In a bid to recapture territory conceded following the Winter War of 1939-40, Finnish forces cooperated with Nazi Germany and other Axis powers during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Rapid Finnish progress in reoccupying lost ground in Karelia during the first few months of the invasion gave way to a more static form of warfare from October 1941. The Finns resisted German pressure to participate fully in the Axis attack on the beleaguered Soviet-held city of Leningrad, and the Continuation War came to be characterized by trench warfare and unconventional operations conducted by both sides behind the front lines. In June 1944 the stalemate was abruptly ended by a massive Soviet offensive that pushed the Finns back; the two sides clashed in a series of major battles, including the battle of Tali-Ihantala, with the Finns halting the Soviet advance before agreeing to an armistice that September.
The evolving military situation in this sector of the Eastern Front meant that the soldiers of the Soviet Union and Finland fought one another in a variety of challenging settings, prompting both sides to innovate as new technologies reached the front line. In this study, the doctrine, training, equipment and organization of both sides' fighting men are assessed and compared, followed by a detailed assessment of their combat records in three key battles of the Continuation War.
He masterminded the most devastating surprise attack against the United States in its history. He was a marked man in the war that followed. A key intelligence breakthrough enabled the military to pinpoint his location. An elite team was assembled and charged not with his capture and subsequent trial but with his execution. Osama bin Laden? No - this was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet during World War II.
This new title analyses the origins, implementation, and outcomes of Operation Vengeance, the long-range fighter interception of Admiral Yamamoto's transport aircraft that sent him to his death on 18th April, 1943. Author Si Sheppard examines every angle of the operation in detail, including the role of intelligence work in pinpointing the time and location of Yamamoto's flight, the chain of command at the highest level of the US political and military establishment who ordered the attack, and the technical limitations that had to be overcome in planning and conducting the raid. It also provides a close study of the aerial combat involved in completing the mission, offering a holistic exploration of the operation which avenged Pearl Harbor.
Designed in 1942, Britain's innovative Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank (PIAT) provided British and Commonwealth troops with a much-needed means of taking on Germany's formidable Panzers. Replacing the inadequate Boys anti-tank rifle, it was conceived in the top-secret World War II research and development organization known colloquially as 'Churchill's Toyshop', alongside other ingenious weapons such as the sticky bomb, the limpet mine and the time-pencil fuse.
Unlike the more famous US bazooka, the PIAT had its roots in something simpler than rocket science. Operated from the shoulder, the PIAT was a spigot mortar which fired a heavy high-explosive bomb, with its main spring soaking up the recoil. The PIAT had a limited effective range. Troops required nerves of steel to get close enough to an enemy tank to ensure a direct hit, often approaching to within 50ft of the target, and no fewer than six Victoria Crosses were won during World War II by soldiers operating PIATs. A front-line weapon in every theatre of the conflict in which Commonwealth troops fought, from Europe to the Far East, the PIAT remained in service after 1945, seeing action during the Greek Civil War, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Korean War. This illustrated study combines detailed research with expert analysis to reveal the full story of the design, development and deployment of this revolutionary weapon.
Between 1941-45, the Germans recruited around 175,000 men from a number of minorities in the USSR, distinguishing between 'Turkomans' (predominantly Muslims) and 'Caucasians' (predominantly Orthodox Christians). Of these, many formed rear-area auxiliary units, but at least 55,000 were combat troops. The first recruits formed two battalions in the 444th Security Division raised as early as November 1941; during 1942- 43 seven legions were formed, each of several battalions, eventually totalling some 53 battalions (equivalent to about 6 full divisions). However, with one exception (162nd Turkoman Division), they were not deployed as whole formations; after training in Poland, individual battalions were posted to fill out German regiments in the front lines, at first in Army Group South but later in all three Army Groups fighting on the Eastern Front. Units were also sent to Yugoslavia, Italy and the Western Front.
This fully illustrated history of the Eastern legions details the organization, battle orders, combat history, uniforms and insignia of these unique units, combining contemporary photographs and full-colour illustrations with expert research from military historian Dr Nigel Thomas.
The introduction of the scutum in the 4th century BC revolutionized the way the Romans fought. Instead of being purely defensive, the shield became a weapon in its own right. Using the top edge or boss to punch an opponent, or the lower rim to smash down on their feet, it served to unbalance an enemy and allow the sword to do its work. The versatility of the scutum was characterized by the testudo, a formation the Romans used offensively like a pedestrian tank. Meanwhile, other shield types equipped the auxiliaries who fought alongside the legionaries. The curved, rectangular scutum survived into the 3rd century AD, only to be replaced by an oval, slightly domed shield derived from the oval shields of Early Imperial auxiliaries.
Drawing together historical accounts, excavated artefacts and the results of the latest scientific analyses of the boards and fittings, renowned authority M.C. Bishop reveals the development, technology, training and use of the scutum and other Roman shield types.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, a combination of coastal defence for the homeland and fleet defence for the East Indies became the established naval strategy for the Royal Dutch Navy and set the template for the world wars. Battleships were too expensive to build and maintain, so after World War I, there was significant investment in submarine development and construction. A handful of modern light cruisers and a new class of destroyers were also constructed during the interwar years to serve as a small Fleet-in-Being in the East Indies, as well as to support the actions of the navy's submarines. The light cruiser HNLMS De Ruyter and the Java-class light cruisers were the most powerful units of the new fleet whilst the backbone of the destroyer fleet was the Admiralen-class and the Tromp-class of destroyer leaders.
Beginning in December 1941, the Dutch Navy played a very active role in the defence of the East Indies against the Japanese during World War II. The Battle of the Java Sea at the end of February 1942 crushed Dutch naval power in the East Indies, sinking the cruisers Java and De Ruyter and killing Admiral Karel Doorman. However, several Dutch surface warships and submarines continued the fight against the Axis powers alongside the Allies until the end of World War II, including a pair of British-built destroyers, Van Galen and Tjerk Hiddes. This beautifully illustrated book from a leading scholar on Dutch military history provides a comprehensive guide to the Royal Netherlands Navy of the World War II period, complete with detailed cutaways and battleplates of the fleet in action.
The death of the Emperor Charles VI in 1741 was the catalyst for a conflict ostensibly about the female inheritance of the Hapsburg patrimony but, in reality, about the succession to the Imperial Throne. The great European powers were divided between those, such as Britain, who supported the Pragmatic Sanction and the rights of the Archduchess Maria-Theresia, daughter of Charles VI, and those who challenged it, including Bavaria which were supported by France.
The conflict quickly escalated into what is now known as the War of the Austrian Succession, and a series of turbulent political events brought the crisis to a head on the road to Hanau, near Dettingen. There, the French moved to put into place a complex manoeuvre which had the potential to end the war at a single stroke. A column of French troops would cross the Main near Dettingen and block the road to Hanau, their orders being to simply hold their ground and bar the route of the Allied British and Hanovarian advance. A second column would cross the Main behind the enemy and then follow their line of march northwards. The bulk of the army would use a combination of bridges and pontoon-bridges to cross the Main and engage the enemy from the flank as they were strung out on the line of march. However, the plan relied heavily on the blocking force, and command of this crucial sector fell to an inexperienced nobleman Louis-Auguste, Duc de Grammont, who chose to attack rather than hold his position. Consequently, the manoeuvre failed and the French broke, fleeing for the Main and safety, with the Gardes Francaises famously swimming the river.
Supported by specially commissioned artwork including maps and battleplates, this title explores the battle in depth, detailing its build-up, events, and aftermath, as well as analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the commanders, armies, and tactics of both sides.