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
Between June 1812 and January 1815, US and British forces, notably the regular infantrymen of both sides (including the Canadian Fencibles Regiment), fought one another on a host of North American battlefields. This study examines the evolving role and combat performance of the two sides' regulars during the conflict, with particular reference to three revealing battles in successive years: Queenston Heights, Crysler's Farm, and Chippawa. Featuring full-color artwork and battle maps, this fully illustrated study investigates the US and British regular infantry's role, tactics, junior leadership, and combat performance on three battlefields of the War of 1812. The actions assessed here notably demonstrate the evolution of US regulars from their initial poor showing to an emerging professionalism that allowed them to face their British opponents on equal terms.
The Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), waged between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies, involved some of the most important developments in ancient warfare. A life-and-death struggle between the two most powerful Greek city-states in the wake of their combined successes against the Persian invasion of Xerxes in 480-479 BC, the conflict dragged in communities from all over the Greek world on one side or the other. Ranging from the Black Sea to Sicily, the war saw the first recorded widespread use of light-armed troops, reserves, the deep phalanx, and other ideas important for the development of Western warfare into the 4th century BC, such as strategic thinking. It also revealed lessons (some learned and some not) with respect to the strengths and weaknesses of hoplite warfare and the various states in Greece. Featuring full-color artwork and drawing upon an array of sources, this study of three pivotal clashes between Spartan and Athenian hoplite forces during the Peloponnesian War highlights all of these developments and lessons.
The Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939 saw mostly untested German troops face equally inexperienced Polish forces. With the Polish senior leadership endeavouring to hold the country's industrialized east, Hitler's forces unleashed what was essentially a large pincer operation intended to encircle and eliminate much of Poland's military strength. Harnessing this initial operational advantage, the Germans were able to attack Polish logistics, communications and command centres, thereby gaining and maintaining battlefield momentum. With the average infantry soldier on both sides comparatively well-led, equipped and transported, vital differences in battlefield support (especially air power and artillery), tactics, organization and technology would make all the difference in combat. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, archive photography and battle maps, this study focuses upon three actions that reveal the evolving nature of the 1939 campaign. The battle of Tuchola Forest (1-5 September) pitted fast -moving German forces against uncoordinated Polish resistance, while the battle of Wizna (7-10 September) saw outnumbered Polish forces impede the German push north-east of Warsaw. Finally, the battle of Bzura (9-19 September) demonstrated the Polish forces' ability to surprise the Germans operationally during a spirited counter-attack against the invaders. All three battles featured in this book cast light on the motivation, training, tactics and combat performance of the fighting men of both sides in the 1939 struggle for Poland.
The tactics and technologies of modern air assault - vertical deployment of troops by helicopter or similar means - emerged properly during the 1950s in Korea and Algeria. Yet it was during the Vietnam War that helicopter air assault truly came of age and by 1965 the United States had established fully airmobile battalions, brigades, and divisions, including the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).This division brought to Vietnam a revolutionary new speed and dexterity in battlefield tactics, using massed helicopters to liberate its soldiers from traditional overland methods of combat manoeuvre. However, the communist troops adjusted their own thinking to handle airmobile assaults. Specializing in ambush, harassment, infiltration attacks, and small-scale attrition, the North Vietnamese operated with light logistics and a deep familiarity with the terrain. They optimized their defensive tactics to make landing zones as hostile as possible for assaulting US troops, and from 1966 worked to draw them into 'Hill Traps', extensive kill zones specially prepared for defence -in -depth. By the time the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) withdrew from Vietnam in 1972, it had suffered more casualties than any other US Army division. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, archive photographs, and full-colour battle maps, this study charts the evolution of US airmobile tactics pitted against North Vietnamese countermeasures. The two sides are analysed in detail, including training, logistics, weaponry, and organization.
In a bid to recapture territory conceded following the Winter War of 1939-40, Finnish forces cooperated with Nazi Germany and other Axis powers during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Rapid Finnish progress in reoccupying lost ground in Karelia during the first few months of the invasion gave way to a more static form of warfare from October 1941. The Finns resisted German pressure to participate fully in the Axis attack on the beleaguered Soviet-held city of Leningrad, and the Continuation War came to be characterized by trench warfare and unconventional operations conducted by both sides behind the front lines. In June 1944 the stalemate was abruptly ended by a massive Soviet offensive that pushed the Finns back; the two sides clashed in a series of major battles, including the battle of Tali-Ihantala, with the Finns halting the Soviet advance before agreeing to an armistice that September. The evolving military situation in this sector of the Eastern Front meant that the soldiers of the Soviet Union and Finland fought one another in a variety of challenging settings, prompting both sides to innovate as new technologies reached the front line. In this study, the doctrine, training, equipment and organization of both sides' fighting men are assessed and compared, followed by a detailed assessment of their combat records in three key battles of the Continuation War.
