Operation Cobra was a resounding success for the Allied forces on their path to liberating France in the summer of 1944, and one of the key turning-points in the history of the Second World War. Those days of fast-moving action between 25 and 30 July saw the beginning of the final collapse of the German occupation of France.
1916-1917: an infantry revolution 1916 was a year of great offensives – at Verdun and on the Somme – offensives made possible by the creation of ‘total war’ economies able to sustain unprecedented levels of manpower mobilisation and munitions production. But still the decisive victory proved elusive – whether by breakthrough (as the British planned […]
Martin Marix Evans explores the muddy terrain of the Third Battle of Ypres, the effects it had on the action, and what can be found there today.
The Russian Imperial Army has been portrayed as unfit to wage a modern war. It is best known for a catalogue of disasters at the hands of the Germans, notably at Tannenberg in 1914 and Gorlice-Tarnow in 1915, and then for its sudden collapse in the 1917 revolution. Yet General Alexsei Brusilov launched one of […]
Monte la Difensa Today, when you look at the routes up Difensa’s crags, it is just possible to imagine small groups of highly trained mountaineers conquering them. But hosts of heavily laden troops could not succeed, could they? They did, but not without facing almost overpowering difficulties. As one Forceman said, ‘no fear of death, just sheer exhaustion and survival. I […]
In the years 58-51 BC, Gaul was conquered and added to the Roman Empire through the military campaigns of Julius Caesar and his legions. For the first time in history, tribal groups in north-western Europe were confronted with the violent expansionism of an imperial system. Although Caesar’s war narrative is coloured by personal propaganda and imperial ideology, there is no doubt that the conquest had dramatic […]
When the war began in 1566, Imperial Spain was the world’s greatest superpower. By the time it ended, in 1609, ‘the Spanish century’ was over. The Dutch War of Independence was the defining conflict of its era. It secured the triumph of the Reformation in north-west Europe, and along the way reconfigured the geopolitics of the Continent. It also produced one […]
It was the culmination of ten years of increasingly violent unrest between supporters of King Henry VI and his cousin Richard, Duke of York. Helen Cox takes us on a battlefield tour of Wakefield.
How were tens of thousands of infantry landed on the Normandy beaches on 6 June 1944? How was the supply of ammo, fuel, water, rations, and everything else required by an army of invasion managed on crowded beaches under heavy fire from artillery and machine-guns? How were the beachheads protected from counterattack and given time […]
Between 1642 and 1645, London was the heart of a national revolution against absolutism. During the ‘December Days’ in late 1641, the political crisis in relations between Court and Parliament tipped over into revolution. Vast crowds of ordinary Londoners besieged Parliament to force through the anti-royalist measures they supported. Then, in early January 1642, an attempted coup by the Court backfired. King Charles entered Parliament to arrest […]