Osprey's Big Reveal: Men-at-Arms

In Military History, Featured
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Our Big Reveal continues with our Men-at-Arms series. Read on to find out which books we'll be publishing in 2022 and let us know in the comments which titles you're looking forward to the most.


MAA: Armies of the Sino-Japanese War 1894–95

After the Meiji restoration of the Japanese imperial regime was secured in 1868-77 (see MAA 530), the modernization along Western lines of Japan's industry, communications and land and naval forces advanced with remarkable speed, and by the 1890s, the rejuvenated nation was ready to flex its muscles overseas. The obvious opponent was the huge but still basically medieval Chinese Empire, and the obvious arena for war was Korea, a nearby Chinese protectorate that Japan had long coveted. (A secondary campaign would be fought on Formosa/ Taiwan, an autonomous Chinese island protectorate.) This book describes the course of the  Japanese campaigns in China, and, in greater depth, the organization, equipment and appearance of various Chinese forces (China had no true national army), the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, and (for the first time in English) the Korean and Formosan participants. Japan's victory left it confident enough to challenge Imperial Russia nine years later. Russia's shocking defeat in 1905 at the Battle of Tsushima where two-thirds of her fleet was destroyed by the Japanese Navy (see MAA 414) confirmed Japan's place as Asia's leading military power, soon to become a realistic rival to the West.


MAA: German Troops in the American Revolution (2)

During the American Revolutionary War (1775–83), German auxiliary troops provided a vital element of the British war effort. While the largest body of German troops was from Hessen-Cassel (see the first volume of this study), the first Germans to be contracted by the British were from the Duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel – 4,300 men including dismounted dragoons, artillery and light infantry. Hessen-Hanau initially contributed one infantry regiment and an artillery company, which were also captured at Saratoga; Hessen-Hanau later provided the British with Jäger and light infantry troops. An infantry regiment contributed by the Principality of Waldeck and Pyrmont served alongside the troops of Hessen-Cassel during the New York campaign of 1776–77. The margraviates of Brandenburg Ansbach and Brandenburg-Bayreuth initially sent 1,600 men including a full regiment of Jäger; these troops fought in the Philadelphia campaign of 1777–78 and some were present at the siege of Yorktown in 1781. Finally, the Principality of Anhalt-Zerbst sent two battalions of infantry which served in Canada and New York City. Fully illustrated, this lively study examines the organization, appearance, weapons and equipment of these German auxiliary troops who fought for King George in the American Revolutionary War.


MAA: Italian Colonial Troops 1882–1960

Italy only unified as a nation in 1870 and was late, and therefore impatient, in the 'scramble' for Africa. An initial foothold in Eritrea/Somalia, north-east Africa, led to a disastrous defeat in Ethiopia in 1896 at the Battle of Adwa, but Italian Somaliland was later consolidated on the west coast of the Red Sea. During 1911, Italy also invaded Libya, securing the coast, however, fighting continued throughout World War I and only ended in the early 1930s. A number of native colonial regiments were raised in both Italian East Africa and Libya (in the latter, even a pioneering paratroop unit), of which most fought sturdily for Italy against the Allies in 1940-43. These units had particularly colourful uniforms and insignia. Another small guard unit also served in the Italian concession at Tientsin, China in 1902-1943. After World War II, a remnant unit served on in Somalila under a UN mandate until 1960.

This intriguing volume describes and illustrates the dress and equipment used by these forces and details how they were deployed to maintain a colonial empire for over half a century.


MAA: Medieval Indian Armies (1)

Following the emergence of a distinct ‘medieval Indian’ civilization in the Late Classical and Early Medieval periods, there was a prolonged struggle between this civilization and that of the eastern Islamic world, concluding with the rise of the Mughal Empire at the start of the 16th century. In this fully illustrated study, David Nicolle investigates the traditions and enduring conservatism of non-Islamic medieval Indian warfare, notably evident in recruitment patterns and the significance of archery and cavalry. The role and impact of war-elephants, both positive and negative, are also considered, as well as the influence of climate and weather (notably the seasonal monsoon) on warfare in this region. As well as assessing arms and armour – contrasting the advanced technology and high status of Indian weapons (especially swords) with the remarkable lack of metallic armour in the region during this period – the author also explores siege warfare and riverine and naval warfare in South Asia. This book assesses the contributing factors identified by those who have sought to explain why the huge wealth and substantial populations of the traditional non-Islamic Indian states did not prevent their persistent failure in the face of Islamic invasion and conquest.


MAA: Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2)

From the middle of the 3rd Century following the death of the last Severian emperor (AD 235), disparate Roman Army units stationed at the outer reaches of the Roman Empire fought to maintain territories they had conquered under victorious leaders. Complicated and obscured by chaotic civil wars, this period of history witnessed literally dozens of usurpers to Imperial authority, and saw consequent barbarian invasions of neglected frontiers. From the accession of Diocletian (284), during the Late Imperial period, a series of strong Illyrian soldier-emperors who had risen up through the ranks came to power. They concentrated on reshaping the army and reclaiming lost territories: Moesia, Dacia and Greece; Anatolia and the Black Sea; Mesopotamia, the Levant and the Middle East; the eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa. However, the weakness of the central authority inevitably led to local particularism, and consequently a wide range of appearance and diversity in regional commands.

