Kenneth Estes studies the 100,000 West Europeans who fought against Russia as volunteers for the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. A retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, Estes shows tremendous knowledge of combat and writes gripping battlefield prose.
Two-thirds of the West European volunteers came from Spain and the Netherlands, yet Estes demonstrates wide range and covers also Flemish, Walloon, French, Danish, and Norwegian combat units. Avoiding over-generalization, the author distinguishes carefully among the Danes and Flemings who fought competently with the SS-Wiking Division and later with Nordland, the courageous but poorly-armed Spanish, the ill-trained Dutch and French in Landstorm Nederland and SS-Charlemagne, and the Norwegians who after a first wave of enthusiasm held back altogether.
Estes pulverizes the Nazi propaganda notion of a multinational European army defending 'Western civilization' against 'Bolshevism'. He shows that West Europeans, mainly of the urban working classes, volunteered from a mix of motives -adventure-seeking, ideology, hopes of personal advantage or material gain, a desire for better food, or a wish to escape a criminal record at home. He demonstrates that the best-performing foreign legions were trained and led by German officers and formed parts of larger SS units, and also that the Wehrmacht placed little value on foreign formations until its other manpower reserves ran out in 1944-45.
This is a landmark work on a subject which has been much written about, but rarely understood or described as perceptively as in the pages of this book.
The First World War moulded the global landscape and had a lasting effect on much of the World. Where the majority of international research focusses on the European theatre, Antonio Garcia explores one of the peripheral campaigns of the Great War. South Africa's First World War campaign in German South West Africa was a daring military undertaking epitomised by manoeuvre and rapidity.
The author takes a novel approach in comparing the campaign to manoeuvre warfare theory. Manoeuvre theory is based on the principles of mobility, rapidity and surprise which attempts to achieve victory with the least loss of resources and in the shortest time possible. In order to achieve a rapid victory against the German forces, the South African soldiers were pushed to the limits of exhaustion to achieve the Union of South Africa's strategic objectives.
The campaign in the deserts of German South Africa became the setting for adventure and war, where Briton, Boer and People of Colour served together as a Dominion of the British Empire. Blacks, Coloureds and Indians fought for the hopes of better political franchise, an ambition which was not to be achieved until 80 years later. The book addresses the complex political dynamics in South Africa at the time of the Great War, the deep division between Afrikaners and British South Africans and the Afrikaner Rebellion.
With the backdrop of political difficulties and a lack of overwhelming support for the entry into the Great War, the Botha government needed a quick result so as to maintain the delicate balance of power. The author provides an analysis on the campaign through the lens of military theory so as to determine how the swift victory was achieved. The book answers the question of whether the campaign was won through numerical superiority or through the use of a superior operational strategy. The victory was the first campaign victory led by a British Dominion.
Scapa Flow, a vast, natural harbour in the Orkney Islands, served as the Royal Navy's main base during the two world wars, from where ships sailed to the Battle of Jutland in the First and in convoy to northern Russia in the Second. Thousands of men and women saw service in and around this remote anchorage, including soldiers and sailors who crewed the ships and manned the lonely batteries, and Wrens, nurses and civilians who were posted there. Scapa Flow brings together their memories - the bleak isolation, its implacable winds and glorious sunsets, the camaraderie and good humour - forming a compelling portrait of a unique war station that left its mark on all who served there.
It was on 14 June 1944, D+8, that the tanks of the 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps began to disembark on Gold Beach during the Normandy landings. Delayed in going ashore, the regiment's tanks had been sorely missed by the infantry - and consequently the men of the 144th soon found themselves in action. It was the start of a long and bitter campaign that would take them across North West Europe into the heart of Germany.
During that advance the regiment took part in a number of important actions. These included Operation Pomegranate (July 1944), Operation Totalize, an innovative night attack which was one of the final steps to breaking out of the Caen bridgehead (7/8 August 1944), the siege and capture of Le Havre, the fighting in Holland during late 1944, the crossing of the Rhine (by which time the regiment had been equipped with amphibious Buffaloes and during which it carried the flag which accompanied the first British tanks to cross the Rhine after the end of the First World War), and the capture of Bremen just before the end of the war in Europe.
The author began to investigate the regiment's service through his late father-in-law, Captain R.W. Thorne, who had been officer in it during the war. As well as extensive interviews with him about the regiment and the campaign, this book draws on a variety of contemporary sources - not least of which are the archives of fellow officer Marcus Cunliffe.
Cunliffe, who went on to become a distinguished British scholar and author who specialized in American Studies after the war (particularly military and cultural history), had kept a detailed and graphic diary and written a number of lively and informative accounts - all of which are now in the George Washington University in Washington DC. Unsurprisingly, Cunliffe's work features heavily in this publication.
Arromanches to the Elbe is a serious contribution to the history of the Second World War. As well as exploring all aspects of army life, such as training and what might be called the social history of an active service unit, this book will appeal to those interested in the campaign in Europe as a whole, the use of tanks and armoured warfare in general, and, of course, the final battles to defeat Hitler's Third Reich.
Greece was the scene of some of the most evocative and decisive battles in the ancient world. This volume brings together the ancient evidence and modern scholarship on twenty battlefields throughout Greece. It is a handy resource for visitors of every level of experience, from the member of a guided tour to the veteran military historian.
