Osprey's Big Reveal: Combat

In Military History, Featured
MAA ACE/COM NVG ELI RAID CAM GNM1 XPL CBT DUE WPN ANT ACM GNM2

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It's time for a showdown! In 2019 we'll be pitting 16 more adversaries against each other in 8 new books! Have a read of these new additions to the series, and let us know your favourites below!

CBT: British Airborne Soldier vs Waffen-SS Soldier

Operation Market Garden was an Allied plan to try and end the war before the end of 1944, and relied on landing airborne troops to secure bridges over the Rhine bridges in the Netherlands. Critical to this plan were the glider troops of Britain’s 1st Airlanding Brigade. Short on heavy weapons and not optimized for street fighting, the glider troops were meant to secure and defend the Allied perimeter around Arnhem as the parachute brigades fought their way into the city. Facing the airborne forces were understrength Waffen-SS units that were hastily formed into ad hoc battle groups, some supported by armour. The troops on both sides would have their tactical flexibility and powers of endurance tested to the limit in the bitter actions that ensued. This new Combat tells the story of the glider troops’ dogged defence of the Allied perimeter at Arnhem, and the Waffen-SS forces’ efforts to overcome them.

CBT: Macedonian Phalangite vs Persian Warrior

In August 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Persian Empire and systematically set about its conquest. At the core of Alexander’s army were 10,000 members of the phalanx, the phalangites. Armed with a long pike and fighting in formations up to 16 ranks deep, these grizzled veterans were the mainstay of the Macedonian army.

Facing them were the myriad armies of the peoples that made up the Persian Empire. At the centre of these forces was the formation known as the Immortals: 10,000 elite infantry, armed with spears and bows.

This new Combat looks at three key battles of the era – the Granicus River, Issus and Gaugamela.

CBT: Russian Soldier vs Japanese Soldier

At the beginning of the 20th century, the region of Manchuria sat atop a potentially catastrophic political fault line; the ancient strength of China was crumbling, leaving opportunities for both Russia and Japan to claw out new territories from the edges of that ailing empire. Russian pride would contend with Japanese ambition in a conflict that ushered in the age of massed armies fighting on battlefields that were being redefined by the new tools of war such as newer, larger artillery pieces, and the use of machine guns in pitched battles. The vast, but over-stretched Russian Army was expected to steamroller its far smaller opponent, but the aggressiveness and zeal of the more modern Japanese military confounded expectations.

CBT: Samurai vs Ashigaru

During the 16th century, amid a move away from highly localized lordships and conflict and towards multi-provincial and ultimately unified rule, Japan experienced a military revolution, characterized by the deployment of large armies, the introduction of firearms and an eventual shift towards fighting on foot. This study encapsulates these great changes through the experience on the ground of three key battles: Uedahara (1548), Mikata ga Hara (1572) and Nagashino (1575), which pitted against each other two very different types of warrior, each of whom experienced profound and irreversible change across three decades as a result of the lessons learned.

On one side were samurai, the elite aristocratic knights whose status was proclaimed by the possession and use of a horse. On the other side were the foot soldiers known as ashigaru, lower-class warriors who were initially attendants to the samurai but who joined the armies in increasing numbers, attracted by loot and glory. 

CBT: Sioux Warrior vs US Cavalryman

Following the discovery of gold deposits, in December 1875 the US Government ordered the indigenous population of the Black Hills in what is now South Dakota and Wyoming, the Sioux, to return to the Great Sioux Reservation. When the Sioux refused, US Army sent forces into the area, sparking a conflict and momentous campaign that would make Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, Chief Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and others household names around the world.

CBT: Soviet Partisan vs German Security Soldier

The savage partisan war on the Eastern Front during World War II saw a wide variety of forces deployed by both sides. On the Soviet side civilian partisans fought alongside and in co-operation with Red Army troops and Red Army and NKVD ‘special forces’. On the German side German Army security divisions with the indigenous components including cavalry fought alongside SS police and Waffen-SS units and other front-line troops employed for short periods in the anti-partisan role.

In addition to providing the background detail on the forces of both sides, this study focuses upon three examples of German anti-partisan operations that show varied success in dealing with the Soviet partisan threat.

CBT: Union Sharpshooter vs Confederate Sharpshooter

During the American Civil War, the Union and the Confederacy both fielded units of sharpshooters. Some were equipped with firearms no better than those of their infantry brethren and fought in a manner reminiscent of Napoleonic-era light infantry, while others were equipped with innovative small arms offering superior firepower or long-range accuracy

During sieges, sharpshooters could drive enemy signalmen from their towers, hampering communication. Siege warfare placed a premium on marksmanship and the sharpshooter became indispensable. Sharpshooters also became experts at raiding, especially for the Confederacy, and in one spectacular raid netted almost 250 prisoners. Union marksmen initially did not fare as well as their opponents, but when they became armed with more impressive weapons such as the Berdan Sharps rifle, they began to take the fight to the Confederates.

