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Osprey's Big Reveal: Duel

In Military History, Featured
CAM  WPN  ANT  GNM1  ELI  ACM  DUE  CBT  MAA  GNA  RAID  GNM2  COM/XPL  NVG

To navigate your way through the Big Reveal please use the links in the bar above.


We're halfway through our Big Reveal, and we have so many more series to share. Today's reveal looks at our Duel series. Which machine-on-machine conflict are you looking forward to the most?
 
Have a read of the book descriptions below, and join in the conversation in the comments!


DUE: Arab Armour vs Israeli Armour

The Six-Day War in 1967 was a lightning Israeli campaign that changed the face of the Middle East. Israel’s armoured brigades, despite being heavily outnumbered on paper by Arab AFVs, managed to dominate the Arab forces tactically and technologically. The fighting took place on three different fronts: the Sinai Front, the Jordanian Front and the Golan Heights. Each presented its own unique set of tactical and terrain challenges. 

Not only did the Six-Day War see the direct clash of opposing Cold War tactical approaches, but also the direct confrontation of Western and Soviet MBTs. On the Israeli side, the IDF had the British Centurion, the American M48 Patton, the M51 Super Sherman, and the French AMX-13, although they focused their armoured spearheads on the Centurions and Pattons. The Arabs' armoured power was expressed through T-34/85s, T-54/55s, PT-76s and JS-3s (IS-3s). Each vehicle brought its own set of advantages and disadvantages, although ultimately it was the long-range tank-killing gunnery of the Centurion that often took the day. 

Drawing on compelling first-hand accounts from both unit commanders and individual crews, this Duel title explains the tactical and mechanical dynamics of one of history’s greatest post-war armoured engagements.


DUE: German 88mm Gun vs Allied Armour

Few weapons developed a more deadly reputation than the German ‘88’ in the role of anti-tank gun, its long reach and lethal hitting power making it a significant problem for every type of British and later American armour. Despite its individual potency, it was almost always utilized as part of a comprehensive system of defences that relied on a mix of weapons carefully deployed in anticipation of the enemy’s likely avenue and method of attack. Used in this way, the 88 became a particularly deadly part of the Afrika Korps’ attempts to shatter British armoured power in the Western Desert.

Initially extremely successful over the course of 1941 and 1942 in Operations Battleaxe and Crusader, the Allies’ tactics and vehicles (such as the American-made M3 and the Crusader III) eventually evolved to deal with the 88’s awesome power. This detailed new book tells the story of that evolution and provides an in-depth treatment of this key weapon of World War II.


DUE: German Heavy Cruisers vs Royal Navy Heavy Cruisers

World War II turned out to be the swan song of the heavy cruiser design. In the Kriegsmarine, although some 22 Panzerschiffe ('armoured ships' – a form of heavily armed cruiser) were planned across four different designs, only three Deutschland-class ships (Deutschland/Lützow, Admiral Scheer and Admiral Graf Spee) and three Admiral Hipper-class cruisers (Admiral Hipper, Blücher, and Prinz Eugen) were ever completed. The Royal Navy’s equivalent vessels comprised the A Type (13 County-class ships built in three distinct sub-classes: Kent, London and Norfolk), and the B Type, comprising the two York-class heavy cruisers (HMS York and HMS Exeter). These opposing heavy cruisers engaged in a global game of cat and mouse during the opening years of the war. This book will cover the contacts between the two sides at the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939 (Admiral Graf Spee vs HMS Exeter), HMS Berwick’s clash with Admiral Hipper off the Canaries (25 December 1940), Operation Rheinübung/Battle of the Denmark Strait in May 1941 (involving Prinz Eugen, HMS Suffolk, HMS Norfolk, HMS London and HMS Dorsetshire), and Operation Rösselsprung (1942) against convoy PQ-17 (Admiral Hipper, Deutchsland/Lützow and Admiral Scheer vs the RN Heavy cruisers in the two covering forces).

 

DUE: Ju 87 Stuka vs Royal Navy Carriers

This superbly illustrated book looks at the duel between the Ju 87 Stuka and the aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy. Despite their gun protection (‘pompoms’) and their squadrons of fighters, these immense and mighty vessels proved irresistible targets to determined and experienced Stuka aces as they endeavoured to stop British naval intervention in the campaigns in Norway, Malta and Crete. By 1941, the Ju 87 had become known by the British as a fearsome aircraft following its operations in France, specifically at Dunkirk, as well as in the Balkans. For the Luftwaffe, it was an aircraft in which they still had great confidence despite its mauling in the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940.

