On the Big Reveal today, we have the first of our General Military reveal to share with you. Let us know what you think of these books below!
GNM: U.S. Civil War Battle by Battle
The American Civil War was the most cataclysmic military struggle of the late 19th century, and in four bloody years of fighting from 1861 to 1865 over 620,000 American soldiers and sailors lost their lives in more than 8,000 battles, engagements and skirmishes.
U.S.Civil War Battle by Battle tells the story of 30 of the most significant of these battles. These include some of the most famous clashes, such as the battles of Gettysburg and the Fredericksburg, which resonate through American military history, but also the less well known, such as the battles of Brandy Station and Cedar Creek.
This highly illustrated introduction, packed full of colour artwork, covers every theatre of the war and details infantry, cavalry, artillery and seaborne units from both the Union and Confederate forces to give a true sense of the scale of the War between the States.
GNM: Peace Through Sacrifice
This is the pictorial story of the triumph of the human spirit through conflict, starting with the Second Boer War at the start of the 20th century through to the World Wars. These thought-provoking images of leaders, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and those who were committed to their care and healing, demonstrate that even during the worst of times, simple human compassion and collaboration often prevails.
Through featuring many memorable yet relatively unknown images, some taken by ordinary soldiers rather than official war photographers, and others gathered from great UK photographic archives such as the Hulton-Deutsch Collection, the Keystone library, Alamy, and the National Library of Scotland, the great treasures of our pictorial history hidden in these collections is revealed
GNM: At the Gates of Rome
It took little more than a single generation for the 800-year-old Roman Empire to fall. In those critical decades, while Christians and pagans, legions and barbarians, generals and politicians squabbled over dwindling scraps of power, two men – former comrades on the battlefield – eventually found themselves on opposite sides in the great game of empire: Roman general Stilicho and Alaric, king of the Visigoths.
At the Gates of Rome tells the story through the eyes of the two men who both fought valiantly to prevent Rome’s downfall before one was ultimately forced to abandon its cause. Weaving Ancient Roman, Greek and Byzantine accounts of Stilicho and Alaric into a single compelling historic epic, this is a sweeping saga of the final years of the Western Roman Empire and the dying days of Rome.
GNM: Blade of a Sword
Combining traditional military history with a trench-level soldier’s view of the Great War, this book tracks the experiences of an elite German regiment throughout the conflict, following the men who fought and died in the service of what would ultimately prove to be a futile cause.
The German 73rd Fusilier Regiment spent the whole of World War I on the Western Front and was one of the Imperial German Army’s most elite units. Starting with the occupation of Liège, it took part in nearly every major campaign in the West, including the Champagne offensives, the Somme, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and the Operation Michael offensives. Using the personal accounts of the soldiers themselves, including Ernst Jünger, author of Storm of Steel, this engrossing story of a regiment at war presents the horror of trench warfare on a human scale, through the eyes of ordinary men-at-arms, as they fought for honour and survival in military history’s most brutal theatre of combat.
The Battle of Crécy in 1346 is one the most famous and widely studied military engagements in history. The repercussions of this battle were felt for hundreds of years, and the exploits of those fighting reached the status of legend. Yet groundbreaking research has shown that nearly everything that has been written about this dramatic event may be wrong.
In Crécy: Battle of Five Kings, Michael Livingston reveals how modern scholars have used archived manuscripts, satellite technologies and traditional fieldwork to help unlock what was arguably the battle’s greatest secret: the location of the now quiet fields where so many thousands died. Incorporating the most cutting-edge revelations and the personal story of how those discoveries were made, as well as a compelling and detailed narrative account of the battle, this is a remarkable new history of one of the most important battles of the Middle Ages.
GNM: Going Downtown
The involvement of the US Air Force in the Southeast Asian Wars began in 1962 with crews sent to train Vietnamese pilots, and with conflict in Laos, and finally ended in 1972 with the B-52 bombing of Hanoi. The missions flown by USAF aircrews during those years in Southeast Asia differed widely, from attacking the Ho Chi Minh Trail at night to missions “Downtown,” the name aircrew gave Hanoi, the central target of the war.
This aerial war was dominated by the major air operations against the north. These operations were carried out in the face of a formidable Soviet-inspired air defence system bristling with anti-aircraft guns and SAM missile sites. Beyond this, the US Air Force was intimately involved in secret air wars against Laos and Cambodia. The war the Air Force fought was a war in Southeast Asia.
Following on from the same author’s The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club, which tells the story of the US Navy’s involvement in the Vietnam War, Downtown completes the picture. Featuring a wide range of personal accounts and previously untold stories, this fascinating history brings together the full story of the US Air Force’s struggle in the skies over Southeast Asia.
GNM: Hitler’s Winter
The Battle of the Bulge was the last major German offensive in the West. Launched in the depths of winter to neutralize the overwhelming Allied air superiority, three German armies attacked through the Ardennes, the weakest part of the American lines, with the aim of splitting the Allied armies and seizing the vital port of Antwerp within a week. It was a tall order, as the Panzers had to get across the Our, Amblève, Ourthe and Meuse rivers, and the desperate battle became a race against time and the elements, which the Germans would eventually lose.
Based on the latest research, this new study of the famous battle focuses on the German experience, telling the story from the perspective of the German infantrymen and Panzer crewmen fighting on the ground in the Ardennes, through to the senior commanders such as SS-Oberstgruppenführer Josef ‘Sepp’ Dietrich and General Hasso von Manteuffel whose operational decisions did so much to decide the fate of the offensive.
GNM: Immortal Valor
In 1945, when Congress began reviewing the record of the most conspicuous acts of courage by American soldiers during World War II, they recommended awarding the Medal of Honor to 432 recipients. Despite the fact that more than one million African-Americans served, not a single black soldier received the Medal of Honor. The omission remained on the record for over four decades.
