The Russian Battleship ‘Imperator Aleksandr III’ Traded Hands Six Times
Imperator Aleksandr III was the third ship of the Imperatritsa Mariya class, a group of dreadnoughts built in the Black Sea and designed to fight the Ottoman Navy. The warship was initially named for Emperor Alexander III, who had succeeded to the throne of Russia upon the assassination of... 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
HMS ‘Dreadnought’ Changed Naval Warfare Forever
State-of-the-art battleship armament in the late 19th century involved a mix of large- and small-caliber weapons. Naval architects believed that most engagements would take place within the range of the smaller guns, and that a variety of guns would combine penetrating power with volume. Indeed, some argued that large armored... Read more
Everything That Could Have Gone Wrong Had Japan Built Its Own Atomic Bomb
During the Cold War, the United States supported selective nuclear proliferation as a means of deterring a Soviet invasion of Europe. The Russians might not believe that the United States would trade Berlin for New York, but they might find a British or French threat more credible. Washington did... Read more
America’s Super Battleships That Never Were
In the early 1940s, the U.S. Navy still expected to need huge, first rate battleships to fight the best that Japan and Germany had to offer. The North Carolina, South Dakota, and Iowa-class battleships all involved design compromises. The Montanas, the last battleships designed by the U.S. Navy, would... Read more
The Russo-Japanese War Brought Rapid-Fire Weapons to the World
The Russo-Japanese War commenced 112 years ago this February, lasting 18 months before a U.S.-brokered truce mercifully put it to rest. The war killed upwards of 125,000 people, and sharply limited Russian influence in Northeast Asia. Japan gained control of Korea and a long-term foothold for influencing events in Manchuria and... Read more
The Long Shadow of the Falklands War
The Falklands War ended with a decisive British victory over 30 years ago. Nevertheless, the war remains alive in the imagination of analysts and historians. Although the conflict happened outside of the normal “zones of crisis,” it has long held the attention of students of warfare. The war, which involved a conflict... Read more
America’s Secret War Plan to Invade Canada
The end of a war only rarely settles the central questions that started the conflict. Indeed, many wars do not “end” in the traditional sense. World War II, for example, stretched on for years in parts of Eastern Europe and the Asia-Pacific. Even as the guns fell silent along... Read more
History’s Most Innovative Warships
Earlier this month the Zumwalt began sea trials. The first of a probable three ships, Zumwalt once represented the future of U.S. naval surface warfare. Budget shortfalls, changed priorities and predictable cost overruns cut the projected purchase from a fleet-sustaining 32 units to an experimental trio of ships. Still, Zumwalt represents... Read more
What If America Had ‘Eliminated’ Saddam Hussein?
In the early days of the air campaign of the 1991 Gulf War, the United States undertook a concerted effort to track and strike Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. The effort was predicated on the belief that eliminating Saddam Hussein would have two effects — it would throw the Iraqi... Read more
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