Osprey's Big Reveal: New Vanguard

In Military History, Featured
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Next up in our Big Reveal is our New Vanguard series, which examines the machinery of warfare throughout history. With twelve new books scheduled for release in 2017 it is certainly going to be a good year for NVG fans.

Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers

Built to challenge Western navies on the high seas, guided missile cruisers formed the core of the Soviet Navy during the Cold War. These increasingly complex and formidable cruisers were deployed as the front rank of their navy, and were involved in tense stand-offs against NATO warships during times of crisis. Soviet Cold War Guided Missile Cruisers covers all classes of these impressive warships, from the early Sverdlov-class conversions through the purpose-built Kynda, Kresta, Kara and Slava classes to the enormous, nuclear-powered Kirov-class, which marked the apogee of Soviet warship technology and capability, and which remain the largest non-aircraft carrier warships built since 1945.

South African Armour of the Border War 1975–89

The Border War saw the biggest armoured battles in Africa since World War II. Starting as a counter-insurgency operation by the South African Defence Force against the SWAPO guerrillas, South Africa became embroiled in the complex Angolan Civil War, where they came up against enemies well supplied with equipment and armoured vehicles from the Soviet Union. Designed for the unique conditions of the region, South Africa’s armour was distinctive and innovative, and has influenced the design of counter-insurgency armoured vehicles around the world.

Imperial Roman Warships 193–565 AD

The period of relative peace enjoyed by the Roman Empire in its first two centuries ended with the Marcomannic Wars. The following centuries saw near-constant warfare, which brought new challenges for the Roman Navy. It was now not just patrolling the Mediterranean but also fighting against invaders with real naval skill such as Genseric and his Vandals.
With research from newly discovered shipwrecks and archaeological finds as well as the rich contemporary source material, this study examines the equipment and tactics used by the navy and the battles they fought in this tumultuous period, which includes the fall of Rome and the resurgence of the Eastern Empire under Justinian the Great.

Early US Armor: Tanks 1917–40

Having used French Renault FTs and British Mark Vs during World War I, the US contributed significantly to the development of the tank between the two world wars, with their designs including the M1 Cavalry Car and the M2 Light and Medium tanks, the precursors to the Stuart and Grant tanks of World War II. Tank designers in this period faced unique challenges, and so this story of America’s early tanks is littered with intriguing failures among the successes.

British Destroyers 1939–45: Pre-war classes

The Royal Navy entered World War II with a large but eclectic fleet of destroyers. Some of these were veterans of World War I, fit only for escort duties. Most though, had been built during the inter-war period, and were regarded as both reliable and versatile. But with new, larger and better-protected destroyers being built in Germany, Italy and Japan, the Royal Navy’s fleet of pre-war destroyers faced a tough battle in World War II. Used mainly to hunt submarines, protect convoys and capital ships from air attack, and sink other destroyers, these ships served across the globe during the war.

Soviet Lend-Lease Tanks of World War II

The Red Army suffered such catastrophic losses of armour in the summer of 1941 that they begged Britain and the United States to send tanks. The first batches arrived in late 1941, just in time to take part in the defence of Moscow. The supplies of British tanks encompassed a very wide range of types including the Matilda, Churchill, and Valentine and even a few Tetrarch airborne tanks. American tanks included the M3 (Stuart) light tank and M3 (Lee) medium tank and the M4 Sherman tank, which became so common in 1944–45 that entire Soviet tank corps were equipped with the type. This New Vanguard explains how these Western tanks performed on the Eastern Front, as well as the other significant British and American armoured vehicles that were supplied to the USSR.

Imperial Japanese Navy Antisubmarine Escorts 1941-45

In 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) went to war with a marginal anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability. This was a lamentable state of affairs for a nation dependent upon imports to sustain its war economy. There were only a few purpose-built ASW escorts available at the start of the war and these were augmented by a handful of second-class destroyers and a dozen torpedo boats. Once the magnitude of the threat to Japan’s shipping became fully apparent in 1943, the IJN made plans for mass production of ASW escorts. These arrived in 1944, but could not stop the massacre of Japanese shipping by increasingly bold and effective American submarines.

Railway Guns of World War I

World War I was the Golden Age of the railway gun. Even though at the start of the conflict none of the armies possessed any such artillery pieces, more railway guns were used during this war than in any other conflict. Designed to break the stalemate of trench warfare, the first railway guns were simple, improvised designs made by mounting surplus coastal defence, fortress, and naval guns onto existing commercial railway carriages. As the war dragged on, railway artillery development shifted to longer-range guns that could shell targets deep behind enemy lines. This change of role brought much larger and more sophisticated guns often manufactured by mounting long-barrel naval guns onto specially-designed railway carriages.

Maginot Line Gun Turrets and French Gun  Turret Development 1880-1940

The Maginot Line was one of the most advanced fortification systems in history. Built in the aftermath of World War I, and stretching along the French eastern border from Belgium to Switzerland, it was designed to prevent German troops from ever setting foot on French soil again.

