The Remington Nylon 66 Was the First Plastic Gun
This story originally appeared on Nov. 21, 2016. In the late 1950s, Remington took advantage of its parent company DuPont’s expertise in industrial chemistry and developed a revolutionary new firearm. The Nylon 66 was the first mass-produced, widely-marketed polymer firearm. Remington designers requested a synthetic material that had a high tensile-impact... Read more
Converted Prop Guns Are Assassins’ Weapon of Choice
This story originally appeared on Feb. 25, 2015. Blank-firing guns make for fun movie props and nice showpieces. But with the right tweaks, they can be just as deadly as the real thing. According to a new report by Small Arms Survey, a non-governmental research project based in Switzerland,... Read more
The First U.K. Hit-Job
On July 8, 2018, 44-year-old English woman Dawn Sturgess died at Salisbury District Hospital in the United Kingdom following her exposure to a Novichok nerve agent. Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley had sprayed themselves with the agent of what appeared to be a bottle of brand-name perfume they... Read more
The Jewish Card Shark Who Became a Chinese General
“I can go into China whenever I wish to,” Morris Cohen bragged to a studio audience during a 1960 broadcast of the Canadian quiz show Front Page Challenge. “Well, I’m interested to know how you can do that as you once worked for Chiang, Chiang Kaishek,” a panelist remarked.... Read more
Arthur Chin Was America’s First World War II Ace
On Aug. 3, 1938 Arthur Chin led a group of seven Gladiator biplanes from the Chinese Nationalist air force’s 28th Pursuit Squadron against a formation of much more advanced Japanese A5M fighters. In the sky over China’s Hubei province, Chin fought off several of the A5Ms. His own aircraft... Read more
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
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