From the editor
Crete should not have fallen to the Germans in 1941. The Allies outnumbered the Nazi invaders; they were better equipped with tanks and artillery; and they were surrounded by a local Cretan population who would fight to the death. The waters around the island were brimming with Allied naval power. What, then, happened over those 13 days from 20 May to 1 June 1941? For his final article for the magazine, Neil Faulkner analysed this asymmetric battle, and he explains how a failure of nerve led to a dramatic German victory.
Next, Edmund West explains why the bloodiest medieval naval battle, which took place off the Flemish Coast at Sluys, was another unconventional contest. Often characterised as a ‘land battle fought at sea’, why is it less well known than other encounters between the English and the French during the Hundred Years War?
Elsewhere in this issue, Ashley Cooper and Stephen Cooper take a fresh look at 15 of history’s most celebrated military engagements – from Marathon to the Teutoburg Forest, from Hastings to Waterloo – and ask: is there really such a thing as a ‘decisive’ battle?
Patrick Mercer tells the extraordinary story of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 – which saw thousands rise up against British rule – and explains how serving British soldiers ended up fighting alongside revolutionaries against their own comrades.
And, finally, Fred Chiaventone reveals how the first black regiments of the United States Army, nicknamed ‘Buffalo Soldiers’ by their admiring Native American adversaries, came to be formed during the US Civil War.