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"Worst Osprey Gaff Ever?" Topic

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Action Log

06 Oct 2007 6:38 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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18,847 hits since 6 Oct 2007
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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vojvoda Inactive Member06 Oct 2007 5:45 p.m. PST

I was thinking today while reading a thread about errors in Osprey publishing works. As one who painted his first four legions according to Peter Connolly's The Roman Army I am by no means an expert on uniformology, but even I have found some faults here and there. So lets have them. List your favorite Osprey (or other military historical publisher) gaff and maybe we will take the list and run a TMP poll.

My vote goes not to an Osprey but an Uniforms of the World pocket book that had a Napoleonic musician of the line infantry regiment in Avocado green and chocolate brown pants. I have got to find that book again.

James Mattes

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Oct 2007 5:56 p.m. PST

Biggest gaff? Hmm. That surely has to be the fact that they published THREE books covering flags of the third reich and don't have a single book out on the Great Paraguayan War.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Oct 2007 5:56 p.m. PST

I saw that it was ahead in a poll, apologies if it is out.

vojvoda Inactive Member06 Oct 2007 5:58 p.m. PST

Well if we were just picking worst title or book, the title that I like to think I had a hand in killing was an Elite series on Warrior Woman of Northern Europe.
James Mattes

The G Dog Fezian06 Oct 2007 6:46 p.m. PST

The radio direction finder on the Confederate gunboat ranks up there as one of my favorite blunders.

elcid109906 Oct 2007 8:44 p.m. PST

The Punic Pikeman in the old Armies of the Carthaginian Wars MAA. Not really a blunder though, just over interpreting the sources I suppose, and they weren't the only ones.

macmorn PR Inactive Member06 Oct 2007 8:53 p.m. PST

So not many,if any,blunders by Osprey.Come in OFM I know you have one beef,at least.

Dave Crowell07 Oct 2007 3:43 a.m. PST

A R Garbee nailed it. The photgraph on which the painting is based clealy shows a set of antlers. How they managed to turn that into an RDF loop before radio was even invented is beyond me.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2007 7:32 a.m. PST

Come in OFM I know you have one beef,at least.

Since you asked so nicely, my choice would have to be the Army of Alexander the Great one with a two page spread of rioters, revelers and Bleeped texts (if bleeped, women of ill repute which rhymes with "oars"), and nary a picture of a phalangite.
THAT is how Alex conquered "the pampered jades of Asia", by imitating them!

Klebert L Hall Inactive Member07 Oct 2007 8:04 a.m. PST

Shouldn't that be 'gaffe' ?

Quebecnordiques Inactive Member07 Oct 2007 9:36 a.m. PST

The Conquistador 1492-1550 book in the Osprey Warrior series by John Pohl has repeated references to "Swiss Landsknechts" which is as unforgivable as seeing "British Fallschirmjägers"…

basileus66 In the TMP Dawghouse07 Oct 2007 9:50 a.m. PST

Spanish Guerrillas.

Difficult to find so many errors in so few pages.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2007 11:27 a.m. PST

The dreadful (computer generated) artwork in soeem of the New Vanguard books on German WW2 warship springs to mind.

Big Martin Inactive Member08 Oct 2007 5:42 a.m. PST

The old "Blucher's Army" showing units formed from 1813 Feikorps etc formations as having regulation uniforms by 1815 when this wasn't the case.
The "Army of North Virginia" and "Army of the Potomac" titles featuring colour plates of units than were never part of these armies seemingly just beacause of the "colourful" nature of the units in question.
The absolutely abysmal "Medieval European Armies" with its over use of Victorian drawings of highly dubious accuracy.
The vast turned-back cuffs shown on the plates in the "New Model Army" title.
All that being said, I still buy them – especially when I find them cheap in secondhand book shops!

Union Jack Jackson Inactive Member09 Oct 2007 12:03 p.m. PST

surely it must be the whole of Terry Wise's treatise on the punic wars?

Personal logo Florida Tory Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2007 6:56 p.m. PST

The use of a portrait of General Dan Morgan – in the white hunting shirt uniform used by Morgan's Rifles at Saratoga – to represent General David Morgan of the Louisiana Militia in "New Orleans 1815".


Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2007 2:32 p.m. PST

How about Chandler's book on Jena and Auerstadt where the author names the battalions that took part in the Prussian defense in the morning. One is identified as the'Bon'regiment. Not only is there no regiment or battalion commander by that name, but 'Bon' is the German map shorthand for 'Battalion'…

You'd think Chandler would know better.

marcpa Inactive Member12 Oct 2007 1:30 p.m. PST

>You'd think Chandler would know better.

'bon' in French is the word for 'good'

Perhaps Chandler thought is was REALLY a good regiment ? <VBG>

Otherwise, probably not 'worst' but Osprey completely screwed the French 1916-1917 infantry platoon TOE in the WW1 French army.

