How did Michiel de Ruyter transform war at sea? Gone were the chaotic close-quarter mêlées, galleys, and archers. In came tight discipline, strategic formations, and the man–o’–war. We revisit the swashbuckling era of 17th-century naval conflict, when the Dutch – not the British – ruled the waves.
Born in Paris in 1908, Simone de Beauvoir belonged to that unlucky generation which lived through both World Wars. She was also one of the 20th century’s seminal thinkers.
No general in American history held the kind of absolute power General Pershing wielded. With complete backing from President Woodrow Wilson and Secretary of War Newton D Baker, Pershing could shape the American Expeditionary Force, due to deploy on the Western Front of the First World War, as he saw fit. But how successful was his military strategy?
The late Richard Holmes considered Marlborough to be Britain’s greatest general. He was probably right. But, like many great commanders, Marlborough was paired with a man of comparable calibre: Prince Eugene of Savoy. So outstanding were Eugene’s talents that Napoleon listed him among history’s top seven generals. Together, the two men shaped a continent.
MHM Editor Neil Faulkner reviews Ken Burns’ new 18-hour blockbuster The Vietnam War, and compares it to three other great TV war documentaries of the last half-century. What was most shocking about Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War ? It wasn’t the atrocities. It wasn’t the Vietcong prisoner murdered in cold blood on the streets of Saigon. It wasn’t […]
A prisoner-of-war camp dating to the Second World War is in danger of being demolished. PoW Camp 116 was set up in Hatfield Heath, Essex, in 1941 to house Italian prisoners-of-war, and in 1943 and 1944 it mainly held German and Austrian inmates. But the existence of the camp has been called into question by […]
Taylor Downing reveals an official cover-up of mental illness in the later years of the war. It was not just the scale of the physical casualties that overwhelmed the British Army in the summer of 1916 on the Somme, terrible though these were – 38,000 wounded to be processed through medical facilities on the first day […]
Clare Mulley on the daring exploits of a highly decorated WWII special agent. Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville, was the first woman to work for Britain as a special agent during the Second World War. She was also the longest-serving. Her extraordinary contribution to the Allied effort in three theatres of the war led […]
We know the story. Goaded into a hopeless war by an expanding colonial empire, thousands of warriors rise against their oppressors – and inadvertently spawn a legend. There is a twist: this action takes place in present-day Zimbabwe. While we are very familiar with the struggle for South Africa and the desperate encounters at Isandhlwana, Rorke’s Drift, and Ulundi during the Zulu War of 1879, this was only the beginning of a generation of brutal conflict across the ‘dark continent’.
A huge, mountainous, landlocked Central Asian state, Afghanistan has defied invaders for 2,500 years. Jules Stewart takes a look at the country’s military longue durée. Taken in historical context, the 13-year presence of NATO combat troops in Afghanistan amounted to scarcely a footnote to centuries of foreign military intervention in the country. From the […]