1918: The Fight for Victory. The Decisive Year in Soldiers' Own Words and Photographs is the next volume in the remarkable series of books from the best-selling First World War historian Richard van Emden. Revisiting the winning formula of diaries and memoirs, and above all original photographs taken on illegally-held cameras by the soldiers themselves, Richard tells the story of 1918, of both the ferocious spring offensive that so nearly brought victory for the Germans in the West, and the tenacious British rearguard fight that thwarted them. The book also tells the vivid story of the Allied breakthrough and the return to open warfare that was to bring victory in November 1918. His previous books, The Road to Passchendaele and The Somme have sold over 30,000 copies in hardback and softback, proving that the public appetite is undiminished for new, original stories illustrated with over 150 rarely or never-before-seen battlefield images.
The author has an outstanding collection of over 5,000 privately-taken and overwhelmingly unpublished photographs, revealing the war as it was seen by the men involved, an existence that was sometimes exhilarating, too often terrifying, and occasionally even fun.
This book will be published in September 2018, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice and the national commemorations that will mark the end of the four-year-long series of centennial events to mark the Great War.
At the end of the First World War, British imperial power was at an all-time low. That was until a ragtag band of visionaries, including Winston Churchill and T.E. Lawrence, proposed that the aeroplane, the wonder weapon of the age, could save the empire. Using the radical strategy of air control, the RAF tried to subdue vast swathes of the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Wings of Empire is a compelling account of the colonial air campaigns that saw a generation of young airmen take to the skies to battle against cultures that had never seen a plane before. This is the full story of the RAF's most extraordinary conflict, told here for the first time.
Thomas `Tom' Josiah Wedgwood (1797-1860) was the grandson of the English potter and entrepreneur Josiah Wedgwood, and the son of John Wedgwood and Louisa Jane (Jenny) Allen.
Tom was a professional soldier, gazetted Ensign in the 3rd Foot Guards at the age of sixteen. Less than eighteen months later he was sent to fight at Waterloo and took part in the crucial defence of Hougoumont. He was promoted to Captain in 1820 and participated in a rather neglected `peace keeping' operation in Portugal, from 1827 to 1828. Later in 1830 he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and continued serving in the army until 1837.
In later life, Tom married and settled in Tenby where he became a respected citizen; a memorial fountain in his honour still exists in that town. A number of Tom's letters from the Waterloo campaign have survived as has a detailed journal that he kept during his time in Portugal; these documents, many previously unpublished, form the core of this book.
The Vought F-8 Crusader was a classic post-war aircraft; loved by its pilots, this big machine was nicknamed `The Last of the Gunfighters' because of its primary armament of four 20 mm Colt cannon. The F-8 entered service with the US Navy in 1957 and remained as one of its front line fighters until 1976, having served with distinction during the Vietnam War. Reconnaissance versions served on until 1987, while it was the French Navy who doggedly held onto their F-8s until the arrival of the Rafale in 2000.
The A-7 Corsair II came about as a replacement for another US Navy aircraft, the A-4 Skyhawk, and in an effort to cut down on research and development costs, the new light attack aircraft used the same components as the F-8. Much shorter than its older sibling, the A-7 entered service in 1967 and was immediately pressed into service alongside the F-8 in Vietnam with both the US Navy and, later, the USAF. Retired by the ANG in 1991, the A-7 remained operational until 2014 with the Greek Air Force.
'Java is heaven, Burma is hell, but you never come back alive from New Guinea' - Japanese military saying
The capture of Lae was the most complex operation for the Australian army in the Second World War. In many ways it was also a rehearsal for the D-Day invasion of France, with an amphibious landing combined with the first successful large-scale Allied airborne operation of the war. D-Day New Guinea brings together the extraordinary stories of the Australian, American and Japanese participants in this battle, and of the fight against the cloying jungle, the raging rivers and the soaring mountain ranges that made New Guinea such a daunting battlefield.
Phillip Bradley brings a compelling clarity, humanity and new insight into a little known but crucial Australian battle of the Pacific War.
It is perhaps the most significant technological change in the history of warfare. The Middle Ages would see a new type of weapon emerge - the gun. This special issue looks at the invention of firearms, beginning in China, its spread throughout Eurasia and its influence on battles, armies and fortifications. Featuring articles by Tonio Andrade, Ruth Brown, Kelly DeVries, Kay Smith and more. One key aspect of this book is to show how experimental the use of guns and gunpowder is. In medieval China, Europe and Asia, there is a lot of new things happening in how warfare is being conducted. For example, how are cannons being used on the battlefield, and when are they successful (or unsuccessful) in changing the outcomes of battles? How do fortifications change, and how much of that is because of the threat posed by artillery? I want to give a sense to the reader that this is really a dynamic period, with new technology leading us to different and unexpected places, much like the computer revolution we are now in is changing our own society in unforeseen ways.
