The legendary origins of the submarine stretch back to 332 BC with a tale about Alexander the Great being lowered into the sea in a glass barrel to study fish. The submarine concept was thereafter consigned to the backwaters of history for some 1,800 years. It reappears with the publication in 1578 of Inventions or […]
From ancient times, the value of a samurai was assessed in terms of his prowess at kyuba no michi, the way of horse and bow, whereby the elite warrior would deliver arrows from his longbow while riding a horse.
The Katana (sword) of the samurai warrior is one of the best-known edged weapons in world military history. It is also probably the finest, being made using metallurgical skills based on tradition and observation, a process that has enabled 800-year-old swords to be preserved in perfect condition.
The latest nuclear submarines to roll off of the BAE Systems Barrow shipyards are the first two of the new nuclear-powered Astute class attack submarines. All seven of those originally ordered have survived the recent Defence Review. HMS Astute is 97m long and displaces 7,800 tonnes,the equivalent of 1,000 London buses. Being totally self-sufficient, […]
The real breakthrough with Submarine warfare, and the birth of the modern submarine, came courtesy of John Phillip Holland, near the end of the 19th century. Holland became the first designer successfully to unite three new pieces of technology, the electric motor, the electric battery, and the internal combustion engine, to create the first recognisably […]
Simple weapons can prove astonishingly effective. The Flemish goedendag was a long wooden club, reinforced with iron rings binding and strengthening it. Illustrations show that it had an iron spike set into the end. It was not as long as a pike, which could be set into the ground, though it was longer than a […]
Over 6ft in length, the longbow was capable of killing a man at over 200 yards. The best bows were made of yew, cut with the heartwood on the inner side. This compressed when the bow was drawn, while the sapwood on the other side stretched. The combination provided immense power. The biggest bows had […]
Known officially as the Infantry Tank Mark II, and less formally as the Matilda Senior or Matilda 2, this 27-ton tank wreaked havoc among the Italian forces in the deserts of Egypt in late 1940. With only two in service in 1937, demand for these armoured machines quickly rose with the outbreak of war; from […]
The scourge of Stalingrad and perhaps the most exceptionally efficient sniper rifle of WWII, this deadly weapon was mass-produced in the Soviet Union with up to 330,000 in circulation between 1941 and 1943. The design was a modification of the standard Mosin-Nagant 1891/30 rifle – or Vintovka Mosina – a prominent model throughout the 20th […]
Obsolete it may have been, but the Fairey Swordfish remained in front-line service throughout the Second World War, distinguishing itself as the last biplane in the world to see active service. Although Taranto was arguably its finest hour, Swordfish scored many other notable successes, notably damaging the German battleship Bismarck in May 1941, helping sink […]