Osprey's Big Reveal: Campaign

In Military History, Featured
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To navigate your way through the Big Reveal please use the links in the bar above.

We may be nearing the end of this year's Big Reveal, but we still have some fantastic titles to showcase, and today is no exception! 

Have a read of the 13 descriptions below and let us know which of these Campaign books you'll be adding to your to-read lists for 2018.

Operation Market-Garden 1944 (3)

Field Marshal Montgomery's plan to get Second British Army behind the fortifications of the German Siegfried Line in 1944 led to the hugely ambitions Operation Market-Garden. Part of this plan called for a rapid advance from Belgium through Holland up to and across the lower Rhine by the British XXX Corps along a single road already dominated by airborne troops.

Their objective along this road was the bridge at Arnhem, the target of British and Polish airborne troops. Once XXX Corps had reached this bridge it would then make for the German industrial area of the Ruhr. The operation was bold in outlook but risky in concept.

Operation Market-Garden 1944 (3) completes Osprey’s trilogy on the operation, examining the attack which, if successful, could have shortened the war in the west considerably. Yet it turned out to be a bridge too far.

The Kuban 1943

In the summer of 1942, the German Army invaded the Caucasus in order to overrun the critical Soviet oil production facilities at Maikop, Grozny and Baku. However, the Red Army stopped the Germans short of their objectives and then launched a devastating winter counteroffensive that encircled them at Stalingrad. Hitler grudgingly ordered an evacuation from the Caucasus, but ordered 17. Armee to fortify the Kuban bridgehead and hold it at all costs in order to leave open the possibility of future offensives. On the other side, the Soviet Stavka ordered the North Caucasus Front and the Black Sea Fleet to eliminate the Kuban bridgehead as soon as possible. The stage was set for a contest between an immovable object and an unstoppable force.

Imphal 1944

In March 1944, the Japanese Fifteenth Army launched an offensive into India from Burma. Named "U Go", its main objective was the capture of the town of Imphal, which provided the easiest route between India and Burma. Whoever controlled it, controlled access between the two countries. Facing off against the Japanese was the British Fourteenth Army and its Imphal-based 4 Corps. For the next four months, over 200,000 men clashed in the hills and valley of Manipur in what has since been described as one of the greatest battles of World War II.

Although the exact numbers are unknown, it is estimated that some 30,000 Japanese soldiers died and 23,000 became casualties at the twin battles of Imphal and Kohima, and on the long gruelling retreat to Burma that followed. It remains the largest defeat on land ever for the Japanese Army.

Brittany 1944

One of the prime objectives for the Allies following the D-Day landings was the capture of sufficient ports to supply their armies. The original Overlord plans assumed that ports along the Breton coast would be essential to expansion of the Normandy beach-head. These included the major ports at Brest and on Quiberon Bay.

The newly arrived Third US Army under Lt. Gen. George S. Patton was delegated to take on the Brittany mission. In one of the most rapid mechanized advances of the war, Third Army had the ports of Avranches and Quiberon encircled by the second week of August 1944.

But changing priorities meant that most of Patton’s men were redeployed, leaving only a single corps to take the Breton port cities. The fight would drag into 1945, long after German field armies had been driven from France. Brittany 1944 is the fascinating story of the siege of Germany’s last bastions on the French Atlantic coast.

Tenochtitlan 1519–21

In 1519, the conquistador Hernán Cortés landed on the mainland of the Americas. His quest to serve God, win gold, and achieve glory drove him into the heartland of what is now Mexico, where no European had ever set foot before. He marched towards to the majestic city of Tenochtitlan, floating like a jewel in the midst of Lake Texcoco.

This encounter brought together cultures that had hitherto evolved in complete isolation from each other – Catholic Spain and the Aztec Empire. What ensued was the swift escalation from a clash of civilizations to a war of the worlds. At the conclusion of the conquistador campaign of 1519–21, Tenochtitlan lay in ruins, the last Aztec Emperor was in chains, and Spanish authority over the native peoples had been definitively asserted.

The Caudine Forks 321 BC

In her long history, Rome suffered many defeats, but none was as humiliating as the Caudine Forks in 321 BC. Rome had been at war with the Samnite League since 328 BC. The rising powers vied for supremacy in central and southern Italy, and their leaders were contemplating the conquest of all Italy. The new Roman consuls of 321 BC were the ambitious, but militarily inexperienced, Veturius Calvinus and Postumius Albinus. They were determined to inflict a massive blow on the Samnites but their troops were instead surprised, encircled and destroyed. The survivors were forced to retreat under the yoke in a humiliation worse than death.

