Osprey's Big Reveal: Duel

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Today's reveal looks at our Duel series. Here are the titles coming tot the series in 2022. Which machine-on-machine conflict are you looking forward to the most? 

 

DUE: Athenian Trireme vs Persian Trireme

The trireme was a sleek, wooden oar-powered warship armed with a bronze-sheathed waterline ram. It was very long and narrow for its length and beam, which made the vessel as fragile as it was fast. Triremes fought in several crucial clashes of the Graeco-Persian Wars, including Artemisium and Salamis. Alongside developments that took place in the design of these vessels, naval tactics in this period also flourished, the diekplous being the best known (a manoeuvre designed to row between opposing ships and to turn about so as to ram an enemy vessel in the stern quarter). Such advances were to make the Athenian trireme an object of dread by mid-5th century BC.

This fascinating volume vividly brings to life these popular fighting ships. Superb colour artworks reveal construction and design differences between the triremes used by the opposing Persian and Athenian fleets, tactical differences in their employment, and their epic clashes at Salamis and Artemisium.

 

DUE: British/Commonwealth Cruiser vs Italian Cruiser

In 1941, when Italy entered World War II, the Royal Navy was badly overstretched, and its Mediterranean Fleet had to face both the Italian Navy and the German and Italian Air Forces in a battle for supremacy in the Mediterranean. While the British and Italian battle fleets squared off against each other, they were both often held in reserve, in case the enemy fleet put to sea. So, it was left to the cruisers to wage their own naval war in the Mediterranean. This involved a range of missions, from escorting convoys and hunting enemy ones, to fighting for control of the sea around key locations such as the waters off Malta and Crete. This superbly illustrated addition to the Duel series documents several major clashes between British, Commonwealth and Italian cruisers, including spirited actions fought off Cape Spada in 1940, a string of actions in the Gulf of Sirte throughout 1941, battles against Axis convoys in 1941–42, and the Battle of Pantellaria in 1942. It explores how despite their better design, the Italian cruisers performed less effectively than their Commonwealth rivals. Although the cost was high in both men and ships, it allowed the British to establish naval dominance in the Mediterranean.

 

DUE: F4U Corsair versus A6M Zero-sen

Whilst the F4U Corsair eventually proved to be a superior fighter in Pacific operations, its introduction into combat in this theatre initially demonstrated its weaknesses. Indeed, the ‘Saint Valentine's Day Massacre’ debacle showcased exemplary Zero-sen fighter tactics, and American losses were of sufficient magnitude that further daylight missions toward Bougainville were discontinued until Allied fighter tactics could be improved. As a result, for the next two months the Corsair’s combat results were much subdued. Indeed, the F4U only became a superb fighter when both its pilots and their commanders worked out how to deploy the gull-wing design effectively. Optimum circumstances for effective engagement did not always occur, and the Zero-sen remained effective against the Corsair until February 1944 in the South Pacific, after which all IJNAF fighter units vacated Rabaul. This book closely examines these two different fighters in the Solomons/Rabaul theatre, and the unique geographic conditions which shaped their deployment and effectiveness. It contains rare photographs and digital artwork that accurately showcases and aligns combats of both types in-theatre with unprecedented accuracy. Both sides vastly over-claimed. With full access to IJNAF and US Navy/US Marine Corps records, these numbers will be presented accurately.

 

DUE: F9F Panther vs Communist AAA

The F9F Panther was one of the many fighters converted for ground-attack duties, following an established US tradition. Originally designed as a jet fighter, in April 1951 it became the first jet to launch from a carrier with bombs loaded, using them to destroy a crucial railway bridge at Songjin. The Panther’s four 20 mm guns were considered to be very effective for flak suppression and these aircraft were used as escorts for propeller-driven AD Skyraider and F4U Corsair attack aircraft. However, later in 1951, flak damage to Panthers increased as the Chinese established better AAA weapons to defend key transport routes. The communist AAA crews had heavy guns of 37 mm caliber and above. Gunners could use optical height finders, predictors and in many cases radar control. They learned to conceal their weapons in civilian buildings, use wires to bring aircraft down, and set up false targets as ‘flak traps’.

 

DUE: Royal Navy Torpedo-Bombers vs Axis warships 

This volume will look at the duel between the Royal Navy’s torpedo-bombers (the Swordfish, Albacore and Barracuda) and Axis warships. Despite their powerful weaponry and heavy armour protection, these mighty vessels proved vulnerable to a skilfully and audaciously flown torpedo-bomber. This book will examine the key attributes and drawbacks of both the aircraft – the Swordfish and Albacore, and their successor, the Barracuda – and the warships they went up against. Combat examples will include the famous attacks on the Italian battle fleet at Taranto and the strike on the Bismarck, along with less well covered sea battles such as the Battle of Matapan, and smaller engagements where Royal Navy torpedo-bombers fought destroyers and cruisers at sea or in port, plus the tragic events of the Channel Dash, when the limitations of the venerable Swordfish were exposed. This volume includes personal recollections from airmen who flew the Swordfish and Barracuda, and historical accounts from the warship crews they faced.

