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Military History Podcast





Published: Mon, 04 May 2009 06:29:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2016 04:34:13 +0000

 



US Special Operations Forces

Mon, 04 May 2009 06:29:00 +0000

US Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, is divided up into the following. I will talk about each individual unit listed.
  • Army: 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Forces (Green Berets), 160th SOAR (Night Stalkers)
  • Navy: SEALs, and SWCCs (Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen)
  • Air Force: Pararescuemen (PJs), Combat Controllers (CCTs)
  • Marine Corps: Marine Force Recon
  • Joint: Delta Force, DEVGRU, 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Intelligence Support Activity
For more information, read:
US Special Forces by Samuel Southworth
Chosen Soldier by Dick Couch
That Others May Live by Jack Brehm
Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Audible (visit audiblepodcast.com/militaryhistory for a free audiobook download)


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Planning the American Civil War

Fri, 24 Apr 2009 15:46:00 +0000


This episode answers four basic questions:
  • Why were both North and South so unprepared for war?
  • Which side had the initial advantage?
  • Did the South have to secede?  Did the North have to respond with military force?
  • Was Northern victory inevitable?
For information on sources, email me.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Planning_the_American_Civil_War.mp3?dest-id=22979




Farragut and the Vicksburg Campaign

Thu, 29 Jan 2009 20:59:00 +0000

Vicksburg was a Confederate fortress guarding the Mississippi River during the American Civil War.  It was the only thing stopping the Union from taking control of the all-powerful Mississippi waterway.  Although the Vicksburg Campaign is most famously associated with General Ulysses Grant (whose capture of the fortress is considered a major turning point in the war), there were many earlier Union campaigns to take control of Vicksburg.  One of these campaigns, led by Navy Admiral David Farragut, is the focus of this episode.

The script for this episode was written by Jacob Bains from Texas.  If you would like to submit your own script, please send it to militaryhistorypodcast@gmail.com


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Farragut_and_the_Vicksburg_Campaign.mp3?dest-id=22979




Democracy in Iraq

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 18:38:00 +0000

Why has democracy failed in Iraq?  Here are some potential theories, with their originators in parentheses:
  • Modernization (Rostow, Lipset): Iraq is not wealthy, urban, modern, or secular enough to support democracy.  It has not followed the same path to development that Western democracies have set out, and thus, it is not yet ready.
  • Cultural (Huntington, Weber): Iraqis are not inherently suitable for democracy, simply because their culture favors an authoritarian style of government.
  • Marxist (Moore, Marx): Iraq still has a strong landed elite and a weak bourgeoisie, meaning that it is not ripe for class conflict and thus, it is not ripe for social and political development
  • Voluntarist (Di Palma): Iraq lacks the strong leadership needed to usher the country into a democratic phase.
Each of these theories has its flaws and counterexamples, which will be discussed in this episode.  This is not meant to define one theory as better than the rest...it is simply meant to put all ideas on the table.

For more information, read:
Huntington's Third Wave
Di Palma's To Craft Democracies
Bellin's Authoritarianism in the Middle East
Colton's Putin and Democratization
Johnson's Political Institutions and Economic Performance
Lipset's Political Man
Marx's Communist Manifesto
Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy
Rostow's Stages of Economic Growth
Selbin's Revolution in the Real World
Skocpol's Social Revolutions in the Modern World
Varshney's India Defies the Odds
Weber's Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Democracy_in_Iraq.mp3?dest-id=22979




Troop Surge in Iraq

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 18:16:00 +0000

This episode focuses on the decision-making strategies that President Bush used in December of 2006 before choosing to commit the troop surge.  Things discussed include: the release of the Iraq Study Group Report, the 2006 midterm elections, Bush's meeting with Generals Keane and Downing, and Bush's relationship with General Petraeus and Secretary Gates.  At the end of the episode is a recap on the success of the troop surge, as well as an analysis of President Bush's leadership during December 2006 and January 2007.

For more background information on Iraq, listen to: Iraq Study Group Report Assessment, Iraq Study Group Report Recommendations, Invading Iraq, Occupying Iraq, Iraq's Environment, and Medal of Honor in Iraq.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Troop_Surge_in_Iraq.mp3?dest-id=22979




Forces of Nature (2)

Sat, 24 May 2008 22:29:00 +0000

Whether they are seen as acts of God, or as simple climate-related occurrences, natural events have always had a sizeable impact on military operations. At the small end of the scale are the little changes in terrain or weather that may affect a battle or a small war. For example, many armies have postponed their campaigns due to inclement weather conditions, and many militaries have suffered from rampant disease. On the other end of the scale are the times when nature has so much of an impact that the fate of an entire nation or civilization is decided upon it. In the words of Charles Darwin, these are times when “the war of nature” results in the downfall of one party and the rise of another.
  • Colonization Smallpox: Rampant disease severely weakened the Aztecs and Incas, allowing small bands of Spanish conquistadors (led by Cortez and Pizarro, respectively) to easily overthrow two great empires.
  • Revolutionary Wind and Fog: Heavy winds subsided after the Battle of Long Island, allowing American troops to evacuate and fight another day.  Their retreat was concealed by a dense fog.  Later, just before the Battle of Trenton, a heavy fog concealed the Americans long enough to conduct a surprise attack which greatly boosted the morale of the Continental Army.
  • Russian Winter: Cold temperatures forced Napoleon to retreat after he failed to conquer Russia and find accommodations in Moscow.  The lack of grass and unfrozen roads resulted in the destruction of up to 75% of Napoleon's Army as it marched back to France.
For more information, read:
Hopkins' The Great Killer
Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel
McCullough's 1776
Burton's Napoleon's Invasion of Russia
Tolstoy's War and Peace
George's Napoleon's Invasion of Russia

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Forces_of_Nature_2.mp3?dest-id=22979




Forces of Nature (1)

Sat, 03 May 2008 22:46:00 +0000

Whether they are seen as acts of God, or as simple climate-related occurrences, natural events have always had a sizeable impact on military operations.  At the small end of the scale are the little changes in terrain or weather that may affect a battle or a small war.  For example, many armies have postponed their campaigns due to inclement weather conditions, and many militaries have suffered from rampant disease.  On the other end of the scale are the times when nature has so much of an impact that the fate of an entire nation or civilization is decided upon it.  In the words of Charles Darwin, these are times when “the war of nature? results in the downfall of one party and the rise of another.

  • Thales' Eclipse: Halted the epic Battle of Halys River, thereby saving one or both of the participants (Lydia and Media) from destruction.
  • Kamikaze (Divine Wind): Created a storm that destroying the invading Mongol fleets, thereby saving Japan from foreign conquest.
  • Athenian Typhoid: Wreaked havoc throughout Athens, contributing to its downfall in the Peloponnesian War.
  • Bering Land Bridge: Facilitated the "invasion" of North America.
  • Clouds over Kokura: Obscured the primary target for the "Fat Man" atomic bomb, thereby saving Kokura but resulting in the destruction of Nagasaki.
  • Legend of Quetzacoatl: Convinced the Aztecs that Cortez was the reincarnation of Quetzacoatl, thereby facilitating the Spanish conquest of Latin America.
For more information, read:
Darwin's Origin of Species
Herodotus' Histories
Mitchell's Eclipses of the Sun
Lamont-Brown's Kamikaze
Daniels' Almanac of World History

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Forces_of_Nature_1.mp3?dest-id=22979




Occupying Iraq (2003-2007)

Sat, 19 Apr 2008 19:34:00 +0000

This episode covers the period between Bush's declaration of "Mission Accomplished" and the change in coalition leadership (from General Casey to General Petraeus).  The following major events and topics are discussed:

  • 2003: Deaths of Saddam's two sons (Qusay and Uday), capture of Saddam, Baathist Purge, National Museum looting, and Bremer's disbanding of the Iraqi Army.
  • 2004: Sectarian violence and displacement, Operation Vigiliant Resolve (1st Fallujah), Battle of Ramadi, Battle of Husaybah, Battle of Mosul, Operation Phanton Fury (2nd Fallujah), Blackwater USA, medals of honor.
  • 2005: January and December Legislative Elections, Battle of Haditha, Abu Ghraib.
  • 2006: Handing three provinces to Iraqi authority, death of Zarqawi, execution of Saddam, Al-Askari mosque bombing, Operation Together Forward (Baghdad), Battle of Ramadi.
  • 2007: Battle of Haifa Street (Baghdad), creation of the new Counterinsurgency Field Manual (3-24).
For more information, read:
Iraq Study Group Report
Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24
No End in Sight (film)
http://iraq.liveleak.com/
www.iraqstatusreport.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFijzDyJnVE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epfmuHr4_b8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGQaPYzFZ8o

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Occupying_Iraq_2003-2007.mp3?dest-id=22979




The Philosophy of War (2)

Mon, 07 Apr 2008 18:14:00 +0000

According to Lawrence Keeley, "90-95% of known societies engage in war". Why? What compels homo sapiens to kill each other? Why do we fight? Part one will describe two hypotheses.

War is Necessary:
Aristotle says in Nicomachean Ethics that "we fight war so that we may live in peace". This notion is echoed by many other famous thinkers including Marx (an advocate of a final proletarian revolution in order to establish a worker's paradise) and Zoroaster (the first monotheist to discuss the final battle of judgment between good and evil).

War is Logical:
Using Darwin's logic, mankind continues to fight wars because it is the means through which our species survives. Thomas Malthus adapted this into a population argument, stating that humans fight wars in order to keep populations small and manageable. Samuel Huntington took this one step further by saying that war negates massive youth bulges. Lastly, John Nash (the economist) proved, through game theory, that war is a more logical choice than peace.

War is Accidental:
AJP Taylor argued that all wars are unintended and unhappy escalations of smaller conflicts. Warmongering is neither inherent nor unavoidable. Taylor's ideas link closely to the pacifistic ideas of Tolstoy and Gandhi.

For more information, read:
Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
Communist Manifesto by Marx
Holy Avesta, Holy Bible, Holy Qur'an
Origin of Species by Darwin
An Essay on the Principle of Population by Malthus
Environmental Science by Richard Wright
Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/The_Philosophy_of_War_2.mp3?dest-id=22979




The Philosophy of War (1)

Mon, 24 Mar 2008 18:25:00 +0000

According to Lawrence Keeley, "90-95% of known societies engage in war". Why? What compels homo sapiens to kill each other? Why do we fight? Part one will describe two hypotheses.

War is Rational:
Sun Tzu argued that political struggles would eventually lead to armed conflict. Clausewitz took this one step further by saying that "war is a mere continuation of policy by other means". Machiavelli completed this entire line of thought by saying that war was the most efficient means of attaining any political goal.

War is Inevitable:
Hobbes argued that humans are inherently violent. Raymond Dart and Robert Ardrey found a scientific basis for this by claiming that homo sapiens became the dominant humanoid through their martial prowess (and we have kept this prowess ever since). Another group of philosophers believe that war can be attributed to the reckless aggression caused by testosterone in males.

For more information, read:
Sun Tzu's Art of War
Clausewitz's On War
Machiavelli's The Prince
Mao's Quotations
Hobbes' Leviathan

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/The_Philosophy_of_War_1.mp3?dest-id=22979




Joan of Arc

Fri, 14 Mar 2008 01:16:00 +0000

Joan of Arc (1412-1431) was a poor peasant girl from Lorraine. One day, she had a vision in which three saints urged her to lead the French to victory over the English in the Hundred Years' War. She traveled to Charles VII's court and was appointed head of the French Army (headed to relieve the besieged city of Orleans) because her unlikely presence would inspire hope in the French forces. Upon arriving in Orleans, Joan launched several counterattacks against the English and broke the siege in only eight days. Then, she led a campaign to clear the English out of the Loire River Valley, eventually liberating the city of Reims.

During a later skirmish, Joan was captured and tried for heresy. She was found guilty and burned at the stake. Later, she was exonerated and made a saint. She has served a symbol of French nationalism and feminist pride ever since.

For more information, read:.
Joan of Arc: Her Story by Regine Peroud Joan of Arc: A Military Appreciation by Stephen Richey

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and Audible


Media Files:
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Frederick the Great

Sun, 02 Mar 2008 23:31:00 +0000

Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, is considered the best commander of the European Enlightenment.  Despite possessing relatively few people and resources, he transformed the tiny Prussian state into a great military power (which arguably wouldn't be brought down until 1945).  Strategically, he modernized the Prussian military into a well-trained, well-disciplined unit.  He taught them to fire faster, march with more precision, and deploy artillery quicker.  Tactically, he employed oblique tactics which massed all units on one side of the battle line in order to sweep through the enemy forces one at a time (instead of all at once).  This allowed Frederick to achieve victories against numerically-superior enemies at Hohenfriedberg, Rossbach, and Leuthen. 

For more information, read:
Frederick the Great by Gerhard Ritter
Frederick the Great by Giles MacDonogh
Frederick the Great by Christopher Duffy
Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
Extreme War by Terrence Poulos

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Frederick_the_Great.mp3?dest-id=22979




Lincoln's Assassination

Mon, 18 Feb 2008 20:31:00 +0000

President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a southern sympathizer and a self-proclaimed modern-day Brutus, on April 14th, 1865 (five days after the end of the Civil War). Booth snuck into Lincoln's viewing Booth at the Ford's Theater while Lincoln was watching "Our American Cousin" and shot him in the back of the head. Booth then jumped down onto the stage and ran out the back door. The ensuing manhunt eventually caught up with him in the swamps of the Potomac River. He was shot, and his co-conspirators were hanged.

