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#196 Steve1979

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 01:23 AM

I just finished reading

A lonely kind of war

written by Marshall Harrison

He was a FAC ( forward air controller ) in Vietnam and tells his story - very intersting to read how difficult, stressfull and important the job of a FAC was



Currently I´m reading a book about a former helicopter pilot who did 3 tours in Vietnam - first as dustoff, later as a gunship pilot who struggles with what he has seen and done

The Forgotten Warriors: Mission of Mercy

written by David J. Wallis (Author), Ronald L. Darr (Author)

Thirty years after leaving Vietnam, Chief Warrant Officer Darr knew he had to make one more lifesaving mission: his own. Through the telling of his experiences in Vietnam, he not only frees himself from the shame and stigma imposed by the U.S. government and society, but he resurrects the honor and the dignity of every man and woman who served their country in Vietnam, these forgotten warriors who demonstrated their unswerving patriotism by serving in a country halfway around the world only to be treated as social outcasts upon their return home.



#197 Danman1116

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Posted 18 July 2012 - 08:52 AM

I just finished reading

A lonely kind of war

written by Marshall Harrison

He was a FAC ( forward air controller ) in Vietnam and tells his story - very intersting to read how difficult, stressfull and important the job of a FAC was



Currently I´m reading a book about a former helicopter pilot who did 3 tours in Vietnam - first as dustoff, later as a gunship pilot who struggles with what he has seen and done

The Forgotten Warriors: Mission of Mercy

written by David J. Wallis (Author), Ronald L. Darr (Author)

Thanks for the recommendation Steve...Adding this to my queue of books to read and you really can't go wrong for $3


I'm reading a book I never thought I'd read but just recently I got into the TV show Game of Thrones and it's sucked me in and currently reading the first book of the series.

#198 Steve1979

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 05:52 AM

Currently I´m reading a book about a former helicopter pilot who did 3 tours in Vietnam - first as dustoff, later as a gunship pilot who struggles with what he has seen and done

The Forgotten Warriors: Mission of Mercy

written by David J. Wallis (Author), Ronald L. Darr (Author)


Altough I really liked reading the book, I´m a bit disappointed that the story didn´t have a proper ending - it stops shortly after he went to his 2nd tour as a Snake pilot - so more than 2 tours weren´t touched at all - same goes for the result of his therapy - I would really like to know if he managed to make peace with himself

I searched the net for an additonal book - without luck

#199 FJBoccia

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 04:13 PM

Two books:

Operatives, Spies and Sabateurs, by Patrick K O'Donnell --about the OSS in WWII

Good, but sometime chaotic book. He interviewed hundreds of ex-OSS agents, American and foreign. The chaos comes from his approach: He moves from theater to theater, country to country, action to action, and while this gives an impressive level of detail, it makes it hard sometimes to evaluate the role of the OSS objectively. Still, there are other books that do that. I mentioned already his story about "Cynthia", Elizabeth Pack, whose obit appeared on the boards a few weeks back: How she quickwittedly stripped naked and ordered the safe cracker she'd brough along to steal the codes from the Spanish Embassy in DC when she heard the guard approaching, so that the supremely embarrased man (this was pre-WWII Spain, not exactly a hotbed of eroticism) backed out of the room and left them to their safecracking.

Facts I absolutely didn't know. I did know that, of all the partisan groups in the war, the Yugoslavs were by far the most effective, tying down a dozen or more German divisions. What I didn't realize was that this was a three-sided war, with the Tito-led communists fighting not only the Germans but the right-wing Chetniks; all three sides killed each other with enthusiasm and, frankly, appalling brutality. The controversial part of this chapter will offend our Brit friends: It is the contention of many in the OSS, and this was told to O'Donnell and is thus in the book, that Churchill, influenced by a number of communist or communist-sympathizing British intelligence officers in Yugoslavia, put great pressure on Roosevelt to withdraw the Americans in Yugoslavia because they were using Chetnik as well as partisan allies, and, failing that, to have the OSS cut off all ties to the Chetniks, and especially military supplies. This eventually was done, and it led to the swift destruction of the Chetniks after the German withdrawal, ensuring Tito's victory after the war.

