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The Kalashnikov AK-47 is the most ubiquitous assault rifle in the world, with more AK-47s and its variants in use than any other individual small arm. Created by Senior Sergeant Mikhail Kalashnikov, and first adopted by the USSR soon after World War II, its production continues to this day, with an estimated 75 million produced worldwide. It is the longest serving post-World War II military weapon and its ease of use, durability and low production costs ensure that it's use will continue for generations to come. This book takes a look at the complete history of the weapon, discussing its design, development, and usage, taking its story from the great armies of the Soviet Union to the insurgents and criminal gangs that often employ the weapon today.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Harpers Ferry raid confirmed for many Southerners the existence of a widespread Northern plot against slavery. In fact, Brown had raised funds for his raid from Northern abolitionists. To arm the slaves, he ordered one thousand pikes from a Connecticut manufacturer. Letters to Governor Wise betrayed the mixed feelings people held for Brown. For some, he was simply insane and should not be hanged. For others, he was a martyr to the cause of abolition, and his quick trial and execution reflected the fear and arrogance of the Virginia slave-owning aristocracy. Many Northerners condemned Brown's actions but thought him right in his conviction that slavery had to end. John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry and his subsequent execution further polarized North and South and made a solution of the slavery issue central to the national debate which ultimately led to Civil War in 1861.
The bazooka was the popular name given to the innovative US rocket-propelled, man-portable antitank weapon that saw widespread service with US and other forces from 1942 to the early 1980s and was described by Eisenhower as one of the four "Tools of Victory" - with the atom bomb, the Jeep, and the C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft - that won World War II for the Allies.Most belligerents entering World War II armed their infantry with bulky and ineffectual antitank rifles as their primary means of combating tanks, but US planners realized that what infantrymen needed was a relatively lightweight, man-portable antitank weapon that was simple to operate, accurate, and capable of knocking out the average tank at a reasonable range, while also being effective against fortified buildings, pillboxes, and personnel in the open. The bazooka combined a revolutionary new antitank rifle-grenade warhead, a much-modified British antiaircraft rocket motor, and a cobbled-together launcher tube and electrical firing system; its first test-firing astounded observers, and it was immediately adopted by the US armed forces.Although the bazooka and its ammunition suffered teething problems, US and other troops quickly found the bazooka was highly effective against an enormous variety of targets. The weapon was widely used in all theaters of war; bazookas were provided as on-vehicle equipment for some armored fighting vehicles, and were even mounted under the wings of Piper Cub spotter aircraft to mark targets for fighter-bombers, and in multiple mounts on patrol torpedo boats targeting Japanese shipping. The Germans captured bazookas in North Africa and rapidly developed their own version, the formidable Panzerschreck, while the Chinese and Japanese copied the bazooka's revolutionary design.The bazooka was not without its drawbacks, however. It was sensitive to extremes of temperature and moisture, while the large backblast and smoke trail gave away the position of the shooter, and bazooka fire teams often had to move out of cover to obtain a clear shot. Rapid improvements in German tank armor meant that in the European theater the bazooka came to be seen as a "last resort" rather than an offensive weapon. Even so, the bazooka continued to see widespread service in Korea, where the original 2.36in models were supplanted by the 3.5in "super bazooka," also issued to many NATO forces. In the early 1960s the 3.5in was replaced in US Army service by the 90mm M67 recoilless rifle and the 66mm M72 light antitank weapon (LAW), a single-shot rocket launcher similar to the bazooka. The US Marine Corps, though, retained the 3.5in as an assault weapon throughout the Vietnam era and into the early 1980s.Featuring specially drawn color artwork, this engaging study tells the story of the bazooka, which set the standard for future light antitank weapons and their ammunition, and was a key influence on antitank tactics and techniques in the postwar era.
