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The fighting around the town of Demyansk was one of the longest encirclement battles on the Eastern Front during the Second World War, stretching from February 1942 to February 1943. Originally, the German 16. Armee occupied Demyansk in the fall of 1941 because it was key terrain - a crossroads located on high ground amidst a sea of swampy terrain - that would be used as a springboard for an eventual offensive into the Valdai Hills. Instead, the Soviet winter counteroffensive in February 1942 encircled the German II Armeekorps and other units, totalling about 100,000 troops, inside the Demyansk Pocket. Another pocket was also created around Kholm, with another 5,000 Germans inside. Yet despite severe pounding from five Soviet armies, the embattled German troops held the pocket and the Luftwaffe organized a major aerial resupply effort to sustain the defenders. For the first time in military history, an army was supplied entirely by air.After stopping the Soviet winter counteroffensive, the German 16. Armee mounted two major relief efforts to rescue their trapped forces in the Demyansk and Kholm pockets, which were finally relieved in April-May 1942. During the siege, the crack 3. SS-Division 'Totenkopf' was virtually destroyed, suffering 80 per cent casualties. However, Hitler demanded that the 12 divisions of II Armeekorps remain in the narrow Demyansk salient, whose base was only 6km wide. Throughout the summer and autumn of 1942, the Soviets pounded the salient from all sides, inflicting heavy casualties on the defenders. In February 1943, Marshal Timoshenko was ordered to launch an offensive to cut off the base of the salient and annihilate the 12 divisions. At the same time, Hitler finally came to his senses after the Stalingrad debacle and authorized the 16. Armee to withdraw from the pocket. Thus, the Germans began to withdraw just as Timoshenko opened his grand offensive to cut them off and destroy almost 100,000 German troops. This volume will conclude with the drama of a German army-size withdrawal under fire in winter, under attack from three sides.
From legend and mythology to The Hobbit and A Game of Thrones, the dragon is a perennial favorite in the fantasy genre.With its fiery breath, scaly armour, and baleful, malevolent stare, the dragon became the ultimate symbol of evil and corruption in European folklore and mythology. Often serving as a stand-in for Satan, or the power of evil gods, dragons spread death and hopelessness throughout the land. Only heroes of uncommon valour, courageousness, and purity could hope to battle these monsters and emerge victorious. Those that did became legends. They became dragonslayers. The list of dragonslayers is small, but it is filled with great and legendary names. Hercules, Beowulf, Cuchulain, Sigfried, Lancelot, and Saint George all battled to the death with dragons. Other heroes such as the Danish King Frotho, the French Saint Mercurialis, the Polish champion Krak, and the Russian warrior Dobrynya Nikitch might be less well known to western readers, but also fought and defeated dragons. This book will retell the greatest legends of this select group of warriors, while examining the myth of the dragonslayer in a historical, mythological, and even theological context.
Nicknamed 'The Desert Fox' for his cunning command of the Afrika Korps, Erwin Rommel remains one of the most popular and studied of Germany's World War II commanders. He got his first taste of combat in World War I, where his daring command earned him the Blue Max, Germany's highest decoration for bravery. He followed this up with numerous successes early in World War II in both Europe and Africa, before facing his biggest challenge - organizing the defence of France. Implicated in the plot to kill Hitler, Rommel chose suicide over a public trial. This book looks at the life of this daring soldier, focusing on his style of command and the tactical decisions that earned him his fearsome reputation.
In early May 1940, the fortress of Eben Emael was a potent sentinel over the Belgian-Dutch borderlands. The fortress covered 75 hectares on the surface, had 5km of tunnels underground and was studded with bunkers, gun turrets and casemates. Add a garrison of 1,200 men and the natural protection of 60m-high canal walls, and Eben Emael gave the impression of near-impregnability. Yet on 10 May just 78 elite airborne soldiers managed to defeat this fortress in an operation of unprecedented tactical skill. Deployed by glider onto the very top of the fortifications, they utilized elite training, fast movement and specialist explosives to destroy many of the gun positions and trap much of the garrison within the fortress. Simultaneously, three other assault detachments conducted high-risk glider operations to capture critical bridges over the Albert Canal. By the end of 11 May, following the arrival of German infantry reinforcements, Eben Emael was in German hands. This Eben Emael RAID title tells the complete, fascinating story of this unique action.
