THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

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ARCHIVED READS > 2019 - April - Any WW2 book written by one of these authors - Antony Beevor, Max Hastings, James Holland, Martin Middlebrook, David Glantz, Jay Stout, Rick Atkinson, James Hornfischer and Mark Zuehlke.

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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments The April theme read is any WW2 book written by one of these authors - Antony Beevor, Max Hastings, James Holland, Martin Middlebrook, David Glantz, Jay Stout, Rick Atkinson and James Hornfischer. For our Canadian members any WW2 book by Mark Zuehlke is fine.


message 2: by Dimitri (last edited Mar 29, 2019 01:26AM) (new)

Dimitri | 1310 comments You mean we're supposed to have unread copies of these guys ?

Enough people will jump "Big Week" so ...
Burma '44 The Battle That Turned Britain's War in the East by James Holland Burma '44: The Battle That Turned Britain's War in the Eastby James Holland

or...
Stalingrad by David M. Glantz Stalingrad(abridged from 5volumes)David M. Glantz


message 3: by KOMET (last edited Mar 29, 2019 02:21AM) (new)

KOMET | 329 comments 1) Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945 by James Holland

Italy's Sorrow A Year of War, 1944-1945 by James Holland

This book has a personal resonance for me because I had an uncle (on my father's side of the family) who had been a company commander in the 370th Regimental Combat Team (RCT) of the U.S. 92nd Infantry Division in Italy during 1944-45. For bravery in combat (with Company H, which was a heavy weapons unit), my uncle was awarded the Bronze Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart. He went on to make a career in the Army and retired as a colonel.

My uncle now rests in peace at Arlington National Cemetery.

2) Neptune's Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer

Neptune's Inferno The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal by James D. Hornfischer


message 4: by Jeff (new)

Jeff Dawson | 109 comments To the Gates of Stalingard Volume 1 David M. Glantz.


message 5: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1370 comments I'm going to do a double dip.

Start with this one:
Fortress Malta An Island Under Siege 1940-43 by James Holland Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-43

Then, on to this one:
The Berlin Raids by Martin Middlebrook The Berlin Raids


message 6: by Jonny (last edited Mar 29, 2019 01:28PM) (new)

Jonny | 1683 comments Dimitri wrote: "You mean we're supposed to have unread copies of these guys ?

Enough people will jump "Big Week" so ...
Burma '44 The Battle That Turned Britain's War in the East by James Holland"


I'd always liked the working title of "Cornered Tigers" myself... but hey ho.
Working my way through Big Jim's
The War in the West - A New History Volume 1 Germany Ascendant 1939-1941 by James Holland The War in the West - A New History: Volume 1: Germany Ascendant 1939-1941
Loving the mythbusting... I'll have to get some quotes sorted...


message 7: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Looks like everyone has selected some excellent books for this months theme, it should be a good month of interesting books and comments!


message 8: by John (new)

John (johnnycobra) | 120 comments Only part way through 'The Great Anglo-Boer War' so it will be a late start for me on this read. I've had Rick Atkinson's Liberation Trilogy on my to read list for a while so I'll give that a go.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments I think you will find Rick Atkinson's trilogy a great read and I am sure you will enjoy each book.


message 11: by Nita (new)

Nita  (goodreadscomnita) | 28 comments book:An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943|541920] by Rick Atkinson


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Nita wrote: "book:An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943|541920] by Rick Atkinson"

Nice selection Nita, I hope you enjoy it!


message 13: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments I've just started James Holland's "Big Week", very easy and quick to get into the story. I liked this account from the book and fully appreciate both pilots reactions to the briefing target:

"At the far end of the room was a curtain and a middle-aged intelligence officer. ‘Gentlemen, may I have your attention?’ he said once all the pilots, navigators, bombardiers and 92nd staff officers had settled. ‘This morning we have quite a show.’ He then drew back the curtain to reveal the large map on the wall. The men leaned forward, craning to see the lines of the route and the target. Then the intelligence officer added, ‘It’s Schweinfurt again.’ For a moment there was a profound silence, then came the groans and whistles. ‘Son of a bitch!’ said one man loudly. ‘This is my twenty-fifth mission.’ The last of his tour before returning to the States. ‘What the hell are you crying about?’ responded one youthful-looking pilot. ‘This is my first!’"

