Archive for the ‘war’ Category

World War III

January 29, 2009

Here is a fictional account of a possible 21st century world war. 

Allies: USA, Great Britain and Commonwealth Nations, Japan, Greece, Israel, India, South Korea

Eastern Alliance (EA): Russia, China, North Korea, Turkey, Southeast Asian Nations, Pakistan, Middle East, North African Nations, Former Soviet Republics.

Neutral: European Union, Sub Saharan Africa, Central and South America

Build-up:

Russia, China, Pakistan sign a treaty to share oil reserves and military intelligence. This causes fear in India, so they mobilize their Military to protect their borders. Iran is invaded from two fronts through Afghanistan and Iraq by the United States Army. A world wide Islamic call to arms causes all Middle Eastern nations to declare war on the U.S. This includes Pakistan. India then declares war on Pakistan and launches nuclear strikes which Pakistan returns, killing millions. The United Nations holds an emergency meeting and all members of the Security Council sign a pact to not deploy any nuclear weapons in the coming conflict.

Conflict: Year 1

Russia mobilizes along the former Iron Curtain and then signs a peace treaty with the European Union. Russian troops move into Afghanistan and Iran first as defense, but then they start to seize oil fields. The U.S orders the Russians out but China and Pakistan back Russia because of their treaty.

Meanwhile, the new Islamic Unified Army launches a massive attack against Israel who does not deploy nuclear weapons but manages to hold off the invaders. Egypt takes control of the Suez Canal and refuses to allow the Allies access. The Allied bases come under attack in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They decide that they cannot hold onto these areas with Russia and China looming so they withdraw to bolster Israel.

North Korea launches a huge offensive in South Korea and China’s entire Navy cuts off the US from reinforcing Seoul. South Korea falls with huge US casualties and the U.S. forces in Korea surrender. This is a huge moral boost for the Eastern Alliance. Japan maintains a national defense and navy, but they do not launch an offensive to help the US troops.

A massive Russian Land and sea force mounts in eastern Siberia. The Allied Pacific fleet moves north to counter the Russian Navy. Alaska is heavily fortified causing a stand-off between Russia and the USA across the Bearing Sea.

Australia sends troops to bolster India who is invaded across the Himalayas by China and from the west by Pakistan. A bitter fight for the Indian subcontinent ensues.

Turkey invades Greece from the east, and Russia invades from the North. The Allies officially declare war on Russia and China. Greece is lost to the EA because the allies put the defense of Israel as the first priority. The Black sea oil trade and all access to Asia is now lost to the Allies. India is holding out, and Israel is the only foothold that the Allies have on the entire Asian continent.

Year 2

With the bulk of the US navy in the Bearing Sea, China dominates the south Pacific. Japan will still not engage the Chinese or Koreans. Australia is threatened by the Chinese, so they pull out of India for the defense of Australia. India soon falls to China and Pakistan. The Allies desperately try to get Europe to enter the war but they still refuse. Poland asks for support due to the massing of Russian troops along its border. The allies fear a land war with Russia, so they do not mobilize in Europe.

Cuba, Columbia and Venezuela join the EA and attack the Panama Canal. The allies ask Mexico and Brazil to join the war effort, but they remain neutral. The U.S. deploys troops to defend Panama which they do easily. Cuba is taken by the US and all of North and South America is secured, although not officially with the Allies. With the US defenses weakened in Alaska, the Soviets launce the largest naval battle in History against the US Pacific fleet. China’s Navy then moves into the pacific and attacks Hawaii. The U.S. Navy is victorious against Russia, but with heavy losses.

The U.S. takes the offensive and moves most of the forces into The Middle Eastern theater. This weakens the west coast, but the US gambles that Russia and China will not invade the United States. The British lead an offensive breakout from Israel and retake the Suez Canal and most of Egypt. The Islamic Unified Army crumbles and the Allies retake most of Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, securing much needed oil reserves. The allies are constantly engaged by insurgents and holding the area is very costly.

