In 1943 the tide began to turn against Germany on the Eastern Front. Their summer offensive, Operation Citadel, was a failure, and the Red Army seized the initiative, despite appallingly high losses. Waging a war of attrition, the Russians gradually pushed Germany's Army Group South back. By October 1943 the Russians had reached the Dnepr in Ukraine, Kiev was liberated, and the scene was set for the events described in this book, written by a high-ranking General Nikolaus von Vormann, who commanded XLVII. Panzerkorps.
The battle of Cherkassy is also known as the Korsun Pocket, Korsun being the small town at the centre of the area containing the surrounded German forces. After sudden attacks by the 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts, in January 1944 the Russians achieved a major encirclement of six German divisions, a total of 60,000 soldiers. The Red Army had the numerical advantage, but two of the Panzer divisions were in good shape, and thus a dramatic battle ensued, with each side both attacking and defending.
Strenuous efforts to avoid another Stalingrad were made, with the Germans led by Erich von Manstein attempting to break into the pocket. Atrocious weather plus effective resistance repulsed their attacks and by mid-February it became clear that breaking out of the pocket was the only option for the Germans. Abandoning a huge amount of equipment and the wounded, they succeeded and rejoined the surrounding panzer divisions. The Germans avoided a catastrophe but 34% of the troops did not survive.
Generalleutnant von Vormann's account starts with the retreat to the Dnepr in 1943, describes the battle of Kirowograd from 5th-17th January 1944, the encirclement, the efforts to relieve the trapped troops, the struggle of the troops within the pocket, and the breakout. His mainly factual account also contains a description of the psychological effects on the men of this most brutal and physically exhausting battle. It is one of the few primary source materials that exists and is therefore of significant historical interest.
This book describes two Soviet offensive operations carried out during September and October 1944. The first was the operation for the occupation of Bulgaria - known as the 'Bulgarian operation'; the second was the Belgrade offensive operation, which was carried out immediately after the Bulgarian operation. Although separate, the two operations were closely linked to each other: the first was conducted in an almost peaceful manner, which saved resources. This necessitated that the Soviet Command carried out the second operation promptly, which seriously endangered the encirclement of German Army Group ? position in the Southern Balkans. Pressed by the advancing Red Army, the German troops withdrew from the territories of Greece and Albania. They also relocated fresh forces from the Western Balkans to the Bulgarian-Yugoslav Border in order to build up a defense line. The book describes in detail the heavy battles during the Belgrade offensive operation. Both combatants suffered from the same problems: heavy mountainous terrain; poor roads and infrastructure; and severe weather conditions. This is one of the few Soviet offensives which started without a large superiority of their forces over those of the enemy. The German soldiers were trained to fight in mountainous conditions, and the Soviets were not. The Soviet armament was more modern, but heavier. Additionally, it was not designed to move on the narrow and steep mountain roads. Therefore, the success of this offensive operation was unclear for a long time. The German Command was but a step away from turning Belgrade into a fortress, and slowing down the war in the region for months. The Soviet troops won, but as a result of very tough fighting. After Bulgaria joined the Allied forces, its military forces were subject to the command of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. The commander of the Front used this new ally to the max - thus conserving Soviet forces. There is also a short description of the activities of the Bulgarian troops, who undertook a secondary offensive from the Aegean Sea to the town of Nis in Southern Serbia. The book describes the operations of both ground and air forces. Special attention is paid to the Soviet tank and mechanized units which participated in both operations, and the book benefits from a detailed set of daily statistics and accompanying analysis which has not been attempted before. As well as a detailed narrative, the author also provides information covering camouflage, markings and unit insignia. The authoritative text is supported by more than 400 photographs (the majority of them previously unpublished); full-colour profiles showing the aforementioned camouflage, markings and unit insignia; and also full-colour battle maps. This book is a result of the author's years spent studying documents from the Russian Federation's Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense and the Bulgarian State Military Historical Archives. Such a detailed study on this topic has not appeared before - and the author's work is unlikely to be superseded.
