A Remarkable Armored Train Fought Its Way Across Eurasia
This story originally appeared on July 17, 2015. The war train Zaamurets was the behemoth of the 1910s and 1920s. Heavily armored. Bristling with guns. Everywhere it went, Zaamurets was the biggest, baddest thing around. Not many foes could touch it. If you possessed this train, you ruled the... Read more
Soviet Cosmonauts Carried a Shotgun Into Space
This story originally appeared on Feb 3, 2015. To this day, the Russian Federal Space Agency refuses to talk about the weapon—though it’s an open secret. Astronauts heading to the International Space Station have trained with it, and some have even talked about it. And in case there’s any... Read more
A Nazi War Train Hauled the Biggest Gun Ever Made
This story originally appeared on July 31, 2015. War trains dominated combat for more than 100 years. Massive railborne artillery shelled the enemy while trains unloaded troops and supplies. For a brief moment, the terrifying machines were the most powerful weapon on the battlefield. But technology advanced. Improvements to... Read more
The Canine Heroes of the Imperial Japanese Army
This story originally appeared on Feb. 6, 2014. In the corner of the Enmei Buddhist Temple grounds in the coastal city of Zushi in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, stands a stone cenotaph that reads “Monument to the Protection of Animals.” The inscription dates back to 1958, but before that time... Read more
The British Perfected the Art of Brewing Tea Inside an Armored Vehicle
This story originally appeared on April 27, 2014. There are few things more British than tea, even if it was originally a Portuguese tradition of brewing South Asian leaves. The culture of tea-drinking permeates British society—including the military. But tea-break culture posed a big problem for the generals in... Read more
Kongo Versus the Earthquake
This story originally appeared on Feb. 27, 2014. This month marks the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Much of the country, myself included, felt the shaking that day—but it was the subsequent tsunami that did the most damage. On March 11, 2011, the sea swept across... Read more
Ground Self-Defense Force light armored vehicles leave Tsushima Garrison to take part in rescue efforts in Kumamoto. GSDF photo Evacuees number in the thousands by JAMES SIMPSON Earthquakes are rattling Japan’s western island of Kyushu. A magnitude-6.2 quake struck the town of Mashiki in Kumamoto Prefecture at 9:26 p.m. on April 14.... Read more
Under Food Nerds’ Watchful Gaze, Japan Attempts a Combat Rations Makeover
Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force is about to ditch canned rations in favor of boil-in-the-bag packets similar to American ration packs. Japan’s canned Type I Combat Rations have fed the nation’s troops since the army’s founding in 1954. For the past 16 years, the military has also fielded the Type... Read more
Do North Korean Missiles Really Threaten Japan?
On Feb. 7, North Korea launched a Unha-3 rocket from its launch site at Dongchang-ri on country’s northwest coast. The rocket successfully placed the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite into orbit, but most foreign observers see the launch as an intercontinental ballistic missile test. Any North Korean weapons test comes with great... Read more
Japan’s Stealth Fighter Prototype Should Finally Fly in February
Japan’s Advanced Technology Demonstrator-Experimental, also known as the ATD-X or X-2, will fly from Nagoya Airport to Gifu Air Base at the end of February, according to the Japanese defense ministry. This will be the first flight of the high-tech testbed and a major step toward Tokyo’s plans for... Read more

James Simpson

Contributor

Japan-based writer covering Japanese security news and military history.

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