The publishing house casemate has brought out a series of books covering different parts of Warfare. The books I received are
· Big Guns by Angus Konstam
· Tommies: The British in the Trenches by Rosie Serdiville and John Sadler
· Tanks: A Century of tank warfare by Oscar E Gilbert & Romain Cansiere
· Sharpshoooters: Marksmen through the ages by Gary Yee
· Fighter Aces: Knights of the Sky by John Sadler and Rosie Serdiville
These books cover a huge area of warfare and although they are broken down into specific areas they obviously can’t give the definitive story; but what they really do is highlight the technological changes that made the weapon systems possible.
Big Guns: looking at Artillery from the 14th Century right through to the present. A huge period with many technological changes making Artillery more and more potent. This is not just confined to the Battlefield as the title suggests but includes the huge guns found on Battleships and how the design links in with land based weapons.
Tommies in the Trenches: a fairly straightforward subject and covered by many authors but here we have the authors identifying the four armies that Britain put on to the battlefield in WW1. Firstly the small regular army of the BEF, followed by the TA of 1915, then the Kitchener Battalions of the Somme and lastly the civilian army of conscripts who saw out 1917 and 1918. A very good primer on the British ASrmy in WW1.
Tanks: from the very beginnings in WW1 through to use in the Middle East in Iraq and other countries. WW2 gets the lion’s share of this book as that is where most of the advances in weapons and tactics occurred but again a fine primer on the use of Armour ending with a short discussion about the future of the heavy tank – does it have one?
Sharpshooters: A strange one this and probably there because of the recent interest in snipers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Still a good look back to the beginning which came about with the rifled barrel. A lot is American but there is a good mention of Major Hesketh-Pritchard who arguably brought the role of the sniper on during WW1.
Fighter Aces: the greatest advance in technology over the past 100 years, if not in combat of all times, has been the advent of aerial warfare. This book is more a look at the individuals who became “Aces” and their actions. With a brief introduction to military aviation, we move straight into WW1 and the Aces from that era from all sides. The book continues in this vein until the final conflict mentioned, the Falklands War. Once again this book ends with a brief discussion of whether we have seen the last of the Fighter Aces with the new battlefield scenario we now have.
Overall a good wee series of books while not being the be-all end-all are very good introductions to the area of warfare that is the subject matter for that book. These books would be excellent for someone with an early interest in military history or for someone talking history at school. Very readable and easy to understand with some good illustrations. The layout of the book and paper used do not lend themselves to maps but the ones used are adequate for the job
I would give these entertaining books a score of three Mr Mushroomheads. Note there are more in the series and not just the five listed.
The series of books can be found starting here: