Insurgents terrorized Americans and their South Vietnamese allies — even in Saigon by JOSEPH TREVITHICK Unlike more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the common image of America’s war in Vietnam is sweaty grunts fighting insurgents in jungles, mountains and other remote areas. Throughout the conflict, however, the Viet Cong brought common terror... Read more
An SR-71A Blackbird in NASA service, with an experimental fixture mounted on the plane’s rear, in 1999. NASA photo How shrewd observers figured out Lockheed, the Air Force and the CIA were developing a super-fast stealth jet by ROBERT BECKHUSEN There are few secret projects like U.S. Air Force black projects,... Read more
Source Politics and price intervened by MATTHEW MOSS The Fusil Automatique Type 62 represented the culmination of a decade’s work by designers at France’s Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne, or MAS. Since the debut of the self-loading MAS-49/56, designers had been working on a suitable select-fire weapon. The result was the Type... Read more
Converted weapons would knock people over — or douse them in irritating chemicals by JOSEPH TREVITHICK Confronted with an angry mob outside a military base overseas, American troops set up a specially-modified automatic grenade launcher. Suddenly protest leaders come under assault by high-speed pulses of air. The barely-visible puffs knock some... Read more
All photos by the author Tiny Fishguard Fort in Wales played an outsize role in U.K. history by MATTHEW MOSS I recently had the opportunity to visit the ruins of Fishguard Fort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Built between late 1779 and 1781, the fort is now a ruin. But that wasn’t always the case.... Read more
A P-47 fires its guns at night. U.S. Air Force photo World War II airplanes, Cold War conflict by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The CIA-backed coup which toppled Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954 is one of Latin America’s more tragic episodes. Concerned about the growing influence of communists within Guatemala’s liberal government,... Read more
The AKMS modification of the infamous AK-47. Vitaly V. Kuzmin photo AK-type rifles will persist in conflicts for decades to come because they’re cheap, simple and reliable by BLAKE FRANKO A few days ago, fighters from the Free Syrian Army ran American special operations forces out of a town near the Turkish... Read more
German infantry in 1914. Photo via Wikimedia Crown Prince Wilhelm’s plan ended in disaster by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The weather was cold, wet and miserable when 100,000 German soldiers unloaded their rifles, fixed bayonets and charged the French army. It was a desperate moment. By Sept. 10, 1914, the German armies closer... Read more
The Free French 2nd Armored Division rolls through Paris on Aug. 26, 1944. Library of Congress photo The elites who capitulated in 1940 had the means to resist by ROBERT FARLEY France surrendered to the Nazis in 1940 for complex reasons. The proximate cause, of course, was the success of the German... Read more
Explosion in the Bikini Atoll. U.S. Army photo Podcast — why nuclear war feels inevitable by MATTHEW GAULT There’s an apocryphal story that Jimmy Carter once lost the nuclear launch codes when he sent his jacket to the dry cleaners. After John Hinckley Jr. shot Ronald Reagan, the surgeons who saved his life... Read more
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