Aloysius the Gaul Inactive Member30 Oct 2007 5:10 p.m. PST

British 3" mortar is given a 81mm calibre in the WW2 airborne book I think….that's one that gets repeated all around the place.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member03 Nov 2007 3:24 a.m. PST

That's probably because it IS 81mm in calibre. The '3-inch' designation in this case is an approximation.

Graf Bretlach Inactive Member03 Nov 2007 8:46 a.m. PST

Hmmm a bit of contradiction here.

My informations give -

British 3" mk1-5 as 76.2mm with a HE bomb weight of 4.54kg

The German 8cm granatwerfer 34 was 81.4mm but the HE bomb weight was only 3.5kg

Not seen the British mortar described as 81mm

vichussar Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2007 5:56 a.m. PST

Not having a "Napoleon's German Allies" book for Wurttemberg!
Now, thanks to "Histofig", we don't need one. We just had to wait sooo long.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member04 Nov 2007 6:03 a.m. PST

It's a matter of termionology rather than actual size.

The bomb casing itself is 76.2mm but the bore of the mortar is 81mm (the gap between the two being sealed by copper bands around the bomb). US 81mm mortar ammunition could be used with the British 3-inch mortar – this would not be possible if the bore were only 76.2mm. There is no real size difference in the calibre of the ammunition – the British measured the bomb, while the Americans measured the bore.

After the war, the British (as part of NATO) standardised with the Americans and took the measurement of the bore – there was no increase in ammunition diameter when the British Army switched from 3-inch to 81mm mortars.

Graf Bretlach Inactive Member04 Nov 2007 3:23 p.m. PST

Thank you R Mark, I see so easily confused, typical British way of doing things, live & learn.

By John 5405 Nov 2007 5:32 a.m. PST

Graf, so true, so true, its like the British 'pounder' designation, a 25pdr, does not have a 25pdr shell…….


SeattleGamer06 Nov 2007 2:09 p.m. PST

… its like the British 'pounder' designation, a 25pdr, does not have a 25pdr shell…

But … but … what does it mean then?

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member11 Nov 2007 4:13 p.m. PST

The standard 25 pdr Mk Id Shell (HE) weighed 25lb. Later types and other types (such as AP) had different weights, but the basic HE shell was indeed 25lb in weight.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member11 Nov 2007 4:14 p.m. PST

I kight add that this does not include the propellant (which was loaded separately).

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member11 Nov 2007 4:14 p.m. PST

'kight'?? That should be 'might'.

Cattreath Inactive Member03 Jan 2008 2:58 p.m. PST

In Germanic Warrior 236-568 AD on plate F, the Visigoth warrior has decided to attach an unsheathed knife to his belt straight over his you-know-whats….a very dangerous manoevre….

And he has attached the knife so that it can't actually be taken off…..

Master Caster Sponsoring Member of TMP05 Jan 2008 8:33 a.m. PST

OK, I can add to this one. Hands down in my opinion is an RDF antennae versus antlers on a Confederate gunboat in the ACW naval series as already mentioned above by Ray Garbee. Of course if one extrapolates further this must mean that if the Confederates had RDF capability it only follows that the Union navy must have had radios. Oh, that's why they won the war!
Another favorite of mine is also in the ACW naval series; this one in the Osprey Campaign series Hampton Roads 1862 (First Clash of the Ironclads) ref. Monitor vs Merrimac (CSS Virginia). Here we find an ever so slight error in print regarding geography that states – as one leaves Norfolk, Virginia, and crosses the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay one will land on the sunny shores of……Delaware. Not so. What we refer to down here as the Eastern Shore or the eastern arm of land that defines the east boundary of the Bay, one must first cross significant land portions of Virginia and the great state of Maryland before ever reaching the closest parts of Delaware from Norfolk. Just a wee bit off here….by about a hundred and twenty miles!

ITALWARS Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2008 7:09 a.m. PST

In my opinion the worst Osprey book is the one on the so called "International Brigades" during SCW. A totally politic book…one side oriented (the bad ones!) few military data…focused above all on British volunteers, one side, celebrative bibliography…probably a good work for a comunist political club during the 70's..before the ending of cold war..nothing to do with a publication for military amateur historians, wargamers ecc….

Grand Duke Natokina Inactive Member03 Apr 2008 2:24 p.m. PST

I recall two in particular:
1] in the old US Cavalry book, Custerwas listed as commanding the 5th Cavalry;
2] in the original edition of the Normandy Campaign book, troops clearly wearing the US 2nd Infantry Division Indianhead shoulder patch are identified as 9th Infantry Division soldiers.

roughriderfan Inactive Member08 Apr 2008 2:42 p.m. PST

Don't forget the book on the US Cavalry of 1850 to 1890 – which gave one entire plate to Confederate Cavalry – and had the only figure of either the 9th or 10th cavalry as a white officer – so no illustration of the Buffalo Soldiers- which made up 20% o the post Civil War Cavalry establishment

sukhoi08 Apr 2008 10:51 p.m. PST

How about the cerulean blue uniforms in Napoleon's Light Infantry?

