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Battle of Aguadores


View of the July 1898 scene of action showing General Lawton’s division attacking at Caney on the right and General Joe Wheeler’s in the center, while General Kent on the left moves on Aguadores and Sampson’s fleet bombards Morro and the other forts at the entrance. The Spanish fleet in the upper harbor is also taking part in the fight.

Date: July 1, 1898

Battle involving U.S. troops and a fortified Spanish strong point on the western side of the San Juan River some three miles east of the harbor entrance to Santiago, Cuba. The U.S. attack on Aguadores was planned as a diversion during the concurrent principal U.S. attack against San Juan Heights. The plan called for U.S. Navy ships and 2,500 American troops under Brigadier General Henry N. Duffield to attack the Spanish garrison there.

North Atlantic Fleet commander Rear Admiral William T. Sampson had ordered his flagship, the armored cruiser New York, and the gunboat Gloucester and armed yacht Suwannee to commence shelling Aguadores at 6:00 a.m., but Duffield’s troops were three hours late arriving, and the naval gunfire did not commence until 9:20 a.m. When the men of the 33rd Michigan Regiment arrived at the 700-foot railroad bridge over the San Juan River, they discovered that the Spanish had blown a 40-foot span on the western side. The Americans were thus never able to secure positions from which they could lay down effective fire against the 274 Spanish defenders at Aguadores. The Americans subsequently came under effective Spanish long-range rifle fire. At about 1:30 p.m., after his men had sustained casualties of 2 killed and 10 wounded, Duffield withdrew to Siboney. While Secretary of the Army Russell A. Alger claimed that the operation had prevented the Spanish from reinforcing San Juan Heights, there is no evidence to support this conclusion.

Further Reading Cosmas, Graham A. An Army for Empire: The United States Army in the Spanish-American War. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1994. Trask, David F. The War with Spain in 1898. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.


76-mm Sherman


Standard M4A2(76mm) Sherman


M4A3(76mm) Sherman


The US Army made a conscious decision in 1943: to ignore calls for rapid development of the heavy, 90mm-gun T26 (Pershing) to take on the Panthers and Tigers, and instead to mass produce the M4 – a medium tank that would do the job well enough rather than brilliantly, and at a practical cost in time, talent, treasure, and shipping weight.

Its 75mm gun and 50mm (2in) frontal armor were not good enough to take on a late Panzer head-to-head; but Sherman crews used their numbers, speed and agility to swarm round the Panthers and Tigers. The Panzer might survive long enough to kill one, maybe even two M4s; but in the meantime the rest of the platoon, working round onto its flanks, would be putting rounds into its more vulnerable sides and engine compartment from close up.

The Sherman also lent itself to adaptation. The 75mm gun was a good all- purpose weapon with a very useful HE round; but when its shortcomings against the new Panzers became evident, the British customized a proportion of their Sherman fleet by shoe-horning into the turret their big 17-pounder anti-tank gun. Probably the best Allied anti-tank weapon of the war, this 76mm (3in) gun could pierce at least 130mm of armour sloped at 30 degrees at 1,000 yards range, compared to about 60mm for the 75mm gun (the frontal armor of Tigers and Panthers was around 80mm). Sadly, there were never enough of these 17-pdr.Sherman “Fireflies” to issue more than one tank per platoon. The US Army turned them down, but late US Shermans received a new turret for the long 76mm M1 series gun.

So why go to all the trouble of installing a new gun in the Sherman when it only fired a projectile that was 1mm larger in diameter? Well, the typical AP M72 shot used with the 75mm M3 Gun attained a muzzle velocity of 2,030 ft/sec. The typical AP M79 shot, which was used with the M1A2 76mm Gun, achieved a velocity of 2,600 ft/sec. This additional speed provided a penetration difference in homogeneous armor at 30 degree obliquity from 2.4in (60mm), to 4.3in (109mm), a penetration difference of approximately 2 inches. To what was this new penetration performance due? It was mostly due to the additional powder used in the larger shell cartridge, but both the increased length of the barrel and the improved performance of the projectile itself also had some effect. The increased velocity of the round still wasn’t enough to penetrate a Panther or Tiger I head on at distance, but the improved performance was directly noticeable to the users, and it temporarily reduced American tankers’ complaints about the poor performance of their earlier 75mm M3 weapons.

One good point about the US Sherman’s guns was that their trajectory allowed indirect fire – wartime photos show tanks lined up track to track on slopes with guns elevated, firing HE barrages over crests like howitzer batteries, a tactic impossible for most German tanks with their high velocity cannon.

