Cover Features

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Yi Sun-sin: history’s greatest admiral

When we think of great naval commanders, Nelson immediately comes to mind. He fought 13 battles, winning 8. Admiral Yi Sun-sin fought 23 battles against Japan between 1592 and 1598, and won every one of them without losing a single ship. In 14 of these battles, moreover, not a single Japanese ship survived. How did he accomplish so much, and why was Japan unable to defeat him?

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After D-Day: the Normandy breakout, 1944

Blockbuster movies have been made about the legendary D-Day landings, but little attention is paid to what happened afterwards. Although the Allies succeeded in puncturing the German Atlantic Wall, a long campaign of bitter fighting through the fields and hedgerows of the Normandy countryside –otherwise known as the bocage – lay ahead. How were the Germans brought to final defeat?

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Grant and the Overland Campaign

Grant’s conduct of the Overland Campaign has sometimes been criticised as bludgeoning – lacking in tactical finesse, restricted to frontal attacks, callous about casualties. But is this assessment fair? Neil Faulkner weighs up the debate.

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The Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution of January 1959, the Bay of Pigs Invasion of April 1961, and the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 were events of worldwide significance. All three of these events were, in very different ways, remarkable military collisions. Marking the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, we take a detailed look at this epic struggle against the odds.

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The Long World War

The crisis engendered by the Treaty of Versailles broke the European liberal centre and led to polarisation to both left and right. An apocalyptic confrontation between socialist revolution and fascist reaction dominated European politics during the 1930s. The victory of the latter across most of Europe set the stage for another world war, even longer, bloodier, and more barbaric than the first.

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The Hundred Days Offensive: did the British win it for the Allies?

While admitting that Haig was no genius, revisionist historians have argued that by 1918, he was able to co-ordinate successfully all elements of military force – artillery, armour, airpower, and infantry – to achieve a decisive victory in the series of operations known collectively as ‘The Hundred Days’. Does this argument stand up to critique? Chris Bambery tests the case.

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The Hundred Days Offensive – Whose Victory?

A century ago, between 8 August and 11 November 1918, after four years of trench stalemate, the Allied armies on the Western Front went onto the offensive, broke through the enemy line, and maintained their advance for three months until the German Army had been brought to final defeat. How was it done? Debate has raged ever since about the combination of factors that delivered Allied victory in the autumn of 1918.

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Stamford Bridge: the last Anglo-Saxon victory

The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was not only a seminal event in British history, it is also widely regarded as a turning point in military history: the moment when a ‘Dark Age’ way of war based on heavy infantry gave way to a ‘medieval’ way of war based on armoured cavalry. But was this really so? Shift the focus from Hastings, and events take on a new aspect.

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Revolutionising naval warfare in the Dutch Golden Age

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.

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WWI: Pershing on the Western Front

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?

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