In 53 BC, Roman and Parthian forces collided in a confrontation that would reshape the geopolitical map and establish a frontier between East and West that would endure for the next 700 years. From the initial clash at Carrhae through to the battle of Nisibis more than 250 years later, Roman and Parthian forces fought a series of bloody campaigns for mastery of the Fertile Crescent. As Roman forces thrust ever deeper into the East, they encountered a civilization unlike any they had crossed swords with before. Originating in the steppes of Central Asia, the Parthians ruled a federated state stretching from the Euphrates to the Indus. Although Rome's legions were masters of the battlefield in the Mediterranean, the Parthians refused to fight by the rules as Rome understood them. Harnessing the power of the composite bow and their superior manoeuvrability, the Parthians' mode of warfare focused exclusively on the horse. They inflicted a bloody defeat on the legions at Carrhae and launched their own invasion of Roman territory, countered only with great difficulty by Rome's surviving forces. The Parthians were eventually thrown out, but neither side could sustain a permanent ascendancy over the other and the conflict continued. Packed with stunning artwork, including battlescenes, maps and photographs, this title examines the conflict through the lens of three key battles, revealing a clash between two armies alien to each other not only in culture but also in their radical approaches to warfare.
During World War II, the US Army and its allies faced a formidable challenge: the need to assault Hitler's 'Fortress Europe' from the sea. As a result, during 1941-45, the US Army had to add amphibious assault to its list of combat capabilities. Officers and troops from across the US Armed Forces had to develop the techniques and technologies to assault the coasts of Axis-occupied Europe, from logistics to beach assault and beachhead consolidation, and more. In order to win and hold a contested beachhead in the face of bitter enemy resistance, the amphibious-warfare specialists played a variety of essential battlefield roles; if the US troops could not establish a beachhead quickly, they risked being thrown back into the sea. For their part, the Germans had to devise a practical defensive doctrine that made the most of the limited resources and troops available and the terrain. The German infantry defenders immediately around the landing areas had to be able to call upon support from nearby artillery, mechanized troops, and armoured forces to have a chance of containing the enemy beachhead. This illustrated study analyses the specialist beach-landing troops involved in three key battles - the Allied amphibious landings at Salerno and Anzio in Italy, and Omaha Beach in Normandy - focusing upon the US Army's various types of beach-assault specialists and their German opponents, whose combat experience and effectiveness varied considerably. Each of the three featured battles is then examined in detail, exploring how the Germans made defensive preparations; how the US troops planned to overcome them; and the immediate actions undertaken by the US amphibious specialists and their German opponents both during and following the main assault landings.
On 21 February 1916, the German Army launched a major attack on the French fortress of Verdun. The Germans were confident that the ensuing battle would compel France to expend its strategic reserves in a savage attritional battle, thereby wearing down Allied fighting power on the Western Front. However, initial German success in capturing a key early objective, Fort Douaumont, was swiftly stemmed by the French defences, despite heavy French casualties. The Germans then switched objectives, but made slow progress towards their goals; by July, the battle had become a stalemate. During the protracted struggle for Verdun, the two sides' infantrymen faced appalling battlefield conditions; their training, equipment and doctrine would be tested to the limit and beyond. New technologies, including flamethrowers, hand grenades, trench mortars and more mobile machine guns, would play a key role in the hands of infantry specialists thrown into the developing battle, and innovations in combat communications were employed to overcome the confusion of the battlefield. This study outlines the two sides' wider approach to the evolving battle, before assessing the preparations and combat record of the French and German fighting men who fought one another during three pivotal moments of the 101/2-month struggle for Verdun.
The battles between British and French forces during the Peninsular War (1807-14) and the Hundred Days campaign of 1815 saw both sides deploy specialist units of skirmishers trained in marksmanship and open-order combat. These 'light' troops fulfilled several important roles on the battlefield, such as 'masking' large bodies of close-order troops as they manoeuvred in battle, firing upon enemy troops to provoke them into attacking prematurely, and harassing enemy artillery crews and senior officers with aimed fire. On occasion, the skirmishers were tasked with special missions requiring individual initiative, such as the capture or defence of key battlefield positions, especially those situated in difficult terrain. While Napoleon's skirmishers carried the smoothbore musket, notoriously inaccurate and short-ranged, several elite units fighting for Britain were armed with the rifle, a far more accurate weapon that was hampered by a slower rate of fire. As well as the legendary 95th Rifles, Britain fielded rifle-armed German troops of the 60th Regiment and the King's German Legion, while France's light troops were fielded in individual companies but also entire regiments. In this study, David Greentree assesses the role and effectiveness of rifle-armed British troops and their French open-order opponents in three very different encounters: Rolica (August 1808), the first British battle of the Peninsular War; the struggle for a key bridge at Barba del Puerco (March 1810); and the bitter fight for the La Haye Sainte farmhouse during the battle of Waterloo (June 1815).
Operation Market Garden was an Allied plan to try and end the war before the end of 1944, and relied on landing airborne troops to secure bridges over the Rhine bridges in the Netherlands. Critical to this plan were the glider troops of Britain's 1st Airlanding Brigade. Short on heavy weapons and not trained in street fighting, the glider troops were meant to secure and defend the Allied perimeter around Arnhem as the parachute brigades fought their way into the city. Facing the airborne forces were understrength Waffen-SS units that were hastily formed into ad hoc battle groups, some supported by armour. The troops on both sides would have their tactical flexibility and powers of endurance tested to the limit in the bitter actions that ensued. Employing first-hand accounts and drawing upon the latest research, David Greentree tells the story of the glider troops' dogged defence of the Allied perimeter at Arnhem, and the Waffen-SS forces' efforts to overcome them.