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member11 Apr 2008 4:35 p.m. PST

Nice spot Sukhoi – never has one book had so much bad influence on the wargames figure-painting fraternity!

We've all seen them and most of us with Napoleonic French armies were duped at some time – the legions of Legere in their bright blue coats, out in front of their Ligne brethren in boring dark blue…

Never mind that in reality they used the same sorts of dyes…

Anyone up for a book-burning?

Stavka12 Apr 2008 6:20 a.m. PST

Maybe because of the printing process, the cover of my Osprey book on the French Light Infantry portrayed a much darker shade than the same plate in the middle of the book.

I took a gamble and went with the darker blue as per the reproduction on the on the cover, as not only did I think it more likely, but I just felt dark blue looked better.

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member12 Apr 2008 1:17 p.m. PST

I (and many others, no doubt) wish we'd had your good sense! lol

There are few things more depressing than knowing that after putting in all that time and effort, you still painted something wrong. :o(

Trench Raider Inactive Member02 May 2008 7:19 a.m. PST

How about Man At Arm #46 "The Roman Army from Caeser to Trajan" with the Roman Legionaries and Auxillia being depicted in a variety of extremely bright day-glo tunics?


Jim McDaniel Inactive Member02 May 2008 7:10 p.m. PST

Their recent title on Allied ASW forces versus the u-boat fleet has a lurid cover illustration of a typical U-boat hunter – namely a Fletcher class US DD. To my knowledge Fletchers fought exclusively in the Pacific not the Pacific. Their submarine kills were entirely at the expense of the Imperial Japanese Navy not theDuetches Kriegesmarine. The USN used older DD classes entirely against the U-boats.

What might have been a nice and creative touch would have been to show instead one of the USN's "secret weapons" in the Battle of the Atlantic namely a Coast Guard cutter instead.

bilsonius03 May 2008 8:41 p.m. PST

There are a couple of Angus McB blips which are actually pointed out in the plate notes – an early one showing 5thC BC Greek cavalry with shields, and a later one (Sassanids?) showing Julian's legionaries in segmentata…

Personal logo Cardinal Hawkwood Supporting Member of TMP08 May 2008 10:26 p.m. PST

all of them

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP12 May 2008 10:37 a.m. PST

The frequetly get the numbers on the uniform plates in the wrong place so tha "1" doesn't match up with "figure 1" etc. Just a minor proof reading thing.

Grim Chieftain Inactive Member30 May 2008 4:12 p.m. PST

Has Osprey ever thought about hiring an editor? Sounds like they really need one.

Supercilius Maximus30 Jul 2008 11:07 a.m. PST

Sadly, like all "specialist" publishers, all of the actual specialists have been made redundant (or "out-sourced") by the accountants and bean-counters. This has left many publishing houses over-populated with twenty-something first-jobbers, overwhelmingly female*, with history degrees, but very little actual knowledge of military affairs and armed forces. Because of their age and limited knowledge, none of them feel confident (or in some cases even interested) in challenging what an author has written.

* Nothing wrong with that per se, but personal experience suggests it doesn't often result in staff with a personal interest in the subjects, and is more often just a career stepping stone, much like the PR departments of some military museums.

Henry Martini21 Aug 2008 5:17 p.m. PST

Inside the front cover of the second (Republican) volume on the French Armies of the Franco-Prussian War is a list of illustration errata for the first volume on the Imperial French armies. It fails to mention that the tiralleurs Algerien jacket is depicted in dark rather than light blue – double whammy! I believe the artist in question was not reemployed by Osprey. As for the editor…?

Captain Insano Inactive Member25 Aug 2008 2:57 a.m. PST

My favourite is the artwork by the talented Adam Hook. Take a close look at all the faces in the scenes he's painted. Everylast damned one of them looks like him!
I feel as though I'm losing my mind when I look at his paintings.

ScottS25 Aug 2008 4:00 p.m. PST

Ron Volstad's WWII soldiers are the same – they all have the same face. Talk about "Faceless Hordes…"

My favorite gaffe is from "Armies of the Gulf War (Elite 45)." There is a line saying in no uncertain terms that USMC AAVs were NOT on the front lines.

Um, Gordon? I was there; I was a tank crewman. The line-charge AAVs were in front of US; in fact, they were the first vehicles to assault the minefields.

Henry Martini26 Aug 2008 8:36 p.m. PST

There is a plate in the Mexican Revolution book of one of the 'youthful' cadets of the Vera Cruz military academy. The study load must have been particularly onerous because he looks about sixty.

Personal logo vtsaogames Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2008 5:14 p.m. PST

The book on Kolin has average infantry battalion strengths – a nice idea – and average cavalry regiment strengths. This last is not very helpful since regiments had as few as 2 squadrons or as many as 10. Average squadron strength would be a much more helpful number.

Also, Kolin was Frederick's first battlefield defeat – but he had his butt kicked invading Bohemia during the WAS. He lost over a third of his army without a major battle being fought. The book would leave you to believe he was indefeated before Kolin.

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