There’s a vigorous naval enthusiast community out there. And it’s always intrigued me how often their discussions devolve to bitterly personalised argument, often infused with a kind of nationalist machismo in which paper statistics become weapons for invalidating the personal worth of the other party. Setting aside the point that this is basically dick-waving, using … More Why ships are more than just steel and lists of statistics
It is 77 years since the Second World War broke out – a succession of anniversaries starting on 1 September with the German invasion of Poland, and continuing two days later, 3 September, when the French, the British – and their Empire – declared war on Germany in response. It was a case of political … More The Second World War began 77 years ago this week
I pointed out in an earlier post that a German victory in 1918 would have always been marginal because by then all combatants had been run down by the strains of war. Revolution simmered in Germany and the chances of Ludendorff’s military junta continuing to rule without compromise or change afterwards seem slim. What of … More What if Germany had won the First World War in autumn 1914?
A century ago – 1 July 1916 – British soldiers climbed out of their trenches on the Somme front and began advancing towards trenches held by the German Fourth Army. So opened the huge Somme offensive, a combined British-French effort to break the German lines and push through into open country beyond. The plan seemed … More It’s a century since Britain’s advance on the Somme
It’s the centenary of the Battle of Jutland today – the first and only clash of the great fleets during the First World War. On the misty afternoon of 31 May 1916, off the coast of Denmark, the British and German fleets came to blows in classic form: a tussle between their lighter battlecruiser forces, … More It’s a century today since the great clash of dreadnoughts
It’s 75 years, today, since German paratroopers descended over Crete – the last act in the Balkan campaign of March-June 1941. It was also the first and only time that the Germans deployed their feared paratroopers as the spearhead of an invasion. New Zealanders were at the forefront of the defence. They were part of … More Battling the Fallschirmjager on Crete
I posted the other day about the way Germany nearly won the First World War in spring 1918. If Erich von Ludendorff’s gigantic offensive of March-June 1918 had succeeded, Germany would have dominated Europe on land – and with all combatants exhausted by years of fighting, it’s highly likely the Allies would have sought terms. … More What if Germany won the First World War? Would we have avoided Hitler?