Osprey's Big Reveal: New Vanguard

In Military History, Featured
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Next up in the Big Reveal is our New Vanguard series, which examines the design, development, operation and history of the machinery of warfare. Check out the 2020 releases below and let us know in the comments which ones you are interested in.

 

NVG: American Privateers of the Revolutionary War

During the American War of Independence (1775–83), Congress issued almost 800 letters of marque, as a way of combating Britain's overwhelming naval and mercantile superiority. At first, it was only fishermen and the skippers of small merchant ships who turned to privateering, with mixed results. Eventually though, American shipyards began to turn out specially-converted ships, while later still, the first purpose-built privateers entered the fray.
These American privateers seized more than 600 British merchant ships over the course of the war, capturing thousands of British seamen. By the end of the war, some of the largest American privateers could venture as far as the British Isles, and were more powerful than most contemporary warships in the fledgling US Navy. A small number of Loyalist privateers also put to sea during the war, and preyed on the shipping of their rebel countrymen.

 

NVG: US Navy Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers

Faced with an increasingly formidable anti-ship cruise missile threat from the Soviet Union in the early days of the Cold War, and with the recent memory of the kamikaze threat from World War II, the USN placed a great priority on developing air defence cruise missiles and getting them to sea to protect the fleet. The first of these missiles were sizable, necessitating large ships to carry them and their sensors, which resulted in the conversion of a mix of heavy and light cruisers.
The cruisers served in the front lines of the Cold War and many saw combat service, engaging in surface actions from Vietnam to the Persian Gulf. Complementing the conventionally-powered missile cruisers was a much smaller number of expensive nuclear-powered cruisers, including the Long Beach, the USN’s largest-ever missile cruiser. Until replaced by the Ticonderoga and Burke classes of Aegis ships, the USN’s 38 missile cruisers were the most capable and important surface combatants in the fleet and served all over the globe during the Cold War.

 

NVG: World War II German Super-Heavy Siege Guns

As the outbreak of World War II approached, Nazi Germany ordered artillery manufacturers Krupp and Rheimetall-Borsig to build several super-heavy siege guns, vital to smash through French and Belgian fortresses that stood in the way of the Blitzkrieg. These 'secret weapons' were much larger than the siege artillery of World War I and included the largest artillery piece of the war, the massive 80cm railway gun 'schwere Gustav' (Heavy Gustav). However, these complex and massive artillery pieces required years to build and test and, as war drew near, the German High Command hastily brought several WWI-era heavy artillery pieces back into service and then purchased, and later confiscated, a large number of Czech Skoda mortars.
 
The new super siege guns began entering service in time for the invasion of Russia, notably participating in the attack on the fortress of Brest-Litovsk. Afterwards, when Germany was on the defensive in the second half of 1943, the utility of the guns was greatly diminished, and they were employed in a piecemeal and sporadic fashion on both the Eastern and Western Fronts.

 

NVG: Tanks in the Battle of the Bulge

The Battle of the Bulge raises many questions which, until now, have not been adequately answered: How did the major tank types perform during the battle? What were the specific ‘lessons learned’ from the combat? And did these lessons result in changes to tanks in the subsequent months?
 
Offering detailed answers to these questions, and many more, this book provides a survey of the principal tank and tank-equivalents (such as tank destroyers and Jagdpanzers) that took part in the Ardennes Campaign of December 1944–January 1945. Beginning with a basic overview of the campaign, accompanied by an order of battle of the major armoured units, it examines the opposing forces, covering the organization of the two tank forces to explain how they were deployed.

 

NVG: Combat Vehicles of Russia's Special Forces

Vladimir Putin has devoted effort and funds into modernising Russia’s armed forces and turning them into an instrument geared not just for defending the Motherland but also projecting power beyond its borders, Russia has seen a growing emphasis on special and specialist forces. 

Traditionally, the elite Spetsnaz commandos had to make do with regular vehicles or civilian-based ‘technicals’, not least to conceal their presence (or, indeed, very existence). Now, increasingly at the forefront of Russian power projection, the Spetsnaz are acquiring more capable, versatile vehicles, such as the paratroopers’ BTR-D personnel carrier, and also experimenting with exotic, specialist new acquisitions, such as the Chaborz M-3 buggy and Yamaha Grizzly all-terrain vehicle.
The other elite branches of Russia’s forces, such as the Arctic-warfare troops of the 200th Independent Motor Rifle Brigade, the paratroopers of the Air Assault Troops (VDV), the Naval Infantry, and the elite units of the security forces are also developing and fielding new vehicles for their specialist roles, from combat snowmobiles to urban-warfare vehicles.

 

NVG: American Guided Missiles of World War II

World War II was a significant period of development for American missile programs, during which time the US built pioneering examples of guided weapons systems. However, whilst the German missiles of World War II are famous around the world, their American counterparts have remained shrouded in secrecy, despite the fact that they formed the basis for the later revolutions in precision warfare.


Among the most sophisticated missiles of World War II was the US Navy’s radar-guided Bat anti-ship missile, which was on the verge of deployment in the final months of the war. The war also saw the first use of guided assault drones, including the US Army Air Force’s Aphrodite program of 1944, and the US Navy’s Project Anvil and TDR-1.