But recent historical investigations have brought to light some of the extraordinary acts of valor performed by black soldiers during the war. Men like Vernon Baker, who single-handedly eliminated three enemy machine guns, an observation post, and a German dugout. Or Sergeant Reuben Rivers, who spearhead his tank unit’s advance against fierce German resistance for three days despite being grievously wounded. Meanwhile Lieutenant Charles Thomas led his platoon to capture a strategically vital village on the Siegfried Line in 1944 despite losing half his men and suffering a number of wounds himself.
Ultimately, in 1993 a US Army commission determined that seven men, including Baker, Rivers and Thomas, had been denied the Army’s highest award simply due to racial discrimination. In 1997, President Clinton finally awarded the Medal of Honor to these seven heroes.
These are their stories.
GNM: Peleliu 1944
During summer 1944, U.S. forces captured Saipan, Guam, and Tinian in the Mariana Islands. At the same time, the Navy crippled Japanese naval and air power. Top U.S. military officials decided that the time had come for General Douglas MacArthur’s Sixth Army to liberate the Philippines, from where Allied naval forces could choke Japan’s Southeast Asia oil and rubber pipeline.
As plans were laid for the Philippines invasion in the fall of 1944, U.S. military analysts believed it imperative to protect MacArthur’s “right flank” from air attacks from the Japanese-occupied Palau Islands. Leaders decided that Peleliu, where the principal Palau airfield was located, must be captured by ground troops. The amphibious assault on Peleliu was scheduled for September.
As planning for Peleliu’s invasion went forward, U.S. intelligence officers attempted to assay the island’s defenses, but failed to detect the complex network of caves, tunnels, and pillboxes hidden inside the island’s coral ridges. Most importantly, they did not discern that the defense of Peleliu would represent a tectonic shift in Japanese strategy that would shape the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945. This is a hard-hitting narrative of the Pacific War's 'forgotten battle' of Peleliu, a ferocious and arguably unnecessary battle which challenged the Marines with a wholly new enemy defensive strategy — one for which they were wholly unprepared.
GNM: Putin's Wars: Conflicts and Capabilities of Post-Soviet Russia
An accessible overview not simply of the conflicts in which Russia has been involved during Putin but more broadly of his recreation of Russian military power and its expansion to include a range of new capabilities, from mercenaries to information war. Much of this will, of course, be a ‘top down’ overview, but it will also be leavened with tales of particular individuals and incidents, anecdotes of military life and snapshots of conflicts. Where possible, Dr Galeotti will explicitly draw on his own experiences, such as conversations with serving and retired officers (such as one especially negative appraisal of the much-touted new T-14 Armata by a tank commander who regards it as a huge and vulnerable white elephant) or the surreal experience of being in the press gallery at the 2019 Tank Biathlon finals. A lively and engaging history of a reawakened Russian bear and how it currently operates both at home and abroad.
GNM: Dünkirchen 1940: The German View of Dunkirk
What were German soldiers thinking about when they closed in on Anglo-French forces cut off in the Dunkirk pocket on the Channel coast at the end of May 1940? For the first time they were checked by bitter French and British resistance following their triumphant ten-day Blitzkrieg thrust to the Atlantic coast. Having been comfortably accustomed to air superiority they now found themselves subjected to intense bombing and strafing attacks by the RAF.
Having assumed the mantle of supreme military commander Hitler had achieved a miracle in the eyes of his soldiers, but with just seven kilometres for the panzers to go to capture Dunkirk, they were stopped. Hitler had lost control of his stunning advance. Now, amid a spat with his generals, he ordered a halt. Why was this?
Holland had capitulated in four days and the Belgians lasted just over two weeks. Why did it then take the Germans ten days to reduce the small remaining pocket containing the defeated British and French armies? Was it the weather, the iconic fleet of 'small ships', bitter French resistance, clever British Royal Navy improvisation or German miscalculation that enabled most of the British to escape?
Only a detailed interpretation of the German perspective – historically lacking to date – can provide answers. Using a myriad of first-hand German accounts from interviews, diaries and unit post-action reports, Robert Kershaw has monitored the mood, beliefs and expectations of German soldiers who won the battle which their fathers lost in 1918.
GNM: Meat Grinder
The Soviet counteroffensive in late 1941 drove the Wehrmacht back from the outskirts of Moscow, inflicting the first serious setback suffered by the Germans in the war. But the counteroffensive, intended to destroy the Wehrmacht divisions and thus pave the way for a swift Soviet victory, gradually petered out, resulting in a convoluted front line, with a large salient projecting north from Vyasma to Rzhev. For the Germans, this represented a jumping-off point for a future renewed drive on Moscow, and the Red Army was therefore anxious to destroy it. The Red Army launched four major offensives against the salient, all of which were defeated with heavy losses. Eventually, the Germans evacuated the salient in March 1943, but the fighting had left them with over half a million casualties.
After the war, orthodox Soviet historiography pointedly avoided acknowledging the failure of Red Army offensives against the Rzhev Salient. One operation in particular, codenamed Mars, coincided with the encirclement of the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad and actually involved far more Soviet troops than the fighting in the south; the few mentions of the operation in Soviet accounts attempted to portray it as a successful attempt to tie down German forces in the central sector while the blow against Stalingrad was struck, and it is only very recently that the magnitude of the Soviet defeat has become better known. For the Germans who fought through this battle, the salient became known as the ‘Meat Grinder’. However, the Red Army learned from its failures to breach the German defensive lines, and analysis of these failures, combined with detailed study of the German defences after the final German evacuation of the salient, helped pave the way for the Soviet victory against Army Group Centre in Operation Bagration in the summer of 1944 leaving the road to Berlin clear.