Osprey's Big Reveal: Elite

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 our Big Reveal, but we still have some fantastic upcoming titles to share with you! Today's post looks at our Elite series, with six titles joining the already established list of over 200. You may notice some titles that were mistakenly added to last month's book vote. Sorry about that! Do remember to let us know, which you're looking forward to the most in the comments below!

Division Leclerc

‘General Leclerc' was the nom de guerre adopted by the Gaullist officer Philippe de Hautcloque, to protect his family in occupied France. He became France's foremost fighting commander, and his US-style armored division (the '2e DB') its most famous formation. Its origin was a small scratch force of mostly African troops organized and led by Leclerc in French Equatorial Africa, which seized French West Africa from the Vichy garrison in late 1940. In 1941–42 Leclerc's unit co-operated with Britain's Long Range Desert Group in the Sahara, crowning a series of raids on the Italians with the capture of Kufra Oasis, and linking up with the Eighth Army after its victory at Second Alamein.  Leclerc's growing brigade fought in Tunisia in spring 1943, and after the Allied victory there it was expanded and reorganized as a US Army-style armoured division, with American tanks and other armoured vehicles. Shipped to the UK, in spring 1944, it was assigned to Patton's US Third Army, landing in time for the Normandy breakout and being given the honour of liberating Paris in August 1944. Leclerc and the colonels who commanded his tactical groups distinguished themselves in later battles in Alsace/Lorraine, capturing Strasbourg in November 1944; the 2e DB ended the war at Berchtesgaden, Hitler's Bavarian lair.

The book will combine combat history, organization, uniforms and equipment.

Israeli Paratroopers 1954–2016

From the creation of the first volunteer paratroop unit shortly after the birth of Israel and of the Israeli Defence Force, this arm of service has been recognized as an elite. Their employment has varied from parachute drops and deployment by helicopter, to mechanized warfare mounted in halftracks to accompany tanks, to street fighting. They have also been the first choice for daring special missions, and it is mainly from their ranks that Israel's special forces units have been recruited. Their ethos has also been widespread throughout the IDF; a unique aspect of the Israeli military is the cross-posting of officers from the airborne, armoured and other units, to ensure that all unit commanders share their aggressive qualities and their thorough understanding of the capabilities of all arms. In this way the influence of the paratroop arm has been out of all proportion to its size.

Throughout this book, each historical chapter will cover the relevant developments in their role and organization, their achievements, but also their setbacks.

Roman Heavy Cavalry (1): Cataphractarii & Clibanarii, 1st Century BC–5th Century

From the army of Marc Antony in the 1st century BC onwards, Roman generals hired Oriental heavy armoured cavalry. After Trajan's victory over Sarmatian tribes in his Dacian War, in about 110 AD the first units of these cataphractarii or 'clibanarii' began to be absorbed into the Roman army proper (the latter being a slang term, from their supposed resemblance to iron stoves). Other tribes of the steppes (Iazyges, Roxolani, and Alani) continued to clash with Rome's allies and the Romans themselves on their north-east frontiers, culminating in the Marcomannic Wars of the 170s AD, in which they were defeated by Marcus Aurelius. Thereafter some 8,000 entered Roman service as hostage-soldiers, and 5,500 were posted to Britain.  These troops, both from the northern steppes and the Persian frontiers, continued an ancient tradition of using heavy armour (occasionally, even for their horses) and long lances, and fighting in compact formation for maximum shock effect. They were quite distinct from conventional Roman light cavalry, and they became ever more important during the 3rd-century wars against Parthia (Persia), both to counter Parthian cavalry and (from the reign of Galienus in the 260s AD) to form a mobile strategic reserve. After the fall of the Western Empire this tradition would continue uninterrupted into the Byzantine period, which will be the subject of a second book.

The Etruscans 9th–2nd Centuries BC

Ancient Rome had deep roots in the 'Villanovan' culture that we call today the Etruscans. Their long-lived civilization can be traced to 900-750 BC in north-west Italy. They were a sea-faring people trading with and competing against Greek and Phoenician peoples, including the Carthaginians. They were also a great land-based power, especially in the 'Classical' period, where they expanded their power north into the Po Valley and south to Latium. In the 6th century BC an Etruscan dynasty ruled Rome, and their power extended southwards to the Amalfi coast. In 509 BC the Romans rose up to expel their kings, which began the long 'Etruscan twilight' when their power was squeezed by the Samnites and, most especially, the Romans.

