U-boats were sitting ducks in WWII

Cover-Deep Sea HuntersDeep sea hunters: RAF Coastal Command and the war against the U-boats and the German navy, 1939-45
By Martin W. Bowman
Barnsley: Pen and Sword Aviation, 2014 (GBP 25.00)

Reviewed by Major John Johnston (Rtd)
RAF Coastal Command was created as part of British rearmament in 1936 and through World War II its aircraft patrolled the waters around Great Britain, the Western Approaches, and the North Atlantic, as well as supporting operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa.Continue reading

RN should have had greater WWI role

RN in WWIA History of the Royal Navy: World War I. By Mike Farquharson-Roberts
Reviewed by Dr Gregory P. Gilbert


THE ROYAL Navy has for centuries played a vital if sometimes misunderstood or even at times unsung part in Britain’s history. The new History of the Royal Navy series published in association with The National Museum of the Royal Navy aims to throw new light on the Royal Navy. For its timeliness and concise reassessment of the events in the maritime environment, the volume on World War I by Mike Farquharson-Roberts is one of the most important history books available today.
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Brilliantly illustrated, concisely written account of UK carriers

Hobbs - British Aircraft CarriersBritish Aircraft Carriers: Design, Development and Service Histories. By David Hobbs. Seaforth Publishing, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, 2013
Reviewed by Dr Gregory P. Gilbert
“These ships will have a flexible and adaptive capability that has the potential to serve the nation well in a range of likely scenarios, but it will take firm leadership, ingenuity and determination to achieve it”. David Hobbs (p372) concerning the new carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.Continue reading

How the legions made Rome’s longevity

Legions of Rome best coverLegions of Rome. By Stephen Dando-Collins. St Martin’s Press, New York. Hard cover; 607 pages.
Reviewed by Dr Tom Lewis
THIS book’s introduction puts its central theme best when it argues: “The long existence of the Roman Empire had everything to do with the legions. While the legions were strong, Rome was strong. Conversely, the disintegration of the Late Empire has everything to do with the disintegration of the legions as effective fighting forces.” (p. 11)Continue reading

Navigating Asia’s troubled waters

Asian Maritime Strategies: Navigating Troubled Waters. By Bernard D. Cole. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD, 2013.
Reviewed by Dr Gregory P. Gilbert

“. . . the center of gravity of world affairs has left the Atlantic and moved to the Pacific and Indian Oceans”.
Henry Kissinger, 2010

CAPTAIN Bernard D. Cole, USN (Ret.), who teaches at the US National War College in Washington, DC, is perhaps uniquely qualified to write a book on Asian Maritime Strategies for the 21st century. His experience as a naval officer, strategist, lecturer, historian and Asian specialist comes to the fore in this compilation of modern Indo-Pacific maritime affairs.Continue reading

Darwin: Australia’s own Pearl Harbour

Carrier Attack cover largeCarrier Attack Darwin 1942 The Complete Guide to Australia’s Own Pearl Harbour
by Dr Tom Lewis and Peter Ingman
Avonmore books, Adelaide 2013

Reviewer: Peter Williams
THERE have been a number of accounts of the Imperial Japanese Navy raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942. Douglas Lockwood’s 1966 Australia’s Pearl Harbour was one of the first. In 1980 Tim Hall wrote Darwin 1942 and in 1988 Alan Powell produced a scholarly account in The Shadow’s Edge, Australia’s Northern War. In 2009 Peter Grose wrote An Awkward Truth, the bombing of Darwin.Continue reading

The bringers of war to Africa

Laband coverThe bringers of war: the Portuguese in Africa during the age of gunpowder and sail from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. By John Laband. Pen and Sword, 2013.
Reviewed by Major John Johnston

PORTUGAL was the first European nation to establish itself in Africa and the last to leave the continent. People generally know of the voyages of discovery in the late fifteenth century and are aware of the empire’s painfully slow demise in the second half of the twentieth century, but what happened between these events is a mystery for most people.Continue reading

Whimsical wanderings and wonderings

book post cards_0002G’day Y’all; Whimsical wanderings and wonderings from Kentucky to Australia
Rob Roy Herzog, Xlibris Corporation www.xlibris.com.au

Reviewed by Tim Coyle
THIS is the autobiography of Rob Roy Herzog, the only person who went from Kentucky (the Deep South) to Townsville (the Deep North) via five US Navy aircraft carriers, then onwards to the Australian Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), where he served as an imagery analyst and latterly as an all-source intelligence analyst. Continue reading

Anti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies

Cover-Anti-Access WarfareAnti-Access Warfare: Countering A2/AD Strategies By Sam J. Tangredi, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis MD, 2013

ANTI-access/area denial, or A2/AD as it is often abbreviated, has become one of the buzz phrases of recent defence debates. The story goes that as the US and its close allies withdraw from their Middle East commitments their militaries have moved away from counter-insurgency operations and pivoted to the Asia-Pacific region where the primary challenge is countering, if not breaking down, the anti-access/area denial strategies of nations such as China, North Korea and Iran.Continue reading

The Wars for Asia — an Asian perspective

The Wars for Asia CoverThe Wars for Asia, 1911-1949. By Sally C.M. Paine. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2012

IT IS difficult for one mountain to hold two tigers. (Great rivals cannot coexist) — Mandarin proverb.

WHEN I first studied Asian history as an undergraduate in the 1980s, I thought we relied too heavily upon Western interpretations of events in the East. Since then I have been searching for a useful reference that examines modern Asian history from the non-western perspective. The Wars for Asia, 1911-1949 is exactly that book. Continue reading