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Michael OConnor "Wordsmith" RSS Feed (Wausau, WI USA)
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Tours of Duty: Vietnam War Stories (Stackpole Military History Series)
Tours of Duty: Vietnam War Stories (Stackpole Military History Series)
by Michael L. Lanning
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.87
6 used & new from $10.75

5.0 out of 5 stars 'Nam Combat as Remembered by the Troops!, July 24, 2014
Vietnam vet Michael Lee Lanning offers up over 120 'I-was-there' Nam combat stories in TOURS OF DUTY, VIETNAM WAR STORIES. A 2014 Stackpole Books release, it immerses the reader in the Vietnam War experience.

Presented in no particular order, the war stories found in Lanning's book describe combat as experienced by servicemen servintg in the 25th Infantry Division, 1st Aviation Brigade, 315th Tac Air Wing, Royal Australian Regiment, 199th Light Infantry Brigade, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Marine Division, 4th Infantry Division, 101st Airborne, MACV, 187th Attack Helicopter Company, 1st Cavalry Division, USS Okinawa, etc. The stories range in length from a half-page to 27 pages. Most run to one-two pages. Though many deal with life-and-death combat situations, some are humorous. Each story is identified by unit, Corps area and date. The individual storyteller is not listed, which I feel is a mistake.

Likewise, I wish Stackpole had included some photographs with the stories.

TOURS OF DUTY is a fine overview of Vietnam combat. The writing is simple yet compelling. The reader gets a true sense of what 'Nam combat was like for all those brave men so many years ago. Recommended.

*****
7,600 Helpful Votes!


Outer Limits: The Filmgoers' Guide to the Great Science-Fiction Films
Outer Limits: The Filmgoers' Guide to the Great Science-Fiction Films
by Howard Hughes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.90
54 used & new from $9.74

4.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi Flicks Smorgasbord!, July 24, 2014
Howard Hughes' OUTER LIMITS, THE FILMGOERS' GUIDE TO THE GREAT SCIENCE-FICTION FILMS is an affectionate tribute to 26 classic sci-fi films. A 2014 I.B. Tauris release, it showcases assorted fan favorites from METROPOLIS to AVATAR.

Hughes, who has penned other volumes in the 'Filmgoers' Guide' series, examines the aforementioned films plus others such as E.T., WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE THING, ALIEN, STAR WARS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, FORBIDDEN PLANET, GALAXY QUEST, MAD MAX 2, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, APOLLO 13, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, etc. Each flick rates its own chapter though Hughes interweaves various other, related films within the section. Photographs and lobby posters illustrate many of the films.

Though many of the films have been dissected in previous books, OUTER LIMITS is, nevertheless, entertaining and informative. I don't know that I'd agree with the back-cover blurb that it's 'The Indispensable Guide to Sci-Fi Cinema' but it is a fun read. Sci-fi fans should enjoy. Recommended.


Battle of Britain: Then and Now
Battle of Britain: Then and Now
by Winston G. Ramsey
Edition: Hardcover
16 used & new from $55.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative History of the Battle of Britain!, July 24, 2014
How do you improve on a masterpiece of aviation history? In 1980, THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN THEN AND NOW appeared, being a 710-page, widely-praised compendium on the BoB told from the defenders' side. Two years later, this revised edition appeared, adding almost 100 new pages of information and illustrations on that most decisive air campaign.

This edition offers up lengthy chapters on such BoB topics as a sector-by-sector breakdown of the various aerodromes utilized by RAF fighter squadrons, RAF casualties, Luftwaffe losses and BoB aircraft archaeology along with shorter sections on RAF commanders, Ultra and the BoB, surviving English and German a/c, the BoB Memorial Flight, etc. The amount of information found in the book is truly incredible; page after page of facinating history brought to life.

Likewise, the amount of illustrations is staggering. Hundreds of vintage and contemporary pix of aircrew, ac/, bases, radar and AA installations, crash sites, a/c wreckage, bomb-damaged buildings and houses, graves, memorials, etc. are incorporated in the text.

In short, BATTLE OF BRITAIN: THEN AND NOW is military aviation history at its very, very best. It's authoritative, exciting, compelling and wonderfully illustrated. I daresay it will stand as THE definitive history of the subject. Highest recommendation.

*****
NB. Later editions added even more pages!


Ki-27 Nate Aces (Aircraft of the Aces)
Ki-27 Nate Aces (Aircraft of the Aces)
by Nicholas Millman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.31
65 used & new from $11.11

5.0 out of 5 stars The Ki-27: Dogfighter Supreme!, July 23, 2014
I've purchased hundreds of Osprey titles over the years. I've enjoyed 'em all, especially those that spotlight little-known aviation history and/or aircraft. Case in point: Nicholas Millman's KI-27 'NATE' ACES. This fascinating OSPREY AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES volume - #103 in the series - presents a wide-ranging and eye-opening summary of Nakajima's nimble dogfighter.

