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Approximately 200,000 African Americans fought for the Union during the Civil War. Initially, many white soldiers doubted their bravery and skill; they were soon proved wrong. The United States Colored Troops performed countless acts of courage, most famously at the battle of Fort Wagner where the 54th Massachusetts marched forth and scaled the parapets, only to be driven back in fierce hand-to-hand combat. Through fascinating first-hand accounts, this title examines the journey of the African American from slave to soldier to free man, ultimately providing a fascinating insight into the impact that these brave men had on the war and how it influenced their lives thereafter.
Caesar's Legions laid siege to Vercingetorix's Gallic army in one of the most tactically amazing battles of all time. Outnumbered 6:1, the Romans built siege lines facing inward and outward and prevented the Gauls from breaking the siege. The campaign leading to the battle revealed ingenuity on both sides, though in the end Caesar established his fame in these actions.In 52 BC, Caesar's continued strategy of annihilation had engendered a spirit of desperation, which detonated into a revolt of Gallic tribes under the leadership of the charismatic, young, Arvernian noble, Vercingetorix. Though the Gallic people shared a common language and culture, forging a coalition amongst the fiercely independent tribes was a virtually impossible feat, and it was a tribute to Vercingetorix's personality and skill.Initially Vercingetorix's strategy was to draw the Romans into pitched battle. Vercingetorix was soundly beaten in the open field battle against Caesar at Noviodunum, followed by the Roman sack of Avaricum. However, the action that followed at Gergovia amounted to the most serious reverse that Caesar faced in the whole of the Gallic War. Vercingetorix began a canny policy of small war and defensive maneuvers, which gravely hampered Caesar's movements by cutting off his supplies. For Caesar it was to be a grim summertime - his whole Gallic enterprise faced liquidation.In the event, by brilliant leadership, force of arms, and occasionally sheer luck, Caesar succeeded. This culminated in the siege of Alesia (north of Dijon), which Caesar himself brilliantly narrates (Bellum Gallicum 7.68-89). With his 80,000 warriors and 1,500 horsemen entrenched atop a mesa at Alesia, the star-crossed Vercingetorix believed Alesia was unassailable. Commanding less than 50,000 legionaries and assorted auxiliaries, Caesar nevertheless began the siege. Vercingetorix then dispatched his cavalry to rally reinforcements from across Gaul, and in turn Caesar constructed a contravallation and circumvallation, a double wall of fortifications around Alesia facing toward and away from the oppidum. When the Gallic relief army arrived, the Romans faced the warriors in Alesia plus an alleged 250,000 warriors and 8,000 horsemen attacking from without. Caesar adroitly employed his interior lines, his fortifications, and the greater training and discipline of his men to offset the Gallic advantage, but after two days of heavy fighting, his army was pressed to the breaking point. On the third day, the Gauls, equipped with fascines, scaling ladders and grappling hooks, captured the northwestern angle of the circumvallation, which formed a crucial point in the Roman siege works. In desperation, Caesar personally led the last of his reserves in a do-or-die counterattack, and when his Germanic horsemen outflanked the Gauls and took them in the rear, the battle decisively turned. The mighty relief army was repulsed.Vercingetorix finally admitted defeat, and the entire force surrendered the next day. Alesia was to be the last significant resistance to Roman will in Gaul. It involved virtually every Gallic tribe in a disastrous defeat, and there were enough captives for each legionary to be awarded one to sell as a slave. In a very real sense Alesia symbolized the extinction of Gallic liberty. Rebellions would come and go, but never again would a Gallic warlord independent of Rome hold sway over the Celts of Gaul.
The American Civil War saw a massive development in the use of field fortifications, the result of the practical application of antebellum West-Point teaching, and the deadly impact of rifled infantry weapons and artillery. Both the Federal and Confederate armies began to develop far more sophisticated systems of field fortification, and the larger field works and fortifications surrounding Washington, DC and Richmond, VA were redesigned and rebuilt several times. This volume explores the role of land and field fortifications in the eastern and overland campaigns of the Civil War between 1861 and 1865. Particular attention is devoted to the nine-month siege of Petersburg, where daily life within the redoubts, lunettes, redans, bomb-proofs, trenches and rifle pits is vividly described.
