MHM 54 – March 2015

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CoverThe March issue of Military History Monthly, the British military history magazine, is on sale today.

In this issue we cover:

Siege Warfare
Focusing on the sieges of Sebastopol (1854-1855) and Petersburg (1864-1865), MHM examines the 19th-century transition from ‘horse and musket’ warfare to the ‘storm and steel’ trench warfare that emerged in the 20th century.  This 21-page special feature includes:

– Timeline
– Technology
– Tactics
– Battle Map

Battle of New Orleans – 8 January 1815
Robin Smith tells the story of this crushing British defeat in America, forever overshadowed by Waterloo.

The Sinking of the Mesudiye – ‘A mighty clever piece of work’
David Saunders explains the sinking of a mighty Ottoman battleship by a tiny British submarine on 13 December 1914.

Scourge of the Seas – Mines in the Dardanelles
Patrick Boniface marks the anniversary of the Dardanelles disaster with an analysis of exactly what went wrong for the British.


From the editor

Neil Faulkner, Editor

When did trench warfare begin? Last month, David Porter traced its evolution from the middle of the 19th century onwards. This month, we focus on two great sieges of that period: Sebastopol and Petersburg.

The Crimean War and the American Civil War both began as wars of movement and ended as year-long sieges. The basic reason was growing firepower. This in turn led to entrenchment. And the combination of increased killing-power and strong field-fortifications created static fronts.

This also meant attrition, and attrition is costly. The war drags on, the big guns take their toll, and disease runs wild. An estimated 800,000 died in the Crimean War, and more than 600,000 in the American Civil War. Disease was the main killer, outnumbering combat fatalities by three to one in the Crimea and two to one in America. But it was the static and protracted character of both wars that gave disease its chance.

Patrick Mercer looks at Sebastopol, David Porter covers tactics, and we provide an in-depth piece on Petersburg.

Also this issue, we mark two very different anniversaries. Robin Smith analyses another American battle with his piece on the failed British assault on New Orleans on 8 January 1815. Overshadowed by Waterloo, this battle is little remembered on this side of the Atlantic, but it was a stunning victory by an improvised American frontier force commanded by a future president – Andrew Jackson. Our other anniversary is that of the naval war in the Dardanelles. David Saunders recalls a spectacular British submarine attack that sunk a Turkish battleship in December 1914, while Patrick Boniface analyses the disastrous Anglo-French naval operation of 18 March 1915, one of the biggest ship-to-shore actions in history.

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