Nick Reynolds writes:
I am delighted to be working on the Duel list once again, in cooperation with Tony Holmes, who continues to handle the aviation titles in the series. While all of these titles look very exciting and should expand the series in new and fascinating directions, I am particularly pleased to be working with Peter Samsonov, an author new to Osprey. Peter’s forthcoming book examines the PzKpfw III and T-34 variants that fought during Operation Barbarossa, subject matter that lends itself readily to the Duel format. Carefully researched and featuring unfamiliar photographs, Peter’s study reminds us that neither side was entirely happy with the performance of their armour during the massive battles of 1941. It underlines the fact that the war on the Eastern Front was a perpetual arms race, often conducted at a frenetic pace, with both the Wehrmacht and the Red Army fielding multiple armour types after a lengthy gestation period. Renowned illustrator Richard Chasemore, a prolific contributor to the Duel series, is contributing the original artwork to this study, and will provide the mapping.


Coalition Armor vs Iraqi Forces: Iraq 2003–06
By Chris McNab

An illustrated study of how coalition armor in Iraq in 2003–06 handled a unique multi-threat environment, from enemy armor to IEDs.

On 20 March 2003, Coalition forces launched the invasion of Iraq on a massive scale. Their armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) faced an uncertain level of resistance, and soon had to overcome a wide range of enemy threats. These included tank vs tank clashes during the first days of the invasion (most famously at Basra and Mahmoudiyah), and subsequently the dangers posed by enemy rocket-propelled grenades, cannon fire, antitank guided missiles, and improvised explosive devices.

This vital new study covers both the opening clashes between opposing AVFs and the tactics developed by Iraqi insurgents seeking to neutralize Coalition superiority. Featuring full color photos, battle scenes, weaponry, and tactical illustrations, it draws upon first-hand accounts and official post-battle analyses to examine how Coalition forces responded to the change in the nature of the threats. Among the topics addressed are the coordination between Coalition infantry and air power; how dealing with roadside bombs in Iraq resulted in changes to equipment, tactics, and force structure; and the lessons learned for future warfare.


Harpoon Missile vs Surface Ships: US Navy, Libya and Iran, 1986–88
By Lon Nordeen
Illustrated by Jim Laurier

An illustrated study of the premier US anti-ship missile (ASM), the AGM/RGM-84 Harpoon, and its 1986 and 1988 employment against Libyan and Iranian naval vessels.

In this study, defence technology expert Lon Nordeen details the role played by the Harpoon missile in two Cold War flare-ups in the 1980s. The Harpoon was the first tactical ASM developed by the US Navy to provide a counter to the such weapons exported around the world by the Soviet Union and China. It was deployed on ships, aircraft, submarines and land vehicles and soon became the most widely used ASM system in the West, with 7,000+ having been produced since 1977, operated by the military forces of more than 30 nations.

This exciting book explores the operational use of the Harpoon by the US Navy against its Libyan and Iranian adversaries, as well as a the sole firing of a Harpoon at an American warship by the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy, using original photographs and specially commissioned artwork to examine the naval systems and weapons employed by both protagonists. Drawing upon interviews with US Navy sailors and A-6 Intruder crews that fired the AGM/RGM-84 variant of the Harpoon in 1986 and 1988, the author brings unique insight to his examination of these fascinating duels.


Me 163 vs Allied Heavy Bombers: Northern Europe 1944–45
By Robert Forsyth
Illustrated by Gareth Hector

This new title details the dramatic attempts by the Luftwaffe’s Me 163 units to engage Allied bombers during the closing stages of World War II.

In the summer of 1944, US Army Air Force (USAAF) aircrew flying over the Third Reich reported observing small, high-speed ‘bat-like’ aircraft flying close to their formations. The Luftwaffe’s extraordinary Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor was making its devastating debut with Jagdgeschwader (JG) 400. Capable of reaching high altitudes in the shortest possible time by using a volatile rocket fuel, the Me 163 was the Luftwaffe’s most impressive, yet dangerous, aircraft, and then the fastest interceptor in the world. This book details the testing of the aircraft and its deployment against the B-17s and B-24s of the USAAF’s Eighth Air Force and, from late 1944, the Lancasters and Halifaxs of RAF Bomber Command. These duels started a deadly form of warfare, with the bomber squadrons striking at Germany’s synthetic oil refineries and jet airfields, and the Me 163s of JG 400 in turn trying to stop them using cutting-edge aeronautical technology.

