The story of Julius Caesar’s military career is that of a special relationship between a brilliant commander and an elite fighting force. Caesar was a skilled politician and a master of military engineering. Highly drilled, heavily armoured, and tightly disciplined, the legions of the Late Republic were superb instruments of war. We analyse how Caesar used them to devastating effect.
The wounds are still raw. It was a bitter conflict, it left many grieving, and it remains well within living memory. But that does not mean that military historians should not study it and attempt to understand it. Patrick Mercer analyses the strategy, tactics, and history of Northern Ireland’s protracted war.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.