No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
See below for a selection of the latest books from Military history category. Presented with a red border are the Military history books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Military history books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
The battle of the Java Sea, fought in February 1942, was the first major surface engagement of the Pacific War and one of the few naval battles of the entire war fought to a decisive victory. It was the culminating point of the Japanese drive to occupy the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and, to defend the territory, the Allies assembled a striking force comprised of Dutch, American, British and even an Australian ship, all under the command of a resolute Dutch admiral. On 27 February 1942, the Allied striking force set course to intercept the Japanese invasion force in the Java Sea. In one of the few such times during the whole of World War II a protracted surface engagement was fought unmolested by airpower. For over seven hours, the Allied force attempted to attack the Japanese invasion force, finally breaking off in the early evening. Some three hours later, the Allied force, now reduced to just four remaining cruisers and two destroyers, attempted another attack on the invasion convoy during which Japanese torpedoes scored heavily, sinking two Dutch cruisers and bringing the battle to a conclusion. Over the next two days, as the Allies attempted to flee, five more ships were sunk. From that point on, Allied naval power was eliminated from Southeast Asia. In this illustrated title, Mark Stille tells the full story of the battle of the Java Sea, explaining how and why the Japanese achieved such a resounding victory, and delving into the tremendous impact of the battle on the course of the Pacific War.
From the chaos of the civil war to the political manoeuvring of the Cold War, Russia's armed forces have shaped the future not only of Russia but of countless other countries around the globe. The Great Bear at War: The Russian and Soviet Army, 1917-Present explores the development and struggles of Soviet and Russian armed forces across the numerous conflicts which mark its history. It charts the great historical events that have defined the Red/Russian Army, especially World War II and the Cold War, but also the post-communist insurgencies and wars in which the Russian military has redeveloped its outlook and mission. The post-Soviet development of the Russian military into a modern force is explored in detail, including its controversial campaigns in Chechnya (1999-2009), Georgia (2008), and Ukraine (from 2014). Sewn into the narrative are details about the equipment, uniforms, training, service conditions and weaponry of the Soviet/Russian soldiers, bringing personal experience and technological context to the broader history. At a time when the world is closely focused upon Russian military behaviour, The Great Bear at War is both timely and fascinating.
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.
During the 16th century, Japan underwent a military revolution, characterized by the deployment of large armies, the introduction of firearms and an eventual shift towards fighting on foot. This study encapsulates these great changes through an exploration of the experience on the ground at three key battles, Uedahara (1548), Mikata ga Hara (1573) and Nagashino (1575), in which two very different types of warrior were pitted against each other. On one side were samurai, the elite aristocratic knights whose status was proclaimed by the possession and use of a horse. On the other side were the foot soldiers known as ashigaru, lower-class warriors who were initially attendants to the samurai but who joined the armies in increasing numbers, attracted by loot and glory. These two types of warrior battled for dominance across the period, changing and adapting their tactics as time went on. In this title, the development of the conflicts between samurai and ashigaru is explored across three key battles, where highly trained elite mounted samurai of the Takeda clan faced ashigaru at very different stages in their development. The profound and irreversible changes that took place as the conflicts progressed are analysed in detail, culminating in the eventual incorporation of the ashigaru as the lowest ranks of the samurai class in within the standing army of Tokugawa Japan.
