By 21 May the spearhead of the German military offensive in north-western France had reached the English Channel near to the port of Abbéville, closing an armoured noose around the men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) who found themselves trapped in a narrow salient between the French port of Boulogne and Ostende on the Belgian coast with no prospect of escape except by sea. Vice-Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, the hard-bitten flag officer on the Dover station, was handed the Herculean task of organising this evacuation by the Admiralty and a more inspired choice could hardly have been made. His inspirational performance in this role was matched by the heroism of those who took orders from him over the course of the next fortnight as an armada of boats ranging from the large to the ridiculously small was assembled and conveyed across the Channel to pick up the survivors of the Wehrmacht’s attack on the West.
Portuguese Army 1808-12
Disbanded in the wake of the French invasion by General Jean Andoche Junot in December 1807, the armed forces of Portugal were re-formed under the command of Sir William Beresford, a British general created a marshal in the Portuguese Army, and fought with the British in all the major campaigns of the Peninsular War, forming between a third and a half of the Allied forces that defeated the French.
AZTEC ELITE WARRIORS
From Sahagun’s Codex Florentino it is apparent that tequihuahqueh, Otontin, and `Shorn Ones’ alike were armed, equipped and fed at the expense of the state, and other sources indicate that they lived in warrior `houses’ (tequihuacacalli) – communal lodgings equivalent to barracks – in the palace precinct. The same is also true of the religious warrior-societies known as the Eagle Warriors (Quaquauhtin) and Jaguar Warriors (Ocelomeh), occasionally referred to collectively as Quauhtlocelotl or Eagle-Jaguars. These comprised `a caste of initiates fighting for the attainment of spirituality’. Only tequihuahqueh (i. e. warriors who had taken four or more captives) could enter either of these orders, but details of any other selective process that may have been involved are not known.
Russian Army 1650-1715
Like other early modern states, in the 1630s Russia’s leaders set out to reform and modernize the Army. They did so to a significant degree based on Dutch and Swedish “new model army” examples set decades earlier by Maurits of Nassau and Gustavus Adolphus. In Russia during this period, the more modern units were known as “new-formation” regiments (re-formed units trained and equipped in Western European fashion). They first fought alongside older strel’sty units in the Smolensk War (1632-1634) waged between Poland-Lithuania and Muscovy. These early experimental units were disbanded at the end of that conflict, under social and economic pressure from traditional military interests. New-formation infantry, cavalry, and dragoon regiments were raised again in 1637 to fight the Tatars. Within a year, a core of 5,000 dragoons and 8,700 new infantry were recruited, then disbanded again. More experiments with new-formation troops took place in the 1640s, such as drafting peasants along the southern frontier with the Cossacks and Tatars to serve as part-time dragoons. Servitor or “dvorianstvo” (landed gentry) cavalry were also encouraged to resume their traditional role along the frontier, in exchange for avoiding further social debasement.
Storm from the East I
For all the advances made against the Germans in the west between D-Day on 6 June 1944 and the crossing of the Rhine in March 1945, postponed by the disaster at Arnhem in mid-September and the Ardennes counter-offensive in the winter, it was on the Eastern Front that the war against Germany was won. Between Operation Barbarossa and December 1944, the Germans lost 2.4 million men killed there, against 202,000 fighting the Western allies. The cost of inflicting such casualties was uneven: between D-Day and VE Day (Victory in Europe Day, 8 May 1945), the Russians suffered more than 2 million casualties, three times that of the British, Americans, Canadians, and French fighting forces put together. It is worth considering whether democracies could ever have tolerated that level of sacrifice or whether – as seems likely – it required the whole horrific apparatus of the NKVD and domestic terror to keep the Soviet Union in the war.
Hussars, Pandours, and Rangers, 1648–1775
The Pandurs (Croatian: Panduri, German: Panduren, French pandour) were a skirmisher unit of the Habsburg Monarchy.
Nothing demonstrated the importance of ideology, propaganda, and other relatively new elements of guerrilla warfare more powerfully than the revolution that broke out in Britain’s North American colonies in 1775. This was the first in a series of liberal upheavals, many of which would involve considerable guerrilla fighting, that would flare across Europe and its settler colonies for a century—from the late 1700s to the late 1800s. This book examines not only the skirmishes of American rebels, which are well covered in American history texts, but also less-familiar struggles—Spaniards and Haitians fighting French troops, Greeks fighting the Ottomans, and Italians fighting Habsburgs and Bourbons. But before we get to these wars, it is important to understand how the 1648 Peace of Westphalia transformed European warfare.