A History of Domestic Military Intervention in the United States

The use of federal troops in a law enforcement role has a twisted and often anti-working class and racist history. In his controversial “Send in the Troops” New York Times op-ed, Senator Tom Cotton (Republican-Arkansas) misquoted the Constitution of the United States. New York Times editors, who are under fire for running the essay, either failed to fact-check the[…]

World War Two Weapons That Flopped

World War Two saw a massive increase in weapon types and technology. Some didn’t work out quite so well. Panjandrum: The Ultimate Invasion Weapon This ungainly device was intended to be used against the beach defences of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. It consisted of two rocket-propelled wheels, ten feet in diameter, joined by a cylinder filled with[…]

Aerial Warfare during World War One

From Zeppelin airships to propaganda leaflet drops, aerial combat was used on a large scale for the first time in World War One. Introduction Aerial warfare was by no means a First World War invention. Balloons had already been used for observation and propaganda distribution during the Napoleonic wars and the Franco-Prussian conflict of 1870-1871.[…]

The Praetorian Guard in Ancient Rome: Protection and Imperial Intelligence

The Praetorian Guard became notable for its intrigue and interference in Roman politics. Introduction The Praetorian Guard (Latin: cohortes praetoriae) was an elite unit of the Imperial Roman army whose members served as personal bodyguards and intelligence for the Roman emperors. During the era of the Roman Republic, the Praetorians served as a small escort[…]

America’s First Veterans: Post-War Experiences of the Revolutionary War

In the first years after the Revolutionary War, Americans found it difficult to acknowledge a debt or honor the service of the veterans. Our commitment to the veterans of our time is a legacy of the American Revolution and our commitment, two hundred years ago, to honor and care for America’s first veterans. Over a[…]

Warfare in Medieval Europe

The Middle Ages saw the emergence of the castle in Europe, which then spread to Western Asia. Introduction Medieval warfare is the European warfare of the Middle Ages. Technological, cultural, and social developments had forced a severe transformation in the character of warfare from antiquity, changing military tactics and the role of cavalry and artillery.[…]

The Armored Body as Trophy in Shakespeare’s Roman Plays

The treatment of the military subject in Shakespeare’s Roman plays complicates early modern cultural understandings of the material aspects of militant nostalgia. Remembering Rome, performing Rome… Introduction At the end of Book 12 of Virgil’s Aeneid, Aeneas is described as “stetit acer in armis” or “ferocious in his armor,” a colossal and threatening force, a[…]

The Immortals: Ancient Persia’s Elite Fighting Force

Introduction The Ten Thousand Immortals were the elite force of the Persian army of the Achaemenid Empire (c. 550-330 BCE). They formed the king’s personal bodyguard and were also considered the shock troops of the infantry in Persian warfare. Their name comes from the policy of always keeping their number at exactly 10,000; if one[…]

Lady Hell Cats: Women Marines of World War I

In 1918, the Marine Corps began investigating how the integration of women would take place. By Kenna HowatHistorian Prior to World War I, if a woman wanted to join the military, she would have to join as a nurse or disguise her sex. Some historians estimate that hundreds of women served in the Civil War[…]

Medieval Mongol Warfare

Ultimately, the Mongols would establish the largest empire the world had ever seen. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The Mongols conquered vast swathes of Asia in the 13th and 14th century CE thanks to their fast light cavalry and excellent bowmen, but another significant contribution to their success was the adoption of their enemies’ tactics and[…]

The Crime of Desertion in Roman Law

Roman law provisions on desertion had features that were totally different from the common Roman criminal law. Introduction While watching –once again—the classic and broadly acclaimed movie Ben-Hur, I thought about the legal consequences of deserting from the Roman Army for Roman conscripts and soldiers. Desertion was a serious crime under Roman military law, as[…]

Ancient Parthian Warfare

Parthia controlled territories that stretched from the Mediterranean in the west to India and China in the east and were even a match for the Romans. Introduction Parthian warfare was characterized by the extensive use of cavalry and archers. Coming at enemy troops from all directions Parthian riders created confusion and wreaked havoc. They even[…]

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[…]