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OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 3:50:45 PM   
Bleek


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I purchased WITP:AE at the weekend.

Whilst the game is complex, I can grasp the basics pretty quickly.

However, I feel that knowing more of the history, the overarching strategy and principles around the war in the pacific, would give me a better rationale behind my play.

Do you agree? If so, any solid book recommendations that you think might help?

Thanks!
Post #: 1
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 4:04:45 PM   
mind_messing

 

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One Volume Treatments

Eagle Against The Sun is a fair starting point.

The Pacific War by Costello is something I've not read, but in the same space.

The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire by Toland is a fine one volume book too.

Specific recommendations

Pacific Crucible by Toll is probably the book that would be most helpful to you, and the subsequent books in the series.

Shattered Sword is also useful for poking some holes in the historiography on the Pacific War that came about from taking Japanese testimony at face value.



I'm sure others will follow with more suggestions.

(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 2
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 4:44:12 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

I purchased WITP:AE at the weekend.

Whilst the game is complex, I can grasp the basics pretty quickly.

However, I feel that knowing more of the history, the overarching strategy and principles around the war in the pacific, would give me a better rationale behind my play.

Do you agree? If so, any solid book recommendations that you think might help?

Thanks!
warspite1

Hi Bleek, not only do I agree I frankly don't understand how people play this game (or any games) and not have/develop a pretty detailed knowledge of the subject. This is particularly true for the Pacific War and a game of this scale and depth.

Each to his own of course, and I can only speak for me, but whenever I play any game* I have to read about what I'm playing - it adds so much value to the experience. So I believe you are taking a very sensible approach. I echo the reference to Tolland as a great overview. Alternatively you could get any reference book on WWII, get the basics sorted i.e. the datelines, where the action was etc and then drill down as and when something grabs your attention.

* I struggled to find decent books on Ker Plunk or Hungry Hippos


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 3
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:01:51 PM   
Moltrey


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Naval War College Recommendation:
Due to the nature of us WITP:AE players having to assume all the logistical aspects of the war in this simulation, I can't go without recommending RADM W.A. Carter's Beans, Bullets and Black Oil
I found it a good, though not necessarily quick read and really opened my eyes to how the USN was able to accomplish victory. Sadly, we don't have the staff officers those guys did and must make due on our own. I particularly appreciate the locations Carter reveals where logistical bases (static and later mobile) resided from early on through the end of the war.

Look for it at Amazon in kindle form and there are some other ways to get digital copies.
Well worth the effort.

Other Recommendation:
I also like the older Edwin Hoyt book How they Won the War in the Pacific: Nimitz and his Admirals. Published in 1970, it is based on first-hand accounts via interviews with the men. Of course it doesn't reveal any of the less-savory facts about the USN that have been revealed in recent years now that all the major players are dead and gone (i.e., the Midway USS Hornet "Flight to Nowhere" debacle and cover up from Symonds "The Battle of Midway"), etc.
You get a good sense of what the men at the highest levels were thinking, weighing and deciding, not just a synopsis of the historical events. Good stuff for my money, available in all forms.

(in reply to mind_messing)
Post #: 4
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:04:54 PM   
Trugrit


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Welcome to the Game.

My Recommendations
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=3863933
The entire Thread is Very Good.



(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 5
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:12:56 PM   
rustysi


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quote:

but whenever I play any game* I have to read about what I'm playing




Pretty much sums up myself. Back in the 'Stone Age' when I started I remember playing and then wondering what actually happened. So play, read... Read, play...

So adding to the list I would include, Rising Sun, Falling Skies, by Cox. Covers the Japanese expansion into what we around here call the SRA (Southern Resource Area), very pertinent to the game.

I'd add Forgotten Ally, by Mitter. Helps shed some light on what a quagmire was the China theater.

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 6
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:15:26 PM   
Anachro


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I have not looked at Trugrit's thread, but I would definitely recommend The Fast Carriers: The Forging of an Air Navy by Clark Reynolds. It is the definitive work on the development of the Allied fast carrier task forces, with interesting insights not only into the strategy, doctrine, technology, and tactics, but also the politics.

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 7
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:17:25 PM   
rustysi


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quote:

Beans, Bullets and Black Oil


I keep meaning to get around to this one.

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 8
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:19:25 PM   
rustysi


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See what you started. This is not a question to ask this group!!!!

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to rustysi)
Post #: 9
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:25:49 PM   
Voltreffer


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Reading and playing are very complementary to one another. The game will give you a much better grasp of geography and units discussed in the books, and the books will provide context for various parts of the game.

