Soldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great War

Soldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great WarSoldiers’ Songs and Slang of the Great War by Martin Pegler
ISBN: 9781472804150
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 20th 2014
Genres: History, Military, General, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, Social History
Pages: 408

Featured Review

Soldiers’ Song and Slang of the Great War is an update and enlargement of a book first published in 1931. The current book includes phrases that were deemed inappropriate in earlier editions. The slang is both mystifying and well known. For example, a “goo wallah” is the sanitary man. Other items such as a “flapper’s delight” for a young officer are self-explanatory even now.

The songs lack any musical notations and only the lyrics are printed. Many use melodies set to well-known tunes—those by Gilbert and Sullivan seem to be popular as are folk melodies from the British countryside. The lyrics are commentaries on life at the front, the memories of home, and patriotic themes. By war’s end parodies are widespread. Songs from America and France are included, even “Adieu la Vie” (Chanson of Craonne) which was banned in France until 1974. The English translation is buried in the appendix, but is worth finding. The song is an indictment by the soldiers in the field of their treatment by the French army and government.

The Home Front in the Great War covers the British home front and the Hull area in detail. There is a chronological section at the beginning that provides an overview of events back in “Blighty,” followed by short essays on the efforts by groups from the Royals to the YMCA to support of the war effort. The report on the Boy Scouts is especially laudatory.

Both books use a good variety of images and are entertaining to read. Unfortunately, neither book has an index, making it almost impossible to use them for reference purposes.

Anne Merritt

Balloon-Busting Aces of World War I

Balloon-Busting Aces of World War IBalloon-Busting Aces of World War I by Jon Guttman, Harry Dempsey
ISBN: 1841768774
Published by Osprey Publishing on July 13th 2005
Genres: Aviation, Military
Pages: 96

Len's Summary: WFA members will recall Jon Guttman's talks at Baltimore seminars. Guttman is an editor at Aviation History and Military History magazines for the Primedia Group.

British Artillery 1914-19: Heavy Artillery

British Artillery 1914-19: Heavy ArtilleryBritish Artillery 1914-19: Heavy Artillery by Dale Clarke
ISBN: 1841767883
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 10th 2005
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Weapons
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: Many of the guns used by American Coast Artillery units on the Western Front were ob British design and manufacture.

Invasion 1914: The Schelieffen Plan to the Battle of the Marne: Before the trenches – the first battles of World War I

Invasion 1914: The Schelieffen Plan to the Battle of the Marne: Before the trenches – the first battles of World War IInvasion 1914: The Schelieffen Plan to the Battle of the Marne: Before the trenches - the first battles of World War I by Ian Senior
ISBN: 9781472803351
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 20th 2014
Genres: Germany, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, Military
Pages: 456

Len's Summary: A narrative history. Both Holger Herwig band Michael Neiberg have written better analyses of the First Marne battle.

Armies of the Russo-Polish War 1919-21

Armies of the Russo-Polish War 1919-21Armies of the Russo-Polish War 1919-21 by Nigel Thomas
ISBN: 1472801067
Published by Osprey Publishing on November 18th 2014
Genres: Design, Illustration, Military, Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: One of the many smaller wars that erupted in the wake of the 1918 Armistice.

Gallipoli: Command Under Fire

Gallipoli: Command Under FireGallipoli: Command Under Fire ISBN: 9781472806697
Published by Osprey Publishing on March 1st 2015
Genres: Australia & New Zealand, Military, Turkey & Ottoman Empire
Pages: 288

Len's Summary: Another look at the ever-fascinating Gallipoli campaign from a Turkish-language specialist and professor at the US Marine Corps University.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Mustafa Kemal AtatürkMustafa Kemal Atatürk by Edward Erickson
ISBN: 9781780965901
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 20th 2013
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, Military, Turkey & Ottoman Empire
Pages: 64

Len's Summary: Ataturk led the Ottomans to victory at Gallipoli and forged the Turkish Republic from the ashes of WWI.

The Russian Civil War, 1918-22

The Russian Civil War, 1918-22The Russian Civil War, 1918-22 by David Bullock
ISBN: 1846032717
Published by Osprey Publishing on November 18th 2008
Genres: History, Europe, Russia & the Former Soviet Union, Military, General, Other, Revolutionary
Pages: 144

Len's Summary: A new short narrative history.

