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In 1462 the throne of the Principality of Moscow passed to the Ivan III (1462-1505), who succeeded in throwing off the Tatar yoke. For the next 200 years this new state struggled to maintain her borders against a series of attacks from the Lithuanians, Swedes and Poles to the west, as well as the Tatars to the south. They achieved this through the development of a network of fortified sites and a series of linear defensive systems. This book examine how these fortifications were developed to respond to ever changing situations under the command of such charismatic rulers as Ivan the Terrible, right through to the military reforms of Peter the Great.
This Osprey Command book looks closely at the early life, military experiences and key battlefield exploits of Al-Malik al-Nasir Yusuf Ibn Najm al-Din Ayyub Ibn Shahdi Abu'l-Muzaffar Salah al-Din - or Saladin as he is more commonly known outside the Islamic world - who is broadly regarded as the greatest hero of the Crusades, even in Europe. Most chroniclers present him as a man of outstanding virtue, courage and political skill. More recently, however, efforts have been made to portray Saladin as an ambitious, ruthless and even devious politician, and as a less brilliant commander than it normally thought. This book sets out to reveal that the truth is, as usual, somewhere in between.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The invasions of Korea launched by the dictator Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1592-1593 and 1597-1598) are unique in Japanese history for being the only time that the samurai assaulted a foreign country. Hideyoshi planned to invade and conquer China, ruled at the time by the Ming dynasty, and when the Korean court refused to allow his troops to cross their country, Korea became the first step in this ambitious plan of conquest. In 1592 a huge invasion force of 150,000 men landed at the ports of Busan and Tadaejin under the commanders Konishi Yukinaga and Kato Kiyomasa. These two Japanese divisions rapidly overran their Korean counterparts, taking the principal cities of Seoul and then Pyongyang and driving the remnants of the Korean Army into China. The Japanese division under Kato Kiyomasa even started to advance into Manchuria. However, the Korean strength was in their navy and the vital Korean naval victory of Hansando disrupted the flow of supplies to the invasion forces, forcing them to hold their positions around Pyongyang. In 1593, the Chinese invaded capturing Pyongyang from the Japanese and driving them southwards. This phase of the war ended in a truce, with the Japanese forces withdrawing into enclaves around the southern port of Busan while the Ming armies largely withdrew to China. In 1597, following the breakdown in negotiations, the Japanese invaded again with a force of 140,000 men. However, the Chinese and Koreans were now better prepared and the advance came to a halt south of Seoul, and then forced the Japanese southwards. In November 1598 Hideyoshi died, and with him the enthusiasm for the military adventure. The Japanese council of regents ordered the withdrawal of the remaining forces, and the naval battle of Noryang, which saw the Japanese fleet annihilated by the Korean admiral Yi-Sunshin, proved to be the last significant act of the conflict.
A strategically important natural harbor in the Orkney Islands, Scapa Flow served as Britain's main fleet anchorage during World Wars I and II. It held Jellicoe's Grand Fleet from 1914-18, and it was from here that it sailed out to do battle with the Germans at Jutland in 1916. In 1914 the British began building a comprehensive defensive network by fortifying the entrances to Scapa Flow and then extending these defenses to cover most of Orkney. These static defenses were augmented with boom nets, naval patrols and minefields, creating the largest fortified naval base in the world.With the outbreak of the Second World War, Scapa Flow again proved ideally situated to counter the German naval threat and served as the base for Britain's Home Fleet. Despite constant attacks from aircraft and U-boats, one of which managed to sink the British battleship Royal Oak, the defenses of Scapa Flow were again augmented and improved. By 1940, Orkney had become an island fortress, the largest integrated defensive network of its kind in Europe, manned by as many as 50,000 Commonwealth troops.Backed by newly commissioned artwork, naval historian Angus Konstam tells the story of this mighty naval fortress, many pieces of which can still be seen on the island today.
Osprey's examination of Jordan and Syria's involvement in the Six Day War (1967). Following the lightning destruction of the Egyptian forces at the outbreak of the Six Day War, Israel turned to the forces of Jordan and Syria, with whom Egypt had signed a mutual-defence pact, and who had now entered the war. Jordan's army moved against West Jerusalem and central Israel, while Syria began shelling Israeli towns from the seemingly impregnable Golan Heights. The IDF's invasion of the Golan was as daring and successful as its more famous Egyptian victory, but its success in Jordan - taking the West Bank - sowed the seeds of its future troubles. Comprehensively illustrated with artwork, maps and battlefield views, this new history brings one of the most important of 20th century campaigns to life.
