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Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by Staggerwing on Yesterday at 08:26:21 PM »
Toonces should have some insight into that stuff. After all, he got to hang out there.
Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by Gusington on Yesterday at 07:01:29 PM »
^That sounds...deep.
Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by besilarius on Yesterday at 06:42:31 PM »

"Despite the vast numbers of books written on World War II in the last seventy years, there is still much we do not yet fully understand or appreciate. Prominent Naval Historian Norman Friedman fills yet another of these gaps in our knowledge with his book Winning a Future War. More specifically, Friedman helps us to understand and appreciate the important interwar role the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) and its war gaming played in preparing the Navy and its officers to fight the Pacific War. Friedman convincingly argues that the NWC served as the Navy’s think tank in the 1920s and well into the 1930s, influencing war plans, naval aviation, ship design, and many other important issues that proved critical to ultimate victory over the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific."
Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by Toonces on Yesterday at 11:06:56 AM »
Most (but not all) of Wittenberg's books deal with cavalry actions; Plenty of Blame to Go Around is about Stuart's G'burg ride (and completely revised my admittedly superficial estimate of him),

My mom bought this for me for Xmas like 10 years ago, but I still haven't read it.  I might have to pull it off the bookshelf soon.  Thanks for the heads up.
Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by Toonces on Yesterday at 11:05:34 AM »
That sounds like a cool trip, AR.  Jelly!

I recently finished a bunch of books:  The Godfather (pretty good), The Wars of the Roses by Dan Jones which was also pretty good. I never quite could get through Alison Weir's version, but Dan Jones writes in a more accessible style.  The story was fascinating.  I read his Plantagenet history a few years ago so it was nice to close the loop.

The Last Dive, a sort-of autobiography of the author's adventures in extreme diving told around the story of the Rouses, a father/son team that both lost their lives diving on a German U-boat off the NJ coast that was the focus of the book Shadow Divers.  Wreck diving is huge in NJ and I used to dive the wrecks that could be accessed from a beach dive all the time when I was in college, but I had no idea just how challenging and dangerous true wreck diving is.  The writing was only average, but if you're into diving it's worth a read if you can get it from the library.

Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler, about the 10th time I've read it.  It didn't quite hold up as well as I had hoped...I had to sort of dumb my brain down to that of 18 year old Toonces and try to just go with the flow.

Finally, I finished The Shining, about the 4th time I've read it.  Unlike Titanic, it does still hold up.  I don't think I've read the follow-on book, so I'll be adding that to the list at some point.

I'm at various stages of a handful of other books; about halfway through A Bright Shining Lie, part way through General Lee's Army, and just started Shattered Sword for the 4th or 5th time due to the thread in the computer gaming forum.  I have a whole bunch of new books loaded up on my Kindle, but haven't started any of them yet.
Current Events / Re: What's Cool in Science This Week?
« Last post by Sir Slash on Yesterday at 08:15:50 AM »
That is cool. Thanks for the story.  O0
Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by besilarius on June 16, 2019, 09:57:00 AM »
If you want a break on the way back to Athens, Schinias beach is right next to Marathon.  It's dominated by the burial mound, and the terrain is mostly the same as it was back around 1900.
There were some nice convenience stands, and the beach and water are gorgeous.
Books & Reading / Re: What are we reading?
« Last post by Airborne Rifles on June 16, 2019, 12:14:23 AM »
Yeah, I went on my own a few years ago and Platea is very unremarkable as well. The good thing about Platea and Thermopylae though is that the area for both battlefields is pretty much undeveloped and unchanged, which is remarkable after two and a half millennia.
Books & Reading / Re: Black Cross/Red Star Vol 4 needs your help!
« Last post by bobarossa on June 15, 2019, 05:53:59 PM »
The book is entering layout for publication.  The author stated that a soft cover version without the color plane artwork will be available in the US.  He sent the backers several excerpts from the book during development and I'm including a short one here to let you know what this series is like. 

Excerpt No 3 from raw manuscript of Black Cross/Red Star Vol. 4

On February 9, 1943, 4 VA prepared to attack the German airfields in the Kuban. The first mission of the day was flown by seven I-16s of 41 GIAP to reconnoiter the intended targets, the aerodromes at Slavyanskaya and Timoshevskaya. At the former airfield, the Rotte of Feldwebel Günther Toll and Leutnant Erich Hartmann scrambled as the I-16s appeared, and took up the pursuit. This was Hartmann’s 52nd combat mission, and thus far he had achieved two victories.i But although of a lower rank, the more experienced Toll was his leader. The two pilots returned after over an hour, with Hartmann confirming that Toll shot down an I-16 fifteen kilometers east of Timoshevskaya.ii However, in fact all Soviet aircraft returned to base.iii

As this took place, at 0750 hrs, VVS ChF bombed Yalta. The bombs were badly aimed and fell into the water outside the harbor. One hour later, an Il-4 of 5 GMTAP/VVS ChF attempted to torpedo the lighter Saone southwest of the pierhead at Yalta, but the torpedo sank after a short run.iv But no fighters were in place to intercept either of the Soviet naval aircraft.
Meanwhile, Polkovnik Aleksandr Borman, 216 SAD’s commander, instructed his airmen at the base Novosuvorovskaya (Vyselki), some 45 kilometers east of Timoshevskaya. Six Il-2s from 765 ShAP were to carry out an attack against the aircraft on the ground at Slavyanskaya. Escort was to be provided by twelve Yak-1s of 42 GIAP, and two I-16s of 41 GIAP would lead the formation of Il-2s towards the target. Mayor Vasiliy Smirnov’s 66 IAP was to take off first, with six Yak-1s to block the airfield, arriving five minutes before the attack. These formations were airborne and set course for Slavyanskaya at 0945 hrs (German time). However, en route, a formation of nine Yak-1s led by 42 GIAP’s Kapitan Petr Konovalov, lost track of the other aircraft.

