Geology and Trench Warfare on The Weston Front 1914–1918
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.
The Lie at the Heart of Waterloo
The Battle's Hidden Last Half Hour
The author of this revisionist history of the Battle of Waterloo presents a detailed account of how the 52nd Light Cavalry delivered the coup de grâce in the battle, thanks to the initiative of its commander John Colbourne. Using first-hand accounts to support the case, the analysis concludes that Wellington omitted to give the 52nd proper credit in his initial despatch and thereafter managed the story of the victory to his advantage.
France, the Great War, and a Month that Changed the World Forever
‘In our collective memory’, writes Cabanes, ‘the catastrophes of Verdun and the Somme in 1916 have eclipsed the unprecedented violence of the war’s first month.’ His history of the first weeks of war is told from the perspective of the ordinary men and women, soldiers and civilians of France and evokes the traumas of mobilization, German conquest and occupation, the death toll of battles – 27,000 in one day at Charleroi – an army in retreat, and old ways of life gone for ever.
Memories of the Falklands
The recollections of leading British politicians, diplomats, military personnel, journalists and Falkland Islanders are included in this retrospect of the 1982 conflict. Among the contributors are Margaret Thatcher, Simon Weston, Cecil Parkinson, David Owen and Max Hastings.
The Liberation of Europe 1944–1945
The Photographers Who Captured History from D-Day to Berlin
This collection of archival images from The Times and Kemsley Newspapers, many published here for the first time, documents remarkable scenes from the Allies’ invasion of Europe, including the capture of Berlin, where a sombre Churchill inspects the site at which Hitler’s body was burnt. Set against a backdrop of devastation, action shots of airdrops, beach landings, tank battles and troop manoeuvres contrast with the delighted faces of liberated civilians, telling stories as compelling as they are harrowing.
Hitler's Nordic Ally?
Finland and the Total War 1939–45
Finland remained free of Nazi rule during the Second World War. Yet its army collaborated with the Germans in fighting the mighty Soviet Union, before turning on its ally in 1944. This serious and in-depth account of Finland’s three conflicts – the Winter War, the Continuation War and, to a lesser extent, the Lapland War – highlights the ambiguities in Finland’s relationship with Nazi Germany and allows the reader a final judgement on the significance of its collusion.
The News from Waterloo
The Race to Tell Britain of Wellington's Victory
It took three days for the outcome of the battle of Waterloo to reach London. Described by Sir Tony Robinson as 'a fascinating eye-opener', this book draws on untapped records to reveal the story of how the momentous news was brought from the battlefield via feverish horseback journeys, a Channel crossing delayed by falling tides and a flat calm, and the final dash by coach-and-four from the Kent coast to a grand soirée in St James's Square.
At War on the Gothic Line
Fighting in Italy, 1944–45
If much of the attention in Summer 1944 was on Normandy and the progress of the Allies through France, another enormous multinational army was also fighting doggedly further south and facing the last formidable barrier of German defensive positions, the Gothic Line, stretching from the Adriatic to the Mediterranean across mountainous northern Italy. This analysis of a year of fighting on the front tells the story through the varied experiences of 13 men and women from seven different countries.
The First World War Galleries
This richly illustrated companion to the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Galleries draws on the museum’s collection of imagery and artefacts to chart the social, political and military history of the war and its devastating impact. Through photographs, posters, works of art, uniforms, weaponry and personal effects, alongside quotations from contemporary diaries and letters, the book evokes the experiences of both soldiers and civilians, providing a poignant and compelling narrative of the conflict.
The Kamikaze Hunters
Fighting for the Pacific, 1945
The final effort of the Second World War against Japan is remembered as mainly an American affair, but the British fleet was there too and British airmen flying from carriers, mostly in leased American Corsair planes. This book recounts those last days of the Pacific War through the eyes of the Royal Navy pilots who flew hundreds of missions over Japan and in the face of desperate Japanese kamikaze attacks during the summer of 1945.
