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Osprey Publishing is an Oxford-based publishing company specializing in military history. Predominantly an illustrated publisher, many of their books contain full-colour artwork plates, maps and photographs, and the company produces over a dozen ongoing series, each focusing on a specific aspect of the history of warfare. Osprey has published over 1,500 books. They are best known for their Men-at-Arms series, running to over 400 titles, with each book dedicated to a specific historical army or military unit.



In the 1960s, Brooke Bond Tea Company began including a series of military aircraft cards with packages of their tea. The cards proved popular, and the artist, Dick Ward, proposed the idea of publishing illustrated books about military aircraft. The idea was approved and a small subsidiary company called Osprey was formed. The company’s first book, North American P-51D Mustang in USAAF-USAF Service, was published in 1969. Soon after, Ward proposed trying the same idea with famous military units, and in 1971 the first Men-at-Arms title appeared.

Over the next 20 years, Osprey grew steadily, adding new titles and new series to their ever-growing catalogue. Although Osprey has produced books of all types, the main focus remains on military history. Generally there is a bias towards the history of the English-speaking world, with a particular focus on the military history of Britain (of the 185 titles produced in the Campaign series, as many as half relate to the military history of Britain, mostly English or British military victories). Osprey Publishing now has over 30 employees and publishes an average of 10-12 books a month.



Armies and units

  • Men-at-Arms
    Osprey’s flagship series, Men-at-Arms examines the history, uniforms and equipment of specific military groups. The series contains over 400 titles and covers military organizations throughout history. Each book is 48 pages, and contains 8 pages of colour plates.
  • Elite
    Originally devised to give more thorough coverage to elite fighting units, this series has expanded to include books on other topics such as tactics, military commanders and siege warfare. Each book is 64 pages, with 8-12 pages of colour plates.
  • Raid
    The latest series focuses on small unit, special operations and counterterrorist operations, often in a victory-or-death situation. The series describes the background and history behind each operation, assesses the initial assault strategy, evaluates the raid's implementation and analyzes the operation's success or failure.
  • Warrior
    This series focuses on the individual warrior of a specific period or culture, examining his experiences on the battlefield as well as his training, fighting methods and day to day living.

Strategy and tactics

  • Battle Orders
    This is a series of army-level guides, filled with force organization charts, weapons listings, and discussions of command, deployment and tactics. Each book is 96 pages.
  • Campaign
    Another long-running series with nearly 200 titles, Campaign focuses on the more famous battles and campaigns of history. Each book has 96 pages, with bird's-eye–view maps illustrating troop movements over battlefields and two or three double-page battle scene paintings.
  • Essential Histories
    Historical overviews which cover the origins, politics, fighting and repercussions of one major war or theatre of war, from both military and civilian perspectives.
  • Essential Histories Specials
    consists of multi-volume editions that combine previously published Essential Histories single volumes.

General Military

Osprey Publishing has also published a number of standalone titles on individual topics of military history (since 2001).

