Military History

With the rising Shangani River behind them, Major Allan Wilson and his 32 hard-pressed troopers make a desperate last stand against King Lobengula’s 1,000 Matabele warriors in southeast Africa.

Military History

Death of the Shangani Patrol

By Robert Barr Smith

On the banks of the rain-swollen Shangani River, a small force of white militiamen closed ranks as hundreds of Matabele warriors swarmed around them. Read more

Military History

Collecting Tanker Helmets

By Peter Suciu

Since the first tanks rolled across the battlefield in World War I, armored crews have required specialized equipment to protect them inside the giant metal beasts. Read more

Italian traveler Marco Polo, shown in this medieval painting leading his 13th-century caravan across Asia, crossed paths briefly with the much-dreaded Assassins. Unlike many, Polo lived to tell about it.

Military History

Blood in the Sand: Shiite Assassins

By Mark S. Longo

Their name has been synonymous with murder for almost a thousand years, but few people know the full truth about the enigmatic organization known as the Assassins. Read more

Military History

Famous Marines: Smedley Butler

By Edward L. Bimberg

The annals of the United States Marine Corps are filled with the names of mavericks known not only for their fighting skills, but for their offbeat personalities as well. Read more

Saint Louis, King Louis IX of France receives Robert of Nantes, Patriarch of Jerusalem, in Damietta, Egypt, in June of 1249. Robert is lending his knights to the battle ahead, the Seventh Crusade. Nineteenth century painting by French artist Oscar Gué.

Military History

The Battle of Al Mansourah and the Seventh Crusade, 1251

By Douglas Sterling

After a century and a half of efforts—with mixed success—by Western Europe to seize control of the Holy Land, the Seventh Crusade of 1250 led by Louis IX of France was the last best chance to change the political and military situation in the Eastern world before the Reformation. Read more

Israeli-upgraded Centurion main battle tanks (Sho’t Kal) advancing into Syria on October 11, 1973. Having withstood the initial four-day assault of the Yom Kippur War and retaken the Golan Heights, Israeli leaders immediately decided to invade Syria and knock them out of the war.

Military History

‘Israel’s Survival at Stake’

By John E. Spindler

Lieutenant Zvi “Zvicka” Greengold raced back to Nafakh, commanding his fifth or sixth Sho’t Kal, an Israeli-upgraded Centurion main battle tank, having had the previous ones knocked out beneath him. Read more

Wellington’s artillery commander at Waterloo said that without Henry Shrapnel’s devastating new shell, Allied forces could not have taken a key position on the battlefield.

Military History

Henry Shrapnel & The Battle of Waterloo

by Robert Whiter

“And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air …”

That, as most people know, is a line from the American national anthem, words by Francis Scott Key, to the tune of Anacreon in Heaven by John Stafford Smith. Read more

Military History

Britannia Triumphant at the Nile

By Joshua Shepherd

Smoke drifted across the quarterdeck of H.M.S. Vanguard, occasionally obscuring the figure of a slender officer bowed with battle wounds and outright exhaustion. Read more

Sporting the blood-red “Rising Sun” flag of Imperial Japan, a Japanese torpedo boat scores a direct hit on a Russian battleship at the height of the Battle of Tsushima Strait.

Military History

Rising Sun and Russian Bear

By Michael E. Haskew

For three centuries, feudal Japan remained comfortably isolated from the rest of the world. By order of the Tokugawa Shogunate, foreigners landing on Japanese shores risked immediate execution. Read more

An artillery battery stationed in the Korean hills provides support fire for forward-positioned infantry units.

Military History

The Korean War’s Counterfire Platoons

By Richard E. Ecker

In March 1953, a battle-scarred United Nations outpost called “Old Baldy” was attacked by elements of the Chinese Army and captured from the Colombian soldiers occupying it. Read more

Military History

The History of the U.S. Coast Guard

By Blaine Taylor

On August 4, 1790, at the urging of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, the United States Congress authorized the construction of 10 armed revenue cutters. Read more

An Israeli pilot in an American-made F-16 fighter jet cruises at low altitude over the Tigris River en route to the al- Tuwaitha nuclear facility near Baghdad.

Military History

Operation Babylon: Israel’s Strike on al-Tuwaitha

By Kate Cooch

In the late 1970s, it became clear to the international community that Iraq, under the despotic leadership of Saddam Hussein, was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons through the guise of buying nuclear reactors for power generators. Read more

Piloting David Bushnell’s Turtle submarine, Sergeant Ezra Lee attacks ships in New York Harbor.

Military History

David Bushnell’s Turtle: The World’s First Submarine

By Brandt Heatherington

The world’s first combat submarine was something of an afterthought on the part of its creator. The revolutionary craft, known as the Turtle for its odd profile, was the progeny of David Bushnell, who was born in 1742 in West Saybrook, Conn. Read more