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We've reached the end of the Big Reveal for another year, and whilst it may be over, we're ending with a big one! Find out the rest of the General Military books hitting the shelves in 2019. There's some fascinating books from a great range of military history, so whether you want to cut your teeth on something new or delve deeper into a period of interest, there's bound to be something that grabs your attention!
As always, have a read of the descriptions and let us know which are your favourites.
GNM: Hitler’s Death: The case against conspiracy
Did Hitler shoot himself in the Führerbunker or did he slip past the Soviets and escape to South America? For many years, conspiracy theorists have led much of the debate surrounding Hitler’s last days, while historians have argued over the limited forensic evidence. This book returns to the evidence of Hitler’s suicide in order to scrutinise the arguments of conspiracy theorists using scientific methods. Through analysis of recently declassified MI5 files, previously unpublished sketches of Hitler’s bunker, personal accounts of intelligence officers along with stories of shoot-outs, plunder and secret agents, this rigorously researched book takes on the doubters to tell the full story of how Hitler died – and where it happened.
Following on from On a Knife’s Edge, which describes the encirclement of the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad and the offensives and counter-offensives that followed through the winter of 1942–43. This title will commence at the end of the Battle of Kursk and will continue to the end of 1943. Whilst the Battle of Kursk has attracted great attention over the years, the fighting that followed has largely been described in more general terms, and here the series of near continuous battles that saw the Wehrmacht driven back from the line of the Mius and Donets back to the Dnepr, with the German forces that had been left in the Kuban Peninsula south of Rostov in the vain hope of being used in a future attempt to retake the Caucasus being forced back into the Crimea.
GNM: Blood, Metal and Dust
The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have dominated the early years of the 21st century and defined much of the present shape of the Middle East. Both conflicts are inextricably linked under the banner of the “Global War on Terror”, and in how the coalition armies planned and fought them. Much has been written on the subject of these wars, both of which have proven controversial at the time they were launched and ever since, but too much of this written record is partial – it reflects political analysis, reportage or snapshots of soldiers' or battlegroups' experiences in specific circumstances. Blood, Metal and Dust is the overarching narrative of the wars, taking a military perspective: what actually happened, who did what and where they did it.
GNM: The Elite
The Elite: The A-Z Encyclopedia of Modern Special Forces is the ultimate guide to the secretive world of modern Special Forces. It sends the reader back in time to operations such as Eagle Claw in Iran and the recapture of the Iranian Embassy in London, and then forward to recent operations against al Shabaab and Islamic State. Entries detail units ranging from the New Zealand SAS Group to the Polish GROM, and key individuals, from Iraq counter-terrorism strategist General Stanley McChrystal to Victoria Cross recipient SASR Corporal Mark Donaldson.
GNM: The Pirate World
Often romanticized in print and on the silver screen, real-life pirates were a brutal menace that plagued the high seas. The Pirate World separates myth from reality, tracing the history of piracy through the centuries, from the pirates who plagued the Ancient Egyptians to the Viking raids and on to the era of privateers. It also discusses the so-called ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ and colourful characters such as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, before examining the West’s initial encounters with Eastern pirates off the Chinese coast and the phenomenon of the modern pirate.
GNM: World War II Battle by Battle
World War II was the single greatest conflict the world has ever known, fought in theatres all around the globe, and many of its battles – Stalingrad, Monte Cassino, the Battle of Britain – are household names. While the Western Front in Europe is often what first comes to mind, bitter and bloody battles were also fought in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, on land, at sea and in the air, and their many stories help illuminate both the scale and the varying character of the conflict.
GNM: Case White
The German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, Fall Weiss (Case White), sparked the outbreak of World War II in Europe. The campaign has widely been described as a textbook example of Blitzkreig, but it was a fairly conventional campaign as the Wehrmacht was still learning how to use its new Panzers and dive-bombers.
The Polish military is often misrepresented as hopelessly obsolete, yet in fact it was well equipped, with modern weapons and armour. Though the combined assault from Germany and the Soviet Union defeated Poland, thousands of soldiers and airmen escaped to fight on other fronts. The result of Case White was a brutal occupation, as Polish Slavs found themselves marginalized and later eliminated, paving the way for Hitler’s vision of Lebensraum (living space) and his later betrayal and invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
GNM: Pilgrim Days
If there was ever anyone who went a little further, a little beyond, it was Alastair MacKenzie. In a career spanning 30 years, MacKenzie served uniquely with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, the British Parachute Regiment, the British Special Air Service (SAS), the South African Defence Force’s famed ParaBats, the Sultan of Oman’s Special Forces and a host of private security agencies and defence contractors. MacKenzie lived the soldier’s life to the full as he journeyed ‘the Golden Road to Samarkand’. This is his rare and unflinching portrait of life in some of the most famous units in the world.
