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Osprey's first title examining the Battle of the Bulge, which was the largest and most costly battle fought by the US Army in World War II (1939-1945). The Ardennes fighting was Hitler's last gamble on the Western Front, crippling the Wehrmacht for the remainder of the war. In the first of two volumes on the Ardennes campaign Steven Zaloga details the fighting in the northern sector around St Vith and the Elsenborn Ridge. Sixth Panzer Army, containing the bulk of German Panzer strength, was expected to achieve the breakthrough here. It was the failure around St Vith that forced the Germans to look south towards Bastogne.
In the darkest days of World War II, the British planned a daring airborne operation to capture the secret of the new German radar. Lead by Major John Frost, a company of paratroopers dropped into Bruneval on the French coast, and quickly neutralized a small German garrison. Then began a desperate fight for time as the British tried to dismantle the German radar and evacuate back to England, as ever more German units converged on their position. Using artwork, photographs, and detailed maps, this action-packed narrative puts the reader in the planning room and on the battlefield of one of the greatest raids of World War II.
On the night of December 7, 1942, five canoes were launched off the mouth of the Gironde river, each containing a pair of British commandoes tasked with slipping into the port of Bordeaux and destroying as many of the merchant ships as possible. Only two of the canoes made it to the target, but it was enough. Five enemy ships were badly damaged in the attack. It then became a game of cat and mouse for the surviving commandoes in their attempt to get back to Britain. Some of the men made it to Gibraltar; others were caught and executed. Author Ken Ford gives a blow-by-blow account of one of the most daring raids of World War II, which badly upset the flow of material into Germany, and which gave the British public a much needed victory.
The Ironclad was a revolutionary weapon of war. Although iron was used for protection in the Far East during the 16th century, it was the 19th century and the American Civil War that heralded the first modern armored self-propelled warships. With the parallel pressures of civil war and the industrial revolution, technology advanced at a breakneck speed. It was the South who first utilized ironclads as they attempted to protect their ports from the Northern blockade. Impressed with their superior resistance to fire and their ability to ram vulnerable wooden ships, the North began to develop its own rival fleet of ironclads. Eventually these two products of this first modern arms race dueled at the battle of Hampton Roads in a clash that would change the face of naval warfare. Fully illustrated with cutting-edge digital artwork, rare photographs and first-person perspective gun sight views, this book allows the reader to discover the revolutionary and radically different designs of the two rival Ironclads - the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor - through an analysis of each ship's weaponry, ammunition and steerage. Compare the contrasting training of the crews and re-live the horrors of the battle at sea in a war which split a nation, communities and even families.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Osprey's study of Operation Mercury, the German airborne assault on the island of Crete in May 1941 during World War II (1939-1945), which was the first strategic use of airborne forces in history. The assault began on 20 May, with landings near the island's key airports, and reinforcements the next day allowed the German forces to capture one end of the runway at Maleme. By 24 May, the Germans were being reinforced by air on a huge scale and on 1 June Crete surrendered. This book describes how desperately close the battle had been and explains how German losses so shocked the Führer that he never again authorised a major airborne operation.
The second title in Osprey's survey of the D-Day landings of World War II (1939-1945). On their western flank, the Allied landings on D-Day combined a parachute drop by the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions with an amphibious assault on "Utah" Beach by the US 4th Infantry Division. The landings came ashore in the wrong place but met weaker German resistance as a result. The heaviest fighting took place inland where the badly scattered paratroopers gradually gathered in small groups and made for their objectives. This book traces the story of D-Day on Utah beach, revealing how the infantry pushed inland and linked up with the Airborne troops in a beachhead five miles deep. Now the battle to break out and seize the key port of Cherbourg could begin.
At 0016hrs on 6 June 1944 a Horsa glider ground to a halt a mere 60 yards from the Orne Canal bridge at Bénouville in Normandy. A small group of British paratroopers burst from it and stormed the bridge within minutes. The Allied liberation of Nazi-occupied Europe had begun. Within a few hours landing craft would swarm towards Ouistreham as British 3rd Division stormed ashore at Sword Beach. The battle would then begin to break through to relieve the paratroopers. In the third of the D-Day volumes Ken Ford details the assault by British 6th Airborne Division and the British landings on Sword Beach that secured the vital left flank of the invasion.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In May 1943, a specially established RAF squadron made its permanent imprint on military aviation history by flying a high-risk, low-level, nighttime attack against German hydro-electric dams vital to the Nazi armaments industry in the Ruhr Valley. A comparatively tiny part of Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris' four-month-long "Battle of the Ruhr," this one raid had an impact totally out of proportion to the small number of aircraft involved. It highlights the synergy of science and technology, weapons development and production, mission planning and practice, and the unflinching courage in the execution of a highly dangerous bombing raid. Furthermore, it established a legend that still resonates today.
