The East Wall was where the final battles for the stricken Third Reich were fought, amid scenes of utter carnage. Beginning life at the end of World War I, the wall became a pet project of Adolf Hitler's, whose ascent to power saw building work accelerated, with plans for a grand, 'Maginot-style' defence put in place. But with a characteristically erratic change of heart, Hitler began to systematically strip the wall of its best defensive assets to bolster the Atlantic Wall, never dreaming that he would face an attack on two fronts. Despite belated and somewhat bungled reinforcements later in the War, the Eastern Wall would face a monstrous challenge as it became the Reich's last redoubt in the face of the mighty Soviet war machine.
Neil Short brings his expert knowledge to bear with an analysis of different stages of the wall's construction, the years of neglect and decay and the hasty, drastic redevelopment in the face of the looming Soviet threat.
The T43 design represented the pinnacle of U.S. Army tank engineering of the late 1940s, with its cast elliptical hull and turret, Continental AV-1790 engine, cross-drive transmission, and torsion bar suspension. A range-finder and mechanical computer directed a powerful 120mm main gun in a novel electro-hydraulic turret, among other features. The heavy tank proved fairly popular with its crews, who above all respected the powerful armament it carried. Many challenges to the crewmen were taken on with a sense of pride. Typical was the job of the second loader to hand-ram both the projectile (positioned by the first loader at the breech) and the propellant cartridge into the chamber in a single movement, all within the confines of a narrow turret. The outbreak of war in Korea brought a rush order in December 1950 which led to a complete production run of 300 vehicles, considered sufficient for Army and Marine Corps requirements.
As might have been expected from the rush to production, the T43E1 failed its initial trials at Ft. Knox, mostly for erratic gun controls and poor ballistic performance of the projectiles. A modification program (of over 100 discrepancies) resulted in the standardization of the T43E1 as the 120mm gun combat tank, M103 in 1956.
After 1951, the Marine Corps alone retained confidence in the heavy tank program, investing its scarce funds in the improvements necessary to bring about its fielding after a hurried production run in midst of the 'tank crisis' of the year 1950-51. Without the Marine Corps' determination to bring the M103 to operational status, it seems clear that the 300 vehicles would have languished in storage before their eventual disposal. The correctness of the Marine Corps support of the M103 tank was in no small way acknowledged by the Army's borrowing of 72 M103A1 improved USMC tanks necessary for its single heavy tank battalion in Germany. No other weapon system, before the era of antitank missiles, could guarantee the destruction of the Russian heavies, which continued their service through the late 1960s. The eventual retirement of the M103 in 1972, over 20 years after manufacture and after 14 years of operational service, demonstrated the soundness of its engineering and fulfillment of its designed role. It may have been the unwanted 'ugly duckling' of the Army, which refrained from naming the M103 alone of all its postwar tanks. For the Marine Corps, it served the purpose defined for it in 1949 until the automotive and weapons technology of the United States could produce viable alternatives.
Completely revised and expanded since its French publication, Armoured Trains: An Illustrated Encyclopedia 1825-2016 is the first English-language edition of the authoritative work on the subject.
Military forces around the world were quick to see the advantages of railways in warfare, whether for the rapid deployment of men or the movement of heavy equipment like artillery. From this realization, it was a short step to making the train a potent weapon in its own right--a mobile fort or a battleship on rails. Armed and armored, they became the first practical self-propelled war machines. As demonstrated in the American Civil War, these trains were able to make a significant contribution to battlefield success.
Thereafter, almost every belligerent nation with a railway system made some use of armored rolling stock, ranging from low-intensity colonial policing to the massive employment of armored trains during the Russian Civil War. Although they were somewhat eclipsed as frontline weapons by the development of the tank and other armored fighting vehicles, armored trains retained a role as late as the civil wars in the former republic of Yugoslavia.
This truly encyclopedic book covers, country by country, the range of fighting equipment that rode the rails over nearly two centuries. While this book outlines the place of armored trains in the evolution of warfare, it concentrates on details of their design through a vast array of photographs and the author's meticulous drawings.
A beautifully presented guide to 50 weapons and their historical impact on civilization.
Fifty Weapons that Changed the Course of History is a fascinating guide to the arms and armaments that have had the greatest impact on the development of human civilization. Like the other titles in this series, the book organizes the weapons into brief illustrated chapters. Concise narratives describe the weapons, the "who, where, when, why and how" of their introduction and uses, and explain their influence in one or more of four categories -- Social, Political, Tactical, and Technological.
The stories span human history, from our hunter-gatherer ancestors who devised the spear and the wheel, which brought about the war chariot, to gunpowder, which democratized warfare and has been the basis for almost every weapon used in war from that point on.
- The longbow, which led an outnumbered English army to a famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415
- The Soviet T-34, the most effective and influential (in terms of design) tank to feature in World War II
- The Tomahawk cruise missile, which revolutionized tactics in modern warfare
- The Gatling Gun, the first rapid-repeating gun, which turned the tide in the Americans' favor during the Spanish-American War.
The saga of human civilization has been formed and scarred by conflict. Defining episodes of violence -- sometimes long and simmering, at other times sudden and cataclysmic -- have produced new forms of weaponry. Some of these have been decisive, such as the terrifying war elephants deployed by Hannibal at the battle of Cannae in 216 B.C. Others have become iconic in our culture. Chief among these is the easily copied AK-47, at first the symbol of communism and now of terrorism, and the most widely found firearm in the world. Some weapons have been definitive in their simplicity, such as the bayonet; in other cases, such as the Tomahawk cruise missile, the sheer complexity is dazzling.
Fifty Weapons That Changed the Course of History tells the story of the last 3,500 years through the arms and armaments that have shaped it. This is the story of the weapons that formed our world, and is sure to attract a wide readership.
The 1930s was a decade that provided impressive breakthroughs in the field of forensic ballistics, or firearms identification. Following the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929, where ballistic expert Calvin Goddard's testimony brought attention to the relatively new field, several forensic ballistic books were published. Among these were Burrard's The Identification of Firearms and Forensic Ballistics and Hatcher's Textbook of Firearms Investigations, Identification, and Evidence. Burrard introduced forensic examination to the British judicial system; Hatcher applied his considerable knowledge of firearms and ammunition to weapons' design, manufacture, and testing.Gunthers' The Identification of Firearms combined the approaches of these volumes into a new book that emphasized both the painstaking scientific methodology vital to firearms identification, complete with ballistics photographs, and its practical use by analyses of several legal cases where firearms identification was used. These include the infamous Sacco-Vanzetti case, the first in American legal history where forensic ballistics played a very prominent role in courtroom proceedings. The Gunther brothers utilized their respective legal and military experience to provide a comprehensive reference volume that is noteworthy for those interested in law enforcement or ballistics as well as gun enthusiasts. Skyhorse Publishing is proud to publish a broad range of books for hunters and firearms enthusiasts. We publish books about shotguns, rifles, handguns, target shooting, gun collecting, self-defense, archery, ammunition, knives, gunsmithing, gun repair, and wilderness survival. We publish books on deer hunting, big game hunting, small game hunting, wing shooting, turkey hunting, deer stands, duck blinds, bowhunting, wing shooting, hunting dogs, and more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to publishing books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked by other publishers and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
After first assessing the state of ballistic missile proliferation in the Middle East, South Asia, and Northeast Asia, Dennis Gormley identifies the factors shaping the spread of cruise missiles in these regions. He includes the specialized knowledge needed for missile development, narrative messages about reasons for acquiring cruise missiles, and international norms of state behavior about missile nonproliferation policy and defense doctrine. He argues that cruise missiles are not destined to supplant ballistic missiles, but rather join them, because when employed together, they severely test even the best missile defenses. He then addresses the policy adjustments needed to staunch the spread of cruise missiles, or, barring that, cope militarily with the dual threat of cruise and ballistic missiles. This book explains the systems and their impact on national security.