Through its fourth and fifth years, the Syrian Civil War (the colloquial name of the ongoing conflict in Syria) continued transforming from an uprising against the unaccountable, corrupt elite ruling from Damascus, into an all-out conflict of global proportions.
Since 2014, the fate of Syria has been decided by non-Syrians. Foremost between these are Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, but other major foreign powers remain involved too - and each of parties in question has acted in pursuit of its own interests.
Emphasising its fascist-like ideology of insistence on elitist disgust towards any kind of opposition, and fully exploiting its monopoly on violence through its unchallenged air force, the regime of President Bashar al-Assad survived thanks to financing from Tehran and drowning the country in blood.
Continuous differences between their primary foreign backers - Saudi Arabia and Qatar - wreaked havoc between Syrian insurgents and resulted in their split into a myriad of factions and continuously changing alliances.
Together, this combination of internal and external enemies made a much-expected downfall of the Assad-Regime impossible. Abandoned and brutalized, the Syrian society as it used to be fell apart: while nearly 60% of the population fled their homes, its uprising found itself in the sinister shadow of the black banner carried by Jihadists of such al-Qaeda-linked groups like Jabhat an-Nusra and then the Islamic State.
Ironically, despite all the obsession with this phenomena, leading Western governments abandoned any semblance of reasonable analysis and embarked on `war on terror' masquerade. Ignoring clear evidence for Iran maintaining operational relations with al-Qeda since at least 1996, and leaving its fingerprints all over the formation of the Islamic State; ignoring clear evidence for open cooperation between the Assad-Regime and the Islamic State's predecessor - the al-Qaida of Iraq; and ignoring evidence of Iran-controlled Shi'a jihadists behaving at least as barbarically as Wahhabists, Western powers launched their own military campaign in support of the PKK - a left-wing terrorist group of Kurds from Turkey, and helped it impose imposed itself upon the population of most of northern Syria.
Against this background, the war in Syria of 2014 and 2015 became in many ways exemplary for modern-day warfare in the Middle East: technically a low-intensity conflict fought by proxies in interest of their foreign sponsors.
Discussing strategy, logistics, tactics, and experiences with different weapons systems, `Descent into Darkness' is detailing the pendulum of war between regime-forces and insurgents in 2014 and 2015; the impact of the IS upon insurgent operations; detailing major insurgent groups and growing influence of Jihadists upon them; the crumbling of regime forces in 2015, and thus the backgrounds of the Russian military intervention launched in the same year.
Illustrated by over 100 photographs, 10 maps and 15 colour profiles, `Descent into Darkness' offers a unique study of the military aspects of the Syrian Civil War in 2014 and 2015.
The Sikh Confederacy consisting of military units or Misls rose from the ashes of the crumbling Mughal Empire in the Eighteenth century. As a result, under the leadership of General Bagel Singh they conquered the Red Fort of Delhi in 1783 leading to the Sikh Empire being formed in the Punjab under Maharajah Ranjit Singh in 1801. During this time the East India Company also expanded its frontiers and territories, witnessing the rise and the progression of the Sikhs. This was coupled with the influx of Christian Missionaries who came to convert the Sikhs into the British way of thinking. The two Empires were destined to clash and the Anglo Sikh Wars of 1845-1849 witnessed some of the bloodiest battles Victoria's Britain fought, with major losses on both sides. The annexation of the Punjab led to the employment of the Sikhs into the British Indian Army. This led to the Sikhs becoming part of many British campaigns, including their major contributions in the First and Second World Wars. This book weaves the reader through anecdotes and important events highlighting the relationship between the British and the Sikhs which exists to this day. In this deeply-researched book, Mann uses rare anecdotes to provide recognition to early descriptions from British administrators, writers and illustrators who depicted the history of the Sikhs and the land of the Punjab. The book is also supplemented with a number of Anglo Sikh treaties which determined relations in the Nineteenth century.
