Osprey's Big Reveal: Men-at-Arms

In Military History, Featured

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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!

Post Comments

Hessy Field posted on 14 Aug 2018 11:37:38
A good range of titles - although I agree with Callin'you about the Great Northern War - to give adequate coverage it really needs two volumes on the Swedish Army and at least another one to cover the 'minor' powers (as a single book I hope not too much time will be spent on the Russian Armies as that has already been covered in the two MAA on Peter the Great's Army). I note the WWII titles are becoming more and more niche - although large subjects remain uncovered such as: African Troops in WWII; South African Armed Forces and Resistance and Guerrilla movements in the Far East 1941-45 (perhaps also one on The Nisei: Japanese-American Troops in WWII?).
David Hale posted on 10 Aug 2018 10:39:10
The Khazars? Never heard of them but looking forward to reading about them. That's what I love about the MAA series, the breadth and depth of subjects.
Pompeius Minus posted on 8 Aug 2018 16:02:45
Hooray for Italian Wars and Pyrrhus, two undercovered subjects! Add Great Nothern War to that as well.
Callin'you posted on 7 Aug 2018 14:31:05
Great selection, will want half a dozen of them at least! I hope the update on the Australian Army will be followed by a similar MAA for Canada's Army. However, I must protest that while Peter the Great had two Men At Arms volumes Charles the 12th of Sweden gets less than one book that will presumably have to cover Russia, Poland, Denmark, Saxony and who knows who else as well? It hardly seems fair!
AdamC posted on 7 Aug 2018 08:38:17
...there is plenty "there" for the ancient and medievalists. - #Schoolboyerror! #Fingersworking fasterthanbrain! #Duh!
AdamC posted on 7 Aug 2018 08:36:08
Hi guys,
Well that's a good solid selection to kick off this years offerings. Not too WWII heavy and with a good spread of subject matter. As someone else has pointed out there is plenty their for the ancient and medievalists. Nice to see the Great Northern War getting more coverage than just Peter the Greats army (coverage of Charles XII Carolines is long overdue!). All in all a decent list. Bring on the next one!!!
PAUL W posted on 5 Aug 2018 19:07:32
Wow, just wow. That's a lot of very interesting titles, especially pleased with so many ancient and medieval titles. Just wondered what is happening to MAA: Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2)? I also hope kuvaszsleepybear is right and there are new RAIDS and Essential Histories to come.
kuvaszsleepybear posted on 5 Aug 2018 00:14:02
RAIDS RAIDS RAIDS and Essential Histories
GI Gene posted on 4 Aug 2018 21:41:48
I'm looking forward to Norwegian Waffen-SS Legion, 1941–43 and The Australian Army at War 1976–2016!
Regulator posted on 4 Aug 2018 21:37:55
So happy to have a gold membership! Bring more splendid artwork from Peter Dennis. Always a joy to look at!
Paintybeard posted on 4 Aug 2018 17:53:07
8 titles next year, that's a welcome increase, quite a few interesting ones. A little disappointed that all The Great Northern War will be squashed into one book, but no real complaints.

14 groups of question marks at the top of the blog. Which series are we going to get?

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