We're continuing our Big Reveal with the Elite series! Editor Martin Windrow takes us through his favourite titles.
Two of my favourite up-coming titles for 2023 cover little-published wars in very interesting detail.
Our much-respected Russian expert Dr Mark Galeotti and artist Johnny Shumate have delivered an in-depth study (Elite 250) of 'Russian's Five-Day War: Invasion of Georgia, August 2008'. This covers the causes, events, and participants - Russian, Georgian, Ossetian, Abkhazian and Chechen.. It's an absorbing story in itself, of course, and also seems particularly relevant today. Although it was a completely unbalanced conflIct which Russia was bound to win, it nevertheless revealed major flaws in the Russian Army's capabilities. That led to a major programme of modernization - but recent events in Ukraine seem to demonstrate that this has been less effective than might have been expected.
Let us know what you think in the comments!
ELI 248 Post-Roman Kingdoms
By Raffaele D’Amato
Meticulously researched, this book examines the evidence for the post-Roman military forces of France and Britain during the 'Dark Ages', reconstructing their way of life and the battles they fought in compelling detail.
The collapse of the former Western Roman Empire during the so called 'Dark Ages' c. AD 410 was gradual and piecemeal. Out of this vacuum arose regional tribes and leaders determined to take back kingdoms that were theirs and oust any Roman presence for good. However, the Roman guard was tenacious and survived in small pockets that emerged in both Gaul and Britain. These areas of Romano-Celtic resistance held out against the Saxons until at least the mid 6th century in Britain and against the Visigoths and the Merovingian Franks until the late 8th century in France.
Drawing on archaeological finds, contemporary sculpture and manuscript illuminations, Dr Raffaele D’Amato presents contemporary evidence for 5th to 9th-century Gallic and British 'Dark Age' armies and reconstructs their way of life and the battles they fought. The text, accompanied by photographs and colour illustrations, paints an intricate picture of how these disparate groups of Roman soldiers survived and adapted on the fringes of the Roman Empire.
ELI 249 Soviet Naval Infantry 1917–91
By David Greentree
Drawing upon Soviet sources, this book assesses the evolving organization, uniforms, insignia, weaponry and personal equipment of Soviet naval infantry units from 1917 to 1991.
Featuring eight plates of specially commissioned artwork alongside carefully chosen archive photographs, this study charts the history and appearance of the Soviet Union’s naval infantry, from the October Revolution to the end of the Soviet era.
Although Russian naval infantry achieved fame during the October Revolution they were quickly disbanded, only being re-established in 1939. Following the Axis invasion of 1941 some 500,000 Soviet Navy personnel served on land, fighting in the defence of Leningrad, Odessa and Sevastopol and the recapture of the Crimea in 1943–44; Soviet naval troops also participated in the invasion of Manchuria in 1945.
During the Cold War era the Soviet Union developed an amphibious assault capability that had a vital strategic role – to capture an aggressor’s geographical exits to the oceans and thereby forestall threats to Soviet submarine bases. Naval infantry forces could deploy a wealth of firepower assets, while the use of amphibious ships, hovercraft and helicopters aided their rapid deployment, even amid ice-bound terrain in the Arctic. All of these developments are described and illustrated in absorbing detail in this study.
ELI 250 Russia's Five-Day War
By Mark Galeotti
A fascinating account of Russia's Five-Day War against Georgia in 2008, notable for its strategic mistakes which prompted President Putin to undertake major military reforms.
After Georgia's independence from Russia in 1991, President Saakashvili invited NATO advisers to assist in military reforms. Separatist groups in Georgia's border provinces rebelled which led to fighting in South Ossetia during August 2008. The Russian Army invaded Georgia alongside these forces, stripped it of these rebellious provinces, and garrisoned them to maintain a threat over Georgia. But despite the inevitable outcome of this hugely unbalanced conflict, it revealed serious Russian military weaknesses and incompetence, and the NATO-trained and partly Western-equipped Georgian Army put up a much more successful local resistance than Russia had expected. The conflict also demonstrated the first use of Russian cyber-warfare, and its so-called 'hybrid warfare' doctrine.
Author Mark Galeotti is an expert in the field of international relations and a former Foreign Office adviser on Russian security affairs. In this book, he provides a vivid snapshot of the Russian, Georgian, Abkhazian and South Ossetian forces and gives an in-depth analysis of the conflict. Using meticulous color artwork for uniforms, insignia and equipment, rare photographs and detailed 'fact-boxes' for significant units and individuals, this book is a compelling guide to Russia's Five-Day War in Georgia.
ELI 251 The US Marine Corps 1775–1859
By Ron Field
Featuring specially commissioned artwork and archive illustrations, this engrossing study describes the US Marine Corps’ early operations and illustrates its evolving uniforms and personal equipment.
The US Marine Corps’ uniforms, personal equipment, insignia, and weaponry are all described and illustrated in this book, complemented by a succinct history of the Marines’ military record from their beginnings to the eve of the American Civil War, by which time the US Marine Corps had established itself as a small but vitally important part of the United States’ armed forces.
Organized in 1775, the first American Marines distinguished themselves throughout the American Revolutionary War, and even raided mainland Britain before being disbanded in 1783. Reestablished in 1798, the US Marine Corps fought in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812, both at sea and on land. The years after 1815 saw the Corps involved in a wide variety of conflicts, from the Seminole Wars to the Mexican–American War; Marines even reached China and Japan. As the prospect of civil war began to threaten the United States, a small battalion of Marines was responsible for the capture of abolitionist John Brown at Harper’s Ferry on October 18, 1859. The diverse operations and evolving appearance of the Marines are captured in this absorbing study from an acknowledged authority on US military costume.
ELI 252 Roman Mail and Scale Armour
By M.C. Bishop
Fully illustrated, this study investigates the origins, evolution and use of the mail and scale armour worn by the soldiers and gladiators of Imperial Rome.
Less glamorous than the Roman Army’s instantly recognizable plate armour but much more versatile, mail and scale armour were used by both legionaries and auxiliaries throughout Rome’s history. Developed by the Celts and quickly adopted by the Romans, mail armour was easy to make and required little maintenance. Scale was a much older form of armour, originating in the Near East during the second millennium BC. As with mail, it was used by both auxiliaries and legionaries, but like plate armour, it was much more fragile than mail. Both types of armour were also used by gladiators (principally as arm defences).
New discoveries in both mail and scale, as well as in hybrid forms that mixed the two, mean that much more is now known about the development of these types of defence during the Roman period, their efficacy in battle and how they were manufactured and repaired. Featuring specially commissioned artwork and drawing upon the latest findings, this study lifts the veil on the mail and scale armour used by soldiers, gladiators and others during the heyday of Imperial Rome.
ELI 253 Anglo-Saxon Kings and Warlords AD 400–1070
By Raffaele D’Amato and Stephen Pollington
A richly illustrated title describing an extensive variety of Anglo-Saxon monarchs and warlords, and their warriors and military households in Anglo-Saxon Britain, from the first post-Roman mercenaries to the Norman Conquest.
In a country fragmented by the aftermath of Roman military withdrawal in the 5th century AD, the employment of Germanic mercenaries by local rulers in Anglo- Saxon Britain was commonplace. These mercenaries became settlers, and grew ever more powerful through increased immigration, forcing Romano-British communities into Wales and the West Country. Against a background of spreading Christianity, the struggles of rival British and Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were exploited by subsequent Viking incursions and settlements, but eventually contained by the 9th-century Anglo-Saxon king, Alfred of Wessex. His descendants achieved the unification of the country in the 10th century, however subsequent weak rule saw its 25-year incorporation into a Danish empire; a brief Anglo-Saxon revival followed before it finally fell to the Norman invasion of 1066.
This book, by two international scholars, describes the leaders and elite warriors of these centuries of almost constant warfare using colour illustrations and the latest research. Scholars of the early Church – and, since the discovery of the Sutton Hoo burial in 1939, archaeologists – have long known that the term ‘Dark Ages’ for the 5th to 11th centuries in Britain refers only to a relative lack of written sources, and gives a wholly false impression of material culture. The Anglo-Saxon warrior elite were equipped for battle and ceremony with magnificent armour, influenced by the contemporary cultures of the late Romans, the Scandinavian Vendel people, the Frankish Merovingians, Carolingians and Ottonians and also the Vikings. Using the latest archaeological finds from the past half-century, co-authors Raffaele D’Amato & Stephen Pollington access extended knowledge to paint a vivid picture of the kings and warlords of the time.