Facebook

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Osprey's Big Reveal

It's time for our Big Reveal, where we give you a sneak peek at the books we are bringing out in 2017. So far, we've given you a look at Men-at-Arms, Combat Aircraft, Weapon, X-Planes and Warrior, with plenty more planned over the next couple of weeks.

Osprey's Big Reveal: Men-at-Arms


 Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568-1648 (1): Infantry

Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568-1648 (1): Infantry

During the course of the 80 Years’ War one of its main leaders – Maurice of Orange-Nassau – created an army and a tactical system that became a model throughout Europe. This study focuses on the Dutch infantry, examining how Maurice of Orange-Nassau mobilized patriots and volunteers from across Europe, introduced innovative new training methods and standardised the organisation and payment system of the army to make it more than a match for the occupying Spanish.

Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (1): 31 BC - AD 195

Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (1): 31 BC - AD 195

Between the reigns of Augustus and Septimus Severus, the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire frequently saw brutal fighting, most notably during the conquest of Dacia by Trajan, the suppression of the Great Revolt in Judea and the intermittent clashes with Rome’s great rival Parthia. Drawing upon the latest archaeological research, this book examines the variation of equipment and uniforms both between different military units, and in armies stationed in different regions of the Empire.

Dutch Armies of the 80 Years’ War 1568-1648 (2): Cavalry, Artillery & Engineers

The second in a two-part series on the Dutch armies of the 80 Years’ War focuses on the cavalry, artillery and engineers of the evolving armies created by Maurice of Nassau. Using specially commissioned artwork and photographs of historical artefacts, it shows how the Dutch cavalry arm, artillery, and conduct of siege warfare contributed to the long struggle against the might of the Spanish Empire. These two books include previously unpublished details of unit flags.

Armies of the Italian Wars of Unification 1848-70 (1): Piedmont and the Two Sicilies

In the 1840s, post-Napoleonic Italy was 'a geographical expression' – not a country, but a patchwork of states, divided between the Austrian-occupied north, and a Spanish-descended Bourbon monarchy, who ruled the south from Naples. Two decades later, it was a nation united under a single king and government, thanks largely to the efforts of the King of Sardinia-Piedmont, and the revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi. This book, the first of a two-part series on the armies that fought in the Italian Wars of Unification, examines the Piedmontese and Neapolitan armies that fought in the north and south of the peninsula.

Armies of the Greek-Italian War 1940-41

In October/November 1940 an Italian army some 200,000 strong invaded Greece across the largely undefended Albanian border. Britain supported Greece, at first by sea and in the air and later by landing British and ANZAC troops from North Africa, but the main burden of the six-month war was borne by the Greek Army, Navy and Air Force. Although greatly outnumbered, LtGen Papagos's Greek army was so successful against the Italians in north-west Greece that by 22 November it was actually advancing into Albania, inflicting heavy casualties and capturing much equipment. Simultaneously faced with disastrous defeats at British hands in North Africa and at sea, Mussolini appealed for German help. Although providing German troops and aircraft imposed a serious delay on the planned invasion of the USSR, in early April 1941 the Wehrmacht invaded both Yugoslavia and then, with nine divisions including a Panzer Korps, Greece.

Next up in our Big Reveal is the Combat Aircraft series, which sees four new books landing in 2017.

Nakajima B5N ‘Kate’ and B6N ‘Jill’ Units

Entering service during the Sino-Japanese War, the Nakajima B5N (code-named ‘Kate’) excelled and went on to achieve surprising and dramatic successes in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Its replacement, the Nakajima B6N ‘Jill’, while a marked improvement over its illustrious predecessor, was never able to achieve its full potential in combat due to advances in Allied aircraft, finding itself relegated to the dreaded Kamikaze strikes in the latter part of the war. This book will cover the history of both aircraft, including their design and development, as well as the combat highs and lows of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s premier torpedo-bombers.

