Every August, we unveil what's coming to Osprey in the following year. This year, we kick off the Big Reveal with the Campaign series. Let us know which of these books are you most intrigued by.
CAM: Bosworth 1485
The battle of Bosworth was the culmination of the War of the Roses, the dynastic struggle between the houses of York and Lancaster that dominated England in the second half of the 15th century. Edward IV had secured the throne for the house of York, but his early death in 1483, followed by the death of his sons and the taking of the throne by his brother, Richard of York, saw a renewed outbreak of fighting. Richard's reign began with a major rebellion and was dogged by rumours of his involvement in murder, with him facing threats not only from the lords he alienated, but also from the Lancastrian faction waiting in the wings. Henry Tudor eventually decided to take the huge risk of attempting to seize the throne and Richard’s army marched to meet him, finally clashing near Market Bosworth.
Guiding the reader from the campaign's origins to its aftermath, whilst giving the reader a detailed insight into the commanders and forces of King Richard III and Henry Tudor, this is a complete treatment of one of the most important events in English history.
CAM: Caudine Forks 321 BC
In its long history, the Roman Republic suffered many defeats, but none as humiliating as the Caudine Forks in the summer of 321 BC. Rome had been at war with the Samnites since 326 BC in what would turn out to be a long and bitter conflict now known as the Second Samnite War. The rising, rival Italic powers vied for supremacy in central and southern Italy, and their leaders were contemplating the conquest of the entire Italian peninsula. Driven by the ambitions of Titus Veturius Calvinus and Spurius Postumius Albinus, Roman forces were determined to inflict a crippling blow on the Samnites, but their combined armies were instead surprised, surrounded and forced to surrender by the Samnites led by Gavius Pontius.
This new study analyses why the Romans were so comprehensively defeated at the Caudine Forks, and explains why the protracted aftermath of their dismal defeat was so humiliating and how it spurred them on to their eventual triumph over the Samnites.
CAM: Cuzco 1536–37
On 16 November 1532, the Inca emperor Atahualpa was the most powerful man in South America. His authority was absolute over millions of subjects living the length of an empire that stretched 2,500 miles. However, a group of strangers, comprising just 169 men and 69 horses led by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, soon entered his empire. Despite having 80,000 men at his disposal, Atahualpa was seized and imprisoned. Pizarro burned with the same ruthless ambition as his cousin, Hernán Cortés, who had taken Tenochtitlan, and understood that by seizing the autocrat at the top of the social structure, the state would be at his disposal. Pizarro then marched on Cuzco, the Inca capital, and installed a new puppet emperor, Manco. But, in 1536, Manco roused the people against the intruders, and the Spaniards, having held sway over the entire empire, now found themselves under siege in the capital, desperately striving to hold back the overwhelming numbers of the Inca warriors massing against them.
This fascinating book documents the long and bloody siege, and describes how at the end of ten bitter months, during which Pizarro was defeated at the battle of Ollantaytambo and lost his brother, Juan, while storming the great fortress of Sacsayhuamán, he emerged the victor.
CAM: Dien Bien Phu 1954
The battle which broke France's will to keep fighting her Indochina War (1946–54) was the siege, and subsequent 56-day assault (13 March–7 May) on the 'air-ground base' at Dien Bien Phu. The garrison eventually reached some 15,000 men in 16-plus battalions – French, Foreign Legion, and Vietnamese paratroops; and Foreign Legion, North African, and Indochinese infantry, supported by French tanks and West African artillery. General Vo Nguyen Giap' siege army reached at least 50,000 men in four-plus divisions of the Vietnamese People's Army. The French had planned to cut the Viet Minh's route for a possible invasion of French-protected Laos; to install a base for aggressive sorties and for guerrilla activity; and to draw the Vietnamese into a set-piece battle from a defensive position supplied by air, and then destroy them using superior firepower. However, Giap brought in heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns through the difficult terrain, positioned them masterfully, and then set about destroying the French fortified positions.
In this superbly illustrated study, the fighting at Dien Bien Phu is analyzed and explored in detail. The work demonstrates how the battle was of great consequence, sowing the seeds for a second Indochina conflict – the Vietnam War (1955–75) – into which the USA would inexorably be drawn.
CAM: Leuctra 371 BC
The battle of Leuctra, fought in early July in 371 BC was one of the most important battles ever to be fought in the ancient world. Not only did it see the destruction of the Spartan dominance of Greece, it also introduced several tactical innovations which are still studied and emulated to this day. Sparta’s hegemony of Greece was wiped away in a single day of destruction. Sparta would never recover from the losses in manpower which were suffered at Leuctra.
The importance of the battle of Leuctra cannot be underestimated. This beautifully illustrated title gives the reader a detailed understanding of this epic clash of forces, what led to it, its commanders, sources and the consequences it had for future civilizations.
