Manchester United 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

Game corresponding to the Premier League played at Old Trafford.

SAF asked for a response to the debacle on Wednesday night and the team duly delivered, albeit against a Wolves side that bravely came to play at Old Trafford and were carved open by some good wing play. Ferdinand seemed to roll back the years and Evra as well as Valencia had their best games in a long time for the Reds. Carrick returned in centre mid and Evans stepped in for Vidic, whose season is now over as his cruciate ligament injury was confirmed, get well soon Nemanja. Nani opened the scoring and Rooney got his first goal in 8 league matches. A dominant United went in 2-0 at half time but 5 minutes after the restart Wolves had pegged one back via the head of Fletcher. That said Valencia and Nani drove the Wolves full backs crazy as they continued to carry out penetrative runs and put in telling crosses. Nani got his second from a Valencia assist and Rooney buried a difficult volley, also from a Valencia cross. Welbeck and Macheda could have also added to the score. What a pity we did not see more of this in Switzerland last Wednesday.

Manchester United Team

1   David De Gea

3  Patrice Evra

5  Rio Ferdinand

6  Johnny Evans

12 Chris Smalling

17 Nani

16 Micheal Carrick

4  Phil Jones

25 Antonio Valencia

10 Wayne Rooney

19 Danny Welbeck

SUBSTITUTES

Ezekyel Fryers for Patrice Evra

Federico Macheda for Danny Wellbeck

Ashley Young for Nani

Skyrim Patch 1.3

Skyrim’s new 1.2 patch seems to have addressed the most pertinent issues arising out of Patch 1.2.

Dragons are now flying in the right direction and resistances seem to have been fixed. So far, had a good three hour session on Wednesday and no issues at all. Bethesda is also promising a bigger patch fixing a lot the Quest glitches. The Creation Kit is also being released in January which means MODS 😀

So set your Steam back to Online mode, download and happy playing.

War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

Message from SS Sunfish, near Babeldoab to SUBCOMPAC

***HAVE TORPEDOED ENEMY CARRIER***TWO EXPLOSIONS FROM FOUR FISH LAUNCHED***SUSPECT ENEMY SHIP TO BE IJNS KAGA***SUBJECTED TO DEPTH CHARGE ATTACK, NO DAMAGE***WILL SHADOW AND PROCEED TO ATTACK SHOULD OPPORTUNITY ARISE***OUT***

Basle 2 Manchester United 1

Corresponding to Champions League Match Day 6.

Disastrous night for United as we crash out of the Champions League and into the Europa League. Mistakes, a lack of finishing, injuries, lack of wing play and once again the total lack of creativity in midfield meant that United lack depth of penetration. A mistake by De Gea in a clearance that landed at the feet of Streller that volleyed it straight in meant United were one down after 9 minutes. Vidic then suffered what appears to be a very serious knee injury and was stretchered off just before half time. Ryan Giggs did not have shall we say a stellar game and neither did Young, starting to see a drop in his performances (are we slightly out of our depth Ashely?) Frei headed in Basle’s second and Phil Jones headed in United’s consolation. The Silver Lining, we go into the Europa League, we win it and we have all three European trophies. City also out. Fucked off and pissed off but you sow what you reap and those four points dropped at home mean we’re out.

Manchester United Team

1   David De Gea

3  Patrice Evra

5  Rio Ferdinand

15 Nemanja Vidic

12 Chris Smalling

17 Nani

11 Ryan Giggs

4  Phil Jones (Goal)

18 Ashley Young

13 Ji-Sung Park

10 Wayne Rooney

SUBSTITUTES

Johnny Evans for Nemanja Vidic

Danny Welbeck for Ashley Young

Federico Macheda for Ji-Sung Park

Book Review: The Longest Siege Tobruk

Finished The Longest Siege: Tobruk The Battle that Saved North Africa by Robert Lyman.

First thing that I took umbridge with what the author’s repeated claim that the Siege of Tobruk was the longest of the British Empire. Gibraltar was under siege between 24th June 1779 and 7th February 1783 during the American War of Independence by the forces of Spain and France. That made it substantially longer than the siege of Tobruk! To learn about the Great Siege click here.

