The first strip, The Battle of El Alamein, was superbly illustrated by Jim Watson. True War used a better paper stock than other IPC comics and it allowed good reproduction of painted artwork and photographs. Watson's grey wash technique really emphasized the qualities of his work. Here are a few examples...
The second strip in issue one was Douglas Bader, Legless Legend. I have to say that even by 1970s standards I found the term 'Legless Legend' pretty tactless, although Bader himself would probably have been amused by it. The comic strip was a sympathetic and respectful tribute to his life, and featured excellent artwork by Ian Kennedy. Here's a few pages...
It was neither fish nor fowl. The cover design of True War looked like the top shelf sleazy crime mags such as True Detective. My guess is that the sort of readers the cover would attract would be put off to find it was 'only a comic', but the people who read comics would bypass it thinking it was a magazine. Also, that cover image isn't very dynamic is it?
The price! In 1978, 30p was incredibly expensive for a comic. The imported American comics such as Savage Sword of Conan, Eerie, and Creepy may have been around 25p to 30p at the time but they had around 76 pages. True War only had 40 pages and its format was quite small (185mm wide by 250mm high). 2000AD back then was only 9p, with other British comics being around the same price.
The presentation. The idea of telling true war stories in comics form is a good one, and had been employed on the covers of DC Thomson's Victor for years. However, the text-heavy strips in True War really slowed down the narrative, which kind of defeated the object.
Frequency. The mainstream British comic publishers usually shied away from doing monthly comics back then. A senior editor once told me the general feeling was that a weekly frequency maintained the interest, but a four week gap between issues would lose readers who'd forget to keep up with it.
Lastly; distribution. I don't remember seeing True War in many places. Was it well distributed? Perhaps newsagents didn't know where to put it, - next to the comics or up with True Detective etc?
Whatever the reasons for its failure, True War was a worthwhile attempt to attract an older comics reader and it did feature great artwork, so it's worth picking up if you ever come across copies second hand.