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Poland was the first of the Allied nations to succumb to German aggression in the Second World War, but by the most tortuous of routes her army managed to remain in the field through all five years of bloody fighting. Polish soldiers fought in nearly every major campaign in the European theatre, and their tale is a complicated and tragic one. This richly detailed text by Steven Zaloga relates the story of the Polish Army during the Second World War, from the first wave of Stukas in 1939 to its eventual conclusion.
In the early hours of D-Day, 1944, a group from the US Army 2nd Rangers Battalion were sent on one of the legendary raids of World War II. The mission was to scale the cliffs overlooking Omaha beach and assault the German coastal artillery at Pointe-du-Hoc. It was thought that only a raid could ensure that the guns would remain silent during the D-Day landings. But allied intelligence was wrong.After climbing the cliffs under aggressive German fire and securing the battery site, the Rangers discovered that the guns themselves were no longer there. It was only due to the heroic actions of the Rangers involved that the guns were located in firing positions facing Utah beach and destroyed before they could be used. In the first of a brand new series for Osprey, this act of audacious daring is brought to life, complete with illustrated artwork, maps and rare German accounts. Taking a more critical look at the story, Steven Zaloga analyses every detail, from the intelligence failings to the boldness of the Rangers' in the face of such odds.
The SA-2, nicknamed Red SAM, is the most widely used air defense missile in history, most famous for nearly sparking a nuclear exchange between the USSR and America when one brought down a U-2 spy plane in 1960. Deployed widely against American aircraft in Vietnam the SA-2 has seen service in North Korea, Egypt, and various world conflicts including the 2003 Gulf War and remains in service today despite its aging 50-year-old technology.Using rare interviews and accounts from the Russian designers of the weapon, and supported by photographs and color artwork, Steven J Zaloga examines the development of the SA-2, linking the technical history of the weapon to its massive impact on air campaigns during the Cold War, and investigates the design changes, which helped the SA-2 stand the test of time.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Following 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).
The Scud missile was developed as the centerpiece of Soviet plans to fight nuclear war in the heart of Europe. However, it was never used in its intended role and has instead become a symbol of the changing nature of warfare in the aftermath of the Cold War. Saddam Hussein's Iraqi armed forces were almost helpless in the face of the Coalition forces in the 1991 Gulf War; the only weapon that Iraq could use to injure the Coalition forces was its arsenal of Scud missiles. This book explores the development and variants of the missile and its launch systems, its proliferation outside of the West, and its role in conflicts around the world.
Not only did the Sicily operation represent a watershed in tactical development of combined arms tactics, it was also an important test for future Allied joint operations. Senior British commanders left the North African theater with a jaundiced and dismissive view of the combat capabilities of the inexperienced US Army after the debacle at Kasserine Pass in Tunisia in February 1943. Sicily was a demonstration that the US Army had rapidly learned its lessons and was now capable of fighting as a co-equal of the British Army. The Sicily campaign contained a measure of high drama as Patton took the reins of the Seventh US Army and bent the rules of the theater commander in a bold race to take Palermo on the northern Sicilian coast. When stiff German resistance halted Montgomery's main assault to Messina through the mountains, Patton was posed to be the first to reach the key Sicilian port and end the campaign. The Sicily campaign contains a fair amount of controversy as well including the disastrous problems with early airborne assaults and the Allied failure to seal the straits of Messina, allowing the Germans to withdraw many of their best forces.
The Siegfried Line campaign was one of the most frustrating and bloody series of battles fought by the US Army in Northwest Europe during World War II (1939-1945).In order to break through the German-Belgian border north of the Ardennes and eventually reach the Rhine, the First and Ninth divisions of the US Army dispersed themselves along the German Siegfried Line.The campaign kicked off in earnest in late September with the encirclement and eventual capture of Aachen, the first major German city to fall to the Allies. The paths to the Roer included not only the heavily urbanized area northeast of this city, but also the Hurtgen Forest along its southeastern flank. While a costly battle to seize the city continued throughout October, fighting also began in the forested area with initial attacks towards Schmidt.The German offensive to the south in the Ardennes derailed the Siegfried campaign for nearly two months and proved to be extremely costly. However, with Operation Grenade in February 1945, Ninth Army were finally propelled over the Roer River and were able to seize the vital Roer dams.Providing extensive coverage of the battle for Aachen and the fighting that ensued in the Hurtgen Forest, this title brings to life the Siegfried Line campaign which witnessed the US Army's most bitter fighting and set the stage for the final assault on the Rhine, leading the way into the heart of Germany.
