Her Majesty’s Nuclear Seaplane
Originally published on Oct. 22, 2013. She was a dazzling aircraft, a great winged hope of postwar Britain, the largest all-metal flying boat ever built. Her design incorporated brand-new technologies: a pressurized cabin, all-hydraulic controls and turboprop power. Yet even as she took to the skies over the 1953... Read more
How America’s Airline Went to War
Originally published on Jan. 4, 2015. Now only a distant memory, Pan American Airways once flew so high that even the moon seemed within its grasp. Its advanced technology, skilled workforce and global reach were the envy of its competitors. It had such a wide reach around the world,... Read more
America’s Worst World War II Fighter Was the Star of the Soviet Air Force
The P-39 Airacobra may be the least loved American fighter plane of World War II, deemed inadequate by military planners at the outset of hostilities and written off as nearly useless by many historians. Certainly, the P-39 could not match the high-altitude performance of classic American warbirds such as... Read more
Coffee, Tea or Mach 3—Would You Like to Fly in a MiG-25 Business Jet?
This story originally appeared on April 3, 2014. The Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat was many things. An interceptor, reconnaissance aircraft and a fast, high-altitude, record-setting bogeyman that scared the pants off Western air forces in the 1970s. But a MiG-25 business jet? Coffee, tea or vodka served by an Aeroflot... Read more
Thousands of Nazis Marched in New York in 1939
On Aug. 11 and 12, 2017, hundreds of self-identified white nationalists staged a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where they were taped chanting anti-Jewish and anti-Black slogans. This chilling display of hatred was unfortunately not unique in American history. In 1939 around 20,000 Nazis attended a rally... Read more
The CIA’s Counterinsurgency in Vietnam Was Brutal … And Effective
As U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War escalated after the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964, U.S. Army general William Westmoreland knew he would be simultaneously fighting two different types of enemies on the ground — the main battle force of the North Vietnamese Army and... Read more
In 1986, the Iraqis Wrecked Their Own Attempt to Get an Iranian F-14
Part two of a two-part story. Read part one here. In September 1986, the Iran-Iraq War – a bloody war of attrition that involved millions of combatants and left deep scars on both sides of the front line – was about to reach its sixth anniversary. The war began... Read more
Sí, la CIA voló aviones espía U-2 desde portaaviones
El 1 de mayo de 1960, la Unión Soviética derribó un avión espía U-2 de la CIA y capturó al piloto, Francis Gary Powers. El incidente supuso una crisis internacional para la agencia de inteligencia estadounidense. La cumbre que estaba previsto que mantuvieran el presidente Dwight Eisenhower y el... Read more
I Swear I’m Not a Nazi — I Just Like the Uniforms
So, Nazis are bad guys. That’s not a controversial take. They rounded up people and exterminated them in death camps. They despised democracy and free expression. Millions of people of all colors and creeds died fighting them. Reasonable people look at that and understand — yes, Nazis are evil.... Read more
The ‘Alfa’ Attack Submarine Was Ahead of Its Time
The Soviet Union began the Cold War well behind the United States in submarine technology. Although the Soviets acquired several of the most advanced German submarine types towards the end of the war, the United States had amassed a wealth of experience in submarine and antisubmarine practice from the... Read more
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