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  #91  
Old 12-07-2015, 08:41 PM
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Default Some F-14 novels

I could have mentioned these a while ago, was just reminded of them recently.

Punk's War, Punk's fight, Punk's wing, all by Ward Carroll
Ghostrider One by Gerry Carroll

Not exactly T2k-ish, but of the era. All are about Tomcat crews, shooting off carriers and doing "that pilot stuff!"
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  #92  
Old 12-23-2015, 11:34 AM
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Default For whom the bell tolls / Hemingway, Ernest

Not a post-ww3 setting, but pre-ww2, still nearly apocalyptic. I never read this one before, I had a bad experience with a Hemingway short story, probably in high school. I still don't like his writing style, but 2/3 through the book and I can tolerate it.

The T2k-related stuff: the book's central figure is a demolition specialist, sent behind fascist lines to blow a bridge in support of a conventional infantry attack. He links up with two partisan bands, and there is our story. This reads like a textbook of guerrilla personalities and how one might ally with and lead them. If he were an SF leader or a 5th Division straggler come to town, the NPC here are just what a GM could wish for. There's a power struggle within one group, a need to convince the guerrillas to stick out their necks on a dangerous confrontation, ambush tactics, ragged mix of weaponry, enemies with technical and numerical superiority, weather and timing all to consider. Bonus: a romantic interest for the protagonist, with whom to dream of life away from the fighting.

I suspect I heard somewhere that this book is, or should be, on several military/professional "to read" lists.

Downside: as I said, Hemingway's way of writing bothers me, some reviewers say it's because he is modelling Spanish styles of speaking/writing. Some might have trouble getting past that the protagonist is an ally of the Communists (he seems to be a Socialist, not an actual Communist). It's also pretty long-- I am listening to it on CDs in my car, and there are 16 CDs in the box.
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  #93  
Old 12-23-2015, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
Not a post-ww3 setting, but pre-ww2, still nearly apocalyptic. I never read this one before, I had a bad experience with a Hemingway short story, probably in high school. I still don't like his writing style, but 2/3 through the book and I can tolerate it.

Downside: as I said, Hemingway's way of writing bothers me, some reviewers say it's because he is modelling Spanish styles of speaking/writing. Some might have trouble getting past that the protagonist is an ally of the Communists (he seems to be a Socialist, not an actual Communist). It's also pretty long-- I am listening to it on CDs in my car, and there are 16 CDs in the box.
Admiral -

Don't let the politics get in the way of your enjoyment.

Do recall that pre-WW2, the communists were considered the lesser of two evils compared to Fascism, then in control of Germany and Italy, and seeking to control Spain (and, at the time, gaining influence in several nations of Central Europe, but that isn't part of Spain's story). In Spain, in several quarters, the Russians were considered heroes for being willing to provide equipment and some volunteers, when the western democracies did nothing to counter German and Italian aid and troops in Spain.

Hemingway was in Spain as a correspondent; he saw and heard some of this first hand.

If you liked For Whom the Bell Tolls (or at least this period), stop by your local library and look for novels by Alan Furst.

Alan Furst writes about spies and intelligence operatives or people who become resistance in early WW2 or the dark period leading up to WW2. To me, his books have the dark feeling of a film noir.

Spies of Warsaw or The Polish Officer are a good starting choices. Spies of Warsaw follows a French military attache as he spies on Germany in 1938 (the BBC did this as a miniseries if you'd rather watch it); The Polish Officer is about a Polish Officer who goes underground and becomes a resistance fighter starting in 1939.

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  #94  
Old 12-23-2015, 09:34 PM
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Hemingway was in Spain as a correspondent; he saw and heard some of this first hand.
Hemmingway also served as an ambulance driver in Italy at the end of WWI where he was badly wounded by mortar fire and decorated for gallantry. He knew war.
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  #95  
Old 12-24-2015, 10:04 AM
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[QUOTE=Adm.Lee;68937]Not a post-ww3 setting, but pre-ww2, still nearly apocalyptic. I never read this one before, I had a bad experience with a Hemingway short story, probably in high school. I still don't like his writing style, but 2/3 through the book and I can tolerate it.