Aside from vague knowledge that the Ki-27 tangled with AVG P-40s, I had little knowledge of Nate combat ops. In fact, the a/c saw combat from 1938 to 1945, fighting against Chinese, Russian, American, British and Dutch opponents ranging from I-16s to B-29s! Amazingly enough, this low-wing, fixed-gear dogfighter armed only with two pop-gun 7.7 mm MGs made up the JAAF's main fighter component during the 1941-42 air offensive against the British and Americans in Southeast Asia. And it scored the first aerial victory of the Pacific War! Later relegated to trainer use, it nevertheless was used to intercept B-29 formations; talk about David and Goliath!

Millman does a marvelous job of detailing the various missions and combats flown by ace pilots such as Shinohara, Saito, Hanada, Ito and others who flew with the 11th, 24th, 50th, 77th, 64th and other Sentais. One of the book's other revelations was the incredible overclaiming made by Nate pilots. In this respect, Millman does a fine job of comparing claims versus actual losses.

Many rare photographs of pilots and a/c are included in the book along with superb color profiles by Ronnie Olsthoorn, who seems to be a new addition to Osprey's stable of artists..

So, for many reasons, Nicholas Millman's KI-27 'NATE' ACES is a great addition to the Osprey line. In revealing the combat life and times of the Ki-27, it provides an exciting, balanced tribute to Nakajima's long-serving fighter. Recommended.


Gotterdammerung 1: Luftwaffe Wrecks and Relics ( Number 1 ) (Gotterdammerung S.)
Gotterdammerung 1: Luftwaffe Wrecks and Relics ( Number 1 ) (Gotterdammerung S.)
by Brett Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.45
26 used & new from $15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Luftwaffe Aircraft Hors de Combat!, July 7, 2014
Military aircraft boneyards hold a strange attraction for many of us. Seeing once mighty warbirds rotting away bring to mind past glories. Brett Green's GOTTERDAMMERUNG, LUFTWAFFE WRECKS AND RELICS may be the ultimate a/c boneyard book, presenting, as it does, smashed and crashed Luftwaffe warbirds. A 2006 Ian Allan release, Green's book should be catnip for Luftwaffe enthusiasts.

Topping off at 96 pages, Green's book displays and describes various GAF wrecks in a roughly chronological order. There are sections on BoB wrecks, Balkans/MTO wrecks and ETO wrecks, nightfighter and wrecks along with a final chapter on modelling the Me 262.

The book features over 130 images, 19 in full color. Each pix is well-reproduced and extensively-captioned as to markings and color. Artist Tom Tullis contributes 19 nicely-done color profiles and scrap-views of various FW 190s, Me 110s, Bf 109s, Me 262s, etc.

Frankly, if I'd had a vote, I would have opted for more pages on the actual a/c and ditched the modelling the Me 262 chapter.

In any case, GOTTERDAMMERUNG is a visually delightful time-capsule look back at some legendary warbirds in extremis. Recommended.

*****
7,550 Helpful Votes!


Panzerwrecks 11 - Normandy 2
Panzerwrecks 11 - Normandy 2
by Lee Archer and William Auerbach
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.83
11 used & new from $22.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Photo Guide to German 'Heavy Metal' in Normandy!, July 5, 2014
Though I've seen the PANZERWRECKS series listed on Amazon, PANZERWRECKS 11 NORMANDY 2 is the first one in the series I've read. All I can say is: Wow! Lee Archer and William Auerbach's NORMANDY 2 is a fascinating 'time capsule' photo-guide to the German defeat in Normandy, specifically all the AFVs abandoned by the retreating Germans.

Topping off at 96 pages, NORMANDY 2 offers up hundreds of rare, previously-unpublished, well-captioned photographs of a smorgasbord of German 'heavy metal' in various stages of distress - Tigers, Panthers, Panzer IVs, Flak 38s, Marders, Wasps, halftracks, Bergepanthers, armored cars and a variety of other odd-ball equipment. Photo reproduction is excellent even given the 'candid' nature of some pix. Captioning is equally excellent; authors Archer and Auerbach clearly know their subject.

Heavy metal fans will greatly enjoy this endlessly fascinating look at German AFVs lost in the Normandy campaign. Highly recommended.


Luftwaffe War Diary: Pilots & Aces: Uniforms & Equipment
Luftwaffe War Diary: Pilots & Aces: Uniforms & Equipment
by Uwe Feist
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $30.00
11 used & new from $23.88

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luftwaffe Photo-History: Nicely Done but Repackaged Goods!, July 4, 2014
Uwe Feist and Thomas McGuirl's LUFTWAFFE WAR DIARY appears to be a repackaging of the two-volume LUFTWAFFE DIARY set published back in 1994. That set was put out by Ryton Publications; this combined edition is from Stackpole.

In any case, the Feist/McGuirl should delight Luftwaffe buffs as it offers up hundreds of b&w and color photographs and artwork depicting GAF aircrew, uniforms, flying gear, medals, a/c markings and air combat scenes along with short biographies of various experten. The pix - numbering around 300 - are both vintage shots and contemporary images of uniforms, medals, etc. held by collectors. Visually the book is a delight.

After a brief section on 'Learn to Fly,' the book details and illustrates the various Luftwaffe ranks, GAF fighter pilots in WW II, 'The 300 Club' (Hartmann and Barkhorn), Luftwaffe fighter aces and GAF equipment and uniforms.

