MHM April/May 2021

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The April/May 2021 issue of Military History Matters, the British military history magazine, is out now.

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Front cover of Military History Matters 121, the April/May 2021 issue.
Front cover of Military History Matters 121, the April/May 2021 issue.

In this issue:

Airpower comes of age

Nothing short of a military revolution occurred between 1914 and 1918. Airpower initially played a reconnaissance role, but by the end of the war was essential in the support of ground operations, attacks, pursuit, and air-supply. The Germans also mounted a strategic bombing campaign over Britain, and their enemy responded in kind. Was the diversion of resources worth it? We address this and other questions in our special on the rise of airpower.

Sink the Tirpitz! The campaign against ‘the beast’

John Sweetman analyses the relative failure of repeated Fleet Air Arm attacks on the German battleship Tirpitz.

The Swiss: a late medieval military elite

The Swiss army ruthlessly used terrain to its advantage and had a genius for knowing which battles not to fight, as Edmund West explores.

Britain’s secret resistance plans: the Auxiliary Units

The British authorities were preparing for a brutal underground war in the event of a German invasion in 1940, Andrew Chatterton reports.

Regiment: Walcheren Expedition, 1809

Patrick Mercer reports on a tough fighting regiment of the Napoleonic Wars, let down by dismal command.

Also in this issue:

Christopher Warner’s series on War AthletesBehind the Image, War Culture, Book ReviewsMuseum ReviewBack to the Drawing Board, Listings, Competitions, and more.

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From the editor:

MHM Editor Neil Faulkner
MHM Editor Neil Faulkner

We devote the special this time to our occasional series on airpower. We analyse airpower’s coming of age in the context of the military revolution of 1918, when a new kind of combined-arms tactics based on machines, firepower, and infiltration ended trench-war stalemate and restored a war of movement.

This became the basis of tactics through the rest of the 20th century. The Hundred Days Offensive of 1918 has more in common with the Blitzkrieg operations of 1940 than with either the Battle of the Marne in 1914 or the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Airpower was an increasingly important part of this transformation in war.

Two very different aspects of the Second World War are covered – in Andrew Chatterton’s report on the latest research on Britain’s secret resistance forces, and in John Sweetman’s analysis of the Fleet Air Arm attacks on the Tirpitz in 1944.

Earlier periods are represented in Edmund West’s article on the Swiss in the Late Middle Ages – peasant pikemen who evolved into a Renaissance military elite – and in Patrick Mercer’s latest regiment feature, where his focus is the 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot in the little-remembered Walcheren Campaign of 1809.

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