In May 1967, Egypt expelled the United Nations peacekeeping forces stationed in the Sinai desert and deployed its army along its border with Israel, its moves coordinated with those of Jordan and Syria. By June, Israel realized that the international community would not act, and launched a pre-emptive strike against the combined Arab forces. The ensuing Six Day War (June 5-10, 1967) was a crushing defeat for the Arab world, one that tripled the area controlled by Israel and which sowed the seeds for the Yom Kippur War of 1973 and the continuing strife in the region. Written by the author of Osprey's Yom Kippur War, this volume covers the background to the war and the campaign against the Egyptians in the Sinai Peninsula, including the initial devastating air assault that showed the world how vital air supremacy was in modern combat.
When the Romans left Britain around AD 410 the island had not been fully subjugated. In the Celtic fringe of Caledonia - now Northern Scotland - these unconquered native peoples were presented with the opportunity to pillage what remained of Roman Britain. By way of response the Post-Roman Britons of what is now Scotland did their best to defend themselves from attack, and to preserve what they could of the economic and administrative systems left behind by the Romans. While some old Roman forts were maintained, the Post-Roman Britons in the area created new strongholds, or re-occupied some of the long-abandoned hill-forts first built by their ancestors before the coming of the Romans. Meanwhile the Caledonians - who evolved into the Picts - relied on fortifications to maintain control over their land.Then a new wave of invaders arrived from across the Irish Sea. The Scots came first to conquer, then to settle. In their wake came the Angles and Saxons, driving north to occupy most of Scotland as far as the Firth of Forth, and later the Vikings arrived from the north and east. During the variety of ensuing struggles, the Picts, Scots, Vikings, Northumbrians and North Britons made extensive use of fortifications, the remains of which still dot the modern landscape.This book traces the origins and development of these North British forts. It also touches on the way they served as secular or religious centers, seats of power, or as barriers against invasion. It will also discuss the mystery surrounding the Picts, and show how modern archaeology has done much to reveal the way these enigmatic people waged war, and defended their strongholds.
In 1758, at the height of the French and Indian War, British Brigadier General John Forbes led his army on a methodical advance against Fort Duquesene, French headquarters in the Ohio valley. As his army closed in upon the fort, he sent Major Grant of the 77th Highlanders and 850 men on a reconnaissance in force against the fort. The French, alerted to this move, launched their own counter-raid. 500 French and Canadians, backed by 500 Indian allies, ambushed the highlanders and sent them fleeing back to the main army. With the success of that operation, the French planned their own raid against the English encampment at Fort Ligonier less than fifty miles away. With only 600 men, against an enemy strength of 4,000, the French & Amerindians launched a daring night attack on the heart of the enemy encampment. This book tells the complete story of these ambitious raids and counter-raids, giving in-depth detail on the forces, terrain, and tactics.
This book provides analysis and first-hand accounts of three major Civil War battles: 1st Bull Run/1st Manassas, Gettysburg and Chaffin's Farm from two perspectives. The enthusiastic but largely inexperienced soldiers on both sides in the Civil War had to adapt quickly to the appalling realities of warfare in the industrial age. In this fully illustrated study, an authority on the Civil War investigates three clashes that illustrate the changing realities of infantry combat in America's bloodiest conflict.The appalling slaughter at 1st Bull Run/1st Manassas on July 21, 1861 brought home the realities of war to both sides. In the final bloody stages the 11th New York (1st Fire Zouaves) clashed with the 33rd Virginia Infantry. The 11th New York had first clashed with the "Black Horse Cavalry" and then re-captured the guns of Rickett's battery, only to be forced backwards several times before being crushed into retreat by a final Confederate charge which very much involved the 2nd South Carolina.Pickett's charge at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 saw the Confederate veterans of Pickett's division, including the 56th Virginia Infantry, decimated in a set-piece attack on Union positions held by regiments including the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry, Having seen extensive fighting on the previous day, the men of the 71st played a key role in the Union defense, refusing to break and keeping their positions at "the Angle" of the stone wall that marked the Union line, even though their sister regiments broke and retreated. The Union soldiers' staunch defense threw the Confederate front line into confusion, forcing them to withdraw.On September 29, 1864, at the battle of Chaffin's Farm, the African-American troops of Brigadier General Charles J. Paine's 3rd Division, including the 4th US Colored Infantry under Major A.S. Boernstein, took part in the Union assault on formidable Confederate positions held by Brigadier General John Gregg's veterans of the Texas-Arkansas Brigade, including Lieutenant Colonel Clinton M. Winkler's 4th Texas Infantry. Alongside the 6th USCI, Boernstein's men were ordered to attack at 5.30am unsupported by any Union artillery fire; deployed in a 200yd skirmish line and hampered by a swampy ravine, the two regiments struggled through two lines of defensive emplacements before being riddled by deadly accurate small-arms fire from the Texan defenders. Although a few men actually broke into the Confederate lines, they were soon killed or captured, and the remnants retired. Between them, the 4th and 6th USCI lost 350 of their 700 effectives; fully 14 Medals of Honor were awarded to the regiments that stormed New Market Heights, including Sergeant Christian Fleetwood and Sergeant Alfred B. Hilton of the 4th USCI. The four regiments of Lee's "Grenadier Guards" had inflicted 850 casualties on their attackers while sustaining only 50 themselves.Featuring specially commissioned artwork, expert analysis and carefully chosen first-hand accounts, this absorbing study traces the evolution of infantry tactics in the crucible of the Civil War by examining three key clashes at unit level.
