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Angus Konstam - Author

About the Author

Angust Konstam is a widely published and respected military and naval historian, with numerous books to his credit. A former Royal Naval officer, maritime archaeologist and museum curator, he holds degrees from three universities, including a Masters degree from St. Andrews. Before that he studied Scottish Medieval history in Aberdeen University.

 

He is the author of several major books, including Historical Atlas of the Medieval World, Historical Atlas of the Crusades, books about pirates, Renaissance ships and the Scottish soldier. He has given numerous public lectures in Britain, as well as in Europe and North America, and his work has been translated into several languages.

 

He is frequently interviewed by the press in his capacity as a maritime historian, and has appeared live on both television and radio. He also made frequent appearances in television documentaries screened by the BBC and ITV, as well as the History and Discovery Channels.1.

Featured books by Angus Konstam

Other books by Angus Konstam

North Cape 1943

North Cape 1943

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/11/2020

The German battleship Scharnhorst had a reputation for being a lucky ship. Early in the war she fought off a British battlecruiser and sunk a carrier, before carrying out two successful forays into the Atlantic. In the spring of 1943, the Scharnhorst was redeployed to Norway. There, working in concert with other German warships such as the battleship Tirpitz, she posed a major threat to the Arctic convoys - the Allied sea lifeline to Russia. Her presence, alongside Tirpitz, forced the British to tie down ships in Arctic waters. When Tirpitz was put out of action, and Hitler demanded naval support for the war in Russia, the crew of the Scharnhorst under Rear-Admiral Bey, had to act. In late December 1943, she put to sea, her target an Allied convoy passing through the Barents Sea on its way to Murmansk. Unknown to Bey, the British were using the convoy as bait to draw the Scharnhorst into battle. What followed was a two-day running battle fought in rough seas and near-perpetual darkness, ending with the destruction of the Scharnhorst and all but 36 of her crew, ending any serious German naval threat to the Arctic convoy lifeline. In this illustrated study, leading naval historian Angus Konstam offers a fascinating new insight into this key engagement. He combines expert analysis with his unique knack for storytelling to offer a fascinating new perspective on the battle which sank the Scharnhorst.

Mutiny on the Spanish Main

Mutiny on the Spanish Main

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/10/2020

Mutiny on the Spanish Main tells the dramatic story of HMS Hermione, a British frigate which, in 1797, was the site of the bloodiest mutiny in British naval history, which saw the death of her captain and many of her officers. Though her crew handed her over to the Spanish, Hermione was subsequently recaptured in a daring raid on a Caribbean port two years later. Drawing on letters, reports, ship's logs and memoirs of the period, as well as previously unpublished Spanish sources, Angus Konstam intertwines extensive research with a fast-paced but balanced account of the mutiny and its consequences. Illustrated with maps and diagrams tracing the events as they unfolded, and supported by informative inserts on the technical and tactical nuances of seamanship and naval warfare in the period, this book is both a fascinating narrative retelling and an informative guide to one of the most notorious events in the history of the Royal Navy.

American Privateers of the Revolutionary War

American Privateers of the Revolutionary War

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/02/2020

During the American War of Independence (1775-83), Congress issued almost 800 letters of marque, as a way of combating Britain's overwhelming naval and mercantile superiority. At first, it was only fishermen and the skippers of small merchant ships who turned to privateering, with mixed results. Eventually though, American shipyards began to turn out specially-converted ships, while later still, the first purpose-built privateers entered the fray. These American privateers seized more than 600 British merchant ships over the course of the war, capturing thousands of British seamen. Indeed, Jeremiah O'Brien's privateer Unity fought the first sea engagement of the Revolutionary War in the Battle of Machias of 1775, managing to capture a British armed schooner with just 40 men, their guns, axes and pitchforks, and the words 'Surrender to America'. By the end of the war, some of the largest American privateers could venture as far as the British Isles, and were more powerful than most contemporary warships in the fledgling US Navy. A small number of Loyalist privateers also put to sea during the war, and preyed on the shipping of their rebel countrymen. Packed with fascinating insights into the age of privateers, this book traces the development of these remarkable ships, and explains how they made such a significant contribution to the American Revolutionary War.

Tirpitz in Norway

Tirpitz in Norway

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/11/2019

In September 1943, under the cover of darkness, six British midget submarines crept into the heart of enemy territory, penetrating a heavily guarded Norwegian fjord in an attempt to eliminate the threat of the powerful German battleship, the Tirpitz. Numerous previous attempts to attack the ship from both air and sea had failed, and this mission was carefully strategized, and undertaken by skilled operatives who had undergone extensive training in an isolated sea loch. Though five of the six X-Craft submarines were either lost or captured, two crews had just enough time to lay their explosive charges, which detonated after they were forced to the surface, putting the Tirpitz out of action for a crucial six-month period. Masterminded from a top-secret naval headquarters on the east coast of Scotland, Operation Source has been memorialised as one of the most daring naval raids of World War II. This new study tells the complete story of this epic operation in unparalleled detail, supported by full-colour illustrations and contemporary photography.

