In the early 1880s, Britain intervened in independent Egypt and seized control of the Suez Canal. British forces were soon deployed to Egypt's southern colony, the Sudan, where they confronted a determined and capable foe amid some of the world's most inhospitable terrain. In 1881 an Islamic fundamentalist revolt had broken out in the Sudan, led by a religious teacher named Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, who proclaimed himself al-Mahdi, 'The Guided One'. In 1884, Mahdist forces besieged the Sudanese capital of Khartoum; Colonel Charles Gordon was sent to the city with orders to evacuate British personnel, but refused to leave. Although the British despatched a relief column to rescue Gordon, the Mahdists stormed Khartoum in January 1885 and he was killed. British troops abandoned much of the Sudan, but renewed their efforts to reconquer it in the late 1890s, in a bloody campaign that would decide the region's fate for generations. Written by leading expert Ian Knight, this fully illustrated study examines the evolving forces, weapons and tactics employed by both sides in the Sudan, notably at the battles of Abu Klea (16-18 January 1885), Tofrek (22 March 1885) and Atbara (8 April 1898).
In late 1953, the seventh year of France's war against the Viet Minh insurgency in its colony of Vietnam, the C-in-C, General Navarre, was encouraged to plant an 'air-ground base' in the Thai Highlands at Dien Bien Phu, to distract General Giap's Vietnamese People's Army from both Annam and the French northern heartland in the Red River Delta, and to protect the Laotian border. Elite French paratroopers captured Dien Bien Phu, which was reinforced between December 1953 and February 1954 with infantry and artillery, a squadron of tanks and one of fighter-bombers, to a strength of 10,000 men. Giap and the VPA General Staff accepted the challenge of a major positional battle; through a total mobilization of national resources, and with Chinese logistical help, they assembled a siege army of 58,000 regular troops, equipped for the first time with 105mm artillery and 37mm AA guns. Here, author Martin Windrow describes how from their first assaults on 13 March 1954, the battle quickly developed into a dramatic 56-day 'Stalingrad in the jungle' that drew the attention of the world.
From the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 until the Japanese surrender in August 1945, a multitude of military and civil-defence forces strove to support the Japanese war effort and latterly prepared to defend the Home Islands against invasion. During World War II, Japan was the world's most militarized society and by 1945 nearly every Japanese male over the age of 10 wore some kind of military attire, as did the majority of women and girls. In this volume, Philip Jowett reveals the many military and civil-defence organizations active in wartime Japan, while specially commissioned artwork and carefully chosen archive photographs depict the appearance of the men, women and children involved in the Japanese war effort in the Home Islands throughout World War II.
Often described as the US Army's aerial jeep the UH-1 Iroquois ('Huey') was the general-purpose vehicle that provided mobility in a hostile jungle environment which made rapid troop movement extremely challenging by any other means. Hueys airlifted troops, evacuated casualties, rescued downed pilots, transported cargo externally and enabled rapid transit of commanders in the field. Although 'vertical aviation' had only become a practical reality during the Korean War helicopters evolved rapidly in the decade before Vietnam and by 1965 the US Army and US Marines relied on them as primary combat tools. This was principally because North Vietnam's armed forces had long experience of jungle operations, camouflage and evasion. Generally avoiding set-piece pitched battles they relied on rapid, frequent strikes and withdrew using routes that were generally inaccessible to US vehicles. They commonly relied on darkness and bad weather to make their moves, often rendering them immune to conventional air attack. Gunship helicopters, sometimes equipped with Firefly searchlights and early night vision light intensifiers, were more able to track and attack the enemy. Innovative tactics were required for this unfamiliar combat scenario and for a US Army that was more prepared for conventional operations in a European-type setting. One of the most valuable new initiatives was the UH-1C 'Huey Hog' or 'Frog' gunship, conceived in 1960 and offering more power and agility than the UH-1B that pioneered gunship use in combat. Heavily armed with guns and rockets and easily transportable by air these helicopters became available in large numbers and they became a major problem for the insurgent forces throughout the war.
Covering fascinating details of the innovations in tactics and combat introduced by gunship helicopters, this book offers an analysis of their adaptability and usefulness in a variety of operations, while exploring the insurgent forces' responses to the advent of 'vertical aviation'.
The opposing heavy cruisers of the German Kriegsmarine and the Royal Navy engaged in a global game of cat and mouse during the opening years of World War II. This was a period in which the heavy cruiser still reigned supreme in open waters, with the opposing sides reluctant to risk their battleships, and aircraft yet to dominate the seas. These swift vessels fought each other in the South Atlantic, North Atlantic, the frigid waters of the Denmark Strait and the Arctic approaches to Russia, capturing the public imagination in the process. This fascinating and beautifully illustrated book examines the design, development and technical performance of these opposing warships, and explores the clashes between them at the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939, the Christmas Day Battle 1940 and the Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941. The ships examined include the Deutschland-class Panzerschiffe and Admiral Hipper-class cruisers, and the Royal Navy County- and York-class heavy cruisers.
At the outbreak of World War II the German Kriegsmarine still had a relatively small U-boat arm. To reach Britain's convoy routes in the North Atlantic, these boats had to pass around the top of the British Isles - a long and dangerous voyage to their "hunting grounds". Germany's larger surface warships were much better suited to this kind of long-range operation. So, during late 1939 the armoured cruiser Deutschland, and later the battlecruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau were used as commerce raiders, to strike at Allied convoys in the North Atlantic. These sorties met with mixed results, but for Germany's naval high command they showed that this kind of operation had potential. Then, the fall of France, Denmark and Norway in early 1940 dramatically altered the strategic situation. The Atlantic was now far easier to reach, and to escape from.
During 1940, further moderately successful sorties were made by the cruisers Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper. By the end of the year, with British mercantile losses mounting to surface raiders and U-Boats, plans were developed for a much larger raid, first using both cruisers, and then the two battlecruisers. The climax of this was Operation Berlin, the Kriegsmarine's largest and most wide-ranging North Atlantic sortie so far. Scharnhorst and Gneisenau remained at sea for two months, destroying 22 Allied merchant ships, and severely disrupting Britain's lifeline convoys. So, when the operation ended, the German commander, Admiral Lutjens was ordered to repeat his success - this time with the brand new battleship Bismarck. The rest, as they say, is history. These earlier Atlantic raids demonstrated that German surface ships could be highly effective commerce raiders. For those willing to see though, they also demonstrated just how risky this strategy could be. Covering a fascinating and detailed analysis of the Kriegsmarine's Atlantic raids between 1939 and 1941, this book will appeal to readers interested in World War II and in particular in Germany's naval operations.