The American Arsenal
The World War II Official Standard Ordanance Catalogue
During the Second World War, the US Ordnance Department set about producing a definitive catalogue of army equipment to counteract inconsistent information in circulation in unofficial publications and to avoid the parallel development of similar equipment by different departments. The exhaustive master guide, reconstructed from the original loose-leaf version, contains descriptions, specifications and over 900 photographs and drawings of vehicles, weapons, ammunition and equipment from the M4 Sherman tank to the M1 helmet.
The Physics of War
From Arrows to Atoms
Throughout history, military leaders have searched for a ‘wonder weapon’ to give them an advantage over enemies, and very often, it was science that supplied the new armament, from the ballista to the atom bomb. The science writer Barry Parker narrates the history of warfare and the contribution of physics, telling the story of battles from Megiddo to the Second World War, while discussing major breakthroughs in physics and topics such as gunpowder, submarines, and radar.
Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars
Field Artillery, 1792–1815
Although artillery had been around for centuries, technical advances in the 18th century allowed field guns and ammunition to become lighter, more powerful and more accurate, and the improved weaponry was used with greater efficiency in the field. With reference to the part gunnery played in key battles of the period, this detailed study investigates the nature of guns used and how they were operated, comparing Napoleon's French artillery with that of the British, Russians and Austrians.
The British Shell Shortage
Of the First World War
The British shortage of munitions during the First World War was a case of gross mismanagement with disastrous consequences at the Front and political fall-out at home. This study examines shell manufacture in both political and military contexts in 1915. In particular, Harding looks at the fighting at Neuve Chapelle and the Aubers Ridge from the perspective of the Rifle Brigade, whose casualties, when reported in The Times, resulted in the formation of the coalition government and the Ministry of Munitions.
Pigeon Guided Missiles
And 49 Other Ideas That Never Took Off
The pioneering behaviourist BF Skinner was able to demonstrate in the 1940s that conditioning pigeons, housed in the nose of a missile, to peck repeatedly at an image of a target, could be an effective weapons guidance system. As with all the apparently hare-brained schemes in this book, including Thomas Edison's concrete furniture, Wilhelm Reich's cloud-busting machine and British Rail's flying saucer, the system was never adopted.