Following the Soviet invasion in 1979, the Mujahideen defenders of Afghanistan developed and reinforced many natural cave systems to use as supply bases and defensive positions. The Taliban and Al Qaeda further strengthened these positions in the 1990s. Following the events of September 11, 2001, these cave systems have once more come to prominence and sites such as Tora Bora and Zhawar Kili have featured in news headlines around the world. This title provides an analysis of these caves and underground systems, and discusses the U.S.-led Coalition's tactical approach to dislodging the enemy from these fortified positions.
In 1916, in the seas near Jutland, two fleets of armoured dreadnoughts met in open battle. This book tells the story of the British and German battleships of these two great fleets - from their development as the first generation of fully- armoured warships - to their combat experiences. The differing weapon systems and crew training of the British and German fleets are examined in detail, as is the titanic struggle of Jutland, through an hour-by-hour, shot-by-shot, reconstruction. Finally, it analyzes the outcome of the struggle, explaining the successes and failures of these great battleships.From the Trade Paperback edition.
All the French medium and heavy tanks of 1940 are in this title: Renault FT, Renault R-35, FCM-36, Hotchkiss H.38, Char B1bis, Renault D-1, and Renault D-2.The first volume of this two part series will cover the infantry tanks and battle tanks that served in 1940. Starting with the Renault FT of World War I fame, it will cover the modernization of the FT in the inter-war years. The focus of the infantry tank section will be on the attempts to replace the FT with designs such as the Renault R-35, FCM-36, and the Hotchkiss H.38. Derivatives of these types will also be covered such as the R-40. France also had a separate family of battle tanks starting with the Renault D-1, Renault D-2, and finally the best known tank of the campaign, the Char B1 bis. This book will provide a brief development account these tanks types, covering the tactical rationales for their design and their basic technical features. It will also briefly address their performance in the 1940 campaign, pointing out the salient features of the combat record.
In this, the first of a five volume series covering the capital ships of the German Navy of World War II, Gordon Williamson examines the design, development and operational use of the battleships used by the Kriegsmarine. The 'Schlesien' and 'Schleswig-Hostein' were used mostly as training ships until the end of the war when they took part in bombardment of Soviet troop movements in East Prussia. The 'Scharnhorst' had a successful career until her sinking at the battle of the North Cape, and the 'Gneisenau' with her ignominious end as a block-ship. Bismarck's short but glorious career and Tirpitz's lonely vigil in Norway's distant Fjords until sunk by RAF bombers using the massive 'Tallboy' bombs are also covered.
During World War II, the Kriegsmarine armed a number of merchant vessels with concealed guns and torpedo tubes for surprise attacks against Allied shipping. To counter this deadly threat, the Royal Navy employed cruisers and their intelligence-gathering apparatus to find and destroy the disguised German commerce raiders. This Duel title covers the deadly game of cat and mouse, fought by these surface vessels during World War II.
The German destroyer fleet of World War II consisted of nine classes: the Diether Von Roeder Class, the Leberecht Maas Class and the wartime classes Z23, Z35, Z37, Z40, Z43, Z46 and Z52. These vessels, though fewer in number than the British destroyer fleet, tended to be much bigger and more powerful than their allied counterparts. They served their country well in operations in the Channel, North Sea, the Far North and in the rescue of civilians from East Prussia during the final days of the war. This title describes their design, development and operational use from the fjords of Narvik to the final days of the war.
By the outbreak of World War II, Germany had done much to replace the Kaiser's High Seas Fleet, which was scuttled following their surrender at the end of World War I. Forced to build anew, the Kriegsmarine possessed some of the most technically advanced warships in existence. Although the heavy units of the fleet were too small in number to pose much of a threat, Germany was particularly well served by her Navy's smaller vessels, in particular the U-Boats and the S-Boats. Known to the allies as the E-Boats ('Enemy'), they performed sterling duties in the Black Sea and English Channel, where they became a particular scourge.
The German Army of World War II considered itself an offensive, mobile force. The experiences in the trenches in World War I had done much to shape its concept of field fortification, and its mobile warfare ethos was intended to prevent the previous war's stalemate. This book addresses frontline defensive field fortifications, built by infantrymen using local materials, and includes rifle platoon positions, trenches, crew-served weapon positions, bunkers, dugouts, shelters and more. It also covers anti-tank and anti-personnel obstacles, as well as field camouflage methods and construction methods. The integration of these positions into permanent systems and theatre-specific defences are also discussed.
The development of this excellent and successful class of warship only became possible after the Anglo-German naval agreement of 1935 eased restrictions on the types of ship Germany could build; even then only five of the class were permitted: the Admiral Hipper, the Blücher, the Prinz Eugen, the Seydlitz and the Lützow. These Cruisers were designed for Atlantic operations and had eight 8 inch guns, 12 10.5 cm heavy anti-aircraft guns and 17 smaller calibre anti aircraft guns as well as twelve torpedo tubes and their own compliment of up to six aircraft. This title covers the design, development and operational history of the Heavy Cruisers of the Admiral Hipper class.