The tanks used during the Spanish Civil War are not often examined in any great detail, and are often labeled as little more than test vehicles in a convenient proving ground before World War II. But, with groundbreaking research, armor expert Steven J Zaloga has taken a fresh look at the tanks deployed in Spain, examining how future tanks and armored tactics were shaped and honed by the crews' experiences, and how Germany was able to benefit from these lessons while their Soviet opponents were not. Based on recently uncovered records of Soviet tankers in Spain and rare archival accounts, this book describes the various tanks deployed in Spain, including the PzKpfw I and the T-26. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Staghound was a unique World War II armored vehicle - designed and manufactured in the US, but intended solely for the British army. Since its combat debut in Italy in 1943 until the end of the war it had performed particularly valuable service in a reconnaissance role where its speed and armor ensured that it was able to extricate itself from trouble as required without additional support. This book examines the development of this category of armored cars and offers a detailed analysis of the extensive combat use of the Staghound in British service as well as in the service of other Allied countries including Canada, New Zealand and Poland.
The T-34 was the most influential tank design of World War 2. When first introduced into combat in the summer of 1941, it represented a revolutionary leap forward in tank design. Its firepower, armour protection and mobility were superior to that of any other medium tank of the period. This superiority did not last long. While the T-34 underwent a series of incremental improvements during 1943, it was being surpassed by new German tank designs, most notably the Panther. This title traces the life of the original T-34 through all its difficulties to eventual success.
The T-34-85 tank is one of those rare weapons that have remained in service for more than half a century. First introduced in 1944, it has seen combat in nearly every corner of the globe. Steven Zaloga and Jim Kinnear look at this long-serving tank at length. Although long obsolete in Europe, it has proven a reliable and potent weapon in many Third World conflicts, and is still in service with more than a dozen armies around the world.
A hotly-debated topic amongst tank buffs is of the relative merits of the Soviet and American tanks of World War II. Using recently revealed documents, Steven Zaloga sheds light on the crucial tank battles of the Korean War as the rival superpowers' finest tanks battled for supremacy. The Soviet-equipped North Korean Peoples Army initially dominated the battlefield with the seemingly unstoppable T34-85. As US tank battalions hastily arrived throughout the late summer and early autumn of 1950, the M26 Pershing took the fight to North Korea with increasing success.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Soviet Army hastily developed the T-62 in a struggle to compete against the rapid proliferation of NATO tanks in the 1960s. It was essentially a modification of the widely-manufactured T-55 tank with the addition of a new 115mm gun. Within the USSR itself, the T-62 was quickly superseded, but it was widely exported, becoming a critical component of the Egyptian and Syrian armies in the 1973 Yom Kippur conflict and heavily influenced later designs of the M1 Abrams and Challenger tanks. In the first English-language history of this tank, Steven Zaloga examines the development of the T-62 using detailed combat descriptions to bring to life the operational history of this tank from the deserts of the Sinai to the harsh terrain of Afghanistan. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Russian T-72 Ural tank is the most widely-deployed main battle tank of the current generation. Used by the armies of the former Warsaw pact and Soviet Union, it has also been exported in large numbers to many of the states in the Middle East. This book reveals the previously secret history behind the tank. Steven J Zaloga examines the conditions under which the T-72 was designed and produced. Technical aspects of the weapon are also discussed, including its EDZ reactive armour which, when it first appeared in December 1984, gave NATO a nasty shock.
