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History of War

History of War

No. 87

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
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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

Although Tennyson’s eulogising of the Light Brigade’s fateful charge is far more often recalled than the Battle of Balaclava itself, it also overshadowed another event earlier that same day, which was equally lionised at the time. The disciplined stand of the 93rd Highlanders against Russian cavalry charges was dramatically recalled by journalist William Russell as “a thin red streak topped with a line of steel”, and much later made immortal in Robert Gibb’s romanticised artwork. This issue historian Mark Simner recounts the real events surrounding the ‘Thin Red Line’, and retraces the 93rd’s heroic conduct beyond Balaclava.…

1 min.

TOM GARNER This issue Tom interviewed Dedan Kimathi Ji Jaga, a Vietnam War veteran who went from patrolling the jungles as a young Marine, to joining the fight for civil rights at home as a member of the Black Panther Party (p. 48). STUART HADAWAY While not being the most glamorous of Supermarine’s aircraft designs, the Walrus, or Seagull V, was nonetheless a practical seaplane, and one of RAF Coastal Command’s key U-boat hunters. Stuart takes a closer look on page 62. HARETH AL BUSTANI This month Hareth recounts the heroic story of Gurkha rifleman Lachhiman Gurung, VC. While on patrol in Burma, 1945, Gurung defended his platoon against over 200 enemy combatants, despite losing his right hand (p. 58).…

1 min.
war in focus

MASKED UP Taken: c. 1915 French poilu wear masks and goggles to protect from gas attack on the front line. Prior to the first major use of chlorine gas by the Germans at the Second Battle of Ypres, 1915, there was only a basic understanding of how effective chemical weapons would be on the battlefield. As the use of gas became more common, the measures and equipment to counter them grew more sophisticated. WINTER OF DISCONTENT Taken: 18 January, 1990 An elderly Armenian woman walks past a truck transporting a Red Army tank in a street of Yerevan, while tensions grew between Azeri and Armenian nationalists. The disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh was fought over between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the shadow of the collapsing Soviet Union. Though a ceasefire was reached in 1994, the territory…

5 min.
mongol empire

1206 RISE OF TEMÜJIN Born as Temüjin Borjigin, the future Genghis Khan comes to power by uniting Mongol nomadic tribes under his rule. He gains his name in 1206 when he is proclaimed as the ‘Universal Ruler’ of Mongolia. This enables Genghis Khan to begin a supremely ambitious campaign for world conquest. 1211-34 CONQUEST OF JIN CHINA Genghis Khan conquers northern China and Manchuria, which is ruled by the Jin dynasty. The conquest takes 23 years and the Jin dynasty’s destruction is finally overseen by Genghis Khan’s third son Ögedai Khan. Aug-Oct 1211 1 BATTLE OF YEHULING 300,000 Chinese soldiers under the command of Jin Emperor Xingsheng are killed by Genghis Khan’s numerically inferior force of 100,000 cavalry at the Battle of Yehuling. The Mongols’ decisive victory allows them to overrun the Great Wall of China and conquer…

4 min.
battle of mohi

Heir to an illustrious dynasty, the early reign of King Bela IV was spent promoting his allies and punishing any upstarts. Meanwhile, the busy court in Pest-Buda did not heed firsthand accounts from diplomats and refugees of the horrors visited on ‘Rus’ or Russia. By 1235 the Mongols, led by the feared Subotai (also known as Subudei) began their assault on Russia, culminating in deeper campaigns over the Carpathians and Balkans. True to the overused maxim, resisting the Mongols was futile. Even the Teutonic Knights and their allies learned this the hard way. The Mongols’ progress was stopped only by a miracle – for the Christian imagination, at least. With the death of Ögedei Khan in 1241 a new supreme leader had to be chosen by assembly known as ‘kuriltai’.…

4 min.
a horde of many nations

“BY THE TIME THE KHAN’S ARMIES DESPOILED KHWARAZM, A PERSIAN EMPIRE STRETCHING ACROSS CENTRAL ASIA, THE TATARS WERE RECOGNISED AS THE ELITE CAVALRY OF THE GROWING EMPIRE” Forever evoking images of horse-riding barbarians, the Tatars are a bewildering ethnic group who changed the course of history yet remain misunderstood. Between ambiguous European chronicles and official Chinese records, the Tatars or ‘Tartars’ were nomadic pastoralists who, once unified by Genghis Khan after 1206 along with other tribes, began conquering large swathes of northern China ruled by the Song Dynasty (960-1279). By the time the Khan’s armies despoiled Khwarazm, a Persian empire stretching across Central Asia, the Tatars were recognised as the elite cavalry of the growing empire. But Mongols considered themselves distinct from Tatars. The usage of Mongol as an identifier for…