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Hussar (Cheshire)

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Unbroken: The Story of a Submarine
Unbroken: The Story of a Submarine
by Alastair Mars
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 20 May 2013
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Not as good as his later book 'HMS Thule Intercepts' but as a story of the slaughter in the Mediterranen, this is a superb account. Mars manages to tell his story with a great degree of honesty (you can almost sense the nervous tension) and is very open about the aspects of war he felt could have been undertaken much more efficiently - both on his part and that of the Royal Navy higher command.

An excellent book which does much to give an accurate picture of the huge importance of the Submarine flotillas based in the Med and of the similarly huge losses incurred by these brave men and their boats.


Return Via Rangoon (Pen & Sword paperback)
Return Via Rangoon (Pen & Sword paperback)
by Philip Stibbe
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 20 May 2013
This book centres on the story of the first Chindit expedition as written by one of its officers, who was in charge of a Platoon of Kingsmen. The first 3rd of the book deals with his induction, training and posting, the second 3rd deals with the expedition and the last 3rd, his capture and subsequent imprisonment at the hands of the Japanese.

It's an enlightening book which does much to reinforce just how bad the war in Burma was for the British, not to mention the captivity aspect which is very upsetting to read in places.

I really liked it as it's personal, decently written and flows very well.


Hunting Submarine: Fighting Life of H.M.S. "Tally-ho"
Hunting Submarine: Fighting Life of H.M.S. "Tally-ho"
by Ian Trenowden
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 3 May 2013
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Whilst not a 5 star book (see the other reviewers' comments on details of the submarine and more specific action reports), it IS a very good book and is exceptionally readbale. It does have some wonderful detail of attack angles in it and does give some technical details of the T-Class in general but a bit more detail would have been nice.

All-in-all a good account of a T-Class fighting in the forgotten theatre. For a more complete picture, read this and 'HMS Thule Intercepts'.

Still very good and very worthwile buying and reading.


Flame Thrower
Flame Thrower
by Andrew Wilson
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: Flame Thrower (Hardcover)
Whilst being rather irritatingly written in the 3rd person (the author explains his reasons), this is still a rather stunning account of war at the sharp end. The sense of perspective this gives the reader is immense - just read the stories of crews being caught inside a burning Churchill but leaving the radio on 'net' for all to hear is truly shocking.

It's not a very long book, which is shame as it's such a stunning insight into the life of 141st Regt RAC and into how such valuable a resource as the Crocodile was used by all and sundry as a panacea to determined German resistance. The book does end rather suddenly and on a note of personal sadness for the author - one kind of gets the sensation that he felt almost let down by the end of the war, like he was already missing the 'great show'.

It's well worth the money. Truly fantastic.


British Submarines at War, 1939-45
British Submarines at War, 1939-45
by Alastair Mars
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disparate view of different theatres, 14 April 2013
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This book tries to cover the whole specturum of British Submarine activity during WW2 and I'm afraid to say, has some major gaps. From reading it, it would seem that Mars was hampered by a word limit and in so doing, loses much of its initial promise.

The main failing of the book, as far as I am concerned, is in the Far Eastern operations against the Japanese - there is merely one chapter right at the end to cover this. Mars apologises for this in the book itself but it still leaves a vast and hugely exciting story largely untold. I feel that Mars' ramblings at the end of the book about 'current' threats (being written in 1971, this meant the USSR) would have been better served in turning these pages over to the Far Easter operations of WW2. I just connot see the worth in clogging the book up with such thoughts, when that is not the reason I purchased it!

The book itself does try to cover everything and as such, it can be hard work at times. Stick with it though and the results are there - your knowledge of the use of British Submarines at a strategic level will increase vastly. The stories themselves are there but are also linked in with tonnage sunk and domestic submarine construction targets - it leaves you with a fairly rounded, if slightly 'dry' picture.


