Military History Matter 128

Cover Story

Hitler’s Airborne Elite and the Battle for Crete Neil Faulkner introduces an elite Nazi strike-force and sets the scene for the epic Battle of Crete in May 1941.


The myth of decisive battle Ashley Cooper and Stephen Cooper question the hallowed notion of decisive battle.
The Battle for Crete: 20 May-1 June 1941 Neil Faulkner analyses one of the Second World War’s most curiously asymmetrical battles.
The Battle of Sluys Edmund West reports on a medieval naval battle that is little known but was of decisive significance.
‘I never saw braver men’: black soldiers in the American West Fred Chiaventone recalls the service of the US Army’s first black regiments.
The King’s culprits: what became of the prisoners of 1798? Inspired by the American and French revolutions, the Irish Rebellion of 1798 saw thousands take up arms against against British rule. But though it would inspire future generations of republicans,…


Rare suits of Japanese samurai armour go on display together for the first time The collection forms part of a new exhibition, Japan: courts and culture, which is being shown at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace.
Campaign launched to commemorate biggest loss of female army life in British history Nearly 80 years on, the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association is working to ensure that the names of the victims are included in war memorials across the country.
Aerial photography reveals wartime role of Belhus Park Visible in the photograph are more than 300 small circular bell tents, most likely soldiers’ accommodation.
University partners with Tank Museum to preserve historic vehicles Many of the tanks on display and in storage are examples of British engineering heritage.
Room where Nelson’s body lay in state reopens to the public The Nelson Room at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich was unveiled in late March following a year-long conservation project.


MHM128 Letters Letters Your thoughts on issues raised by the magazine.
MHM 128 Competition and Crossword Competitions Put your military history knowledge to the test with our competition and crossword
MHM BOOK AWARDS 2022 Competitions The winners of this years MHM Book Awards...
Military History events, exhibitions, and galleries in summer 2022 Museum, What's on A round-up of some of the best military history events and exhibitions to check out in 2022, including a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.
Women War Photographers People Calum Henderson explores the lives and works of war photographers Gerda Taro, Endre Friedmann, Françoise Demulder, Anja Niedringhaus, Lee Miller, and Catherine Leroy.
Back to the Drawing Board: the Cruiser Tank Mark V ‘Covenanter’ (A13 Mk III) Ideas DAVID PORTER ON MILITARY HISTORY’S DOOMED INVENTIONS.
German civilians gather around a British tank, Hamburg station, May 1945 The Picture Desk This photograph, showing soldiers lounging on their tank and citizens going about their daily business, was taken outside Hamburg railway station in May 1945.
War of words – ‘SIEGE’ Ideas ‘Siege’ derives from the Old French sege and had appeared in English by the 14th century.


War Classics: On War (Vom Kriege) Patrick Mercer recalls one of the great works of military history.
Military History events, exhibitions, and galleries in summer 2022 A round-up of some of the best military history events and exhibitions to check out in 2022, including a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.
Russia: Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921 Over a career as one of Britain’s most prolific military historians, Sir Antony Beevor has produced some of the most compelling narratives of 20th-century conflict. Perhaps most famous for Stalingrad,…
Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-45 REVIEW BY DAVID PORTER. This is a highly detailed (936 pages!) study of resistance across Europe during the Second World War, from its tentative beginnings in 1939 to the large-scale…
WAR ON FILM – Operation Mincemeat The newly released, star-studded British movie Operation Mincemeat is, on one level, about the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. On another, more profound level, it is about how people…
The New Model Army: Agent of Revolution REVIEW BY DAVID FLINTHAM. Created in 1645, the New Model Army was a truly formidable fighting force: in the first six years of its existence, it crushed Royalist resistance in…
1945: Victory in the west REVIEW BY GRAHAM GOODLAD. Over the past decade, Peter Caddick-Adams has established himself as a leading historian of land warfare in the second half of World War II. 1945: Victory…

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.