The Maginot Line’s real capability lay in its advanced gun turrets. Deadly accurate, formidably protected and well organised, they caused havoc among the German units that attacked the line during their invasion of France in 1940. German officers who visited the forts after the armistice remarked at the exceptional performance of the crews and accuracy of the guns. This New Vanguard examines these, the teeth of the Maginot Line, and how France developed these advanced artillery systems – from the first rotatable Mougin turrets of the 1880s, through the invention of the retractable armoured turret, to their peak of perfection on the French frontier.

US Navy Escort Carriers 1942-45

The role played by the US Navy’s escort carriers was enormous, and yet they have largely been overlooked. Smaller and slower than the fleet carriers, it was their sheer numbers (the Casablanca-class was the most numerous class of carriers in history) that made them so effective. In the Atlantic, they provided the backbone of the Allied anti-submarine warfare efforts which finally and irrevocably turned the tide of the war against the U-boats in 1943, and in the Pacific they provided the air cover for the series of landings that led to the doorstep of Japan by 1945 – in the face of submarine, air, kamikaze, and even surface attacks.

British Destroyers 1939-45: Wartime-built classes

With the clouds of war looming, the British Admiralty commissioned the first of a series of powerful new destroyers, designed to take on her potential enemies. The formidable destroyers of the Tribal-class were followed by the first of slightly smaller ships, which carried fewer guns than the Tribals, but were armed with a greatly enlarged suite of torpedoes. The first of these, the ‘J/K/M class’ was followed by a number of wartime variants, with slight changes to their weaponry to suit different wartime roles. Effectively the British were building destroyers capable of facing a whole range of threats – enemy surface warships, aircraft and U-boats. These little warships saw action in defence of the Arctic Convoys, in the furious battles fought in the Mediterranean, and in the closing campaigns of the war in the Pacific.

M113 APC 1960-75: US, ARVN, and Australian variants in Vietnam

The M113 is the most widely used and versatile armoured vehicle in the world. First fielded in 1960 as an innovative, lightweight ‘battlefield taxi’, over 80,000 M113s would see service in 50 nations around the world, in an incredible range of roles. This New Vanguard concentrates on the early story of the M113, from its initial fielding through to the end of the Vietnam War, focusing on the history, design, and specifications of the M113 and M113A1, and the many distinctive US, South Vietnamese, and Australian variants that saw service and action in Southeast Asia. This 15-year period saw not only the introduction into service of all the important variants of the series, but also its most notable and exciting combat actions.

Plenty there for New Vanguard fans to get excited about. Let us know which titles you are most looking forward to in the comments section below!

Post Comments

Hessy Field posted on 26 Aug 2016 16:18:46
A good range of titles - though not quite as good as 2016 in my view. Agree with comments about the destroyer volumes.
AdamC posted on 25 Aug 2016 12:25:53
I think that's a great list folk!!! Some excellent titles covering a wide range on topics. A massive gap filler in the shape of the M113 too. You can certainly but me down for the British Destroyers double header and the WWI railway guns and Soviet lend-lease armour titles may also find their way onto my shelf. Bring on the next list!!!
Daitengu posted on 25 Aug 2016 08:37:20
WOW! The South African armor one is awesome! And the Japanese ASW Escorts book is a definite as well.

In relation to the British Destroyers - I have the 1892 one and was impressed by that. I think in the future if you put together a nice hardback based on them it will be a great book - will probably rank up there with the Naval Institute books on British Destroyers. That said as with most of your hardback compilations, I'll already have the softcover versions...
KenA posted on 24 Aug 2016 11:16:46
Twelve titles! This is a bit different from the other series so far. By and large I think the 2017 NVG list is reasonably good in that it offers a fair bit of variety over quite a spread of years.

I do think though that some titles have been inadequately scoped and are attempting to cover far too much within the one cover, bearing in mind that NVG titles are only 48 pages. An example is British Destroyers 1939-45; Pre-War Classes where the V and W classes of destroyer alone could fill an entire NVG title. Haven’t we learnt anything from similar titles Osprey has produced for the US and Japan? All it will end up being is little more than a list of ships’ names.

I am pleased to see Maginot Line, etc. there and US Escort Carriers. I assume the latter title will cover only those carriers operated by the USN and will exclude US built escort carriers operated by the RN during WWII.
ASM posted on 24 Aug 2016 10:10:43
Hmm I have to admit that the lineup of this, the greatest of series, is personally a disappointment to me here in little Denmark...

To begin with though Soviet Cruisers is certainly a very nice surprise and a great title I believe. Highlight of the year! SA armour is something of a wild card but I will give it a go.

I am, of course, happy to see you finally punching a hole through to the M113, but I am really more looking forward to the follow up titles, which I hope will come along very soon!?

The pre WW2 titles are fair enough but not for me. Some of the WW2 titles can be said to be relevant enough, but some are really obscure in my view, especially when you are so much behind with much more interesting subjects. Two out of twelve is real bad for someone like me when you consider the endless possibilities…

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