Between the end of the Second World War and the collapse of Communism confrontation with the Soviet Union was an everyday reality. As part of Nato's response, Scotland played a key role in the alliance's forward maritime defence strategy, aimed at containing the Soviet threat from naval and air forces. During this period 10 per cent of the UK's naval and air forces were based in Scotland, and there was a substantial US presence as well as top secret satellite and command stations.
In this book Trevor Royle paints a fascinating portrait of this extraordinary period, examining not just the wider military and political contexts, but also showing how the defence industry brought huge economic benefits, how CND maintained a high-profile presence, and how anti-nuclear sentiments underpinned much of the left's thinking in Scotland and contributed to the hegemony enjoyed by the Labour Party in Scotland during the Cold War.
"We are in for some tough fighting ahead, but I feel we have never before been more capable of success than now. The NVA we are going to meet out there will be highly trained, well-equipped, hard-core troops who will stand and fight, especially when we get close to his base camps and supply depots." - Colonel John Hoefling, 2nd Brigade, March 1, 1969
The Vietnam War could have been called a comedy of errors if the consequences weren't so deadly and tragic. In 1951, while war was raging in Korea, the United States began signing defense pacts with nations in the Pacific, intending to create alliances that would contain the spread of Communism. As the Korean War was winding down, America joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, pledging to defend several nations in the region from Communist aggression. One of those nations was South Vietnam.
Faced with such a determined opponent, skilled in asymmetrical warfare and enjoying considerable popular support, the Americans would ultimately choose to fight a war of attrition. While the Americans did employ strategic hamlets, pacification programs, and other kinetic counterinsurgency operations, they largely relied on a massive advantage in firepower to overwhelm and grind down the Viet Cong and NVA in South Vietnam. The goal was simple: to reach a "crossover point" at which communist fighters were being killed more quickly than they could be replaced. American ground forces would lure the enemy into the open, where they would be destroyed by a combination of artillery and air strikes.
One of the most infamous battles of the Vietnam War, the Battle of Hamburger Hill - officially, part of Operation Apache Snow - occurred in spring of 1969. Towering over the perilous, elephant grass choked length of the A Shau Valley, Hill 937, otherwise known as Hamburger Hill or Dong Ap Bia ("Crouching Beast Mountain"), rose to a height of over 3,074 feet above sea level. The Americans launched a series of 11 attacks against this low mountain's NVA defenders, leading to fierce combat involving both advanced weaponry and infantry tactics unchanged since World War II.
The Battle of Hamburger Hill ranks as one of the most famous - or infamous - of the Vietnam War. Over time, however, all nuance and context have vanished, leaving a legend of pointless butchery which ignores the very real strategic and tactical considerations that converged to produce the encounter. The battle pitted several battalions of the 101st Airborne Division, one of America's most famous fighting units, against the 29th Regiment of the NVA. The latter's toughness, skill, courage, and zeal earned it the unofficial sobriquet of "The Pride of Ho Chi Minh." Both units fought extremely hard and with great determination, inflicting high casualties on one another.
The change from an elusive strategy to one of aggression marked a shift in North Vietnamese action, too. Documents captured during the battle indicated the 29th moved into the A Shau Valley and occupied Hill 937 as a staging area for a second full-scale attack on the city of Hue. This, in turn, triggered a shift in American military thinking, though as was often the case during the war, the results suffered from the effects of large-scale political interference.
The Battle of Hamburger Hill: The History and Legacy of One of the Vietnam War's Most Controversial Battles chronicles one of the most controversial campaigns of the war, and the effects it had on both sides. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Battle of Hamburger Hill like never before.
Upon achieving independence from Great Britain in 1948, the stunningly beautiful island of Ceylon, re-named Sri Lanka in 1972, was expected to become a sort of `South Asian Singapore'. However, stable political order and bright economic prospects proved insufficient to maintain peace. A host of unsolved ethnic conflicts and social inequalities conspired to erupt into an armed conflict in 1971.
By 1987, the crisis heated up to the point where the government in New Delhi began exercising fierce pressure upon the Sri Lankan government and the Sri Lankan Tamil insurgents to arrive at a peace deal. In order to help maintain peace, the Indian Peace Keeping Force was deployed on the island.
However, with a few weeks, the troops of the Indian Army found themselves involved in a bloody and protracted confrontation with the most powerful of Tamil insurgent movements - the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Elam (LTTE). The peace-keeping operation was thus quickly converted into a military intervention and a bloody quagmire. To make matters even more complex, southern Sir Lanka meanwhile became engulfed in an unprecedented wave of public violence, triggered by the second insurrection of Sinhalese ultra-leftist movement, the JVP.
