Earth’s Wars Inspired Star Wars
There’s a lot to love about Star Wars beyond exploding spaceships. There are spunky characters, magic space religions, fuzzy aliens, perverse love triangles and planets bristling with toothy fauna. But “wars” makes up half the title, and in many ways Star Wars has been modeled on the military and... Read more
Did Russia Really Lose Seven Warplanes in Syria on New Year’s Eve?
On Jan. 3, 2018, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that “radical Islamists” had destroyed seven Russian combat jets at Khmeimim, or Hmeimim, air base near Latakia, Syria on New Year’s Eve, 2017. Russian president Vladimir Putin had visited the base earlier that month to praise the troops for their... Read more
The SVT-40 Was Russia’s World War II Nazi-Killer
The United States was the first major power to adopt a semi-automatic service rifle during World War II, the M1 Garand. While most World War II infantrymen had to pull back a heavy bolt after each shot of their bolt-action rifles, a G.I. could expend a Garand’s clip as... Read more
Ukraine’s Getting American Anti-Tank Missiles
On Dec. 22, 2017 the State Department announced it had issued an export license for lethal military aid to Ukraine — including $47 million for 210 Javelin missiles and 35 shoulder-mounted command launcher units, or CLUs, with which to launch them. The decision has been welcomed by Kiev and elicited... Read more
Russia Invaded Japanese Islands With U.S. Ships — After Japan Surrendered
Seventy years after World War II ended, Japan and Russia are still trying to sign a peace treaty. The persistent bone of contention? The Kuril Islands, seized by Soviet troops in a bloody amphibious landing after Japan announced it was ready to surrender. But how and why did the Soviets seize the Kurils... Read more
Indoctrinated Teenagers Piloted This Wooden Nazi Jet
By the summer of 1944, the German Luftwaffe had a lot of problems. Huge Allied four-engine strategic bombers were pummeling Germany’s industrial base daily, escorted by long-range fighters that were frittering away the German flying arm’s elite cadres of combat pilots nurtured since the 1930s. While the bombing campaign... Read more
The Long History of Korea’s Missile Program
It’s said history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes. In the late 14th century, Korea’s ruling Joseon dynasty began an all-out espionage campaign to acquire classified missile technology from neighboring China. At the time, stateless wokou “dwarf pirates”—so called because of their comparatively shorter stature—were ravaging the Korean... Read more
Every German Submarine Is Out of Action
On Oct. 15, 2017, the submarine U-35 was performing a diving maneuver off the Norwegian coast when one of the four fins on its X-shaped rudder struck a rock. The damage was severe enough she needed to be escorted back to Kiel by the testing ship Helmsand. The 56-meter-long submarine would have... Read more
Un criador de pollos español, una apostadora peruana y un mujeriego serbio le tomaron el pelo a Adolf Hitler
Nadie se cree que los espías disfruten en la realidad de estilos de vida glamurosos tipo James Bond con trajes a medida, vestidos ajustados, sexo y apuestas. Así que, uno de los placeres de leer el libro Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies [Double Cross: La... Read more
Was the M2 Carbine America’s First Assault Rifle?
Germany is generally credited with developing the first assault rifle with the MP-43, which entered service with select units towards the end of 1943. Later renamed the Sturmgewehr 44 — literally “assault rifle 44” — this used an intermediate-strength kurz cartridge that balanced the long-range accuracy of heavy, slow-firing bolt-action rifles... Read more
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