One of the decisive battles of World War II (1939-1945) in the Pacific, Iwo Jima was described by Lieutenant-General Holland Smith, Commander Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, as "The most savage and most costly battle in the history of the Marine Corps" - a titanic struggle that eclipsed all that had gone before. Situated halfway along the B-29 Superfortress route to the Japanese mainland, the island was of major strategic importance to the US Air Force, but also to the Japanese, 20,000 of whom were deeply entrenched in the island. This book provides a definitive account of the battle, from its origins to its hard-fought conclusion.
When the revolutionary Messerschmitt Me 262 jet fighter first appeared in the skies over northwest Europe in mid-1944, it represented one of the greatest challenges to Allied air superiority. The first group to solely fly jet fighters, Jagdgeschwader 7 was tasked with wrestling back command of the skies. Put almost immediately into action, despite fuel shortages, poor training and problems with the jet engine, victories quickly followed against both US and British aircraft. By the end of the war, the Jagdgeschwader had claimed nearly 200 enemy aircraft destroyed in daylight bomber raids during 1945. This book follows the history of the JG 7 unit, examining how their courage, determination and the most advanced aircraft in the world were simply not enough to ensure victory. In the final section of the book Robert Forsyth details how JG 7 were eventually defeated by gradual losses, restricted operating conditions, lack of fuel and overwhelming Allied fighter strength.
Jagdverband 44 was formed in February 1945 on Hitler's orders, to fly the Me 262 "Stormbird", the world's first operational jet fighter, and demonstrate its superiority. The unit was led by the legendary Adolf Galland, who recruited some of Germany's leading aces into it, to the extent that it was said that the Knight's Cross was its unofficial badge. JV 44 engaged the US Ninth Army Air Force over Bavaria and, with its significant speed advantage and powerful armament of cannon and rockets, the Me 262 proved a formidable interceptor in the hands of its expert pilots. In its brief operational existence, never able to get more than six jets in the air at any one time, this small unit achieved approximately 50 kills in less than a month. Unfortunately for the German defensive effort (though Galland himself was glad not to have prolonged the war) there were not enough Me 262s to have any overall effect on the Allied air campaign.This book is a dramatic record of a highly individual unit and an exciting early chapter in the history of the jet fighter. Four of the world's ten surviving Me 262s are major attractions at flight museums in the USA and recently constructed replicas will soon be a feature of air shows around the nation and the "experten" aces of the Luftwaffe have an enduring fascination.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book examines the technology and strategy that defined the outcome of the battles between the King Tiger and the IS-2. The Soviets had been quick to develop tanks that could fight the Tiger on an equal footing, but these were developed as part of a completely different strategy than that employed by the Germans. The King Tiger was a modern marvel, and remained unmatched in one-on-one combat. Technologically superior, with greater firepower and better armour than the Soviet IS-2, the King Tiger was a formidable opponent. However, the IS-2 was lighter, more manoeuvrable and most importantly, far more numerous. With overwhelming numerical superiority the Soviets were able to simply overwhelm their opponents, negating the technical superiority of the King Tiger.
Soviet fighter aviation suffered terribly at the hands of the Jagdwaffe in the first year of the war in the east, and with the arrival of JG 51 and its Fw 190s on the Stalingrad Front in September 1942 things only got worse for the hard-pressed Red Army Air Force pilots. However, help was on its way in the form of the re-engined LaGG-3 fighter, which was fitted with a powerful air-cooled M-82 radial engine. Designated the La-5, the new fighter was capable of withstanding more punishment than the fragile LaGG-3, and it was also appreciably faster and had a greater rate of climb. It was more of a handful to fly, however, but the new generation of better trained pilots who were led into combat by the survivors of 1941-42 quickly found the La-5 (and, later, the improved La-7) very much to their liking. Arriving in the frontline in August 1942, the new Lavochkin fighters soon found themselves pitted into action on the Central Sector against the equally new Fw 190As of JG 51. The first clashes took place in November of that year, and from then on the Focke-Wulf fighter would regularly clash with its counterpart from Lavochkin.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Gulf War bore witness to a number of deadly encounters between these two great adversaries. Heavily armored, highly mobile and capable of killing at over 2500m the M1 Abrams is, to this day, a veritable fighting machine. Superior to both Iraq's Soviet era T-55 and T-62 tanks, nearly all sources claim that no Abrams tank has ever been destroyed by enemy fire. Despite entering service in 1980, the M1 Abrams remained untested in combat until the Gulf War in 1991, where it was to be confronted by its archenemy the Iraqi-assembled Soviet-designed T-72. Entering production in 1971, the T-72 arguably outstripped its contemporaries in a balance of mobility, protection and firepower. By the time of Operation Desert Storm, however, the tables had turned and the tank suffered due to low quality ammunition and poorly trained crews. In this fascinating study, Steven Zaloga pits these two great fighting machines against one another, plotting the development of the Cold War until both tanks met in combat in the deserts of Iraq and Kuwait. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The M18 76mm Gun Motor Carriage was developed for the US Army's Tank Destroyer Command. It was the only tank destroyer deployed during World War II actually based on their requirements for speed and firepower. This book examines the development of this vehicle, the controversies over the need for high-speed tank destroyers, and its actual performance during World War II. Special emphasis is placed on examining its performance in its intended mission. Coverage also includes derivative vehicles of the M18 such as the M39 armored utility vehicle.
The M4 Sherman tank was the mainstay of the Western allies between 1942 and 1945. Fast and modern it was a big success and was transported as far afield as Russia and North Africa. The American Chief of Staff claimed in November 1943 it was 'hailed widely as the best tank on the battlefield today...'. However, by the Normandy invasion of June 1944 this was not the case: the new German heavy tanks such as the Panther and Tiger were completely outclassing the Sherman. This title covers the M4 version armed with the 76 mm gun, examining developments such as the HVSS suspension, using much new archive material.
Entering service in the early 1960s, the M60 tank was in production for 23 years and formed the backbone of US Army and Marine armoured units during the Cold War. Over 15,000 were built in four basic models: the M60, M60A1, M60A2, and the M60A3. Although the M60 had been phased out of US Army service by the time Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, M60s were amongst the first Allied tanks to enter Kuwait City with the US Marines. This book examines the design and deployment of the M60, a very widely used vehicle that is still in service today.
British jet fighters initiated jet vs. jet warfare when they fought Hitler's Nazi German V-1 attacks on London in World War II.The V1 attack on London began on the night of 13/14 June 1944 from bases in Normandy. On 29 March 1945 the last one to fall on Britain was shot down by gunners in Suffolk. A total of 10,500 missiles were launched, of which 3957 were destroyed by the defences - 3531 reached England, 2420 falling in the London area. No fewer than 6184 people were killed and 17,981 seriously injured. Indeed, it could have been much worse, for by the end of the war the Germans had manufactured close to 32,000 flying bombs. The defences put forward to guard against the V1 were formidable - 23,000 men and women with their guns, radar and communications networks were installed on coastal sites. Squadrons of Britain's newest Spitfires, the F XIVs, and Hawker Tempest Vs were kept at home to battle the new menace. While the Spitfire F XIV and Tempest V had excellent low-level speed and were able to catch the V1, there was one aircraft that was much faster. Rushed into action on 22 July 1944 to help counter the V1 threat, Britain's Gloster Meteor I was the first jet fighter to enter RAF service. At low and medium altitudes the Meteor was faster than its piston-engined contemporaries, which in turn made it perfectly suited to 'anti-Diver' V1 operations. On 4 August the Meteor scored its first V1 victory. Having just closed in on a flying bomb, Flg Off Dean of No 616 Sqn squeezed the trigger but his guns jammed. Using the Meteor's superior speed, he was able overtake the missile and, using his wing tip, he tipped the craft over and sent it crashing into the ground. This was the first time a jet-powered enemy aircraft had been destroyed by a jet fighter without a shot being fired! It was also the world's first jet versus jet encounter. As the only jet fighter squadron in Allied service in Europe, No 616 Sqn would go on to shoot down 13 V1s. A small number perhaps, but the interceptions between the V1 and Britain's Gloster Meteor were historic, and ushered in a new era of aerial combat.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Although the opposing forces of the Six Day War were both flying comparable third-generation Mach 2 jet fighters, the pilots were trained to different standards, and were expected to utilize different tactics. Using the latest research, first-hand accounts, and specially commissioned artwork, Shlomo Aloni tells the dramatic story of the dogfights in the skies over the Middle East.
Osprey's Campaign title for the first battle of the desert war, Operation Compass, which was originally envisaged as a spoiling attack, combined with a reconnaissance in force to disrupt the Italian forces that had advanced into Egypt in September 1940. Lt Gen. Richard O'Connor launched what amounted to a British 'Blitzkrieg'. In less than two months the British forces swept 500 miles along the coast of North Africa. 7th Armoured Division raced across the desert to cut off the retreating Italians, and O'Connor's men destroyed 9 Italian divisions, and took 130,000 prisoners. In March 1941 General Rommel and the Afrikakorps landed at Tripoli.