Following the defeat at Wabash, in 1792 the Washington administration created a new US Army to replace the one that had been destroyed. The man chosen to lead it was the famous Major-General "Mad" Anthony Wayne. Having trained his new force, Wayne set out in 1793 to subdue the Ohio Indians. Wayne faced many of the same problems as St Clair including the logistical and intelligence problems of campaigning in the wilderness, not to mention the formidable Ohio Indians. Wayne faced additional problems including the likelihood that he would have to fight both British and Spanish forces, not to mention an American army led by the celebrated commander George Roger Clark. He also faced an insurrection in western Pennsylvania, "Whiskey Rebellion", and a conspiracy led by many of his officers and contractors. Despite all these difficulties, Wayne managed to defeat the Ohio Indians at the battle of Fallen Timbers. This was a decisive defeat that led directly to the Treaty of Greeneville the following year which ended 20 years of conflict between the Americans and the Ohio Indians.
In the years between 1776 and 1815, grand square-rigged sailing ships dominated warfare on the high seas. Fighting Sail is a tabletop wargame of fleet battles in this age of canvas, cannon, and timbers. Players take on the roles of fleet admirals from one of eight different national fleets: America, Britain, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Sweden in battles ranging from the American War of Independence to the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Each fleet has access to different ships, tactics, and command personalities - each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Offering a unique blend between detail and simplicity, the scenarios included enable the recreation of historic actions or 'what-if' scenarios. Join the battle and experience the adventurous age of the fighting sail!
Following the early battles of 1914 along the Marne and in the Ypres salient, World War I rapidly changed from a war of movement into one of attrition, with the opposing sides entrenching themselves in a line of fortified positions from the Flanders coastline to the Swiss border. This volume details the different styles of fortification used on the Western Front throughout the course of the war, from the early ditches of 1914 to the complicated systems of 1918. It explains the development of the 'defence in depth' German system and the British reaction to it, as well as illustrating the importance of the pre-war forts, particularly around Verdun.
Buddhism has been influential in the mountain kingdoms of the Himalayas since the 7th century AD, most notably in the kingdom of Tibet where it permeated all aspects and levels of society until the 20th century. From the 9th-century AD onwards, the secular rulers of Tibet sought to extend their influence, and that of Buddhism, throughout the region. To this end, huge stone and mud-brick fortifications, known as dzongs, were constructed to dominate the secular landscape, while massive Buddhist monasteries dominated the religious - both following a very specific style of Tibetan architecture. It has been estimated that as many as 3,000 monasteries were built along with 200 dzongs. Mongol invasions from the 12th century onwards provided another influence, while internecine fighting in the 17th century led to increased fortification of the monasteries and the rise of the Dalai Lama as the head of a theocracy in Tibet, centred on the Potala Palace in Lhasa - a true fusion between secular dzong and religious monastery.Elsewhere in the Tibetan-influenced Himlayas the Buddhist Indian Kashmiri kingdom of Ladakh withstood assaults by both Muslims and Sikhs and developed a style of fortress monastery located on rocky peaks for defence, these often became combined with the fortified palaces of the rulers of Ladakh. With the foundation of Bhutan in the 17th century, further fortified monasteries were created in an effort to protect the new state's independence form the Dalai Lama.These fortifications have survived largely intact through today, as Chinese control over the Tibetan Autonomous Region has led to the destruction of the vast majority of the fortified monasteries and dzongs of that particular area.This title recreates the dramatic and colorful fortifications created in these mountain kingdoms, and recounts their operational history through the foreign incursions, religious conflicts and civil wars that litter their history, right through to the Tibetan uprising and flight of the Dalai Lama form the Potala Palace in 1959
