Other books byRobert Forczyk
Bf 110 vs Lancaster
Unable to conduct ground operations on the European continent until Allied strength was marshalled for a full-scale invasion, the British government based its grand strategy in World War II on a protracted campaign of aerial bombardment of Nazi Germany's cities in order to bring the Third Reich to its knees. At the heart of this strategy were the emerging technologies of the heavy bomber, combined with night-navigation and precision-bombing techniques. The RAF introduced the huge four-engined Avro Lancaster in 1942 and used it to spearhead this aerial offensive. In response, the Luftwaffe created an elite nightfighter force based primarily upon the Bf 110 to counter the RAF bombers. Although the Bf 110 had failed miserably as a day fighter over England in 1940, it found its niche as a nightfighter. The Luftwaffe was quick to equip it with airborne radar that allowed it to intercept and destroy Lancasters over Germany. In turn, the RAF adopted countermeasures such as the Monica rearward-looking radar to alert Lancaster crews to the approach of nightfighters. The Lancaster heavy bomber was equipped with rear and dorsal turrets that gave it some chance to drive off nightfighters employing the standard tactic of attacking from above and behind. In May 1943, though, the Luftwaffe suddenly developed a novel technical and tactical approach to attacking RAF bombers - the Schräge Musik weapon system, which mounted upward-firing 20mm cannons in a Bf 110 nightfighter. The new tactic proved amazingly successful, and British bombers could be attacked from below with no warning. Soon, the Luftwaffe decided to equip a third of its nightfighters with Schräge Musik and began to inflict grievous losses upon Lancaster bomber units in the period from August 1943 to March 1944. For its part, the RAF failed to detect the new German tactic for six crucial months, during which time its Lancaster bombers were almost defenceless against this new threat. In time, however, the German advantage of surprise was lost and the RAF developed countermeasures to deal with the new threat. The duel between upgraded Bf 110s and Lancasters in the night skies over Germany became increasingly dominated by cutting-edge technology, which would determine the efficacy of strategic bombing.
The Wehrmacht strikes back
After failing to finish off the German Army in the 1941/42 Winter Counteroffensive and aware that Hitler was planning a new summer offensive in mid-1942, Stalin directed the Red Army to conduct a powerful blow in one sector of the Eastern Front in order to disrupt German plans. The sector chosen was Kharkov, where the Soviet Southwestern Front had seized bridgeheads over the Donets River and Heeresgruppe Süd appeared vulnerable. Under Stalin's trusted military advisor, Marshal Semyon Timoshenko, the Stavka's remaining reserves were assembled and prepared to conduct a breakthrough attack intended to encircle the German Sixth Army near Kharkov. However, Stalin was unaware that the Germans were planning their own riposte at Kharkov, known as Operation Fredericus. When Timoshenko began his offensive in May 1942, he did not realize the limitations of his own forces or the agility of the Germans to recover from setbacks, all of which contributed to one of the Red Army greatest defeats of World War II. The German victory at Kharkov also contributed to the Wehrmacht's ability to push to the Volga River, once the Red Army was seriously weakened along the Donets. This volume will pay particular attention to intelligence and logistics issues, as well as how this campaign served as a prelude to the battle of Stalingrad. It will also focus on the nascent development of the Red Army's tank corps and 'deep battle' tactics, as well as the revival of the German Panzertruppen after Barbarossa.
German Commerce Raider vs British Cruiser
The Atlantic & The Pacific 1941
During World War II, the Kriegsmarine armed a number of merchant vessels with concealed guns and torpedo tubes for surprise attacks against Allied shipping. To counter this deadly threat, the Royal Navy employed cruisers and their intelligence-gathering apparatus to find and destroy the disguised German commerce raiders. This Duel title covers the deadly game of cat and mouse, fought by these surface vessels during World War II.
Poland's bid for freedom
Osprey's study of the involvement of Poland's Home Army in World War II (1939-1945). Poland had apparently lain dormant under the Nazi heel for nearly five years, suffering the waves of genocidal round-ups, organized looting and the brutal suppression of its culture. The Poles, however, had in fact formed an underground army, the Armia Krajowa (Home Army), and waited for the moment when German weakness would offer the opportunity for a successful rising. That moment seemed to have arrived in July 1944. As the Soviet armies began to advance into eastern Poland following the destruction of the German Army Group Centre in the successful Bagration offensive, the AK launched its revolt in Warsaw on August 1, 1944. Though its 5,000 fighters achieved some initial successes, the Germans were able to retain control over both the Vistula River bridges and the airbase, which ultimately doomed the revolt to isolation and defeat. The SS was put in charge of suppressing the rebellion, beginning another wave of atrocities, shocking even by Eastern Front standards. By the beginning of September, it was clear that the rebellion was doomed. The Western Allies attempted to fly weapons and supplies to Warsaw, but their efforts were undermined by Stalin's unwillingness to provide airbases. Stalin himself waited until the rebellion was approaching its death throes before allowing the First Polish Army (part of the Red Army) to cross the Vistula River to aid the rebellion. Although these reinforcements succeeded in briefly establishing a link-up, it was too late. The AK finally agreed to surrender on October 2.