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In a post back in May I touched upon some of the still very live concerns raised by the World War II occupation of France. I was sharply reminded of these by a great novel I read the other day, Resistance by Owen Sheers. Its alarmingly convincing background is Britain in 1944-5 with Russia defeated, the Normandy landings rolled back and a successful German invasion and occupation.Continue Reading

My Campaign Salamis 6: Cruising the Straits

In Military History
I’m back from a wonderful fortnight in Greece , some Osprey research, some culture (Athens and Delphi) and quite a lot of pure lotus-eating. There was a major demonstration and some strike action on our first day so, eager as I was, we decided not to entrust ourselves to the public transport system, which we needed to get us to Salamis. Parliament seemed to be well defended, but clearly the police needed elite army supportContinue Reading

My Salamis Campaign : Part 5

In Military History
In my previous Salamis post I ventured to disagree with Professor Barry Strauss over his representation of the overnight manoeuvres of the Persian fleet and its position at dawn just before the fighting began. I have been finding his book on the battle, and his other writing on Greek naval warfare in general, all several years more recent than the literature I was previously familiar with, tremendously helpful. However, as I wrote to him (only fair to give advance warning of the public assault on his academic reputation about to be launched from this blog!), “I just find it too improbable that they would have risked moving all the way...Continue Reading

More of the greatest generation

In Military History
A couple of days after my last post on the subject, two more amazing individuals were celebrated in obituaries on the same day, again heroes from the French Resistance and the Royal Air Force...Continue Reading

What happened on MY birthday?

In Military History
Well, Phil may have started something with his post on April 24; I had a birthday (rather bigger than his) coming up four days later and thought I should see what I could find. If you want to see what happened in US military history on yours, try this, and here’s my own selection for April 28...Continue Reading

The Greatest Generation

In Military History
Tom Brokaw’s 1998 bestseller celebrated “the greatest generation”, the US citizens who fought in World War II “not for fame or recognition, but because it was the right thing to do". This term repeatedly springs to mind as, more than sixty years on, our newspapers’ obituary pages continue to recall the extraordinary bravery, and combat and other skills that were displayed by so many individual men and women...Continue Reading

Pistols at twelve paces

In Military History
I went to a book launch the other day. It could be described as a family affair as the author was my cousin, Giles Hunt, and the book was "The Duel".Continue Reading

My Half-Track Neighbour

In Military History
On my regular route into Oxford , which takes me through the neighbouring village of Kirtlington ( great pub! ) I occasionally pass a beautifully preserved Half Track , surreally perched on the grass verge in front of a row of houses on a country lane. When I have time to stop and take a photograph or two, I never have my camera with me...Continue Reading

"King of England this day I shall die"

In Military History
The BBC aired a short documentary on the Battle of Bosworth the other day. Advance publicity promised revelations about the true location of the battle with the implication that the fine visitor centre was therefore wrongly positioned on Ambion Hill. However, this is very widely accepted as the site of Richard III’s camp and of his initial position, attacked or at least advanced upon by Henry Tudor...Continue Reading
I can never resist reading random pages of our old newspapers as I bundle them up for recycling, because I always find something good that I missed. On the same day as my post went up about the story of Sgt Liepmann and his lovingly preserved letter from Aunt Pete, I came across its happy ending...Continue Reading

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