In the 1980s, U.S. Troops Almost Got a Killer New Shotgun
In the early 1980s, the U.S. military wanted a new combat shotgun. The Close Assault Weapon System program aimed to produce an automatic shotgun with greater range and more firepower than a conventional shotgun possessed — and which could engage targets between 100 meters and 150 meters with a... Read more
Britain’s Bizarre ‘Fleet Shadower’ Showed Up at the Wrong Time
The Royal Navy was still heavily a gun and battleship-centric force in the years just before World War II. So to help spot targets for its battleships, the Royal Navy in 1938 summoned manufacturers General Aircraft and Airspeed to develop two very similar prototype planes — which would become some of... Read more
In 1944, a Malfunctioning B-24 Bomber Required Mid-Air Surgery
On April 22, 1944, 26 B-24 bombers from the U.S. Army Air Corps’ 453rd Bombardment Group took off from Old Buckenham Airfield in England. Their target — a railway marshaling yard in Hamm, Germany. The pilot of the lead B-24 was Bill Norris, my father and a future Air Force test... Read more
Lend-Lease Saved Countless Lives — But Probably Didn’t Win the Eastern Front
Around 80 percent of the more than five million German military deaths in World War II occurred on the Eastern Front. This terrible conflict with the Red Army consumed great quantities of men and material until the Soviets decisively ended the war by capturing Berlin in May 1945. During... Read more
France’s Fall Didn’t Make Any Difference to Gun-Maker MAB
Frenchman Léon Barthe established Manufacture d’Armes de Bayonne in 1920. While named in the style of France’s great national arsenals — MAS, MAT and MAC — MAB was actually a private enterprise. Apparently, profit motivated Barthe to keep right on producing pistols even after his country fell to the Nazis.   MAB brought... Read more
From Nazi Germany to Argentina — A Proposal for the World’s First Small, Supersonic Cruise Missile
Argentina was almost the first country to develop a small, supersonic cruise missile. Way back in 1960. On May 30 of that year, Dr. Reimar Horten — a former warplane designer for Nazi Germany — met with officials at the Aerotechnical Institute of Argentina’s Military Aircraft Factory, or FMA, to propose what he... Read more
Women With Guns Helped Win the Nicaraguan Revolution
The myth of women serving only in auxiliary capacities or holding down the home front during times of conflict has always been highly questionable. History has shown time and again that women have actively participated in combat, to varying degrees in different cultures, for thousands of years. The last... Read more
The Mosin-Nagant ‘PU Sniper’ Was the King of 20th-Century Sniper Rifles
The Soviet government often exaggerated tales of its front-line snipers for propaganda purposes. The sniper duel between famed Soviet sniper Vasily Zaitsev and “Major Konig” was probably myth, although Zaitsev was unquestionably a remarkable soldier. Such myths are a weapon in a fight for national survival, and a tool... Read more
‘Iron Duke’ Was the United Kingdom’s Super-Dreadnought
HMS Iron Duke was the second battleship named after the Duke of Wellington. The first, scrapped in 1906, had the distinction of ramming and sinking HMS Vanguard, another Royal Navy battleship. The second Iron Duke was the name ship of the last class of dreadnoughts to enter Royal Navy... Read more
Soviet Pioneers in 1937. Viktor Bulla photo via Wikimedia Britain and Germany were loaded to the gills with chemical weapons but avoided them on the battlefield by PAUL IDDON Since the end of World War I, the only substantial chemical attacks in warfare have occurred in East Asia and... Read more
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