In 1990 the Beretta M9 replaced the venerable Colt 1911 as the main pistol of choice for the US Army. At the time the decision was controversial particularly because it was perceived that a smaller caliber weapon such as the Beretta would lack the necessary stopping power and range in comparison to the .45 caliber Colt. The situation was not helped by the rumour that the adoption of this Italian designed pistol was in exchange for the creation of US missile bases within Italy. Nonetheless, the Beretta, although not a perfect pistol, has since proved many of its distractors wrong with widespread use in Iraq and Afghanistan. Written by a leading pistol expert who currently trains US Special Forces in the use of this weapon, this book is an honest appraisal of the successes and failings of the Beretta design. The volume traces the Beretta designs, which preceded the M9 as well as its use on the battlefield, including the impact it has had on close combat training due to the larger magazine capacity. It also details the adoption of the Beretta by US law enforcement agencies and the impact this has had. This is a fascinating history of a classic pistol and its future use.From the Trade Paperback edition.
By late 1942 Britain had developed an airborne capability that would obtain its baptism of fire versus German airborne in North Africa and Sicily. On three notable occasions British airborne infantry fought intense battles with its German counterpart: twice in North Africa and again at Primosole Bridge in Sicily. Both forces were well trained and equipped, with a similar ethos and role, both thought of themselves as elite units, and both found themselves used by local commanders in a variety of roles that tended to be determined by the emergencies of the moment.On 29 November 1942 Lt Col Frost's 2nd Para dropped at Depienne, Tunisia, with orders to march overnight to Oudna, destroy the aircraft there and then return to Allied lines. Finding no aircraft they retreated, repeatedly combating elements of Oberst Koch's FJR 5, deployed in a ground role. 2nd Para ambushed and drove back Fallschirmjäger riding on armoured cars. Nearly surrounded, Frost withdrew to a nearby hill; a battle ensued as both sides raced for the crest. After retreating overnight 2nd Para wiped out an attacking German platoon, and on 3 December Frost's men finally reached Allied lines; all told, they had made five night marches and fought three battles, in total covering 50 miles, and only 180 of Frost's 450 men remained effective.Fighting as infantry, elements of 3rd Para encountered two companies of Fallschirmjäger-Pionier Bataillon, supported by elements of armour and artillery, in a strongly fortified position at Djebel Azag. On the night of 4/5 January 1943 a see-saw battle took place as the hill changed hands. The Germans were able to retain this key position. After weeks of further bitter fighting the British parachute brigade was again pulled out of the line in March 1943, but there would be no respite for any of the German parachute units; in May nearly all of those who had survived became POWs.On the night of 13/14 July 1943, 1st Para Brigade dropped to seize the Primosole Bridge in Sicily and hold it until relieved the next day by 50th Division. Unknown to Allied planners, though, Fallschirmjager dropped nearby in the last large-scale German airdrop of WWII. The Allied airborne was badly dispersed by AA fire. However, the British successfully seized the bridge and held it until an improvised counter-attack retook it. Midway through the evening of 14 July elements of 50th Division succeeded in relieving the Paras, retaking the bridge after 2 more days of bitter fighting. The Germans withdrew after failing to destroy the bridge with a truck-borne improvised explosive device.The battle at Primosole Bridge had immediate strategic consequences for both sides: for Britain an inquiry was held as to whether airborne forces were worth the investment, while for Germany the engagement proved the concept that elite infantry capable of being transported quickly by air to hotspots in the line could avert disaster. Featuring vivid first-hand accounts, specially commissioned full-colour artwork and in-depth analysis, this is the gripping story of the clash between airborne forces at the height of WWII.
Browning .30-caliber machine guns saw US Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force service in World War I & II, Korea, and Vietnam, and are still occasionally found in use elsewhere even today. Produced in both water-cooled and air-cooled versions, it has been employed in every imaginable role for a machine gun - antipersonnel, antiaircraft, mounted on aircraft as both defensive and offensive armament, defensive armament aboard vehicles (armored and soft-skin), mounted on watercraft, and others.The .30-caliber story began in World War I, as legendary US weapon-designer John M. Browning strove to develop a belt-fed, water-cooled heavy machine gun to provide infantry support. Significantly lighter than the British Vickers and the German MG 08, the hard-wearing Browning M1917 was among the best in its class; as the M1917A1 it served through World War II and the Korean War, and was only retired in the late 1950s as evolving infantry tactics demanded lighter, more mobile support weapons.Initially developed as a tank machine gun in World War I, the M1919 air-cooled version saw lengthy service with the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force - as well as the armed forces of other nations - in an enormous variety of roles and environments. World War I had demonstrated that infantry-support machine guns had to be light enough to be hand-carried over rough terrain; the M1919's air-cooled operation made this possible. The commonest version, the M1919A4, was widely employed throughout World War II, Korea, and beyond, while M1919 variants were used as the secondary armament for all US tanks in World War II and on some types of US aircraft and watercraft well into the 1960s. The 'thirty' set such a high standard in reliability that it became the benchmark against which all subsequent weapons have been judged.Employing gripping first-hand testimony and featuring specially commissioned illustrations and detailed photographs, many in color, this lively study of the Browning .30-caliber machine gun reveals the origins, combat history and legacy of this versatile and dependable weapon.