Big Week The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two by James Holland Big Week: The Biggest Air Battle of World War Two by James Holland


message 14: by Jonny (last edited Apr 03, 2019 01:29AM) (new)

Jonny | 1683 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I've just started James Holland's "Big Week", very easy and quick to get into the story. I liked this account from the book and fully appreciate both pilots reactions to the briefing target:

"At t..."


James has a fantastic eye for a story; he's currently bringing a welcome breath of fresh air to World War Two by taking a global view of things; here's his appreciation of Germany's early war squad machine gun, with comparison to its 'lesser' British counterpart:
"There were, however, drawbacks to the MG34, regardless of it's sophisticated lethality. To start with, it was expensive, which was understandable with the level of fine engineering devoted to each and every one. For example, nearly 50 kilograms of iron was needed to make the weapon, which weighed just 11 kilograms when it was finished; this was a pretty wasteful use of precious metal. The end product was also on the heavy side for a ‘light' machine gun. It cost 312 Reichsmarks, which amounted to around $1,300 at 1938 prices. This was no small sum, but perhaps is not so surprising considering the amount of iron, the number of parts and the fact it took around 150 man-hours to make. The Bren, by contrast, took just fifty. In other words, Britain could, in theory, produce three times as many Brens as MG34s in the same time, or could use the saving in time to make something else, such as more aircraft or ships.

The other problem was that whine there was an unquestioned advantage in being acme to lay down an incredible amount of bullets in any initial exchange, there was a pay- off for being able to spit out lead at such a rate. The MG34 was air- cooled, but with some fifteen bullets per second detonating their charge in the breech and down the barrel, it soon got very, very hot. In fact, it became so hot that the barrel began to melt. The way round this was twofold. First, its users had to maintain a very resolute fire discipline and employ it in short, sharp bursts of a few seconds length, and second, they had to frequently change the barrel. Each MG34 had to be accompanied by no fewer than six spare barrels, all of which had to be carried with the weapon itself, which on its own weighted around 20 pounds. Unlike the Bren, there was no wooden handle attracted to the perforated sheath of the barrel, but experienced handlers none the less quickly got the hang of the rapid barrel change – a clip was flicked open, the breech unlocked and the over- hot barrel tipped out, usually extremely close to the users face. Crews were given a giant padded mitt to help, but in practice these were rarely used.

Training manuals were quite firm about not getting carried away when firing. ‘Shooting more than 250 rounds in one continuous burst from one barrel,’ noted one instruction manual, ‘is forbidden.’ That meant that the longest continuous burst of fire was around sixteen seconds. In practice, however, the barrel would have started to loose accuracy well before that, while the amount of smoke from so many bullets being fired at that rate caused further problems. A well- trained machine- gunner world expect to fire around only 120 rounds per minute, which, coincidentally, was around the same as for a Bren, even though the Bren's theoretical rate of fire was only a little more than half that of the MG34.
"

The War in the West - A New History Volume 1 Germany Ascendant 1939-1941 by James Holland The War in the West - A New History: Volume 1: Germany Ascendant 1939-1941


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Great post Jonny. Its good how he places things in perspective and highlights some of the issues that many historians tend to miss.

I have enjoyed both volumes of his War in the West and can't wait for the third book to be released, hopefully soon!


message 16: by Leigh (last edited Apr 02, 2019 11:57PM) (new)


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Three very good books Leigh, I am sure you will enjoy which ever ones you get to read.


message 18: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (goodreadscompamela_sampson) | 190 comments I'm about to embark on Antony Beevor's "The Fall of Berlin 1945"


message 19: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1683 comments It's a great study Pamela. Hope you enjoy it.


message 20: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (goodreadscompamela_sampson) | 190 comments Jonny wrote: "It's a great study Pamela. Hope you enjoy it."

Thanks, Jonny. I have read the first few pages and like Beevor's writing style very much. So looking forward to reading this one


message 21: by KOMET (new)

KOMET | 329 comments Pamela wrote: "Jonny wrote: "It's a great study Pamela. Hope you enjoy it."

Thanks, Jonny. I have read the first few pages and like Beevor's writing style very much. So looking forward to reading this one"


++++++++++++++++++
I, too, read Antony Beevor's book on The Battle of Berlin. But I would also highly recommend Cornelius Ryan's book on the same battle.

The Last Battle

The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan


message 22: by Pamela (new)

Pamela (goodreadscompamela_sampson) | 190 comments KOMET wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Jonny wrote: "It's a great study Pamela. Hope you enjoy it."

