Simon Forty was educated at Sedbergh School and London University's School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He has been involved in publishing for over three decades and specializes in military history having contributed to a large number of books. He was also general editor of World War I: A Visual Encyclopedia. Simon loves in Devon with his wife and two children.
This title features over 120 large-format illustrations present detailed and fascinating wartime cartography. Key battles such as the Somme, Mons, Gallipoli, Jutland and Ypres are given extensive coverage alongside fascinating detail pieces such as airship raids and stations, communication systems, Orders of Battle, railroad routes and battlefield medical stations. The approach also provides a detailed chronological history of the conflict and will appeal to military historians and family historians alike. The Great War was so devastating - eight million lives were lost globally - that in its aftermath a horrified world expected it to be the final chapter in armed conflict. Mapping The First World War provides a uniquely different perspective on the 'war to end all wars'. An introduction details the causes and progress of the war and is followed by over a hundred maps and charts that show the broad sweep of events, from Germany's 1914 war goals to the final positions of the troops. There are maps depicting movements and battles as well as related documents, such as those on levels of conscription and numbers of weapons. As in all wars, maps were vital to the military organization of all sides during World War I. Before each military event there was the planning, the reconnaissance, and the conjecture as to enemy positions. After the event there would be debriefing, analysis of success and failure, and a redrawing of maps to show new troop positions and boundaries. All of the maps featured in this book have been drawn from the extensive collection held by the National Archives at Kew in west London.
The battle of Normandy ended as the Allied armies crossed the Seine at the end of August 1944, a month after Operation Cobra had broken the stalemate. The Allies harried the retreating Germans, who left their tanks and heavy weapons south of the Seine, and by mid-September the Allies were coming up against the defences of Germany itself, the impressive Westwall. As far as the Allies were concerned, the Germans were beaten. The scent of immediate victory was in the air, the only question was where to apply the coup de grace. Logistics demanded that this should be a single thrust rather than Eisenhower's broad front approach. Montgomery-the architect of victory in Normandy-proposed a daring plan to circumvent the Westwall, thrust towards Berlin, and make use of the newly created 1st Allied Airborne Army. The plan was simple: use the Paratroopers to hold key bridges along a single route along which British XXX Corps would make an advance that would be rapid and violent, and without regard to what is happening on the flanks. US 101st Airborne would land north of Eindhoven; 82nd Airborne at Nijmegen; British 1st Airborne at Arnhem-the so-called bridge too far. Unfortunately, the plan was flawed, the execution imperfect, and the Germans far from beaten. In spite of the audacious actions of the Paratroopers who would cover themselves with glory, Operation Market Garden showed that the German ground forces would still provide the Allies with stiff opposition in the West. And then, in 1977, A Bridge Too Far came out. With levels of realism that wouldn't be approached for twenty years, the movie produced a view of the battle that subverted reality and permeated public perception. Just as George C. Scott produced the definitive Patton, so A Bridge Too Far provided an unnuanced view of the battles that historians have battled to correct ever since. As with its companion volumes on D-Day, the Bocage, and the Ardennes battlefields, this book provides a balanced, up-to-date view of the operation making full use of modern research. With over 500 illustrations including many maps, aerial and then and now photography, it will provide the reader with an easy-to-read, up-to-date examination of each part of the operation, benefitting from on-the-ground research by Tom Timmermans, who lives in Eindhoven.
Hadrian's Wall is the largest, most spectacular historical monument in Britain. Nothing else approaches its vast scale: a land wall running 73 miles from east to west and a sea wall stretching at least 26 miles down the Cumbrian coast. Some of its forts are as large as Britain's most formidable medieval castles, and with its mile towers, barracks and soldier's leisure facilities, the site allows an astonishingly rich insight into Roman frontier life. Hadrian's Wall Manual looks at the design and construction of the wall, from the initial land survey to its busiest period as Rome's most northern frontier.
Just as the Anglo-Canadian forces in the east found it difficult to advance beyond Caen after D-Day, so the US First Army laboured to advance through the Norman bocage country in the west. The lethal struggle that developed there was a defining episode in the Normandy campaign, and this photographic history is a vivid introduction to it. Through a selection of over 150 carefully chosen and meticulously captioned wartime photographs Simon Forty traces the course of the battle and gives the reader a graphic impression of the conditions, the terrain and the experience of the troops. The Germans mounted a tenacious defence. They fought from prepared positions in the high hedgerows. Each cramped field and narrow lane became a killing ground. But the Americans adapted their tactics and brought in special equipment including bulldozers and tanks with hedgerow cutters to force their way through. The losses were appalling as the Germans used snipers, mines, machineguns and artillery to great effect. Inexorably, however, and with enormous bravery, First Army solved their tactical problems, inflicted heavy casualties on the defenders and ground their way to Saint-L .
Caen, a D-Day objective on 6 June 1944, did not fall to the British and Canadian troops of Second Army until 6 August, by which time much of the city had been reduced to rubble. The two-month struggle was a crucial stage in the Normandy campaign and, as Simon Forty demonstrates in this photographic history, one of the most controversial. His detailed, graphic account gives the reader a fascinating insight into the opposing forces, the conditions, the terrain, the equipment and weaponry deployed-and it illustrates just how intense and protracted the fighting was on the ground. The reasons for the slow Allied advance have been hotly disputed. Deficiencies in British and Canadian equipment and tactics have been blamed, as has the tenacity of the German resistance. Ultimately a sequence of Allied operations sapped the defenders' strength, and it is these operations-Perch, Martlet, Epsom, Windsor, Charnwood, Jupiter, Atlantic, Goodwood-that feature strongly in the striking photographs that have been selected for this book. They record in the most dramatic fashion the character of the fighting and show how even the SS divisions and heavy tank battalions were eventually defeated.
