The first half of 2024 sees a fascinating range of new books from across the full range of subjects that we cover. We have a strong range of World War II books covering aviation subjects like the Eighth Air Force, US Navy airstrikes on Hong Kong, and the USAAF in North Africa, while Thomas Anderson continues his detailed series of illustrated histories of German armour, this time on the Jagdpanzer. Steve Zaloga also brings his expertise to bear on the subject of US armour in the two World Wars, while Robert Kershaw re-examines the 1941 German invasion of Crete. 

Going further back in history, Myke Cole and Michael Livingston explore the battlefield at Thermopylae, site of battles from the Classical era through to World War II. Angus Konstam brings us a new history of the Golden Age of Piracy, focussing on the pivotal role played by the Caribbean port of Nassau. We also two exciting works of medieval history, with Catherine Hanley focussing on the dramatic events of the year 1217, when the fate of England hang in the balance, and Graham Turner’s medieval art brings the tumultuous events of the Wars of the Roses to life.


The Ones Who Got Away: 8th Air Force Escape and Evasion from Occupied Europe 

Bill Yenne 

A remarkable collection of accounts of intrepid American aircrew shot down over enemy lines during World War II and how they got away.  
To be an airman in the Eighth Air Force flying over the war-torn skies of Europe required skill, tenacity, and luck. Those who were shot down and evaded capture needed all of that and more if they were to make it back to friendly lines. These are their stories. Each is compiled from the original intelligence debrief written by the pilots or aircrew themselves. 
Bill Yenne details how a spiderweb of escape routes sprang up, created by local Résistance. Downed airmen were clothed, given false papers, and hidden so they could be smuggled back to England. These efforts were then supplemented by Allied intelligence agents. But the risks remained the same. Capture could mean death. 
Their accounts are sometimes funny, often heartbreaking. P-47 pilot Joel McPherson feigned appendicitis and was able to escape from the local German military hospital – after he had his appendix removed. He spent weeks operating with the Maquis before making it across the Pyrenees. Glenn Loveland was the ball turret gunner aboard the B-17 Skywolf. Shot down over Germany, he was imprisoned. He escaped a total of seven times before making it across the border and connecting with guerrilla forces. The accounts of McPherson, Loveland and their compatriots make this a story of defiance, foolhardiness and bravery against the odds. 


The Wars of the Roses: The Medieval Art of Graham Turner 

Graham Turner 

A highly illustrated history of the Wars of Roses based on the medieval art of Graham Turner.  
The period of civil strife in the second half of the 15th century known as the Wars of the Roses is one of the most dramatic in English history. It is rich with political events, outstanding protagonists, battles and campaigns, and culminates in the defeat of Richard III, brutally killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, and the rise to the throne of the House of Tudor. 
Since first being inspired by a visit to Bosworth battlefield over 25 years ago, renowned historical illustrator Graham Turner has built a worldwide reputation for his renderings of this colourful and intense era. This new study contains a unique and comprehensive collection of his paintings and drawings, which provide meticulously researched details of arms, armours and settings, while at the same time bringing to life the human stories behind the turbulent events. 
Fully illustrated with artwork and prints prized by historians and collectors for their dramatic and atmospheric compositions, The Wars of the Roses is an unmissable visual tour which showcases the technical, contextual and human facets of one of England’s most dramatic historical periods. 


The Killing Ground: A Biography of Thermopylae 

Myke Cole and Michael Livingston 

An exploration into why and how Thermopylae is one of the most blood-soaked patches of ground in history – and what its past can tell us about our future.  
Since the dawn of the Classical Era up to World War II, thousands have lost their lives fighting over the pass at Thermopylae. Historians Cole and Livingston provide an exciting account of each of the 27 battles and holding actions that took place. The epic events of 480 BC when 300 Spartans attempted to hold the pass has been immortalised in poetry, art, literature and film. But no history has ever detailed the other events from the very first battle through to the battles fought by Romans, Byzantines, Huns and Ottomans during the early and late medieval periods and finally the two desperate struggles against German occupying forces during World War II. The Killing Ground details the background and history of each conflict, the personalities and decision making of the commanders, the arms and tactics of the troops, and how each battle played out. 
Cole and Livingston have surveyed the ground to provide a boots-on understanding of each battle. Their command of multiple ancient and medieval languages means they have provided their own translations of much of the source material, ensuring new insights into each battle. This uncompromising scholarship is woven together into a compelling and unforgettable history that grips the reader from start to finish. 


Target Hong Kong: A true story of U.S. Navy pilots at War 

Steven K. Bailey 

Brought to life by the personal accounts of six Navy pilots and one British POW, this is the history of the U.S. Navy airstrikes on Japanese-held Hong Kong.  
Commander John Lamade started the war in 1941 a nervous pilot of an antiquated biplane. Just over three years later he was in the cockpit of a cutting-edge Hellcat about to lead a strike force of 80 aircraft through the turbulent skies above the South China Sea. His target: Hong Kong. As a storm of antiaircraft fire darkened the sky, watching from below was POW Ray Jones. For three long years he and his fellow prisoners had endured near starvation conditions in a Japanese internment camp. Did these American aircraft, he wondered, herald freedom? 
Trawling through historic records, Steven K. Bailey discovered that the story of the U.S. Navy airstrikes on Japanese-held Hong Kong during the final year of World War II had never been told. Operation Gratitude involved nearly 100 U.S. Navy warships and close to a thousand planes. Target Hong Kong brings this massive operation down to a human scale by recounting the air raids through the experiences of seven men whose lives intersected at Hong Kong in January 1945: Commander John D. Lamade, five of his fellow U.S. Navy pilots and the POW Ray Jones. Drawing upon oral histories, diary transcripts, and U.S. Navy documents, this book expertly narrates the intertwined experiences of these servicemen to bring the history to life. 


The Pirate Menace: Uncovering the Golden Age of Piracy 

Angus Konstam 

This new account explores the most notorious pirates in history and how their rise and fall can be traced back to a single pirate haven, Nassau.  
Angus Konstam, one of the world's leading pirate experts, has brought his 30 years of research to create the definitive book on the short-lived Golden Age of Piracy. Following the end of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), many of the privateers the British had used to prey on French and Spanish shipping turned to piracy, leading to a major surge in attacks in the Caribbean and along North America’s Atlantic seaboard. The fragile maritime economy of the Americas was threatened with collapse, and when major ports were threatened and trade brought to a standstill, the British government finally declared war on the pirates. 
Most of the ships captured by pirates carried cargoes which were worthless unless they could be ‘fenced’. As all legal ports were closed to them, the pirates took over Nassau on the Bahamian island of New Providence and turned it into their own pirate haven, where shady merchants were happy to buy their plunder. Some of the pirates based there ranged as far afield as Newfoundland, West Africa and the Indian Ocean, and Nassau became the hub of a pirate network that included some of the most notorious pirates in history: Blackbeard, ‘Calico Jack’ Rackam, Charles Vane and Bartholomew Roberts. 
The Pirate Menace draws on extensive research, as well as a wide range of first-hand accounts, to produce a new history of the heyday of historical piracy. 



Thomas Anderson 

This highly illustrated title details the history of the Jagdpanzer, the self-propelled German tank destroyers introduced in the second half of World War II.  
By 1942, hard-pressed Panzerjäger (anti-tank) units equipped with towed anti-tank weapons fighting on the EasternFront increasingly sought assistance from StuG-equipped assault artillery units in order to combat the latest versions of Soviet tanks. By late 1943 the success of the StuG saw it being issued to new tank destroyer units, and at the same time a dedicated Jagdpanzer (hunting tank) was ordered, based on the chassis and running gear of the PzKpfw IV. Around 2,000 vehicles were built, and they served with both Panzer and SS-Panzer divisions. 
Renowned German armour expert Thomas Anderson describes the development of the Jagdpanzer, and also the many variants built on other German tank chassis including the Jagdpanther, the Hetzer, and the Jagdtiger, the last of which could comprehensively outrange and defeat any Allied tank or AFV on the battlefield. It also covers in detail how Jagdpanzer units were organized as well as their operational experience on the battlefield. 
Based on first-hand accounts and packed with rare and unpublished contemporary photographs of German armoured vehicles, this study details the vehicles that made up an increasingly significant proportion of the Panzer and SS-Panzer divisions in the last years of World War II. 


1217: The Battles that Saved England 

Catherine Hanley 

An engrossing history of the pivotal year 1217 when invading French forces were defeated and the future of England secured.  
In 1215 King John had agreed to the terms of Magna Carta, but he then reneged on his word, plunging the kingdom into war. The rebellious barons offered the throne to Louis, the heir of the French king. In doing so, they set off the chain of events that almost changed the course of English history, now vividly recreated in this new history by medievalist Catherine Hanley. 
Louis first arrived in May 1216 with an army at his back, and by the autumn of that year he had around half of England’s geographical area under his control. However, the choice of a French prince had enormous repercussions: now not merely an internal rebellion, but a war in which the defenders were battling to prevent a foreign takeover. John’s death in October 1216 left the throne in the hands of his nine-year-old son, Henry, and his regent, William Marshal, which changed the face of the war again, for now the English king trying to fight off an invader was not a hated tyrant but an innocent child. 
1217 charts the nascent sense of national identity that began to swell. Three key battles would determine England’s destiny. The great fortress of Dover was placed under siege, the city of Lincoln was attacked, and a great invasion force set sail, and unusually for the time, was intercepted at sea. Catherine Hanley expertly navigates between medieval siege warfare, royal politics, and fighting at sea to bring this remarkable period of English history to life. Along the way she introduces us to a cast of characters from the feared Eustace, monk turned pirate, to the formidable Dame Nicola de la Haye who refused to surrender Lincoln Castle. 


Turning The Tide: The USAAF in North Africa 

Thomas McKelvey Cleaver 

A vivid narrative history of the USAAF’s campaign in North Africa and Sicily in World War II, packed with personal accounts of the action.  
In 1942, the Western Allies needed to take the offensive against the Axis to relieve pressure on the Soviet Union. With planning for a cross-Channel invasion beset by logistical and operational difficulties, in May 1942 President Roosevelt ordered his military leaders to prepare to support the British in the Mediterranean. This led to the first USAAF units arriving in the Middle East in July, firstly as reinforcements for the British and later as part of the Operation Torch landings in French Morocco and Algeria in November. 
In little over ten months from the summer of 1942, the USAAF in North Africa grew from nothing to a senior partner, providing aircraft and crews the other Allies were unable to match. The Axis forces that had controlled almost the entire southern shore of the Mediterranean had been swept from the African continent – thanks in no small part to the efforts of the USAAF. 
Using first-hand accounts from pilots and other aircrew, veteran aviation author Tom Cleaver describes how the USAAF units that landed in Morocco were forced to learn their own lessons in combat with experienced Luftwaffe units, and how the experience gained in the skies over North Africa and Sicily was invaluable in developing the air forces that would dominate the skies over Europe in the latter years of the war. 


Warship 2024 

Editor: John Jordan 

The latest edition of Warship, the celebrated annual publication featuring the latest research on the history, development, and service of the world’s warships.  
For over 45 years, Warship has been the leading annual resource on the design, development, and deployment of the world’s combat ships. Featuring a broad range of articles from a select panel of distinguished international contributors, this latest volume combines original research, new book reviews, warship notes, an image gallery, and much more, maintaining the impressive standards of scholarship and research of which Warship has become synonymous. Detailed and accurate information is the keynote of all the articles, which are fully supported by plans, data tables, and stunning photographs. 
This year's Warship includes features on Imperial Japan's Matsu and Tachibana destroyer classes, the Italian CRDA midget submarines, France’s 1960s missile frigates Suffren and Duquesne, and Germany’s sailing raider of World War I, Seeadler. 


The Hill: The pivotal capture of Hill 107 in May 1941 during the invasion of Crete 

Robert Kershaw 

First-rate military history by the author of the acclaimed Dünkirchen 1940. Draws on accounts from both sides so that the pages crackle with adrenalin. 

In this remarkable history, we discover each of the individuals whose actions determined the outcome of the battle for Hill 107, the key event that decided the entire campaign to capture the vitally strategic island of Crete in May 1941. All the events are narrated through the filter of these eyewitnesses. The Allied perspective is from the summit of Hill 107. We experience the fear and the adrenalin of a lowly platoon commander, Lieutenant Ed McAra, perilously positioned at the top of the hill, alongside the combat stress and command fatigue of the battalion commander Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Andew. In contrast, the German view is looking up from below as they cling to the slopes while simultaneous dazzled by the morning glare and decimated by defensive fire. We join the regimental doctor, Dr Heinrich Neumann, as he assumes command of one battalion and leads a daring nighttime charge towards the summit. The Hill details what was felt, heard or seen throughout the course of the battle for both attacker and defender.  

Drawing upon original combat reports, diary entries, letters and interviews, the battle is brought vividly to life. The narrative reads like a Shakespearean tragedy, the actors revealing their stories on and around the summits and shadows of Hill 107. 


US Battle Tanks 1917–1945 

Steven J. Zaloga 

A comprehensive and detailed examination of the development and combat performance of US battle tanks from World War I to the end of World War II. 
This work forms the first of two volumes examining the development of US Army and USMC battle tanks. Focusing on the two 20th-century world wars, this first volume explores the concepts and practice of tank development, the experiences of the crews that saw combat, tank performance in battle, and how each American AFV compared with the enemy armor it faced, as well as the key lessons learned from combat that led to new concepts and technological breakthroughs. 
Beginning with World War I, Steven J. Zaloga explores the initial concepts that pushed the limits of mechanical technology to produce a functional vehicle, before examining the diverse developments of the interwar period. The extensive combat experiences and lessons of World War II form the core of this expert work, exploring crucial developments in armour, armament, mobility, and antitank capabilities. 
Packed with dozens of intricate color profiles and isometric views, vivid battlescene artworks, technical illustrations, and superbly clear period photographs, this work provides a wide-ranging and essential reference work on the tanks and machines at the cutting edge of armored warfare. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 next Friday!