Big Reveal 2022: Fleet

In Military History, Featured

 

2022's Big Reveal continues in today's blog post with an exciting announcement of a new series! Tom Milner takes us through what we can expect from Fleet, launching 2023!

We are delighted to announce a new series for 2023. Illustrated with 3D diagrams, battlescenes and maps, each Fleet offers a coherent portrait of a historic naval fleet, including not just its ships, technology and operations, but its doctrine, organization, logistics, intelligence-gathering and deception efforts, and any other factors that affected how it fought.

Launching the series are four superb titles, spanning dreadnought fleets to carrier-led strike forces. I’m particularly looking forward to Mark Stille’s new look at the IJN at the height of its powers between Pearl Harbor and Midway, and Brian Lane Herder’s British Pacific Fleet 1944–45, Osprey’s first look at the most powerful force ever deployed by the Royal Navy.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

 

FLT 1 The Japanese Combined Fleet 1941–42

By Mark Stille

This is a spectacularly illustrated, concise and comprehensive examination of the Imperial Japanese Navy's striking force at the height of its power, why it succeeded, and why it failed.

The Imperial Japanese Navy entered the Pacific War as one of the three strongest navies in the world, and its Combined Fleet was its most powerful formation, which fought the dramatic and crucial early battles. It enjoyed an unrivaled string of successes, shocking the world with the destructive raid on Pearl Harbor. In the months that followed, the forces of the Combined Fleet shattered US Navy, British, Australian, and Dutch naval forces while seizing their colonies. But defeat at the Battle of Midway ended Japan's supremacy, and marked the first major turning point of Japan’s fortunes.

Packed with superb original artwork, maps, and 3D explanatory diagrams of the fleet's organization, tactics, and deployment, this book explains what made the Combined Fleet the fighting force that it was, both in strengths and weaknesses. It looks at Japanese pre-war strategy and the factors that shaped it. The IJN’s pre-war and early-war doctrines will be examined, which drove the fleet’s tactics and weaponry. The IJN included some of the most powerful and innovative ships in the world, and both the composition of the fleet, its ships and weapons will be detailed. But there were other factors at work that determined the Japanese Navy’s fate. These lesser-known factors, such as leadership, logistics, naval infrastructure, and Japan’s shipbuilding industry are also an important part of the story.

This book also gives an account and analysis of the IJN's performance in combat and where the Combined Fleet in this period succeeded and failed, not only in the famous carrier actions of Pearl Harbor, the Coral Sea, Java Sea, and Midway, but also explores lesser-known elements such as IJN amphibious forces and land-based aviation.

 

FLT 2 The German High Seas Fleet 1914–18

By Angus Konstam

A superbly illustrated new account of how Germany's High Seas Fleet was built, operated and fought, as it challenged the world's most powerful navy in World War I

Seven years before the outbreak of World War I, the Imperial German Navy rebranded its “Home Fleet” as the Hochseeflotte (“High Seas Fleet”). This reflected a more aggressive role for it - one that would inevitably lead to it challenging the Royal Navy. Although never large enough to match its British rival, by 1914 the High Seas Fleet was sufficiently powerful to threaten Britain’s control of the North Sea. For the next four years these waters would become the battleground for the rival fleets, as they vied for naval supremacy.

Drawing on extensive research, this book offers the reader a concise, fully illustrated account of how the entire High Seas Fleet was designed and built, how it operated, and how it fought - not just the famous dreadnoughts. The fleet was a modern, balanced force of battleships, battlecruisers, cruisers, and torpedo boats, using Zeppelins and U-boats for reconnaissance. From Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea, it could sortie out to threaten the British coast, or attempt to destroy parts of Britain’s larger Grand Fleet. The ultimate test between them came in May 1916, when they clashed at Jutland. Although the battle was indecisive, the High Seas Fleet, which could have been badly mauled, managed to extricate itself, and inflict significant losses on the British in the process.

Packed with spectacular original artwork, maps, 3D diagrams and archive photos, it looks not just at the ships, crews and armament, but also explores the command and doctrine of the Kaiser's new naval weapon, and show how through training and tactical doctrine the High Seas Fleet was forged into a force capable of taking on the most powerful battle fleet in the world. It also examines how the High Seas Fleet performed in action, as well as how its bases and support facilities battled to keep it in fighting trim until the very end of the war, when the fleet sailed to captivity in Scapa Flow, where the fleet's commander famously chose to scuttle his own fleet rather than risk handing them over to the British.

