A hunting flintlock pistol-sword. Source A blade weapon makes a pretty crappy firearm by MATTHEW MOSS In November 1916, John Krasnodemski of Wausau, Wisconsin filed a patent for a modern version of a weapon that had its roots in the late 17th century — a pistol-sword. Yes, a sword that could fire bullets. Pistol-swords... Read more
Landsberg prison today. Photo via Wikipedia A nine-month stint in a genial little prison helped to make Adolf Hitler into a dictator by DAVID AXE On April 1, 1924, 34-year-old Adolf Hitler — a socially awkward painter and former soldier from Austria — arrived at Landsberg prison in Bavaria to serve a five-year sentence for... Read more
German Ju 87 dive-bombers attack Stalingrad. Photo via Wikipedia New book recalls history’s greatest aerial campaign by DAVID AXE The Eastern Front was the decisive theater of World War II in Europe. German premier Adolf Hitler’s disastrous 1941 order to invade the vast Soviet Union mired Nazi Germany in a bloody,... Read more
Royal Armories photo In 1940, the British Army needed new weapons — and fast by MATTHEW MOSS Born of the desperate times following the Allies’ harried evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940, the Simplified Rifle,1941 was London’s attempt to develop a cheap and efficient rifle design — one that British industry could rapidly manufacture in order to... Read more
A KV-1 on display at the Bovington Tank Museum. Thy photo via Flickr Early failures forced the Soviets to adapt by ROBERT BECKHUSEN A day after the German blitzkrieg into the Soviet Union in June 1941, more than 200 Nazi tanks were powering through Lithuania on a race northward to Leningrad.... Read more
Rest assured, the Nazis wouldn’t have delivered a nuke as big as this one, on Enewetak Atoll. U.S. Department of Energy photo Nukes are big, but the Red Army was bigger by ROBERT FARLEY In the early years of World War II, it looked as if Germany might have the luxury to... Read more
Canopy visibility is as important now as it was during World War II by JAMES PERRY STEVENSON During World War II, the top-scoring American fighter ace was Richard Bong with 40 kills. That sounds like a large number — and for American pilots it was. But to put 40 kills into perspective,... Read more
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
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