For nearly fifty years the hard-hitting, mobile Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR, served in US infantry units as a light squad automatic "base of fire" weapon, providing quick bursts of concentrated fire. It was developed in response to the central dilemma of infantry combat in World War I - the need for a squad-level weapon that could suppress emplaced machine-gun positions. Designed by the renowned firearms manufacturer John M. Browning, the BAR could be fired from the shoulder or the hip while on the move. Unfortunately, initial production difficulties and commanders' reluctance to feed the new weapon piecemeal into the front line meant it was September 1918 before the BAR saw combat.In the interwar years US forces used the BAR across the world, from China to Nicaragua; versions equipped the armed forces of Belgium, Sweden and Poland. It also became a favorite of notorious gangsters like Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, who prized its ability to punch through police armored cars as though they were made of cardboard. US lawmen rapidly acquired the BAR for themselves, with the Colt R 80 "Monitor" variant becoming the official fighting rifle of the FBI from 1931.At the outset of World War II the US armed forces decided to adapt the BAR for a light machine gun role. The BAR was not without its flaws; it was heavy and difficult to dismantle and reassemble, and it didn't cope well with sustained fire. Nevertheless, the BAR saw action in every major theater of World War II and went on to be used in Korea and in the opening stages of the Vietnam War. Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall's pioneering study of men in combat revealed the tremendous psychological boost that the BAR gave to a squad in the field; Marshall discovered that riflemen were so glad to have a BAR in their midst that they readily volunteered to carry extra ammunition for their gunner.Featuring arresting first-hand accounts, specially drawn full-color artwork and close-up photographs, many in color, this lively study offers a vivid portrait of this powerful, long-lived and innovative weapon that saw service with US and other forces across the world for much of the twentieth century.
The United States had demonstrated its military superiority worldwide with its lightning victory over Iraq in 1991. As the only superpower in the world, few would argue that Washington could not prevail in a conventional conflict. Humanitarian missions, however, were another story. Although the United States had experience in a few humanitarian missions, it had just concluded operations in northern Iraq, and was soon to support the United Nations program to help the people in a failed state - Somalia. Somalia was falling apart; it had ceased to exist as a country. Warring tribes had reduced it into an area controlled by warlords. Clan and internecine warfighting had caused major disruption in Somali life. Starvation was a weapon used by the clans. Humanitarian aid and relief arrived but, without security, this support provided little help to the people. On 15 August 1992, President George H.W. Bush ordered military units to airlift supplies into Kenya under Operation Provide Relief. These supplies would enter Somalia with international relief organizations. Still, clans stole the aid for themselves, harassed international relief agencies, extorted money, and allowed starvation to continue. By 8 December, Bush ordered Marines, the US Army's 10th Mountain Division, and Special Forces into Somalia to help UN forces bring order. Some 13,000 American military personnel became part of a security force of 38,000 from UN countries. This massive force helped stabilize Somalia, but the warring factions waited for an opportunity to reassert themselves. By October 1993, the UN security force had shrunk to 16,000, with 4,000 Americans. Two Somali warlords - Muhamed Farrah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed - had been fighting over control of the capital and main port of Mogadishu. A raid on 3 October, TF Ranger's seventh, aimed at capturing high-ranking Aideed aides initially succeeded with a surprise assault in Mogadishu. While transferring the prisoners to a convoy, Aideed supporters shot down two Army Blackhawk helicopters. These actions resulted in heavy firefights throughout the route of evacuation and the crash sites. The Rangers and others, including two Special Forces snipers who held the second crash site alone, attempted to secure and rescue the downed helicopter crews. The Americans could call on helicopter gunships and had heavy firepower, but against an enemy difficult to identify, in an urban setting, outnumbered, and with darkness approaching, the situation looked grim. The Rangers and Special Forces (Delta Force) fought all night. The10th Mountain Division, Malaysian, and Pakistani forces rescued the Rangers at the first crash site the next day. At the second crash site, Aideed's forces had overwhelmed the area. The two Special Forces snipers died (they received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously). In the end, TF Ranger lost 16 killed and 83 wounded. One person died from the relief column. Aideed's force lost 500-1,000 killed and unknown numbers of wounded.
