Top Selling Titles of Pen and Sword Books

Don’t know what to purchase these holidays for someone or for yourself? Why don’t you look at these top-selling titles (DVD and Books) from Pen and Sword Books of 2015?


#1. The Great Western Eight Coupled Heavy Freight Locomotives by David Maidment

11080‘Great Western Eight-Coupled Heavy Freight Locomotives’ is the first of a series of ‘Locomotive Profiles’ to be published by Pen & Sword. It will describe the conception, design, building and operation of the fleet of powerful locomotives built in the first half of the twentieth century to meet the demands of the growing South Wales coal and steel industries and the West Midlands area served by the Great Western Railway. Whilst concentrating mainly on the standard designs of the great locomotive engineer, George Jackson Churchward, the 28XX and 47XX 2-8-0 locomotives, it will also cover the 2-8-0 and 2-8-2 tank engines designed for the South Wales Valleys mining areas and coal exports through Newport, Cardiff, Barry and Swansea Docks, and other 2-8-0 locomotives acquired by the Great Western to cope with the increased industrial needs during both world wars – the RODs, Swindon built 8Fs, WDs and American S160s.

It will also cover the earliest designs of the Barry and Port Talbot Railways intended to cope with the valley coal traffic. The book will be copiously illustrated with 150 black and white and 50 coloured photographs and is a comprehensive record of some outstanding freight locomotives, many of the oldest engines still operating to the end of steam on British Railways in the mid-1960s, sixty years after they were designed. Rated 5/5!

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#2. RAF in Camera: 1960’s by Keith Wilson

11783The ‘Swinging Sixties’ was a remarkable decade. For the Royal Air Force, it was a most interesting period in their history, representing a period of base closures, contraction and a significant change in equipment – especially in the level of technology operated.

In 1960, all three of the V-bombers – Valiant, Vulcan and Victor – were in service. The English Electric Lightning established a firm place in British aviation history by being the first single-seat fighter designed to exceed the speed of sound in level flight. Within Transport Command, the Britannia C.1 was operating alongside the Comet C.2, providing an excellent strategic transport capability. The Comet C.4 would enter service in 1962, the VC-10 C.1 in July 1966 and the Belfast C.1 by the end of 1966.

During the decade, the RAF celebrated its 50th Anniversary, having been formed on 1 April 1918. They also came to be embroiled in a number of conflicts, while still playing their part (alongside the British Army and the Royal Navy) in policing a number of territories and theatres including Malaya, Indonesia, Cyprus, Kenya, Rhodesia, Aden, Libya, Bermuda and Anguilla in the West Indies.

Here, Keith Wilson takes us on a richly illustrated journey through the decade, with each chapter focusing on a specific year and relaying all the fascinating events and highlights that characterized it. This is a colourful and insightful history, told with narrative flair and a clear passion for the subject matter at hand. Rated 5/5!

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 #3. The British Carrier Strike Fleet by David Hobbs

11598In 1945 the most powerful fleet in the Royal Navy’s history was centred on nine aircraft carriers. This book charts the post-war fortunes of this potent strike force – its decline in the face of diminishing resources, its final fall at the hands of uncomprehending politicians, and its recent resurrection in the form of the Queen Elizabeth class carriers, the largest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.

After 1945 ‘experts’ prophesied that nuclear weapons would make conventional forces obsolete but British carrier-borne aircraft were almost continuously employed in numerous conflicts as far apart as Korea, Egypt, the Persian Gulf, the South Atlantic, East Africa and the Far East, often giving successive British Governments options when no others were available. In the process, the Royal Navy invented many of the techniques and devices crucial to modern carrier operations – angled decks, steam catapults and deck-landing aids – while also pioneering novel forms of warfare like helicopter-borne assault, and tactics for countering such modern plagues as insurgency and terrorism.

This book combines narratives of these poorly understood operations with a clear analysis of the strategic and political background, benefiting from the author’s personal experience of both carrier flying and the workings of Whitehall. It is an important but largely untold story, of renewed significance as Britain once again embraces carrier aviation. Rated 4,5/5!

