Osprey's Big Reveal: Men-at-Arms

In Military History, Featured
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Our Big Reveal continues with our Men-at-Arms series. Read on to find out which books will be publishing in 2020 and let us know in the comments which titles you're looking forward to the most.

 

MAA: Japanese Armies 1868–1878

The restoration of the Meiji Imperial dynasty in 1868, after 250 years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, decisively opened Japan to the outside world and the monarchy embraced modernization, including the creation of a new Westernized army. However, this modernization process was resisted by the traditional Samurai feudal nobility, leading to a series of battles.

During the Boshin War of 1868­–69, a French military adviser, Jules Brunet, changed sides to join the insurgents. They won several engagements before the final crushing of the rebel Ezo Republic. After this point, the Imperial Army continued to modernize along French lines, and social changes began to impoverish Samurai noblemen, who lost their social and political role and their associated privileges. In January 1877, increasing unrest broke out into open rebellion. The Imperial forces were now much stronger and the Samurai made a last stand at Shiroyama on 24 September. This marked the final defeat and displacement of the Samurai class.

This fully illustrated title explores the fall of the Samurai in detail, examining the arms, tactics, key figures of both sides, and charting the increasing Westernization of the Imperial forces.

 

MAA: Dutch Waffen-SS Legion & Brigade 1941–44

Goebbels’ 1941 propaganda campaign to present Germany's invasion of the USSR as a battle for European civilization against Asian barbarism convinced many men in occupied 'Germanic' European countries, to volunteer to fight on the Russian Front. One of the strongest national legions of such a kind was raised in the Netherlands. The 3,000-man Netherlands Volunteer Legion fought on the Leningrad front in regimental strength, from the Red Army's winter 1941/42 counter-offensive until April 1943. The survivors were then reinforced to form a 5,500-strong Panzergrenadier Brigade, and after anti-partisan service in Croatia, they returned to Army Group North as part of Steiner's III SS Panzer Korps, fighting in the most arduous battles of 1943–44 until driven back into Pomerania. In the final months of the war the division formed the nucleus of the new 23rd SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division 'Nederland’.

In this illustrated study of the Dutch Waffen-SS Legion and Brigade, specialist Massimiliano Afiero explores the full history of this important formation from its establishment in 1941 until it was incorporated into the ‘Nederland’ Division in 1944.


MAA: Japan's Asian Allies 1941–45

During the Japanese occupation of large parts of Asia and the Pacific in 1941–45, Japan raised significant numbers of troops to fight alongside them, as well as militias to guard their conquests. The total number of these soldiers is estimated at no fewer than 600,000 men. Many of the recruits from former European colonies hoped for independence as part of the 'Greater East-Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere' proclaimed by Japanese propaganda, but Japan's intentions were entirely cynical. They formed alliances to deny the Allied powers access to territory that they could not actually occupy, and raised these large numbers of auxiliary troops to relieve the manpower burden of occupation, or simply as 'cannon-fodder'.

This extensively researched study examines each of these armies and militias in detail, exploring their history and deployment during World War II, and revealing the intricacies of their arms and equipment with stunning full-colour artwork and previously unpublished contemporary photographs.

 

MAA: The Normans in Italy 1017–1194

Preceding and simultaneously with the conquest of England by Duke William, other ambitious and aggressive Norman noblemen found it prudent to leave Normandy. Many of these noblemen achieved great victories, acquired rich lands of their own, and perfected a feudal military system that lasted for 200 years. As news of the rich pickings to be had in the south spread in Normandy, they were joined by many other opportunists. Steadily, these Norman noblemen fought their way to local power, defeating in the process the armies of Byzantium, the German 'Holy Roman Empire', and Islamic regional rulers. Finally, in 1130, Roger II founded a unified kingdom incorporating southern Italy and Sicily, which lasted until the death of Tancred of Lecce in 1194 – though its legacy long outlasted Norman political rule.

This beautifully illustrated title explores not only the Norman armies, but the armies of their opponents, with full-colour plates and expert analysis revealing fascinating details about the fighting men of Normandy, Byzantium, the Arab armies and more.

 

MAA: Armies of the Italian-Turkish War

The Italian expeditionary force that landed in Libya in October 1911 easily defeated the Ottoman division based in the coastal cities. However, the Libyan inland tribes reacted furiously to the Italian conquest, and their insurgency cost the Italians thousands of casualties. To retrieve Italian prestige the government launched a naval campaign in the Dardanelles and the Dodecanese – the last Turkish-held archipelago in the Aegean – in April–May 1912, and landed troops to capture Rhodes. The army finally pushed inland in Libya in July–October, and after brutal fighting the war ended in a treaty that brought Italy all it wanted.

