Monopoly Games and Ping-Pong Paddles Helped POWs Escape the Nazis
During World War II, hundreds of prisoners of war in German camps relied on phony Monopoly games to smuggle real money, pieces of equipment that would help them escape actual prisons, and even maps that were the ultimate “get out of jail” cards once they got beyond the barbed wire.... Read more
The Most Horrific War of All Time — Russia Versus Germany
The war between Germany and the Soviet Union officially began in late June 1941, although the threat of conflict had loomed since the early 1930s. Germany and the USSR launched a joint war against Poland in September of 1939, which the Soviets followed up with invasions of Finland, Romania... Read more
This Aircraft Carrier Did Not Exist
One of the strange little stories of World War II involves the aircraft carrier USS Robin, which didn’t really exist. There was a carrier that sailors called the Robin. She and her sailors were underneath U.S. Navy command, took part in American battles and launched U.S. planes with American pilots.... Read more
Twenty-five German Prisoners Escaped from a Phoenix POW Camp During World War II
During World War II, the United States held 400,000 Axis prisoners of war in some 500 POW camps. Some of these camps were located in the Midwest and Great Plains areas, but the majority were in the South and Southwest. “At the same time that the prison camps were... Read more
Surviving Three Kamikazes in One Day
More than 70 years ago, the American destroyer USS Mahan patrolled off Ponson Island in the Philippines when 11 Japanese kamikaze aircraft appeared over the horizon and attacked. The planes, full of fuel and loaded with bombs, could destroy the ship if they came close enough. U.S. fighter aircraft... Read more
John Browning’s Automatic Rifle Is a Killing Machine
World War I is often called “the machine gun war” because of the devastating use of automatic weapons such as the Maxim gun. It’s also when some of the drastic developments in machine gun technology occurred. Artillery fire actually killed more men than machine guns, but statistics simply don’t convey... Read more
The Welrod Gun Was Silent and Deadly
In the world of covert operations, silence equals deadliness. World War II was the first modern war that emphasized special operations, creating a demand for suppressed weapons.  Commandos and special forces attached to the British Special Operations Executive and the American Office of Strategic Services wanted a pistol to... Read more
U.S. Planes Reenacted Military History in Flight Over Siberia
The last time American planes like these flew from Alaska to Siberia, there was a war on. Granted, the planes were World War II-era DC-3s – known as the Douglas C-47 Skytrain in its American military version. But for the first time in 70 years, U.S. and Russian pilots... Read more
The Vile Story of the Nazis’ ‘Dirlewanger Brigade’
Armies have long used prisoners as soldiers. Imperial France deployed the Bat’ d’Af’ in the harshest of its colonies. During the American Civil War, captured Confederate soldiers sometimes recanted the rebellion, swore allegiance to the Union and became Galvanized Yankees. The former rebel prisoners fought and bled for the... Read more
Listen to This Lecture From the Man Who Dropped Both Atomic Bombs
At first, Jacob Beser sounds like another grumpy old man out of touch with the times. “One of the things that really distressed me this summer is that I ran into quite a few Americans in Japan — a so-called peace movement.” He clears his throat and continues, describing... Read more

Matthew Gault

Contributing Editor

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