The second half of the year also has a strong line up, with Mark Galeotti following up his award-winning Putin’s Wars with Forged in War, a military history of Russia from its origins through to the present day. Osprey favourites Prit Buttar and Mark Stille also return to the list; Prit with the second part of his epic history of the 900-day siege of Leningrad in World War II, while Mark takes a detailed re-examination of the naval battle of Midway, possibly the most famous Pacific War battle.
Former senior British military officer and expert on the history of the Middle East, Simon Mayall surveys the 1,300-year history of military conflict between Christendom and Islam. Joseph Whelan retells the story of the bitter fighting at the Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War in 1950 and Kevin Boylan goes back to the original source material for a detailed atlas of the German invasion of Russia in 1941 using contemporary maps.
Lage Ost: An Atlas of Operation Barbarossa, 1941
Featuring original German military maps, this is a beautifully presented atlas of the 1941 Operation Barbarossa campaign.
Operation Barbarossa, Germany's surprise assault on the Soviet Union in June 1941, aimed at nothing less than the complete destruction of Communist Russia. The German forces were massive, and the invasion took the Red Army completely by surprise. It was the one period when the Germans had a chance of achieving victory – but the events of the campaign ultimately reversed the fortunes of the Third Reich.
Using contemporary daily situation maps produced by German military intelligence, this book traces the day-to-day progression of specific 1941 Eastern Front operations, focusing entirely on the Barbarossa campaign. The maps are highly detailed, showing the configuration of the front line and the locations of Axis major combat formations with great precision. The deployments and movements of Soviet combat units are depicted as German Army’s General Staff understood them on the dates that specific maps were produced. Since German military intelligence was poor, many Soviet units are misidentified and/or misplaced, and often dozens of major combat formations are not shown at all because they had yet to be detected, but the maps provide important insight into the German perspective on the unfolding conflict.
The 122 detailed pieces of cartography in this impressive atlas allow the reader to glimpse the evolving day-to-day situation as it was actually seen at the time by German commanders. Together with text summarizing and analyzing the operations, they provide clear historical and geographical understanding of this significant conflict.
The Farthest Valley: Escaping the Chinese Trap at Chosin Reservoir 1950
A history of the thrilling, improbable extrication of the Fifth and Seventh Marines from a Chinese trap. A fighting withdrawal that succeeded against the odds and which has become the stuff of legend but The Farthest Valley also, for the first time, gives the Chinese perspective of this infamous battle.
The Farthest Valley relates the harrowing experience of 9,000 Marines who were surrounded by 60,000 Chinese soldiers in a remote North Korean valley west of Chosin Reservoir in November 1950 during the early months of the Korean War. The two Marine regiments were the tip of the spear of General Douglas MacArthur’s United Nations end-of-war offensive into northeast Korea. This is the history of the fierce battles waged in below freezing temperatures around the Chosin Reservoir, but The Farthest Valley differs from earlier books on the subject in three key respects: It will focus in on the Chinese perspective, looking in detail at the Chinese offensive on battlefields around the reservoir into the fighting in the Yudam-ni valley west of Chosin. There, the Fifth and Seventh Marine Regiments were besieged by the 9th Army Group of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army. Had the 9th Group’s commander, Song Shisun, committed the preponderance of his 150,000-man force to the annihilation of the Marines, he very likely would have succeeded. But he did not; he instead attacked every American regiment around Chosin Reservoir. It was a mistake; the dispersion of Song’s 12 divisions permitted the Fifth and Seventh Marines to escape from his trap after a week of brutal combat. The regiments then led the U.N.’s X Corps’ historic withdrawal to Hungnam. It can be argued that without the fighting acumen of the Fifth and Seventh Regiments, the epic retreat to the northeastern Korean coast could not have happened.
Secondly, the The Farthest Valley will incorporate freshly published Chinese military documents that have not appeared in other books on the Chosin Reservoir battle. As a consequence, The Farthest Valley will provide the rare balanced account, while keeping the spotlight trained on the fate of the Fifth and Seventh Marines and the 9th Army Group forces that attacked them.