Osprey's study of the battles fought on America's railroads during the Civil War 91861-1865). The American Civil War was the world's first full-blown 'railroad war'. The well-developed network in the North was of great importance in serving the Union army's logistic needs over long distances, and the sparser resources of the South were proportionately even more important. Both sides invested great efforts in raiding and wrecking enemy railroads and defending and repairing their own, and battles often revolved around strategic rail junctions. Robert Hodges reveals the thrilling chases and pitched battles that made the railroad so dangerous and resulted in a surprisingly high casualty rate. He describes the equipment and tactics used by both sides and the vital supporting elements - maintenance works, telegraph lines, fuel and water supplies, as well as garrisoned blockhouses to protect key points. Full-color illustrations bring the fast-paced action to life in this fascinating read; a must-have volume for both rail and Civil War enthusiasts.
In January 1944, the Allies decided to land at Anzio in order to overcome the stalemate at Cassino.This amphibious landing has become one of the most controversial campaigns of World War II (1939-1945). Questionable decisions by the Allied leadership led to three months of World War I-style trench warfare, and the entire beachhead suffered from continuous German observation and bombardment. Vividly describing each thrust and counter-thrust, this book takes us through the agonizing struggle as each side sought to retain or regain mastery. It shows how Anzio proved to be a stepping stone not only to Rome but also to the liberation of Italy.
Archibald Wavell remains one of the great Allied commanders of the early phases of World War II. In fact, between June 1940 and June 1941, he was the only British theatre commander actively engaging Axis forces. At a time when the British Expeditionary Force had been expelled from the European continent and the home isles were preparing as best they could for the threat of a Nazi invasion, Wavell was conducting campaigns across nine countries and parts of two continents. In those 12 months, Wavell planned and directly oversaw a multitude of campaigns, from the hugely successful winter campaigns against the Italians in the Western Desert and the conquest of Italian East Africa, through the Iraqi revolt, the invasion of Vichy Syria and Lebanon and the ill-fated British involvement in Greece to the unsuccessful attempts to break the siege of Tobruk that led to his replacement in June 1941. He then took command of all Allied forces in the Burma theatre, leading the desperate and doomed defence against the Japanese offensive. While Wavell's great victories are often overshadowed by those of other commanders later in the war, this should not detract from his proven abilities as a strategist and tactician. This book tells the complete story of Wavell's wartime exploits and examines his strengths and weaknesses as a commander.
'Bill' Slim was one of the greatest British generals of World War II. In a career that stretched from 1914 until 1958 Bill Slim's greatest triumphs came in India and Burma in the long war against the Japanese between 1944 and 1945. This new Command title will cover both expeditions extensively. It also explores the legacy of a general that time often forgets. His success in rebuilding the morale and self-confidence of a defeated army remains at the heart of the way the British Army continues to train its soldiers today. He was no theoretical soldier, but in his demonstration of the principles of what is today called 'manoeuvre warfare' he is regarded as one of the finest commanders of the modern age and this book will help illustrate why.From the Trade Paperback edition.
From Hitler's Blitzkriegs to the North African desert, Singapore, New Guinea, Burma, India, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, Arnhem, Ardennes, and the Ruhr, Churchill's Commonwealth, composed of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, and many colonies, fought World War II in virtually every theater. bolt Action players can use this book to simulate much more varied armies than what was possible to include in the core rulebook.
With this latest supplement for Bolt Action, players now have all the information they need to field the varied military forces of the United States of America. Entering the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States immediately went to war on several fronts. In Europe and Africa, the Americans battled against the Germans and Italians, while in the Pacific the soldiers of the Army and Marines faced the forces of Imperial Japan. This book allows players to choose from dozens of different troop types including Sherman tanks, Marine raiders, and paratroopers, and build a US force to fight in any theatre of the war.
