American Amphibious Warfare – Late 19th Century

by Mitch on June 23, 2012 0 Comments

American map of Korean forts on Ganghwa Island during the United States expedition to Korea, 1871. The maps depict forts, named by the U.S. navy warships which took part in their destruction in the Battle of Ganghwa.


The Army’s extensive amphibious and riverine experience in the Civil War was not codified into formal doctrine, although some institutional memory of these operations is likely to have survived. During the last decades of the 19th century, the few amphibious operations carried out by US forces were generally conducted by Navy landing teams of sailors and marines, exemplified by the seizure of forts along the Han River in Korea in June 1871 by a naval landing force. In the words of historian Brian McAllister Linn, these “punitive strikes, naval landings, amphibious raids, and other landing operations . . . were ad hoc incidents of military forces assisting the commerce-protecting gunboat diplomacy of the era ...

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American Amphibious Warfare – 20th Century

by Mitch on June 23, 2012 0 Comments

American ships at Veracruz.

The senior officers of the 1st Marine Brigade photographed at Veracruz in 1914. Front row, left to right: Lt. Col. Wendell C. Neville; Col. John A. Lejeune; Col. Littleton W. T. Waller, Commanding; and Maj. Smedley Butler.

The Spanish–American War provided rich lessons for joint operations in general and landing operations in particular. It also set the stage for a continuing US military and naval presence in the Western Pacific. After the Japanese military and naval success in the 1904–05 Russo–Japanese War, this presence provided the focus for Pacific strategy over the next four decades. The problems of conducting joint operations during the war led to reforms by both Services that included establishment of an Army General Staff, the Navy General Board, the Army War College as both an educational institution and as an extension of the Army Staff for planning and strategic ...

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Overthrow of Colonialism: Northern Africa

by Mitch on June 7, 2012 1 Comment

French Harkis soldiers.

The overthrow of colonialism depended upon the development of nationalism, which marked a break with primary forms of resistance to colonialism in nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century northern Africa. Initial resistance was based on regional and Muslim solidarity, like the resistance of ‘Abd al-Qadir to the French in Algeria between 1830 and 1847. Meanwhile, in Tunisia and Egypt, there was a renewal of ideological leadership through the development of nationalist ideologies and the reform of Islamic thought. Nationalist and Islamist ideologies were formulated by those exposed to modern European thought and appealed to new social categories created by the modernizing programs of African state builders such as Tunisia’s Ahmed Bey and Egypt’s Muhammad ‘Ali. Educated in Western languages and political concepts, administrators, professionals, and entrepreneurs identified their interests within the nation-state. They provided the personnel of the colonial state system after the French occupation of Tunisia in 1881 ...

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The Indian Army Mid-20th Century

by Mitch on June 3, 2012 0 Comments

A sepoy of the 1st Afridi Bn receives some friendly words of advice from the subedar-major at Port Tewfik, Egypt. The regiment moved to Syria for training as a Commando unit, but resumed its role as conventional infantry in 1943. Reborn as the Khyber Rifles, the regiment is now part of the Pakistan Army. (IWM E14177)


The Indian Army entered the Second World War woefully underprepared. The amount of money devoted to the army by the Government of India had slowly declined after the end of the First World War. Despite a subsidy from Great Britain it was left desperately short of modern weapons and equipment and it did not possess sufficient men able to handle mechanical transport - not a single member of the Royal Deccan Horse, for example, knew how to drive. Only with the recruitment of a large number of Madrassis and Mahrattas did this situation begin to ...

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