GNM: The Great Bear at War
Out of the chaos of the Russian Civil War, and following the formation of the Soviet Union in 1922, the Red Army built itself into the vast war machine that delivered the decisive blows for the defeat of Germany in World War II. From a world war, the Soviet Union went straight into a Cold War. The culminating disaster of this period for the Soviet Army was its long war in Afghanistan (1979–89), a grinding counterinsurgency conflict that resulted in ignominious defeat.
In 1991 the new Russian Federation struggled to make its mark on the world’s military stage. Morale and order virtually disintegrated within the Russian Army, as was evident in its horrifying and costly war in Chechnya (1994–96). Since then, however, there has been heavy investment in military reforms, special forces, new weapon technology and the tactics of ‘hybrid warfare’, building a modern, albeit still flawed, force, one that has regularly (and controversially) tested itself in combat in places such as Chechnya (1999–2009), Georgia (2008), Ukraine (from 2014) and most recently Syria. At a time when the world is closely focused upon Russian military behaviour, The Great Bear at War is both timely and fascinating.
GNM: The Persian War
The victory of a few Greek city-states over the world's first superpower was an extraordinary military feat that secured the future of western civilization.
All modern accounts of the war, and of Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis, the best-known battles, depend on the ancient sources, foremost amongst them Herodotus, but generally quote very little from them. The Persian War brings together Herodotus’ entire narrative and interweaves it with other ancient voices to present the original texts that comprise almost all that is known about this immense clash of arms.
GNM: War Bows
War bows dominated battlefields across the world for centuries. In their various forms, they allowed trained archers to take down even well-armoured targets from great distances, and played a key role in some of the most famous battles in human history. The composite bow was a versatile and devastatingly effective weapon, on foot, from chariots and on horseback for over a thousand years, used by cultures as diverse as the Hittites, the Romans, the Mongols and the Ottoman Turks. The Middle Ages saw a clash between the iconic longbow and the more technologically sophisticated crossbow, most famously during the Hundred Years War, while in Japan, the samurai used the yumi to deadly effect, unleashing bursts of arrows from their galloping steeds.
Complete with analysis of construction, tactics and use in the field, historical weapons expert Mike Loades examines the full history of these four iconic weapons.
GNM: Atlas of the Blitzkrieg
In August 1939, Nazi Germany launched its infamous Blitzkrieg invasion of Poland, bringing about the outbreak of World War II. Within the space of a year France had been knocked out of the war and occupied, while the forces of Great Britain had retreated headlong back across the Channel. Further campaigns in the air and at sea sought to subdue the British Isles, while more lightning fast attacks in 1941 overran Yugoslavia and Greece, leaving the bulk of Continental Europe under Nazi control.
GNM: Holding the Line
In what became known as the 'long hard slog' of the Korean War, naval aviators sought to slow and cut off communist forces and support troops on the ground. USS Leyte (CV-32) operated in the Sea of Japan for a record 93 continuous days to support the Marines in their epic retreat out of North Korea, and was crucial in the battles of the spring and summer of 1951. All of this was accomplished with a force that was in the midst of change, as jet aircraft altered the entire nature of naval aviation.
GNM: Panzer IV
The Panzer IV programme was started in 1934, forming, alongside the Panzer IIs and IIIs, the Schnellen Truppen, the force that was to become the Panzerwaffe. At first, German planners envisioned it in a secondary role, but during the invasions of the Low Countries and France, the more powerful Panzer IV took a more central role.
When the Panzerwaffe turned east to attack the Soviet Union, the Panzer IVs initially fared poorly against the better-armed T-34s, but upgrades to its gun and armour protection saw it perform far better against Soviet armour, as well as British and American tanks in North Africa and Italy.
The German Panzerartillerie was one of the key components of the Panzer divisions that were the spearhead of the German forces in the years when they overran most of Western Europe and reached as far as the gates of Moscow in the East. Warfare in the age of Blitzkrieg required fast-moving, mobile artillery that could support forward units at the front line, and the Panzerartillerie provided that for the Wehrmacht. The Allies had no answer or equivalent to them until the US entry into the war.
GNM: The History of the Panzerwaffe: Volume 3: The Panzer Division
The first two volumes of the History of the Panzerwaffe have described how the Germans transformed armoured warfare from a lumbering and ponderous experiment in World War I into something that could decide the outcome of conflicts, and how the legendary Panzerwaffe overran Western Europe and reached the gates of Moscow to the East, before taking its place in the forefront of the German defence from the D-Day landings to the valiant last stand in Berlin.