Of the many versions of the M4 which were produced, varying in armor, turret, ammo stowage, weapon, engine and suspension, the best – by acclamation – was the M4A3E8 (“Easy 8”) with a big liquid-cooled V8 engine, wider tracks, HVSS suspension, and enlarged turret with 76mm gun; these began to reach the troops soon after D-Day. They served on for some years, seeing combat in Korea; and they – and many earlier marks – would continue to serve in overseas armies for decades afterwards. A handful served in Israel’s 1948 war of independence, and many in her 1956 and 1967 campaigns; Shermans fought in the Indo-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971; and in odd pockets of the Third World a few may have soldiered on even later.


Holy Lance


The ultimate fate of the lance found at Antioch is unclear. Raymond of Aguilers writes that it was carried into battle when the crusaders marched against the Fāțimid-held city of Ascalon (mod. Tel Ashqelon, Israel) in August 1099, while Fulcher of Chartres comments that Raymond of Saint-Gilles kept the relic for a long time after Peter Bartholomew’s disappointing ordeal.

A relic discovered at Antioch (mod. Antakya, Turkey) on 14 June 1098, identified by many participants in the First Crusade (1096–1099) with the weapon that pierced Christ’s side during the Crucifixion (John 19:33–34).

According to the eyewitness chronicler Raymond of Aguilers, a week after the capture of Antioch from the Turks on 3 June 1098, a Provençal peasant called Peter Bartholomew approached Bishop Adhemar of Le Puy and Raymond of Saint-Gilles, claiming that he had received a series of visions from St. Andrew during the previous months. On one of these visitations, Andrew had revealed to him the spot where the lance that pierced Christ’s side lay hidden within the Church of St. Peter in Antioch. After five days of fasting and penance, twelve men (including Raymond of Aguilers) accompanied Peter Bartholomew to the church on the morning of 14 June 1098 and began to excavate the site in search of the relic. That evening the lance was uncovered by Peter Bartholomew himself. Both Raymond of Aguilers and the anonymous Gesta Francorum report that the discovery of the Holy Lance was greeted with great enthusiasm by the crusaders, at that point themselves besieged within Antioch by Turkish forces. These same sources, as well as a letter sent by the crusade leaders to Pope Urban II on 11 September 1098, relate that the lance was carried into combat when the crusaders broke the siege of Antioch on 28 June 1098. From these accounts, it seems clear that the crusaders attributed their success in that battle to the inspiration and divine protection offered by the holy relic.

Over the following months, however, while factionalism among the crusade leaders delayed the army’s departure for Jerusalem, the authenticity of the lance was called into question, particularly by the Norman followers of Bohemund I, future prince of Antioch. In addition to claiming lordship over the newly conquered city, Bohemund was vying for authority over the crusade army with Raymond of Saint-Gilles, the guardian of the lance, and his southern French supporters. This situation came to a head when certain nobles and the less privileged elements of the army beseeched Count Raymond to lead them to Jerusalem or surrender the lance to those who were willing to continue the march. Raymond acquiesced and led a substantial portion of the crusaders toward Jerusalem in early January 1099.

Nevertheless, a faction led by Arnulf of Chocques, chaplain to Robert, duke of Normandy, persisted in questioning the legitimacy of the relic. This situation encouraged Peter Bartholomew to undertake an ordeal in order to prove the lance’s authenticity. On 8 April 1099, Peter hazarded an ordeal by fire while bearing the lance. Raymond of Aguilers reports that Peter crossed safely between two piles of burning wood, but was mortally crushed by the thronging crowds that greeted him on the other side. Regardless of the exact circumstances, Peter Bartholomew died on 20 April 1099. Though this turn of events did not diminish Raymond of Aguilers’s enthusiasm for the lance, it clearly contributed to the relic’s controversial status among contemporary crusade historians. Fulcher of Chartres, who was at Edessa (mod. Şanliurfa, Turkey) when the lance was discovered, expressed his skepticism about its authenticity and wrote that Peter Bartholomew’s death was a clear sign of his duplicity in the matter, adding that the ordeal’s outcome greatly disheartened the bulk of the relic’s supporters.

Writing around 1115 in praise of the recently deceased Norman crusader Tancred, the chronicler Raduph of Caen excoriated both Raymond of Saint-Gilles and Peter Bartholomew for their fabrication of the supposedly holy relic. Raduph asserts that Peter Bartholomew’s demise was clear proof of the lance’s falsity. Writing from a less polemical standpoint, subsequent generations of crusade historians, including Albert of Aachen, Guibert of Nogent, and William of Tyre, present the discovery of the lance as a moment of great significance during the course of the First Crusade, but also acknowledge the controversy that surrounded the relic and its discoverer’s ordeal.