The T2k-related stuff: the book's central figure is a demolition specialist, sent behind fascist lines to blow a bridge in support of a conventional infantry attack. He links up with two partisan bands, and there is our story. This reads like a textbook of guerrilla personalities and how one might ally with and lead them. If he were an SF leader or a 5th Division straggler come to town, the NPC here are just what a GM could wish for. There's a power struggle within one group, a need to convince the guerrillas to stick out their necks on a dangerous confrontation, ambush tactics, ragged mix of weaponry, enemies with technical and numerical superiority, weather and timing all to consider. Bonus: a romantic interest for the protagonist, with whom to dream of life away from the fighting.

I suspect I heard somewhere that this book is, or should be, on several military/professional "to read" lists.

Downside: as I said, Hemingway's way of writing bothers me, some reviewers say it's because he is modelling Spanish styles of speaking/writing. Some might have trouble getting past that the protagonist is an ally of the Communists (he seems to be a Socialist, not an actual Communist). It's also pretty long-- I am listening to it on CDs in my car, and there are 16 CDs in the box.[/QUOTE
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  #96  
Old 12-24-2015, 11:26 AM
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Hemmingway also served as an ambulance driver in Italy at the end of WWII where he was badly wounded by mortar fire and decorated for gallantry. He knew war.
It was WWI not WWII, during WWII he was a war corespondent, and was almost convicted for breaching the Geneva Convention as he was caught leading company of French resistance, which I am guessing is a no no was he was classified non combatant
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  #97  
Old 12-24-2015, 01:51 PM
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It was WWI not WWII, during WWII he was a war corespondent, and was almost convicted for breaching the Geneva Convention as he was caught leading company of French resistance, which I am guessing is a no no was he was classified non combatant
It wasn't WWI or II, but the Spanish Civil War, IIRC.
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  #98  
Old 12-24-2015, 03:25 PM
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It wasn't WWI or II, but the Spanish Civil War, IIRC.
No it wasn't

Hemingway was an ambalance driver in World War I in Italy, he then went on covered the war in Spain. He then wrote for whom the bells tolls and then went on to cover World War II. And got into trouble

There is a movie about his World War I experience, 1996, In Love and War, starting Chris O'Donnell
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  #99  
Old 12-24-2015, 05:19 PM
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Default Hemingway

http://www.biography.com/people/erne...life-in-europe
Quote:
Military Experience

In 1918, Hemingway went overseas to serve in World War I as an ambulance driver in the Italian Army. For his service, he was awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery, but soon sustained injuries that landed him in a hospital in Milan.
Quote:
When the United States entered World War II in 1941, Hemingway served as a correspondent and was present at several of the war's key moments, including the D-Day landing.
That should put an end to that I think.
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  #100  
Old 12-25-2015, 06:05 AM
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It was WWI not WWII, during WWII he was a war corespondent, and was almost convicted for breaching the Geneva Convention as he was caught leading company of French resistance, which I am guessing is a no no was he was classified non combatant
Yes, WWI. WWII was a bloody typo. Sorry.
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  #101  
Old 12-25-2015, 10:45 PM
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Unkated--no, Robert Jordan's politics aren't really a turn-off for me, but I thought I'd warn other readers here.

I have read at least two Furst novels-- Spies of the Balkans and Spies of Warsaw.

I've let the novel lie for a few days over the holiday weekend, so I don't know if he makes it to the bridge, or gets to a semblance of happily ever after with Maria or not. I suspect neither of the above, but am willing to wait until Monday or so to find out.
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  #102  
Old 12-27-2015, 02:16 PM
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Since most relevant Books were mentioned, Comics came to my mind:

"Vic and Blood" by Richard Corben
based on Harlan Ellisons "a boy and his dog"/the movie with young Don Johnson (only good one from him, as much as i remember)

& "Mutantworld/Son of Mutantworld"
by Corben as well

"Jeremiah"-Series by Herman
NOT the later TV-Series with had nothing to do with it, except for the title and some names

Some comic-short-storys from "Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant"-Magazine, especially one called "Good bye, soldier" (in which a patrol of NBC-wearing NATO-soldiers walk through a ruined city (Berlin? Paris ?), and get into a situation with an "automatic
sniper"..)

"Hombre"-Series by Segura/Ortiz
Another "spagetti-western" approach to the apocalypse.

