Between Two Republics: American Military Volunteers in Revolutionary France

Most of these Americans left behind little evidence explaining why they took up arms for the French at a time when the official policy of the United States was one of neutrality. Introduction Historians have long recognized the vital contributions of French soldiers and officers to the American colonists during the American Revolution. Without the[…]

Siege Warfare in Ancient India

Capturing forts was necessary as enemy capitals were usually fortified and no invader could proclaim victory without these strategic strongholds. Introduction Forts and sieges held a key position in ancient Indian warfare. Built on considerations of strategic location, topography, and the natural advantages provided by the site, forts would be heavily supplemented with man-made fortifications. They[…]

Naval Warfare in Ancient India

The ancient Indian naval ships protected trade and carried troops to war zones. Introduction The navy in ancient India carried out three roles: it was used to transport troops to distant battlefields, participate in actual warfare, and was primarily meant for protecting the kingdom’s trade on sea and navigable rivers and the maritime trade routes.[…]

The Cinaedus: Transgender Soldiers in the Ancient Roman Army

An ancient Roman fable imagines a cinaedus, well-known for his brazen effeminacy, fighting heroically. Introduction On August 25, 2017, Donald Trump signed a directive banning transgender people from joining the U.S. military. This officially reverses the inclusive policies introduced during the Obama regime. Trump’s decision was, he claimed in earlier tweets, based on the burdensome medical costs and disruption that[…]

The Crimean War in 1854: Maladminstration, the Light Brigade, and Florence Nightingale

Geographical importance and religious differences were both factors in the war. Introduction Overview In Britain, the Crimean War is principally remembered for three reasons: the Charge of the Light Brigade, maladministration in the British army, and Florence Nightingale. However, this war, fought by an alliance of Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia against Russia, is far[…]

The Battle of Carhae: A Roman Catastrophe, 53 BCE

Carrhae proved to be a complete disaster from its beginning. Introduction The Battle of Carrhae in 53 BCE was one of the greatest military catastrophes in all of Roman history when a hero of the  Spartacus  campaign, Marcus Licinius Crassus (115-53 BCE), initiated an unprovoked invasion of Parthian territory (modern Iran). Most of the information concerning the battle and its aftermath[…]

Who Were the Montford Point Marines?

Recruits in the first African-American Marine Corps trained at Montford Point, eventually ending the military’s longstanding policy of racial segregation. The year was 1941. The United States was preparing to enter World War II, and it needed recruits. But President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a problem. Hiring discrimination based on race was still the norm[…]

The Strength and Structure of the Ancient Persian Army

The Persian Army became a multi-cultural force consisting of a fusion of soldiers from Persia or the Medes, as well as various warriors from all subject nations. By Michelle Chua Introduction No ruler can expand his territory without an army. The massive Persian army, reported by Greek historian, Herotodus, to be about 2,641,610 warriors strong[1] during the invasion of[…]

France, 1693: The Year of Battles under Louis XIV

Louis XIV repeatedly reminded his commanders that 1693 had to be viewed as the year of decision. After blundering into the Nine Years War in 1688, it took Louis XIV almost another two years to build the most extensive coalition of opponents he would ever face. Increasingly desperate, the king implemented a variety of strategies[…]

D-Day 75 Years Later and the Quest for Peace

The best way to honor D-Day veteran’s sacrifice is to work for that elusive, but achievable eternal world peace. My father Vincent was wounded clearing the mines on Omaha Beach following the D-Day invasion 75 years ago.  At the hospital next to him was one of the D-Day paratroopers who got dropped into France to fight the Nazi Germans.  When[…]

D-Day Succeeded Thanks to an Ingenious Design Called the Mulberry Harbours

How engineers helped the Allies defeat Nazi Germany and win World War II. Introduction When Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 – a bold invasion of Nazi-held territory that helped tip the balance of World War II – they were using a remarkable and entirely untested technology: artificial ports. To stage[…]

Operation Overlord: Remembering D-Day in Photographs, 75 Years Later

Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day, was the largest seaborne invasion in history. Launched on June 6, 1944, it targeted roughly fifty miles of coastline in Normandy, France. D-Day’s success guaranteed the defeat of Nazi Germany. The Road to D-Day D-Day took more than two years to plan. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British[…]

D-Day, 1944

It was the first stage in the liberation of western Europe and a major step towards the defeat of Nazi Germany. Operation Overlord Overview “Under the command of General Eisenhower, Allied naval forces, supported by strong air forces, began landing Allied armies on the northern coast of France.” – First Overlord communiqué, 6 June 1944.[…]

Pioneers of U.S. Military Cryptology: Colonel Parker Hitt and Genevieve Young Hitt

Genevieve Hitt, likely the first woman to serve the U.S. government as a cryptologist, broke ground in her own way, paving the way for future generations of females in the profession. Introduction “The father of modern American military cryptology, whose Manual for the Solution of Military Ciphers guided our early, halting footsteps in the science[…]

Medieval European Warfare: Technological, Social, and Cultural Developments

Developments forced a dramatic transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing tactics, weaponry, and fortifications. Strategy and Tactics De re militari Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus wrote De re militari (Concerning Military Matters) possibly in the late 4th century.[2] Described by historian Walter Goffart as “the bible of warfare throughout the Middle Ages”, De re militariwas widely distributed through the Latin West.[…]

Castrum: Ancient Roman Forts

Although given basic defensive features, forts were never designed to withstand a sustained enemy attack. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Roman army constructed both temporary and permanent forts and fortified military camps (castrum) across the frontiers of the empire’s borders and within territories which required a permanent military presence to prevent indigenous uprisings. Although given[…]

The Battle of Zama – The Beginning of Roman Conquest

The Battle of Zama not only ended the Second Punic War, it also established the Roman army as the greatest fighting force since the armies of Alexander the Great. Introduction The Second Punic War (218-202 BCE) began when the Carthaginian general Hannibal attacked the city of Saguntum, a Roman ally, reached its height with the[…]

Ancient Etruscan Warfare and Their Conquest by Rome

The Etruscan armies of part-time soldiers proved to be no match for the more professional and tactically dynamic Roman army. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Etruscan civilization, which flourished in central Italy from the 8th to 3rd century BCE, gained a reputation in antiquity for being party-loving pushovers when it came to warfare, but the[…]

The Armies of the Crusades

The armies could have involved over 100,000 men on either side who came from all over Europe. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The armies of the Crusades (11th-15th centuries CE), which saw Christians and Muslims struggle for control of territories in the Middle East and elsewhere, could involve over 100,000 men on either side who came[…]

Viking Raiding and Warfare

Viking warfare connected with the expansion of Scandinavian influence along the North Atlantic and into the Mediterranean. By Emma GroeneveldHistorian Introduction Viking warfare, along with its key component of raiding, is inextricably connected with the expansion of Scandinavian influence along the North Atlantic and into the Mediterranean in the Viking Age (c. 790-1100 CE), where the Vikings’ heavy use of[…]

Annihilation of a Roman Army – The Battle of Teutoburg Forest

A combined force of Germans annihilated a Roman army consisting of three legions. Introduction At the Battle of Teutoburg Forest (aka Battle of Varus), c. 9 CE, a combined force of Germans annihilated a Roman army consisting of three legions including three squadrons of cavalry and six cohorts of auxiliary troops. As some soldiers must have been left behind[…]

Ancient Chinese Warfare: Confucianism and Absence of Glory

The absence of a glorification of war in China was largely due to Confucian philosophy and literature. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction In ancient China warfare was a means for one region to gain ascendancy over another, for the state to expand and protect its frontiers, and for usurpers to replace an existing dynasty of rulers.[…]