Following the close of the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871) and the establishment of the Third Republic, France embarked upon a new wave of colonialism, acquiring addition territories in Southeast Asia, including Tonkin and Annam which, together with Cambodia and Cochinchina, formed French Indochina. In North Africa their influence increased, with Tunisia acquired as a protectorate in 1881, until by the turn of the century much of North, West and Central Africa was under their control. France needed and army to police these new territories, and one of then most important elements of their colonial establishment was the French Foreign Legion. Originally founded in 1830, the Legion saw some its finest hours in North Africa and Indochina in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it is this period of the legions' history that has been immortalized in popular culture in works such as Beau Geste. Drawing on memoirs and other period sources, this book covers a wide range of environments and types of action and will be a valuable reference to any scholar of the legionnaires.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Osprey's examination of French infantry tactics during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). For over 20 years France was the dominating, controlling and conquering power of the western world, a result not only of Napoleon's inspired leadership, but of the efforts of almost an entire generation of Frenchmen under arms. The French Revolution heralded both social change and a seismic shift in how armies were organized, trained and deployed. This book provides an analysis of the preparation of French troops from manual regulations to the training ground, studying the changing quality of command and control within the army, which initially ensured that the French infantry were virtually unstoppable. Paddy Griffith not only explores the role of the French infantry at the apex of their powers and their actions in key battles, but also provides a detailed explanation of their eventual decline leading to defeat at Waterloo, providing a critical overview of French Napoleonic infantry tactics.
This book looks closely at the life, military experiences and key battlefield exploits of Giuseppe Garibaldi. Born on July 4, 1807 in the city of Nice, the turning point in his life occurred in April 1833 when he met Giovanni Battista Cuneo, a member of the secret movement known as "Young Italy." Joining this society, Garibaldi took an oath dedicating his life to the struggle for the liberation of his homeland from Austrian dominance. The subsequent years would see him fighting in Brazil, in the Uruguayan Civil War, and on the Italian peninsula. Between 1848 and 1870, Garibaldi and his men were involved in a prolonged struggle that eventually led to the final unification of Italy in 1870.
In 1373, John of Gaunt set off from Calais on a great raid to strike at the heart of France. Driven by the high ideals of chivalry, the raiders left with epic pageantry. However, the reality soon overwhelmed the raiders. Beset on all sides by French ambushes and plagued by disease and starvation, the raiders battled their way through Champagne, east of Paris, into Burgundy, across the Massif Central and finally down into the Dordogne. Unable to attack any major fortifications, John of Gaunt's men plundered the countryside, raiding towns and villages, weakening the French infrastructure. While the military value of the raid is debatable, the English knights who finally made it home were hailed as heroes. This book charts the course of the raid from beginning to end, studying all the battles and skirmishes the raiders fought along the way in this bloody example of chivalric warfare.
In 1585, the English launched a pre-emptive strike against Spain, by attacking her New World colonies. Led by Sir Francis Drake, in command of 21 ships and 1,800 soldiers, the expedition struck first at the Canary Islands, then attacked the city of Santo Domingo and the treasure port of Cartagena. Frequently outnumbered, Drake's soldiers won an series of spectacular victories and, laden with treasure, sailed home to a hero's welcome.
The most famous admiral in history, Horatio Nelson's string of naval victories helped secure Britain's place as the world's dominant maritime power, a position she held for more than a century after Nelson's death. A young officer during the American Revolution, Nelson rose to prominence during Britain's war with Revolutionary France, becoming a hero at the battle of Cape St. Vincent. He went on to win massive victories at the Nile and Copenhagen, before leading the British to their historic victory at Trafalgar in 1805. But, in that moment of his greatest glory, Nelson was struck down by a French sharpshooter. Today Nelson is revered as an almost mythical figure - a naval genius and a national hero. He was also a deeply flawed individual whose vanity, ego and private life all threatened to overshadow his immense abilities. This book reveals the real Nelson.From the Trade Paperback edition.
