I am excited about all four of the Combat titles due to be published in 2024, but the stand-out for me has to be German Soldier vs British Soldier, scheduled for August. I am delighted to be working with Dr Stephen Bull and renowned Osprey illustrator Adam Hook on this study, which reveals the varied nature of the desperate fighting during the final tumultuous year of World War I. Featuring the customary combination of specially commissioned artwork plates, carefully chosen photographs, original mapping and insightful analysis, this book examines the fighting men on both sides in a pivotal year, from the Germans’ Spring Offensive that pushed the Allied armies back towards the coast to the Allies’ Hundred Days counter-offensive that comprehensively ended the Germans’ will to continue the conflict.
Barbarian Warrior vs Roman Legionary: Marcomannic Wars AD 165–180
By Murray Dahm
This engrossing book pits the legionaries of Imperial Rome against their Germanic and Sarmatian opponents in the 2nd century AD.
Shortly after Marcus Aurelius came to power in AD 161, the Roman Empire was racked by a series of military crises. While unrest in Britain and a new war with Parthia were swiftly dealt with, the invasion of Roman territory by the Chatti and Chauci peoples heralded a resurgent threat from the empire’s European neighbours. Soon the Marcomanni and the Quadi, as well as the Dacians and the Sarmatian Iazyges, would attack the Romans in a series of savage conflicts that continued until AD 175 and would involve the first invasion of Roman Italy since the beginning of the 1st century BC.
In this book, the two sides’ objectives, weapons and equipment and fighting styles are assessed and compared in the context of three featured battles: Carnuntum (170), where a Roman legion was vanquished and Italy invaded; the ‘Battle on the Ice’ (172), where the Romans fought their lighter-armed Iazyges opponents on the frozen Danube; and the so-called ‘Miracle of the Rain’ (174), during which a trapped Roman force facing annihilation was able to defeat numerically superior Germanic forces.
US Marine vs Japanese Soldier: Saipan, Tinian, Guam, and Peleliu, 1944
By Gregg Adams
Fully illustrated, this book assesses the US Marines and Japanese troops fighting in three bloody battles of World War II in the Pacific.
In June 1944, the United States military launched an offensive against the Imperial Japanese forces holding the Mariana Islands and Palau in the Pacific. The US Marine Corps played a vital role in this campaign alongside Army and Navy forces, while their Japanese opponents mounted a desperate defense of their conquests amid the harsh island terrain. This book assesses both sides’ doctrine, tactics, weapons, and battlefield effectiveness in three battles of this stage of the Pacific War.
Landing on Saipan on June 15, the Marines quickly established a beachhead in the teeth of fierce fire from the Japanese defenders, who strove to fight to the last man, their efforts culminating in a horrific banzai charge. On July 21, US Marine Corps and Army forces landed on Guam. Only on August 10 was Guam declared secure by the Americans, and even then resistance continued.
US forces landed on Tinian on July 24, holding their ground despite savage counterattacks by the Japanese garrison, and steadily wrested the island from its conquerors. Alongside Army troops, the US Marine Corps also targeted the coral island of Peleliu. Predicted to last four days, the US assault on Peleliu ground on for more than two months as the defenders made full use of intricate defenses farther inland, inflicting appalling US casualties.
The fighting would see US and Japanese forces tested to the limit and beyond, with unimaginable suffering on both sides. Fully illustrated, this study assesses the tactics and technology employed by the Marines and their Japanese opponents in these bloody battles, as the Pacific War moved toward its grim climax.
German Soldier vs British Soldier: Spring Offensive and Hundred Days 1918
By Stephen Bull
This study pits the Kaiser’s troops against their British opponents during the climactic year of 1918 on the Western Front.
Launched on 21 March 1918, the Spring Offensive was Germany’s last throw of the dice during World War I. The Germans used veteran, highly trained assault troops and innovative assault tactics to encircle and outflank the British and Empire forces manning the front line from the Somme River to the Channel, hoping to force the French to seek terms and hand victory to Germany. After this attempt stalled, the Allied armies mounted a series of offensives during the so-called ‘Hundred Days’, actions that pushed the Kaiser’s forces back and prompted the demoralized German High Command to sue for peace.
In this book, Stephen Bull shows how in 1918 the British Army on the Western Front, manned substantially by conscripts and starved of reinforcements, fared as it fought for its survival in the Spring Offensive and then went on the attack during the Hundred Days. While the picked units spearheading the German offensive were well-trained and -armed but hampered by logistical shortcomings, the regular divisions following in their wake would prove much less resolute.
The ensuing fighting would see both sides’ forces tested to the limit and beyond, as initial German progress gave way to stalemate and the Allies then took the offensive, driving the Germans back. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and mapping, carefully chosen archive photos and expert analysis and commentary, this study assesses the fighting men on both sides during the climactic months of fighting on the Western Front in 1918.
Eighth Army Soldier vs Italian Soldier: El Alamein 1942
By David Greentree
By July 1942, the retreating Allied troops fighting in North Africa, the multinational Eighth Army, had withdrawn to the El Alamein line, the last position stopping their German and Italian opponents from reaching the Suez Canal. Fully illustrated, this book assesses the Commonwealth and Italian infantrymen who played a vital role on both sides as the seesaw battle for control of the North African coastline entered its decisive phase, played out over two bloody engagements during July–October 1942.
During the struggle for victory in North Africa, both Allied and Axis commanders viewed armour as the decisive weapon, as the open desert terrain did not hinder its manoeuvrability. Conversely, infantry, fighting amid rock-hard or sandy terrain, could not entrench easily and was vulnerable to envelopment; even the ‘brigade boxes’ adopted by the Allied infantry formations could be surrounded and overrun. During the two El Alamein battles, however, both sides’ infantry would be key to the outcome.
While the majority of the 96,000 Axis troops at the First Battle of El Alamein were Italian, mostly infantry, Commonwealth forces, notably those hailing from India, Australia and New Zealand, provided the greater part of Eighth Army’s fighting strength, about 80,000 of 150,000 men. During the First Battle of El Alamein in July 1942, Italian infantry units clashed with Indian troops at Ruweisat Ridge and Australian forces at Makh Khad Ridge; both battles are assessed in this book, along with the defence mounted by New Zealand troops at Miteiriya Ridge during the Second Battle of El Alamein that October.
The big reveal continues next Friday with the Weapons series.