An LK II at the German Tank Museum in Munster. Huhu photo via Wikimedia Joseph Vollmer’s LK II wasn’t very good, but still a better idea than the A7V by ROBERT BECKHUSEN When the German army’s first domestically-built tanks rolled into combat in March 1918 at St. Quentin Canal, the... Read more
An SAS jeep in Germany in 1944. British Army photo 1944 operation proved the value of special operations by ROBERT BECKHUSEN The Western Allies’ invasion of German-occupied France in 1944 began with the largest seaborne assault ever and inflicted chaos on Hitler’s troops. Within weeks, the Allied armies would break... Read more
Meeting of the victors at the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919. Guess who didn’t get invited? Painting by William Opren Diplomatic dysfunction can cause countries to remain at war for decades or longer by SÉBASTIEN ROBLIN A declaration of war is usually a pretty serious matter. Sometimes, however, it’s just for... Read more
Soviet armored ski sleds. Finnish Defense Forces photos Overloaded defenses sank into the snow by DAVID AXE It’s no secret that the Soviet army was badly prepared to fight Finnish forces in late 1939 and early 1940, during the brief, bloody and — for the Soviets — catastrophic Russo-Finnish Winter War. One particularly ill-conceived weapon underscores just... Read more
These men shot other men. Imperial War Museum photo The raid on Tamet was merciless by ROBERT BECKHUSEN Britain’s legendary Special Air Service stumbled into a disaster on its first mission in November 1941 during Operation Crusader, which repelled the Axis from besieged Tobruk. Twenty-two of 55 SAS commandos died... Read more
Source The Madsen Light Automatic Rifle couldn’t beat the FN FAL and G3 by MATTHEW MOSS In the late 1950s, the Danish Madsen company — a.k.a. Dansk Industrie Sindikat — followed up on its successful light machine gun by developing a new lightweight automatic rifle for the Finnish army. The resulting LAR was a versatile and... Read more
A German amphibious tank during tests in 1940. German federal archive photo Operation Sealion could have knocked the British out of the war by DAVID AXE Reeling under combined assault from German land and air forces, in late May and early June 1940 the British Army evacuated France. As many as 338,000... Read more
Destroyed Iraqi tanks on the ‘Highway of Death’ on March 8, 1991. Pentagon photo The Persian Gulf War proved that big armies are toast without air power by ROBERT FARLEY In 1991, Chinese military officers watched as the United States dismantled the Iraqi army, a force with more battle experience and somewhat... Read more
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
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