Osprey's study of the United States' first offensive response to the Pearl Harbor attacks of World War II (1939-1945). In early 1942, the strategic situation was bleak for the United States. She had been in continual retreat since Pearl Harbor, surrendering major areas such as the Philippines, and was preparing for the worst in Hawaii and on the West Coast. The Japanese, on the other hand, had secured a well-defended perimeter, and were set for further expansion. Something needed to happen quickly and be of considerable impact. The April 1942 Doolittle Raid on Japan was a way to achieve this. This book examines the planning, execution, and aftermath of this innovative, daring and risky attack, which would show that the Japanese navy and air forces were anything but invincible.
The Fairbairn-Sykes Commando dagger has become iconic as the most widely recognized fighting knife in the world. The origins of the dagger can be traced to Shanghai in the 1930s where W. E. Fairbairn and US Marine officers including Sam Yeaton carried out experiments in developing what they considered the perfect knife for close combat. When Fairbairn and Sykes became instructors for the Commandos, they refined the design which would evolve into the classic Fairbairn-Sykes dagger. The dagger was first used during early Commando raids into occupied Europe but saw action in every theatre of World War II (1939-1945). US Rangers and Marines who had trained with the Commandos took their Fairbairn-Sykes daggers home which also influenced the development of American Special Forces daggers. The Fairbairn-Sykes remained in use with many units after the war, and has become a symbol of commando and special forces units throughout the world.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The island of Guam was the first Allied territory lost to the Japanese onslaught in 1941. On 10 December 5,000 Japanese troops landed on Guam, defended by less than 500 US and Guamanian troops, the outcome was beyond doubt. On 21 July 1944 America returned. In a risky operation, the two US landing forces came ashore seven miles apart and it was a week before the beachheads linked up. Only the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa would cost the Americans more men than the landings on Guam and Saipan, which immediately preceded the Guam operation. In this book Gordon Rottman details the bitter 26-day struggle for this key Pacific island duringWorld War II (1939-1945).
After failing to finish off the German Army in the 1941/42 Winter Counteroffensive and aware that Hitler was planning a new summer offensive in mid-1942, Stalin directed the Red Army to conduct a powerful blow in one sector of the Eastern Front in order to disrupt German plans. The sector chosen was Kharkov, where the Soviet Southwestern Front had seized bridgeheads over the Donets River and Heeresgruppe Süd appeared vulnerable. Under Stalin's trusted military advisor, Marshal Semyon Timoshenko, the Stavka's remaining reserves were assembled and prepared to conduct a breakthrough attack intended to encircle the German Sixth Army near Kharkov.However, Stalin was unaware that the Germans were planning their own riposte at Kharkov, known as Operation Fredericus. When Timoshenko began his offensive in May 1942, he did not realize the limitations of his own forces or the agility of the Germans to recover from setbacks, all of which contributed to one of the Red Army greatest defeats of World War II. The German victory at Kharkov also contributed to the Wehrmacht's ability to push to the Volga River, once the Red Army was seriously weakened along the Donets. This volume will pay particular attention to intelligence and logistics issues, as well as how this campaign served as a prelude to the battle of Stalingrad. It will also focus on the nascent development of the Red Army's tank corps and 'deep battle' tactics, as well as the revival of the German Panzertruppen after Barbarossa.
In July 1944 of World War II (1939-1945), Operation Cobra broke the stalemate in Normandy and sent the Allies racing across France. The Allied commanders ignored Paris in their planning for this campaign, considering that the risk of intense street fighting and heavy casualties outweighed the city's strategic importance. However, Charles de Gaulle persuaded the Allied commanders to take direct action to liberate his nation's capital. Steven J Zaloga first describes the operations of Patton's Third Army as it advanced towards Paris before focusing on the actions of the Resistance forces inside the city and of the Free French armored division that fought its way in and joined up with them to liberate it on August 24. De Gaulle could then proclaim, "Paris liberated!" and one of the world's loveliest cities had survived Hitler's strident command that it should be held at all costs or reduced to rubble.
Following the capture of Tarawa in November 1943 during World War II (1939-1945), American eyes turned to the Marshall Islands. These were the next vital stepping-stone across the Pacific towards Japan, and would bring the islands of Guam and Saipan within the reach of US forces. In their first amphibious attack, the new 4th Marine Division landed on Roi and Namur islands on 1 February 1944, while US 7th Division landed on Kwajalein. At the time this was the longest shore-to-shore amphibious assault in history. The lessons of the bloody fighting on Tarawa had been well learned and the successful attack on the Marshalls set the pattern for future amphibious operations in the Pacific War.