 

DUE: SU-152/ISU-152 vs Tiger

On the Eastern Front in 1943, the Tiger-equipped heavy Panzer battalions gave German armoured divisions an unmatched capability that cost the Red Army dearly. The Tiger's 88mm gun carved through Soviet defences in the attack, and caused havoc amongst advancing Soviet armoured formations when used in defence. Neither of the Red Army's heavy tanks (the KV-1 and KV-2) could match the Tiger’s gun, and, more importantly, penetrate its armour at anything approaching standard combat range. The Soviet response was a stopgap vehicle that mounted a 152mm artillery piece onto the KV tank’s chassis: the SU-152. This fascinating volume describes how the SU-152 was first deployed at Kursk in 1943, where its shell proved capable of killing Tigers, and documents its evolution into the ISU-152 in late 1943 (the latter carried the same gun on an IS chassis, and featured increased frontal armour). Packed with superb illustrations, it also explores the widely differing tactical employment of these two iconic AFVs, unit organization, equipment and weaponry, and crew roles.

 

DUE: Tiger vs Churchill 

The Tiger and the Churchill are two of the most recognizable heavy tanks of World War II. Both were designed hastily in the early years of the war, and both witnessed inauspicious debuts in battle in August 1942 (the Churchill in the disaster at Dieppe, the Tiger near Leningrad). Despite their heavy weight, both tanks, which were intended to serve in breakthrough operations, had surprisingly good tactical mobility. Yet there were key differences between them too, chiefly in the effectiveness of their main armament. This fascinating and detailed work explores the design and development of these famous tanks and its influence on their head-to-head encounters, the effectiveness of the support services each tank relied upon, and the skills and experiences of the crews that fought in them. The specific battlefield conditions of Normandy in June and July 1944 are also examined, exploring the effect they had on the duels between these two heavyweight AFVs.

 

DUE: USN Submarine vs IJN Antisubmarine Escort

In 1941 and 1942, US Navy submarine operations in the Pacific were largely ineffective, hampered by faulty torpedo design, conservative tactics, and insufficiently aggressive submarine captains. Eventually, though, a new generation of wartime submarine commanders, combined with reliable torpedoes, new generation boats, improved intelligence, and advanced radar, inflicted devastating losses on Japanese shipping. Antisubmarine warfare was initially accorded a low priority by the Imperial Japanese Navy; the lack of ASW escorts and modern weaponry, and an inability to develop tactics, resulted in devastation to vital convoys, and hampered its ability to deter and destroy enemy submarines. This book explores all these factors, and the role that US submarines played in supporting the major fleet operations in the Pacific Theater, notching up almost 500 patrols by war’s end for the loss of 52 submarines to the Japanese. The technical and tactical developments implemented by the opposing sides are documented in detail, including  US improvements to submarine design and weaponry and more aggressive tactics, and the Japanese development of destroyer escorts, changes to depth charge design, and improved submarine detection capacity.

 

 

Post Comments

PAUL W posted on 29 Aug 2021 13:32:11
Pretty good list for me. Highlight is the Athenian v Persian triremes, hopefully to be followed by Athenian v Sparta warships of the Peloponnese war? The outcome being such a surprise.

Some other good suggestions being mentioned.
Hessy Field posted on 19 Aug 2021 12:03:11
Not a bad list but - as others have commentated - nothing eye-catching and somewhat repetitious. The Triremes the pick for me.
AdamC posted on 19 Aug 2021 07:22:44
It's not a bad list by any means. RN Torpedo bombers is the definite highlight for me. Next time I'd like to see;
Crusader Vs M13/41 & M14/41 – Western Desert 1941-43
Liberator Vs U-Boat – Atlantic 1941-45 (80 U-Boats destroyed by Liberators for the loss of 24 B-24s)
Mosquito Vs Ju 88G – Germany 1944-45
F-15C Vs MiG 29 – Iraq & Kosovo 1991-1999 (4 Iraqi & 4 Serbian MiG 29s destroyed for no loss)
Hurricane Vs Ki-43 ‘Oscar’ – Burma 1942-45
EDave posted on 19 Aug 2021 02:02:13
Not an amazing list, but certainly not a bad one. I agree with KenA that a WWI title would be refreshing. I'd probably pick up the Korea one, Tiger vs Churchill, Tiger vs SU-152, and USN Submarine vs IJN Antisubmarine Escort.

Wasn't there talk of FIM-92 Stinger vs Mil Mi-24 Hind Duel title? I'd buy that.
Paintybeard posted on 18 Aug 2021 14:48:06
Most of these are interesting, but not breath-taking. As KenA notes, the fact that a lot of the combat in these titles (especially the naval ones) has been covered before reduces their appeal to me.
KenA posted on 18 Aug 2021 13:27:57
Pity that Osprey couldn’t find room for a WWI title amongst this lot. Still, not a bad list for all that. Top of the list for me are RN Torpedo-Bombers vs Axis Warships (despite some expected repetition of contents) and British vs Italian Cruisers.

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