| Osprey was established in 1968. |
This company was owned by Berkshire Printing, part of Brooke Bond, the tea company. The company was formed to publish Aircam Aviation, its 1st series, the brainchild of Dick Ward, the leading aviation illustrator. The series grew out of his work on the collectible cards. These cards were then packaged with Brooke Bond tea.
The 1st Osprey title, published in 1969, was Aircam Aviation Series.1: North American P-51D Mustang in USAAF-USAF Service. This set the Osprey style of illustrated information books combining detailed & authoritative text, colour & black & white artwork, & photographs in uniform series formats. With the success of Aircam, Dick Ward proposed applying the same approach to famous military units. Philip Warner, a distinguished historian from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was appointed series editor & Men-at-Arms came into being. The 1st title, Foot Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard, was published in 1971.
The earliest titles were regimental histories rather than the studies of uniforms & equipment that now characterise most of the Men-at-Arms series. The focus on uniforms & equipment was strong from the beginning. Osprey became recognised as a leading publisher for military history enthusiasts.
Early in 1972 Martin Windrow joined Osprey full-time. Over the next 17 years Martin built Osprey's series publishing, notably taking Men-at-Arms to its 200th title, having contributed a number himself.
Back in 1974, no-one, Martin included, had imagined such a future.
In the 2nd half of the 1970s Osprey was acquired by the George Philip Group, the map & atlas specialists. Vanguard, was updated as New Vanguard, & was launched in 1978 with an initial focus on armoured units.
Elite was launched in 1984 with The Paras 1940–84 & now comprises well over 100 titles.
In 1987 Martin Windrow left Osprey. At this time, alongside the distinctive & rapidly growing military & aviation series, Osprey published information & reference books in many subject areas & built a significant automotive list.
The 4th of the series that still form the core of Osprey's publishing today, Campaign, was launched in 1990; Campaign 1: Normandy 1944 has been reprinted many times and Campaign 150: Khe Sanh 1967–68 was published in April 2005. Warrior followed in 1993, the early titles including Norman Knight AD 950–1204 & Confederate Infantryman 1861–65. Warrior 100: Nelson's Sailors will be published for the centenary commemoration of the battle of Trafalgar.
The 1st New Vanguard, Kingtiger Heavy Tank 1942–45, published in 1993.
In 2001 the range of the series was expanded to cover all types of war machine from all eras, in addition to 20th and 21st century armoured fighting vehicles. Two recent titles, Greek and Roman Artillery 399 BC–AD 363 & the landmark 100th, British Mark I Tank 1916 demonstrate this new scope.
Tony Holmes, who had been aviation editor since 1989 & taken photographs and written for Osprey prior to that, developed Aircraft of the Aces, a worthy descendant of Aircam. It was launched in 1994 with Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force, an echo of Osprey's first title. 'Combat Aircraft' followed soon afterwards in 1997. Titles such as 'US Navy F-14 Tomcat Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom' bring the series into the 21st century. 'Aviation Elite Units' added a new perspective to the list in 2000.
In 1998, Osprey became an independent company. Osprey moved from London to Oxford, leaving Reed International, latterly Reed Elsevier, who had owned George Philip since 1988. The decision was soon taken to focus exclusively on publishing on warfare & military history in the established series, which had for many years been the business's trademark product.
Martin Windrow rejoined as Series Editor of Men-at-Arms, once again working as a freelance. A completely new publishing team was built, steadily increasing the output of new titles & adding many new customers to the loyal band gathered over the past three decades. More new series were created. Essential Histories launched in 2001.
Fortress & Osprey Modelling launched n 2003 & Battle Orders in 2004. Fortress and Battle Orders are firmly in the Osprey series tradition of providing detailed verbal & visual information on major facets of the history of war as a reference for hobbyists, academics & other professionals, & for study for the pleasure and fascination of it. This was quickly confirmed by the welcome given to the 1st titles in these two series, which included Hadrian's Wall AD 122–410 & US Marine Corps Pacific Theater of Operations 1941–43. Osprey Modelling is different from the rest in that it offers 'how-to' books catering for one significant group of hobbyists. By contrast, Essential Histories, a multi-volume world history of wars & warfare, has introduced Osprey to a wider audience. And is also valued by established customers for the overviews it provides.
The Osprey General publishing programme was launched in 2003. It has the same objective as Essential Histories of reaching out to the non-specialist reader with an active or spontaneous interest in military history. Some titles weave together new material with previously-published Osprey text & illustrations. Others are completely new. All share the Osprey qualities of historical authority & a strongly visual approach. God's Warriors, The D-Day Companion & Samurai: the World of the Warrior are successful examples of this new strand of the Osprey list. The Osprey continues to flourish.
At the end of 2004 it moved into new offices in Oxford & New York. Osprey Publishing Inc, its newly formed subsidiary, started trading in North America at the beginning of 2005. In 1974 Martin Windrow 'was wondering if Men-at-Arms might last another year'. Three decades later, over 400 titles have been published in that series. The whole Osprey list now totals nearly 1,500.
