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Next up in the Big Reveal is our New Vanguard series, which examines the design, development, operation and history of the machinery of warfare. 2018 will see a further 12 titles added to our list, so start adding these to your wishlists, and do let us know which is your favourite!
Early US Armor: Armored Cars 1915–40
The first American armoured cars began to emerge around the turn of the century, seeing their first military use in 1916 during the Punitive Expedition against Pancho Villa. When the United States entered World War I, the American Expeditionary Forces used some armoured cars in France, and American armoured cars were used by the French Army.
The inter-war years saw considerable innovation and experimentation in armoured car design. Of the 1930s scout car designs, the M3A1 scout car was good enough to be produced in very large numbers in World War II, and was widely exported to many other armies via Lend-Lease. It also served as the basis for the late M2 and M3 armoured half-tracks.
T-90 Standard Tank
In the wake of the T-72 tank’s poor performance in the 1991 Gulf War, the Kremlin instructed the Russian tank industry to drop the discredited T-72 designation in favour of the T-90 Vladimir. The T-90 was in fact a further evolution of the T-72 family, but the name change represented an important break in Russian/Soviet tank design history. The T-90 has become the principal export tank of Russia, and is in service in large numbers in many countries including Algeria, India, and many of the former Soviet republics. This book also describes the evolution of the T-90’s many failed successors including the little-known Bokser, Molot, and T-95, as well as its likely successor, the new T-14 Armata, and the wide range of specialized vehicles based on the T-90 chassis such as the formidable Terminator tank support vehicle.
Soviet Destroyers of World War II
The Soviet Navy that faced the German onslaught in 1941 boasted a mixture of modern warships, often built with foreign technical assistance, and antiquated warships from the Tsarist era that were modernised for the conflict.
Some Soviet naval vessels saw limited involvement in the war against Finland in 1939–1940, but the main action occurred after the German invasion, when these destroyers escorted convoys, fought battles against other destroyers and the deadly threat posed by attacking aircraft, and provided fire support for Soviet troops. From the Gnevny class of the pre-war period to the specialist destroyer leaders of the Leningrad class and the unique Tashkent, Soviet Destroyers of World War II is a detailed guide to the often forgotten destroyers of the Soviet Navy.
Technicals: Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles from the Toyota War to modern Special Forces
Over the last 30 years, the ‘technical’ or armed pick-up truck has become arguably the most ubiquitous military land vehicle of modern warfare.
Harking back to the armed Jeeps and Chevrolet trucks of the SAS and LRDG in North Africa in World War II, the world’s first insurgent technicals were those of the Sahrawi People's Liberation Army in Algeria in the late 1970s, followed by the very successful Chadian use of technicals in the so-called Toyota War against Libya and its Soviet-supplied tanks. Since then, technicals have become the light cavalry of many modern battlefields, from Somalia, to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, often with increasingly ambitious armament. In addition, the technical, or ‘Non-Standard Tactical Vehicle’, has been adopted by Western and Russian special forces.
This is the first history of how this deceptively simple fighting vehicle has been used and developed in conflicts worldwide.
Italian Cruisers of World War II
The Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) operated one of the largest cruiser forces of World War II. As a signatory to the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, the Regia Marina immediately attempted to reinforce its treaty-limited battleship force by building seven large 10,000-ton heavy cruisers. Italian light cruisers also possessed an interesting design history and were involved in every major fleet engagement in the Mediterranean, as well as several smaller encounters with units of the British Royal Navy.
US Flush-Deck Destroyers 1916–45: Caldwell-class, Wickes-class, and Clemson-class
Four pipes and flush decks – these ships were a distinctively American destroyer design. Devised immediately prior to and during the United States’ involvement in World War I they dominated the US Navy’s destroyer forces all the way through to World War II.
They were deployed on North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea convoys, and virtually everywhere in the Pacific, from Alaska to Australia. Fifty were given to Great Britain in 1940 in exchange for naval bases, and many would serve in other navies, fighting under the Soviet, Canadian, Norwegian, and even the Imperial Japanese flags. They also served in a variety of roles, becoming seaplane tenders, high-speed transports, minesweepers and minelayers. One was even used as a self-propelled mine during Operation Chariot, destroying the dry dock at St Nazaire.
Italian Armoured & Reconnaissance Cars 1912–45
The first Italian armoured cars were used in the war in Libya in 1911-12 against the Ottoman Empire. With few tanks being developed, the Italians relied instead on the development of more mobile armoured cars. These included the Ansaldo Lancia 1 Z during World War I, but post-war the army, focusing on the Alpine battlegrounds of Italy’s northern borders, did not consider armoured cars suitable for reconnaissance duties.
The experience of the Spanish Civil War would provide the much needed last push for the Italians to develop modern armoured cars. The result were the famous AB 41-43 models, which fought against the British in North Africa and Marshall Tito’s forces in Yugoslavia, along with other vehicles such as the AS 36 light armoured car.
Soviet Cruise Missile Submarines of the Cold War
The Soviet Union's cruise missile submarines, from the modified Whiskey-class to the Oscar II class, were among the most formidable vessels of the Cold War. They were initially designed to carry land-attack nuclear-tipped cruise missiles designed to strike targets on the eastern coast of the United States. By the late 1960s, however, submarine-launched ballistic missiles made the nuclear land-attack mission unnecessary, so existing classes were converted to the ‘carrier killer’ role, armed with anti-ship cruise missiles designed to destroy US super-carriers and other important naval targets.