The 10th was the only American mountain division to be raised in World War II, and still has a high profile, being involved in operations from Iraq to Somalia and from Haiti to Afghanistan. It did not arrive in Europe until winter 1944/45, but then fought hard in the harsh mountainous terrain of Northern Italy until VE-Day five months later, losing c. 1,000 men killed and c. 3,000 wounded. Fighting in a series of battles in the Po Valley that included an amphibious assault across Lake Garda, the division made a key contribution to Allied victory in Europe.The division was special in a number of ways. Its personnel were selected for physical fitness and experience in winter sports, mountaineering, and hunting, unlike the rest of the infantry. Since winter sports were at that time the preserve of the wealthy, the division's educational level was as unusually high as its fitness. It was highly trained in mountain and winter warfare, including the use of skis and snowshoes, while its organization, field clothing, and some personal equipment also differed from that of the usual infantry division. The division made extensive use of pack-mules, and its reconnaissance unit was horse-mounted, conducting the last horse-mounted charge in US history in April 1945.Featuring full-color artwork and rare photographs, this is the gripping story of the US Army's only mountain division in action during the closing months of World War II.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Winchester, Remington, Ithaca Gun Company, Stevens, Savage, Mossberg, Benelli, and other gun manufacturers have produced a range of combat shotguns for US armed forces. When a soldier must face multiple opponents at close quarters, few weapons can match the shotgun. From World War I to the War on Terror, the shotgun has been a devastating weapon in the hands of US troops. For urban combat, prisoner control, and shipboard operations it remains as deadly today as it was a century ago.Early combat shotguns were basically sawed-off versions of the double-barreled shotguns used for sporting purposes. The Winchester Model 97 slide-action shotgun, first used in 20in-barreled "riot gun" form during the Philippine Insurrection, would remain in service in one form or another at least until the Vietnam War. During World War I shotguns were obtained in "riot gun" versions and also in "trench gun" versions (trench guns had a ventilated handguard added that allowed the mounting of a bayonet; riot guns did not have this feature). Joining the Model 97 as trench guns were the Winchester Model 12 and Remington Model 10, while these slide-action weapons plus the Remington Model 11, a semi-automatic, also served as riot-guns. So effective was the trench shotgun that Germans claimed it was inhumane and violated the "Rules of War", threatening to execute troops captured carrying a shotgun.The various Banana Wars saw the use of World War I military shotguns still in the armories. During World War II, Winchester Model 12 and Model 97 trench and riot guns were joined by the Ithaca Model 37, Remington Model 11 and Model 31, Stevens Models 520-30 and 620A, and Savage Model 720. The US Marines found the shotgun useful for the close combat they encountered in the jungles during World War II, in humid conditions that necessitated the development of military brass-case shotgun shells, while OSS agents found single-shot shotguns useful for arming guerillas in Burma, the Philippines, and elsewhere.During the Korean and Vietnam Wars the same types of shotguns deployed during World War II were used, though some additional models were acquired as riot guns, including the Remington Model 870, Savage Model 77E, Winchester Model 1200, and Winchester Model 25. In Vietnam shotguns were used by point men and others on patrol, while members of the US Navy SEALs especially liked shotguns for launching ambushes in the Mekong Delta.During the period since the First Gulf War new combat shotguns have been adopted by the US military, such as the Mossberg 500 series, including one trench-gun model, and the Benelli 1014. More recently during the War on Terror, shotguns have been used to clear cave complexes in Afghanistan and buildings in Iraq, but especially to blow doors open during entries and searches.Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork, this is the story of the origins, development and use of the combat shotgun in US service, from the trenches of World War I to the cave complexes of Afghanistan.
Osprey's study of the United States' naval tactics during World War II (1939-1945). The US armed forces were responsible for many tactical innovations during the years 1941-45, but in no field was US mastery more complete than amphibious warfare. In the vast, almost empty battlefield of the Pacific the US Navy and Marine Corps were obliged to develop every aspect of the amphibious assault landing in painstaking detail, from the design of many new types of vessel, down to the tactics of the rifle platoon hitting the beach, and the logistic system without which they could not have fought their way inland. This fascinating study offers a clear, succinct explanation of every phase of these operations as they evolved during the war years, illustrated with detailed color plates and photographs.
Vauban was the foremost military engineer of France during the period of its centralisation and wars of expansion in the 17th and 18th centuries. His influence persisted long after Waterloo, and his name has become synonymous with the science of the construction, defence and attack of bastioned fortresses. Dunkirk, Toulon, Perpignan, Verdun and Brest stand out among the many historically significant sites created by this incredible engineer. This book examines the many achievements of this pivotal figure in fortification history, exploring the sites and their subsequent significance.
The world's first self-powered machine gun, the Maxim gun became a potent symbol of Victorian colonialism in the closing years of the 19th century. It was the brainchild of Sir Hiram Maxim, the American-born firearms inventor who founded the company bearing his name with financing from Albert Vickers, who became the company's chairman; Maxim's company was absorbed by Vickers, Sons and Company in 1897. Subsequent variants in British, German and Russian service - the .303in Vickers (1912), 7.92mm MG 08 (1908) and 7.62mm PM M1910, respectively - dominated both the Eastern and Western Fronts during World War I and soldiered on into World War II, while the Vickers remained in front-line British service essentially unchanged until 1968.The .577/450in Maxim's revolutionary design eschewed the hand-cranking required by previous rapid-firing guns, instead harnessing the weapon's recoil energy to eject each spent cartridge and insert the next. Water-cooled and capable of 600 rounds per minute, it was often mounted on a tripod and belt-fed, unlike earlier models such as the Gardner and the Gatling, which were usually mounted on horse carriages and hopper-fed. First demonstrated in 1884, the Maxim was adopted by the British Army in 1888 and saw service in the First Matabele War (1893-94); in one incident, 50 soldiers with four Maxims fought off 5,000 warriors. Although it was hampered by its weight and easily spotted (before the advent of smokeless powder) owing to the clouds of smoke it produced while firing, the Maxim was considered more reliable than its contemporaries; its very presence on the battlefield was believed to give its users a significant psychological advantage over their opponents. Even so, the armies of many nations remained skeptical about the reliability of machine guns in general, and at the outset of World War I only two were attached to each infantry battalion of the British Expeditionary Force.
Impressive in terms of scale and structure, the Fire Support Base became a dominant element in ground maneuver during the Vietnam War. Initially a mobile base, it soon evolved into a semi-permanent and more sophisticated fortress as a result of enemy counterattacks and bombardments.As a consequence, the majority of US and other allied troops found themselves pinned down in defensive or support roles, rather than being free to conduct 'search and destroy' or other mobile missions. Thus, the first and foremost function of the Fire Support Base was defensive. Troops, machine guns, mortars, artillery, surveillance radars, and command centers all had to be dug into bunkers and fire trenches by nightfall of the first day. Around these positions there would be deep belts of barbed wire, generously scattered with several different types of mines and even, in a few cases after 1967, with a brand new series of electronic sensors to detect and locate the enemy at a distance. With the benefit of the on-site howitzers, the FSB could also deliver offensive high volume fire, reaching as far as 14,600m and eliminating enemy firing sites, supporting friendly infantry operations, or simply participating in fire missions where exact targets were not known. In fact, the fort offered such a degree of support and protection that ground maneuver was eventually hampered by the troop's reluctance to leave the comfort and safety of the FSB. With a description of the design, development and operational history of the Fire Support Base, this book provides the key to understanding one of the main assets of US battle strategy in the Vietnam War.
