The milestone of 100 published titles is a momentous achievement in the life of any series, and leads to a moment of pause, reflection and certainly some celebration. After all, we must be doing something right to get that far.
Duel can now firmly consider itself one of the vieux moustaches, proudly parading alongside the sprightly 100+ veterans of Men-at-Arms (500+ and still fit to fight), New Vanguard, Aircraft of the Aces, Campaign, Combat Aircraft, Elite, Fortress, and Warrior. Chests out, you are fine examples all to more recent series recruits, and to others yet to be conceived.
Since the first titles were published back in 2007, Duel has explored a wide variety of opposing military technologies. Each ensuing year, a steady flow of titles has issued in the series, from a pleasingly broad range differing periods. We’ve covered land, sea and submarine warfare, and have ranged from Byzantium to blitzkrieg and beyond; from fighting sail to 20th-century fleet action. We’ve explored Greek fire and Indian Centurions; Chi-Has and Char B1s; Tigers, Panthers and Wolfpacks. We’ve stretched from East Rome to the Eastern Front, through uncivil Civil Wars to a long, Cold one. In its totality, the Duel series provides a fascinating overview of how competing military technologies are conceived, developed, applied, and assessed, before they are inevitably overtaken in the endless march of progress in firepower, protection and manouevre.
When any new series is born into the Osprey stable, it takes a little time for the concept to translate into something concrete; you never quite know what forms the ideas for the illustrations and text will take in the first few volumes. Once you’ve worked through the first volumes, you have a much better idea. Luckily, with Duel, this one all went smoothly and the concept stood strong from the up.
But there’s no resting on laurels. In many ways, proposing the first 100 titles has been the easy part. The next 100 will be more challenging, as we strive to offer you topics that push your research and hobby interests onward and provide fresh inspiration. We need to cast new light on by now established subject matter. What helps is the comparative approach that Duel can offer, a unique selling point.
On a reflective note, no series could reach this kind of milestone without the much-appreciated contributions of several parties.
Firstly, there are our amazing authors, who spend much of their lives researching, considering, exploring and explaining. Without their dedication to the growing body of research, knowledge and understanding, and their desire to share this with you, there would be no series at all.
Secondly, there is you, the reader. Your support for the series is never taken for granted. You tell us when we get it right, and you also tell us when you think we’ve got it wrong. With such a large output of work, across all of history, there are always going to be moot points, and long may they continue; they make our subjects more engaging and more involving – a democracy of knowledge and understanding. Your ideas and suggestions for new titles are always welcome, and do keep them coming. We’ll always seek to publish something on an interesting and important topic; although it may take a while to reach the right moment to do so, we’ll get there in the end. There’s a lot of polite queuing in series publishing.
Thirdly, we must celebrate the wonderful array of talented illustrators and cartographers who have contributed to the Duel series. Their talents translate raw research and information into stunning, vivid reconstructions, packed with detail, which help our readers understand the technologies better, and lead them to further their own research and contributions to the fields in which they specialise or find interesting.
Finally, we should salute the backroom staff, of former series editors (not least for your vision and foresight) and designers, as well as those who market and sell the books so that you know what’s coming out, when and how you can get access to it. They have all contributed to making sure our fantastic authors have an audience with which to interact.
I’m looking forward to the next 100 Duel titles. We’ve got some great topics lined up, ready to fire as an opening salvo – including a colourful examination of Spanish and English late 16th-century galleons; the German 88mm in the AT role against Allied armour in North Africa; the clash of the capital ships of the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine in World War II; the Pacific Theater USMC Sherman M4A2 pitted against the Japanese Type 95; US submarines and IJN anti-submarine escorts in the POA; and the fascinating array of Arab and Israeli armour employed in the 1967 Six-Day War. We’ll continue to aim for as wide a variety in subjects covered as we can, offering novelty and enticement, while seeking to maintain the highest quality that our loyal readers have come to expect. Here’s to a 200 celebration, at some future point.