The Warlord and His Gun Factory
“Armed force is the backing of justice.” That was Chinese warlord Yan Xishan’s motto. For decades in the early- and mid-20th century, Yan ruled Shanxi province, fighting both for and against fellow warlords, the nationalists, the communists and the Japanese. His rule was characterized by his search for the... Read more
How a Lone Polish Cadet Rampaged Through German Panzers
We tend to impose narratives on history, seizing on compelling legends and streamlining complex events into a convenient and rousing story. Thus first act of World War II is often told as a story of Polish cavalry, lances in hand, charging unstoppable Nazi tanks. However, one Polish cadet and... Read more
When American Citizens Watched the Skies
This story originally appeared on July 22, 2015. The bombing of Pearl Harbor changed America forever. The entire population went to war. Millions of men went overseas to fight, families back home grew victory gardens and bought war bonds, Rosie the Riveter took over manufacturing, the mafia protected the... Read more
South Vietnamese Troops Almost Fought on Battle Bicycles
This story originally appeared on March 26, 2016. In early 1965, villagers across South Vietnam might have watched a curious military formation race through their hamlets. No, not heavily-armed troops shielded inside armored vehicles, but rural militiamen on bicycles. For nearly a year, authorities in Saigon and their American... Read more
Iran Bombarded Iraq Throughout the 1990s
Following the Persian Gulf War until the year 2001, Iran launched intermittent air and missile strikes against Iraq, targeting both the People’s Mujahedin of Iran militant group — also known as the MEK, which the Saddam Hussein’s regime hosted in the country — and the Iranian Kurdish opposition group... Read more
U.S. Commandos Were Fond of Captured AK-47s
This story originally appeared on May 26, 2015. While the Soviet Avtomat Kalashnikova has become the iconic weapon of bad guys in Hollywood blockbusters and big-budget video games, U.S. commandos made good use of the rugged rifles in Vietnam. By the end of the conflict, the American military had... Read more
To Understand Soviet Satellite Imagery, the CIA Once ‘Spied’ on America
In 1963, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency John McCone wrote a memo to Secretary of State Dean Rusk stating that the CIA had obtained “good reproductions” of Soviet satellite imagery. The memo, recently disclosed, is the subject of a brief article by Steven Aftergood at Secrecy News.... Read more
The Royal Air Force’s Bomber-Killing Bomber Was Just a Dream
In 1976, the British Royal Air Force had a problem. In the event of war, Soviet Backfire bombers flying from Europe could have devastated resupply convoys sailing from the United States to Europe. The RAF needed a warplane with enough range to patrol the vast Atlantic — and enough... Read more
Hitler Hated the Nazi Assault Rifle
This story first appeared on Nov. 26, 2015. By 1944, the Third Reich pulled out all the stops when it came to technological marvels. It was the year of the Wunderwaffe, the “wonder weapon” – devices born out of a combination of science and desperation that Nazi Germany hoped... Read more
Eating Too Much Rice Almost Sank the Japanese Navy
This story originally appeared on May 31, 2014. In August 1882 in Incheon Bay near Seoul, four Japanese warships were locked in a tense stand-off with two Chinese warships that had brought troops to quell a revolt on the Korean peninsula. On paper, the Japanese flotilla outnumbered the Chinese,... Read more
  • 100% ad free experience
  • Get our best stories sent to your inbox every day
  • Membership to private Facebook group
Show your support for continued hard hitting content.
Only $19.99 per year!
Become a War is Boring subscriber