The second in a three-part series examining the Stalingrad campaign, one of the most decisive military operations in World War II, that set the stage for the ultimate defeat of the Third Reich.
By early September 1942, 6.Armee and 4.Panzer-Armee had reached the outskirts of Stalingrad, and Hitler believed it was about to fall. He ordered for the capture of the city as soon as possible, but this was easier said than done. On 13 September, a direct German assault was launched against the city on the Volga and a protracted urban battle followed amid the ruins, already devastated by massive Luftwaffe raids. Although hit hard by the initial German offensive, a ruthless and obstinate Red Army was able to hold onto the city through a costly battle of attrition that sacrificed huge amounts of men and materiel. This second volume in the Stalingrad trilogy, written by a leading expert on the military history of the Eastern Front, brings the fighting in the city to life in full visual detail, including the iconic battles at the Krasny Oktyabr Steel Plant, the Grain Elevator, the Barrikady and STZ factories, the 'Tennis Racquet' and Rynok-Spartanovka. Drawing from sources on both sides, this book offers a truly comprehensive account of history's greatest urban battle.
In 1938, the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal, acting under the requirements issued by the Kaigun Koku Hombu for a Navy Experimental 13-Shi Carrier Borne specification for a dive-bomber to replace the venerable 'Val' aboard carriers. The resulting D4Y Suisei ('Comet'), codenamed 'Judy' by the Allies, was initially powered by a licence-built German Daimler-Benz DB 601 inline engine as used in the Bf 109E. Despite making an inauspicious combat debut during the Battle of Midway in June 1942, the 'Judy' eventually proved to be an important asset for the IJNAF during battles in the latter years of the Pacific War. Its great successes resulted in the sinking of the escort carrier USS Princeton in an early kamikaze attack of the Philippines and the near sinking of the fleet carrier USS Franklin in a dive-bombing attack off Japan.
While the Judy had an impressive top-speed, like its predecessor, and many other Japanese military aircraft, it possessed design shortcomings including inadequate armour protection for its aircrew and no self-sealing fuel tanks. As a result, when pitted against new, advanced US Navy fighters suffered horrendous losses.
During the final months of World War 2 it became apparent that there would be no Japanese victory. Acting out of desperation, the IJNAF employed the 'Judy' in the dreaded kamikaze role, in which it excelled due to its high-speed characteristics. Most notably, the D4Y mounted one of the last combat actions of World War 2 when a flight of 11 Judies, personally led by the instigator of the suicide attacks, Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki, took off on a 'search mission' on August 15, 1945. This volume chronicles the action-packed wartime exploits of Japan's finest dive-bomber of World War 2.
On 23 August 1939, a secret protocol was appended to the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact; as part of this, Finland was assigned to the Soviet sphere of influence. On 30 November that year, in an effort to protect against renewed German aggression in the East, the Soviet Union attacked Finland, beginning what became known as the Finnish-Soviet Winter War. This long-awaited addition to the Campaign series explores the events of the war of November 1939 to March 1940. Set against the background of the developing global conflict, the conflict saw the Finnish Army thwart the plans of the sizeable Soviet forces assembled against it, before finally being forced to concede. The major battles of the war, which took place in harsh winter conditions, are covered in detail, including the Mannerheim Line, the fighting in Ladoga Karelia and Kollaa, and the clashes in Finnish Lapland. The key points that led to success and failure for both sides, and how these influenced the campaigns that followed in this theatre, are also explored in depth in a superbly illustrated and easy to follow study.
One of the most remarkable mechanized campaigns of recent years pitted the brutal and heavily armed jihadis of Islamic State against an improvised force belonging to the Kurdish YPG (later the SDF). While some Kurdish vehicles were originally from Syrian Army stocks or captured from ISIS, many others were extraordinary homemade AFVs based on truck or digger mechanicals, or duskas, the Kurds' version of the technical. Before US air power was sent to Syria, these were the Kurds' most powerful and mobile weapons.
Co-written by a British volunteer who fought with the Kurds and an academic expert on armoured warfare, this study explains how the Kurds built and used their AFVs in the war against 'Daesh', and identifies as far as possible which vehicles took part in major battles, such as Kobane, Manbij and Raqqa. With detailed new artwork depicting the Kurds' range of armour and many previously unpublished photos, this is an original and fascinating look at modern improvised mechanized warfare.