On March 9, 1916, troops under the command of Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico and its local detachment of the US 13th Cavalry Regiment, killing 18 people and burning the town. Six days later, on orders from President Woodrow Wilson, General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing led an expeditionary force of 4,800 men into Mexico to capture Villa. What followed was a series of skirmishes, battles, and chases through the wild and uncharted Mexican countryside. While the Americans failed in their ultimate purpose of catching Villa, they did kill two of his top lieutenants. This book charts the progress of the entire enterprise, covering the dusty marches and the bitter gunfights in the streets of small border towns, analyzing the successes and failures of this unique military expedition.
Osprey's study of Inch'on, which was probably the most significant campaign in the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as the last major amphibious assault of division-size conducted in the history of warfare. The odds were stacked against the US troops, with virtually no time for training and many of the divisions unprepared for the conflict. The success of the Inch'on campaign is a testament to the sheer initiative of the officers and NCOs conducted it. This book details the strategy and tactics that led to the operation's success, as well as narrating the experience of the battle in fascinating detail.
The Israeli Special Forces' operation at Entebbe goes down in history as one of the most audacious counter-terrorist assaults ever conducted. On 27 June 1976, four terrorists - two of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two of the German Baader-Meinhof terrorist group - highjacked a passenger jet and forced a landing in Entebbe, Uganda. Here they were met by reinforcements, and - although releasing a few hostages - transferred all the Jewish and Israeli prisoners to the terminal building. As Idi Amin's assistance to the terrorists became increasingly clear, the Israeli government began preparations for a military assault. The element of surprise was crucial; never before had such a large-scale raid at such a long distance been successfully undertaken. This is the incredible story of how the Israeli Special Forces defied radar for over 2,000 miles, masqueraded as a tyrant in a Mercedes and captured uniforms, and defeated an army in brutal combat, in a triumph of sheer audacity and nerve. A compelling book chronicling an incredible moment in history.
The landscape of 16th- and 17th-century Japan was dominated by the graceful and imposing castles constructed by the powerful 'daimyo' of the period. In this the most turbulent era in Japanese history, these militarily sophisticated structures provided strongholds for the consolidation and control of territory, and inevitably they became the focus for many of the great sieges of Japanese history: Nagashino (1575), Kitanosho (1583), Odawara (1590), Fushimi (1600), Osaka (1615) and Hara (1638), the last of the battles that brought an end to a period of intense civil war. This title traces their development from the earliest timber stockades to the immense structures that dominated the great centres of Osaka and Edo.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The narrow strip of land now occupied by the modern state of Israel is where all paths from Europe, Asia, and Arabia must come together before they flow into Africa and has been the world's most hotly contested piece of territory for millennia. Occupied by Pompey the Great from 63 BC the region became the Roman province of Iudaea in AD 6. In AD 66 a local disturbance in Caesarea caused by Greeks sacrificing birds in front of a local synagogue exploded into a pan-Jewish revolt against their Roman overlords. Gaining momentum, the rebels successfully occupied Jerusalem and drove off an attack by the Roman legate of Syria, Cestus Gallius, who was defeated at the battle of Beth Horon.The emperor Nero dispatched the Roman general Vespasian along with reinforcements and, having crushed the revolt in Galilee he became embroiled in the events of the Year of the Four Emperors that would lead to his assumption of the Imperial throne. His son Titus was left to carry on the war which culminated in the dramatic siege of Jerusalem in AD 70. Remorselessly, the legions strangled the life out of the defense street by street, leaving nothing but rubble and ashes in their wake. The apotheosis of the conflict was the final stand of the last holdouts in the Temple precinct itself, and the utter annihilation of this, the physical manifestation of Judaism itself.The last remnants held out in the mountain fortress of Masada until AD 73 when with the Romans breaking down the walls the defenders committed mass suicide bringing the revolt to an end.
Khe Sanh was a small village in northwest South Vietnam that sat astride key North Vietnamese infiltration routes. In September 1966 of the Vietnam War (1955-1975), a Marine battalion deployed into the area. Action gradually increased as the NVA attempted to destroy Free World Forces bases, and the siege of Khe Sanh proper began in October 1967. The bitter fight lasted into July 1968 when, with the changing strategic and tactical situation, the base was finally closed. This book details the siege and explains how, although the NVA successfully overran a Special Forces camp nearby, it was unable to drive US forces from Khe Sanh.