Something else I thought I knew but only partially: It has long been known that, of all the Italian units in WWII, only two --the air force and the San Marco battalion --an elite, unmatched underwater demolition team. A Brit military historian wrote abook on the ten bravest missions of WWII. Three of the ten were by Italisn --one air force pilot and two exploits of the SMB. One of them was the extraordinary effort bu the men of the 18th Light Flotilla; they entered the harbors of Alexandria and Suda Bay using specially-designed underwater chariots (which eventually were copied an dimproved on by all serious UDT teams, including our SEALS) and sunk, in one night, the British battles ships Valiant and Queen Victoria, as well as several other capital ships. But their most famous exploit was the infiltration of VGibraltar, using an abandoned Spanish freighter as a secret base, they destroyed 42,000 tons of allied shipping. I knew that. What I didn't know was that, as soon as Mussolini was deposed, the OSS ran, not walked, to incorporate these men into their MU (Maritime UNit). How good were these guys? The OSS had three MUs operational in WWII: One in the pacific, one, based in London, operating in the northern Europe, and the third, the 8th Army special ops group, active in the Med. Of the three, only the Med group eared its keep --mainly due to the SMB. They were described by an American OSS officer as completely professional and thoroughly competent. The Seals and other special ops teams throught the west modeled many of their operational protocols after the SMB.

Other ops of interest are those in north Africa and in German-occupied France. Fascinating.

FJB

#200 appell8

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 07:52 PM


Not reading this. Just posting a WaPo review. Which to my mind, shows the intellectual bankruptcy of the author and the reviewer. And I have long had my doubts about the WaPo.




The Second World War by Antony Beevor

By Gerard DeGroot, Published: July 27
“The frightening thing we learned during the course of World War II,” wrote the physicist Isidor Rabi, “was how easy it is to kill people when you turn your mind to it.” He was referring specifically to advances in weapons technology, in particular the atom bomb. But he was also painfully aware of how a moral collapse made killing easy. As Antony Beevor shows in “The Second World War,” ethical erosion did not stop at mere killing. In various countries, prisoners were used for medical experiments, and women were enslaved for sexual exploitation. In Germany, scientists developed techniques for rendering corpses into soap and leather. In the Pacific theater, some Japanese troops habitually ate POWs. During the war, atrocity was limited only by the confines of the human imagination.

Recounting carnage of this magnitude is a challenge that often overwhelms the historian. The problem is one of breadth and depth — the author must capture the immensity of war without smothering the reader in detail. Beevor has demonstrated, through his previous books on Stalingrad, D-Day and the fall of Berlin, that he understands precisely how to balance meticulous research with captivating prose. (Too often, historians can do one but not the other.) One senses, nevertheless, that those earlier books were just building blocks to this, his magnum opus.

Beevor’s book reveals how insubstantial are the stanchions that buttress individual morality. When societies collapse, killing becomes easy. Bountiful human creativity is then directed to the problem of slaughter. For instance, German soldiers, burdened with Jewish prisoners, ordered them to pile themselves head to toe — the “sardine” method. The technique meant that space in mass graves was more efficiently used and ammunition conserved.

Granted, we already knew that World War II was brutal. What, then, can Beevor add to this horridly familiar tale? Or, stated differently, do we need another history of that war? Yes, we do. While the war itself remains a constant, the way it is viewed evolves according to changing moral perceptions. In late 1945, for instance, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal decided to suppress evidence of cannibalism in order not to traumatize the families of soldiers who died in Japanese prison camps. Beevor thinks that this once-taboo story needs now to be told. He’s probably right. His skill lies in telling it without descending into gratuitous horror.

The challenge that confronts historians is how to convey the immensity of total war without losing sight of singular torment. Too often, the grandeur of great battles smothers the suffering of the individual. Soldiers become battalions that attack on faceless flanks. “One death is a tragedy,” Stalin famously remarked. “A million deaths a statistic.” In the grand narrative, human beings disappear. War is thus sanitized; Stalingrad and Normandy are re-created without the detail of men and women screaming in agony. That is how some readers like it — war without the carnage and putrefaction, without the dismembered limbs and torn faces.

