Category Archives: Military History

History of main battle tank from Leonardo da Vinci’s to World War I and II 20th century today

History of main battle tank from Leonardo da Vinci's to World War I and II 20th century today

History of main battle tank from Leonardo da Vinci’s to World War I and II 20th century today


Army Recognition is proposing an unusual video: the main battle tank history, from Leonardo da Vinci’s project in 1485 up to the current Challenger 2 of the British army. A visit to the fantastic Tank Museum located in Bovington is a great way to illustrate it. A team of Army Recognition attended the preparation of the great Tankfest 2018 and enjoyed this golden opportunity to invite you to a short – but interesting – journey through more than twenty centuries.

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Skunk Works 75th Anniversary


Founded in the mid 1940s at the height of WWII when defense acquisitions needed to be fast-tracked to remain ahead of Axis adversaries, especially Germany and their secret weapons program headquartered at Peenemunde, Lockheed’s Skunk Works was tasked with developing ground-breaking aerospace technology and weapons systems.

The Skunk Works’ initial projects vaulted the U.S. into the jet age with the first operational, production jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, first flown on January 8, 1944, too late to effectively influence WWII. Following the P-80 and WWII the U.S. defense industry entered an unprecedented period of innovation and breakthroughs as the Cold War with Russia escalated and China emerged as a growing part of the “Red Menace”.

The Skunk Works’ original founder of record is Kelly Johnson. Johnson, the round-faced, blunt-speaking character who seemed to have aerodynamic engineering in his genetic make-up, went on to make aviation history in more ways than can be able to accurately (and publicly) tabulated. Perhaps more so than the engineers of the early NASA space programs, Kelly Johnson made being an engineer cool. Johnson was awarded an unprecedented two Collier Trophies, an annual award presented by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association for the person who made the most significant contribution to aerospace. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Successor to the Skunk Works throne, colleague and later President Ben Rich, said in his book, “Skunk Works” that Kelly Johnson was, “The toughest boss west of the Mississippi, or east of it too, suffered fools for less than seven seconds, and accumulated as many detractors as admirers at the Pentagon and among Air Force commanders.”

While the Skunk Works is most famous for the “black projects” that went on to become famous technology breakthroughs like the U-2 spy plane, SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 stealth fighter, what may have been the single largest innovation with the Skunk Works was their ability to, in some cases, subvert the normal convoluted and lethargic acquisition projects the Department of Defense is infamous for.

The Skunk Works developed the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter in complete secrecy for less money and in less time than it took Ford Motor Company to develop its Ford Taurus line of cars. Observers in the former Soviet Union and in the U.S. defense and intelligence community maintain the F-117 and the breakthrough in “stealth”, or low radar observability, was a significant factor in the demise of the Soviet Union since their massive defensive dependence on an integrated air defense system had been rendered largely ineffective by stealth.

Today the Skunk Works continues as a more recognized, less shadowy organization in brand identity but not in projects. Those remain highly classified. While no one in the public domain knows what the Skunk Works is working on now, the one thing that is certain is they are working on something. A host of projects has been discussed by the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed that include hypersonic remotely piloted and manned strike and reconnaissance platforms. Based on their remarkable 75-year history two things we do know about the Skunk Works’ current projects are; they are certainly working on something, and, it will defy our imaginations.

Skunk Works 75th Anniversary

Skunk Works 75th Anniversary

Battle of Midway


June 1942: Believing the U.S. Pacific Fleet is on the verge of collapse, the Japanese hope another defeat will force the U.S. to quit the war. The Japanese plan to invade the small, strategic outpost of Midway Island, which, if taken, will allow them to threaten Hawaii directly. U.S. Navy cryptographers cracked the Japanese code, and Admiral Chester Nimitz knows their attack plan. In preparation, the U.S. Navy plans to ambush Japanese forces. The battle that follows is considered by many historians to be the most decisive engagement in modern naval warfare.

(Video by Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Garas)

Battle of Midway

Battle of Midway

The 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping!


On 29 May, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping!
The United Nations Peacekeeping began in 1948. Its first mission was in the Middle East to observe and maintain the ceasefire during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Since then, United Nations peacekeepers have taken part in a total of 63 missions around the globe, 17 of which continue today. The peacekeeping force as a whole received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988.

Though the term “peacekeeping” is not found in the United Nations Charter, the authorization is generally considered to lie in (or between) Chapter 6 and Chapter 7. Chapter 6 describes the Security Council’s power to investigate and mediate disputes, while Chapter 7 discusses the power to authorize economic, diplomatic, and military sanctions, as well as the use of military force, to resolve disputes. The founders of the UN envisioned that the organization would act to prevent conflicts between nations and make future wars impossible; however, the outbreak of the Cold War made peacekeeping agreements extremely difficult due to the division of the world into hostile camps. Following the end of the Cold War, there were renewed calls for the UN to become the agency for achieving world peace, and the agency’s peacekeeping dramatically increased, authorizing more missions between 1991 and 1994 than in the previous 45 years combined.