The event has many interesting stories associated with it:
  • Lincoln had a dream in which he walked into the East Room of the White House and saw a casket. He asked the soldiers why there was a casket and the soldiers told him that the President had been assassinated. He had the dream three days before being assassinated.
  • Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's son, stood by his father's body as he passed away. Strangely, Robert Todd Lincoln would also stand by the sides of Presidents Garfield and McKinley (both shot by assassins) as they lay dying.
  • Robert Todd Lincoln once fell onto the train tracks but was saved by Edwin Booth, John's brother.
  • Boston Corbett, the soldier who fatally wounded Booth, shot him in the exact same spot that Booth shot Lincoln.
There are also several conspiracy theories about the Lincoln Assassination:
  • Vice President Johnson indirectly communicated with Booth on the day of the assassination. He stood to gain the most from the death of Lincoln.
  • Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin might have ordered the assassination of the opposing head of state for tactical reasons. Benjamin destroyed all of his records after the surrender, and then fled to England and never returned.
  • Secretary of War Edwin Stanton disliked Lincoln for his moderate stance on many issues. Stanton prevented Ulysses Grant (and his military escort) from attending "Our American Cousin" with Lincoln (and potentially saving his life). He also lowered security on the bridge that Booth used to flee into Maryland. He also destroyed a few pages of Booth's diary before it was used as evidence in court.
For more information, read:
The American Presidents by David Whitney
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer (The History Channel)
The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told by Rick Beyer
http://members.aol.com/RVSNorton/Lincoln.html

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Lincolns_Assassination.mp3?dest-id=22979




Crassus vs. Spartacus

Sat, 09 Feb 2008 22:47:00 +0000

Crassus was the wealthiest man in Rome.  Before he joined the First Triumvirate with Pompey and Caesar, he struggled to make a name for himself.  His big break came with the outbreak of the Third Servile War, when Spartacus led a slave rebellion throughout the Italian Peninsula.  Spartacus and his men wreaked havoc throughout the region, defeating several Roman legions.  Although his original plan was to escape to Gaul and head home, Spartacus decided to head south towards Sicily.  However, his transport (the Cilician Pirates) failed to arrive in time, and Crassus was able to bring his legions in from behind to trap Spartacus.  In the ensuing battle, Spartacus was killed and many more slaves were crucified.  Crassus achieved some fame but in the end, his career would pale in comparison to Pompey and Caesar.  He was killed in Parthia after a failed showing at the Battle of Carrhae by having molten gold poured down his throat.

For more information, read:
Plutarch’s Lives (http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/crassus.html)
http://www.livius.org/so-st/spartacus/spartacus.html

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazines.


Media Files:
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The Anglo-Dutch Wars

Sat, 26 Jan 2008 19:17:00 +0000

Today's episode's script was written by Andrew Tumath of Aberdeen, United Kingdom.  To submit your own script, please send them to me at militaryhistorypodcast@gmail.com

The Anglo-Dutch Wars were a series of the distinct conflicts waged between England and the United Provinces (modern-day Netherlands) in the middle years of the 17th-century. Fought for different reasons, alongside different allies, and with different results, the wars pitted the two great maritime powers of the period against each other, until both came to realise that the real threat came from the France of Louis XIV. Almost uniquely maritime in nature, there wasn’t a single action in the three conflicts in which an English army faced a Dutch one. 

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/The_Anglo-Dutch_Wars.mp3?dest-id=22979




Iraq's Environment

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 04:54:00 +0000

This episode is an analysis of the environmental impacts of the current war in Iraq.  There are several major categories, each of which will be discussed.  This episode is meant to be an overview of the rarely-discussed ecological situation in Iraq, rather than a persuasive piece towards one viewpoint or another.  The entire episode will revolve around environmental issues--political and strategic issues and biases will not be included.

  • Negative Effects:
    • Oil Fires: Saddam lit oil wells on fire, resulting in extreme air pollution.
    • Oil Spills: the oil wells spilled into the surrounding ground and sea, ruining vast expanses of animal habitats.
    • Depleted Uranium: DU munitions used by Coalition forces have chemically wounded thousands of Iraqis and Americans.
    • War Machines: Military vehicles and structures wreak havoc through the fragile deserts of Western and Northern Iraq.
    • Munitions: Unexploded ordinances and explosion craters have wrecked acres and acres of potential farmland.
    • Water Pollution: Unnatural or unhealthy chemicals, such as oil and human biomass, have entered waterways in large quantities, thereby rendering them unusable.
    • Infrastructure Damage: The lack of leadership in Iraq means that significant environmental problems, such as broken sewage systems, never get fixed.
    • Fiscal Allocation: Funds allocated to defense could have been used to pursue environmentalist initiatives.
  • Positive Effects:
    • Iraq War is a major catalyst for the “alternative energies initiative?.
    • Saddam’s ecologically harmful policies will no longer devastate the Iraqi ecosystem.
    • Iraq’s relationship with the United Nations has improved, meaning that UN environmental agencies can now safely enter the region.
For more information, read:
Environmental Science by Richard Wright
The Gulf War Aftermath by Mohammed Sadiq
Desk Study on the Environment in Iraq by the United Nations Environment Program
The Iraq Quagmire by the Institute for Policy Studies
The Environment Consequences of the war in Iraq by the UK Green Party


Special thanks to: Captain Christopher Green, Corporal Trent Davis, and Master Sergeant Jonny Lung

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Iraqs_Environment.mp3?dest-id=22979




The John McCains

Tue, 01 Jan 2008 21:06:00 +0000

John McCain Sr: Admiral, Commander of Fast Carrier Task Force in South Pacific during WWII
John McCain Jr: Admiral, Commander of Pacific Command during Vietnam War
John McCain III: Navy aviator, shot down in Hanoi, tortured as a prisoner of war for 5.5 years, currently running for Republican nomination for President of the United States

Other presidential candidates with military experience are:
  • Chris Dodd: Army Reserve
  • Mike Gravel: Lieutenant, Counter-Intelligence Corps (West Germany)
  • Ron Paul: Captain, Flight Surgeon (US Air Force)
  • Duncan Hunter: Lieutenant, US Army Rangers
For more information, read:
http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198503/delenda.est.carthago.htm
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jsmccain.htm
www.realclearpolitics.com
http://www.azcentral.com/news/specials/mccain/articles/0301mccainbio-chapter3.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/15/politics/15mccain.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1198992044-jBYur2uP0d4d90Hp7uLjtA


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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Sports - War minus the Shooting

Wed, 26 Dec 2007 20:06:00 +0000

The title of this episode comes from the following George Orwell quote: “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard for all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting." This is meant to be a fun episode on the similarities between football, chess, and war. Please take each analogy with a grain of salt.

Football (two armies fighting to reach the opposing camp/end zone):
  • Kick-off Team: Skirmishers
  • Quarterback: Tactical Commander
  • Head Coach: Strategic Commander
  • Halfback: Light Infantry Reserves
  • Fullback: Heavy Infantry Reserves
  • Tight End: Heavy Cavalry
  • Linemen (offensive and defensive): Heavy Infantry
  • Wide Receivers: Light Cavalry
  • Cornerbacks: Light Cavalry
  • Linebackers: Light Infantry
  • Safeties: Heavy Cavalry
  • Kicker: Artillery
(image) (image)

Chess (two armies fighting to defeat the opposing commander):
  • Pawns: Heavy Infantry
  • Rooks: Artillery
  • Knights: Light Cavalry
  • Bishops: Light Infantry
  • Queen: Heavy Cavalry
  • King: Tactical Commander
(image) (image)

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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Food of WWII

Sun, 16 Dec 2007 01:05:00 +0000

This episode is written by Russell Holman of Merrimack, New Hampshire.  If you would like to submit a script to Military History Podcast, please send me an email at militaryhistorypodcast@gmail.com

The mighty American military during WWII would have been nothing without its surprisingly-important rationing system.  Food kept the United States going, so therefore, it is well worth studying.  Throughout WWII and the years beyond, the US entered/exited several "eras" of rations:
  • A Rations
  • B Rations
  • K Rations
  • C Rations
  • LRRP Rations
  • MREs
For more information, read:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/mre.htm
http://www.olive-drab.com/od_rations.php
http://nsc.natick.army.mil/media/print/OP_Rations.pdf

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Food_of_WWII.mp3?dest-id=22979




Aircraft Carriers

Sat, 08 Dec 2007 23:22:00 +0000

Aircraft Carriers are the ultimate tool of modern power projection.  They are symbols of both naval strength and air superiority.  This episode covers their history and their future:
  • 1840s: Balloon Carriers are invented
  • 1900s: Seaplane Carriers are invented
  • 1910s: Modern aircraft carriers are invented
  • 1930s-1940s: WWII (five major carrier battles)
    • Pearl Harbor: Japan's six carriers surprise the United States Navy
    • Coral Sea: Japan's three carriers engage America's two carriers (both lose one carrier)
    • Midway: America's three carriers engage Japan's four carriers and sink all four, with the help of codebreakers and reconnaissance.  Considered a turning point in the Pacific War
    • Philippine Sea: America's sixteen carriers destroy or disable all but 35 of the 500 Japanese carrier-based aircraft
    • Leyte Gulf: America's seventeen carriers decisively defeat the Imperial Japanese Navy in the largest naval battle in history
  • WWII-present: US Carrier Strike Groups control the seas
For more information, read:
http://www.sandcastlevi.com/sea/carriers/cvchap1a.htm
http://www.navy.mil/navydata/ships/carriers/cv-list.asp
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/carriers.htm
http://science.howstuffworks.com/aircraft-carrier.htm
http://www.combatreform2.com/submarineaircraftcarriers.htm
The Pacific War Companion by Daniel Marston
Jane’s Warship Recognition Guide
Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft Carriers (1921-1945) by Mark Stille
US Navy Bluejacket’s Manual


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/Aircraft_Carriers.mp3?dest-id=22979




War in Bosnia

Sun, 02 Dec 2007 21:17:00 +0000

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the former Yugoslavian countries began to divide along ethnic lines.  Of the five states (Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia), three of them began waging war:
  • Serbia (Orthodox Christians) under Slobodan Milosevic
  • Bosnia (Muslims) under Alija Izetbegovic
  • Croatia (Roman Catholics) under Franjo Tudjman
Initially, both Croatia and Serbia desired to take land from Bosnia.  However, as the war progressed, Croatia took the side of Bosnia in order to push Serbia out of the region.  Ethnic cleansing (especially by the Serbs) was commonplace, and it wasn't until Croatian intervention (on the ground with Operation Storm) and NATO intervention (in the air with Operation Deliberate Resolve) that the war slowed down.  Eventually, after a four-year long siege of Sarajevo (the Bosnian capital), the Dayton Accords were signed.

However, the ethnic cleansing continued, most notably at Kosovo.  After another NATO intervention led by General Wesley Clark, peace was restored again.

For more information, read:
My Life by Bill Clinton
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1280328.stm
http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/bosnia.htm
The Statesman's Yearbook 2006

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/geo47/War_in_Bosnia.mp3?dest-id=22979




Operation Downfall

Sat, 24 Nov 2007 19:29:00 +0000

Operation Downfall was the proposed invasion of mainland Japan by Allied Forces near the end of WWII.  It was canceled because the atomic bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered, thereby removing the need for a military conquest.  It would have been the largest amphibious invasion in history, and it would have been the first time that a foreign power had set foot on mainland Japanese soil (in the country's 2500 year history). 

Operation Downfall had two parts: Operation Olympic (Nov 1945) and Operation Coronet (March 1946).  Both were commanded by MacArthur and supported by Nimitz.  Operation Olympic involved the I, V, IX, and XI Corps storming the beaches of Kyushu (the southern main island) and taking airbases to support Operation Coronet.  Operation Coronet involved the First Army and the Eighth Army, as well as numerous British Commonwealth units, storming the beaches of Honshu near the capital city of Tokyo. 

On the opposing side was Operation Ketsu Go, the Japanese defense of its main islands.  Most of Japan's forces (air and ground) were focused on the island of Kyushu.  Also, tens of millions of Japanese civilians (all able-bodied civilians, men and women) were trained in basic martial arts in order to repel the invasion.  In addition, the Japanese government created numerous suicide units to repel the invasion. 

All in all, it would have been one of the bloodiest battles in history.  An estimated 1 million Americans and 10 million Japanese would have lost their lives. 

For more information, read:
The Japanese Army Handbook by George Forty
The Pacific War Companion by Daniel Marston

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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The Peloponnesian War (Part Two)

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 04:34:00 +0000

The Peloponnesian War was fought by Athens and Sparta in the late 5th century BC.  It was an epic war between two superpowers, and the similarities to the Cold War are numerous.  Since most people know about the Cold War, since it was so recent, I will summarize this episode via comparisons between it and the Peloponnesian War.

This second episode covers the Amphipolis Campaign/Cuban Missile Crisis to the surrender of Athens.

The Participants:
  • Athens/United States: wealthy, democratic, powerful navy, supported by numerous smaller states (Delian League/NATO)
    • Initially led by Pericles/FDR: rulers during the expansion of their respective nations' geopolitical status
  • Sparta/USSR: communist, totalitarian, powerful army, supported by numerous smaller states (Peloponnesian League/Warsaw Pact)
    • Initially led by Archidamus II/Stalin: rulers during the expansion of their respective nations' geopolitical status
  • Thebes/China: Weaker third power allied with Sparta/USSR
Timeline:
  • Persian Wars/WWII: Sparta/USSR and Athens/USA were originally allied in the fight against Persia/Axis
  • Pentecontaetia/Berlin Blockade: Sparta/USSR and Athens/USA skirmish briefly over intermediate territory (Corinthian Isthmus/Germany)
  • Archidamian War/Korean War: Sparta/USSR engages in a land war with Athens/USA over intermediate territory (Corinthian Isthmus/Germany).  Results in a stalemate.
  • Pylos Campaign/Suez Crisis: Athens/USA intervenes in territory close to Sparta/USSR in order to gain an economic and political advantage. 
  • Amphipolis Campaign/Cuban Missile Crisis: Sparta/USSR sneaks into the Athens/USA sphere of influence and creates an outpost.
  • Aegean Sea Propaganda Campaigns/Third World War: Sparta/USSR provides support to revolutions in Athens/USA's sphere of influence.
  • Sicilian Expedition/Vietnam War: Athens/USA attempts to contain Sparta/USSR's sphere of influence and fails miserably (loses lives and money).
Where the analogy fails:
  • Sparta launches a successful, massive land invasion against Athens (Problem: USSR never fought USA over Europe).  Decisive victory at the Battle of Mantinea
  • Sparta destroys the entire Athenian Navy at the Battle of Aegospotami (Problem: USSR never defeated the American Navy decisively)
  • Athens surrendered to Sparta (Problem: The US won the Cold War)
So, the analogy isn't perfect, but it is still accurate in most respects.  After the Peloponnesian War, Thebes (the former third power) swept down and became the new superpower (over both Sparta and Athens), just like China seems to be becoming now (over the US).

For more information, read: History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General


Media Files:
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The Peloponnesian War (Part One)

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 04:16:00 +0000

The Peloponnesian War was fought by Athens and Sparta in the late 5th century BC.  It was an epic war between two superpowers, and the similarities to the Cold War are numerous.  Since most people know about the Cold War, since it was so recent, I will summarize this episode via comparisons between it and the Peloponnesian War.