  • The US Army in World War II (2001)
  • Into the Reich: Battles on Germany’s Western Frontier 1944–1945 (2002)
  • Warriors & Warlords: The Art of Angus McBride (2002)
  • Soldiers of the Revolutionary War (2002)
  • The German Army in World War II (2002)
  • Duel of the Ironclads: USS Monitor and CSS Virginia at Hampton Roads 1862 (2003)
  • GI: The US Infantryman in World War II (2003)
  • Samurai: The World of the Warrior (2003)
  • Shadow Warriors: A History of the US Army Rangers
  • The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima
  • The Trafalgar Companion
  • Warriors of Medieval Japan
  • Struggle for a Vast Future: The American Civil War
  • Besieged: Siege Warfare in the Ancient World
  • Lords of Battle: The World of the Celtic Warrior
  • The Normans: Warrior Knights and their Castles
  • The Samurai and the Sacred
  • The Fall of Constantinople: The Ottoman Conquest of Byzantium
  • Empires Collide: The French and Indian War 1754–1763
  • Scourge of the Seas: Buccaneers, Pirates & Privateers
  • War on the Western Front: In the Trenches of World War I
  • Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land : The Vietnam War Revisited
  • Soldiers of the Dragon: Chinese Armies 1500 BC - 1840 AD
  • Chivalry and Command: 500 years of Horse Guards
  • The Enemy Within: A History of Espionage
  • The Vikings: Voyagers of Discovery and Plunder (2008)
    by Keith Durham, Mark Harrison and Magnus Magnusson
  • Knight: Noble Warrior of England 1200–1600 (2008), ISBN 9781846033421.
    by Christopher Gravett
  • SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men (2008), ISBN 9781846032240
    by Pete Scholey and Frederick Forsyth
  • Who Dares Wins: Special Forces Heroes of the SAS (2008), ISBN 9781846033117
    by Pete Scholey and Frederick Forsyth
  • Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare (2008), ISBN 9781846032813.
    by Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian
  • From Rocks to Rockets: Arms and Armies through the Ages (2008), ISBN 9781846034237
  • Fighting Talk: The military origins of everyday words and phrases (2008), ISBN 9781846034558.
    by Graeme Donald
  • Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of everyday words and phrases (2008), ISBN 9781846033001.
    by Graeme Donald
  • SEALs: The US Navy’s Elite Fighting Force (2008), ISBN 9781846032264.
    by Mir Bahmanyar and Chris Osman
  • Osprey Men-At-Arms: A Celebration (2008), ISBN 9781846034374.
    by Martin Windrow, a special edition of artwork from the Men-at-Arms series
  • Crusader Castles in the Holy Land: An Illustrated History of the Crusader Fortifications of the Middle East and Mediterranean (2008), ISBN 9781846033490
    by David Nicolle
  • Buffalo Soldiers: African American Troops in the US forces 1866–1945 (2008), ISBN 9781846033438
    by Ron Field and Alexander Bielakowski
  • The Battlefields of the First World War (Revised): The Unseen Panoramas of the Western Front (2009), ISBN 9781845298845.
    by Peter Barton and Peter Doyle
  • Sniper: A History of the US Marksman (2009), ISBN 9781846034954
    by Martin Pegler, author of Out of Nowhere: A History of the Military Sniper
  • Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War (2009), ISBN 1846031087
    Written by Kaveh Farrokh and first published in 2007, Shadows in the Desert deals with the military history of Persia, covering the three major empires of Persia before Islam (Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sassanids), with a supportive foreword by Richard Nelson Frye, the Harvard University Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies. The work was positively received by some reviewers. Higham, writing in Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, argued that it provided balance to the stories about Persia written by "Greek and Roman observers and historians".[1] Similarly, a one-paragraph review in the magazine The Middle East described it as offering a "comprehensive history of Persia's wars",[2] while the Library Bookwatch described it as "one of the most authoritative histories of the Persian empires to see recent print".[3] On the negative side, Jona Lendering in Bryn Mawr Classical Review argued that the book was "exceptionally bad", criticizing both its coverage of the field and the author's use of sources.[4] A response to Lendering's review was given also in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review which responds to nine points of Lendering's comments[5] and stated in conclusion that: Lendering's review of Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War is characterized by the presentation of erroneous information, the arbitrary selection and rejection of information, and ignorance of much of the scholarship in the field of Iranian studies.. A longer response to Lendering in the magazine Rozaneh points to "mistakes" made by Lendering in his review including the structure of the Achaemenid Navy and the existence of the site of Gotarzes II.)[6] Shadows in the Desert received a 2008 "Persian Golden Lioness Award" as the "Best History" in the literature category,[7][8] and was selected as being among the top three History books of 2008 by the Independent Book Publishers Association of the United States.[9]
  • Overlord: The D-Day Landings (2009), ISBN 9781846034244
    by Ken Ford Steven J Zaloga Stephen Badsey, on Operation Overlord of 6 June 1944.
  • Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250–1877 (2009), ISBN 9781846034138
    by Stephen Turnbull, treating the history of Japanese castle development.


