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While the US Marine Corps was one of the smallest of American armed services in World War II (1939-1945), its contribution to the final victory cannot be overstated. The US Marine Corps may have only comprised 5 percent of America's armed forces, but it suffered 10 percent of all World War II combat casualties. Above all, the amphibious nature of the war in the Pacific imposed on the Marine Corps greater tasks than any it had ever before been called upon to perform. This title details the organization, weapons and equipment of the US Marines of World War II.
The outbreak of World War II set in motion a massive expansion of the United States Marine Corps, leading to a 24-fold increase in size by August 1945. This book is the first of several volumes to examine the Corps's meteoric wartime expansion and the evolution of its units. It covers the immediate pre-war period, the rush to deploy defense forces in the war's early months, and the Marines' first combat operations on Guadalcanal, New Georgia, and Bougainville. It focuses on the 1st, 2d, and 3d Marine Divisions (MarDivs) and the provisional 1st, 2d, and 3d Marine Brigades (MarBdes).
Osprey's study of United States Marine Corps riflemen during World War II (1939-1945). It is sometimes a basic assumption that a US Marine Corps rifleman was essentially trained, uniformed, equipped, and armed much the same as a US Army rifleman during World War II. While there were of course similarities, the Marines conducted their own unique training programs, wore mostly different uniforms and equipment, and possessed some unique weapons, although they also used many of the same weapons as the Army. The Marine Corps was not part of the Navy, but a component of the Navy Department alongside the Navy. While the Marines specialized in amphibious warfare, the Army actually conducted more amphibious assaults in the Pacific than the Marines. The typical Marine was extremely proud of his service and acutely aware that there were only six Marine divisions but 89 Army divisions. The Marine Corps began World War II with less than 66,000 officers and men; more than that would be wounded before it ended. The Corps grew to almost 487,000. It provided only 5 percent of the US armed forces, but suffered 10 percent of overall American casualties.The Marines were able to build on their proud traditions and history to transform a small branch of service into a premier combined arms amphibious assault force. Regardless of its expansion by 750 percent, the Corps was able to maintain its sense of tradition, instill that into thousands of new Marines, and create an elite arm of service. Here, Gordon L Rottman, follows the Marine rifleman through his draft and training, and then participation in operations such as Roi-Namur in the Marshall Islands, Saipan and Tinian in the Mariana Islands, and Iwo Jima.The opening sentences of the Marine Creed, composed shortly after the attack on Pearl HarborThis is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless.
Osprey's examination of the US Mechanized Infantrymen of the First Gulf War (1990-1991), In many ways the end of the Vietnam War left the US army a spent force. Plagued by low morale, drug and race issues, and terrible public relations, the army faced an uphill climb in the effort to rebuild itself. The story of this reconstruction is mirrored in the rise of the Mechanized Infantryman. Deciding that the key to future conflict lay in highly trained and mobile warriors that could be delivered quickly to battle, the army adopted the mechanized infantryman as its frontline troops. This new, all-volunteer force was given the best training and equipment that money could buy. Most notably, they were to be deployed onto the battlefield from the new M2 Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicle.This new breed of American warriors got their first test in the First Gulf War. Fighting in the deserts of Kuwait and Iraq, these soldiers proved that the US Army was once again a force with which to be reckoned. This book tells the complete story of the rise of the US mechanized infantryman, focusing on his recruitment, training, lifestyle and combat experiences in Iraq.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Motor torpedo boat development began in the early 1900s and the vessels were first put into active service during World War I. However, it was not until the late 1930s that the US Navy commenced the development of their Patrol Torpedo or PT boat program. The PT boat, or the "mosquito boat" as they were sometimes known, was originally envisioned for attacking larger warships with torpedoes using its "stealth" ability, high-speed, and small size to launch and survive these attacks. However, they were actually employed more frequently in a wide variety of other missions, many which were unforeseen by developers and planners, including rescuing General MacArthur and his entourage from the Philippines. Often taking on larger and better armed enemies these craft became famous for punching above their weight and were firmly thrust into the limelight by John F. Kennedy who while serving as a lieutenant on a PT-109 in the Pacific Theater heroically saved his fellow crew members winning him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. This book examines the design and development of these unique craft, very few of which survive today and goes on to examine their role and combat deployment in both World Wars.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The bitter fighting in the Pacific Theater required new forms of warfare, and the gathering of detailed intelligence information on the remote and varied islands and their determined defenders. As a result, new scout, raider and reconnaissance units were formed<the pioneers of today's special forces. Some units were small, while others comprised thousands of men. All contributed significantly to the war effort. This book examines a wide range of PTO special-warfare units, including the Alaskan and Alamo scouts, 5217th/1st Recon Battalion, Marine Amphibious Recon and Raider units, Amphibious Scouts, and 6th Ranger Battalion.
