Seventy-Eight Years of Jet Fighters
On Aug. 27, 1939, a stubby-winged airplane made of unpainted steel alloy took off over Germany and soared into history. Instead of a pointy propeller hub in the nose, the Heinkel 178 had an open-mouthed turbojet intake, making it the first operational jet-powered aircraft. The He 178 could only... Read more
Pentagon to Congress — Please Don’t Make Us Deploy Missiles on the East Coast
On Nov. 28, North Korea tested a Hwasong-15 missile with sufficient range to hit targets on the East Coast of the United States, including Washington, D.C. This follows an earlier test in July which demonstrated Pyongyang’s ability to strike targets on the West Coast of North America. The U.S.... Read more
The Really Big Tank That Helped to Break the Nazis
In the first six months of Operation Barbarossa, the brutal Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, German tanks overran hundreds of miles of Soviet territory and reached the outskirts of Moscow before winter weather and reinforcements from Siberia brought a halt to their advance. In a period when the... Read more
Aboard His Submarine, Jimmy Launders Sank Ralf-Reimar Wolfram’s U-boat
The Hunt for Red October dramatized for the public one of the tensest forms of warfare imaginable: combat between submarines submerged deep under the ocean’s surface, the nerve-wracked crews scouring the fathomless depths for their adversary’s acoustic signature using hydrophones. However, while hunting undersea enemies is one of the primary... Read more
France’s Monstrous Char B1 Tank Ate German Panzers for Breakfast
At five o’clock in the morning on May 16, 1940 a company of the 8th Panzer Regiment lay in an ambush position along a rubble-strewn street of the French town of Stonne. The day before, the unfortunate village had changed hands several times as French troops attempted to stem... Read more
Puerto Rican Assassins Nearly Caught Pres. Harry Truman in His Underwear
When a pro-Independence insurrection broke out in Puerto Rico on Oct. 30, 1950, only limited news of the uprising filtered back to the United States, an incident characterized as a “disagreement between Puerto Ricans.” However two nationalists living in the Bronx, New York decided they needed to strike their... Read more
The U.S. Army Is Searching for a New Light Tank
Two decades ago, the U.S. Army phased out its last light tank. Now the Pentagon has decided its infantry could use some lightweight armored firepower, and is looking to choose between at least three off-the-shelf designs by 2019. This initiative, called Mobile Protected Firepower, intends to outfit infantry brigades... Read more
Here Is Why the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships Punch Below Their Weight
The U.S. Navy’s newest class of small surface combatants, the Littoral Combat Ships, come with a few minor flaws. They don’t have the firepower to hit anything more than a few miles away. They’re unlikely to survive being hit by anything in return. They cost more than twice as much... Read more
In 1950, the Puerto Rican National Guard Bombarded a Pro-Independence Uprising
In November 2017, more than a month after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, territory residents continue to die due to lack of access to electricity and running water. The troubled recovery effort highlights questions over U.S. sovereignty over the island. Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and indeed a majority... Read more
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps Has Sea-Skimming Flying Boats
Iran has fielded a variety of unusual weapons over the years: F-14 Tomcat fighters hotwired to fire Russian missiles, homemade mini-submarines, and remanufactured Cold War jets. In 2006, Iranian television showcased a peculiar sea-skimming flying boat, and four years later Tehran triumphantly announced it had three squadrons of them serving in the Iranian... Read more
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