This month's book vote focuses on our Duel series with five new books battling for your votes.
Athenian Trireme vs Persian Trireme: 509–449 BC
Triremes fought in several crucial clashes of the Greco-Persian Wars (502–449 BC), including Artemisium and Salamis. The trireme was an advanced ship that was expensive to build and to maintain due its large crew. By the 5th century, advanced war galleys had been developed that required sizable states with an advanced economy to construct and maintain. A fast and agile vessel, the trireme remained the dominant warship in the Mediterranean from the 7th to 4th centuries BC, until largely superseded by the larger quadriremes and quinqueremes. This Duel explores the technological differences and similarities between the triremes of the opposing navies, as well as their tactical employment in battle.
SdKfz 251 Halftrack vs US M3 halftrack: 1941–45
This Duel title takes a slightly different approach, offering a comparison between two very similar AFVs that did not fight each other directly on the field of battle. Both served to transport infantry rapidly into battle, were widely produced and used by a variety of nations, and spawned numerous variants. The SdKfz 251 and the US M3 make for an interesting comparison, not least for their numerous design differences (particulary in armour). This fascinating Duel title describes the technological development of these two iconic half-tracks, and examines which weapon performed best across a broad range of factors in their extensive battlefield employment.
USN Fleet Destroyer vs IJN Fleet Submarine, 1942–45
The destroyers of the US Navy served in a wide variety of roles in World War II: high-speed transports, minesweepers, seaplane tenders, radar pickets, and in anti-aircraft and surface action duties. A further key role was anti-submarine warfare, which saw significant development in weaponry and tactics. Three new classes of US destroyer were introduced post-1941—the Fletcher (the USN's signature destroyer in the Pacific War), the Allen M. Sumner, and the Gearing. These are often seen as some of the most successful of World War II. Once the US was able to ramp up construction of destroyers and destroyer escorts, and introduced highly effective anti-submarine techniques learned from the Royal Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, they inflicted heavy damage on Japanese submarines: Fletchers accounted for 29 Imperial Japanese Navy submarines sunk.
German 7.5cm KwK 37 gun vs Soviet 76.2mm gun: Eastern Front, 1941–43
This innovative Duel title explores some of World War II's most significant armour variants from a fresh perspective by focusing on the main armament used across several AFVs, together with key factors (increased protection, upgunning, munitions) that influenced the technological advances in AFV design. The mounts for the German 7.5 cm KwK 37 gun comprised the PzKpfw III Ausf. N, PzKpfw IV, Ausf. A-F, early StuG III assault guns A–E, plus the SdKfz 233, SdKfz 234/3, SdKfz 250/8, and SdKfz 251/9. This weapon's effectiveness is compared to that of the mounts for the Soviet 76.2mm, namely the T-34/76 Models 1940–42 and KV-1 tank (with the F-34 tank gun), plus the 76mm divisional gun M1942 and the SU-76 self-propelled gun (with the 76.2mm ZiS-3). A fascinating, informative, and innovative Duel offering.
US Armor vs RPG: Vietnam 1965–73
During the Vietnam War, a critical threat to US armoured forces (mechanized infantry and tanks) was the presence of huge numbers of RPG-2s (B-40/B-50 in North Vietnamese use) and RPG-7s (B-41), with US M113s being worst affected, but tanks such as the M551 Sheridan and M48 Patton also being killed or disabled in significant numbers. The US response was both tactical and technical: the fitting of bar armor slats to the vehicles, and vehicle crews working closely with infantry to protect against and to counter RPG ambushes. This Duel title explores the nerve-wracking fight between the heavy firepower of US armoured forces and the nimble close-range tank-hunting teams of the PAVN and Viet Cong.