But that is chess, not war. Good military history should stink of blood, feces and fear. Beevor’s book stinks. It reconstructs the great battles but weaves in hundreds of tiny instances of immense suffering. War is presented on its most personal level. We learn not only of the vanity of Gen. Mark Clark, the cruelty of Gen. George Patton and the stupidity of Gen. Maurice Gamelin, but also of the terrible misery endured by what the poet Charles Hamilton Sorley once called “the millions of mouthless dead.” Very few heroes emerge, because heroes are too often cardboard constructs. Detail adds nuance and dimension, clouding characteristics worthy of worship. “Say not soft things as other men have said,” warned Sorley to those who wanted to remember war. Beevor constructs a true picture by avoiding soft things. The book brims with horror, but so it should.

Beevor begins with the incredible tale of Yang Kyoungjong, a Korean forcibly conscripted into the Japanese army in 1938 and sent to Manchuria. In 1939, he was captured by the Russians and sent to a prison camp. When the Russians ran short of soldiers in 1942, they gave Yang a rifle and dispatched him to the Ukraine, where the Germans eventually captured him. When they ran short of soldiers, they sent him to Normandy, where he surrendered to the Americans in June 1944. He ended the war a POW in Britain.

Beevor calls Yang a “striking illustration of the helplessness of most ordinary mortals in the face of . . . overwhelming historical forces.” That is true, but the value of this book lies in the way the author deals with those overwhelming forces. Too often, war is presented as a Frankenstein’s monster — an enormous ogre that man creates but cannot control. That, however, can be a copout, an attempt to evade responsibility for war’s horror. Beevor accepts that this war was much bigger than any of its participants but still manages to show how single individuals — be they great or small — added small points of hideous detail to a grand narrative of carnage.

So, yes, there was room for another big book on World War II. Now that Beevor has finished, that shelf is full. His book is the definitive history. This is World War II as Tolstoy would have described it — the great and the small.

[email protected]

Gerard DeGroot is a professor of history at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, and the author of “The Bomb: A Life.”



#201 ianhay_7

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:01 AM

Mussolinis's Island by John Follan.

The Invasion of Sicily through the eyes of those who witnessed it, an American soldier, A brit soldier, a Royal Navy seaman an Italian and German soldier and a little Sicilian girl (at the time). Its very good and quite insightful and easy to read, it jumps about quite a lot though which can be annoying.

#202 FJBoccia

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 08:55 AM

Blind Man's Bluff

Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew

The detailed story of how American submarines carried out a far-ranging espionage campaign against the Soviet Union during the cold war. Also included is a lengthy account of the Glomar Explorer, Howard Hughes' huge ship that was ostensibly built to mine deep-sea minerals but was in fact funded by the CIA to raise a sunken Soviet missile submarine. Included are the sinkings of the USS Thresher and the USS Scorpion, and how the Navy bureaucracy simply refused to accept the real reasons for the losses --in the Scorpion's case, clearly defective torpedo batteries that cooked off and caused na internal explosion under water; it took years and the release of a long-suppressed internal BuOrd memo regarding test showing defective battery performance before the real explanation was finally given --but officially the Navy STILL doesn't accept the conclusions, although everyone else, including most naval commanders, do.

The biggest single endeavor was the the extraordinary effort --highly successful-- by the Navy to tap the undersea telelphone cables of the Soviet military command network, in the Sea of Okhotsk and later, even more spectacularly, the Barents Sea. These were brilliant coups but were compromised by two different and well-known spies: John Walker ("Closing the Ring" and Aldrich Ames; it is chilling to understand how much real jeapordy Walker's treason put the US in.

Still topical after all these years; excellent.

