Theatre of War
In a preface to this magnificent collection of wartime photographs, Mark Holborn describes Cecil Beaton as 'able to realize the visual potential from the most mundane as well as the most dramatic circumstances'. Whether taken on the home front amid the London Blitz, in the Western Desert, in India, Burma, China or industrial Tyneside, Beaton's photographs for the Ministry of Information are unfailingly eloquent and a powerful record of the years 1939 to 1945. With commentary by Beaton and a detailed chronology.
The British offensive at Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, was launched at 3.30am on 31 July 1917; led by Sir Douglas Haig, this ‘big push’ was to achieve a breakthrough, but it became a four-month-long stalemate of constant shelling, torrential rain, mud and filth. Parker chronicles the operation, describes the conditions on the battlefield and the increasingly industrialized warfare of tanks, gas and mines that added to the carnage; and he questions the necessity of the sacrifice.
Aircraft Since 1939
The Russian MiG aircraft company was set up in 1939 and produced some of the world's most advanced and capable military planes during its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, including the long-serving and widely exported MiG-21. This concise handbook provides descriptions of all MiG aircraft, including prototypes, up to the MiG-35 of 2011, with tables of key data and additional information about model variants.
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.
Epitaphs of the Great War: The Somme
‘Of all the voices of the First World War there is one that has been consistently overlooked, the voice of the bereaved.’ This collection of 100 epitaphs for soldiers who died during the Somme campaign of 1916 lets the bereaved families and friends speak through the inscriptions on War Graves Commission headstones. The book provides information on the soldiers and explains any biblical or literary allusions used in the short (they were limited to 66 characters) and often cryptic epitaphs.
Warrior and weapon boxset (2 vols)
Modern soldiers use automated weaponry and digital technology but other aspects of their gear – daggers, helmets, armoured jackets, canteens – would be familiar to Roman legionnaires or Viking raiders. These two comprehensively illustrated books demonstrate the developments in warfare and weaponry over the course of civilization, showing, with examples from the collection of the Royal Armouries, how soldiers fought and were equipped from the Mesopotamians to modern special forces, and surveying weaponry from the spear and the longbow to the AK47.
This Seat of Mars
War and the British Isles, 1485-1746
The British state, as it came to be, was shaped by war. This immensely readable history follows three centuries of conflict at home and abroad, tracing its territorial, social and economic consequences. From Flodden through the Civil War to the second Jacobite uprising, it looks at how wars were funded, and how armies were levied, fed and supplied. Packed with detail and anecdote, it also charts the impact of war on both individuals and the structure of society.
The Christmas Collection
With 46 tracks ranging from a medieval recipe for Christmas pastries to The Christmas Tree by Cecil Day Lewis and including pieces by Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, John Betjeman and an entire Christmas Mummers’ Play, this anthology covers every aspect of the festive season. The pieces are read by a cast including Peter Jeffrey, John Moffat and Susan Engel. 2 CDs; playing time 2hrs 31mins.
Hunting the Essex
A Journal of the Voyage of HMS Phoebe 1813-1814
During the War of 1812, the frigate HMS Phoebe was sent halfway round the world to attack settlements in the Pacific Northwest, but was diverted to hunt down the USS Essex, a frigate harassing the British whaling fleet. This previously unpublished eyewitness account from an officer on the Phoebe relates a cat-and-mouse chase that lasted weeks and ended in a bloody battle, and helped inspire Patrick O'Brian's novel The Far Side of the World.
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.
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.
Heroes and Landmarks of British Military Aviation
From Airships to the Jet Age
In a relatively short period of time, between the late 19th century and the middle of the 20th, the British aviation industry produced a profusion of groundbreaking and history-making inventions, establishing the names of aircraft designers and manufacturers such as de Havilland, Sopwith, Hawker and Handley Page. Each chapter in this review of the era looks at one of these key innovators, from airship pioneer Ernest Willows to Spitfire designer RJ Mitchell and the inventor of the jet engine, Frank Whittle.
The Real Hornblower
The Life and Times of Admiral Sir James Gordon GCB
It was while researching the Chesapeake Bay Campaign of 1814 that Bryan Perrett came across 'Captain Gordon RN' in CS Forester's Naval War of 1812 and began to see parallels between Gordon, who had commanded a diversionary force on the Potomac, and Forester's later fictional character, Horatio Hornblower. In this book, Perrett presents a full biography of Admiral Gordon and his long and extraordinarily distinguished career.
Burma: The Forgotten Army
As Louis Mountbatten explains in the first of the three programmes on this disc, there were more than 1,300,000 men in his South East Asia Command, and the challenges of climate and conditions and the importance of their mission rivalled anything in the European theatre. Using battlefield footage, contemporary newsreels and captured enemy film, the documentaries were produced by the British War Office in the late 1940s and 1950s. World War II from Primary Sources series. 1 DVD 165min
1809 to Salamanca
Following the winter retreat to Corunna in 1809, Wellington's crack rifle regiment (Sharpe's famous 'green jackets') fought the French back and forth across the Iberian Peninsula taking part in a number of actions, including the River Coa, Bussaco Ridge, Fuentes de Onoro, Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz. Shot on location in Spain and Portugal, this documentary tells the story of the regiment up to the key battle at Salamanca in July 1812. 1 DVD 105mins
The Hawker Hurricane
Designed by Sydney Camm, the Hawker Hurricane fighter went into service in 1937; by 1944 almost 15,000 Hurricanes had been built, and they had served in all the major theatres of the Second World War. Featuring both wartime footage and film of one of the last surviving Hurricanes in flight, this documentary traces, in engrossing detail, the design, construction and operation of this legendary aircraft. 1 DVD 58min
Celebrating A Century of Naval Flying
Where once the battleship was the key symbol of international power, the aircraft carrier has taken its place, able to project military capability anywhere in the world. This history of naval aviation investigates its origins in early carriers and reviews developments in aircraft and vessels up to the latest ships and the use of helicopters. There are also chapters on the leading aces of naval aviation and the developing role of women in the service.
The Roman Wars in Spain
The Military Confrontation with Guerrilla Warfare
Why did the Roman conquest of the Iberian peninsula take almost 200 years? Varga combines evidence from Greek and Roman writers with recent archaeological research to analyse local fighters’ tactics and the Roman response to the challenges of guerilla warfare in the region’s rugged terrain. His research reveals that Spanish armies were more sophisticated than often thought and that the Romans’ setbacks in these campaigns played an important role in shaping the invading legions into a more effective force.
The Waterloo Archive
Histories of the Battle of Waterloo seldom mention that the majority of Wellington’s forces were in fact German, including troops from Nassau, Brunswick, Hanover and the King’s German Legion. Many of them left first-hand accounts of the engagement, more than 60 of which are translated here for the first time. These letters and reports greatly enlarge our understanding of this momentous battle, and offer dramatic accounts of the fighting from the perspective of both officers and private soldiers.
Empire of the Clouds
When Britain's Aircraft Ruled the World
In 1945 Britain was the world's leading builder of jet aircraft and in the decade that followed, produced planes such as the Comet, Vulcan, Hawker Hunter and Lightning; but by the early 1960s aviation companies such as Avro and Vickers were either gone or struggling. This book fuses the author's memories of British aviation's heyday with tales of the legendary aircraft and test pilots and a rueful history of Britain's loss of self-confidence and power. Special illustrated edition.