US Chinese river gunboats

A number of European powers, the USA and Japan maintained flotillas of these shallow-draft river gunboats to patrol the larger rivers with which China abounds, enforcing these nations’ concessionary rights under the terms of treaties which China had been compelled to sign in the period after her defeat during the 1st Opium War (1840/42) with …

The British ‘Insect’ class river gunboat

Despite its different designation, the river gunboat was in reality the riverine counterpart of the sea-going monitor, but because of its supposed limitation to more confined waters was a far smaller vessel with a correspondingly lighter armament optimised for the bombardment of river bank targets. In February 1915 the British ordered 12 ‘Fly’ class river …

The anti-aircraft cruiser – the US ‘Juneau’ class

The three ‘Juneau’ class light cruisers of the US Navy were built to a modified ‘Oakland’ class design: the ‘Oakland’ class was a four-ship subset of the ‘Atlanta’ class standard. The design of the ‘Juneau’ class reflected the operating service’s experience in the later part of World War II against Japanese attacks by massed aircraft …

The anti-aircraft cruiser – the US ‘Atlanta’ class

While the ‘Worcester’ class ships with 6-in (152.4-mm) guns can be considered the heavyweights of the anti-aircraft cruiser, they were too late for service in World War II and built only in small numbers. The ‘Atlanta’ class ships with 5-in (127-mm) guns were the middleweights of the type, saw widespread service in World War II …

The anti-aircraft cruiser – the US ‘Worcester’ class

The world’s first powered, sustained and controlled aeroplane flight had been made only in 1903 by the Wright brothers. Furthermore, technical developments were made only slowly up to the start of World War I (1914/18),where many pioneers foresaw the emergence of the aeroplane as a weapon. The potential of the aeroplane as a war machine was …

The super-heavy tank – the British A39 Tortoise

One of the major concerns of the Western Allies fighting Germany in World War II was that they would finally have to invade Germany from the west along a frontier protected by the ‘Westwall’, or ‘Siegfried Line’. This took the form of a line of concrete emplacements armed with artillery and anti-tank guns, and itself …

‘Little Boy’ – the atomic bombing of Hiroshima

A history of the development of the bombs used to decimate Hiroshima in WW2, with details from the conception of the ‘Manhattan’ project to deliver full-size mock-ups of the weapons shapes to the actual dropping of the bombs and the resultant devastation.