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History of War

History of War

No. 93
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From the conquering legions of Ancient Rome to the thunderous tank battles of World War II and beyond, History of War takes you deeper inside the minds of history’s fighting men, further under the bonnets of some of the world’s most devastating war machines, and higher above the battlefield to see the broad sweep of conflict as it happened.

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

Two centuries ago this month, Napoleon Bonaparte died while exiled on an obscure island in the South Atlantic, St Helena. It was without doubt a pitiful end for a leader who had singlehandedly changed the course of history. After his defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the emperor’s second and final exile gave him years with which to contemplate his defeat, and write his own history. Despite the remoteness of the island prison, a range of daring and fanciful escape plots emerged over the years, and even Napoleon’s death became the subject of controversy and conspiracy in the centuries since.…

1 min.

SIR BRIAN UNWIN The acclaimed author and historian spoke with History of War this issue. Over on page 29 he discusses the history of Napoleon’s exile on St Helena, some of the bizarre escape plans to free him, and the controversy surrounding his death. DR BERNARD WILKIN Belgium-based father-son historian duo Bernard and René Wilkin return to History of War – this issue marking the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death with a look into his journey from emperor to final exile on St Helena (p24). OLIVIA SMITH New to the History of War pages, Olivia is a public historian, researcher and expert on women’s military history. Starting on page 54 she recalls the stories of five incredible women who hid their gender to fight on the frontline.…

1 min.
war in focus

ATS TABLE MANNERS Taken: c.1945 Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) Privates Hiscocks, Bowron, Morrison and James enjoy a spot of tea during a voluntary ‘domestic science’ course for servicewomen based in the London area. The course was designed to teach servicewomen how to keep a home, including cooking, cleaning and making an afternoon tea spread. Despite this domestic training, the ATS were used to working in a range of logistical and support roles during the war. Women worked in factories, workshops and radar stations, and operated anti-aircraft guns and searchlights – broadly held to be men’s roles. The service of the ATS and other women’s organisations during the war began to change attitudes towards women in the workplace, and their role in society, though there remained a long way to go. ACHTUNG: ARTILLERY CROSSING c.1944-5 Red…

5 min.
timeline of the... reconquista

711-18 UMAYYAD CONQUEST OF HISPANIA The Islamic Umayyad Caliphate invades Iberia. A Christian Visigoth king is defeated in battle and the new Umayyad province of Al-Andalus covers the vast majority of the peninsula. The Visigoths retreat and regroup into a small kingdom called Asturias in the far north of Spain. c.718-22 BATTLE OF COVADONGA 01 A Visigoth nobleman called Pelagius of Asturias ambushes and defeats an Umayyad force in a mountain pass. Pelagius’s victory leads to him becoming king of Asturias. Covadonga is regarded as the event that starts the Christian Reconquista (‘Reconquest’) of Spain. 718-1139 EXPANDING CHRISTIAN KINGDOMS After the establishment of Asturias’s monarchy, various Christian kingdoms are founded in Iberia, including Navarre (824), León (910), Aragon (1035), Castile (1037) and Portugal (1139). These kingdoms variously squabble and form alliances, with Aragon and Portugal and the later…

6 min.

AFONSO I FOUNDER OF THE KINGDOM OF PORTUGAL C.1109-85 PORTUGAL Until Afonso, Portugal was territorially split between a Christian county that owed allegiance to Castile-León and the Muslim Almoravid dynasty. Afonso’s own maternal grandfather was Alfonso VI of Castile-León and he became count of Portugal as a child while his mother Teresa acted as regent. He first had to overcome his mother’s resistance to his majority when he defeated her supporters at the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. Afonso then proclaimed himself as prince of Portugal before he turned his attention to defeating the Almoravids. The Battle of Ourique on 25 July 1139 was a turning point in Portuguese history when Afonso defeated the Almoravids in the region of Alentejo. He was able to become the first king of Portugal and secured…

4 min.
the battle of las navas de tolosa

“ALFONSO LOOKED ON IN HORROR AT AN ARMY THAT WAS AT LEAST TWICE THE SIZE OF HIS. MARTYRDOM LOOKED FAR MORE LIKELY THAN CONQUEST” In the 12th century, the Muslim Berber Almohad Caliphate emerged from Morocco’s Atlas Mountains into southern Andalusia, uniting the various Muslim principalities that had once been part of the collapsed Almoravid dynasty. With their Maghreb power base in Marrakesh and an Andalusian capital in Seville, under the leadership of Caliph Yaqub Al Mansur, the Almohads ushered in a brief architectural, trade, scientific and intellectual renaissance. Their path was made easier by infighting among the Christian kingdoms of northern Iberia. Ferdinand II of León and his son Alfonso IX both allied with the Almohads to stave off the threats of Portugal and Castile. However, after suffering a catastrophic loss…