Drawing on archaeological evidence including warrior tombs, paintings, sculptures, and fully illustrated throughout, this study examines one of the early rivals to Ancient Rome.

World War II US Marine Infantry Regiments

The United States Marine Corps came into its own in the Pacific Islands campaign against Japan in World War II. From Guadalcanal to Okinawa, US Marines formed the tip of the spear as Allied forces sought to push the Japanese back to their Home Islands.

This fascinating study tracks the deployments of the various Marine divisions throughout the war and explains their composition, but then goes deeper, to detail the individual regiments – the focus of the marines' identity and pride. It explains the organization of the Marine Infantry regiment and its equipment, and how they evolved during the war. The marine infantryman's evolving uniforms, field equipment and weapons are illustrated throughout using specially commissioned artwork and detailed descriptions to produce a fitting portrait of the US military’s elite fighting force in the Pacific.

Roman Standards & Standard-Bearers (1): 112 BC–AD 192

Roman unit standards played an important role, both ceremonially and on the battlefield. With the armies of the late Roman Republic and early Empire continually engaged on the frontiers, the soldiers selected for the dangerous honour of carrying them were figures of particular renown and splendour.

Standard-bearers wore special armour, with the heads and pelts of animals such as bears, wolves, or even lions draped over their helmets and shoulders. The standards themselves varied greatly, from the legion's Eagle and imperial portrait image to various cohort signa, flags (vexilla) and even dragon 'windsocks' (dracones) copied from barbarian enemies and allies.

This first volume of a two-part series by Roman army expert, Rafaele D’Amato examines these vital cogs in the Roman army machine that drove its soldiers to conquer the known world.

 

That's all the Elite titles we have to share with you this time, but keep checking the blog for our final remaining posts!

Post Comments

AdamC posted on 7 Sep 2017 12:17:38
Hmmmm, nothing for me here personally but that being said I've no real objection to any of these titles.
PAUL W posted on 6 Sep 2017 09:56:40
I think this is a very good list. I particularly like the ancient history titles and the Leclerc and Israeli ones. Not so sure on us marine one as sounds similar to the 3 battle order books. Although they didn't contain artwork.

GI Gene posted on 6 Sep 2017 02:16:07
Hey! The book I voted for last month (Division Leclerc) won! LOL!

I'm looking forward to Division Leclerc, Israeli Paratroopers and World War II US Marine Infantry Regiments, although that last one sounds like ground already covered (Elite #59 & Warrior #112.)
Tarawa90 posted on 5 Sep 2017 04:21:39
I see you guys have finally put the 'elite' back in ELITE! A full year without a single tactics book!
ph posted on 4 Sep 2017 20:02:38
Looks like Hessy Field has got ahead of me. Although I agree with most of the comments made so far in this big reveal, I have to say I do like some of these Elite books (personal taste, I like ancient period titles). The first two 20th century titles are also interesting subjects not covered before. The issue with this series is that the books depends a lot on the author, and how they approach its content: the last 2 books appear to be just pages full of lists (they must have their fans). But as a group of new books, I consider it a good one.
Hessy Field posted on 4 Sep 2017 17:03:20
I actually disagree with the previous comments - I really like this list and am particularly pleased to see a number of Ancient period titles noting the absence of any in MAA and NVG - and there hasn't been anything on modern Israeli forces in ages! For me MAA and Elite are much superior to ACE which has overall become one of the weakest of Osprey series whilst although I generally like Campaign it can occasionally be a bit hit and miss.
Carl(Sweden) posted on 4 Sep 2017 07:17:26
A bit surprising that Elite has 6 titles and ACE only one. For me MAA Elite and warrior are similar and not that interesting. Campaign on the other hand, bring it on this week!
KenA posted on 3 Sep 2017 04:22:56
I have to agree with Painty here. I could, however, be tempted by Division Leclerc once I know who the author is and have a chance to flick through a preview, which I would hope would have Kufra Oasis spelt correctly.
Paintybeard posted on 2 Sep 2017 19:34:51
Nothing that says "must have" here for me.

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