Battlefield Chronicles

WW2 – Sugar Loaf Hill, Okinawa

WW2 – 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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Korean War – Pork Chop Hill

Korean War – 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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Indian Wars – The Nez Perce War

Indian Wars – 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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WW1 – Meuse-Argonne Offensive

WW1 – 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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Vietnam War – A Shau Valley

Vietnam War – A Shau Valley

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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WW2 – Midway and Guadalcanal

WW2 – Midway and Guadalcanal

There is some debate on the turning point of the war in the Pacific Theatre. Some historians believe the Allied victory at the Battle of Midway was the defining moment, followed by aggressive island-hopping all the way to the Japanese homeland. Others view Midway as the tipping point in the war where the initiative hung in the balance only to swing toward the Allies following its major victory in the Guadalcanal campaign. According to many other historians, however, the turning point of the...

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Civil War – The Battle of Gettysburg

Civil War – The Battle of Gettysburg

Gen. Robert E. Lee led his Army of North Virginia only two times into the North throughout the American Civil War. The winner of the first battle was inconclusive; the second determined the winner of the war.   The first battle fought on northern soil took place in September 1862, when Gen. Robert E. Lee's army invaded Maryland. It was near Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland where his Army of Northern Virginia was confronted by Maj. Gen. George McClellan's Army of the Potomac. Fierce...

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Korean War – The Forgotten War

Korean War – The Forgotten War

Calling the war in Korea, the "forgotten war" has been part of the American lexicon since 1951. However, why it was called that in the first place is not completely understood. To understand how the words and, more importantly, how its meaning became part of our national mentality, one must first appreciate the history of what was occurring on the Korean peninsula before, during, and following the war. Korea was ruled by Japan from 1910 until the closing days of World War II in 1945 when the...

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Turning Point in Vietnam War

Turning Point in Vietnam War

Most military historians and analysts agree the 1968 Tet Offensive was the turning point in the war in Vietnam. They reason that many Americans, seeing the bitter fighting raging up and down South Vietnam on the evening news, fostered a psychological impact that further generated an increased anti-war sentiment. Although the Tet Offensive began on January 31, 1968, when the North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces launched massive, well-coordinated surprise attacks on major cities, towns, and...

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Vietnam War – America’s Secret War

Vietnam 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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WW1 – The Christmas Truce of 1914

WW1 – 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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WW1 – When Johnny Comes Marching Home

WW1 – 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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