The Buzz

5 of the Most Terrifying Spy Plane Missions in U.S. Military History

Since the United States entered World War II, the Department of Defense has engaged in the systematic surveillance of other nations by air to glean valuable intelligence on weapons capabilities and military movements. These missions are quite dangerous and often ended in disaster, but the risks endured by these aircrews aboard the Pentagon’s beloved spy planes are often overlooked due to the sensitive nature of their assignments.

Here are five instances from the past that illustrate why these pilots were not flying the friendly skies.

Is Arming Schoolteachers a Good Idea?

In the wake of the horrific mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in which a lone gunman killed seventeen people, the debate over gun control has erupted with renewed fury not experienced since the tragic Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012. When a mass murder is committed with a firearm, the political debate over guns predictably takes center stage, as the factions that seek further civilian disarmament renew their calls for change in policy while Second Amendment defenders dig in to resist.

Russia's T-90 Is Dangerous Weapon. Could It Beat America's Best Tank in Battle?

While the T-14 Armata might be Russia’s latest and greatest tank, it still is not ready for service. In order to bolster the capabilities of their more conventional tank fleet while the Armata is being prepared, Russia continues to modernize its current “top-tier” tanks, such as the T-90. Recently forty T-90Ms, the latest variant of the T-90, were reported to be ready for delivery in the near future to combat units.

Was This the Very First Big Battleship Battle Royal?

Narrrowly avoiding a fatal blow from the Italian ironclad ram Affondatore, Commodore Anton von Petz, commander of Austrian wooden-hulled ship of the line Kaiser, came under fire from the heavy rifled guns of another enemy ironclad, the Re di Portogallo, on July 20, 1866, near the Dalmatian island of Lissa in the Adriatic Sea. This time, instead of evading the other vessel, Petz brought his ship on a collision course with the enemy’s armored hull. The 92-gun Kaiser supplemented a full set of sails with a two-cylinder steam engine.

Watch an M1 Abrams Battle Tank Execute a Near-Perfect Drift

The M1 Abrams main battle tank may be the most iconic armored combat vehicle in the Department of Defense’s arsenal, but it’s far from the most maneuverable. Although far more mobile and flexible than the M60 it replaced back in 1980 and capable of hitting 30 mph on rugged terrain, the Abrams is more known for its imposing firepower and armor. It’s not suited for a downrange performance of Swan Lake.

5 Weapons That Make It Clear Israel Dominates the Sky

Time and again during its short existence, Israel has demonstrated that it has the most powerful military in the Middle East. Much of this has to do with the superior training and organization of its military and personnel. This was especially true in its very early years, when its military equipment was roughly equal to its much larger neighbors.

Russia vs. America: What Would a Naval Clash over Syria Look Like?

It feels like 1973 again in the Mediterranean Sea. That’s when the Soviet Navy administered a rude shock to Western navies in the Eastern Mediterranean, deploying a squadron that outnumbered the Italy-based U.S. Sixth Fleet during that year’s Arab-Israeli war. America sided with Israel, the Soviet Union with the Arab powers. For a time it appeared the Yom Kippur War might ensnare the superpower navies. In other words, war between small Middle East allies might embroil the U.S. Navy and Soviet Navy in combat.

In 1973, America and Russia Almost Fought a Nuclear War over Syria

On the night of October 24, 1973, came the dreaded words: Assume Defcon 3.

On bases and ships around the world, U.S. forces went to Defense Condition 3. As paratroopers prepared to deploy, B-52 nuclear bombers on Guam returned to bases in the United States in preparation for launch. On another October day eleven years before, the United States had gone to the next highest alert, Defcon 2, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This time the catalyst of potential Armageddon wasn't the Caribbean, but the Middle East.

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