Ju 52/3m Bomber and Transport Units 1936-41

The all-metal Junkers Ju 52/3m enjoyed a solid – indeed, revered – reputation amongst its crews and the troops and paratroopers who used and depended on it. For more than ten years, it saw service as a successful military transport, with its distinctive, three-engined design and corrugated metal construction becoming instantly recognisable. This, the first of two books, details its service as a bomber in Spain and in South America, followed by its pivotal role in early war operations during the invasions of Poland and France, the airborne invasion of Crete and the early stages of Operation Barbarossa.

A-6 Intruder Units 1974-96

In the three decades after Vietnam, the veteran A-6 Intruder remained the most powerful strike aircraft available to the US Navy and Marine Corps. Engaging in operations over Cambodia, Lebanon and Libya during the 1970s and 80s, the A-6 maintained its reputation as the ‘Main Battery’ of carrier aviation, remaining in service through the First Gulf War up until 1996 when its duties were taken over by the F-14 Tomcat. Filled with first-hand accounts from pilots and navigators, and fully illustrated with profile artwork and photographs, this is the complete story of the US Navy's main medium attack aircraft in the latter part of the Cold War.

Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units

Initially developed by Savoia-Marchetti as a transport aircraft, the aircraft had evolved into a dedicated medium bomber by the time the S.79-I made its combat debut in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. During World War 2, it became Italy’s most successful bomber, and the most produced, with around 1370 built between 1936 and early 1944. Although initially hampered by poor tactics, the S.79 bomber crews nonetheless scored sunk a number of Allied vessels. The bombers patrolled ceaselessly over the Mediterranean providing a constant threat to Allied sailors in the early stages of the war. This volume chronicles the history of the S.79’s war in the Mediterranean, North African, Balkan, and East African theatres.

Next up is a look at the Weapon series, which examines the most important, famous and infamous weapons throughout history.

Colt Single-Action Revolvers

In 1836, Samuel Colt changed the face of warfare with the production of the first of a series of iconic and influential single-action revolvers, including the .44-calibre Colt Walker and the seminal .45-calibre Colt Single Action Army, which remains in production today.  These weapons shifted the role of the pistol from single-shot weapon of last resort to a practical and powerful sidearm that gave the soldier the ability to defend himself once his primary armament was discharged.  They transformed cavalry tactics and relegated the sword to a largely ceremonial role in many armies.

The FN Minimi Light Machine Gun

In 1974, renowned Belgian arms company Fabrique Nationale brought out a ground-breaking new light machine gun, the Minimi. Its success has been meteoric, arming more than 45 countries around the world.

The Minimi offers the ultimate in portable firepower. Firing the high-velocity 5.56×45mm round, the Minimi is a gas-operated, lightweight, belt or magazine-fed weapon, able to burn through cartridges at a cyclical rate of up to 1,150 rounds per minute, making it the weapon of choice for tactical support at squad level.

The Suomi Submachine Gun

Entering service in 1931, the 9x19mm Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun saw extensive combat with Finnish troops during their fight against Soviet forces in 1939–44. It was also manufactured under licence in Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden, and remained in Finnish service until the 1980s, an indication of its durability.

Rugged and accurate, the Suomi was a favourite with Finnish ski troops who would strike from ambush, cutting down Soviet troops, then skiing away into the woods. Initially used by the Finns as a light machine gun at infantry squad level, it eventually became a dedicated submachine gun, and since it had been designed to be more accurate than the typical SMG, it was often even used as a sniping weapon, or to supplement longer-ranged rifles such as the Mosin-Nagant.

The Pilum

A heavy javelin, normally used as a shock weapon immediately before contact, the pilum was designed with a particular speciality: it could penetrate a shield and carry on into the individual behind it. Relying on mass rather than velocity, at short range a volley of pila had much the same effect on a charging enemy as musketry would in later periods.  The design was not uniform, with a wide diversity of types throughout the developmental history of the weapon, but for more than four centuries it remained a vital part of the arsenal of weapons at the disposal of the Roman legionary.

