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In 2021, 16 opposing forces will face off on the battlefield in eight new books. Read the descriptions below and let us know which head-to-heads you are interested in.

CBT: Athenian Hoplite vs Spartan Hoplite

The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), waged between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies, involved some of the most important innovations in ancient warfare. A life-and-death struggle between the two most powerful Greek city-states in the wake of their combined successes against the Persian invasion of Xerxes in 480–479 BC, the conflict dragged in communities from all over the Greek world. Ranging from the Black Sea to Sicily, the war sparked significant developments in tactics and strategy, including the first recorded widespread use of light-armed troops, reserves, and deep phalanx. It also revealed lessons (some learned and some not) with respect to the strengths and weaknesses of hoplite warfare and of the various states in Greece. Featuring full-colour artwork and drawing upon an array of sources, this volume examines three pivotal clashes between Spartan and Athenian hoplite forces during one of the most significant conflicts of the ancient Greek world.

CBT: British Infantryman vs Mahdist Warrior

In 1882, the United Kingdom intervened in the affairs of independent Egypt, overthrowing a nationalist revolt, with the intention of securing British strategic interests along the Suez Canal. Subsequently drawn into a series of confrontations in Egypt’s southern colony, the Sudan, British troops would face a determined and capable foe amid some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain.

In a bid to throw off Egyptian colonial rule, in 1881 an Islamic fundamentalist revolt had broken out in the Sudan. It was led by a religious teacher named Mohammed Ahmad Ibn al-Sayyid Abdullah, who proclaimed himself al-Mahdi, ‘The Guided One’. After routing Egyptian forces led by British officer Colonel William Hicks at the battle of Shaykan in November 1883, the Mahdi began to organize his followers along more centralized lines.

Featuring specially commissioned artwork, this study examines the changes which the prolonged fighting brought to both sides, considering battles such as Abu Klea (16–18 January 1885) during the bid to relieve Gordon in Khartoum, Tofrek (22 March 1885) in which Beja warriors broke a British square, and the desperate fighting at Atbara (8 April 1898).

CBT: Hungarian Soldier vs Soviet Soldier

On 26 June 1941, unidentified bombers attacked the Hungarian town of Kassa, prompting Hungary to join its Axis partners in Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. Hungary’s contribution to Barbarossa was designated the Carpathian Group, its most powerful component being the Mobile Corps, which fielded motorized rifle, cavalry, bicycle and light armoured troops. The Hungarians faced Soviet forces belonging to the Kiev Military District, deployed in four armies along a 940km-long front. The Red Army, while remaining among the most formidable armies of the era, had been seriously weakened by successive purges, its shortcomings exposed by the Winter War against Finland in 1939–40.

Fully illustrated, this book investigates the Hungarian and Soviet soldiers who fought in three battles of the Barbarossa campaign, casting new light on the role played by the forces of Nazi Germany’s allies on the Eastern Front.


CBT: Japanese Soldier vs US Soldier

When Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, New Guinea was administered partly by Australia and partly by the Dutch East Indies. The New Guinea campaign saw Japanese forces invade the island, rapidly capturing the key port of Rabaul and threatening Port Moresby, while US forces joined the defenders in increasing numbers. The uniquely demanding environment, and the savage nature of the fighting, meant that the campaign was among the most arduous of World War II for both sides.

In this study, the Japanese forces and their US Army opponents, many of whom were National Guard units, are assessed and compared, with particular attention paid to combat doctrine, weaponry, tactics, logistics, leadership and communications in the particularly challenging setting of New Guinea. The role of US Army National Guard units and their Japanese opponents in three important battles are examined – Buna–Gona, Biak Island and the Driniumor River – with a particular focus on the battlefield experiences of the dismounted cavalrymen of the Texas National Guard and their Japanese adversaries.


CBT: Late Roman Infantryman vs Gothic Warrior

Ravaged by civil war and pressure from the Huns to the east, in late summer AD 376 the Gothic tribe of the Thervingi, led by Fritigern, asked the Eastern Roman emperor for asylum. After agreeing to their terms, they crossed the Danube and settled in the province of Thrace. Far more people crossed the Danube than the Romans expected and the local Roman commander, Lupicinus, lacked the resources to feed them. Treated poorly and running out of food, the Goths very quickly lost faith in the Roman promises.