British Escort Carriers 1941-45

British Escort Carriers 1941-45

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/09/2019

In 1941, as the Battle of the Atlantic raged and ship losses mounted, the British Admiralty desperately tried to find ways to defeat the U-Boat threat to Britain's maritime lifeline. Facing a shortage of traditional aircraft carriers and shore-based aircraft, the Royal Navy, as a stopgap measure, converted merchant ships into small 'escort carriers'. These were later joined by a growing number of American-built escort carriers, sent as part of the Lend-Lease agreement. The typical Escort Carrier was small, slow and vulnerable, but it could carry about 18 aircraft, which gave the convoys a real chance to detect and sink dangerous U-Boats. Collectively, their contribution to an Allied victory was immense, particularly in the long and gruelling campaigns fought in the Atlantic and Arctic. Illustrated throughout with detailed full-colour artwork and contemporary photographs, this fascinating study explores in detail how these adaptable ships had such an enormous impact on the outcome of World War II's European Theatre.

Hunt the Bismarck

Hunt the Bismarck

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/09/2019

Hunt the Bismarck tells the story of Operation Rheinubung, the Atlantic sortie of the Nazi Germany's largest battleship in May 1941. Bismarck entered service in the summer of 1940. She was well-armed, with eight 15-inch guns as well as a powerful array of lighter weapons, while her armoured protection earned her the reputation of being unsinkable. This claim was finally put to the test in May 1941, when she sortied into the Atlantic and fought the legendary battle of the Denmark Strait, destroying HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy. Bismarck was now loose in the North Atlantic. However, damage sustained in the battle limited her ability to roam at will, while the Royal Navy deployed the Home Fleet to revenge the Hood. The stage was set for the greatest chase story in the history of naval warfare. Drawing on a wealth of first-hand accounts, and intertwining extensive research into a fast-paced narrative, this is the most readable and accurate account of Bismarck's epic voyage ever produced.

European Ironclads 1860-75

European Ironclads 1860-75

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/04/2019

From Spain to Russia, and from Ottoman Turkey to Bismarck's Prussia, this book explores 15 years that transformed European naval warfare. When the Gloire slid down the Toulon slipway in 1859, it changed sea power forever. With this ship, the world's first oceangoing ironclad, France had a warship that could sink any other, and which was proof against the guns of any wooden ship afloat. Instantly, an arms race began between the great navies of Europe - first to build their own ironclads, and then to surpass each other's technology and designs. As both armour and gun technology rapidly improved, naval architects found new ways to mount and protect guns. The ram briefly came back into fashion, and Italian and Austro-Hungarian fleets fought the ironclad era's great battle at Lissa. By the end of this revolutionary period, the modern battleship was becoming recognizable, and new naval powers were emerging to dominate Europe's waters.

The Pirate World

The Pirate World

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/02/2019

Highly illustrated with colour images and specially commissioned maps throughout, this is a unique exploration of the pirate world. Often romanticised in print and on the silver screen, real-life pirates were a brutal menace that plagued the high seas. In this book, Angus Konstam separates myth from reality, tracing the history of piracy through the centuries, from the pirates who plagued the Ancient Egyptians to the Viking raids and on to the era of privateers. He discusses the so-called 'Golden Age of Piracy' and colourful characters such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, before examining the West's initial encounters with Eastern pirates off the Chinese coast and the phenomenon of the modern pirate.

Sink the Tirpitz 1942-44

Sink the Tirpitz 1942-44

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/10/2018

This is the story of an air campaign in which each bomb could dramatically influence the course of the war. In January 1942, the powerful German battleship Tirpitz sailed into her new base in a Norwegian fjord, within easy reach of the Arctic Convoys. Her destruction suddenly became a top Allied priority. But sinking a modern and formidably armed battleship was no easy task, especially when she lay secure in a remote, mountainous fjord, protected by anti-torpedo nets, radar, flak guns and smoke generators. This book charts the full, complex story of the air war against Tirpitz, from the Fleet Air Arm's failed torpedo attack at sea, the RAF's early Halifax raids, and the carrier-borne Barracuda airstrikes of Operations Mascot, Tungsten and Goodwood, to the three Tallboy attacks that finally crippled and sank her. With detailed maps and diagrams, it explains the aircraft and ordnance the British had to work with, the evolving strategic situation, and why the task was so difficult.