This first episode covers the beginning through the Amphipolis Campaign/Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Participants:
  • Athens/United States: wealthy, democratic, powerful navy, supported by numerous smaller states (Delian League/NATO)
    • Initially led by Pericles/FDR: rulers during the expansion of their respective nations' geopolitical status
  • Sparta/USSR: communist, totalitarian, powerful army, supported by numerous smaller states (Peloponnesian League/Warsaw Pact)
    • Initially led by Archidamus II/Stalin: rulers during the expansion of their respective nations' geopolitical status
  • Thebes/China: Weaker third power allied with Sparta/USSR
Timeline:
  • Persian Wars/WWII: Sparta/USSR and Athens/USA were originally allied in the fight against Persia/Axis
  • Pentecontaetia/Berlin Blockade: Sparta/USSR and Athens/USA skirmish briefly over intermediate territory (Corinthian Isthmus/Germany)
  • Archidamian War/Korean War: Sparta/USSR engages in a land war with Athens/USA over intermediate territory (Corinthian Isthmus/Germany).  Results in a stalemate.
  • Pylos Campaign/Suez Crisis: Athens/USA intervenes in territory close to Sparta/USSR in order to gain an economic and political advantage. 
  • Amphipolis Campaign/Cuban Missile Crisis: Sparta/USSR sneaks into the Athens/USA sphere of influence and creates an outpost.
  • Aegean Sea Propaganda Campaigns/Third World War: Sparta/USSR provides support to revolutions in Athens/USA's sphere of influence.
  • Sicilian Expedition/Vietnam War: Athens/USA attempts to contain Sparta/USSR's sphere of influence and fails miserably (loses lives and money).
Where the analogy fails:
  • Sparta launches a successful, massive land invasion against Athens (Problem: USSR never fought USA over Europe).  Decisive victory at the Battle of Mantinea
  • Sparta destroys the entire Athenian Navy at the Battle of Aegospotami (Problem: USSR never defeated the American Navy decisively)
  • Athens surrendered to Sparta (Problem: The US won the Cold War)
So, the analogy isn't perfect, but it is still accurate in most respects.  After the Peloponnesian War, Thebes (the former third power) swept down and became the new superpower (over both Sparta and Athens), just like China seems to be becoming now (over the US).

For more information, read: History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General


Media Files:
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The 100 Best Clips of MHP (51-100)

Sun, 04 Nov 2007 22:14:00 +0000

This episode is the 101st episode of Military History Podcast. It is a compilation of 100 MHP clips, tidbits, and funfacts. It is split into two parts: this is part two.  Feel free to post any clips that I failed to mention in the episode.

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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The 100 Best Clips of MHP (1-50)

Tue, 30 Oct 2007 00:02:00 +0000

This episode is the 100th episode of Military History Podcast.  It is a compilation of 100 MHP clips, tidbits, and funfacts.  It is split into two parts: this is part one.

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the US Navy Reserve


Media Files:
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Canadians at Vimy Ridge

Sat, 20 Oct 2007 21:50:00 +0000

The Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 1917) was a turning point in WWI. It was the first great allied victory. It also continues to be the greatest event in modern Canada's military history.

The 100,000 Canadians of the Canadian Corps were commanded by Arthur Currie. Currie began numerous preparations including:
  • Giving maps to all Canadian troops, not just the officers
  • Training all Canadian troops on a replica of Vimy Ridge
  • Building an elaborate tunnel system underneath no man's land in order to carry men to the enemy front lines more quickly
  • Use air support (including the famous Billy Bishop, a Canadian flying ace) to protect against German recon
The actual battle began with a creeping barrage attack, in which over 1 million shells were fired by Canadian artillerymen. The creeping barrage was followed by 20,000 charging Canadian troops, who successfully all four trenches on Vimy Ridge. By midday on April 9th, Hill 145 and the Pimple (a high point) were taken.

Four Victoria Crosses were awarded in the battle. 3000 Canadians were KIA, and another 7000 were wounded. 20,000 Germans were wounded and 4000 were captured.

For more information, read:
http://www.northpeel.com/news/article/20719
http://www.legionmagazine.com/features/special/07-03a.asp?id=print#5
http://wwii.ca/page9.html
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/vimy/
http://www.histori.ca/minutes/minute.do?id=14742
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6373IRqSeU

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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The Most Dangerous Man in Europe

Thu, 11 Oct 2007 02:56:00 +0000


"The Most Dangerous Man in Europe" was how Eisenhower described Otto Skorzeny, Nazi Germany's most famous commando and special operations leader.  Before he became the leader of Jagdverbande 502 (a special operations unit), Skorzeny fought on the Eastern Front and even won an Iron Cross for bravery.

His most famous mission was Operation Oak, the search and rescue of Benito Mussolini, who had been captured and imprisoned by his rivals in the Italy.  Skorzeny led a glider assault on Gran Sasso Mountain, where Mussolini was being held, and captured him without having to fire a single shot.  Skorzeny brought Mussolini back to Hitler.  Hitler was overjoyed. 

Skorzeny was tasked to lead many other commando missions including:
  • Operation Rosselsprung: Kidnap Josip Tito (the future leader of communist Yugoslavia)
  • Operation Panzerfaust: Kidnap the son of Miklos Horthy (king of Hungary) to persuade him to stay in the Axis
  • Operation Greif: Infiltrate behind allied lines at the battle of the bulge and spread chaos and confusion
After the war, Skorzeny was imprisoned in Darmstadt prison.  From the prison, he operated the ODESSA network to smuggle Nazis (out of Germany) to safety.  He was put before a war crimes tribunal at one point, but he was acquitted.  On July 27th, 1948, he escaped from the prison thanks to the help of several SS colleagues (disguised in American uniforms).  He then fled to Franco's Spain, Nasser's Egypt, and Peron's Argentina.  In Argentina, he fell in love with Eva Peron.  At the same time, he managed to secure large portions of the Bormann treasure, named after Martin Bormann (Hitler's secretary) who smuggled Nazi wealth out of Germany just before the Third Reich's collapse.  He died in 1975 of cancer.

For more information, read:
Armchair General Magazine (October 2007): The Devil’s Commando
Skorzeny’s Special Missions by Otto Skorzeny
http://greyfalcon.us/Otto%20Skorzeny.htm
http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=133
Battle Fleet.com
http://www.2worldwar2.com/otto-skorzeny.htm
http://homepages.ius.edu/RVEST/SkorzenyDr2.htm

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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The Sword of Allah (Part Two)

Sat, 29 Sep 2007 18:11:00 +0000

The Sword of Allah refers to Khalid ibn al-Walid, the prophet Mohammad's top general. Khalid commanded over 100 battles and never lost, making him the most undefeated general in history. He usually fought in the front lines either as a cavalry commander or as a champion dueler. This is the first of a two-part episode. This part will cover Khalid's conquest of Byzantine Syria:

Some famous battles on the Syrian front include: Bosra, Ajnadayn, and Damascus. The Siege of Damascus saw the first use of Khalid's unit of elite cavalrymen, the Mobile Guard. However, the greatest battle in the theater was the Battle of Yarmouk. Khalid had removed from command by Umar (Abu Bakr's successor) but he still had operational command because the nominal commander respected him so much. The Battle of Yarmouk was fought between 100,000 Byzantines and 30,000 Arabs along a battle line 12 miles long. After a series of significant duels (including one where Khalid personally persuaded an enemy commander to convert to Islam), the main battle began. For the first few days, it was a stalemate. Eventually, though, Khalid managed to maneuver his cavalry all the way around the Byzantines and flank them.

Soon after the battle, Umar, who believed that Khalid was gaining too much power, removed Khalid from command completely.

For more information, read:
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
http://www.ezsoftech.com/islamic/ohod.asp
http://islambyquestions.net/moreAbout/Hunayn.htm
http://islam.pakistanway.com/showtopic.aspx?topicid=266&typeid=25
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/10_abu_bakr.htm
http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9045249/Khalid-ibn-al-Walid
http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/00_abu_bakr.htm
http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=1206
http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/muslimwars/articles/yarmuk.aspx

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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The Sword of Allah (Part One)

Sun, 23 Sep 2007 07:45:00 +0000

The Sword of Allah refers to Khalid ibn al-Walid, the prophet Mohammad's top general.  Khalid commanded over 100 battles and never lost, making him the most undefeated general in history.  He usually fought in the front lines either as a cavalry commander or as a champion dueler.  This is the first of a two-part episode.  This part will cover Khalid's conquests of Arabia and Persia: Khalid ibn al-Walid originally fought with the Meccan Quraiysh tribe against Mohammad and the Muslims.  However, he converted after the Battle of the Trench and joined the forces of Mohammad.  His first campaign as a Muslim commander was into Ghassanid Territory to fight the Battle of Mutah, in which he led an expert retreat after the first three Muslim commanders were killed.  His second campaign involved attacking south and east in order to conquer the Arabian Peninsula.  He participated in the conquest of Mecca and in the Battle of Hunayn.  After Mohammad's death, Abu Bakr took over and formed the Rashidun Caliphate (the first of three great Islamic Empires with the other two being the Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties).  Khalid led the campaign to reconquer all the tribes that left the Muslim confederation after Mohammad's death.  Specifically, he commanded the Muslims at the Battle of Yamama, which was fought against the "liar prophet", Musailima. After the Arabian Peninsula was retaken, Khalid was put in charge of the Rashidun invasion of Iraq (which was held by the Sassanid Persians).  Some of the famous battles of the invasion include the Battle of Chains, the Battle of Ullais, the Battle of Hira, and the Battle of Al-Anbar.  However, the most famous is the Battle of Walaja, which is known as the eastern Battle of Cannae because of Khalid's successful double envelopment of the Persians.  To this day, Khalid and Hannibal are the only ones to pull this off against a numerically superior force.  The Battle of Firaz is also important because Khalid defeated a Persian army ten times his own (in numbers).  The second part of this episode will cover Khalid's exploits in Syria. For more information, read: Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler http://www.ezsoftech.com/islamic/ohod.asp http://islambyquestions.net/moreAbout/Hunayn.htm http://islam.pakistanway.com/showtopic.aspx?topicid=266&typeid=25 http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/10_abu_bakr.htm http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9045249/Khalid-ibn-al-Walid http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/00_abu_bakr.htm http://www.islamicawakening.com/viewarticle.php?articleID=1206 http://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/muslimwars/articles/yarmuk.aspx Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine[...]


Media Files:
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Warsaw Uprisings - Contemnit Procellas

Sat, 15 Sep 2007 00:57:00 +0000

Warsaw is the capital of Poland.  It's motto is "Contemnit Procellas", which means "it defies the storms".  It is a fitting motto because Warsaw continues to be the site of many uprisings, rebellions, and power shifts.  Two of them were especially devastating:
  • Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (1943): Led by Mordecai Anielewicz of the ZOB and the ZZW.  1000 Jewish resistance fighters vs. 2842 German SS forces.  Jews are defeated, and deportations to extermination camps continue. 
  • Warsaw Uprising (1944): The largest underground movement in all of WWII.  Poland's attempt to assist the Allied war effort and make a statement to the USSR that they are not interested in being occupied.  The Polish Home Army (AK) manages to hold off the Germans for a while but, without Russian or Western assistance, the resistance crumbles.
Eventually, the war ended and Poland became part of the Warsaw Pact (signed in Warsaw).  45 years later, Poland would be the first country to revolt from Soviet rule.  Warsaw is now the 8th most populous city in the EU.

For more information, read:
http://www.polishresistance-ak.org/Main%20Page.htm
http://www.historynet.com/magazines/world_war_2/3032951.html?page=6&c=y
http://www.achtungpanzer.com/pol/kubus.htm

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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DARPA's Revolution in Military Affairs

Mon, 03 Sep 2007 18:36:00 +0000

The Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was founded in 1958 in order to ensure that the science gap remained in the US's favor.  Many great empires, such as the Mongols, Chinese, Ottomans, Mughals, and later, the Soviets, fell from grace because they missed out on major military revolutions, such as the Gunpowder Revolution, the Two Industrial Revolutions, and the Information Revolution.  America was determined to not let it happen to them. 

Since its creation in 1958, DARPA has been at the forefront of technology and innovation.  It's inventions since 1958 include:
  • Satellites
  • GPS
  • M-16 Rifle
  • ARPANET (predecessor to the Internet)
  • Stealth Fighters (F-117, B-2, F-22)
  • Cruise Missiles
  • UAVs (Predator, Global Hawk)
  • UGVs (SWORDS, TALON, Packbot)
DARPA now focuses on nine major areas:
  • Robust, Secure, Self-Forming Networks
  • Detection, Precision ID, Tracking, and Destruction of Elusive Targets
  • Urban Area Operations
  • Advanced Manned and Unmanned Systems
  • Detection, Characterization, and Assessment of Underground Structures
  • Space
  • Increasing the Tooth To Tail Ratio
  • Biorevolution
  • Core Technologies
Many of its current "Revolution in Military Affairs" projects fall under the Future Combat Systems Program.  This includes the Future Warrior battlesuit that can change color, carry more, become harder than kevlar, heal the user, connect directly back to the command post, sense dangers, change temperatures, and reinforce human muscles.

For more information, read:
http://www.darpa.mil/
War Made New by Max Boot
Foreign Affairs (January 2007): The Real Meaning of Military Transformation
Foreign Affairs (July 2006): The Military’s Manpower Crisis

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine

My Odeo Channel (odeo/a5b9222a2c4c44e2)


Media Files:
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Scorpion Down

Sat, 25 Aug 2007 18:53:00 +0000

This episode is a summary of the USS Scorpion incident of 1968 and a review of the book, Scorpion Down, by Ed Offley (Published by Perseus Books). The USS Scorpion, a Skipjack-class nuclear submarine, was heading from the Mediterranean Sea to Norfolk, Virginia, when it mysteriously sank, making it only the second nuclear submarine that the US Navy has ever lost. The US Navy and other authors claimed that the USS Scorpion and its 99 crew members were lost because of a weapons accident or because of mechanical failure. However, according to Ed Offley, the USS Scorpion was sunk by the Soviets in retaliation for the US sinking the Soviet K-129 diesel-electric sub a few months before.

The book is written by an experienced and well-qualified author. It is a must-read for anybody who was involved with the submarine or with the search, and it is a recommended read for any submarine enthusiasts or conspiracy theory enthusiasts. To purchase, visit www.scorpiondown.com.

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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Major General Andrew Jackson

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 18:55:00 +0000

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States.  He had the fourth highest rank of all the presidents, below Washington, Eisenhower, and Grant.  He is also considered to be the nation's ninth greatest president, after Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, and Truman.  Therefore, he is the second greatest warrior-president in US History, after only George Washington, himself.

