The Secret Pigeon Service
Pigeons were still in use during the Second World War to carry messages from planes and battlefields but Operation Columba set them to work in a more ambitious project gathering intelligence across Nazi-occupied Europe. BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera tells the recently declassified story of the thousands of birds released over Holland, Belgium and France and assesses the value of the information they brought home. Slightly off-mint. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
British Battle Planning in 1916 and the Battle of Fromelles
A Case Study of an Evolving Skill
With its high casualty count, Fromelles (19–20 July 1916) is generally considered a failure resulting from incompetent British generalship. By analysing the process of planning the battle, Lee gives a more nuanced picture of the command structure’s strengths and weaknesses.
War on Peace
The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
US foreign policy has undergone a troubling change in recent decades. Drawing on newly uncovered materials, his own experience in the State Department, and interviews with warlords, whistleblowers and every living Secretary of State including Henry Kissinger and Hillary Clinton, Farrow analyses the systematic dismantling of the diplomatic service. Under successive presidents, in his view, a shoot-first policy has replaced the skilled, patient statecraft that once secured America’s interests across the globe.
The Battle of Arnhem
The Deadliest Airborne Operation of World War II
The bold Allied plan to defeat Germany quickly in September 1944 by capturing the bridges leading to the lower Rhine, was ultimately a failure and led to the complete destruction of Arnhem and cruel reprisals on the Dutch population for the remainder of the war. Antony Beevor’s account describes the airborne assault, its planning and aftermath, drawing on many overlooked and new sources from Dutch, German, Polish, British and American archives. Slightly off-mint.
An Official Account of How Britain Planned to Defend Itself in the Second World War
The British Government drew up detailed schemes for the defence of the country against German aggression from the mid 1930s, altering the proposals as the situation developed. This review of their plans was compiled in 1948 by the Cabinet Office Historical Section and breaks the period into four parts, dealing with the pre-war situation, the imminent threat of invasion immediately after Dunkirk, the vulnerable years from 1940 to 1941 and the situation from 1942 as Britain became the base for counter-offensives into Europe.
Key Scientists, Code-breakers and Propagandists of the Great War
World War One was the first modern, industrial conflict and the struggle for technological supremacy was not confined to the battlefield. This history reveals the war effort behind the lines, and profiles key figures, from the aircraft designer Frederick Handley Page to the newspaper magnate Lord Beaverbrook. It records the rapid advances spurred by the war in aviation, chemistry, and medicine, and the weapons of cryptology and propaganda.
Geology and Trench Warfare on the Western Front 1914–18
The geology of the Western Front had an enormous impact on how military operations were carried out, determining the strength of trench walls, whether tunnels could be dug under no man’s land, if tanks could proceed without sinking into mud, even the size of craters after shell explosions. This survey examines how the terrain and topography of Flanders, Artois and Picardy, including soil and rock formations, influenced military strategy during the First World War.
A Century of Counterinsurgency
During the 20th century, guerrilla warfare and responding counter-insurgency initiatives gradually took over from traditional set-piece battles as the dominant form of military operations. This study examines the experiences of major nations in dealing with the increasing threat of insurgency, from the actions of Germany, Russia, France and Britain when dealing with insurrection in their colonial outposts to the recent Western campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Britain's Final Defence
Arming the Home Guard 1940–1944
Arming a volunteer militia of over 1.5 million men in 1940 was no easy task and logistical problems and the use of improvised weapons and unfamiliar imported rifles gave the Home Guard a reputation for ineffectiveness that was later ingrained by the television comedy Dad's Army. This study examines the range of weaponry supplied to the force between 1940 and 1944, assessing its true military effectiveness and considering the process by which false perception can become accepted as historical fact.
Chess and the Art of War
Ancient Wisdom to Make You a Better Player
‘To mystify, mislead and surprise the enemy is one of the first principles in war.’ As this manual shows, the timeless tactical lessons of the ancient Chinese treatise The Art of War are applicable as much to the chessboard as to the battlefield. Two experienced chess teachers share a selection of Sun Tzu’s advice and, through their analyses of classic games, illustrate how the most successful grandmasters have put each of these ideas into practice.
Camouflage at War
An Illustrated Guide from 1914 to the Present Day
The advantages of concealment and misdirection that camouflage can afford only became a significant military concern with the advent of longer-range weapons in the 20th century; the French notably having to quickly replace their 1914 red-and-blue infantry uniform with 'horizon blue'. This illustrated examination of the evolution of military camouflage explores different approaches and pattern styles used on ships, planes, tanks, and soldiers in the field from khaki and field grey to modern pixel-based digital designs.
Fighting Fit 1939
Adam Culling, Curator of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps Museum, presents a number of the Army's training and equipment manuals, books and photographs. Ranging from Physical Training (1937) to Shoot to Kill (1944), the publications reproduced here show how the British soldier was kept fighting fit before and during the Second World War.