I'd second this as a great starting point - you only have to buy one book & it's very good:




Then let your interest(s) guide you. If you want a 3-part overview of the war (in a similar vein to the above book), go for Ian Toll's series: Pacific Crucible, The Conqering Tide, and the soon to be released Twilight of the Gods. For a deeper dive into carrier operations, Lars Celander's How Carriers Fought is a good choice. Shattered Sword is another, especially for understanding the IJN's approach to carriers, told in the context of Midway. If you'd like a better understanding of the IJN in general, I'd recommend Kaigun by David C. Evans. For various special topics, check out the offerings by Osprey Publishing with one caveat - don't take them as gospel; however, they are nice because they have a lot of pictures/illustrations and often dive into very niche topics. The "New Vanguard" and "Battle Orders" are their series you'll want to check out first.

I must also second Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil as a logistics recommendation.

My last bit of advice is don't do what I did & go on a book buying spree. Ideally buy one book at at time or 2-3 max if they are closely related and/or are smaller booklets like the Osprey stuff. Reading them first before buying more will better inform you subsequent purchases.

(in reply to Trugrit)
Post #: 10
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:28:33 PM   
Anachro


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Kaigun is a great book that exhaustively goes into the Japanese development of its naval and naval air forces and the evolution of its strategy heading into the Pacific War. Definitely a must-have for any Japan fanboy.

(in reply to Voltreffer)
Post #: 11
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:53:16 PM   
Bleek


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Wow, thanks for the swift replies guys.

I should have said, I'm biased towards more pictorial history books (show and tell), as opposed to pure novella or nonfiction writing. A prime example, of general history, being - https://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Dawn-Civilization-Present-Day/dp/0241201306

I'll dive through some of the recommendations here.

(in reply to Anachro)
Post #: 12
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:54:07 PM   
Bleek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1
* I struggled to find decent books on Ker Plunk or Hungry Hippos


Ah, I believe you're looking for Sun Tzu.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 13
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 5:59:15 PM   
rustysi


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quote:

Ideally buy one book at at time or 2-3 max


Or you could go to your local library.

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 14
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 6:18:01 PM   
Voltreffer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

I should have said, I'm biased towards more pictorial history books (show and tell), as opposed to pure novella or nonfiction writing.



Take a look at Osprey's Campaign series HERE. Also use the 'Filter by Series' drop-down menu to check out other series as well (New Vanguard, Battle Orders, Elite, to name a few).

(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 15
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 7:00:36 PM   
Bleek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Voltreffer


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

I should have said, I'm biased towards more pictorial history books (show and tell), as opposed to pure novella or nonfiction writing.



Take a look at Osprey's Campaign series HERE. Also use the 'Filter by Series' drop-down menu to check out other series as well (New Vanguard, Battle Orders, Elite, to name a few).


Wow, that's a lot of books!

Any recommendations to get me started?

(in reply to Voltreffer)
Post #: 16
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 7:04:24 PM   
Q-Ball


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Anachro

Kaigun is a great book that exhaustively goes into the Japanese development of its naval and naval air forces and the evolution of its strategy heading into the Pacific War. Definitely a must-have for any Japan fanboy.


+1 on this....definitive work on the development of the IJN. Many normal people are probably bored by the story of the development of the Type 93, but not us!!!

_____________________________


(in reply to Anachro)
Post #: 17
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 7:59:52 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek


quote:

ORIGINAL: Voltreffer


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

I should have said, I'm biased towards more pictorial history books (show and tell), as opposed to pure novella or nonfiction writing.



Take a look at Osprey's Campaign series HERE. Also use the 'Filter by Series' drop-down menu to check out other series as well (New Vanguard, Battle Orders, Elite, to name a few).


Wow, that's a lot of books!

Any recommendations to get me started?

warspite1

I find the Osprey books quite expensive given page count. But then again, as a starter as you start to drill down, they are pretty good - lots of pictures, colourful, OOB's etc. Many of the Pacific campaigns are covered - Malaya/Singapore, Pearl Harbour, The Philippines, Coral Sea and I think there is one coming out on the Java Sea. These would be good places to start and then move onto Guadalcanal (and the sea battles off the Solomons) and then the island hopping battles. Probably makes sense to buy these in order that they happened?


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 18
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 8:07:54 PM   
mind_messing

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Voltreffer

Reading and playing are very complementary to one another. The game will give you a much better grasp of geography and units discussed in the books, and the books will provide context for various parts of the game.

I'd second this as a great starting point - you only have to buy one book & it's very good:


To be honest I don't think I'd recommend Spector as the sole work on the subject.

It has been some time since I last read it, mind you, but I think it fell into the trap to relying too heavily on the Japanese testimony in a number of cases.

The IJN carrier decks at Midway "packed with planes rearming" is the main error, from what I recall. The later works tend to treat the Japanese sources much more critically (as by this point Japanese language sources are more readily accessible to western authors).

Not to suggest it isn't a worthwhile read, but just that it needs to be understood in the context of it's time (in that the information from the Japanese side was fairly limited and to some extent largely self-serving and focused on saving face).

The historiography of the war is another subject entirely :)

(in reply to Voltreffer)
Post #: 19
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/21/2020 9:59:25 PM   
Voltreffer


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

Any recommendations to get me started?


The challenge with going a pure Osprey route is it can quickly get expensive. Thus, I'd suggest sampling a few of their books to see if you like their general format and presentation before investing into a bigger collection.

Also, I'd highly suggest giving Eagle Against the Sun a try if there's any chance you'll read it. It does help to have at least one scholarly tome to help provide context and tie everything together. If you'd prefer listening to it, there's also an audiobook version available HERE. FYI, I wasn't able to find the same audiobook on Amazon.co.uk, so I'm not sure if it's only licensed for the US market or what.

Back to Osprey - they have a few series which tend to focus on different things.

Campaign: these are, of course, about specific campaigns. They tend to give a well-rounded view of each campaign with maps, orders of battle, and the perspective of both sides. That said, they tend to 'lose the forest for the trees' in that they don't always provide a lot of context of how that campaign fit into the overall picture. There's some context, but it doesn't compare to Eagle..., the Ian Toll series, or similar scholarly works.

Elite: these cover special topics like tactics or specific unit types. In many ways, the game takes place on a scale which doesn't allow very specific tactics to be implemented. That said, I've found a couple of these to be invaluable.

New Vanguard: this is the home of ship & vehicle coverage and is probably my personal favorite Osprey series overall. These can be very helpful with figuring out how to make sense of all the various ship classes, especially when there are so many, for instance, destroyer variants from which to choose. That said, under a budget I'd probably eliminate these in favor of more Campaign books, since Wikipedia (using the browser extension Wikiwand) provides a ton of information on the same topics, albeit a less curated experience than the New Vanguard books provide.

Battle Orders: these are simple about the overall force structure of various military services. They are more of a 'nice to have' rather than essential since OOBs are available in the game as well.


All that said, if I had to pick a few to get started, I'd suggest the following:

One of these Campaign books (probably Java Sea as there is more flexibility to set up your defenses there in the game):

Malaya and Singapore (Campaign 300) - Mark Stille
Java Sea 1942 (Campaign 344) - Mark Stille
Shanghai and Nanjing 1937 (Campaign 309) - Benjamin Lai
The Fall of the Philippines 1941-42 (Campaign 243) - Clayton K.S. Chun
The Coral Sea 1942 (Campaign 214) - Mark Stille


Although it won't be immediately useful in the very beginning of the game, the successful execution of amphibious landings will be the most complex thing you do later on in the game. This book will provide a lot of context as to how all the various landing craft, specialty ship types, and whatnot fit together:

US World War II Amphibious Tactics: Army & Marine Corps, Pacific Theater (Elite 117) - Gordon L. Rottman


Then for a 3rd book I'd either pick a 2nd Campaign book from the list above and/or pick a New Vanguard book about one of the ship types - probably one of the destroyer ones - or whatever ship type is the most confusing to you.


This will give you a start of 1-2 Campaign books, an Elite book, and possibly a New Vanguard book. That will give a good sample of the style of each series, so you can get a feel for which are the most helpful to you.

The short list on the 2nd round of books would include:
*any unpurchased Campaign books from the 1st round
The Naval Battles for Guadalcanal 1942 (Campaign 255) - Mark Stille
Santa Cruz 1942 (Campaign 247) - Mark Stille
Guadalcanal 1942-1943 (Campaign 284) - Mark Stille
Burma Road 1943-44 (Campaign 289) - Jon Diamond


I'd avoid the Pearl Harbor / Wake / Hong Kong / Darwin / Doolittle Raid Campaign books as they are unlikely to add much value in terms of the game. You'd be much better off spending the money on coverage of the Solomons, Burma, China, and the carrier battles (Coral Sea, Midway, Santa Cruz).


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

I find the Osprey books quite expensive given page count. But then again, as a starter as you start to drill down, they are pretty good - lots of pictures, colourful, OOB's etc.


They definitely charge for all the extra illustrations/pictures.



quote:

ORIGINAL: mind_messing

To be honest I don't think I'd recommend Spector as the sole work on the subject.