In August 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Persian Empire and systematically set about its conquest. At the core of Alexander's army were 10,000 members of the phalanx, the phalangites. Armed with a long pike and fighting in formations up to 16 ranks deep, these grizzled veterans were the mainstay of the Macedonian army. Facing them were the myriad armies of the peoples that made up the Persian Empire. At the centre of these forces was the formation known as the Immortals: 10,000 elite infantry, armed with spears and bows. In this study, a noted authority assesses the origins, combat role and battlefield performance of Alexander's phalangites and their Persian opponents in three key battles of the era - the Granicus River, Issus and Gaugamela - at the dawn of a new way of waging war.
At the turn of the 20th century, the region of Manchuria sat atop a potentially catastrophic political fault line; the ancient strength of China was crumbling, leaving opportunities for both Russia and Japan to claw out new territories from the edges of that dying empire. Russian pride would contend with Japanese ambition in a conflict that ushered in the age of massed armies fighting on battlefields that were being redefined by the new tools of war such as newer, larger artillery pieces, and the use of machine guns in pitched battles. The vast, but over-stretched Russian Army was expected to steamroller its far smaller opponent, but the aggressiveness and zeal of the more modern Japanese military confounded expectations. Examining these two armies in detail, this fully illustrated study tells the story of how these two empires clashed in the Russo-Japanese War, heralding a new phase in modern warfare as World War I loomed on the horizon.
Operation Torch, launched on 8 November 1942, landed Anglo-American forces in Vichy-controlled Morocco and Algeria to create a second front against the Axis forces in North Africa, catching Rommel's German and Italian forces in the claws of a giant pincer. The US Army was powerfully well armoured and equipped, but fresh to war, and it showed. Organization suffered from a surfeit of peacetime theories and training was insufficient and ill-applied. Despite such failings the US GIs and their commanders learned very quickly, adapting to German tactics and the realities of mechanized warfare. The Axis forces in North Africa were seasoned by years of fighting against increasingly powerful British and Commonwealth forces, and were led by one of the Reich's most capable generals. The German doctrine of mechanized warfare had proved itself time and again, but ever-growing logistical and supply problems were blunting its effectiveness. From Sidi Bou Zid to El Guettar, this fully illustrated study pits the US Army against the best that the Axis forces in Africa had to offer.
In July 1937, the Marco Polo Bridge Incident sparked a bloody conflict between Chinese and Japanese forces that would rage across China and beyond for more than eight years. The two sides' forces brought very different strengths and limitations to the conflict. In 1937 China was divided into factions, each controlled by warlords with independent forces, and there was no unified Chinese army. In order to fight the Japanese Chiang Kai-shek, the nominal leader of Nationalist China, was compelled to do deals with these regional powers. For their part, the Japanese employed ground forces broadly comparable to those fielded by Western powers, including modern artillery and tanks. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and drawing upon an array of sources, this study investigates the origins, training, doctrine and armament of the Chinese and Japanese forces who fought in the opening stages of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
The French Indochina War (1946-54) was the largest of the first generation of post-World War II wars of decolonization as Vietminh insurgents sought to topple their French colonial masters. It was also unique in that the insurgency evolved from low-level guerrilla activity to mobile operations by a large conventional army which finally defeated a large European-led expeditionary force, supported by artillery, armour and airpower. The war's progress was almost entirely dictated by the extreme terrain, and by the Chinese support enjoyed by the Vietnamese insurgents. The actions explored in this study cover three contrasting phases of the war in Tonkin during 1948-52, setting both sides on the path that would lead to the conflict's climactic encounter at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and drawing upon a range of sources, this meticulously researched study casts new light on the troops who fought on both sides in this evolving and momentous conflict.
Canadian and Waffen-SS troops of 12. SS-Panzer-Division Hitlerjugend faced one another in a series of bloody battles following the D-Day landings of June 1944. The Canadian units fought in a number of distinguished regiments, while the Hitlerjugend Division were drawn from the ranks of the Hitler Youth organizations. Veteran officers and NCOs were joined by inexperienced teenagers, and clashed with the Canadians repeatedly, notably at Authie, Bretteville and Hill 168. The struggle quickly took on an especially bitter nature, fuelled by the massacre of Canadian prisoners by Hitlerjugend personnel. Employing first-hand accounts and the latest research, as well as specially commissioned artwork and carefully selected archive photographs this absorbing study investigates the origins, ethos, training, fighting techniques and weapons of both sides during the epic struggle for Normandy.
After the US declaration of war on Germany, hundreds of thousands of American troops flooded into France and were thrust into the front line. Among them was the US Marine Corps' 4th Marine Brigade whose first major action was the battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918, fighting elements of Germany's 10th, 28th, and 237th Infantry divisions. Volunteers to a man, the newly arrived Marines faced experienced but war-weary German conscripts whose doctrine had been honed by nearly four years of conflict on the Western Front. During the fighting, the Germans are alleged to have given the nickname Devil Dogs to the Marines, and Belleau Wood has become enshrined in the Corps' heritage. Employing first-hand accounts and specially commissioned artwork, this book investigates three different actions that shaped the course of the bitter battle for Belleau Wood, revealing the interplay of doctrine, tactics, technology, leadership, and human endeavour on the brutal battlefields of World War I.