The German invasion of the Netherlands was meant to be a lightning-fast surgical strike, aimed at shoring up the right flank of the assault on France and Belgium. With a bold plan based largely on Luftwaffe air power, air-landing troops, and the biggest airborne assault yet seen, a Dutch surrender was expected within 24 hours.
But the Netherlands possessed Europe's first fully integrated anti-aircraft network, as well as modern and competitive aircraft. On 10 May, the German attack was only partly successful, and the Dutch fought on for another four days. On the fifth day, with its original strategy having largely failed, the Luftwaffe resorted to terror-bombing Rotterdam to force a surrender.
Explaining the technical capabilities and campaign plans of the two sides, and charting how the battles were fought, this fascinating book reassesses this little-known part of World War II. Author Ryan K. Noppen argues that while the Holland campaign was a tactical victory for Germany, the ability of the well-prepared but outnumbered Dutch to inflict heavy losses was a warning of what would come in the Battle of Britain.
Throughout history, infantry has been the main attacking force deployed by armies around the world, but positioning substantial infantry forces has always required precious time to assemble the troops to launch an attack or form defensive positions. Transportation of men and their equipment has been a major issue through the ages, and one that was only partly alleviated by the establishment of railway systems in the 19th century and motor vehicles in the early 20th century. With the development of the German Panzerwaffe, military planners realized both the enormous potential of the tank as a breakthrough weapon, but also the issues faced by support units following the attacking force - including the infantry. A tank assault moved rapidly forwards and this required a motorized infantry which could keep pace with the attack and provide all necessary support. This motorized infantry element for a Panzer division was an integral Schutzenbrigade (rifle brigade), and it was equipped with a suitable means of transport - the Schutzenpanzerwagen (armoured personnel carrier).
During Operation Barbarossa, German forces were faced by the Red Army and unforeseen weather conditions. With the onset of the harsh Russian winter the operation failed, and the war in the east entered a new phase. From experience gained from the operation, a new arm of the military was created: the Panzergrenadier. This groundbreaking book describes the development and evolution of the armoured infantry force that accompanied the German Panzers as they crossed the battlefields of Europe, as well as detailing the vehicles and equipment that were developed to support their specialized role.
Gaius Julius Caesar remains the most famous Roman general of all time. Although he never bore the title, historians since Suetonius have judged him to be, in practice, the very first 'emperor' - after all, no other name in history has been synonymous with a title of imperial rule. Caesar was a towering personality who, for better or worse, changed the history of Rome forever. His unscrupulous ambition was matched only by his genius as a commander and his conquest of Gaul brought Rome its first great territorial expansion outside the Mediterranean world. His charismatic leadership bounded his soldiers to him not only for expeditions 'beyond the edge of the world' - to Britain - but in the subsequent civil war that raised him to ultimate power. What is seldom appreciated, however is that the army he led was as varied and cosmopolitan as those of later centuries, and it is only recently that a wider study of a whole range of evidence has allowed a more precise picture of it to emerge. Drawing on a wide range of new research, the authors examine the armies of Julius Caesar in detail, creating a detailed picture of how they lived and fought.
The Do 217 had a much larger bomb load capacity and had considerably greater range than the Do 17, which it replaced in frontline service from mid to late 1941. Although initially used simply as a bomber, later variants were developed to allow the Do 217 to undertake the precision maritime strike role. In order to perform the latter mission, the Do 217 was modified to launch glide bombs - units employing these pioneering weapons enjoyed some success in the Mediterranean from the autumn of 1943. During the course of these operations the Do 217 became the first aircraft in military aviation history to deploy a precision-guided bomb in combat in the form of the 'Fritz X' radio-guided, free-fall weapon, which sank the Italian battleship Roma shortly after Italy capitulated in September 1943. The Do 217 served on all fronts, and was often used on anti-shipping strikes during the Battle of the Atlantic and against the Allied invasion fleet at Normandy. This versatile aircraft was also converted into a nightfighter, seeing action in the Defense of the Reich through to war's end.
This highly illustrated study explores the design and development of the Do 217 and chronicles its use in the frontline as a strategic bomber, launch platform for first generation precision weapons, reconnaissance aircraft and nightfighter, among others.