The first books in the Fleet series will be on the shelves this autumn, and here’s what we have in store for you in 2024, offering a new take on some of the most significant naval subjects of World War II.
I’m particularly looking forward to US Pacific Fleet 1941, examining how the US Navy built and prepared its primary fleet for the coming war with Japan. I’m also looking forward to the first of our two D-Day books, which promise to give a new perspective on naval operations off Normandy. Michael Whitby’s D-Day Fleet 1944, British Sector will follow in early 2025.
Royal Navy Home Fleet 1939–41: The last line of defence at Scapa Flow
By Angus Konstam
Illustrated by Jim Laurier
Packed with illustrations, this is a new history and analysis of how the Royal Navy's most important fleet operated and fought the German Navy in the crucial first years of World War II.
Throughout its history, the Royal Navy's most important fleet has been the one guarding home waters. In this book, naval historian Angus Konstam explores the fighting power, organization, roles, and battles of the Home Fleet, in the crucial first years of World War II when it was Britain's most powerful fighting force, anchored in the northern bastion of Scapa Flow.
He explains the complex responsibilities of the fleet, charged simultaneously with preventing the powerful German Navy from breaking out into the Atlantic; preparing to challenge any cross-Channel invasion force; and combating German naval operations in the North Sea. Home Fleet actions included the loss of HMS Hood, the sinking of the Bismarck, and countering the invasion of Norway, Germany's biggest amphibious operation of the war.
Packed with striking new artwork and 3D diagrams and maps, this book offers a detailed portrait of the Home Fleet during these most crucial years of the war, from the capabilities of the warships to logistics and intelligence-gathering, to how the fleet was organized and commanded, and how and why it fought as it did.
Italian Battle Fleet 1940–43: 'La Squadra', the pride of the Regia Marina
By Enrico Cernuschi
Illustrated by Edouard A. Groult
A comprehensive account of the wartime Italian battle fleet, from its ships and technology to command structure, logistics, codebreaking and more.
In the 1920s, the Italian Navy faced great challenges. France, the traditional competitor, was back, but Mussolini, playing on all tables, compelled the Regia Marina to face the prospect of confronting both the French Navy and the Mediterranean Fleet of the Royal Navy. In the years leading up to World War II, the Regia Marina built and deployed a powerful battleship-led fleet – known in Italy as ‘La Squadra’ – intended to make the Mediterranean (and beyond) an Italian sea once more.
Written by a leading expert on Italian naval history, this book offers a comprehensive portrait of this proud fleet, how it was devised and built, the qualities and the shortcomings of the warships and the balance of the force, and how it operated and fought. While English-language histories often repeat myths that stem from partial wartime sources, Enrico Cernuschi’s research encompasses both Italian and Allied primary sources to present an authentic portrait of the fleet’s actions and decision-making. It covers a multitude of factors often overlooked, such as the Italian codebreakers, the fleet’s logistics, and the qualities and limitations of Italian industry that supported the fleet. It also provides a concise account and analysis of the battle fleet’s activities through the war, from famous battles to lesser-known actions.
Illustrated with new artwork, maps and 3D diagrams, and with superb, rare photos, this book offers fascinating new insights into Italy's great fleet of World War II.
US Pacific Fleet 1941: America's mighty last battleship fleet
By Mark Lardas
This is the first book to look at the battleship-led 1941 US Pacific Fleet as it was intended to fight, and how it had been built and trained since the late 1930s.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the US Pacific Fleet was the most powerful formation in the US Navy. It was still dominated by battleships, but since the late 1930s had been preparing for the coming war, developing its aviation capabilities and integrating them with its battleship-led doctrine.
This book is the first to examine the US Pacific Fleet as it was intended to fight the Pacific War, and how it had been training and preparing during the months leading up to December 7, 1941. Naval historian Mark Lardas explains how, contrary to modern assumptions, it was not wedded to the battleship, but was hedging its bets, building up both its carrier and battleship strength. Most crucially, it had also been building and honing a massive fleet train, enabling the Pacific Fleet to operate easily thousands of miles from home. It was this foundation that enabled the Pacific Fleet to adapt so rapidly to the new world of carrier-led naval warfare, and first check and then defeat the Imperial Japanese Navy.
The 1941 Pacific Fleet was the last moment when battleship doctrine held sway. The outbreak of war would shatter this doctrine, and see the emergence of the aircraft carrier era. It fell heavily on the US Pacific Fleet, but it and its successors, the Third Fleet, the Fifth Fleet, and the Seventh Fleet, would emerge more powerful than ever.
Japanese Combined Fleet 1942–43: Guadalcanal to the Solomons Campaign
By Mark Stille
Illustrated by Jim Laurier
The Imperial Japanese Navy was not a shattered force after its defeat at Midway. This title covers the IJN’s Combined Fleet during the period of the Guadalcanal and Solomons Campaigns from August 1942 until November 1943. During this period the Combined Fleet went through a reorganization and was forced to fight a grinding battle of attrition against the USN. The early battles in the Guadalcanal campaign playing to the strength of the Combined Fleet – in a series of night surface battles, the Japanese inflicted greater losses than they received. The IJN’s rebuilt carrier force also performed well during the campaign and even managed to score its most clearcut victory against the USN’s carrier force during the entire war. The Combined Fleet’s forgotten component, its land-based air force, played a critical (but unsuccessful) role in the campaign. Ultimately, the Guadalcanal campaign ended in disaster. Even though the IJN inflicted greater losses then it received during the series of surface and carrier battles, it failed to accomplish its mission. This book examines the reasons for the Combined Fleet’s failure and its implications for the remainder of the war.
An immediate implication of the Guadalcanal campaign was the IJN’s unwillingness to engage in a major struggle for the Central and Northern Solomons. By using only its destroyer force and land-based air power, the Japanese fought a delaying action in the Solomons until the end of 1943. However, this was also an expensive action which weakened the Combined Fleet for the remainder of the war. This book will examine the largely ignored Solomons campaign from the perspective of the Combined Fleet and place its impact into proper perspective for the remainder of the war.
Using the most recent sources and drawing on photo sources in the US and Japan, the book is the first attempt to focus on the how the Combined Fleet fought these campaigns, and, most importantly, how their results affected the rest of the war.
D-Day Fleet 1944, American Sector: The US Navy's Western Task Force
By Brian Lane Herder
Although D-Day is perhaps the most written-about event in military history, relatively little has been published on the nuts-and-bolts of the sea power that Operation Overlord relied upon. The invasion had many moving parts, and demonstrated there is more to a successful assault than simply putting soldiers ashore on a beach.
This, the first in a two-part exploration of the D-Day naval sectors, examines the US-commanded half of the multinational armada off Normandy, and its huge, month-long operation to first support the landings, then to protect, supply, and support the troops ashore as they fought to expand their toehold in occupied Europe.
Incorporating information from rarely-used primary sources, Brian Lane Herder offers an focused account of the US-commanded Western Task Force, including its ships, organization, assembly, training, and the pre-landing, in-landing, and post-landing naval support actions. From the initial amphibious assault at Utah and Omaha in June 1944, this book charts the actions of the Western Task Force off Normandy during the rest of June, concluding with the capture of Cherbourg that gave the Allies a much-needed deepwater port. The book’s scope will also include the non-US warships that participated in the Western Task Force under US command.
Next week we'll move onto our GNM titles for 2024!