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On the night of 22-23 April 1918 the Royal Navy carried out a raid on the German held ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend - Operation Z-O. Under the cover of clouds and smoke, over 70 ships and an assault force of 1,800 Royal Marines embarked on a daring mission which involved a vicious battle of incredible intensity. However, despite the gallant and courageous efforts of the attackers, 11 of whom were later awarded the Victoria Cross, the raid was only partly successful. Discover the successes and failures of this dramatic raid in this in-depth account, complete with specially commissioned battlescene artwork. The author reveals how despite failure, the raid demonstrated to Germany that Britain was still capable of offensive action, even as its armies were being forced back.
The hundred-year period ending in 1025, from the reign of the Emperor Constantine VII to that of Basil II 'the Bulgar-Slayer', encompassed the last great era of Byzantine aggression and dominance in the Near East and Balkans. During that time, a succession of soldier-emperors challenged and defeated an array of opponents on land and at sea and reconquered vast swathes of territory. At the heart of the Emperors' forces were the professional, highly mobile Tagmata or Imperial Guard regiments, originally formed to guard the Emperor¹s person in the capital but invariably deployed as elite combat troops. Joining these heavy cavalry units, were a variety of exotic mercenary units recruited from foreigners, notably the legendary Varangians. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork, this lively study sheds new light on the colourful regiments of the Byzantine Imperial Guard, the formidable warriors who provided the Byzantine emperors with an insurance policy in the capital, and the elite of their field armies when on campaign.
Carthage became Rome's greatest and most legendary enemy under the generalship of Hannibal in battles like Cannae. During the Punic Wars, Carthage's elite mercenary-professional army was ultimately defeated by Roman endurance and Scipio's genius. Carthage, the port-city in Tunisia first settled by Phoenicians from Tyre, grew to extend a competitive maritime trading empire all over the Western Mediterranean and beyond, increasingly defended by the best navy of the period. In the 6th century BC this came into confrontation with Greek colonists in Sicily, starting major wars that lasted through the 5th and 4th centuries, and involved much interaction with different Greek forces. During the 3rd century Carthage first clashed with Roman armies, and in the course of three wars that raged over Spain, Sicily and Italy the Romans suffered the greatest defeats in their early history (e.g. Lake Trasimene and Cannae, 217 and 216 BC) at the hands of Hamilcar, Hannibal and Hasdrubal Barca, leading multinational armies of North Africans and Europeans.It was 202 BC before Hannibal was decisively defeated by Scipio Africanus at Zama, and 146 BC before Carthage itself was finally captured and destroyed. The victors tried to wipe the memory of Carthage out of the historical record, and while Hannibal himself has attracted fascinated study, little work has been done on trying to explain the character and reconstruct the appearance of Carthaginian armies. The authors of this study present a careful synthesis of all available literary, archaeological and iconographic evidence, in the most up-to-date attempt to do so. Their findings are dramatized in a portfolio of detailed and animated color plates by Giuseppe Rava.
The civilisations of the Greece in the Ancient World have inspired and fascinated throughout European history. The stories of Homer, later reinforced by the pioneering archaeological work carried out by men such as Heinrich Schliemann at Mycenae and Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos, have enabled modern researchers and historians to piece together a rich material culture and reconstruct the mysteries of the Ancient World.The mainland and islands of Greece were extensively settled by peoples moving from Asia Minor in c.5000 BC, while a further wave in c.5000 BC introduced bronze-working to the region. It is form this point on that it is possible to discern a distinct Cycladic or Aegean civilisation, developing at roughly the same time as the Egyptian and Persian civilisations. Further to the south, the Minoan civilisation based on Crete held sway, and this power - along with the Helladic Achaeans to the north gradually swamped the Cycladic civilisation in between.In common with most Bronze Age societies, the culture of the Aegean world was dominated by warfare, with the inhabitants living in organized settlements and small citadels with fortification walls and bulwarks, towers and gates to provide protection against invaders from the sea or internecine conflicts. Using the latest archaeological evidence, this title recreates the world of these peoples through a detailed examination of their material culture.