Using literary, painted, sculptural and archaeological sources, author Dr Raffaele Dr D'Amato carefully reconstructs this richly varied and little-understood period of Roman military history to give a complete picture of the forces stationed in the Eastern provinces of the Roman Empire.


MAA: The Red Army 1922–1941 

The two decades following the Bolshevik victory over the 'Whites' in the Russian Civil War saw developments for the Red Army. Nevertheless, these still left it largely unready to face the German’s Operation Barbarossa in June 1941. Having been reduced in size and planning for modernization, the Red Army of the 1920s was employed to ruthlessly crush anti-Bolshevik opposition in several regions of the USSR and to fight a brief border war against Chinese  Manchuria.

During the 1930s, Stalin virtually 'beheaded' the army by a needless series of murderous purges of the officer class; despite this, the Red Army was victorious in clashes against Imperial Japan in the Nomonhan region in 1938-39. Simultaneously, the Soviet Union sent instructors and pilots to fight for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.

The non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany allowed Stalin to take over half of Poland in September 1939; but a few months later his 'Winter War' against Finland demonstrated serious inadequacies in the Red Army’s readiness for modern warfare, which would be confirmed in the first  days of Operation Barbarossa.

This study explores the interwar history of the Red Army, detailing its campaigns, organization and uniforms, and focusing on the 20 years between its victory in the Civil War and the invasion of the USSR by Germany in 1941.


MAA: Yugoslav Armies 1941–45   

In March 1941, an anti-German coup in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia prompted Hitler to order an invasion using allied Italian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and Romanian forces. Operation Marita was an invasion of Yugoslavia and simultaneously Greece. At the same time, the constituent region of Croatia broke away from Yugoslavia and joined the Axis powers. Royal Yugoslav armed forces,were forced to surrender after 11 days' fighting and some 1,000 soldiers, airmen and sailors escaped to British-occupied Egypt to form Free Yugoslav units. From there, guerrilla resistance to the Axis occupiers broke out and continued with increasing strength until the end of the war under Mihailovic’s royalist 'Chetniks' and Tito's Communist 'Partisans'. However, hostilities between the two movements eventually led to the Chetniks entering into local agreements with Italian occupation forces and Britain switching its support entirely to the Partisans. The advance of the Red Army increased Partisan strength and, during 1944-45, they created what could be described as a lightly equipped conventional army.

Using meticulously-drawn illustrations of different insignia, uniforms and equipment from each faction to bring the conflict alive, this volume describes both the political and military implications of the war and how it was fought, setting the scene for the subsequent rise of Tito to power within Yugoslavia.

Post Comments

PAUL W posted on 29 Aug 2021 13:42:43
Like the look of all of these but only 7 titles? A great range of periods. Again I like the suggestions from Hessy and Adam.
David Hale posted on 24 Aug 2021 22:37:14
MAA is Osprey at its best!
Hessy Field posted on 23 Aug 2021 14:43:25
MAA is my favourite Osprey series - often with the most leftfield and interesting titles of any Osprey range of books - and the list for 2022 does not disappoint! An excellent range of titles - Armies of the Sino-Japanese War is one I've frequently entered "in the books I'd like to read" - and the Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2) I'm also looking forward to as I particularly enjoyed the first 3 books in the series. Kudos also for the Medieval Indian Armies book - I'd like to see a couple of titles on Ancient Indian armies too. Not a single weak title in the list - I would get them all.
One thing - since we've got a book on the inter-war Red/Soviet army what about a book on the British Army 1919-1939? This was a period of momentous change from horse-drawn to a mechanised force, was topped and tailed by campaigns in Afghanistan and included an Iraqi revolt against the British in 1920 (all of which sounds forebodingly familiar). Perhaps it could be titled "The British Army on Campaign 1919-1939"? It is the one major gap in the coverage of the British army.
AdamC posted on 23 Aug 2021 10:14:52
Not a bad list at all in my opinion. Some interesting titles there for sure. Next time around I'd like to see;
Armies in North Russia 1918-20
South African Army in World War II
The French Army in the Crimea
The Caroleans: The Swedish Army 1680-1721
The Suez Crisis 1956
Paintybeard posted on 22 Aug 2021 20:08:43
Well, happy to say that I like the look of just about all of these. Italian Colonial Troops and the second volume of German troops in AWI will be very useful, so I hope that a top-class illustrator is lined up for the colour plates.
Tomi posted on 22 Aug 2021 18:29:54
Every one of these titles is worthwhile waiting !
EDave posted on 22 Aug 2021 16:16:16
Medieval Indian Troops sounds really cool! I hope we'll be getting more non-Western medieval titles, where I think there's a ton of untapped potential. Something like "Medieval Armies of Southeast Asia" or "Medieval Armies of West Africa" would be welcome additions in 2023 or 2024.
KenA posted on 22 Aug 2021 13:04:02
I do trust that this list is for books to be published in 2022, not 2021 as stated (there are dangers Minal in copying bits from last year’s Big Reveal and pasting it in for this year’s Reveal without checking if anything needs to be changed - I checked back on the wording). Generally speaking, I’m not a great fan of the MAA series though I do buy the occasional book in it. This time it is Yugoslav Armies that catches my eye.

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