Year 3

Russia and China launch a joint counter offensive into Iraq, and the largest land battle in human history ensues. It is nicknamed Armageddon because of the massive death and destruction on both sides. The battle is an allied victory, but they are weakened and susceptible to insurgent attacks.

The US navy begins an offensive into the south pacific after the Russian Navy is subdued. China is no match for the US with its heavy aircraft carriers now in the mix. Japan finally joins the war and they launch attacks into Korea and China. The U.S. blockades the entire Pacific Rim and tries to force the surrender of China. Russian Navy moves into the Atlantic and begins pirating European shipping. A stalemate begins to develop and no land battles exist for the last half of year three.

Year 4

The Allies now hold naval and air supremacy and blockade all EA ports. Russia, desperate for food, oil, and money invade Poland. This breaks the stalemate and allows a new European front to open up. This is just what the allies needed. Germany joins the allies and they begin a land invasion of Russia. Moscow is besieged and the Russian people are dying by the millions. India revolts and retakes the subcontinent with support from Allied air power. The allies liberate Tibet, and invade western China. Japan invades China and a huge land war takes place along the great wall. The US opens an eastern front by invading Russia from Alaska. With all hope of victory lost Russia surrenders to the European Union’s demands and remains in control of all territory it held before the war. The US army in Siberia now heads south and takes Manchuria and Korea.

China and Japan agree to a mutual ceasefire. As do India and Pakistan. The Middle East is the last battleground of the war. The insurgents are still active, but the allies now have the full force of their armies along with the European Nations. The entire Middle East is put under the control of the United Nations. The national boundaries are reformed into states with a representative democracy controlling the new union of Middle Eastern states. All of the monarchies and dictatorships are collapsed and the fundamentalist movement is subverted by democracy.

Year 5

China is severely weakened, and remains the world’s only communist country. Manchuria and the western province of Xinjang have been taken over, and are now new nations. Aided by the CIA, a people’s revolution rises up in China and overthrows the government. A new democratic constitution is ratified in China marking the official end of the War to end all Wars.

Where do our tax dollars go?

August 1, 2008

Ever wonder where your tax dollars go.  I find it strange that we spend more than twice as much money on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan than we do in th entire U.S. Department of Education.  Our interest payments on debt is more than the budget for the departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs, HUD, and Homeland Security combined.

· Discretionary spending: $1.21 trillion (+4.9%)

*The financial cost of the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan are not part of the defense budget; they are appropriations.

Reverse Engineering for War

May 6, 2008

Reverse engineering is the process of taking an existing product and figuring out how to manufacture it by taking it apart. This has been done throughout history by all nations of the world. The concept has been especially useful in military terms.

Famous examples of Reverse engineering for military purposes:

The Egyptian chariot was the “shock and awe” weapon of its day. The Assyrian army dominated with their chariots, and the Egyptians captured one, reverse engineered it, and went on to mass produce their improved design. With this new weapon of war, the Egyptians dominated the region for the next thousand years.

The Roman navy was inferior to the Carthaginians during the first Punic war. They simply had no answer for the feared Carthaginian Quinquireme. A storm wrecked several quinquiremes on the Italian coast. Roman engineers copied the design and constructed several of their own ships to bolster the Roamn Navy. In 241 BC the Roman fleet sank 50 Carthaginian ships in the Battle of Aegus.

Tupolev Tu-4: Three American B-29 bombers on missions over Japan were forced to land in the USSR. The Soviets did not have a long range, heavy strategic bomber, so they decided to copy the B-29. Within a few years they had developed the Tu-4, a near perfect copy.

Soviet R-1 Rocket: Western Allies captured technical plans and hardware for the German V-2 rocket. The Soviets captured several German scientists who worked on the V-2 project. They worked with Soviet Scientists to recreate the rocket from the few documents they had. The V-2 rocket led to the space race between America and the Soviet Union

Vympel K-13 Missile: In 1958, an AIM 9 Sidewinder Missile was fired from Taiwan at a MiG-17 fighter. It did not explode upon impact. Instead, it became lodged into the side of the jet. When the pilot landed, Russian scientists reverse engineered their own copy.