Finally, The Farthest Valley will explore the battle for survival as a separate service branch that faced the Marine Corps in 1950, when the military was being downsized. But its conduct at Chosin Reservoir lifted the threat of extinction and assured the Corps’s survival under the Department of the Navy. No recent book about the Chosin Reservoir campaign has thoroughly explored this subject.
Written by the son of a veteran of the Chosin campaign, this is an emotive, thrilling history of two Marine Regiments who fought in the worst conditions imaginable and the Chinese forces who opposed them.
The House of War: The Struggle between Christendom and Islam
The confrontation between Islam and Christendom that began almost from the death of the Prophet Mohammed in AD 632 and endured to the dissolution of the 1300-year-old Muslim caliphate in 1924 has shaped the modern world.
From the taking of Jerusalem in AD 638 by Caliph Umar, to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, Christian popes, emperors and kings, and Muslim caliphs and sultans were locked in a 1300-year battle for political, military, ideological, economic and religious supremacy. This struggle was fought out in France and in the Iberian Peninsula, across North Africa, in the Levant, the Holy Land and Mesopotamia, in the Balkans and Central Europe, throughout the Mediterranean Sea and, in time, in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. Echoes of it even reverberated in the discovery and conquest of the Americas.
At the heart of this centuries-long confrontation were some of the most significant clashes of arms in human history, upon whose outcome depended the very existence of empires, kingdoms, city states, and peoples, and whose consequences continue to shape attitudes, politics and policies to the present day: The taking and re-taking of Jerusalem, and the struggle for control of a city holy to the three great monotheistic religions of the world; The fall of Constantinople, the demise of the 1000-year Byzantine Empire, and the catalyst for Christendom to conclude the reconquest of Spain, as well as to strike out East and West in order to outflank the Ottomans; The sieges of Rhodes and Malta, and the struggle for domination of the Mediterranean Sea, the heart of the Classical World; The battle of Mohacs, and the fall of the great Christian bastion of Hungary, at a time when Christendom was already riven by the struggle between Catholicism and Protestantism; The last assault on Vienna, and the ‘high-water mark’ of Ottoman advance into Europe; Megiddo (Armageddon), the re-taking of Jerusalem, the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the dissolution of the Sultanate and the Caliphate, and the formation of modern Europe, and the modern Middle East.
The House of War offers a wide, sweeping historical narrative, encompassing the broad historical and religious context of this period, while focussing on some of the key, pivotal sieges and battles, and on the protagonists, political and military, who determined their conclusions and their consequences.
Midway: The Pacific War’s Most Famous Battle
A detailed re-examination of Midway, the most famous battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
In June 1942, the United States Navy (USN) inflicted a decisive defeat on the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) off Midway Atoll. During the battle, four Japanese fleet carriers were lost, while the Americans suffered the loss of a single carrier. This dramatic result blunted the IJN’s offensive capabilities in the Pacific and passed the initiative to the USN.
The course of the battle has been outlined in many previous works. Since this was only the second carrier battle in history, doctrine for both sides was immature. This book carefully examines the competing doctrines, as well as the tactics used by both sides. Much of this was driven by the ships and aircraft in service, while both sides had leaders who struggled under existing doctrine. Only after understanding existing doctrine, tactics, leaders, and the capabilities of the ships and aircraft involved can the results of the battle be fully explained and understood.
The American plan was driven by exquisite intelligence and Admiral Nimitz’s courage to use it to the extent he committed the USN’s remaining strength to the battle. The Japanese plan exhibited total arrogance and set their carrier force up for defeat in detail.
This is a book built around hard-core analysis of the battle. The reasons for the American victory and the Japanese disaster are fully outlined. In the final analysis, as is true in many battles, the side making the fewest errors and with the most fortune prevailed. At Midway, American luck, magnified by bad Japanese doctrine and decisions, provided the margin of victory. As unsatisfying as this conclusion may be to many, the role of luck dominated in the outcome of the battle and needs to be a point of emphasis. No other book on Midway provides such a thorough analysis of the battle. Other books have rigorously examined aspects of the battle, often from a single side, but none present this level of insight into Midway.
Leningrad: Hero City 1943–44
A groundbreaking and enthralling history of one of the greatest ever sieges. Masterfully brought to life by a leading expert on the Eastern Front using original Russian source material.
The Siege of Leningrad resulted in more Soviet citizens – civilian and military combined – losing their lives than British Empire war dead from both world wars combined. At a huge cost, the Red Army and the civilian population of the city endured a bitter 900-day siege, struggling against bombing, shelling, and starvation. Their determination to hold out became a hugely significant part of Russian wartime history, and the echoes of the battle persist to this day: on VE day, cars throughout the city have ribbons attached to their radio aerials to commemorate the victory, and a large Soviet-era arch extends over the road from the airport to the city, bearing the inscription: ‘Welcome to St Petersburg, Hero City of Leningrad’.
Throughout the siege, Soviet forces tried to break the German lines and restore contact with the garrison. The first of these offensives began in January 1942 and was followed by repeated assaults. Although the Red Army suffered huge casualties in the swampy and forested terrain, the German infantry divisions were also steadily eroded, and by keeping control of parts of the shores of Lake Ladoga, the Soviet Union was able to sustain Leningrad through the winters of the siege via the ‘Road of Life’, constructed across the frozen lake.
After repeated setbacks, the Red Army managed to achieve a partial success by breaking the blockade in early 1943, but this was followed by further failed attempts to lift the siege completely. It was only when the Germans began preparations to pull back at the end of 1943 that the Red Army was able to prepare and then launch its decisive attack to break through to Leningrad and end the siege.
This brilliant new history of the battle for Leningrad will be the most comprehensive and up to date account of the history of the siege to date. Although a two-volume treatment, each book will be an entity in its own right and form an authoritative and exciting stand-alone and complete work.
Forged in War: A military history of Russia, from its beginnings to today
Russia expert Mark Galeotti weaves together a masterful account of how war and insecurity, both real and perceived, has driven and shaped Russia’s destiny for centuries including the disastrous invasion of Ukraine.
All states have been shaped by wars and conquest, but for few countries is this as true as for Russia. Mark Galeotti, the pre-eminent political scientist and military historian now turns his razor-sharp focus to how both waging war and the threat of war throughout history has shaped the Russia of today.
The very concept of something called the lands of the Rus’ emerged from Viking conquest in the ninth century, but subsequent Mongol conquest in the 13th century locked these lands away from Europe for two hundred years. Only then did a true Russian nation and state emerge and then expand to the south, east and west. However, Russia’s opportunity was also its tragedy: with no natural borders, and environmental factors constraining its economy, it has often been pitched against the pre-eminent European or Asian military powers of the age, and often at a technological disadvantage. To respond to these challenges, it has had to sit all the more heavily on the backs of its people, and so war – and the need to be able to fight it – has shaped the evolution of this state, from princes and tsars to commissars and presidents.
This accessibly written book combines a grand historical sweep of political, economic and social change that was driven and determined by Russia’s military history. Forged in War details the colourful but little-known conflicts like the invasion of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible and the colonial wars in 19th-century Central Asia alongside the better-known European wars. Mark Galeotti also details the formative wars of the 20th century which saw Russia dramatically change from Tsarist empire to communist state, alongside the two world wars which stained the lands of Russia red with the blood of millions of Russian citizens. Finally, Forged in War looks at a post-Cold War Russia when a country brought to its knees in the 1990s turned to Vladimir Putin. Putin, who picked fights with weaker enemies and struck at opportune moments, created a new mood of martial triumphalism in Russia. It is this seemingly inevitable desire for martial glory coupled with an ageing Putin’s desperate need to make his own mark as a great Russian state-building hero which led directly to the Ukrainian catastrophe, as expertly detailed by Mark Galeotti.
Forged in War is a brilliant study by a leading expert of how a desire for martial success has defined Russia throughout history. But this serious study is also richly illustrated with contemporary accounts and vignettes, from how medieval princes recruited their retinues to how the Tupolev aircraft design bureau was actually originally established inside a Gulag labour camp, ensuring an engrossing and fascinating read throughout.
Next Wednesday the Big Reveal concludes with GNM paperbacks!