Born in 1944, David Nicolle worked in the BBC\'s Arabic service for a number of years before gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He has written numerous books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years.

What are you doing at the moment?

I'm writing a Fortress book for Osprey on fortifications in the Islamic world from the 7th to 11th centuries. With luck it should be followed by another covering the period from the later 11th to 15th centuries, one about the western part of the medieval Islamic world (North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula) - perhaps even one on the fortifications of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. A hardback book on the Hospitallers is in the pipeline, and Campaign titles about the Second and Fourth Crusades. Outside the world of Osprey, I'm looking forward to the publication of the second volume of my bigger book on Crusading warfare - this volume dealing with the Islamic world and the Mongols. In academic publishing I'm looking forward to the publication of my report on a big collection of late Mamluk and early Ottoman military equipment that was excavated in the Citadel of Damascus. This will be published by the University of Aix en Provence in France. There are also two collections of early Mamluk military equipment which I am hoping to get permission to study and publish - one in Syria and one in Qatar.

When did you get hooked on history and why?

My dad was a founder member of the Arms and Armour Society around 1950, and I had to clean his collection of armour and weapons in order to get my pocket money. Then I got hooked on First World War aviation while I was at school, then I travelled in the Middle East and got interested in Islamic history when I was working for the BBC.

If you were any warrior from history who would you be?

Bertrand de Guesclin, the French (actually Breton) knight who fought the English during France's darkest days in the Hundred Years War. He was very brave and very ugly - and a fine guerrilla fighter.

What is your favourite war film?

All Quiet on the Western Front.

Why do you think Military History is important?

If it's used properly, it can be one of the best ways people from one culture can learn to respect people from a different culture. Just remember - all armies, nations, cultures, religions and so on, have their own heroes. Courage and loyalty do not belong to just one side!

What is your favourite quote from history/historical quote?

"Nuts!", said by that American general holed upon in Bastoigne when the Germans suggested it would be a good idea to surrender.

If you could fly any plane or drive any tank from history, which would it be?

The Nieuport 17, French First World War "scout" (fighter).

Best military cock-up in history?

1807, the failed British invasion of Egypt and attempt to penetrate the Dardanelles - a case of arrogance getting its come-upance.

Who is your military hero?

Usama Ibn Munqidh, the 12th century Syrian warrior-poet.

If you could pit two armies from history against each other, which two would you pick, and why?

Sorry, can't think that way.

Elephants or horses? Discuss the pros and cons…

Horses because they are intelligent, loyal and beautiful. Elephants are unreliable, not agile - and frightening to both sides!

Favourite Michael Caine quote?

"Wait a minute, I've got an idea" (or something like that, from The Italian Job)

What is your favourite war comic?

"Thriller Comics Library", published by Amalgamated Press in the 1950s, and which my dad used to illustrate.

Spartan or Roman?

I don't like either of them. But I wouldn't mind being a Minoan from Crete.

What is your favourite Osprey book?

Not my own!