It will be forever known as Passchendaele: the very word is used to describe wretched and perilous conditions such as were encountered at the battles which became officially designated as Third Ypres. There with better tactics, equipment and experience than he had previously employed, Haig was surely set for considerable advance and ultimate success. Initial successes were, however, reversed by stout German defence and weak British strategy before unprecedented rainfall reduced the Belgian landscape to a quagmire. Through August the British suffered net losses and only towards the end of September did the more enlightened command of Plumer bring gains against the German divisions, only for more rain and the subsequent reduction of offensive effectiveness to reduce territorial gains to a meaningless trickle. Following his popular volume on The Somme,Chris McCarthy re-assesses and enhances the official history of Third Ypres, presenting his research with comprehenive illustrations and valuable coloured maps
On 21 August 1944 German Army Group B was destroyed in Normandy and Allied troops began pressing east from the beachhead they had occupied since the D-Day landings. Within days British troops had liberated Brussels and reached the Dutch border. Encouraged by seeming total German collapse, the Allies gambled their overstretched resources on a high-risk strategy aimed at opening the way into Germany itself - crossing the Rhine.
On the afternoon of Sunday 17 September British tanks advanced into Holland in concert with 1,534 transport aircraft and 491 gliders. Their objective was a series of bridges across the Rhine, possession of which would allow the Allies to advance into Germany. In the event the operation was dogged by bad weather, flawed planning, tardiness and overconfidence, and ended with the Arnhem crossing still in German hands despite an epic nine-day battle that cost the British 1st Airborne Division over two-thirds of its men killed, wounded or captured.
Arnhem: The Complete Story combines analysis and new research by a leading authority on Operation MARKET GARDEN with the words of the men who were there, and provides the most comprehensive account of the battle to date, day by day, hour by desperate hour.
The fabled treasures of China span thousands of years of history. From the exotic Silk Road to the mysterious Great Wall, China's allure is as vast as the country itself. Here, Natasha Bennett introduces the fascinating world of Chinese arms and armour in the Royal Armouries' collection. Offering a colourful insight into one of the world's earliest civilisations, she chronicles the development of personal weapons and armour from the late Bronze Age to the early twentieth century. It is ideal for anyone interested in the military and material culture of this absorbing land.
The book forms part of a series of introductions to aspects of the Royal Armouries' collection of arms and armour. Written by specialists in the field, they are packed full of fascinating information and stunning photography.
Royal Armouries is the national museum of arms and armour, with sites at Leeds, the Tower of London and Fort Nelson, Hampshire.
Volumes III and IV of RWF Regimental Records end rather abruptly on 11 November 1918. The first part of RR Volume V describes the later history of the war-raised units of the Regiment during the Great War and the reduction of the Regiment thereafter. It then details the campaigns and stations of the Regiment from 1919 to 1939 including service in Ireland, India, the North-West Frontier, Cyprus, Sudan, Shanghai, Gibraltar and Hong Kong. The Territorial Army is also covered as is the Regiment's role as an experimental mechanised unit in the 1930s.
The last section of Part One then tells the story of three of the Regiment's units - the 1st Battalion, 101st Anti-Aircraft and Anti-Tank Regiment, and No 2 Independent Company, on active service from 1939 to May 1940.
The Australian Independent Companies and the Commandos into which they evolved were unique sub-units of the Australian Army during the Second World War. The very concept of such units was a radical one for the deeply conservative Australian Army and came about because of the personal intervention from the Chief of the General Staff, who alone advocated their establishment.
The Independent Companies were unlike any other unit in the Australian Army. They were raised to fight in an autonomous, unconventional manner and while supporting them, were independent of higher formations. During 1942 and 1943 the Independent Companies conducted a multitude of tasks that tested their attributes and skills to the full, be it trekking across and surveying virgin tropical wilderness, long range patrols, raiding and harassing, stalking the enemy and amazingly skilled stealthy close range reconnaissance. As the war progressed, the Army, which had never approved of allowing too much independence to its sub-units, reassessed its requirement for such troops and in a sweeping change transformed the Independent Companies into Commando Squadrons. These were to be much more tightly controlled than the Independent Companies had been, essentially designed to operate as light infantry rather than a radically unconventional model. Throughout 1944 and 1945 Australian Commandos participated in every campaign fought by the Australian Army.
The Second World War Australian Commando experience was very much one of an army unready for the challenge that was initially imposed on it, but an Army that rose to the trial and eventually, despite missteps, ultimately successful mastered the manner in which it chose to employ its commandos.
Could the event that triggered the `war to end all wars' have been prevented? The shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand - long considered the catalyst for the outbreak of the First World War - is often described as the `shot heard around the world'. Far less widely known is the fact that the Archduke may have owned, but on that fateful day did not wear, a silk bulletproof vest created by Polish priest-turned-inventor Casimir Zeglen.
