The final months of Allied naval bombardments on the Home Islands during World War II have, for whatever reason, frequently been overlooked by historians. Yet the Allies' final naval campaign against Japan involved the largest and arguably most successful wartime naval fleet ever assembled, and was the climax to the greatest naval war in history. Though suffering grievous losses during its early attacks, by July 1945 the United States Third Fleet wielded 1,400 aircraft just off the coast of Japan, while Task Force 37, the British Pacific Fleet's carrier and battleship striking force, was the most powerful single formation ever assembled by the Royal Navy. In the final months of the war the Third Fleet's 20 American and British aircraft carriers would hurl over 10,000 aerial sorties against the Home Islands, whilst another ten Allied battleships would inflict numerous morale-destroying shellings on Japanese coastal cities.
In this illustrated study, historian Brian Lane Herder draws on primary sources and expert analysis to chronicle the full story of the Allies' Navy Siege of Japan from February 1945 to the very last days of World War II.
On 21 February 1916, the German Army launched a major attack on the French fortress of Verdun. The Germans were confident that the ensuing battle would compel France to expend its strategic reserves in a savage attritional battle, thereby wearing down Allied fighting power on the Western Front. However, initial German success in capturing a key early objective, Fort Douaumont, was swiftly stemmed by the French defences, despite heavy French casualties. The Germans then switched objectives, but made slow progress towards their goals; by July, the battle had become a stalemate.
During the protracted struggle for Verdun, the two sides' infantrymen faced appalling battlefield conditions; their training, equipment and doctrine would be tested to the limit and beyond. New technologies, including flamethrowers, hand grenades, trench mortars and more mobile machine guns, would play a key role in the hands of infantry specialists thrown into the developing battle, and innovations in combat communications were employed to overcome the confusion of the battlefield. This study outlines the two sides' wider approach to the evolving battle, before assessing the preparations and combat record of the French and German fighting men who fought one another during three pivotal moments of the 101/2-month struggle for Verdun.
The siege of Constantinople in AD 717-18 was the supreme crisis of Western civilization.
The Byzantine Empire had been reeling under the onslaught of Arabic imperialism since the death of the Prophet, whilst Jihadist armies had detached Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Carthage from imperial control and were in the process of imposing their ascendancy at sea. The Empire had been reduced to its Anatolian and Balkan heartland, and Arab incursions threatened even this - Arab naval forces had appeared under the walls of Constantinople every year from AD 674 to 678. But all this was only a prelude to the massive combined-arms invasion force that advanced on the capital in 717.
This title offers a comprehensive study of the ensuing clash between the ascendant Caliphate and the Empire at bay. It details the forces available to each side, with their respective advantages and vulnerabilities, evaluating the leadership qualities of the rival commanders and assessing their strategic and tactical initiatives. It also accounts for the trajectory and outcome of the campaign and emphasises the fundamental significance of the struggle. By holding the line, the Byzantines gave Europe enough time to develop at its own pace and emerge strong enough to face down its Islamic counterpart on equal terms. If Constantinople had fallen in 717, could Europe have endured as an independent entity? Could Christianity have survived as major religion? What would the future course of world history have been?
The restoration of the Meiji Imperial dynasty in 1868, after 250 years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, decisively opened Japan to the outside world and the monarchy embraced modernization, including the creation of a new Westernized army. However, this modernization process was resisted by the traditional Samurai feudal nobility, leading to a series of battles.
The first clash between the two cultures came swiftly. During the Boshin War of 1868 -69, a French military adviser, Jules Brunet, changed sides to join the insurgents. They won several engagements before the final crushing of the rebel Ezo Republic. After this point, the Imperial Army continued to modernize along French lines, and social changes began to impoverish Samurai noblemen, who lost their social and political role and their associated privileges.