Andrew Jackson's military career began in the War of 1812.  First, he defeated Chief Red Eagle of the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  Then, he defeated Sir Pakenham of the British at the Battle of New Orleans.  Even though the war was over at this point, Jackson delivered Britain one of its greatest defeats in history, while only suffering 21 casualties.  In the Seminole War that followed soon after, Andrew Jackson captured Spanish Florida and became its territorial governor, thereby founding the state of Florida, which is currently America's fourth most powerful state.

Andrew Jackson's personal life was a tough one.  "Old Hickory" got into 103 duels.  He famously defeated Charles Dickinson, thought by many to be the nation's greatest dueler, despite being shot two inches from the heart.  In the Senate Chamber, Jackson also sat next to Thomas Hart Benton, the man who had shot him repeatedly while he lay on the floor in a hotel in Nashville in a fight a few years earlier.  While president, he beat his would-be assassin with his own cane until his aides apprehended him.  Lastly, at his funeral, his pet parrot had to be removed because it was swearing too much (a skill taught to it by Andrew Jackson, himself).

This episode only covers Andrew Jackson's life up to his presidency.

For more information, read:
The American Presidents by David Whitney
Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Kaplan AP US Government
Princeton Review AP US History

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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MacArthur - American Caesar (2)

Sat, 04 Aug 2007 18:22:00 +0000

As Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area, Douglas MacArthur led an island-hopping campaign (Operation Cartwheel) known as "hit em where they aint".  He avoided major Japanese garrisons and conquered from Australia, up through New Guinea, and to the Philippines.  Upon wading ashore at Leyte during the Battle of Leyte, he proclaimed "I have returned".  MacArthur was chosen to lead Operation Downfall (the invasion of Japan), but the war ended before the campaign began.  After being present at the signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri, MacArthur became the military governor of Japan and led the reconstruction and occupation.  One of his most famous acts as the governor was to exonerate Emperor Hirohito.

In 1950, MacArthur became the commander of UN Forces in the Korean War.  After North Korea had pushed the South Koreans all the way to Pusan, MacArthur led a giant amphibious left hook into Inchon.  He cut off the North Korean supply lines and pushed them all the way back to the Yalu River.  MacArthur suggested to Truman that nuclear weapons be used, and he was fired as a result.  He gave a famous speech to Congress in which he said, "old soldiers never die, they just fade away".  After that, he stayed away from the public (although he almost became a vice presidential candidate) until he died in 1964.

For more information, read:
Armchair General (November 2005): Douglas MacArthur
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
The Pacific War Companion by Daniel Marston
Reader's Digest Illustrated History of WWII
The Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=3&list=Ground
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurfarewelladdress.htm

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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MacArthur - American Caesar (1)

Sun, 29 Jul 2007 18:10:00 +0000

Douglas MacArthur was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1880.  He was the grandson of a former governor of Wisconsin, and the son of a medal-of-honor-winning military governor of the Philippines.  He attended West Point and graduated first in his class.  After a brief stint as an aide to his father, he became the chief of staff of the 42nd Rainbow Infantry Division in France during WWI.  He led the division through the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the Battle of St. Mihiel.  During the war, he developed a bad relationship with General Pershing.

After the war, he became the superintendent of West Point.  Then, he was charged with breaking up the Bonus Army, which had gathered in Washington DC to protest Hoover's treatment of them.  After that, he became the head of FDR's Civilian Conservation Corps.  Then, he became US Army Forces Commander in the Far East and was stationed in the Philippines.  When WWII rolled around for the United States, he led the failed defense of the Philippines.  Although he did not do the best job, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.  In March 1942, he was instructed to go to Australia to become Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area.  He famously yelled "I shall return" as he sailed away.

MacArthur's actions during WWII and the Korean War will be in the next episode.

For more information, read:
Armchair General (November 2005): Douglas MacArthur
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
The Pacific War Companion by Daniel Marston
Reader's Digest Illustrated History of WWII
The Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
http://ww2db.com/person_bio.php?person_id=3&list=Ground
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurfarewelladdress.htm

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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The British Empire (Part 2)

Sat, 21 Jul 2007 02:27:00 +0000

The British Empire is the largest (14.1 million square miles) and most populous (532 million people) empire in history. It is the reason why English is one of the world's most important languages, why 1/3 of the world drives on the left, and why much of the world uses the parliamentary system. Another testament to its power is the fact that one of its former colonies, the United States of America, is the current hyperpower.

In addition to colonizing the British Isles and North America (discussed in part one), Britain colonized islands in the South Atlantic, the South Pacific, and the Mediterranean (for the purpose of Royal Navy bases). Britain also colonized Australia as a penal colony. A joint-stock company, the British East India Company, also controlled India from 1600 to 1857, when power was transferred to the British crown as a result of the Sepoy rebellion. Significant territorial gains were also made in Africa after the Berlin Conference of 1884 during the Scramble for Africa time period. However, all of these possessions became independent one-by-one after WWII, with the exception of a few overseas territories. Most of the former colonies still have ties to Britain through the Commonwealth of Nations.

For more information, read:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/2003_34_thu_01.shtml
http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/uk/armada/back/backd.html
http://www.britishempire.co.uk
The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches by Brian MacArthur
The Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


Media Files:
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The British Empire (Part 1)

Sun, 15 Jul 2007 00:48:00 +0000

The British Empire is the largest (14.1 million square miles) and most populous (532 million people) empire in history.  It is the reason why English is one of the world's most important languages, why 1/3 of the world drives on the left, and why much of the world uses the parliamentary system.  Another testament to its power is the fact that one of its former colonies, the United States of America, is the current hyperpower.

The British Empire began in 1066 with the Battle of Hastings, where William of Normandy defeated King Harold II of the Saxons.  Since then, England has consolidated power by annexing Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the crown dependencies, and numerous other territories and colonies around the world.  For example, thanks to Francis Drake's defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, the United Kingdom has been able to expand throughout the New World.  In North America, Britain founded 13 colonies along the eastern seaboard of the modern-day United States.  North of these colonies, Britain founded the Dominion of Canada after it defeated the French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.

The next episode focuses on British expansion into Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific.

For more information, read:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/2003_34_thu_01.shtml
http://www.bl.uk/learning/histcitizen/uk/armada/back/backd.html
http://www.britishempire.co.uk
The Penguin Book of Historic Speeches by Brian MacArthur
The Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Blitzkrieg

Sun, 08 Jul 2007 22:00:00 +0000


Blitzkrieg (lightning war) was the military doctrine of Germany during the first half of WWII.  It consisted of an all-mechanized army blowing through the enemy lines (via air support and artillery support) so fast that the enemy would be overwhelmed and defeated.  Blitzkrieg relied on a highly mobile and highly professional army.  It was developed after WWII by Heinz Guderian, author of Achtung: Panzer.

Blitzkrieg warfare was applied in five major places: Spanish Civil War, Invasion of Poland, Battle of France, North Africa Campaign, Operation Barbarossa.  Each time, Germany's enemy was too surprised to effectively defend itself.  However, as the German war machine ran out of resources and technical superiority, blitzkrieg methodology began to disappear (at least in the German form).

However, German blitzkrieg was neither the first nor the last use of maneuver tactics in a combined arms fashion.  Other examples include: German Schlieffen Plan in WWI, Russian Deep Operations in WWII, Operation Shock and Awe in Iraq War.

For more information, read:
Infantry Attacks by Erwin Rommel
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/blitzkrieg.htm
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,762668-1,00.html
Illustrated History of WWII by Reader’s Digest
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Falklands War (1982)

Fri, 29 Jun 2007 03:01:00 +0000

The Falklands War is one of the few modern wars between two modern adversaries (in this case, Argentina and Britain).  The war was over the Falkland Islands, off of the southeastern coast of Argentina which Britain held and Argentina claimed.

General Leopold Galtieri, leader of Argentina, decided to act because he needed something to justify his military government.  He launched Operation Azul to successfully capture the islands.  Margaret Thatcher, leader of Britain, decided to respond militarily.
  • Air War: Operation Black Buck (UK) conducts air raids against Argentinean targets.  Argentina attempts to respond with its own air force but fails.
  • Sea War: ARA General Belgrano is sunk by the HMS Conqueror (the first and only nuclear submarine kill in history).  The HMS Sheffield is sunk by an Exocet missile.
  • Ground War: SAS conducts successful raid against Pebble Island Airfield.  Main Royal Marines force lands in East Falkland Islands and defeats Argentinean defenders at Goose Green, Top Malo, Mount Harriet, Two Sisters Ridge, Mount Longdon, Wireless Ridge, Tumbledown.  British retake capital city of Stanley.  Argentina surrenders.
For more information, read:
http://www.naval-history.net/NAVAL1982FALKLANDS.htm
Military History Magazine (April 2002): Blood and Mud at Goose Green
http://www.falklandswar.org.uk/index.htm
http://www.falklands.info/history/82timeline.html
http://www.raf.mod.uk/falklands/sg1.html
Telegraph.co.uk

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Iran-Iraq War

Sat, 23 Jun 2007 05:02:00 +0000

The Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), also known as Saddam's Qadisiyyah, the Holy Defense, and the Iraqi-Imposed War, had a devastating effect on both participants.  The war features many attacks and counterattacks, though in the end, nothing changed.  Some causes of the war include:
  • Khuzestan Border Dispute
  • Struggle for Middle Eastern Supremacy
  • Sunni vs. Shiite Schism
  • Shatt al-Arab Waterway Dispute
  • Iranian-sponsored assassination attempt against Tariq Aziz (Iraqi minister)
Iraq's invasion of Iran went well at first.  With technological and tactical superiority, the Iraqis were able to retake the waterway and much of Khuzestan.  However, thanks to Iran's powerful air force and its motivated militias, the Iraqi offensive was stopped.  In 1982, Operation Undeniable Victory took back much of what was lost for the Iranians.  In fact, the Iranians even went on a counter-offensive and invaded Iraq.  However, they were stopped at Basra thanks, in part, to chemical weapons.  Then, the Iraqis counterattacked and pushed the Iranians back to pre-war borders.  A ceasefire was agreed upon and the war ended.

Both sides had been supported by foreign powers, including the United States and the Soviet Union. 

For more information, read:
How to Make War by James Dunnigan
The Presidency of George Bush by John Robert Greene
http://www.jonhs.net/freemovies/iran_iraq.htm
http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/iraniraq.htm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/iran-iraq.htm
http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/war/docs/3203/
http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/airforce.htm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/airforce.htm
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20950607-1702,00.html

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Nader Shah-Napoleon of Persia

Mon, 18 Jun 2007 03:31:00 +0000

Nader Shah was the founder of the Afsharid Dynasty of Persia, lasting from 1736 to 1747.  During this time, this "second Alexander" returned Persia to its Sassanid-era borders.  After pushing the anti-Safavid Afghan invaders out of Persia, Nader invaded Afghanistan and took the cities of Kabul, Kandahar, and Lahore.  In the western theater, Nader Shah gained many cities from Ottoman Mesopotamia, including Najaf, Karbala, and Basra.  However, he was stopped at the walls of Baghdad.  In the Eastern Theater, Nader Shah defeated the Mughals decisively at the Battle of Karnal.  From here, he continued on into Delhi, where he indirectly killed 30,000 civilians and took many crown jewels, including the Peacock Throne (valued at $1 billion dollars now) and two 180+ carat diamonds. 

Nader Shah also conquered Oman and Bahrain.  He founded the modern Persian Navy.  He even tried to reconcile Shiite Islam and Sunni Islam but failed.  Upon his assassination in 1747, the Persian Empire descended, once again, into chaos. 

For more information, read:
http://www.britannica.com/ebi/article-225443
http://www.iranchamber.com/history/afsharids/afsharids.php
http://irane-man.tripod.com/NaderShah.html

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Machiavelli's Prince

Sun, 10 Jun 2007 21:49:00 +0000

Niccolo Machiavelli was a political and military philosopher around 1500AD in Florence, Italy during the Italian Renaissance.  His name is associated with shrewd, cunning rule.  His most famous work, The Prince, features many tips for princes to conquer territory (whether it is decentralized, or centralized):
  • Destroy the previous hereditary line
  • Attack the strong, leave the weak
  • Act unilaterally
  • Live in the conquered territory
  • Send in colonists rather than soldiers
  • Commit all crimes simultaneously
Machiavelli's perfect "Prince" has a military background and extensive knowledge in history, specifically military history.  The Prince should cultivate a loyal local militia, rather than having to rely on mercenaries or auxiliaries.  Large military campaigns should be conducted frequently in order to distract the populace.

For more information, read:
The Prince by Machiavelli
The Art of War by Machiavelli
http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/500403.html

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Shamil Basayev-Chechnya's Bin Laden (2)

Thu, 24 May 2007 23:55:00 +0000

Shamil Basayev became involved in the nearby Dagestan War after he lost his bid for president. This prompted Vladimir Putin to launch the Second Chechen War, which successfully reclaimed Grozny for the Russians. Since then, Chechnya has been officially under Russian control, but there is still a strong insurgency.

In 2003, Shamil's subordinate launched an attack on a theater in Moscow. 850 hostages were taken and demands were made (the Chechens wanted an immediate Russian withdrawal from Chechnya). After a few days of negotiation, Putin allowed the Russian Spetsnaz to enter. The Spetsnaz pumped a sleeping agent into the theater and knocked many of the terrorists and hostages asleep. The Spetsnaz then entered and killed all of the terrorists. Afterwards, many of the hostages got sick from the gas.

In 2004, Shamil's men launched an attack on a school in Beslan. 1200 teachers, parents, and children were taken hostage and held in atrocious conditions for several days. Eventually, the Russians raided the school. Many civilian casualties resulted from the fire that resulted and approximately 1/4 of the hostages were killed.

In 2006, Shamil was killed (probably by Russian security forces).

For more information:
Theage.com
http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/shamil/shamil.htm
http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2002/1104/cover/story.html
http://www.caucasus.dk/publication1.htm
http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/documents/wolvesden.htm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/chechnya2.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3624136.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3627406.stm

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Shamil Basayev-Chechnya's Bin Laden (1)

Fri, 18 May 2007 03:25:00 +0000

Shamil Basayev is a politician and self-proclaimed terrorist fighting for Chechnya's independence from Russia. Chechnya is a small Muslim republic in southern Russia. Basayev has ties to Al Qaeda, the Mujahideen, and many other terrorist networks.

He was active in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, where his Abkhaz Battalion helped to fight off the Georgian Army. This Abkhaz Battalion was then brought back to defend Chechnya's capitol city of Grozny. Shamil held off Russia's invading force (which went in under Yeltsin) for awhile but he eventually had to flee.

