Brian Lavery, the pre-eminent historian of the Royal Navy, returns with the third volume of his engaging social history of the Royal Navy's 'lower deck'--the world of the seamen as distinct from the officers of the 'quarterdeck.' He examines the world of the sailor from the outbreak of war in 1939 through 70 years of change up to his place in the modern Royal Navy. The author illuminates the inherent adaptability of the professional sailor, as new technologies demanded increased professionalism, specialization and training. He also focuses on the changing social structure of the Navy, and the periods of expansion as the service coped with great demands made through two World Wars and innumerable other conflicts across the globe.
Expert ananlyis and first-hand accounts of combat during the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879: Nyezane, iSandlwana, and Khambula. As seen in the movie Zulu, starring Michael Caine, Zulu discipline and courage overcame British firepower at iSandlwana, and almost at Rorke's Drift. Featuring specially commissioned artwork, expert analysis and carefully chosen first-hand accounts, this absorbing study traces the development of infantry tactics in the Anglo-Zulu War by examining three key clashes at unit level.The short but savage Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 pitched well-equipped but complacent British soldiers and their auxiliaries into combat with one of history's finest fighting forces, the Zulu Nation. The clashes between these two very different combatants prompted rapid tactical innovation on both sides, as the British and their Zulu opponents sought to find the optimal combination of mobility and firepower. Fought on 22 January 1879, the clash at Nyezane saw Zulu forces, among them the uMxapho ibutho, ambushing a British column; the British forces, including Lieutenant Martin's company of the 2/3rd Foot, engaged their opponents in the prescribed fashion, as honed in the recent conflict with the Xhosa a year earlier. The Zulu attack was premature, and by 9.30am, after about 90 minutes of heavy fighting, they were repulsed. The British tactics worked, but largely only because the Zulus had an uncharacteristically low numerical superiority. At iSandlwana later that same day, however, the shortcomings of the British tactics, obscured at Nyezane, were made brutally apparent. The Zulus had sufficient manpower not only to withstand that level of casualties but also to complete their encirclement of the British forces, and as the British line disintegrated the firefight gave way to the close-quarter fighting at which the Zulus excelled; not one man of the 1/24th and 2/24th Foot survived. The British forces surrounded and crushed at iSandlwana included Captain W.E. Mostyn's company of the 1/24th Foot, which was initially deployed in advance of the British camp but was later withdrawn to form part of the firing line; their opponents included the iNgobamkhosi ibutho, many of whose warriors left first-hand accounts of the battle. While iSandlwana demonstrated the strengths of the Zulu tactics, it also demonstrated their weaknesses - for the casualties inflicted by the British foreshadowed the carnage they would reap once the British wholeheartedly embraced close-order tactics and defended positions. At Khambula on 29 March 1879, a much bigger British force adopted a defensive position and defeated the same Zulu units who had previously triumphed at iSandlwana, including the uKhandempemvu ibutho, which came close to storming the British defences. At iSandlwana, the Zulus had been able to screen their advance with skirmishers and take advantage of the broken and grassy ground, but at Khambula their spontaneous attack did not allow them to disperse properly and they were funnelled together on a contracting front over woefully exposed ground. The British had learned the tactical lessons of iSandlwana and deliberately sought to restrict the Zulu ability to manoeuvre and co-ordinate their attacks, and to concentrate their own firepower.
One hundred and fifty years ago a British government sent an ill-prepared, poorly equipped army to war in a foreign land. What's changed? This is the story of how John Delane, editor of The Times, brought about the resignation of the entire cabinet of the British government over its conduct of the Crimean War.
From the invasion of Britain by the Danes through the battle of
Hastings, Agincourt and Waterloo up to the present day, this
fascinating dictionary includes entries on battles, campaigns and famous commanders, as well as ranks, regiments, uniforms and weapons. The reader will find an outline of the British army since its formation in the 17th century, together with brief histories of battles and biographies of great military leaders. A handy reference source for all levels of student or enthusiast, including the general reader of historical reference and anyone with an interest in the British military.
In the early stages of the Second World War, the vast crescent of British-ruled territories stretching from India to Singapore appeared as a massive Allied asset. It provided scores of soldiers and great quantities of raw materials and helped present a seemingly impregnable global defense against the Axis. Yet, within a few weeks in 1941-42, a Japanese invasion had destroyed all this, sweeping suddenly and decisively through south and southeast Asia to the Indian frontier, and provoking the extraordinary revolutionary struggles which would mark the beginning of the end of British dominion in the East and the rise of today's Asian world.
More than a military history, this gripping account of groundbreaking battles and guerrilla campaigns creates a panoramic view of British Asia as it was ravaged by warfare, nationalist insurgency, disease, and famine. It breathes life into the armies of soldiers, civilians, laborers, businessmen, comfort women, doctors, and nurses who confronted the daily brutalities of a combat zone which extended from metropolitan cities to remote jungles, from tropical plantations to the Himalayas. Drawing upon a vast range of Indian, Burmese, Chinese, and Malay as well as British, American, and Japanese voices, the authors make vivid one of the central dramas of the twentieth century: the birth of modern south and southeast Asia and the death of British rule.
In February 1942, intelligence officer Victor Jones erected 150 tents behind British lines in North Africa. "Hiding tanks in Bedouin tents was an old British trick," writes Nicholas Rankin. German general Erwin Rommel not only knew of the ploy, but had copied it himself. Jones knew that Rommel knew. In fact, he counted on it--for these tents were empty. With the deception that he was carrying out a deception, Jones made a weak point look like a trap.In A Genius for Deception, Nicholas Rankin offers a lively and comprehensive history of how Britain bluffed, tricked, and spied its way to victory in two world wars. As Rankin shows, a coherent program of strategic deception emerged in World War I, resting on the pillars of camouflage, propaganda, secret intelligence, and special forces. All forms of deception found an avid sponsor in Winston Churchill, who carried his enthusiasm for deceiving the enemy into World War II. Rankin vividly recounts such little-known episodes as the invention of camouflage by two French artist-soldiers, the creation of dummy airfields for the Germans to bomb during the Blitz, and the fabrication of an army that would supposedly invade Greece. Strategic deception would be key to a number of WWII battles, culminating in the massive misdirection that proved critical to the success of the D-Day invasion in 1944. Deeply researched and written with an eye for telling detail, A Genius for Deception shows how the British used craft and cunning to help win the most devastating wars in human history.
Filled with interesting and often highly entertaining historical anecdotes, and there are some rare photographs and illustrations. . . . Lucid, well written. . . . A very sound contribution to our understanding of British Empire and South Asian history. Choice
On the 150th anniversary of the world's most famous cavalry charge comes a revisionist retelling of the battle based on firsthand accounts from the soldiers who fought there
In October 1854, with the Crimean War just under way and British and French troops pushing the tsar's forces back from the Black Sea, seven hundred intrepid English horsemen charged a mile and a half into the most heavily fortified Russian position. In the seven minutes it took the cavalry to cross this distance, more than five hundred of them were killed. Celebrated in poetry and legend, the charge of the Light Brigade has stood for a century and a half as a pure example of military dash and daring. Until now, historical accounts of this cavalry charge have relied upon politically motivated press reports and diaries kept by the aristocratic British generals who commanded the action.
In "Hell Riders," noted historian and Crimean War expert Terry Brighton looks, for the first time, to the journals recorded by survivors-the soldiers who did the fighting. His riveting firsthand narrative reveals the tragically inept leadership on the part of the British commander in chief, Lord Raglan, whose orders for the charge were poorly communicated and misinterpreted, and an unfathomable indifference on the part of British officers to the men who survived the battle and were left to tend their wounds and bury the dead in the freezing cold. While the charge overran the Russians, it gained nothing and the war continued for another two years. In finally capturing the truth behind the charge of the Light Brigade, Brighton offers a stirring portrait of incredible bravery in the service of a misguided endeavor.
"This amazing story is marvelously well told, in an exuberant, racing style that makes it impossible to lay the book aside once the first page is read."--San Francisco Chronicle
Ill Met By Moonlight is the gripping account of the audacious World War II abduction of a German general from the island of Crete. British special forces officers W. Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh Fermor, together with a small band of Cretan partisans, kidnapped the general, then evaded numerous German checkpoints and patrols for nearly three weeks as they maneuvered across the mountainous island to a rendezvous with the boat that finally whisked them away to Allied headquarters in Cairo.
"It was a mad adventure, and it came off. Moss recorded the whole escapade in a diary, which survives as a thrilling account of one of the most reckless and dramatic actions of the war."--Patrick Leigh Fermor
"A twin masterpiece of action and narrative."--Spectator
" An] exciting account of a feat which demanded an extreme of daring and determination."--London Times
The 2011 Paul Dry Books edition includes an Afterword by Patrick Leigh Fermor.
W. Stanley Moss was a World War II hero and later a best-selling author. He traveled extensively after the war, notably to Antarctica with a British Antarctic Expedition. Eventually he settled in Kingston, Jamaica. Paul Dry Books also publishes A War of Shadows, Moss's sequel to Ill Met By Moonlight--a rousing account of his World War II adventures as an agent in Crete, Macedonia, and the Siamese jungle.
The Lee-Enfield is one of the 20th century's most recognizable and longest-serving military rifles. It was adopted by the British Army in 1895 and only replaced by the L1A1 SLR in 1957; even then a sniper variant, the L42A1, was used until 1989, giving a service life of nearly a century. It saw combat from the Boer War onwards, and thousands are still in use today, notably by the Taliban in Afghanistan; it is estimated that 17 million have been produced.The Lee-Enfield featured an innovative detachable ten-round magazine; this large capacity, together with the weapon's revolutionary bolt-action operation, made it possible for well-drilled shooters to fire 20 to 30 rounds in 60 seconds (the 'mad minute'). This extraordinary speed gave rise to mistaken German reports of being opposed by massed machine guns in 1914. The Short Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE), introduced in 1903, set a new precedent in military rifles, being neither a carbine nor a full-length rifle but an ingenious compromise that was soon copied by other countries. The Lee-Enfield equipped British, Commonwealth and other forces throughout the world wars and well into the 1960s, giving excellent service in every kind of terrain and weather. Soldier's recollections of the rifle are overwhelmingly affectionate (it was known as the Smellie); today it remains a very popular target rifle for competitive shooting, and modern copies are being manufactured to meet demand. Featuring first-hand accounts, brand-new full-colour artwork and close-up photographs, many in colour, this is the story of the Lee-Enfield, the innovative, reliable and long-lived rifle that equipped British and other forces through the world wars and beyond.