In 1988, a Horrific Crash Changed Air Shows Forever
It is 3:40 in the afternoon on Aug. 28, 1988. Ten brightly-painted jets swoop in a neat v-formation over Ramstein air base, a major U.S. military installation in West Germany. Below, 350,000 spectators cheer at the final act of the Flugtag ’88 air show as they scoop up ice... Read more
During World War II, the Submarine USS ‘Barb’ Rocketed Japan
In the closing months of World War II, heavy losses and depleted fuel stocks kept many of Japan’s remaining combat aircraft grounded and warships in port, awaiting an anticipated amphibious invasion. Starting in July 1945, Allied battleships embarked on a series of naval bombardments of coastal cities in Japan... Read more
In 2007, Israel Quietly Eliminated Syria’s Nuclear Program
Under no circumstances should an enemy state be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. That is a fundamental doctrine of Israel’s security policy shaped by Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the end of the 1970s. To this day, Jerusalem has tried to act accordingly – mainly in regard to Iran.... Read more
In 1970, Soviet Planes Intervened to Save North Yemen
September 2017 marks the second anniversary of the Russian military intervention in Syria. Foreign military observers are frequently drawing parallels between this operation and the deployment of Soviet air-defense troops and manned interceptors to Egypt in early 1970, pointing it out as the first Soviet – and thus Russian... Read more
The Lessons of the 1942 Makin Island Raid
On a stormy night, U.S. Marines set off secretly from submarines to assault a remote island base. They are led by a controversial commander with radical new ideas. And the son of the sitting U.S. president is one of his officers. The Makin raid in 1942 might seem to... Read more
The Soviet Union’s Crazy ‘Planet of the Apes’
This story originally appeared on July 6, 2014. Back in 2005, the Scottish daily newspaper The Scotsman ran a sensational story about a bunch of bizarre and ethically troubled Soviet experiments involving breeding humans with non-human apes. The story had the makings of a great horror movie—a Soviet mad... Read more
U.S. Marines’ Portable Helicopters Were Too Crazy to Survive
This story originally appeared on Feb. 15, 2015. During the Korean War, quite a few American pilots went down behind enemy lines. Some got lucky and escaped with the help of daring airborne-search-and-rescue crews, while others never made it home alive. The U.S. Marine Corps looked to helicopters to... Read more
A Half Century of Half Aircraft Carriers
This story originally appeared on Feb. 28, 2015. Starting in the 1960s, the world’s leading navies experimented with a new kind of warship. Heavily-armed and sporting huge flight decks for helicopters, the vessels were hybrids—not quite cruisers, not quite aircraft carriers. Ungainly and in many cases conceptually flawed, the... Read more
When Japan Invaded America
There has been growing concern in recent years over the state of U.S. Arctic defenses. In fact, few Americans remember that Alaskan islands seized by Japanese forces remain one of the only cases in which enemy forces successfully occupied U.S. territory during the 20th century. The 13-month battle over... 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
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