In June 1995, when things weren't looking good for the Chechen separatists, Shamil led an attack on a hospital in Budyonnovsk and took 1800 people hostage. The hostage-taking eventually resulted in a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya, and Shamil became a national hero. A few months later, Shamil would lead an assault of Grozny and he succeeded in taking the capital back from the Russians. Due mostly to Shamil, the Russians lost the First Chechen War.

For more information:
Theage.com
http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/shamil/shamil.htm
http://www.time.com/time/europe/magazine/2002/1104/cover/story.html
http://www.caucasus.dk/publication1.htm
http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/documents/wolvesden.htm
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/chechnya2.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3624136.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3627406.stm

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Area 51

Thu, 03 May 2007 19:52:00 +0000

This episode was written by Brian Liddicoat, a real estate attorney in Northern California.

The words �Groom Lake� and �Area 51� have achieved an almost myth-like quality thanks to interest in UFOs and shows like the X-Files. But the real history of this base is even more interesting than the fiction. The names �Area 51� and �Groom Lake� refer to a large flight test base in the Nevada Desert, about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. The facility was originally built by Lockheed in the 1950s to support early secret tests of the U-2 spyplane. It has hosted the first flights of some of America�s most ground-breaking aircraft, including the F-117 stealth fighter. Now operated by the US Air Force as a detachment of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, the Groom Lake facility continues to secretly test America�s most secret aviation technology.

For more information, read:
Dark Eagles by Curtis Peebles
Lockheed Secret Projects: Inside the Skunk Works by Dennis Jenkins
Dreamland by Phil Patton
www.dreamlandresort.com

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Invading Iraq (2003)

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 04:00:00 +0000

This episode will only cover the period between March 2003 and May 1 2003. Reasons for Invading Iraq:Iraq's possession of WMDsSaddam's link to Al QaedaIraq's failure to respect no-fly zonesTyrannical part of the Axis of Evil The United States Congress supported military action against Iraq, but the UN did not approve of it. The US launched Operation Cobra II with the coalition of the willing (consisting of 49 countries) and many military contractors.  The main invasion was in the South, where there were three fronts: Western Front: US's 3rd Infantry Division goes through Najaf and Karbala towards BaghdadCentral Front: US's 1st Marine Expeditionary Force goes through Nasiriyah towards BaghdadEastern Front: UK's 1st Armored Division goes through Basra towards Baghdad A secondary invasion in the North was led by the 10th Special Forces Group and the Kurdish Peshmerga.  This force pushed through Mosul and Kirkuk towards Baghdad. The actual invasion of Baghdad took place early in April, when Colonel Perkins invented the concept of Thunder Runs--rapid mechanized thrusts into the city to inspire shock and awe.  Two thunder runs were sent into Baghdad and eventually the city (minus Saddam Hussein) was taken. On May 1st, 2003, President Bush declared Mission Accomplished (excerpt in episode). Sources: http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/daily/graphics/iraqMap_040103_2.gif http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,011805_Thunder_Run,00.html Foreign Affairs (May/June 2006): Saddam’s Delusions http://geocities.com/saberoca/ http://icasualties.org/oif/ http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/iraq/casualties.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh4U-Tbqbx4 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/invasion/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soohikNdbWs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdlEcFfYZ2k http://www.mongabay.com/igapo/Iraq.htm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFijzDyJnVE Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine   [...]


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French Foreign Legion

Fri, 20 Apr 2007 03:26:00 +0000

The French Foreign Legion was founded in 1831 as France's non-citizen military. Over the years, it consisted of many refugees, colonial citizens, and people trying to start a new life. The training is hard and only one in seven applicants makes it. After they complete their tour of duty, a Legionnaire may receive a 10-year residential permit and French citizenship.

The Legion's most famous military action was in the Battle of Camaron in the Maximilian Affair in Mexico in 1863. 62 Legionnaires were defending a convoy when they were attacked by 2,000 Mexican troops. The Legion fended off wave after wave until they eventually ran out of ammo. At this point, they charged with their bayonets. Their heroic actions saved the convoy. Since then, the French Foreign Legion has served with honor and distinction in many major world conflicts including the Franco-Prussian War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam War, and Desert Storm.

For more information, read:
http://french-foreign-legion.com/
http://www.channel4.com/life/microsites/E/escape_to_the_legion/legion.html
Galenet: French Foreign Legion
Military History Magazine (September 2005): Intrigue

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Defense of the Pacific Northwest

Sat, 14 Apr 2007 18:20:00 +0000

The Pacific Northwest has many military facilities.  Washington State, specifically, has:
  • Naval Base Kitsap: Holds nuclear submarines, a carrier battle group, and a navy region command center
  • Naval Station Everett: Holds a carrier battle group
  • McChord Air Force Base: Holds a Western Air Defense Sector command center
  • Fairchild Air Force Base: Holds nuclear transport aircraft
  • Fort Lewis: Holds the I Corps command center and stryker brigades
  • Hanford Site: Held plutonium production facilities and is now the site of the largest cleanup project in the country
For more information, visit:
www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility
https://www.nbk.navy.mil/index.asp
http://www.lewis.army.mil/
http://public.mcchord.amc.af.mil/
http://public.fairchild.amc.af.mil/
http://www.hanford.gov/


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Iranian Hostage Crisis (1979)

Sun, 01 Apr 2007 04:11:00 +0000

The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was fought between Shah Pahlevi (supported by America and hated for his pro-American beliefs) and Ayatollah Khomeini (and anti-American Islamist).  Khomeini succeeded in taking power from the Shah and created the Islamic Republic of Iran.  During the turbulent years that followed, 300 militants seized 63 hostages from the American embassy in Iran and held them for 444 days.

Months of negotiations ensued and eventually, 11 of the hostages were released prematurely.  The others were almost rescued by President Carter in Operation Eagle Claw, but due to a sandstorm, the operation was a disastrous failure.  It was such a great failure that the US reformed its military and created a new unified combatant command, SOCOM, and a new special forces regiment, the 160th SOAR. 

The Iranians remained steadfast in their imprisonment of the hostages until September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran and launched the Iran-Iraq War.  As a result, Iran wanted a quick resolution to the hostage issue and thus, the Algiers Accords were signed by the United States and Iran.  The hostages were returned on Reagan's inauguration day.  However, tensions between these two countries still exist today (see Iranian capture of 15 British sailors). 

For more information, read:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3978523.stm
The American Presidents by David Whitney
http://www.historyguy.com/iran-us_hostage_crisis.html

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Hot Gates of Thermopylae

Fri, 23 Mar 2007 18:33:00 +0000

The battle of Thermopylae was fought between 7000 Greeks under Leonidas (including 300 Spartans) and 500,000-2.5 million Persian troops under Xerxes. Xerxes had marched across the Hellespont towards Greece because he wanted Greece to become a satrapy of his and submit to his divine will by giving him earth and water. The two armies met at a 50-foot-wide pass in Northern Greece and here, a small phalanx of Greek hoplites held off wave after wave of Persian infantrymen, cavalrymen, and Immortals. The Spartans demonstrated their bravery again and again, and their lifelong devotion to military training proved to pay off.

Eventually, Ephialtes (a Greek traitor) led the Persians around the pass to the rear of the Greek defenders. Surrounded, the Spartans and Thespians were killed by a volley of arrows. Leonidas, himself, looked forward to dying because the oracle at Delphi prophesized that his death would save Sparta.

For more information:
300 (Movie)
http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/persian_wars5.php
Histories by Herodotus
http://www.greektexts.com/library/Herodotus/Polymnia/eng/242.html
Extreme War by Terrence Poulos
Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
Military History Magazine (January 2006): Spartan Stand at Thermopylae

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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Hashshashin Assassins

Sat, 17 Mar 2007 22:20:00 +0000

The Hashshashins (where we get our word "assassins") were active during the Abbasid Era of the Arab Period of Hegemony within the Islamic Period of Hegemony. The Hashshashins were Nizari Ismaili Shiite Muslims. They were led by Hassan-i-Sabah who, through the use of hashish, gave his recruits the impression that he was God and he wanted them to do his will. Until the coming of the Mongols under Hulagu Khan, the Hashshashins were very good at their job and they assassinated many high-profile people.

Though they are one of the most famous assassin groups, they are by no means the only ones. Others include Al Qaeda, the Mafia, the Black Hand, the IRA. The CIA, for example, is reported to have made 638 attempts to remove Castro from power.

For more information, read:
Military History Magazine (October 2002): Perspectives
Islamicity.com
Al Qaeda Training Manual
Quran
638 Ways to Kill Castro

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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Knights Templar

Sat, 03 Mar 2007 23:38:00 +0000

The Knights Templar was a Christian military order founded during the Crusades in order to protect Christian pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land.  These "Monks of War" were highly disciplined and they participated at many major battles during all nine Crusades, including the pivotal Battle of Hattin.  They also founded the first modern checking/credit system, which made the organization wealthy enough to buy the island of Cyprus. 

The Templars were exempt from all laws (except those given by the Pope) and as a result, they were feared by the kings of Europe.  One king, Philip the Fair, decided to deal with the problem and on Friday the 13th, he simultaneously betrayed and backstabbed all of the Templars.  The Templars then disappeared from history, though many groups (such as the Freemasons), have claimed that they are extensions of this famous organization.

For more information, read:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/sro/hkt/index.htm
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14493a.htm
http://www.templarhistory.com/index.html
http://www.slate.com/id/2140307/?nav=tap3
Worlds Together, Worlds Apart


Military History Podcast is sponsored by the International Research and Publishing Corporation and Armchair General Magazine


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War Animals

Sun, 25 Feb 2007 19:32:00 +0000

Animals have been used throughout war and it is impossible to name them all.  Excluding pack animals, there are several main ones (both ancient and modern).  All are discussed in the episode:
  • Small
    • Cockroaches
    • Bluegill Fish
    • Bees
    • Butterflies
    • Pigeons
    • Bats
  • Medium
    • Dolphins
    • Dogs
    • Cats
    • Pigs
  • Large
    • Elephants
For more information, read:
Popular Science (March 2007): Bugging Out on Homeland Security
http://community-2.webtv.net/Hahn-50thAP-K9/K9History/
http://www.afa.org/magazine/1990/1090bat.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/670551.stm
http://www.hindu.com/yw/2004/01/24/stories/2004012400060200.htm
Military History Podcast: Dogs of War


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Ancient Rome and Modern America

Sat, 17 Feb 2007 21:01:00 +0000

eriHistorians referenced in the episode: Gibbons, Vegetius, Bark, Toynbee, Ward-Perkins, Heather, McNeill, Bury
Comparisons between the fall of Rome and America now:
  • Military Conquest
    • Rome: Conquest by Germans under Odoacer
  • Loss of Identity
    • Rome: Germanization of Army and empire
    • America: Hispanic Immigration boom into army and country
  • Loss of Unity
    • Rome: Eastern and Western Roman Empires
    • America: Country vs. City, Democrat vs. Republican
  • Loss of Economic Strength
    • Rome: Lack of gold, lack of exportable goods, income disparity
    • America: Outsourcing, economic decline, income disparity
  • Loss of Military Strength
    • Rome: Overextension, Middle East problem
    • America: Overextension, Iraq
  • Loss of Population
    • Rome: Plague, Lead Poisoning
    • America: Avian Flu, Obesity
  • Loss of Environmental Security
    • Rome: Salinization of North Africa
    • America: Lack of oil security, global warming
  • Loss of Civic Virtue:
    • Rome: Laziness
This is purely an informational episode.  I am not trying to persuade anybody or make any generalizations or make any predictions about the future.  I am trying to support famous claims, but this does not mean that these claims are foolproof.  Feel free to comment with your opinions.

For more information, read:
Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbons
http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/romefallarticles/a/fallofrome.htm
2007 World Almanac
Vanity Fair (October 2006): Empire Falls

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation
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Clausewitz's Principles of War

Sun, 04 Feb 2007 19:11:00 +0000

Carl Von Clausewitz was a military philosopher during the time of Napoleon.  His most famous contribution is the book, On War, which outlines nine principles of war that are used in officer schools for many Western armies including the United States Army.  They are: Mass"Get there first with the most"Example: Mass-based armies of Russia (ex. infantry) and the US (ex. M4 Sherman Tanks) during WWII led to general victory ObjectiveChoose an objective and stick with itExample: Coalition troops maintained the objective in Operation Desert Sabre and didn't try to do too much by entering Iraq, which we now know would have caused major problems. OffensiveSeize the InitiativeExample: General McClellan's Army of the Potomac in the American Civil War failed to seize the initiative ManeuverMove to more advantageous positionsExample: Hannibal's Army at the Battle of Cannae maneuvered around the larger Roman Army and defeated it Unity of CommandPlace your entire force under the command of a single entityExample: Japanese defenders on Iwo-Jima wasted lots of time and effort by switching commanders halfway through the preparation effort SecurityDon't let the enemy rob you of your advantagesExample: Japanese Navy at Midway lost its element of surprise (because its communications were intercepted) and lost SimplicityKeep your plans clear and simpleExample: Guerrilla militiamen (ex. Aidid's militia in the Battle of Mogadishu) have a much simpler plan that the professional armies they have to fight SurpriseAttack when the enemy least suspects itExample: Germanic tribes slaughtered 24,000 professional Roman soldiers at the Battle of Teutoberg Forest Economy of ForceAllocate your limited forces wiselyExample: Germany Army during WWII did not get immediately overrun despite a 13million-56million numerical disadvantage For more information, read: Armchair General: War College http://www.military-quotes.com/Clausewitz.htm How to Make War by James Dunnigan On War Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation [...]


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Eisenhower's 1957

Sat, 27 Jan 2007 23:32:00 +0000


1957 was defined by the Cold War and defined by the Eisenhower Presidency.  1957 was when Eisenhower was inaugurated for a second term in office, and during this term, the Eisenhower Doctrine (US defense against all Soviet aggression), NASA, the European Economic Community, and the United States were all created.  Around this time, Eisenhower was also responsible for the ending of the Little Rock Nine Crisis, the end of Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare, the closing of the Science Gap between the US and the USSR (who was already a space power via Sputnik), the nomination of Earl Warren (14th Chief Justice), and so on.

1957 was also the birth of my mom.  Happy Birthday, Mom.