July 1940, and Britain is the only European country which hasn't caved in to Hitler's Third Reich. Hitler's stated aim was to `eliminate the English home country as a base for the continuation of the war against Germany'. A Nazi invasion of Britain was set for 15 September, but the prerequisite was air supremacy - control of the skies over Britain to permit Blitzkrieg tactics and the successful crossing of the Channel by hundreds of thousands of German troops. The fighter pilots of the RAF stood in their way against the numerically superior Luftwaffe.
The quality of first-hand accounts left by the Battle of Britain fighter pilots is astonishing. Many were written in the midst of the epic air battle: a hastily jotted-down diary, letters written to young wives, a contemporary interview with a journalist or a radio broadcast, and most poignant of all, the short books that were written to while away the weeks stuck in hospital bed whilst recovering from wounds received in battle. Some were written up in the cold light of day later in the war or just after, but they all share one feature - they were written before `the Few' truly became etched in the mindset of the British people. The fighter pilots' modesty shines through.
Battle of Britain histories often integrate testimony from pilots, but this is the first book to collect together substantial accounts to give a true idea of the exhilaration of being in a dogfight with a swarm of Messerschmitt 109s, the harrowing experience of being trapped in a burning cockpit and the mental stress of day after day of the maelstrom of air fighting. Far better than any single narrative, the `voices', together with 150 photographs, many in colour, build up a complete picture of the Battle of Britain as it was experienced by the men who took part in it.
D-Day, the largest amphibious invasion in history, took place on 6 June 1944. The subsequent battle of Normandy involved over a million men, and helped seal the fate of The Third Reich. This is a graphic account of the planning and execution of Operation Overlord, as well as the campaign which effectively destroyed the German forces in France, opening the way for the Allied advance. Including a wealth of superb photographs and maps, the book also contains 30 facsimile items of rare memorabilia, including diaries, letters and memos, bringing this 'Day of Days' dramatically to life.
Often overlooked is the fact that, in addition to being Emperor of the French, Napoleon was also King of Italy. As such he was the first man to hold such a title since antiquity, albeit that the Kingdom was ruled by Eugene de Beauharnais as Viceroy. There seems little doubt that had Napoleon remained in power for a few more years then the Kingdom's Army would have been the cornerstone of a unified Italian State a half-century before Garibaldi.
The Kingdom may only have comprised about a third of the Italian peninsula, but it was inevitably a major contributor of manpower to the Grande Armee. Despite this, and the continuing popularity of the study of Napoleonic armies and uniforms, there has not previously been a full-length study of the appearance of this Army nor any comparable synopsis of its service.
The uniforms of the Kingdom's Army were heavily influenced by those of Napoleonic France but there was, in addition, enough `Italian flair' to make them distinctive and the Army's service record was the equal to that of any of France's allies and satellites, and considerably better than most.
Many organizations contributed to the Allied cause during World War II by funneling hundreds of downed airmen, escaped POWs, Engelandvaarders, and Resistance fighters out of occupied Europe and allowing them to rejoin the fight against Nazi Germany. The work of escape lines was carried out by civilian volunteers, or "helpers" who looked after "evaders" and guided them from one safe house to the next, each time risking their own lives. Many of the escape lines followed routes through France to the foothills of the Pyrenees. Here, the evaders were handed over to passeurs, or people smugglers, responsible for guiding them over the Pyrenees and across the border with "neutral" Spain.
In France, Toulouse was an important nexus of escape lines working together, Dutch-Paris, Francoise, and the unnamed network operated by Gabriel Nahas and passeur Jean-Louis Bazerque ("Charbonnier"). As evader numbers stagnated, Charbonnier recruited more passeurs and opened up more routes over the central Pyrenees. As the number of evaders in each group reached new highs, risk of accident or detection by the Grenzpolizei grew. Charbonnier did not survive the war and his accomplishments have largely gone unrecognized. His one failed attempt, when 29 evaders in a group of 35 were captured near Luchon on April 21-22, 1944, has only been told in bits and pieces and only through the lens of a few American and British airmen who believed that one of the passeurs had betrayed the group.
Drawing on government and private archives in the United States, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, Jean-Luc Cartron gives the first detailed account of what happened. The author reveals the heretofore unknown identities of some of the evaders in the party, among them a Belgian Olympian, a French priest and leader of the French Resistance, and the son of Mary Lindell, who was much celebrated in the UK after the war. Using multiple testimonies and legal proceedings, Cartron reveals how Charbonnier operated and how the group was betrayed and by whom.