BGM-71 TOW missile: In 1975, Iran was in negotiations with the U.S. for the purchase and production of the TOW and Maverick Missile. The revolution in 1979 brought an end to diplomatic relations between the countries, but Iran had reverse engineered their own copy and they are still producing it today.

5 ways the Axis could have won World War II.

May 2, 2008

I am assuming that Russia maintains their alliance with Germany and Japan throughout the war.  It is hard to imagine the Americans staying out of the war, but without Pearl Harbor, the massive commitment made by Americans may not have been as strong until it was too late.

1. Germany invades Great Britain immediately upon France’s capitulation. Despite huge German casualties, Great Britain, Ireland and Iceland would likely fall into German hands before the United States could enter the war.  Without a Atlantic base of operations, there could have been no Normandy invasion.

2. Germany does not invade Russia. Hitler, instead sends his entire invasion force to Egypt and the middle east. All of North Africa, and Asia are in Axis hands by the summer of 1943.  Without the Suez canal, the Allies could not resupply the Far east as effectively.

3.  Japan does not attack Pearl Harbor.  The Japanese forces attack British held Burma and India and take control of the entire Indian Ocean by the end of 1943.  Japan was defeated by the British in India in 1944, but the British would be less powerful with Egypt and the Suez canal lost.

4. Japan and Russia (who were allies) invade China. Japan takes control of China proper, and Russia controls Manchuria and Korea by the end of 1943.

5. Russia invades Alaska and Canada. Japan invades Australia and the Philippines. Germany invades South Africa, and on to South America. The U.S. would have to hope for a favorable peace treaty in this scenario.

If the political Allaince of Germany, Russia, and Japan could maintain their peace, They could have controlled the world. This is a wild assumption of course knowing the personalities of Hitler and Stalin. Individual Revolutions would eventually spring up and the Axis controlled world would likely crumbled by the 1950’s.

Highest Ranked U.S. officers killed in action.

April 6, 2008

Most combat deaths are front line enlisted men. Occasionally a highly ranked officer is killed. Col. William Wood, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment is the highest ranked officer killed in action during the Iraq War.

There have been a few notable deaths throughout history. Roman emperor Valens was killed at the battle of Adrianople (August 8, 378) in modern day Turkey by the Goths. British Admiral Horatio Nelson was the head of the British Navy and probably the most influential Naval leader of all time. He was killed in the battle of Trafalger in 1805. Admiral Yamamoto, the head of the Japanese Navy, was killed when his plane was shot down in the south pacific during WWII.

Notable U.S. Combat Fatalities:

Col. Davy Crockett was killed at the Alamo. He was a former congressman and famous frontier hunter and Indian fighter.

General George Custer was killed along with all of his men at the battle of the Little Big Horn in Dakota Territory in 1876.

Three Union Generals, Major-General John F. Reynolds, Brig.-General Stephen W. Weed, and Brevet Major-General S. K. Zook were all killed at the battle of Gettysburg.

General Lesley James McNair was killed July 25, 1944 near St Lo, France by friendly fire during a pre-attack bombardment.

Admiral Isaac Kidd was killed aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr was killed during the closing days of the Battle of Okinowa by enemy artillery fire.

Major General Maurice Rose was killed in Germany during WWII. He was the highest ranked Jewish officer in U.S. history, and his 3rd armored Division was the first U.S. division to cross the Siegfried line into Germany.

General Keith Lincoln Ware was the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division. He was killed in a helicopter crash near the Cambodian border during the Vietnam War.