Sharpshooting Rifles of the American Civil War

At the outset of the American Civil War, the Union Army's sharpshooters were initially equipped with the M1855 Colt revolving rifle, but it was prone to malfunction. Instead, the North’s sharpshooters preferred the Sharps rifle, an innovative breech-loading weapon capable of firing up to ten shots per minute – more than three times the rate of fire offered by the standard-issue Springfield .58-caliber rifled musket. Other Union sharpshooters were equipped with the standard-issue Springfield rifled musket or the .56-56-caliber Spencer Repeating Rifle.

Conversely, the Confederacy favoured the Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled musket for its sharpshooters and also imported from Britain the Whitworth Rifle, a .45-caliber, single-shot, muzzle-loading weapon distinguished by its use of a twisted hexagonal barrel.

US Grenade Launchers

Reliable, easy to use, and lethally effective, the M79 grenade launcher stands as an iconic symbol of the Vietnam War. It had a profound influence on small-unit tactics, making a valuable contribution to the squad’s overall firepower at the expense of one rifle per M79 assigned. As the Vietnam conflict continued it was joined on the front line by experimental models such as the magazine-fed T148E1 and pump-action China Lake grenade launcher, as well as two launchers intended to be fitted under the barrel of the new M16 assault rifle, Colt’s XM148 and AAI Corporation’s M203. The M203 remains in US Army service today alongside a newer model, the M320, while the US Marine Corps now also fields the M32 multiple grenade launcher – like the M79, a standalone weapon. The M79 and its successors also influenced the design of tripod- and vehicle-mounted full-automatic grenade launchers, which for the most part, used similar, but different high-pressure 40mm rounds.

The 'Broomhandle' Mauser

At a time when most handguns were limited to six rounds, the ten-shot Mauser caught the attention of the world for its unprecedented firepower and formidable high-velocity 7.63×25mm cartridge, offering longer range and better penetration than other pistols of the day. This saw its ultimate expression in the first-ever select-fire handgun – the ‘Schnellfeuer’ machine pistol, fed by a detachable magazine and offering both full-automatic and single-shot modes. Long-barrelled carbines were also produced to take full advantage of the weapon’s power and accuracy, and even standard variants were supplied with a combination shoulder stock and holster, prefiguring the ‘Personal Defence Weapon’ of today.

Cavalry Lance

Offering formidable reach and striking power, the lance has been the quintessential shock weapon of the cavalry throughout history. Yet with the development of cavalry firearms and the widespread disappearance of armour from the European battlefield, it became somewhat marginalized. However, by 19th century the lance, much changed from its medieval predecessors in both form and function, was back in use by the majority of Western militaries. A weapon once considered obsolete returned to favour, seeing action in a host of conflicts including the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War and World War I. It was not until the disappearance of the mounted warrior from the battlefield that the lance was finally consigned to history.

X-Planes is our brand new aviation series, looking at the dangerous and thrilling world of experimental aircraft. The first 2 books in the series publish in September 2016, and we are pleased to announce four new titles for 2017.

XPL: North American X-15

The revolutionary X-15 remains the fastest manned aircraft ever to fly. Designed and built as the Space Race hotted up, the X-15 was intended to research hypersonic speeds and flights to the edge of space, and form the basis of a possible orbital spaceplane. It obliterated previous speed records, achieving Mach 6.7 and altitudes beyond the edge of space, 100km above the Earth. These ultra-high altitude flights – where the air no longer supports aerodynamic flight, and X-15 pilots relied on spacecraft-style rocket thrusters to keep control – qualified several pilots as astronauts, including Neil Armstrong. In all, the three X-15s made 199 flights, testing new technologies and techniques which helped make the Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle viable propositions.

XPL: Luftwaffe Emergency Fighters

In late 1944, the German Air Ministry organised an ‘Emergency Fighter Competition’ intended to produce designs for quick-to-build yet technically and tactically effective jet fighters capable of tackling the anticipated arrival of the B-29 Superfortress over Europe, as well as the British Mosquito and US P-38 Lightning which were appearing in ever-greater numbers.

