Greco-Turkish War 1919-1922

Blue Mosque - Istanbul (9)The carnage and crucible of WW1 didn’t end in 1918, but the gruesome genocide continued. 

World War I had been a catastrophe for the Ottoman Empire. Siding with the Central Powers, including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria, Sultan Mehmed V Rashād (The True Path Follower) fought the Serbians, Rumanians, Russians, British, French, Arabs, and others. The Turks enjoyed some early successes, notably at Gallipoli (1915) and Kut (1916). Such victories emboldened radicals in the government to attack their traditional enemies, the Armenians, and in this genocide 1.5 million Armenian Christians perished. The tide of war turned against the Ottomans, as it did against all of the Central Powers, and ultimately the strategically encircled Turks lost their empire and their political system. An estimated 5 million Turks died, the sultanate ceased to exist, and Mustafa Kemal, later known as the Father of the Turks (Ataturk), rose to prominence.

The Greeks had been under Ottoman domination from the fall of Constantinople (1453) to the Greek War of Independence (1821). Sensing the Turkish weakness, and wishing to avenge the slaughter of Greeks and Armenians, the Hellenists tried to recover the ancient Greek lands in western Anatolia and incorporate the large ethnically Greek population there (estimated at 1.8 million in 1912). They also wanted to claim Ottoman territory that they had been promised by the victorious Allied powers.

20,000 Greek troops supported by Allied navies landed in Smyrna (Izmir) on 15 May 1919, even before the Versailles treaty was signed (28 June 1919). They established control over the city and its environs, including hundreds of square miles of territory, with a roughly equal Greek and Turkish population. In the 1920 offensive, Greek soldiers captured most of Thrace, including Adrianople, and Anatolia from Bursa to Cay. Insisting on navigational control, the British retained control over Constantinople, Canakkale, and the Asian side of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus Straits.  The Treaty of Sevres (August 1920) codified these gains, but was never ratified by the Ottoman Empire or Greece. Thinking that they had the military advantage and unsatisfied with their gains, the men from the Peloponnese demanded more.

The situation changed markedly thereafter. The Hellenists advanced deeper into the Turkish hinterlands in October, areas that did not have large Greek populations, but could not hold the ground. The Greek monarch, King Alexander, died of sepsis after a monkey bite that same month, and the traditionally fractious Greek government splintered. The Greeks suffered their first defeats at the First and Second Battles of İnönü (Jan and Mar 1921). The conflict also developed into a Great Power struggle. The Soviet Union, increasingly confident of winning the Russian Civil War (1917-1922), began supplying arms to the Ottomans (Treaty of Moscow, 1921). While Czarist Russia considered itself a Western power and allied against Turkey, the USSR was a communist state and aligned itself against the West. For their part, France and Italy saw Greece as a client of the United Kingdom, made a separate peace with Turkey, and began selling arms to the Ottomans. The British, meanwhile, refused to arm the Greeks for fear of provoking France.

The Battle of Afyonkarahisar-Eskişehir (July 1921), on the outskirts of Ankara, was the last major Greek victory. Hellenists and Ottomans fought to a bloody draw in the Battle of Sakarya (August and September 1921), and a stalemate began. Weary of war and no longer fed on success, Greek public opinion turned against the war, and a creeping demoralization ensued. Turkey grew stronger, and Greece grew weaker.

The dam burst with the Ottoman counteroffensive at the Battle of Dumlupınar (26-30 Aug 1922). The Greeks had sent two divisions to Thrace in the forlorn hope that the British would let them take Constantinople. To the east, 60 miles west of Ankara, 105,000 well-armed Turks routed 130,000 strategically isolated, poorly armed, and poorly supplied Hellenists, capturing two generals and almost all of their equipment.  By 9 September, Smyrna was retaken, and by 24 September, Ottomans were reoccupying Thrace.

