The Brewster F2A Buffalo

The Buffalo originated with a 1935 requirement for a carrier-based fighter to replace the US Navy’s Grumman F3F biplanes. Brewster’s XF2A-1 prototype was selected in June 1938 and the first production aircraft began to enter service as the F2A-1 in April 1939. Slow delivery rates meant that the first squadron,…

War of Words – ‘Britannia’

Ancient Britain was known to the Mediterranean world. The Greeks called the island Pretannia, but the Romans named it Britannia, and made it part of their empire. The term ‘Britannia’ therefore figures prominently in military history. The Roman conqueror Julius Caesar twice invaded Britannia, landing in Kent in 55 BC,…

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Odin: wisdom, war, and poetry

Odin is a war god, fomenting conflict to see who is worthy of entering his hall, Valhalla, and ultimately fighting at Ragnarök (the events, including a battle, at the end of the world). But he is also a god of magic and wisdom, something he is always seeking…

War of words – ‘Privateer’

As far back as the Middle Ages, private ship captains were authorised by governments to harry enemy merchant shipping. Their ships, and their operators, came to be called ‘privateers’. The letters of marque and reprisal that gave privateering ship captains permission to strike enemy vessels had appeared in English law…

Pangu and divine intervention

Pangu was born in the midst of an egg-like chaos. After 18,000 years, the two muddled parts separated, and the Yin (which represents the negative, feminine, cool, dark, and wet) became the earth and the Yang (representing the positive, masculine, hot, bright, and dry) the sky.…

Exploring a Roman house in VR

In order to explore how this lavish home was experienced by Roman viewers, researchers first used 3D-modelling software to create a reconstruction of the house. This 3D model was based on information from an earlier Lund University project that digitally mapped a neighbourhood in Pompeii, in combination with records from…

The Casco-class Monitors

Following the success of USS Monitor – the ground-breaking ironclad warship, designed by Swedish-born engineer John Ericsson, that played a central role in the US Civil War Battle of Hampton Roads on 9 March 1862 – the US Navy issued a requirement for similar shallow-draft ironclads capable of operating in…

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War of words – ‘Bazooka’

A signature piece of kit for American GIs in World War II, the bazooka was a tubular, shoulder-fired, 2.36-inch rocket launcher. It fired a projectile bearing a shaped-charge warhead, which contained a hollow cavity lined with metal. On contact with a target, the shaped explosive detonated, sending a slender jet…

Amaterasu – imperial goddess of the sun

Summer is in full swing, bringing with it the promise of long, bright days under the shining sun. This all-powerful celestial body has long been linked with kingship: Louis XIV of France, for example, famously chose the sun as his emblem and became known as the ‘Sun King’. In the…

The Bell Airacuda

Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Britain all produced their versions of the type, such as the Bf 110, Potez 630, Fokker G.I, and the Beaufighter.…

War of Words – ‘GLADIATOR’

Gladius was a general Latin word for ‘sword’. A gladiator was someone who fought with a gladius – a swordsman. As usually employed today, gladius refers to a double-edged short sword.…

The Junkers 322 Mammut and the Messerschmitt 321/323 Gigant

All three of these aircraft originated with a 1940 requirement for a large assault glider in preparation for Operation Sealion, the projected invasion of Britain. Although Operation Sealion had effectively been cancelled by the time the requirement was issued in October 1940, there was still an urgent need for this…

War of words – ‘ovation’

Marcus Claudius Marcellus asked the Senate to grant him a triumph. He was refused because the fighting in his former province of Sicily was still ongoing, and his army was not with him to support his claim. Instead, he was given only an ovation.…

Words of wisdom: ‘Give to him who gives’

For the man who gives willingly, even if he gives much, rejoices in the gift and feels glad in his heart. The man who takes for himself, observing no sense of shame, even if it involves a small amount, hardens the heart.…

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