Thus was born a cutting-edge, highly sophisticated series of aircraft designs, including the futuristic and elegant Focke-Wulf Ta 183; the extraordinary Blohm und Voss P.212, and the state-of-the-art Messerschmitt P.1101 series. As the war ended before they could be fully developed and built, none of the Emergency Fighters saw service, but these advanced aircraft would heavily influence fighter design in the early years of the Jet Age. This book includes a new colour three-view of every Emergency Fighter, plus technical art and a battlescene of how jet aerial combat might have looked if World War II had dragged on into 1946.

XPL: TSR2

The TSR2 is one of the greatest 'what-if' aircraft of the Cold War, whose cancellation still generates anger and controversy among aviation fans. It was a magnificent, cutting-edge aircraft, one of the most striking of the Cold War, but it fell victim to cost overruns, overambitious requirements, and politics. Its scrapping marked the point when Britain's aerospace industry could no longer build world-class aircraft independently. More than 50 years after it first flew, it is still one of the icons of British Cold War aviation, at once representing the very peak of British aero-engineering achievement, and the most powerful symbol of its decline.

XPL: Bell X-2

Pioneering the now-standard layout for supersonic fighters, the Bell X-2 was one of the most influential research aircraft of the early Jet Age. Although it now looks like a conventional jet fighter, it was revolutionary at the time, with swept wings and a completely new type of airframe, and was capable of exploring Mach 2–3 for the first time. Designed in the late 1940s alongside the X-1 programme, Bell combined the most advanced US technology with knowledge captured from Nazi Germany to produce aircraft that were far ahead of any others in their field.

In the early 1950s the absence of adequate computers and supersonic wind-tunnel data meant that pilots could only test new technologies the hard way. Both X-2s were destroyed in crashes, killing two test pilots, but the knowledge gained from the program was invaluable in developing aircraft that could safely fly in the Mach 2–3 range. Every high-speed aircraft from the 1950s onwards, from Concorde to the SR-71 Blackbird to the hypersonic X-15, relied on data originally gained by the X-2 and its brave test pilots.

 Next up in the Big Reveal we have Warrior, which will be seeing two new titles join its ranks in 2017.

Roman Legionary 109 - 58 BC

From 109 BC, when the cohort replaced the maniple as the crucial tactical subunit of the legion, the centurion, although inferior in military rank and social class, superseded the tribune as the most important officer in the legion. The Roman centurion, holding the legionaries steady before the barbarian horde and then leading them forward to victory, was the heroic exemplar of the Roman world, the personification of virtus – masculine valour and excellence. This period is often overlooked, but the invincible legions that Julius Caesar led into Gaul were the refined products of 50 years of military reforms.

British Tank Crewman 1939-45

Great Britain had introduced the tank to warfare during World War I and maintained its superiority with the ‘Experimental Mechanised Force’ during the late 1920s, which combined lorried infantry with fast tanks to produce good results against more conventional forces in several major exercises. Despite these successes, the Experimental Mechanised Force was disbanded due to a mixture of defence cuts in the 1930s depression (so severe that even soldiers' pay was cut) and opposition from traditionalist officers, especially from the cavalry. Britain thus lost leadership in tank warfare, and was relatively unprepared for World War II, both in terms of doctrine and equipment. However, it quickly became obvious that building a large and effective armoured force would be key to defeating Germany.

This study examines the men who crewed the tanks of Britain’s armoured force, which was only four battalions large in 1939. It looks at the recruitment and training of the vast numbers of men required, their equipment, appearance and combat experience in every theatre of the war.

In today's instalment of the Big Reveal we are charging into the thick of battle, with eight new Combat titles scheduled for release in 2017.

Panzergrenadier vs US Armored Infantryman

During World War II, the two pre-eminent mechanized infantry forces of the conflict, the German Panzergrenadier arm and the US Army’s armoured infantrymen, clashed in France and Belgium after the Normandy landings.  These engagements went on to profoundly influence the use of mechanized infantry in the post-war world.  Drawing upon a variety of sources, this book focuses on three key encounters between July and December 1944 including during Operation Cobra and the Battle of the Bulge, and examines the origins, equipment, doctrine and combat record of both forces.