Union Sharpshooter vs Confederate Sharpshooter looks at three bloody clashes at the height of the American Civil War – the battle of Fredericksburg, the siege of Vicksburg and the siege of Battery Wagner.

CBT: US Soldier vs Afrikakorps Soldier

In November 1942, Operation Torch landed Anglo-American forces in Vichy-controlled Morocco and Algeria to create a second front against the Axis forces in North Africa, catching Rommel’s German and Italian forces in the claws of a giant pincer.

The US Army was powerfully well armoured and equipped, but fresh to war, and it showed. Organization suffered from a surfeit of peacetime theories and training was insufficient and ill-applied. Despite such failings the US GIs and their commanders learned very quickly, adapting to German tactics and the realities of mechanized warfare. The Axis forces in North Africa were seasoned by years of fighting against increasingly powerful British and Commonwealth forces, and were led by one of the Reich’s most capable generals. The German doctrine of mechanized warfare had proved itself time and again, but ever-growing logistical and supply problems were blunting its effectiveness.


Post Comments

Hessy Field posted on 5 Sep 2018 17:35:22
Although I feel this series has displaced "Warrior" (which, overall, I prefer) it is growing on me and I rather like the list, especially the Russo-Japanese War title. I would also support a Cavalier versus Parliamentary Cavalryman title (unfortunately, there is the usual dearth of Early Modern/18th Century titles - apart, of course, from North America). I'm also in favour of some Korean War titles - still the most important war since WWII with repercussions we're still living with - which is also somewhat neglected (perhaps covering some lesser-known nations such as Turkey?).
PAUL W posted on 28 Aug 2018 23:06:36
Personally i really like this series of books and there are some cracking titles listed for next year. Albeit I'm surprised it's us soldier v afrikakorps soldier rather than 8th army / commonwealth soldier. Perhaps the later will face the Italian soldier in 2020? I like a lot of the suggestions for future titles in this blog and feel the series has almost unlimited potential as it spans from ancient to modern.
AdamC posted on 28 Aug 2018 13:18:44
Like some other commentators I'm still not 100% sold on this series. It often feels a bit like Campaign Light with bits of Warrior thrown in. That being said I think it does have potential and appears to be popular That's not a bad list at all chaps! Some interesting titles there to be sure. I'll certainly give the Market Garden title a look. The Russo-Japanese war title is certainly a bit different (and is the highest scoring CBT title to date in the book vote - 31%) as the Soviet Partisan title. I'd also like to echo Painty and Neil's calls for Royalist Cavalier vs Parliamentary Cavalryman for 2020, I'd love to see that come to pass. French Soldier Vs Prussian Soldier: Franco-Prussian War 1870–71 is also a must for the series.
KAL9000 posted on 26 Aug 2018 04:44:38
I'm hoping to eventually get French Soldier vs German Soldier: Rheims 1918 or something like that
Paintybeard posted on 26 Aug 2018 00:09:04
You are forgiven. Neil ;) Especially as I am looking forward to "Luger" so much.
GI Gene posted on 25 Aug 2018 21:36:05
I'm looking forward to:

British Airborne Soldier vs Waffen-SS Soldier
Soviet Partisan vs German Security Soldier
Union Sharpshooter vs Confederate Sharpshooter
US Soldier vs Afrikakorps Soldier

I have a few Korean War and Modern Combat suggestions that I will be submitting to "Book I like to Read" shortly.
Neil Grant posted on 25 Aug 2018 17:59:26
Hey, you know I can only do one book per year, and I'm already doing next year's. (The medieval longsword, if I haven't mentioned it),
Paintybeard posted on 25 Aug 2018 17:45:20
Don't just talk about Neil, get writing!!
Neil Grant posted on 25 Aug 2018 17:30:20
Indeed - there's a clear progression, and you get three quite different iterations of parliamentary cavalry, which I agree is what the series does best. Start with Roundway Down, end with Naseby, and your choice in the middle.
(No idea why my initial post refused to post, froze out, and then posted both the original and the rekeyed second one!)
Paintybeard posted on 25 Aug 2018 17:23:24
Yes Neil, it's the Cavalry rather than the Infantry that I would like to see covered.

And I'd want the book to do what I think "Combat" should be all about: Use the sequence of three battles to show how the initially pretty poor Parliamentry cavalry improves until it is at least equal to the Royalists.
Neil Grant posted on 25 Aug 2018 16:12:06
That's actually a good suggestion. Royalist cavalier versus parliamentary cavalryman?
Neil Grant posted on 25 Aug 2018 16:11:24
Hmmmm......that's not actually a half bad idea. Royalist cavalry versus Parliamentary cavalry?
Paintybeard posted on 25 Aug 2018 13:24:53
Very, very pleased to finally be getting a book covering the land battles of the Russo-Japanese War.

I still wonder if this format is worthwhile. It seems too much like a mishmash of other series with no real direction. But I suppose eight titles means the series is proving popular.

Cavalier vs Roundhead in 2020, please.

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