The Road to Passchendaele
The Heroic Year in Soldiers' Own Words and Photographs
This extraordinary collection of 170 photographs, taken surreptitiously by soldiers over the course of 1917 when spirits on the front line were at their lowest, captures not only the physical destruction of the war, but moments of respite away from the shelling when the men could swim, dine and relax. Equally poignant are the excerpts from soldiers’ memoirs which, in describing their own conditions and activities, tell personal stories of hope and, all too often, bewilderment.
The Battle of Plassey 1757
The Victory That Won an Empire
When Clive of India and his tiny detachment of army officers and mercenaries defeated the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies in a mango grove near Plassey, he secured all of Bengal and, eventually, the whole of India for the East India Company. Drawing on an extraordinary collection of private papers, this study of the battle and the 13 months of campaigns leading up to it commemorates the men on both sides who fought and died in the conflict.
John Sadler describes the decisive military engagements within Scottish borders that have been most significant in their scale or consequences, from Mons Graupius (84 CE), which marked the Romans’ most northward advance, to the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746. He discusses the battles’ historical contexts and the development of equipment and fighting styles, as well as using detailed battle plans for tactical analyses. New edition.
Unseen Panoramas of the Third Battle of Ypres
Specialist photographers risked life and limb during the First World War to take images of the front that could be pieced together into broad panoramas delineating the battlefield terrain. This history of the fighting at Ypres in 1917 reproduces 50 examples of these vital reconnaissance images, both British and German, and also uses hundreds of maps, plans, diagrams and the first-hand accounts of combatants to tell the story in detail.
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.
A Brief Guide To British Battlefields
Britain’s many battlefields bear witness to the dramatic turning points in the nation’s history. This readable guide describes more than 100 engagements from Roman times to 1746, when the last battle on British soil was fought at Culloden. Each self-contained entry charts the events leading up to the conflict, gives a dramatic account of the fighting, and assesses its consequences; and each has a map and practical information for visitors.
The Battle Of Majuba Hill
The Transvaal Campaign, 1880–1881
Defeat of the British occupying forces by the rebellious Boers at the Battle of Majuba Hill was seen as a military disaster by the British public, the ‘uncivilized’ tactics of the Boers condemned as savage and despicable. This account of Majuba Hill begins with a detailed history of the annexation of Transvaal by the British in 1877, assesses preceding battles and skirmishes, including Bronkhorstspruit and Laing’s Nek, and features battlefield maps, photographs and illustrations.
The Battle of Waterloo
This handsomely illustrated volume tells the story of one of the greatest battles of all time, examining the strengths and weaknesses of the three leaders, Wellington, Napoleon and Marshal Blücher, the nature of their armies and available weaponry, and the controversies surrounding the French defeat. Featuring journals and letters describing troop movements and conditions during the campaign, this account identifies the generals who made mistakes, and questions whether the victory was really Wellington’s alone.
The Burning of Washington
The British Invasion of 1814
In 1814, British troops marched into Washington DC, torched the White House and Capitol, and forced President Hamilton to flee. This compelling history traces the background, the action and the aftermath of a conflict that would shape the fledgling USA.
When Britain Saved the West
The Story of 1940
‘In 1940 the only major power fighting Germany was Britain. Had Britain collapsed and Europe become Nazified, the future of the West would have been very bleak.’ In this book Robin Prior re-examines a vast range of official, semi-official and private documentary sources to give a full account of events at home and abroad and reassess the crises – the collapse of France, the Battle of Britain and the Blitz – that threatened the nation during the year when Britain fought alone.
British Battles of the Napoleonic Wars 1807–1815
Despatches from the Front
Engaged in various theatres around the world, Britain was expanding its influence in the early years of the 19th century, having achieved dominance at sea after the Battle of Trafalgar. This collection of the original despatches from commanders in the immediate aftermath of engagements includes several from Wellington during his campaigns in Portugal and Spain, and from Waterloo, as well as accounts of the attacks on Copenhagen, Spanish territories in South America, the Dardanelles and Mauritius.
The Renaissance of the Fortress
Examining the background, strategy and events of the ten-month-long Battle of Verdun, the authors look afresh at key aspects of the fighting including the German deployment of stormtroopers and the use of artillery and aircraft. They also discuss the renaissance of fortress engineering at Verdun which led to the construction of the Maginot Line and other fortifications in Europe before the Second World War, and the development of artillery powerful enough to destroy such forts.
Hitler versus Stalin
The Eastern Front 1941–1942 Barbarossa to Moscow
The German operation to invade Russia progressed rapidly in the summer of 1941 but stalled as the siege of Leningrad began and the Red Army launched its Winter Offensive in December. This book selects archive photographs from Russian and German sources depicting the fighting during this first phase of the struggle on the Eastern Front, highlighting the harsh conditions and difficult terrain as well as capturing off-duty moments for the combatants.