New Zealand Infantryman vs German Motorcycle Soldier

In April 1941, as Churchill strove to counter the German threat to the Balkans, New Zealand troops were hastily committed to combat in the wake of the German invasion of Greece where they would face off against the German Kradsch├╝tzen – motorcycle troops. Examining three major encounters in detail with the help of maps and contemporary photographs, this lively study shows how the New Zealanders used all their courage and ingenuity to counter the mobile and well-trained motorcycle forces opposing them in the mountains and plains of Greece and Crete.

Longbowman vs Crossbowman

For centuries, the crossbow had dominated the battlefields of continental Europe, with mercenaries from Genoa and Brabant in particular filling the ranks of the French army, yet on the outbreak of the Hundred Years' War they came up against a formidable foe. To master the English longbow was a labour of years, requiring far greater skill to use than the crossbow, but it was much more flexible and formidable, striking fear into French men-at-arms and cavalry.

Canadian Corps Soldier vs Royal Bavarian Soldier

In 1917 the soldiers of the Canadian Corps would prove themselves the equal of any fighting on the Western Front, while on the other side of the wire, the men of the Royal Bavarian Army won a distinguished reputation in combat. Employing the latest weapons and pioneering tactics, these two forces would clash in three notable encounters: the Canadian storming of Vimy Ridge, the back-and-forth engagement at Fresnoy and at the sodden, bloody battle of Passchendaele.

Boer Guerrilla vs British Mounted Soldier

Waged across an inhospitable terrain which varied from open African savannah to broken mountain country and arid semi-desert, the Anglo-Boer wars of 1880–81 and 1899–1902 pitted the British Army and its allies against the Boers’ commandos.

The nature of warfare across these campaigns was shaped by the realities of the terrain and by Boer fighting techniques. Independent and individualistic, the Boers were not professional soldiers but a civilian militia who were bound by the terms of the ‘Commando system’ to come together to protect their community against an outside threat. By contrast the British Army was a full-time professional body with an established military ethos, but its over-dependence on conventional infantry tactics led to a string of Boer victories.

Viking Warrior vs Anglo-Saxon Warrior

In the two centuries before the Norman invasion of England, Anglo-Saxon and Viking forces clashed repeatedly in bloody battles across the country. Repeated Viking victories in the 9th century led to their settlement in the north of the country, but the tide of war ebbed and flowed until the final Anglo-Saxon victory before the Norman Conquest. Using stunning artwork, this book examines in detail three battles between the two deadly foes: Ashdown in 871 which involved the future Alfred the Great; Maldon in 991 where an Anglo-Saxon army sought to prevent a renewed Viking invasion; and Stamford Bridge in 1066 which forced King Harold Godwinson to abandon his preparations to repel the expected Norman invasion to fight off Harald Hard-Counsel of Norway.

German Soldier vs Soviet Soldier

By the end of the first week of November 1942, the German Sixth Army held about 90 per cent of the city of Stalingrad. Yet the Soviets stubbornly held on to the remaining parts of the city, and German casualties were reaching catastrophic levels. In an attempt to break the deadlock, on 2 November Hitler decided to send additional German pioneer battalions to act as an urban warfare spearhead. These combat engineers were skilled in all aspects of city fighting, especially in the use of demolitions and small arms to overcome defended positions and in the destruction of armoured vehicles. Facing them were Soviet troops hardened by months of fighting experience. They had perfected the use of urban camouflage, concealed and interlocking firing positions, the application of submachine guns and grenades at close quarters, and sniper support.