Crash Dive: In Action with HMS "Safari", 1942-43
Crash Dive: In Action with HMS "Safari", 1942-43
by Arthur P. Dickison
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, 11 April 2013
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This book is based on the diary of a rating and not an officer and gives one a different experience to the others which are usually written by the officers of a boat - valuable though they are, it is nice to having a Ratings' experience by way of comparison.

The author's sense of pride about being in the submarine service permates the whole story as does the trust they all have in each other, which cannot have been easy given how they were forced to live. I got the sense that the author would not have flourished as well as he did had he been have been in anything other than submarines.

Based on his diary of the time it has a lot of personal touches which more formal accounts don't give and so, from that perspective alone, it is well worth buying and reading.

His love of the submarine and his love of his (very attractive) wife are all that seemed to sustain him through some pretty harrowing and nerve-wracking times. Just reading the summary of tonnage sunk, depth-charges sustained, nautical miles sailed and days spent submerged throughout this period, is enough to make anyone proud that this country was capable of producing such men of high moral fibre in the first place. That Dickison and friends did it with a smile and sense of adventure is further testament to these remarkable people.

I loved it. Buy it and read it - you won't be disappointed.


Walker, R.N.: Story of Captain Frederick John Walker
Walker, R.N.: Story of Captain Frederick John Walker
by Terence Robertson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class!, 22 Mar. 2013
This book is astoundingly good. It charts the path of an officer passed over in peacetime, who later changed the face of Western Approaches command and with it, the course of the war.

It is not exaggeration to state that without Captain Walker, we would have lost the war. If you think that heaps too much praise, read this book.


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 15 Mar. 2013
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Good quality, fully adjustable double tab kilt flashes suitable for all but the widest calf. Set on an elasticated band with easy-fix buckle, they're very comfortable to wear.

These are fully recommended.


Escort (War at Sea)
Escort (War at Sea)
by D.A. Rayner
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smasher, 15 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Escort (War at Sea) (Paperback)
This book is a geuine page turner. Although not very long, it is packed with tales of joy, sadness, frivolity and sorrow. It stretches from Rayner's entrance into the RNVR to his exit at the end of the war and finishes with Max Horton's touching memo to all Western Approcahes staff - a worthy epilogue.

It is, as with many personal accounts of the war, amusing in the extreme whilst these moments of humour are tempered with the obvious strain on all concerned - something which affects Rayner himself.

It's a very good book, a real smasher.


Anzio
Anzio
by Wynford Vaughan-Thomas
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 17 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Anzio (Paperback)
This is the story of Anzio from the perspective of a non-combatant - a BBC War Correspondent.
Vaughan-Thomas was actually at Anzio as an observer and as such, gets a very rounded picture, from the slit trenches of the British 1st Division to the confusion at 6th Corps headquaters in Nettuno.

His 'stay' at Anzio started on the first day of the landing and he didn't leave until the beachhead was deemed no-longer to exist as a result of Operation Buffalo. This latter point brings me on to how 'complete' this book is, for it tends to gloss over the latter months of the action at Anzio. Admittedly there wasn't much offensive action during the latter months, but the actual break-out is very quickly dealt with, which I found a little dissappointing. I would have liked more information on the operation to break-out and specifically what role the 5th (Yorkshire) Division played. Having read 'The Fortress' by Trevelyan, I know just how exciting this story of Anzio can be.

All that said, this is a very, very good book. Written by a journalist, it is extremely readable and flows exceptionally well. Vauaghan-Thomas was educated and eloquent and can describe anything with apolmb, which transports your mind to the wadis or the to the Corps Headquaters, equally as well as eachother.

It is, essentially, the story of the British (and mainly the British 1st Division) at Anzio, but does pay more than lip service to the Americans, whom Vauaghan-Thomas seems to admire greatly - aside form General Lucas. He does get quite disparaging about Lucas and rightly-so, in my opinion. General Truscott gets a 'rave review' from Vaughan-Thomas, again something I (and every Anzio veteran I've spoken to) strongly agree with.

It's just a very good book and is well worth the money. Call it 4.5 Stars.


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