Military Times magazine

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Downliners, Sep 1, 2010.

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  1. Downliners

    Downliners Sponsor

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a new member from Military Times - the new British military history magazine.

    The magazine goes on sale this week, but before it does I wanted to get the ARRSE verdict on the mag.

    It'd be good to hear your thoughts on the magazine. What subjects and periods we should be covering in later issues? Should we be running more content about modern warfare, or is there enough of that around already?

    A sampler e-zine can be viewed here:
    Military Times interactive sampler « Military Times


    Many thanks,

    Luke

    Military Times
     
  2. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    The interactive sampler looks half decent, but I detest reading books and magazines online: give me the feel of paper every time.

    If you want me to write you a proper review, get in touch with Auld-Yin or PR Totty or any of the rest of the book review crowd, have them send me a paper copy (they have my home address) and I'll give you my considered opinion.
     
  3. Downliners,are you the bloke thats getting interviewed on the Vicky Turner Show on BFBS Radio right now???
     
  4. Downliners

    Downliners Sponsor

    Regular_Imbiber - It's not me, but our editor, Neil Faulkner on BFBS.

    AlienFTM - I agree with you about reading magazines online. I'll get a copy sent over to PR Totty today. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
     
  5. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    You're most welcome.
     
  6. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    PR_Totty is on leave so it won't be actioned for a couple of weeks. Drop me a PM Downliners and I can take forward.
     
  7. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    AlienFTM is going to review the magazine, so keep an eye out for the review. In the meantime, check out the interactive link in Downliner's first post.

    A-Y
     
  8. I wish you luck with this endeavor, anybody starting a magazine in these times deserves credit.
    Personally I cannot see the reason to buying this magazine unless you attract writers with certain expertise about a subject.
    But looking at the 'sensationalist tabloid' style headlines on stories without bylines, it appears that you are going for military history 'lite'.
    The Manoeuvres lay-out imho is rather similar to that of BBC's History mag.
    I hope it grows from what at this stage looks like just a step up on what was/is 'Combat & Survival'[is it still being published?];
    and that you do get known writers who provide more than a cut and paste job from all the usual sources [inc. Wiki].
    Perhaps you can get Pen & Sword/Sutton etc to provide you with material each month, prior to one of their books being published?
    Best of luck in any case.
    Rhodie

    btw the editor clearly needs a haircut.......
     
  9. Downliners

    Downliners Sponsor

    Interesting points Rhodie... I think that calling us sensationalist and comparing with Combat & Survival is a little unfair, as we take our editorial credibility very seriously.

    The magazine is written and edited by a team of historians, with an editorial advisory board that includes contributors from the Ministry of Defence, Imperial War Museum, the Guards Museum, RAF, National Museum of the Royal Navy, and professors from departments of War Studies and Archaeology at reputable universities.
    Our lead columnist in this issue is Maj-Gen Julian Thompson.

    If you like to message me direct, I'd be happy to send you a copy.

    As for the editor - he has since received a regulation cut!
     
  10. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    DL, did you get my PM?
     
  11. I've just ordered 12 Issues.
     
  12. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    My review copy of Military Times fell through the letter box. Issue 1 - October 2010 - £3.95. It promises a main focus on British military history and the period after 1914.

    Given that this month is when we shall all be celebrating the Battle of Britain (unless you or your forebears were Luftwaffe I suppose), it isn't surprising that the launch issue declares itself to be a Battle of Britain Special and the cover picture shows a Sergeant pilot sat in the cockpit of his Spitfire. The front cover also lists all the other stories featured within, namely:

    Lawrence of Arabia - Did he teach the Taliban their tactics?
    Boudica - Why did she lose?
    Afghanistan - First British Invasion
    Admiral Rodney - Nelson's Inspiration?

    The Table of Contents then lists the features to be expected every month, namely,

    DISPATCHES:
    Opinion. This month a page no no less than Major-General Julian Thompson CBE, OBE, commander of 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands, describing why the study of military history will always be important to military leaders, however much modern warfare can be perceived to have moved on.

    Your Military Times, in which the editor "launches a family-history page by sharing the story of his grandfather's war". There is a request for viewers' stories and picture and a promise of detailed tips on getting into wartime family-history research.

    There are a couple of pages of news, ranging from the auction of Churchill's spare set of partial dentures and a Robert the Bruce-era sword, to an article on mounting US-China military tension.

    News Analysis goes on to dig deeper into the US-Chine tension story.

    This Day On ... looks at a single day in history. Being the October issue of the magazine and a Battle of Britain special, it dissects a handful of the top stories on the front page of the Daily Telegraph of 1 October 1940.

    Then we get to ...

    FEATURES

    1. The Battle of Britain carries two features, firstly an analysis of the roles of ACM Dowding and AVM Park, the two men who led Fighter Command to victory. It looks at Dowding's refusal to believe the then-current truism that "the bomber will always get through", why he absolutely rejected the rear-turreted Defiant in favour of the "flying gunsight" Spitfires and Hurricanes; Dowding's adamant refusal to reinforce defeat (in the Battle of France); the arrival of radar in the nick of time to warn of incoming Luftwaffe masses; the command-and-control system that allowed Park to put fighters in the air in the right place and at the right time; pressure to defend the Channel sea lanes and Dowding's refusal. The "myth" that Fighter Command came close to losing the Battle of Britain is explored and largely debunked. The arguments for and against the "Big Wing" are discussed.

    The Second Battle of Britain feature takes seven pages to relate exactly what happened on Battle of Britain Day, 15 September 1940 with the help of a couple of clear maps and interspersed with numerous pictures. An excellent read.

    2. We then move on to three articles covering T E Lawrence. The first is "Are the modern Taliban the true successors of Lawrence's Arabs?" It covers eight pages and looks at controversy that hasn't gone away after 75 years since his death and Lawrence’s relevance to contemporary warfare. The article's subtitle asks:

    Liar or self-promoting charlatan? Or military genius and romantic revolutionary?

    Of the entire magazine, this article was the only one which did not grip me and hold my attention. However I am quite sure that there are many, many people who will see the article as relevant to today’s conflict with the Taliban.

    The second T E Lawrence article looks into recently-opened archives and assesses the truth behind the legend (which is set forever courtesy of the David Lean film, but dates back all the way to the end of the Great War).

    The third T E Lawrence article looks in detail at Lawrence's guerrilla raid on a railway line at Mudowwara in September 1917 as published in Revolt in the Desert in 1927. The raid may have been talked up in the book (it may not) but it gives a good insight into a raid, a short, sharp attack into enemy territory with limited objectives and with no intention to hold ground. As stated by Major-General Thompson in DISPATCHES, there is always something to be learned from the past: this raid serves as a fine example. Weapons may change in 100 years, but Lawrence's tactics might prove useful to the modern planner of a raid in Afghanistan.

    3. The third of the five features looks at Admiral George Rodney, who on 12 April 1782 famously engaged a French fleet off Guadeloupe and in the course of the battle, took an opportunity to cut across the line of the single file of French ships, breaking up the French fleet, capturing the French commander and his flagship to achieve a decisive victory, which Nelson was to copy 23 years later, destroying the more than half of the French fleet at Trafalgar.

    4. The fourth feature looks at the first Anglo-Afghan war of 1839-1842. Harking back to Maj-Gen Thompson's dispatch, the article asks "What can we learn from history about the current war in Afghanistan?" It is summed up, chillingly, with half a page of comparisons between that military disaster and today's continuing conflict..

    5. This month's final feature asks "Why did Boudicca lose [the final battle between the Roman legions and her army about AD60]?" Once again, the article can be summed up an example of how regular heavy infantry ought always to be able to beat irregular troops.
     
  13. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Review of Military Times, Vol 1 by AlienFTM

    As I write these lines with the magazine behind me, it strikes me as telling in the first place that this article does not even pass comment on America's defeat in Vietnam, and in the second place, that over the page, the first article in a regular line for the magazine entitled Story Behind the Image, does go straight to Vietnam and a photograph taken on 1 February 1968 on the streets of Saigon which captures the moment on the second day of the Tet Offensive when Lt. Col Nguyen Ngoc Loan summarily executed a Viet Cong prisoner with a bullet to the head at point blank range.

    After this month's features there follows a regular series of reviews of conferences, museums, etc and the first of a series which looks at historic battles and how the battlefield looks today. Up first, it is no surprise to read about the first iconic battle of the British Army as we know it today, the Battle of Blenheim.

    Toward the back of the magazine are some of the regular features you'd find in any such magazine, namely Books, DVDs and, this month, the documentary classic "The World At War".




    Finally, any number of other regular features including:
    • An explanation of how the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot (through numerous amalgamations, becoming today's Princess of Wales Royal Regiment) came to be known as The Diehards.
    • To go with the Boudicca feature is a comparison of a Roman legionary with a Celtic warrior.
    • Behind the Image as previously mentioned.
    • To go with the Admiral Rodney feature, WMD: The broadside of the Royal Navy
    • The Drawing Board, which this month looks at the design, development and eventually scrapping of the Panjandrum, a sort of giant double Catherine wheel, intended to roll up the D-Day beach and blow a gap in a sea wall.
    It's taken all this time just to describe in brief what the magazine consists of. I feel like I have had to write half the magazine in so doing. This must be a good thing. It tells me that there is a lot of content, more than I'd have imagined when it dropped on the door mat. This is probably because there are not as many adverts as you'd expect to see, and I expect that, assuming it does take off, advertisers will come knocking. I am not personally a great magazine reader, but this issue kept my attention a whole lot longer than the magazine I have subscribed to for a handful of years. In fact, having given serious thought to dropping that subscription for some time, it will be very easy for me to replace it with a subscription to Military Times. It says something that I take about an hour to read my subscribed magazine, but this took two evenings to complete, even though the vast majority of the content was of interest and took no work to read.


    The content is beyond reproach. (It was suggested to me before I started that it would be very easy to churn out column inches that simply regurgitate the mountain of information that can lifted from the internet. Certainly, Mr Wiki is my friend.) So I was delighted to find the magazine introduced by no less a person than a Major-General with experience of command in a real shooting war. I particularly enjoyed the Battle of Britain feature, which gave me a lot of new stuff on something that has held my interest for nearly 50 years since I was a child and it concluded with details of a couple of books recommended for further reading.

    Further, as I have intimated, writers have not been afraid to look at affairs which have long been familiar to all, to look at them without prejudice and draw conclusions that go against what has become accepted if that is what is found.

    "Surely there must be some complaints?" I hear you ask. Well, yes there is one comment to be made. I have long been a reviewer of the written word and I am very picky about typographical errors. I stopped counting at three. To be fair, I just went to visit Mr Wiki courtesy of my other friend, Mr Google (he wasn't around while I was reading the magazine), and found that there was in fact a Roman battle at Carrhae, which I'd never heard of, as well as the battle of Cannae that I did know of, so scratch that one and stop at two.

    I can probably excuse the person who misread the village name of Oberglau near Blenheim as Oberglan (I had to take off my glasses and look closer), even though its partner village Unterglau was spelt correctly. That said, if we were to point out that the Army Air Corps museum at Middle Wallop was near the village of Nether Wallop, you'd expect to spot the error. The two errors are exactly comparable.

    But I cannot excuse the statement that the standard NATO rifle round is 5.62mm in calibre. I can understand the error, coming as it does immediately talking about the Soviet 7.62mm round fired from an AK assault rifle. But I cannot excuse it.

    Still, two typos in 98 pages isn't so bad in a modern age when anybody and his father can sit down at a keyboard and churn out ream after ream of written word that would have my English teacher turning in her grave. Leaving the typos to one side, the whole thing was a damned good read. This despite four of the five main features not relating to British military history and the period after 1914 as promised, and as I'd prefer.

    So in summary. If the team can maintain the standard set in issue 1, including the use of respected, knowledgeable guest writers; if they get through the current difficult financial climate (I personally don't think I'd launch a magazine at this time regardless how apposite for the content) and acquire advertising revenue to keep going and if they use this start to build on, I'd like to think the magazine will prosper and I'll buy myself a subscription.
     
  14. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    AlientFTM very kindly wrote the review of this magazine and I have posted it in the book review section and here. The review was too large to put into one post so I have split in two. Hope it does not detract from a very comprehensive review.

    As always, constructive comments are welcomed, both here and on the book review site.
     
  15. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Ayscue broke the Dutch line at the Battle of Plymouth in 1652 - Blake tried this manoeuvre repeatedly off Portland in 1653 but without succeeding in breaking through. The 'Nelson touch' was that, unlike Rodney at the Saintes, he was only a subordinate commander at St Vincent and if it had gone wrong for him Old Jarvie would have chewed him into little tiny bits.

    The point about the manoeuvre is that those square-rigged line-of-battle ships could not do much more than sail before the wind, so by taking the weather gauge, i.e. forming up to windward of the enemy, one could then fall on the rear two-thirds or half of them and destroy them while the remainder could not turn back to help. And as each ship went through it could rake the enemy ships on either side, causing carnage on the gun decks and unseating the guns, while the raked ships could being hardly any guns to bear against one.