2014. január 8., szerda

Redcoats of the Twentieth Century – The Foresight War

Happy new year! What could trigger the most cataclysmic changes in world history in historical fiction? The most dangerous gamechanger is not a single piece of equipment or a lone ship but a single human mind from the future. Unexplained time travel occurs, and the dream scenario of military history buffs comes true, they can aid their favourite side with their tremendous knowledge. One Englishman can reshape the way his nation will fight this war. Who knows, maybe  the British Empire endures after the Foresight War. Military history expert Anthony G. Williams presents:

 The foresight superpowers (minor SPOILERS)

This is what this book, The Foresight War is about. A British military history professor (who else) makes an unexpected and unexplained time travel from 2003 to 1933. Maybe it's an odd alien sociological experiment, but the fellow actually has the chance to change the course of history and trigger something better than the pyrrhic victory awaits the British twelve years later. Now, to make the story more interesting, someone from future prompts the other side, the Axis as well! I don't think I reveal a big secret if I tell you that the British got the brighter one.

The novel is good enough to inspire fans. British  "Churchill" main battle tanks of The Foresight War. Picture from http://paintfan08.deviantart.com/gallery/7826067

The existence of these two messengers results in that the two World War Two combatants, Britain and the Nazi Germany will be far ahead in military doctrine and technology than the rest. What more, this reality's real contenders will strive for not repeating the mistakes of the „future”. The outcome of this altered war will lay on the struggle of these two foresight superpowers.


And the counterpart: the German Panzerkampfwagen IV "Panther"

A cleaner war for a better outcome

The battlefield technology in The Foresight War is more and more Cold War-like. This alternate World War Two is about the arms race between the two foresight powers, a cleaner war with more button-pushing and less of the human element. It's almost a clean war instead of the all out struggle, at least on the Western Front it is. 

The flow of events and the reshaped balance of power reminds me the Napoleonic Wars, where the only real opponent in the open was the British Army for the French, and the Old Guard is now the elite of the German army. This time, not a peace-minded nation tries to endure an unwanted war. These British redcoats of the 20th Century are an even match for the German war machine, and are prepared to set things right on the continent, before the commies take it all.

One single scout plane  in the right place and at the right time can change the outcome of the most dramatic battle over the Pacific

Everything before this big showdown are foreplay, and the book builds up this suspension well. What I did miss are more battle details from France, and the Eastern Front is very obscure as well. The flow of events are not really worked out well sometimes. The endgame is hasty and for me it was unbelievable. The historical characters, big shots are made from cardboard.

The green Americans enter the fray with the new Pershing tank in Europe in The Foresight War

A honourable effort

The way I see it, Anthony G. William's The Foresight War isn't much of a serious work about historical fiction, rather an interesting peak about the fictional use of shelved or afterthought technology that didn't make it to the front in time. It has its moments. If people outside the military history buff circles will appreciate it is an open question. Despite my grieving I enjoyed it, but the Foresight War wasn't something that made my mind moving. It's a tribute for the forum dwelling military-minded ilk and the odd British, God bless them!


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