On 8th December 1941, as part of the simultaneous combine attack against Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) invaded the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia and the British colony of Hong Kong. After only 18 days of battle the defenders, a weak, undermanned brigade was overwhelmed by a superior force of two battle-harden IJA divisions. What makes the battle of Hong Kong was not the scale - just 14,000 defended the colony - but the intensity of this battle fought not only by the British Army, Navy and Air Force but also Canadians, Hong Kong's own defence force, the Indian Army as well as many civilians. The campaign itself is characterized by a fierce land battle, with long artillery duals and as well as fast naval actions with intense actions at the Gin Drinkers Line as well as the battle of Wong Nai Chung Gap where a handful of defenders took on an entire Japanese regiment. Less known but equally important are individual valour such as CSM John Robert Osborne winning a posthumous VC, throwing himself over a Japanese grenade to save fellow combatants. Capitulation by the defenders on 25 December 1941 marks the end of one battle and the beginning of another. A subject not significantly covered by Western historian is local resistance to Japanese occupation. Lead by the communist Chinese, many continued to fight the Japanese forming the Guangdong people's Anti-Japanese East River Guerrilla Detachment that by 1945 grew from 200 to a 6,000-strong force. The guerrillas rescued downed allied pilots, harassed the Japanese with bombing and assassinated traitors and collaborators. Those Allies POW that managed to escape to China continued the fight in a secretive new organization - the British Army Aid Group (BAAG).As the war draw to a close, the question of reestablishing British control became a highly contentious diplomatic dual between China, USA and Britain, but with the death President of Roosevelt in 1945, decolonization lost its main champion and Britain was able to outmaneuver Chiang Kai Shek, the Chinese Generalissimo, and recover Hong Kong as a British Colony. After three years and eight months of Japanese occupation, Rear Admiral Sir Harcourt sailed into Hong Kong on board the cruiser HMS Swiftsure to reestablish control over the colony and accepted the formal surrender of Japan on 16 September 1945.
The Blackshirt legions were raised under army control from 1928, and were employed in 1933 in Libya in counterinsurgency operations against the Senussi tribes; from 1935 in Italy's war against Ethiopia; and during the Spanish Civil War. Following the outbreak of World War II, the Blackshirts fought in North Africa, Greece, Croatia, on the Eastern Front and finally in Italy itself following the Allied invasion.This book documents the experiences of the Italian armed Fascist militia, the Camicie Nere (Blackshirts), from the Italian-Ethiopian war (1935-1936), through the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to the end of World War II (1939-1945). It explores their origins, development, recruitment, training, conditions of service, uniforms and equipment, battle experience, political and ideological motivation.
Thomas Edward Lawrence, more popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, was one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century, immortalized on stage and screen, whose exploits in the Middle East in the second half of World War I helped shape the campaign in that part of the world. In the course of two brief years, Lawrence emerged as one of the main strategic and tactical minds behind the Arab Revolt. He went from being an obscure staff officer to the rank of full colonel and became one of the men who shaped the modern Middle East. From being a pure amateur, he also developed desert tactics that would be used throughout World War II and afterwards. This new Command title provides an in-depth analysis of every aspect of Lawrence's storied military career.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"...the first-person perspectives offered by Kirby and Köhler put this book on my recommended books list. These personal experiences definitely stirred some interest for me to research more on the design, evolution, and field performance of each of the two tanks.- C. Peter Chen, World War II Database (July 2008)Smarting from their defeat at El Alamein and with directives to save the North African campaign, Rommel's battle-hardened armored divisions confronted a fresh opponent in the form of the newly arrived Americans. This would be a duel between the stalwart of the Wehrmacht armored divisions - the Panzerkampfwagen III - and the American's as yet untested first armored division. In reality both would prove unequal to the task as they floundered amidst the rugged hills and ravines of the Tunisian landscape. This book charts the design and development of these two disparate rivals - their vastly different armament and armor as well as their tactical concepts. Mutually hampered by the climate, terrain, and lack of experience, this was a desperate struggle for supremacy. Moreover, it was a duel with far-reaching implications. For the Americans it was their first baptism of fire and the outcome would determine their future war strategy. For the Germans, this was the final throw of the dice to regain the overwhelming superiority they had enjoyed during the first years of the war. Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of these two deadly opponents, this book explores the successes and failures of the Grant and Panzer III as they clashed at the critical battles of North Africa. Moreover it is an insight into the lives of the tank crews themselves as they struggled with the twin horrors of tank warfare and the fight for survival amidst some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth.