Britain's Secret Wartime Expedition to Antarctica 1944–46
In 1943, Winston Churchill’s War Cabinet met to discuss the opening of a new front – not on the beaches of Normandy or in the jungles of Burma, but amid the blizzards and glaciers of the Antarctic. Operation Tabarin tells the remarkable story of this secret mission to establish British sovereignty in the region, describing how the expedition laid the foundations for decades of government-sponsored scientific research – and would eventually lead to the Falklands War.
Great War Britain: Hull & the Humber
Susanna O'Neill offers an insight into Hull’s experiences of the war years, when its factories turned their attention to munitions making, its fishing trade supplied vessels and men, and German Zeppelin aerial attacks killed 47 people between 1915 and 1918.
The 137th Infantry Brigade was raised in 1939 when Territorial Army reservists were mobilized. Although designated for labour duties, the 'digging divisions' found themselves called into action and delayed the German advance during the Battle of France at a high cost in casualties. This book uses diaries and personal accounts as well as official reports to tell the story of how the unprepared troops' sacrifice helped enable the evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk.
Confronting Case Blue
Briansk Front's Attempt to Derail the German Drive to the Caucasus, July 1942
In the Case Blue operation, the German Army turned its attention on the Eastern Front from Moscow to southern Russia, quickly advancing to within striking distance of Stalingrad. This study, compiled using previously classified Soviet and German documents and translated from the original Russian, analyses the Russian response to the offensive, focusing on the role of Soviet General Liziukov, who led effective counter attacks with the 2nd Tank Corps but then mysteriously went missing.
Although Arthur Wellesley left no memoirs or autobiography there is a mass of private and official correspondence, amounting to millions of words, giving incomparable insight into the mind of the great commander and illuminating his decisions as events unfolded. This collection of his dispatches, edited and with contextual commentary by Charles Esdaile, begins with his arrival in Portugal in 1808 and reports on the campaigns in the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, and Waterloo in 1815. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Military Despatches From Dunkirk to the Battle of Britain
Churchill's rousing speeches and the popular narrative of the Battle of Britain and the 'miracle of Dunkirk' belie the grave reality of Britain's military position in 1940, when defeat seemed the most likely outcome. Presenting the contemporary situation without the romantic interpretations of hindsight, this book reproduces, with contextual commentary, the detailed despatches of contemporary generals Gort and Brooke and Air Chief Marshal Dowding, analysing the Battle of France, the withdrawal of the BEF and the Battle of Britain.
Losing the Peace
Failed Settlements and the Road to War
Why did the ‘war to end all wars’ initiate a century of conflict? This searching re-examination shows how the wars of the 20th century originated in unsuccessful peace agreements: how French hostility to the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt paved the way for the First World War; how German resentment of the Treaty of Versailles brought Hitler to power; and how the post-1945 conflicts in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East arose from peace treaties that failed to last.
German Special Forces of World War Two
German paratroopers scored notable successes in the invasion of Holland in 1940 and Crete in 1941 but were not developed during the war to the extent of Allied special forces. This analysis, first published in 1985, investigates the reasons for this and explores the irregular units that were deployed by Germany, including the Brandenburgers, an elite force recruited from fluent speakers of foreign languages who were able to work covertly behind enemy lines.
The Key to Victory at Waterloo
During the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon launched repeated attempts to take the strategically important farmhouse of Hougoumont. At one point troops succeeded in entering the courtyard but Wellington responded with reinforcements and the enemy were repelled and the gates closed. This accessible illustrated study pieces together the fierce fighting that took place throughout the day, serving as an introduction to the battle and a field guide for the visitor.
1 Group: Swift to Attack
Bomber Command's Unsung Heroes
Formed in June 1940, No 1 Group Bomber Command became one of the principal offensive weapons wielded by Britain over the next five years, the force including squadrons that flew the most sorties, dropped the most bombs and suffered the highest casualties of any during the war. This account describes 1 Group's wartime activities, explaining its structure, analysing its aircraft, reviewing principal operations and paying tribute to the 8,760 men who lost their lives.
