City Fights: Selected Histories of Urban Combat from World War II to Vietnam

by John Antal

Book cover for City Fights: Selected Histories of Urban Combat from World War II to Vietnam

Selected Histories of Urban Combat from World War II to Vietnam

Edited by Colonel John Antal and Maj. Bradley Gericke

“Urban terrain will likely be the predominant battlefield of future wars.”

As September 11 and Somalia proved, hostile forces are now engaging America differently, avoiding open combat with our enormous military, striking at our civic centers or dragging us into theirs. But urban warfare isn’t new; it is as old as the battle of Jericho. Now an incomparable collection written by esteemed military veterans—some currently serving, others civilian analysts—re-creates the last century’s most astonishing examples
of this kind of fighting . . . and offers important lessons for our future.
Here are fourteen riveting histories that are both invaluable teaching tools for security leaders and engrossing accounts for any reader. They include

• William M. Waddell’s “Tai-Erh-Chuang, 1938: The Japanese Juggernaut Smashed”—How China defeated the Japanese in battle for the first time in three hundred and forty years, by using a city only as a pivot area and attacking the exposed flank and rear ranks of its unprepared enemy.

• Eric M. Walters’s “Stalingrad, 1942: With Will, a Weapon, and a Watch”—The largest and longest-running urban fight of the twentieth century, in which the Red Army became the tortoise to the Germans’ hare, out-lasting its stronger foe.

• Norm Cooling’s “Hue City, 1968: Winning a Battle While Losing a War”—The six-day fight for the cultural center of Vietnam revealed how the American military’s distrust of the media made it fail to expose the enemy’s mass executions and lose the all-important information war.

From the 1944 Warsaw uprising that almost caused the complete destruction of Poland’s capital to the crucial, near-forgotten fight for Manila in 1945 . . . from snipers and shoulder-launched missiles to tunnels and tanks . . . all aspects of the most important urban conflicts are revealed in stunning detail. Compelling and cautionary, City Fights powerfully reminds us that, in our ever more urbanized and vulnerable world, “if a state loses its cities, it loses the war.”

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