MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History Winter 2017

MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History takes you on an exciting journey to the world's greatest battles and campaigns over the last 5,000 years, from ancient warfare through modern battles. Written by distinguished authors and historians who bring the world of history alive, the magazine covers in vivid detail the soldiers, leaders, tactics, and weapons throughout military history, and delivers it in an exquisitely illustrated, premium quality edition.

United States
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4 Números

en este número

1 min.
opening round

Ira W. Shaler of Brooklyn, New York, hoped that his innovative “compound bullet,” patented on August 12, 1862, would change the face of the Civil War and help propel the Union Army to victory. The three sections of the bullet were intended to separate after leaving the barrel of a .58-caliber rifle musket, inflicting more damage on a single target or even striking multiple targets. But Shaler’s efforts to market his sectional bullet to the War Department weren’t all that successful, even as he changed the bullet’s design several times to improve its accuracy and range. (At one point he even pitched his bullet by writing to President Abraham Lincoln.) In all, Shaler sold about 200,000 of his three-in-one bullets; the Army of the Potomac is known to have used…

1 min.

6 min.
comments kickin’ back

The Plot Thickens I enjoyed David Silbey’s excellent article, “Kickin’ the Gong,” in the Autumn 2016 issue of MHQ. But his statement that “the American commodore, Josiah Tattnall, decided that ‘blood was thicker than water,’ disobeyed his orders, and laid down a covering fire on the Dagu Forts to cover the British withdrawal” is not supported by other accounts of the incident. Both Richard Hill in War at Sea in the Ironclad Age (Cassell, 2000) and Byran Perrett in Gunboat! Small Ships at War (Cassell, 2000) state that Tattnall gave nonfiring assistance. As Perrett describes it, though America was officially neutral, Tattnall, a veteran of the War of 1812, did not enjoy seeing the British squadron being “knocked about.” Disregarding Chinese fire, he took a steam launch to the embattled British flagship.…

7 min.
laws of war the bloody code

In April 1797 the Royal Navy was confronted with one of the largest mutinies in its history when sailors on 16 ships in the Channel Fleet mutinied at Spithead, an anchorage near Portsmouth, and sailors at the Nore, an anchorage on the Thames Estuary, followed suit. Later that year, the bloodiest mutiny in British naval history occurred in the West Indies when the crew of HMS Hermione killed most of the ship’s officers in a violent insurrection. Military law stood ready to enact swift punishment on mutineers, but the law itself was part of the reason for widespread unrest aboard the fleet. In that year of mutiny the Royal Navy was governed by the most repressive and severe laws ever imposed on the British military, before or since. The legal system…

1 min.
battle schemes ‘don’t fire until you see...’

On June 16, 1775, some 1,200 colonial troops under the command of Colonel William Prescott marched from Cambridge, Massachusetts, onto the Charlestown Peninsula, where they occupied Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill and braced for battle. The British attack came the next day. Prescott, knowing that his troops were low on gunpowder, ordered them to hold their fire as long as possible. (Reputedly his order was: “Men, you are all marksmen—don’t one of you fire until you see the white of their eyes.”) While the rebels stunned the British by repulsing their first two assaults, they finally were forced to retreat to Cambridge. This map, “Plan of the Action which happen’d 17th June 1775,” was made by Lieutenant (later Sir) Thomas Hyde Page (above), an English military engineer and cartographer. Page’s map,…

6 min.
experience voices from the trenches

We collected rubbish and buried it in a shell hole in the back. Some units didn’t seem to bother and they threw the empty tins over the wire. That’s where you got your rats roaming around at night feeding in the tins. We were instructed and always told to bury your rubbish. If anybody had to be buried, it wasn’t long before you could see where they’d been at each end of the grave going down to the body. They would eat human flesh if they’d the chance and that didn’t go down very well if it was one of your pals who’d just been buried. Private Horace Calvert, 4th Grenadier Guards We were issued with our sheepskin coats. Oh dear me! You could wear them inside out or the right way. Now…