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Title: Storm Clouds over the Pacific

Author: Peter Harmsen

Publisher: Casemate, Oxford

ISBN: 9781636243016

Price: £19.95

This accessible book covers the 10-year period between 1931 and 1941 and, as such, is a countdown to the outbreak of war in the Far East. Even before the attack on Pearl Harbor, there was tension across the whole area and into mainland China. There was intrigue between Germany and Japan, when the German surface raider ‘Atlantis’ passed secret documents to the Japanese after sinking the British cargo ship ‘Automedon’, one of many such incidents leading up to Pearl Harbor that the author outlines to present this fascinating history. Some events will be familiar but for readers who are just discovering the war in the Pacific, this book is a very good place to begin before going on to heavier tomes. The maps are very basic but sufficient to orientate the reader, but the photographs match up perfectly with the text. Clearly written and sticks to the subject in hand, making it an enjoyable read.

Title: Hull Rifles

Author: David Bilton

Publisher: Pen & Sword, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

ISBN: 9781473833654

Price: £25.00

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During WWI, many regiments expanded by raising battalions to meet wartime demands. One such was the East Yorkshire Regiment, which expanded to over 15 battalions in all theatres of war. This book concentrates on just the 4th Battalion, a Territorial unit that would raise four battalions and be known as the ‘Hull Rifles’. It sounds rather confusing, but the author explains how it worked and the experiences of the battalion in its various postings. The 1st/4th Battalion arrived in Belgium in early April 1915, finding itself thrust into battle just days later. Apart from Ypres, the Hull Rifles took part in all the major battles on the Western Front, including the Somme, Passchendaele, and Estaires. This history is specific to the men of the Hull Rifles, with personal photographs of individuals and family groups, and diary entries. A well-presented work laid out in a way that will help anyone conducting family research of the time.

Title: Operation Pedestal 1942

Author: Angus Konstum

Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Oxford

ISBN: 9781472855671

Price: £16.99

Mention the convoy number ‘WS.5.21S’ to most people and they will give you a blank stare. Mention ‘Operation Pedestal’ and those same people will give a knowing nod in response. This masterful book is a reminder of facts like that, and others, which have become blurred. The story of Malta during the war is well known and how it stood up to an intense onslaught to reduce it is a lesson in resilience. This work reminds readers that, like all islands, it had to be supplied, and Pedestal was one of those convoys that kept the island fighting. Apart from PQ17, this is the most famous convoy of the war, and this is its story from beginning to end. A timeline from 2nd August 1941 gives a countdown to its progress and withstanding air attacks, over 550 aircraft in one 48-hour period. The ending is well-known, but the tension and relief come through in this excellent account.

Title: Tanks of the Iron Curtain 1975-90

Author: Steven Zaloga

Publisher: Osprey Publishing, Oxford

ISBN: 9781472853806

Price: £12.99

This follows on from the author’s earlier work covering the period 1946 to 1960 and takes it to the end of the ‘Cold War’. Main battle tanks were the heavyweights of the period and led to NATO and the Warsaw Pact engaging in the spiralling ‘gun/armour’ race for superiority. Designs by five main tank producers of the time – Soviet Union, USA, Britain, France, and Germany – are all considered in turn. The opposing forces never exchanged fire, but it is interesting to analyse and compare the T-72 against the French AMX30 and others. Data from results in other conflict zones, such as Lebanon, provide likely possibilities on the battlefield that war gamers will appreciate. Military modellers will also be happy with such detail and camouflage schemes. Enthusiasts in ballistics and ammunition will enjoy all the technical data, especially that collated by the Soviets. This is a must for anyone with an interest in modern AFVs.


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