Prior to the beginning of the Second World War, the Royal Hungarian Armed Forces - including the Air Force - prepared to engage the Little Entente forces; however, after a short skirmish prior to the war with the Slovaks, during the war, their opponents became the Soviet and American aviators. The Hungarian aces fought gallantly against such heavy odds and, after the war's end, the new Hungarian communist regime turned against them as well; this book is the unique story of the 38 Hungarian air aces of the Second World War. The overwhelming majority of the related materials have been lost or destroyed, so the author has demonstrated truly Herculean efforts during his 23-year-long extensive research to write this monumental work. The book is based mostly on previously unpublished primary sources from Hungarian, German, Russian and American Archives, and also on the preserved documents of the aces and their families. The text is not limited to the highly detailed biographies of the 38 Hungarian aces; it also covers some important and related aspects such as air victory confirmation systems, air combat tactics and obtained awards. Besides this, the book contains more than 350 rare images - many of them are previously unpublished - and a selection of superb colour profiles, which show camouflage and markings for the aircraft of the aces.
The deployment of the British 1st Airborne Division somewhere in Europe prior to the end of the war was indeed a case of `coins burning holes in the pockets of SHAEF'. The Allied High Command was anxious to commit to battle a division that, while it contained some elite units, was not fully trained, had carried out only one divisional exercise and contained several officers who were either unfit or unsuitable for airborne command. On Monday 18 September 1944, the aircraft and gliders carrying the men and equipment of 4 Parachute Brigade took off from airfields in the south of England. For the first time from its creation in North Africa, the brigade was going into battle as a unified formation, albeit not fully trained and far from experienced. Within 24 hours, the Brigade would cease to exist, having achieved nothing more than the deaths of good men for no good reason. Despite the fine words of Winston Churchill that the operation had not been `in vain' and Montgomery's `90% successful', there is more logic to be found in the words of the Great War poet Wilfred Owen when he wrote in his poem Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. There were those commanders who were indeed `ardent for some desperate glory'. This is a full account of the brigade and its actions at Arnhem.
After the annexation of the Punjab in 1849, the British were quick to acknowledge the fighting prowess of the proud Sikh nation and started to recruit Sikhs into the British Indian army. This soldiering tradition continued into the early 20th century and when the Great War commenced in 1914, Sikhs were in high demand. They came forward in their thousands and enlisted in numbers disproportionate to their population. Although they made up approximately 1-2% of the Indian population they made up 20% of the British Indian Army at the beginning of the Great War.
The Great War was truly a global conflict for the Sikhs, who fought in every arena of the war including the Western Front, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Persia, Africa, Palestine and the Far East. Their contribution in manpower to the war effort reached over 100,000 men by the end of the conflict.
The Great War produced a vast literature of novels, poems and myths. But the story of these Sikh soldiers and the Sikh people is mostly forgotten. This book seeks to address this by telling the story of the Great War through the eyes of the Sikh soldier and Sikh people themselves, by examining their war time experiences from France, from the hospital, from the trench, from the village and an array of lands. The book also tells the story of parallel Sikh movements of the time, from fighting against racism in the Empire to would-be revolutionaries returning from aboard to uproot the British from India.
Most fascinatingly, the story is told in their own words by previously anonymous Sikhs such as Gajan Singh, a cavalryman, who tells of the horrors of the Somme in his own unique Indian way, and Mul Singh, who waxes lyrical about the grandeur of England he had encountered on a tour. Poetry from Gurdit Singh exhorting loyalty to a King-Emperor that he had no real knowledge of, and a letter full of emotion and desperation from Partap Kaur, a widow, whose husband had been killed in Flanders. Their voices are arranged by theme and ordered chronologically to allow the reader to understand how perspectives changed through the course of the war.