The appearance of the troops involved was varied: the Italians wore both old blue and new grey-green uniforms, as well as white, and also employed Colonial troops from East Africa. The Ottoman Army had also recently changed to more modern khaki uniforms, and their Libyan regulars, as well as the tribal insurgents, add more variation. The navies of both sides will also be illustrated, since naval landing troops were active in the Aegean campaign.

 

MAA: German Troops in the American Revolutionary War (1)

During the American Revolutionary War (1775–83), German auxiliary troops provided a vital element of the British war effort. Some 30,000 German troops served in North America. Initially feared by the American population, the German troops came to be respected by their opponents. The fighting would inform the tactics and methods of a generation of German officers who returned to Europe after the war, many of whom went on to hold senior commands during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

The largest body of German troops was from Hessen-Cassel – 12,000 men including artillery and light troops, the famous Jäger. The only German contingent to be employed as a unit under its own general officers, they were clothed and equipped in the style of Frederick the Great’s Prussians, and were trained in much the same way. This lively study examines the organization, appearance, weapons, and equipment of the Hessen-Cassel troops who fought for King George in the American Revolutionary War.

 

MAA: Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450–1550

While the Italian Renaissance saw religion beginning to lose its primary role in society to science and the arts, it was also a period of political and military turmoil. Many regional wars were fought between the states ruled by Milan, Venice, Genoa, Florence, the Papacy, Siena and Naples. For more than 50 years starting in 1494 major foreign powers also exploited these divisions to invade Italy, which became the cockpit of their rivalries: both France and Spain made temporary alliances with city states to further their ambitions, and early in the 16th century the Emperor Charles V sent armies from his German realms to support the Spanish. These wars coincided with the growth of disciplined infantry – carrying not only polearms and crossbows but also hand-guns – which proved capable of challenging the previously dominant armoured knights. All the powers involved made widespread use of professional mercenaries, which were at the forefront of the early development of the 'pike and shot' era that succeeded the 'High Middle Ages'. During this period costumes, armour and weapons all showed great variety, due both to their national origins and to the evolution of tactics and technology.

Post Comments

AdamC posted on 10 Sep 2019 07:30:51
That's a good list for me guys. German troops in America is the highlight but the Italian-Turkish War and Japan's Asian allies also look interesting.
Hessy Field posted on 7 Sep 2019 16:11:43
I'm the complete opposite of KenA - MAA is my favourite of all the current Osprey series - my first ever Osprey was "Napoleon's Dragoons and Lancers" purchased 40 years ago in 1979! I'm very interested in the appearance, equipment and organisation of the fighting troops - I actually get mildly irritated if there is too much "campaign" detail in a MAA book as there are other series (Campaign, Combat) that can cover that and it isn't really what MAA is about. As far as this list is concerned I think it is the best list of any of the series thus far - nowadays MAA is the most leftfield - and thus the most interesting - of any Osprey series. Highlights are the Japanese titles - versions of which I have suggested quite a number of times as potential titles - and I would agree that a companion on Anti-Japanese guerrilla movements would be a welcome addition.
KenA posted on 7 Sep 2019 00:57:00
MAA is, I’m afraid, far from my favourite series. Nevertheless, Philip Jowett’s ‘Japan’s Asian Allies’ looks to have potential and I’ve put it on my ‘To Buy List’. The Pre-WWI Italian-Turkish War has always interested me but if this MAA title is only about the ‘rags’ the protagonists wore then I think I’ll give it a big miss.
Paintybeard posted on 6 Sep 2019 18:58:41
All good titles, German Troops in AWI and Japanese 1868 - 78 are my favourites. 2020 is shaping up well.
GI Gene posted on 6 Sep 2019 17:38:54
The Dutch SS sounds fine, but I am most excited for Japan's Asian Allies 1941–45! I checked Amazon Canada and its written by Philip Jowett, so it will be good! Can't wait for that one.

I do remember many years ago there was an Osprey Men at Arms poll choice for Anti-Japanese Resistance Movements and Guerrilla Forces. Hopefully Japan's Asian Allies will be successful enough for that subject to be published by Osprey one day.

Armies of the Italian-Turkish War sounds intriguing as well.

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