10 Best Military Machines of all time.

April 1, 2008

10. Roman Polybolos: The best Roman military advancement has to be the roads they built, but a road is not a machine. I can’t have a list of greatest anything without something Roman. Although the many Roman catapults, rams, and various weapons were unique and innovative, the Polybolos was the most effective. It was a copy of the earlier Greek Ballista, but with an attached cam that automatically reloaded a bolt into the chamber. It is estimated that the Polybolos could fire 11 times per minute. The Roman legions pounded and army that formed in front of them with the polybolos, then the Infantry would march through the scattered enemy and cut them to pieces.

9. Egyptian Chariot: Egyptians captured a Syrian chariot, and reverse engineered their own improved design (Leather lashed spoked wheels). Before the Egyptians, chariots were very expensive and rare. They were usually just transports for the generals. The Egyptians were able to mass produce chariots by using interchangeable parts. They rolled into battle with several thousand chariots armed with elite archers.

8. Greek Torsion Ballista: A large, cross bow weapon that could fire heavy round projectiles, or long iron tipped arrows. It was light enough to place on ships or atop siege towers. Alexander the Great developed the torsion Ballista and it is the first widely used piece of field artillery in history. The Greeks could bombard city walls, or skewer armored soldiers from up to 500 yards.

7. Maxim Machine Gun: After the development of the Machine Gun in 1884, no Army would march in neat lines onto an open field ever again. Hiram Maxim invented the first gun to use the energy from the recoil to eject each spent cartridge and insert the next one. This made it vastly more efficient and less manpower-demanding than previous machine guns. This design was copied and remodeled many times and used to devastating effects, most notably in the trenches of WWI.

6. Russian T-34 Tank: Developed in 1941, the T-34 was the most effective tank of WWII, and the most produced tank of all time. A study in 1996 showed that the T-34 was still in service in 27 countries. 57,000 were produced during WWII. The Russians could move through deep mud and snow with the versatile T-34. The Germans could not match their maneuvers and were consistently outflanked and destroyed. The Nazi’s failed on the eastern front largely due to the superior firepower, maneuverability, and productivity of the best tank ever made.

5. British Ship of the Line: Prior to the British Navy Ships of the line, naval combat consisted of ramming an enemy and boarding their ships for hand to hand combat. The Huge British Vessels had superior firepower which made the devastating broadside attack common in naval warfare for the first time. The HMS Victory, with 78 guns, is the most famous ship of the line, and was commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The British victory gave them control of the seas during the Napoleonic wars, and helped secure Great Britain as the dominant world power of their time.

4. Soviet R-7 Semyorka ICBM: In 1958, the world entered the space age. The first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that launched soviet satellite sputnik into outer space was the grandchild of the Nazi V-2 rocket. In December 1959, the R-7 rocket was modified to carry a 3 megaton nuclear warhead. The Soviet Union had the capability of delivering a nuclear strike anywhere in the world within 30 minutes. There was no defense and no warning system in place. The ICBM is still the most feared weapon of all time, but it was thankfully never used in military action.

3. Ottoman Heavy Cannon: Gunpowder was developed in China. The Ottoman Empire saw the value of this new explosive and was one of the first states to put gunpowder weapons into widespread use. The Ottomans could not penetrate the thick walls of Constantinople until the siege of 1453. They brought 69 large cannons and continued a constant barrage which lasted forty days. When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman’s, the world changed forever. Walled cities and Castles which defended people for thousands of years were rendered nearly obsolete by the Cannon.

2. B-52 Stratofortress. A total of 744 B-52’s were built. The first 50 were entered into service in 1955. The B-52 is so well designed, that they are still in service after over 50 years. The B-52’s versatility and fuel economy make it the most successful aircraft in military history. The B-1B was introduced in 1986 to replace the B-52, but the B-1 averages a 53% ready rate while the B-52 still averages 80%. Still, clearly the best heavy bomber in the U.S. Air Force, the B-52 is not scheduled to retire until 2040.

1. Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier. The Nimitz Class is the largest and most powerful naval vessel in history. They are Nuclear powered which means no need for re-fueling. The U.S.S. Nimitz is still ruling the sea almost 40 years after it was commissioned. It carries 85 aircraft able to strike anywhere in the world. There are 10 Nimitz class carriers. Just one has enough firepower to defeat nearly all other navies in the world.

