The BPsVI Is Keeping This Cold War Troop Taxi Relevant
The disproportionate destruction that even a low-yield nuclear detonation could inflict on advancing armies made it suicidal for the Soviets to mass ground forces in huge numbers. Instead, the Soviets would have to disperse their armies, but such a tactic would dilute the firepower they could bring to bear.... Read more
How Donald Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Leaders are routinely confronted with philosophical dilemmas. Here’s a classic one for our Trumptopian times. If you make enemies out of your friends and friends out of your enemies, where does that leave you? What does winning or losing really look like? Is a world in which walls of... Read more
Bits of Burlesque
There Was No Way a P-51 Could Replace the A-10
This story originally appeared on Dec. 17, 2014. The U.S. Air Force has a complicated relationship with its low- and slow-flying A-10 Warthog attack jet. And that’s putting it mildly. The flying branch has tried more than once to retire the ungainly A-10 in favor of speedier planes, only... Read more
Girding for Confrontation
On May 30, 2018, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a momentous shift in American global strategic policy. From now on, he decreed, the U.S. Pacific Command. which oversees all U.S. military forces in Asia, will be called the Indo-Pacific Command. The name change, Mattis explained, reflects “the increasing... Read more
We Got a Closer Look at the Flying V-280 Valor
On June 18, 2018, Bell’s V-280 Valor prototype took off for its first public demonstration, six months after its first flight. It’s another, early glimpse at the tiltrotor aircraft that could one day replace a significant portion of the U.S. military’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, among other aircraft. The... Read more
The Combat History of the Condom
This story originally appeared on Nov. 27, 2015. The humble condom — a U.S. soldier’s companion for a hot night out on leave since the military began issuing them in the 1930s as a barrier against infection. But for decades many soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines often used condoms... Read more
Super Glue Built Planes, Nukes and Saved Soldiers’ Lives
This story originally appeared on Nov. 27, 2015. Super glue can stick almost anything together. Model-makers use it to assemble their miniatures, and DIY enthusiasts can rely on it as a quick-fix. But the discovery of cyanoacrylate — the chemical family of super glue — was a breakthrough for industrial... Read more
Ukraine’s T-84 Tanks Have Problems
Since 2016, a slate of European militaries and the United States have gathered their tanks at Germany’s Grafenwoehr Training Area to put their armored beasts to the test in a variety of tactical exercises. This is the Strong Europe Tank Challenge, and a NATO-oriented — although not exclusive —... Read more
Spies Helped the USAF Shoot Down a Third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s
This story originally appeared on Dec. 30, 2014. On Jan. 2, 1967, around 30 U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom fighter jets flying from Ubon in Thailand shot down a full third of North Vietnam’s MiG-21s—for a loss of just one of their own. It was a strategic victory in... Read more
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