Osprey's study of the United States' naval tactics during World War II (1939-1945). The US armed forces were responsible for many tactical innovations during the years 1941-45, but in no field was US mastery more complete than amphibious warfare. In the vast, almost empty battlefield of the Pacific the US Navy and Marine Corps were obliged to develop every aspect of the amphibious assault landing in painstaking detail, from the design of many new types of vessel, down to the tactics of the rifle platoon hitting the beach, and the logistic system without which they could not have fought their way inland. This fascinating study offers a clear, succinct explanation of every phase of these operations as they evolved during the war years, illustrated with detailed color plates and photographs.
The US Army and Marine Corps in World War II considered themselves highly mobile, offensive forces. Their mobile-warfare doctrine envisioned field fortifications and obstacles as temporary in nature. As a result, their design was simple and made use of local materials, and they could be constructed comparatively quickly, whilst still providing adequate protection. By the time of the Korean War, only minor changes had been made to field fortification construction and layout, and to small-unit organization, weapons, and tactics. This title addresses field fortifications built by US infantrymen during World War II and in Korea, and covers rifle-platoon positions, trenches, crew-served weapon positions, bunkers, dugouts, shelters, observation posts and anti-tank obstacles.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, to Normandy and Holland, the Battle of the Bulge, into the heart of Nazi Germany, and also in jungle battles in the Pacific the parachute infantry regiments were among the most highly decorated US Army units of World War II, and between them they saw action right across the world. The elite nature of these units led to their being committed to action not only in the way that had been intended; their quality tempted commanders to keep them in the line longer than their light armament justified, and they were tested to the limit. This engaging study traces the story of each of the 17 regiments, from their creation and training in the USA, through their deployments overseas, to their combat jumps and all their battles. It explains their structure and organization, and records their commanding officers and other notable personalities, such as their Medal of Honor recipients. The book is illustrated with wartime photographs, many previously unpublished, and with eight full-color plates detailing the specifics of their uniforms, insignia, and equipment practices - which often differed from unit to unit. Together, these plates offer a comprehensive study of the special clothing and gear worn throughout the US Army's parachute forces.
Field fortifications and tunnel systems are typically thought of as defensive and active protective measures, but the VC/NVA also employed them offensively. It was common for extensive field works to be constructed to support assaults and sieges on US fire-support bases and remote camps. Their tactics reflected attempts to counter the massive firepower they faced: when directly engaging the enemy they employed "hugging" tactics (moving in and remaining closely engaged, even intermingling units, to prevent the enemy from bringing his artillery and close air support to bear). Their field works included defended villages, base camps, fortified complexes, hilltop defenses, trench systems, individual fighting positions, crew-served weapon positions, bunkers, caches, and extensive tunnel systems. Camouflage and deceptive measures, and the employment of obstacles and booby traps went hand-in-hand with such field works. This book examines these unique fortifications.