Highest Ranked U.S. Military Officers

April 1, 2008

1. George Washington, 1976, General of the Armies of the United States“rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present,”

2. John J. Pershing, 1919, General of the Armies of the United States

3. General George C. Marshall, 1944, Army five-star General

4. General Douglas MacArthur, 1944, Army five-star General

5. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1944, Army five-star General

6. General Henry Arnold, 1944, Air Force five-star general.

7. Admiral William D. Leahy, 1944, Navy five-star fleet Admiral

8. Admiral Ernest J. King, 1944, Navy five-star fleet Admiral

9. Admiral Chester Nimitz, 1944, Navy five-star fleet Admiral

10. Admiral William F. Halsey, 1944, Navy five-star fleet Admiral

11. General Omar N. Bradley, 1950, Army five-star General

Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant held the rank of General of the Army with four-stars, followed upon his retirement by William T. Sherman. Prior to World War II, only one person could hold the rank of four-star general. The rank of five-stars is a war time designation created in 1944 that gave U.S. commanders an equal rank with British Field Marshall’s.

10 Deadliest Battles in American History

March 18, 2008

Deadliest Battles in U.S.History

1. Battle of Meuse-Argonne World War I: 26,277

2. Battle of the Bulge (WW2) 19,276

3. Battle of Okinawa (WW2) 12,513

4. Battle of Gettysburg (Civil) 7,863

5. Battle of Guadalcanal (WW2) 7,099

6. Battle of Iwo Jima (WW2) 6,821

7. Antietam (Civil) 3,654

8. Battle of Shiloh (Civil) 3,482

9. Bull Run II (Civil) 3,000

10. Battle of Saipan (WW2) 2,949

Some famous battles that do not make the list:

Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor: 2,403

Tet Offensive Vietnam War: 1536

Invasion of Normandy (WW2) 1,465

Famous Battles with few comparable deaths: 400 Colonists died at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Only 267 Died with Custer at the Little Big Horn. 183 Texans died in the Alamo. If you take out the yellow fever epidemic, only 379 U.S. Troops died in the entire Spanish –American War. The entire Persian Gulf War saw only 148 U.S. deaths.

The U.S. has had far fewer deaths than other countries in the same battles. The top 7 deadliest battles in world history have all been fought in Russia! Four Million people died in the sieges of Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad during World War II. That is more than all U.S. Deaths in all wars combined. In World War II, Russia lost 23 Million people and China lost 20 million while the U.S. lost 418,000.

Western culture places high value on Human life, and the sacrifice of large numbers of people is unthinkable. 140,000 Japanese died on Okinawa including 80,000 civilians who committed suicide rather than surrender. The willingness of Japanese citizens to take their own life gave the U.S. the push they needed to use the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As horrible as the bombings were, the 150,000 people who died is only a fraction of the total number of Japanese deaths that would have occurred in the Invasion of Japan.

10 Deadliest American Wars

March 18, 2008

The Iraq War just cracked the top 10, passing the Spanish American War, in Total U.S. Deaths.   Iraq is 7th on the list if you just count combat deaths and not disease, or accidents. 

 

1.  Civil War (1861-65):  618,222

2.  World War II (1941-1945):  405,399

3.  World War I (1917-1918):  116,516

4.  Vietnam War (1965-73):  58,177

5.  Korean War (1950-53):  36,568

6.  American Revolution (1775-83):  25,324

7.  War of 1812 (1812-15):  19,465

8.  Mexican-American War (1846-48):  13,283

9.  Indian Wars (1775-1891): 4,100 ±

10.  Iraq War (2003-Present):  3990

What is the best Military in world history?