Of the many myths that emerged following the end of the Korean War, the prevailing one in the West was that of the absolute supremacy of US Air Force pilots and aircraft over their Soviet-supplied opponents. The claims of the 10:1 victory-loss ratio achieved by the US Air Force fighter pilots flying the North American F-86 Sabre against their communist adversaries, amongst other such fabrications, went unchallenged until the end of the Cold War, when Soviet records of the conflict were finally opened. From that point onwards, a very different story began to emerge. Far from decisive American victories over an unsophisticated opponent, the aerial battles of the Korean War were, at least in the early years, evenly matched affairs, fought to an approximate 1:1 victory-loss ratio. Though the Soviet victories declined over the following years, this had more to do with home politics than American tactics. Regardless of the accuracy of claims and wartime propaganda, one fact stands clear: in the battle for air supremacy over Korea, the US Air Force denied to its opponents the opportunity to intervene over the battlefield. In the face of overwhelming enemy manpower superiority, this allowed the United Nations forces to hold the line in Korea until an armistice that protected South Korea could be put into effect In addition to the aerial combat over MiG Alley, this title covers the full range of US Air Force activities over Korea, including the failed strategic bombing campaign and the escalating nuclear threat. Incorporating first-hand accounts from those involved, both US and Russian, this new history of the US Air Force in Korea reveals the full story of this bitter struggle in the Eastern skies.
Created by a long-forgotten Austrian nobleman, Adolf Odkolek von Augezd, the air-cooled Hotchkiss machine gun was the first to function effectively by tapping propellant gas from the bore as the gun fired. Although the Hotchkiss would be overshadowed by the water-cooled Maxim and Vickers Guns, it proved its effectiveness during the Russo-Japanese War. The gun, quirky though it was, was successful enough to persuade Laurence Benet and Henri Mercie to develop the Modele Portative: a man-portable version which, it was hoped, could move with infantrymen as they advanced. Later mounted on tanks and aircraft, it became the first automatic weapon to obtain a `kill' in aerial combat. Though it served the French and US armies during World War I (and also the British in areas where French and British units fought alongside each other), the Odkolek-Hotchkiss system was to have its longest-term effect in Japan. Here, a succession of derivatives found favour in theatres of operations in which water-cooling could be more of a liability than an asset. When US forces landed on Saipan, Guam and Iwo Jima, battling their way from island to island across the Pacific, it was the `Woodpecker' - the Type 92 Hotchkiss, with its characteristically slow rate of fire - which cut swathes through their ranks. Supported by contemporary photographs and full-colour illustrations, this title explores the exciting and eventful history of the first successful gas-operated machine gun.
The campaign for Guadalcanal, which stretched from August 1942 until February 1943, centered on Henderson Field. The airfield was captured by the US on 8 August and placed into operation by 20 August. As long as the airfield was kept operational and stocked with sufficient striking power, the Japanese could not run convoys with heavy equipment and large amounts of supplies to the island. Instead, they were forced to rely on night runs by destroyers which could not carry enough men or supplies to shift the balance decisively against the American garrison on the island. The American air contingent on the island, named the `Cactus Air Force', comprised Marine, Navy and Army Air Force units. It had the challenging mission of defending the airfield against constant Japanese attacks, and more importantly, of striking major Japanese attempts to reinforce the island. The mission of neutralizing Henderson Field fell primarily to the Imperial Navy's Air Force flying out of airfields in the Rabaul area. The units charged with this mission were among the most accomplished in the entire Imperial Navy with a high proportion of very experienced pilots and a superb air superiority fighter (the famous `Zero'). However, the distance from Rabaul to Guadalcanal handicapped Japanese operations and their primary bomber was terribly vulnerable to interception. This book traces the air campaign from both sides and explores the factors behind the American victory and the Japanese defeat. The text is supported by full-colour illustrations and contemporary photography.
Although not as well-known as the V-1 buzz bomb and the V-2 missile, the first German missiles to see combat were anti-ship missiles, the Henschel Hs.293 guided missile and the Fritz-X guided bomb. These began to see extensive combat in the Mediterranean in 1943. In their most famous use, the Italian battleship Roma was sunk by a Fritz-X attack in September 1943 when Italy attempted to switch sides. The serious threat posed by these missiles led to a vigorous but little known `Wizard War' by the Allies to develop electronic counter-measures, the first effort of its kind. Besides the anti-ship missiles, the other major category of German missiles were the air-defence missiles. Germany suffered extremely heavy losses from Allied strategic bombing attacks, and German fighter and flak defences proved increasingly unsuccessful. As a result, the Luftwaffe began an extensive programme to deploy several families of new air defence missiles to counter the bomber threat, including the Wasserfall, Schmetterling, and others. This book traces the origins of these missile programmes and examines their development and use in combat. With full-colour illustrations and detailed explorations of the stories behind the missiles, this study offers a comprehensive overview of German guided missiles in the World War II era.
