Some of the more eagle-eyed of our regular readers will have noticed that a new series has appeared on our website over the last few weeks - and that the first set of books in our new Weapon series are now available to pre-order.

Each of the Weapon books look at one of the most famous or important weapons of history. Packed with the usual Osprey combination of great photographs, artwork, and cutaways, the series examines the full story of each weapon, beginning with its design and development, following through its operational history, and finally analyzing its impact on warfare and violence. At the very centre of each book is the story of the individual soldier or combatant and how the weapon in question altered their experience of combat, the tactics they employed, and their chances of success (or failure) in combat.

The first six books give a decent idea of what we are planning with this series. With Weapon 1 The Thompson Submachine Gun, we don't only look at it's use in traditional combat, but also examine exactly why the Tommy Gun gained so much notoriety, and why it is today portrayed as the weapon of choice for virtually all Hollywood gangsters!

Weapon 2 The Rocket Propelled Grenade drops us straight into the combat of today, as well as looking at the history of the RPG. The author, Gordon Rottman, has even been on the receiving end of incoming RPG fire - and has fired RPGs himself, so you know that you are being guided through this weapon by someone who knows what he is talking about. Gordon also explains why the RPG is now the weapon of choice for insurgent or irregular forces around the world.

Weapon 3 Medieval Handgonnes takes us right back to the start of the story of the handheld gun, and the development of gunpowder. But were these weapons as ineffective as some historians maintain? Were they mere crude tubes that shot wildly inaccurate lead balls, and how did these weapons influence the future development of warfare?

Weapon 4 Browning .50 Caliber Machine Guns takes on the grandaddy of all heavy machine guns and looks at how the 'fifty' has become one of the most important and adaptable weapon of the last seventy years. From being lugged about by grunts, to being mounted in bombers above Germany, right up to protecting Humvees in the War on Terror, the 50 Cal has seen it all!

Weapon 5 Katana: The Samurai Sword explains how and why the Samurai sword is widely considered to be the finest edged weapon ever made. Samurai expert Stephen Turnbull delves into Samurai history, to reveal the huge technological leaps which made the development of the Katana possible, whilst digging out eye-opening personal accounts which reveal the art of Japanese swordsmanship, plus some rather cool art that shows the different stances taken and blade angles required for different offensive and defensive strikes.

And finally Weapon 6 Sniper Rifles provides a technical outline of the history of the sniper rifle, from its Napoleonic introduction through the American Civil War  and right up to the high tech rifle used today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you would like a bit more info about the series, why not download the leaflet we sent out to all our bookshop and museum customers a couple of months ago? You can download the file here.