Drawing on a wide range of Vietnamese-language sources, the author presents a detailed account of the continuing efforts of North Vietnam to invade the South, enlivened by a large number of previously unpublished photographs, and colour profiles for modellers. A year after the Paris peace accord had been signed, on 17 January 1973, peace had not been settled in Vietnam. During that period, the North Vietnamese continued their attacks now that the United States had pulled out completely their forces, with the definitive conquest of South Vietnam as the goal. The South Vietnamese forces' erosion on the field increased in face of a series of concerted North Vietnamese offensives at Corps level. The drastic American aid reduction began to impact heavily on the South Vietnamese ability to wage war. Equally, Saigon could not respond to a Chinese invasion of the Paracel Islands after a brief naval battle, and if Hanoi had been bolstered by massive deliveries of equipment from Peking and Moscow, both the Chinese and the Soviet had withheld the delivery of sufficient ammunitions for the artillery and the tanks, to deter the North Vietnamese from attempting a new widescale offensive against the South. It was with these constraints that the North Vietnamese leadership planned their new campaign, initially expecting it to take 2 to 3 years. A last test had to be done in order to assess the American intentions in case of an all-out North Vietnamese offensive against the South - if a South Vietnamese provincial capital was taken without American reaction, then Hanoi would begin the last campaign of the war. After the fall of Phuoc Long, the North Vietnamese decided to attack the strategic Central Highlands area where they hoped to destroy the greater part of an ARVN Corps. The battle of Ban Me Thuout would be the pivotal event leading to the rapid collapse of South Vietnam. While the battle was going on, without taking advices from his generals, President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam decided to take radical measures by redeploying his forces. That meant abandoning no less than half of the country, in order to shorter his logistic communication lines and to concentrate his remaining depleted forces around Saigon and the Mekong Delta area. He probably also hoped that by aggravating the military situation he would force Washington to fulfil its promise that "in case of massive violation of the cease-fire", the Americans would resume their military aid and would send back the B-52s.
The third volume in this series describes the final communist offensive against South Vietnam. The decision of President Nguyen Van Thieu to evacuate the Central Highlands spread panic among the population and the armed forces. That was part of a wider scheme that envisaged an extensive redeployment of South Vietnamese forces leading to the abandoning of nearly half of the country. This set up a chain reaction that would see the complete collapse of his country. The United States did not intervene again despite the situation spiralling out of control. Thieu played and lost. This volume details the disastrous evacuation of Hue and Da Nang, as well as the delaying fighting in the central coastal area. However, around Saigon, the remaining cornered South Vietnamese divisions offered a heroic resistance, although it was now too late. The North Vietnamese later recognized that they experienced some of the fiercest fighting of the entire war for the conquest of the capital of South Vietnam. Only the nomination of a "neutralist" President who had replaced Thieu, who fled into exile in Taiwan, spared the city the horror of the street fighting by accepting the inescapable and by proclaiming an unconditional surrender. In panic, the last Americans and westerners were evacuated by helicopters. As always, this volume is supported by a large number of previously unpublished photographs, colour maps and colour profiles showing camouflage and markings of tanks and aircraft.
The Roman conquests of Macedonia in the 2nd century BC led directly to the extension of their authority over the troublesome tribes of Thrace to the south of the Danube. But their new neighbour on the other side of the mighty river, the kingdom of the Dacians, was to pose an increasing threat to the Roman empire. Inevitably this eventually provoked Roman attempts at invasion and conquest. It is a measure of Dacian prowess and resilience that several tough campaigns were required over more than a century before their kingdom was added to the Roman Empire. It was one of the Empire's last major acquisitions (and a short-lived one at that).
Dr Michael Schmitz traces Roman involvement in the Danube region from first contact with the Thracians after the Third Macedonian War in the 2nd century BC to the ultimate conquest of Dacia by Trajan in the early years of the 2nd Century AD. Like the other volumes in this series, this book gives a clear narrative of the course of these wars, explaining how the Roman war machine coped with formidable new foes and the challenges of unfamiliar terrain and climate. Specially-commissioned colour plates bring the main troop types vividly to life in meticulously-researched detail.
The FV4201 Chieftain was the main battle tank of the United Kingdom during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It is still in service in the Middle East today. A development of the Centurion, the Chieftain introduced the supine (reclining) driver position to British design enabling a heavily sloped hull with reduced height.
This book provides the reader with the full and unvarnished story of the origins, development, decades of service and combat history of the Chieftain Main Battle Tank. The text is interspersed with numerous photographs, many published for the first time, alongside colour profiles and scale plans, including those of rare and unusual variants.
It also relates the experiences of the crews who lived and worked on the Chieftain, often in the irreverent style typical of Army humour.