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The arquebus changed warfare in Europe. Here armored soldiers fire matchlock pieces as depicted on a German woodcut of the late 15th century.

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The Arquebus

By William J. McPeak

In 1503, near the northern Italian town of Cerignola, the famous Spanish commander Gonsalvo de Cordova, Viceroy of Naples (to be known to military history as “The Great Captain”), resolved to turn and stand before the pursuing French army. Read more

George S. Patton’s bull terrier Wille waits quietly for his late master to return.

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Patton’s Death

By Blaine Taylor

It was 11:45 am, on December 9, 1945, and former U.S. Third Army Commanding General George Smith Patton, Jr., Read more

U.S. Navy Helldiver aircraft attack the Japanese battleship Musashi in the Sibuyan Sea during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Painting by Sam L. Massette.

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Battle of Sibuyan Sea

By John Wukovits

In warfare, desperate times call for desperate measures, and in the fall of 1944 the empire of Japan found itself in precisely that predicament. Read more

The location of Salses fortress in northern Spain was dictated by the presence of a natural spring—a necessity in the event of an enemy siege.

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Forteresse de Salses

By Susan Ludmer-Gliebe

In the autumn of 1495, three years after the Christian reconquest of Islamic Spain, Queen Isabella I of Castile and her husband, King Ferdinand II of Aragon, sent a letter to their master architect. Read more

American tanks and armored gun carriers drive over snow-covered terrain to Samree during the Battle of the Bulge. Capture of the city opened the way to Houffallize, heart of the Bulge.

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The End of the Battle of the Bulge

By Arnold Blumberg

Wednesday, December 27, 1944, found the military situation in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium stalemated. After 12 days of unrelenting struggle, the American and German forces on this part of the Western Front found themselves locked in brutal combat, unable to drive each other back. Read more

German cruiser SMS Konigsberg, displacing 3,400 tons, sailed from Germany for Africa in April 1914, just before the outbreak of World War I.

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The German Cruiser Konigsberg

By Michael Vogel

The field telephone rang on the bridge of the trapped German cruiser SMS Konigsberg. On the other end of the line, the coast watcher spoke the words that had been dreaded for almost eight months—the British were coming. Read more

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Operation Greif: Assassinate Eisenhower?

By Charles Whiting

On the morning of Monday, December 18, 1944, a mixed group of white MPs and black American service troops stood guard on the little bridge at Aywaille in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. Read more

Baron Manfred von Richthofen was not the first flyer to be awarded the “Blue Max.” In fact, he waited anxiously for it. The award goes back to the 17th century.

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The Pour le Mérite

By Robert Whiter

It was early in the year 1917, and a member of the Luftstreiknafte (German Army Air Service), Freiherr (Baron) Manfred von Richthofen, was feeling a trifle disgruntled. Read more

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Operation Catapult: Churchill’s Desperate Measure

By Brooke C. Stoddard

Steaming through the summer Mediterranean night, the world having gone sour in two awful months, British Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville read the message just sent to him from London: “You are charged with one of the most disagreeable and difficult tasks that a British Admiral has ever been faced with, but we have complete confidence in you and rely on you to carry it out relentlessly.” Read more

Rifles in hand, a French patrol proudly poses for the camera in front of a log blockhouse fortification atop a rocky outcrop in Belgium.

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The 1940 Battle of Gembloux

By Jonathan F. Keiler

On May 10, 1940, a daring group of German parachutists descended on the mighty Belgian fortress of Eben Emael, compelled its surrender, and opened the way for the German Army’s drive into Belgium. Read more

Civil War veteran Capt. Joseph A. Faris completed a depiction of the fight at Point Pleasant long after the action but with a soldier’s sensibilities to combat and terrain.

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Lord Dunmore’s War: The Battle of Point Pleasant

By James K. Swisher

In the lengthening shadows of a late October afternoon, a column of tired marchers attired in dusty, fringed hunting dress emerged from the trees along the north bank of the Kanawha River, raising an exhilarating shout upon sighting its confluence with the Ohio. Read more

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West Virginia: Seceding from the Confederacy

By Don Roberts

During the Civil War western Virginia was crucial to the Union. The region that lay west of the Shenandoah Valley and north of the Kanawha River held nearly a quarter of Virginia’s nonslave population when the war began in 1861. Read more

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The Medieval Crossbow: Redefining War in the Middle Ages

By Arnold Blumberg

Anna Comnena, daughter of the Byzantium Emperor Alexius Comnenus, writing at about the time of the First Crusade (1096-1099), said of the medieval crossbow, a military tool new to her part of the world, “The crossbow is a weapon of the barbarians [western Europeans], absolutely unknown to the Greeks [Byzantines].” Read more