Author Topic: Topical fiction recommendation  (Read 5316 times)

sierran

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Topical fiction recommendation
« on: October 14, 2010, 08:15:02 pm »
I was randomly assigned to the HMS Otranto, an Armed Merchant Cruiser which seems to be cruising off South America in the logs I'm working on now.  Interestingly (to me) this ship appears to have been instrumental in the Battle of Coronel, having spotted the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau to begin the brouhaha (in which Maximilian Graf Spee beat the tar out of the RN, the rotter). 

Sorry to ramble...I bring this up because one of my favorite naval fiction works intimately concerns this very time and theater:  "Thunder at Dawn", part of the David Cochrane Smith series, by Alan Evans.  I strongly recommend this book for a vivid look at life in the coal-fired RN off South America in WWI, aboard the fictional light cruiser H.M.S. Thunder  ("Had to call 'er Thunder, didn't they?  Couldn't've very well called her Lightning!")

Actually, I'm also interested to note that Otranto met her end off the island of Islay, whose marvelous exports I enjoy on so many occasions:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islay_whisky
« Last Edit: October 14, 2010, 08:17:36 pm by sierran »

DJ_59

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2010, 01:30:01 am »

Islay Whiskey, huh?  I haven't heard of that.  Something quite special, I take it?

That book sounds intriguing.  My favorite fiction series in this area is the Hornblower series.  We had a nice, leather-bound set of them in the house when I was a kid.  Fell in love with them when I was about ten.  I'm trying to remember the name of the author.  I think it's Forrester.  I could look it up on Google, but I'll bet everyone here already knows.


sierran

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2010, 02:33:03 am »
If you like Hornblower, you'll probably like Alan Evans - but you're almost *sure* to like the Master & Commander series by Patrick O'Brian, and there's a lot more of those to love! :-)

Islay whisky - no e - oh, my yes.  Lagavulin is one of my favorite things in all the world, with (the old) Ardbeg 17 right up there.  Bowmore and Bruichladdich and Laphroig, hooray!

* sierran heads off in search of a dram...

ShedMonkey

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2010, 01:39:41 pm »
Now let's all watch HMS Otranto wander all over the ocean this afternoon  ;)

sierran

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2010, 10:04:41 pm »
Ha, she will anyway, I seem to have fatfingered some position inputs and can't go back and edit them yet!

DJ_59

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 05:01:47 am »

That explains the ship in my bathtub.  Nice going, fatfinger!  ;-)


sarah_k

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2010, 06:29:10 pm »
hey Otranto crewmembers!
I started a thread in the Ships, Battles & People section just for stuff about HMS Otranto, and added some cool pics from Islay that I found online. Who transcribed the logs of early November, when the Battle of Coronel took place, and what was it like? Can you post a picture of the pages? (Haven't figured out if I can see pages that I didn't transcribe myself).

I'm pretty fascinated by Otranto's journey. Bit miffed that I've done so many pages but just missed out those when something exciting happened :-) She's back in port now at Sierra Leone (late Nov-early Dec '14), there's not even any wind to report.

Caro

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2010, 08:20:21 pm »
Hi sarah_k. According to Zookeeper Chris, 'It's true that the current interface won't let you read the entire log in order, but a view that lets you do that will appear at some point. It may not do so until the log is fully transcribed, but it'll be there.'
So don't go away.  ;D

sarah_k

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2010, 07:24:58 pm »
yay. Thanks zookeepers.

philip.brohan

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 09:49:00 pm »
The log of the Otranto for Nov. 1st, 1914 (the batle of Coronel), shows the Navy at its most phlegmatic - they seem to feel the action is hardly worth an entry.

http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ADM53-54099/ADM53-54099-047_0.jpg

DJ_59

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2010, 11:54:15 pm »

Wow, a 41 minute battle, at that.  Not like a few potshots.  Tell you one thing, though: that officer's handwriting is a pleasure to read.  There's not a lot of stopping to make a "best guess". 

I've actually run into a few battles that were transcribed like it's an afterthought.  And then some with at least some degree of detail.  It's fascinating to see just how non-standardized record keeping was.


oddstacks

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2010, 02:44:17 pm »
I can recommend Alexander Fullerton's "The Blooding of the Guns" which is a fictionalised account of the battle of Jutland, probably the biggest naval battle of WW1.

tifrap

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 02:08:14 am »
Sarah_K
It is possible to navigate back through the .jpegs.
But not that easy to find one from a given date.

The way that you do it is this.

get a page from the log that you like - say
H.M.S Crocus - this is the 8th of September 1921
http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ADM%2053-74526/ADM%2053-74526-120_0.jpg

take a note of the last few numbers - the ones before the .jpg
ADM 53-74526-120_0.jpg

the last number is either a 0 or a 1
0 = the left hand page of the open log -
in this case the even date, the 8th of September
1 = the right hand page of the log -
so changing the last number to a 1 ADMxxxx-120_1.jpg
will give you the page for the 9th of September

so ADMxxxxxx-120_x.jpg will take you to a pair of open pages - a spread.
to navigate back - just reduce the ADMxxxx-120_x.jpg
by the number of spreads that you want to skip.

Skip ten spreads back to ADMxxxxxxxxxxx-110_0.jpg and it should land you twenty days earlier.
it gives the page for 19th of August.
http://oldweather.s3.amazonaws.com/ADM%2053-74526/ADM%2053-74526-110_0.jpg

I'm sure it would be easy enough to figure out roughly how many spreads you would need to reduce by to get wherever you want.

btw. this is quite safe. if you put in a number that has no page associated you will just get an xml error page, just click the back button and you'll be returned to where you last were.

I haven't explored the numbers preceeding these, they probably refer to volumes (ie individual log books) and perhaps vessels.
If anyone figures it out be sure to post it.

and perhaps the pages of the most interesting engagements too.

navalhistory

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2010, 08:20:02 am »
Oddstacks,

Sorry to be pedantic, but Jutland was the greatest naval battery in history. The US-Japanese Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944 is considered by many to be even greater as more ships were involved, but Leyte involved four separate battles. Jutland was one heaving mass of battleships, battlecruiser, cruisers and destroyers in one corner of the North Sea.

Gordon

oddstacks

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Re: Topical fiction recommendation
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2010, 02:56:34 pm »
The two terms are not mutually exclusive