Fighting the Invasion
The German Army at D-Day
Following the defeat of Germany in 1945, the US Army collected a series of military studies of the D-Day invasion by senior German officers. If the accounts are coloured by the officers being at the time captive, and in some cases under the threat of prosecution for war crimes, their immediacy, while memory was still fresh, nevertheless makes them a valuable resource in understanding the Wehrmacht's preparations for invasion and the progress of battle from a German point of view.
The Battle of the River Plate
The First Naval Battle of the Second World War
The first encounter at sea of the Second World War took place along the South American coast when three British ships inflicted enough damage on the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee to corner it in Montevideo harbour. The Captain, encouraged by British misinformation, chose to scuttle his ship rather than face destruction. This account of the famous episode was first published in 1956 and also contains the official despatch from the British commander.
The Battle of Jutland
Voices from the Past
Both Britain and Germany claimed victory in the Battle of Jutland in May 1916; the Royal Navy losing more ships and men but successfully containing the German fleet for the duration of the war. The outcome, its significance and the performance of the commanders during the battle has been debated ever since, and this book provides a picture of how events unfolded and what people thought at the time through official records and despatches, newspaper reports and detailed personal accounts.
The Battle of Actium 31 BC
War for the World
The naval battle at Actium, when the future emperor Augustus defeated the forces of Antony and Cleopatra, was perhaps the most significant military engagement in Roman history. Yet many details of exactly what happened on that September day continue to elude scholars. This study of the literary and historical sources offers a fresh examination of the evidence, with close analysis of hitherto unconsidered allusions to Actium in the description of an equestrian engagement in Book Eleven of Virgil’s Aeneid.
The Battle for the Crimea 1941–1944
Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives
Considered something of a sideshow on the Eastern Front in the Second World War, the Crimea was nevertheless strategically significant and the fighting over it more desperate due to the difficulty of access to the peninsula. This collection of archive photographs charts the struggle from the bitter fighting of 1941–2, before Sevastopol fell, to Crimea’s liberation by the Red Army in 1944, preceded by the mass evacuation of Axis troops across the Black Sea.
Against the Tommies
History of 26 Reserve Division 1914–1918
In 1920, the German 26th Reserve Division produced a commemorative record of its service during the First World War, which included many photographs taken by the men of the division (German soldiers not being subject to the same restrictions on keeping diaries and taking photos as the British). This book reproduces the best of the collection, providing a valuable German perspective on life in the trenches, in the towns behind the lines and on battlefields including the Somme and Arras.
The Race to Stop Hitler's Atomic Bomb
When a Cambridge professor found wiring beneath the floor of his house, he had little idea of the building’s astonishing past. In April 1945, Farm Hall was used to house ten of Germany’s top nuclear scientists captured during the collapse of the Reich. This gripping narrative probes a murky world of espionage to tell how their conversations, bugged by MI6, revealed the extent of the Nazis’ nuclear ambitions, and investigates whether they were kidnapped to thwart not Hitler, but Stalin.
Ghosts of the ETO
American Tactical Deception Units in the European Theater, 1944–1945
Within a few weeks of D-Day, the American 23rd Headquarters Special Troops landed in France and positioned a number of inflatable howitzers to draw German fire away from regular artillery units nearby. The 23rd were thereafter engaged across France and into Germany, creating fake radio transmissions, deploying dummy materiel and impersonating other troops in over 20 operations during 1944 and 1945. This book pieces together the long-classified activities of the unusual unit.
Herbert Columbine VC
Noticing an isolated gun position had been abandoned during the Spring Offensive of 1918, Private Bertie Columbine took control of the Vickers gun and managed to repel German attacks for several hours before he was finally killed. This biography of the Victoria Cross-winning soldier traces his family background and characterizes the world in which he grew up as well as giving an account of his wartime service and the campaign to commemorate his heroism. Foreword by Dame Judi Dench.
The Second World War Assault Training Exercises at Slapton Sands
Slapton Sands in South Devon was a good match for the projected landing area of Utah Beach on D-Day and so elaborate rehearsal exercises were set up there in 1944. Drawing on first-hand accounts, this book tells the story of how over 20,000 acres of land was requisitioned, and its residents evacuated and compensated, and describes the various military manoeuvres, including the friendly-fire catastrophe of Exercise Tiger that cost almost 750 lives.
Langsdorff and the Battle of the River Plate
The scuttling of the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in Montevideo harbour in 1939 was the culmination of one of the first engagements of the war and resulted in the German captain's suicide two days later. This study analyses the events from Langsdorff's point of view, considering the choices available to him, given the imperfect information he possessed, and also examines his, and the British officers', notably honourable behaviour.
Blood and Steel
The Wehrmacht Archive: Normandy 1944
The defending German army faced an overwhelmingly superior force in terms of troop numbers and materiel during the Normandy campaign in 1944, but that did not always mean that the soldiers had respect for their enemy's fighting qualities. This book reveals the attitudes and opinions of Wehrmacht soldiers through contemporary orders, field reports, letters, diaries and PoW interviews, mostly drawn from the intelligence summaries of the First Canadian Army, which also contained material from British and American sources.
