Battlefield Chronicles

America’s Secret War

America’s Secret War

The guerrilla war was not going well for the Viet Cong in the late fifties. Badly needed supplies moving down jungle trails from North Vietnam were constantly being spotted by South Vietnamese warplanes and often destroyed. To give themselves a fighting chance, existing tribal trails through Laos and Cambodia were opened up in 1959. The North Vietnamese went to great lengths to keep this new set of interconnecting trails secret.  The first North Vietnamese sent down the existing tribal trails...

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The Wereth 11 – Murder in the Ardennes

The Wereth 11 – Murder in the Ardennes

In the early hours of December 16, 1944, Adolf Hitler's army launched a massive surprise attack on Allied lines across the frozen, forested landscape of Belgium. Caught off-guard, the Americans fell back into defensive positions. For a few desperate days before Christmas, the outcome of the war in Europe hung in the balance.   Desperate battles to stem the German advance were fought at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize, and Bastogne. As the Germans drove deeper into the Ardennes in an...

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The Christmas Truce of 1914

The Christmas Truce of 1914

During World War I, in the bitter winter of 1914, on the battlefields of Flanders, one of the most unusual events in all of human history took place. The Germans had been in a fierce battle with the British and French. Both sides were dug in, safe in muddy, man-made trenches six to eight feet deep that seemed to stretch forever. The Sudden Christmas Truce During World War I All of a sudden, German troops began to put small Christmas trees, lit with candles, outside of their trenches....

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1983 Beirut Bombing – Interesting Facts

1983 Beirut Bombing – Interesting Facts

In 1975, a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon, with Palestinian and leftist Muslim guerrillas battling militias of the Christian Phalange Party, the Maronite Christian community, and other groups. During the next few years, Syrian, Israeli, and United Nations interventions failed to resolve the factional fighting, and in August 1982 a multinational force arrived to oversee the safe and peaceful withdrawal of Yasir Arafat and the PLO from positions within Beirut and ensure the safety of the...

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When Johnny Comes Marching Home

When Johnny Comes Marching Home

When war raged through Europe in the summer of 1914, the American public wanted nothing to do with it. Not our war, they said. President Woodrow Wilson agreed. He pledged neutrality for the United States. But over the next few years, three incidents turned public option away from isolationism to one of wanting to take action against Germany and its allies. First was when a German submarine torpedoed the British-owned passenger liner Lusitania without warning, killing 1,2,00 passengers,...

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D-Day – The Longest Day

D-Day – The Longest Day

It was a cloudy, breezy morning on Tuesday, June 6, 1944 as the largest seaborne invasion in history began when British, Canadian and American troops set off across the unpredictable, dangerous English Channel from Portsmouth, England. Their destination: the beaches at Normandy, France. As the 5000-ship convoy carrying over 150,000 men and nearly 30,000 vehicles made its way across the choppy channel, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were already on the ground behind enemy...

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The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

The First Battle of the Somme is famous chiefly on account of the loss of 58,000 British troops (one third of them killed) on the first day of the battle, July 1, 1916, which to this day remains a one-day record Bombardment of the German lines before the First Battle of the Somme The attack was preceded by an eight-day preliminary bombardment of the German lines, with expectations that the ferocity of the bombardment would entirely destroy all forward German defenses, enabling the attacking...

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The Battle of Monte Cassino

The Battle of Monte Cassino

Allied forces landed in the Italian peninsula in September 1943. The Apennine Mountains divided the peninsula, and Allied troops split and advanced on both sides. They took control of Naples and continued the push towards Rome. Monte Cassino was the gateway to Rome. It towered above the city and provided unobstructed views. German troops occupied lookouts on the hillside but agreed to stay out of the abbey because of its historical importance. The precious manuscripts and antiquities housed in...

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The Battle For Hue

The Battle For Hue

Another Leatherneck, a black-bearded machine gunner, led a charge up a mountain of rubble that had once been a stately tower, shouting: "We're Marines, let's go!" These episodes illustrate the battle of the Hue Citadel - a grim, struggle through the courtyards and battlements of the old imperial fort. The fight pits U.S. and Vietnamese Marines, determined to take the Citadel, against North Vietnamese soldiers equally determined to hold it. John Olson, a photographer with the Pacific edition of...

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Battle of Camp Bunard (1969)

Battle of Camp Bunard (1969)

Gazing out the open cargo doors of the Huey flying over Phouc Long Province, boyish-looking Specialist 4 Robert Pryor took in an endless landscape of mountains, meandering rivers and rolling hills covered with dense evergreen vegetation, bamboo thickets, and triple canopy tropical broadleaf forests. The forbidding wilderness had an odd virginal beauty. It was also one of the most dangerous places in South Vietnam. This sparsely populated highland plateau, nestled along the Cambodian border...

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