Bits of Burlesque
This Aircraft Carrier Did Not Exist
This story originally appeared on Sept. 22, 2015. One of the strange little stories of World War II involves the aircraft carrier USS Robin, which didn’t really exist. There was a carrier that sailors called the Robin. She and her sailors were underneath U.S. Navy command, took part in American... Read more
Sherman Tanks Battled Banzai Charges at Tarawa
This article was originally sponsored by Open Road Media on July 20, 2016. “Once inside, a man quickly found that you could not be claustrophobic and serve in a tank,” Oscar Gilbert and Romain Cansiere write in Tanks in Hell: A Marine Corps Tank Company on Tarawa. “In fact many... Read more
A German Tank Battalion Fought to the End in the Icy Hell of Stalingrad
The Panzer-Abteilung 129, a tank battalion serving with the German 6th Army, fought its way into the Soviet city of Stalingrad in late 1942 only to find itself pinned down during winter. A a million-man Red Army counter offensive, attacking in two giant pincers, surrounded the Germans that November.... Read more
A German General Said a Soviet Attack Was Like ‘the Middle Ages’
On Jan. 11, 1942, the few surviving tanks of the Panzer-Abteilungen 103, a tank battalion, sat in the snow alongside soldiers from the 29th Infantry Division west of Stalingrad as the Soviet forces closed in. After the German 6th Army won the fight for the city, a Soviet counterattack... Read more
In the 1940s, the U.S. Navy Launched Planes From Trapezes
This story originally appeared on Jan. 25, 2015. Today’s small drones launch off catapults and land in big nets. Large drones require runways, whether on land or at sea. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way, as a wacky—and successful—World War II technique proved. During the Pacific... Read more
A Gigantic T-35 Tank Rolls Out of a Factory, 80 Years After Production Ended
In April 2018, a very large and interesting machine rolled out of a military museum in Verkhnyaya Pyshma, a town in Russia’s Sverdlovsk region. It was a T-35 — one of the most bizarre tanks of the interwar period and known in particular for its five turrets, huge size... Read more
The Mysterious Last Battle of Soviet Tank General Alexander Lizyukov
On Sept. 17, 1942, Gen. Mikhail Katukov was sitting in a meeting with other Soviet generals — and dictator Joseph Stalin. The situation at the front was grim, coming months after the devastating Soviet defeat at the Second Battle of Kharkov, and as German armies pushed into urban Stalingrad... Read more
Fitzroy Maclean Fought the Nazis, Blew Up Forts and Met a King
Fitzroy Maclean, a Scottish aristocrat and adventurer, was born into a military family in Cairo in 1911, and was educated at Eton and then Cambridge – playgrounds of the British elite. He lived a long and remarkable life. “To some people, my life might seem one long adventure holiday,... Read more
The Red Army’s Moscow Airborne Operation Turned Into a Debacle
This is part two of a two-part series. Read part one. On Feb. 22, 1942, Soviet Maj. Gen. A.F. Levashev was sitting inside a TB-3 bomber as it carried the Fourth Airborne Corps’ senior officers to their landing zone — part of a major operation to relieve the Eighth... Read more

Robert Beckhusen

Managing Editor

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