In 1941-44, Nazi Germany's Gebirgsjager - elite mountain troops - clashed repeatedly with land-based units of the Soviet Navy during the mighty struggle on World War II's Eastern Front. Formed into naval infantry and naval rifle brigades, some 350,000 of Stalin's sailors would serve the Motherland on land, playing a key role in the defence of Moscow, Leningrad, and Sevastopol. The Gebirgsjager, many among them veterans of victories in Norway and then Crete, would find their specialist skills to be at a premium in the harsh terrain and bitter weather encountered at the northern end of the front line. Operating many hundreds of miles north of Moscow, the two sides endured savage conditions as they fought one another inside the Arctic Circle. Featuring archive photographs, specially commissioned artwork and expert analysis, this is the absorbing story of the men who fought and died in the struggle for the Soviet Union's northern flank at the height of World War II.
By the end of the first week of November 1942, the German Sixth Army held about 90 per cent of Stalingrad. Yet the Soviets stubbornly held on to the remaining parts of the city, and German casualties started to reach catastrophic levels. In an attempt to break the deadlock, Hitler decided to send additional German pioneer battalions to act as an urban warfare spearhead. These combat engineers were skilled in all aspects of city fighting, especially in the use of demolitions and small arms to overcome defended positions and in the destruction of armoured vehicles. Facing them were hardened Soviet troops who had perfected the use of urban camouflage, concealed and interlocking firing positions, close quarters battle, and sniper support. This fully illustrated book explores the tactics and effectiveness of these opposing troops during this period, focusing particularly on the brutal close-quarters fight over the Krasnaya Barrikady (Red Barricades) ordnance factory.
In the two centuries before the Norman invasion of England, Anglo-Saxon and Viking forces clashed repeatedly in bloody battles across the country. Repeated Viking victories in the 9th century led to their settlement in the north of the country, but the tide of war ebbed and flowed until the final Anglo-Saxon victory before the Norman Conquest. Using stunning artwork, this book examines in detail three battles between the two deadly foes: Ashdown in 871 which involved the future Alfred the Great; Maldon in 991 where an Anglo-Saxon army sought to counter a renewed Viking threat; and Stamford Bridge in 1066, in which King Harold Godwinesson abandoned his preparations to repel the expected Norman invasion in order to fight off Harald Hard-Counsel of Norway. Drawing upon historical accounts from both English and Scandinavian sources and from archaeological evidence, Gareth Williams presents a detailed comparison of the weaponry, tactics, strategies and underlying military organization of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, and considers the developments which took place on both sides in the two centuries of Viking incursions into Anglo-Saxon England.
Waged across an inhospitable terrain which varied from open African savannah to broken mountain country and arid semi-desert, the Anglo-Boer wars of 1880-81 and 1899-1902 pitted the British Army and its allies against the Boers' commandos. The nature of warfare across these campaigns was shaped by the realities of the terrain and by Boer fighting techniques. Independent and individualistic, the Boers were not professional soldiers but a civilian militia who were bound by the terms of the 'Commando system' to come together to protect their community against an outside threat. By contrast the British Army was a full-time professional body with an established military ethos, but its over-dependence on conventional infantry tactics led to a string of Boer victories. This fully illustrated study examines the evolving nature of Boer military techniques, and contrasts them with the British experience, charting the development of effective British mounted tactics from the first faltering steps of 1881 through to the final successes of 1902.
In 1917 the soldiers of the Canadian Corps would prove themselves the equal of any fighting on the Western Front, while on the other side of the wire, the men of the Royal Bavarian Army won a distinguished reputation in combat. Employing the latest weapons and pioneering tactics, these two forces would clash in three notable encounters: the Canadian storming of Vimy Ridge, the back-and-forth engagement at Fresnoy and at the sodden, bloody battle of Passchendaele. Featuring carefully chosen archive photographs and specially commissioned artwork, this study assesses these three hard-fought battles in 1917 on the Western Front, and offers a new take on the evolving nature of infantry combat in World War I.
For centuries, the crossbow had played a key role on the battlefields of continental Europe, with mercenaries from Genoa and Brabant in particular filling the ranks of the French army, yet on the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War they came up against a more powerful foe. To master the English longbow was a labour of years, requiring far greater skill to use than the crossbow, but it was much more flexible and formidable, striking fear into the French and their allies. This study examines three battles - Sluys (1340), Crecy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) - and shows how the use of the longbow allowed England's armies to inflict crushing defeats on numerically superior forces. The longbow changed the shape of war, becoming the defining weapon of the age and wreaking havoc upon the French armies that would face it. Featuring full-colour artwork, this is the engrossing story of the first clashes between the English longbowmen and the crossbowmen of the French king on the bloody battlefields of the Hundred Years' War.
In April 1941, as Churchill strove to counter the German threat to the Balkans, New Zealand troops were hastily committed to combat in the wake of the German invasion of Greece where they would face off against the German Kradschutzen - motorcycle troops. Examining three major encounters in detail with the help of maps and contemporary photographs, this lively study shows how the New Zealanders used all their courage and ingenuity to counter the mobile and well-trained motorcycle forces opposing them in the mountains and plains of Greece and Crete. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and drawing upon first-hand accounts, this exciting account pits New Zealand's infantrymen against Germany's motorcycle troops at the height of World War II in the Mediterranean theatre, assessing the origins, doctrine and combat performance of both sides.