Battle on the Aisne 1914
The BEF and the Birth of the Western Front
The battles at the river Aisne involving the British Expeditionary Force resulted in Britain’s first huge casualty figures, around 12,000 killed; it also marked the beginning of trench warfare when progress was halted and the BEF and French troops were ordered to dig in. Jerry Murland re-examines the battles from both the British and German perspectives, drawing extensively on diaries and letters written at the time to give a voice to those who fought there.
The Battle of Barrosa, 1811
Forgotten Battle of the Peninsular War
With most of Spain overrun by Napoleon’s forces, the Spanish government remained free, but forced to find refuge in the fortress-port of Cádiz, assisted by British warships and troops under the command of Sir Thomas Graham. This study describes the ‘forgotten battle’ when, urged by the Spanish Junta, and with everything to lose, an Anglo-Spanish force met the besieging French army on the heights of Barossa.
Hitler's Island War
The Men Who Fought for Leros
Italy's surrender in September 1943 opened the opportunity for the Allies to take control of strategically important Greek islands. The British moved to strengthen the Italian garrison on Leros, only to lose it in one of the last significant Allied defeats of the war. Drawing on first-hand accounts, this book tells the story of the siege and battle, the daring escapes from the German invaders and the years of incarceration for those captured.
"If Chaos Reigns"
The Near-Disaster and Ultimate Triumph of the Allied Airborne Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944
The success of German paratroops in the invasion of Crete in 1941 convinced the Allies that airborne forces would be crucial as the war progressed, but the high casualty rate persuaded Hitler of the opposite. This book analyses the development and training of American, British and Canadian parachute and glider units and explains the critical role they played on D-Day, describing how close they came to failure in securing key locations ahead of the invasion.
Hitler's Wave-Breaker Concept
An Analysis of the German End Game in the Baltic
Hitler could have marshalled his resources for the defence of Berlin more effectively had he not clung on to ground on the Baltic coast on the theory that fortified enclaves could be more easily defended than attacked. There were, however, valid reasons for protecting the territory beyond this so-called 'wave-breaker' concept. Analysing Hitler's strategy and his military thinking in general, this book provides a detailed appraisal of the Russian campaign between 1941 and 1945.
The Fall Of Hitler's Fortress City
The Battle for Königsberg 1945
The easternmost city of Hitler's Germany, Königsberg, was fanatically defended by the Nazis against Russia but the historic Prussian capital was largely destroyed by bombing and ultimately annexed by the Soviet Union and renamed Kaliningrad. Using first-hand accounts, this book tells the story of the city from the end of the First World War and the Jewish persecutions of the early Nazi period to the brutal siege and battle of 1945 and the desperate flight of its last German residents.
The Drive on Moscow, 1941
Operation Taifun and Germany's First Crisis of World War II
After initial success, the German campaign to capture Moscow in the last months of 1941 was bogged down in the mud, buying precious time for the Soviets to regroup and hit back. Examining this first serious setback of the war for Hitler, the book assesses the tactics of both sides and the part played by the winter weather, and draws on personal diaries and letters to give the perspective of both ordinary soldier and general.
The Monitor, The Merrimack, and the Sea Battle that Changed History
The first clash between ironclad battleships took place off the coast of Virginia during the American Civil War in 1862. The battle provided conclusive proof of the effectiveness of the new technology and proved a major turning point in naval design. This book examines the building of the Confederacy's armoured Merrimack and the Union's race to build a competitive vessel (the Monitor, in whose development Lincoln was personally involved), and assesses the profound legacy of their engagement.
Success of a General
General French and the Relief of Kimberley
Though his reputation was later sullied as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War, John French became a national hero as a cavalry general during the Boer War, in particular for his part in the relief of Kimberley in 1900. This account of the siege and the events leading up to it also includes a review of the medals awarded to British soldiers for the campaign.
A Sacrifice Betrayed
It was British policy at the beginning of the Boer War not to share intelligence with locally raised forces or employ black people in any military capacity. This proved disastrously misguided and thousands of lives were lost before the commanders on the ground remodelled their forces to meet the specific challenges of the Boers' tactics. This book looks at the war with a focus on the experiences of the people of Natal, both combatants and civilians of all ages.
The Story of the Battle in the Words of the Soldiers
An account, using first-hand reports by British soldiers on the front lines, of the battle of El Alamein on 23 October 1942, known as the greatest Allied offensive of WWII and the battle that defined both the Afrika Corps and the British 8th Army. 36pp b&w plates
Gallipoli and the Dardanelles 1915-1916
Despatches from the Front
Initially a naval operation to secure the Dardanelles sea route to Russia from the Mediterranean, the Gallipoli campaign soon escalated to a lengthy and attritional land battle. The result was a humiliating defeat for Britain, which led to the ousting of First Sea Lord Winston Churchill and a change of government. This book reproduces the original despatches from Admirals Sackville Carden and John de Robeck and land commanders Ian Hamilton and his replacement Charles Monro.