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Osprey's examination of the events in the Bay of Pigs (1961) that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). In early 1961 President John F. Kennedy gave the go-ahead to an existing plan for Cuban exiles to return to overthrow Fidel Castro's communist regime. While the CIA helped in the planning stages, the attempt would not be assisted by any US armed forces. On the night of April 16, 1961, a force of 1,400 exiles, known as 2506 Brigade, landed at the Bay of Pigs on the south coast of Cuba, supported by a few World War II vintage aircraft flying from Nicaragua. While they succeeded in knocking out some of Castro's small air force on the ground, the remaining Cuban aircraft sank two of the exiles' support ships, and the beachhead became isolated. Fighting continued for three days before Castro's army overwhelmed the landing force. Most of the exiles were captured and suffered a harsh imprisonment before the US negotiated their release. This episode, followed by the installation of Soviet missiles in Cuba, led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, and continues to affect US/Cuban diplomatic relations to this day. This book, written by the nephew of a surviving 2506 Brigade veteran, includes detailed color plates, unpublished photographs, and interviews with veterans.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Often over-shadowed by contemporary events in China and Japan, the Chaco War (1932-1935) was a massive territorial war between Bolivia and Paraguay, which cost almost 100,000 lives. It was sparked by Bolivia's attempts to capture a stretch of the Paraguay River to gain access to the Atlantic. An old fashioned territorial dispute, the contested area was the Gran Chaco Boreal, a 100,000-square mile region of swamp, jungle and pampas with isolated fortified towns. The wilderness terrain made operations difficult and costly as the war see-sawed between the two sides. Bolivian troops, under the command of a German general, Hans von Kundt, had early successes, but these stalled in the face of a massive mobilization programme by the Paraguans which saw their force increase in size ten-fold to 60,000 men. Both sides acquired 'modern' technology including tanks and planes in an attempt to seize the initiative but by 1935 both sides were exhausted and a ceasefire concluded. This book sheds light on a vicious territorial war that waged in the jungles and swamps of the Gran Chaco and is illustrated with rare photographs and especially commissioned artwork.From the Trade Paperback edition.
On March 9, 1916, troops under the command of Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico and its local detachment of the US 13th Cavalry Regiment, killing 18 people and burning the town. Six days later, on orders from President Woodrow Wilson, General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing led an expeditionary force of 4,800 men into Mexico to capture Villa. What followed was a series of skirmishes, battles, and chases through the wild and uncharted Mexican countryside. While the Americans failed in their ultimate purpose of catching Villa, they did kill two of his top lieutenants. This book charts the progress of the entire enterprise, covering the dusty marches and the bitter gunfights in the streets of small border towns, analyzing the successes and failures of this unique military expedition.
From the Boxer Rebellion to Tsingtao to German East Africa (Tanzania), and colonies across Africa and the central Pacific, the Kaiser's Second Reich created a worldwide empire, and then lost it. Following Prussia's victory over France in 1871 and German unification, the invigorated Second Reich sought international status alongside the older colonial powers - Britain, France, Spain and Russia. Actual overseas settlement was always sparse, counted in the low tens of thousands only, but by the mid-1880s German trading companies had established footholds in what became German East Africa (Tanzania), German South-West Africa (Namibia), and German West Africa (Cameroon, and Togo). To consolidate their position against native resistance, and to extend their frontiers, the German Imperial government soon took over these enclaves as colonies or 'protectorates'. In the 1890s it established a new branch of the armed forces, the Schutztruppe, composed largely of African askaris with German officers and NCOs, backed up by German artillery and machine guns. In parallel, the Imperial Navy raised marine battalions - eventually, three Seebataillone - to protect its overseas bases and to reinforce the colonies as needed. After German participation in putting down the Boxer Rebellion (1900) their primary responsibility was the German concession territory at Tsingtao in China, where Germany also raised a local East Asia Brigade; but the marines also served in the German Pacific possessions - Samoa, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Northern Solomon Islands, the Marshalls, Marianas and Carolines. Marine companies were also rotated through the African colonies at need. In addition to small-scale 'police' work, the brief German colonial period involved putting down rebellions in East Africa (1888-98) and Cameroon, and crushing - with great ruthlessness - the determined resistance of the Herero and Nama tribes in SW Africa (1890-1907), where there was a degree of German settlement. In World War I, Germany soon lost almost all her colonies to much stronger Allied forces. In China, Tsingtao was captured late in 1914 by a Japanese force with token British assistance. Resistance was minimal in the Pacific; and in 1915 the last defenders of German South-West Africa surrendered to South African forces. However, in East Africa the Schutztruppe, commanded by the very able Col (later MajGen) Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, fought a skillful mobile war against much larger British and Empire forces, and were the very last German troops to surrender in November 1918. Meanwhile, the Navy's marine infantry branch had been enlarged, forming first one, then two Marine Divisions, which fought on the Western Front - including the Ypres and Somme sectors - throughout the war. Featuring specially drawn full-colour artwork, this book tells the story of Imperial Germany's colonial and overseas troops, who fought in a host of environments including China, Africa, and the Western Front of World War I.