Take the fight to the enemy with this new theatre book for Bolt Action. From the D-Day landings to the final battle for Berlin, this volume gives players everything they need to focus their gaming on these final campaigns in the ETO. Scenarios and special rules offer something for all Bolt Action players, regardless of the armies they collect.
In 1939, Germany shattered the peace of Europe with a lightning-quick strike against Poland. The next year, it captured Denmark and Norway, before launching its famous blitzkrieg against France, Belgium and The Netherlands. In less than two years of fighting, Nazi Germany had become the master of mainland Europe. This new theater book for Bolt Action allows players to command armies of Germany tanks in WWII driving across the lowlands or to lead the desperate defense of the outgunned allied armies.
Take charge of Operation Barbarossa and drive towards Moscow or command the steadfast defenders of the Soviet Union. From the early battles for Leningrad and Sevastopol to the tank clash of Kursk and the bitter urban warfare of Stalingrad, this new theatre supplement for Bolt Action provides players with new scenarios and special rules that give them everything they need to focus their gaming on the Eastern Front.
Tank War, the new supplement for Bolt Action, gives players the option to expand their games to a whole new level - armored warfare. Recreate such great engagements as the battle of Kursk with the scenarios, army options and special rules found in this book. Whether you want to add more armour to your existing armies or build an entirely armoured force, Tank War has you covered.
The battle of Borodino was one of the greatest encounters in European history, and one of the largest and most sanguinary in the Napoleonic Wars. Following the breakdown of relations between Russia and France, Napoleon assembled a vast Grande Armée drawn from the many states within the French sphere of influence. They crossed the river Neimen and entered Russian territory in June 1812 with the aim of inflicting a sharp defeat on the Tsar's forces and bringing the Russians back into line. In a bloody battle of head-on attacks and desperate counter-attacks in the village of Borodino on 7 September 1812, both sides lost about a third of their men, with the Russians forced to withdraw and abandon Moscow to the French. However, the Grande Armée was harassed by Russian troops all the way back and was destroyed by the retreat. The greatest army Napoleon had ever commanded was reduced to a shadow of frozen, starving fugitives. This title will cover the events of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign of 1812 in its entirety, with the set-piece battle of Borodino proving the focal point of the book.
In World War II the Britsh Bren light machine gun saw service in Commonwealth armies and in resistance forces throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Adopted in 1938 and remaining in British service right up to 1991, the popular and reliable Bren was an iconic light machine gun, and probably the most recognisable Commonwealth weapon of World War II. Gas-operated and magazine-fed, it was based on a Czech design and was issued in large numbers during and after World War II as a section-level automatic weapon; it used the same .303in ammunition as the Lee-Enfield rifles that equipped British and Commonwealth infantry, and the Pattern 1937 webbing they wore was designed around the dimensions of the Bren's distinctively curved 28-round magazine.Offering remarkable accuracy for an LMG, the Bren had an effective range of 600yd, but could reach out to over 1,500yd. It was generally fired from the prone position using a bipod, but could be fired from the hip when necessary. If kept clean, the Bren gave reliable service in the harshest of environments, from the deserts of Libya to the Korean mountains in winter. As well as seeing widespread infantry use, the Bren was widely supplied to resistance movements in Occupied Europe. It was often vehicle-mounted, notably in the Universal Carrier, popularly called the 'Bren Carrier'; however, the Bren's design precluded its use as a coaxial weapon in tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles.When the UK adopted the 7.62mm NATO cartridge from 1958, the Bren was adapted for this new, rimless ammunition and redesignated the L4; this further improved the Bren's already solid reliability and made it possible for SLR magazines to be used in the weapon. Although officially superseded by the L7 GPMG, the Bren remained a popular weapon in the many post-1945 conflicts involving British and Commonwealth forces, owing to its light weight, manageable length and sheer dependability. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork and based on meticulous research, this is the engaging story of the Bren, the iconic light machine gun that equipped British and Commonwealth forces throughout World War II and in a host of postwar conflicts right up to the Falklands and beyond.
