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Military Technology
MiG-29 launches an AA-10 AAM British Challenger tank

Top: A Russian Mig-29 fires an AA-10 missile
Bottom:A British Challenger main battle tank

SSN Louisville underway

The 688-class submarine USS Louisville underway at speed.

Being interested in military history naturally leads into being interested in modern military hardware and tactics. These days, understanding the basics of military technology can also be useful in other ways. I've accumulated a shelf or so of books about modern military subjects, mainly the US military but some about other countries as well.

History of weapons

Books about the history of weapons, from the stone knives and stick-spears of prehistoric times to the smart weapons of today. Some of these are general overviews of all weaponry; others deal specifically with one or two types of weapons.

  • ARCHAEOLOGY OF WEAPONS, THE
    Author: Oakeshott, Ewart
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
    ISBN: 1-56619-596-9
    A review of weapons and weaponry through the ages, from prehistoric times to the medieval period.
  • ARMS AND ARMOR IN COLONIAL AMERICA 1526 - 1783
    Author: Peterson, Harold L.
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: Dover
    ISBN: 0-486-41244-X

  • ARMS AND ARMOUR IN ANTIQUITY AND THE MIDDLE AGES
    Author: Boutell, Charles
    Copyright:1996
    Publisher: Combined Books
    ISBN: 0-938289-62-4

  • BOOK OF THE SWORD, THE
    Author: Burton, Richard F.
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Dover
    ISBN: 0-486-25434-8

  • BROADSIDES: THE AGE OF FIGHTING SAIL, 1775-1815
    Author: Miller, Nathan
    Copyright:2000
    Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
    ISBN: 0-471-07835-2

  • DREADNOUGHT: A History of the Modern Battleship
    Author: Hough, Richard
    Copyright:1975
    Publisher: MacMillan Publishing
    ISBN:

  • EVOLUTION OF WEAPONS AND WARFARE, THE
    Author: Dupuy, Trevor
    Copyright:1984
    Publisher: Da Capo Press
    ISBN: 0-306-80384-4

  • FIREPOWER: Weapons Effectiveness on the Battlefield, 1630-1850
    Author: Hughes, Maj Gen BP
    Copyright:1997
    Publisher: Sarpedon
    ISBN: 1-885119-39-9

  • GRIM REAPER, THE: Machine-Guns and Machine-Gunners in Action
    Author: Ford, Roger
    Copyright:1996
    Publisher: Sarpedon
    ISBN: 1-885119-41-0

  • MILITARY SMALL ARMS OF THE 20TH CENTURY
    Author: Hogg, Ian V.
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: DBI Books
    ISBN: 0-910676-28-3

  • SWORDS AND HILT WEAPONS
    Author: Various
    Copyright:1993
    Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
    ISBN: 1-56619-249-8

  • WEAPONS: AN INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA FROM 5000 B.C. TO 2000 A.D.
    Author: The Diagram Group
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    ISBN: 0-312-03950-6
    A comprehensive look at weapons of all sorts from simple clubs to modern missiles. Includes several detailed pages on swords from around the world.

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Arco military hardware guides

During the early 1980s, Arco Books in England produced a series of small hardcover books that were illustrated guides to different types of modern weapons and warfare. A typical book in the series describes between thirty and sixty combat weapons or vehicles, complete with development histories and any available information about the item's combat record, if it has one. These guides were apparently written in cooperation with Jane's Defense Publications. Most are now rather outdated. However, they still contain a lot of useful information. I've collected about a dozen of these guides:

  • AIRBORNE MISSILES, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1983
    Publisher: Arco
    ISBN: 0-668-05822-6
    An excellent guide to the air-launched missiles employed by major military powers.
  • MILITARY HELICOPTERS, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: Arco
    ISBN: 0-668-05345-3
    Combat helicopters used by the world's major air forces.
  • NATO FIGHTERS AND ATTACK AIRCRAFT, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Prentice-Hall
    ISBN: 0-668-05824-4
    Guide to the major fighters and attack aircraft used by the NATO countries. Includes heavy bombers like the B-1 and B-52.
  • NAVAL WARFARE, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: Walmer, Max
    Copyright:1989
    Publisher: Salamander
    ISBN: 0-13-451170-0

