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Military Archives - Themself
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Tag archives for Military

The Last Hundred Days a Hundred Years On

Wednesday 8th August 2018 marks the hundredth anniversary of the start of the last hundred days of the first world war. Although the Hundred Days Campaign didn't actually last 100 days, it was five days short! The last hundred days are a little studied period of the war, and that's a shame because they represent the high point of the transformation of the British Army. In 1914 there were 100,000 regulars organised as an Imperial expeditionary force. By August 1918 there were millions of men under arms operating in a recognisably modern fashion in large scale operations. Mobile combined arms, not mud and blood Canadian vehicles preparing to move forwards during the Battle of Amiens 1918 (photo: Yukon Archives, Canada) There is a totally different narrative, Britain was the main participant in the allied campaign. Three British Armies (which included…
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reviews

The Nazi Hunters by Damien Lewis [Book Review]

The Nazi Hunters by Damien Lewis My rating: 4 of 5 stars A very well researched account, with a lot of detail on the SAS operations in the Vosges. While it does cover the post-war war crimes investigations most of the book is actually about the period leading to the war crimes. This is very interesting, and shows how they were operating and why so many SAS soldiers ended up in enemy hands. It also sort of explains the personal nature of the SAS War Crimes Unit's all consuming involvement in hunting down the perpetrators. The Nazi Hunters The defendants at the Nuremberg War Crime Trial in Nuremberg, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The Nazi Hunters is well researched, but it's wrapped in a little hyperbole about it being a previously untold and largely unknown story. During WW2 Hitler issued an…
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WW1

Battle of the Somme 1916

Today is the centenary of the first infantry attacks in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Zero Hour was 07:30, and at that point the whistles blew and the infantry began their advance across no-man's land towards the German trenches. The infantry attack was preceded by over a week's artillery bombardment of one and a half million shells. A couple of minutes before H-hour several mines were detonated under the main German positions. Public Perceptions of the Battle of the Somme The Badly Shelled Road to Bapaume (21 Sept 1916) By Lt Ernest Brooks, via Wikimedia Commons This image gives the general public perception of WW1 in general, and the Battle of the Somme in particular. It is from the Battle of the Somme, but from 20th September 1916 rather than 1st July. The Somme battle was what churned…
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reviews

Fight Another Day by J.M. Langley [Book Review]

Fight Another Day. Langley by J M Langley My rating: 5 of 5 stars Fight Another Day has been sitting on my shelf for years, right next to MI9 (which I only realised was co-authored by J M Langley). I'm not sure why it took me so long to get round to reading it. It fits my usual preferences in a number of ways. It's a first hand accout by an infantry officer, it's about escaping from a POW camp, it's about organising secret agents to work in nazi-occupied Europe. Any one of those would have got Fight Another Day onto my to-read list. Fight Another Day Fight Another Day tells the story of Jimmy Langley from his enlistment in the special reserve of the Coldstream Guards. He gets mobilised in August 1939 and goes to France, and we are…
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reviews

Red Horse by M.J. Logue [Book Review]

  Red Horse by Logue My rating: 5 of 5 stars Red Horse is set at the beginning of the First English Civil War in 1642. The primary characters are Captain Hollie Babbitt and his young Cornet Luce Pettitt. Babbitt is a grizzled and damaged English mercenary back from the continent to fight for Parliament. Pettitt fights from conviction and conscience, he is a distant relation to the Earl of Essex. This sets us up nicely for a tale from a cavalry viewpoint with the odd glimpse of higher command. There are a troop of supporting characters as well. For the most part they simply give enough context for the main characters not to be in isolation. Both main characters are flawed, and this makes their character development engaging. Luce starts off naive and relatively innocent. I could identify my…
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