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#4. Seaforth World Naval Review: 2016 by Conrad Waters

11794This annual has an established reputation as an authoritative but affordable summary of all that has happened in the naval world in the previous twelve months. It combines regional surveys with one-off major articles on noteworthy new ships and other important developments. Besides the latest warship projects, it also looks at wider issues of importance to navies, such as aviation and electronics, and calls on expertise from around the globe to give a balanced picture of what is going on and to interpret its significance.

This edition looks in detail at the Royal Navy as it faces the latest defence review, and evaluates the Indonesian Navy, while significant ships will include the USN’s San Antonio class amphibious transports, the new Dutch OPVs, the Turkish Milgem class corvettes and the Greek Roussen class fast attack craft.

There are also technological reviews dealing with naval aviation by David Hobbs, focussing on maritime patrol aircraft, while Norman Friedman surveys recent electronic warfare developments.
Intended to make interesting reading as well as providing authoritative reference, there is a strong visual emphasis, including specially commissioned drawings and the most up-to-date photographs and artists’ impressions.

For anyone with an interest in contemporary naval affairs, whether an enthusiast or a defence professional, this annual has become required reading. Rated 5/5!

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#5. RAF in Camera: 1950’s by Keith Wilson

51HaR83FSOLFor aviation, the 1950s was a fascinating decade. For the Royal Air Force, it witnessed the transition from propeller to jet in the fields of fighter, bomber, trainer and transport aircraft. The 1950s saw the end of the Second World War veterans – Lancasters, Spitfires, Mosquitoes and Sunderlands. They were replaced by the first generation of jet aircraft including the Vampire, Hunter, Javelin and, at the end of the decade, the English Electric P.1 – later named the Lightning.

This photographic record of the RAF during the period illustrates the full varied and wonderful array of equipment in use and also considers the important events of the decade including Korea, the Malayan Emergency, Kenya and the Suez Crisis. The decade also saw the beginning of the Cold War, which in turn led to significant developments in military aviation. For the RAF this included the V-bomber force of Valiant, Victor and Vulcan. Another development was that of the nuclear weapon and this volume includes images and information from Operation Grapple, the testing of Britain’s first live thermonuclear weapon – seventy times more powerful than that dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 – which was dropped from Vickers Valiant XD818 at Christmas Island on 15 May 1957.

Another Cold War item featured is the Thor Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile, three of which were located on their launches at twenty RAF bomber stations around the UK. 1953 saw the Coronation of HRH Queen Elizabeth II take place at Westminster Abbey on 2 June. Shortly afterwards, a Coronation Review of the Royal Air Force was organized at RAF Odiham, and many images of the never-to-be-repeated event are included here, as are details of all the 640 aircraft involved in the spectacular flypast that followed the royal inspection. Each chapter focuses on a specific year, relaying all the fascinating events and highlights. Lavishly illustrated from the archives of the Air Historical Branch, this is a colourful and insightful history, told with narrative flair and a clear passion for the subject matter. Rated 5/5!

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#1. Walking the Western Front 1914 – First Battle of Ypres Langemarck by Ed Skelding

10972Filmed on location at the key locations of the opening battles of the First World War and analyses some of the key battles and events at First Ypres.

Designed as a companion to the best selling Battleground series of books by Pen and Sword.

Filmed by acclaimed film-maker Ed Skelding, whose expertise in the field and strong Great War knowledge complement the film.

Also presented by guest historian Nigel Cave, the series editor of the Battleground series of books and prolific Pen and Sword author.

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#2. Walking the Western Front 1914 – First Battle of Ypres Messines and Menin Road by Ed Skelding

11029Filmed on location at the key locations, this DVD moves from 1914 to 1915 to explore some of the key battles fought by the Allies in early 1915 at Neuve Chapelle and Aubers Ridge.

Designed as a companion to the best selling Battleground series of books by Pen and Sword.

Filmed by acclaimed film-maker Ed Skelding, whose expertise in the field and strong Great War knowledge complement the film.

Also presented by guest historian Nigel Cave, the series editor of the Battleground series of books and prolific Pen and Sword author.

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#3. The Viking Invasion of Wessex 878AD: The Dark Ages (Part 1) by Tim Saunders & Andrew Duff

103355The Viking Invasion of Wessex 878 AD is the second DVD in this sensational new series, The Dark Ages, which delves into a war-torn and obscure period of Britain’s past to focus on some of the pivotal events that completely altered the history, culture and politics of the British Isles.

