The Forgotten Tale of How Allied Bombers Chased a German Sub to Its Doom
In June 2018, Spanish media reported that divers Anxi González Roca and Eduardo Losada and naval historian Yago Abilleira had re-discovered the wreck Nazi submarine U-966 off Estaca de Bares in the Galician region on the northwestern tip of Spain. The divers found debris scattered across a wide area... Read more
Play the Pentagon-Funded Video Game That Predates ‘Pong’
This story originally appeared on July 27, 2014. Before Call of Duty, before Mario and even before Pong there was Spacewar! The brainchild of six graduate students at MIT in the early ‘60s, Spacewar! was the first true video game. A few guys had done cool tricks with oscilloscopes... Read more
In the 1980s, the Pentagon Was Desperate to Avoid Nuking the Middle East
In a secluded section of MacDill Air Force Base, four miles south of Tampa, Florida, is a building once used as a command center for strategic bombers based at the facility during the early decades of the Cold War. It is also where, on March 1, 1980, that Marine... Read more
How to Find a Missing H-Bomb
This story originally appeared on April 20, 2015. When a routine Cold War operation went terribly wrong, two planes and seven men died, a village got contaminated and a hydrogen bomb disappeared. The search and cleanup required 1,400 American and Spanish personnel, a dozen aircraft, 27 U.S. Navy ships... Read more
B.Z. Gas Rendered the Enemy Too Irritable to Fight
This story originally appeared on Oct. 27, 2014. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies could expect all sort of dangers if they ever got into a war with the United States—including nuclear weapons. The Pentagon was even prepared to deploy B.Z. gas. Sometimes... Read more
The Remington Nylon 66 Was the First Plastic Gun
This story originally appeared on Nov. 21, 2016. In the late 1950s, Remington took advantage of its parent company DuPont’s expertise in industrial chemistry and developed a revolutionary new firearm. The Nylon 66 was the first mass-produced, widely-marketed polymer firearm. Remington designers requested a synthetic material that had a high tensile-impact... Read more
Converted Prop Guns Are Assassins’ Weapon of Choice
This story originally appeared on Feb. 25, 2015. Blank-firing guns make for fun movie props and nice showpieces. But with the right tweaks, they can be just as deadly as the real thing. According to a new report by Small Arms Survey, a non-governmental research project based in Switzerland,... Read more
The First U.K. Hit-Job
On July 8, 2018, 44-year-old English woman Dawn Sturgess died at Salisbury District Hospital in the United Kingdom following her exposure to a Novichok nerve agent. Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley had sprayed themselves with the agent of what appeared to be a bottle of brand-name perfume they... Read more
The Jewish Card Shark Who Became a Chinese General
“I can go into China whenever I wish to,” Morris Cohen bragged to a studio audience during a 1960 broadcast of the Canadian quiz show Front Page Challenge. “Well, I’m interested to know how you can do that as you once worked for Chiang, Chiang Kaishek,” a panelist remarked.... Read more
Arthur Chin Was America’s First World War II Ace
On Aug. 3, 1938 Arthur Chin led a group of seven Gladiator biplanes from the Chinese Nationalist air force’s 28th Pursuit Squadron against a formation of much more advanced Japanese A5M fighters. In the sky over China’s Hubei province, Chin fought off several of the A5Ms. His own aircraft... Read more
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