The City of Light Redeemed
General Leclerc and the French Second Armoured Division (2eDB) entered Paris and liberated the city on 25 August 1944; prior to that the Resistance had mounted an insurrection that weakened the occupying forces; and on 26 August, Charles de Gaulle led his great victory march down the Champs Elysées. In an almost hour-by-hour account, Moore disentangles the interests and ambitions swirling around the city’s liberation and reveals the crucial role of Leclerc and his 2eDB in securing the freedom of France’s capital.
The Story of the Malakand Field Force
In 1897, the young Churchill was a war correspondent attached to the Malakand Field Force, fighting local tribes led by the ‘Mad Fakir’ on India’s north-west frontier, an area now part of Pakistan. Written in that year, Churchill’s book sets the scene for the conflict and, drawing on his letters to the Telegraph and official despatches, records the violent engagements of the war, including the relief of Chakdara, the march to Nawagai and fighting in the Mamund Valley.
The Jacobite War in Scotland
Stuart Reid presents a military history of the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 and its culmination at Sheriffmuir, a battle ‘famous only for the fact that both sides ran away’. Reid offers a completely fresh look at the campaign, including the simultaneous uprising in Nithsdale, Northumberland; while the battle itself is reassessed in the light of a thorough knowledge of the ground at Sheriffmuir and the armies that fought there.
The Great Explosion
Gunpowder, The Great War, and a Disaster on the Kent Marshes
In April 1916, shortly before the Battle of the Somme, a series of explosions ripped through a munitions works on the Kent marshes, killing 108 people and injuring many more. This remarkable book recreates the events of that day, shedding new light on the home front during the Great War. Brian Dillon offers a chilling natural history of explosives and their effects on bodies, buildings, and the earth; and a deeply personal exploration of one of England’s most bleakly beautiful landscapes.
The Paris Game
Charles de Gaulle, the Liberation of Paris, and the Gamble that Won France
In 1940, with the German army in Paris and a collaborationist government installed in Vichy, an obscure French general broadcast from London: ‘Is defeat final? No!… The flame of French Resistance is not extinguished.’ This dramatic account charts de Gaulle’s struggle to retain the loyalty of Winston Churchill, overcome the hostility of Roosevelt, thwart the machinations of the Vichy regime, and ultimately restore the honour of France and its place in the world.
The Eagle's Last Triumph
Napoleon's Victory at Ligny, June 1815
On 16 June 1815, Napoleon defeated the Prussian army at the Battle of Ligny. However, the triumph was not decisive and the Prussian general, von Blücher, was able to regroup and tip the balance in Wellington's favour at Waterloo two days later. Including maps and diagrams, this detailed analysis of Napoleon's last victory assesses the background to the battle and the decisions of the commanders in the field, as well as including first-hand accounts of the bitter fighting.
Blood Cries Afar
The Magna Carta War and the Invasion of England 1215–1217
‘To really understand History’, writes Sean McGlynn, ‘you have to pick up the stone and see what is crawling underneath’. In this book he explores the relationship of war and politics and the nature of warfare in medieval western Europe through a closely detailed study of a much-neglected episode: the invasion of England that was led by Louis, son of the French king Philip Augustus, in 1216, and the civil conflict in England that gave Philip the opportunity to attack.
From the Tudors to the Cold War
By the end of the 15th century, following the introduction of gunpowder and the cannon, it was clear that fortresses would need to be built very differently to withstand the assault of artillery. This review of the evolution of fortifications in Britain charts developments from Henry VIII's castles to the pillboxes of the 1940s and the underground bunkers of the nuclear age.
