believe they would never see the day. Confident the skies were still undefended, the Japanese pilot commenced his photo run at the low altitude of 10,000 feet, unaware that he had been spotted below by Cox and Wackett, who were now desperately climbing through the 4000 foot gap that separated them. Giving their Kittyhawks everything to make up the distance before the Japanese bomber turned and headed for home, the two attackers caught it, levelled out and commenced a classic ‘stern and quarter’ attack. One can only imagine the ghastly surprise of the Japanese crew, realising they were suddenly under fighter attack in these hitherto undefended skies. The Sally skidded evasively as Cox and Wackett each gave the aircraft ten separate bursts from their combined twelve half-inch guns, a single bullet from which could easily punch a fist-sized hole through the Japanese aircraft’s thin aluminium skin . The bomb doors were hurled open, and the load jettisoned. The doors themselves, noted the pilots, remained open. In vain, the Sally sought the cover of clouds . Cox fired into the port engine while Wackett concentrated on the starboard. Soon after lining up his aircraft behind the motors and pressing the firing button on his control stick, Cox noticed parts fly off the Japanese bomber, and smoke and oil reach back to him in a long dirty trail as the aircraft began to fly more erratically. The Sally rapidly lost height. Neither Cox nor Wackett had any idea of the spectacle they were creating for the hundreds of delighted men observing below...
Above, Wackett and Cox were closing in on the Japanese bomber, now entering a death dive, and a fire was observed spreading through its fuselage. With another shot, Wackett delivered the coup de grace. At about 500 feet above the water, a couple of miles west of Moresby’s Basilisk Beacon, just beyond the reef outside the main harbour, the Japanese aircraft was seen to explode before diving into the sea. Famed war correspondent (warco) Osmar White, on an adjacent hill, wrote that ‘we onlookers fell on one another’s necks, howling hysterically with joy’, while Church remembered that ‘on every hill and ridge around the shores of Moresby assembled spectator troops cheered this first victory over one of those who had been harassing us for months’. Another famous warco who was there also – no less a figure than writer George Johnston – recalled that: 'two Kittys took off, intercepted [a Japanese bomber] over the mountains, drove her back, and after a brilliant attack shot her down in flames into the harbour. Too easy! Just before dusk a Lockheed escorted 13 more fighters in while truckload after truckload of troops cheered from the side of the road. First real evidence of aggression in this war. Whacco!'
"


message 50: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18514 comments It would have been an impressive sight that raised the soldiers moral considerably. Thanks for taking the time to post that account Jonny.


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