From the First Gulf War in Iraq to the ongoing war in Afganistan the British Army has undergone massive changes in everything from mission capabilities to equipment.Fully illustrated and written by an insider, this engaging book traces the major transformations in British Army doctrine, organization, structures, units, uniforms and equipment, from the end of the Cold War in the 1990s up to today. Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, the British Army has undergone deep and widespread changes, including the creation of new units and capabilities, as well as cuts and amalgamations. It has digested these changes while simultaneously fighting in two major expeditionary wars (one of them ongoing) and in several lesser overseas deployments. While small by superpower standards, it continues to "punch above its weight," and is unquestionably the most experienced (indeed, virtually the only experienced) fighting force in Europe. It remains the only NATO ally which the USA can rely on to contribute significant combat forces for expeditionary campaigns.
In the Age of Fighting Sail (1650-1820), ambitious officers of the navies of many nations sought command of a frigate. Speedy, nimble and formidably armed, frigates often operated independently, unlike the larger ships of the line. Legendary sailors such as Edward Pellew and Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand, Comte de Linoise, found that commanding such a ship offered numerous opportunities for wealth - in the form of prize money paid out for captured enemy vessels - and, even more importantly, prestige and promotion for captains who prevailed in the numerous single-ship duels that characterized frigate warfare. During in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars both Great Britain and France employed frigates to achieve their maritime objectives: to perpetuate its supremacy the Royal Navy needed to be strong everywhere, while the French Navy concentrated its efforts on deploying single frigates or small frigate squadrons to probe for weak points in the British mastery of the seas. Between 1793, when HMS Nymphe fought and captured the French frigate La Cléopâtre, and the 1814 clash between HMS Hebrus and L'Étoile British and French frigates met and fought in over 100 battles. Of these no fewer than 32 were pure frigate duels, with a pair of frigates fighting without the interference of another major warship before the battle ended. Attention and romance attached to these clashes, both at the time and right up to the present day; literary characters such as Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey have perpetuated the legend of these spirited battles on the high seas for successive generations. In this book, four representative frigate duels are examined: first, a battle fought between two closely matched ships (HMS Nymphe (36) vs La Cléopâtre (32), 18 June 1793); second, a victory won by an inferior British frigate over a superior French frigate (HMS Pallas (32) vs Minerve (40), 14 May 1806); third, a victory - the only one - by an inferior French frigate over a superior British frigate (HMS Ambuscade (32) vs Baïonnaise (24), 14 December 1798), and fourth, victory of a superior British frigate over an inferior French frigate (HMS Indefatigable (44) of Hornblower fame vs La Virginie (40), 21 April 1796). Featuring specially commissioned artwork and offering expert analysis, this study provides a vivid account of the bloody combats fought by the most romantic warship of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era - the frigate.
This engaging study pits the volunteers of Kitchener's 'New Armies' against the German veterans who defended the Somme sector in the bloody battles of July-November 1916. The mighty struggle for the Somme sector of the Western Front in the second half of 1916 has come to be remembered for the dreadful toll of casualties inflicted on Britain's 'New Armies' by the German defenders on the first day of the offensive, 1 July. The battle continued, however, throughout the autumn and only came to a close in the bitter cold of mid-November. The British plan relied on the power of artillery to suppress and destroy the German defences; the infantry were tasked with taking and holding the German trenches, but minimal resistance was anticipated. In the event the defences were damaged but not destroyed, and small numbers of defenders, many of whom had garrisoned the Somme sector for many months and knew the ground well, inflicted appalling casualties on the British attackers. Both sides incurred major losses, however; German doctrine emphasised that the first line had to be held or retaken at all costs, a rigid defensive policy that led to very high casualties as the Germans threw survivors into ad hoc, piecemeal counterattacks all along the line.Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork and based on meticulous reassessment of the sources.