The Feist/McGuirl book sells for $39.95, which seems reasonable. Considering the wealth of illustrations, LUFTWAFFE WAR DIARY is a must-have for GAF enthusiasts. Recommended.


Battle Colors Vol.5: Pacific Theater of Operations: Insignia and Aircraft Markings of the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II
Battle Colors Vol.5: Pacific Theater of Operations: Insignia and Aircraft Markings of the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II
by Robert Edward William Everett Watkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $33.46
41 used & new from $29.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Guide to USAAF PTO Markings!, July 2, 2014
Continuing his excellent BATTLE COLORS series, Robert Watkins offers up Volume 5 in the series. A 2013 Schiffer Publishing release, this latest book details and illustrates the INSIGNIA AND AIRCRAFT MARKINGS OF THE U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE IN WORLD WAR II, PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS.

USAAF ETO unit markings have been well-covered by many books mainly because of bountiful paper and photographic trails. Unfortunately, comparable records and pix of USAAF PTO a/c markings are singularly lacking. So, Watkins had a monumental task facing him when he decided to uncover and document "the tactical aircraft markings employed by every AAF tactical unit in the...Fifth, Seventh, Eleventh and Thirteenth U.S. Army Air Forces. Happily, for air war buffs and modellers, Watkins turned in a fine job.

Volume 5 tops out at 152 gloriously-illustrated pages. The book is divided by type of unit: Fighter Groups, Night Fighter Squadrons, Air Transport Units, Bombardment Units, Reconnaissance Units, etc.Other chapters discuss PTO/AAF Order of Battles, US/USAAF Aircraft Markings, Basic A/C Nomenclature, PTO Chronology of Events and so on.

The meat of the book is the hundreds of color aircraft profiles done by Watkins illustrating the various PTO P-40s, P-38s, P-39s, P-35s, B-24s, B-17s, C-47s, C-46s, P-61s, A-20s, B-25s, B-26s, and L-5s along with squadron/group insignia. The artwork is complimented by concise but informative descriptions of the various markings carried by those aircraft. The results of Watkins' exhaustive research is truly eye-opening, page after age of well-done profiles and unit badges.

Watkins crams a lot of material into the book and I found that off-putting. I wish he had given each a/c profile its own space rather than sometimes cramming a/c on top of each other.

Although Watkins admits that presenting a a final accounting of such markings at this late date is problematic at best, his book, in all probablity, will be THE definitive book on the subject. It's a truly magnificent effort! Highly recommended.


P-47 Thunderbolt in Action (10208)
P-47 Thunderbolt in Action (10208)
by David Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.06
3 used & new from $12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Photo-Guide to the P-47!, July 2, 2014
There have been dozens of books published on Republic's Thunderbolt, David Doyle's P-47 THUNDERBOLT IN ACTION being the latest. A 2014 Squadron/Signal release, it's an appealing tribute to the mighty 'Jug.'

Doyle has written many S/S books and has the format down pat. The book features 88 pages of b&w and color photographs, three-views and artwork along with a comprehensive text. There's about 200 snaps in all, over 50 are in color. Coverage is model by model: P-47B, P-47C, P-47D, etc.

Don Greer contributes five pages of color profiles along with front- and back-cover artwork. As always, his artwork is first-rate.

Fighter buffs will enjoy this latest tribute to a legendary warbird. Recommended.


Luftwaffe Eagles - The Men & Machines of Germany's Blitzkrieg - A Special FlyPast Publication
Luftwaffe Eagles - The Men & Machines of Germany's Blitzkrieg - A Special FlyPast Publication
by Ken Ellis
Edition: Single Issue Magazine
3 used & new from $11.92

5.0 out of 5 stars Luftwaffe Smorgasbord!, June 30, 2014
LUFTWAFFE EAGLES is a special FLYPAST one-off issue published in 2014. It offers up a smorgasbord of articles by various authors on THE MEN AND MACHINES OF GERMANY'S BLITZKRIEG,

LUFTWAFFE EAGLES runs to 98 pages. Among the articles featured are 'tip-and-run' FW 190 raids on Great Britain, a BoB Ju 88 shootdown, four famous JG 2 experten, Me 410 combat ops, early Fritz X missions, the 1 January 1945 'Operation Baseplate' attack on Eindhoven, FW 200 losses, German 'revenge' a/c and weapons, an Eastern Front Ju 87 'Stuka party,' a comparison between the Bf 109E and F models, etc. Interspersed with those articles are two-page write-ups on the Ju 52, Do 17, FW 190, Ju 87, FW 200, He 111, Bf 110 and other Luftwaffe a/c by test pilot Eric Brown, who flew those birds and many others.

The text is complimented by dozens of vintage and contemporary b&w and color photographs, three-views, color profiles and air combat artwork. Visually LUFTWAFFE EAGLES is a delight.

All in all, this FLYPAST release is an entertaining, informative, wonderfully-illustrated and easy-on-the-pocketbook ($12.99) overview of Luftwaffe aircrew, a/c and ops. Recommended.


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