The Buzz

Cape Matapan: The Defeat That Crushed Mussolini's Dream of a Second Roman Empire

“What’s that battleship over there? I thought ours were miles away,” asked the British officer eating a sandwich on the bridge of the light cruiser HMS Orion.

He was right. The battleship wasn’t British. It was Italian, and promptly began hurling two-ton shells at the little squadron of British ships that had stumbled into its path.

Thus began the Battle of Cape Matapan, which might have given control of the Mediterranean to Hitler and Mussolini—and ended up becoming a crushing defeat for the Italian navy.

Revealed: North Korea's Forgotten (and Completely Crazy) Shadow War

In the fall of 1966, things really began to change on the Korean Peninsula.

The armistice agreement that had marked the de facto end of the Korean War in 1953 had created a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, a buffer area intended to keep the two countries at a remove.

It didn’t always work. In the years since the ceasefire, the DMZ would be home to occasional clashes which served as brief reminders that the two countries were technically still at war. In 1965, North Korean forces killed 20 South Korean soldiers and four in the year before that.

How a North Korean Spy Submarine's Mechanical Meltdown Ended in Shocking Tragedy

At 4:30 p.m. on June 22, 1998, Capt. Kim In-yong noticed a curious site from the helm of his fishing boat as it sailed eleven miles east of the South Korean city of Sokcho: a small submarine, roughly sixty feet in length, caught in a driftnet used for mackerel fishing. Several crew members were visible on the submarine’s deck, trying to free their vessel. Upon noticing the fishing boat, they gave friendly waves of reassurance.

Why Russia Feared the U.S. Army's M270 Super Rocket Launcher

Rockets have been a staple of land warfare for centuries, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the twentieth century that they became a permanent addition to the U.S. Army’s arsenal. Ironically, the Army’s program to develop multiple battlefield rocket artillery to fight the Soviet Army drew inspiration for its rockets from Moscow’s wartime “Katyusha” multi-tube rocket launchers.

How Russia Is Turning Syria into a Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships (and Israel Is Worried)

During the 1970s, the Syrian naval base of Tartus became a major port servicing warships of the Soviet Union’s Fifth Mediterranean squadron.

The Soviet Union is gone, and so is Syria as a unified nation. But Russia is back, and it’s building up Tartus again as a naval base that can handle Russia’s largest nuclear-powered ships.

Already, Israel says the Tartus base is affecting its naval operations. U.S. and NATO operations could be next.

Why Japan Feared the Battleship USS Washington

The London Naval Treaty of 1936 was intended to preserve the battleship size limitation at thirty-five thousand tons and to restrict the size of battleship guns to fourteen inches. With memory of the Anglo-German and the Anglo-American-Japanese naval races fresh in their minds, the architects of the treaty wanted to limit the most obvious source of escalation.

Russia vs. Nazi Germany: How Hitler Launched the Most Horrific War of All Time

The end of the War in the East left the Soviet Union in control of a vast portion of the Eurasian continent. Red Army forces occupied Germany, Poland, Czechosolvakia, parts of the Balkans, the Baltic states, and parts of Finland. The Western allies remained in control of Greece and much of western Germany, while Joseph Tito established an independent communist regime in Yugoslavia. The Soviet Union redrew the map of Eastern Europe, annexing large chunks of Poland, Germany, and the Baltics, and ceding much of Germany to Polish control.