Thanks, Jonny. I have read the first few pages and like Beevor's writing style very much. So looking forward to reading ..."


KOMET wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Jonny wrote: "It's a great study Pamela. Hope you enjoy it."

Thanks, Jonny. I have read the first few pages and like Beevor's writing style very much. So looking forward to reading ..."


Thanks, KOMET ... putting that one on my wish list


message 23: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Can't go wrong with Beevor or Ryan really :)


message 24: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4268 comments I bought online a fine used hardback of James Holland's --

Italy's Sorrow A Year of War, 1944-1945 by James Holland Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Manray9 wrote: "I bought online a fine used hardback of James Holland's --

Italy's Sorrow A Year of War, 1944-1945 by James Holland Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945."


Nice purchase MR9, I hope you enjoy it us much as I did.


message 26: by fourtriplezed (last edited Apr 05, 2019 07:56PM) (new)

fourtriplezed  (4triplezed) | 836 comments I began Beevor's D-Day. D-Day: The Battle for Normandy

I know a few of you have read this book and Beevor in general but he is a new author for me. I will try not to bring up the obvious on the way through.

This is the 70th Anniversary edition with a New Forward by the author. It has been a good while since I have read anything D-Day specific and that maybe comes from a visit there about a decade back from which I thought I should move on and read other subjects I suppose.

The forward surprised me somewhat as there is a lengthy discussion on psychological casualties. Good to see the subject covered and Beevor says that he will cover it in the main text. Good again.

I have just finished the 1st chapter "The Decision" and found it was easy to read and digest.

I had never heard of poet Keith Douglas. He gets a mention on page 10 and the author discusses him being "reconciled" to his coming death as Douglas had thought he had used "up his ration of luck"
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_D...


message 27: by fourtriplezed (new)

fourtriplezed  (4triplezed) | 836 comments And this from a few years back on Keith Douglas.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Glad you are finding the book interesting 4ZZZ and great links to Keith Douglas, thanks for posting the details. If I recall properly Antony Beevor also discusses the situation of the French civilians caught up in the Normandy campaign in some detail.


message 29: by Jonny (new)

Jonny | 1683 comments James Holland discusses the Tizard Mission, a technology exchange between Britain and the U.S. in September 1940:
"The Tizard Mission offered a wealth of new technology, including power driven turrets, gyroscopic gunsights, details of jet engine technology then beginning to be developed in Britain, engine superchargers, plastic explosives and, perhaps most importantly, the Frisch-Peierls memorandum on the feasibility of an atomic bomb, radar and specifically the new cavity magnetron. The Americans had developed their own radar, but nearly as this other technology was new to them; Americans knew how to build large numbers of cars, fridges, vacuum cleaners and other exciting new domestic products but were lagging behind in terms of military technology. This was hardly surprising considering the intensely isolationist approach since the end of the last war."
The War in the West - A New History Volume 1 Germany Ascendant 1939-1941 by James Holland


message 30: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Bell | 69 comments Marc wrote: "I'm going to do a double dip.

Start with this one:
Fortress Malta An Island Under Siege 1940-43 by James Holland Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-43

Then, on to this ..."


I've read the Malta book. Very good


message 31: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Here are some details on a very brave RAF Bomber Command pilot mentioned in James Holland's book; "Big Week":

https://cfburk.wordpress.com/2014/04/...


message 32: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments This is what I'm currently reading about in James Holland's book "Big Week":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEhd5...


message 33: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2855 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "This is what I'm currently reading about in James Holland's book "Big Week":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEhd5..."


Excellent clip AR. Every time I watch it, I wonder not only how often a gunner got a kill on a fighter but also how often did the gunners inflict friendly fire on the other bombers. If you are focused and tunnel-visioned on an attacking fighter, easy to lose track of where your bullets are going.


message 34: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments I have to agree with you Mike. When those B-17's and B-24's are tucked in tight in their boxes how did they manage not shot holes in each other.


message 35: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2855 comments I've decided to join this month's theme with my first Glantz:

Red Storm Over the Balkans The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 by David M. Glantz Red Storm Over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 by David M. Glantz


message 36: by Colin (new)

Colin Heaton (colin1962) | 1942 comments When Curtis Lemay developed the box formation, it drastically reduced the chances of friendly fire from one heavy bomber to another. Each box was given a specific sector to cover using the clock system, but accidents did happen. More often than not bombers shot up friendly escort fighters.


message 37: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (last edited Apr 07, 2019 05:00PM) (new)

Mike | 2855 comments Surprised to find Vasily Zaitsev of Stalingrad sniper fame commanding an antiaircraft unit in the Balkan invasion. He gains more fame by stopping a panzer attack by direct fire with his AAA guns. Unfortunately he is also wounded in both legs during the attack.