The question of the Holy Lance’s authenticity was further complicated by the existence of well-known competitors, including a lance kept at Constantinople (mod. Istanbul, Turkey) since the seventh century and one possessed by the Holy Roman Emperors since the tenth century. The ultimate fate of the lance found at Antioch is unclear. Raymond of Aguilers writes that it was carried into battle when the crusaders marched against the Fāțimid-held city of Ascalon (mod. Tel Ashqelon, Israel) in August 1099, while Fulcher of Chartres comments that Raymond of Saint-Gilles kept the relic for a long time after Peter Bartholomew’s disappointing ordeal. According to second-hand sources, Count Raymond may have given the lance to the Byzantine emperor, Alexios I Komnenos, or he may have lost it during his participation in the ill-fated Crusade of 1101. If the lance discovered by the crusaders did find its way to Constantinople, it may have been the same one purchased in 1241 by King Louis IX of France from Baldwin II, Latin emperor of Constantinople.


China – Propaganda – Pre 1937


Propaganda is central to the operation of the Chinese system of government. Aspects of propaganda—in particular the formalization of imagery and language—can be traced back to the earliest period of Chinese history, but propaganda has been most effective in the twentieth century thanks to the mass media and a powerful authoritarian government.

The earliest surviving texts on governance in China pay great attention to the need for rulers to control and formalize language to secure their authority. Confucius (c. 551– 479 B.C.E.), the most influential philosopher of early China, noted that the “rectification of names” was crucial to the establishment of stable government. The most important source for Confucius’s thoughts are The Analects, a series of dialogues that he is claimed to have held with various disciples, in which he argued for the importance of virtue and moral authority as a means of creating a stable state. Other works believed to have been edited by Confucius, along with the writings of his student, Mencius (c. 371–289 B.C.E.), form part of a canon formalized in the twelfth century. Confucian thought was supplemented by vast numbers of commentaries, which gave rise to various schools of Confucianism. Over the centuries Confucian thought hardened into a doctrine of state governance that stressed the importance of hierarchy; it was made the basis of the examinations qualifying candidates for the state bureaucracy. Confucianism has remained a powerful resource for Chinese rulers even into the present era.

Before the age of mass media, the sharing of religious rituals was one of the most important ways in which state propaganda could be transmitted among the population at large. The state could promote cults of gods based on dead heroes who had served the state, which would then be filtered down to temples at the nonelite level. Even at the elite level, the late imperial period, under the ethnically Manchu Qing dynasty (1644– 1911), saw an increasing use of state propaganda to legitimate the rule of the Manchus in the face of loyalism to the overthrown Ming dynasty. The Kangxi emperor, who ruled from 1661 to 1722, issued a sixteen point “Sacred Edict” in 1670 that justified his reign in terms of Confucian orthodoxy, thereby successfully challenging Chinese officials to follow that same orthodoxy and serve him. His successor, the Yongzheng emperor, who ruled from 1723 to 1735, expanded on the edict, training scholars in its precepts so that they could go to towns and villages to educate ordinary Chinese citizens about its requirements, thereby ensuring that success in the civil service examinations was based not only on a knowledge of the edicts but also the emperor’s comments on them.

The late nineteenth century saw the Qing dynasty become unstable due to a combination of economic crisis, internal rebellion, and the impact of Western imperialism. During this period Western social and cultural ideas—often transmitted through Japan— were influential among Chinese elites. Among those ideas was that of the public sphere separate from the state, and of associated institutions, such as newspapers. The most politically influential newspaper of the period was Shibao (Times), written by a group of Chinese intellectuals, of whom the most notable was the reformer Liang Qichao (1873–1929). Shibao, published from 1904 to 1939, served as a forum for debates on constitutional reform in China, which influenced the newly emerging urban middle class, particularly in major cities such as Shanghai. Much of the vocabulary of modernity was also popularized through Shibao and other publications by Liang, paving the way for the introduction of ideological thought (nationalism, communism, anarchism, etc.) in the following century.

