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At the start of World War II, few thought the U-boat would be as devastating as it proved to be. But convoys and sonar-equipped escorts proved inadequate to defend the Allies' merchantmen, and the RAF's only offensive weapon was the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. For RAF Coastal Command, the first two years of the war were the hardest. Although starved of resources, operating with outdated aircraft and often useless weaponry, they were still the only force that could take the fight to the U-boats. But in these two years, the RAF learned what it needed to win the Battle of the Atlantic. Gradually developing new tactics and technology, such as airborne radar, signals intelligence, and effective weaponry, the Allies ended 1941 in a position to defeat Doenitz's growing fleet of U-boats. This book, the first of two volumes, explains the fascinating history of how the RAF kept the convoys alive against the odds, and developed the force that would prevail in the climactic battles of 1942 and 1943.
This book examines the major warships of the Imperial Russian Navy which participated in the Russo-Japanese War. The focus is on the battleships, coastal defence warships, and cruisers of the Pacific Squadron and Baltic Squadron that fought during the war. It discusses in detail their design and development between the years of 1885 and 1905, concentrating particularly on battleships and cruisers. The book explores, in depth, the mutually influential relationship between Russian and foreign warship design, as Russia progressed from a reliance on foreign designs and shipyards towards an ability to produce its own influential ships, such as the Novik. The title also outlines the gripping operational history of the Russian warships which participated in the Russo-Japanese war, tracing their activity before and during the combat, as well as the post-war fate of those ships which were bombarded, scuttled, captured, or salvaged. Packed with contemporary photography and full-colour illustrations, this title offers a detailed and definitive guide to the design, development, and destiny of the Russian warships which battled the Japanese in the Eastern seas.
As 1794 opened, Revolutionary France stood on a knife's edge of failure. Its army and navy had been shaken by the revolution, with civil war and famine taking its toll on their resources. Seeking to bring a revitalizing supply of food from its Caribbean colonies and the United States, the French government decided to organize a massive convoy to bring the New World's bounty to France. However, in order to succeed in their mission, the French Navy would have to make a deadly crossing over the North Atlantic, an ocean patrolled by the Royal Navy, the most powerful navy force in the world, whose sailors were eager to inflict a damaging defeat on Revolutionary France and win their fortune in prize money. Illustrated throughout with stunning full-colour artwork, this is the full story of the only fleet action during the Age of Fighting Sail fought in the open ocean, hundreds of miles from shore. Taking place over the course of a month, the inevitable battle was to be a close-run affair, with both sides claiming victory. To the French, it was le Bataille du 13 prairial, a notable day in their new, scientific Revolutionary calendar. For the British, it was the Glorious First of June.
The air campaign that incinerated Japan's cities was the first and only time that independent air power has won a war. As the United States pushed Imperial Japan back towards Tokyo Bay, the US Army Air Force deployed the first of a new bomber to the theater. The B-29 Superfortress was complex, troubled, and hugely advanced. It was the most expensive weapons system of the war, and formidably capable. But at the time, no strategic bombing campaign had ever brought about a nation's surrender. Not only that, but Japan was half a world away, and the US had no airfields even within the extraordinary range of the B-29. This analysis explains why the B-29s struggled at first, and how General LeMay devised radical and devastating tactics that began to systematically incinerate Japanese cities and industries and eliminate its maritime trade with aerial mining. It explains how and why this campaign was so uniquely successful, and how gaps in Japan's defences contributed to the B-29s' success.
In 1908 the most incredible naval arms race in history began. Flush with cash from rubber and coffee, Brazil decided to order three of the latest, greatest category of warship available - the dreadnought battleship. One Brazilian dreadnought by itself could defeat the combined gunnery of every other warship of all the other South American nations. Brazil's decision triggered its neighbour Argentina to order its own brace of dreadnoughts, which in turn forced Chile (which had fought boundary disputes with Argentina) to order some. In the process, the South American dreadnought mania drove the three participants nearly into insolvency, led to the bankruptcy of a major shipyard, and triggered a chain of events which led Turkey to declare war on Great Britain. It also produced several groundbreaking dreadnought designs and one of the world's first aircraft carriers.
Japan was closed to the world until 1854 and its technology then was literally medieval. Great Britain, France and Russia divided the globe in the nineteenth century, but Japan was catching up. Its army and navy were retrained by Western powers and equipped with the latest weapons and ships. Japan wanted to further emulate its European mentors and establish a protectorate over Korea, yet Japanese efforts were blocked by Imperial Russia who had their own designs on the peninsula. The Russo-Japanese War started with a surprise Japanese naval attack against an anchored enemy fleet still believing itself at peace. It ended with the Battle of Tsushima, the most decisive surface naval battle of the 20th century. This gripping study describes this pivotal battle, and shows how the Japanese victory over Russia led to the development of the dreadnought battleship, and gave rise to an almost mythical belief in Japanese naval invincibility.
Four pipes and flush decks - these ships were a distinctively American destroyer design. Devised immediately prior to and during the United States' involvement in World War I they dominated the US Navy's destroyer forces all the way through to World War II. They were deployed on North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea convoys, and virtually everywhere in the Pacific, from Alaska to Australia. Fifty were given to Great Britain in its hour of need in 1940, and many would serve in other navies, fighting under the Soviet, Canadian, Norwegian, and even the Imperial Japanese flags. They also served in a variety of roles becoming seaplane tenders, high-speed transports, minesweepers and minelayers. One was even used as a self-propelled mine during Operation Chariot, destroying the dry dock at St. Nazaire. Fully illustrated throughout with commissioned artwork and contemporary photographs, this volume reveals the operational history of these US Navy ships that fought with distinction in both World Wars.