The German Navy of World War II was small in number, but contained some of the most technologically advanced capital ships in the world. This meant that although the Kriegsmarine never felt capable of encountering the might of the British Navy in a fleet action, her ships were individually more than a match for the outdated vessels of the Royal Navy. Nowhere was this more the case than in Germany's fleet of light cruisers. There were only six vessels in this fleet: the Emden, Leipzig, Köln, Königsberg, Karlsruhe and Nurnberg. This book describes their design, development and varied operational history throughout the course of the Second World War.
The prolonged and bloody fighting for control of the Japanese occupied Pacific islands in World War II is a key point in 20th-century warfare. No two islands were alike in the systems and nature of their defensive emplacements, and local improvization and command preferences affected both materials used and defensive models. This title details the establishment, construction and effectiveness of Japanese temporary and semi-permanent crew-served weapons positions and individual and small-unit fighting positions. Integrated obstacles and minefields, camouflage and the changing defensive principles are also covered.
The destruction of much of the remainder of the Japanese fleet and its air arm in the later half of 1944 left the Japanese Home Islands vulnerable to attack by US naval and air forces. In desperation, the Imperial Japanese Navy proposed using "special attack" formations, a euphemism for suicide attacks. These initially consisted of crude improvisations of conventional aircraft fitted with high-explosive bombs that could be crashed into US warships. Called "Divine Wind" (Kamikaze), the special attack formations first saw action in 1944, and became the scourge of the US fleet in the battles for Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945. In view of the success of these attacks, the Japanese armed forces began to develop an entire range of new special attack weapons. This book begins by examining the initial kamikaze aircraft attacks, but the focus of the book is on the dedicated special attack weapons developed in 1944, including the Ohka, a rocket-powered guided missile and the Kaiten man-guided torpedo submarines. It also covers specialized suicide attack weapons such as anti-tank lunge mines. Much of the information in this book comes from little known US intelligence reports and photos compiled after the war that have never been widely published.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Despite the popularity of the U-boats and larger surface vessels like the Bismarck and the Graf Spree, the vast majority of vessels within the Kriegsmarine served in the coastal forces. Though the public may generally have forgotten these smaller ships, many gave crucial service during the war and continued to serve decades after VE day, either in the German Navy or in the navies of the victorious Allies. Indeed, Kriegsmarine minesweepers and their German crews, still in their old uniforms with the swastikas simply removed, continued to serve after 1945 under the control of the Royal Navy, engaged in the dangerous but necessary task of clearing old wartime minefields.The ships and boats included in the coastal forces ranged from such minesweepers to torpedo boats, patrol boats and blockade breakers. These latter were merchant vessels, whose daunting task was to evade the Allied warships to bring essential supplies into Germany. Also included in the coastal forces was Hitler's personal yacht, the Ostwind. This book tells the often-forgotten story of the vessels that formed the backbone of the Kriegsmarine, and combines fascinating anecdotes, detailed technical information, and full-color artwork.
Despite the popularity of the U-boats and larger surface vessels like the Bismarck and the Graf Spee, the vast majority of vessels within the Kriegsmarine served in the coastal forces. Although less frequently mentioned, these smaller ships gave crucial service during the war and continued to serve decades after VE day, either in the German Navy or in the navies of the victorious Allies. Indeed, Kriegsmarine minesweepers and their German crews, still in their old uniforms with the swastikas simply removed, continued to serve after 1945 under the control of the Royal Navy, engaged in the dangerous but necessary task of clearing old wartime minefields.The ships and boats included in the coastal forces ranged from such minesweepers to torpedo boats, patrol boats and blockade breakers. These latter were merchant vessels, whose daunting task was to evade the Allied warships to bring essential supplies into Germany. Also included in the coastal forces was Hitler's personal yacht, the Ostwind. This book tells the often-forgotten story of the vessels that formed the backbone of the Kriegsmarine, and combines fascinating anecdotes, detailed technical information, and full-color artwork.
This, the first of two volumes on Germany's World War II U-boats, traces their development from the early U-boats of the Kaiser's Navy, the prohibition on Germany having U-boats following the Armistice in 1918 and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles, the secret development of U-boats using a 'cover-firm' in Holland, culminating in the formation of the 1st U-boat Flotilla in 1935 with the modern Type II. The operational history section includes examples from the Classes Type VIIA, Type VIIB, VIID, VIIE and VIIF before concentrating on the mainstay of the U-boat arm, the Type VIIC. Comparisons are also made with the standard allied submarines, their strengths, weaknesses and U-boat tactics.
