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OT - Got bored, picked up some new WWI books for my collection

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Hey guys, since I have been playing so much OFF lately (and reading with interest about RoF) I decided to augment my WWI collection of books a bit this past weekend. Most of these titles will be familar to you, but you never know.


Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea, Robert K. Massie

This one came highly recommended on the Jutland forum so I decided to pick it up. So far, very good but I have just been skipping around a bit and just began to read the Dogger Bank account. So far, I like it.

Gunning for the Red Baron, Leon Bennet

An extremely technical book covering the science of aerial combat. The title is very misleading as the coverage of the Red Baron as such is really only secondary to other issues although I like some of his theories on the true cause of his death. The books covers a nice variety of topics including, gunnery, use and misuse of tracers, optical illusions and their influence in dogfights, bulletspread, plane performance comparisons, the methodology behind various aircraft designs, and more. It is a bit dry, and sometimes reads as a science textbook, but I actually find it interesting to get down to the nuts and bolts of some of this stuff. It actually reminds me a bit of Keagan, and how he describes the technical details of the battle of Agincourt. So if you like that style of writing, I think you will like this.

Who Downed the Aces in WWI, Norman Franks

So far this book has earned a permanent place next to me as I fly OFF. Its a month by month synopsis of the entire Western Front airwar and what aces died, how, and by whom. For me at least, its an invaluable reference to get some more details on aces I fly with and against in OFF. I also like to check the details of a particular ace when the OFF newspaper says he died. This book helps give me the details on the real fight. The book claims to cover over 300 different air aces and their eventual fates. I also use it to help me pick a good campaign date and squad to fly in as it includes so many detailed accounts of who was flying what and where and when. The actual dogfight depictions are not as detailed as in other books, but you get the flavor enough. Highly recommended.

Terror of the Autumn Skies: The True Story of Frank Luke, America's Rogue Ace of World War I, Blaine Pardoe

So far I have only browsed through the appendix at the end of the book but whats nice about that as it includes a bunch of day by day combat reports as submitted by Luke and some of his squadmates. Might be useful for those of us that can't ever seem to get our claims approved. I don't really have any particular interest in Luke, just looked like an interesting book. I will report more once I have read it through.

Aces Falling, War above the Trenches, 1918, Peter Hart

I had seen other recommendations for this book, but I haven't had a chance to really get far into it yet. I will say that I am not crazy about the font style they used for some of the quoted text, but thats just a personal taste. From just flipping through it, it looks like it has some good combat accounts, which is usually what I prefer.


And last, but not least is this gem.

Tank Warfare. The Story Of The Tanks In The Great War, F. Mitchell MC

This is a great book. Details the evolution of tanks and crew training as used in WWI and written by the tank commander that waged the first tank on tank duel in history. Lots of great anecdotal stories and first person battle accounts. This book reminds me of when I was very young and my Grandpa would talk about his experiences in the great war to my brothers and me. My Grandpa was a combat engineer and saw a lot of action, and basically hated the British and was often in fist fights with English soldiers and officers (Yup, like me, Grandpa was a scrapper!). He always used to say that we were fighting on the wrong side! He also got busted in rank a couple of times FOR fighting. I remember he told me once that the Germans were fighting for the Fatherland, French for the Motherland and Americans for souveniers! Anyway, I know this book has been reprinted in later years with a different title I think, (I have the original version on loan from my brother) but I would assume its essentially the same book, now as then. This book gets my highest recommendation! Reading this book makes me wish my Gramps would have written down some more of his own stuff, and I had been a little older and wiser to take better notes...


Okay, so there are my newest additions, now to read them all! ;)



Edited by Madmatt

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Great selection of books there Madmatt,


The only one on your list that I've read is "aces falling" by peter Hart, The accounts of the war in the air by those who survived, or the letters written by them before they were killed in later actions are first rate. a Very good read.


I've just finished "September Evening" by Barry Diggens, which is the first full-length biography ever written on the life & death of the german air ace Werner Voss, it contains some excellent photographs,

& the conclusions he draws on some of the aspects of Voss's actions are mostly reasonable & fair.


Flying guns World War 1 by A.G.Williams & Dr E.Gustin.

This was more of a technical book concerning the development of how Machine guns were fitted to the aircraft & how they & their ammunition were developed during the course of the first world war. it makes interesting reading with excellent photos throughout.




"First Blitz" by Neil Hanson -

it concerns the german plan to raze london to the ground in 1918 it has had good reviews & is my next book to read.. it appears to be a very deeply & well researched book. I'll keep you posted on it when i've finished it

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I too have ordered some books to add to my non-existent WWI library. I am currently reading "To the Last Man" by Jeff Shaara, which so far is excellent, though a work of fiction, is rooted in fact with well researched historical characters.


The books I have ordered are as follows:


"Terror of the Autumn Skies" by Blaine Pardoe

Just got this one in the mail, have thumbed thru it, will read in the near

"Fighting the Flying Circus

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sorry bout that, guess the post decided it was ready before I was, lol anywho


The above stated, of course by Eddie Rickenbacker

I had started reading this one in high school but never finished it. I am happy to finally add it to my collection.


"The Red Fighter Pilot: The Autobiography of the Red Baron" by Manfred von Richthofen


"Winged Victory" by V. Yeates


"Storm of Steel" by Ernst Junger

German soldiers story of fighting in the trenches


"Eye Deep in Hell:Trench Warfare in World War I" by John Ellis


Plenty to keep me busy for awhile, and I intend to add more in the future. See what BH&H has done to me? lol Actually I just cant get enough of it now, so I shall read on, as well as fly of course. Tchuss!

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As you have got Aces Falling by Peter Hart, I would recommend purchasing its prequels, namely Somme Success and Bloody April, both of which are excellent reads.




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Hi Rugbyfan,


Yeah, you know they had the Somme book and I was going to pick it up, but to be honest, my best OFF pilot is flying a 1918 campaign, and that more than anything else, is the reason I picked this particular one up. I started reading Aces Falling last night and so far I really like it. I have gotten used to the odd font issue I mentioned above and, typesetting aside, its a very well written and engaging book. I would assume his earlier work is as such and will probably check it out once I have gotten through my latest batch of new material.


I also began watching the PBS series "THE GREAT WAR AND THE SHAPING OF THE 20TH CENTURY" and was pleased to see that Robert Massie (author of Castles of Steel) was a consultant on the show and provided several interviews. Nice.



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