Most of these are pretty old...
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  #103  
Old 12-27-2015, 04:49 PM
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Some comic-short-storys from "Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant"-Magazine, especially one called "Good bye, soldier" (in which a patrol of NBC-wearing NATO-soldiers walk through a ruined city (Berlin? Paris ?), and get into a situation with an "automatic sniper"..)
That reminds me of a one shot story I read when I was a kid in a British sci fi comic called 2000AD. The opening premise (iirc - it was a long time ago) was very similar but the story established that the patrol were actually the last survivors of a global war - everyone else on the planet was dead. They come under fire from a sniper who picks them off one by one (one of them tries to reason with the sniper by calling out that they (including the sniper) are the last survivors and it's pointless to carry on fighting. That doesn't work). The last one is mortally wounded but makes it to the sniper's position where he discovers that the sniper is long dead but his weapon is in an automatic mode and is still fully functioning. The last frame was the of the mortally wounded soldier looking at the sniper's skeleton and realizing that humanity was doomed.

As I'm on the subject of 2000AD it also featured Invasion, which has been discussed here before, and Rogue Trooper, which I don't think has.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion!_%282000_AD%29

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_Trooper
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  #104  
Old 12-28-2015, 03:46 PM
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@RainbowSix:
2000AD sounds interesting, gonna hunt it down. Thanks for the hints. Usefull!
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  #105  
Old 01-19-2017, 06:59 PM
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Default World War 1990 series

Anyone know anything about these?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...om_search=true

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...world-war-1990 "The Third World War Continues

In Europe, NATO assembles an army for the liberation of Eastern Europe...
In the Pacific, the US Navy takes the war to the Soviet Far East...

In Britain, the SAS plots a daring rescue of Polish dissident Lech Walesa...

In Moscow, the doves, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, try to derail the Hawk's plan for nuclear war."

Sounds like it's something somewhat up our alley. Too bad (for me) they only appear to be in ebook format.
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  #106  
Old 01-19-2017, 10:28 PM
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Some of Greg Rucka's graphic novel work may be of interest, in particular Whiteout and Queen & Country. The former follows a Deputy Marshal assigned to investigate a murder in Antarctica, while the latter is about a member of the Special Operations Section of SIS. Each story arc is 3-5 issues and covers a single operation. A movie of Q&C has been in development hell for about five years now.
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  #107  
Old 01-20-2017, 11:23 AM
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Some oldies but goodies...

Black May, the Epic Story of the Allied Defeat of the German U-Boats in May, 1943. By Michael Gannon. A decent, in-depth look at the Battle of the Atlantic during the key convoy battles, excellent research into the development of ASW and the code breaking efforts. Five Stars!

Gallipoli, 1915, by Tim Travers. Excellent overview of the campaign.

First Blood, the Battle of the Kasserine Pass 1943, by Charles Whiting. Good overview of the fight, although more of a coffee table read.

A Time for Trumpets, the Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge, by Charles MacDonald. Perhaps the most in-depth study of this campaign as well as one long read! Worth the time to read, but set aside several weekends.

The Battle of the Huertgen Forest, by Charles MacDonald. One of the better studies of this "forgotten campaign". A tad dated but excellent coverage.
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  #108  
Old 01-20-2017, 06:22 PM
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Try Last of the Dog Team by William Johnstone.

All sex and violence set in the 60 and 70s Viet Nam and Africa. A fictional SOF operators and mercenaries tale.
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  #109  
Old 06-10-2017, 11:28 AM
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Default Masters of the fist / Hughes, Edward P.

Can't believe I hadn't brought this one up, I read it a long time ago. Like, when I was still running T2k and the USSR was a real thing. I read at least one of the stories in Pournelle's mil-sci-fi "There will be war" anthologies, and then this volume came out in 1989.

It's a collection of short stories in the Irish village of Barley Cross. Some catastrophe has happened-- left largely undefined-- and all the men in the world are no longer fertile. Except one, it seems, and he's a British Army sergeant who's deserted with his Chieftain. He rumbles into the village and the village council sets him up as Military Advisor, moves him into an old castle, and then they find out his, er, "superpower".

How far will they go to try to re-start the human species?

For T2k: Hardly a battle scene to be had, it's a lot more about what decisions people make under TEOTAWKI situations. There's no outside government or other institutions, marauders dispute the roads. It could easily be a solitaire game of T2k, just far from the nukes.

I think this and John Ringo's Kildar series are about half of why I'd like to run a "settling down" game in T2k someday.
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  #110  
Old 06-10-2017, 03:38 PM
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What, no love for Richard Austin's The Guardians series? True, they're no literary greats, but they are basically a novelized T2K campaign. They can be mined for campaign ideas as the premise is a four person team works to rebuild the US after a nuke exchange.
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  #111  
Old 06-11-2017, 09:20 AM
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double post.