During World War II, the two pre-eminent mechanized infantry forces of the conflict, the German Panzergrenadier arm and the US Army's armoured infantrymen, clashed in France and Belgium after the Normandy landings. These engagements went on to profoundly influence the use of mechanized infantry in the post-war world. Drawing upon a variety of sources, this book focuses on three key encounters between July and December 1944 including during Operation Cobra and the Battle of the Bulge, and examines the origins, equipment, doctrine and combat record of both forces. With specially commissioned full-colour artwork and maps, this study sheds light on the evolving nature of mechanized warfare at the height of World War II.
Specially commissioned artwork and thrilling combat accounts transport the reader to the far-flung and inhospitable East African theatre of World War I, where the Schutztruppe faced off against the King's African Rifles. In an attempt to divert Allied forces from the Western Front, a small German colonial force under the command of Oberst Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck raided British and Portuguese territory. Despite being heavily outnumbered, his expert use of guerrilla tactics forced the British to mount a series of offensives, culminating in a major battle at Nyangao-Mahiwa that saw both sides suffer heavy casualties. Meticulously researched analysis highlights the tactical and technological innovation shown by both armies as they were forced to fight in a treacherous climate where local diseases could prove just as deadly as the opposition.
Israel seized the strategically critical Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War in an audacious and determined operation, yet when the Yom Kippur War broke out the Israeli military were exposed by the effectiveness of the newly confident and dangerous Syrian army. In the Golan only luck, herculean Israeli efforts and tactical misjudgements by the Syrians were to allow the Israelis to maintain control. In this book, three pivotal encounters in the Golan are assessed, supported by artwork, maps and photographs, tracking how both sides' forces evolved over the period.
Providing a unique glimpse into the experiences of regular British and French infantry during the French and Indian War, Stuart Reid reveals what it was like to fight in three battles at the height of the struggle for Canada: La Belle-Famille, the Plains of Abraham and Sainte-Foy. In 1755, Britain and France both decided to escalate a low intensity frontier war that had started the previous year by dispatching regular troops to their respective colonies in North America. Far from home, both sides' equipment and tactics were initially more suited to the European theatre. As the war ground on, however, combat doctrine evolved as both armies learned lessons that would be utilized by succeeding generations of soldiers. Packed with first-hand accounts, dramatic illustrations and a technical analysis of the changing nature of warfare on the American continent, this book puts readers in the shoes of the combatants who played a pivotal role in shaping the future of North America.
The Allied airborne and amphibious landings on D-Day opened up the long-awaited Second Front against Nazi Germany, but after overcoming the German coastal defenses at Utah and Bloody Omaha, the US Army found itself having to contest every hedgerow and street in a nightmarish battle of attrition. It was the humble infantrymen of both sides who would play a vital role in taking and holding key objectives. Battles across Europe tested both sides to the limit, from the close-quarters warfare around Cherbourg in June 1944 to the struggle for the Scharnhorst Line in October and the brutal cold-weather fighting in the Ardennes that December. Featuring full-color artwork, specially drawn maps, and archive photographs, this study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, and combat performance of the US and German infantrymen pitched into three pivotal actions at the height of World War II.
Step into the violent world of the 13th century, where the European states of the Levant battled with Muslim powers for control of Jerusalem. At the cutting edge of the conflict were the elite fighting men of the Crusader and Egyptian armies - the Knights Templar and the Mamluks, respectively. The Templars were the most famous and formidable of the European Military Orders, while the Mamluks were a slave caste whose fighting prowess had elevated them to the point of holding real political power, threatening their Ayyubid masters who relied on them so desperately for military success. This book draws on the latest research to tell the story of three key engagements from the Fifth Crusade to the Seventh Crusade. It reveals the extraordinary ferocity with which these battles were fought, and how the struggle between Templar and Mamluk came to shape the political future of the region.
When Hitler's forces poured into France and the Low Countries in 1940, the uneasy peace of the 'Phoney War' was shattered, and Europe was ripped apart by another Blitzkrieg. Forming the backbone of the German advance were the well-equipped Schutzen (Rifles), motorized infantry who embodied the essence of the fluid, swift warfare that had characterized World War II thus far. Facing them were infantrymen of the British Expeditionary Force, units of considerable fighting quality who had nevertheless received no special training to conduct combined-arms warfare in conjunction with armour. This study investigates the combat between the two adversaries at small-unit level, recreating the ferocity of the fighting on the front lines of the Battle of France in three key clashes at Arras, Calais and Merville. Assessing the training, organization and unit ethos of both sides in the context of a new type of mobile warfare, David Greentree reveals the extraordinary difficulties encountered by infantry units in trying to remain in contact with their armoured and mechanized formations.
In 1967-68, the United States Marine Corps (USMC) was on the front line of the defence of South Vietnam's Quang Tri province, which was at the very heart of the Vietnam conflict. Facing them were the soldiers of the North Vietnamese Army (NVA), men whose organization and equipment made them a very different opponent from the famous, irregular Viet Cong forces. From the 'Hill Battles' in April 1967 to the struggle for the city of Hue (January-March 1968) this bloody campaign forced the two sides into a gruelling trial of strength. The USMC held a general technological and logistical advantage - including close air support and airborne transport, technology, and supplies - but could not always utilize these resources effectively in mountainous, jungle, or urban environments better known by their Vietnamese opponents. In this arresting account of small-unit combat, David R. Higgins steps into the tropical terrain of Vietnam to assess the performance and experience of USMC and NVA forces in three savage battles that stretched both sides to the limit.