British Ironclads 1860-75

British Ironclads 1860-75

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/09/2018

In November 1859, the French warship La Gloire was launched. She was the world's first seagoing ironclad - a warship built from wood, but whose hull was clad in a protective layer of iron plate. Britain, not to be outdone, launched her own ironclad the following year - HMS Warrior - which, when she entered service, became the most powerful warship in the world. Just like the Dreadnought half a century later, this ship changed the nature of naval warfare forever, and sparked a frantic arms race. The elegant but powerful Warrior embodied the technological advances of the early Victorian era, and the spirit of this new age of steam, iron and firepower. Fully illustrated with detailed cutaway artwork, this book covers the British ironclad from its inception and emergence in 1860, to 1875, a watershed year, which saw the building of a new generation of recognisably modern turreted battleships.

Viking Warrior Operations Manual

Viking Warrior Operations Manual

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/03/2018

In the summer of 793 AD Viking raiders attacked and looted the monastic island of Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland. This assault was only the beginning, within 18 months huge areas of the British coast was being devastated by the terrifying shi

British Destroyers 1939-45

British Destroyers 1939-45

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/11/2017

As the possibility of war loomed in the 1930s, the British Admiralty looked to update their fleet of destroyers to compete with the new ships being built by Germany and Japan, resulting in the commissioning of the powerful Tribal-class. These were followed by the designing of the first of several slightly smaller ships, which carried fewer guns than the Tribals, but were armed with a greatly enlarged suite of torpedoes. The first of these, the 'J/K/M class' was followed by a number of wartime variants, with slight changes to their weaponry to suit different wartime roles. Designed to combat enemy surface warships, aircraft and U-boats, the British built these destroyers to face off against anything the enemy could throw at them. Using a collection of contemporary photographs and beautiful colour artwork, this is a fascinating new study of the ships that formed the backbone of the Royal Navy during World War II.

Big Guns

Big Guns

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/06/2017

Over seven centuries the artillery piece has evolved from a status symbol to one of the most deadly weapons wielded by man. Using gunpowder weapons was initially something of a black art, but over the centuries gunnery became a science, a dependable method of breaching fortifications, or overcoming an enemy on the battlefield. By the 19th century, most European armies had artillery units manned with trained gunners; Napoleon, originally an artillery officer, then took the use of artillery to a new level. Over the following decades, rapid advances in gun technology paved the way for the devastatingly powerful heavy artillery that literally transformed the landscape during World War I. The use of rolling and box barrages shaped how armies fought on the front lines and powerful naval guns dictated the outcome of battles at sea. By World War II the range of artillery had expanded to include self-propelled guns, and powerful antitank and anti-aircraft guns. In this informative introduction, Angus Konstam concisely explains how the development and evolving deployment of artillery led to big guns becoming the key to victory in two world wars and a potent force on the modern battlefield.

British Destroyers 1939-45

British Destroyers 1939-45

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/04/2017

The Royal Navy entered World War II with a large but eclectic fleet of destroyers. Some of these were veterans of World War I, fit only for escort duties. Most though, had been built during the inter-war period, and were regarded as both reliable and versatile. Danger though lurked across the seas as new destroyers being built in Germany, Italy and Japan were larger and better armoured. So, until the new, larger Tribal-class destroyers could enter service, these vessels would have to hold the line. Used mainly to hunt submarines, protect convoys from aerial attack, and take out other destroyers, these ships served across the globe during the war. This fully illustrated study is the first in a two-part series on the real workhorses of the wartime Royal Navy, focusing on how these ageing ships took on the formidable navies of the Axis powers.

Nile River Gunboats 1882-1918

Nile River Gunboats 1882-1918

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/10/2016

For more than 30 years the Nile river gunboat was an indispensable tool of empire, policing the great river and acting as floating symbols of British imperial power. They participated in every significant colonial campaign in the region, from the British invasion of Egypt in 1882 to the Battle of Omdurman in 1898, when Britain finally won control of the Sudan. After that, the gunboats helped maintain British control over both Egypt and the Sudan, and played a key role in safeguarding British interests around the headwaters of the Nile - a region hotly contested by several European powers. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, this comprehensive volume offers a detailed analysis of the Nile river gunboats' entire career, from policing British colonial interests along the great river to defending Egypt against the Ottoman Turks in World War I.

British Commando 1940-45

British Commando 1940-45

Author: Angus Konstam Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/09/2016

With Hitler's army rampaging across Europe, Winston Churchill ordered the creation of a special fighting force - the Commandos. These valiant men were volunteers drawn from the ranks of the British Army, formed into a Special Service Brigade and put through a rigorous but highly effective training programme. Over the course of World War II they would see action in every major theatre of operation and are credited with numerous feats of gallantry during the D-Day landings. Although many units were disbanded after the war, the Royal Marine Commandos have maintained the standards of this elite fighting formation to the present day. Angus Konstam explores the history of the Commandos during their formative years, providing detailed descriptions of their training, weapons and equipment. Battle reports are accompanied by specially commissioned Osprey artwork and historical photographs, offering readers an in-depth analysis of some of the most famous fighting units in the British Army's history.