Crimea from Potemkin to Putin
Since it was founded in 1783, during the reign of Catherine the Great and Potemkin, Sevastopol has survived a long history of conflict, including two major sieges: the city’s commanding strategic advantage as a naval anchorage in the Black Sea has made it a city worth fighting for. In this study, Mungo Melvin traces the story of Sevastopol and its Crimean hinterland since prehistory, illuminating the historical background to the 2014 referendum vote to return to Russia.
Axis Suicide Squads
German and Japanese Secret Projects of the Second World War
The need to gain some material advantage from the inevitable loss of men and machinery in aerial warfare led both the Japanese and German air forces to resort to ramming and suicide tactics during the Second World War. This study of these attacks features detailed technical drawings of the planes used, from the various Japanese kamikaze planes to the Messerschmitts of Germany’s suicide squadron, Rammkommando Elbe.
The Peter The Great Humbled
The Russo-Ottoman War of 1711
Fresh from victory over Sweden, Peter the Great took on the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, only to be defeated. This book examines the causes of the conflict, and the size, composition and tactics of the armies. Their uniforms are illustrated in specially commissioned artwork.
With Napoleon's Guns
The Military Memoirs of an Officer of the First Empire
Colonel Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noël was appointed to the command of Napoleon’s highly mobile trains d’artillerie during the invasion of Russia in 1812. Altogether he served the Emperor for over two decades and his memoirs record both his own service, including the retreat from Moscow and the Battle of Leipzig, and the rise and fall of the First Empire. Edited, translated and introduced by Rosemary Brindle.
Triumphs and Disasters
Eyewitness Accounts from the Netherlands Campaign, 1813–1814
While overshadowed by the fighting in France and Germany, the British campaign against Napoleon’s forces in Holland was an important precursor of Waterloo. This collection of official reports, letters and soldiers’ diaries offers eyewitness accounts of the main engagements, including the defeat at Bergen op Zoom.
In the Peninsula with a French Hussar
Memoirs of the War of the French in Spain
A junior officer in Napoleon’s 2nd Regiment of Hussars, Albert Jean Michel de Rocca served in the Peninsular War from the march on Madrid, through the Battle of Medellin and various skirmishes, until he was wounded in a guerrilla ambush near Ronda in 1810. Introduced by Philip Haythornthwaite, de Rocca’s account describes the hostility in Spain and the fighting in uncompromising detail.
SOE in the Low Countries
British spying successes in France and elsewhere during the Second World War were not replicated in Belgium and Holland, where the Germans had infiltrated the network from 1942 and exploited their advantage by spreading false information. The leading historian of SOE investigates how security was breached, uncovering inter-service rivalries, in-fighting and ineptitude in Whitehall as well as the brave stories of the dozens of captured field operatives.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The War in the West: A New History
Volume One: Germany Ascendant 1939–1941
The Second World War was the most devastating conflict in history, yet for seven decades our understanding of it has relied on conventional wisdom based on partial information. This first volume of James Holland's monumental study draws on newly accessible archives and interviews with soldiers, civilians, military strategists and heads of state to create a narrative that redresses the balance. Previously in Postscript as The Rise of Germany 1939-1941: The War in the West – Volume One.
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 were there too and British airmen flying from carriers, mostly in leased American Corsair planes. This book recounts these last days of the Pacific War through the eyes of the Royal Navy pilots who flew hundreds of missions over Japan in the summer of 1945, in the face of the desperate Japanese kamikaze attacks.
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.
The Second World War in the Air in Photographs
The progress of the air war is followed month-by-month through Archard's remarkable collection of contemporary photographs of aircraft in action, air crew, anti-aircraft defences and the devastating effects of Allied and Axis bombing. This volume covers bombing raids on Singapore and Rangoon, the war in the Pacific, the beginning of the US Eighth Air Force campaign against Germany and continuing operations in the Mediterranean and North Africa.
Letters and News from the Trenches and the Home Front
During the First World War the Daily Mail published letters from soldiers and civilians as well as reports from the front line and comment by literary figures such as John Galsworthy, Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Hardy. This volume mixes these elements from the paper's archive with private diaries, correspondence and photographs from the battle and home fronts to give a valuable contemporary perspective on the war.
Medieval Sieges and Siege Craft
With the proliferation of formalized cities, the medieval period became the 'golden age' of siege warfare, an age of trebuchets and mangonels, boiling oil and Greek fire. In this accessible study of medieval siegecraft, Hindley traces the development of strongpoints, castles and fortified towns, examines the problems of logistics and food supplies for both the besieged and besiegers and shows how some of the most famous sieges changed the course of history in Europe and the Holy Land.
The Sea Devils
Operation Struggle and the Last Great Raid of World War Two
The midget submarines that were famously used to attack the battleship Tirpitz in 1943 were developed further and the improved 'XE-class' craft were used in a daring attack on Singapore harbour in 1945. This history recounts how 18 British, Australian and New Zealand submariners, two of whom were awarded the Victoria Cross and several others decorated, piloted two XE craft through the Japanese defences to successfully incapacitate the heavy cruiser Takao.
The Battle of Waterloo
Compiled and published soon after the battle, this book presented a 'series of accounts published by authority, British and foreign, and other relative documents, with circumstantial details, previous and after the battle, from a variety of authentic and original sources'. The present volume is a facsimile reprint of the seventh edition (1817). As well as eyewitness accounts, there are letters, honours and casualty lists (officers) and, folded in, a panoramic sketch of the battlefield. With a new introduction by Simon Adams.
The English Civil War
An Alternative History of Britain
With hindsight, the Parliamentarian victory over the Royalists in the English Civil War may seem inevitable, but it was never a foregone conclusion. Venning examines the turning points at which things might have gone differently – the countdown to war between December 1641 and the spring of 1642; Edgehill; the creation of the New Model Army in 1644; and the 1645 campaign.