Osprey's study of the evolving US, Viet Cong and NVA tactics at battalion level and below throughout the Vietnam War (1955-1975). Beginning with a description of the terrain, climate and the unique nature of operations in this theater of war, author Gordon Rottman, a Vietnam veteran himself, goes on to explain how unit organization was broken down by combatant forces and the impact this had on the kind of tactics they employed. In particular, Rottman highlights how units were organized in reality on the battlefield as opposed to their theoretical tables of organization. US tactics included the standard US tactical doctrine as prescribed by several field manuals and in which leaders and troops were rigorously trained. But it also reveals how many American units developed innovative small unit tactics specifically tailored to the terrain and enemy practices. Key Free World Forces' tactics that will be discussed in detail include Command and Control, Combat Patrols and Ambushes, Counter-Ambushes, Defensive Perimeters, and Offensive Operations (sweeps, search and destroy, clear and secure). In contrast, this book reveals the tactics employed by Viet Cong and NVA units including their own Offensive Operations (attacking bases and installations, attacking moving forces), Reconnaissance, Movement Formations and Security, and Ambushes.
Osprey's Campaign title for the battle that marked Major General Arthur St. Clair's downfall in the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795). In 1791, the US Army conducted its first important operation. St. Clair led an American army of about 2,000 into what now is Ohio. On 4 November 1791, the campaign ended in what was, in proportion to the size of the US Army at the time, by far the greatest disaster in American military history. At the battle of the Wabash, also known as St. Clair's Defeat, more Americans died than in any prior battle, more than would fall on any field prior to the Civil War. In the tactical masterpiece of their military history, an Indian army destroyed a force that was larger, encamped on high ground, supported by artillery, and led by many of the best American officers of the Revolutionary War. This highly illustrated and detailed title illuminates all aspects of this historic campaign.From the Trade Paperback edition.
On the same day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, they also launched air attacks on Wake Island, an American marine and naval base in the Pacific. Three days later a Japanese invasion force stormed the island, but were bloodily repulsed by the scratch force of marines, sailors and even service personnel who defended it. Despite US attempts to relieve the island, the Japanese launched a much greater invasion a few weeks later and, despite gallant resistance, eventually caused the US Forces to surrender. This book tells the complete story of the vicious fighting on Wake Island, one of the near-legendary 'last stands' made by US military forces.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The walls of Constantinople are the greatest surviving example of European medieval military architecture in the world. They withstood numerous sieges until being finally overcome by the artillery of Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453, and exist today as a time capsule of Byzantine and Medieval history. This book examines the main defensive system protecting the landward side of the city, which consisted of three parallel walls about 5 miles long. The walls defended the city against intruders, including Attila the Hun, before finally being breached by European knights during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and, ultimately, destroyed by Turkish artillery in 1453.
Elephants have been deployed as weapons for centuries, particularly in South and South-East Asia, where war elephants constituted the bulk of most armies in the region from antiquity right up to the 19th century. This book offers an insight into the incredible history of these "living tanks," focusing on the design of the equipment and armament that made them so terrifying, particularly the development and structure of the fighting tower.The author, Konstantin S. Nossov goes on to trace the battle history of war elephants, from their deployment against Alexander the Great's army at the battle of Gaugamela, through to their use in the 19th century by the myriad armies of South-East Asia, all the time analyzing the battle formation and tactics of war elephants in action and how these tactics changed over time. He then goes on to examine the most famous action that war elephants took part in, Hannibal's dramatic march over the Alps and his subsequent invasion of Italy. Supported by rare illustrations and full-color original artwork, this book is a vivid account of the development and operation of one of history's most unusual "machines of warfare."
The Webley .455in service revolver is among the most powerful top-break revolvers ever produced and has a claim to be the first 'tactical fighting pistol'. First adopted in 1887, in various marques it was the standard-issue service pistol for British and Commonwealth armed forces for nearly fifty years; later versions in .38in calibre went on to see further service in World War II and beyond, as well as in a host of law-enforcement roles around the world into the 1970s.Developed to give British service personnel the ability to incapacitate their opponents in 'small wars' around the globe, the Webley used the formidable - and controversial - .455in cartridge, a variant of which was known as the 'manstopper'. Users found it offered good penetration and excellent stopping power with only mild recoil - indeed, it was rated superior to the US .45 Colt in stopping power.Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and close-up photographs, this is the compelling story of the Webley revolver, the powerful pistol that saw service across the British Empire and throughout two world wars.