During 1876, the powerful Satsuma Domain, around Kagoshima in south-west Kyushu, became a focus for discontent. Its leader Saigo Takamori effectively ignored the central government, and in January 1877, increasing unrest broke out into open rebellion. The Imperial forces were now much stronger, and the Navy could land troops and bombard Kagoshima. The bitter Satsuma siege and attempted capture of Kumamoto Castle finally failed in April, and the Samurai made a last stand at Shiroyama on 24 September, choosing to go down fighting. This marked the final defeat and displacement of the Samurai class.
This fully illustrated title explores the fall of the Samurai in detail, examining the arms, tactics, key figures of both sides, and charting the increasing Westernization of the Imperial forces.
The bombing of Guernica has become a symbol of Nazi involvement in the Spanish Civil War, but the extent of the German commitment is often underestimated. The Luftwaffe sent 20,000 officers and men to Spain from 1936 to 1939, and the Condor Legion carried out many missions in support of the Spanish Nationalist forces and played a lead role in many key campaigns of the war. Aircraft that would play a significant role in the combat operations of World War II (the Heinkel 11 bomber, the Me 109 fighter, and others) saw their first action in Spain, fighting against the modern Soviet fighters and bombers that equipped the Republican Air Force. Condor Legion bombers attacked Republican logistics and transport behind the lines as well as bombing strategic targets, German bombers and fighters provided highly effective close air support for the front-line troops, and German fighters and anti-aircraft units ensured Nationalist control of the air.
The experience garnered in Spain was very important to the development of the Luftwaffe. The war allowed them to hone and develop their tactics, train their officers, and to become the most practised air force in the world at conducting close support of ground troops. In effect, the Spanish Civil War proved to be the training ground for the Blitzkrieg which would be unleashed across Europe in the years that followed. In this rigorous new analysis, Legion Condor expert James Corum explores both the history and impact of the Luftwaffe's engagement during the Spanish Civil War and the role that engagement played in the development of the Luftwaffe strategy which would be used to such devastating effect in the years that followed.
The Battle of the Bulge raises many questions which, until now, have not been adequately answered: How did the major tank types perform during the battle? What were the specific 'lessons learned' from the combat? And did these lessons result in changes to tanks in the subsequent months?
Offering detailed answers to these questions, and many more, this book provides a survey of the principal tank and tank-equivalents (such as tank destroyers and Jagdpanzers) that took part in the Ardennes Campaign of December 1944-January 1945. Beginning with a basic overview of the campaign, accompanied by an order of battle of the major armoured units, it examines the opposing forces, covering the organization of the two tank forces to explain how they were deployed. Author Steven Zaloga also scrutinises the technical balance between the opposing sides, comparing armour, mobility and firepower as well as other important factors such as reliability, crew situational awareness, and tank layout/efficiency.
Full of specially commissioned and highly accurate artwork plates of the tanks themselves, as well as fascinating technical data based on cutting-edge research, this title is the definitive guide to tank warfare in the Battle of the Bulge.
Making its debut in 1935, the Browning High-Power was the world's most widely used military pistol for much of the 20th century. Military and law-enforcement agencies in more than 90 countries have issued the High-Power and it has seen combat in conflicts from World War II through to the 'War on Terror'. After conquering Belgium, Nazi Germany produced more than 300,000 High-Powers for use by the Waffen-SS, Fallschirmjager and others, and after 1945 the High-Power became standard for most NATO-armed forces as well as scores of others.
Chambered for the 9x19mm Luger cartridge, John Browning's High-Power improved on the classic Colt M1911 design, especially in its use of a far simpler takedown system. The pistol's innovative 13-round magazine, designed by Dieudonne Saive, staggered the cartridges for higher capacity without unduly increasing the grip size. During its 82-year production run at Fabrique Nationale (FN) in Belgium, the design evolved slightly, but a 2017 High-Power was still easily recognizable as a descendant of the original model.
Packed with gripping material including detailed technical specifications, contemporary photographs and highly accurate artist's renditions, this title is a comprehensive and informative guide to the world's most iconic semi-automatic pistol.