Applying innovative new research, Lisa Traynor highlights the risks associated with power and status in the early 20th century, and charts the technological development of pistols used in the period's assassination plots. Testing replicas of Zeglen's invention with a Royal Armouries Browning Model 1910 pistol identical to that used by the Archduke's assassin, Traynor poses the haunting question: if Franz Ferdinand had worn body armour on the day of his assassination, would it have saved his life?
Featured in the BBC TV series Sword, Musket and Machine Gun: Britain's Armed History, this fascinating book breaks new ground in our understanding of arms and armour technology on the eve of the First World War.
The 1956 Suez War, fought between Egypt and the improbable coalition of Britain, France, and Israel, was a key point in the history of the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict. A blitzkrieg-style Israeli victory proved that Israel's victory in the 1948 war was not an accident to be swiftly fixed by Arab armies, and gave the country eleven years of relative peace until the next major conflict. An Anglo-French blunder marked the decline of British and French influence in the Middle East, to be replaced by Soviet and US involvement. Egyptian defiance of the great powers of the past marked the high point of Arab nationalism.
Despite the importance of the Suez conflict, almost no comprehensive military history of it exists. This book changes this by presenting a clear, comprehensive narrative of the conflict with a special emphasis on the military decisions and the short- and long-term results of the conflict, both tactical and strategic, military and political.
The Royal Dragoon Guards, formed in 1992 from the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, has a proud history dating back to 1685: the Earl of Arran's Regiment of Cuirassiers, the antecedents of the 4th (Royal Irish) Dragoon Guards and the Duke of Shrewsbury's Regiment of Horse (5th Dragoon Guards) were raised during the Monmouth Rebellion. Along with Sir Albert Cunningham's Regiment of Horse (latterly the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons) they fought together at the Battle of the Boyne.
These are regiments that have been present at some of the great battles and campaigns of history: Dettingen, Fontenoy, the Peninsula and Waterloo, where Inniskillings charged as part of the Union Brigade and are rumoured to have captured a French Eagle. At Balaklava, the Inniskillings and 4th Dragoon Guards took part in the far more successful, but less celebrated, `Charge of the Heavy Brigade'. All four regiments served during the Second Boer War, and it was the 4th Dragoon Guards that became the first members of the British Expeditionary Force to make contact with German troops in August 1914.
In this book, Anthony Dawson draws on archival material from the Regimental Collection, as well as diaries and letters, to give a vivid, personal account of this famous regiment.
Like many Germans, Berlin schoolboy Erwin Bartmann fell under the spell of the Zeitgeist cultivated by the Nazis. Convinced he was growing up in the best country in the world, he dreamt of joining the Leibstandarte, Hitler's elite Waffen-SS unit. Tall, blond, blue-eyed, and just seventeen-years-old, Erwin fulfilled his dream on Mayday 1941, when he gave up his apprenticeship at the Glaser bakery in Memeler Strasse and walked into the Lichterfelde barracks in Berlin as a raw, volunteer recruit.
On arrival at the Eastern Front in late summer 1941, Erwin was assigned to a frontline communications squad attached to 4.Kompanie and soon discovered that survival was a matter of luck - or the protection of a guardian angel. Good fortune finally deserted Erwin on 11 July 1943 when shrapnel sizzled through his lung during the epic Battle of Kursk-Prokhorovka. Following a period of recovery, and promotion to Unterscharfuhrer, Erwin took up a post as machine-gun instructor with the Ausbildung und Ersatz Bataillon, a training unit based close to the eastern section of the Berliner Ring Autobahn. When the Red Army launched its massive assault on the Seelow Heights, Erwin's unit, now incorporated into Regiment Falke, was deployed to the southern flank of the Berlin-Frankfurt Autobahn, close to the River Oder. The German defences soon crumbled and with the end of the Reich inevitable, Erwin was forced to choose between a struggle for personal survival and the fulfilment of his SS oath of 'loyalty unto death'.
From the war on the southern sector of the Eastern Front to a bomb-shattered Berlin populated largely by old men and demoralised lonely women, this candid eyewitness account offers a unique and sometimes surprising perspective on the life of a young Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler volunteer.
By 1945 the British Army numbered 3 million men and was about three times as large as it had been when the Second World War broke out in 1939. British soldiers could be found fighting all over the world, from France and Belgium via North Africa and the Middle East to the jungles of Burma and the Far East. Many of these men were conscripted from those aged between eighteen and forty-one, making this a true citizens' army. They would have had no previous military or combat experience, only about sixteen weeks' training.
Covering Regulars, Territorials, Corps and the Infantry from volunteering or conscription to demob, this book explores the uniforms, insignia, kit, equipment, weaponry and training of British soldiers along with their lives and experiences on active service campaigns during the Second World War.
This book is part of the Britain's Heritage series, which provides definitive introductions to the riches of Britain's past, and is the perfect way to get acquainted with British soldiers of the Second World War in all their variety.