Soviet Paratrooper vs Mujahideen Fighter

In 1979 the Soviet Union moved from military ‘help’ to active intervention in its neighbour Afghanistan, with Soviet paratroopers seizing Kabul at the end of December 1979 and motor-rifle divisions crossing the border to reinforce them. Four-fifths of the Afghan National Army deserted in the first year of the war, which, compounded with the spread and intensification of the rebellion throughout the provinces – led by the Mujahideen, formidable guerrilla fighters – forced the Soviets to intensify their involvement. The Mujahideen were never a singular force, though they shared tactics and behaviours that spoke to a common cultural and military experience. They understood the value of surprise, fighting on one’s own terms and the intelligent use of terrain, behaving in a manner that was oftentimes not so different from that of their ancestors fighting the British over a century before.

Next up in Osprey's Big Reveal we have the Aircraft of the Aces series, which will be seeing four additional titles in 2017.

Jagdgeschwader 53 ‘Pik-As’ Bf 109 Aces of 1940

Boasting pilots who had been blooded in the Spanish Civil War, Jagdgeschwader 53 (JG 53) ‘Pik As’ or ‘Ace of Spades’ achieved great success in the skies over France and Britain in 1940. Among the leading aces were Werner M├Âlders, Rolf Pingel and Hans Karl Mayer, all of whom received the Knight’s Cross for their successes in aerial combat. The successes of its pilots resulted in JG 53 being credited with 258 victories following the Battle of Britain for the loss of 51 pilots killed or captured. This study follows the aces of JG 53 into battle, telling the stories of their victories, losses, and ultimate fate.

MiG-21 Aces of the Vietnam War

Having honed their skills on the subsonic MiG-17, pilots of the VPAF received their first examples of the legendary MiG-21 supersonic fighter in 1966. Soon thrown into combat over North Vietnam, the guided-missile equipped MiG-21 proved a deadly opponent for the USAF, US Navy and US Marine Corps crews striking at targets deep into communist territory. Although the communist pilots initially struggled to come to terms with the fighter’s air-search radar and weapons systems, the ceaseless cycle of combat operations quickly honed their skills. Indeed, by the time the last US aircraft (a B-52) was claimed by the VPAF on 28 December 1972, no fewer than 13 pilots had become aces flying the MiG-21, with five more claiming four victories. The best fighter then available to the VPAF, more than 200 MiG-21s (of various sub-types) were supplied to the North Vietnamese.

Jagdgeschwader 1 ‘Oesau’ Aces 1939-45

Formed shortly after the outbreak of World War 2, and equipped with Messerschmitt Bf 109Es, Jagdgeschwader 1 was initially tasked to defend the regional North Sea and Baltic coastal areas and the Reich's main port cities and naval bases. The greatest task for JG 1 though came after 1942 in its defence of the Reich against the US Eighth Air Force’s B-17s and B-24s, bearing the brunt of defence against increasingly regular, larger and deep penetration USAAF daylight bomber raids with fighter escort. Levels of attrition subsequently grew, but so did experience among the leading aces who were often the subject of propaganda films and literature.

Allied Jet Killers of World War 2

Allied fighter pilots began encountering German jets – principally the outstanding Me 262 fighter – from the autumn of 1944. Stunned by the aircraft’s speed and rate of climb, it took USAAF and RAF units time to work out how to combat this deadly threat as the Luftwaffe targeted the medium and heavy bombers attacking targets across the Reich. It was soon discovered the best way to down a jet was to attack it when it was preparing to land after its mission has been completed. Occasionally, a pilot would get lucky and hit a jet whilst it was attacking bombers, knocking out an engine that then slowed the fighter enough for it to be caught up and shot down. A number of high-scoring aces from the Eighth Air Force (Drew, Glover, Meyer, Norley and Yeager, to name but a few) succeeded in claiming Me 262s, Me 163 and Ar 234s during the final months of the campaign, as did RAF aces like Tony Gaze and ‘Foob’ Fairbanks flying Spitfires and Tempests. The exploits of both famous and little-known pilots will be chronicled in this volume, detailing how they pushed their aircraft to the limits of their performance in order to down the Luftwaffe's 'wonder weapons'.

Osprey Publishing Ltd