article placeholder

Turkey Shoot: The Battle of the Philippine Sea

Sometimes, we historians are our own worst enemies. We get a word or a phrase in mind and we wring it for all its worth. My own specialty--German military history--has a boatload of terms we should probably...
article placeholder

Backhand Blow: Kharkov 1943

Erich von Manstein revives the Wehrmacht, smashes the Red Army—and dooms his forces on the Eastern Front
article placeholder

Deep Battle: The Drive to the Dnepr, Winter 1943

When last we left the Eastern Front, the Wehrmacht teetered on the brink of disaster. Well planned Soviet attacks had first encircled an entire German field army (the 6th, under the unfortunate General...
article placeholder

Triumph of the Will? Japan After 1853

Last week we asked the Japanese army a somewhat sarcastic question: What were you guys thinking? I’d argue that the Japanese decisions of 1931, 1937, and 1941 make almost no sense unless we delve back a...
article placeholder

A Question for the Imperial Japanese Army

“What were you guys thinking?” The Imperial Japanese Army was, by most standards, a first-rate outfit. Its officers were as smart and dedicated as they come and the enlisted ranks were filled with...
article placeholder

Miracle: The Girl from Rotterdam

As readers of this column know by now, war movies don’t do much for me. It’s a case of too much movie and not enough war. Too much Hollywood, not enough Hürtgen. Everything in real war is...
article placeholder

Smackdown: Timoshenko and the Winter War

I’ve already confessed my love of the Talvisota, the “Winter War,” especially the opening phase in which the tiny Finnish army stood tall and smashed the initial Soviet invasion of their...
article placeholder

White Death, Part 2: The Winter War

Last time out we were discussing the Winter War, the conflict between the Soviet Union and Finland during the winter of 1939–40. As we saw, a combination of Soviet bullying and Finland’s refusal to...
article placeholder

White Death, part 1

Ah, it’s that time of year again. There is a chill in the air, even down here in Texas. The leaves are starting to turn color. The Beaujolais Nouveau is being released today. The holiday season is about...
article placeholder

“Memory: Using Leningrad”

Last week I made myself sick writing about the siege of Leningrad.  World War II was a horrible time for everyone involved, and a lot of people had it very bad, indeed.  No one had it any worse than...
article placeholder

Horror: Leningrad Goes down the Drain

I’ve dreaded writing this column.  I’ve been dancing around it, in fact, with a lot of talk about the meaning of history, about post-modernism and the accepted "narrative" of World...