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  #112  
Old 06-14-2017, 10:41 PM
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One author I've been enjoying recently is Myke Cole, who has written five novels (with the proofs of the sixth having just been finished) - Control Point, Fortress Frontier, Breach Zone, Gemini Cell, and Javelin Rain are published, with Siege Line soon to come out. They're set in a near-contemporary world where magic has been discovered. Many of the talented serve in the military, while those with talents the US government considers forbidden are covertly assigned to a PMC for special missions on another world. The first novel won the Compton Crook award as the best first English-language SF/F/H novel of the year. The books are a pair of trilogies, with the second trilogy being a prequel to the first trilogy. Cole himself did three tours in Iraq (two as a contractor and one as a DoD civilian) and is a Lieutenant in the USCGR while also working for the NYPD and is one of the cyber analysts on the TV show Hunted.
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  #113  
Old 06-18-2017, 08:03 AM
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One author I've been enjoying recently is Myke Cole, who has written five novels (with the proofs of the sixth having just been finished) - Control Point, Fortress Frontier, Breach Zone, Gemini Cell, and Javelin Rain are published, with Siege Line soon to come out.
I bought Control Point and got about half way through the novel before I just couldn't continue reading it. That's rare for me. Usually even if a novel really doesn't do it for me I'll read it through to the end.
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  #114  
Old 03-17-2020, 06:22 PM
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I just finished, Our War: A Novel, by Craig DiLouie, about a modern-day American civil war (published 2019).

It probably wouldn't help much with classic v1-2.2 timelines, coming from the pre-internet era when the U.S.A. wasn't nearly as polarized politically, but it could be pretty inspirational for a CONUS-based campaign set in a more up-to-date or near future timeline.

In the book, the president (named Marsh) is impeached and refuses to step down. He's supported by numerous right-leaning militias, and opposed by various "Lib" militias. Both sides consider the other "rebels". The military is attempting to stay neutral. The novel is set in a besieged Indianapolis, a blue city in a red state. The main characters are a pair of siblings, separated and fighting on opposite sides of the conflict, a Canadian UNICEF worker, and an ad-hoc team of journalists (a left-leaning local, a Brit with the Guardian, and a freelance French photographer).

In many ways, it reminds me of the Bosnia conflict transposed to the United States. It's quite believable in some regards, but the author's grip of military tactics is pretty weak, and some of the militia compositions strike me as a bit fanciful, to say the least (The Last Angels are presented as take-no-prisoners American [Christian] Taliban, the Free Women are an all-female militia, the Indie 300 are all-black, the Rainbow Warriors, all gay). The writing's not bad, if occasionally pedestrian.

The author is more sympathetic to the Liberal coalition, but the right-leaning "bad guys" are not too cartoonishly evil (with one notable exception).

Anyhow, it got me thinking about the plausibility of a second American Civil War, and inspired me to start reading a book about a more modern civil war, Anthony Beevor's, The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (non-fiction).

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Old 10-24-2020, 12:23 PM
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Default Reflections on Red Storm Rising

I'm sure that most of you have read Tom Clancy's "novel of WWIII", Red Storm Rising by now. If not, it's worth your time.

I first read it at age 15. I last read it about 10 years ago. On a whim, I picked it up again a couple of weeks ago for another read-through.

The follow "review" contains SPOILERS:

Likes:

The set-pieces are really good, especially the Soviet capture of Iceland. I know that the book was inspired by Clancy and Larry Bond playing wargames (using the Harpoon system). I wonder how much of the set-piece battles was modelled on the Harpoon campaign and how much was the product of pure invention.

I appreciated the build-up to the war a lot more as an adult (I skipped those parts as a teenager). It seemed pretty plausible and was generally well-written.

The Soviet antagonists aren't too cartoonish. Some of them are downright sympathetic.

I thought that the submarine fight scenes were very well done. The surface ASW bits were pretty good too.

Dislikes:

The one set-piece that didn't quite work for me was the "Frisbees in Dreamland" episode. I liked the idea of targeting the Soviet Mainstay AWACS using stealth aircraft. IIRC, the F-19 used Sparrows for the kill, but I wonder if HARM or ALAARM would work against aerial targets. The latter would require no radar guidance, so they wouldn't trigger radar/threat warning receivers. Anyway, the part that I didn't like was that on the same mission, the titular F-19 was also tasked with lasing a bridge for a LGB strike. I found that super unrealistic. No one in their right mind would task the same aircraft with two vital missions. If the F-19 got shot down or damaged attempting the first mission, it couldn't perform the second. Silly, IMHO.

I can't fault him for this, but Clancy also got the stealth fighter way wrong. He calls it an attack fighter, but gives it air-to-air capability and afterburners. He also describes it with fixed external weapons pylons instead of an internal weapons bay. The former is not nearly as stealthy. Also, it's a two-seater (that's forgivable).

IMHO, Clancy really overestimated the ability of NATO aircraft to operate behind enemy lines. He gives NATO air superiority over the front on day one of the war, completely ignoring the sheer numerical superiority of the Red Airforce. More egregiously, IMHO, Clancy seemed to think that Soviet SAMs and AAA wouldn't be a significant problem for NATO strike aircraft. No Soviet fuel depot, bridge, artillery battery, tank farm, or HQ is safe from airstrikes during the war. NATO is never in danger of running out of combat aircraft.

Conversely, in Clancy's telling, NATO SAMs are super effective. Soviet tactical airpower and strike capabilities and effectiveness are sharply curtailed as a result. IRL, the Soviets had many more SAMs than NATO and, qualitatively, many of them were on par, if not better than their Western counterparts.

A Belgian brigade counterattacks and stops two Soviet Category A TDs during the attempted breakthrough at Alfeld. No offense to any Belgians out there, but just look at the respective TOEs, c.1986. I mean, it's possible, but highly unlikely.

"Three men in a jeep" (with a TOW) is, IMHO, totally OP in the book. Apparently NATO's soft-skinned mobile AT teams are immune to Soviet artillery. More on that below.

Early on in the book, Clancy mentions the Soviets' comparative superiority in artillery, but then pretty much dismisses it once the war starts. NATO artillery always gets the better of the Red Army guns and rockets. Any time Soviet artillery is mentioned after the build up, it's getting destroyed by airstrikes or counterbattery fire (and in one friendly fire incident, drops a vital bridge that the Soviets are trying to capture). I guess the only way Clancy and Bond could rationalize a NATO land victory was by nerfing Soviet artillery (and omitting the rest of the WTO- see below).

I may have missed it, but no WTO units are mentioned as participating in the war. It's the USSR v. NATO. The East Germans are mentioned objecting to planned Soviet use of chemical weapons on German soil but that's it. Warsaw Pact units are conspicuously absent on the ground and in the air. I guess the Kremlin gave them all the war off?

Again, Western intel on new (at the time) Soviet aircraft was incomplete, but the SU-27 would have been a better choice than the MiG-29 for the defense of the captured Icelandic airbases, due to the former's superior range and radar. He also apparently didn't know about both aircraft's infrared search and track systems, which would have given them an edge in engagements where "radar-silence" was being observed (these feature prominently in the book).

The romance subplot set in Iceland is cringe-worthy in several respects. The Air Force weatherman protagonist's killing of the Soviet rapists with a knife just struck me as uber-macho fantasizing. According to the very well-respected, On Killing, using a knife to kill is much more difficult psychologically (given the almost intimate proximity of killer to victim), yet the protagonists execute three Soviet prisoners with knives instead of their rifles or pistols. And shots had already been fired, so it wasn't even a stealth requirement. Rambo much?

How does the hovering Hind crew not notice the protagonist's camo clothing when he's spotted fishing. A clumsy boob-grab is enough to fool them? Silly.

And do I even need to mention the sex with a pregnant rape victim? Cringe! Men-writing-women at its worst.

Also, there's only one female combatant in the entire book. And one Asian-American. And it's the same character!

Nitpick: the names are so 1980s and vanilla: Smith, John, Mike, Ed, Garcia. Seems like very little thought or effort went into that aspect of CharGen.

Some of the dialogue is particularly stilted and unnatural. A lot of it is pretty good, though.

---

Yeah, so my dislikes list is a lot longer than my likes, but overall, it's a good read. It makes me want to play Harpoon again and, of course, gets in the T2k mood.

I'm interested in reading your thoughts on the book. What worked for you? What didn't?

-
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  #116  
Old 10-27-2020, 03:38 PM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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I'm sure that most of you have read Tom Clancy's "novel of WWIII", Red Storm Rising by now. If not, it's worth your time.
...
I appreciated the build-up to the war a lot more as an adult (I skipped those parts as a teenager). It seemed pretty plausible and was generally well-written.
I remember getting the hardback for Christmas, 1986, so that would have been my freshman year of college. I was an ROTC cadet and taking my 3rd year of Russian. So, I *really* liked the pre-war intel and politics-- intel was one of my dream jobs. I have probably read it 3+ times, the last in July '17.