Anyhow I really enjoyed this book as it took me back to my early years of reading WW2 history as a 12 year old and my fascination with Rommel and the Afrika Korps. The book is written in a very reader friendly manner and does not have the plodding history book feel the more scholarly works, such as the ones by the excellent Glantz have. Layman relies heavily on accounts of the veterans of both sides that were at Tobruk and these one on one accounts add a personal flavour to the story being told. Though it lacks some depth, some events are covered in great detail others are glossed over, the book flows well from the initial Italian attacks into Egypt and O’Connor’s counter offensive. One cannot fail to notice how easily Italian forces were easily brushed aside, though the author goes to some lengths to explain that not all Italian units wiltered immediately upon being fired on.

Rommel’s introduction is handled briefly, as it should as the thrust of the book is the siege of Tobruk proper and not the arrival of the Desert Fox. I found it very interesting that very similar mistakes were made by the Italian and  British commanders as Rommel basically copied O’Connor’s outflanking tactics in reverse. However one must take into consideration the fact that the Army of the Nile was weakend by Churchill’s insistence to send ANZAC troops, desert veterans to Greece to support an already defeated enemy. Rommel swept the British back to the wire with almost as much speed as the Italians had been swept out of Cyrenaica.

Layman handles the build up to the siege well and I believe that, through the use of first hand accounts from both sides, portrays the initial battles very well, especially upto the first German breakthrough. He also goes to great lengths to praise the ‘Diggers’ and a strong feeling that the other Commonwealth and British troops in the garrison were in somewhat awe of them comes through. Yet he also gives great credit to the ‘Tobruk Tanks’ relying heavily on the accounts of Rea Leaky, a combatant at Tobruk.  The feeling of security and confidence the British had in their Matlidas was offset by the lack of confidence in the Crusader types and the fear of the 88 dual purpose gun. This was most evident in the aftermath of Operation Brevity and the reader can almost tangibly feel the rise and ebb of the hopes of the besieged troops.

The Royal and Allied Navies are given their due as well as we are regaled by accounts of transports and destroyers running the gauntlet of X Flieger Korps in first bringing in supplies then in taking out the 9th Australian Division. The Navy also suffered its far share of losses during the siege as well. The RAF also gets its honourable mention especially early on when Hurricanes were stationed within the perimeter until the airfield at El Gubbi came under direct fire and the RAF flew out.

My favourite chapter of the book is ‘Siege Rats’ that goes into great detail about the day to day in the garrison during the main part of the siege. The long hot (50 degree +) days and the colder nights when patrolling on both sides became the norm. The lack of water for personal hygiene features in all the veteran’s accounts but there is enough evidence to suggest that there was a general shortage, Tobruk itself having being well stocked by the Italians before its capture. Though many a digger reminisced that in hindsight all the initial looting and  wastage was not a good idea! The final chapters of the book deal with the breakthrough at Ed Duda to link up with Operation Crusader. The way Layman deals with these chapters makes me think that had Rommel had more troops the link up could have been avoided. As such I think the whole siege can be described in two words, ‘not enough’. Not enough troops to ring the Egyptian border with steel while subjugating Tobruk and not enough troops to breakout from the city!

All in all a decent read that at times lacks depth but for a 292 book it is informative and entertaining enough!

I am now reading Alamein, War Without Hate by John Bierman and Colin Smith, and already there is a lot of correlation of accounts and evidence in both books. A review will be posted later when I finish it.

Aston Villa 0 Manchester United 1

Match corresponding to the Premier League and played at Villa Park.

 

Back to the Premier League meant back to a more established line up. De Gea was on the bench for this one and Lindegaard kept goal and a clean sheet. The match as a spectacle was a disappointment as Villa showed how much of a dire side they have come while United ploughed ahead solidly but failed to create little of note, midfield again! The match was plagued by injuries. Chicharito went over his own ankle quite painfully and was stretched off with his ankle in a splint. Rio Ferdinand also limped off injured while Villa lost keeper Given and Jermaine Jenas to self inflicted injuries. Phil Jones scored his first senior goal after being assisted  by Nani. Now to Basle and securing qualification to the knock outs of the Champions League

Manchester United Team

34 Anders Lindegaard

3   Patrice Evra

5   Rio Ferdinand

15 Nemanja Vidic

12 Chris Smalling

17 Nani

4  Phil Jones (Goal)

16 Michael Carrick

18 Ashley Young

10 Wayne Rooney

14 Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez

SUBSTITUTES

Antonio Valencia for Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez

Ryan Giggs for Rio Ferdinand

Danny Welbeck for Ashley Young