Some of you may remember the gaming stores of the 1980s and early 1990s, when role-playing and wargames ruled the roost and TCGs were just an idea in Richard Garfield's mind. Every store bath then had a spinner rack of Osprey historical reference books. You just weren't a game store without one. While the racks are far less common today (I recently visited 5 game stores in two days with nary an Osprey rack to be found) but Osprey still puts out books on a regular basis such as:
Street Date: October 20th!
Bolt Action: Empires in Flames: The Pacific and the Far East
Far from the battlefields of Europe and North Africa, Allied forces fought a very different war against another foe. From the jungles of Burma to the islands of the Pacific and the shores of Australia, this new Theatre Book for Bolt Action allows players to command the spearhead of the lightning Japanese conquests in the East or to fight tooth and nail as Chindits, US Marines and other Allied troops to halt the advance and drive them back. Scenarios, special rules and new units give players everything they need to recreate the ferocious battles and campaigns of the Far East, from Guadalcanal to Okinawa, from Singapore to the Philippines, Iwo Jima and beyond.
Author: Warlord Games
Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Warriors: Fighting Men and their Uniforms
From ancient times to the present day, the world’s finest warriors have been defined by the equipment they use and the uniforms they wear. This splendid collection of artwork illustrates the most famous combatants from all the ages of military history, bringing them to life in stunning color and detail.
From the gleaming plate armor of the Roman Legionaries to the sleek gear of modern special ops forces, from the magnificent attire of Seminole warriors to the special aquatic equipment of the US Navy SEALs - this is the premiere guide to the appearance of history’s 100 Greatest Warriors!
Author: Martin Windrow
History of the Panzerwaffe Volume I: 1939-1943
The Germans transformed armored warfare from a lumbering and ponderous experiment in World War I into something that could decide the outcome of conflicts. This technical and operational history is the definitive guide to the legendary Panzerwaffe, from its very infancy to the days when it made Europe its garden path at the height of Nazi German power.
With rare and revealing combat reports, along with photographs sourced from previously unseen private and archival collections, it uncovers the technical and operational stories of the formidable armored beasts that formed the backbone of the German war machine - tanks such as the Panzer I, II and 38(t).
Author: Thomas Anderson
First Blitz: Bombing London in the First World War
This book tells the story of Germany’s strategic air offensive against Britain, and how it came to be neutralized. The first Zeppelin attack on London came in May 1915 - and with it came the birth of a new arena of warfare, the ‘home front’. German airships attempted to raid London on 26 separate occasions between May 1915 and October 1917, but only reached the capital and bombed successfully on nine occasions.
From May 1917 onwards, this theatre of war entered a new phase as German Gotha bombers set out to attack London in the first bomber raid. London’s defenses were again overhauled to face this new threat, providing the basis for Britain’s defense during World War II.
This comprehensive volume tells the story of the first aerial campaign in history, as the famed Zeppelins, and then the Gotha and the massive Staaken ‘Giant’ bombers waged war against the civilian population of London in the first ever ‘Blitz’.
Author: Ian Castle
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim is a legendary figure, whose life and career were deeply influential in Finnish and European history. He is viewed by many as the father of modern Finland after leading the ‘White’ faction to victory and independence in the Finnish Civil War of 1918. That conflict preceded a sequence of bitter clashes between Finland, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany in the buildup to, and during, World War II: The Winter War in 1940, the Continuation War and the Lapland War in 1944-45.
Throughout these fierce clashes in the ice and snow, Mannerheim managed his forces with great skill, even though the initiative was to swing back and forth between the adversaries. This study provides a fascinating insight into Mannerheim’s career, analyzing his traits, his biggest victories and his key enemies.
Complete with uniform artwork and detailed tactical maps, it is a comprehensive guide to one of history’s most capable military leaders and statesmen.
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
German Infantryman vs British Infantryman - France 1940
When Hitler’s forces poured into France and the Low Countries in 1940, the uneasy peace of the ‘Phoney War’ was shattered, and Europe was ripped apart by another Blitzkrieg. Forming the backbone of the German advance were the mobile, well-equipped Schützen (Rifles), motorized infantry who embodied the essence of the fluid, swift warfare that had characterized World War II thus far.
Facing them were infantrymen of the British Expeditionary Force, units of considerable fighting quality who had nevertheless received no special training or doctrinal instruction to conduct combined-arms warfare in conjunction with armor.
This study investigates the clash between the two adversaries at small-unit level, recreating the ferocity of the fighting on the front lines of the Battle of France. It assesses the training, organization and unit ethos of both sides in the context of a new type of mobile warfare, and reveals the extraordinary difficulties encountered by infantry units in trying to remain in contact with their armored and mechanized formations.