The book explores many reasons why Sikhs rose to the challenge of fighting in the Great War, and how this is linked to the Sikh psyche, their martial traditions, coercion and to the prevailing situation in the Punjab.
Utilising research from hundreds of unpublished letters written to and from Sikh soldiers, testimonies, newspaper articles, archives and a range of other sources, the book builds a picture of the human experience of Sikhs during the Great War, a war of the 20th century whose effects are still being felt a century later.
The Furthest Garrison focuses on Imperial Forces in New Zealand, with particular reference to Auckland. Existing work has focused solely on the conduct of the New Zealand (Maori) Wars between 1846 and 1866. While this in itself is of undoubted significance, there is an additional unexplored aspect of the conflict in terms of its impact upon the garrison and, in turn, its impact upon the civilian population.
Auckland was the hub of the British military presence in New Zealand and the barracks played an integral part in local colonial society from sports such as cricket and horse racing to entertainment, and to the provisioning of regimental supplies. Civil-military relations also encompassed the provision of aid to the civil power, while the discipline and health of the garrison also had the capacity to impact upon civilians. The issue of provisioning in particular has not been studied in detail in the case of any other imperial garrison at this period. Many soldiers stationed in New Zealand after their service remained as settlers, working on farms and in other trades, helping to shape colonial society.
This book aims to address the neglected area of the social interaction between the British army and the civilian populace within the British Empire by reference to New Zealand between 1840 and 1870. Publications within this area remain limited with many being unpublished. Some more general works exists for earlier periods the American War of Independence as well as the study of the garrisons in the West Indies between 1792 and 1825. India has been relatively neglected. Published studies of the white dominions in this area of study are also relatively limited, the Australian experience has been restricted to popular works. While Canada and South Africa have been served with scholarly studies on Garrison life within these colonies.
The book will appeal to the academic historian whether military or colonial, and to the general reader who has an interest in British history as well as civil-military relations, or who wishes to better understand how the Army operated outside of Great Britain. It will add materially to the historiography of colonial New Zealand and to the increasing interest in the interaction of garrisons with civilian populations.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo precipitated the road to war in 1914 but the very first shots of the Great War were fired in Belgrade. From 1914 to 1918 the city where the war began viscerally experienced the chaotic build-up of hostilities, the full brunt of the war itself and the hardships of occupation.
This book provides a highly detailed account of the war as experienced by the ordinary people of this aspiring European capital. It explores how various aspects of these calamitous times were felt on the city's streets, in its saloons and markets, as well as how it was reported by local newspapers of the day. The social and cultural history of Serbia during this period has largely been bypassed by both local and international authors, forming a gap in the understanding of a period of history that is otherwise studied in great detail, both by academics and a broader public.
Milos Brun has compiled a treasure trove of detailed information that deserves to take its rightful place in the mosaic of knowledge about the Great War and the role played in it by the Serbian capital.
Brun could not have compiled such a detail-rich account without much previously unseen or under-utilised material, including newspaper accounts, diaries and letters. The wealth of material and the subject matter itself combine to form a unique account of the Great War in an area neglected by English language authors and a true gem for scholars and history enthusiasts looking to complete their understanding of the war and its impact on ordinary lives.
The Royal Navy that Brian Bethen Schofield joined at the beginning of the Twentieth Century truly ruled the waves. Safe anchorages spanned the globe and faster, better armoured ships with revolutionary weaponry were coming into service.
After serving as a midshipman in The Great War, Schofield qualified as a navigator and interpreter in French and Italian. At the outbreak of The Second World War he was Naval Attache in The Hague and Brussels before becoming Director of Trade Division (Convoys) during the critical years 1941-1943\. While commanding the battleship King George V he witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in August 1945.
O'er The Deep Blue Sea is a superbly written memoir offering a fascinating insight into a bygone era. Anyone with more than a passing interest in British naval history will enjoy the Author's graphic yet modest account of an exceptional career.