Battlefield Chronicles

The Battle of Tarawa

The Battle of Tarawa

Following the December 1941 Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Wake Island, and other Pacific islands, the U.S. began to halt Japan's aggression expansion with important battle victories at Midway Island in June 1942 and Guadalcanal from Aug. 1942 to Feb. 1943. To continue the progress against the Japanese occupying scattered island chains, Allied commanders launched counter-offensive strikes known as "island-hopping." The idea was to capture certain key islands, one after...

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Philippine-American War

Philippine-American War

After its defeat in the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Treaty of Paris (1898) transferred Philippine sovereignty from Spain to the United States, ending centuries of Spanish control over the politics and economy of its longstanding former colony. Filipino leaders, however, did not recognize America's authority and had no intention of ceding their homeland to a new colonial power. The decision by U.S. policymakers to annex the Philippines was not without domestic controversy, either....

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The Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The Battle of Dien Bien Phu

The causes of the Vietnam War trace their roots back to the end of World War II. A French colony, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, & Cambodia) had been occupied by the Japanese during the war. In 1941, a Vietnamese nationalist movement, the Viet Minh, was formed by Ho Chi Minh to resist the occupiers. A communist, Ho Chi Minh, waged a guerilla war against the Japanese with the support of the United States. On September 2, 1945, hours after the Japanese signed their unconditional surrender in...

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Fire Base Mary Ann

Fire Base Mary Ann

Richard Nixon had campaigned in the 1968 presidential election under the slogan that he would end the war in Vietnam and bring 'peace with honor.' However, there was no plan in place to do this, and the American commitment continued for another five years. The goal of the American military effort was to gradually build up the strength and confidence of the South Vietnamese armed forces by re-equipping it with modern weapons so that they could defend their nation on their own. This policy...

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Sugar Loaf Hill – Okinawa

Sugar Loaf Hill – Okinawa

After the Battle of Midway in the summer of 1942, the United States launched a counter-offensive strike known as "island-hopping," establishing a line of overlapping island bases. As each Japanese-held island fell, U.S. forces quickly constructed airfields and small bases, then moved on to surrounding islands, one after another, until Japan came within range of American bombers. The volcanic island of Iwo Jima was a crucial location for the island-hopping campaign to succeed. The island's...

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Pork Chop Hill

Pork Chop Hill

On Sunday, June 25, 1950, just before as sunrise, South Korean soldiers and their American advisors awakened to what they expected to be just another routine day guarding the demarcation line separating South Korea from Communist North Korea. Instead, they woke up to North Korean artillery blowing apart their positions, followed by heavy tanks and thousands of screaming North Korean soldiers. Outnumbered and outgunned, the UN forces were powerless to rout the invaders, forcing them into a...

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The Nez Perce War

The Nez Perce War

Shortly after purchasing the Louisiana territory from France in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson ordered an expedition to explore and map the newly acquired territory and establish an American presence before Britain and other European powers tried to claim it. The campaign's secondary objectives were scientific and economic: to study the area's plants, animal life, and geography, and establish trade with local Native American tribes. To lead the expedition of U.S. Army volunteers, Jefferson...

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Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Meuse-Argonne Offensive

World War I will be remembered as one of the bloodiest wars in human history. Millions of soldiers died on both sides, and whole generations of young men were wiped out. Armies were bogged down in impenetrable trenches, resulting in thousands dying in futile assaults against fortified enemies. The war also introduced new and terrible weapons, such as the machine gun, which made the war even more horrific and bloody. There were many terrible battles, but the worst one for the American...

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A Shau Valley – Vietnam War

A Shau Valley – Vietnam War

The A Shau Valley is a rugged, remote passageway near the border of Laos and the Ho Chi Ming Trail in Thua Thien province. It runs north and south for twenty-five miles. It's low, mile-wide, flat bottomland is covered with tall elephant grass and flanked by two strings of densely forested mountains that vary from three to six thousand feet. Because of its forbidden terrain and remoteness - and the fact it was usually hidden from the air by thick canopy jungle and fog and clouds - it was a key...

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The Battle of Saratoga

The Battle of Saratoga

The road to the American Revolutionary War - or War of Independence - began in the wake of the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763) when the government of King George III of Great Britain decided that the American colonies should share in the costs associated with the War by adding taxes to common goods, such as sugar, molasses and tea. These attempts were met with increasingly stiff resistance. American colonists claimed they were unconstitutional, suggesting that they deserved to have...

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