As the six Yak-1s from 66 IAP came roaming in over the airfield at Slavyanskaya at 1010 hrs, Feldwebel Helmut Friese recklessly started the engine of his Bf 109 and rolled out to take off. It was his sheer luck that a Rotte from the Staffel was airborne—Erich Hartmann and Unteroffizier Ernst Lohberg. These dived down on the Yaks, causing these to break off their strafing attack. One of the red-starred fighter planes fell before Lohberg’s guns, recorded as his 12th victory. Friese was able to take advantage of the confusion among the Soviet pilots, and blew one of the Yaks apart with his three 20mm guns. Next Hartmann managed to place himself on the tail of one of the Yaks and finally managed to score his third victory. In 66 IAP, Mayor Barey Sayfutdinov, Starshiy Leytenat Ilya Khludenev, and Serzhant Grigoriy Kovalyov were shot down. The two latter were killed, but Sayfutdinov survived and managed to return to the own lines and soon was back in service again. In fact, it was the second time that he accomplished this feat. Mladshiy Leytenant Leonid Arestov’s Yak-1 also was badly damaged in the combat, and belly landed just five kilometers to the west of the own base.

But while the remaining Soviet fighters—three Yaks and two I-16s—attacked the ‘109s and forced these to defend themselves, the Shturmoviks appeared at tree-top level. Noticing the German fighters, the ground-attack pilots performed a quick strike against the airfield with guns, bombs and rocket-projectiles, and then turned and left. Not a single German aircraft was destroyed. Feldwebel Friese saw the departing Il-2s and attacked them, reportedly shooting down one near the airfield. In fact, this plane managed to limp back home despite its damages, but needed two days of repair work afterwards.v Friese continued to pursue the Il-2s, but one of these fought back, forcing him to break off. The pilot of this Il-2 was Leytenant Georgiy Parshin, who was credited with the destruction of Friese’s aircraft. Friese however was not defeated, and made another attack, shooting down the Il-2 with Starshiy Serzhant Kirich as pilot and Starshiy Serzhant Fomichev as rear But Parshin survived. Eventually, he would develop into one of the most famous Soviet pilots of the war, completing 253 ground-attack missions, being credited with the shooting down of ten German aircraft with his Il-2, and being appointed to a Hero of the Soviet Union twice. On February 15, 1943, he received his first award, the Order of the Patriotic War.
The German fighters returned safely to their airfield, but while this took place at Slavyanskaya, exactly at the same time, twenty-two LaGG-3s, thirteen I-16s, three I-153s, and a Yak-1—all from 217 IAD—strafed the airfield at Timoshevskaya and also attacked Slavyanskaya. They failed to destroy any aircraft, but after the attacks against Timoshevskaya on February 8 and 9, this aerodrome was declared unserviceable by the Germans.vii Moreover, no German fighters intercepted this raid.

Also at the same time, four Il-2s of 7 GShAP and four LaGG-3s of 979 IAP made low-level attacks against trains on the station at Pavlovskaya and the airfield nearby. Another Rotte from 7./JG 52, led by the Staffelkapitän, Hauptmann Paul Sommer, happened to be out on a fighter sweep and attacked the Soviet aircraft. In the following clash, Sommer shot down the LaGG-3 of 979 IAP’s Leytenant A. G. Gladikh. A second fighter was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, and an Il-2 was lost when it—apparently by mistake—touched the ground.
5 VA and VVS ChF flew all missions on February 9 without sustaining any losses to German fighters. The next, and final, aerial engagement of the day was fought when eighteen Boston bombers of 5 VA’s 219 BAD attacked the water crossing near Temryuk. A couple of Bf 109s scrambled from Slavyanskaya, and intercepted the Bopstons during theoir return flight. Unteroffizier Klaus Dadd shot down a 277 BAP Boston piloted by Serzhant A. D. Mikhaylik.

Thus ended a day which had been successful from the perspective of both sides. 7./JG 52’s fighter pilots could celebrate that they had achieved eight victories (six of which can be verified with Soviet loss records) without sustaining a single loss. In fact, the two occasions on January 18 and February 4 when Alfred Grislawski had been shot down, and a Bf 109 badly damaged by ground fire on January 9 were the only combat losses sustained by the Staffel since the retreat from the Terek on New Year’s Day. In that period, 7./JG 52 had brought home thirty-nine victories. The most successful pilot was Grislawski, who contributed ten to this total, reaching a total of ninety-four.

But at the same time, the Soviet aviation dominated in the air, and from the Soviet perspective, several air attacks against German-controlled ports and ships, airfields—with one of them permanently put out of action—and transport lines at a cost of eight aircraft also could be considered a success.
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