March 11, 2008

Obviously modern armies would make quick work of any ancient military, but I am judging an Army based on how well they dominated in their time. Brilliant strategists like Hannibal of Carthage and Napoleon are not listed because they lost wars and did not sustain an empire. They would be listed among the greatest commanders of all time along with Alexander, Julius Caesar, and Attila. An Empire builder is a politician, strategist, economist, and leader. The rise of an empire that is sustained throughout time is the real legacy of a great military. Here is a list of the most dominant militaries of their day. The dates listed are the peak of power.

Antiquity

Egypt 1274 B.C. The rise of Egypt as a world power was steady over two thousand years. Egypt was basically a set of villages that defended the fertile Nile River Valley on both sides from foreigners trying to settle there. The invasion of Egypt by the Hyskos (Syria) in 17th Century B.C. led to the formation of a standing army and the beginning of the New Empire. The major advance in weapons technology and warfare began around 1600 BC when the Egyptians fought and finally defeated the Hyksos people. It was during this period the horse and chariot were introduced into Egypt. They fought wars against powerful Near Eastern kingdoms like Mitanni, the Hittites, the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Battle of Kadesh (1274) took place between the forces of Ramesses II (The same guy that killed all the Jewish Babies)and the Hittites of Muwatalli II at the city of Kadesh, in modern Syria. Egypt was ambushed crossing the Orontes River and routed. Egypt lost control of the Middle East and allowed the rise of Assyrians.

Assyrians 612 B.C. Assyria is considered to be the worlds first Empire. They competed with Babylonia and Egypt for dominance in the Middle East for centuries. They took control of Babylonia in 703 B.C. They destroyed all of Israel and enslaved the population. The tiny Kingdom of Judea was surrounded and just when it seemed that Jerusalem would fall, the Assyrian Army was infected with the plague and retreated. In 701 B.C. they faced a coalition of Egyptian, Phoenician, Philistine, and Jewish armies and crushed them all. They went on to conquer Egypt in 671 B.C. Upon King Ashurbanipal’s death in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate rapidly. The Assyrian Capital city of Nineveh was sacked by Babylonians in 612 B.C. and all Assyrian territory was over run by the Persian Empire by 609 B.C.

Persia 480 B.C. The Persians conquered all of southern Asia (the “stan” countries) up to the boarders of China and India. They held all of the middle east including, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Holy Land. They invaded Europe, and conquered Thrace up to the Danube River. The Greek War devastated the vast numbers of Persian troops. Even though they defeated Sparta and Athens, the loss in the naval battle of Salamis to the combined Greek Fleet led to the withdrawal of Persia from Europe. If the Persians held the Greek cities, western civilization would have been very different.

Macedonia 323 BC: Alexander never lost a battle in 12 years of constant war. Alexander conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria, and Mesopotamia, and extended the boundaries of his own empire as far as Punjab, India. Alexander’s victory over vastly superior Persia forces at the battle of Gaugamela is one of the most important and innovative battles in history. Persian chariots, which were unstoppable up to this point, were considered obsolete after Alexander’s tactics obliterated Persian Chariots. Prior to his death at age 33, Alexander had already made plans for military and mercantile expansions into the Arabian peninsula, after which he was to turn his armies to the west (Carthage, Rome, and Spain). Alexander’s battle strategies and system of governing were closely studied and implemented into the Roman Republic.

Roman Republic 49 B.C. By the first century B.C. Rome controlled every inch of shore touching the Mediterranean as well as Britain and Gaul (modern France). Julius Caesar defeated a combined Gallic Army and held the Governorship of Gaul at the same time as being consul of Rome. The senate thought he had too much power, and they ordered him to disband his army and return to Rome to stand trial for violations of the constitution. He entered Rome with his army and Civil War led to the eventual downfall of the Roman Republic.