Blanc Mont Ridge 1918

The dominating Blanc Mont Ridge complex in the Champagne region of France was home to some of the most complex German defences on the Western Front. Its heights offered artillery observation that made even approaching the ridge virtually suicidal.

Pessimistic about the ability of depleted and demoralized French units to capture the position, Général Henri Gouraud was granted the use of two American divisions: the veteran 2nd “Indianhead” Division, including the 4th (Marine) Brigade, and the untested 36th “Arrowhead” Division of the Texas and Oklahoma National Guard.

Blank Mont Ridge 1918 looks at the Allied offensive, and shows how despite the heavy losses it sustained to both manpower and supporting armour,  they eventually forced the Germans to abandon most of the region in one of the largest withdrawals of the war.

Campaldino 1289

Campaldino is one of the important battles between the Guelphs and Ghibellines - the major political factions in the city states of central and northern Italy. It heralded the rise of Florence to a dominant position over the area of Tuscany and was one of the last occasions when the Italian city militias contested a battle, with the 14th century seeing the rise of the condottiere in Italy's Wars.

However, with Campaldino, its importance as an event and its consequences are dwarfed in the popular imagination by its poetic description in one of the greatest works of world literature, Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Campaldino and the horrors of hand-to-hand fighting shaped Dante in no uncertain ways, bringing the somewhat rarified poet face-to-face with the solid brutality of combat. What the part-time Florentine soldier saw would seep into a masterpiece of the ages, making the Divine Comedy not just a unique poetic composition, but also a too often disregarded historical document on the reality of medieval warfare.

The Solomons 1943–44

Victory at Guadalcanal for the Allies in February 1943 left them a vital foothold in the Solomon Islands chain, and was the first step in an attempt to isolate and capture the key Japanese base of Rabaul on New Britain. In order to do this they had to advance up the island chain in a combined air, naval, and ground campaign. On the other hand, the Japanese were determined to shore up their defences on the Solomons, which was a vital part of their southern front, and would bitterly contest every inch of the Allied advance. The scene was set for one of the bloodiest campaigns of the Pacific War.

This is the compelling story of the struggle for the Solomons, a key part of the Allied advance towards Japan which saw tens of thousands of casualties and so many ships lost that part of the ocean became known as "Ironbottom Sound."

Imjin River 1951

After China’s November 1950 intervention in the Korean War and the subsequent battle of the Chosin Reservoir, UN forces were beaten back to the southern third of the Korean peninsula. It was not until January 1951 that the UN Command recovered and launched a counterattack of its own. By March 1951, UN troops had recaptured Seoul and were again moving north. In an attempt to regain the initiative, Chinese commanders planned a massive offensive the primary target of which was the US 3rd Infantry Division, which included the British 29th Brigade and  which held a front line spread out along the Imjin River.

From 22 to 25 April 1951, 40,000 Chinese troops smashed headlong into 29th Brigade, and only a desperate last-ditch last stand by the men of the Gloucestershire Regiment enabled the 29th Brigade to withdraw. The Glosters’ efforts—as well as those of other 3rd Division elements—had slowed the Chinese advance long enough for UN forces to regroup. The stand on the Imjin River had blunted the Chinese offensive in one of the major set-pieces actions of the Korean War.

Peckuwe 1780

The Peckuwe campaign has its origins in British Captain Henry Bird’s 1780 invasion of Kentucky during the American Revolutionary War. Bird’s dramatic invasion with 700 Canadians and Indians, and a 6lb gun, ultimately failed, but he did succeed in capturing two settlers’ stations, and about a tenth of Kentucky’s American population.

American general George Rogers Clark’s Peckuwe campaign was an equally dramatic response. He closed the trails from Kentucky to keep discouraged settlers from fleeing, and then ordered four out of five of the men and boys able to use firearms to muster for the campaign. Its goal was to destroy Chalawgatha and Peckuwe, two villages that served as the principal bases for Indian raids into Kentucky. With the lightning speed that characterized his operations, Clark somehow managed to assemble 1,000 men and boys, two guns and the necessary munitions, food and other supplies in about four weeks, from wilderness settlements connected only by streams and horse trails, and scattered over nearly 10,000 square miles. He then advanced 85 miles to the battlefield in another week, crossing the Ohio and cutting a transport road as he went.