How the French Won Waterloo
(or Think They Did)
Most English historians see Waterloo as the Anglo-Prussian victory that ended Napoleon's political and military ambitions and changed the course of European history. In France, however, many people - historians included - share the opinion of the former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin that 'this defeat shines with the aura of victory'. Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French, investigates the complexities of French thinking about Waterloo and their enduring admiration for Napoleon.
Between the Coast and the Western Front
Transportation and Supply Behind the Trenches
The trenches of the Western Front have come to embody the First World War, but immediately behind the lines, a vast operation was needed to sustain them. Illustrated with rarely seen contemporary photographs, this book describes the supply and distribution networks that brought men, food and ammunition to the front; the medical services and the vital role of the nurses who staffed them; and the transport links – road, canal and rail – that made it all possible.
Beginning with the horror of the battlefield where 50,000 men lay dead and injured as night fell on 18 June 1815, O'Keeffe's study covers the months between Wellington's victory and the confinement of Napoleon on St Helena. It describes how, once the dead and dying were gone, the site was visited by tourists; how the news of the battle was spread; the advance of the British and Prussian armies into France; and Napoleon's final weeks as surrender became inevitable.
The Fourth Reich
and Operation Eclipse
Operation Eclipse was an Allied plan conceived to achieve strategic goals in the final phase of the Second World War in Europe and manage the immediate post-war period. From protecting Denmark from occupation by the Russians and dealing with Admiral Doenitz's short-lived government after Hitler's suicide (the 'Fourth Reich' of the title), the book goes on to examine the liberation of Holland and Norway, the release of PoWs and forced labour from German camps, and the War Crimes Trials.
Kitchener's New Army
Your Country Needs You!
In 1915, Edgar Wallace (1875–1932), the author of popular thrillers, turned to non-fiction to write this patriotic account of Lord Kitchener's recruitment drive and the training regime that produced the 'miracle' of his new divisions. Wallace's upbeat assessment reveals British attitudes towards the war at a time when a million volunteers were enlisting to fight. Illustrated with contemporary photographs, cartoons and posters, this 2015 edition includes a substantial new introduction giving the background to Kitchener's call for mobilization.
Churchill's Secret Mission to Save Stalin
Second World War fighter pilot Eric Carter is one of the few surviving members of a top-secret mission code-named Force Benedict. In 1941, as Hitler closed in on the Soviet Union, Churchill sent a task force to Murmansk, the only Russian port that had not fallen to the Germans. Now, for the first time, Carter tells how two squadrons of Hurricanes and their crew were dispatched on the Arctic Convoy with orders to 'defend Murmansk at all costs.'
Waterloo Voices 1815
The Battle at First Hand
'The enemy fired round shot, and shell – grape and canister – and new horse nails, tied up in bundles, nine bundles in a gun... unlawful carnage.' This report from 'a sergeant of the Guards' gives a vivid insight into the brutality of the pivotal battle that raged in a field near Brussels on 18 June 1815. This collection of eyewitness testimony includes letters, diaries and published accounts from participants on all sides, from ordinary soldiers to Wellington and Napoleon.
Bomber Command 1939-1940
The War Before the War
The period from the declaration of war in September 1939 to the beginning of the Battle of France in May 1940 is usually known as the 'Phoney War' or even the 'Bore War'. RAF Bomber Command, however, was far from inactive, losing 68 aircraft and crews in the four months of 1939 alone. This book describes the struggles of Bomber Command to become an effective offensive force in 1939 and 1940, flying missions in Scandinavia, France, Belgium and Germany.
From Disaster to Deliverance: Testimonies of the Last Survivors
Still evoked as proof of a nation's innate resilience and ability to come together in a crisis, the evacuation of more than 338,000 troops from Dunkirk by a ragtag fleet that included car ferries, lifeboats and pleasure cruisers seems as unlikely as it was miraculous. This book draws on the first-hand accounts of veterans, both soldiers and civilians, to recount how the army came to be stranded, how the unlikely extraction was achieved and how the subsequent myth was established.