Sopwith Camel vs Fokker Dr I: Western Front 1917-18

Sopwith Camel vs Fokker Dr I: Western Front 1917-18Sopwith Camel vs Fokker Dr I: Western Front 1917-18 by Jon Guttman
ISBN: 9781846032936
Published by Osprey Publishing on March 18th 2008
Genres: History, Military, Aviation, World War I
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: A comparison of these famous WWI pursuit aircraft by a premier American aviation historian.

Brushes and Bayonets: Cartoons, Sketches and Paintings of World War I

Brushes and Bayonets: Cartoons, Sketches and Paintings of World War IBrushes and Bayonets: Cartoons, Sketches and Paintings of World War I by Lucinda Gosling
ISBN: 9781846030956
Published by Osprey Publishing on April 22nd 2008
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Art, General, Comic Strips & Cartoons
Pages: 200

Len's Summary: Collection of 250 WWI illustrations taken from the archives of the London Daily News.

The Czech Legion, 1914-20

The Czech Legion, 1914-20The Czech Legion 1914-20 by David Bullock
ISBN: 9781846032363
Published by Osprey Publishing on November 17th 2009
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, Eastern
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: Czechs fought on the Western, Eastern and Italian fronts, as well as along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

French Tanks of World War I

French Tanks of World War IFrench Tanks of World War I by Steven J. Zaloga, Tony Bryan
ISBN: 1846035139
Published by Osprey Publishing on December 21st 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, France, Weapons, Illustrated
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: The emergence of the first modern tank, the Renault FT of 1917.

The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French ‘miracle’ halts the Germans

The First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French ‘miracle’ halts the GermansThe First Battle of the Marne 1914: The French 'miracle' halts the Germans by Ian Sumner, Graham Turner
ISBN: 9781846035029
Published by Osprey Publishing on May 25th 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, France, Germany, Illustrated
Pages: 96

Len's Summary: A brief, illustrated history of the battle.

Messines 1917: The zenith of siege warfare

Messines 1917: The zenith of siege warfareMessines 1917: The zenith of siege warfare by Alexander Turner, Peter Dennis
ISBN: 9781846038457
Published by Osprey Publishing on August 24th 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I
Pages: 96

Len's Summary: A short history of a key 1917 battle on the Western Front.

British Dreadnought vs German Dreadnought: Jutland 1916

British Dreadnought vs German Dreadnought: Jutland 1916British Dreadnought vs German Dreadnought: Jutland 1916 by Mark Stille, Ian Palmer, Howard Gerrard
ISBN: 1849081670
Published by Osprey Publishing on October 19th 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Naval, Illustrated, Germany
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: Contrasts the differing crew training and weapons systems of the two fleets and details the action at Jutland shot by shot.

The Blocking of Zeebrugge: Operation Z-O 1918

The Blocking of Zeebrugge: Operation Z-O 1918The Blocking of Zeebrugge: Operation Z-O 1918 by Stephen Prince
ISBN: 9781846034534
Published by Osprey Publishing on May 25th 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Naval
Pages: 64

Len's Summary: The daring raid designed to close the German-controlled ports of Zeebrugge and end submarine attacks in the Dover Straights.

Ottoman Infantryman 1914-18

Ottoman Infantryman 1914-18Ottoman Infantryman 1914-18 by David Nicolle
ISBN: 9781846035067
Published by Osprey Publishing on February 23rd 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Middle East, Turkey & Ottoman Empire
Pages: 64

Len's Summary: Uniforms, equipment, training and combat experience of the tough Anatolian foot soldier.

London 1917-18: The Bomber Blitz

London 1917-18: The Bomber BlitzLondon 1917-18: The Bomber Blitz by Ian Castle
ISBN: 9781846036828
Published by Osprey Publishing on October 19th 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Aviation
Pages: 96

Len's Summary: The story of Gotha and Staaken raids against London, the first blitz that prepared the RAF for the German onslaught of 1940.

Trench: A History of Trench Warfare on the Western Front

Trench: A History of Trench Warfare on the Western FrontTrench: A History of Trench Warfare on the Western Front by Stephen Bull
ISBN: 9781472801326
Published by Osprey Publishing on May 1st 2014
Genres: History, Military, World War I, General, Pictorial, Illustrated
Pages: 272

Len's Summary: A profusely illustrated primer on trench warfare.

Royal Naval Air Service Pilot, 1914-1918

Royal Naval Air Service Pilot, 1914-1918Royal Naval Air Service Pilot, 1914-1918 by Mark Barber, Adam Hook
ISBN: 9781846039492
Published by Osprey Publishing on November 23rd 2010
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Aviation, Illustrated
Pages: 64

Len's Summary: Operations of the RNAS in against zeppelins over England, in Flanders and over Gallipoli.

Home Before the Leaves Fall: A New History of the German Invasion of 1914

Home Before the Leaves Fall: A New History of the German Invasion of 1914Home Before the Leaves Fall: A New History of the German Invasion of 1914 by Ian Senior
ISBN: 9781849088435
Published by Osprey Publishing on July 24th 2012
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, France, Germany
Pages: 392

Len's Summary: Germany’s near victory in World War One reexamined in detail. A History Book Club selection.

The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car

The Rolls-Royce Armoured CarThe Rolls-Royce Armoured Car by David Fletcher
ISBN: 9781849085809
Published by Osprey Publishing on April 17th 2012
Genres: History, Military, Weapons
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: First used by a squadron of the Royal Navy Air Service in Flanders in 1914, these cars were eventually deployed to Africa, the Middle East and Russia. The author is historian at the Royal Tank Museum, Bovington.

The Vickers-Maxim Machine Gun

The Vickers-Maxim Machine GunThe Vickers-Maxim Machine Gun by Martin Pegler
ISBN: 9781780963822
Published by Osprey Publishing on May 20th 2013
Genres: History, Military, Weapons, World War I, World War II
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: One of a number of brief studies in the Osprey Weapons Series looks at the standard British heavy machine gun of WWI & II.

The First World War: The War to End All Wars

The First World War: The War to End All WarsThe First World War: The War to End All Wars by Geoffrey Jukes
ISBN: 9781782002802
Published by Osprey Publishing on June 18th 2013
Genres: History, Military, General, World War I, Pictorial
Pages: 364

Len's Summary: A narrative survey history of the conflict summarizing action on all fronts including Italy and Palestine.

Browning .30 Caliber Machine Guns

Browning .30 Caliber Machine GunsBrowning .30 Caliber Machine Guns by Gordon L. Rottman
ISBN: 9781780969213
Published by Osprey Publishing on February 20th 2014
Genres: Technology & Engineering, Military Science, History, Military, United States, World War II, General, Weapons, Antiques & Collectibles
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: The water-cooled Browning .30 caliber came into service in 1917 and remained in service for 50 years.

2CM “Big Bertha” and German Siege Artillery of World War I

2CM “Big Bertha” and German Siege Artillery of World War I2CM “Big Bertha” and German Siege Artillery of World War I by Marc Romanych
ISBN: 9781780960173
Published by Osprey Publishing on January 20th 2014
Genres: History, General, Europe, Germany, Military, Weapons, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, World War I
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: Describes all German siege artillery from 28 to 42 centimeters and its role in WWI, particularly the destruction of the Liege and Namur forts in 1914.

Nieuport 11/16 Bébé vs Fokker Eindecker

Nieuport 11/16 Bébé vs Fokker EindeckerNieuport 11/16 Bébé vs Fokker Eindecker by Jon Guttman
ISBN: 9781782003533
Published by Osprey Publishing on April 20th 2014
Genres: History, General, Military, World War I, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, Aviation
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: The design, development, statistics and combat records of two iconic pursuit aircraft.

Q Ship vs U-boat

Q Ship vs U-boatQ Ship vs U-boat by David Greentree
ISBN: 9781782002840
Published by Osprey Publishing on February 20th 2014
Genres: History, General, Military, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, Naval, World War I, Biography & Autobiography
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: Q ships came in all sizes in merchant freighter and fishing types. All were well armed designed to lure and sink surfaced U-boats.