This book examines the key attributes and shortcomings of both aircraft and carrier by analysing various compelling episodes including the dramatic attacks on Ark Royal by Stukageschwader (St.G) 1 off Norway in April 1940, the strikes by the Luftwaffe’s St.G 1, St.G 2 and the Regia Aeronautica’s 237° Squadriglia against Illustrious in Malta harbour. This volume also includes numerous personal accounts from Stuka crews, the pilots of carrier-borne fighters opposing them and the sailors embarked in the various carriers that came under attack.

 

DUE: P-47 Thunderbolt vs German Flak Defences

Involving just as many aircraft as the daylight heavy bombing campaign, the fighter-bombers wreaked considerably more havoc on German ground forces. Indeed, Thunderbolt units undertaking such missions effectively complemented the strategic campaign, ensuring the defeat of Nazi Germany. P-47 pilots paid a high price to achieve this victory, however, as the German flak arm was well equipped with weapons of various calibres to counter tactical air power’s threat. The USAAF four numbered air forces that saw action over the European continent suffered significant fighter-bomber losses to flak. The principle fighter-bomber from the summer of 1944 through to VE Day was the P-47D, with both dedicated ground attack units and squadrons that had completed their bomber escort tasking seeking out targets of opportunity across occupied western Europe.
Low-altitude flak batteries put up a virtual ‘wall of steel’ for enemy fighter-bombers to fly through. Damaging a low-flying fighter-bomber made it easier for other flak gunners to track, engage and destroy it. Innovations like lead-computing gunsights gave gunners a higher probability of intercepting low-altitude fighters. Conversely, the appearance of air-to-ground rockets beneath the wings of P-47s gave pilots better standoff range and a harder-hitting punch when dealing with low and medium altitude flak units.

This illustrated title offers a detailed look at the tactics and techniques used by both P-47 fighter-bomber pilots and the German flak gunners charged with preventing their attacks.

 

DUE: UH-1 Huey Gunship vs NVA/VC Forces

Often described as the US Army’s aerial jeep the UH-1 Iroquois (‘Huey’) was the general-purpose vehicle that provided mobility in a hostile jungle environment which made rapid troop movement extremely challenging by any other means. Hueys airlifted troops, evacuated casualties, rescued downed pilots, transported cargo externally and enabled rapid transit of commanders in the field. Although ‘vertical aviation’ had only become a practical reality during the Korean War helicopters evolved rapidly in the decade before Vietnam and by 1965 the US Army and US Marines relied on them as primary combat tools. This was principally because North Vietnam’s armed forces had long experience of jungle operations, camouflage and evasion. Generally avoiding set-piece pitched battles they relied on rapid, frequent strikes and withdrew using routes that were generally inaccessible to US vehicles. They commonly depended on darkness and bad weather to make their moves, often rendering them immune to conventional air attack. Gunship helicopters were more able to track and attack the enemy. Innovative tactics were required for this unfamiliar combat scenario and for a US Army that was more prepared for conventional operations in a European-type setting. One of the most valuable new initiatives was the UH-1C ‘Huey Hog’ or ‘Frog’ gunship, conceived in 1960 and offering more power and agility than the UH-1B that pioneered gunship use in combat. Heavily armed with guns and rockets and easily transportable by air these helicopters became available in large numbers and they became a major problem for the insurgent forces throughout the war.

Covering fascinating details of the innovations in tactics and combat introduced by gunship helicopters, this book offers an analysis of their adaptability and usefulness in a variety of operations, while exploring the insurgent forces' responses to the advent of 'vertical aviation'.