Quote:
Likes:

The set-pieces are really good, especially the Soviet capture of Iceland. ...

The Soviet antagonists aren't too cartoonish. ...

I thought that the submarine fight scenes were very well done. The surface ASW bits were pretty good too.
I had Harpoon rules at the time, and solitaired a few ASW fights. All of the above were good elements to me.
Quote:
Dislikes:

- Anyway, the part that I didn't like was that ... would task the same aircraft with two vital missions.
In retrospect, I agree with you on that one. Clancy liked to flash back and forth between characters, so I'm now surprised this couldn't have been 2 missions, written as separate scenes?

Quote:
IMHO, Clancy really overestimated the ability of NATO aircraft to operate behind enemy lines. ...
Conversely, in Clancy's telling, NATO SAMs are super effective. ...
No argument that he may have missed the boat here. I think it was his book where the A-10s were pretty ubiquitous?

Quote:
A Belgian brigade counterattacks and stops two Soviet Category A TDs during the attempted breakthrough at Alfeld. No offense to any Belgians out there, but just look at the respective TOEs, c.1986. I mean, it's possible, but highly unlikely.
Um, yeah, I'd forgotten about that. How long were they stopped?

Quote:
Clancy mentions the Soviets' comparative superiority in artillery, but then pretty much dismisses it once the war starts. NATO artillery always gets the better of the Red Army guns and rockets. ... I guess the only way Clancy and Bond could rationalize a NATO land victory was by nerfing Soviet artillery.
Not something I'd paid attention to on my last read, but that does seem a little fishy.

Quote:
I may have missed it, but no WTO units are mentioned as participating in the war. It's the USSR v. NATO. ...
I suspect this may have been a result of sticking to a handful of characters, and IIRC the main Soviet point-of-view character was an Army commander? If so, that could have meant he just didn't deal with WP commanders? Or, if he was a Front commander, that falls apart, since there would be 2-3 EG divisions in his command.

Quote:
The romance subplot set in Iceland is cringe-worthy in several respects. The Air Force weatherman protagonist's killing of the Soviet rapists with a knife just struck me as uber-macho fantasizing. ...

How does the hovering Hind crew ...? Silly.

And do I even need to mention the sex with a pregnant rape victim? Cringe! Men-writing-women at its worst.
I would only defend the first bit: ISTR the weatherman lost his prewar fiancee/girlfriend to a rapist, so he could have been particularly enraged-- all the revenge fantasies of however many months given a chance to enact? I remember thinking the last part was cringey or a rescuer-fantasy, even at age 18. The middle bit... eh, possible?

Quote:
Also, there's only one female combatant in the entire book. And one Asian-American. And it's the same character!
Is this the F-15 test pilot who shoots down satellites? It's still 1986 when it's written, what other women combatants might he have used?

Quote:
Nitpick: the names are so 1980s and vanilla: Smith, John, Mike, Ed, Garcia. Seems like very little thought or effort went into that aspect of CharGen.
It's a fair cop. That's why the war movie cliche includes a Jewish guy, someone with an unspellable Polish name, the Italian guy from New York City, etc., in addition to the Texan and the smart guy. (Just don't be the next one to show off your girlfriend's picture!)

Quote:
Some of the dialogue is particularly stilted and unnatural. A lot of it is pretty good, though.
Agree on both counts.

Quote:
I'm interested in reading your thoughts on the book. What worked for you? What didn't?
+ I rather liked Clancy's style of cutting back and forth between several characters and points of view. It does reduce the depth of each character and their arc, but it also allows the reader to learn a lot more about the war as a whole.
(It works very well, IMO, in his thrillers, as you're seeing so many threads and wondering, "Oh, boy, how is THIS going to show up later?"

IIRC, the "main" characters were the USAF weather LT in Iceland, a USN frigate commander, and a Soviet general (Front or Army CG?). We can see the war at sea and in Iceland at the lowest level, then the main event in Germany at the highest level. I remember there are other threads, but not who or where.
+ By sticking to that high level in Germany, he avoids characters with "plot immunity"-- that F19 pilot won't get shot down on mission #3, a tank commander won't have to survive 5 tanks blowing up under them, and so forth.