 

FLT 3: British Pacific Fleet 1944–45

By Brian Lane Herder

An illustration-packed new account of the British Pacific Fleet, the powerful Royal Navy fleet that fought with the US Navy through the last year of the Pacific War

The British Pacific Fleet was the Royal Navy's primary contribution to the direct defeat of Japan in 1945, and is among the most powerful fleets Britain has ever sent into action. With naval supremacy in home waters achieved by 1944, a major cross-section of the best and most modern ships in the Royal Navy could be sent to the Pacific, including battleships, submarines, light forces, replenishment groups, and shore establishment. However, the main striking force was the fast carrier force.

Illustrated throughout with dramatic new artwork, 3D diagrams, maps and archive photos, this book explains how the Royal Navy joined the Pacific carrier war, and how the fleet adopted the US Navy's ruthlessly effective fast carrier doctrine. With ships optimized for short-range operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. the BPF had to rapidly adapt to the long-range, high-tempo warfare of the Pacific, and the story is often one of inspired improvisation. The BPF shared the US Navy's terrifying experience of kamikaze strikes, and famously its armoured carriers proved tougher than the US counterparts.

With discussion of the ships, their technology, how the fleet was organized and commanded, and how the fleet fought the campaign, this book is a fascinating exploration of the Royal Navy's part in the victory over Japan.

 

FLT 4 US Seventh Fleet in Vietnam 1964–73

By Edward J Marolda

A superbly illustrated examination of how the US Navy's most powerful fleet fought the Vietnam War, covering all aspects of the fleet from aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers to landing ships and oilers.

The US Navy's Seventh Fleet was at the forefront of America's campaign in Vietnam for a decade, from the Tonkin Gulf Incident that began it all to the final evacuation of South Vietnam. Its mission was highly strategic, and while its primarily role was to provide carrier-based air power for air campaigns over North Vietnam - from Rolling Thunder through Linebacker - the fleet's operations were complex, sensitive, and varied, and required all the capabilities of the fleet.

This book is the first overall examination of how US Navy's most powerful fleet fought and operated in Vietnam. Distilled from thousands of declassified Top Secret and Secret documents, renowned US Navy historian Dr Edward J. Marolda offers a unique new portrait of how the Seventh Fleet fought the Vietnam War, from the offensive strike power of naval aviation to the vital but unsung role of fleet logistics. As well as the carrier operations, he examines the surface combatant fleet's gunfire support role - one of the last major uses of naval big guns - and its raids against the North Vietnamese coast. Dr Marolda also looks at how Seventh Fleet conducted amphibious warfare, fleet air defense, search-and-rescue, and mining and interdiction operations.

Illustrated throughout with archive photos, 3D diagrams and spectacular new artwork, and informed by never-before-translated official documents, publications, and personal accounts from North Vietnamese, Soviet, and Chinese sources, this is a unique portrait of the real story behind the US Navy's Vietnam War.

Post Comments

Paintybeard posted on 11 Aug 2022 05:56:20
Not enough information here to really make a judgement. The description of the series aims is so broad that the books should be in 96-page format at the very least. Personally I am hoping for something that is less like a "Campaign" and more like the old "Battle Orders".
Cicerius posted on 6 Aug 2022 04:30:30
Noice! I have read about the BPF and look forward to reading more about it. I too would like to see in say the Elite series ship crew organisation in the Royal Navy for example. RE: how a destroyer crew was organised, ranks and uniforms. Under resourced topic to be sure. All the titles look interesting tho'.
David Hale posted on 5 Aug 2022 20:25:01
Ah now this is interesting! If these books are done to the standard of the Campaign + Air Campaign series then I'll be getting all of these. Stand-out on the initial release is the BPF volume. I'll resist the urge to suggest other subjects but I'll agree with KenA in that some pre-WW1 subjects would be excellent.
Tarawa90 posted on 5 Aug 2022 18:42:44
This is a surprise to be sure, but not yet ready to say a welcome one. I'll reserve judgement until I see more as I'm also afraid of rehashing material. The German High Seas Fleet looks promising and the British Pacific Fleet is a nice change of pace. I would say I'd still like to see more Naval books in the Elite Series, covering uniforms and organization and such.
KenA posted on 5 Aug 2022 14:12:02
While I am very pleased to see Osprey giving more attention to naval history, I have some reservations about this new series due to the potential for duplication of content in some titles compared with the content of existing books of other Osprey series.

That said, the title on the British Pacific Fleet is most welcome as the BPF’s contribution to the Allied effort in the Pacific war is frequently over-looked. Any chance that future titles in this series could include fleets prior to WW1?
AdamC posted on 5 Aug 2022 13:05:51
Ooooow! Now there's a surprise! I wasn't expecting a new series. It's an interesting one too. I'll certainly give it a look. The initial titles are good too with a good spread of topics. I'm particularly interested in the BPF title.

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