Violence erupted, continuing the Greek genocide that had commenced after the Balkan Wars (1912-1913). In the Great Fire of Smyrna (14 Sep 1922), the Greek and Armenian quarters of the city were destroyed, while the Turk and Jewish quarters remained. From 1913-1922, roughly 700,000 Christian Greeks perished. In a population exchange of 1923, over one million Greeks were expelled from Asia Minor. The 1955 Istanbul Pogrom caused many of the Hellenists remaining in Turkey to flee to the Peloponnese. Unwilling to reopen war with Turkey after the carnage of World War I, the Western Allies abandoned the Treaty of Sevres. The subsequent Treaty of Lausanne codified the borders demanded by the Turks and contained a declaration of amnesty for war crimes.

These events of nearly a century ago may seem distant but they impact international relations today. Cyprus, invaded by Turkey after a Greek nationalist coup in 1974, remains a flashpoint. Greece has been intransigent in opposing Turkey’s accession into the European Union. Also, the current refugee crisis of citizens from the war-ravaged Middle East moving into Europe has increased tensions.

Issues of who should possess western Asia Minor are complex. The Turks argue that these lands are their ancestral homelands, although the Ottomans actually descended from peoples of the Eurasian steppes, not Anatolia. The Turks did not get to Anatolia until the Seljuks in the 11th century and Ottomans in the 14th. The Greeks contest that eastern Asia Minor has belonged to them since Alexander (330s BC), but this does not account the earlier Lydians and Hittites who possessed the land. Ultimately force, not right, is what has mattered in this long-contested real estate – not too different from the rest of the world.

Conclusion

The Greco-Turkish War is a little known but important chapter in 20th century history, which has profound reverberations in the 21st century. Valor and vanity, and brilliance and blame, characterize both sides. The Western Allies were culpable in self-interested, colonial politics, and in making promises they did not intend to keep. The Soviets began their great expansions early, beginning the Cold War 25 years before anyone in the West realized it.

Nonetheless, in its death throes the Ottoman Empire, which was finally dissolved in 1922, butchered over two million civilians, largely Greek and Armenian Christians. The Turks can justly point to a great victory in what they consider to be the war of independence of their homeland, and they do celebrate it as Victory Day every 30 August. However, long after the trumpets become quiet, soldiers stop marching, and crowds return home, the blood of their victims will cry out from the ground.

US Army Legal Investigations

Human misbehavior, and allegations thereof, are ever present. In the course of an Army career it is nearly inevitable that soldiers will be called upon to investigate alleged misdeeds on the part of their subordinates, peers, or even seniors. Articles 31 and 32 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (10 US Code 3012) and Army Regulations 15-6 and 195-2 contain specifics on who should perform these investigations and how. The attached documents are intended to be worksheets and summaries to help investigating officers better perform their important tasks.

US Army Legal Investigation – DA_Form_2823

US Army Legal Investigation – Evidence Gathering

US Army Legal Investigation – Preinvestigation Plan

 

 

The War of 1812

Reenactors and Living Historians in 2013 reveled in the 150th anniversary of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Vicksburg, some of the most monumental battles of the American Civil War. Thousands of participants, tens of thousands of spectators, and merchants of all kinds have gathered to relive these events that shaped our nation and its people forever.

2013 and 2014 have seen anniversaries of other battles from an earlier war which has also shaped American History, the War of 1812. Though overshadowed by its later, longer and bloodier cousin, the War of 1812 was the first major military test of new United States, the only conflict in our history in which a foreign power invaded our states, and the only one in which our capital, Washington DC, was captured. The War of 1812 is famous for Fort McHenry’s valiant stand against the British fleet, the setting of Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner, and for Andrew Jackson’s (Old Hickory) decimation of the British forces at the Battle of New Orleans.

The main show on the world stage in 1812 was the struggle between the French and the Allied Powers in Europe. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had brought continental Europe to its knees and in 1812 invaded Russia. Britain was winning its guerilla campaign against French forces in Spain and its navy ruled the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, a harbinger of the worldwide English supremacy in the decades to come.

America in 1812 was an insignificant power. Though its land area was 1.7 million square miles (France 250,000 square miles, UK 90,000 square miles) its population was only 7.2 million (France 38 million, UK 15 million). America’s army in 1812 had 7,000 soldiers, compared with over 500,000 in France and over 250,000 in the United Kingdom. The United States was also far behind Great Britain in industrial output.

