Battlefield Chronicles

WW1 – The First Battle of the Somme (1916)

WW1 – 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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WW2 – The Bombing of Balikpapan

WW2 – The Bombing of Balikpapan

In the early morning hours of August 13, 1943, twelve US B-24 Liberators from the 380th Bombardment Group (also known as the Flying Circus), began a low approach over the harbor of Balikpapan, Borneo. They were about to break records for the longest bombing run in history. Their 17-hour non-stop flight would take the Japanese completely by surprise and result in destruction in Balikpapan. Intelligence had suggested that Balikpapan refineries were producing half of Japan’s WWII aviation fuel....

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WW2 – The Battle of Monte Casino

WW2 – The Battle of Monte Casino

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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Vietnam War – The Battle For Hue

Vietnam War – 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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Vietnam War – Battle of Camp Bunard (1969)

Vietnam War – 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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Vietnam War – Operation Crazy Horse (1966)

Vietnam War – Operation Crazy Horse (1966)

On May 20, 1966, close to dusk and in a light rain, B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry (ABN/AMB), 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, commanded by Capt. Roy D. Martin was airlifted by Chinook helicopters (CH-47s) into a small clearing located in the mountains east of the Vinh Thanh Valley, Republic of Vietnam. The clearing had been designated LZ Horse and could accommodate only one CH-47 at a time.  The company had been ordered to the LZ to begin operations in search of a large NVA/VC...

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Boer War: Wolseley And Rorke’s Drift (1879)

Boer War: Wolseley And Rorke’s Drift (1879)

I recently reviewed a biographical history of the men who flew on the famous Doolittle Raid of 1942 where I professed strong approval of that kind of book. We now must jump back further to the year 1879 for a similar and equally effective work by the respected Zulu War historian James W Bancroft. Heroic Actions of "Rorke Drift" This book, "Rorke's Drift: The Zulu War, 1879", is the sum of decades of work, provides biographies of the men awarded the Victoria Cross for their actions during the...

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Summary of The Vietnam War (1959-1975)

Summary of The Vietnam War (1959-1975)

Vietnam was a country torn by war long before Americans became involved in the fighting. French domination was interrupted by the Japanese occupation in World War II, during which Communist leader Ho Chi Minh formed his Viet Minh organization and began guerrilla operations against both occupying powers. The Viet Minh came to power when Japan fell, and the French Indochina War began in 1946 as France attempted to regain control over its colony. The war ended in May 1954 when the Viet Minh...

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Civil War – Sherman’s March to The Sea (1861-1865)

Civil War – Sherman’s March to The Sea (1861-1865)

The March to the Sea, the most destructive campaign against a civilian population during the Civil War (1861-65), began in Atlanta on November 15, 1864, and ended in Savannah on December 21, 1864. Union General William T. Sherman abandoned his supply line and marched across Georgia to the Atlantic Ocean to prove to the Confederate population that its government could not protect the people from invaders. He practiced psychological warfare; he believed that by marching an Army across the state...

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Gulf War – The Lightning in Desert Storm (1991)

Gulf War – The Lightning in Desert Storm (1991)

Before Desert Storm The Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne were among the first soldiers deployed to Saudi Arabia following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August of 1990. Roughly six months later, the storied division would launch an unprecedented airborne assault taking them over 150 miles (241 kilometers) behind enemy lines and within 100 miles (161 kilometers) of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. In 1990, a coalition of forces from around the world, headed by the United States, gathered in...

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Cold War – The Berlin Airlift (1948)

Cold War – The Berlin Airlift (1948)

After World War II, the Allies partitioned Germany into a Soviet-occupied zone, an American-occupied zone, a British-occupied zone, and a French-occupied zone. Berlin, the German capital city, was located deep in the Soviet zone, but it was also divided into four sections. In June 1948, the Russians–who wanted Berlin all for themselves–closed all highways, railroads, and canals from western-occupied Germany into western-occupied Berlin. This, they believed, would make it impossible for the...

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Vietnam War – LZ Hereford (1966)

Vietnam War – LZ Hereford (1966)

Twenty-three Montagnard mercenaries led by Special Forces Sergeants Burton Adams and David Freeman moved quietly through the front gate of the Vinh Thanh Special Forces camp on May 15, 1966, and slipped into the early morning darkness and light fog. Like other patrols sent out over the past week, they were hoping to find anything that would confirm a captured Viet Cong's claim that a combined North Vietnamese Army/Viet Cong force would soon attack their camp. The patrol members moved to the...

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