Aerial Reconnaissance, 23rd October 1911

Eager to create a cohesive national identity, the young nation of Italy looked to invade the lightly-defended Ottoman territory of Libya in 1911; strategically overlooking the central Mediterranean, sparsely-populated, and only 300 miles south from home, a decidedly short colonial conflict with the Ottoman Empire could solve internal problems among Italy’s impoverished rural population andContinue reading “Aerial Reconnaissance, 23rd October 1911”

Lepanto, 7th October 1571

This picture depicts the final moments of resistance aboard the Ottoman flagship Sultana at the closing stages of the Battle of Lepanto between the Ottoman Empire and the Catholic Holy League, which included Venice, Spain, and the Papacy. The last major engagement between oar-powered galleys in history, this Mediterranean encounter was to be a defeatContinue reading “Lepanto, 7th October 1571”

St Nazaire Raid, 28th March 1942

On this day in history, a team of 611 British Army Commandos and Royal Navy personnel arrived at the French port of St Nazaire to destroy its dry-dock, the largest of its kind on the Atlantic coast capable of accommodating the colossal German battleship Tirpitz. Without the dry-dock, Tirpitz would no longer pose a significantContinue reading “St Nazaire Raid, 28th March 1942”

Polish Cavalry, 1939

Poland’s cavalry brigades were considered the elite by the time of the Nazi invasion in September 1939, relying on their horses for battlefield mobility and infantry support. Known as uhlans or lancers, they were trained to dismount and fight on foot if necessary. During the 1939 Polish Campaign, a prevailing myth emerged of a suicidalContinue reading “Polish Cavalry, 1939”

Port Said, 6th November 1956

This painting depicts men of the 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment during Operation Musketeer, the Anglo-French invasion of Egypt in response to President Nasser’s nationalisation of the Suez Canal. Having been dropped into action at El Gamil airfield on 5th November, 3 PARA advanced towards Port Said, engaging Egyptian forces along the coast. Lt Col PaulContinue reading “Port Said, 6th November 1956”

On the March, Libyan Desert 1941

Infantry of the Afrika Korps make their way across Cyrenaica in the Libyan desert in the early stage of the North African campaign; having arrived in February 1941 to bolster the weakened Italian forces in the region, the Afrika Korps would receive its first experience of desert warfare in Libya. The relatively new M1940 oliveContinue reading “On the March, Libyan Desert 1941”

Soviet Motor Rifles, 1970s-80s

For many young men, life in the Soviet Union was one of extreme militarisation. Once a youth turned 18, he would be conscripted into the armed forces for at least two years; aside from the violent process of dedovshchina (‘initiation’) that saw NCOs bully and harass their men, the average Soviet conscript was given basicContinue reading “Soviet Motor Rifles, 1970s-80s”

Elite guardsmen, 5th century BC – present day

From left to right: Persian Immortal, 5th century BC The Immortals were among the finest warriors in the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire during its invasions of Greece. This elite corps numbered around 10,000 men; if a soldier was put out of action, he would quickly be replaced to keep the number of men the same. ThisContinue reading “Elite guardsmen, 5th century BC – present day”

Naval battle of the Imjin War, Korea, 1592-98

In 1592, Japan was united and ready to expand after years of continuous internal conflict. Under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the neighbouring Chinese tributary state of Joseon (Korea) was the perfect target for Japanese expansion towards China. On land, the battle-hardened samurai made several swift advances, but at sea they suffered enormously. With their naval supply linesContinue reading “Naval battle of the Imjin War, Korea, 1592-98”

Last stand at Gandamak, 13th January 1842

The First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-42) saw forces of the British Army and East India Company support former ruler Shah Shuja Durrani, in the hopes of curbing Russian expansion towards India. Whilst they had successfully completed their objectives and reached Kabul by 1840, constant rebellions forced them and their camp followers to retreat from Kabul toContinue reading “Last stand at Gandamak, 13th January 1842”