Britain Goes to War: 4 August 1914

To mark Britain’s momentous declaration of war 100 years ago today, MHM  has created this graphic study of the country’s military as it prepared for war. To get a better view of the facts and figures, click on the images below.  This is an extract from the full article, published in issue 46 of Military History Monthly.  


Battle of the River Plate: Ship Specifications

On 13 December 1939, while Britain was living through a ‘Phoney War’ at home, in the waters off the River Plate a vicious sea battle was being played out, pitting three small cruisers against the pride of Germany’s Navy: the pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The Battle of the River Plate has acquired, over the subsequent […]



MHM selects five of the most decorated and daring pilots of the Great War. 5: Grahame Donald Nationality: British Awards: Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Cross Putting his promising international rugby career on hold, Donald entered the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1914 as a surgeon probationer. He is perhaps best known for his death-defying […]


TOP FIVE: Unsung Heroes

MHM chooses five lesser-known people whose war efforts deserve higher praise. 5. William Manley Lived 1831-1901 Manley is the only recipient of both the British Victoria Cross and the German Iron Cross. He served with distinction as a surgeon with the Royal Artillery during the Crimean War, but earned his VC in the Maori Wars […]


TOP FIVE: Female Spies

MHM rounds up the most daring and decorated female agents in history. 5. Mata Hari CODE NAME: H-21 LIVED: 1876-1917 ALLEGIANCE: Germany (allegedly) The exotic pursuits of Margaretha Geertruida ‘Margreet’ Zelle MacLeod – better known by her stage-name Mata Hari – remain something of a mystery. A Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan, she was accused […]


9 Kings Who Lost Their Thrones

Taken from the MHM34 feature, here are 9 deposed monarchs, some of whom were quite gruesomely dethroned.    Harold II (1066) The last of the Anglo-Saxon kings reigned for less than a year and spent it fighting to retain power against a co-ordinated double invasion by Vikings in the north and Normans in the south. […]



Andy Lawrence continues his series discussing the major themes of military history. This month, alliances. With friends like these… Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt all sat together at Yalta. Why do many see this as the iconic photograph of World War II? Possibly because it encapsulates the key reason for the Axis defeat in 1945. We […]


The Anatomy of Military Incompetence

Indecision Breeds Defeat Failure to make any decision is almost as bad as making a poor decision. Decisiveness, one way or another, is a quality generally valued on the battlefield, whereas ditherers seldom get a good press. The heat of conflict can often turn previously clear-minded men into stumbling wrecks. Napoleon’s mastery of the battlefield in the early years of the 19th century needs […]

10 Major Developments of Japanese Warfare

The Sengoku Period, or Warring States Period, was a time of social upheaval and constant military conflict from the middle of the 15th century to the beginning of the 17th century.


3 Popular Myths of Isandlwana – 1879 Zulu War

The Battle of Isandlwana on the 22nd of January 1879 was one of the most devastating defeats suffered by Britain at the hands of local inhabitants. The clash between British Troops and Zulu Warriors led to a brutal battle that has been retold numerous times, however much of the  tale has proven to have more […]

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