This month the book vote looks at the Raid series. From sieges during the Ottoman Wars to naval battles in the 1980s, this month's vote covers a wide range of events. Read more about the full list of options below and cast your vote by clicking the link included!
Also, keep reading for the results of last month's Men at Arms book vote.
RAID: Patton’s Prison Break 1945: Task Force Baum’s tank raid to Hammelburg POW camp
RAID: Battleship Rampage: Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Admiral Scheer raid the Atlantic and Indian Oceans 1940–41
RAID: Vlad Dracul’s Night Attack: Biological warfare and mass impalement in the Ottoman Wars, Târgovişte 1462
RAID: Tanker Wars 1987–88: America and Iran’s naval battles for control of the Persian Gulf
RAID: The Hermione Mutiny 1797–99: HMS Surprise’s legendary cutting-out expedition
Patton’s Prison Break 1945: Task Force Baum’s tank raid to Hammelburg POW camp
In late March 1945, George S. Patton’s Third Army was closing in on Oflag XIII-B, a POW camp near Hammelburg. At the camp was Patton’s son-in-law, John K. Waters, having been evacuated from another camp in the path of the approaching Red Army. Patton ordered an element of 4th Armoured Division to liberate Hammelburg. Task Force Baum, comprised of just 300 men and 16 tanks, plus some half-tracks and trucks, had to drive 50 miles into enemy-held territory, without support, to rescue the officers. Slowed by navigation problems and fighting their way behind enemy lines, Lt Abraham Baum had lost half his task force by the time they arrived at the camp, where they found too many prisoners to transport home. On the way back, the remains of the task force were ambushed by veteran German troops, and only a handful of men made it home – on foot. The Hammelburg raid was among Patton’s most controversial decisions, for which he was reprimanded by Eisenhower, and which Patton himself regarded as his sole error of judgement in the European campaign.
Battleship Rampage: Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Admiral Scheer raid the Atlantic and Indian Oceans 1940–41
The Kriegsmarine sortied most of its newest and most powerful capital ships to roam the oceans in 1940–41, seeking out and sinking Allied merchant convoys. But after the high drama of Bismarck’s last voyage, the commerce-raiding successes of Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Admiral Scheer were somewhat overshadowed. Their breakouts were dramatic and important in their own right, however. Supported by a network of supply ships, these battleships and ‘pocket battleships’ sank hundreds of thousands of tons of shipping, evaded Allied cruisers, carriers and battleships, and forced outgunned convoy escorts into making heroic last stands in defence of their charges.
Vlad Dracul’s Night Attack: Biological warfare and mass impalement in the Ottoman Wars, Târgovişte 1462
Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, Wallachia was on the frontline of the Ottoman-Christian wars, under its legendary, and notorious leader, Vlad III ‘the Impaler’, or Vlad Dracula. It was brutal even by medieval standards. Having lost his last ally in 1460 by being sawed in half, in 1462 Vlad launched an attack on Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror’s territory. When the sultan attempted to annex Wallachia, Vlad skirmished with the Ottoman forces, sent bubonic plague-infected men into the Ottoman ranks to spread disease, and launched a famous, torchlit night attack on the road to Târgovişte, attempting to assassinate the sultan in his camp. Although he failed to kill the sultan, the Ottomans retreated following the discovery of Vlad’s deserted capital of Târgovişte with its 23,000 impaled Turks.
Tanker Wars 1987–88: America and Iran’s naval battles for control of the Persian Gulf
During the 1980s, the Persian Gulf and its vital oil tanker traffic slowly became drawn into the conflagration of the Iran-Iraq War. When Iran began attacking Kuwaiti tankers and mining the Gulf, Operation Earnest Will sent US forces to enforce freedom of navigation. Guided missile warships escorted the tankers, while carrier battle groups and AWACS surveillance provided air cover, and the 160th SOAR ‘Nightstalkers’ flew from leased oil barges and US warships to hunt Iranian minelayers after dark. The operation culminated with the crippling of the USS Samuel B. Roberts by an Iranian mine, and the avenging Operation Praying Mantis – the biggest surface battle fought by the US since World War II.
The Hermione Mutiny 1797–99: HMS Surprise’s legendary cutting-out expedition
A notoriously cruel captain, Hugh Pigot’s time in command of HMS Hermione came to an end on 21 September 1797, when he provoked his long-suffering men to mutiny. They not only murdered him, but eight more officers, and handed the ship over to the enemy in Spanish Venezuela. It took until October 1799 for Edward Hamilton’s HMS Surprise to attempt to recapture the frigate, now secured in Puerto Cabello. It was on his own initiative, as Hamilton’s admiral had refused permission, judging the raid too risky. Hamilton’s men were outnumbered four-to-one, and in their small boats had to assault a heavily fortified port mounting 200 guns. His success in cutting out the Hermione and sailing her out from under the guns of the Spanish – killing 120 Spaniards, capturing 230 more, and losing not a single man – earned him a knighthood, and became one of the most famous raids of the age of fighting sail.
Make your vote by clicking here!
Last month we asked you what would you like to see published in our Men at Arms series. Thank you to everyone who voted and provided feedback, the full results are listed below!
|MAA: The French Army of Africa 1872–1914||27%|
|MAA: The Japanese Home Front in World War II||17%|
|MAA: The West German Bundeswehr 1955–90||15%|
|MAA: The East German Nationale Volksarmee 1956–90||16%|
|MAA: The Indo-Pakistani Wars 1947–99||25%|
Did your pick win? Which Men at Arms title have you decided to vote for? Let us know in the comments!