In the year 878 AD, Alfred King of Wessex faced the fourth and most serious attempt by the devious Viking chieftain Guthrum to seize the last remaining Saxon kingdom. Thwarted in their conventional attempts in 871, 876 and 878, the Vikings ‘stole away’ from their base in Gloucester and descended on Alfred’s court while they were celebrating the Twelfth Night on the borders of wintery Wessex at Chippenham. Alfred escaped but was driven into hiding in the Somerset Marshes, while the Vikings fanned across Wessex. All seemed to be over for Alfred and the Saxons.

In a spectacular show of military leadership, the King of Wessex then staged one of the most unlikely recoveries to be found in all military history. It is, however, one full of historical controversies, with historians from many backgrounds bending the slim Dark Ages body of facts to breaking point and beyond to support their own theories.

Tim Saunders and Andrew Duff apply the enduring principals of war and inherent military probability to take a fresh look at the campaign and its hotly debated locations using high-quality maps, re-enactment footage and diagrams.

Together they tell a story that is as compelling as any in this Island’s long history, as they range from the first recorded Viking raid at Portland to Chippenham and on to the Isle of Athelney. Exploring the remains of the mighty and mysterious Selwood Forest, they peel back a mix of legend, Saxon allegory and dubious historical analysis to reveal the likely location of the gathering of the Saxon Army and the decisive battle.

#4. 12th Hitlerjugend Panzer Division: German Army in Normandy by Tim Saunders, Richard Hone and Andrew Duff

103560The most implacable opponents of the British and Canadians fighting in Normandy were the largely teenage soldiers of the Hitlerjugend. From D+1 through to attacking back into the Falaise Pocket, this unique division constantly thwarted Montgomery’s plans and exacted a terrible price on the Allies for every mile gained.

Formed from ‘volunteers’ from the Hitler Youth Movement in the aftermath of Stalingrad, this division of boys, aged 17 on recruitment into the SS, came of age and were declared fully operational just before D Day. Coming from a fully militarized society they made exceptional and highly committed soldiers but with officers and non-commissioned officers from the Leibstandarte commanding them, they were to become a ruthless and brutal arm of the Nazi fighting machine that battled towards the Eastern Front. Both Hitlerjugend’s alleged atrocities and their remarkable doggedness in battle made them a loathed but grudgingly respected opponent to all who fought them.

In this DVD, we hear from the last surviving senior German officer, Obersturmbannführer Hubert Meyer, now in his late nineties, as he explains his role as a commander of the Hitler Youth, giving a rare insight into the German perspective of the Normandy campaign.

12th Hitlerjugend Panzer Division continues the successful BHTV style of location shooting on the fields and villages where the fighting originally took place, as well as SS re-enactment footage to illustrate the various battle scenarios. The DVD is further complimented by a wealth of original archive footage and in-depth explanations of the weapons and machinery used during the period, making this compulsive viewing for all Second World War enthusiasts.

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#5. Arnhem – Battle of the Woods

104004Jumping in to Drop Zones eight to ten miles from Arnhem on the second day of Operation Market Garden was always going to be difficult for Brigadier “Shan” Hackett’s 4th British Parachute Brigade. With little information on how 1 Para Brigade’s battle went the day before or what faced them on the ground, the stage was set for an epic battle. Author John Waddy, a veteran company commander in 156 Para Battalion and a team of some of the best Arnhem experts take the viewer to the ground where 4 Para Brigade tangled with the SS troopers of the Hohenstaufen Panzer Division in the woods to the west of Arnhem in what was to be an unequal but heroic battle; the result of a flawed concept and plan.

Driven back from the German blocking position the Brigade was withdrawing across Landing Zone P when the Polish heavy-lift aboard gliders swept in to further chaos to a rapidly deteriorating situation. Captain Quirepel was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his action in helping stem the enemy advance long enough for the Paratroopers to escape across the railway embankment by nightfall.

On the third day of the battle, veterans recall a lethal day of cat and mouse in the woods as the Paratroopers and surviving glider soldiers struggled to rejoin the rest of the Division around Oosterbeek.

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