Clark’s Kentuckians, and about 500 Indians led by Black Hoof, Buckongahelas and Girty, then met at Peckuwe in the largest western battle of the Revolutionary War.

Mutina 43 BC

In the confusion following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, civil war broke out between Mark Antony, who saw himself as a legitimate successor to Julius Caesar, and the forces of the Senate allied with Octavian, Caesar’s adopted son and heir. Caesars’s old legions found their loyalties divided between the two Caesarian leaders and fighting on opposite sides in the struggle.

Mutina 43 BC covers the events of this civil war in 43 BC when Antony, having confined the consul Decimus Brutus around Mutina, found himself sandwiched between the three legions of Decimus Brutus behind the walls of Mutina, and the relieving armies of the consuls and Octavian. Antony decided to launch an attack on one army before the two consuls could join forces.

On 14 April, with his back to Forum Gallorum Antony fell upon the consular forces. While the veterans of both sides fought splendidly, Antony himself led the centre and routed his enemies. Unfortunately Antonius had no time to consolidate the victory or regroup his army. On 21 April Antony was heavily defeated in a fearful battle below the walls of Mutina, nothing more subtle than a slogging match involving Caesar’s hardened veterans on each side. Octavian took command of the consular forces, refusing to assist Decimus Brutus, and marched on Rome once more. Antony, defeated but not routed, was forced to abandon the siege of Mutina and cross the Alps into Gallia Transalpina.

Tsushima 1905

As the 20th century opened Great Britain, France, and Russia divided the world, but Japan was catching up. It had established a European-style constitution, eliminated feudalism, and abolished the samurai class. Its army was trained by Germany, widely considered the worlds’ finest, and its navy was taught by the Britain’s Royal Navy, then at the zenith of its power. Japan bought modern warships from Europe and the United States and Japan’s professional navy decisively defeated China’s in a nine-month war spanning 1894 and 1895. Japan wanted to further emulate its European mentors and establish a protectorate over Korea, freed from China by the war. Japanese efforts were blocked by Imperial Russia and Japan resolved on war. It would prove the first major war of the 20th century – and the first modern war, presaging World War I. It was, despite major land battles, in ways primarily a naval war. Without control of the seas Japan could not reach its objectives, one of which was the theatre’s main Russian naval base.

The battle of Tsushima was a battle of firsts and lasts. It was the first major fleet action between steel warships, and the last battle to see the surrender of an enemy battle line at sea. It was the most decisive naval battle since Trafalgar and the largest naval battle since Trafalgar. 

 

That's all for Campaign in 2018! Which will be charging onto your shelves?

Post Comments

cverrue posted on 12 Oct 2017 09:37:35
a very good list. The kuban and the solomons are on my to buy list. But ill defintly check the mont blanc and the imji river .
overman posted on 23 Sep 2017 07:55:13
The WW2 and Korean War era titles look excellent and I'll be grabbing them!
PAUL W posted on 9 Sep 2017 16:40:20
Some great titles here. Couple I've not even heard of. Think I'll be getting most of these. Really pleased that there is volume 3 to op market garden, I thought it was going to be just two. I suggested the 3 volume approach several years ago. As for the Mr winkles mini debate, several of his books cover topics I'm not familiar with, so that's a big plus and I find his style ebay to read.
Paintybeard posted on 9 Sep 2017 06:46:09
Tarawa90: Not wishing to start an argument, but I really wouldn't call Mr Winkler "a fantastic writer". Businesslike and competent, but scarcely inspiring. I haven't read all his books, but of the ones I have got an awfully big percentage of the text consists of: "Day 1, General X advances and builds camp 1. Day 2, General X advances and builds camp 2" etc. This is hardly enthralling authorship. But I would agree that Mr Dennis's illustrations are a major selling point.