The 1911 revolution ended China’s imperial system, and a republic was established. The Republican period (1911–1949) was marked by great instability, with no central government and a China divided up among warring militaristic leaders. This was followed by a decade of uneasy unity, under Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek (1887– 1975), which was swiftly undermined by the war with Japan (1937–1945). Some of the militaristic leaders—such as the northeasterner Zhang Zuolin (1875–1928), who controlled much of northern China in the early 1920s—had little interest in legitimating their rule by any means other than force. However, when Chiang Kai-shek established a Nationalist government at Nanjing in 1928, he used propaganda to characterize his authority (which in reality was fairly fragile) as firm and part of a wider project of nation-building, which had been started by his predecessor Sun Yat-sen (1866–1925). The most notable of his propaganda exercises was the New Life Movement of the 1930s, which took ideas from Confucianism and European fascism. Its goal was to control the daily behavior of ordinary Chinese citizens (for instance, encouraging them not to spit in public) as a means of instilling wider respect for the Nationalist nation-building project. The other major propaganda exercise under Chiang was the anti-Communist campaign. After Chiang turned against the Chinese Communists, who had been part of a united front with the Nationalists until 1927, the official press and media were encouraged to portray the small areas under Communist control in the 1930s as hotbeds of lawlessness and even sexual degeneracy (“property in common, wives in common” was a common gloss on the Communists at the time) in order to instill fear in the population at large. Communists were almost always referred to in official sources as “bandits.” This language was swiftly toned down after 1937, when a second united front was established against the Japanese.

The Japanese invasion of Chinese territory, starting with the occupation of the northeast (Manchuria) in 1931, created a new language and imagery of resistance, which became increasingly powerful throughout the 1930s and the war years. Manchurian exiles from the Japanese occupation used their positions on well-known periodicals such as Shenghuo zhoukan (Life Weekly)—which may have reached 1.5 million readers—to write about atrocities in occupied Manchuria, helping to stimulate an urban protest movement against Chiang Kaishek’s policy of appeasement of the Japanese. The imagery of resistance permeated popular fiction of the period as well; in one 1933 best-seller all the characters joined the anti- Japanese resistance. In Manchuria itself, meanwhile, Japanese-sponsored propaganda exercises—such as new schoolbooks and the Concordia Association, a pressure group created to stimulate Sino-Japanese cooperation in the occupied zone—countered the arguments of anti-Japanese nationalism.

Consolidated P2Y Ranger




The Ranger was the Navy’s first monoplane patrol aircraft. It enjoyed a long and productive service life and broke several world records for distance flying.

In 1928 the Navy contracted with Consolidated to design and build a monoplane flying boat to replace its aging Naval Aircraft Factory PN series. Consolidated built the XPY1, a large parasol aircraft (a highmounted wing on a single pylon) with a 100foot wingspan and three engines. One engine was mounted above the wings in a nacelle, but it was subsequently deleted. However, owing to a lower bid from Martin, the Navy awarded it the construction contract in 1931, and nine were constructed as the P3M. Undeterred, Consolidated rerefined its existing design into a new aircraft, the XP2Y1. It was a twin-engine sesquiplane, that is, a biplane with a shorter lower wing. The two engines were mounted on struts between the wings, and the cockpit was fully enclosed. The Navy was impressed with its performance and in 1933 authorized 23 machines produced as the P2Y1 Ranger. These were followed by an additional 23 P2Y3s, which sported stronger engines; the engine nacelles were faired directly into the wing’s leading edge to reduce drag.

The Ranger proved itself to be a rugged and dependable aircraft, capable of oceanic flights. In September 1933 Lieutenant Commander Donald M. Carpenter of Patrol Squadron VP5 made history by flying six P2Y1s nonstop from Norfolk, Virginia, to Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, a distance of 2,059 miles. In January 1934 Lieutenant Commander Knefler McGinnis led six P2Y1s of VP10 from San Francisco 2,408 miles west to Hawaii, another world record. In each instance all aircraft performed up to expectations. The P2Ys remained actively employed in American service until 1941, when they went into storage. Ironically, one Ranger sold to Japan served as the basis for the Kawanishi H6K Mavis flying boat of World War II.

Type: Patrol Bomber

Dimensions: wingspan, 100 feet; length, 61 feet, 9 inches; height, 19 feet, 1 inch

Weights: empty, 12,769 pounds; gross, 25,266 pounds

Power plant: 2 × 750–horsepower Wright R1820 radial engines

Performance: maximum speed, 139 miles per hour; ceiling, 16,100 feet; maximum range, 1,180 miles

Armament: 3 × .30–caliber machine guns; 2,000 pounds of bombs

Service dates: 1934–1941

Battle of the Neva, (1240)




A battle at the river Neva in north-western Russia, fought on 15 July 1240.

The antecedents and details of this battle are largely hypothetical because they are known only from inadequate accounts in Russian sources. It has been supposed that the battle was connected with the Swedish military leader Birger Magnusson (d. 1266).

The Novgorod chronicle contemporary with the events states that Swedes, Norwegians, Finns, and Tavastians came by ship to the river Neva under the leadership of their prince and bishops. There they were defeated by Alexander Yaroslavich, prince of Novgorod, at the head of troops from Novgorod and Ladoga, and withdrew on their ships. According to the Vita of Prince Alexander the attacker was a “king of a Roman land” [Yurii K. Begunov, (Moskva: Nauka, 1965), pp. 162–168] and Alexander won with the help of an army of angels. One of the fifteenth-century sources gives the Swedish leader’s name as Belger.

