Kicking off our book vote in 2019 is our New Vanguard series. As with every month, there are five books to choose between. Have a read of the descriptions below and cast your vote!

NVG: Warships of the Republic of Venice

NVG: Combat Airboats 1915–2015

NVG: Warships of the Spanish Civil War    

NVG: Polish Warships 1939-45

NVG: The Modern Indian Navy                               

Warships of the Republic of Venice

For centuries, Venice was the Mediterranean naval superpower. In its great state-owned shipyard, the Venetian Arsenal, it developed efficient, production-line techniques of building galleys, allowing it to outbuild its rivals and replace combat losses rapidly. Its tradition was to man its galleys with highly-motivated paid oarsmen rather than slaves. During the Middle Ages it already maintained a standing navy, and with this, dominated the Adriatic and stretched its maritime trade links across the Mediterranean. Later, Venice developed the first ships with broadside cannon armament, its galleasses, whose victorious debut was at the Battle of LepantoBy the 17th and 18th centuries, Venetian naval power diminished, despite adopting sailing galleons alongside the traditional rowed warships, and in 1797 the Napoleonic invasion brought the glorious reign of Venice and its navy to an end.

Combat Airboats 1915–2015

The first airboat was a military craft, built in 1915 by the British in Iraq using the engine and propeller from a wrecked Farman biplane, and it operated on the Tigris. Over the next century, armed airboats were found to be ideal in theatres where their speed and super-shallow draught were invaluable. Airboats and aerosleds (the snowborne equivalent) were used extensively by the Soviets on the Eastern Front. The Americans in Vietnam found the Mekong Delta to be perfect airboat territory, especially for special operations forces – their Aircats could go places no other boat could, and be helicoptered into remote, hostile territory. In the early 20th century airboats were back in action where they first operated – in the rivers and marshes of Iraq.

Warships of the Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Navy of 1936 was a significant force, with cruisers, destroyers, and a handful of dreadnought battleships. While the officers tended to sympathise with Franco and the Nationalists, its men tended towards the Republicans. The result was mutinies and defections, and a navy that, like Spain itself, split into two. The Nationalists’ fleet was much smaller, but they were more effective fighting units. The large, but poorly led Republican fleet was still formidable enough to prevent the Army of Africa sailing to mainland Spain, prompting the Germans to launch the world’s first military airlift. Over the next three years, the two fleets fought a war of blockade, attempting to break and reopen supply routes, with a series of surface battles between the two sides.

Polish Warships 1939-45

On the outbreak of World War II, the most valuable units of the Polish Navy were ordered to attempt an escape to Britain. Two submarines and three destroyers (including two of the modern, powerful Grom-class) made it, to continue the fight from across the North Sea. In exile, the Polish Navy received new, British-built warships, including cruisers and destroyers, which fought across the European and Atlantic naval theatres, including the destroyer ORP Piorun’s famous part in the sinking of the Bismarck.

The Modern Indian Navy

In 2013, India launched the new INS Vikrant, the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India. Vikrant joins a navy rapidly becoming a high-tech bluewater force, with amphibious warfare ships, nuclear-powered submarines, guided missile destroyers, and stealthy corvettes, and which is investing heavily in its own advanced naval technology. This book would explain the capabilities, equipment, and role of a navy whose presence and power covers some of the world’s most important maritime hotspots, from the waters of the Middle East to the Straits of Malacca, and which is a potential rival to Chinese naval power in the region.

Make your vote by clicking here!

Our final vote of 2018 focused on our Elite series. It was an especially close race between our top two options, but in the end Battle Tactics of the American Revolutionary War triumphed with 32.09% of the vote. Not too far behind was Russian and Soviet Naval Infantry, which amassed 30.8%. Thanks to everyone who voted, and don't forget to vote for this month's, using the link above. 

 ELI: Battle Tactics of the American Revolutionary War       32.09%   
 ELI: Russian and Soviet Naval Infantry 1914–45    30.8% 
 ELI: IJA Aviation Uniforms and Equipment of World War II                 11.41%
 ELI: US Ground Forces in Europe 1952–65      11.01% 
 ELI: Soviet Ground Forces in Europe 1952–65    14.69%