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Books at On Military Matters


Updated as of 7/20/2017

ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
rct - recent arrival or pending publication, spc - OMM Special Price
Anglo-Boer Wars

1-79400 Castle, H. G. SPION KOP:The Second Boer War 16 color plates, text, maps. 1 vol, 48 pgs 1976 LONDON, ALMARK PUBLISHING
GOOD-softback ......$16.00

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1-44990 Coetzer, Owen ANGLO-BOER WAR, THE:The Road to Infamy, 1899-1900 In this dramatic work the author brings to light new evidence from eye witnesses in this account of the four month campaign on the Tugela River Oct 1899 to Feb 1900, b/w illust, biblio, index. 1 vol, 288 pgs 1996 LONDON, ARMS & ARMOUR
NEW-dj ......$15.00

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3-13590 Gardner, Brian MAFEKING-A Victorian legend An account of the siege of Mafeking and its commander Colonel Baden-Powell. B/w illust, maps, biblio and index. 1 vol, 246 pgs 1966 LONDON, CASSELL & CO. LTD
GOOD-dj ......$30.00

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1-205070 Heaton, Colin D FOUR-WAR BOER: The Century and Life of Pieter Arnoldus Krueler The amazing life of Pieter Krueler (1885-1986) provides a window into a full century of conflict such as one man rarely experiences. Four-War Boer traces Krueler's highly colorful life from the Second Boer War, where he first served as a 14-year-old scout, through his service in World War I with the German army in East Africa, to the Spanish Civil War to World War II, this time with the Allies, and on into the latter part of the 20th century, when he served as a mercenary during the 1960s Congo Crisis. Later, by this time in his eighties, he became a civilian trainer for the original Selous Scouts of Rhodesia, and later still a trainer for South African commandos.

This biography of a most remarkable man and warrior is based on six years of historical research through hard-to-find secondary and published primary sources as well as extensive interviews with Krueler himself. Interviews with German officers and others who knew and worked with Krueler amply document the biography, adding first-person testimony and giving the work the immediacy of a memoir. 1 vol, 288 pgs 2014 US, CASEMATE
NEW-dj, available mid May 2014 ......$33.00 with a discount of 15%

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1-972026 Knight, Ian 026 BOER GUERRILLA vs BRITISH MOUNTED SOLDIER: South Africa 1880-1902 Waged across an inhospitable terrain which varied from open African savannah to broken mountain country and arid semi-desert, the Anglo-Boer wars of 1880-81 and 1899-1902 pitted the British Army and its allies against the Boers' commandos.

The nature of warfare across these campaigns was shaped by the realities of the terrain and by Boer fighting techniques. Independent and individualistic, the Boers were not professional soldiers but a civilian militia who were bound by the terms of the 'Commando system' to come together to protect their community against an outside threat. By contrast the British Army was a full-time professional body with an established military ethos, but its over-dependence on conventional infantry tactics led to a string of Boer victories.

This fully-illustrated study examines the evolving nature of Boer military techniques, and contrasts them with the British experience, charting the development of effective British mounted tactics from the first faltering steps of 1881 through to the final successes of 1902. 1 vol, 80 pgs 2017 UK, OSPREY PUBLISHING
NEW-pb, available mid July 2017 ......$20.00 with a discount of 15% rct

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1-197090 Lock, Ron HILL OF SQUANDERED VALOUR:- The Battle for Spion Kop, 1900 The Battle of Spion Kop was fought during the campaign to relieve Ladysmith, South Africa, after the Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State had gotten a jump on the British Empire and besieged a British army in the town. It was the single bloodiest episode in the campaign, as well as a harbinger of the bitter and desperate fighting still to come in the Second Boer War.

Spion Kop, just northeast of Ladysmith, was the largest hill in the region, being over 1,400 feet high, and it lay almost exactly at the center of the Boer line. If the British could capture this position and bring artillery to the hill they would then command the flanks of the surrounding Boer positions.