The League of Nations-controlled International Force in the Saar (1934–35) may be “the first true example of an international peace observation force”.
Before any official peacekeeping mission, the UN played an important role in the conflict concerning Trieste after World War II. From 1947 to 1954, Trieste was declared an independent city state under the protection of the United Nations as the Free Territory of Trieste. The territory was divided into two zones, which later formed the basis for the division of the territory between Italy and Yugoslavia. The UN also authorized two nations to station troops in the Free Territory, the US (Trieste United States Troops) and the UK (British Element Trieste Force) in the northern zone and Yugoslavia in the southern zone.

The first UN peacekeeping mission was a team of observers deployed to the Middle East in 1948, during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. The mission was officially authorized on May 29, 1948. This date is used as a memorial day to all the UN peacekeepers who have lost their lives known as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. The group, the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), as it was named, continues to monitor the situation and has provided observers for a number of conflicts in the region since then. In 1949, observers were deployed to the border of India and Pakistan in a similar mission after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 (UNMOGIP). They also continue to monitor the border. In 1950, the UN faced one of its greatest early challenges when North Korea invaded South Korea, starting the Korean War. The Soviet Union was, at the time, boycotting the UN in protest over the Chinese seat being occupied by the Republic of China rather than the People’s Republic of China. It was therefore unable to veto the authorization of member states to assist in the defense of South Korea. The United Nations forces pushed the North Koreans out of the South and made it to the Chinese border before the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army intervened and pushed the UN back to the 38th parallel. Although a cease-fire was declared in 1953, UN forces remained along the demilitarized zone until 1967, when American and South Korean forces took over.

In 1956, the UN responded to the Suez Crisis with the United Nations Emergency Force to supervise the withdrawal of invading forces. United Nations Emergency Force as a peacekeeping force was initially suggested as a concept by Canadian diplomat and future Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson as a means of resolving conflicts between states. He suggested deploying unarmed or lightly armed military personnel from a number of countries, under UN command, to areas where warring parties were in need of a neutral party to observe the peace process. Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for his work in establishing UN peacekeeping operations. UNEF was the first official armed peacekeeping operation modeled on Pearson’s ideas. Since 1956, most UN peacekeeping forces, including those called “observer” missions, have been armed.

The 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping!

The 70th anniversary of UN peacekeeping!

Le Boudin


“Le Boudin” , officially “Marche de la Légion Étrangère” (English “March of the Foreign Legion”), is the official march of the French Foreign Legion. “Le Boudin” is a reference to boudin, a type of blood sausage or black pudding. Le boudin colloquially meant the gear (rolled up in a blanket) that used to be carried atop the backpacks of Legionnaires.
While the tune was composed prior to the Legion’s departure for Mexico in the 1860s the lyrics were progressively composed after the Franco-Prussian War, since Alsatians and Lorrains flocked to the legion after these regions were annexed by Germany. The song makes also repeated reference to the fact that the Belgians are “lazy shirkers”, this comes from the fact that the King of the Belgians, who wished to remain neutral in the Franco-German conflict, asked the French government to not commit the Belgian Legionnaires into the conflict. France agreed to this request and the Belgian Legionnaires remained in French Algeria (the Legion’s home), to the dismay of the rest of the Legionnaires. This is why the song says that there’s no blood sausage (boudin) for the Belgians. The song also mentions the Swiss who constituted the most important foreign contingent of the Legion in the 1870s. The song relates the feat of arms of the Legion in Tuyen Quang (1884-1885) and in Camerone (1863), the date of which (April 30) is celebrated as the Legion’s anniversary.
“Le Boudin” is sung while standing to attention or marching by all ranks of the French Foreign Legion. The Legion marches at only 88 steps per minute, much slower than the 120 steps per minute of all other French military units. Consequently, the Legion contingent at the Bastille Day military parade march brings up the rear. Nevertheless, the Legion gets the most enthusiastic response from the crowd.
The song is sung by the depleted half-company of Legionnaires in PC Wren’s classic novel Beau Geste when the tiny garrison fool the besieging Tuaregs into thinking that they are still at full strength. The Hollywood versions of Beau Geste don’t include this vital part of the story, but the 1982 mini-series by the BBC stays true to the book and shows the soldiers singing the song. The 1978 film March or Die also features legionnaires singing the song, at the command of their officer Major Foster, played by Gene Hackman. The song also appears in the 1998 film Legionnaire starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, though in this film the soldiers don’t sing the song to its traditional tune.

Le Boudin

Le Boudin

The Army Goes Rolling Along (The Army Song)


“The Army Goes Rolling Along” is the official song of the United States Army and is typically called “The Army Song”. It is adapted from an earlier work titled the “U.S. Field Artillery March”.
The United States Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard had adopted official songs, and the Army was eager to find one of its own. They conducted a contest in 1948 to find an official song, but no entry received much popular support. The song was originally written by Field Artillery First Lieutenant [later Brigadier General] Edmund L. Gruber, while stationed in the Philippines in 1908 as the “Caisson Song.” The original lyrics reflect routine activities in a horse-drawn Field Artillery battery. The song was transformed into a march by John Philip Sousa in 1917 and renamed “The Field Artillery Song.”In 1952, Secretary of the Army Frank Pace asked the music industry to submit songs and received more than 800 submissions. “The Army’s Always There” by Sam Stept won, and an Army band performed it at President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inaugural parade on January 20, 1953.
However, many thought that the tune was too similar to “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts,” so the Army decided to keep much of the melody from the U.S. Field Artillery March but with new lyrics. Harold W. Arberg was a music advisor to the Adjutant General; he submitted lyrics which were accepted. Secretary of the Army Wilber Marion Brucker dedicated the music on Veterans Day, November 11, 1956. The song is played at the conclusion of most U.S. Army ceremonies, and all soldiers are expected to stand at attention and sing. When more than one service song is played, they are played in the order specified by Department of Defense directive: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
Verse:
March along, sing our song, with the Army of the free
Count the brave, count the true, who have fought to victory
We’re the Army and proud of our name
We’re the Army and proudly proclaim
Chorus:
First to fight for the right,
And to build the Nation’s might,
And The Army Goes Rolling Along
Proud of all we have done,
Fighting till the battle’s won,
And the Army Goes Rolling Along.
Refrain:
Then it’s Hi! Hi! Hey!
The Army’s on its way.
Count off the cadence loud and strong (TWO! THREE!)
For where e’er we go,
You will always know
That The Army Goes Rolling Along.

The Army Goes Rolling Along (The Army Song)

The Army Goes Rolling Along (The Army Song)


75th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.


Today marks the 75th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve. The United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (WR) was the World War II women’s branch of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. It was authorized by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 July 1942, but the Marine Corps delayed the formation of the WR until 13 February 1943. The law provided that members of the WR may be commissioned or enlisted in such ranks and ratings equal to the regular Marine Corps, and was effective for the duration of the war plus six months. Its purpose was to release officers and men for combat and to replace them with women in shore stations. Ruth Cheney Streeter was appointed the first director of the WR. She was sworn in with the rank of major and later was promoted to a full colonel. The WR did not have an official nickname, as did the other World War II women’s military services, although many unofficial and uncomplimentary nicknames were used to describe the women.

Young women were eager to serve in the military during WW II, and the Marine Corps wanted only the best. The overall qualifications for women who wished to volunteer for the WR were stringent. The age requirement for officer candidates was between 20 and 49, and a candidate had to be a college graduate or have a combination of two years of college and two years of work experience. The age requirement for those who wished to enlist was between 20 and 35, and candidates had to have completed at least two years of high school. The WR did not accept African American or Japanese American women during World War II but did accept Native American women. The officer candidates first trained at the Navy’s Midshipmen School for women officers located at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The initial training for enlisted women was held at the Naval Training School at Hunter College in the Bronx, New York City. Soon, the Marine Corps saw the advantage of having its own training schools. Effective 1 July 1943, all WR training was to be held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Members served at shore and air stations across the continental United States, including New York, Chicago, Paris Island, South Carolina, and El Centro and San Diego, California. The territory of Hawaii was the only overseas duty station where members were assigned. They served in occupations classified as professional, semi-professional, clerical, skilled trades, services, and sales. Although the Marine Corps listed more than 200 available job categories, over half of the WR members worked in the clerical field. In June 1945, the strength of the WR was 17,672. With the end of World War II in sight, the corps began to demobilize the members. By December 1945, the WR was down to 12,300, and by August 1946 it had about 300 WR members.

Early in the life of the WR, members were met with some degree of resentment and crude language. They accepted these indignities by demonstrating their competence, self-assurance, and pride and soon won over most of their detractors. For her stewardship of the WR, the Marine Corps presented Ruth Cheney Streeter with the Legion of Merit. On the occasion of the first anniversary of its establishment, the WR received a message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he observed, “You have quickly and efficiently taken over scores of different kinds of duties that not long ago were considered strictly masculine assignments, and in doing so, you have freed a large number of well trained, battle ready men of the corps for action.” General Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, had been opposed to having women serve in the Marine Corps in the beginning. Before the end of 1943, however, he reversed himself, saying, “Like most Marines, when the matter first came up I didn’t believe women could serve any useful purpose in the Marine Corps … Since then I’ve changed my mind.”

75th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.

75th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve.