Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October visit to the Grumble Jones Library

Ahhh...Fall...best time of the year. When last we walked through the Grumble Jones Library, the heat of summer was still baking the Oklahoma plains. Well...it's October now and we're not quite baking, but still waiting for the first cool blasts to come down out of the Rockies. Should be any time now...

October,  here in Jenks, Oklahoma also means the Art on Main art fair...one of my favorite annual events. 

My wife and I usually do a little bit of Christmas shopping at this fair and we usually fall in love with one or more oil paintings that we can't afford. Our budget for art is much like the government's...small to non-existent...but we can always look and enjoy the fantastic skills of so many fine artists.

So here's hoping your community has something special lined up for the Fall as well. Just across the border in Arkansas, the Lincoln Apple Festival will be all the rage this weekend. Another great festival, which is also near the Prairie Grove Battlefield...which is another great reason to venture into that part of Arkansas. Ok enough regional color for one post. Let's talk books...or more precisely Magazine...yep...we're going off script today to talk about a great magazine that may be of interest to some ASL'rs out there.

I have had this magazine for a few years now, but was looking through earlier tonight due to an article on the Battle of the Little Bighorn. I just finished reading Nathaniel Philbrick's excellent, The Last Stand and was returning to this magazine for the fine pictures and maps of the Little Bighorn engagement. This magazine is Ian Allan's AGAINST ALL ODDS. 

This particular magazine was briefly published by Ian Allan publishing based in the UK.

I came across my copy at the local Barnes & Noble, which no and again stocks some periodicals from the UK. It's a little hit or miss and I've not had the good fortune to come across any future editions...if in fact any others were printed.

But I must say that after 6 years, it's still a magazine that I enjoy turning the pages to read up once again on the three desperate actions covered. This issue deals with the Little Bighorn, Rorke's Drift and Oosterbeek 1944...which is why we are talking about it today. 

Oosterbeek is one of the more interesting actions that occurred during Market Garden and one that many of us have played out in ASL either in a scenario or the A Bridge Too Far CG. At any rate, it's an action that we have some familiarity with. But naturally, every ASL'r wants to know as much about an engagement as he or she can...so new sources of information are always welcome. And so I will direct your attention to this magazine and it's final article which begins on page 68 - Operation Market-Garden & Arnhem September 1944. 

The pages are glossy and of good paper stock. With decent care, this magazine will be around a long time.  

The article is broken down into segments, with Background narrative of the grand campaign, which then drills down into the Oosterbeek Perimeter. Good maps and excellent photos accompany the narrative. Side bar issues such as the failure of British Radios are also included to add detail to the general battle story

The commanders are also profiled with good detail given to Major General Urquhart. While he is probably as well-known as any figure in the Arnhem campaign...it's always good to bone up on the particulars of an officer of his stripe.

German officers, General von Tettau and SS Lt. Col. Walther Harzer are also profiled. These are two of the lesser know German officers and it was interesting to learn a bit more about them and their roles in the Oosterbeek Perimeter fighting.

The inclusion of a German map of the perimeter was especially appreciated....worth owning the magazine by itself in my opinion and particularly useful for ASL.

Of particular interest are the two "Combatants" sections which go into detail about the UK troops and their opposite numbers on the German side. Again the attention to the German units is much appreciated. I've often felt a lack of knowledge about the German efforts. Having gleaned too much of my Arnhem history from Movies like, A Bridge too Far left me with some gaps in my overall understanding of the German actions at Arnhem

Another section covers a walking tour of the battlefield with a focus on 8 separate areas of the Oosterbeek Perimeter to focus on. Again, this is a welcome addition to any gamer's knowledge of the battle. 

The final section of this outstanding article deals with the movie depictions of Arnhem. While A Bridge too Far is quite well known, the black and white movie,  Theirs is the Glory is not so well known and is in many ways the better movie. It's often available on Youtube and well worth the time. This gem of a movie was shot in Oosterbeek in 1946 amidst the very same ruins. A knocked out King Tiger is readily visible in several scenes as a a working Tiger I and two Panthers. It's the only movie I have ever seen with that trifecta of German armor. The movie is primarily shot from the British perspective, but again is quite good. The Germans are rarely seen, except for the aforementioned tanks, which is a bit odd at times. But the battle scenes are still rather good. I recommend you take a gander at it when time permits.

So, that concludes our October visit to the Grumble Jones Library. It's getting dark early these days...and you just might want to have a care as you venture out into the evening streets...word is that a Golem might be about...

See you in November!

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