History, Reference, Research, and GrogTalk > Military (and other) History

What military history has surprised you

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Con:
I wanted to post this a while back. I think most people here are avid historians of military history and if you are like me probably think you make a pretty good historian. However I still find myself being surprised by a major aspect of a battle or conflict. Itís very humbling but in a good way.

My question to you is what major fact have you recently learned that really surprised you or challenged your assumptions.

My example was reading about the battles of Manila. I really had no idea how fierce it was until I read Ian Tolls magnus opus Twilight of the Gods. It shocked me I had so little knowledge of an urban battle so bloody and brutal that itís called the Stalingrad of the pacific.
A good write up is below for those who donít have access to the book.
https://thediplomat.com/2021/02/remembering-the-battle-of-manila-76-years-later/

ArizonaTank:
Being surprised by some aspect of military history is a constant state of affairs for me. That is a good thing in my book.

Recently, I found a very good single volume book about the French air forces in WWI. The book is "Kings of the Air," by Ian Sumner.

https://www.amazon.com/Kings-Air-French-Airmen-Great/dp/1783463384/ref=sr_1_4?crid=18YU4HD81GYP5&keywords=kings+of+the+air&qid=1645031906&sprefix=kings+of+the+air%2Caps%2C120&sr=8-4

This is an area where English language books about WWI aerial warfare usually concentrate on Germany, Britain and then the US in that order. France and its exploits are often an afterthought. I even read a book about 1918 airpower recently that barely mentioned the French; this was "Aces Falling" by Peter Hart. "Aces Falling" was an otherwise good book, but you would barely know the French were fighting at all from reading it.

But the reality is that there is a good argument that the French did more of the air fighting than any other Allied nation. Also the French had spurts where they achieved technological and even combat superiority. There were times such as during Verdun where the French almost swept the Germans from the sky. At one point, the French even had a dirigible program that was stronger than the Germans (but the French abandoned it due to heavy losses).

There are many folks who think the Spad 13 was the best fighter of the war.

Uberhaus:
MMP has a historical ASL module for Manila going through the preorder stage.  https://mmpgamers.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_6&products_id=182


As for a holy .... military history moment, that would be learning that the Cheshire Regiment, a Territorial Unit had fought and beaten LSSAH at Wormhoudt during the defence of Dunkirk.  This is quite a feat for reservists as the motherfuckers of 1SS have the best combat record of the Second World War. 
The Cheshire Regiment did produce 'Todger' Jones, VC, in the First World War, so maybe it shouldn't be so surprising.  It is also a matter of personal pride as my grandfather was there, in the regiment's rear guard.

The massacre afterwards of British prisoners is less of a surprise.

FarAway Sooner:
 Great topic in the OP, Con!   :bd:

I lived in Manila for 18 months in the mid 90s, staying in the house of an American-born widow of a Filipino attorney who had spent the last 57 years of her life living in the Philippines.  She was there (and white-skinned) during the Japanese conquest of Manila and the liberation of surrounding territories.  Her house and compound (where they were already living) were one of the few structures for a mile in any direction that survived the fires.  Tita Jessie never went into any details on that and I didn't think it appropriate to pry, but I suspect that the house being located on the Pasig River must have been one factor.

She and her in-laws only spoken infrequently of that time period, but when they did, it was with a sense of solemnity and gravity I can only imagine.  It was one of the most brutal and harrowing tales of WW II.  It was every bit in a league with the Rape of Nanking, and also gave an indication to anybody who doubted that the behavior of much of the Japanese Army in WW II was profoundly vile.

In terms of what surprised me the most, I was amazed to learn that, at the Battle of Midway, the Americans had 100+ planes more than the Japanese.  I knew about some of the aged fighters that took off from Midway to get slaughtered along the way, but I had always believed that the Americans were outnumbered there.  Far from it.  I also didn't realize that the Japanese had sent a landing force that was outnumbered by the defenders on Midway by a ratio of 1-to-2, and that the Japanese had no historical experience and hardly any doctrine at all for conducting an opposed amphibious landing.

jamesharp2233:

--- Quote from: Uberhaus on February 16, 2022, 03:39:55 PM ---MMP has a historical ASL module for Manila going through the preorder stage. 

As for a holy .... military history moment, that would be learning that the Cheshire Regiment, a Territorial Unit had fought and beaten LSSAH at Wormhoudt during the defence of Dunkirk.  This is quite a feat for reservists as the motherfuckers of 1SS have the best combat record of the Second World War. 
The Cheshire Regiment did produce 'Todger' Jones, VC, in the First World War, so maybe it shouldn't be so surprising.  It is also a matter of personal pride as my grandfather was there, in the regiment's rear guard.

The theme of the historical war should surprise everyone for no reason. In fact, the war is already a huge surprise. It shouldn't exist at all. I am very fond of history and do not like when I am asked to write about something at the same time at the university. For example, a week ago I was asked to write about black lives matter, I used https://studymoose.com/free-essays/black-lives-matter for this. Yes, of course the topic is very important. But I don't like it, I'd rather write about historical events. At least it will be interesting for me. History is an amazing subject.


--- End quote ---

Yes I agree with you

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