Series dedicated to aviation:

  • Aircraft of the Aces
    This series presents the history of the men and machines that have achieved Ace status (five aerial kills) since the rise of the aeroplane for military use in World War I.
  • Combat Aircraft
    Similar to Aircraft of the Aces, but with a focus on specific types of aircraft instead of the pilots, covering topics from the birth of military aviation right up to the US “Stealth” fighters and bombers of today.
  • Aviation Elite Units
    The newest series in Osprey’s Aviation list, these books present in-depth studies of specific aircraft combat units, often giving day by day accounts of their victories and defeats.
  • General Aviation
    • Red Eagles
    • F-15 Eagle Engaged
    • Lockheed Blackbird
    • Aircraft of the Aces
    • Spitfire Flying Legend
    • Vietnam Choppers
    • The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft
    • B-52 Stratofortress
    • Lockheed SR 71

Equipment and technology

  • Vanguard
    A now defunct series about military units, equipment, and weaponry, almost all from World War II.
  • New Vanguard
    A series about the machines and equipment of war, from ancient siege weapons, through pirate ships, to modern main battle tanks. The series includes cutaway artwork, showing the internal workings of the machines.
  • Fortress
    One of Osprey’s newer series, Fortress documents the structures that different cultures have built for the purpose of war and defence. Includes cutaway artwork and colour illustrations mixed in with the text.
  • Duel
    The Duel series addresses "machine-on-machine action" Each title follows the design and development of the opposing weapon systems in wartime.

Modelling and popular culture

  • Osprey Modelling
    Osprey’s series of “how-to” modelling guides. Each book focuses on a specific topic, such as a type of tank, and takes the reader through a series of projects, starting at the beginner level and advancing through to expert level modelling.
  • Modelling Manuals
    Books in the Osprey Modelling Manuals series provide detailed guidelines to build specific models of tank or aircraft.
  • Modelling Masterclass
    Books in Osprey’s Modelling Masterclass series focus on a single period or genre of model making.
  • Field of Glory
    Field of Glory is a new historical miniature wargaming rules system for anyone interested in recreating battles on their tabletop.
  • Graphic History
    This series translates battles into comic book form.

See also


  1. ^ Higham, R. (February 2008). "Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War". Current Reviews for Academic Libraries 45 (6): 1034–1034.  
  2. ^ Rhodes, Fred (May 2007). "Shadows in the Desert Ancient Persia at War". Middle East (378): 65.  
  3. ^ "The Military Shelf". Library Bookwatch 2 (7). July 2007. Retrieved December 22, 2008.  
  4. ^ Lendering, Jona (September 2008). "Kaveh Farrokh, Shadows in the Desert. Ancient Persia at War.". Bryn Mawr Classical Review. Retrieved December 2, 2008.  
  5. ^ Professor Valeri Vashakidze (Member of Georgian Academy of Sciences, Ex Minister of the Georgian State Refugees and Accommodation), Dr. David (Giorgi) Tcheishvili (Georgia State University, Republic of Georgia), Professor George Gulordava (Dadiani Museum Academy), Professor Tariel Jikia (Cheriomushki College, Russia), Dr. David Khoupenia (University of Zugdidi), Professor Niko Kachareva (Georgian State University), Dr. Imre Bartfai (University of Budapest, Hungary). "Collaborative Response to Lendering on Kaveh Farrokh, Shadows in the Desert. Ancient Persia at War.", Bryn Mawr Classical Review. February 02, 2009 Accessed: February 04, 2009,[1]
  6. ^ "Let’s Abandon the Distorions of Achaemenid Studies", Rozaneh Magazine, Fall, 2008. [2]
  7. ^ BBC Persian: November 05, 2008
  8. ^ "Awardees of 2008". WAALM Awards. Retrieved December 5, 2008.  
  9. ^ Independent Book Publishers Association, Benjamin Franklin Award Winners and Finalists 2008, [3], Accessed December, 2008.

External links

Non-affiliated related websites:

Osprey also supports a number of websites on various topics in military history:


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