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Every August we unveil what’s coming to Osprey in the coming year, and today marks the start of this year's Big Reveal. We thought we'd kick things off with our longest-running series, Men-at-Arms.
2019 sees a further 8 books join the ranks, so take a read of the titles below and let us know which you're excited to see published!
MAA: The Khazars, A Jeudo-Turkish Empire on the Steppes, 7th–11th Centuries
The Khazars were one of the most important Turkic peoples in European history, dominating vast areas of southeastern Europe and the western reaches of the Central Asian steppes from the 4th to the 11th centuries AD. They were also unique in that their aristocratic and military elite wore advanced forms of iron plate armour. Finally overrun by Kievan Rus, the Khazar state had nevertheless played a central part in regional history. They became significant allies of the Byzantine Empire, blocking the advance of Islam north of the Caucasus Mountains for several hundred years.
They also achieved a remarkable level of metal-working technology, and their military elite wore forms of iron plate armour that would not be seen in Western Europe until the 14th century. The Khazar state provided the foundations upon which medieval Russia and modern Ukraine were built.
MAA: Armies of the Medieval Italian Wars 1125–1325
The powers of medieval Europe fought continuously in the Italian peninsula between the 12th and 14th centuries as they sought to expand their territory. Invading armies from Germany – the Holy Roman Empire – saw the creation of the defensive Lombard League of northern Italian city-states. The struggles between the Empire and the Papacy resulted in conflicts between rival confederacies, which in turn proved to be the catalysts for developments in organization and tactics. Italian urban militias became better organised and equipped, and the Imperial armies went from being mostly German to multi-national forces.
After the 1260s, France, relying mainly on armoured cavalry, and Spain, with their innovative light infantry, vied for control of southern Italy. On the seas, the naval powers of Genoa, Pisa and Venice became fierce rivals, bringing the treasures of the east into feudal Europe.
MAA: Norwegian Waffen-SS Legion, 1941–43
Following the Nazi occupation of Norway in 1941, the Waffen-SS began recruiting volunteers to serve in their ranks. Initially formed into small volunteer units, termed ‘Legions’ in Nazi propaganda, these developed into entire divisions during 1943. Early volunteers were promised that they would not leave Scandinavia and that they would serve under native Norwegian officers – but after the German invasion of the Soviet Union they were deployed to the Leningrad front alongside Dutch and Latvian units, in the 2nd SS Infantry Brigade. These units combined to form the nucleus of a whole regiment within the new 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division 'Nordland'.
MAA: Australian Bushrangers 1820–1880
The first 'bushrangers' were escaped or time-expired convicts, who took to the wilderness in New South Wales and on the island of Tasmania. Initially, the only Crown forces available were redcoats from the small, scattered garrisons, but by 1825 the problem of outlawry led to the formation from these soldiers of the first Mounted Police.
The gold strikes of the 1860s attracted a new group of men who preferred to get rich by the gun rather than the shovel. The roads, and later railways, that linked the mines with the cities were preyed upon by the bushrangers.
The last outbreak came in Victoria in 1880, when the notorious Kelly Gang staged several hold-ups and deliberately ambushed the pursuing police. Their last stand at Glenrowan has become a legendary episode in Australian history.
MAA: The Australian Army at War 1976–2016
Since the end of their involvement in the Vietnam War, the Australian Army has been modernized in every respect. After peacekeeping duties in South-East Asia, Africa and the Middle East in the 1980s–90s, 'Diggers' were sent to safeguard the newly independent East Timor from Indonesian harassment in 1999, and to provide long-term protection and mentoring since 2006. Australian Army units have served in the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Australian Special Forces are currently operating alongside US and British elements against ISIS in northern Iraq. During these campaigns the Australian SAS Regiment and Commandos have fully matured into 'Tier 1' assets, internationally recognized for their wide range of capabilities.
MAA: Roman Army Units in the Western Provinces (2)
The appearance of Roman soldiers in the 3rd century AD has long been a matter of debate and uncertainty, largely thanks to the collapse of central control and perpetual civil war between the assassination of Severus Alexander in 235 and the accession of the great Diocletian in 284.
During those years no fewer than 51 men were proclaimed as emperors, some lasting only a few days. Despite this apparent chaos, however, the garrisons of the Western Provinces held together, by means of localized organization and the recruitment of 'barbarians' to fill the ranks. They still constituted an army in being when Diocletian began the widespread reforms that rebuilt the Empire – though an Empire guarded by an army that their forefathers would hardly have recognized.
MAA: The Army of Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus was one of the most tireless and famous warriors of the Hellenistic Age that followed the dispersal of Alexander the Great's brief empire. After inheriting the throne as a boy, and a period of exile, he began a career of alliances and expansion, in particular against the region’s rising power: Rome. Gathering both Greek and Italian allies into a large army (which included war-elephants), he crossed to Italy in 280 BC, but lost most of his force in a series of costly victories at Heraclea and Asculum. After a campaign in Sicily against the Carthaginians, he was defeated by the Romans at Beneventum and was forced to withdraw. Undeterred, he fought wars in Macedonia and Greece, the last of which cost him his life.
MAA: Armies of the Great Northern War 1700–1720
The Great Northern War was a long series of campaigns in which Russia confronted and eventually replaced Sweden as the predominant power in Northern Europe. It began with a series of astonishing Swedish victories, from Denmark to Poland and deep into Germany. King Charles XII annihilated a Russian army at Narva (1700); invaded Poland, and installed a puppet king (1703-04); and invaded Saxony, seizing Leipzig (1706). But Peter the Great of Russia showed steadfast determination, and Charles overreached himself when he invaded Russia (1708); the Russians adopted classic 'scorched earth' tactics until they could destroy the Swedish army at Poltava (1709), one of the most complete victories in history. Nevertheless, Sweden continued to fight, and to win sufficiently often, until Charles's death in battle in 1718. Meanwhile, a simultaneous Swedish alliance with Turkey brought Russian defeats in the South.
Which of these new Men-at-Arms titles has caught your attention? Let us know in the comments below, and keep checking the blog for more in our Big Reveal series!