Nineteenth-century AFVs

by Mitch on July 29, 2011 0 Comments


 This vessel was an integrated and lethal weapons system, a harbinger of things to come. Assembled on the Nile from prefabricated sections, the compartmented hull was as modern as the vessel's quick-firing artillery and Maxim machine guns firing through slits in the armour. Electric searchlights probed the darkness of the night before Omdurman.

When his railway reached the Nile a second time, at Kosheh in June 1898, Kitchener deployed the advanced and integrated weapons system that would give him absolute victory. The desire for armoured fighting vehicles goes back to the Hussite Wars of the fifteenth century. In the nineteenth century, horse cavalry would do battle with powered armoured fighting vehicles carrying heavy weaponry, and suffer badly. Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) during the American Civil War suffered one of his worst defeats in battle with Union river ironclads. Kitchener's engineers at Kosheh set about bolting together ...

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The Dogs Of War (1980) - Part 1

by Mitch on July 24, 2011 0 Comments

Here's one of the most surprisingly good films I've ever seen on IFC. Normally the Independent Film Channel has a penchant for showing unusual or obscure films that aren't really "independent" in the true sense...this film happens to be one of them. "The Dogs of War" (released by United Artists) is a 1980 war film based upon the novel of the same namer by Frederick Forsyth, directed by John Irvin. It stars Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger as part of a small, international unit of mercenary soldiers privately hired to depose President Kimba of a fictional "Republic of Zangaro", in Africa, so that a British tycoon can gain mining access to a huge platinum deposit. This movie was filmed on location in Belize. The Dogs of War title is a phrase from William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar (1599), which uses the line Cry, 'Havoc!', and ...

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by Mitch on July 15, 2011 0 Comments

Harkis were indigenous Muslim soldiers in Algeria who, organized into units called harkas, served in the French army during the colonial period in Algeria (1830–1962). By extension, all Algerians who favored to some degree the French presence in Algeria—as opposed to the movements for independence whose supporters called for total withdrawal—came to be called harkis.


According to a 1962 report presented to the United Nations by Christian de Saint-Salvy, the general controller of the French army, 230,000 indigenous Algerians were engaged on the French side during the Algerian war of independence (1954–1962), including 60,000 active-duty soldiers; 153,000 civilian employees; and 50,000 Francophile public servants. The Algerian National Liberation Front (Front de libe´ration nationale, or FLN) called them all harkis. The word thus became a pejorative term signifying submission to the colonial power and symmetrical betrayal of the aspiration of nationalist Algerians ...

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The conquest of Italian East Africa

by Mitch on July 6, 2011 0 Comments

Haile Selassie, Emperor of Abyssinia, was exiled by Mussolini in 1936 after the Italian occupation of his country. In May 1941 he was escorted back to his capital, Addis Ababa, and to his throne by Colonel Orde Wingate following a daring guerrilla campaign. His was the first country to be liberated from Axis control but he failed to ensure its independence and was deposed in 1974.


In East Africa Italian forces under the command of the Duke of Aosta had captured outposts in Sudan and Kenya and occupied British Somaliland soon after Italy had entered the war. Although they vastly outnumbered the British forces, most of whom had been raised locally, Aosta was demoralized by the Italian defeats in the Western Desert and at the moment of Britain's greatest weakness he unwisely adopted a defensive posture. The British had also broken the Italian Army and Air Force codes and ...

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Philippine-Spain 100 Years Ago

by Mitch on July 3, 2011 0 Comments

This is the second film that portrays the historical reactions to the publication of Rizal's two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, which moved the Filipino nation to revolt against the Spanish colonial master.

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