The Captain of the Carrier USS ‘Franklin’ Is a Case Study in How Not to Lead
Seldom does your humble scribe come away incensed from reading history. The saga of the World War II aircraft carrier USS Franklin constitutes an exception. We normally think of Franklin’s history as a parable about the importance of shipboard firefighting and damage control. It’s about materiel and methods, in other... Read more
‘Dunkirk’ Helped Me Understand the Terror and Confusion of War
Christopher Nolan’s war film Dunkirk took lots of things I knew about World War II and made me feel them. It’s the difference between writing down “the destroyer sank with loss of half the crew” — and being a person deep inside that ship’s bowels, having just escaped the... Read more
A Nazi War Train Hauled the Biggest Gun Ever Made
This story originally appeared on July 31, 2015. War trains dominated combat for more than 100 years. Massive railborne artillery shelled the enemy while trains unloaded troops and supplies. For a brief moment, the terrifying machines were the most powerful weapon on the battlefield. But technology advanced. Improvements to... Read more
The Third Reich’s Giant Electric Submarine Fail
This story originally appeared on April 30, 2014. On May 4, 1945 one of the most advanced submarines in the world crept up to a British Royal Navy cruiser. U-2511 was one of Germany’s new Type XXI-class “wonder” submarines, and she was hunting for Allied ships. She also represented... Read more
World War II and the F-Word
According to John Babcock, a mortarman in the U.S. Army’s 78th Infantry Division, during World War II and every war before or after, the word “fuck” “was, and still is, the most frequently used crutch-word in the military.” J. Glenn Gray, another World War II soldier, agreed. “The most... Read more
Nazi Germany Tried to Beat Britain With Counterfeit Cash
This story originally appeared on June 12, 2016. In 1967, organ experts cracked open an old organ at the church of San Valentino in Merano, Italy in an attempt to find markings which could date the instrument. Instead of a production label, the workers found £5 million in cash... Read more
The HMS ‘Queen Elizabeth’ Was an Unlucky Battleship
Earlier this week HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest aircraft carrier ever built for the Royal Navy, began sea trials. The Queen Elizabeth class represents a massive leap forward for the Royal Navy, and the success or failure of the class will structure British seapower for the rest of the 21st century.... Read more
Armed With a Sten Gun and a PIAT, Stanley Hollis Was Fearless
In June 1944, during the Allies’ inland push following their successful landing in Normandy, British Army company sergeant-major Stanley Hollis — from the 6th Green Howards — won the Victoria Cross for two conspicuous acts of gallantry involving two iconic weapons. By the time he landed on Gold Beach... Read more
You Had to Be Pretty Brave to Attack a German Tank With a PIAT
In 1941, Britain developed the Projector, Infantry, Anti Tank, better known as the PIAT. The PIAT would become Britain’s primary anti-tank weapon during World War II. The British had struggled to field an effective anti-tank weapon for infantry. In 1940, the British Army had introduced the No. 68 anti-tank... Read more
Outnumbered and Outgunned, the Bulgarian Air Force Battled the Allies Over Sofia
In April 1941, Bulgaria was drawn half-heartedly into World War II by Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler threatened Bulgaria with invasion if it didn’t allowed German troops to invade Greece and Yugoslavia through Bulgarian territory — and, if the kingdom cooperated, promised to give it Greek and Yugoslav territory in... Read more
  • 100% ad free experience
  • Get our best stories sent to your inbox every day
  • Membership to private Facebook group
Show your support for continued hard hitting content.
Only $19.99 per year and for a limited time, new subscribers receive a FREE War Is Boring T-Shirt!
Become a War is Boring subscriber