FJB

#203 PaulV

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 02:28 PM

Blind Man's Bluff

Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew

The detailed story of how American submarines carried out a far-ranging espionage campaign against the Soviet Union during the cold war. Also included is a lengthy account of the Glomar Explorer, Howard Hughes' huge ship that was ostensibly built to mine deep-sea minerals but was in fact funded by the CIA to raise a sunken Soviet missile submarine. Included are the sinkings of the USS Thresher and the USS Scorpion, and how the Navy bureaucracy simply refused to accept the real reasons for the losses --in the Scorpion's case, clearly defective torpedo batteries that cooked off and caused na internal explosion under water; it took years and the release of a long-suppressed internal BuOrd memo regarding test showing defective battery performance before the real explanation was finally given --but officially the Navy STILL doesn't accept the conclusions, although everyone else, including most naval commanders, do.

The biggest single endeavor was the the extraordinary effort --highly successful-- by the Navy to tap the undersea telelphone cables of the Soviet military command network, in the Sea of Okhotsk and later, even more spectacularly, the Barents Sea. These were brilliant coups but were compromised by two different and well-known spies: John Walker ("Closing the Ring" and Aldrich Ames; it is chilling to understand how much real jeapordy Walker's treason put the US in.

Still topical after all these years; excellent.

FJB


I just finished that one too. Great read. Walker should have been hung just for all the sleepless nights he put countless junior officers through following the changes made in the wake of his discovery. VP crews frequently went on detachment to remote locations. The crypto was kept in a metal case with two padlocks (with different combinations) and the two most junior officers on the crew got the pleasure of signing for it, babysitting it, and destroying it at precisely the right time. I know of two incidents of buddies of mine getting hammered, potentially career ending, over two seemingly trivial mistakes. One involved the destruction of material by burning in a can. The detachment officer in charge, a rather weenie O-4 decided to sift through the burn can one day. He found a 1/8 square inch piece of singed code book on which he could still read a single letter. They went through the whole nine yards. Investigation per the JAG manual, messages to God, etc. The other incident involved a friend of mine accidentally destroying the next day of a code book vs that day's. They caught the error the next day and it was the same story again even though the code book never left a locked vault the whole time. One of my last ground duties was as the security manager. (In a Navy squadron the pilots/NFOs also run all the admin,operations, and maintenance divisions. I understand that the Air Force has a whole separate unit to support the flyers, lucky SOBs) I took over in the middle of deployment with our squadron being in four different locations around the globe and our home hangar being moved due to scheduled demolition of the old one. I think that's where all my white hair came from. A pox be upon John Walker.

#204 appell8

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:37 PM

I read "Blind Man's Bluff" many years ago, and was riveted. Still amazed at the technique they used to locate the Okhotsk cable; classic situational ingenuity. Highly recommended.

#205 ianhay_7

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 09:50 AM

Sad to report the sad passing of Sir John Keegan, great historian and author!

#206 Danman1116

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 09:54 AM

Sad to report the sad passing of Sir John Keegan, great historian and author!

Such a sad day. There are so many of his books of his that I want to read.

RIP Sir Keegan

#207 FJBoccia

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 10:50 AM

I believe I have all his books, or at least ost of them. My favorite historian who has given me many many hours of both pleasure and enlightenment. You will be missed, Sir John.

FJB

#208 Steve1979

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 05:14 AM

I started reading

Chosin: Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War written by Eric Hammel

That´s the second book I read about the Cosin Resevoir and so far it´s very interesting to read

#209 Danman1116

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 07:40 AM

I started reading

Chosin: Heroic Ordeal of the Korean War written by Eric Hammel

That´s the second book I read about the Cosin Resevoir and so far it´s very interesting to read

Sounds like an interesting read. Added it to my queue of books to read. Another Korean War book I recently added was "The Coldest Winter" by David Halberstram

http://www.amazon.co...=I2E3N63EVNYZM0

Also recently added:

Double Cross: The true story of the DDay Spies by Ben McIntyre

http://www.amazon.co...=I24VK476N1G21A

Currently reading "1781 The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War" by David Tonsetic

http://www.amazon.co...2&keywords=1781

#210 Steve1979

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 09:22 AM

Sounds like an interesting read. Added it to my queue of books to read. Another Korean War book I recently added was "The Coldest Winter" by David Halberstram

http://www.amazon.co...=I2E3N63EVNYZM0


Looks interesting indeed - I added it on my "to buy" list few moments ago




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