Osprey's Big Reveal: Elite

In Military History, Featured

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Next year, we're adding six new books to our Elite series. Which of our newest ELI books is making your wishlist?

ELI: Armies of Julius Caesar, 52-44 BC

Caius Julius Caesar remains the most famous Roman general of all time. Although he never bore the title, historians since Suetonius have judged him to be, in practice, the first 'emperor' – after all, no other man in history has had his name immortalized as a title of imperial rule ('Tsar' and 'Kaiser'). Caesar was a towering personality who, for better or worse, changed the history of Rome forever, and his unscrupulous ambition was matched only by his genius as a commander. His conquest of Gaul brought Rome its first great territorial expansion outside the Mediterranean world, and his charismatic leadership bound his soldiers to him not only for an expedition 'beyond the edge of the world' – to Britain – but in the subsequent civil war that raised him to ultimate power. However, it is seldom appreciated that the army he led was as varied and cosmopolitan as those of later centuries, and it is only recently that a wider study of a whole range of evidence has allowed a more precise picture of it to emerge. This book will be a collaboration between Dr D'Amato and a French expert in this research, Dr Francois Gilbert.

ELI: Armies of the Iran–Iraq War 1980–88

Driven by the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the insecurities it provoked in Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi dictatorship, the Iran-Iraq war which began the following year would become the largest conventional conflict of the period. Curiously little-known considering its size and longevity, the struggle between Iran and Iraq was primarily fought along the 1,458km border in a series of battles which, despite both sides being armed with modern small arms, armour and aircraft, often degenerated into attritional struggles reminiscent of World War I. Such a comparison was underlined by frequent periods of deadlock, the extensive use of trenches by both sides, and the deployment of chemical weapons by Iraq.

Fully illustrated with specially commissioned artwork, this study investigates the organization, appearance and equipment of the ground forces of both sides in the Iran–Iraq War. The war resulted in stalemate with some half a million dead and at least as many wounded. The financial costs incurred in waging such a long and debilitating war were one of the spurs that led Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait barely two years later, setting in motion one of the defining currents of recent Middle-Eastern history.

ELI: Battle Tactics of the American Revolution

The American Revolution presented a series of unique tactical challenges to its competing factions. For Britain, the Army would be forced to re-learn many of the lessons from the Seven Years’ War. After the debacle of Concord and Bunker Hill, the British implemented a range of changes throughout the Army, including the modification of accepted tactical doctrine. Additionally, the British formed alliances with various independent German states. The soldiers they provided thus answered to different armies. How much their tactics adapted during the war, therefore varied from state to state.

The Continental Army was founded in 1775 and was initially heavily styled on its British opponents. That began to change in 1778 thanks to the efforts of Prussian officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. Following their formal alliance with the colonies in 1778, France deployed military assets to North America. French officers also provided tactical advice to the Continental Army, and vice versa, particularly when they worked together successfully during the siege of Yorktown in 1781.

Featuring specially commissioned artwork, this absorbing study investigates the various participants’ battlefield tactics, casting light on how tactical theory and battlefield experience shaped the conduct of battle in the American Revolution.

ELI: British Light Infantry in the American Revolution

Although William Howe formed a training camp at Salisbury in 1774 specifically to practise light-infantry doctrine, the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775 found the British Army wanting, and the light companies were no different. After evacuating Boston in March 1776, Howe began to remodel and drill his army at Halifax, standardizing lighter uniform and emphasizing more open-order tactics. He also brigaded his light companies together into composite battalions, which went on to fight in almost every major engagement during the American Revolution. They spearheaded British assaults, using night-time surprise and relying upon the bayonet in engagements such as Paoli and Old Tappan. They also matched their regular and irregular opponents in bush-fighting, and at times fought in far-flung detachments alongside Native American and Loyalist allies on the frontier. Featuring specially commissioned full-colour artwork, this book offers a comprehensive guide to the formation, uniform, equipment, doctrines and tactics of these elite light infantry companies and battalions, and considers how, over the course of the war they developed a fearsome reputation, and exemplified the psychological characteristics exhibited by crack military units across history.


ELI The Japanese Home Front 1937–45

By the time that Imperial Japan embarked on a full-scale invasion of China in 1937, Japan had a fully militarized society. The Japanese enthusiasm for military expansion was increased when the war was extended into South East Asia from 1941. Japan’s astounding victories in 1941–42 saw the Empire spread to most of the British, Dutch, French and US territories in the region. The constant setbacks for the Japanese from 1943 saw a ‘backs to the wall’ attitude in Japan which only served to increase the number of volunteers coming forward. Heavy Allied bombing raids in 1944 and 1945 meant that thousands of firefighters, air-raid wardens, first aiders and other civil defenders were recruited. By 1945 nearly every Japanese male over the age of 10 wore Army-style uniform, while a majority of women and girls also wore some kind of military attire. The expected Allied invasion of Japan in 1946 also saw the recruitment of literally millions of Japanese who were to be armed with bamboo spears.

In this book, Philip Jowett reveals the many military and civil-defense organizations tasked with supporting Japan’s war effort and defending the home islands.


ELI: US Navy Special Warfare Units in Korea and Vietnam

During the Korean War (1950–53) and the Vietnam War (1962–73), US Navy Special Warfare units played a variety of vital combat roles amid two of the deadliest conflicts of the Cold War. In Korea, underwater demolition teams (UDTs) surveyed beaches for amphibious operations, cleared sea mines from harbors, conducted seaborne raids against inshore targets, and served as scouts for the infiltration of Korean guerrillas and British Royal Marine Commando raids along the North Korean coast. In South Vietnam, UDTs surveyed beaches and demolished Viet Cong bunkers, supply caches, and river obstacles in the Mekong Delta. The SEALs (Sea Air Land teams) deployed entire platoons into the Mekong Delta and the Rung Sat Special Zone to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Viet Cong that included ambushes, reconnaissance, and capturing leaders and supply caches. The SEALs also played important roles in the Phoenix Program and in rescuing prisoners of war.

Fully illustrated, this study explores how the US Navy’s specially trained naval commandos accomplished their missions in Korea and Vietnam. It includes material from recently declassified US Navy unit histories and features photographs from the National Archives and the National UDT-SEAL Museum.

Post Comments

Hessy Field posted on 10 Oct 2020 11:09:23
One of my favourite Osprey lists for 2021 - the standouts for me are the volumes on the Iran-Iraq War and the Japanese Home Front - titles I have long wished to see in print. Now, how about a volume on the "Soviet Home Front 1941-45"?
GI Gene posted on 25 Aug 2020 19:17:56
Armies of the Iran–Iraq War 1980–88 is a gap I am glad to see finally filled. The Japanese Home Front 1937–45 also looks promising.
PAUL W posted on 25 Aug 2020 17:26:40
I quite like the look of most of these, the julius caesar title will be a must buy for me. Just wonder if there would of been enough material for 2 titles on the us navy specialist, splitting Korea and Vietnam?
Paintybeard posted on 24 Aug 2020 15:19:48
Yes, thanks to Tarawa90 for linking this blog post in, otherwise I would have missed it.

Elite continues to be a bit of a mish-mash, but I look forward to the Iran-Iraq war title. The Korean War book will probably get a home with me too, but I do wish that Osprey would cover some of the other UN forces as well.
KenA posted on 24 Aug 2020 04:41:29
First, many thanks Tarawa90 for your Post. Without it I wouldn’t have known about this reveal or how to find it.

I suspect American readers will find this selection to their liking given the subjects covered. Not much for me, though Battle Tactics of the American Revolution could be interesting depending on the author.

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