Friday, 18 August 2017

Victorian Era Navies

For those who want to get bogged down in detail for their Victorian Era naval wargames, I've just bought (don't tell MrsJ, she thinks I have too many books already) a book reprinted from the period.


The title is self-explanatory, and the author was in the United States Navy from 1844 and served in practically all the early steamers. Eventually becoming chief engineer of the New York Navy Yard and later of the North Atlantic Fleet. He saw action in the Mexican War and the Civil War.

As the blurb states, the book "...contains a complete and concise description of the construction, motive power, and armaments of the modern warships of all the navies of the world; naval artillery, marine engines, boilers, torpedoes and torpedo-boats.

In order it covers the French, (5 chapters), British (14 chapters), Italian , German, Russian, Turkish and Austrian, Holland and Spain, Denmark ,Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Greece, Egypt, Brazil, Chili (sic), Peru, the Argentine Republic, Japan and China. Mostly in single chapters but sometimes combined. I find it odd that the United States Navy only warrants a single chapter. Perhaps he was security conscious about his own national force?.

As well as going into depth about the various ships, many described in minute detail, he also covers personnel and dockyards with their operations. There are five chapters on the naval ordnance of the various nations, comparing the differences between them.

Al in all a very long book (613 pages) and not one to be read in one go, but ideal for checking facts on rate of fire (one Royal Navy example being given as a shot every eleven minutes) speeds, tactics, etc. Worth hunting out through your local library.

Note, the pale stripe down the left of the cover is due to sun-bleaching of the jacket while on someones bookshelf.

I've a new book on warships coming soon, a coffee-table book so probably only good for appearances. I'll put up a description when I get it.

 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Cold War Museum

Can it really be nearly six months since my last entry? I seem to have been really busy over those months, but obviously with nothing to say.
MrsJ and I have just returned from a few days in Lithuania, where we attended our son's wedding to a lovely young lady who will do him the power of good. We were rather busy over the few days (weddings there are quite different from here, lasting up to three days. We even saw one being done at the ebtrance to an inn where the reception would be!), but we were able to get a couple of days out and about. I was amazed at the lack of road traffic, and had been warned by Stuart about the state of roads off the main drag, often poorly maintained or even just gravel surfaces.

One of our jaunts was to the Zemaitija National Park where we visited the Cold War Museum, one of the old missile silo complexes now decommissioned.

 
In the middle of the woods, along a bumpy track, the site is quite small and holds four silos, plus ancilliaries. There is entry to the bunkers and a marked route round showing various aspects of the Cold War and possible nuclear confrontation of those times from a Soviet point of view. It was chilling to read of exactly how close they thought we came to a nuclear exchange at the time of the Cuban missile crisis. We passed through the various rooms and narrow corridors (being told they would have been even narrower when in use because of all the conduits and fuel pipes running along them) past old machinery and fuel rooms, offices and one of the silos. At the end is a thought provoking film/computer generated showing of a city under attack and the results.
 
Definitely an interesting and thought provoking experience, slightly enlivened by the occasional strange translation of texts into English. (eg. "you will see the rigorous colonel which is authorized by his country to "keep a finger" on the "nuclear button"...) 
 
According to a map, there were another four of these establishments in the area, all with four medium range SS-4 missiles armed with 2 megaton thermonuclear warheads aimed at the cities of Western Europe.
 

 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Happy Birthday to me, ...

Well, I've just managed to reach my threescore and ten, so it's all downhill from here. I've decided that my new year starts from the thirtyfirst of January, as that's the day after, and I'm feeling pretty chipper after my grandson said I only looked 50! Good lad, knows how to get round the old man. On top of that the hospital gave me an all clear after a recent health scare. I had to undergo a biopsy involving rubber gloves, nasty gadgets and needles. Details of which I won't go into and don't want to repeat anytime soon.


In a recent post I mentioned clearing my library a bit. Some of you took advantage, thank you, but I still have quite a few books to clear. In order to get this underway I've just put the first two onto that e-bay place, A Foundry catalogue and a Tradition catalogue(ish). If you want to check them out and ask any questions they are items 172513808591 and 172513796280. I'd like them to go to someone with the right interest in them.


Things should get back to normal now, or what passes for that in this house, after the hectic last two years.


Happy New Year.


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Compliments of the season to everybody.



May you all enjoy the next few days of family and festivity.


MrsJ and I will be fully occupied keeping up with grandchildren and trying to work out how their new electronic gizmos work. Grandchild 1 has been trying to induct me into his 'run around and shoot em up' X-box game, but my reactions are far too slow. I end up killed off in seconds, much to his discust.


We'll be back in the new year

Friday, 9 December 2016

Book Sale

Way back in July I said I'd be downsizing my library and listing the books I'd be clearing away. This job has taken longer than I thought, mainly due to the researching of suitable prices. The list is now ready, 147 titles in all, mainly 19th and 20th century interest but a few earlier. Most will probably be represented in your own collections but you never know. I'll be happy to answer questions about condition etc.

I'm offering my readers a chance to take first pick, so if anyone wants to see the list please e-mail me and I'll let them have it as an attachment. Note that postage is not mentioned, as that will obviously depend on size and where it's going.

Anything not cleared within a reasonable time frame will either be offered to a dealer or stuck on an auction site.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Enjoy Your Halloween Experience


I just thought I'd better get into the spirit of the day, so threw this together after breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

I am still here!

I've been very un-active this summer. A combination of very hot weather making it too hard to get off my deckchair, heavy involvement with a new grand-daughter, and MrsJ's insistence that the caravan needs more exercise  than previous years have all eaten away the time. That and an attempt to list the books I wish to dispose of is taking longer than I thought.

However, while away in the van I have been catching up with the contents of my Kindle reading thing, and would like to bring your attention to an author you may not know of, who has the start of an interesting series on the go.

He is Andy Johnson, an ex-guardsman, privately published and available through Amazon Books.

The first of his books is "Seelowe Nord", and is a fictional account of an alternative invasion of the UK by Hitler's troops, taking place on the Yorkshire coast in the Filey/Bridlington/Scarborough area.We are introduced to a number of participants, both real historical figures and fictional characters, from privates to higher command. Even Churchill's 'Secret Army' of resistance fighters get a mention. A reasonable read with some good wargame inspiration, I won't go into detail in case it gets spoilt for you,

The second of his titles is really a prequel to the above, and carries many of the characters through earlier actions of the war. "Thunder In May" is the story of 1940, from the invasion of Belgium and the assault on Ebn Emaul* through to the final boat leaving Dunkirk after the evacuation. As mentioned above, we are given the story of many of the participants of the first book, from both British and German forces. Andy Johnson has very cleverly joined his fiction with real events of the time in a believable way. No spoilers here, as you know how it ended.

The third book, which I have only just discovered, is 'Crucible Of Fate', and seems to cover the Overlord operation. I haven't read it yet, but if it is as gripping (read all through in one go, late to bed) type of stuff as the others I shall enjoy it.

Check them out, you won't be dissapointed.