Osprey's examination of airborne units of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). The Airborne units that fought against the Viet Cong in Vietnam were a select brotherhood. Their ability to respond and move rapidly by air transport or helicopter, combined with their flexibility in ever-changing tactical situations, saved the day in many brutal fights in the jungles, swamps, plains and mountains of Vietnam. This book looks at the history, organization and uniforms of the airborne units in Vietnam. The troops covered include paratroopers, reconnaissance troops and special forces soldiers from the US, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and the Republic of Vietnam. Contemporary photographs and full page colour artwork support the text.
Osprey's study of airmobile tactics used in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). * With its first major use in battle during the Vietnam War, the helicopter ushered in a radically different way of fighting, despite its proven vulnerability to ground fire. Either delivering troops into hostile territory and removing them after the fighting ended, or armed with guns, grenade launchers, and rockets to provide rapid and wide-ranging air to ground support fire, the helicopter - available for the first time in sufficient numbers and capable of a wide range of missions - played a central role in the war. * From the beginning, with obsolete Korean War helicopters carrying ARVN troops into battle, to Huey gunships evacuating the wounded at la Drang in 1965, and transport helicopters evacuating Americans from Saigon rooftops in 1975; this was the first real helicopter war. By the middle of the war, the helicopter, in particular the Huey model had become as important to the army as the tank, the armored personnel carrier, and the jeep. * Presenting a concise history of the first ever major use of helicopters in battle, Gordon L. Rottman, a former Green Beret in Vietnam, describes in detail the development of the critical airmobile tactics that ultimately changed the way America fights its battles.
When US combat units began arriving in Vietnam in mid-1965 they were initially based in coastal cities. Munitions and supplies were delivered by sea at ports to directly supply the newly arrived forces. It was not long before American units began to venture into the countryside to engage the VC in the areas they controlled. Many of these areas were well inland and forward bases had to be established. These bases had to be continuously supplied and required a great deal of tonnage. Supplies had to be transported overland from the coastal ports of Qui Nhon and Cam Ranh Bay at Bong Son, An Khe, Pleiku, Dalat, and Buon Ma Thuot. Later, more inland bases were established and more seaports opened. The logistical efforts expanded and it became a major effort to run convoys to these bases. Discover the history of the little-known but vitally important improvised vehicles, or 'gun trucks', that were developed in-theatre in Vietnam by the vehicle crews themselves to protect convoys from Viet Cong ambushes in this highly-detailed, fully-illustrated title from our popular New Vanguard series.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Osprey's study of the evolving US, Viet Cong and NVA tactics at battalion level and below throughout the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Beginning with a description of the terrain, climate and the unique nature of operations in this theater of war, author Gordon Rottman, a Vietnam veteran himself, goes on to explain how unit organization was broken down by combatant forces and the impact this had on the kind of tactics they employed. In particular, Rottman highlights how units were organized in reality on the battlefield as opposed to their theoretical tables of organization. US tactics included the standard US tactical doctrine as prescribed by several field manuals and in which leaders and troops were rigorously trained. But it also reveals how many American units developed innovative small unit tactics specifically tailored to the terrain and enemy practices. Key Free World Forces' tactics that will be discussed in detail include Command and Control, Combat Patrols and Ambushes, Counter-Ambushes, Defensive Perimeters, and Offensive Operations (sweeps, search and destroy, clear and secure). In contrast, this book reveals the tactics employed by Viet Cong and NVA units including their own Offensive Operations (attacking bases and installations, attacking moving forces), Reconnaissance, Movement Formations and Security, and Ambushes.
In 1965 the military situation in the Mekong River Delta of southern Vietnam had deteriorated to such a degree that the decision was made to commit a joint US Army and Navy Mobile Riverine Force to the area. This force was unique in its composition, mission, and the means by which it operated - riverine craft. Comprising the Army's 2d Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, and the Navy's River Assault Flotilla One, it used a variety of watercraft, including heavily modified landing craft, purpose-built patrol boats, and a whole host of auxiliary and support craft. This book explores those craft, and also gives an account of Task Force Clearwater, a much smaller operation in the extreme northern part of South Vietnam.