"...the first-person perspectives offered by Kirby and Köhler put this book on my recommended books list. These personal experiences definitely stirred some interest for me to research more on the design, evolution, and field performance of each of the two tanks.- C. Peter Chen, World War II Database (July 2008)Smarting from their defeat at El Alamein and with directives to save the North African campaign, Rommel's battle-hardened armored divisions confronted a fresh opponent in the form of the newly arrived Americans. This would be a duel between the stalwart of the Wehrmacht armored divisions - the Panzerkampfwagen III - and the American's as yet untested first armored division. In reality both would prove unequal to the task as they floundered amidst the rugged hills and ravines of the Tunisian landscape. This book charts the design and development of these two disparate rivals - their vastly different armament and armor as well as their tactical concepts. Mutually hampered by the climate, terrain, and lack of experience, this was a desperate struggle for supremacy. Moreover, it was a duel with far-reaching implications. For the Americans it was their first baptism of fire and the outcome would determine their future war strategy. For the Germans, this was the final throw of the dice to regain the overwhelming superiority they had enjoyed during the first years of the war. Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of these two deadly opponents, this book explores the successes and failures of the Grant and Panzer III as they clashed at the critical battles of North Africa. Moreover it is an insight into the lives of the tank crews themselves as they struggled with the twin horrors of tank warfare and the fight for survival amidst some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth.
With its distinctive double-cockpit design, the Mi-24 'Hind' is arguably the most recognizable war machine of the Cold War, and has achieved near-legendary status in the annals of military history. The first Soviet helicopter to function as both a gunship and an assault transport, it served extensively in Afghanistan, and is now employed by militaries across the world. Written by an expert on the 'Hind', and drawing on manufacturing and military sources, this book presents the Mi-24 in all of its brutal glory, from design and development to deployment and combat. Also included are a number of color plates showing the distinct paint schemes employed by various nations in a range of theaters and for different armies.
As the Wehrmacht invaded the Soviet Union, it discovered that the Russians possessed heavy tanks that German anti-tank guns were ineffective against. The German Army developed the 37-mm Pak 36 in 1936 to provide the primary weapon for its panzerjagers, who were responsible for anti-tank defense in infantry divisions. Realizing that the new Wehrmacht offensive doctrines intended to fully exploit the shock effect, firepower and mobility of armor, the panzerjagers were intended to enable German infantry to fend off enemy tanks. Although the Pak 36 was adequate against most pre-war tanks, during the 1940 Campaign in the West it proved unable to defeat the British Matilda II or French Char B, so the Wehrmacht began developing the 50-mm Pak 38 to supersede it. However, the process of re-equipment was slow and most German infantry divisions that participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 only had a handful of Pak 38s and still relied mainly on the Pak 36. Just four days into the invasion, German troops encountered the first KV-1 and KV-2 tanks near Raisinai in Lithuania and the impotence of both the Pak 36 (soon derisively labeled the "Door Knocker") and the Pak 38 was revealed. Thus at the start of this decisive campaign, the German Army was faced with the reality that it's panzerjagers could not provide effective anti-tank defense against Soviet heavy tanks and the Wehrmacht was forced to adopt a crash-program to upgrade its division-level AT defenses. New weaponry, including the 75-mm Pak 40, captured Soviet 76.2-mm guns converted into Pak 36(r), HEAT shells and tungsten-core rounds, offered possible solutions to the Soviet armored behemoths, but would require time to develop. In the interim, the panzerjagers were forced to adopt a variety of ad hoc tactics and stand-in equipment to survive in an unequal duel with heavy Soviet tanks. On the Soviet side, based upon lessons from the Spanish Civil War, the Red Army decided to develop a heavy "breakthrough" tank to smash enemy infantry defenses. The result was the KV-1 and KV-2 tanks, introduced in 1939. At the start of Operation Barbarossa, both these tanks were virtually invulnerable to the weapons of the panzerjager and demonstrated their ability to overrun German infantry on several occasions. This advantage gave the Red Army a window of opportunity between the fall of 1941 and the spring of 1942 to use their heavy tanks to repel the German invasion in a series of desperate counteroffensives. Yet the window of Soviet advantage was a narrow one and the duel between the Soviet KV heavy tanks and German panzerjagers had a major impact upon the struggle for the strategic initiative in 1941-42.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The first major clash between a European and Asian state in the modern era signalled the beginning of Japan's rise as a major power on the world stage. What began as differing expansionist interests in Manchuria and Korea developed into a full-blown war in 1904, with an unexpected outcome. Watched by the rest of the world's superpowers, this incredibly violent war was disastrous for the Russians who, despite their superior numbers, were defeated by the Japanese underdogs in a spectacular fashion. Japan won major victories against the Russians including the critical naval battle of Tsushima in May 1905 which saw almost the entire Russian fleet sunk, captured or interned. This was the first and last encounter of pre-dreadnought battleships and it was a huge success for Japanese tactics, skill and planning. This book discusses the design and development of the pre-dreadnoughts that would ultimately lead to a new wave of battleships. The key technical elements of firepower, protection, maneuverability and communications for each side are covered in detail and accompanied by first-hand accounts and specially commissioned artwork to explain and illustrate this historically significant duel.