  • SOVIET AIR FORCE, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1982
    Publisher: Arco
    ISBN: 0-668-05496-4
    Guide to 40+ major aircraft types used by the Soviet Air Force.
  • SPY PLANES AND ELECTRONIC WARFARE AIRCRAFT, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1983
    Publisher: Arco
    ISBN: 0-668-05825-0
    A guide to the aircraft employed specifically for electronic warfare and strategic and tactical reconnaissance.
  • SUBMARINES, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: Miller, David
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Arco
    ISBN: 0-668-05495-6
    Compact directory of around 60 types of submarines employed by the world's navies.
  • US ARMY, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE MODERN
    Author: O'Neill, Richard (ed.)
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Salamander Books
    ISBN: 0-668-06066-2

  • US NAVY, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE MODERN
    Author: Jordan, John
    Copyright:1982
    Publisher: Arco
    ISBN: 0-668-05505-7
    A compact guide to the major ship classes operated by the US Navy, including line warships and support ships. Current only to 1980.
  • USAF: THE MODERN US AIR FORCE, AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Prentice-Hall
    ISBN: 0-668-05497-2
    A guidfe to the major aircraft types used by the United States Air Force, both combat and support.
  • WEAPONS OF THE MODERN SOVIET GROUND FORCES
    Author: Bonds, Ray (ed.)
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: Arco Publishing
    ISBN: 0-668-05344-5

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Revised and updated Arco guides

Operation Desert Storm in 1991 was the first actual combat use for many weapons systems from both NATO nations and the Soviet Union (Saddam Hussein's army was largely Soviet-equipped). Several of the Arco guides were revised and a couple of new ones were written to take advantage of information revealed during the fighting against the Iraqi army. I have a few of these revised guides as well:

  • AMERICAN FIGHTERS & ATTACK AIRCRAFT, THE NEW ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO
    Author: Mike Spick & Barry Wheeler
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Salamander Books
    ISBN: 0-8317-5059-6

  • ELITE FORCES, THE NEW ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: David Miller and Gerard Ridefort
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Salamander Books
    ISBN: 0-8317-5052-9

  • SUB HUNTERS, THE NEW ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: Miller, David
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Salamander Books
    ISBN: 0-8317-5060-X

  • TANKS & FIGHTING VEHICLES, THE NEW ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MODERN
    Author: Miller, David
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Smithmark
    ISBN: 0-8317-5056-1
    A guide to the main battle tanks, light tanks, and self-propelled artillery used by major land armies. Does not cover armored personnel carriers or other light armored vehicles.
  • US NAVY, THE NEW ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO THE MODERN
    Author: Jordan, John
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Salamander Books
    ISBN: 0-8317-5061-8

  • WEAPONS OF THE ELITE FORCES, THE NEW ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO
    Author: David Miller & Gerard Ridefort
    Copyright:1992
    Publisher: Salamander Books
    ISBN: 0-8317-5057-X

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Tom Clancy

Starting in 1993, military-thriller author Tom Clancy published a series of books which are detailed looks at various segments of the United States armed forces. Clancy is more of a cheerleader and enthusiast than an objective reporter; on the other hand, the factual information in these books generally matches what I've read and heard elsewhere, and Clancy does tell the soldier's side, which non-military people don't often see.

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Other books on military hardware

These are a miscellaneous hodge-podge of other books about modern military hardware.