The brutal fighting between US Marines and Japanese infantry on the island of Guadalcanal in many ways came to typify the island-hopping war in the Pacific. This book not only explores the differing tactics and equipment used by the two combatants but also shows how the challenges of fighting in inhospitable tropical jungles impacted on soldiers on the ground, as combatants had to deal not only with their determined opponents but also the twin issues of disease and stretched supply lines. Written by a former special forces veteran with extensive knowledge of jungle warfare, this fully illustrated book lifts the veil on one of the most pivotal and ferocious close combat duels of World War II.
The Axis invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 pitted Nazi Germany and her allies against Stalin's forces in a mighty struggle for survival. Fighting alongside the spearhead Panzer divisions were Germany's highly skilled and veteran motorized infantrymen - including the German Army's premier unit, Infanterie-Regiment (mot.) Grossdeutschland. Opposing these German mobile forces, the Soviets deployed the often ill-trained and poorly equipped men of the rifle regiments, who fought tenaciously and with the threat of savage reprisals from their own side. In this book three bruising clashes during the first seven weeks of the campaign are assessed - a bloody encounter battle at Zhlobin, the struggle for the destroyed city of Smolensk and then a prolonged clash along a dangerously stretched German defensive perimeter at Vas'kovo-Voroshilovo.
The reigns of Augustus and his successor Tiberius saw an epic struggle between the Romans and local peoples for the territory between the Rhine and Elbe rivers in what is now Germany. Following two decades of Roman occupation, Germania Magna erupted into revolt in AD 9 following the loss of the three legions commanded by Publius Quinctilius Varus to the Cheruscan nobleman Arminius and an alliance of Germanic nations in the dense forests of the Teutoburger Wald. The Romans' initial panic subsided as it became clear that Arminius and his allies could not continue the war into Germania Inferior on the western bank of the Rhine, and Imperial troops poured into the region as the Romans decided how best to resolve the situation. Featuring full-colour artwork, specially drawn maps and an array of revealing illustrations depicting weapons, equipment, key locations and personalities, this study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, combat performance and subsequent reputations of the Roman soldiers and their Germanic opponents pitched into a series of pivotal actions on the Imperial frontier that would influence Roman/German relations for decades to come.
The mighty struggle for the Somme sector of the Western Front in the second half of 1916 has come to be remembered for the dreadful toll of casualties inflicted on Britain's 'New Armies' by the German defenders on the first day of the offensive, 1 July. The battle continued, however, throughout the autumn and only came to a close in the bitter cold of mid-November. The British plan relied on the power of artillery to suppress and destroy the German defences; the infantry were tasked with taking and holding the German trenches, but minimal resistance was anticipated. Both sides incurred major losses, however; German doctrine emphasised that the first line had to be held or retaken at all costs, a rigid defensive policy that led to very high casualties as the Germans threw survivors into ad hoc, piecemeal counterattacks all along the line. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and based on meticulous reassessment of the sources, this engaging study pits the volunteers of Kitchener's 'New Armies' against the German veterans who defended the Somme sector in the bloody battles of July-November 1916.
The enthusiastic but largely inexperienced soldiers serving on both sides in the Civil War had to adapt quickly to the appalling realities of warfare in the industrial age. Author Ron Field, an authority on the Civil War, investigates three clashes that illustrate the changing realities of combat. Pitched into combat after an exhausting march to reach the battlefield, newly recruited infantrymen of both sides clashed at First Bull Run/Manassas in 1861.Two years later, the outcome of the Civil War's pivotal battle at Gettysburg hung in the balance as the Confederate veterans of Pickett's Division mounted a set-piece attack on Union positions at 'The Bloody Angle'. In 1864, African-American troops fighting for the Union took part in a bloody assault on formidable Confederate positions at Chaffin's Farm/New Market Heights, outside Petersburg. This absorbing study casts light on what it was like to take part in close-quarters battle during the Civil War, as increased infantry firepower and an increasing reliance on prepared defensive positions spelled the end of close-order tactics in the conflict that shaped America.
The airborne forces of Britain and Germany were among their best troops of World War II and when they met in battle the result was a brutal trial of strength. British paratroopers and German Fallschirmjager clashed repeatedly and their training, tactics, experience, morale and weaponry were tested against each other, not least in the three bruising encounters outlined here, in Tunisia and Sicily. From the British attempts to seize the airfields at Depienne and Oudna to the bloody night battle for Green Hill and the bitter struggle for Primosole Bridge in Sicily, these highly trained parachute troops clashed with their opposite numbers, gaining experience, refining tactics and learning valuable lessons.
In order to keep China in the war against the Japanese, the Western Allies believed they had to return to Northern Burma. Colonel Orde Wingate, a military maverick and proponent of guerrilla warfare, knew that a different type of British infantryman was required for this role - the Chindit, indoctrinated with special training - to re-enter the jungles and mountains of Northern Burma in order to combat the victorious Japanese forces there. The Chindits' opponents would include the 18th Division, one of Imperial Japan's most seasoned formations, which by 1941 had already accumulated as much operational experience as most Anglo-American divisions would acquire in the entire 1939-45 war. In a host of encounters the two sides clashed repeatedly in the harsh conditions of the Burmese jungle; the intended role and subsequent operational performance of the Chindits remains fraught with controversy today. Featuring full-colour artwork, specially drawn maps and archive photographs, this gripping study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, combat performance and subsequent reputations of six representative Chindit and Japanese infantry units involved in three pivotal actions that hastened Japan's defeat in Burma during World War II.