Expert ananlyis and first-hand accounts of combat during the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879: Nyezane, iSandlwana, and Khambula. As seen in the movie Zulu, starring Michael Caine, Zulu discipline and courage overcame British firepower at iSandlwana, and almost at Rorke's Drift. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, expert analysis and carefully chosen first-hand accounts, this absorbing study traces the development of infantry tactics in the Anglo-Zulu War by examining three key clashes at unit level.The short but savage Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 pitched well-equipped but complacent British soldiers and their auxiliaries into combat with one of history's finest fighting forces, the Zulu Nation. The clashes between these two very different combatants prompted rapid tactical innovation on both sides, as the British and their Zulu opponents sought to find the optimal combination of mobility and firepower.Fought on 22 January 1879, the clash at Nyezane saw Zulu forces, among them the uMxapho ibutho, ambushing a British column; the British forces, including Lieutenant Martin's company of the 2/3rd Foot, engaged their opponents in the prescribed fashion, as honed in the recent conflict with the Xhosa a year earlier. The Zulu attack was premature, and by 9.30am, after about 90 minutes of heavy fighting, they were repulsed. The British tactics worked, but largely only because the Zulus had an uncharacteristically low numerical superiority.At iSandlwana later that same day, however, the shortcomings of the British tactics, obscured at Nyezane, were made brutally apparent. The Zulus had sufficient manpower not only to withstand that level of casualties but also to complete their encirclement of the British forces, and as the British line disintegrated the firefight gave way to the close-quarter fighting at which the Zulus excelled; not one man of the 1/24th and 2/24th Foot survived. The British forces surrounded and crushed at iSandlwana included Captain W.E. Mostyn's company of the 1/24th Foot, which was initially deployed in advance of the British camp but was later withdrawn to form part of the firing line; their opponents included the iNgobamkhosi ibutho, many of whose warriors left first-hand accounts of the battle.While iSandlwana demonstrated the strengths of the Zulu tactics, it also demonstrated their weaknesses - for the casualties inflicted by the British foreshadowed the carnage they would reap once the British wholeheartedly embraced close-order tactics and defended positions. At Khambula on 29 March 1879, a much bigger British force adopted a defensive position and defeated the same Zulu units who had previously triumphed at iSandlwana, including the uKhandempemvu ibutho, which came close to storming the British defences. At iSandlwana, the Zulus had been able to screen their advance with skirmishers and take advantage of the broken and grassy ground, but at Khambula their spontaneous attack did not allow them to disperse properly and they were funnelled together on a contracting front over woefully exposed ground. The British had learned the tactical lessons of iSandlwana and deliberately sought to restrict the Zulu ability to manoeuvre and co-ordinate their attacks, and to concentrate their own firepower.
One of the key objectives of British forces on D-Day during World War II (1939-1945)was the capture of the strategically vital city of Caen. General Montgomery saw Caen as the key to Normandy and the springboard for the Allied breakout, but so did the Germans and the city did not fall. It took three major offensives and more than 30 bloody days of struggle to finally take Caen. In the process the city was controversially devastated and its civilian population decimated. The Allies paid a high price for Caen but the horrific German casualties bled their forces in Normandy white and helped open the way for the American breakout in Operation Cobra.
The battle of the Catalaunian Fields saw two massive, powerful Empires square up in a conflict that was to shape the course of Eurasian history forever. For despite the Roman victory, the Roman Empire would not survive more than fifteen years afterward, while the Huns, shattered and demoralized, would meet their downfall against a coalition of German tribes soon after. This book, using revealing bird's-eye views of the plains of Champagne and detailed illustrations of the opposing warriors in the midst of desperate combat, describes the fighting at Chalons and reveals the broader campaign of Hunnic incursion that led up to it. Drawing on the latest research, Simon MacDowall reveals the shocking intensity and appalling casualties of the battle, while assessing the wider significance and consequences of the campaign.
