Platoon Commander Kursk

Category Archives: History

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Fifth

The continuing chronicles of last summer’s wanderings ~

Jim Owczarski, 2 December 2017

On the evening of October 13, 1806, Napoleon I, emperor of the French, made his headquarters here at the site of what is now the Jena Battlefield Museum.

If the displays are to be believed, a recent proprietor was given to dressing up as Napoleon annually and playing at Jena.  I admire this.

TANKSgiving – Tanks and Armored Cars 1919-1939

Another gallery from a visit to Bovington  ~

Avery Abernethy, 20 November 2017

The tanks used in World War 1 were monstrous beasts that stood well over the ground. Most carried machine guns or at best very light cannons. After 1918 the industrial powers realized that anti-tank guns (and even anti-tank rifles) could easily knock out a WW1 era tank because of its thin armor, weak engine, slow speed and very high gun profile.

Much of the interwar period saw the development of Armored Cars and light tanks. Armored cars were much faster than the WW1 era tanks (especially on roads) and carried either similar or heavier guns than WW1 tanks. Thus the armored cars were faster, lower to the ground, less expensive to build, easier to maintain, and had more firepower than a WW1 tank.

Many armored cars were developed immediately after World War 1 through the early 1930s. As they developed, they became lower to the ground.

The development split into three directions.

In one direction the gun was removed and it became a scout car.  An example is the Dingo Mark 3.

Modern-Day Napoleonic Battles & Travels, Part the Fourth

Wherein our intrepid traveler deigns to report his on-the-ground experiences ~

Jim Owczarski, 28 October 2017

I suppose it is prudent to begin in the middle, at least as far as my trip is concerned, with my one-day drive to Schleiz and Saalfeld.

When I began traveling to Europe a lot of years ago my photographic weapon of choice was an old warhorse of a Konica 35mm SLR.  Built to last and weighing nearly enough to deny it modern carry-on status, its film had to be changed dexterously and in the dark.  I can recall having to do it more than once with my hands inside an empty duffle bag.   One never knew if a particular photograph had turned out until developed weeks later — remember Fotomat? — and, more than anything else, the cost of film and developing set a hard limit on the number of pictures one was prepared to take.

Things are different now.  I’ve spent the weeks since returning from my journey to Germany going over the thousands – yes thousands – of photographs I took of Jena-Auerstedt and other battlefields on my iPhone trying to figure out which ones tell this story best; or, honestly, even how to begin telling it.

The Airborne & Special Operations Museum

Downtown Fayetteville showcases the history of these twin elements of the US Army ~

Mike Orwick, 21 October 2017

click images to enlarge, and read the plaques

Last week I was in Fayetteville, NC.  Fayetteville is the home of Ft Bragg, where the Army’s 82nd Airborne division and the Army’s Special Operations command are home based.  Located in downtown Fayetteville is the Army’s Airborne and Special Operations Museum.  This museum tells the story of the evolution and history of these two arms of the Army.  On the last day there, a co-worker and myself had an opportunity to visit the museum.

Before going to the museum, we walked to the opposite side of the parking lot, and visited the North Carolina Veterans Memorial.  There are pillars there with each of the county names on them, with molds of hands.  The hands represent the raised hand while taking the oath when joining the military.  The two most interesting items at the memorial was a chandelier make of over 33,000 dog tags and a table setup for a member of each branch of the military for those that are POW or MIA.

Classic Articles: A Different Theory of the Japanese Surrender

Did the Soviet Union’s actions influence Truman’s decision-making? ~

Brant Guillory, 8 August 2017

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which is alternately considered both controversial and essential to ending the war.

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to hear a talk at the Mershon Center at Ohio State by Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, discussing the impact of the bomb on Japan’s decision to surrender.

INTRODUCTION

I attend[ed] a weekly seminar series at the Mershon Center for Security Studies and Public Policy here at Ohio State University. On some weeks, the seminar coincides with guest speakers. Last week, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa came to talk, and this is a summary of his narrative. But first, it may be helpful to introduce Dr. Hasegawa by way of his Mershon Center bio:
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is professor of Modern Russian and Soviet History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research interests include the political and social history of the Russian Revolution, focusing on crime and police in Petrograd during the Revolution, March 1917 – March 1918, as well as Soviet military history, collecting materials on V.K. Bliukher. Hasegawa is also studying Russian/Soviet-Japanese relations, especially the Soviet-Japanese War of 1945, Soviet policy toward the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, and the Soviet-Japanese Normalization Talks, 1955-56. Hasegawa has published widely on the Russian and Soviet history, his most major publications being The Northern Territories Dispute and Russo-Japanese Relations. Vol. 1: Between War and Peace, 1967-1985. Vol.2: Neither War Nor Peace, 1985-1998 (UC Berkeley, 1998), Russia and Japan: An unresolved Dilemma between Distant Neighbors, edited with Jonathan Haslam and Andrew Kuchins (UC Berkeley, 1993), and Roshia kakumeika petorogurado no shiminseikatsu [Everyday Life of Petrograd during the Russian Revolution] (Chuokoronsha, 1989). His most recent publication is titled Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Belknap, 2005). Dr. Hasegawa received his PhD from Washington University in 1969.

THE PRESENTATION

Following the fall of Germany in May of ’45, the Allies turned their attention to the three-year old Pacific War. To avoid continued American causalities and bring World War II to a close, Truman ordered the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conventional American wisdom is that the atomic bomb brought about the fall of Japan, and few American textbooks challenge this idea. However, a Japanese scholar, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of UC-Santa Barbara, has published an new book, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, that re-examines the end of World War II through a new perspective on international diplomacy, and comes to the conclusion that although the atomic bomb was certainly a very important factor in ending World War II, it was not the most important one. In fact, it might have caused the U.S. to prolong the war longer than necessary.