The Eastern Front of World War I is sometimes overshadowed by the fighting in the West. But the clashes between Imperial Germany and Tsarist Russia in East Prussia, Poland and Lithuania were every bit as gruelling for the participants as the great battles in Western Europe. In spite of the crushing German victory at Tannenberg in August 1914, the war in the East would grind on into 1918, hampered by supply problems, difficult terrain and appalling weather conditions. In this study, author Robert Forczyk assesses the tactics and combat performance of both sides fighting in the brutal clashes at Gumbinnen, Goeritten and Mahartse, examining their contrasting fortunes and revealing the evolving nature of infantry warfare on the Eastern Front during World War I.
During the intense, sprawling conflict that was the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces fielded substantial numbers of cavalry, which carried out the crucial tasks of reconnaissance, raiding, and conveying messages. The perception was that cavalry's effectiveness on the battlefield would be drastically reduced in this age of improved infantry firearms. This title, however, demonstrates how cavalry's lethal combination of mobility and dismounted firepower meant it was still very much a force to be reckoned with in battle, and charts the swing in the qualitative difference of the cavalry forces fielded by the two sides as the war progressed. In this book, three fierce cavalry actions of the American Civil War are assessed, including the battles of Second Bull Run/Manassas (1862), Buckland Mills (1863) and Tom's Brook (1864).
From the 1840s onward, United States military forces clashed with the Apache, a group of Native American peoples associated with the southwestern part of North America. US territorial expansion and conflict - first with Mexico and then during the Civil War - led to an escalation of hostilities that culminated in the defeat of the Apache leader Geronimo in 1886, although fighting continued into the 20th century. In this study the clashes at Cieneguilla (1854), First Adobe Walls (1864), and Cibecue Creek (1881) are assessed in detail. Fully illustrated and featuring contemporary accounts and specially commissioned artwork, this history examines exactly how the Apache were able to pose such a grave threat to US forces and how their initial advantages were gradually negated by the cavalry. Examining the tactics, equipment and training available to each side over four decades of evolving conflict, this is an eye-opening combatant's eye view of one of history's most intriguing campaigns.
The Winter War was supposed to be a quick and easy conflict; instead it proved to be a bitter war that destroyed the international reputation of the Soviet Red Army. The diminutive Finnish force was desperately outnumbered by almost half a million Russian troops, but rather than sweeping across their neighbours the Soviet troops stumbled blindly, constantly wrong-footed and then bloodied by their seemingly insignificant foe. Drawing on a wide range of sources this study looks at three key battles, drawing a stark contrast between the poorly prepared Russian troops and the Finns, who made excellent use of terrain and innovative guerrilla tactics as they defended their homeland. Detailed maps and specially commissioned artwork highlight key moments in the Winter War, a David-and-Goliath conflict that saw the Soviet Union suffer horrendous losses as they tried to recover from each disastrous defeat.
In 1979 the Soviet Union moved from military `help' to active intervention in Afghanistan. Four-fifths of the Afghan National Army deserted in the first year of the war, which, compounded with the spread and intensification of the rebellion led by the formidable guerrilla fighters of the Mujahideen, forced the Soviets to intensify their involvement. The Soviet army was in generally poor condition when the war started, but the troops of the airborne and air assault units were better trained and equipped. As a result they developed aggressive, sometimes effective tactics against an enemy that refused to behave the way most Soviet commanders wished him to. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, this absorbing study examines the origins, combat role and battlefield performance of the Soviet Union's paratroopers and their Mujahideen adversaries during the long and bloody Soviet involvement in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
The short but savage Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 pitched well-equipped but complacent British soldiers into combat with the Zulu, one of history's finest fighting forces. The clashes between these two different armies prompted tactical innovation on both sides, as the British and their Zulu opponents sought to find the optimal combination of mobility, protection and firepower. This engrossing study traces the changing face of infantry combat in the Anglo-Zulu War. Three major engagements are detailed: the Zulu ambush at Nyezane, repulsed by the British using their established tactics; the shocking defeat and massacre of outmanoeuvred British forces in savage close-quarter fighting at iSandlwana; and the British victory at Khambula following their adoption of more condensed firing lines and prepared positions.
The Greco-Persian Wars (499-449 BCE) convulsed Greece, Asia Minor and the Near East for half a century. Through a series of bloody invasions and pitched battles, the mighty Persian Empire pitted itself against the smaller armies of the Greeks, strengthened through strategic alliances. This epic conflict also brought together two different styles of warfare: the Greek hoplite phalanx and the combined spear and projectile weapon-armed Persian infantry. Analysing the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae and Plataea from the eyes of a soldier, this study explores the experience of front-line combat during the first two decades of the Greco-Persian Wars. Fully illustrated with modern photographs and archival images, and drawing directly on primary sources and the most authoritative recent research, this is the enthralling story of the fighting men of Greece and Persia and the tactics and technologies they employed.