This exciting book describes the dramatic encounters over northern Europe, also including details of the SG 500 ‘Fighter Fist’, a lethal weapons system intended for use by the rocket fighter, using specially commissioned artwork, original photographs and rare first-hand interviews with the pilots that fought some of the most unusual air-to-air actions of the European theatre.


Panzer III vs T-34: Eastern Front 1941
By Peter Samsonov

This lively study pits Germany’s PzKpfw III against the Soviet Union’s T-34 in the wake of Hitler’s 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union.

This book evaluates the PzKpfw III and T-34 medium tanks fielded by German and the Soviet Union during 1941. Both designs were intended to be the primary medium tanks of their respective armies, but owing to manufacturing difficulties, neither was available in quite the numbers intended. Even though both tanks were relatively new, neither was deemed entirely satisfactory, and replacements for both were already on the drawing board. Nevertheless, it was these tanks that clashed in what came to be called the Great Patriotic War.

While the T-34 rapidly established a fearsome reputation only sometimes borne out by its actual performance, the PzKpfw lII was smaller, lighter, and not as well armed as its Soviet opponent but benefited from the support of a more seasoned and better structured army. Full-colour artwork, archive photographs and authoritative text combine to reveal how the Germans harnessed the advantages of combat experience and superior organization to counter the T-34’s tactical strengths, but also how the PzKpfw III quickly lost relevance as it became evident that it could not carry a gun powerful enough to destroy the T-34 at range.


Crusader vs M13/40: North Africa 1941–42
By David Greentree

This study assesses the British Crusader and the Italian M13/40, two medium tanks that played crucial roles in World War II’s Desert War.

Making its combat debut in North Africa during December 1940, Italy’s M13/40 medium tank was armed with a 47mm gun and up to four machine guns. Its British opposite number, the Crusader I, was armed with a 2-pdr (40mm) main gun plus one or two machine guns; it entered the fighting in June 1941. While the M13/40’s 47mm gun could fire armour-piercing rounds but also high-explosive ammunition against infantry and towed-gun targets, the Crusader’s 2-pdr gun could only fire armour-piercing ammunition. During Operation Crusader (November–December 1941), the M13/40’s superior armament meant the hastily trained Italian tankers of the Ariete Armoured Division could defeat the uparmoured Crusader IIs of 22nd Armoured Brigade at Bir El Gubi on 19 November.

In this book, David Greentree charts the evolution of these two tanks as the Desert War raged on. While the Crusader III, making its debut at the Second Battle of El Alamein in October 1942, was armed with the much more effective 6-pdr (57mm), the M13/40 could not be upgunned or uparmoured; new types such as the US-built M3 Grant tipped the balance in favour of the British. Joined in the front line by the similar M14/41, the M13/40 soldiered on; as the M4 Sherman also entered British service, the Italian tanks were largely wiped out as the Axis forces retreated from Egypt. Featuring all-new full-colour artwork, archive photographs and expert analysis, this engaging study assess the origins, development and combat effectiveness of these two mainstays of the Desert War during 1941–42.


RAF Fighters Vs Ju 87B Stuka: In the West 1940
By Andy Saunders
Illustrated by Gareth Hector

This Duel focuses on the fierce actions fought in the skies over France, the Channel and southern England between some truly iconic combat aircraft of World War II – RAF Fighter Command’s Hurricane and Spitfire (and the turret-armed Defiant) and the Luftwaffe’s Ju 87 Stuka. The Junkers dive-bomber, in its varying forms, remained in production and operational use from the first to the very last day of the war. However, it was the Ju 87’s role in France, at Dunkirk and during the Battle of Britain in 1940 that it is perhaps most remembered. In many instances, the aircraft has received something of a ‘bad press’, but it was a highly successful dive-bomber when employed properly. True, the Stuka was susceptible to fighter attack, but when there was little or no such opposition it was certainly a formidable and fearsome weapon. The Ju 87’s use in 1940 against British targets has often been clouded in something of a myth – not least of all that it was a ‘failure’ and ‘hacked from the sky’ by RAF Fighter Command’s Hurricanes and Spitfires. Neither is strictly true, and Andy Saunders examines how the Stuka defended itself against RAF fighters, and how, in turn, RAF fighter pilots learned to shoot the aircraft down. Indeed, although plenty has been written in the past about how the Ju 87 was little more than ‘fighter fodder’, it was not necessarily an easy aircraft to destroy when flown to its strengths.