Osprey's study of the ground forces of the Cold War (1946-1991). While much has been published on the armed forces of the USSR during the 1980s, surprisingly little is available on the forces supplied by the other member nations of the Warsaw Pact. Rivalling the size of the United States Army, the combined ground forces of the six non-Soviet Warsaw Pact countries totalled over 775,000 active troops, with almost two million ground forces reserves. This book examines the history, organization and uniforms of the often overlooked DDR, Czechoslovak, Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Romanian forces at the end of the Cold War.
There exists among the world's armies a proliferation of special forces groups. Today's smaller armies, especially those of developing nations, demand maximum efficiency in force structure and employment. Mountain, jungle, arctic and desert areas require special purpose units trained, conditioned, and equipped to master these environments. This volume by ex-weapons specialist in the US 7th Special Forces Group, Gordon L. Rottman, details the insignia of a myriad of special forces groups from all parts of the globe, from Portugal's Commando Regiment to the North Yemen 'Al Mithalaat' Brigade, with a wealth of illustrations and photographs, including 12 full page colour plates by Simon McCouaig.
Osprey's elite title dealing with various sabotage devices and booby traps that were used by the British and the Americans during World War II (1939-1945). Following Churchill's directive to set occupied Europe ablaze, the SOE and later its American sister organization, the OSS, were deployed across the continent. Outnumbered, surrounded and in great peril, these brave agents were armed with a wide variety of devices to help them achieve their objectives, including numerous pieces of sabotage equipment and cunning booby traps. This book examines these different pieces of equipment and the technicalities involved in deploying them effectively. It also discusses the specialist equipment developed by Special Forces units, including the SAS Lewes Bomb. Touching on some of the stranger developments, such as explosives disguised as lumps of coal, the author goes on to describe the German clearance techniques that were developed to avoid these dangers.Complete with specially commissioned artwork and period diagrams, together with detailed descriptions of the dangerous missions of Allied agents, this book is a fascinating insight into the secret war behind enemy lines.
Booby traps laid by troops in war zones in World War II (1939-1945) are largely neglected in histories and memoirs, and rarely examined in detail. Yet for a soldier, the threat of booby traps was hugely significant and the ability to find and disarm them was essential. This is the first comprehensive study of World War II Axis battlefield sabotage equipment, using information from rare wartime intelligence publications covering both Allied and Axis practice to identify, illustrate and describe the vintage munitions used in World War II. Examining all aspects of this secretive subject, from the equipment used to the techniques of placing and uncovering them, this book is an invaluable resource, revealing the daily risks faced by soldiers on the ground through the course of the war.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The battlefield interaction between infantry and tanks was central to combat on most fronts in World War II (1939-1945). The first 'Blitzkrieg' campaigns saw the tank achieve a new dominance. New infantry tactics and weapons - some of them desperately dangerous - had to be adopted, while the armies raced to develop more powerful anti-tank guns and new light weapons. By 1945, a new generation of revolutionary shoulder-fired AT weapons was in widespread use. This book explains in detail the shifting patterns of anti-tank combat, illustrated with photographs, diagrams and colour plates showing how weapons were actually employed on the battlefield.
Osprey's examination of Japan's tank figting tactics during World War II (1939-1945). In this book expert author and tactician Gordon L Rottman provides the first English-language study of Japanese Army and Navy tank units, their tactics and how they were deployed in action. The Japanese army made extensive use of its tanks in the campaigns in China in the 1930s, and it was in these early successes that the Japanese began to develop their own unique style of tank tactics. As Japanese tanks battled in Singapore, Malaya and Burma this Japanese vision became clearer as light tanks were deployed in the jungles of southeastern Asia, where conventional Western tactics dictated that tanks would be useless.From the steam-rolling success of the Japanese as they invaded Manchuria until the eventual Japanese defeat, the book provides a battle history of the Japanese tank units as they faced a variety of enemies from the Chinese, to the Russians, to the British and the Americans, providing a fascinating insight into the range of tactics that were deployed against these contrasting enemies - from innovative attack procedures to desperate defensive maneuvers even as their tanks were rapidly outclassed in terms of design and armament.From the Trade Paperback edition.