The main mission is unchanged. Osprey will continue to bring together expert authors, illustrators & military-history enthusiasts by delivering the information readers need to increase their knowledge & to enrich their leisure or professional pursuits. Osprey's enthusiasm for military history is balanced by an equal enthusiasm for excellent publishing. The Osprey thanks all his contributors for making Osprey possible, all his readers for their interest & support, & all his retailers a& distributors for making sure the right books end up in the right hands. The Osprey is always pleased to receive comments & questions about his publishing & future plans.
Brushes & Bayonets by Lucilda Gosling (2008) is one of the Osprey's latest books. Lucinda Gosling discovered famous & forgotten names of World War I illustrators.
"Some contributed the more serious, reportage illustrations published by magazines like The Illustrated London News and The Sphere, recreating every aspect of the war, from munitions factories to valiant charges on the battlefield, " she said.
Bruses & Bayonets contains 200 pages of cartoons, scetches and paintings of World War I. It is collection of 250 illustrations taken from archives of the Illustrated London News. It is light-hearted strip cartoons & line drawings, political comment to poignant sketches & painting. The selection features well-known illustrators, such as W. Heath Robinson, Bruce Bairnsfather & Fortunito Matania, lesser-known artists and illustrations by men in the trenches. Many of these illustrations are published 1st time in 90 years.
The US Army in the Vietnam War 1965-73 by Gordon L. Rottman first published in Great Britain in 2008 by Osprey Publishing. Gorgon L. Rottman entered the US Army in 1967. He volunteered for Special Forces & completed training as a weapons specialist. He served in the 5th Special Forces Group in Vietam from 1969-70 & subsequently in airborne ifantry, long-range patrol, & intelligence assignments until retiring after 26 years. This unique book provides detailed information about US Army unit that operated in Vietnam War 1965-1973.
Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare also published in Great Britain in 2008 by Osprey Publishing. Authors of the chapters are the leading experts. Dr. Sergio Catignani is a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence; Major Bruce Gudmundsson, USMCR is a historian who specializes in tactical innovations; Colonel Richard Iron OBE was responsible for overseeing the development of NATO land doctrine for 6 years, he was appointed mentor for the senior Iraqi Army commander in Basrain 2007... All 13 contributors provide an introduction to the leading counterinsurgency campaigns of the 20 century. The editors Daniel Marston & Carter Malkasian have recruited an impressive lineup of contributors who created "a wide-ranging, sophisticated anthology..."
Fortress Monasteries of the Himalayas: Tibet, Ladakh, Nepal and Bhutan by Peter Harrison published by Osprey in 2011. The cultural and architectural unity of this region - China, the Tibetan Autonomous Region, through Bhutan and Nepal to northern India - is expressed in the fortified monasteries that dominate the landscape. This book recreates the dramatic and colorful fortifications created in these mountain kingdoms, and recounts their operational history through the foreign incursions, religious conflicts and civil wars that litter history.
Road to Baghdad: Iraq 2003 published by Osprey in 2011. This is the first companion book for Force on Force. It provides war-gamers with a glimpse into the Coalition operations that struck Saddam Hussein’s regime like a thunderbolt and whet your appetites for further research into this brief but fascinating chapter in military history. This account gives players all the information they need to re-fight the 2003 Allied invasion of Iraq.
The Roman Army: The Greatest War Machine Of The Ancient World by Chris McNab (Editor) published by Osprey in 2011. This book is not a history of the Roman Republic and Empire. It is some in-depth studies of particular campaigns, periods, and battles. It is a study of how the Roman war machine evolved from the foundation of Rome in the 8th century BC TO THE FALL OF THE Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, with a glimpse beyond to the enduring Byzantine Empire. Chris McNab is an author, co-author, and editor, he has published over 25 books.
Force on Force: Modern Wargaming Rules by Osprey in 2011. This book is very flexible with regard to the number of figures or space required to play. A thrilling and satisfying game can be played using a dozen figures per side on a two foot square board or using dozen of figures supported by vehicles on a huge gaming table. With this book you will bring the drama and action of modern warfare to the tabletop. The rules cover all aspects of modern warfare, from the confidence and supply level of troops to air-strikes and off-board artillery, accommodating scenarios set anywhere from the end of World War II to the conflict on today’s news without sacrificing either character or playability.
Colonies and Conquest, Asia 1494-1498: Field of Glory Renaissance Gaming Companion published by Osprey in 2011. Whilst for 16th century Europe the introduction of large numbers of gunpowder weapons was a significant change to the way war was conducted, for parts of Asia this process was already well under way. This book covers the widest geographical area and time span of all the Field of Glory Renaissance Companion volumes, the armies contained in it are nearly all seen as somewhat backward when compared to those of western Europe, with which most gamers are more familiar. Following in the footsteps of Marco Polo, this book presents the armies and allies of the great civilizations of Asia. It filled with artworks, maps and historical overviews and offers everything you need to wargame the battles and conflicts of Renaissance-era Asia.