Brief History of the Iconic AR-15 Rifle

Many rifle enthusiasts will be able to pick this semi-automatic rifle out of a line-up. Known for its distinctive features, the AR-15 rifle has a long history of use stemming back to its inception in 1964 as the Colt AR-15. Although it is undoubtedly one of the most popular rifles ever constructed, the chances are that there are a lot of aspects of the AR-15’s history that you were not aware of. Let’s dig in and find out what kind of events lurk in the history of the AR-15 and how it came to be one of the most sought-after semi-automatics. The Founding of ArmaLite in 1954 Ever wonder what … More after the Jump…

Book Review: To the Gates of Stalingrad by David Glantz

David Glantz’s To the Gates of Stalingrad is the first of a three book trilogy that catalogs the intense German-Soviet battle for Stalingrad in 1942-43. The book details the failed Soviet offensive toward Kharkov in spring 1942, the German spring offensive (Fall Blau, or Case Blue), and the German 6th Army advance to Stalingrad. The book is in line with Glantz’s other works that attempt to prove his common thesis: that the Eastern Front was the decisive theater of the World War II. The book represents Glantz’s unmatched ability to chronicle the battles for the Eastern Front from strategic, all the way to the tactical level. One paragraph might detail … More after the Jump…

D-Day 73rd Anniversary

This is an annual tradition at Battles and Book Reviews.  This year is the 73rd anniversary of the Allied Landings at Normandy in France during WWII. Just a reminder for everyone to stop today and take a moment to reflect on the events that happened 68 years ago today on the shores of Normandy in France.  This year, the text of General Dwight Eisenhower’s message to the troops of the Allied invasion force the morning of the invasion. Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are … More after the Jump…

1,000 Years and It Still Resonates, The Origins of a Phrase

Most everybody today has heard some variation on the phrase “Kill them all, let God sort them out’” This phrase gained modern fame during the Vietnam War but it is actually a modern updating of a quote that is over 1,000 years old and was first uttered in Southern France during what are known as the Albigensian Crusades at the Siege of Béziers in July, 1209 by the Papa; Legate and Cistercian monk Arnauld Amalric. The Albigensian Crusades were a series of campaigns waged in France between 1209 and 1226 to stamp out what is known as the Cathar Heresy. The Cathars were a Gnostic group or sub-faith within the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West by Martin van Creveld

After reading this latest work from Dr. van Creveld, it is no wonder that Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West had to be self-published as I cannot imagine a mainstream publisher would touch a manuscript that like this that so eloquently gores just about all of the sacred cows of the modern liberal movements but especially that of feminism and the infantilism of Western society. The book itself consists of five chapters with subparts, a conclusion, 29 pages of notes, and an index.  The chapters are arranged topically with the conclusion tieing the different strands together into a coherent whole. As usual, Dr. van Creveld is insightful and devastating when … More after the Jump…

Book Review: An Iron Wind-Europe Under Hitler by Peter Fritzsche

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Peter Fritzsche’s book An Iron Wind-Europe Under Hitler is “new history” of the best sort.  Instead of being a war book about battles and campaigns it tries to capture the experience of World War II of the people of Europe.  How did the average civilian who the fighting swirled past and who lived under German occupation experience the war?  That is the question this book tries to answer and does a good job of doing so. First, the numbers.  There … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Devil’s General: The Life of Hyazinth Graf von Strachwitz, “The Panzer Graf” by Raymond Bagdonas

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] There are numerous biographies of German officers and soldiers from World War II and The Devil’s General: The Life of Hyazinth Graf von Strachwitz, “The Panzer Graf” by Raymond Bagdonas is yet another. I cannot quite make up my mind if this is a good book or not. I lean towards yes but something is lacking to make this a truly great biography. The numbers; there are 338 pages of text making up an introduction, 23 chronological chapters and 6 appendices. … More after the Jump…

Pearl Harbor Day

Never Forget Today is Pearl Harbor Day, 75 years ago this morning at 0755 Hawaiian time the Japanese Navy began its attack on the US Navy Fleet anchorage in Pearl Harbor Hawaii.  The attack lasted for two and a half hours and cost the lives of 2,402 Americans and 64 Japanese.  The US Navy lost 6 Ships sunk, 4 of which were Battleships and an additional 13 sips were damaged to a greater or lesser degree. Let us all take a minute today to reflect on the attack on Pearl Harbor and the war it started.  Most importantly, let us remember the men who lost their lives that day and … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Dragon’s Teeth by Benjamin Lai

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] If you pay attention to the goings on in the world and not just the US election news you are well aware that China is a rising power in Asia.  China is now not only a commercial power but also an increasingly assertive military power.  The Chinese military is opaque at best to most Western observers and it is difficult to gauge its military capability based on what are usually hyperbolic news reports.  Therefore, it is somewhat prescient that this … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Into the Black by Rowland White

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] I am a space enthusiast and have been since I was a kid and saw the Apollo-Soyuz missions on the TV news. I was thrilled when the Shuttle first flew in 1981 and followed the program through to it’s final mission in 2011. I was thrilled when given the opportunity to review Into the Black and the quality of the story is amazing. The book is the story of the development and first flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia from the … More after the Jump…

D-Day 72nd Anniversary

This is an annual tradition at Battles and Book Reviews.  This year is the 72nd anniversary of the Allied Landings at Normandy in France during WWII. Just a reminder for everyone to stop today and take a moment to reflect on the events that happened 68 years ago today on the shores of Normandy in France.   This is the day that the Allies opened up the long-awaited Second Front against Hitler’s Germany.   The invasion took place along almost 50 miles of French coast using five named invasion beaches.   From south to north the beaches were named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.   The first days objectives … More after the Jump…

BOOK REVIEW – A HISTORY OF THE MODERN CHINESE ARMY BY XIAOBING LI

Much has been written about China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Much of these works has focused on either uniforms, equipment, or a brief history of its involvement in the Korean War. However, anyone really interested in a first rate history of the PLA should seriously look at Xiaobing Li’s “A History of the Modern Chinese Army”. Xiaobing Li is currently a professor of history at the University of Central Oklahoma, and has once served in the ranks of the PLA. His work is wroth reading because it fill many of the “gaps” usually found in other works on the subject. These gaps are those aspects about the PLA that were … More after the Jump…

Book Review: War Stories: by Stephen Macdonald

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] War Stories chronicles one Marine’s into the Marine Corps, to Vietnam, and back to the US. This is not a huge book at 240 pages but is well worth the read. This is not a book like Robert Mason’s Chickenhawk but that does not take away from the matter of fact and realist story told. The book is a straight matter of fact account of one man’s journey into the Marine Corps and to Vietnam in 1967. The author was … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Pearl Harbor: The Missing Motive by Kevin O’Connell

I will admit that when I first got the request to review Pearl Harbor: The Missing Motive I was skeptical. After finishing it I remain skeptical but will admit that the author makes a well-written, if not necessarily compelling case for his premise. First about the book. The book is 300 pages of text divided into 7 parts/chapters. It has 46 pages of notes and a 14 page bibliography. Also included is an index. One thing about the notes; the notes are endnotes of a sort except that they are not annotated within the text. That is, they do not follow a recognized standard citation system such as MLA, APA, … More after the Jump…