Meanwhile, other Gothic tribes also sought permission to cross the Danube. The Greuthungi were refused permission, but soon learned that local Roman garrisons had been depleted to supervise the march of the Thervingi to the town of Marcianople. Taking advantage of this, the Greuthungi also entered Roman territory. Camping outside Marcianople, Lupicinus denied the Goths access to the town’s food stores, provoking the Thervingi to begin skirmishing with the Roman troops. Fritigern convinced Lupicinus to let the Gothic leaders go and calm their people, but they did nothing to quell the warlike temper of his warriors. Lupicinus summoned troops to him, but in late 376 these Roman forces were defeated – the first of several defeats for the Romans that would culminate in the fateful battle of Adrianople in August 378, at which Roman forces led by the emperor himself confronted the Gothic host. The aftermath and repercussions of Adrianople have been much debated, but historians agree that it marks a decisive moment in the history of the Roman world. This fully illustrated book investigates the fighting men of both sides who clashed at the battles of Marcianople, Ad Salices and Adrianople, as the fate of the Western Roman Empire hung in the balance.


CBT: Roman Legionary vs Gallic Warrior

In the manner of many Roman generals, Julius Caesar would write his domestic political ambitions in the blood and treasure of foreign lands. His governorship of Cisalpine Gaul gave him the opportunity to demonstrate the greatness of his character to the citizens of Rome through the subjugation of those outside Rome’s borders. Well-armed and armoured, the Roman Army of the late Republic was a professional force trained to operate within self-supporting legions, with auxiliaries employed in roles that were lacking such as light troops or cavalry. The armies fielded by the tribes of Gaul were for the most part lightly armed and armoured, but with fine cavalry and a well-deserved reputation for ferocity. This fully illustrated study assesses the origins, combat role and battlefield performance of the Roman and Gallic forces as they clashed in three momentous battles of the Gallic Wars, at Bibracte (58 BC), Sabis (57 BC) and Alesia (52 BC).


CBT: US Soldier vs British Soldier

Between June 1812 and January 1815, US and British forces, notably the regular infantrymen of both sides (including the Canadian Fencibles Regiment), fought one another on a variety of North American battlefields. By 1812 the British Army had been at war more or less continuously for two decades and its doctrine and tactics had been shaped by campaigns across the world. The US Army, its commanders over-confident of a speedy victory, did not have the same depth of experience and expertise. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and battle maps, this fully illustrated study investigates the US and British regular infantry’s role, tactics, junior leadership, and combat performance on three battlefields of the War of 1812: Queenston Heights, Crysler's Farm, and Chippawa. The actions assessed here notably demonstrate the evolution of US regulars from their initial poor showing to an emerging professionalism that allowed them to face their British opponents on equal terms.


CBT: US Soldier vs Chinese Soldier

In 1945 Korea entered the post-war world already partitioned at the 38th Parallel, the north firmly within the Soviet zone of influence and the south an ally of the United States. In June 1950, the Soviet-equipped North Korean forces struck south. After a series of North Korean successes, a dramatic fightback spearheaded by US landings at Inchon pushed the invaders back across the 38th Parallel, the United Nations forces in hot pursuit. The North Koreans had retreated almost as far as the Yalu River when 300,000 Chinese flooded across the border, driving the UN forces all the way back to Seoul.

Armed and equipped with much the same weaponry and doctrine that they had employed in the last years of World War II, US units in Korea would often find themselves outnumbered, fighting in extremely difficult terrain that precluded the widespread use of armor. Buoyed by success in the recent Chinese Civil War, the Chinese contingent committed to Korea was composed of experienced and dedicated troops, and it would make its mark once more in Korea.

Featuring specially commissioned artwork, this study assesses the US and Chinese forces that clashed at Chipyong-ni, Triangle Hill and Pork Chop Hill, casting light on the origins, doctrine, combat effectiveness, and reputation of these two very different forces during the struggle for victory in Korea.