Osprey Publishing
Osprey Publishing is an Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

-based publishing company specializing in military history
Military history
Military history is a humanities discipline within the scope of general historical recording of armed conflict in the history of humanity, and its impact on the societies, their cultures, economies and changing intra and international relationships....

. 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. Majority ownership is held by the private equity firm Botts & Company.


In the 1960s, the Brooke Bond
Brooke Bond
Brooke Bond is a brand-name of tea owned by Unilever, formerly an independent manufacturer in the United Kingdom, known for its PG Tips brand and its Brooke Bond tea cards.- History :...

 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.

Shire Books
Shire Books
Shire Books are published by Shire Publications Ltd, a book publishing company based in Oxford, England. Shire offers low priced, concise non-fiction paperbacks on a wide range of subjects...

 was acquired in 2007, and the science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint Angry Robot Books was purchased from HarperCollins
HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. It is the combination of the publishers William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd, a British company, and Harper & Row, an American company, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company. The worldwide...

 in 2010.

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 over 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
    Angus McBride
    Angus McBride was an English historical and fantasy illustrator.Born in London to Highland Scots parents, Angus McBride was orphaned as a child when his mother died when he was five, and his father in World War Two when he was twelve. He was educated at the Canterbury Cathedral Choir School...

  • 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
    Frederick Forsyth
    Frederick Forsyth, CBE is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan and The Cobra.-...

  • Who Dares Wins: Special Forces Heroes of the SAS (2008), ISBN 9781846033117
    by Pete Scholey and Frederick Forsyth
    Frederick Forsyth
    Frederick Forsyth, CBE is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan and The Cobra.-...

  • 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
  • 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
    Richard Nelson Frye
    Richard Nelson Frye is an American scholar of Iranic and Central Asian Studies, and Aga Khan Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Harvard University...

    , 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". Similarly, a one-paragraph review in the magazine The Middle East described it as offering a "comprehensive history of Persia's wars", while the Library Bookwatch described it as "one of the most authoritative histories of the Persian empires to see recent print". On the negative side, Jona Lendering
    Jona Lendering
    Jona Lendering is a Dutch historian and the author of books on antiquity, Dutch history and modern management...

     in Bryn Mawr Classical Review
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review
    Bryn Mawr Classical Review is an open access journal founded in 1990. It publishes reviews of current scholarly work in the field of classical studies including classical archaeology. This journal is the second oldest online humanities scholarly journal. It provides both online and print...

    argued that the book was "exceptionally bad", criticizing both its coverage of the field and the author's use of sources. A response to Lendering's review was given also in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review which responds to nine points of Lendering's comments 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. Shadows in the Desert received a 2008 "Persian Golden Lioness Award" as the "Best History" in the literature category, and was selected as being among the top three History books of 2008 by the Independent Book Publishers Association of the United States.Computer engineer Farhad Mafie of California State University praises Farrokh's book, stating that it “contains a very useful chronology and a comprehensive bibliography of both primary and secondary sources, which help the reader to find the desired relevant references much faster. In addition to a comprehensive index, Farrokh provides an excellent Endnotes section that offers further explanations, references and relevant information on various key points in each chapter. A great help to students!” (Farhad Mafie of California State University - 2010, Iranshenasi Journal
    Iran Shenasi also spelled as "Iranshinasi" is an academic journal of Iranian studies. The founding editor-in-chief is Jalal Matini. The journal is published in Persian and covers Iranian history, Persian culture, and Persian literature...

     PP.4]) .

  • Overlord: The D-Day Landings (2009), ISBN 9781846034244
    by Ken Ford Steven J Zaloga Stephen Badsey, on Operation Overlord
    Operation Overlord
    Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

     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.
  • Iran at War:1500-1988 (2011), ISBN 9781846034916
    by Kaveh Farrokh


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
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  • 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
    A wargame is a strategy game that deals with military operations of various types, real or fictional. Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of such games, which can also be called conflict simulations, or consims for short. When used professionally to study warfare, it is generally known as...

     rules system for anyone interested in recreating battles on their tabletop.
  • Graphic History
    This series translates battles into comic book form.

See also

  • Michael Chappell
    Michael Chappell
    Michael Chappell is an author and illustrator of military books. Mike Chappell comes from an Aldershot family with links to the British Army going back several generations. He enlisted as a Private in the Royal Hampshire Regiment in 1952 aged 17, and transferred to the Gloucestershire Regiment in...

    , prolific writer and illustrator for Osprey Publishing.
  • Bruce Barrymore Halpenny
    Bruce Barrymore Halpenny
    Bruce Barrymore Halpenny is a widely respected English military historian and author, specialising in airfields and aircraft, as well as ghost stories and mysteries. He is also a broadcaster and games inventor.-Parents:...

    , author ENGLISH ELECTRIC/BAC LIGHTNING (Osprey air combat)
  • Duncan B Campbell
    Duncan Campbell (ancient historian)
    Duncan B Campbell is a scholar of Greek and Roman warfare. He published his first paper in 1984, as an undergraduate at Glasgow University , and produced a complete re-assessment of Roman siegecraft for his PhD. Besides academic articles, he has written several popular books about ancient warfare,...

    , author of several ancient world titles
  • Derrick Wright
    Derrick Wright
    Derrick Wright is a British author specializing in military history and particularly battles in the Pacific against the Japanese in World War II. He grew up in Teesside, an area in the North East of England, which was repeatedly bombed by German forces during the war...

    , author of a few books in the Campaign series
  • David G. Chandler
    David G. Chandler
    David G. Chandler was a British historian whose study focused on the Napoleonic era.As a young man he served briefly in the army, reaching the rank of captain, and in later life he taught at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Oxford University awarded him the D. Litt. in 1991...

    , author of many books about Napoleonic wars.
  • Peter Cottrell
    Peter Cottrell
    Major Peter James Cottrell . Anglo-Welsh soldier, sailor, writer, educator and revisionist military historian of the Irish War of Independence and Irish Civil War.-Biography:...

    , author specialising in early c20th Anglo-Irish military history.

External links

Non-affiliated related websites:

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