The US Airborne force fielded some of the toughest, best-trained and most resourceful troops of World War II - all necessary qualities in a force that was lightly armed and which would in most operational circumstances be surrounded from the moment it landed on the battlefield. The German Wehrmacht grew to rely on a series of defensive measures to combat the airborne threat, including fortifications, localized reserves, and special training to help intercept and disrupt airborne troops both in the air and on the ground. Despite such methods it was cool-headed command and control that would prove to be the real key to blunting the Airborne's edge. Using specially commissioned artwork, this book examines the development of the American airborne forces that spearheaded the Allied effort in Sicily, Normandy and Operation Market Garden, and the German countermeasures that evolved in response to the threat of Allied airborne landings.
The peace that followed the First Punic War was shallow and fractious, with the resumption of hostilities in 218 BC sparked by Carthaginian expansion in Iberia seeing Rome suffer some of the worst defeats in her entire history. The Carthaginian army was a composite affair primarily made up of a number of levies from Africa and around the Mediterranean augmented by mercenaries and allies, and these troops crushed the Roman heavy infantry maniples in a series of battles across Southern Europe. Improvements made to their military, however, would see Roman revenge visited on Hannibal in full measure by Scipio, who would beat him at his own game and bring Roman legions to the gates of Carthage itself. In this study, the epic battles at Lake Trasimene (217 BC), Cannae (216 BC), and Ilipa (206 BC) are explored in detail, supported by carefully chosen illustrations and specially commissioned full-colour artwork and mapping.
The Russian Jaeger regiments and Napoleon's Young Guard clashed repeatedly during the campaigns of 1812-14. The Russian Jaeger were light infantry who gained enormous experience and prestige during the struggle to rid Europe of Napoleon's armies, while the Young Guard was expanded to become the main strike force of the French field armies. In appalling winter conditions in 1812, the Young Guard turned to confront their opponents, including Jaeger forces, at Krasnyi. In the face of constant bombardment, Young Guard regiments held off the Russians, covering the retreat of large parts of Napoleon's forces. They clashed again at Leipzig in 1813 and then again in the bitter cold at Craonne in 1814, where horrendous casualties finally told on the newly formed Young Guard units pitched into an attack upon Russian Jaeger regiments. Putting the reader in the shoes of the ordinary soldiers of both sides, this absorbing book traces the evolving trial of strength between Russia's Jaeger arm and France's Young Guardsmen at the height of the Napoleonic Wars.
During the American Civil War, the Union and the Confederacy both fielded units of sharpshooters. Sometimes equipped with firearms no better than those of their infantry brethren, they fought in a manner reminiscent of Napoleonic-era light infantry. Siege warfare placed a premium on marksmanship and the sharpshooter became indispensable as they could drive artillerymen from their guns. They could also become expert scouts and, for the Confederacy, impressive raiders - one raid netted almost 250 prisoners. Initially, Union marksmen enjoyed the upper hand, but as the Confederates began raising and training their own sharpshooters, they proved themselves as worthy opponents. In this study, Gary Yee, an expert in firearms of the period, assesses the role played by sharpshooters in three bloody clashes at the height of the American Civil War - the battle of Fredericksburg, the siege of Vicksburg, and the siege of Battery Wagner.
Following the discovery of gold deposits, in December 1875 the US Government ordered the indigenous population of the Black Hills in what is now South Dakota and Wyoming, the Sioux, to return to the Great Sioux Reservation. When the Sioux refused, the US Army sent forces into the area, sparking a conflict that would make Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, Chief Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and others household names around the world. Examining a series of engagements in the Black Hills War, including Rosebud, Little Bighorn, and Slim Buttes, this fully illustrated study assesses the forces fighting on both sides in this momentous campaign, casting light on the origins, tactics, armament, and battlefield performance of the US Cavalry and their Sioux opponents at the height of the Indian Wars.
The savage partisan war on the Eastern Front during World War II saw a wide variety of forces deployed by both sides. On the Soviet side, civilian partisans fought alongside and in co-operation with Red Army troops and Red Army and NKVD 'special forces'. On the German side, German Army security divisions, with indigenous components including cavalry, fought alongside SS police and Waffen-SS units and other front-line troops employed for short periods in the anti-partisan role. In addition to providing the background history of the forces of both sides, this study focuses upon three examples of German anti-partisan operations that show varied success in dealing with the Soviet partisan threat. Notably, it covers a major operation in north-west Russia during the spring of 1943 - Operation Spring Clean - that saw Wehrmacht security forces including local components fighting alongside troops under the SS umbrella against a number of Soviet partisan brigades. During the fighting, German forces even employed captured French tanks from earlier in the war against the partisans. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and drawing upon an array of sources, this is an absorbing account of the brutal fighting between German security forces and their Soviet partisan opponents during the long struggle for victory on World War II's Eastern Front.
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.
The American Revolutionary War pitched the newly formed Continental Army against the professional British Redcoats - a highly trained organization manned by long-serving and experienced infantrymen with a formidable reputation forged on European battlefields during the Seven Years' War. So, how were the poorly trained, poorly supplied Continental infantry able to hold their own and shape the outcome of the Revolutionary War and establish the future of their young nation? David Bonk answers this question in a highly illustrated book that looks at the challenges facing both armies, weighing up how each side was able to cope with the day-to-day experiences of the war and using extensive first-hand accounts to allow a modern audience to experience what life was like for soldiers on and off the battlefield during the war.