Grant and Lee fought near Chancellorsville, VA in a confusing series of battles amidst brush thickets and wildfires. Unlike previous campaigns, Grant simply kept flanking Lee, trying frontal assaults at Spotslvania's 'mule-shoe' and Cold Harbor along the way to laying seige to Richmond and Petersburg. In May 1864 the Union Army of the Potomac under General George Meade had been in a leisurely pursuit of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia for nearly a year after the defeat of the Rebels at Gettysburg. Confederate commander General Robert E. Lee still retained his awe-inspiring reputation for wrecking Union armies that got too close to Richmond and Meade was still cautious. His tactics at Gettysburg were defensive and he was unsure that he was able to take the offensive against Lee. However, things changed when President Abraham Lincoln appointed General Ulysses S. Grant to command all Union armies. Grant came east and laid out a comprehensive strategy for the rest of the war.In the deep South, General William T. Sherman would march out of Tennessee to cut the Confederacy in half by taking Atlanta. Grant would lead the Army of the Potomac across the Rapidan River and march on Richmond. He had the manpower and equipment to accomplish his objective, easily outnumbering Lee. Lee, on the other hand, was far from beaten and saw Grant as just another Union general to be sent packing, much as he had sent McClellan, Burnside, Pope and Hooker away two years before. As Grant's army slowly entered the tangle of woods beyond Fredericksburg known as the Wilderness, Lee planned to pin him there and destroy him as he struggled to emerge. The stage was set for the campaign that would forever dictate the terms of the Civil War in the East.
Osprey's elite title dealing with various sabotage devices and booby traps that were used by the British and the Americans during World War II (1939-1945). Following Churchill's directive to set occupied Europe ablaze, the SOE and later its American sister organization, the OSS, were deployed across the continent. Outnumbered, surrounded and in great peril, these brave agents were armed with a wide variety of devices to help them achieve their objectives, including numerous pieces of sabotage equipment and cunning booby traps. This book examines these different pieces of equipment and the technicalities involved in deploying them effectively. It also discusses the specialist equipment developed by Special Forces units, including the SAS Lewes Bomb. Touching on some of the stranger developments, such as explosives disguised as lumps of coal, the author goes on to describe the German clearance techniques that were developed to avoid these dangers.Complete with specially commissioned artwork and period diagrams, together with detailed descriptions of the dangerous missions of Allied agents, this book is a fascinating insight into the secret war behind enemy lines.
Booby traps laid by troops in war zones in World War II (1939-1945) are largely neglected in histories and memoirs, and rarely examined in detail. Yet for a soldier, the threat of booby traps was hugely significant and the ability to find and disarm them was essential. This is the first comprehensive study of World War II Axis battlefield sabotage equipment, using information from rare wartime intelligence publications covering both Allied and Axis practice to identify, illustrate and describe the vintage munitions used in World War II. Examining all aspects of this secretive subject, from the equipment used to the techniques of placing and uncovering them, this book is an invaluable resource, revealing the daily risks faced by soldiers on the ground through the course of the war.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Eben Emael to Crete, Sicily, Market Garden, the Rhine, and Burma, glider-borne paratroopers brought extra firepower to bear using techniques that helicopter troops adapted for modern air cavalry techniques.This book explains the development and organization of World War II glider troops, their mounts, and the air squadrons formed to tow them; the steep and costly learning-curve, as armies and air forces worked out the techniques needed to carry and deliver men and equipment safely to the chosen landing zones; and the tactics that such troops learned to employ once they arrived on the battlefield. All these aspects are illustrated by reference to famous operations, including the German assault on Crete (1941), the Allied assault on Sicily (1943), the Allied Normandy landings and Operation Market Garden (1944), the Rhine crossings (1945), and also the Allied operations in Burma to insert and resupply the "Chindits" behind Japanese lines (1944).The major weakness of the military paratrooper is the limited load of kit that he can carry during the jump, making his combat endurance short unless he is quickly re-supplied. Military gliders came of age in World War II, when glider-assault infantry were the forerunners of today's helicopter-delivered airmobile troops. From the light pre-war sports and training machines, several nations developed troop-carrying gliders capable of getting a whole squad or more of infantry, with heavy weapons, onto the ground quickly, with the equipment that paratroopers simply could not carry. Gliders were also developed to carry light artillery, antitank guns, jeeps, and even special lightweight tanks. They made up at least one-third of the strength of US, British, and German airborne divisions in major battles, and they also carried out several daring coup de main raids and spearhead operations. However, the dangers were extreme, the techniques were difficult, the losses were heavy (particularly during night operations), and the day of the glider assault was relatively brief.
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