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    Arms & Men: Shrapnel’s Lethal Shells

    Henry Shrapnel’s invention was obsolete by World War II, but its legacy of death and mutilation continues. The British guns that wreaked havoc on the French at Waterloo fired four kinds of ammunition. Three of these— round shot, common...

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    The Rise and Fall of CSS Virginia

    Did a radical new Confederate gunship foil McClellan’s plan to end the Civil War in 1862? In late 1861, conventional wisdom, North and South, posited that he who control Hampton Roads in Virginia controlled the fate of the nation. And...

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    Bragadin’s Defense

    In 1571, a Venetian captain’s fatal defiance at Famagusta hardened the lines between the Christian and Muslim worlds. On a late September day in the autumn of 1571, Marc’Antonio Bragadin, commander of the Venetian fortress of Famagusta...

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    Giant Killer in the War of 1812

    William Jones’s shrewd strategy was the key to America’s asymmetric warfare against the Royal Navy in 1812. In June 1812, on the eve of America’s headlong plunge into mad war against the mightiest seaborne power in the world, old...

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    The Price of Liberation

    In 1944, the Allies freed Caen from the Nazis. But the residents had to wonder: Was it worth the deaths of thousands and the pulverization of their city? In the final year of the Second World War, inhabitants of occupied countries across...

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    Quelling a Pirate Revolt

    In 1718, a former British privateer finally brought Blackbeard and his cronies to bay. After 15 years of war and not 10 months of peace, British authorities realized they had a problem on their hands in the spring of 1714: a failed state...

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    MHQ Book Review: Masters and Commanders

    Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941–1945 By Andrew Roberts. 674 pp. Allen Lane, 2008 $35 The special relationship that developed between the United States and Great Britain during World War II was...

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    MHQ Book Review: Weller’s War

    Weller’s War: A Legendary Foreign Correspondent’s Saga of World War II on Five Continents By George Weller. 633 pp. Crown Publishers, 2009 $29.95 Though he won a Pulitzer Prize for his World War II reporting, George Weller of the...

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    Greek Tragedy: Invading Greece in WWII

    While Mussolini’s two attempts to invade Greece were farcical and the Nazis had to finish the job, the campaigns ultimately proved disastrous for every country involved. In the autumn of 1940, Benito Mussolini was a frustrated would-be...

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    Taking Tarragona

    In 1811, General Louis-Gabriel Suchet sought his marshal’s baton in the breach of a Spanish fortress. On the sweltering afternoon of Friday, June 28, 1811, French engineers surveyed the 10-meter- wide breach in the wall surrounding...

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    The Chaco War 1932-1935: Battle in the Barrens

    Bolivia’s obscure war with Paraguay showcased the modern weapons and tactics that would become so familiar in the upcoming world war. From 1932 to 1935 Bolivia and Paraguay were locked in a savage struggle that produced the bloodiest but...

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    The Fisherman: Catching Spartacus

    A Roman general sets his nets to catch Spartacus at Bruttium. It was a winter morning in the mountains of southern Italy, in early 71 BC. Normally it was silent at this time of year, when even the herdsmen had left for lower ground. On...

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    Laos: The Road to Vietnam

    In 1959 the United States was drawn inexorably into a local conflict in a tiny Asian kingdom, relying on secret armies, Cold War tactics, and a vast underestimation of the enemy. Sound familiar? Almost 60,000 Americans died in the Vietnam...

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    England by Sea, Land, and Air

    A young U.S. Marine lieutenant survived a perilous 1943 sea journey to get a taste of wartime England and bone up on a newfangled technology called radar. In 1943 I was a newly minted first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a...

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    Ask MHQ: German U-boats on the Shore

    Q: In addition to attacking shipping, why didn’t German U-boats surface and shell military or civilian targets on shore? James Goodwin Lake Ridge, Va. A: German and Japanese submarines did halfheartedly attack American land targets....

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    MHQ Letters from Readers- Summer 2009

    Naming Names in 1812 I have to question the use of the term “Republican” to describe the U.S. congressional majority party of 1812, more commonly called the Democratic-Republicans in Stephen Budiansky’s “Giant Killer,” Spring...