From these sources it is not possible to identify the real leaders of the invasion. The view of older Finnish historiography, that the initiator of the campaign was the Finnish bishop Thomas (d. 1248), and the widespread opinion that the battle was a part of a greater attack against Russia are not valid. The sources do not connect the battle with either the crusade in Votia (1240–1241) or a Livonian campaign against Pskov (1240–1242). However, a papal letter to the archbishop of Uppsala in 1237 urged him to preach a crusade against the apostate Tavastians. It is thus possible that this crusade was led by Birger Magnusson in 1238–1239 and that the campaign to the Neva was a continuation of this expedition; at that time the Finnic peoples in the Neva basin were still heathen.

The battle has been especially celebrated in Russian historiography because Prince Alexander Yaroslavich has been honored in Russia as a saint and national hero in modern times. In Russian literature since the fifteenth century he has been known by the surname “Nevskii,” after this battle.

Bibliography Lind, John, “Early Russian-Swedish Rivalry: The Battle on the Neva in 1240 and Birger Magnusson’s Second Crusade to Tavastia,” Scandinavian Journal of History 16 (1991), 269–295. ———, “Bishop Thomas in Recent Historiography—Views and Sources,” in Suomen varhaiskeskiaika, ed. Kyösti Julku (Rovaniemi: Pohjois-Suomen Historiallinen Yhdistys, 1992), pp. 304–316. Nazarova, Evgeniya L., “The Crusades against Votians and Izhorians in the Thirteenth Century,” in Crusade and Conversion on the Baltic Frontier, 1150–1500, ed. Alan V. Murray (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2001), pp. 177–195.



On 22 November 1982 the administration announced that the missile was to be known as Peacekeeper, and introduced an entirely new basing concept, the “dense pack”. The dense pack idea involved building super-hardened silos that would withstand more than 10,000 psi (70 MPa) of overpressure, compared to 2,000 of the existing silos, or 5,000 psi for the upgraded versions originally proposed. This extra hardness can be easily offset by minor increases in warhead accuracy. The key to dense pack concept was to space the silos so close together, about 1,800 feet (550 m), that warheads attacking one silo would destroy others incoming to attack another silo in the same pack. This “fratricide theory” was highly criticized due to the expected relative ease with which the Soviets could modify their warheads and circumvent this design. All that was required was that several warheads arrive and be detonated within a few milliseconds of each other, so the blast waves did not reach each other before completing destruction of the silo. Such timing could be easily achieved with commercially available clocks. Congress again rejected the system.[

“Dense pack” refers to a proposal made by the Ronald Reagan administration during its first term to develop a survivable basing mode for the new MX (for Missile Experimental) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). It was an alternative to the Jimmy Carter administration’s proposal to deploy the MX missile on a transporter-erector-launcher so that the missile could be shuttled along a race-track system of twenty-three shelters for each missile. It was hoped that this “shell-game” would increase the survivability of the MX, but eventually the racetrack system was abandoned.

The question of missile basing was a major defense issue for the Carter and Reagan administrations. Congress, in particular, wanted to ensure that the land-based ICBM force would retain a second-strike capability. A variety of earlier proposals had been rejected as too expensive or too vulnerable to Soviet countermeasures. The Dense Pack proposal, put forward by the Reagan administration in November 1982, was one alternative that appeared to increase the survivability of the U.S. ICBM force at modest cost. Dense Pack was based on the “fratricide effect.” Instead of dispersing missile silos, it would group silos closely together so that if successive enemy warheads were aimed at these silos, the effects of earlier explosions would disable the ones following. As a result, a number of the silos would be more likely to survive. In order to destroy all the silos, a nuclear strike would have to “walk” across the Dense Pack field from south to north, and if detonations occurred too quickly, they would destroy additional incoming warheads, allowing some MX missiles to survive.

Dense Pack ran into political trouble because it would have abrogated the unsigned treaty resulting from the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II), which banned the construction of new missile silos. The idea was abandoned in favor of deploying MX missiles in existing Minuteman ICBM silos, which would receive additional protection (hardening).

References Dunn, David H., The Politics of Threat: Minuteman Vulnerability in American National Security Policy (Basingstoke, UK:Macmillan, 1997), pp. 153–160. Garfinkle, Adam M.,“Dense Pack: A Critique and an Alternative,” Parameters, December 1982, pp. 14–23.


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