Empires in the Sun
By Lawrence James
Tip and Run
By Edward Paice
Controversial and groundbreaking account of the infamous East African campaign during First World WarIn the aftermath of the Great War the East Africa campaign was destined to be dismissed by many in Britain as a remote 'sideshow' in which only a handful of names and episodes - the Königsberg, von Lettow-Vorbeck, the 'Naval Expedition to Lake Tanganyika' - achieved any lasting notoriety. But to the other combatant powers - Germany, South Africa, India, Belgium and Portugal - it was, and would remain, a campaign of huge importance. A 'small war', consisting of a few 'local affairs', was all that was expected in August 1914 as Britain moved to eliminate the threat to the high seas of German naval bases in Africa. But two weeks after the Armistice was signed in Europe British and German troops were still fighting in Africa after four years of what one campaign historian described as 'a war of extermination and attrition without parallel in modern times'.The expense of the campaign to the British Empire was immense, the Allied and German 'butchers bills' even greater. But the most tragic consequence of the two sides' deadly game of 'tip and run' was the devastation of an area five times the size of Germany, and civilian suffering on a scale unimaginable in Europe. Such was the cost of 'The White Man's Palaver', the final phase of the European conquest of Africa.
By Adrian Greaves
The story of the bravest battle ever fought.On 22nd January 1879 a force of 20,000 Zulus overwhelmed and destroyed the British invading force at Isandlwana, killing and ritually disemboweling over 1200 troops. That afternoon, the same Zulu force turned their attention on a small outpost at Rorke's Drift.The battle that ensued, one of the British Army's great epics, has since entered into legend. Throughout the night 85 men held off six full-scale Zulu attacks at the cost of only 27 casualties, forcing the Zulu army to withdraw. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded for bravery shown on that night, the largest number for any one engagement in history.But as Adrian Greaves's new research shows there are several things about the myth of Rorke's Drift that don't add up. While it was the scene of undoubted bravery, it was also the scene of some astonishing cases of cowardice, and there is increasing evidence to suggest that the legend of Rorke's Drift was created to divert attention from the appalling British mistakes which caused the earlier defeat at Isandlwana.
By Frank Harrison
The 'Desert Rats' defeat Rommel: ' ... an impressive book ... highly recommended.' John Pimlott, MILITARY ILLUSTRATEDThe siege of Tobruk in 1941 was the first time the British army succeeded in defeating a German army operation in World War II. Despite all the ingenuity of Erwin Rommel, the 'Desert Fox', and the bravery of his Afrika Korps, the outnumbered and outgunned British garrison held the port until a relief mission, 'Operation Battleaxe', drove back the German and Italian forces.It was during this epic siege that 'Lord Haw Haw', the German propaganda broadcaster, coined the phrase 'Desert Rats'. He intended it as an insult, but the soldiers at Tobruk took a perverse pride in the name which became the nickname of the 8th Army in general and the 7th Armoured division in particular.