The Lewis Gun

The Lewis GunThe Lewis Gun by Neil Grant
ISBN: 9781782007913
Published by Osprey Publishing on March 20th 2014
Genres: Technology & Engineering, Military Science, History, Military, World War I, World War II, General, Weapons, Antiques & Collectibles
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: Invented by an American and adopted by the British, the Lewis was the best light machine gun of WWI.

The Challenge of Battle: The Real Story of the British Army in 1914

The Challenge of Battle: The Real Story of the British Army in 1914The Challenge of Battle: The Real Story of the British Army in 1914 by Adrian Gilbert
ISBN: 9781849088596
Published by Osprey Publishing on February 20th 2014
Genres: Great Britain, Military, Strategy, Technology & Engineering
Pages: 312

Len's Summary: Assesses the performance of the “Old Contemptables” in the opening battles.

Featured Review

Author Adrian Gilbert’s introduction notes that: “British histories of the 1914 campaign typically adopt the emotionally comforting paradigm of the plucky Briton giving the overbearing foreign bully a bloody nose.” Gilbert goes on to state “…my intention is to look afresh at the British Army during 1914….My aim is not by any means to belittle the army’s many achievements but to provide a more realistic assessment of the army set within a general narrative of the war in 1914.”

Gilbert’s book succeeds admirably, and not as a revisionist work but rather as a corrective supplement to the controversial Official History of the First World War multi-volume series published between 1922 and 1948. Although the 1914 volumes of the Official History were not subject to as much debate as later books in the series, Gilbert still found “significant instances of evasion and omission, and, on occasion, outright distortion” in the 1914 volumes of the Official History.

For example, Gilbert’s research contradicts the official version of the battle of Le Cateau (26 August) as a successful delaying action fought against great odds. The author explains that such misrepresentations are important because the Official History was “so influential in defining the outlook of subsequent histories of the war.” As an example, Gilbert quotes historian John Terraine who described Le Cateau as “one of the most remarkable British feats of arms of the whole war.” Challenge of Battle devotes five detailed chapters to the preliminary maneuvers and decisions to fight at Le Cateau, the battle itself, “Failures of Command,” and the continuing retreat of the BEF. Gilbert’s book clearly proves that Le Cateau was a British tactical defeat, but it remains to be seen whether his new work can overcome well-established myths.

Dana Lombardy, Publisher WWOI

Medium Mark A Whippet

Medium Mark A WhippetMedium Mark A Whippet by David Fletcher
ISBN: 9781782003984
Published by Osprey Publishing on May 20th 2014
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Weapons
Pages: 48

Len's Summary: Details on the relatively fast British tank that entered service in 1918 by the curator of the Bovington Tank Museum in the UK.

Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914

Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914Collision of Empires: The War on the Eastern Front in 1914 by Prit Buttar
ISBN: 9781782006480
Published by Osprey Publishing on June 20th 2014
Genres: History, General, Europe, Eastern, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, Military, World War I
Pages: 488

Len's Summary: A survey history of early Eastern Front battles, one of a growing list of new studies of there neglected campaigns.

British Infantryman vs. German Infantryman Somme, 1916

British Infantryman vs. German Infantryman Somme, 1916British Infantryman vs German Infantryman by Stephen Bull
ISBN: 9781782009146
Published by Osprey Publishing on January 20th 2014
Genres: History, General, Military, Other, Technology & Engineering, Military Science, World War I, Strategy, Biography & Autobiography
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: A study of British and German tactics.

DH2 vs Albatross DI-DII Western Front 1916

DH2 vs Albatross DI-DII Western Front 1916Dh 2 Vs Albatros D I/D II by James Miller
ISBN: 9781849087049
Published by Osprey Publishing on 2012
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Europe, Great Britain, Aviation
Pages: 80

Len's Summary: Technical details of two successful German pursuit aircraft. Like all Osprey books, this one is profusely illustrated in color and black and white.

Russian Aces of World War I

Russian Aces of World War IRussian Aces of World War 1 by Victor Kulikov
ISBN: 9781780960593
Published by Osprey Publishing on 2013
Genres: History, Military, World War I, Aviation, Europe, Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Pages: 96

Len's Summary: Thirteen Russian aces flew a variety of pursuit types including SPADs and Nieuports.