In 1942, the massive Japanese naval base and airfield at Rabaul was a fortress standing in the Allies' path to Tokyo. It was impossible to seize Rabaul, or starve the 100,000-strong garrison out. Instead the US began an innovative, hard-fought two-year air campaign to draw its teeth, and allow them to bypass the island completely. The struggle decided more than the fate of Rabaul. If successful, the Allies would demonstrate a new form of warfare, where air power, with a judicious use of naval and land forces, would eliminate the need to occupy a ground objective in order to control it. As it turned out, the Siege of Rabaul proved to be more just than a successful demonstration of air power - it provided the roadmap for the rest of World War II in the Pacific.
In September 1864, the Confederate army abandoned Atlanta and were on the verge of being driven out of the critical state of Tennessee. In an attempt to regain the initiative, John Bell Hood launched an attack on Union General Sherman's supply lines, before pushing north in an attempt to retake Tennessee's capital Nashville. This fully illustrated book examines the three-month campaign that followed, one that confounded the expectations of both sides. Instead of fighting Sherman's Union Army of the Tennessee, the Confederates found themselves fighting an older and more traditional enemy: the Army of the Cumberland. This was led by George R. Thomas, an unflappable general temperamentally different than either the mercurial Hood or Sherman. The resulting campaign was both critical and ignored, despite the fact that for eleven weeks the fate of the Civil War was held in the balance.
The most critical naval fighting during the War of 1812 took place, not on the high seas, but on the inland lakes of North America: the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain. Carrying between 12 and 22 cannon, the British and American sloops-of-war were ship-rigged, brig-rigged or schooner-rigged vessels. Lakes actions often involved two ships facing each other broadside to broadside, the best example of which was the battle of Lake Erie in 1813 where HMS Detroit led a Royal Navy squadron against the USS Lawrence-led US Navy. Featuring full-colour artwork, this lively study investigates the prolonged struggle between British and US sloops-of-war, highlighting the differences between the war on the lakes and the war on the oceans during the Age of Fighting Sail. It reveals the circumstances under which these ships were built, how they were armed, and the human story behind their construction and use in battle.
In 1910 the first aircraft was successfully launched from a small wooden platform on a stationary ship. Just four years later, seaplane-carrying warships were being used to launch the first naval air raids, and by 1918 the first aircraft carrier to feature a full-length flight deck was in service. High quality artwork and historical photographs help author Mark Lardas tell the fascinating story of the pioneering years of naval aviation, covering such historic clashes as the Japanese siege of Tsingtao, the British raid against German Zeppelin bases at Cuxhaven and the Battle of Jutland, which saw the first airplane take part in a naval battle. Through detailed analysis he explores their development from hastily adapted merchant ships to the launch of HMS Argus, the first aircraft carrier to have a full-length flight deck, and shows how they paved the way for the aircraft carriers of the future.
The USS Texas was built when dreadnought battleships were kings of the seas. It was the world's most powerful battleship when first commissioned in 1914, and for over a century it fought many battles. Some took place while the Texas served as a warship in the US Navy in World Wars I and II. Since becoming a museum ship and war memorial in 1948, it has fought a longer and more difficult struggle as it combats the ravages of time for its very survival. Throughout its existence, the Texas has made history, leaving a wealth of fascinating stories in its wake.
Following the disastrous defeat at Chickamauga, Union forces were in disarray and the tactically vital Chattanooga was under siege and on the brink of falling. Secretary of War William Stanton ordered Ulysses Grant to send the Army of Tennessee to reinforce Chattanooga. Grant had already reacted. The situation was dire. It required outstanding leadership to rescue the situation. President Abraham Lincoln decided Grant was the man for the occasion. In early October, Grant was promoted to command of the Military District of Mississippi and told to clean up the mess created by Chickamauga. With those orders a new campaign began: the Chattanooga Campaign. This book tracks how over the next three months Grant would orchestrate the movements of three Union Armies - The Army of the Cumberland, The Army of the Tennessee, and two Corps from the Army of the Potomac. He would lead them into a series of battles that saw them break the siege of Chattanooga before in three battles in three days the Union forces broke the Confederate army entrenched in the heights overlooking Chattanooga.
The Texas coastline and offshore waters are flat, shallow, featureless, and filled with shoals. Texas waters are subjected to extreme weather, not just hurricanes and tropical storms but also northers and seasonal gales. This, combined with two centuries of naval warfare off Texas waters, produced many shipwrecks of all sorts, from Spanish treasure fleets to simple working boats. The ships of pirates, navies, cotton traders, immigrants, fishermen, and oil shippers line the Texas coast, cover the sea bottom off Texas, and blanket the bottom of Texas rivers. Each wreck has a story, romantic or repellent, prosaic or unusual, but all intriguing.
For three years of war the Union and the Confederacy had battled over the picturesque Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians to the west, the valley served as the granary for the Army of Northern Virginia. It provided bread and beef to feed this shield of the Confederacy and remounts for its cavalry. This beautifully illustrated study explores one of the major campaigns of the Civil War in 1864, which saw a decisive victory for the Union forces under Sheridan and featured some of the most famous commanders of the war, including Philip Sheridan, Jubal Early, George Armstrong Custer, John B. Gordon and George Crook.