In 1993 Osprey Publishing released the 30th volume in its now legendary Campaign series, entitled, Midway 1942: Turning Point in the Pacific. Now, 17 years later, Osprey brings readers up-to-date with the latest scholarship on this important Pacific War battle of World War II (1939-1945). The new edition clarifies many of the myths of the battle. For example: - the contention that the Americans were outnumbered (overall true, but not where it mattered between the two carrier forces) - that the Aleutians operation was a diversion for the Midway operation - that the sacrifice of the American torpedo bombers was a key to victory - that the battle resulted in high Japanese aircrew losses - that the battle was a victory of superior intelligence - that the battle was the decisive battle of the Pacific War (Guadalcanal was a much more strategically important victory for the Americans) Campaign 226 gives an accurate order of battle for both sides. It provides a detailed description and critique of the Japanese plan and describes how it had a profound influence on the outcome of the battle. It also provides a fresh description and analysis of the weapons, aircrew, and doctrine of the opposing carrier air arms. The new book has a complete set of new pictures which are keyed to the narrative. Osprey's crack cartography team has provided three brand-new 3-D "birds-eye-view maps" that help readers visualize the air war like never before. And war illustrator, Howard Gerrard, has turned in three stunning new 2-page battle scenes depicting the attack on the USS Yorktown by Hiryu torpedo planes, the attack on Hiryu by American dive-bombers, and the US attack of Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma.
Osprey's examination of the campaign at Nagashino in 1575. When Portuguese traders took advantage of the constant violence in Japan to sell the Japanese their first firearms, one of the quickest to take advantage of this new technology was the powerful daimyo Oda Nobunaga. In 1575 the impetuous Takeda Katsuyori laid siege to Nagashino castle, a possession of Nobunaga's ally, Tokugawa Ieyasu. An army was despatched to relieve the siege, and the two sides faced each other across the Shidarahara. The Takeda samurai were brave, loyal and renowned for their cavalry charges, but Nobunaga, counting on Katsuyori's impetuosity, had 3,000 musketeers waiting behind prepared defences for their assault. The outcome of this clash of tactics and technologies was to change the face of Japanese warfare forever.
The battle for Guadalcanal that lasted from August 1942 to February 1943 was the first major American counteroffensive against the Japanese in the Pacific, it also marks the high point of Japanese expansion and can justly be claimed as one of the major turning points of the Pacific War. While the troops of the US Marine Corps and later the US Army battled the Japanese occupiers on the densely jungled island of Guadalcanal, the US and Japanese naval forces fought a series of tightly contested battles in the waters nearby. The first of these, the battle of Savo Island on the night of 9 August 1942, saw the Japanese inflict a sever defeat on the Allied force, driving them away from Guadalcanal and leaving the just-landed marines in a perilously exposed position. This was the start of a series of night battles that culminated in the First and Second battles of Guadalcanal, fought on the nights of 13 and 15 November, that were narrowly won by US Naval forces and prevented the Japanese from reinforcing their troops on the island to any great extent, and heralded the turning of the tide in the battle for Guadalcanal. One further major naval action followed, the battle of Tassafaronga on 30 November 1942, when the US Navy once again suffered a severe defeat, but this time it was too late to alter the course of the battle as the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal in early February 1943.This title will detail the contrasting fortunes experienced by both sides over the intense course of naval battles around the island throughout the second half of 1942 that did so much to turn the tide in the Pacific.
By the spring of 1945 the Allies were sweeping all before them in the Pacific War against Japan, and a series of victories had reclaimed many of the islands and territories seized by the Imperial Japanese forces in the early months of the war. The dark days of humiliating defeat were far behind the unstoppable Allied juggernaut - victory was now assured. The question was where the last battle would be fought. That place was the island of Okinawa. This book details the struggle for the island as US Marines and Army units battled determined Japanese defenders in the last battle of World War II (1939-1945).
Osprey's second title examining the events of Operation Barbarossa. Of the German Army Groups that attacked Soviet Russia, Von Leeb's Army Group North, tasked with seizing the Baltic States and Leningrad, was the smallest and weakest. General Kuznetzov's Northwestern Front, however, was in an even weaker state. Despite brave counterattacks and defense by the Soviet forces, the Germans smashed through the Dvina Line, then the Stalin Line, flooded into Latvia and pressed on to encircle Leningrad. This book examines the German offensive and also the courageous Soviet attempts to halt the German spearhead, defending every possible line against overwhelming odds.
