Category Archives: Military

Review of “The Last Squadron”


Book Reviews – “The Last Squadron” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Dan Jayson. This is Mr. Jayson’s first novel.

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence, Mature Language, and Mature Situations. The story is set in Europe in the near future. The primary character is Air Force Captain Natasha Kavolsky.

A war has been brewing for some time along ethnic and religious lines – the Allied Forces against The Brotherhood. As the multinational Allied 9th Mountain Squadron heads for some much needed R & R in a plane flown by Kavolsky, the war suddenly intensifies. Communications is disrupted and the plane is shot down somewhere over a remote area of Norway.

The survivors struggle in the severe winter. As they slowly make their way to civilization they encounter Brotherhood troops and must battle their way south. Kavolsky slowly transitions from pilot to one of the leading officers of the Squadron. The Brotherhood has surprised the Allied Forces with advanced technology, nuclear weapons, and biological weapons. The Brotherhood has escalated the war and is now trying to “cleanse the Earth” of all Allied Forces and their civilian populations.

The squadron must overcome many obstacles in this post-apocalypse world if it wants to survive. The casualties mount up as the Squadron travels through Europe. A base is established by those that remain in France. There they make a stand against a much larger Brotherhood force.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 480 page military thriller. I liked the many characters that the story includes. I also liked seeing the military technology which the author predicts for 15 or so years in our future. While Kavolsky is the primary character, there are many others that have significant roles in the story, many of which do not survive to the end. I liked this more realistic attrition of characters. I can easily see sequels to this story and if they appear I will be interested in reading them. The cover art is OK, but I think something could have been chosen to better represent the story. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

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Review of “The Steel Fist”


Book Reviews – “The Steel Fist” eBook was published in 2014 (original paper edition was published in 1984) and was written by Richard Townshend Bickers ( Mr. Bickers published more than 45 novels and a dozen non-fiction books.

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Situations. The story is set during World War II. The story follows British Officer Taggert as he fights the Germans during the early months of World War II. He is part of the British Expeditionary Force who have been dispatched to France in 1940 to help fortify the Maginot Line. He has more than once scrape with the Germans and finally must evacuate France with the lucky others from Dunkirk.

Once back in England, he is volunteers for a new fighting force, the Commandos. He and his men go through extensive training and raid France to harass the Germans.

I enjoyed the 3.5 hours I spent reading this 178 page novel of World War II. Even though it was written more than 30 years ago, it still reads well. I have read quite a few of Bicker’s novels and have enjoyed them all. While the cover art depicts World War II, I am not sure it relates well to the story. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (

Review of “Destination Casablanca”


Book ReviewsWWII – “Destination Casablanca” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Meredith Hindley ( Ms. Hindley is a Historian living in Washington, D.C. This is her first book.

I received an ARC of this book through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this book as ‘G’. The book tells the story of Casablanca from just prior to the onset of World War II until shortly after the war ends.

This is an historical look at the the major figures in Casablanca during this period. Many fled from the Germans as they engulfed Europe, and found themselves stranded in Casablanca. The French had mixed sentiments. They wanted to insure their continued hold on Casablanca and North African assets, while throwing off the control of the Germans. Many French leaders, particularly military, felt the need to maintain the honor of their word to the Vichy French government.

The Allied invasion of North Africa brought many of these issues into focus, with several French military leaders siding with the Allies, but opposing them because of their commitments to the Vichy government. This led to a few days of very bitter fighting between US and French forces.

I found the 13.5 hours spent reading this 465 page history interesting. As most non-fiction histories, this was a little dry, but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I certainly learned much about the Allied invasion of North Africa and the political entanglement they suffered through with the French. The cover art is OK. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (


Review of “The White Ghost”


Book Reviews – “The White ghost” eBook was published in 2015 and was written by James R. Benn ( Mr. Benn has published twelve novels in his “Billy Boyle Mysteries” series. This is the tenth novel in that series.

I purchased this novel through the Barnes & Noble on-line store and read it on the Nook App on my iPad. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set during the late summer of 1943. The primary characters are Lieutenants Billy Boyle and Piotr ‘Kaz’ Kazimierz.

Just starting on a well deserved leave (this occurs between books three and four of the series), Boyle and Kazimierz receive orders to meet someone in Casablanca. The meeting turns out to be with Joe Kennedy Jr. The Boyle family had a history with the Kennedy’s back in Boston. Now young Jack Kennedy had gotten his PT boat sunk from under him and, while convalescing, had gotten implicated in a murder. Knowing Boyle’s position on Eisenhower’s staff, Ambassador Kennedy pulls strings getting Boyle and Kazimierz temporarily assigned to the murder investigation.

The two fly nearly half way around the world to the Solomon Islands from Morocco. Boyle and Kazimierz begin to dig into the evidence surrounding the murder. Before long they have other bodies on their hands that seem tied to the same killer. The Solomons are near the front lines in the Pacific, so Boyle and Kazimierz must evade dangerous encounters with the Japanese as their investigation progresses.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 10 hours I spent reading this 353 page World War II Mystery. I have read the first ten books in this series and have enjoyed each and every one. I like the plot, mixing mystery with the drama of World War II. I like the way too that Benn mixes well known characters from the period into his novels. I think that the cover art is well chosen. I give this novel a 5 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (


World War II Allied Aircraft Nose Art

World War II – I have seen World War II nose art depicted in film and photos for many years. This YouTube video gives a great overview of what and why nose art became so popular. I had of course seen the pin-up nose art many times, but I was not aware that there was so much nose art connected to Disney cartoon characters.