Calling upon extensive studies of the Sri Lankan War, with the help of first hand sources, official documentation and publications from all of the involved parties, this volume provides an in-depth and particularly detailed account of military operations between 1987 and 1990. It is illustrated by over 120 photographs, maps and 12 colour profiles.
The city of Trieste stands as a symbol of the Italian-Yugoslav border dispute in the first decade after the Second World War. The problem included a much larger territory which covers the wider area of Trieste: ranging from the Julian Alps in the north to the base of the Istrian peninsula in the south; in the area where the Italians meet the South Slavs. Moreover, after the Second World War it was an area of confrontation for two ideologies: western democracy and communism. It was the place where the Iron Curtain lay between the two worlds for many decades of the Cold War.
Often discussed from the socio-economic point of view, military aspects of the Trieste Crisis remain remarkably under-reported - and not only in the English language. One of the primary reasons is the relative unavailability of relevant Italian and Yugoslav documentation, but also the general focus on political and ethnic issues instead.
The Trieste Crisis focusses on military-related affairs in this part of the world from the `race to Trieste' of May 1945 until the creation of the Free Territory of Trieste and the culmination of tensions between Italy and former Yugoslavia, in October 1953. By the later date, the crisis had reached a point where it resulted in the largest deployment of military forces from both countries. Correspondingly, this work provides a detailed account of the Allied, Italian and Yugoslav military presence in the area before, and their build-up during this near-war.
Paying special attention to the description of the troops involved, their armament and equipment, the heavy weaponry deployed, and aerial and naval forces, The Trieste Crisis is illustrated by more than 150 photographs - most of them never published before - colour profiles and maps, and thus closing a gap in the history of the early Cold War in Europe of the mid-20th Century.
Startling in its innovation and daringly suicidal, Operation Dingo was not only the Fireforce concept writ large but the prototype for all the major Rhodesian airborne attacks on the external bases of Rhodesian African nationalist insurgents in the neighbouring territories of Mozambique and Zambia until such operations ceased in late 1979.
Fireforce as a military concept is a 'vertical envelopment' of the enemy (first practised by SAS paratroopers in Mozambique in 1973), with the 20mm cannon being the principle weapon of attack, mounted in an Alouette III K-Car ('Killer car'), flown by the air force commander, with the army commander on board directing his ground troops deployed from G-Cars (Alouette III troop-carrying gunships and latterly Bell 'Hueys' in 1979) and parachuted from DC-3 Dakotas. In support would be propeller-driven ground-attack aircraft and on call would be Canberra bombers, Hawker Hunter and Vampire jets.
On 23 November 1977, the Rhodesian Air Force and 184 SAS and RLI paratroopers attacked 10,000 ZANLA cadres based at 'New Farm', Chimoio, 90 kilometres inside Mozambique. Two days later, the same force attacked 4,000 guerrillas at Tembue, another ZANLA base, over 200 kilometres inside Mozambique, north of Tete on the Zambezi River. Estimates of ZANLA losses vary wildly; however, a figure exceeding 6,000 casualties is realistic. The Rhodesians suffered two dead, eight wounded and lost one aircraft. It would produce the biggest SAS-led external battle of the Rhodesian bush war.
'This deeply researched, very well-written and penetrating book will be the standard work on the subject for many years to come' - Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny
The Second World War began on 1 September 1939, when German tanks, trucks and infantry crossed the Polish border, and the Luftwaffe began bombing Poland's cities. The Polish army fought bravely but could not withstand an attacker superior in numbers and technology; and when the Red Army invaded from the east - as agreed in the pact Hitler had concluded with Stalin - the country's fate was sealed. Poland was the first to fight the German aggressor; it would be the first to suffer the full murderous force of Nazi persecution. By the end of the Second World War, one in five of its people had perished.
The Polish campaign is the forgotten story of the Second World War. Despite prefacing many of that conflict's later horrors - the wanton targeting of civilians, indiscriminate bombing and ethnic cleansing - it is little understood, and most of what we think we know about it is Nazi propaganda, such as the myth of Polish cavalry charging German tanks with their lances. In truth, Polish forces put up a spirited defence, in the expectation that they would be assisted by their British and French allies. That assistance never came.
First to Fight is the first history of the Polish war for almost half a century. Drawing on letters, memoirs and diaries by generals and politicians, soldiers and civilians from all sides, Roger Moorhouse's dramatic account of the military events is entwined with a tragic human story of courage and suffering, and a dark tale of diplomatic betrayal.