This book describes the life of a pirate of the early 18th century - the heyday of the 'Golden Age of Piracy'. It charts the way these men (and a few women) were recruited, how they operated, what they looked like and what their prospects were. In the process the book attempts to strip away many of the myths associated with piracy, to reveal the harsh realities of life beyond the normal bounds of society. The book draws on decades of research into the subject, and pulls together information from a myriad of sources, including official reports, contemporary newspaper reports, trial proceedings and court testimony, last words on the scaffold, letters, diaries and period scandal sheets. Other sources include archaeological evidence, and relevant objects and artefacts from museum collections on both sides of the Atlantic. In other words the book will reflect the last word in pirate research, making it beneficial to both the serious pirate historian and the novice apprentice.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the years between 31 BC and AD 500 the Romans carved out a mighty empire stretching from Britain to the deserts of North Africa. The men who spearheaded this expansion were the centurions, the tough, professional warriors who led from the front, exerted savage discipline and provided a role model for the legionaries under their command.This book, the second volume of a two-part study, reveals the appearance, weaponry, role and impact of these legendary soldiers during the five centuries that saw the Roman Empire reach its greatest geographical extent under Trajan and Hadrian, only to experience a long decline in the West in the face of sustained pressure from its 'barbarian' neighbours. Featuring spectacular full-colour artwork, written by an authority on the army of the Caesars and informed by a wide range of sculptural, written and pictorial evidence from right across the Roman world, this book overturns established wisdom and sheds new light on Rome's most famous soldiers during the best-known era in its history.
Ever since the Empress Jingo-kogo led an invasion of Korea while pregnant with the future Emperor Ojin, tales of female Japanese warriors have emerged from Japan's rich history. Using material that has never been translated into English before, this book presents the story of Japan's female warriors for the first time, revealing the role of the women of the samurai class in all their many manifestations, investigating their weapons, equipment, roles, training and belief systems. Crucially, as well as describing the women who were warriors in their own right, like Hauri Tsuruhime and the women of Aizu, this book also looks at occasions when women became the power behind the throne, ruling and warring through the men around them.
Towards the end of the 16th century three outstanding commanders brought Japan's century of civil wars to an end, and even though reunification was first achieved under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it was his successor Tokugawa Ieyasu who was to ensure a lasting peace. In terms of his strategic and political achievements Ieyasu ranks as Japan's greatest samurai commander. His battlefield prowess, however, needs careful consideration before accolades are offered, because Ieyasu was undoubtedly a lucky general. Mikata ga Hara, for example, was a defeat that the onset of winter saved from being a rout. Ieyasu's crowning victory at Sekigahara depended very much on the defection to his side of Kobayakawa Hideaki, and the absence from the scene of Ieyasu's son Hidetada serves to illustrate how just once there was a failure in Ieyasu's otherwise classic strategic vision. Yet Ieyasu possessed the particular wisdom of knowing who should be an ally and who was an enemy, and he was gifted in the broad brush strokes of a campaign. He also knew how to learn from his mistakes.Ieyasu was also patient, a virtue sadly lacking in many of his contemporaries, and unlike Hideyoshi never outreached himself. To establish his family as the ruling clan in Japan for the next two and a half centuries was abundant proof of his true greatness.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi: The Background, Strategies, Tactics and Battlefield Experiences of the Greatest Commanders of Historyby Stephen Turnbull Giuseppe Rava
Arguably the greatest military commander in the history of the samurai, Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose from the ranks of the peasantry to rule over all Japan. A student of the great unifier Oda Nobunaga, Hideyoshi would later avenge the murder of his master at the battle of Yamazaki. After consolidating his position, Hideyoshi went on the offensive, conquering the southern island of Kyushu in 1587 and defeating the Hojo in 1590. By 1591, he had accomplished the reunification of Japan. This book looks at the complete story of Hideyoshi's military accomplishments, from his days as a tactical leader to his domination of the Japanese nation.
The world's first war machines were ships built two millennia before the dawn of the Classical world. Their influence on the course of history cannot be overstated. A wide variety of galleys and other types of warships were built by successive civilisations, each with their own distinctive appearance, capability and utility. The earliest of these were the Punt ships and the war galleys of Egypt which defeated the Sea People in the first known naval battle. Following the fall of these civilisations, the Phoenicians built biremes and other vessels, while in Greece the ships described in detail in the 'Trojan' epics established a tradition of warship building culminating in the pentekonters and triaconters. The warships of the period are abundantly illustrated on pottery and carved seals, and depicted in inscriptions and on bas-reliefs. The subject has been intensively studied for two and a half millennia, culminating in the contemporary works of authoritative scholars such as Morrison, Wallinga, Rodgers and Casson. To date there are no works covering the subject which are accessible and available to non-academics.
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