The introductory chapter outlines some of the most pressing and interesting issues in the study of Ancient Greek battles and battlefields and offers a crash course on ancient warfare. Twenty lively chapters explore battlefields selected for both their historical importance and their inspiring sites. In addition to accessible overviews of each battle, this book provides all the information needed for an intellectually and aesthetically rewarding visit, including transport and travel details, museum overviews, and further reading.
During the Second World War the British infantry found itself lacking suitable transport to cope with the fast moving German Blitzkrieg tactics. Various stop-gap measures were introduced with mixed success but, with the pots-war nuclear biological and chemical threat, it was imperative that a robust solution was found.
The FV300 and FV400 Cambridge carriers paved the way for the introduction of the AFV430 series in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War. Initially a basic armoured personnel carrier, the series grew to cover a multitude of roles; command, recovery, mortar, Swingfire and remote mine clearing to name but a selection. Over 50 years later variants are still in service.
This classic Images of War book not only describes in words and images the AFV430 series but traces the development of infantry carriers for the British Army.
Few accounts of the tank battles in the Western Desert during the Second World War have provided so vivid an evocation as Cyril Joly's classic account Take These Men. In such inhospitable conditions, this was armoured warfare of a particularly difficult and dangerous kind.
From 1940 to 1943 battles raged back and forth as one side or the other gained the upper hand, only to lose it again. Often the obsolescent British armour was outnumbered by the Italians or outgunned by Rommel's Afrika Korps, and frequently it suffered from the ineptitudes of higher command.
Cyril Joly's first-hand narrative of these campaigns, highly praised when it was originally published in 1955, tells the story through the eyes of a young officer in the 7th Armoured Division, the famous Desert Rats. It describes in accurate, graphic detail the experience of tank warfare over seventy years ago, recalling the fortitude of the tank crews and their courage in the face of sometimes overwhelming odds
We visualise dashing and daring young men as the epitome of the pilots of the Second World War, yet amongst that elite corps was one person who flew no less than 400 Spitfires and seventy-six different types of aircraft and that person was Mary Wilkins.
Her story is one of the most remarkable and endearing of the war, as this young woman, serving as a ferry pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary, transported aircraft for the RAF, including fast fighter planes and huge four-engine bombers. On one occasion Mary delivered a Wellington bomber to an airfield, and as she climbed out of the aircraft the RAF ground crew ran over to her and demanded to know where the pilot was! Mary said simply: I am the pilot! Unconvinced the men searched the aircraft before they realised a young woman had indeed flown the bomber all by herself.
After the war she accepted a secondment to the RAF, being chosen as one of the first pilots, and one of only three women, to take the controls of the new Meteor fast jet. By 1950 the farmer's daughter from Oxfordshire with a natural instinct to fly became Europe's first female air commandant.
In this authorised biography the woman who says she kept in the background during her ATA years and left all the glamour of publicity to her colleagues, finally reveals all about her action-packed career which spans almost a century of aviation, and her love for the skies which, even in her nineties, never falters.
She says: I am passionate for anything fast and furious. I always have been since the age of three and I always knew I would fly. The day I stepped into a Spitfire was a complete joy and it was the most natural thing in the world for me.
From its origins as the Consular Guard of the French Republic, and as Napoleon's personal bodyguard, the Imperial Guard developed into a force of all arms numbering almost 100,000 men. Used by Napoleon as his principle tactical reserve, the Guard was engaged only sparingly, being deployed at the crucial moment of battle to turn the tide of victory in favour of the Emperor of the French.
Naturally, the Imperial Guard has been the subject of numerous books over many decades, yet there has never been a publication that has investigated the uniforms and equipment of the infantry of the Imperial Guard in such detail and with such precision. The author has collected copies of almost all the surviving documents relating to the Guard, which includes a vast amount of material regarding the issuing of dress items, even in some instances down to company level.
This information is supported by an unrivalled collection of illustrations, many of which have never been published before, as well as images of original items of equipment held in museums and private collections across the globe. In addition, the renowned military artist, Keith Rocco, has produced a series of unique paintings commissioned exclusively for this book.
This glorious book is, and will remain, unsurpassed as the standard work on the clothing and equipment of the Imperial Guard, and will not only be invaluable to historians, but also reenactors, wargamers and modellers. It is one of the most important publications ever produced on this most famous of military formations.
As elite troops, the German Fallschirmjager (paratroopers) were regularly engaged in front line combat during the Second World War. Their famed actions such as the fighting in Scandinavia, the taking of the Belgian fortress Eden-Emal in May 1940, and the Battle for Crete just a year later, have given them the reputation of being determined, courageous and loyal soldiers.
This book continues the pictorial history of the Fallschirmjager, focusing on the period following the bloody Battle for Crete. Used as elite infantry, first in the USSR and then in Africa, the Fallschirmjager were able to reconnect with their glorious past, whether in Italy or on the Greek Islands, as they jumped from their Ju 52s to engage the enemy.
Their hard fighting in Italy helped to cement the legend of 'the Green Devils', with the British General Harold Alexander describing them as 'tenacious, highly-trained men, hardened by their many actions and combats'. However, during the fighting in Normandy, the Ardennes and on the Eastern Front, the number of veterans decreased, meaning it was the young German paratroopers who finally surrendered the III Reich on 8 May 1945.