On the night of 23 January 1900, a large British force under Major General Edward Woodgate was dispatched to secure the height, with Lt. Colonel Alexander Thorneycroft selected to lead the initial assault. However, the Boers refused to give up the position and a bitter two days of fighting ensued.

In the initial darkness the British mistakenly entrenched at the center of the hill instead of the crest, and suffered horribly from Boer marksmen clinging to the periphery. Suffering badly themselves, the Boers were finally inclined to admit defeat when they discovered that the British had retreated, leaving behind their many dead. Yet, in light of the devastation wrought on both sides, the British were finally able to rally and relieve Ladysmith four weeks later.

Ron Lock, esteemed author of many Zulu warfare histories, brings to life this bitter and previously overlooked campaign in vivid and complete detail, with supporting sources including then-journalist Winston Churchill's battle report, as well as many previously unpublished illustrations and 6 newly commissioned maps. His account will be valuable to both historians and strategists wanting to better understand this difficult and devastating conflict. 1 vol, 288 pgs 2011 US, CASEMATE
NEW-dj ......$33.00 with a discount of 15%

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1-209020 Rethman, Hugh FRIENDS AND ENEMIES: The Natal Campaign in the South African War 1899-1902 When the Boer Republics invaded Natal in 1899, the invaders could have been driven out with casualties measured in hundreds. Instead Britain was to lose nearly 9,000 men killed in action, more than 13,000 to disease and a further 75,000 wounded and sick were invalided back to Britain. The war ended in 1902 with a very unsatisfactory Peace Treaty.

At the start of the conflict Britain's Generals were faced with problems new to the military establishment. Shows of force did little to intimidate a determined opposition; infantry charges against a hidden enemy armed with modern rifles resulted in a futile waste of lives. Artillery could now destroy unseen targets at great range. Lack of mobility resulted in more than half the army being besieged in Ladysmith bringing with it concomitant civilian involvement. This includes, for the first time, the experiences of the inhabitants of Natal - soldier and civilian, men, women and children, black and white.

Some generals learnt quickly - others were slower and yet others, perhaps through pride and stubbornness, refused to alter their ways and thus their men paid with their lives. The bravery and sacrifice of men during the campaign have been described in many books, as have the faults - real and imagined - of the generals. But little attention has been paid to the greatest blunder of all: a failure to use local advice, opinion, and capability.

From the beginning, locally-raised regiments demonstrated how the Boers might be defeated without incurring heavy casualties and, when they were finally given their head, they chased the invaders out of Natal while suffering only nominal casualties.

Diaries and letters vividly portray the actions at Talana, Elandslaagte, Colenso, Acton Homes, and Spion Kop, as well as the siege of Ladysmith in which 15,000 military personnel and 2,500 residents and refugees were incarcerated for four months, slowly but surely dying from starvation and sickness until their relief.

Before, during and after the Boer War many myths were created and facts hidden to suit political ends. The result was that lessons, which should have been learned were never adequately understood or applied. With the West still engaged in foreign wars, these old mistakes should be remembered and not repeated. 1 vol, 400 pgs 2015 UK, TATTERED FLAG
NEW-softcover ......$28.00 with a discount of 15%

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1-12630 Steevens, G. W. edited by Vernon Blackburn FROM CAPETOWN TO LADYSMITH First-hand account of the first year of the Second Boer War. 1 vol, 158 pgs 1969 NY, NEGRO UNIVERSITIES PR
AS NEW-no dj REPRINT OF 1900 EDIT. ......$20.00

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2-63940 Sykes, Frank WITH PLUMER ON MATABELELAND An account of the operations of the MatabelelandRelief Force during 1896, 50+ b/w illust, fold-outmaps, the author was a trooper in the M.R.F. 1 vol, 295 pgs 1972 BULAWAYO, RHODESIAN PUBS
V.GOOD-hardcover, 1897 ed reprint ......$40.00

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