The armies of Scandinavia and the Low Countries bore the first crushing impact of Hitler's mighty Blitzkrieg war machine in Western Europe, in campaigns that astonished and terrified the world.The German Wehrmacht was millions strong, equipped with the latest guns, tanks and aircraft, and had the priceless advantage of having learned the realities of modern warfare in Poland the previous September. The defenders of Scandinavia and the Low Countries were raised from small populations, and were inadequately funded, trained, equipped and armed. Their modest numbers, inexperience, and largely indefensible borders condemned them to rapid defeat - in a few hours (Denmark), a few days (Holland), a couple of weeks (Belgium), and at most two months (Norway). For this reason they have tended to be neglected by history - in many cases, unjustly. Vastly outnumbered - and, in the case of the neutral Low Countries, with their potential French and British allies reeling under simultaneous attacks - thousands of soldiers fought heroically in the hopeless defence of their homelands against the Nazi juggernaut.Tiny Denmark had only 6,600 troops when it was invaded on 9 April 1940 by six times as many Germans with air and tank support; resistance lasted only four hours. On the same day, mountainous Norway, with 25,000 men mainly scattered in small numbers along its cliff-bound coastline, was invaded by the first elements of seven German seaborne and airborne divisions totalling 100,000 men. A British, French and Free Polish force landed to support the Norwegians, but despite the serious casualties inflicted on the German forces the country was finally forced to surrender two months later on 9 June 1940.In the mean time the massive German Operation Yellow, undertaken by 2.75 million troops backed by strong air forces, had fallen on the neutral Netherlands and Belgium (10 May), and on France (16 May). The 250,000 Netherlands troops put up unexpectedly stubborn resistance, but were ordered to surrender on 15 May after the German bombing of Rotterdam. Belgium had mobilised some 900,000 troops, and received some help from Britain and France, but the resistance faltered as Panzergruppe Von Kleist outflanked them through the supposedly impassable Ardennes; Belgium requested an armistice on 26 May, and surrendered on the 28th. Between 26 May and 4 June the survivors of the British Expeditionary Force were evacuated from Dunkirk. On 10 June the Germans crossed the Seine; the French government fled Paris on the 12th; on the 17th Marshal Pétain requested an armistice, and France finally capitulated on 22 June.Informed by the latest research and drawing upon archival records and period photography, this absorbing study explains the organization and combat performance and depicts the appearance of the armies of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium as they sought to counter overwhelming German forces in the fateful spring of 1940.
Italian military historian Pier Paolo Battistelli examines the elite and specialforces units of the Italian Army during World War II. This includes a vast array of troop types, including paratroopers, assault engineers, sea-landing and swimmer units, long-range recce and ski units, and even hand-picked Fascist 'Mussolini' units. It also delves into the specialist tank and armoured units that were created to emulate the German armoured units. While the Italian units discussed enjoyed mixed success, the volume draws attention to the incredibly hard fighting done by some in the deserts of North Africa and the frozen wastelands of Russia. Illustrated with rare archival photographs and specially commissioned artwork, this is a fascinating insight into a little-studied aspect of Axis forces.
On 25 May 1944, 800 men of the 500th SS Parachute Battalion descended on Drvar, a town behind enemy lines in north-western Bosnia. Their aim was to kill or capture Tito, the leader of the partisan movement in the region. The plan was to land the battalion by glider and parachute in two waves which would be relieved the next day by a ground assault. Tito knew an attack was imminent but dismissed the idea of an airborne assault. The attempt to eliminate Tito was a colossal failure. The elite battalion had been decimated, with only 200 men fit for duty the next day. Inter-agency rivalry between the Abwehr and the SS had meant that intelligence was not shared, a problem exacerbated by a failure to exploit HUMINT about Tito's precise location and the adoption of a plan that did not take into account these intelligence limitations.
