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: GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, HELICOPTER PILOT AND MERCENARY

BOOK REVIEW: GUNSHIP ACE: THE WARS OF NEALL ELLIS, HELICOPTER PILOT AND MERCENARY By A J. Venter Casemate Publishers, 324 Pages Review by J.C. Tejeda Jr. Usually the word “mercenary” will either conjure up images of disgust or starry-eyed fascination. The sullied reputation of “Les Affreux”, those mercenaries of the Congo era, was a case in point. However, that does not give the average reader an accurate, much less glamorous picture of what a real life mercenary is like. To his credit, Al J. Venter has made a career covering the various wars that plagued the African continent over the last thirty years. It was he, better than anyone else … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Brink of Extinction by Nicholas Ryan

[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] When the author of this book contacted me about doing a review I was hesitant at first as I am starting to think the zombie book genre is about played out. I mean, how many variations on brain eating zombies in a post-apocalyptic world can there be. After exchanging a few emails with Mr. Ryan I agreed to read it and I am certainly glad I did. This volume is the fifth zombie book by Nicholas Ryan and it is … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 3

Example: The Israeli bombing of a hospital in Gaza and use of white phosphorous munitions during Operation Cast Lead in 2008 During the 2008-2009 Israeli-Gazan war there were back and forth allegations that Israel had deliberately bombed hospitals in Gaza in violation of the Geneva Convention.  Israel responded by claiming that Hamas was using these hospitals as shields.  The general consensus since then has seemed to be that elements of Hamas and their leadership did indeed use hospitals as shelter but that has not been widely reported in the West.  Another was the claim that Israeli use of White Phosphorous artillery shells is a war crime because white phosphorous is … 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…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 2

Modern interpretations of the law of war are flawed from a war winning perspective This point cannot be hammered home enough as it is the root of the problem with Western war making in my opinion.  The establishment of the UN post-World War II and the ratification of a new set of Geneva conventions on the conduct of war in 1949 have radically changed the Western approach to war and following those rules have had a major impact on the West’s inability to decisively win the wars they have fought.  In fact, it could be argued, and I do that post-war notions of war making have led to unsatisfactory peace’s … More after the Jump…

Book Review: South from Corregidor by LCDR John Morrill USN

[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] The edition of South from Corregidor I got is a reprint of a book that first appeared in the US during World War II. The edition I reviewed is a reprint of the original with some additional information.  The book itself is the story of a US Navy officer and 16 men who escape Manila Bay in the days following the final Japanese assault on the island Corregidor. The book is 273 pages long divided into 13 chapters. There are … More after the Jump…

Napoleon & the French Army of Italy 1796

The French Army in Italy was a failing army but was revitalized in 1796 by the arrival of Napoleon and his dynamic leadership style that allowed his soldiers to realize their potential.   The soldiers were unpaid and underfed; they were clothed in rags and often had no shoes.   The artillery park was not maintained properly and the cavalry had unsuitable mounts, if any.   The soldiers in the army were suffering from malnutrition and illness to such a degree that out of a paper strength of 42,000 only 30,000 soldiers were considered battle ready.[1] The hospitals were overflowing and non-battle deaths numbered in the hundreds per month.   … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Battle of Agincourt edited by Anne Curry & Malcolm Mercer

[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] October, 2015 was the 650th anniversary of the French defeat at Agincourt during the Hundred Year’s War. The Battle of Agincourt is a new volume released by the Royal Armories in commemoration of the battle featuring all new scholarship and the latest research on the battle and the campaign of which it was a part. First as always, some details about the book itself. This is a coffee table sized book with 273 pages of text separated into 3 parts … More after the Jump…

Why Does the West Seem Incapable of Winning Wars Anymore? – Part 1

I got to thinking about the question at the title of this post a few months ago.  Being me I started doing some research and then put my thoughts down in what ended up being a fairly long paper for some casual writing.  Rather than dump it all at once I am going to serialize it into parts and probably publish one part every 2 weeks to a month until it is done.  I am going to put it here and also on my survival site because I think the issues it brings up are relevant in that arena as well.  What I hope to do is provoke some discussion … 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…

Book Review: Decision Points by George W. Bush

Decision Points is a book I have put off reading for several years but finally got around to. I mainly put it off because I have essentially avoided reading any histories of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars as they hit a little close to home for me. I finally changed my mind because I decided enough time has passed. Don’t get me wrong, I was not angry about the wars, I fought in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the Big Red One, at best I am ambivalent. That is a combination of the military historian and the veteran in me. I decided to read Bush’s memoir because I was curious to … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer & August Cole

If have read some of the old-school thrillers of the 80’s and 90’s like Red Storm Rising, Flight of the Old Dog, or Red Phoenix then you will love Ghost Fleet. This is essentially an update of the Cold War military thrillers and you will love it. The main plot is that at some unspecified time in the near future (it is never explicitly stated) China pulls a Pearl Harbor in an attempt to create a 21st century Chinese version of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere. The Chinese invade and take Hawaii and decimate the US Pacific Fleet through a combination of combat and cyber attacks on defense infrastructure … More after the Jump…