At the end of 1943 the SS and the Gestapo arrested several prominent Germans involved in plotting to overthrow Adolf Hitler, including Dietrich Bonhoffer, Klaus Bonhoffer, Josef Muller and Hans Dohnanyi. Others under suspicion, such as Wilhelm Canaris and Hans Oster, were dismissed from office in January 1944. Major Claus von Stauffenberg emerged as a leader of the group of German Army officers opposed to Nazi rule, and began to plan for the assassination of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, and for a takeover by the Army. Once these three prominent Nazis had been killed, the plan called for troops in Berlin and other major German-controlled areas, commanded by his co-conspirators, to seize key government buildings, telephone and signal centres and radio stations. At least six attempts were aborted before von Stauffenberg decided on trying again during a conference attended by Hitler on 20 July 1944. It was decided to abandon the plans to kill Goering and Himmler at the same time, and to focus solely on removing the Führer. Von Stauffenberg carried the bomb in a briefcase and placed it on the floor beside Hitler before excusing himself to make a phone call. The bomb exploded killing four men in the hut. Hitler was injured but survived the bomb blast. The plan that called for Ludwig Beck, Erwin von Witzleben and Erich Fromm to take control of the German Army and declare martial law was abandoned when it became known that Hitler had survived the assassination attempt. In an attempt to protect himself, Fromm organized the execution of Claus von Stauffenberg and two other conspirators, Friedrich Olbricht and Werner von Haeften, in the courtyard of the War Ministry. It was later reported that von Stauffenberg died shouting "Long live free Germany". As a result of the 20 July Plot, the new chief of staff, Heinz Guderian, demanded the resignation of any officer who did not fully support the ideals of the Nazi Party and presided over the Army Court of Honour that expelled hundreds of officers suspected of being opposed to the policies of Adolf Hitler. This removed them from military jurisdiction and left them to be sentenced by Roland Freisler and his fanatically pro-Nazi People's Court. Over the next few months most of the group including Wilhelm Canaris, Carl Goerdeler, Julius Leber, Ulrich Hassell, Hans Oster, Peter von Wartenburg, Henning von Tresckow, Ludwig Beck, Erwin von Witzleben and Erich Fromm were either executed or committed suicide. It is estimated that nearly 5,000 Germans were executed as a result of the events of the July Plot. Hitler ordered that the leaders should have a slow death. They were hung from meathooks with piano wire, and their executions were filmed and later shown to senior members of both the NSDAP and the armed forces.
British Commandos attempted to assassinate Rommel, the Desert Fox, in a daring special forces raid in North Africa during World War II.On the night of 13 November 1941 two British submarines surfaced off the Libyan coast 250 miles behind German lines. It was dark and stormy, and the 28 commandos on board Torbay had great difficulty climbing into their rubber dinghies and paddling towards the shore. Disaster struck the second submarine, Talisman, when a giant wave swept eleven commandos waiting on deck overboard. At dawn on the morning of 13 November the depleted raiding party was finally ashore, cold, wet and exhausted, but determined nonetheless to press on with their audacious mission - the assassination of General Erwin Rommel, commander of the German forces in North Africa. The raid made headlines round the free world. It was a shining example of British pluck and daring, proclaimed the papers, and to prove the point, Keyes was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Yet in truth the raid had been a glorious failure, a mission bedevilled by bad planning and poor intelligence. Yet crucial lessons were learned by subsequent special forces' operations, particularly by the SAS who carried out their first mission on the same night as the raid on Rommel's HQ. By the end of World War II the British special forces were the best in the world.
It was the beginning of the end for the James gang. In the past ten years Frank and Jesse James had gone from unknown ex-Confederate guerrillas to the most famous outlaws in the world. A string of daring robberies of banks, trains, and stagecoaches had brought them fame, admiration, hatred, and a surprisingly small amount of wealth. In 1876 they planned their most daring raid yet--to ride hundreds of miles from their home state of Missouri to rob the First National Bank at Northfield, Minnesota. This book will tell the story of one of the most daring bank jobs in American history. With most of the gang being former bushwhackers, they used many guerrilla tactics in the planning and execution of the raid, yet failed because of poor discipline and their own fame, which meant that every town in the Midwest had their guns loaded waiting to fight off bandits.