On the southwest shore of Laguna de Bay in the Philippines stood the Los Banos Internment Camp. Held within were 2,147 starving POWs, surrounded by thousands of Japanese troops. As the desperate battle for Manila raged, only 130 Paratroopers could be spared for the rescue operation. Supported by Alamo Scouts, local guerrillas, and amphibious tractors, they seized the element of surprise, and rescued the POWs. It was a stunning triumph of courage and perfect timing in the face of overwhelming odds.
The M16 was first introduced in 1958 and was revolutionary for its time as it was made of lightweight materials including special aluminium and plastics, which had previously not been used in mainstream weapons. It was first adopted by US Special Forces and airborne troops in 1962 before it was issued to Army and Marine units serving in the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Its use spread throughout the following decades and a number of variants including submachine and carbine versions were also fielded. It was not only the rifle itself that proved revolutionary. The 5.56x45mm cartridge was also ground-breaking and was eventually adopted as the standard NATO cartridge. As a result it is now amongst the three most used combat cartridges in the world while over 10 million M16s and variants have been produced making it one of the most successful American handheld weapons in history . But despite its undeniable success the M16 is not without its detractors. Indeed, the "black rifle", as it is known, is one of the most controversial rifles ever introduced with a long history of design defects, ruggedness issues, cleaning difficulties and reliability problems leading to endless technical refinements. The story is not over either. The M16 is still in production to this day ensuring that its use in future conflicts as well as its impact on world affairs is assured. This volume, written by a Vietnam Special Forces veteran, provides a technical history of the M16 and the struggle to perfect it together with an assessment of its impact on the battlefield drawing on over a decade's combat experience with the rifle.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The night before D-Day, light infantry and a detachment of Royal Engineers landed by gliders at Pegasus Bridge, which spanned the Caen Canal. Quickly overwhelming the guards, they managed to hold the bridge and help prevent German reinforcements from reaching the British landing beaches. Will Fowler provides a detailed blow-by-blow account of this classic wartime raid.
Poole Pottery is recognized as one of the most distinctive and most collected potteries of the twentieth century. Founded by Jesse Carter in 1873, by the 1880s the factory was well known for its tiling products, mosaic flooring and advertising panels. After the turn of the century the company flourished in the hands of the founder's sons, developing the hand-decorated style that would be their signature for many years to come.In 1921, Charles Carter, the respected designer Harold Stabler, and the husband and wife John and Truda Adams established a subsidiary that would establish Poole as one of the centres of ceramic arts. The firm began to draw inspiration from many historical styles and cultures including Egyptian, Grecian and the Middle East all combined with the revival of the Delftware technique of freehand painting on a white tin glazed ground. Throughout the 1920s and '30s Poole became synonymous with elegant and expertly executed wares produced in a daring and highly decorative style of modernism. The firm grew rapidly and employed a number of key artists and decorators who in turn brought their own ideas to the table.Post-war production was mostly based on pre-war designs, but in 1958 the company developed a whole new range of 'studio ware'. The Studio was seen as a design hot bed, with nothing off limits and no treatments or techniques out of bounds. The pieces from this period were expensive to produce, but the level of production and quality of design put Poole firmly at the front of the British craft pottery movement. This range became the basis for the more commercial Delphis range, which found immediate success and helped the company maintain its market position.The end of the twentieth century was a more difficult time for Poole, but it remains one of the great names of British ceramics and the decorative arts. In this highly illustrated introduction Poole devotee and expert Will Farmer tells the story of this remarkable and popular firm.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In mid-December 1942, the Soviets had surrounded the German 6th Army in Stalingrad but the Wehrmacht was engaged in a desperate relief effort with Operation Winter Storm and an airlift. The Soviet Stavka moved to defeat both these German efforts in order to ensure the rapid destruction of the 6th Army and to maintain strategic momentum. As part of the effort to defeat the airlift, the Soviet Stavka decided to launch a deep raid with the entire 24th Tank Corps to seize the airfield at Tatsinskaya, the primary operating base for the German airlift. On 17 December 1942, the 24th Tank Corps advanced toward Tatsinskaya and seized the airfield on Christmas Eve. The Soviet tankers managed to destroy many Luftwaffe aircraft on the ground, but afterwards found themselves isolated and out of fuel behind German lines. Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein rapidly organized a counterattack with elements of two panzer divisions, crushing most of the raiding force between 26-28 December. Just before the raiding force was annihilated, they received permission to abandon their heavy equipment and escape back to Soviet lines on foot. Thus, the raiders accomplished their mission of severely disrupting the airlift to Stalingrad, but at the cost of decimating an entire tank corps.