- Back to the air defenses, I'm currently playing two board wargames by email, with differing conclusions on air defenses. In Red Storm, I've played about 5 scenarios, and SAMs on both sides are more planning nuisance than threat, due to both sides' having jammers and dedicated SEAD planes (NATO being a bit better at the latter). My opponent is certainly frustrated with the game's portrayal of SAMs relative to AAA and fighters. In 1985: under an iron sky, I'm playing NATO's center section, and it feels like NATO's air forces are terrified, since anything I do with them will be swarmed by MiGs or slammed by zillions of SAMs, or both. Maybe later in the first week, but on Day 4, I am way outgunned.
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  #117  
Old 10-27-2020, 04:45 PM
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No argument that he may have missed the boat here. I think it was his book where the A-10s were pretty ubiquitous?
Yeah, the Soviets in the book call the A-10 the "Devil's Cross" and Clancy describes the aircraft killing multiple AFVs with a single strafing run on a couple of different occasions.

Clancy also has a flight of German F-104 take out a bridge with bombs.

I reply to your wargaming experience regarding aircraft v. ADNs further on.

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Um, yeah, I'd forgotten about that. How long were they stopped?
I'd have to look it up to give you an exact figure, but I think it was for a couple of days, at least- long enough, in any case, to require a reevaluation of objectives and unit mission taskings.

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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
I suspect this may have been a result of sticking to a handful of characters, and IIRC the main Soviet point-of-view character was an Army commander? If so, that could have meant he just didn't deal with WP commanders? Or, if he was a Front commander, that falls apart, since there would be 2-3 EG divisions in his command.
That's a good point. I liked the different POVs. It was easy to follow the multiple threads. One additional nitpick is that the American ASW frigate captain goes from a major POV character to a supporting character with the introduction of the Vietnam vet ASW helicopter pilot, a little over halfway through the book.

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I would only defend the first bit: ISTR the weatherman lost his prewar fiancee/girlfriend to a rapist, so he could have been particularly enraged-- all the revenge fantasies of however many months given a chance to enact? I remember thinking the last part was cringey or a rescuer-fantasy, even at age 18. The middle bit... eh, possible?
You're right. I'd forgotten that bit about the weatherman's backstory. Makes sense that he'd take out his rage on the Soviet para rapist. But he only executes the main offender. One of the Marines kills the other two EPWs by stabbing them through the neck. It seemed over-the-top to me.

Another example of cringey dialogue from the final few pages of the book. A marine general says to the pregnant rape victim, "They told me you were beautiful. I have a daughter about your age." Creepy.

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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
Is this the F-15 test pilot who shoots down satellites? It's still 1986 when it's written, what other women combatants might he have used?
That's the one. You're right in that c.86, combat branches were still closed to women, so maybe that one of my criticisms wasn't fair.

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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
It's a fair cop. That's why the war movie cliche includes a Jewish guy, someone with an unspellable Polish name, the Italian guy from New York City, etc., in addition to the Texan and the smart guy. (Just don't be the next one to show off your girlfriend's picture!)



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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
+ I rather liked Clancy's style of cutting back and forth between several characters and points of view. It does reduce the depth of each character and their arc, but it also allows the reader to learn a lot more about the war as a whole.
(It works very well, IMO, in his thrillers, as you're seeing so many threads and wondering, "Oh, boy, how is THIS going to show up later?"
The jumping around and different POVs worked for me too. For the kind of story he was trying to tell, that technique was pretty much a must.

He didn't really provide much of a timeline, though. So the reader kind of has to pick up on context clues and then deduce how long has passed since the last episode involved a particular character. It's still not terribly clear by the end of the book how long the war lasted. 4 weeks, six weeks, two months? Longer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
IIRC, the "main" characters were the USAF weather LT in Iceland, a USN frigate commander, and a Soviet general (Front or Army CG?). We can see the war at sea and in Iceland at the lowest level, then the main event in Germany at the highest level. I remember there are other threads, but not who or where.
+ By sticking to that high level in Germany, he avoids characters with "plot immunity"-- that F19 pilot won't get shot down on mission #3, a tank commander won't have to survive 5 tanks blowing up under them, and so forth.
Good points and, in the main, I agree. There was also a USN attack sub driver with a pretty big part.

