Martin Windrow writes:
The Rif War: Morocco 1921–26
Readers aware of my passion for the French Foreign Legion’s history will not be surprised that I am delighted to cooperate with Philip Jowett and artist Mark Stacey to cover the greater breadth of this dramatic Spanish–French–Moroccan colonial war. It had started with minor clashes in Spanish Morocco in 1908, and stuttered on for years, until the greatest-ever defeat of a European army by tribal enemies (Annual in July 1921 – 13,000 Spanish casualties) put the Berber leader Abd el Krim on the cover of TIME magazine. It was my good luck to explore a few of the Legion’s battlefields back in 2007, but Philip has brought to our joint project his deep study of the much longer Spanish phases. The war was remarkable for the sophisticated leadership of the insurgency by the Abd el Krim brothers after 1921, until they made the fatal error of expanding their war into French Morocco in April 1925. The book will offer rare photographs, and a wide range of colourful uniforms from all three armies.
Please see below for full descriptions of all our 2024 titles.
World War II Close Air Support Tactics
By Richard P. Hallion
Illustrated by Adam Tooby
In this study, an acknowledged expert charts the development of close air support and battlefield air interdiction in theory and practice during World War II.
In World War I the use of aircraft to support ground operations was in its infancy, and it was only after the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 that close air support (CAS) and battlefield air interdiction (BAI) began to evolve towards a recognizably modern form. Using innovative all-new artwork from renowned illustrator Adam Tooby, Richard Hallion shows how the Blitzkrieg campaigns of 1939–41 saw the highly effective deployment of German dive-bombers, while the British, French and Soviet air forces strove to counter the Luftwaffe’s CAS measures with variable degrees of success.
The British and Americans developed their own CAS doctrine in the Mediterranean during 1941–43, further refining it during the campaigns in Western Europe in 1944–45. Meanwhile during the fighting in Asia and the Pacific, the Japanese and their Allied opponents employed CAS techniques. Full-colour tactical diagrams, carefully chosen archive photographs and insightful analysis reveal how by 1945, Allied CAS doctrine had reached new levels of sophistication, boosted by the growing availability of dedicated aircraft, ordnance and communications technology.
The 'Grossdeutschland' Division in World War II: The German Army's premier combat unit
By James F. Slaughter
Illustrated by Ramiro Bujeiro
Investigates the history and evolving appearance of the ‘Grossdeutschland’ Division, the German Army’s premier combat unit during World War II.
Featuring eight pages of original artwork and carefully chosen photographs depicting personalities, uniforms, insignia and personal equipment, this is the absorbing story of the German Army’s elite ‘fire brigade’ during 1939–45. The unit began its life as an elite guard detachment; expanded to regimental size in 1939, it saw action in France in 1940 and Yugoslavia in 1941 before participating in the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union.
Reinforced to divisional status, ‘Grossdeutschland’ fought on the Eastern Front in 1942–44, notably at Rzhev in late 1942 and Kharkov in early 1943. Refitted and redesignated a Panzergrenadier-Division, ‘Grossdeutschland’ played a key role in the battle of Kursk in July 1943, before acting as the Wehrmacht’s ‘fire brigade’ in 1943–44.
In late 1944, ‘Grossdeutschland’ was expanded to Panzerkorps status, Panzergrenadier-Division ‘Brandenburg’ taking the field alongside Panzergrenadier-Division ‘Grossdeutschland’. Further units joined the order of battle, the Führerbegleit-Brigade fighting in the Ardennes in 1944–45 before also being redesignated a division. All of these campaigns are covered in this book, which charts the evolving appearance of this elite formation over nearly six years of brutal warfare.
Underground Warfare 1914–18: Tactics and Equipment
By Simon Jones
Illustrated by Adam Hook
This absorbing study reveals the evolving tactics and techniques used by all sides in the underground war during 1914–18.