CAM: Leyte Gulf 1944 (1)
This first of two volumes to examine the Battle of Leyte Gulf focuses on the Imperial Japanese Navy's Center Force, which took part in two major actions during the course of the battle: the intense air attacks from US Navy carriers on October and the compelling action off Samar the following day. A considerable body of myth surrounds the latter, since most accounts of the Samar fighting assume it to have been a crushing Imperial Japanese Navy victory—in truth, the result was anything but that.
This book also examines in detail why, following the Samar action, the Imperial Japanese Navy commander of the Center Force choose to ignore orders and break off the attack into Leyte Gulf—one of the two most controversial decisions of the entire battle. The Japanese planning for Leyte Gulf, and the strengths and weaknesses of the Imperial Japanese Navy in this phase of the war, are explored in full detail, alongside the US Navy’s planning and command arrangements, which had the potential to end in disaster. This book also focuses on the commanders on each side, whose decisions shaped the battle.
CAM: Stalingrad 1942–43 (1)
After failing to defeat the Soviet Union with Operation Barbarossa in 1941, Adolf Hitler planned a new campaign for the summer of 1942: Operation Blue (Case Blau). In this new campaign, Hitler directed that one army group (Heeresgruppe A) would advance to seize the Soviet oilfields in the Caucasus, while the other (Heeresgruppe B) pushed on to the Volga River.
The expectation was for a rapid victory – instead, German forces had to fight hard just to reach the outskirts of Stalingrad, and then found themselves embroiled in a protracted urban battle amid the ruins of a devastated city on the Volga. The Soviet Red Army was hit hard by the initial German offensive but held onto the city and then launched Operation Uranus, a winter counteroffensive that encircled the German 6. Armee at Stalingrad. The Red Army eventually crushed the German forces and hurled the remnants of the German southern front back in disorder.
This first volume in the Stalingrad trilogy covers the period from 28 June to 11 September 1942, including operations around Voronezh. The fighting in the Don Bend, which lasted weeks, comprised some of the largest tank battles of World War II – involving more armour than the tanks employed at Prokhorovka in 1943.
CAM: Stalingrad 1942–43 (2)
The Stalingrad campaign was one of the most decisive military operations in World War II, and set the stage for the ultimate defeat of the Third Reich.
This second volume in the Stalingrad trilogy begins with Vasily Chuikov's appointment to command the Soviet 62nd Army in Stalingrad. It then covers the initial German attempts to seize the city, in the period from 12 September to 23 November 1942. It also discusses the fighting in the city in detail, focusing on key points (such as the Tractor Factory) before concluding with the launch of the Soviet winter counter-offensive, Operation Uranus.
CAM: The Balkans 1940–41 (1)
In the wake of Italy's rapid annexation of Albania in April 1940, Mussolini’s decision to attack Greece in October that year is widely acknowledged as a fatal mistake, leading to a domestic crisis and to the collapse of Italy’s reputation as a military power (re-emphasized by the Italian defeat in North Africa in December 1940). The Italian assault on Greece came to a stalemate in less than a fortnight, and was followed a week later by a Greek counter-offensive that broke through the Italian defences before advancing into Albania, forcing the Italian forces to withdraw north before grinding to a half in January 1941 due to logistical issues. Eventually, the Italians took advantage of this brief hiatus to reorganize and prepare a counteroffensive, the failure of which marked the end of the first stage of the Axis Balkan campaign.
The first of two volumes examining the Axis campaigns in the Balkans, this book offers a detailed overview of the Italian and Greek armies, their fighting power, and the terrain in which they fought. Complimented by rarely seen images and full colour illustrations, it shows how expectations of an easy Italian victory quickly turned into one of Mussolini’s greatest blunders.
CAM: The Balkans 1940–41 (2)
The Wehrmacht’s last Blitzkrieg campaign was indeed a lightning war, since German forces were required to seize both Yugoslavia and Greece before redeploying immediately to the East ready to attack the Soviet Union in a matter of weeks. Although the plans for the conquest of Yugoslavia were developed in haste, the campaign was extremely successful: in a short space of time, both Yugoslavia and Greece had fallen, accompanied by the capture of large numbers of British, Australian and New Zealand troops. The 1941 Balkan campaign was apparently a brilliant military accomplishment that demonstrated once again the superiority of the Wehrmacht, and its cutting-edge campaigning skills.
This superbly detailed work details the opposing forces that took part in this campaign, documents their weapons and analyzes the effectiveness of their tactics. It describes the initial Axis campaign against Yugoslavia, the breakthrough of the Metaxas Line and advance into Macedonia and the withdrawal of Allied troops south. Detailed battlescenes depict key moments in the land, sea and air battles that took place in the Balkans, vividly bringing to life events of almost 80 years ago.