From 1600 till 1866 civil strife in public was virtually unknown in Japan; however, personal loyalty and self-sacrifice could at times rise above the samurai hierarchy to redefine Japanese culture. In 1703 former samurai avenged their lord in the most legendary raid in Japanese history. The story of the 47 ronin is a tale rich in emotion, precise planning, and flawless martial execution. This was the raid that turned Japan upside down.Lord Kira had brought about the death of Lord Asano, thus making Asano's loyal samurai into ronin (unemployed 'men of the waves'). In complete secrecy they plotted their revenge, and one snowy winter's night launched a raid against his mansion in Edo (Tokyo). The gates were broken down, and after the fiercest sword battle seen in Japan for over a century Kira was captured and beheaded. His head was washed and placed on Asano's tomb. The Shogun had now been placed in a dilemma. Should he reward the 47 Ronin for behaving more like true samurai than anyone since the time of civil wars, or should they be punished for breaking the strict laws about taking revenge?In the end the law prevailed, and the surviving 46 ronin committed a mass act of hara-kiri, turning them overnight into national heroes as the 'gods of bushido'.. The dramatic revenge raid of the Forty-Seven Ronin is the ideal subject for a Raids title. There is a very strong narrative and a wealth of illustrative material. As the raid occurred during the peaceful Edo Period there is scope for original description of the samurai's weapons and their personal & physical environment that is not seen in any other Osprey titles.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In July 1863, with the Confederacy still reeling from the defeats at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Union forces pushed deep into Arkansas, capturing the capital of Little Rock. In response, Colonel Joseph O. Shelby launched a daring raid to disrupt the advance. Taking 600 men and a section of light artillery, he slipped behind enemy lines. Moving by night to confuse the enemy, Shelby captured a series of small outposts, collecting weapons and recruits as he went. As they continued their ride, the rebels tore up railroad tracks, burned bridges, and cut telegraph lines. Despite these successes, the Union troops slowly closed in on the raiders. Shelby fought a series of bitter skirmishes, until he found himself surrounded. Unwilling to surrender, Shelby led a charge through the Federal lines, bursting out into the open country and onto the road back to the Confederacy. While the results of this raid are still debated by historians, no one has ever doubted its boldness, and west of the Mississippi it became common to boast, "You've heard of Jeb Stuart's ride around McClellan? Hell, brother, Jo Shelby rode around MISSOURI!"
On April 17, 1863 Benjamin Grierson led a force of 1,700 Union cavalrymen across enemy lines into the Confederate-held Tennessee in a bold diversionary raid. Over the next seventeen days, Grierson's horsemen caused havoc by destroying railroad lines, attacking outposts, burning military stores and fighting numerous small actions, before breaking back through the lines at Baton Rouge. The raid was a tremendous success, not only by virtue of the destruction it caused, but also because the Confederates were forced to divert thousands of troops away from the front lines during General Grant's critical Vicksburg offensive. This book tells the complete story of one of the most daring Union raids of the war.
