Velikiye Luki had been an important Russian fortress city since the 13th century and had become an important rail-hub by the 19th century. In August 1941, the Germans occupied the city of 30,000 during Operation Barbarossa and made it a bulwark on the boundary between Heeresgruppe Nord and Heeresgruppe Mitte. In the winter of 1942-43, while Soviet forces were encircling Stalingrad, the Stavka (High Command) conducted a simultaneous offensive to isolate and destroy the 7,500-man German garrison in Velikiye Luki. After surrounding the city on 27 November 1942, the Soviet 3rd Shock Army gradually reduced the city to rubble, while the German garrison, sustained by Luftwaffe air lifts, hunkered down in the medieval city and awaited rescue.
This illustrated title reveals the full story of the tense seven-week siege of Velikiye Luki, which saw Soviet forces striving to liberate the city in the face of a determined garrison and fierce relief efforts. Detailed analysis by renowned World War II historian Robert Forczyk is complimented by stunning and historically accurate battlescenes, maps, and bird's-eye-views to offer a comprehensive look at this gripping campaign.
Preceding and simultaneously with the conquest of England by Duke William, other ambitious and aggressive Norman noblemen (notably the Drengot, De Hauteville and Guiscard families) found it prudent to leave Normandy. At first taking mercenary employment with Lombard rulers then fighting the Byzantine Empire in southern Italy, many of these noblemen achieved great victories, acquired rich lands of their own, and perfected a feudal military system that lasted for 200 years. As news of the rich pickings to be had in the south spread in Normandy, they were joined by many other opportunists - typically, younger sons who could not inherit lands at home. Steadily, these Norman noblemen fought their way to local power, at first in Apulia, then across the Adriatic in Albania, and finally in Muslim Sicily, defeating in the process the armies of Byzantium, the German 'Holy Roman Empire', and Islamic regional rulers. Finally, in 1130, Roger II founded a unified kingdom incorporating southern Italy and Sicily, which lasted until the death of Tancred of Lecce in 1194 - though its legacy long outlasted Norman political rule.
This beautifully illustrated title explores not only the Norman armies, but the armies of their opponents, with full-colour plates and expert analysis revealing fascinating details about the fighting men of Normandy, Byzantium, the Arab armies and more.
The Battle of Britain was a fight for survival against a seemingly unstoppable foe. With the German army poised to invade, only the fighters of the Royal Air Force stood between Hitler and the conquest of Britain. Losses were high on both sides, but the Spitfires, Hurricanes, Havocs and Defiants of the RAF began to take their toll on the overextended, under-protected Kampfgruppen of Heinkel He 111s, Junkers Ju 87s and 88s, and Dornier Do 17s.
Both sides learned and adapted as the campaign went on. As the advantage began to shift from the Luftwaffe to the RAF, the Germans were forced to switch from round-the-clock bombing to only launching night-raids, often hitting civilian targets in the dreaded Blitz. This beautifully illustrated study dissects the tactics and technology of the duels in this new kind of war, bringing the reader into the cockpits of the RAF fighters and Luftwaffe bombers to show precisely where the Battle of Britain was won and lost.
The Vickers Wellington was one of very few aircraft types to have been in production and frontline service throughout World War II, and more than 10,000 Wellingtons were built in the period. They took part in the first RAF bombing mission of the conflict when, on 4 September 1939, 14 examples from Nos 9 and 149 Sqns undertook a daring daylight attack on the Kiel Canal. However, after suffering high losses on follow-up raids, Wellingtons were withdrawn from daytime missions and began to operate at night from May 1940. They subsequently took part in raids against the Italian port city of Genoa in July 1940, and against Berlin the following month, followed by key missions in the 'Battle of the Barges' in September and October, as the RAF targeted the Germany's invasion fleet being assembled in French Channel ports. When RAF's strike force expanded the next year following the introduction of the improved Wellington II, the 21 squadrons equipped with the Vickers aircraft, which included Polish-, Canadian- and Australian-manned units, formed the backbone of the Bomber Command night bombing force. Over the next two years Wellingtons participated in all the major operations by Bomber Command, including the daylight raid against German battleships in Brest harbour in July 1942 and the first three 'Thousand Bomber' raids in the summer of 1942.
This illustrated study explores the design, development, and deployment of the Vickers-Wellington type, charting its role in World War II from its earliest missions to its use in training after its withdrawal from frontline bomber missions in 1943. The text is supported by stunning full-colour artwork.
In 53 BC, Roman and Parthian forces collided in a confrontation that would reshape the geopolitical map and establish a frontier between East and West that would endure for the next 700 years. From the initial clash at Carrhae through to the battle of Nisibis more than 250 years later, Roman and Parthian forces fought a series of bloody campaigns for mastery of the Fertile Crescent.
As Roman forces thrust ever deeper into the East, they encountered a civilization unlike any they had crossed swords with before. Originating in the steppes of Central Asia, the Parthians ruled a federated state stretching from the Euphrates to the Indus. Although Rome's legions were masters of the battlefield in the Mediterranean, the Parthians refused to fight by the rules as Rome understood them. Harnessing the power of the composite bow and their superior manoeuvrability, the Parthians' mode of warfare focused exclusively on the horse. They inflicted a bloody defeat on the legions at Carrhae and launched their own invasion of Roman territory, countered only with great difficulty by Rome's surviving forces. The Parthians were eventually thrown out, but neither side could sustain a permanent ascendancy over the other and the conflict continued.
Packed with stunning artwork, including battlescenes, maps and photographs, this title examines the conflict through the lens of three key battles, revealing a clash between two armies alien to each other not only in culture but also in their radical approaches to warfare.
Although New Guinea's Thunderbolt pilots faced several different types of enemy aircraft in capricious tropical conditions, by far their most common adversary was the Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa, codenamed 'Oscar' by the Allies. These two opposing fighters were the products of two radically different design philosophies. The Thunderbolt was heavy, fast and packed a massive punch thanks to its battery of eight 0.50-cal machine guns, while the 'Oscar' was the complete opposite in respect to fighter design philosophy - lightweight, nimble, manoeuvrable and lightly armed. It was, nonetheless, deadly in the hands of an experienced pilot. The Thunderbolt commenced operations in New Guinea with a series of bomber escort missions in mid-1943, and its firepower and superior speed soon saw Fifth Air Force fighter command deploying elite groups of P-47s to Wewak, on the northern coast. Flying from there, they would pick off unwary enemy aircraft during dedicated fighter patrols. The Thunderbolt pilots in New Guinea slowly wore down their Japanese counterparts by continual combat and deadly strafing attacks, but nevertheless, the Ki-43-II remained a worthy opponent deterrent up until Hollandia was abandoned by the IJAAF in April 1944.
Fully illustrated throughout with artwork and rare photographs, this fascinating book examines these two vastly different fighters in the New Guinea theatre, and assesses the unique geographic conditions that shaped their deployment and effectiveness.