Drawing on first-hand combat reports and illuminative illustrations, it focuses on three key clashes at Arras, Calais and Merville and goes onto explore the important lessons learned by both sides about the nature of combined-arms warfare.
Author: David Greentree
Illustrator: Adam Hook
RAF Fighters vs Luftwaffe Bombers: Battle of Britain
In this book, Andy Saunders journeys back in time into the cockpits of RAF fighters and Luftwaffe bombers to show precisely where the Battle of Britain was won and lost. It was a savage aerial campaign: the world’s first ever strategic, decisive air war on which the fate of Britain and the Allies as a whole rested.
Losses were high on both sides, but the determined, and crucially, well-directed RAF fighter force began to take its toll on the overextended, under-protected Kampfgruppen of Heinkel He 111s, Ju 87s and 88s, and Dornier Do 17s. Using the famous Spitfire and Hurricane, but also the lesser known Havoc and Defiant fighters, Fighter Command could really maul the Luftwaffe bombers if they avoided falling foul of the formidable Bf 109 escorts.
Both sides learned and adapted as the campaign went on, with the Luftwaffe switching from massed daylight raids to round-the-clock bombing, eventually bombing only by night, often hitting civilian targets in the dreaded Blitz.
This lavishly-illustrated study dissects the tactics and technology of the duels in this new kind of war.
Author: Andy Saunders
Illustrator: Gareth Hector, Jim Laurier
Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-F series
The Messerschmitt Bf 109 was one of the truly world-class piston-engined fighters of World War II. This reputation rests largely with the E-F variants, which bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe’s most important operations in World War II and shot down tens of thousands of Allied aircraft in the Battle of Britain, the Blitzkriegs across Europe and on the Eastern Front.
This volume looks at the design and development history of these formidable warplanes, with a meticulous technical focus and clear, detailed illustrations to reveal why the types were so effective. It explores the long process of tweaks to the E variant, and solutions to the many initial technical problems with the F, and how this development helped Willy Messerschmitt’s promising Bf 109 design mature and fulfil its potential.
Author: Robert Jackson
Illustrator: Adam Tooby
Commonwealth Cruisers 1939-45
In the early 20th century Britain’s largest colonies established their own small naval presence, and their ships fought alongside the Royal Navy during World War I. These fleets were expanded during the inter-war years, and in 1939 the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy willingly joined the fight on behalf of the British Commonwealth.
For the most part these small navies consisted of a few cruisers and destroyers, designed to protect territorial waters and to protect local sea lanes. However, these warships and their crews soon found themselves involved in a global war, and consequently were called upon to fight wherever they were needed, against the Germans, the Italians and the Japanese.
This book tells the story of these small cruiser forces, and the men who served the Allied cause so well during the long and brutal war at sea.
Author: Angus Konstam
Illustrator: Paul Wright
T-64 Battle Tank: The Cold War’s Most Secret Tank
The T-64 tank was the most revolutionary design of the whole Cold War, designed to provide the firepower and armor protection of a heavy tank in a medium-weight design. It pioneered a host of new technologies including laminate armor, stereoscopic tank rangefinders, opposed-piston engines, smooth-bore tank guns with discarding sabot ammunition, and gun-fired guided projectiles. These impressive features meant that the Russians were loath to part with the secrets of the design, and the T-64 was the only Soviet tank type of the Cold War that was never exported.
Written by an armor expert, this detailed technical history sheds light on the secrets behind the Cold War’s most controversial tank, revealing how its highly advanced technologies proved to be both a blessing and a curse.
Author: Steven J. Zaloga
Illustrator: Ian Palmer
U-47 in Scapa Flow: The Sinking of HMS Royal Oak 1939
Even with Germany in the ascendency at the beginning of World War II, Scapa Flow was supposed to be the safe home base of the British Navy. Nothing and nobody could penetrate the defenses of this bastion, which was built up to formidable levels in World War I and symbolized the faith placed by the British in the invulnerability of their navy. So how, in the dead of night on October 13, was Gunther Prien’s U-47 able to slip through the line of protective warships undetected to sink the mighty Royal Oak?
This book provides the answer with an account of one of the most daring naval raids of World War II indeed - in all of history. Drawing on the very latest underwater archaeological research, this study explains how Prien and his crew navigated the North Sea, Kirk Sound and some very unlikely odds to land a devastating blow on the British, and became among the very first German heroes of World War II.
It reveals the level of disrepair that Scapa Flow had fallen into, and delves into the intriguing conspiracy theories surrounding the event, including an alleged cover-up by the then First Sea Lord, Winston Churchill.
Author: Angus Konstam
Illustrator: Peter Dennis, Alan Gilliland
Hitler’s Russian & Cossack Allies 1941-45
Given the merciless way in which the war on the Eastern Front of World War II was conducted, it is difficult to imagine soldiers changing allegiance from one side to another. Yet after the German invasion of Russia in Operation Barbarossa, well over 400,000 former Soviet Citizens went on to fight for Nazi Germany in some capacity. These included not only the ‘legions’ recruited from non-Russian ethnic groups eager for freedom from Stalin's dictatorship, but also some 100,000 Russians and Cossacks. What began as small local security units of ‘Ostruppen’, enrolled for the ongoing campaigns against Soviet partisans, were later reorganized, given special systems of uniform and insignia, amalgamated into larger formations, and eventually committed to the front line.
This book offers up an essential guide to the appearance, formation and equipment of the myriad Russian and Soviet units that fought for the Germans.
It uses rare photographs and revealing color illustrations to create a peerless visual reference to the troops who switched from one ruthless superpower to another and met with a horrific fate when the fighting was over.
Author: Nigel Thomas
Illustrator: Johnny Shumate
Despite their short stature, Dwarves are amongst the fiercest and most feared fighters of all the races. Thanks to their great strength and stamina, Dwarves march to battle in thick armor and carrying numerous heavy weapons.
This book compiles all of the information known about these grim warriors and how they practice war. From an initial examination of the fighting methods of the individual Dwarf soldier, it expands to look at how they do battle in small companies and vast armies. It covers all of their troop types from the axe men that form the front lines of battle to their deadly accurate crossbowmen, and noting their specialist troops such as their famous siege-engineers. Also examined are their tactics in specific situations such as underground fighting and fighting in mountainous terrain. Finally, the book examines a few specific battles in great detail in order to fully demonstrate the Dwarven way of war.
Author: Chris Pramas
Bug Hunts: Surviving and Combating the Alien Menace
It is the 23rd Century. Across the cold void of space, alien monsters prey on humanity: infesting generation-ships, destroying colonies, and transforming humans into hosts for their foul spoor. From the insectoid hive-beasts of Klaatu, to the xenomorphic parasites of the out rim, this book contains the sum total of human knowledge of the myriad forms of alien menace; where to find them...and how to kill them.
In this guide you will find details of mankind's greatest champions, the marines of STAR Industries. With their state-of-the-art technology and advanced combat tactics developed over the century of warfare, the STAR marines battle the alien, wherever it may strike.
Author: Mark Latham
Winchester Lever-Action Rifles
Winchester lever-action repeating rifles are an integral part of the folklore of the American West. Introduced shortly after the American Civil War, the very first Winchester, the M1866, would go on to see military service as far afield as Bulgaria, but it was in the hands of civilians that it would become known as ‘The gun that won the west’.
Offering a lethal combination of portability, ruggedness and ammunition interchangeability with pistol sidearms, the Winchesters and their innovative and elegant breech-loading system represented a revolutionary design. They were used by a staggering variety of military and civilian groups - gold-miners, trappers, hunters, farmers, lawmen, professional gunmen and Native Americans. It equipped a whole generation of settlers and as such left an imprint on American culture that continues to resonate today.
This book explores the Winchesters’ unique place in the history of firearms, revealing the technical secrets of their success with a full array of colour artwork, period illustrations and close-up photographs.
Author: Martin Pegler
Illustrator: Mark Stacey, Alan Gilliland
Tippecanoe 1811: The Prophet’s battle
This is the gripping story of the Tippecanoe campaign of 1811: “The prophet’s battle”. It was a conflict born out of festering tensions inscribed by the 1795 Treaty of Greeneville, which had concluded the Northwestern Indian War and attempted to prevent white settlers’ encroachment onto newly-defined Indian territories. For 16 years there had been peace, but in 1811 the number of settlers in the Ohio territory had swollen from 3,000 to 250,000. War was again coming to the North West.
Within these pages John F. Winkler explores the dramatic buildup to the war and provides a clear view of the intense fighting with the aid of superb illustrations and maps. He explores the mystical figure of Tenskatawa, who came to be known as “The prophet” and who tried to unite the tribes of the Northwest to drive the American settlers back once and for all - promising a great success that he had seen in a vision. However it was his brother, the charismatic war leader Tecumseh who would organize the tribes militarily, and the Battle of Tippecanoe would be joined as a stealthy assassination attempt by 100 hand-picked warriors trying to kill William Henry Harrison. Kill Harrison, The Prophet asserted, and the rest would fold. Uncover the truth about the brutal combat that followed, and the impact of the battle on the War of 1812.
Author: John F. Winkler
Illustrator: Peter Dennis