Direct Action

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Down Time Books

I wanted to give everyone some things to do during your downtime. I have talked about military movies in the past, so I thought books would be the next best thing to cover. I have always been a firm believer in trying to learn new things. I believe during downtime; you should be doing what you can to improve wherever you can. I had an old C.O. that use to say, “always improve your fighting position.” He meant that you might think you are good, but you can always be better. Uses downtime to improve yourself. You can take a dive COI online or read about different things that might help you. There used to be a time you would have to take books with you on deployment to give you something to do when you were not working. I have always tried to read books about military history as I think you can still learn from the past. Here are some books in no order, but The Element of Surprise by Darryl Young is one of my favorites. There are many SEAL Vietnam books, and this was the first one I read and the one I like the most. I had more on here, but I cut it back. I took books out that are also movies, like Band of Brothers, Black Hawk Down, and We were Soldiers. As I am sure you know, you will get more from the book than from the movie. I also left out the books I know everyone has read or knows about or says they have read, like Sun Tzu, many people love to say they have read that book.  

The Element of Surprise by Darryl Young

Journals of Robert Rogers of the Rangers by Robert Rogers

Inside the V.C. and the NVA by Michael Lanning and Dan Cragg

On War by Carl von Clausewitz

Attack by Erwin Rommel

On Guerrilla Warfare: Mao Tse-tung

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence

The Liberator by Alex Kershaw

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

Stormtrooper Tactics: Innovation in the German Army by Bruce Gudmundsson

The One that Got Away by Chris Ryan

The Odd Angry Shot by William Nagle and Paul Ham

Into the Mouth of the Cat: The Story of Lance Sijan, by Malcolm McConnell

My Commando Operations by Otto Skorzeny

Commando: Special Forces in World War II by Kenneth Macksey

American Commando: Evans Carlson, His Marine Raiders by John F. Wukovits

Striking Back: A Jewish Commando’s War Against the Nazis by Peter Masters

The Water is Never Cold: The Origins of U.S. Naval Combat Demolition Units, UDTs, and SEALs. by James Odell

We Few U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam by Nick Brokhausen

The Swamp Fox How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution by John Oller

The Jedburghs The Secret History of the Allied Special Forces by Will Irwin 

SOG The Secret Wars of America’s Commandos in Vietnam by John Plaster

Kokoda by Peter Fitzsimons

Never in Finer Company the Men of the Great War’s Lost Battalion by Edward G. Lengel

Brandenburg Division – Commandos of the Reich by Eric Lefevre

Bush War Operator by A.J. Balaam

Fire in the Night: Wingate of Burma, by John Smith

German Combat Divers in World War II by Michael Jung

Descent into Darkness: Pearl Harbor, 1941: A Navy Diver’s Memoir by Edward C. Raymer

Soldier Five, The Real Truth About the Bravo Two Zero Mission by Mike Coburn

SAS: Secret War in South East Asia by Peter Dickens

The Bear Went Over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan by Lester W. Grau,

Tribe: Sebastian Junger

The Last 100 Yards the NCO contribution to Warfare: by H.J. Pool


11 Responses to “SCUBAPRO Sunday – Down Time Books”

  1. Chris B says:

    One to add would be The Other Side of the Mountain, the companion book for The Bear Went Over the Mountain

    • ER says:

      Good point. Those are books you should read with a highlighter

      • Chris B says:

        Would have been nice if I had read them about 19 years ago. All kinds of good info

        • Rich P says:

          One more to add to those two The Zinky Boys it is 1st hand accounts from Russian soldiers from their time in country the name comes from the zink coffins they where returned in. I read it while I was there, interesting to see what it was like for them compared to us.

  2. Linz says:

    Thanks for the list.


    I’d add to ‘The Odd Angry Shot’ the following:

    -‘Through Enemy Eyes’ by David Sabben
    -‘View From A Low Bough’ by Barrie Crowley
    -‘When The Buffalo Fight’ by Lex McAuley


    • ER says:

      I did forget “ sleeping with your ears open” Gary McKay, i will look those other ones up. Thanks

      • linz says:

        You might also (if you can find them)…

        ‘First To Fight’ (Bob Breen): 1 RAR service with 173 AB in SVN (contrasting styles)
        ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ (O’Farrel): personal account of SAS ops in SVN.

  3. John says:

    One an eagle by anton meyer is a goodie. Its one I recommend to my friends children to read when they get the idea to serve in the military.

    • Ed says:

      John, the series is called ‘Once an Eagle’, and you are being way too simplistic in stating you “recommend this to friends children when they get the idea to serve in our military”.

      The protagonist in Once an Eagle is actually a stand up flag O, who actually gives a fuck. Maybe you could of been a bit more in detail and mentioned to those not in the know that it is the antagonist Courtney Massengale who is the political douche of the series. Just because we have a lot of generals and admirals like Courtney Douche-Massengale in reality Thant doesn’t mean good men and women can’t serve in our armed forces and remain honorable.

      I’d presume it’s you who is real douche since you didn’t mention your own children or if you ever have any.

  4. Eric Corbett says:

    Crazy that you made Darryl Young your first mention. I had the honor of meeting him when was in college at the University of Montana in the 90’s. We had to read “The Element of Suprise” and then he came to the class and talked to us, actually signed my copy. I got to hold the leaf spring with the lizard outline pictured in the book.