In fact, it is mentioned in the video above that during the war Disney had five artists dedicated to producing nose art free to the military. It is also pointed out in the video that the average age of those flying and servicing the aircraft was about 22, sometimes they were even younger. Thus they had a very real connection to the Disney cartoon characters.


Review of “Force Multipliers Being What They Are”

Short Stories – The science fiction/military short story “Force Multipliers Being What They Are” was written by Travis S. Taylor ( and is available on the Baen Books website. Mr. Taylor has published 10 novels as well as scientific non-fiction.

I liked this short look at a US Army unit going after terrorists using the latest in technology as “force multipliers”. Unfortunately (at least to me) the story is short, only taking 25 minutes to read. I would have enjoyed reading more in the universe the story is set in. If you like military science fiction you will find this interesting.


Review of “Airborne”


Book ReviewsWWII –  “Airborne” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Robert Radcliffe ( This is the seventh novel published by Mr. Mason(Radcliffe).

I received an ARC of this novel through in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence and Mature Language. The story is set throughout Europe during World war II. The two primary characters are British Army Medical Officer Captain Daniel Garland and Theo Trickey, a young and heavily injured paratrooper.

The story begins with the risky Operation Market Garden, the airborne invasion that the Allies hope will bring a quick end to the war. The attack fails and thousands are killed, wounded or captured. Among the captured are both Garland and Trickey. The story follows these two and jumps back to their experiences prior to the Battle of Arnhem.

I thought this was an interesting 8+ hour read of 285 pages for this World War II era novel. I liked the characters in the story, and the plot was different. Not so much combat experiences, but what went on with the characters before and after Arnhem. The story did jump around a bit and I thought ended rather abruptly. The cover art is reasonable. I give this novel a 3.7 (rounded up to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (


“Close Assault 1944” at Camp Mabry


I was able to visit the Texas Military Forces Museum today on the grounds of Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. I went there to see the World War II re-enactment performed by their “G Company” volunteers. Their “Close Assault 1944” program (lots of good photos in that link) re-enacts a typical engagement between US and German forces during World War II.


For today’s (and yesterday’s) Veterans Day weekend re-enactments, 36 volunteers (see bottom photo above) outfitted as either US or German military participated in the show. Prior to their skirmish, the weapons used by both groups were described and demonstrated.

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The “G Company” website page description:

G Company is the officially recognized living history detachment of the Texas Military Forces and Texas National Guard.  Members of the company are volunteers of the Texas Military Forces Museum located at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas.  The unit supports the museum and the Texas Military Forces by hosting and participating in the annual Muster Day event at Camp Mabry — a celebration and commemoration of all Texas military history which brings together reenacting units, historians and military vehicle collectors from the Texas Revolution through the Vietnam War.  A World War II battle reenactment is always a major part of Muster Day, however, G Company places great emphasis on creating realistic displays to help educate the public about the day to day life and realities for the front line soldier in World War II. In addition to Muster Day, G Company also stages “Close Assault 1944” on Memorial Day weekend and the weekend closest to Veterans Day each year.

If you are interested in military history, you should plan a visit to the museum. If you can, plan on attending one of their re-enactments. I know I will be looking forward to joining them again for Muster Day in April of 2018.


It is Veterans Day Once Again


Today is Veterans Day in the US. November 11 is the day chosen to annually honor our military veterans. The day originated as Armistice Day in 1919 in recognition of the first anniversary of the end of World War I. It became an annual observance in 1926 by resolution of Congress, then a national holiday in 1938. The name of the day was changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day in 1954.


Many have fought and died over the years to defend the US. Make time today to thank those that have made the sacrifice. While Memorial Day (the 4th Monday in May) honors those who died in service of their country, today is a recognition of all who have served.


November has been declared “Veterans and Family Month”. To find out information on activities near you refer to the Veterans and Family Month Calendar 2017.

If you are in the New Orleans, Louisiana area, visit the National World War II Museum there. It does a great job of telling the story of the second World War. If you are in the Central Texas Area, you might want to visit the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin on the grounds of camp Mabry.


Review of “The Rest is Silence”


Book Reviews – “The Rest is Silence” ebook was published in 2014 and was written by James R. Benn ( Mr. Benn has published twelve novels, all in the “Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” series. This is the 9th novel in that series.

I purchased this novel from the Barnes & Noble (Nook) bookstore. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in World War II England, just weeks before the Allied invasion of France. US Army Captain Billy Boyle is the primary character.

An unidentified corpse washes ashore on a beach being used for secret rehearsals of the D-Day invasion. Boyle is sent to find out who the dead man is, more importantly to determine that he was not a German spy observing the secret activities.

Boyle and his friend and associate Lieutenant Piotr “Kaz” Kazimierz stay at the estate of an old friend of Kazimierz which is located near where the body was found. The family they are staying with seem to have their own secrets and intrigues going on.

On top of their investigation hundreds of US military are killed during a German attack white they are practicing for the invasion. “Operation Tiger” (depicted in the story) was a real life disaster for the Allies while preparing for D-Day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the nearly 10 hours I spent reading this 336 page World War II Mystery. I have read all nine of the novels up to this point and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. I like the characters that author Benn has created in Boyle and Kazimierz. I also like how he weaves real history into his stories. The cover art is a good selection. I give this novel a 4.5 (rounded up to a 5) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (