5 Osprey Early Summer Book Offerings

5 Must-Read Osprey Early Summer Book Offerings

Being there . . . . in the late spring of 1969 to observe the new Osprey editorship relish with wondering esteem and delight the company’s first published book roll off the press. Entitled “The North American P – 51D Mustang In the USAAF – USAF Service,” it foretold decade after decade, series after series, the continuous growth and development of the most successful example of “niche” publishing the world of books had ever known. . . . .



At first glance, the seemingly incongruous titles of every new wave of books and series appear to be no more than hodgepodges and potpourris. Not so for the more astute reader of warfare who realizes that what is in his or her hands is an entirely new kind of military history where the truths of battles won and lost are the all-consuming goal. During its 53-year history of publishing thousands of books and series, and resoluteness to surpass those decades with even “better and the best,” Osprey promises to bring together greater authors and illustrators to research and increase knowledge to further enrich leisure or professional pursuits. Precisely what the goal was on that warm June afternoon in 1969 is the same today, “Our enthusiasm for military history will never die. It is balanced by an equal enthusiasm for excellence in publishing . . . .”

Reviewed and highly recommended by Don DeNevi

Yesterday, June 6th, the 78th Anniversary of D-Day, this column recommended without reservation or qualification Osprey’s brilliant, “SMASHING HITLER’S GUNS – – The Rangers at Pointe-du-Hoc, D-Day 1944”, by Steven J. Zaloga. 368 pages, hc. Now, consider five more:

EAST CHINA SEA 1945: Climax of the Kamikaze”, by Brian Lane Herder, Illustrated by Adam Tooby. Osprey Publishing: 96 pages, sc, Campaign Series.

During the Pacific War, the island invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa were the last two major ground campaigns. By the time these took place in early 1945, the US Navy had reached an exceptional level of coordination in its amphibious operations and was able to overrun and subdue Japanese territories efficiently. Faced with the increasing might of these forces, and to prevent further defeat, Imperial Japan deployed its Kamikazes and attacked many US aircraft carriers and destroyers. Several were sunk, while others were knocked out of the war. This brilliantly illustrated book explores the air-sea aspects of the pivotal battles that took place and, most fascinating of all, the “death ride” of the Japanese battleship Yamato (the largest ever built). Superb reading!

THE DUTCH RESISTANCE 1940 – 45 – – World War II Resistance and Collaboration in the Netherlands”, by Michel Wenting LLM & Klaas Castelein. Osprey Publishing: 64 pages, sc, Elite Series.

World War II readers know how sad and complex the occupation of the Netherland was in 1940 – 45. That occupation saw the creation of not only various resistance organizations that were distinct in time, place, and character, but also of collaborationist forces raised by the Germans to counter them. In 1944, the liberation of the southern provinces led to the formation of battalions trained, uniformed, and equipped by the Allied armies to assist in future operations. Meanwhile, a vicious underground war continued in the still-occupied northern half of the country until the final German surrender in May 1945. Illustrated with rare photos, the book is a treasure of knowledge and information about a rarely told history of occupation and resistance activities in the Netherlands.

WALTHER PISTOLS: PP, PPK and P38”, by John Walter. Osprey Publishing: 80 pages, sc, Weapons Series.

Author John Walther presents an absorbing, fully illustrated story of the three innovative semi-automatic pistols produced by Walther which armed military and law-enforcement personnel in Germany, and elsewhere, for nearly 100 years. Intended to replace the P08 Luger, the Walther P38 was issued in 1940, equipping the German armed forces throughout WWII. The origins, development, use, impact, and legacy of the guns are beautifully narrated with color photographs. A must weapons book for all libraries, public and personal.

SU – 152/ISU -152 vs TIGER, EASTERN FRONT 1943 – 45”, by David Greentree. Osprey Publishing: 80 pages, sc, Duel Series.

This is a fascinating two-and-a-half-year account of machines of war pitted against each other and the combatants who operated them. Step onto the battlefield and immerse yourself in the experience of real historic combat. In 1943, on the Eastern Front, the Tiger-equipped heavy Panzer battalions gave German armored divisions an unmatched capability that cost the Red Army dearly. Replete with color illustrations that explore key details of both the SU – 152/ISU – 152 and Eastern Front Tigers, including armament, ammunition, crew positions, and the period photographs, the stunning softcover includes rarely seen views of these iconic AFVs in action. WWII tank aficionados will have a field day scrutinizing the 80 pages of photographs this fabulous softcover offers.

WARSHIPS IN THE BALTIC CAMPAIGN, 1918 – 20 – – The Royal Navy Takes on the Bolsheviks”, by Angus Konstam, Illustrated by Adm Tooby. Osprey Publishing: 48 pages, sc, New Vanguard Series.

Following the Russian Revolution, the Baltic States became a battleground between the Russian Reds and Whites, German troops, and emerging Baltic independence forces. In November 1918, the British decided to intervene in support of Baltic independence and confront the emerging Communist power. Full of archival photos and detailed new illustrations of the warships involved in this concise account of a little-known campaign fought by two war-weary navies, author Angus Konstam explores the fleets and the clashes that helped reshape the map of Europe.

Why praise Osprey so highly? Primarily because the seemingly incongruously assembled series are not as incongruous as the casual reader might believe. And, it should be again mentioned, because the once fledgling company continues to grow, evolve, and take on new topics and publishing challenges until it stands today as an equal, almost, to nonpareil Casemate. Adding to all this, Osprey, having prescience, has the best maps and atlases, authoritative texts, color, black and white artwork, crystal-clear photographs, and philosophy, nay, fierce resolve to “adnate.” Yes, adnation, hinting “publishing niche”. Look it up, like this simple reviewer had to.