Roman Empire 117: Rome was a world power for so long that it is tough to come up with the peak of power. The largest territory was in 117 under Emperor Trajan when Armenia, Anatolia, and Mesopotamia were conquered from the Parthian Empire. Trajan’s successor Hadrian abandoned the middle east because he did not believe they could defend the cities so far from Rome. They defeated Germania in several wars, but were never able to maintain a hold north of the Rhine River. They were smart enough to avoid land wars in Asia because they understood supply lines and communication. Rome was founded in 1000 B.C. and the eternal city officially fell in 476 but the empire continued in Constantinople until 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured the city.

Middle Ages

Huns 453: Attila united central Asian nomads into an elite mobile fighting force that raided cities and left them in ashes. Three Norse sagas depict Attila as a hero and his tactics may have influenced the Vikings. The Huns territory stretched from China (The Great Wall) to Germany, and from the Baltic to the Danube River in Eastern Europe. They pushed the Goths, Vandals, and many other Germanic tribes into Roman territory . Rome had to defend the entire border of the empire, so they were stretched too thin. Rome had to ally with the Germanic tribes and provide them with weapons, food, land, etc to guard against Hunnic plundering. Eventually, Rome granted Attila land to settle on, modern day Hungary, and paid him a tribute in Gold. When the Emperor Valentinian’s sister Honoria proposed to Attila, he invaded Italy to claim half of the Roman Empire as dowry. Attila was defeated at Chalons, France by a combined Roman, Gothic Army. He returned the next year and invaded Italy. Northern Roman provinces left their homes to live in on the many small islands in the Venetian lagoon which became the city of Venice. In 452, Pope Leo I pleaded with Attila to spare Rome, and he agreed leaving Italy. He died in 453 before he could capture Constantinople. Although the Roman Empire officially fell in 476, the Fall of Rome was Attila the Hun’s doing.

Arab Empire 743: The Umayyad dynasty under caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik marked the greatest extent of the Muslim empire. Their rule stretched from Spain to India. They controlled Spain, North Africa, The Middle east, Persia and western India (Pakistan). The Muslims were defeated at the battle of Tours in Spain by Frankish King Charles Martel. This was the end of Islamic expansion into Western Europe. Hisham continued fighting the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor and the Near East. They forced religious conversions of Pagans. Surprisingly, they allowed Christians and Jews to practice their faith, although they were placed into a higher tax bracket. Before the Crusades, the Muslims respected Christians and Jews rights to worship because they believe in the same God.

Holy Roman Empire 814: Charles I, King of the Franks or Charlemagne was crowned the first holy roman emperor on December 25, 800. He conquered most of Europe and converted all lands to Roman Catholicism through force if necessary. The conquest of Spain eventually pushed the Islamic Moors out of Europe. The Roman Catholics dominated Europe for the next 700 years until the protestant reformation caused several nations to split with the Holy Roman Empire. The empire formed by Charlemagne lasted until 1806 when the last emperor Francis II was defeated by Napoleon.

Byzantine Empire 1054: The Re-conquest of Crete and Cyprus and the expansion into Syria and Northern Iraq extended the Byzantine power throughout the Eastern Mediterranean again. The empire stretched from Armenia to Southern Italy. They defeated the Bulgarian empire and controlled all of the Balkans up to the borders with Hungary. The split of the Catholic and Orthodox Church in 1054 caused weakening relations with Rome. New enemies emerged as Normans invaded southern Italy, and the Turks conquered Armenia and Asia Minor. The Empire lasted until 1453 when the Turks captured the capital city of Constantinople.

The Vikings may have been the most fearsome group in the 9th-11th centuries, but they were not united under one ruler, and can not really be considered one military group. They did however control land from the Arctic to Baghdad, and North America (500 years before Columbus) to The Black Sea and everywhere in between. They conquered parts of France, Spain, Italy, and all of England in 1066 (the last successful invasion of England). The Russian Czars all the way up to present day Russians are Viking decedents. Nationalism in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as Christianization of settlements led to the end of the Viking Age.