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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee View Post
- Back to the air defenses, I'm currently playing two board wargames by email, with differing conclusions on air defenses. In Red Storm, I've played about 5 scenarios, and SAMs on both sides are more planning nuisance than threat, due to both sides' having jammers and dedicated SEAD planes (NATO being a bit better at the latter). My opponent is certainly frustrated with the game's portrayal of SAMs relative to AAA and fighters. In 1985: under an iron sky, I'm playing NATO's center section, and it feels like NATO's air forces are terrified, since anything I do with them will be swarmed by MiGs or slammed by zillions of SAMs, or both. Maybe later in the first week, but on Day 4, I am way outgunned.
Yeah, I don't think we've seen a true modern, high intensity, conventional war between 1st world military powers in real life, so it's really difficult to play out how it would all go down. We can look at the closest thing, but I think we often draw the wrong conclusions. For example, I think a lot of people assume NATO air forces would roll over the Soviets' air defenses because of how easily the Iraqi's air-defenses were destroyed during Desert Storm.

That said, Clancy pretty much omits mention of conventional, non-radar-guided AAA in the book. All the NATO aircraft fly nap of the earth to avoid SAMs. Any Soviet radar not turned off is zapped by ARMs. IRL, over Iraq, Coalition strike pilots learned the hard way that "dumb" AAA was a much greater threat to their aircraft than radar-guided SAMs and consequently, once the Iraqi SAM networks were sufficiently degraded, very few missions were flown below 5000 feet. Clancy didn't know about that when he wrote the book, but the Israelis had learned the same thing in their various wars against their Arab neighbors, so it seems strange that this hard-earned lesson was ignored in the book.

-
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Old 10-29-2020, 02:35 PM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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I'd have to look it up to give you an exact figure, but I think it was for a couple of days, at least- long enough, in any case, to require a reevaluation of objectives and unit mission taskings.
Yeah, that seems a bit much, then. I'd have believed "stopped them for part of a day", or even overnight, if it happened close enough to sunset.

Quote:
One additional nitpick is that the American ASW frigate captain goes from a major POV character to a supporting character with the introduction of the Vietnam vet ASW helicopter pilot, a little over halfway through the book.
Oh, yeah, I remember him now. He was useful to give his experience to the captain, but taking over the spotlight might be much.

Quote:
You're right. I'd forgotten that bit about the weatherman's backstory. Makes sense that he'd take out his rage on the Soviet para rapist. But he only executes the main offender. One of the Marines kills the other two EPWs by stabbing them through the neck. It seemed over-the-top to me.

Another example of cringey dialogue from the final few pages of the book. A marine general says to the pregnant rape victim, "They told me you were beautiful. I have a daughter about your age." Creepy.
Either of those sentences sound like something one might say to a victim, but together... nah. I guess the other Marine was following the LT's lead? Over the top, yes.

Quote:
He didn't really provide much of a timeline, though. So the reader kind of has to pick up on context clues and then deduce how long has passed since the last episode involved a particular character. It's still not terribly clear by the end of the book how long the war lasted. 4 weeks, six weeks, two months? Longer?
That could be a plus, since that way Clancy & Bond aren't tied too tightly to a given timeline. As the English teachers might say, the reader is allowed to infer their own timeline.

Quote:
Yeah, I don't think we've seen a true modern, high intensity, conventional war between 1st world military powers in real life, so it's really difficult to play out how it would all go down. We can look at the closest thing, but I think we often draw the wrong conclusions. For example, I think a lot of people assume NATO air forces would roll over the Soviets' air defenses because of how easily the Iraqi's air-defenses were destroyed during Desert Storm.

That said, Clancy pretty much omits mention of conventional, non-radar-guided AAA in the book. All the NATO aircraft fly nap of the earth to avoid SAMs. Any Soviet radar not turned off is zapped by ARMs. IRL, over Iraq, Coalition strike pilots learned the hard way that "dumb" AAA was a much greater threat to their aircraft than radar-guided SAMs and consequently, once the Iraqi SAM networks were sufficiently degraded, very few missions were flown below 5000 feet. Clancy didn't know about that when he wrote the book, but the Israelis had learned the same thing in their various wars against their Arab neighbors, so it seems strange that this hard-earned lesson was ignored in the book.
This could all be one of those times I can hear him say, "Well, I'm the author, and I had to decide on what worked and what didn't, and what would advance the story. Go write your own, if you don't like it."

To me, yeah, low-level AAA is a greater threat than he had included, especially in such a force-dense region as central Germany. I will chalk a lot up to Clancy & Bond having studied more of the naval and naval-air elements than ground and ground/air parts of the War That Never Happened.

Still a good read, even if we knock off half a star for that.
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