Operation Nordwind is one of the lesser known campaigns of World War II (1939-1945), yet one of the more intriguing. Largely overshadowed by the Battle of the Bulge further north, Nordwind was the last great operation by the Waffen-SS Panzer divisions in the west, and the last time the Wehrmacht was on the offensive in the West. The campaign also highlights the difficulties of inter-Allied cooperation between the Americans and the French. This campaign has been extensively treated in German and French accounts, but is not well covered in English.
Thrown into action following the Torch landings of late 1942, the 'green' American pilots flying the obsolescent P-40F suffered cruelly at the hands of seasoned German fighter pilots flying superior machines. Those that survived learnt quickly, and a handful of Warhawk pilots succeeded in making ace by the time the Axis forces surrendered in North Africa. The action then shifted to Sicily and Italy, and the P-40 remained in service until mid-1944. This book charts the careers of the 23 men who succeeded in making ace during that time, despite the advent of much better P-47 and P-51 fighters.
The first USAAF fighters to engage the Japanese in World War 2, a handful of P-40s rose to defend Pearl Harbor from attack on the morning of 7 December 1941. Warhawk units were also heavily involved in the ill-fated fight to stem invading Japanese forces in the Philippines and Java between December 1941 and April 1942 and again in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands between January 1943 and March 1944. This book examines The Warhawk's wartime exploits and all of its aces including 'aces-in-a-day' Mel Wheadon and Joe Lesika.
Although the P-40 and the Bf 109 both joined the air war over North Africa at nearly the same time in early 1941, the venerable German fighter was already fully sorted with a combat career dating back to 1937 in Spain, while the American fighter was making its combat debut in the hands of the RAF's Desert Air Force. Both aircraft were low-wing designs powered by a single liquid-cooled engine of roughly the same output, but there the similarities ended. The Bf 109 was small and agile, capable of operating at high altitudes. The P-40's weight and engine limited it to middle-altitude operations, but it was more manoeuvrable than the Bf 109 and extremely capable in the fighter-bomber role. In typical encounters, Bf 109 pilots would climb above a formation of P-40s and then dive into battle, seeking to maintain the initiative and a speed advantage. The P-40 pilots would respond by trying to turn into the attack. The tide turned in the autumn of 1942, by which time USAAF P-40 squadrons had joined the fight in time for the final Allied push from El Alamein and the Operation Torch landings in Morocco.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Known for the distinctive "sharkmouths" decoration on their noses, P-40 fighters first saw combat in China during World War II.Their most common adversary was the Japanese Nakajima Ki-43, nicknamed "Oscar." Carl Molesworth describes and explains the design and development of these two foes, the products of two vastly different philosophies of fighter design. The P-40 was heavily armed and sturdy with armor protection and self-sealing fuel tanks, but paid for this with the loss of speed and a sluggish performance at altitude. The Ki-43 was a rapier to the battleaxe P-40 and the Ki-43 was immensely nimble, though with less firepower and durability. This book examines these two different fighters, and the pilots who flew them over China, with an action-packed text, rare photographs and digital artwork.
The Panzerkampfwagen V Panther is one of the best-known German tanks in existence and is considered one of the greatest tanks of World War II. When in June of 1941, Germany invaded Russia, Panzertruppe encountered KV series and T-34/76 tanks, far superior in firepower and armour protection to any Panzer in service at the time. It was therefore decided to design a new more powerful medium tank, which could be quickly put into production. This book details the result, the Medium Battle Tank, available for service in January 1943. Later models ensured that it became one of the most feared tanks of WWII.
December 7, 1941 was one of the single most decisive days of World War II (1939-1945) - the day that brought the USA into the fight. Six Japanese aircraft carriers disgorged their full complements in two waves on the superior US Pacific Fleet as it lay slumbering in Pearl Harbor. Depending on opposing viewpoints, the attack was either a brilliant maneuver of audacious strategy, or a piece of unparalleled villainy and deception by a supposedly friendly power. This revised edition, containing the latest research on the events of December 7, 1941, reveals several previously unknown aspects of the attack and dispels key myths that have been built up around the fateful day - a day, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared, that would "live in infamy".
The SA-2, nicknamed Red SAM, is the most widely used air defense missile in history, most famous for nearly sparking a nuclear exchange between the USSR and America when one brought down a U-2 spy plane in 1960. Deployed widely against American aircraft in Vietnam the SA-2 has seen service in North Korea, Egypt, and various world conflicts including the 2003 Gulf War and remains in service today despite its aging 50-year-old technology.Using rare interviews and accounts from the Russian designers of the weapon, and supported by photographs and color artwork, Steven J Zaloga examines the development of the SA-2, linking the technical history of the weapon to its massive impact on air campaigns during the Cold War, and investigates the design changes, which helped the SA-2 stand the test of time.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Following in the best traditions of German ingenuity in design and construction of armoured vehicles, the SdKfz 251 firmly realised the concept of a competent cross-country tactical vehicle for armoured infantry units. So successful was this half-track that not only did a modified version of it remain in use with Czech forces well into the 1980s but also, ironically, the armoured infantry tactics that the Germans pioneered with it were adopted by Allied forces in the Second World War and helped them to achieve the eventual defeat of Germany. This book covers the genesis and development of the SdKfz 251, and details the numerous modifications and variations that sprang from combat experience.
The Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor is one of the most famous raids in history, if not the most famous. In the early hours of December 7, 1941, the carriers and aircraft of the Japanese First Air Fleet launched a sudden and unexpected attack on the US naval forces anchored in Pearl Harbor, hoping to cripple America's naval capabilities in one decisive blow.This new study by Mark Stille will address the build-up to, execution of, and fallout from the Pearl Harbor operation. Putting the raid in context, the political and military background will be addressed - Japanese expansion in the Far East, and American responses to it, and the steady increase in tensions between the two powers. The Japanese decision to launch an assault on Pearl Harbor will be considered in detail, from the time constraints faced in planning the raid, alternative operational possibilities, and the bold, stubborn leadership of Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, who was the driving force behind the concept and planning, to the final adoption of the operation, and its place in Japan's national strategy. It is an illuminating new look at one of the most infamous events in modern history.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Osprey's study of AH-1 helicopters and their participation in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Bell's AH-1 Cobra was the first dedicated helicopter gunship to reach frontline service anywhere in the world. Developed as a private venture by the manufacturer, and based on the mechanics of the ubiquitous UH-1 Huey, the Cobra proved a huge success once introduced into combat with the US Army in 1966. Built as a key weapon in the Advanced Aerial Fire Support System concept of 1965, the AH-1 was one of the few aircraft to reach the combat zone after actual combat experience went into its design. The AH-1 helped reduce the losses being suffered by vulnerable troop transport helicopters by providing effective fire suppression during airmobile operations. This book explores its history, technology and crew.
Twenty-five US Marine Corps squadrons flew versions of the Phantom II and 11 of them used the aircraft in Southeast Asia from May 1965 through to early 1973. Although one deployment was from an aircraft carrier, and included a successful MiG engagement, most missions were flown from land bases at Da Nang and Chu Lai in South Vietnam, and Nam Phong in Thailand. Rather than the air-to-air missiles that were the main component in the original F-4 armament, these aircraft carried an ever-expanding range of weaponry. Some toted 24 500-lb bombs and others strafed with up to three 20 mm gun pods, while most flew daily sorties delivering napalm, Snakeye bombs and big Zuni rockets. Many US Marines holding small outpost positions in Laos and South Vietnam against heavy Viet Cong attack owed their lives to the Phantom II pilots who repeatedly drove off the enemy. Very often their bombing passes had to be made at very low altitude beneath low cloud or at night, dropping their ordnance only 50 metres from 'troops in contact'. Like US Navy Phantom IIs, they flew Skyspot blind-bombing sorties, offshore barrier CAP missions to fend off MiGs and air defence 'hot pad' missions for their home bases. The US Marine Corps prided itself on being a self-contained fighting force. The RF-4B reconnaissance version of the Phantom II was produced exclusively for the USMC to provide its own airborne photo intelligence, and one unit equipped with these jets flew more than 200 missions per month with only five aircraft serviceable on most days. The book will examine these missions in the context of US Marine Corps close-support doctrine, using the direct experience of a selection of the aircrew who flew and organised those missions.
Osprey's examination of the A-1 Skyraider Units' participation in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Designed and built as a carrier-based attack aircraft in 1944, the A-1 reached frontline units too late to see combat in World War II (1939-1945). With the advent of jets in the late 1940s, the Skyraider was seen as a dated throwback to the golden age of piston-engined naval aviation. Despite its days seemingly numbered, the A-1 proved to be a huge success in the Korean War. Remaining in production through to 1957, some 3,180 Skyraiders had been built by the time the last one left the Douglas plant. Nicknamed the ''flying dump truck'', the A-1 remained a key component in naval air wings into the 1960s, allowing the aircraft to play its part in the escalating conflict in Vietnam. Both A-1 attack and EA-1F airborne early warning aircraft saw action in Southeast Asia from 1960 through to 1969, when the last examples were finally retired from carrier decks. The A-1s in particular bombed targets in both North and South Vietnam, despite the aircraft being highly vulnerable to enemy flak and fighters. Co-written by a two-tour Vietnam War combat veteran in the A-1, this is the first book that focuses exclusively on the aircraft's service in Vietnam, providing a must-have volume for Vietnam aviation enthusiasts.
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