Mongols 1279: Genghis Kahn’s grandson Kublai Kahn ruled the largest contiguous empire in world history. China (The Great wall did not work again), Russia, most of the Middle East, and Eastern Europe fell to the Mongols. They were fighting the the German Teutonic Knights, and the Japanese Samurai at the same time! How would things be different today if the Mongols did not turn back at Vienna and instead rode through Western Europe? The enlightenment may not have happened for a few hundred more years. After they left Europe, they conquered Korea from the Japanese Shogun, then tried unsuccessfully to invade Japan in 1281. Japan was saved from the Mongol fleet by a sudden violent storm that destroyed many of the invading ships. The Japanese called the storm Kamikaze, (the divine wind). Unity of the Mongol tribes was never as strong following the defeat. In 1368 China revolted and pushed out the Mongols (Yuan) to form the Ming dynasty.

Ottoman Empire: 1566: Suleiman the magnificent conquered Belgrade and the Kingdom of Hungary as well as most of central Europe. He laid siege to Vienna but failed to take the city. In the East, they captured Baghdad from the Persians and controlled all of the Middle East from Mesopotamia to Egypt. With access to the Persian Gulf, they developed the worlds best Navy. The empire expanded by defeating Spain and conquering Algeria and Tunisia. The Turks actually evacuated Jews from Christian Lands during the inquisition and returned them to safety in the Ottoman controlled Holy Land. Continued wars with Austria, Persia, and the newly emerging European powers weakened the empire. The Ottomans lasted until 1919 when British helped unite the Arabs and Iraq to fight against Turkish rule during WWI. The British and French then took control of all former Ottoman regions. Ottoman remnants settled in Asia Minor, which eventually became the nation of Turkey. The Balkan provinces were given their independence, but Britain governed Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Iraq, and Iran until stable governments could be put in place. Sound familiar?

British Empire 1783: British had control of the all of the world’s oceans. Australia, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, North and South America and everywhere in between were controlled by the British. They were mainly a naval power, but still, the American Revolution was histories greatest upset. The British fought wars on six continents and four Oceans simultaneously. The loss of America in 1783 did little to hurt British interests world wide. India and Burma were granted independence. Britain granted parliamentary control of South Africa, Australia, and Canada to the local people who agreed to maintain loyal to the British Monarchy. The influences of British colonialism formed the modern world as we know it.

Modern Era

Russian Empire 1856: After the defeat of Napoleon in 1812, Russia was considered militarily invincible. They controlled the territory from The Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea, and the Arctic Ocean in the North to the Caucus Mountains in the South. The empire spanned over 6000 miles and 11 time zones. The advance south into Ukraine and dominance of the Black Sea led to the Crimean war. The first modern war was fought by a joint force of France, Britain, Sardinia and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Even though Russia dominated the war, Russian Czar Nicholas I agreed to a peace treaty that severely weakened Russian influence in Europe. The peace settlement of the Crimean war actually led to WWI.

Third Reich 1942: I am breaking my rule about a long lasting empire here, but the Germans became so powerful so fast that they deserve mention. It took Russia, Britain, France, and the United States to break the German military machine. They conquered France in 40 days, along with most of Europe. The two front war and loss of Air and Sea supremacy weakened the Germans. The key to the turnaround was the Greek resistance. They held out fighting man to man in the streets for 10 months. That allowed the allies to regroup and the Russian Red Army was formed. If not for the Greek resistance, Hitler would have certainly captured western Russia. Then he could have turned west and taken Britain before America was entrenched there. It would have been a very different war after that!

USSR 1989: This great military machine never went to war, but instead fought and lost the cold war with the U.S.A. If China and Russia could have avoided a split in ideology in the 1950’s, communism could have spread throughout the world forcing an eventual war with the NATO allies along the Eastern Bloc lines. Nuclear war was far from likely although it was the great deterrent.

USA 2008: Combat troops are spread from Korea to Iraq. Firm control of land, air and sea as well as outer space make the American Empire the most dominant the world has ever seen. Iraq, The world’s 4th largest Army at 600,000 troops lasted 4 days against the U.S. in 1991.