Just after its seventieth anniversary, the Battle of the Bulge has lost none of its impact. The largest battle fought by US troops on the continent of Europe started in a surprise attack on December 16, 1944, by four German armies, spearheaded by the cream of the German Panzer forces. Under the cover of bad weather and heavy snow, Hitler's last roll of the dice was intended to retake Antwerp, split the Allies, divide their political leadership, and force peace in the West, thus allowing the German forces to concentrate on defeating the Red Army. Strategic pipedream or not, the attack was furious and drained the Eastern Front of reinforcements: 12 armored and 29 infantry divisions, some 2,000 tanks and assault guns-mainly PzKpfw IVs (800), Panthers (750) and Tigers (250 including some of the new King Tigers)- spearheaded the assault, which smashed into the American First and Ninth Armies. Near-complete surprise was achieved thanks to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with offensive plans, and poor reconnaissance. The Germans attacked where least expected-the forested Ardennes-a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of the weather conditions, which grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. The Allied response was magnificent. Initial reverses brought out the best of Eisenhower's armies, which fought with determination and grit against the enemy and the elements. The harsh battles are best summed up by the defense of the northern shoulder around the Elsenborn Ridge, the battle for St. Vith, and in the south the siege of Bastogne, where the town's commander, Gen. McAuliffe, rejected German calls for surrender with the pithy reply: Nuts. Within ten days the German attack had been nullified. Patton, at the time planning an attack further south, wheeled his Third Army round in a brilliant maneuver that relieved Bastogne and set up a counterattack which would drive the Germans back behind the Rhine. The Ardennes Battlefields includes details of what can be seen on the ground today-hardware, memorials, museums, and cemeteries-using a mixture of media to provide an overview of the campaign: maps old and new highlight what has survived and what hasn't; then and now photography allows fascinating comparisons with the images taken at the time; aerial photos give another angle to the story. The fifth book by Leo Marriott and Simon Forty provides a different perspective to this crucial battlefield.
The denouement of the battle of Normandy, the fighting around Falaise and Chambois in August 1944 and the pursuit of the retreating German armies to the Seine provided the Allies with an immense victory. After ten weeks of hard attritional fighting, the Allies had broken loose from the bocage and the Germans' deep defenses around Caen: by the end of September they would be close to the German border. As US First Army and British Second Army squeezed the western and northern edges of the German salient, so Third Army rushed headlong eastwards and then north to create the lower of two pincers-the other formed as the Canadian First Army and the Polish 1st Armoured Division pushed south of Caen. As could be expected, the Germans did not simply give up: they fought furiously to keep the pincers from closing. When they did, attacks from inside the pocket to break out and outside the pocket to break in led to fierce fighting between Chambois and Argentan. When the dust settled, between 80,000 and 100,000 troops had been trapped by the Allied encirclement. Estimates vary considerably, but it seems safe to say that at least 10,000 of the German forces were killed and around 50,000 became PoWs. The rest, however, escaped, but without most of their equipment, destroyed in the battle or abandoned in the retreat over the Seine. Those that did were subsequently to reform, rearm and conduct an effective defense into late 1944. The Past& Present Series reconstructs historical battles by using photography, juxtaposing modern views with those of the past together with concise explanatory text. It shows how much infrastructure has remained and how much such as outfits, uniforms, and ephemera has changed, providing a coherent link between now and then.
While the 6th Airborne Division had landed in France on D-Day and covered itself in glory, its counterpart, the 1st Airborne Division, had last seen action during an amphibious assault at Taranto on September 9, 1943, as part of the invasion of Italy. Returned to the UK in December 1943, it was held in reserve during the battle of Normandy and spent three months waiting for action, as plan after plan was proposed and then discarded, such was the speed of the Allied pursuit of the Germans. In September 1944, however, 1st Airborne played a leading role in Operation Market-the air component of Operation Market Garden, an audacious attempt by the Allies to bypass the Siegfried Line and advance into the Ruhr. It was to be 1st Airborne's last action of the war. Encountering more resistance than expected, including II SS Panzer Corps, the division landed too far from Arnhem bridge, and fought bravely but in vain. Held up en route, particularly at Nijmegen, XXX Corps' advance to Arnhem stuttered and ran late. After nine days of fighting, 1st Airborne had lost 8,000 men around Arnhem when the survivors retreated across the Lower Rhine to safety. During those nine days, however, they had created a legend: first as the small unit under Lt-Col John Frost held the bridge too far and then as the Oosterbeek perimeter came under sustained attack waiting for XXX Corps to arrive. The Past& Present Series reconstructs historical battles by using photography, juxtaposing modern views with those of the past together with concise explanatory text. It shows how much infrastructure has remained and how much such as outfits, uniforms, and ephemera has changed, providing a coherent link between now and then.
Bastogne will live forever in the annals of American military history. From the resounding 'Nuts', in response to the German demand for surrender, to the breaking of the siege by Patton's Third Army - brilliantly disengaged from its positions on the Saar, wheeled 90 degrees and marched northwards faster than any thought possible - the defense of Bastogne and victory in the Ardennes was one of the greatest feats of American arms in the European Theatre. This title in the Past & Present series looks at the encirclement, siege, and relief with then and now photographs; specially commissioned aerial photos, and a wealth of detail.