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Osprey's third and final volume in the Barbarossa trilogy, this title completes the account of the strategic intricacies of the German campaign against Russia. Detailing the final Nazi push for Moscow, Robert Kirchubel examines the causes behind the German failure, including the inability to re-supply troops or provide reserves, and the lack of decent German winter uniforms and transport.Full-color artwork, maps and bird's-eye views illustrate the campaign in detail, revealing how the Red Army capitalized on every German weakness in spite of its own flaws.
Orde Wingate rose to fame by creating the Chindits in Burma in 1943. He is an extremely important figure in military history, and deserves just as much attention as Alanbrooke, Montgomery, and Auchinleck. Unlike them, however, he always operated outside the accepted etiquette and the formal chain of command. He was a maverick and misfit, and he held to the belief that the type of mass warfare demonstrated on the Western Front (1914-18) had very little to do with the warfare of the future. He believed that the latter would require an 'indirect approach', in which heavily lumbering armies would be exquisitely vulnerable to small groups of highly motivated, mobile and well-armed guerrillas. This book covers Wingate's experiences in pre-war Palestine, in Ethiopia in 1941 (where he formed an irregular guerrilla unit to harrass the Italian garrisons) and in World War II Burma, where the two Chindit campaigns would be his apotheosis.
Throughout the Napoleonic Wars, there was a growing perception that a muzzle-loading rifle was more practical compared to the limitations of rifles then currently in use. This thinking ultimately resulted in the 1853 Enfield Pattern, a rifle which, for the first time, was issued to every soldier in the British Army instead of the few trained marksmen. Its use during the Crimean War and later the Indian Mutiny would vindicate this policy when it became clear that the infantry were now capable of outgunning artillery. In addition, this was the first British weapon manufactured using new American technology, which meant that the component parts were interchangeable, ensuring that the weapon was easy to maintain on the battlefield. There were three main types based on the P 53 - the long rifle, the short rifle and the carbine, and this volume provides a concise history of the development and use of each type. In addition, the book discusses the privately manufactured varieties which were used for sport as well as the standard accessories issued to the infantryman in the field including bayonets, combination tools, the cartridge, ammunition pouch, muzzle stopper and ramrods. The P 53 first became notorious during the Indian Mutiny when the use of pig fat to lubricate the bullets led directly to the rioting by Hindu and Muslim troops within the British Army. However, its most widespread use was during the American Civil War when over a million rifles were sold to both the North and South. The author, a leading expert in the subject who worked at the Royal Armouries for a number of years, also details the effectiveness of the weapon during each conflict, including range, rate of fire, powder charge, accuracy and what it was like to be fired on by a P 53.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1864, Petersburg, Virginia became the setting for one of the last great campaigns of the American Civil War (1861-1865) and the longest siege in American History. After his failure to capture Richmond in the Spring, General Ulysses S. Grant decided to strangle the life out of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia by surrounding the city of Petersburg and cutting off General Robert E. Lee's supply lines. The ensuing siege would carry on for nearly ten months, involve 160,000 soldiers, and see a number of pitched battles including the Battle of the Crater, Reams Station, Hatcher's Run, and White Oak Road. But around these battles were long days of living in trenches, enduring poor diet and winter weather, and suffering constant artillery bombardment. In April of 1865, Grant ordered a sweeping offensive against the beleaguered Confederates, which broke Lee's right flank and forced him to retreat to Appomattox Court House, where he surrendered a week later.Written by an expert on the American Civil War, this book examines the last clash between the armies of U.S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
Plataea was one of the biggest and most important land battles of pre-20th century history. Close to 100,000 hoplite and light-armed Greeks took on an even larger barbarian army that included elite Asian cavalry and infantry from as far away as India, with thousands of Greek hoplites and cavalry also fighting on the Persian side. At points in the several days of battle, the Persians with their more fluid, missile tactics came close to breaking the Greek defensive line and cutting off their supplies. But, in a fatal misjudgement when he nearly had the battle won, their general Mardonius committed the cream of his infantry to close-quarters combat with the Spartans and their Peloponnesian allies. He died and his men were finally crushed by heavier weaponry and superior discipline. Meanwhile, 250 miles to the east, the Greek navy inflicted an equally decisive defeat on the Persians, neutralising Xerxes' seapower in the Aegean. The tiny minority of Greek city states that actually took up arms against the invading forces of the mightiest empire yet seen in the ancient world had halted its western expansion and driven it back.The reconstruction of the battle of Plataea will draw on recent persuasive academic interpretations of the textual sources and visual evidence (mainly from near-contemporary vase paintings) for the early 5th-century method of hoplite fighting.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the seventh year of the Second Peloponnesian or 'Archidamian' War the Athenians occupied the promontory of Pylos on the west coast of the Peloponnese as a counterstroke to Sparta's repeated invasions of Attica. Over two days of fighting the small garrison beat off the Spartan army and fleet's determined efforts to dislodge it, and then the returning Athenian fleet won a crushing victory in the nearby waters of what is now known as Navarino Bay. As a consequence, a contingent of elite Spartan hoplites was stranded on the island of Sphacteria in the bay just to the south of Pylos for several weeks of inconclusive siege and blockade operations and an unproductive period of truce. The Athenians had full control of the sea. With the campaigning season drawing to a close, they finally decided to mount an attack on the island using unconventional tactics. An amphibious night attack overran the Spartan outpost covering the beaches and light-armed missile troops landed at daybreak in overwhelming numbers. The Spartans were slowly driven back to their stronghold at the tip of the island, losing men steadily and never allowed to engage in the hand-to-hand fighting at which they excelled. They held their final defensive line for a while until, as at Thermopylae, they found themselves also under attack from the rear. Then, exhausted and out of water, with their commander dead and his deputy incapacitated by wounds, and a large Spartan army close-by on the mainland but powerless to help them, the 292 survivors surrendered. This was a huge and surprising blow to the Spartans' glorious and fearsome reputation, and these prestigious prisoners-of-war served the Athenians very well as bargaining counters in the diplomatic activity that punctuated the hostilities that continued for the next four years. The Athenian victory also influenced the future conduct of the war by highlighting the limitations of the traditional hoplite mindset and tactics, and the battle-winning potential of light-armed troops, the hoplites' inferiors.
At the start of World War I a new and potent threat to Britain's naval supremacy took shape in the form of the Kaiser's Imperial German submarines, thanks to their recently acquired ability to submerge and stalk their adversaries. A submarine's crew could not board and capture a merchant ship, however, and at first the German leadership was reluctant to order their U-boat captains to use gunfire or torpedoes to sink merchantmen - crewed by civilian seamen - because of the expected hostile reaction of neutral countries such as the United States. Instead, U-boat captains were ordered to surface, then check the manifest of merchantmen and allow their crews to take to lifeboats before sinking the cargo vessels, rendering the U-boat highly vulnerable to attack. This enabled the Royal Navy to counter the submarine threat with vessels whose outward appearance was that of a merchantman, but which kept hidden an arsenal of weapons that would spring to life if a U-boat surfaced - the Q-ships.Q-ships came in all shapes and sizes - coastal steamer, trawler, barque, yacht or schooner - but all had to look harmless in order to lure opponents to the surface and encourage them to attack. Armaments differed according to ship size; steamers commonly had 4in guns mounted amidships and in the bow, trawlers 3-pdrs and sailing ships 12-pdrs. Those who served on Q-ships had to accept that their U-boat opponents would be able to strike first. Q-ship captains kept ready a 'panic crew', which was trained to act out an elaborate evacuation to convince the U-boat commander that the ship was being abandoned by its crew. The Q-ship captain would remain behind with a handful of other crewmen manning the guns, which remained hidden until the most opportune time to unmask and engage the U-boat.These deceptions did not go unnoticed, however; German captains learnt to be cautious, and frequently would engage with their guns at longer range and later in the war with torpedoes. U-boat boatswain's mate Christof Lassen view of Q-ships as the 'most unpleasant object we could hope to meet' was commonly held. As the Allies condemned the sinking of merchantmen, the Germans vilified Q-ships as a crude deceit manned by pirates and contrary to the rules of civilized warfare. Encounters were often fought with bitterness and little quarter was given.The Q-ship suited the Royal Navy's preference for offensive action to counter the submarine. The Q-ship concept had emerged early in the war when no other method seemed likely to counter the U-boat threat, and flourished until new technologies and tactics were developed, tested and implemented. Q ships instilled wariness into a previously bold and seemingly invincible enemy. The usefulness of Q-ships waned as they lost their surprise factor, but they helped mitigate the U-boat menace until more effective and efficient means of defence were adopted. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and drawing upon the latest research, this engaging study brings to life the deadly duel between these two very different vessels at the height of World War I.
Following the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes, the Allies began steps for the final assault into Germany. The long-delayed US Army thrust over the Roer River, Operation Lumberjack, finally took place in February, placing the US Army along the Rhine. The Rhine represented the last major geographical barrier to the Allied advance into Germany. The plan was for Montgomery's 21st Army Group to leap the Rhine into the Ruhr in a carefully choreographed attack called Operation Plunder. In the event, fortune smiled on the US Army when the 9th Armored unexpectedly found that the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen had not yet been demolished by the Wehrmacht, leaving this one major crossing over the Rhine intact. An armored infantry team supported by the new Pershing tanks stormed the bridge, seized it in fierce fighting and disarmed the charges placed on it. They then held it against numerous counterattacks in which the Germans used conventional tactics and unconventional, including jet bombers, V-2 missiles, and frogmen. Remagen was not the only impromptu Rhine crossing made by the US Army in central Germany but it was the most dramatic and hardest fought. The irrepressible George Patton, in spite of instructions to stay put, snuck an infantry division across the Rhine in the south, setting the stage for the race into Germany. After reinforcing their two major Rhine crossings, the US Army launched its late-March offensive, encircling Frankfurt, and setting the stage for the defeat of the Wehrmacht in the West. This is a gripping, authoritative account of a crucial battle during the last major set-piece operation of World War II (1939-1945).
From the early ballads that established his stories to the later additions of Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, and Alan-a-Dale, this book explores how the legend of Robin Hood grew.He robbed from the rich to give to the poor, or so the legend goes. But who was the outlaw known as Robin Hood? How did his legend develop and how has it changed over the passing centuries? This new book in the Osprey Myths and Legends series takes a detailed look at Britain's most famous outlaw. It also enters the perilous world of Robin Hood scholarship with a critical review of the case for a 'historical' Robin Hood and a review of the mostly likely candidates. A perfect primer for young and old, this book covers both the fact and the fiction of Robin Hood.
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.
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