It has its shortcomings, but I can't think of a less expensive way in both time and money to get a solid, 'one stop shopping' overview of the war. The Toll series is a great substitute if investing into three books is desirable. Of course, many of those on the forum end up at the ALL OF THE ABOVE option sooner or later.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 20
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 12:21:20 AM   
fcooke

 

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Oddly enough, I am reading 'A Magnificent Fight' for maybe the third time. About the invasion of Wake island. Well detailed and researched. I would also suggest anything from Lunstrom or Ben Frank. I can take a look at the library tomorrow depending on how much you want to spend. But I thought the 'Bloody Shambles' trilogy was quite well done.

(in reply to Voltreffer)
Post #: 21
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 12:25:34 AM   
fcooke

 

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Oh - and Shattered Sword is a must in my opinion.

(in reply to fcooke)
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RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 12:40:29 AM   
Shellshock


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Most of the top tier titles have already been mentioned, but I'll throw in Dan van der Valt's The Pacific Campaign as another general overview of the whole war. Published in 1991.


(in reply to fcooke)
Post #: 23
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 1:01:44 AM   
fcooke

 

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That's a good book. And delves into the often somewhat ignored NEI part of things.

(in reply to Shellshock)
Post #: 24
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 11:30:41 AM   
Rising-Sun


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Bleek, there alot of good books out there to study and learn what happen in the Pacific during WW2. First of all, what side are you playing? Against AI or a player??

For the Japanese point of views, i have the following books...
1)The Pacific War (From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima) by Daniel Marston
2)The Second World War in the Far East by H.P. Willmott
3)War in the Far East (Japan runs wilds 1942-1943) by Peter Harmsen (new book-2020)
4)The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War by Mark E. Stille (my personal favorite book)
5)The World War II Desk Reference by Michael E. Haskew and Douglas Brinkley
6)The Historical Atlas of World War II by Alexander Swanston & Malcolm Swanston

Hope that helps, have fun reading :)

_____________________________


(in reply to fcooke)
Post #: 25
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 12:14:06 PM   
Bleek


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From: United Kingdom
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Thanks guys, so much here to chew on!

I've grabbed a few Osprey books to start and an old "The Pacific War Atlas, 1941-45" published in 1995.

If I want deeper reading, I'll defer to some of the others here.

Just playing against AI for now and learning as I go. I managed to get my first turn setup done in about 8 hours, so clearly a pro already.

(in reply to Rising-Sun)
Post #: 26
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 6:13:03 PM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

Thanks guys, so much here to chew on!

I've grabbed a few Osprey books to start and an old "The Pacific War Atlas, 1941-45" published in 1995.

If I want deeper reading, I'll defer to some of the others here.

Just playing against AI for now and learning as I go. I managed to get my first turn setup done in about 8 hours, so clearly a pro already.


Nah, 8 hours pfft!!

That's a newbie.

Some around here spend days (yes multiples, not single) on the first turn.

Alfred

(in reply to Bleek)
Post #: 27
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 6:46:00 PM   
RangerJoe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

Thanks guys, so much here to chew on!

I've grabbed a few Osprey books to start and an old "The Pacific War Atlas, 1941-45" published in 1995.

If I want deeper reading, I'll defer to some of the others here.

Just playing against AI for now and learning as I go. I managed to get my first turn setup done in about 8 hours, so clearly a pro already.


Nah, 8 hours pfft!!

That's a newbie.

Some around here spend days (yes multiples, not single) on the first turn.

Alfred


I wonder how much he has missed.

Joe

_____________________________

Seek peace but keep your gun handy.

I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing!

“Illegitemus non carborundum est (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).”
― Julia Child


(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 28
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 6:48:48 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RangerJoe

quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bleek

Thanks guys, so much here to chew on!

I've grabbed a few Osprey books to start and an old "The Pacific War Atlas, 1941-45" published in 1995.

If I want deeper reading, I'll defer to some of the others here.

Just playing against AI for now and learning as I go. I managed to get my first turn setup done in about 8 hours, so clearly a pro already.


Nah, 8 hours pfft!!

That's a newbie.

Some around here spend days (yes multiples, not single) on the first turn.

Alfred


I wonder how much he has missed.

Joe

Missing stuff and finding out in the first few turns what you shoulda done is part of the learning curve. No pain, no gain.

_____________________________

No matter how bad a situation is, you can always make it worse. - Chris Hadfield : An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth

(in reply to RangerJoe)
Post #: 29
RE: OT: Pacific WW2 reference books - 7/22/2020 8:10:12 PM   
rustysi


Posts: 6149
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From: LI, NY
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quote:

Some around here spend days (yes multiples, not single) on the first turn.


IIRC, my last start as Japan took me more than a week.

_____________________________

It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Hume

In every party there is one member who by his all-too-devout pronouncement of the party principles provokes the others to apostasy. Nietzsche

Cave ab homine unius libri. Ltn Prvb

(in reply to BBfanboy)
Post #: 30
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