The victory of a few Greek city-states over the world's first superpower was an extraordinary military feat that secured the future of western civilization. All modern accounts of the war as a whole, and of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis, the best-known battles, depend on the ancient sources, foremost amongst them Herodotus, but generally quote very little from them. This is the first book to bring together Herodotus' entire narrative and interweave it with other ancient voices to present the original texts that comprise almost all that is known about this immense clash of arms.
The Second World War forever altered the complexion of the British Empire. From Cyprus to Malaya, from Borneo to Suez, the dominoes began to fall within a decade of peace in Europe. Africa in the late 1940s and 1950s was energized by the grant of independence to India, and the emergence of a credible indigenous intellectual and political caste that was poised to inherit control from the waning European imperial powers. The British on the whole managed to disengage from Africa with a minimum of ill feeling and violence, conceding power in the Gold Coast, Nigeria and Sierra Leone under an orderly constitutional process, and engaging only in the suppression of civil disturbances in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia as the practicalities of a political handover were negotiated. In Kenya, however, matters were different. A vociferous local settler lobby had accrued significant economic and political authority under a local legislature, coupled with the fact that much familial pressure could be brought to bear in Whitehall by British settlers of wealth and influence, most of whom were utterly irreconciled to the notion of any kind of political handover. Mau Mau was less than a liberation movement, but much more than a mere civil disturbance. Its historic importance is based primarily on the fact that the Mau Mau campaign was one of the first violent confrontations in sub-Saharan Africa to take place over the question of the self-determination of the masses. It also epitomized the quandary suffered by the white settler communities of Africa who had been promised utopia in an earlier century, only to be confronted in a post-war world by the completely unexpected reality of black political aspiration. This book journeys through the birth of British East Africa as a settled territory of the Empire, and the inevitable politics of confrontation that emerged from the unequal distribution of resources and power. It covers the emergence and growth of Mau Mau, and the strategies applied by the British to confront and nullify what was in reality a tactically inexpert, but nonetheless powerfully symbolic black expression of political violence. That Mau Mau set the tone for Kenyan independence somewhat blurred the clean line of victory and defeat. The revolt was suppressed and peace restored, but events in the colony were nevertheless swept along by the greater movement of Africa toward independences, resulting in the eventual establishment of majority rule in Kenya in 1964.
Ask most combat veterans to name the worst experience of their lives, and they'll probably tell you it was war. But confusingly, if you ask them to choose the best experience of their life, they'll usually say it was war, too. This is nearly impossible for someone who has not been in war to understand. Contrary to the steady stream of Wounded Warrior Foundation commercials on TV, combat veterans are not broken, and they are not victims. Pitying them belittles their experiences and misrepresents the challenges they face after military life. Combat veterans have experienced a spectrum of emotions whose breadth supersedes by a number you cannot imagine the emotional fluctuations of civilian life. That's why it's hard to care about normal things when you come back. Ask a combat veteran about this, it's a common feeling. What is it about war that soldiers miss? This is a question that every civilian should try to understand. This is a moving and insightful book, weaving stories from the flight deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier off Syria to climbing a forbidden Himalayan pass into Tibet to explain one of the most everlasting of human pursuits - war. It's also about coming home and confronting another kind of struggle, which we all share - the search for happiness. In this collection, Peterson writes of war from the perspective of both a combatant and a witness, taking the reader from combat missions over Afghanistan as an Air Force special operations pilot to the front lines against ISIS in Iraq, and the trenches and tank battles of the war in Ukraine. Interweaving his front-line reports with a narrative about his own transformation from a combat pilot to a war journalist, Peterson explores a timeless paradox - why does coming home from war feel like such a disappointment?