And you are of course correct: With this book Osprey achieve their almost mandatory target of an American Independance War title every year...
Tarawa90 posted on 8 Sep 2017 21:29:30
Hessy, even over here for us, most of those are rather obscure battles. I for one am particularly glad they have done them, the Midwest Indian wars are very forgotten and have definitely needed a boost in the public consciousness. Not to mention they have all been fantastic additions, John F Winkler has been a fantastic writer and has excelled at making each of them a detailed but exciting narrative. Despite being on small battles, I would rate the Winkler Indian War "miniseries" at the very top of the list in terms of quality for the Campaign series. And of course all of them have been superbly illustrated by Osprey's finest, Peter Dennis. Adam, look at it this way, Piqua checks off two boxes at once, another entry in Osprey's Indian Wars coverage, and War of Independence at the same time, so win-win for Osprey.
Hessy Field posted on 7 Sep 2017 14:12:05
Overall I think that this looks to be the best and most varied Campaign list in several years if still a little too top-heavy on the WWII side. I am particularly pleased to see Imjin River and Tsushima - would there ever be a chance of a companion title on the land battle of Mukden 1905? However, I would agree with the comments about WWI titles although on the plus side I was all prepared to complain about the lack of modern titles particularly on the Korean War...still some gaps to fill though. As for the Pekuwe/Piqua title if it's by John F Winkler I'll be getting it - I've enjoyed all his books on what are, for many of us Europeans, quite obscure battles.
AdamC posted on 7 Sep 2017 12:50:25
Well here it is!!! The list we have all been waiting for!!! And I have to say its a cracker!!! I'll certainly be picking up Market Garden III, The Kuban, Imphal, Imjin River, Mutina and possibly others. There are some HUGE gap fillers here, namely Imphal, Tenochtitlan, The Solomons, Imjin River and Tsushima all of which I've been wanting to see added for years. Personally I have no problem with Blanc Mont Ridge per se but I do agree that there are much more pressing gaps in Osprey's WWI coverage (Tannenburg, 2nd Ypres, 3rd Ypres, Arras, more Somme, Caparretto, Meuse-Aragonne to name but a few). The too negatives at first glance for me are The Caudine Forks and Peckuwe. The first one, as far as I know, did not see any actual fighting and the second seems like a pretty minor action that's been put in solely to shoehorn some American War of Independence into 2018's list despite it having been pretty much covered now. Don't get me wrong, I hope I'm proved wrong and both titles surprise me - I'm just a little sceptical at first glance!
KenA posted on 7 Sep 2017 01:55:50
A good range of titles here. I suppose it was inevitable that the WWI title would be about some less significant US oriented campaign (we’ve heard about Osprey’s commercial imperatives before) while many major WWI campaigns (with no US involvement) still await coverage. Notwithstanding this, I’m especially pleased to see Imphal, Brittany and Tsushima on the list.
Tarawa90 posted on 6 Sep 2017 21:01:00
Nice list. Finally a Korean War CAM! A nice spread too, even if a little too much WWII heavy. Two Roman books even, and the Medieval battle is a nice change a pace along with Tenochtitlan. I think the Solomons could have been split into two books, one on New Georgia, a second on Bouganville. What happened to the leaked title on Corregidor 1945? By the way guys, it's Piqua, not Peckuwe, no idea where you got the alternate name from.
Railok posted on 6 Sep 2017 20:14:47
Where in heaven's name did you pull these titles from, Osprey? These are some amazing selections, ranging from predictable to downright surprising. Bring on some more WWI titles though!
Carl(Sweden) posted on 6 Sep 2017 20:00:56
Finally! A good list with titles from adifferent centuries, although biased on ww2. For me Kuban 43, Imphal 44 and Solomons 43-44 will find themselves in my bookshelf in Stockholm probably together with Tsushima and Market Garden.
I agree with Painty that if one title will be dedicated to ww1 there must be battles of greater magnitude than Blanc Mont like Isonzo, Vittorio Veneto, Caporetto, Asiago, Brusilov Offensive, Tannenberg, Glorice-Tarov and so forth but probably it is the american inolvment that decides what battle will be choosen for a title. We also have the mandatory ww2 western europe 1944 title although Brittany might be a good one.
With all that said a good list, but I´ll have to wait to 2019(and not longer I hope) for Rzhev and New Guinea
birdman posted on 6 Sep 2017 19:24:35
I like the list. I was especially happy to see the Tsushima title.
C-Bone posted on 6 Sep 2017 19:05:09
Yes! I've been waiting for Campaign!
I love the 2018 lineup. Definitely happy to see Imjin River (I put that in the suggestion box), Tenochtitlan, and Tsushima (Port Arthur, please!). Blanc Mont and Pekuwe are unexpected treats.
I hope Brittany covers the investment of German-occupied ports until the end of the war. Also glad to see more on the Solomons.
Heck, I'll get all of these!
Paintybeard posted on 6 Sep 2017 16:42:38
A very good list for 2018. Several excellent suprises: Tenochtitlan and Imjin River are 2 subjects that I've been hoping to see for a long time. My only quibble would be that the WW1 title is a comparatively obscure (but America-friendly) choice. Surely Caporetto or Brusilov Offensive would be more useful?

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