Whilst under Putin's regime the size of Russia's regular forces has shrunk recently and will continue to do so, its security and paramilitary elements have become increasingly powerful. In fact, recently they have proliferated - as have their special uniforms and kit - and have become disproportionately important, spearheading all recent operations. They seem set to remain Russia's most active armed agencies for the immediate future. In parallel, within the murky world where government and private interests intersect, a number of paramilitary 'private armies' operate almost as vigilantes, with government toleration or approval.This book offers a succinct overview of the official, semi-official and unofficial agencies that pursue Russian government and quasi-government objectives by armed means, from the 200,000-strong Interior Troops, through Police and other independent departmental forces, down to private security firms (in Moscow alone, the largest four security companies have c. 8,000 armed operatives). While some elements have been created in response to real challenges from terrorism and organized crime, other special groups owe more to 'bureaucratic warlordism' in other Ministries.Most visibly, several government agencies have been heavily involved in the wars in Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasus. This conflict has spread, requiring counter-terrorist operations both there and inside Russia by the Interior Troops and the Federal Security Service (ex-KGB). Counter-terrorist defence is also provided by a Presidential Security Service. Simultaneously, the long fight against the 'Mafiya' has given birth to special Police and other Justice Ministry units. At the fringes of such activities are parachute-trained combat medics, disaster-relief and fire-fighting officers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. In the face of lawlessness born in the chaotic years of Boris Yeltsin's reign in the 1990s, there has also been a toleration of armed civilian vigilante groups in the Caucasus and Russian Far East, with the reappearance of Cossack patrols and other groups, which are provided at a community level with arms and uniforms in return for taking over local security.Featuring rare photographs, and detailed color plates of uniforms, insignia and equipment, Mark Galeotti, a renowned authority, explores the Putin regime's shadowy special-forces apparatus, active in an array of counter-terrorist and counter-mafia wars since 1991.
Opposed by "Bloody" Tarleton's Raiders, American Revolution patriots under Francis Marion fought a brutal guerrilla war throughout South Carolina and North Carolina. The American Revolution was deadlocked in the north, and after the battle at Monmouth Courthouse in 1778 the focus of the conflict shifted south. Following-up on his decisive May 12, 1780 victory at Charleston, South Carolina, Cornwallis launched a campaign through the Carolinas that was designed to expel American Continental and militia forces from the southern theater. With a second British victory at Camden in August, conventional American forces adopted a policy of avoiding another large battle in favor of smaller, more limited operations. As regular forces were constrained by traditional logistics and organization, soldiers like Francis Marion were able to inflict numerous raids and skirmishes against British and Loyalist forces, after which they would dissolve to form and fight at a later time. Cornwallis subsequently directed contingents to secure the countryside and capture such leaders, but the Patriot victory at King's Mountain (October), forced him to withdraw into South Carolina in what was one of the turning points in the Revolutionary War. To the southeast, Francis Marion continued his hit-and-run operations in which his band rescued American prisoners at Nelson's Ferry, dispersed Loyalist forces at Blue Savannah (September), and defeated a British outpost at Black Mingo (September). When Marion defeated Loyalist militia at Tearcoat Swamp in October, Cornwallis responded to this string of raids across northeastern South Carolina by assigning his aggressive cavalry commander, Banastre Tarleton, to capture or kill the rebel guerrilla commander. What followed was an unsuccessful two-week pursuit of the elusive Marion, in which Tarleton practiced a scorched-earth policy that ultimately disillusioned Loyalist sympathizers and hurt the British cause in the Carolinas. Unlike much of the Revolutionary War in the north, the fighting in the Carolinas was generally less civilized and brutal, with Loyalists and Rebels in roughly equal numbers. Except for Cornwallis' British regulars and Greene's Continental army, militias and irregular forces were the norm. A Raid book covering the Marion/Tarleton (British) struggle would be used to showcase this style of frontier warfare, and how its combatants were supplied, organized, and operated. Although not a single, defined raid, the series of actions between August and November 1780 illustrate Marion's unconventional, yet successful, efforts to hinder their enemy's war effort in the south, and Tarleton's equally irregular efforts to counter it.
