The good blokes at Osprey Publishing in merry ole’ England have been quite prolific in recent days with new volumes within their already impressive line-up of books of interest to military history buffs and wargamers. Among the recent new releases is Volume #160 of their Elite series. Entitled World War II Infantry Assault Tactics, this 64-page softback book is a very worthy addition. While so many books focus on the equipment, organization, uniforms, and battles, this one is a departure, focusing on ground assault tactics on a micro-level. The author, Gordon L. Rottman, is a former infantryman well versed in the art of small arms combat, and his experience and research, coupled with his strong prose, enable the reader to get a good grasp of small unit tactics during the Second World War.
In particular, Rottman studies and explains the techniques used to eliminate the enemy’s fortified positions. He discusses the detailed planned and preparation that the infantry and / or engineering teams go through before the actual attack, as well as the typical defensive preparations such as minefields, obstacles, and fortifications. Rottman examines the differences in assault tactics between the major combatants – U.S., Germany, Great Britain, and Japan — comparing and contrasting the styles (and results).
Profusely illustrated by Peter Dennis, in Osprey’s common style of excellence, this new book is a very interesting read, and, for those of us who have never been involved in a military attack on a fortified position, it gives a reasonable overview of what goes into the attack — far more that what Saving Private Ryan or the old John Wayne WWII films might imply. Pick up a copy today if you are interested in the details behind the scenes.