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”

The Tangier Regiment, late 17th century

In 1661, King Charles II’s marriage to the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza granted England access to Tangier, a small coastal city in North Africa which controlled access to the Mediterranean and was a key commercial hub. Its defence was organised by the Earl of Peterborough, who raised the ‘Tangier Regiment’ at Putney Heath. UponContinue reading “The Tangier Regiment, late 17th century”

Battle of Waterloo, 1815

On 18th June 1815, Emperor Napoleon I of France engaged forces of the British-led Seventh Coalition under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, near Waterloo in modern-day Belgium. Having returned from exile in Elba, Napoleon had reinstated himself as emperor and reinvigorated France after its humiliating invasion of Russia in 1812. Despite strong actions throughoutContinue reading “Battle of Waterloo, 1815”

The Assault on Amoy, 26th August 1841

In the early 19th century, Britain and China experienced a massive trade imbalance; demand for Chinese exports such as tea, silk and porcelain was increasing, but the ruling Qing dynasty saw no need for European imports, requesting only silver in return. Foreign traders were confined to the city of Canton and were not treated onContinue reading “The Assault on Amoy, 26th August 1841”

Engaging the Persian defence, early 5th century BC

The famous Greco-Persian Wars of the 5th century BC began with a revolt by Ionian Greeks in Persian-occupied Anatolia. Once this was suppressed, King Darius I turned his attention to mainland Greece, from which support had been sent to support the Ionian revolt. Greece at this time was a collection of city-states, which depended onContinue reading “Engaging the Persian defence, early 5th century BC”

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”

Italian colonial forces, 1890s

Italy, united as one nation relatively recently in 1861, hoped to arouse genuine feelings of patriotism and national identity, and saw acquiring colonies along the Red Sea in East Africa as the best way of doing so. In 1883 the government purchased land from an Italian firm, eventually expanding out to form colonies in modern-dayContinue reading “Italian colonial forces, 1890s”

The Fall of France, May-June 1940

By 1940, The Second World War threatened to overwhelm the whole of Western Europe; after the quick victory achieved against Poland in September 1939, the Germans focused their attentions on France and the Low Countries; despite a brave and hard-fought defence, French troops were ultimately unprepared for the blitzkrieg tactics that came to define GermanContinue reading “The Fall of France, May-June 1940”