271 pages, black and white photographic illustrations.
By 1959 the newly independent Kingdom of Laos was being transformed into a Cold War battleground for global superpower competition, having been born out of the chaos following the French military defeat and withdrawal from Indochina in 1954. The country was soon engulfed in a rapidly evolving civil war as rival forces jockeyed for power and swelling foreign intervention further fueled the fighting. Adding even more fuel to the fire, "neutral" Laos's geographic entanglement in the intensifying war in neighboring South Vietnam deepened in the early 1960s as Hanoi's reliance on the Ho Chi Minh Trail for moving men and material through the southern Laotian panhandle grew exponentially and became a priority target of American interdiction efforts.
For almost twenty years, the fighting between the Western-supported Royal Lao government and the communist-supported Pathet Lao would rage across the plains, jungles, and mountaintops largely unseen by most of the world in this so-called "secret war." Thousands on each side would die and many more would be displaced as the conflict on the ground ebbed and flowed from season to season and year to year. And in the skies above, American and Royal Laotian aircraft would rain down their deadly payloads, decimating large swaths of the countryside in pursuit of victory. Nearly 3 million tons of bombs would be dropped on Laotian territory between 1965 and 1973, leaving a deadly legacy of unexploded ordnance that lingers to this day. Thus, the battle for Laos is the story of entire communities and generations caught up in a war seemingly without end, one that pitted competing foreign interests and their proxies against each other, and one that was forever tied to Washington's pursuit of victory in Vietnam.
During the 19th Century the Royal Navy played a key role defending the expanding British Empire. As sail gave way to steam power, there was a pressing requirement for coaling stations and dock facilities across the world's oceans. These strategic bases needed fixed defences.
The author describes in detail, with the aid of historic photographs, maps and plans, the defences of the most important islands, Bermuda, Ceylon, Hong Kong, Jamaica and Singapore, and a number of lesser ones including Antigua, Ascension, Mauritius St Helena and St Lucia. He describes how the defences were modified over the years in order to meet the changing strategic needs of the Empire, and the technological changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. Only three of these bases had to defend themselves in war (Hong Kong, Singapore and Ceylon) and the author relates the battles for these bases.
The book will appeal not only to readers whose interest is in the study of fortifications, but also to those readers interested in the maritime history of the British Empire.
Following World War I, horse cavalry entered a period during which it fought for its very existence against mechanized vehicles. On the Western Front, the stalemate of trench warfare became the defining image of the war throughout the world. While horse cavalry remained idle in France, the invention of the tank and its potential for success led many non-cavalry officers to accept the notion that the era of horse cavalry had passed. During the interwar period, a struggle raged within the U.S. Cavalry regarding its future role, equipment, and organization. Some cavalry officers argued that mechanized vehicles supplanted horses as the primary means of combat mobility within the cavalry, while others believed that the horse continued to occupy that role. The response of prominent cavalry officers to this struggle influenced the form and function of the U.S. Cavalry during World War II.
While the development of tanks had largely led to the replacement of cavalry in most armies by 1939, the Soviets retained a strong mounted arm. In the terrain and conditions of the Eastern Front they were able to play an important role denied them elsewhere. John Harrel shows how the Soviets developed a doctrine of deep penetration, using cavalry formations to strike into the Axis rear, disrupting logistics and lines of communication, encircling and isolating units. Interestingly he shows that this doctrine did not stem from the native cavalry tradition of the steppe but from the example of the American Civil War. The American approach was copied by the Russians in WWI and the Russian Civil War, refined by the Soviets in the early stages of World War Two and perfected during the last two years of the war. The Soviet experience demonstrated that deep operations (cavalry raids) against enemy rear echelons set the conditions for victory. Although the last horse-mounted units disappeared in the 1950s, their influence led directly to the formation of the Operational Manoeuvre Groups that, ironically, faced US forces in the Cold War.
By March 1945, the Red Army had closed in on Berlin. Marshal Zhukov, with almost a million soldiers and 20,000 tanks and guns at his disposal, launched his assault of the Seelow Heights. While costly with 30,000 Russians killed, it brought the Russian Army to the gates of the capital.
On 20 April, Hitler's 56th birthday, Soviet artillery began a massive bombardment of the doomed city. The Fuhrer ordered every soldier, Hitlerjugend and Volksstrum to fight to the death. The house-to-house fighting that followed was brutal and savage with heavy casualties for both military and civilians.
Using superb Russian and German imagery this fine Images of War series book describes the Russian assault and Nazi last-ditch defence of Hitler's capital during the final days of the Third Reich
Hitler's Wehrmacht led the way in armoured warfare as the successful blitzkriegs in Poland and North West Europe in 1940 so convincingly proved. The contribution of light tanks such as Panzers I, II and 35(t) was critical.
As the war spread to the Balkans, north Africa and the invasion of Russia, German engineers worked tirelessly modifying existing light tanks and developing new models. The growing Soviet armoured threat, in particular, spawned tank destroyers such as the Marder III Panzerjager, SdKfz 138/1 and 139. Anti-aircraft variants included the Flakpanzer 38(t) and the SdKfz 140/1 was a reconnaissance tank armed with a 20mm turret-mounted gun, developed from the SdKfz 22 armoured car, whereas the Aufklarungerspanzer 38(t) carried a 7.5cm gun in the support reconnaissance role.
In the final stages of the war light tanks were phased out and the Marder and 38 (t) were up-gunned; the Wespe was adapted from the Panzer II chassis.
This superbly illustrated book gives a comprehensive overview of the multitude of vehicles and variants that came into service. With the text and captions providing technical data, the images show this formidable array of fighting vehicles in action across the theatres of war.