Osprey's examination of the brief but colorful history of the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry, detailing the rich experiences of the men who fought in its ranks. Founded in May 1898, the unit's actions in Cuba during the Spanish-American War (1898) have passed into military and national legend. The men who volunteered for the force came from a broad spectrum of American society, including seasoned ranch hands and cowboys, college athletes, and policemen. The unit was posted to Cuba in June 1898, where the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry fought in the battles of Las Guasimas, Kettle Hill and San Juan Hill. At this time, its commander, Colonel Leonard Wood, took charge of the US 2nd Cavalry Brigade, leaving Theodore Roosevelt to assume command of the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry. The unit subsequently became known as 'Roosevelt's Rough Riders', after Buffalo Bill's popular cowboy show that featured 'Rough Riders of the World'. Many of the volunteers were struck down by disease and sickness during the campaign, and the unit was eventually withdrawn, returning to a hero's welcome in the US. The last veteran of the unit died in 1975, but a rich body of source material has survived, and much of this is covered in this fascinating work.
In 1898 US public opinion turned against the Spanish for their repression of Cuba. Relations between the two governments soured and ultimately resulted in the mysterious blowing up of the USS Maine in Havana harbor, which triggered a short but demanding war. A US expeditionary force was sent to Cuba, where the troops encountered both difficult climate and terrain, and a fierce Spanish garrison which, despite being greatly outnumbered, fought hard before surrendering.Many famous US personalities were involved, including future President Theodore Roosevelt, future general John Pershing, and journalists William Randolph Hearst and Stephen Crane.The war against the Spanish may have been brief but as Henry Cabot Lodge declared: "Its results were startling, and of world-wide meaning." Victory made the US a nation with global interests.As an extension of the war, US troops also captured the island of Puerto Rico. The US Navy bombarded Manila in the Philippines, and landed its troops. The Spanish garrison quickly surrendered, but a local anti-Spanish insurgent force under Emilio Aguinaldo resisted US occupation. The conflict continued until 1902, more than 100,000 US troops were eventually committed, and the campaign saw difficult jungle fighting, with indigenous Moro tribesmen fiercely resisting US forces.Providing a detailed examination of the experiences and equipment of the opposing sides, and featuring rare and previously unpublished photographs, this book highlights this crucial yet oft-forgotten war that changed the future of American foreign policy during "the age of American imperialism."From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Spanish Civil War, 1936-39, was the curtain-raiser to World War II, and the major international event of the 1930s. It was the first great clash of 20th-century ideologies, between the rebel Nationalist army led by General Franco (right-wing, and aided by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy), and the Republican army of the government (left-wing, and aided by the Communist Soviet Union and many volunteers from liberal democracies). Three years of widespread campaigns involved the most modern weapons available (submachine guns, mortars, artillery, tanks, and combat aircraft operating in direct support of ground forces). The war was fought ruthlessly by both sides, and when the Nationalists secured victory they installed a dictatorship that lasted until November 1975 - the last such regime in Western Europe.The Nationalist forces were varied in origin and appearance. Their spearhead was provided by the colonial army brought over from Spanish Morocco - the Spanish Foreign Legion, and Spanish-led Moroccan native regiments. Apart from sympathizers within the pre-war regular army, troops raised in Spain reflected a number of distinct regional traditions and political militias, and included both internal security units and foreign volunteer contingents. Weapons and equipment came from a wide variety of Spanish and foreign sources. Featuring specially commissioned full-color artwork, this first part of a two-part study depicts the fighting men of the Nationalist forces that strove to take control of Spain alongside their German and Italian allies.
Alex de Quesada reveals the full history of the US Coast Guard throughout World War II (1939-1945) in this Elite title. In particular, the book draws attention to the little-known history of how the US Coast Guard ran a number of the landing craft throughout D-Day in 1944 as well as providing crucial anti-U-boat patrols throughout the war years. A number of Coast Guard servicemen were lost in these two campaigns, and their undeniable contribution to the US war effort deserves greater recognition. There was a diverse array of roles within the wartime Coast Guard, from the manning of landing craft, to Coast Guard aviators and gunners to the Merchant Marine and Port Security Services. These roles are all fully explained and illustrated with a number of rare photographs and specially commissioned artwork.From the Trade Paperback edition.