Covering the Western Front but also the Gallipoli and Italian theatres, this study explores three aspects of World War I below ground: military mining, attack tunnels and dugouts. In 1914–17, the underground war was a product of static trench warfare, essential to survive it and part of both sides’ attempts to overcome it. In 1917–18 it was rendered largely obsolete by the development of the all-arms battle as mobility was restored to the battlefield.
The appeal of the subject lies in its drama and its central importance in understanding World War I. In the stagnant, troglodyte existence of trench warfare, military mining was a hidden world of heroism and terror in which hours of suspenseful listening were spent monitoring the steady picking of unseen opponents, edging quietly towards the enemy, and judging when to fire a charge. Break-ins to enemy mine galleries resulted in hand-to-hand fighting in the darkness. The ingenuity, claustrophobia and tactical importance of the underground war are discussed and depicted in this fully illustrated study from an acknowledged expert.
The Rif War: Morocco 1921–26
By Philip Jowett & Martin Windrow
Illustrated by Mark Stacey
Fully illustrated, this book lifts the veil on the Rif War, the major colonial conflict of the 1918–39 period. It features genuinely rare photographs of Spanish, French and Rifian fighting men, and newly researched plates of a variety of colourful uniforms.
Since before World War I, Spain and France had agreed to partition Morocco, with Spain holding a northern coastal strip and France the centre and south. In June 1921 Abd el Krim, a uniquely successful Berber leader in the northern Rif highlands, led an unprecedented pan-tribal uprising, inflicting disastrous defeats which killed some 13,000 Spanish troops – the greatest defeat yet suffered by a European army at the hands of tribal enemies. This captured many weapons, including machine guns and artillery; brought down the Spanish government, and forced a defensive withdrawal; and gained worldwide attention through Abd el Krim’s intelligent diplomacy.
In French Morocco, Marshal Lyautey remained aloof until, in spring 1925, Abd el Krim ambitiously attacked his frontier. During three months’ desperate fighting by small forces built around Foreign Legion battalions, the French strove with little success to defend their frontier outposts, and Rifian thrusts threatened their strategic cities. From July 1925 Marshal Pétain took command, bringing in reinforcements from the occupied Rhineland; by late September he had 150,000 men, with strong air support. An autumn counter-offensive, co-ordinated with an amphibious Spanish landing led by Spanish Foreign Legion units, pushed the Rifians back and reduced their home territory. After winter consolidation, a joint Franco-Spanish offensive in May 1926 achieved final victory, and Abd el Krim’s surrender; but his example continued to inspire North African nationalists until subsequent wars for independence following World War II.
Gladiators 1st to 5th centuries AD
By François Gilbert
Illustrated by Giuseppe Rava
For 800 years, the gladiators of ancient Rome provided a bloody spectacle for the people of the Eternal City and its vast empire, becoming emblematic of the splendour and savagery of Roman civilization. Fully illustrated, this new study lifts the veil on these high-profile but often misunderstood arena fighters and their world.
By the beginning of the Principate in 27 BC, the gladiator games were a long-standing part of the social and political life of Rome and its sprawling empire. In the wake of reforms enacted by Augustus, the gladiator games continued to be at the heart of Roman culture and politics during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Expected to provide public works and entertainments (munera) for the people of Rome, prominent citizens harnessed the commercial and political opportunities offered by the gladiator games to enhance their own reputations and reward their clients.
The provision of games (ludi), though, was the preserve of the emperor himself. As the state-sponsored imperial cult came to venerate emperors as deities, public expenditure on gladiator contests reached staggering levels. From Caligula onwards, several emperors even entered the arena themselves, most notoriously Commodus. Gladiator armour and equipment evolved and new weapons were employed alongside the longer-established arms. In the quest for novelty, prisoners, criminals, women and even children came to participate in this grisly ‘sport’. Only after the adoption of Christianity as the state religion in AD 380 did armed combat between gladiators cease, and even then beast hunts persisted into the 6th century.
Although much evidence remains, both literary and archaeological, the gladiators and their world continue to be misunderstood. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and carefully chosen illustrations, this book draws upon the latest research and the author’s own experience to cast new light on these formidable arena fighters and their legacy.