The Space Shuttle is one of the oldest and most famous manned launch systems - the only launch vehicle that has been used for a longer period of time is the Soviet (now Russian) R-7 booster. By the start of the third millennium, the Space Shuttle had carried crews into space over 85 times. Although not a military structure, the Shuttle had been sold as an all-purpose launch system to be used jointly for military and civilian purposes. Featuring full-colour photos throughout, this book covers the design, development and operational history of a unique vehicle.
This title explores the conception and design of a range of enormous and powerful tanks that came to be designated as 'super-heavy'. The fascinating super-heavy tanks of World War II were heirs to the siege machine tradition - a means of breaking the deadlock of ground combat. As a class of fighting vehicle, they began with the World War I concept of the search for a "breakthrough" tank, designed to cross enemy lines. It is not surprising that the breakthrough tank projects of the period prior to World War II took place in the armies that suffered the most casualties of the Great War (Russia, France, Germany). All of the principal Axis and Allied nations eventually initiated super-heavy development projects, with increasingly heavy armor and armament. Much as the casualties of World War I prompted the original breakthrough tank developments, as Germany found itself on the defensive, with diminishing operational prospects and an increasingly desperate leadership, so too did its focus turn to the super-heavy tanks that could turn the tide back in their favor. Although only a small number of super-heavy tanks were built, much less saw active service, their impressive appearance and specifications - not to mention the possibilities of what might have been - have captured the interest of AFV enthusiasts, historians and military personnel. This illustrated and detailed study explores and compares these designs in unprecedented depth.
The T-64 tank was the most revolutionary design of the whole Cold War, designed to provide the firepower and armor protection of a heavy tank in a medium-weight design. It pioneered a host of sophisticated new technologies including laminate armor, stereoscopic tank rangefinders, opposed-piston engines, smooth-bore tank guns with discarding sabot ammunition, and gun-fired guided projectiles. These impressive features meant that the Russians were loath to part with the secrets of the design, and the T-64 was the only Soviet tank type of the Cold War that was never exported. Written by an armor expert, this detailed technical history sheds light on the secrets behind the Cold War's most controversial tank, revealing how its highly advanced technologies proved to be both a blessing and a curse.
Few of the massive military structures built by Germany during World War II are as impressive as the U-Boat bases and bunkers in Germany, Norway and France. This title takes a close look at the formidable edifices on the French coast (Brest, Lorient, St Nazaire, La Pallice, Bordeaux) in Norway (Bergen, Trondheim) and Germany (Keil, Hamburg, Helgoland) and also focuses on the huge 'Valentin' factory complex at Bremen, which manufactured the new type XXI electro-boats. Bunker protective systems, such as camouflage, light and heavy flak installations and nearby air cover, are also examined as well as resident flotillas and the fate of the bases at war's end.
As was the case in World War II, one of the greatest threats to Britain during World War I was the German U-boat menace. This book traces the development of the U-boat threat from the Brandtaucher, designed by Wilhelm Bauer, the father of the German submarine arm, in 1850, through to the commissioning of Germany's first U-boat to go into service, the U-1, in 1906. It then covers the main types of World War I U-boat, detailing the operational history of the U-boat service in depth, with a particular focus on the campaigns in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as the slow build up of anti-submarine measures by the allies.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are the most dynamic field of aerospace technology, and potentially the harbingers of new aviation technology and tactics. They have only emerged from the shadows in recent years, but in fact have been in use for decades. After some limited use in World War II, UAVs began to emerge as a substitute for manned reconnaissance aircraft in the 1950s for missions deemed too dangerous to risk an aircrew. Used in significant numbers in the Vietnam War as well as less-heralded missions such as spy flights over China in the 1950s and 1960s, the contemporary UAV began to emerge in the 1980s. This book examines the development of this unique and mysterious technology, revealing how it has changed combat through the years and speculating on its potential to transform the nature of warfare in the future. Steven J. Zaloga examines the pioneering use of UAVs conducted by the Israeli air and the use of UAVs during Operation Desert Storm. Packed with rare, recently declassified photographs and detailed full-color cutaways, this book investigates the wide deployment of UAVs over Iraq and Afghanistan today, and considers the possible future of the UAV as an actual military weapon.
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