Harvey Gann Ran Through a Gauntlet in Germany
On Jan. 30, 1944, a German Me-109 shot down turret gunner Harvey Gann’s B-24 Liberator over northern Italy. Gann was the sole survivor. He spent much of the rest of the war in a series of prisoner-of-war camps, surviving to recount his experiences in the memoir Escape I Must!... Read more
Meet the Comics Artist Who Draws War in Meticulous Detail
This story originally appeared on March 17, 2015. Wayne Vansant, the son of a World War II veteran, grew up on war stories. As a child, he loved hearing adults talk about the war, reading about it and watching movies about it. As a result, the 65-year-old comics writer... Read more
When Will Eisner Went to War
This story originally appeared on April 12, 2015. The name Will Eisner is synonymous with good comics. The industry Eisner Award — the comics world’s version of the Oscars—even bears his name. Writers and artists work their whole careers hoping to win an Eisner. Eisner is most famous for... Read more
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
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
American Hand Grenades Have Some Odd Connections to Sports
This story originally appeared on Dec. 29, 2014. Most people would probably agree that playing catch with a hand grenade is a bad idea. On one occasion in 2005, three young people died in Bosnia while horsing around with one of these small bombs, according to Reuters. But throwing... 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
Georgy Zhukov’s Close Call With Stalin’s Killers
Beginning in 1936, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin set about deliberately murdering 700,000 people in the Great Purge, an act of mass killing that “constituted a form of rule” unto itself, as Stalin biographer Stephen Kotkin explained. The armed forces were not spared. The purges swept through the officer corps,... Read more
The CIA Battled the Kremlin With Books and Movies
Originally published on May 2, 2015. During the Cold War, Moscow’s Ministry of Culture was a master of censorship. The Kremlin’s cultural bulwark screened non-Russian films, suppressed literature and shaped the lives of Soviet artists. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency also dabbled in the dark arts of cultural influence.... Read more
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