johnsmachines

machines which I have made, am making, or intend to make, and some other stuff. If you find this site interesting, please leave a comment. I read every comment and respond to most.

Travel Appeal

Relax.  this appeal is not asking for money.

I have been wanting to see  1. the Trevithick dredger engine in the London Science Museum  2. The Dardanelles cannon at Southampton  3. The Musee des Artes Et Metiers (Paris)   4. The York train museum   …. for ages.   And waiting for months and months for SWMBO to agree to set aside the time to do so.  Finally, today, I had a frank discussion with her.

And she has agreed!  I am going alone.   Considering my aims, that suits both of us.

There is a price to pay (of course), but more about that some other time.

The appeal is for recommendations of what to see.  I lived in UK for almost 2 years, 1979-80.  But I was working hard, and sightseeing was brief and of the traditional tourist variety…  stately homes and countryside mostly.  Beautiful and interesting.

But this trip will be for me only.  And I daresay that my readers will get some reports too.  I want to see industrial England.   Probably wont get to Wales, Scotland or Ireland this trip.     Going early May to early June.  Will probably be mainly London, Southampton, Cornwall, Manchester, Birmingham, York areas.

So, if you know of a particular engine, museum, ship, or industrial history site, or other industrial/scientific “must see” in England or Paris, please leave a comment.

I am also considering a new camera.  I dont fancy carting around my excellent and reliable, but large and heavy Nikon with lenses and flash guns, but I want something a bit more versatile than the iPhone, and something that will take videos.   I have not looked at cameras for a couple of decades, and suspect that the options might have changed somewhat.  Recommendations welcome, please.

Another Good Read. “The Mongol Art of War”

I will not be in the workshop for a few days, so I will post some more reviews of books which I have really enjoyed.  (you don’t want to hear about the ones which I thought were crap do you?)

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Paperback, 211pp, Pen & Sword Military.

THE MONGOL ART OF WAR  by Timothy May

In the thirteenth century the Mongol armies, led by Chinggis Khan and his successors, swept out of the depths of central Asia to conquer China, most of Asia, and much of  Eastern Europe to form the largest contiguous empire which has ever existed.

It was probably only the death of the Khan which prevented the Mongols from conquering all of Europe, in their quest to rule the entire world.

The Mongols rarely lost a battle. 

Dr Timothy May is an expert in Mongol history , and in this eminently  readable book he analyses the available evidence to explain how armies of horse archers took walled cities and defeated heavily armored European knights.   Much of the history of the Mongol conquests is described, but the book is more about how and why the Mongol armies were so successful.

As usual with successful warlords, the Mongol characteristics described are intelligent and ruthless leadership, terror, adoption of new technologies, effective organization, and disciplined soldiers. 

There is finally a most interesting description of the legacy of the Mongol “art of war”, including how the tactics and high degree of mobility of the horse archer armies has been studied and copied by more modern armies, including the panzer forces of the Germans in WW2.

As expected in a book written by a respected academic, there is an extensive glossary, and extra notes for each chapter, select bibliography, and index.

This book will appeal to the general reader, as well as students of the era.

Another excellent read from Pen and Sword.  Highly recommended.

Dr JCL Viggers.

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Some basic, but quite useful line drawn maps

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