This New Vanguard examines these powerful machines that were some of the largest and fastest submarines ever built. If war had broken out, they would have been at the forefront of the Soviet Navy's campaign to destroy NATO's sea power and cut America's sea link with Europe.
British Ironclads 1860–75: HMS Warrior and the Royal Navy's 'Black Battlefleet'
In November 1859, the French warship La Gloire was launched. She was the world's first seagoing ironclad: a warship built from wood, but whose hull was clad in a protective layer of iron plate. La Gloire was followed by other French ironclads, built along similar lines, while Britain, not to be outdone, launched her own ironclad the following year – HMS Warrior – which, when she entered service, became the most powerful warship in the world.
Just like the Dreadnought half a century later, this ship changed the nature of naval warfare forever, and sparked a frantic arms race. The elegant but powerful Warrior embodied the technological advances of the early Victorian era, and the spirit of this new age of steam, iron and firepower.
The title covers the British ironclad from its inception and emergence in 1860 when HMS Warrior entered service, to 1875, a watershed year which saw the building of a new generation of recognisably modern turreted battleships, and the start of the breechloading naval gun era. It mentions but otherwise omits Continental European ironclads, which are numerous and diverse enough to deserve their own volume.
Dutch Navies of the 80 Years’ War 1568–1648
The tiny new state of the United Provinces of the Netherlands won its independence from the mighty Spanish empire by fighting and winning the Eighty Years’ War, from 1568 and 1648. This long war was waged worldwide, from Brazil to Indonesia, from the Low Countries to Angola.
On the high seas the fleet carved out a new empire, growing national income to such levels that it could continue the costly war for independence. Major battles were fought against Spanish fleets, including the Armadas of 1588 and 1639. On coastal and inland waters even more decisive battles were fought. Arguably the most decisive Spanish siege at Leiden in 1574 was broken by a fleet sailing to the rescue across flooded polders. Coastal vessels were of course different from those sailing the oceans, and included specially designed galleys (ironically gaining superiority over the Spanish, who had brought the galley to Holland).
The war also saw a great many amphibious operations. The real start of the rebellion was the landing at and taking of Den Briel in 1572, and at the other end of the war the Dutch sailed a 4,000-man army from Brazil to Angola to take Luanda from the Portuguese. The largest successful invasion fleet before World War II was the 1,250-vessel fleet which shipped Maurice’s army to Flanders to fight the battle of Nieuwpoort in 1600.
Even deeper inland, the – sometimes very narrow – rivers played a key part in Dutch armies’ logistics and operations, even moving all of the heavy siege artillery with relative speed. The river ‘train’ was as well organised and regulated as the land train. Armed ferries and gun boats were on perpetual standby near vital bridges and in important cities. Ships with guns were an integral part of any siege force and regularly played their part during land battles.
South American Battleships 1908–59: Brazil, Argentina and Chile's great dreadnought race
In 1908 the most incredible naval arms race began. It began when Brazil decided to upgrade its navy. Flush with cash from rubber and coffee, it decided to order three of the latest, greatest category of warship available – the dreadnought battleship. When HMS Dreadnought appeared it made every other battleship obsolete. With a main battery of ten 12in guns and a broadside of eight main guns, it had twice the firepower of any other warship then afloat. In 1908 the dreadnought battleship defined naval power. The category was then less than five years old. Brazil wanted two of them – or maybe three.
One Brazilian dreadnought by itself could defeat the combined gunnery of every other warship of all the other South American nations. Brazil’s decision triggered its neighbour Argentina to order its own brace of dreadnought, which in turn forced Chile (which had fought boundary disputes with Argentina) to order its own. It was a race which would not stop until World War I started in 1914.
In the process, the South American dreadnought mania drove the three participants nearly into bankruptcy, led to the bankruptcy of a major shipyard, and triggered a chain of events which led Turkey to declare war on Great Britain. It also produced several ground-breaking dreadnought designs and one of the world’s first aircraft carriers.
Superguns 1854–1991: Extreme artillery from the Paris Gun and the V-3 to Iraq's Project Babylon
This New Vanguard examines the fantastic extremes in modern breech-loading artillery design, starting with William Armstrong's ‘Monster Gun’ in the 19th century. It will then take a look at some of the classic weapons of this type including the Wilhelm Gun that bombarded Paris in World War I, and the massive Dora gun of World War II. It then turns to more modern excursions in gun design, starting with the various German “arrow” guns of World War II including the so-called V-3 London Gun.
Cold War developments start with Soviet and American attempts at nuclear artillery including the Soviet Oka/Kondensator, and the American Atomic Cannon. It will then turn to novel approaches such as Dr Gerard Bull’s HARP gun and its descendants, including most famously Saddam Hussein’s 1m-calibre ‘Supergun’ – aka Project Babylon. It will end with a brief survey of the latest technology, including current efforts at very-long-range magnetic rail-guns.
How many of these books will be joining your collection? Don’t forget to let us know which you’re excited for in the comments!