 

DUE: SBD Dauntless vs A6M Zero-sen

The SBD Dauntless dive-bomber was a key cog in the US Navy’s aerial arsenal throughout the Pacific War. Although a product of aviation design in the mid to late 1930s, the type soldiered on even as more advanced aircraft were appearing from American factories as the war progressed. Despite its classification as a dive-bomber and rather dated appearance, the SBD Dauntless could more than handle its own against the feared A6M Zero-sen – a regular opponent. The Zero-sen came to symbolise Japan’s military prowess during the early stages of the war in the Pacific, and it quickly became the world’s premier carrier-based fighter – a title it would hold well into 1943. The psychological impact of the Zero-sen was so great that all Allied fighters were judged by the standards set by it. The aviators flying the A6M in 1941-42 were amongst the most experienced fighter pilots in the world, and they claimed a significant number of the SBDs destroyed while trying to defend their carriers from attack during the Battles of Coral Sea, Midway and Santa Cruz in 1942. The fighting between these two very different aircraft types provides the backdrop for a unique title in the Duel series. While one was a dive-bomber and the other a nimble fighter, both met in combat many times, with the Dauntless proving an elusive and deadly target thanks to the tenacity and skill of the pilots and gunners manning the Douglas aircraft. While the Zero-sen was credited with shooting down many SBDs, the rugged dive-bomber gave as good as it got and emerged, not surprisingly, victorious on many occasions. 

 

DUE: USMC M4A2 Sherman vs Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go

The different national tank doctrines of the United States and Imperial Japan resulted in a terrible mismatch of the predominant tank types in the crucial Central Pacific campaign. A flawed Japanese doctrine emphasized light infantry support tanks, often used in small numbers. Tactically, tanks were often frittered away in armored versions of the familiar banzai attacks. Meanwhile, the Americans saw the tank as an infantry support weapon, but developed a more systematic tactical doctrine. They settled upon a larger medium tank – in the case of most Marine Corps tank battalions, the diesel-powered M4A2 (unwanted by the US Army). 

This superbly detailed title reveals how both the two sides’ tactical and technical differences in the approach to armored warfare soon became apparent over a series of deadly engagements, from the first tank fight at the battle of Tarawa in November 1943, through to engagements on Parry Island, Saipan, and Guam, before ending with Peleliu in September 1944.

Post Comments

GI Gene posted on 29 Aug 2020 20:01:57
By the way, were we supposed to get a "B-25 Mitchell vs. Japanese Destroyer" Duel title in 2021 or has that been postponed?
KenA posted on 29 Aug 2020 08:31:48
I tend to agree that this is quite a good list. 88mm vs Allied armour, German vs RN heavy cruisers, Stuka vs RN carriers, and P-47 vs German flak defences will all be on my ‘to buy list’. The latter title does, however, raise the question of similar coverage for the main British ground attack aircraft of the time - the Hawker Typhoon.
Paintybeard posted on 28 Aug 2020 07:13:54
This is the best selection I have seen in this years "reveals" so far and I certainly expect to get nearly all of them. 88 vs Allied armour, Stuka vs Carriers and German Vs British Heavy cruisers all sound excellent, I'm especially pleased that the latter book will cover several actions, including less well known duels.

Just one minor niggle: Very interested in the flak vs fighter-bomber book, but disappointed that it will olny cover one type of aircraft. I hope the narrower focus will mean more detailed coverage of both sides.
Tarawa90 posted on 27 Aug 2020 23:20:26
Not much for me this time. P-47 vs Flak I'll take though. I had a great-uncle (KIA unfortunately) who flew P-47 ground support missions, so his unit might even get a mention.
GI Gene posted on 27 Aug 2020 17:31:43
Arab Armour vs Israeli Armour sounds cool, German 88mm Gun vs Allied Armour will be a must buy as well as UH-1 Huey Gunship vs NVA/VC Forces. Ju 87 Stuka vs Royal Navy Carriers looks interesting. P-47 Thunderbolt vs German Flak Defenses sounds like it has potential, I just wonder if it will cover the flak batteries that were mounted aboard trains against the Thunderbolts?
PAUL W posted on 27 Aug 2020 16:33:11
Looking forward to the 6 day war, stuka, 88mm and heavy cruiser titles.
PAUL W posted on 27 Aug 2020 16:20:45
Looking forward to the 6 day war, stuka, 88mm and heavy cruiser titles.
Schutztruppe posted on 27 Aug 2020 16:13:11
The German 88, Stuka and P-47 will be must buys for me. The P-47 title is a bit of surprise for me because I haven´t seen it on Amazon. But nice that there will be books published that aren´t listed on Amazon yet.
EDave posted on 27 Aug 2020 15:16:51
Very much looking forward to the UH-1 Huey vs NVA/VC and P-47 vs German Flak. I'm hoping next year we get a US Submarine vs Japanese Destroyer (1942-1945) title!

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