  • AIRCRAFT ARMAMENTS RECOGNITION
    Author: Chant, Christopher
    Copyright:1989
    Publisher: Ian Allen
    ISBN: 0-7110-1841-3
    Field guidebook to recognizing aircraft armaments: bombs, missiles, rockets, guns, and anything else a warplane might carry.
  • ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLES
    Author: Trewhitt, Philip
    Copyright:1999
    Publisher: Friedman/Fairfax
    ISBN: 1-58663-302-3

  • COMBAT AIRCRAFT RECOGNITION
    Author: March, Peter
    Copyright:1988
    Publisher: Ian Allen
    ISBN: 0-7110-1730-1
    Field guide to combat aircraft, including photos and brief text descriptions. Includes helicopters.
  • COMPLETE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AUTOMATIC ARMY RIFLES
    Author: Hartink, A. E.
    Copyright:1999
    Publisher: Rebo International
    ISBN: 1-9310400-4-4

  • FIGHTING JETS
    Author: Walker, Bryce
    Copyright:1983
    Publisher: Time-Life Books
    ISBN: 0-8094-3362-1
    A history of military fighter jets from WWII through 1982.
  • ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE WORLD'S ROCKETS & MISSILES, THE
    Author: Gunston, Bill
    Copyright:1979
    Publisher: Leisure Books
    ISBN:
    Complete guide to all past and present missiles and rockets: air-launched, ship-launched, and ground-launched.
  • LOCK & LOAD: Weapons of the US Military
    Author: Various
    Copyright:2002
    Publisher: PRC Publishing
    ISBN: 1-85648-634-6

  • MODERN LAND COMBAT
    Author: Miller, David and Foss, Christopher
    Copyright:1987
    Publisher: Crescent Books
    ISBN: 0-517-63854-1
    Complete guide to weapons and tactics used by modern military land forces, from infantry rifles to main battle tanks.
  • POCKET GUIDE TO MILITARY AIRCRAFT AND THE WORLD'S AIR FORCES, THE
    Author: Donald, David
    Copyright:1986
    Publisher: Gallery Books
    ISBN: 0-817-7020-1
    Field guide to major types of combat aircraft used by the world's air forces, plus brief summaries of every country's air force strength as of about 1985.
  • SKUNK WORKS
    Author: Rich, Ben & Janos, Leo
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    ISBN: 0-316-74330-5

  • SUPER CARRIERS: US NAVAL AIR POWER TODAY
    Author: Montbazet, Jean-Pierre
    Copyright:1985
    Publisher: Osprey
    ISBN: 085045-639-8
    A look at life aboard United States aircraft carriers.
  • U.S. SPECIAL FORCES: A Guide to America's Special Forces Units
    Author: Samuel Southworth & Stephen Tanner
    Copyright:2002
    Publisher: Da Capo Press
    ISBN: 0-306-81165-0

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Modern Armies in Action

Stories of modern armies (and navies, and air forces, and special forces) in combat, from the Gulf War to Afghanistan and beyond.

  • 50 YEARS OF THE DESERT BONEYARD
    Author: Chinnery, Philip
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Motorbooks Int'l
    ISBN: 0-7603-0187-5

  • 90 MINUTES AT ENTEBBE
    Author: Stevenson, William
    Copyright:1976
    Publisher: Bantam Books
    ISBN: 0-553-10482-9

  • ANGLES OF ATTACK: An A-6 Intruder Pilot's War
    Author: Hunt, Peter
    Copyright:2002
    Publisher: Ballantine Books
    ISBN: 0-345-45114-7

  • HUNT FOR BIN LADEN, THE: Task Force Dagger
    Author: Moore, Robin
    Copyright:2003
    Publisher: Random House
    ISBN: 0-375-50861-9

  • NEVER FIGHT FAIR! Inside the Legendary US Navy SEALs
    Author: Kelly, Orr
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Pocket Books
    ISBN: 0-671-53266-9

  • THUNDER IN THE DESERT: The Strategy and Tactics of the persian Gulf War
    Author: Blackwell, James (Maj. USA, Ret)
    Copyright:1991
    Publisher: Bantam Books
    ISBN: 0-553-35124-9

  • WARTHOG: Flying the A-10 in the Gulf War
    Author: Smallwood, William L.
    Copyright:1993
    Publisher: Brassey's
    ISBN: 0-02-881123-2

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