The Clash of Arms and Technology for a Critical Region that Lasted the Entire American Civil War
From the first shots at Cape Hatteras in the summer of 1861 to the fall of Fort Fisher in early 1865, the contest for coastal North Carolina during the American Civil War was crucial to the Union victory. With a clear naval superiority over the South, the North conducted blockading and amphibious operations from Virginia to Texas, including the three-hundred-mile seacoast of North Carolina. With its Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds--fed by navigable rivers that reached deep into the interior--and major Confederate port of Wilmington, the Carolina coast was essential for the distribution of foreign goods and supplies to Confederate forces in Virginia and elsewhere. If the Union was able to capture Wilmington or advance on the interior waters, they would cripple the South's war efforts.
In Gunboats, Muskets, and Torpedoes: Coastal North Carolina, 1861-1865, award-winning historian Michael G. Laramie chronicles both the battle over supplying the South by sea as well as the ways this region proved to be a fertile ground for the application of new technologies. With the advent of steam propulsion, the telegraph, rifled cannon, repeating firearms, ironclads, and naval mines, the methods and tactics of the old wooden walls soon fell to those of this first major conflict of the industrial age. Soldiers and sailors could fire farther and faster than ever before. With rail transportation available, marches were no longer weeks but days or even hours, allowing commanders to quickly shift men and materials to meet an oncoming threat or exploit an enemy weakness. Fortifications changed to meet the challenges imposed by improved artillery, while the telegraph stretched the battlefield even further. Yet for all the technological changes, many of which would be harbingers of greater conflicts to come, the real story of this strategic coast is found in the words and actions of the soldiers and sailors who vied for this region for nearly four years. It is here, where the choices made--whether good or bad, misinformed, or not made at all--intersected with logistical hurdles, geography, valor, and fear to shape the conflict; a conflict thatwould ultimately set the postwar nation on track to becoming a modern naval power.
Based on the chassis of the Panzer III tank, the Second World War German Sturmgeschutz series of assault guns was a successful and cost-effective range of armoured fighting vehicles. Originally intended as a mobile assault weapon for infantry support, the StuG was constantly modified and saw extensive use on all battlefronts as an assault gun and tank destroyer. Author Mark Healy examines the development, construction and fighting qualities of the StuG, including insights into what it was like to operate and maintain. His centrepiece is a surviving StuG III at the Tank Museum, Bovington, and he also draws on a range of documentary and photographic information sources in Germany, the USA and France.
German armoured forces were a key component of the Wehrmacht's Blitzkrieg ('Lightning War') tactics that quickly conquered Poland, the Low Countries and France in 1939 and 1940. Germany introduced a new style of mechanised warfare that surprised the Allies and allowed the German forces to overwhelm often numerically superior forces in France and Russia. However, as the war progressed the Allies learned how to counter the German tactics, and in the final years of the war German armour was on the defensive. Large, powerful tanks and self-propelled guns - such as the Tiger, King Tiger and Jagdtiger - became key to the defence of the Reich as the Allied armies closed on the Fatherland.
Panzer provides a full pictorial record of the German armoured forces, from the Blitzkrieg years to the last stand in Berlin. The book features key figures, such as panzer generals Hoth and Guderian, and also Panzer aces Michael Wittmann and Joachim Peiper.
In the broad history of the Cold War, the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was the climax of a far-off, but nonetheless important African war. It was waged between the apartheid South African Defence Force (SADF) and the armed forces of the communist MPLA government in Angola and the People's Republic of Cuba. Led by Soviet generals, the MPLA embarked on a grand offensive in order to knock out the pro-Western rebel movement UNITA in southeastern Angola. As UNITA's survival was crucial to South Africa's military strategy in fighting its own counter-insurgency war against the South West African rebel movement SWAPO, the SADF stepped in with a single mechanised brigade and broke the back of the overwhelming MPLA offensive. The MPLA forces were subsequently driven back over a hundred kilometres, before the SADF advance was finally stopped just short of the town of Cuito Cuanavale. Since then, a hot war of words have been waged about who actually won. In this book, a South African military historian and retired journalist examines the campaign, the adversaries, and their achievements on the basis of his research in SADF archives. His scrupulous attempt at objectivity results in interesting conclusions. While the MPLA lost hands down, he posits a draw between the Cubans and the SADF. Although having been a South African reservist officer himself, he has critical words for the SADF leadership. Many misunderstandings, some of which were purposefully created by Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, are put to rest. While not sharing Castro's political beliefs, he acknowledges Castro's military acumen and political savvy in extricating his country from an unwinnable war while smelling of roses. The analysis contains many lessons about mechanised warfare in the African context from which both laymen and military professionals alike may learn.
German Paratroopers focuses on the actions of German airborne forces during World War II. It describes the battles over the Low Countries in 1940, the seizure of Crete in 1941, fighting on the Eastern Front and in later in Italy - most famously at the battle for Monte Cassino in 1944. Drawing together rare images of German paras in the war, the book presents a unique examination of the German airborne soldier in World War II. German Paratroopers also includes chapters on the recruitment and training for this e lite corps, and the specialist equipment that was devised for the Third Reich's airborne troops.