The Soviet T-80 Standard Tank was the last tank fielded before the Soviet collapse, and the most controversial. Like the US M1 Abrams tank, the T-80 used a turbine power plant rather than a conventional diesel. Although the design was blessed with some of the most sophisticated armament, fire controls, and multi-layer armor ever fielded on a Soviet tank, its power plant remained a source of considerable trouble through its career. It saw very little service in the Chechen War, though T-80 tanks were used in some of the regional conflicts in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. Although the collapse of the Soviet Union might seem the end of the story, the T-80 lived on in Ukraine where one of its tank plants was based. A diesel powered version of the T-80 was developed, the T-84, which was successfully exported, including a major sale to Pakistan to counterbalance the Indian Army's Russian T-90 tanks. Steven J Zaloga charts the little-known history of the T-80, covering the initial construction, through the development to the subsequent variants, the T-84 and Russia's enigmatic "Black Eagle Tank." Accompanying detailed cut-away artwork illustrates the unusual design features that made the T-80 so controversial. From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the early morning hours of March 4, 2002, a reconnaissance team of US Navy SEALs from the Tier One Naval Special Warfare Development Group attached to Joint Special Operations Task Force 11 attempted to infiltrate onto an Afghan mountain peak in support of what was then the largest operation conducted by US forces since Vietnam, Operation Anaconda. The SEALs were tasked with establishing covert observation posts to call in air strikes on al Qaeda positions in the infamous Shah-i-Khot Valley close to the Afghan-Pakistan border.Anaconda was designed to engage large numbers of foreign al Qaeda fighters who had fled to the valley after the overthrow of their hosts, the Taliban government and the later battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 which forced many of the foreign fighters toward the border and into the Shah-i-Khot, a traditional refuge of mujahideen in the 1980s. Anaconda brought together both conventional American forces and a large collection of US and Coalition special operations forces to hunt down the al Qaeda remnants. As the SEAL's special operation Chinook, flown by the Nightstalkers of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, attempted to land on the peak of the 11,000 foot Takur Ghar, hidden al Qaeda defenders sprang an ambush. The Chinook was struck by RPGs and small arms fire and banked away to escape. In the process, a SEAL fell from the rear ramp and tumbled into the snow below. The crippled Chinook managed to escape the ambush and land several kilometres away. A second Chinook was dispatched which picked up the SEAL team and flew them back to the peak of Takur Ghar in a desperate search for the missing SEAL. As the SEALs and their Air Force Combat Controller exited the helicopter they were immediately engaged by the al Qaeda defenders. A ferocious firefight erupted resulting in the death of the Combat Controller and two SEALs being wounded. Eventually the outnumbered SEALs were forced to withdraw from the peak.At Bagram, the Task Force 11 Quick Reaction Force was launched to attempt a rescue of the SEALs. The QRF was comprised of two Nightstalker Chinooks carrying Army Rangers and Air Force Combat Controllers and Para Rescue Jumpers, specialists in Combat Search and Rescue. Due to both command difficulties and communications problems, the one of the QRF Chinooks never received a warning about landing on the peak. Instead, the Chinook landed directly onto the peak and into the sights of al Qaeda.The Chinook was immediately struck by RPG, recoilless rifle and heavy machine gun fire killing or seriously wounding several Rangers and Nightstalkers. The QRF became engaged in an epic seventeen hour firefight, finally killing or driving off all al Qaeda fighters from the peak with a combination of superb small unit tactics and danger close air strikes from F-16s, F-15s, an AC-130 and an armed CIA RQ-1 Predator. Al Qaeda reinforcements were kept at bay by an Australian Special Air Service OP on a nearby mountain which called in air strikes whenever reinforcements neared the trapped Rangers and SEALs.
The Uzi submachine gun is one of the most recognizable weapons in history. Its familiarity stems in part from the sheer diversity of its users. Uzis have been seen gripped and fired by US secret service agents and SWAT teams, Israeli soldiers, European special forces, as well as criminals and terrorists the world over. The reasons they use the Uzi are simple - it provides devastating close-range firepower in a reliable, highly compact weapon.The Uzi Submachine Gun tells the story of this unique weapon. It not only explores the gun's technical development and specifications, and its history, but also describes the Uzi's combat use in a wide range of contexts, from Israeli soldiers battling on the Golan Heights in 1967, through to modern pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. The Uzi also thrives in various commercial markets, being a high-selling semi-auto design in the United States, for example. With a name given popular currency by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Simpsons, the term 'Uzi' is instantly recognizable. The full extent of its capabilities, however, are not thoroughly understood, and this book presents the facts and challenges the myths of this remarkable weapon.From the Trade Paperback edition.
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