The Lee-Enfield is one of the 20th century's most recognizable and longest-serving military rifles. It was adopted by the British Army in 1895 and only replaced by the L1A1 SLR in 1957; even then a sniper variant, the L42A1, was used until 1989, giving a service life of nearly a century. It saw combat from the Boer War onwards, and thousands are still in use today, notably by the Taliban in Afghanistan; it is estimated that 17 million have been produced. The Lee-Enfield featured an innovative detachable ten-round magazine; this large capacity, together with the weapon's revolutionary bolt-action operation, made it possible for well-drilled shooters to fire 20 to 30 rounds in 60 seconds (the 'mad minute'). This extraordinary speed gave rise to mistaken German reports of being opposed by massed machine guns in 1914. The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE), introduced in 1903, set a new precedent in military rifles, being neither a carbine nor a full-length rifle but an ingenious compromise that was soon copied by other countries.The Lee-Enfield equipped British, Commonwealth and other forces throughout the world wars and well into the 1960s, giving excellent service in every kind of terrain and weather. Soldier's recollections of the rifle are overwhelmingly affectionate (it was known as the Smellie); today it remains a very popular target rifle for competitive shooting, and modern copies are being manufactured to meet demand.Featuring first-hand accounts, brand-new full-colour artwork and close-up photographs, many in colour, this is the story of the Lee-Enfield, the innovative, reliable and long-lived rifle that equipped British and other forces through the world wars and beyond.
As a lightweight machine gun, the American designed Lewis Gun made a place for itself in World War I & World War II.Although machine guns were widely issued and used during the bloody opening months of World War I, these deadly weapons proved to be too heavy to be tactically mobile. Casting around for existing designs to supplement inadequate stocks of the excellent Vickers gun, the British adopted the US-designed Lewis gun, which had not found favour with the US Army. The British quickly came to realise that while the new weapon was unable to match its heavier cousin in terms of robustness and sustained firepower, its light weight and the fact that it could be fired both prone and on the move made it an ideal weapon both to support advances and defend captured trenches. Serving on the Western Front and across the world, the Lewis gun soon became the core of the British and Dominion infantry section, and was widely adopted by the Germans too; even so, the US Marine Corps found on landing in France that their Lewis guns were replaced by an inferior French weapon, the CSRG 'Chauchat'.Although offering significant advantages over its rivals, such as the Danish Madsen, American BAR and German MG 08/15, the Lewis was not without its faults. Although the distinctive cooling tube proved to be a very effective flash hider and the weapon's 'forced cooling' system and open-bolt design helped to limit overheating, like all fixed-barrel guns it couldn't offer true sustained fire. Its magazine feed system made it easier to carry than rival models employing non-disintegrating fabric belts, which trailed everywhere, picked up water and froze, but the Lewis's open-bottom pan magazine let dirt into the mechanism, and the pans were relatively flimsy. Even so, it won a lasting reputation and became an iconic weapon of World War I.Adopted by an array of countries from the Netherlands to Japan during and after World War I, the Lewis successfully served as the primary or secondary armament in armoured fighting vehicles and in both ground-based anti-aircraft and aircraft-mounted roles, being the first weapon to be used to shoot down an enemy aircraft from an aeroplane - indeed, it was the most important aircraft-mounted machine gun in virtually every air force well into the 1930s. Although it was superseded by the Bren in British service in 1937, the outbreak of World War II meant that thousands returned to active service to counter weapons shortages, and it played a key role as far afield as Libya, with the Long-Range Desert Group, and the Philippines, with the US Marine Corps. Fully illustrated and written by an authority on this iconic weapon, this is the fascinating story of the innovative and influential Lewis gun, from the trenches of World War I to the Libyan desert and Pacific islands of World War II and beyond.
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