On the major European and Russian fronts throughout World War II, the challenge of crossing rivers and other water obstacles under fire was absolutely central to any advance. The Panzers that crossed the Meuse at Sedan in May 1940 cut the French Army in two; the Wehrmacht's ability to cross the great rivers of the western USSR was vital to the lightning advances of Operation Barbarossa in 1941, and in 1943-45 the Red Army had to drive the Germans back from a succession of river lines during their advance to the Reich, culminating in the Vistula and Oder lines; in Italy the Rapido formed a bloody moat for the Cassino defences; and after D-Day the milestones on the Western Allies' advances were the Seine, the Somme, the Moselle, and finally the Rhine. The initial (hopefully surprise) assault could be made by infantry in light assault boats, and over rudimentary improvised bridges. But World War II armies depended on heavy mechanized equipment, and even if a bridgehead was seized, it then had to be held for long enough for engineers to bring up and erect prefabricated bridges strong enough to carry the tanks and artillery without which the bridgehead was doomed. Some of the most savage fighting of the war took place around bridgeheads, and the Allies invested considerable resources in the development of equipment and tactics for contested river crossings.This book explains the methods and the means, and analyzes specific successes and failures. It features a wealth of wartime photos, particularly from German sources, and full-color plates illustrate tactical scenarios that bring the subject alive.
This book explains and illustrates the actual materials and techniques adopted (both successfully and unsuccessfully) by tactical units - i.e. the concealment of personnel, weapons, equipment, field positions, and movement by infantry riflemen and weapons crews, artillerymen, and vehicle crews. It covers all areas and seasons in the European and Mediterranean theaters of operations, for the US, British, German, and Soviet armies. It includes camouflage of the person, personal equipment, and weapons; natural materials and "expedient" techniques; issued camouflage materials such as nets, ponchos, etc; the principles of camouflaging equipment and vehicles, of positioning and terrain integration, the effects of light and shadow, and the use of decoy and dummy positions. Featuring meticulous full-color artwork and specially selected period photographs, this absorbing study casts new light on the camouflaging techniques developed by the major armies of World War II on a host of European battlefields.
Osprey's study of America's armored infantry tactics in World War II (1939-1945). Little has been published on US armored infantry units and tactics over the years despite their key role in World War II. There were a total of 57 armored infantry battalions and two regiments that served throughout the war and in all theaters. Equipped with halftracks, they fought as part of combined arms teams and combat commands alongside tanks, tank destroyers and artillery battalions. Significantly, they were not simply standard infantry battalions provided with halftracks. Their company and platoon organization was very different from the standard infantry unit and these highly mobile, heavily armed battalions fought in an entirely different manner. Using period training manuals and combat reports this book provides an exclusive look at the unique tactics developed by US armored infantry units including movement formations and battle drills.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The cavalry regiments of the US Army were in the process of being transformed into a mechanized force when the USA entered World War II. While those cavalry regiments deployed to the Pacific to fight the Japanese were turned into infantry units, those sent to Europe were employed as light armor in the cavalry's traditional spearhead roles - reconnaissance, the screening of advances and flanks, and the pursuit of beaten enemy forces. Equipped with M8 Greyhound armored cars, M5 Stuart and M24 Chaffee light tanks, and halftracks, these units were designated cavalry groups (mechanized), each c. 1,700 strong and divided into two heavily armed squadrons. They were seldom attached to divisions, but to higher-level corps commands, meaning they could be shifted around quickly and independently and be formed at need into flexible battle groups with armored, infantry, and other units, depending on the mission. Featuring specially drawn full-color illustrations depicting uniforms, insignia, armored vehicles, and tactical scenarios, this is the story of the US cavalry units that led the advance to victory in Europe during World War II.
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