For more information, read:
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/dwightdeisenhowerfarewell.html
The Timetables of History
The World Almanac 2007
The Cold War by Mike Sewell

Military History Podcast is sponsored by International Research and Publishing Corporation and Armchair General Magazine


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European Martial Arts

Sat, 20 Jan 2007 23:10:00 +0000


Despite the fact there is a more than 2,400-year-old military tradition within Western civilization of close-combat proficiency, few subjects have received as unfortunate neglect by historians and academics than the martial arts of Western Europe. But a growing amount of modern research has centered on the historical methods of using various types of Medieval and Renaissance swords and weaponry in historically accurate and martially sound manners. This emerging study of historical European martial arts involves a fascinating combination of military history, fencing history, literature, art, language, and archaeology.

The history of European arms and armor is itself one of established continuity marked by sudden developments of necessitated innovation.  As new tools were devised, so too were new methods for using them. These methods in turn influenced still newer designs.  By studying the historical systems for employing such arms and armor, we come to the best possible understanding for how and why they were designed as they were. This further leads to a greater appreciation for the little known martial arts of the age.

See the rest of the episode's full text here: www.thearma.org/HEMA.htm
Today's episode was written by John Clements of ARMA

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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The Chinese PLA Threat

Sat, 13 Jan 2007 21:59:00 +0000

China's People's Liberation Army is threatening to the United States Armed Forces because it is fighting a "People's War" (7 million Chinese troops vs. 2.5 million US troops) under "modern conditions" (China's GDP will exceed America's by 2011). China also has significant international backing from the UN, ASEAN, SCO, etc. Therefore, these two superpowers are destined to clash in some way.
  • When (analysis of each area is included in episode):
    • Unconventional Warfare: US is way ahead
    • Air Forces: US is ahead
    • Naval Forces: US is ahead
    • Ground Forces: US is ahead, but China is quickly catching up (this means that China will be able to fight regional conflicts but not global ones)
  • Where (analysis of each area is included in episode):
    • Taiwan
    • Kazakhstan
    • North Korea
    • Middle East
    • India
    • Southeast Asia
Accompanying powerpoint presentation is coming soon.

For more information, read:
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/index.html.
http://www.comw.org/cmp/.
Annual Report to Congress (2005): The Military Power of the People's Republic of China
The Asian Conventional Military Balance (2006)


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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Axis Attacks on US Soil

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 02:09:00 +0000

Axis attacks and proposed attacks on the North American portion of the United States during WWII are often forgotten.  This episode explains all of these little-known attacks:
  • Japan:
    • Occupied parts of the Aleutian Islands in Alaska for about one year
    • Planned bombings of the Western United States via armed seaplanes
    • Sent 9000 bomb-filled balloons over to the United States to start forest fires/knock down power lines
  • Germany:
    • Created prototype long-distance bombers to bombard New York from Great Britain
    • Created long-range intercontinental rockets to bombard the US East Coast
    • Deployed saboteurs in New York City via German submarines in the Atlantic
    • Almost attacked the Panama Canal after taking control of a Colombian airline
  • Italy:
    • Planned to send midget submarines and naval special forces into the Hudson River
For more information, read:
Military History Magazine (June 2000): Aerial Attack on Oregon
Military History Magazine (August 2002): Perspectives
http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,77031,00.html
http://www.army.mil/cmh/books/wwii/guard-us/index.htm#contents 

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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Iraq Study Group Recommendations

Sat, 30 Dec 2006 01:06:00 +0000

The Iraq Study Group Report's Recommendations Sections gives a total of 79 recommendations for how the US should proceed in Iraq.  Diplomatically, the US should do more by launching the New Diplomatic Offensive accompanied by the creation of a Support Group (full of regional and world powers) in order to discuss and compromise on a variety of issues.  This support group should include Iran and Syria because, even though the White House has problems with their respective governments, both countries would benefit from negotiating since both countries put a lot of effort into Iraq. 

Also, the US should threaten withdrawal whenever the Iraqi Government does not reach its benchmarks on time (these include the ratification of the Petroleum Law, the Militia Law, etc.).  Even if it does reach these benchmarks, though, the US should begin a gradual rollback of forces.  First, active combat forces should be moved into Iraqi Army Brigade protection roles, Iraqi Army training roles, and Iraqi Army support roles (Special Operations, Air Support, etc.).  Then, these training forces should also be slowly pulled out of Iraq as the Iraqi security forces gain more power.  By early 2008, the US should be 100% training and 0% occupation. 

The Iraq Study Group is a bipartisan commission led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton. This episode summarizes the recommendations section of the Iraq Study Group Report. The previous episode featured the Iraq Study Group's assessment of the current situation.

For more information, read: Iraq Study Group Report

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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Iraq Study Group Assessment

Sat, 23 Dec 2006 17:56:00 +0000

The Iraq Study Group Report's Assessment section is an excellent summary of post-war Iraq.  Some topics addressed include the division of the country into Kurd, Shiite, and Sunni regions, the lack of unity in Parliament, the powerful hold that Muqtada Al-Sadr has on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the fierce fight over oil revenues, the lack of Iraq's own security force, and so on. 

The Iraq Study Group is a bipartisan commission led by James Baker and Lee Hamilton.  This episode summarizes the assessment section of the Iraq Study Group Report.  The next episode will feature the Iraq Study Group's recommendations for how we should proceed.

For more information, read: Iraq Study Group Report

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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US Secret Service

Mon, 18 Dec 2006 00:53:00 +0000

The United States Secret Service was originally founded (in 1865) as an anti-counterfeiting unit in the Treasury Department.  However, once President McKinley was assassinated, the Secret Service assumed presidential protection duties.  As of 2002, the Secret Service (Special Agents and the Uniformed Division) is part of the Department of Homeland Security.  They are also part of Marine One, Air Force One, and Cadillac One (all of which are described in this episode). 

Throughout their history, the Secret Service has witnessed and/or foiled many assassination attempts including ones on: Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Ford, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush Jr. 

For more information, read:
http://www.secretservice.gov/
http://people.howstuffworks.com/air-force-one2.htm
http://www.aboutfamouspeople.com/article1135.html
http://www.trumanlibrary.org/trivia/assassin.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4535911.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/georgia/story/0,,1487041,00.html
The American Presidents by David Whitney

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and the International Research and Publishing Corporation


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Merchant of Death

Sun, 10 Dec 2006 19:42:00 +0000

Viktor Anatolyevich Bout is the world's most notorious arms dealer since the end of the Cold War.  His success lies in the fact that Russia had many arms depots and planes lying around after the end of the arms race.  Bout was able to take advantage of this and build an air empire which could carry arms to all sides at a moments notice in a reliable fashion.  Bout's clients include: the United States, the United Nations, Angola, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Taliban, Northern Alliance, Somalia, and so on.  Despite the INTERPOL warrant for his arrest, Viktor Bout is still conducting both legal and illegal operations because world leaders rely on him to do their dirty work for them. 

For more information, read:
http://www.wnyc.org/shows/lopate/episodes/2006/11/09#segment68592
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ulh&AN=22995421&site=ehost-live

Movie: Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage


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Chinese Communist Revolution

Wed, 29 Nov 2006 23:25:00 +0000

Mao and the Chinese Communist Party's victory was both psychological and physical.  The psychological is a combination of power vacuum in rural China, the incompetency of the GMD, and the populist policies of Mao.  The majority of this episode is my opinion on why the final reason is the most important.  The physical relies on 3 major campaigns conducted by the Communists: Liaoshen, Huaihai, and Pingjin.  The final few minutes of this episode discuss this Chinese Civil War (1945-1949).

For more information, read:
Mao's China and After by Maurice Meisner
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
ABC Clio: Chinese Civil War

Military History Podcast is sponsored by: Armchair General Magazine, International Research and Publishing Corporation, and Axis and Allies Reserves


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The Lion of the North

Sat, 25 Nov 2006 02:35:00 +0000

Listen to "The Lion of the North"

Gustavus Adolphus II the Great, the Lion of the North, was an innovator as the king of Sweden and the commander of its armies.  His innovations include the conscription system, the tribute system, the squadron-based organization system, the Swedish infantry weaponry, and the artillery regiment system. 

All of these useful improvements were demonstrated during the Baltic Campaigns and during the Thirty Years War.  One example is the Battle of Breitenfield, in which he defeated a larger Holy Roman Empire Army, despite the fact that one of his allies fled during the battle.  He was killed a few years later in another one of his victories, the Battle of Lutzen. 

The Lion of the North (the name was given to him by Protestants in Germany) is, without a doubt, the greatest commander in Swedish history and the greatest commander in the 1600s. 

For more information, read:
Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
Extreme War by Terrence Poulos
Galenet: Adolphus
ABC-Clio: Adolphus

Military History Podcast is sponsored by: Armchair General Magazine, International Research and Publishing Corporation, and Axis and Allies Reserves
 


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Medal of Honor in Iraq

Sat, 18 Nov 2006 17:24:00 +0000

There have only been two medal of honor winners in Operation Iraqi Freedom thusfar (despite the Iraqi War having lasted just as long as US involvement in WWII, when there were 464 medals awarded).  They are the 3rd and 4th medals awarded since the Vietnam War.
  • Paul Ray Smith (posthumous): Single-handedly fought off 100 enemy Iraqi Republican Guardsmen with an M2 Browning Machine Gun and essentially saved the lives of his 16 men and the 100 wounded in the nearby aid station near Saddam Hussein International Airport.
  • Jason Dunham (posthumous): Saved the lives of his fireteam as he smothered a grenade with his head, sacrificing his life in order to stop the blast from reaching his companions.  He is the first marine to receive the medal since 1945.
For more information, read:
Paul Smith:
http://www.defenselink.mil/home/features/2005/Medal-of-Honor/
http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,SS_040505_Honor,00.html
http://www.opinionjournal.com/federation/feature/?id=110008153
http://www.cmohs.org/recipients/paulrsmith_cit.htm
Jason Dunham:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/10/medal.honor/index.html
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=2087

Military History Podcast is sponsored by: Armchair General Magazine, International Research and Publishing Corporation, and Axis and Allies Reserves


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English Longbowmen

Sat, 11 Nov 2006 18:54:00 +0000

In the history of archery, the title for most important invention probably goes to the English Longbowmen (or the Mongolian Recurve Bow which you can learn more about in the "Mongolian Fighting Tactics" episode).  English Longbowmen brought about the end of the cavalry-dominated era and retained dominance over Europe for a period of around 300 years.  Specifically, they allowed the English to dominate the French at the battles of Crecy (1346), Poitiers (1356), and Agincourt (1415).  Though the English eventually lost the Hundred Years War, the English Longbowmen still made their mark.

For more information, read:
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Propaganda

Sat, 04 Nov 2006 22:07:00 +0000

Propaganda has been used in war since the beginning of war itself.  Alexander the Great used it, Genghis Khan used it, the Catholic Church used it, the American Founding Fathers used it, Joesph Goebbels of Nazi Germany used it, and the United States currently uses it.

There are three types of propaganda: white, grey, and black.

There are many techniques for propaganda, including: assertion, bandwagon, card stacking, glittering generalities, lesser of two evils, name calling, pinpointing the enemy, plain folks, testimonials, and transfers.

For more information, read:
World Book (1992): P
Foreign Affairs (May/June 2006): Saddam’s Delusions
http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/proptech.htm
http://en.thinkexist.com/quotations/propaganda/
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Propaganda
Military History Magazine: June 2002

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General and International Research and Publishing Corporation


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The Third Naval Age

Sun, 29 Oct 2006 18:30:00 +0000

The Naval Ages: Galleys, Sails, Steam, Missiles.  This episode focuses on the third naval age, the Naval Age of Steam.

The Third Naval age began with ironclad battleships, also known as pre-dreadnoughts, which effectively used artillery guns, iron plating, and steam power.  The keynote war of this naval era is the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), specifically the Battles of Tsushima Strait and Port Arthur. 

Once the HMS Dreadnought was created, the dreadnought battleship era of the Naval Age of Steam began.  This era would last until WWII.  The keynote battle of this era was the Battle of Jutland in WWI.

The Third Naval Age ended in WWII as a result of the aircraft carrier, which replaced battleships as the principle ship of the fleet. 

For more information, read:
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
World Civilizations: 9th Edition
The Pacific War Companion by Daniel Marston
Europe at War: A "Red Book" of the Greatest War of History
Submarine by Drew Middleton


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and International Reserach and Publishing Corporation


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Operation Enduring Freedom

Mon, 23 Oct 2006 04:11:00 +0000

Operation Enduring Freedom, specifically the 2001 war in Afghanistan, was the first step to President Bush's war on terror.  It is known as the greatest special forces war ever fought because of the US's heavy reliance on a few highly-trained operatives on the ground pinpointing targets for a high-tech force in the air.  The war was fought between the Coalition (consisting mostly of US forces)/Northern Alliance (Afghan rebels) and the Taliban (Afghan government)/Al Qaeda (led by Osama bin Laden).  The was was pretty much one-sided, with the Northern Alliance ground offensive easily sweeping through Kabul, the capital of the Taliban, and Kandahar, the military stronghold of the Taliban.  The one battle that the Coalition/Northern Alliance arguably lost was the Battle of Tora Bora, in which Osama bin Laden was cornered but somehow escaped. Now, it is the insurgency that is causing problems for the new government led by Hamid Karzai.  The war is seen as a "good war" by both sides of the political aisle. For more information, read: Foreign Affairs: The Afghan Quagmire (November 2001) Bush's Speech           Galenet Article One Galenet Article Two http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/enduring-freedom.htm Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and International Research and Publishing Corporation [...]


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Red Raiders

Sun, 15 Oct 2006 04:31:00 +0000

The Red Raiders of the 22nd Bombardment Group were involved in almost every single major action in the Pacific Theater of World War II.  Starting out as a medium bomber group (equipped with the B-25 Mitchell and the B-26 Liberator), the "silver fleet" turned into a heavy bomber ground once it was outfitted with the new B-24 Liberator heavy bomber. 

The group's amazing five-year history is explained thoroughly in the book: Revenge of the Red Raiders (The Illustrated History of the 22nd Bombardment Group during WWII).  This illustrated encylopedia contains over 1000 pictures (w/detailed captions), 5 comprehensive appendices, and 624 pages of detailed (albeit thick) information.  The pros and cons of the book are discussed within the episode.

Revenge of the Red Raiders can be purchased here

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and International Reserach and Publishing Corporation


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Military Robotics - Airborne

Mon, 09 Oct 2006 23:05:00 +0000

This is the second part of a two part episode on military robotics:
  • UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
    • RQ-2 Pioneer: Israeli/American recon UAV
    • RQ-1 Predator: American high endurance recon UAV, armed with Hellfire missiles
    • RQ-4 Global Hawk: American high altitude recon UAV
  • USV or Unmanned Space Vehicles
    • Key Hole Series: Visual Recon Satellites
    • Mentor Satellite Series: Audio communications espionage device
    • Lacrosse Satellite Series: Visual Recon, can see through clouds and 10 feet of dirt
    • GPS Satellite Series: Used by troops to pinpoint their locations
    • Anti-satellites: Armed with nuclear weapons, used to bring down other satellites
    • Anti-Anti-Satellites: Satellites armed with missiles to bring down anti-satellites
    • SDI Laser Satellites: Satellites that shoot down incoming missiles
For more information, read:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/military-robot.htm
http://www.spawar.navy.mil/robots/
How to Make War by James F. Dunnigan
http://www.npr.org/news/specials/obits/reagan/timeline.html

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine and by International Research and Publications Corporation


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Military Robotics - Surface

Sat, 23 Sep 2006 21:18:00 +0000

Now that we are in the information age, armies everywhere have begun research on robotics, both surface ones and airborne ones.  This episode is about the surface ones.

Robots are useful because they never get distracted, they never get tired, and they never get fearful.  Also, commanders don't have to worry about human loss when they are using robots.  Some of the more famous robots currently used include:
  • MDARS: Autonomous, resembles R2D2 from Star Wars, patrols and secures DoD storage sites
  • TOV: Teleoperated, resembles a Humvee, used to identify enemy armor and designate air strikes
  • TALON/SWORDS: Teleoperated, miniature tanks equipped with a variety of sensors and weapons
  • Packbot: Teleoperated, man-portable, durable and used to scout out the other side of a wall
  • AUV: Autonomous, underwater, used to identify aquatic minefields
  • Super Scorpio: Teleoperated, underwater, used to recover lost naval equipment
For more information, read:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/military-robot.htm
http://www.spawar.navy.mil/robots/
How to Make War by James F. Dunnigan


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Ancient Accidents, Modern Consequences

Sat, 16 Sep 2006 19:28:00 +0000

If you ask a historian why the study of history is important, he/she would probably respond with: "to not repeat the mistakes of the past".  This is true, history does help us improve from our mistakes.  However, we also must keep in mind that trivial events (i.e. accidents) do happen, and they do manage to alter the course of history significantly.  Therefore, this statement must be taken with a grain of salt. 

For example,
The powerful Persian Empire, and consequently Zoroastrianism, rose as a result of the one bodyguard peering on a Lydian king's wife naked.
The legendary Roman Republic began as a result of one Roman woman getting raped by an Etruscan man. 
The infamous Middle East conflict and the continued dispute over control of Jerusalem resulted from one Roman soldier accidentally dropping a torch on the Second Temple. 

For more information,
The Histories by Herodotus
The Columbia History of the World
The History of Rome by Livy
War of the Jews by Josephus


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Napoleon (Emperor-Death)

Sat, 09 Sep 2006 16:36:00 +0000

This episode begins with two victorious campaigns for Napoleon. The first was against the Russians and the Austrians (the Third Coalition), whom he defeated at the Battle of Austerlitz (which is considered his greatest tactical masterpiece). Then, he defeated the Prussians and Russians in the War of the Fourth Coalition at Friedland, Jena, and Eylau. However, this marked the beginning of the end for Napoleon because he four major cracks began to form within his empire: the failure of the Continental System against Britain, the prolonged guerilla uprising in Spain, the Austrian defense at the Battle of Wagram, and the failure of the long and harsh campaign into Russia.Once Napoleon was weak, the other nations formed a Sixth Coalition which finally defeated Napoleon at the Battle of the Nations. Napoleon lost much of his army and was forced to abdicate once Paris was lost. He was exiled to Elba but later came back and formed another army during the period known as the 100 days. The 100 days ended with the Battle of Waterloo, in which the Duke of Wellington (Britain) defeated Napoleon's inexperienced army. Napoleon was once again exiled, this time to St. Helena, where he stayed until his death. For more information, read: Military History Magazine (February 2002): Napoleon’s Haitian Guerilla War Military History Magazine (August 1999): Final French Triumph in Egypt Military History Magazine (December 2005): Austerlitz Military History Magazine (October 2005): Nelson at Trafalgar Armchair General Magazine (July 2005) The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings Extreme War by Terrence Poulos The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler World Book (1992): Napoleon Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine[...]


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Napoleon (First Consul-Emperor)

Fri, 01 Sep 2006 15:37:00 +0000

As First Consul, Napoleon set out for Italy and again defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo. Also, around this time, Napoleon became consul for life and soon after, he was crowned Emperor of France. However, as emperor, Napoleon still had problems, namely in Haiti (where a rebellion under Toussaint L'Overture had taken place). In addition to losing this war, Napoleon lost the key naval battle of Trafalgar to Lord Nelson of the British Royal Navy. This made it so that Britain would always remain a thorn in the side of Napoleon's Europe.

For more information, read:

Military History Magazine (February 2002): Napoleon’s Haitian Guerilla War
Military History Magazine (August 1999): Final French Triumph in Egypt
Military History Magazine (December 2005): Austerlitz
Military History Magazine (October 2005): Nelson at Trafalgar
Armchair General Magazine (July 2005)
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
Extreme War by Terrence Poulos
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
World Book (1992): Napoleon

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Napoleon (Major General-First Consul)

Sun, 27 Aug 2006 23:01:00 +0000

Napoleon's tactics and innovations (described in detail in this episode), allowed him to rule Europe for several years. This can be seen in his victorious Italian Campaign (against the First Coalition), as well as his victories in Egypt at the Pyramids and at Aboukir Peninsula. After these two great victories, Napoleon returned to France and participated in a coup which formed a consulate government with himself as the First Consul (the most powerful man in France).

For more information, read:

Military History Magazine (February 2002): Napoleon’s Haitian Guerilla War
Military History Magazine (August 1999): Final French Triumph in Egypt
Military History Magazine (December 2005): Austerlitz
Military History Magazine (October 2005): Nelson at Trafalgar
Armchair General Magazine (July 2005)
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
Extreme War by Terrence Poulos
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
World Book (1992): Napoleon

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Napoleon (Birth-Major General)

Sun, 20 Aug 2006 00:49:00 +0000

This episode features an overview of the French Revolution, followed by Napoleon's teenage years as a member of the Brienne Military College and the Ecole Militaire Elite School in France. After his school years, Napoleon became a captain but soon became a general after he reclaimed the French city of Toulon and saved the government from 30,000 armed insurrectionists.

For more information, read:

Military History Magazine (February 2002): Napoleon’s Haitian Guerilla War
Military History Magazine (August 1999): Final French Triumph in Egypt
Military History Magazine (December 2005): Austerlitz
Military History Magazine (October 2005): Nelson at Trafalgar
Armchair General Magazine (July 2005)
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
Extreme War by Terrence Poulos
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler
World Book (1992): Napoleon

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Arabs vs. Israelis (1967)

Sun, 13 Aug 2006 18:43:00 +0000

The Six Day War of 1967 was fought between Israel and an Arab Coalition (including Jordan, Syria, Egypt, and Iraq).  Israel used the Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiron, the massing of Egyptian tanks against the Israeli border, the Syrian shelling of Galilee fishermen, and the Syrian plan to divert drinking water from Israel as reasons for launching their attack.

Operation Focus was the Israeli air campaign, which easily wiped out the air forces of the entire Arab Coalition.  Following Operation Focus was a charge eastward into Jordan's West Bank.  The Israelis quickly captured the eastern part of the holy city of Jerusalem.  At the same time, the IDF charged southwards towards Egypt's Sinai peninsula and Gaza Strip.  The IDF, led by future prime minister Ariel Sharon, quickly dispatched the Egyptian army and conquered the entire Sinai region.  On the Syrian Front, the Israelis charged up the Syrian Golan Heights on Day 5 of the Six Day War and took them. 

All four of these regions are still in dispute.  Israel returned Gaza and Sinai, but not the Golan Heights or the West Bank.

For more information, read:
Military History Magazine (June 2002): Conquering the Golan Heights
Dictionary of Battles by David Chandler

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Raptors and Spirits

Sat, 05 Aug 2006 23:38:00 +0000

The future US Air Force's backbone consists of one fighter aircraft and one bomber: the F22 Raptor and the B2 Spirit.

F22 Raptor:
Set to replace the F117 Nighthawk and the F15 Eagle, this $350 million stealth fighter aircraft is the ultimate air superiority weapon. In addition to carrying a significant amount of air-to-air missiles (ex. AIM-120 and AIM-9), the F22 can travel at Mach 2.42 into enemy airspace without being detected. Also, its radar will allow it to see all enemies way before the enemies suspect anything. The radar also has the ability to jam an enemy aircraft's systems, while the computer can easily link up with an allied F22s computer. When it comes to precision ground strikes, the F22 relies on its JDAMs and SDBs.

B2 Spirit:
At $2 billion each, the B2 is worth more than twice its weight in solid gold. Though it is slow, it can go anywhere in the world with only one in-flight refueling. Its greatest feature, however, is its boomerang flying wing design which allows it to have a radar signature equivalent to that of a small bird. But just because it is stealthy does not mean that it cannot carry a huge payload. In fact, it can carry 80 "dumb bombs", 36 cluster bombs, 16 "smart bombs", and 16 nuclear bombs. Also, it can drop 16 different bombs at 16 different targets simultaneously.

For more information, read:
USAF Fast Facts by Trident Press International
www.f22fighter.com
How Stealth Works in the B2

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Soldiers of Fortune

Sat, 29 Jul 2006 18:04:00 +0000

Soldiers of Fortune, or Mercenaries, have been used in war since the advent of war itself. The Persians, the Romans, the Greeks all used mercenaries in their armies. The trend continued into the middle ages when German Landsknechts and Swiss Pikemen were in high demand. Other famous mercenary groups include Cossacks, Ronin, and Pirates.

Now, the standard definition of Mercenaries is given to us by Article 47 of Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Convention, which states that mercenaries are neither combatants nor prisoners of war. Currently, the most popular form of mercenary is the PMC (Private Military Contractor), which supplies soldiers to governments to help them guard high profile targets, defend installations, train local police, and so on.

Bounty Hunters are also still used by bail bondsmen to ensure that their clients go to court when they are supposed to.

Soldier of Fortune Magazine is designed to be read by the mercenary.

For more information, read:
Military History Magazine (June 2003): Cossack Pirates in the Black Sea
www.privatemilitary.org
CNN Special on Mercenaries


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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SF Assault on Haiti

Sat, 22 Jul 2006 17:21:00 +0000

In 1994, President Clinton prepared to launch an invasion of Haiti (then led by the brutal General Cedras). The goal was to remove General Cedras and put President Aristide back into power. The following military preparations were made (each of these is discussed in depth in the episode):
  • 2 Aircraft Carriers containing air support, special operations, and the 10th Mountain Division were afloat just outside of Haiti.
  • US Marines were on landing craft ready to land on the island.
  • 82nd Airborne Paratroopers were at North Carolina Air Base ready to drop into Haiti.
  • Navy Seals were prepared to invade and/or were already on the island of Haiti.
Clinton's diplomatic team (consisting of President Jimmy Carter, General Colin Powell, and Senator Sam Nunn) were sent to Haiti earlier in the day and managed to get Cedras to step down 30 minutes before the planned invasion. Operation Uphold Democracy was then initiated to keep the peace in Haiti.

For more information, read:
US Special Forces by Samuel Southworth
US Carrier Locations
My Life by Bill Clinton


Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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The Art of War

Mon, 17 Jul 2006 18:39:00 +0000

The script used in this episode was written by Lt. Col. Craig Plain from the Wisconsin Air National Guard. The Art of War by Sun Tzu was written around 500 BC in Ancient China.  This collection of quotes on the 5 elements of war (Path, Heaven, Earth, Leader, and Law) has had a profound impact on military history.  Many of the world's most famous generals have used the book.  Likewise, many of the world's military training schools require the book as reading.  For more information, read:  http://www.scienceofstrategy.com/History/sun_tzu_history.htm http://www.afpc.asso.fr/wengu/wg/wengu.php?l=Sunzi http://www.online-literature.com/suntzu/ http://artofwar.thetao.info/china/history.htm http://www.waikato.ac.nz/wfass/subjects/history/waimilhist/1998/suntzu.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Art_of_War http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Sun-Tzu/The Art of War by Sun Tzu, 1983 Delacorte Publishing Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine[...]


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American Treason

Sat, 17 Jun 2006 03:05:00 +0000

The following are five great traitors in American History:
  • Benedict Arnold: Conspired to hand West Point over to the British (an action which would have greatly weakened the Continental's war effort during the American Revolution)
  • Aaron Burr: Killed the President and later conspired to rule over a Western American Empire (which would have plunged the country into an East-West Civil War)
  • John Anthony Walker: Led the Walker Spy Ring which sold ALL of the US war plans during the Vietnam War to the Soviets
  • Aldrich Ames: Revealed to the Soviets the names of ALL the American spies currently operating in the Soviet Union. Many of them would be killed as a result.
  • Robert Hanssen: Revealed to the Soviets the location where American leaders would hide in the event of nuclear war. Also sold the US missile launch plans in the event of a nuclear war.
For more information, read:
US News and World Report (Jan 27, 2003): Spy Stories
http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/served/arnold.html
http://www.crimelibrary.com/terrorists_spies/spies/ames/1.html
http://www.crimelibrary.com/terrorists_spies/spies/walker/1.html
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2001-02-21-spydouble.htm

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Fear and Loathing in 1947

Mon, 12 Jun 2006 23:36:00 +0000

1947 was a year filled with escalating tensions in the Cold War. This resulted in:
  • Great Speeches: Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Zhdanov's Two Camps
  • Great Inventions: Presidential Succession Act, National Security Act (which created the CIA, DoD, Joint Chiefs, National Security Council), AK-47
  • Great Beginnings: Indo-Pakistani War
It is also my dad's year of birth.