 

NVG: The Royal Netherlands Navy of World War II

In the late 19th and early 20th century, a combination of coastal defence for the homeland and fleet defence for the East Indies became the established naval strategy for the Royal Dutch Navy and set the template for the world wars. Battleships were too expensive to build and maintain, so after World War I, there was significant investment in submarine development and construction. A handful of modern light cruisers and a new class of destroyers were also constructed during the interwar years to serve as a small Fleet-in-Being in the East Indies and to support the actions of the navy’s submarines. This beautifully illustrated book from a leading scholar on Dutch military history provides a comprehensive guide to the Royal Netherlands Navy of the World War II period, complete with detailed cutaways and battleplates of the fleet in action.

 

NVG: Soviet Armoured Cars 1936–45

The armoured car has an important place in the early history of Soviet armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) – they were the most important AFV during the Russian Civil War and figured prominently in the mechanization of the Red Army that began in late 1929. The 1930s saw the development and production of a wide variety of armoured cars, which were used extensively in Soviet conflicts from then on. They saw service in the Spanish Civil War, in the 1939 Manchurian conflict with Japan, and in the occupation of the Baltic states and the invasion of Poland and Finland. Although many of its armoured cars were lost in the early months following the German invasion in June 1941, Russia continued with its armoured car development program, and the final model, the BA-64, was accepted for service in 1942 with over 9,000 built before production ended in 1946.

 

NVG: Soviet Cold War Attack Submarines

This book will cover nuclear-powered attack submarines built and operated by the Soviet Union in the Cold War. This includes the November class, which were the Soviet Union’s first nuclear submarines. The Alfa class were perhaps the most remarkable submarines of the Cold War: titanium-hulled, crewed with only thirty men due to considerable automation, 30% faster than any US submarines, and radically used a liquid lead-bismuth alloy in the reactor plant. The Victor class formed the backbone of the Soviet nuclear submarine fleet in the 1970s and 1980s, as hunter-killer submarines began to focus on tracking and potentially destroying NATO ballistic missile submarines. The Sierra classes were further titanium-hulled submarines and the single Mike class submarine was an experimental type containing a number of innovations. This submarine, the Komsolomets, was tragically lost at sea in 1989 due to an accidental fire, killing 42 of her crew. The Akula class were being constructed as the Cold War ended, and these boats form the mainstay of the Russian nuclear attack submarine fleet today.

 

NVG: French 75mm Gun

The “Soixante-quinze”, France’s legendary 75mm Modele 1897, was the first modern field gun. It pioneered several critical innovations in field artillery designs include a fast action breech and a soft recoil system. Although some of these features had been incorporated into earlier guns, the 75mm M1897 integrated them into a superior, lightweight field gun. The 75mm M1897 earned its reputation in the Great War, forming the backbone of French field artillery. It was widely exported after World War I around the globe. Due to its modernity and sound design, the 75mm remained in service well into World War II. It was used by the French, Polish, US and other armies during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The German army captured thousands of these in 1940 and used them for coastal defense. Surprisingly, many were converted into a very effective anti-tank gun, the PaK 97/38. These weapons lingered in service after World ar II, though by this time, they were largely obsolete.

 

NVG: US Navy Destroyer Escorts of World War II

Destroyer escorts first went into production because the Royal Navy needed an escort warship larger than a corvette, but which could be built faster than a destroyer. They lacked the shipyards to build these types of ships in Britain, so they ordered them in the United States. Once the United States unexpectedly entered the war, its navy suddenly also needed more escort warships, so the destroyer escort was picked to fill the gap.
 
Destroyer escorts were built in yards that did not exist prior to 1940, which were incapable of building destroyers, and were thrown up in rivers. These ships did yeoman service during World War II, fighting in both the Atlantic and Pacific, taking on both U-boat and Japanese submarines and serving as the early warning pickets against kamikazes later in the war. They soldiered on after World War II in both the United States Navy and a large number of navies throughout the world. This book would tell the story of these plucky ships, both during World War II and afterwards.

Post Comments

DylanShin posted on 18 Aug 2019 13:32:47
Would like to see something about italian tank destroyers or US armored cars
PAUL W posted on 17 Aug 2019 21:00:05
Not my favourite serries but some very interesting titles, I'm actually interested in most of them.
AdamC posted on 13 Aug 2019 12:13:22
This is a pretty solid list for me folks. The French 75mm and Soviet nuclear attack subs are particular highlights (can we look forward to a follow up volume dealing with the diesel attack subs?). I do agree with the rest of you that I don't see the point of Tanks of the Bulge and German super-heavy guns will probably cover a fair bit of ground already trodden. Not a bad list at all on the whole though.
Tarawa90 posted on 11 Aug 2019 18:07:29
A reveal on a Sunday?!?! What is this madness?!

Agreed on the Tanks of the Bulge, rehashed for the hundredth time. Looking forward to the Privateers, Cold War books, and the Destroyer Escorts.
KenA posted on 11 Aug 2019 16:02:02
Agreed; a mixed bag. Very pleased to see WWII Dutch Navy on the list. Soviet Armoured Cars and US Destroyer Escorts also most welcome.

I would have included American Privateers in “my likes” but I’ve found the author of that title has the ability to make an interesting subject about as interesting as paint drying. So I’ll give it a miss.
Paintybeard posted on 11 Aug 2019 15:14:55
A very mixed bag.

Extremely pleased to see the French 75 get a book at last, a very important weapon system that is well worth a book of its own.

Likewise pleased to see the books on modern warships and WW2 Dutch Navy.

But Battle of the Bulge Tanks? German Super-heavy Artillery? These subjects have been so comprehensively covered already that these titles seem almost pointless.

One more thing. Is there any chance that these reveals could include the name of the authors? It would certainly help me judge the likely value of each book.

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