Stalingrad 1916-style – on the Meuse


  An aerial view of the ouvrage de Froidterre taken in 1914, probably from a French Army dirigible based at Verdun. Clearly visible are the infantry rampart and the barbed wire entanglements in the depression surrounding the work. Note the rampart cut away on the left to allow the two 75s in the Casemate de Bourges to fire to the […]

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U-Boat Warfare

Given Winston Churchill’s fear that the U-Boat menace was the one threat which he feared the most during the Second World War, his allowing “Bomber” Harris to divert Bomber Command into sending thousand bomber raids over Germany instead of first concentrating on winning the Battle of the Atlantic is incomprehensible. One of the stalwarts of Coastal Command, the Short Sunderland […]

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Bir Hakeim 1942

Bir Hakeim 1942 Bir Hakeim, the Debt the Free World Owes to the Free French Bir Hakeim, the Well of the Sage, where Koenig and his men saved Egypt, and India, and a lot more besides… Between 26th May and 11th June 1942, a handful of Free French drawn from all over the French Empire resisted ferocious attacks by the […]

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Battleship Bismarck


Bismarck, the Fatally Flawed Battleship All too often, one reads or hears the description of the Bismarck as “the most powerful battleship in the world”. This assessment by the uninitiated must refer to the encounter in the Denmark Strait, when HMS Hood, herself a badly flawed design, blew up and sank early in the action, presumably following a hit by […]

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Admiral James Somerville

Admiral James Somerville MOMENT OF DESTINY From beyond the grave? Life is stranger than fiction… What was my link with the life of Admiral James Somerville? Clue: Look up my birth date Having set the scene, I wondered how Admiral Somerville might have found an alternative way out of the dilemma he faced at Mers el-Kébir. I knew that after he […]

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Submarine Designer Lost and Found

Submarine Designer Lost and Found Sir Arthur W Johns, a lost British genius rediscovered. Sir Arthur W. Johns, K.C.B., C.B.E. (1873-1937), was the Royal Navy’s Sixth DNC (Director of Naval Construction). He was responsible for the majority of Royal Navy submarine classes in the Great War, and the designer of the giant submarine cruiser X.1 (the subject of one of […]

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