For more information, read:
The Cold War by Mike Sewell
The Timetables of History
Armchair General (May 2006): AK-47
http://www.jcs.mil/cjs_history.html
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/cwr/17603.htm
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/harrystrumantrumandoctrine.html

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Impenetrable

Fri, 02 Jun 2006 23:43:00 +0000

Though they are not the only great walls of history, the following four certainly rank high:Great Wall (Started around 200BC): This wall, which is 25 feet high and 25 feet thick, was built to keep Mongol Invaders out of China. It was equipped with many watchtowers and smoke signaling systems. However, this Wonder of the Medieval World is deteriorating due to weather and American corporate influence. Recently, the wall was cleared by a skateboarder (The first time a non-motorized vehicle cleared the Wall).Hadrians Wall (Started around 100AD): This wall, which was only 6 yards high, spanned across the entire width of Britain. It was used by the Romans to defend against Scottish tribes. The wall was supplanted by Roman garrisons and forts.Maginot Line (Built from 1930-1935): This line of forts was created along the Franco-German border, in order to stop an expected German offensive to the West. However, in WWII, the Germans simply went around the line via the Low Countries. Therefore, the term Maginot is associated with "something that is relied on but fails".Atlantic Wall (Built during WWII): This line of defenses was created by the Germans along the Atlantic Coasts of Norway and France. It was intended to deter an Allied amphibious invasion of Fortress Europe. However, the Allies still continued with their attack and were able to break through at Normandy. However, this massive collection of defensive tools greatly slowed the Allied advance. For more information, read:http://www.greatwallofchina.cn/http://www.hadrians-wall.org/http://www.maginot-line.com/http://search.eb.com/dday/browse?browseId=237176http://www.atlantikwall.net/The Reader's Digest Illustrated History of WWIIMilitary History P[...]


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The Scourge of God

Sat, 27 May 2006 00:51:00 +0000

Attila the Hun was born in 406. After being a child hostage of the Romans for much of his youth, Attila would ascend to the throne with this brother Bleda. Attila soon killed Bleda and took absolute power over the Huns.

Under Attila, the Huns would constantly raid the outskirts of Byzantine Empire. At one point, Attila engaged with Aetius of the Romans at the Battle of Chalons. Attila lost the battle, but still was able to make it to the gates of Rome but would be turned back after the Pope urged him not to push forward.

For more information, read:
The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes by Max Hastings
History Resource Center World: Attila the Hun
http://school.eb.com/all/eb/article-9011178?query=Attila&ct=null


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Unique Ground Transportation

Sat, 20 May 2006 16:51:00 +0000

Ski Warfare:
  • In the Winter War between the Finns and the Soviets, the Finnish ski troops used guerilla tactics to stop a much larger enemy.  Their high mobility gave them an advantage in the cold conditions (of which the Soviets were not used to).
  • The 10th Mountain Division, a special operations unit in the US, is trained in harsh terrain operations, including ski warfare.  They are a rapid-response unit and have conducted many operations in the 1990s.
Bicycle Warfare:
  • Bicycles are cheap, light, fast, and can carry a surprisingly large amount of baggage
  • When Japan invaded Singapore in WWII, they used bicycles on gravel and pavement to give the impression of a much larger tank force.  This prompted a British garrison that was 3x the size of the Japanese invading force to surrender.
For more information, read:
Military History Magazine (Feb 2000): Bicycles in War
Special Forces by Samuel Southworth
Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Japanese Army by Geoffrey Forty


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Nuclear Physics, History, and Strategy

Sat, 13 May 2006 18:41:00 +0000

Nuclear weapons, first created as a result of the Manhattan Project, come in many forms. The ones dropped on Japan, for example, were plutonium and uranium atomic bombs which used nuclear fission (breaking a larger nucleus into two smaller fragments). Hydrogen bombs, on the other hand, use nuclear fusion (fragments combined into a larger nucleus).

Over time, nuclear delivery also improved. Early on, only gravity bombs were used (ex. US bombers circulated around the USSR ready to drop gravity bombs). However, by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, rockets and ballistic missiles were developed to carry warheads. Submarine-launchable and backpack nukes also exist.

Because the power of nuclear technology is so great, a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction has been adopted. In other words, both sides don't launch nuclear weapons out of fear that the other side will launch their own.

Currently, there are seven countries known to possess nuclear weapons, and two who are thought to possess them.

For more information, read:
Physics 6th Edition by Cutnell and Johnson
The Cold War by Mike Sewell
http://www.nuclearfiles.org
http://www.thebulletin.org/doomsday_clock/


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The Screaming Eagles

Sun, 07 May 2006 20:04:00 +0000

The 101st airborne division, founded in 1942, is nicknamed the "screaming eagles".  Their motto is "Rendevous with Destiny", and they are officially known as air assault infantry.  Their training is one of the toughest in the Army.

Some of their battles in WWII include: Pathfinding during D-Day, Operation Market Garden, and the Battle of the Bulge.  The division also participated in the Vietnam War (ex. Hamburger Hill), during Desert Storm, and during Operation Cobra II (otherwise known as Operation Iraqi Freedom).

They have been featured in various forms of entertainment including: Brothers in Arms (video game), Band of Brothers (mini-series), Saving Private Ryan (movie). 

For more information, read:
US Special Forces by Samuel Southworth
Reader's Digest Illustrated Story of World War II
http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/101stairborne/
http://www.101airborneww2.com/equipment3.html

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George C. Marshall

Sun, 30 Apr 2006 16:32:00 +0000

George Catlett Marshall's distinguished career includes the titles of Army Chief of Staff, 5-Start General of the Army, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and aide to General Pershing. He excelled both in the field (earning various medals and helping to train others during WWI), as a tactical commander (masterminding the US victory in WWII by emphasizing mass movement and morale), and as a statesman (engineering the Marshall plan which would rebuild Europe, as well as increase the US's power in the heating-up Cold War).

These accomplishments showed through when he became Time Magazine Man of the Year twice, in 1944 and 1948. also, Marshall won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

For more information, read:
The Cold War by Mike Sewell
World Book (1992): Marshall, George Catlett
European Recovery Plan Speech at Harvard University
http://www.en.wikiquote.org/wiki/George_Marshall


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Crimea - The First Modern War

Sat, 22 Apr 2006 21:35:00 +0000

In the 1800s, the Ottoman Empire was instructed by both France and Russia to protect Catholic and Orthodox Christians that were within its empire. These two instructions conflicted and the Ottomans chose to side with France. Seeing an opportunity to limit Russian expansion, Britain, Austria and Prussia also support the "Allies" (France, Ottomans). This angered Russia and it invaded the Danubian Principalities in 1853, as well as destroyed the Ottoman Black Sea fleet at the Battle of Sinop.

The Allies then sent an ultimatum (which was accepted by the Russians) but didn't stop the attack. They landed on the Crimean Peninsula and began the Siege of Sevastopol (the Russian naval base). Twice, the Russians tried to break out, including once at the Battle of Bacalava. This battle witnessed the famous Charge of the Light Brigade (which ended in a slaughter of British cavalrymen). Eventually, the Russians surrendered and the Crimean War ended.

Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine

For more information, read:
The Guinness Book of Military Blunders by Geoffrey Regan
Military History Magazine (April 2006): Crimean War Siege
http://www.crimeanwar.org/cwrsentry.html
http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crimea/immcauses.html


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Urban Warfare at Stalingrad

Sat, 15 Apr 2006 17:37:00 +0000

Urban warfare is a different style of warfare because an enemy could be hiding anywhere, each house must be cleared out individually, and no powerful weapons may be used out of fear for collateral damage. However, it is disadvantageous to use because of the danger it puts your own civilians in. Despite this, however, many weaker enemies resort to urban warfare in order to combat a powerful enemy. For this reason, the US has developed MOUT (Military Operations on Urban Terrain) training.The Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43) in WWII is a prime example of urban warfare. It was initiated due to Operation Barbarossa, the German push eastward towards Moscow. Stalingrad was a key target due to its symbolic name and its industrial capacity. Initially, the Russians under Zhukov were almost completely pushed out of the city by Paulus's Sixth Army. However, powerful Russian tank, skilled Russian snipers, and masses of Russian soldiers (whose life expectancy was less than 24 hours) fought back and even surrounded the Germans in Operation Uranus. Eventually, after a failed rescue attempt by Manstein's German Army, Paulus surrendered and the Russians won the battle.Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General MagazineFor more information, read:The Dictionary of Battles by David ChandlerThe Guinness Book of Military Blunders: Operation Barbarossa by Geoffrey Reganhttp://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/wwii/stalingrad/default.aspx[...]


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Liquid Fire

Sat, 08 Apr 2006 20:27:00 +0000

The following are three famous forms of liquid fire throughout military history in chronological order: Greek Fire (used at sea), Flame Throwers (used on land), Napalm (used from the air).Greek Fire: Invented by Callinicus in 673AD, it was one of the reasons why the Byzantine Empire survived. Impossible to extinguish, incredibly adhesive, and ignited by water, it was extremely useful in naval battles and in defending the city of Constantinople. For these reasons, the Byzantine Empire always tried to keep Greek Fire their own secret. In 1453, the secret was lost forever and we still don't know how to replicate it. Flame Throwers: Invented by Richard Fiedler in 1901, the most common form is the backpack flamethrower. The backpack flamethrower has two canisters: one for compressed flammable gas, and the other for flammable liquid. They were used especially in WWII to eradicate Japanese from tunnel systems, but they are effective against all kinds of fortification. However, they are extremely dangerous to the user, and only useful in certain circumstances. Napalm: First used in WWII, it was a key part of air power during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. In the latter, it was especially useful against entrenched Vietcong; in the former, it was especially useful against tanks. However, it is considered an inhumane weapon and in 1980, the UN decreed that it shouldn't be used against civilians. For more information, read: Military History Magazine (April 2006): The Lost Secret of G[...]


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The Ninja - Spy and Assassin

Sat, 01 Apr 2006 19:45:00 +0000

Ninja's, often thought of as the world's first special forces, were prominent throughout Japanese warfare in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Centered mainly in the Iga and Koga province, ninjas trained under the supervision of the shonin (village leader).In order to enter a home, a ninja used foldable saws (to break down doors), handclaws (to climb walls), flotation shoes (to walk across a moat), and disguises (usually as a yamabushi monk or a zen monk). Contrary to popular opinion, ninjas did not always dress in black.Once inside the home, the ninja used many techniques to move and listen secretly. They used irogome (colored rice) to leave messages for future ninjas or some other ally. To listen in on a conversation, ninjas used a small tube that could be used to listen through walls. Then, to retreat, the ninja used smoke "grenades" and flash "grenades". As for the assassin aspect of ninjas, their main weapon was a short sword with shuriken (throwing stars) hidden in the hilt. Other weapons include makibashi (caltrops filled with poison), a traditional bow, and a shinobi-gama (a sickle with a chain attached). There were some female ninjas, although they were used less frequently.For more information, readMilitary History Magazine (March 2006): Intrigue (Ninjas) and http://www.taots.co.uk/content/view/31/27/ Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine[...]


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King Shaka Zulu

Sat, 25 Mar 2006 19:02:00 +0000

Shaka was born to a Zulu chief and a lower-class woman named Nandi. Throughout his life, Shaka would care for Nandi and was greatly affected by her death in 1827 (when he killed thousands of Nandi's subjects so that he would have people to mourn with him). Early on, Shaka became the "apprentice" of Chief Dingiswyao, a great military leader. After proving himself as a soldier, he was eventually allowed to become military chief of the Zulus. As military chief, he created three new tactics: * Shaka used short iklwa stabbing spears instead of long assegai throwing spears. This showed how Shaka used close combat effectively throughout his campaigns. * Shaka created a buffalo formation which consisted of the chest, the two horns (flanking forces), and the loins (reserve forces). * Shaka forced all the people he conquered to join his force or die. This policy of assimilation made his army grow rapidly. Shaka's two great wars were both fought against the Ndwandwa tribe, led by Chief Zwide. During the first war, Shaka defeated a much larger force under Nomahlanjana by fighting off several assaults at the top of Qokli Hill. During the second war, Shaka defeated an enemy force under Soshangane at a river crossing and in a plain. Just before his assassination, Shaka's Zulu nation spanned 2 million square miles consisting of 250,000 citizens and 40,000 soldiers. He had killed around 2 million enemy soldiers during his campaigns. For m[...]


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Alexander the Great - Part Two

Sat, 11 Mar 2006 16:32:00 +0000

Alexander then met Darius at Issus, where he again defeated a much larger Persian Army. In the course of this battle, Alexander captured Darius' family, including Queen Stateira (who would later die in capitivity), and his daughter (the most beautiful woman in the world). For the next few years, Alexander captured Egypt and several port cities including Tyre. Eventually, Alexander headed eastward and defeated Darius for the last time at Gaugamela. Darius, however, managed to get away, but was later killed by his brother Bessus. Soon after this battle, Alexander met King Porus of India at the Hydaspes River. Alexander defeated King Porus, but this battle discouraged his men from fighting any longer. After a long trek, which resulted in 3/4 of his men dying, Alexander returned to Babylon where he was either killed or assassinated. After his death, his kingdom was split into three regions under the Antigonids, the Seleucids, and the Ptolemies. For more information, read Alexander by Plutarch, Extreme War by Terrence Poulos, and Military History Quarterly (Spring 1998): Alexander the Killer Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Alexander the Great - Part One

Sat, 04 Mar 2006 17:09:00 +0000

Alexander, who was destined to be great since before he was born, ascended to the Macedonian Throne at the age of 20 after his father, Philip, was murdered. After regaining control of Greece, Alexander crossed the Hellespont into Asia Minor to liberate Greeks and to defeat the Persians. Alexander first met Darius of Persia at the Battle of Granicus River, where he defeated the much larger Persian Army with his phalanxes. Alexander almost died in this battle. After he routed the Persians, Alexander slaughtered 18,000 Greek mercenaries, in order to punish them for helping the enemy. Throughout the rest of his campaign, Alexander would show himself to be brutal towards his enemies. For more information, read Alexander by Plutarch, Extreme War by Terrence Poulos, and Military History Quarterly (Spring 1998): Alexander the Killer Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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Military Medicine

Sat, 18 Feb 2006 23:33:00 +0000

Medicine has been used in the military since 1274BC in the Battle of Kadesh (Egyptians vs. Hittites), and 400BC by Hippocrates, the father of medicine. However, field hospitals and medical care on the frontlines is a fairly recent invention (around 1492 by the Spanish and the Moors). Since then, there have been major innovations in every major war: * Napoleonic Wars: Larrey, Napoleon's chief surgeon, creates the "flying ambulance", the idea of amputation, and the policy of treating wounded according to severity of injuries, not rank. * 1864 Geneva convention: Red cross adopted as military medicine emblem * World War I: The RAMC (royal army medical corps) invents a three zone-system for collection, evacuation and distribution. They also categorize the wounded into less-serious, serious, and hopeless. * World War II: Medics become integrated into fighting units. Medics also have access to morphine and plasma. * Korean War: MASH units are created to serve as mobile field hospitals. * Vietnam War: Medevac helicopters are used to evacutate the wounded to a hospital in under 2 hours. For more information, read Military History Magazine (November 2005): Medics! Military History Podcast is sponsored by Armchair General Magazine


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