January Book Vote

In Military History, Featured

The first book vote of 2022 sees five Raid titles battling for your vote. Read the full descriptions and cast your vote by clicking on the link below. Plus, check out the results of last month's Combat book vote. 

 

Barbarians at the Gate AD 455: The Vandals in the fall of Rome

USS Essex in the Pacific, 1813–14: The battle for the whalers in the War of 1812

The Shimonoseki Campaign: Gunboat diplomacy in feudal Japan, 1863–64

Raiding Alexandria Harbour 1941: Italian manned torpedoes target the Mediterranean Fleet

Resistance in Austria: The battle of Castle Itter, May 1945

 

Barbarians at the Gate AD 455: The Vandals in the fall of Rome

This book would explore the role of the key player in the demise of Roman civilization – the Vandals. It was this tribe that seized Africa, cutting off the grain supply so vital to the urban life of the ancient world. Alone among the Germanic peoples, it was the Vandals who took to the sea, forging a pirate empire that dominated the western Mediterranean. And it was the Vandals who sacked Rome in 455, a raid of such vicious legend that their name has become synonymous with destruction and waste. In the last great campaign of antiquity, the emperor Majorian gambled everything on one throw of the dice, rallying the imperium for a supreme effort to eradicate the Vandals once and for all. By a striking irony, the fate of the western world would be decided in a confrontation right back where it all began, between the two rivals of Rome and Carthage.

 

USS Essex in the Pacific, 1813–14: The battle for the whalers in the War of 1812

Six months after the War of 1812 began, the US frigate Essex embarked on a cruise against the British whaling fleet in the Pacific, one of the most economically important targets for a merchant raider. Under the command of David Porter, Essex captured a dozen whalers, until at Valparaiso in 1814 Essex and her consort were brought to battle and captured by HMS Phoebe and Cherub, which had been sent to stop them. This was the campaign that would be fictionalized as Patrick O’Brian’s The Far Side of the World, and which launched the career of future US admiral David Farragut, then a 12-year-old midshipman.

 

The Shimonoseki Campaign: Gunboat diplomacy in feudal Japan, 1863–64

As Japan opened up to the West, resentment against European and American influence erupted into an open rebellion. In 1863 the Chōshū clan closed the vital Shimonoseki Strait and began to fire without warning on foreign shipping, which prompted the USS Wyoming to fight and win the first US Navy battle against the Japanese. This book would explain how the Chōshū rebellion continued against French, British and Dutch naval  forces until late 1864, when a joint European squadron overwhelmed the rebels in a two-day naval battle, one intense enough that the British would award three Victoria Crosses.

 

Raiding Alexandria Harbour 1941: Italian manned torpedoes target the Mediterranean Fleet

The greatest success of the Italian Navy’s manned torpedo programme was the daring raid against the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet in Alexandria. Despite the difficulties of operating the machines, the frogmen attached limpet mines under the battleships HMS Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, before being captured. Bothbattleships were badly damaged and put out of action, temporarily losing the Royal Navy supremacy in the Mediterranean.

 

Resistance in Austria: The battle of Castle Itter, May 1945

Fought five days after Hitler committed suicide, the action at Castle Itter in the Austrian Tirol pitted an attacking SS Panzergrenadier unit against a remarkable combined force of Wehrmacht troops (including the Austrian Resistance-linked Major Josef Gangl), US tank troops, and French prisoners of war. This book would explain how the battle occurred and was fought, and frame it within the context of the last phase of World War II in Europe, the rise of the resistance movements in Austria and Czechoslovakia, the shifting allegiances of German and German-aligned forces as the Soviets pushed westwards, and the American obsession with the legendary Nazi ‘redoubt’ in the Bavarian Alps.

 

 


Last month, we asked what you would like to see published in our Combat series. Thank you to everyone who voted and provided feedback. The results saw one book taking the lead. Check out the full results below to find out more!

 

Post Comments

kuvaszsleepybear posted on 14 Jan 2022 08:04:52
IMHO the 'Alexandria' book is the only one that's a RAID.I voted Shimonoseki as always been interested in that period of Japan's history and once found a magazine article on the fighting there then some years ago and will be interested in an updated telling of it and also have sailed through the Shimonoseki Straight.
KenA posted on 13 Jan 2022 07:09:58
To my mind the last of these options (Resistance in Austria) concerns a battle that was not a raid. The Schloss Itter, which sat on a hill at the entrance to the Brixental Valley in the Tyrol region of Austria, was used by the Germans as a prison for French VIPs. In May 1945, at the time of the battle, there were fourteen prominent French prisoners, together with their wives and mistresses, held in the prison. These VIPs ranged from former politicians (including a couple of former prime ministers) to former generals.

The battle arose when retreating fanatical SS units passing through the area decided to capture the castle and execute its prisoners. Hardly something planned well in advance but rather something decided upon on the spot.

The book “The Last Battle” (2013) by US author Stephen Harding (A New York Times Bestseller) is an excellent read and provides a first rate description of the incarceration of these prisoners, the lead up to the battle, the battle itself, and its aftermath. The book is available on Kindle.

This left me voting for the Italian raid on Alexandria Harbour, which has not received much attention by historians. The Italian navy divers of the Decima Flottiglia MAS have not received the credit that they deserved and neither has it been widely appreciated the situation the RN was left in after its two battleships were disabled.
Paintybeard posted on 10 Jan 2022 20:19:27
This is a excellent list and I would almost certainly buy every one if they were written by competent authors. The Italian raid on Alexandria harbour wins for me, but only just ahead of USS Essex..
Tarawa90 posted on 7 Jan 2022 14:09:19
I like them all and may need to think on this.

Also, this is not appearing on the main web page.

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