Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book Review: Bataan and Beyond by John S. Coleman Jr.

One of the under-reported areas of WW2 is the defense of the Philippines in 1940. Records were lost, and those that survived combat had to survive imprisonment. While this is an older book, I just ran across it and thought it worth a mention.

The Author was an Infantry Officer sent to the Philippines just before the war. What's really unusual is that he was not assigned to an Infantry unit, but to the Air Corps' 27th Materiel Squadron. That's right, an Air Corps supply unit. There he was made adjutant, but his real job was to train the men of the unit how to fight as grounds troops. This says something about the Armies thinking about how long the US Air Corps would last once Japan entered the picture.

Japan invades, Cole and his men make their way to the Bataan area, and defend with what few weapons and ammo they have, and what little food they have left. Which is pretty much nothing. You can't help but wonder how long they might heave held out had there only been stores of food and ammo in place. That's roughly the first half of the book. Of course he makes the Death March, is a prisoner there for a while then volunteers to go to Japan under the thinking that they might be better treated on the Japanese homeland. Funny thing- they are. Not great, but still better.

Still the 27th was an interesting unit, and it's too bad they are basically forgotten. And you can find it here under WW2 PTO Books

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: World War I Victory Medals

World War I Victory Medals, by James P. Michels

Large Format, 282 Pages, full color, softcover. This is a great book. It covers pretty much anything you can think about in terms of the U.S. WW1 victory medal: how it was conceived, developed, issued and worn. It has examples of all the paperwork and boxes used. It also goes into all the various clasps that go on the medal and explains what was worn and why, and corrects some misconceptions of them (not just the Army ones, but the Navy clasps as well). The second half of the book goes into examining all the world's victory medals (not just the US, but all of them like Cuba and Japan), and breaking them down by the various known and identifiable differences. Some of these differences are pretty small, but if you collect them they become important. Sadly, it shows some of the fakes that have been and are being made.

Do not let the price fool you. Had this book been published by one of the military collector book publishers it would probably cost twice as much. It is, however, a print on demand book so it has its own benefits. Good because it keeps the cost down and in theory it should be able to be printed in Europe as needed and save expensive shipping. Plus, if some new fact or discovery comes along it could be added to the book instead of selling out the current stock for a new printing.  Not as good because it is not the glorious color on coated paper you normally see in fancy books. For me, and am pretty particular, I think the color is pretty good and have no problem with it.  The only change I would suggest is to maybe make some of the photos of very small details (such as mintmarks) larger. And that is being very picky.  

If you collect WW1 victory medals, or just WW1 medals you probably already have this book (if not you'd better). If you collect US WW1 items I highly recommend it.

World War I - Victory Medals


Saturday, August 09, 2014

The flood

Last night I had a not-fun episode. The upstairs bathroom flooded. Now it just happens to be right over the room I work in, and right over where I sit at my computer.  Right where I have piles of books, photos, documents and all the many things I keep handy for the many projects I am working on.

Yeah, I heard the little pitter-patter of raindrops hitting paper from there, and was... a little upset. Especially as I had just gotten a set of really great WW2 photos showing a lot of cool small details. They came sealed in a zip lock bag (thank you Niles). But the bag opening had been taped over and was impossible to open properly so I ended up just tearing it open.

After looking at them, and being really happy, I 'almost' put them back in the bag, but as it was now torn I figured I'd just wait until I had something more permanent for them. Sigh.

Of course I was very lucky and it looks only a few are slightly wrinkled. So that's good.

But the other thing is that a number of items I had were in plastic boxes, so they had no problems. And some of the paper was in plastic sleeves, again, not problem and they protected things underneath them.

Which makes me happy that over the years I have been buying plastic bins and boxes of all size to store things in. They may not be much protection in a real flood, but they go a hell of a long way to protecting them against all the minor episodes in life.

Oh yeah..

Jerry has been cranking out a ton of new items over at What Price Glory...