CAM: The Falklands Naval Campaign 1982
The Falklands Conflict was remarkable for many reasons: it was a hard fought, bloody and short conflict between a leading NATO power and one of the most capable armed forces in South America; it demonstrated the capabilities of a range of cutting-edge technologies including nuclear-powered attack submarines, Exocet missiles and Sea Harrier VSTOL aircraft; and it was fought many thousands of miles away from the Royal Navy’s home bases.
In this illustrated study, renowned naval historian Dr Edward Hampshire draws upon the latest available sources to offer a comprehensive examination of the Falklands naval campaign. Blow-by-blow accounts of key engagements, such as the sinking of the General Belgrano, the loss of HMS Sheffield, and the landings at San Carlos Bay, are presented alongside lesser known but equally important naval operations that helped shape the outcome of the conflict.
CAM: The Finnish-Soviet Winter War 1939–40
This title covers the events of the Winter War of November 1939 to March 1940. The Soviet Union had sought to obtain Finnish border territories, ostensibly to protect Leningrad. When Finland refused, Stalin ordered the invasion to begin. Set against the background of the developing global conflict, the Winter War saw the Finnish Army thwart the plans of the sizable Soviet forces assembled against them. The major battles of the war, which took place in bitter winter conditions, are covered in detail, including the battles of the Mannerheim Line, the fighting in Ladoga Karelia and Kainuu, and the clashes in Finnish Lapland. Also covered is the role of the war in Finnish and Soviet memory and its depiction in film and literature. This title also addresses the keys points that led to success and failure for both sides, how these influenced the campaigns that followed in this theatre, and the strategic sensitivity of the region today.
CAM: The Netherlands East Indies Campaign 1941–42
Imperial Japan's campaigns of conquest in late 1941/early 1942 were launched to achieve self-sufficiency for the Japanese people, chiefly in the precious commodity of oil. The Netherlands (or Dutch) East Indies formed one of Japan's primary targets, on account of its abundant rubber plantations and oilfields. Japan itself lacked any form of domestic production.
The Japanese despatched an enormous naval task force to support the amphibious landings over the vast terrain of the Netherlands East Indies. The combined-arms offensive was divided into three groups: western, centre and eastern. Borneo was struck first in mid-December 1941, and assaults on Celebes, Amboin, Timor, Java, Sumatra, Ambon and Dutch New Guinea followed. Allied forces in the NEI comprised British, Australian, Dutch and American personnel. A combined theatre headquarters (ABDACOM) was established on 15 January 1942 to counter the Japanese offensives. The isolated airfields and oilfields were, however, picked off one by one by the Japanese, in the rush to secure the major islands before major Allied reinforcements arrived.
This superbly illustrated title describes the operational plans and conduct of the fighting by the major parties involved and assesses the performance of the opposing forces on the battlefield.
CAM: The Panjshir Valley 1980–86
When the Soviets rolled into Afghanistan in 1979, their eyes were on the cities: take them, they believed, and the country would follow. They were wrong. The Red Army found itself battled into a bloody stalemate in the Afghan mountains, and nowhere more than the strategically vital Panjshir Valley, where they found themselves facing the most able and charismatic of the rebel commanders: Ahmad Shah Masud, the ‘Lion of Panjshir’. The broad outlines of the Soviet War in Afghanistan are relatively well known, but this is the first accessible but detailed study of what were arguably the pivotal campaigns of the war. Time and again the Soviets and their Afghan clients sought to clear and take control of the Panjshir, and time and again the rebels either blunted their clumsy thrusts or ambushed and evaded them, only to retake the valley as soon as Moscow’s attention was elsewhere. Over time, the rebels acquired new weapons and developed their own tactics – but so too did the Soviets.
The Panjshir was not just a pivotal battlefield, it also shaped the subsequent Afghan civil wars that followed the Soviet withdrawal, and the military thinking that is informing the new Russian military.
CAM: Vietnam 1972: Quang Tri
By early 1972, Nixon's policy of ""Vietnamization"" was well underway: South Vietnamese forces had begun to assume greater military responsibility for defense against the North, and US troops were well into their drawdown, with some 25,000 personnel still present in the South. When North Vietnam launched its massive Easter Offensive against the South in late March 1972, its scale and ferocity caught the US high command off balance. The inexperienced South Vietnamese soldiers manning the area south of Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone in former US bases, plus the US Army and Marines Corps advisors and forces present, had to counter a massive conventional combined-arms invasion.
The North's offensive took place simultaneously across three fronts: Quang Tri, Kontum, and An Loc. In I Corps Tactical Zone, the PAVN tanks and infantry quickly captured Quang Tri City and overran the entire province, as well as northern Thua Thien. However, the ARVN forces regrouped along the My Chanh River, and backed by US airpower tactical strikes and bomber raids, managed to halt the PAVN offensive, before retaking the city in a bloody counteroffensive.
Based on primary sources and published accounts of those who played a direct role in the events, this book provides a highly detailed analysis of this key moment in the Vietnam conflict.