The Soviet T-80 Standard Tank was the last tank fielded before the Soviet collapse, and the most controversial. Like the US M1 Abrams tank, the T-80 used a turbine power plant rather than a conventional diesel. Although the design was blessed with some of the most sophisticated armament, fire controls, and multi-layer armor ever fielded on a Soviet tank, its power plant remained a source of considerable trouble through its career. It saw very little service in the Chechen War, though T-80 tanks were used in some of the regional conflicts in the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. Although the collapse of the Soviet Union might seem the end of the story, the T-80 lived on in Ukraine where one of its tank plants was based. A diesel powered version of the T-80 was developed, the T-84, which was successfully exported, including a major sale to Pakistan to counterbalance the Indian Army's Russian T-90 tanks. Steven J Zaloga charts the little-known history of the T-80, covering the initial construction, through the development to the subsequent variants, the T-84 and Russia's enigmatic "Black Eagle Tank." Accompanying detailed cut-away artwork illustrates the unusual design features that made the T-80 so controversial. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The titanic armor battles of the Russian Front are widely known, but the role of Germany's eastern allies is not as well known. Two of these countries, Romania and Hungary, manufactured their own tanks as well as purchasing tanks from Germany. These ranged from older, obsolete types such as the PzKpfw 35(t) all the way up to the latest and best German vehicles including the Tiger I and Hetzer. These tanks played a frequent role in the battles in southern Russia and Ukraine and were especially prominent in the disaster at Stalingrad where the Red Army specifically chose the weaker Romanian and Hungarian salients for their critical envelopment operation. This New Vanguard will provide a broad survey of the various and colorful tanks used. Besides covering the largest of these Axis tank forces, this book will cover the many smaller and lesser known forces including the Italian contingent in Russia, the Finnish armored force, and the small but interesting armored forces of the Russian Vlasov (RONA), Croatian, Bulgarian and Slovakian armies. This subject is seeing increasing interest in the modeling world; for example Tamiya recently announced a PzKpfw 35 (t) (suitable for Romanian, Slovak armies) a Finnish StuG III, and a Finnish BT-42.
The delivery of entire divisions to battlefields behind enemy lines by parachute and glider was a unique feature of World War II. Failures at D-Day landings necessitated that, in order to avoid severe dispersion of paratroopers, US tactics be rethought and daylight airdrops be implemented. The new tactics were first put to the test in September 1944, with the landings by the 82d and 101st Airborne divisions as part of Operation Market Garden. Although the US landings were successful, the operation as a whole failed to secure its objectives. Nevertheless, both divisions subsequently played a vital defensive role withstanding the German Ardennes offensive. By 1945, another division had joined the airborne forces, and plans commenced for further airborne operations. The most significant of these was Operation Varsity, the airborne element of the Rhine River crossing in March 1945, which propelled the Allied armies into the heart of Nazi Germany, and effectively secured the outcome of the war. Paying special attention to often overlooked aspects of airborne operations, Battle Orders 25 gives a detailed account of the successes and failures of the US Airborne divisions within Europe, focusing on their organizational structure during 1944-45, and covering two of the world's finest units: the 82d and 101st 'Screaming Eagles.'
The advent of combined arms operations in World War II created the need for specialized armored vehicles. In the case of amphibious attacks, the issue arose of how best to land tanks on a beach. Although a variety of specialized landing craft were developed, the Dieppe raid in 1942 encouraged the development of tanks that could be deployed from further off-shore to limit the vulnerability of the LCT craft. The deep-wading equipment that they developed was first used during Operation Husky on Sicily in July 1943, and subsequently for Operations Avalanche (Salerno, September 1943), Shingle (Anzio, January 1944) and Overlord (Normandy, June 1944). The US-manufactured DD tanks were used during Overlord by both US and British forces, and again in 1945 during the Rhine crossings. Initially, developments in the Pacific Theater were separate from those in Europe. The Marines learned from the Tarawa landings in 1943 that unprepared tanks could not be safely landed even in shallow water. DD tanks were never seriously considered for the Pacific, so other solutions were sought. A detailed study of specialized US amphibious tanks, this is a title that will appeal to those interested in both Pacific and European Theaters, modellers and collectors.
The US Army's development of the 37mm anti-tank gun began in response to needs identified during the Spanish Civil War. By the time it entered service in Tunisia in 1943, the gun was already obsolete, and the US began the licensed manufacture of the British 6-pdr in the hope of finding a quick solution to its artillery requirements. This in turn proved unequal to the demands of warfare in France in 1944, and further anti-tank measures were developed - rocket propelled grenades for infantry use, and weapons designed specifically for use by the Tank Destroyer Force.
The armored divisions were the shock force of the US Army's combat formations during the fighting in Northwest Europe in the final year of the war. Of the 16 such divisions formed during the war, all but one served in the European Theater of Operations. This book examines the organizational structure, operational doctrine and combat mission of these divisions from D-Day onwards, describing how doctrines and tactics were changed as the divisions were forced to adapt to the battlefield realities of combat against an experienced foe. The lessons drawn by the armored divisions from the bitter fighting in Northwest Europe from 1944 to 1945 strongly shaped postwar US Army doctrine.
The Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) saw the first operational deployment of US armoured divisions in World War II, and the experience proved chastening for the 1st Armored Division when it suffered defeat at the hands of Rommel's Afrika Korps at the battle of Kasserine Pass. This title covers the organization of these early US armored divisions, as well as the independent tank and tank destroyer battalions that accompanied them. It details the evolution of US armoured warfare tactics and doctrine, learned from the difficult experiences of North Africa, and illustrates how they were used elsewhere in the Mediterranean, particularly in the Italian Peninsula.
Revealing what it was like to live and fight in a medium tank during World War II (1939-1945), this book is structured around the career of a single tanker from 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division. The focus is largely on the crew of an M4 Sherman, though light tank service is also studied. Tank operation required a well- trained and well-coordinated crew. The crew positions and roles of tank commander, gunner, driver, loader, and assistant driver are all covered in detail, together with recruitment procedure, specialist training, and the variety of specialized clothing and personal weaponry.
Determined to learn from the lessons of World War I where it was unprepared and heavily reliant on British and French guns, the US Army developed a whole new generation of field artillery weapons and tactics during the 1930s. Consequently, in World War II it was the clear leader in field artillery.Providing a thorough examination of the many critical innovations and doctrines, and the impact they had on performance in combat, this book demonstrates why US field artillery was so effective in World War II. Innovations featured include the motorization of artillery, which increased mobility; fire direction centers, which enhanced their firepower; aerial observation; and radio communications.Exploring, in their entirety, the weapons that formed the backbone of the US artillery arsenal in World War II, this book reveals a wealth of detail not readily available elsewhere.From the Trade Paperback edition.
American experience, from D-Day to dug-in Japanese defenders, went from British Crocodile to E4-7, USMC Satan, and the many POA-CWS (Pacific Area Operation-Chemical Warfare Section) flamethrower tank variants chronicled in this book.The US Army and Marine Corps experimented with a wide range of flame-thrower tanks through World War II in both the European and Pacific theaters. This book will examine early efforts in the US, the ill-fated attempt to adopted the British Crocodile for D-Day in Normandy, the adoption of the auxiliary E4-7 in the European Theater, and the use of British Crocodile flamethrower units in the ETO. Although the US Army deployment of flame-thrower tanks in the ETO was problematic at best, flamethrowers were much more widely used in the Pacific theater and became ubiquitous by 1945, including an entire Army flamethrower tank battalion on Okinawa in 1945, the largest single use of flamethrower tanks in World War II. This will cover the initial attempts at the use of auxiliary flamethrowers by both the US Army and Marine Corps in 1943, the standardized adoption of the Satan flamethrower tank by the Marines in 1944, the development of main gun flamethrowers by the Marines and US Army based on the POA-CWS (Pacific Area Operation-Chemical Warfare Section) designs, and the myriad other types tested in combat including the powerful LVT-4 design using Navy flamethrowers at Peleliu in 1944. Due to the extensive Japanese use of fortifications in the final year of the Pacific war, Flamethrower tanks became one of the most important solutions in American tactics.
The Allied airborne and amphibious landings in Normandy on D-Day on June 6, 1944, opened up the long-awaited Second Front against Nazi Germany, but after overcoming the German coastal defenses at Utah and "Bloody Omaha," the US Army found itself having to contest every hedgerow and street in a nightmarish battle of attrition. Even once Normandy had been secured for the Western Allies, the grueling battles on the Siegfried Line, the Ardennes, and elsewhere would test both sides to the limit before the Germans' unconditional surrender of May 1945.Featuring full-color artwork, specially drawn maps, and archive photographs, this study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, combat performance, and subsequent reputations of six representative US and German infantry battalions pitched into three pivotal actions that determined the course of the campaign for mastery in Western Europe at the height of World War II.It was the humble infantrymen of both sides who would play a vital role in taking and holding key objectives, from the hedgerow warfare around the key French port of Cherbourg in June 1944 to the struggle for Übach-Palenberg during the Allies' initial thrust into Germany in October and the savage cold-weather fighting of the Germans' Ardennes counter-offensive that December. Bitter lessons were learned and relearned by a succession of US divisions committed to the fighting, while the Germans found themselves forced to keep battered and under-strength formations in the front line until they were effectively destroyed by the relentless pressure of the Allied advance.