Zaloga offers a fascinating comparison of the combat performance of the two most important tanks involved in the crucial fighting of 1944, the Sherman and the Panther. Examining the design and development of both tanks, Zaloga notes the obvious superiority that the Panther had over the Sherman and how the highly engineered German tank was eventually beaten back, not necessarily by the improvements made to the Sherman, but rather by the superior numbers of tanks that the Allies were able to put into the field.Putting the reader into the heart of this battle between quality and quantity Zaloga examines the tactical intricacies of the battles between these two rivals. Using a compelling account of the ferocious fighting in the Ardennes region to explain the successes and failures of each tank he also highlights the fact that a tank can only be as good as its crew, weighing up the impact of low morale, high cost and mediocre crew training on the Panthers superiority. Packed with full-colour battlescenes, technical drawings, photographs, digital gunsight views, extracts from crew training manuals and real combat reports, this book brings to life the titanic battles between the Sherman and the Panther.
Equalling Tarawa, Iwo Jima and Okinawa in scale and ferocity, the battle for Peleliu has long been regarded as the Pacific War's "forgotten battle", and perhaps one that should never have been fought. A massive carrier-based attack some weeks before the invasion destroyed all aircraft and shipping in the area and virtually isolated the Japanese garrison. 1st Marine Division commander, General Rupertus, made extravagant claims that the capture of Peleliu would "only take three days - maybe two." But the Japanese fought a bloody battle of attrition from prepared positions an in a struggle of unprecedented savagery a whole Marine Division was bled white.
The Philippine Islands were one of two major US bases in the Pacific, the other being Pearl Harbor. The Japanese considered the capture of the Philippines crucial for its efforts to control resource-laden Southeast Asia. As opposed to its attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese intention was to invade and occupy the Philippines in a campaign that was to last five months. The flamboyant Douglas MacArthur, a hero of World War I and former Chief of Staff led the defense of the Philippines when the Japanese attacked on 8 December 1941. Despite warnings about the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese air forces caught MacArthur's aircraft on the ground resulting in half of his modern bomber and fighter aircraft destroyed. Army Air Forces B-17s attempted to bomb Formosa, but Japanese fighters eliminated them and a Japanese full-scale invasion followed days later.Japanese forces landed in northern Luzon from Formosa. B-17s and naval attacks tried in vain to stop the invasion, but failed. Poorly trained and equipped Philippine Army units could not halt the Japanese and the American and Filipino forces withdrew, even though they outnumbered the initial Japanese forces. Japanese Army units broke through several defensive lines as they drove on to Manila, which was abandoned by the Americans as Macarthur withdrew to Bataan. The Japanese gradually reduced this pocket until the only American position was Corregidor Island. MacArthur left for Australia, as a direct order from President Franklin Roosevelt and was awarded the Medal of Honor, one of the more controversial aspects of the campaign. With little hope of survival, Corregidor fell, with organized resistance ending on 9 May 1942.Although a defeat, the American and Filipino defensive efforts upset the Japanese plan for a swift victory and provided time for Australia and the United States to build up their defenses. It also gave hope to the American public that Americans could stand up to Japan, with the "Battling Bastards of Bataan" providing a source of inspiration. Unfortunately, for the survivors of the campaign, it meant a grueling three years of captivity for some. The Bataan Death March was one of the most infamous events in World War II, with Japanese forces responsible for the deaths of about 600 Americans and between 5,000-10,000 Filipino soldiers dying in the march, some summarily executed by beheading.
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 last great heave of war,' according to Churchill, took place with the crossing of the Rhine in 1945. No invading army had crossed this great river since Napoleon's in 1805, and the task fell to Field Marshal Montgomery's 21st Army Group. Opposing them were the forces of a failing fascist regime, including battalions of old men and boys, strengthened by several formations of crack troops, including paratroopers and Panzer Grenadiers.This book details the devastating Anglo-American assault from Arnhem, starting with the battle of Arnhem, and leading on to the successful crossing of the Rhine and eventual breakout, and continuing with the advance across northern Germany. Including comprehensive details on all aspects of the operation, including the amphibious assault, airborne landings, special forces' attack and armored land battle, this book charts the history of the last great set-piece battle of the war, second in magnitude only to the Normandy invasion, that ultimately brought the defeat of Hitler's Nazi regime one step closer.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In February 1942, three of the major ships of the German surface fleet - the battle-cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen - stormed out of the harbour at Brest on a dramatic voyage back to Germany. Passing through the straights of Dover, the ships faced everything the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy could throw at them. In a dramatic running fight, the ships managed to sail right under the nose of history's greatest maritime nation to reach the safety of Germany. The brilliantly executed operation brought great humiliation to the British - Hitler, who had developed the plan, had judged perfectly the reaction of the British command to the Channel Dash. Repositioned, these fast, heavily armed ships went on to threaten the Allied Arctic convoys that kept Russia in the war at Stalingrad. This book tells the complete story of this great race, from the planning through to the repercussions of this unique Germany victory.