In the early 12th century AD a large area of present-day France was not under the direct control of the French king. In fact, the French king's direct authority stretched little further than Paris and the area immediately around it, the Ile de France. Many of the other regions were semi-independent duchies and counties, controlled by, amongst others, the King of England and the Holy Roman Emperor. One such area free from direct French control was the Languedoc, the area stretching from the Massif Central south to the Pyrenees, and as far as the river Rhone to the east. This area was under the loose overlordship of the counts of Toulouse, and by the beginning of the 12th century the whole region had become the centre of an early form of Protestantism called Catharism that flourished to an extraordinary degree and threatened the rule of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Innocent III, alarmed at this heresy and the unwillingness of the southern nobility to do much to uproot it, launched a crusade in 1209 against European Christians. The crusading army, represented the established Church consisting predominatly of northern French knights. They saw this as an opportunity both to 'take the cross' and to obtain new lands and wealth for themselves more conveniently than crusading to the Holy land. This, the Albigensian Crusade, became a brutal struggle between the north and the south of France as much as between orthodox Roman Catholic and heretic Cathar. The inhabitants of the Languedoc had always relied for their safety upon a series of strongly fortified walled cities, such as Albi, Carcassonne, Bï¿½ziers, Toulouse and a large number of fortified hill-top villages and castles which dotted the countryside. These so-called 'Cathar Castles' now became the last refuge against the invading crusaders and the conflict developed into a series of protracted and bloody sieges that lasted for over 30 years. The author describes these two very different types of fortification, the walled city and the hill-top castle. He explains why they were positioned where they were, how they were built, and the defensive principles behind their construction, and also reviews how well they withstood the test of the Albigensian Crusade.Related TitlesThe Crusades (Essential Histories)Medieval Siege Warfare (Elite)French Medieval Armies 1000-1300 (Men-at-Arms)
In May and June 1918 the newly arrived American Expeditionary Force fought two actions that helped defeat the last German offensive of World War I. At Château Thierry a combined French and American force stopped the Germans from crossing the Marne River. Building on this success the US 2nd Division stopped the German advance on Paris and were given the task of recapturing Belleau Wood. First-hand accounts, photographs, and detailed maps dramatically bring to life these key battles, America's baptism of fire in World War I.
First used in combat during the Punitive Expedition into Mexico and then extensively during both World War 1 and World War 2, the Colt Government Model (1911) pistol remained the standard issue handgun in the US armed forces for nearly 80 years and has continued in service with some units to this day. In fact, the M1911 has seen a resurgence among US Special Operations units, as US Marine MARSOC and MEUSOC personnel are issued current generation 1911-type pistols. In addition, the pistol has seen service with famous law enforcement agencies such as the Shanghai Municipal Police, LAPD Swat and Texas Rangers. Nearly a century after its introduction, the M1911 Pistol remains a popular design and is now produced by virtually every major firearms manufacturer doing business in the USA.In this new volume, handgun expert Leroy Thompson sheds new light on the development, history and use of this revolutionary handgun, complete with specially-commissioned artwork depicting the firing process and cutaway profile of the gun, as well as its use in various theaters of war.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This gripping study offers key insights into the tactics, leadership, combat performance, and subsequent reputations of Union and Confederate mounted units fighting in three pivotal cavalry actions of the Civil War - Second Bull Run/Manassas (1862), Buckland Mills (1863), and Tom's Brook (1864). During the intense, sprawling conflict that was the Civil War, both Union and Confederate forces fielded substantial numbers of cavalry, which carried out the crucial tasks of reconnaissance, raiding, and conveying messages. The perception was that cavalry's effectiveness on the battlefield would be drastically reduced in this age of improved mass infantry firepower. This book demonstrates how cavalry's lethal combination of mobility and dismounted firepower meant it was still very much a force to be reckoned with in battle. It also charts the swing in the qualitative difference of the cavalry forces fielded by the two sides as the war progressed, as the enormous initial superiority enjoyed by Confederate cavalry was gradually eroded, through the Union's outstanding improvements in training and tactics, and the bold and enterprising leadership of men such as Philip Sheridan. Featuring full-color artwork, specially drawn maps, and archive illustrations.
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