Red Storm Over the Balkans The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 by David M. Glantz Red Storm Over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 by David M. Glantz


message 38: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Mike wrote: "I've decided to join this month's theme with my first Glantz:

Red Storm Over the Balkans The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 by David M. Glantz[book:Red Storm Over the Balkans: The..."


I'll be keen to hear how you go with your first Glantz book, plus its one that I have but am yet to read so I hope you enjoy it Mike.


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments James Holland tells the story of Major Jim Howard, a Mustang pilot who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in protecting USAAF bombers on a mission over Germany in 1944. The one and only Medal of Honor awarded to VIII Fighter Command.

MEDAL OF HONOR CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond thecall of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Major Howard was the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Major Howard’s group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Major Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME 110. As a result of this attack he lost contact with his group and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Major Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insurmountable odds against him, Major Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.

Article on Major Jim Howard (One-Man Air Force):
http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineAr...


message 40: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2855 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I'll be keen to hear how you go with your first Glantz book, plus its one that I have but am yet to read so I hope you enjoy it Mike..."

This will probably be my last Glantz as well. I'm afraid I find his writing charmless and pedantic. He took 14 pages in the intro to explain in hideous detail that the Soviet drive into the Balkans was one of the "40%" of Eastern Front battles/campaigns that wasn't covered well or at all. I would have taken his word with a simple paragraph. Not enjoying the book at all.


message 41: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Apr 07, 2019 10:21PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Glantz is an expert on the Eastern Front and provides great detail on the battles he writes about but his books are dense and not easy to digest and I have always found his maps to be a problem. I learnt after my first Glantz book (Kursk) to read them in bits. I usually read a chapter or two then switch to another book for a few chapters of something different before returning to Glantz. I think this is the only way for me to finish one of his books.


message 42: by Mike, Assisting Moderator US Forces (new)

Mike | 2855 comments His maps do not correspond to his intricate descriptions of force movements. Looks like he uses a crayon for the map instead of a fine pen. Almost impossible to follow the action he describes in many of the larger scale maps.


message 43: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1370 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "James Holland tells the story of Major Jim Howard, a Mustang pilot who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in protecting USAAF bombers on a mission over Germany in 1944. Th..."

If George Kenney had been running the 8th Air Force, there would have been several more Medals of Honor for sure! He was a firm believer in handing out awards to raise morale.


message 44: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1370 comments So, I finally jumped on the James Holland bandwagon yesterday and started this one:

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

Haven't made it very far, but seems like it will be full of personal recollections and an easy read.


message 45: by Liz V. (new)

Liz V. (wwwgoodreadscomlizv) | 509 comments I have requested Red Storm Over the Balkans: The Failed Soviet Invasion of Romania, Spring 1944 by David M. Glantz, as I have not read anything by him. Reading your comments, wondering whether it is a good choice. Oh well. One book won't hurt.


message 46: by Bernie (new)

Bernie Charbonneau (skigolf) | 9 comments Mark Zuehlke Juno Beach
I will rep the Canadian contingency for this month's read


message 47: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Bernie wrote: "Mark Zuehlke Juno Beach
I will rep the Canadian contingency for this month's read"


Good to see Bernie :)


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

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Marc wrote: "So, I finally jumped on the James Holland bandwagon yesterday and started this one:

Fortress Malta An Island Under Siege 1940-1943 by James Holland [book:Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege ..."


Its a pretty good account Marc, I'm sure you will enjoy it.


message 49: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Sowards | 500 comments I started this today for the theme read:


Ship of Ghosts The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors by James D. Hornfischer Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors by James D. Hornfischer

I figured I can't go wrong with something by Hornfischer.


message 50: by Marc (new)

Marc | 1370 comments A.L. wrote: "I started this today for the theme read:


Ship of Ghosts The Story of the USS Houston, FDR's Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors by James D. Hornfischer [book:Ship of Ghosts: The..."


This is one of his books which doesn't get as much attention as the others, but it's just as good. Just not as much action.


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