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Books at On Military Matters

Updated as of 7/11/2024

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-LEG2103 Bailey, Godfrey HILL OF DOVES: The First Anglo-Boer War 1880-1881 Solitaire boardgame in which the player controls An Imperial British Army at war with a programmed non-player Transvaal Republican Army in 1881. The British army's aim is to win the war by controlling the area known as Laing's Nek which lies on the border between Natal and the Transvaal. The British army has up to 12 weeks to achieve this, failing which, the Boers will win the war.

The player follows the instructions on the Sequence of Play cards aided by the step marker and the Set-up Card. If any battles are to be fought the player will be referred to the Tactical Deck or the Ambush Deck to resolve the battle and then the player will be prompted to return to the Operational Deck to continue the war.

The game plays at the strategic, operational and tactical levels on three boards simultaneously. There are three phases to the game which are detailed on the Sequence of Play Cards. The Operational Phase is the heart of the game and represents a seven-day cycle, with a Strategic Phase being referred to at the end of each Operational Phase to resolve situations occurring during the week just passed. A Tactical Phase represents a variable number of hours being referred to each time the British carry out an assault. 1 vol, 1 pgs 2012 US, LEGION WARGAMES LLC
NEW-box, available mid July 2022 ......$80.00 with a discount of 10% inc

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2-19750 Barthorp, Michael ANGLO-BOER WARS, THE:1815-1902 8x10, b/w maps, illust, biblio, index. 1 vol, 176 pgs 1987 LONDON, BLANDFORD PRESS
V.GOOD-dj, one copy only - first come, first served ......$15.00 inc

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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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1-240730 Davidson, Robert THE SPIOENKOP CAMPAIGN: The Battles to Relieve Ladysmith, 17-27 January 1900 Places the Jan. 24, 1900 battle of Spioenkop within the context of the larger British campaign to break through the Boer lines and relieve the besieged town of Ladysmith. Uses battlefield archaeology and eyewitness accounts of Boer and British participants to create a highly original and detailed account. Also serves as a battlefield guide to Tabanyama and Spioenkop, providing detailed maps and numerous GPS locations. 1 vol, 278 pgs 2023 UK, HELION AND COMPANY
NEW-pb, available mid November 2023 ......$50.00 with a discount of 15% rct

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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%

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1-216370 Laband, John THE BATTLE OF MAJUBA HILL: The Transvaal Campaign, 1880-1881 The ignominious rout of a British force at the battle of Majuba on 27 February 1881 and the death of its commander, Major General Sir George Pomeroy-Colley, was the culminating British disaster in the humiliating Transvaal campaign of 1880-1881 in South Africa. For the victorious Boers who were rebelling against the British annexation of their republic in 1877, Majuba became the symbol of Afrikaner resistance against British imperialism.

On the flip side, Majuba gave the late Victorian British army its first staggering experience of modern warfare and signaled the need for it to reassess its training and tactics. Includes 1 color photo, 1 color illustrations, 35 b/w photos, 14 b/w illustrations, and six maps. 1 vol, 152 pgs 2018 UK, HELION AND COMPANY
NEW-softcover, available late February 2018 ......$40.00 with a discount of 15%

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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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1-231170 Ross, Hamish BADEN POWELL'S FIGHTING POLICE - The SAC: The Boer War Unit That Inspired the Scouts Rejecting Army models of command, Baden-Powell creates the South African Constabulary (SAC) in August 1900 with a small number of officers, dividing it into Troops of 100 men, then sub-dividing again into sections and the key working unit - the squad of six men under a corporal. To get the caliber of recruit he wants, the SAC will be better paid than the Army and he expects the men to be motivated by a code of honor, to be self-reliant and 'handy men' able to tackle any kind of work. Most recruits come from the UK, but in Canada, however, the Governor General intervenes and botches selection. Analyzes creation, development, and effectiveness of the SAC and also highlights what Baden-Powell brought from the SAC and gave anew to the Scouts. 1 vol, 224 pgs 2022 UK, PEN & SWORD
NEW-dj, available late June 2022 ......$50.00 with a discount of 15% rct

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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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