In 1807, Britain and France declared their intention to seize neutral ships entering or leaving the enemy’s ports. Because France was much weaker and had lost much of their naval force at Trafalgar in 1805, they had trouble acting on their threat. With its dominating blue water navy, Britain, though hard pressed against France on land, took naval action against the United States to strengthen their navy against Napoleon.

The Royal Navy had 175 ships of the lines and 600 total ships arrayed against France, requiring 140,000 sailors to man them. Since it could not meet the requirements at home, Britain captured American seamen and forced them to join the Royal Navy. The United Kingdom supported Indian raids on American settlers, wreaking havoc on the frontier. Finally the British blocked US trade with France, causing economic hardship on both sides of the Atlantic. President Thomas Jefferson refused to fight but tried diplomatic and economic means to stop these practices, but they failed. In June 1812 President James Madison presented Congress with a list of grievances and war hawks like Henry Clay led as Congress declared war.

As a result of the war against Napoleon, Canada had only about 6000 British regulars. Hoping to exploit that vulnerability, about 3000 US troops under General William Hull invaded Canada across the Detroit River in July 1812. By August the poorly trained and equipped force had surrendered to smaller British forces and much of the Michigan Territory was lost. The American fortress at Detroit fell to a smaller combined British and Shawnee Indian army. The US invaded Canada in October and again failed.

In one of the most famous naval engagements of the war, the frigate USS Constitution, one of only 20 ships in the entire US Navy, eluded five British pursuers in July 1812. Armed with 44-55 guns compared to the 36-40 guns in European frigates, in August the Constitution defeated the HMS Guerriere. The London Times reported “Never before in the history of the world did an English frigate strike to an American.” In December the Constitution destroyed the British frigate HMS Java in a three hour battle. Finally in 1815 she captured the HMS Cyane and the HMS Levant.

Napoleon’s defeat and withdrawal from Russia in December 1812 and Britain’s victories in the Iberian campaign in early 1813 resulted in more British forces being available for operations in North America. A British naval advance was checked by weaker forces under Commodore Oliver Perry in the Battle of Lake Erie in September. Never before had an American fleet defeated an entire British squadron. In October, a combination British and Native American force was beaten by General William Henry Harrison’s forces at the Battle of the Thames. Critical to the war, the Chief Tecumseh, leader of the native confederation, was killed, and unified native support to the British was gone.

After defeat in the Battle of Leipzig (October 1813) and a long retreat into France, Napoleon abdicated on 6 April 1814. This allowed the British to bring large ground and naval forces against the Americans. British General George Prevost invaded New York in August but Master Commandant Thomas MacDonough’s naval victory at Lake Champlain and Brigadier General Alexander Macomb’s land victory against Prevost at the Battle of Plattsburgh in September ended their northern campaign.

The War of 1812 involved action as far away as the Pacific Ocean. In October 1812, Captain David Porter, accompanied by the young midshipman David Farragut, took his ship, the USS Essex, to the South Atlantic to raid British merchant vessels. In December they captured a British mail ship and took $55,000 in gold. Through 1813 the Essex captured 12 British whalers with oil worth over $2 million. In March 1814 while trying to escape from Valparaiso in Chile, British warships ambushed the Essex. After a stiff battle, Porter surrendered. His ship a floating wreck, the British allowed him to sail back to the US.

Meanwhile the Royal Navy was blockading the US seacoast, raiding and looting villages at will. Rear Admiral George Cockburn was in command of the Chesapeake Bay fleet and landed Royal Marines on the eastern shores of the Patuxent River. They defeated Maryland militia at “The Plains” and moved north and west, routing US forces at Bladensburg and burning Washington DC in August 1814. A similar attempt to move up the Chesapeake to conquer Baltimore was foiled by a British army defeat at North Point and a British naval failure against Fort McHenry in September. This battle occasioned Francis Scott Key’s writing of the “Star Spangled Banner”, which became the US national anthem in 1931.

With neither side able to achieve a decisive victory, Britain and the United States signed a peace treaty at Ghent, Belgium, in December 1814. Nonetheless one great battle remained. Unaware of the peace treaty, a British force of 8000 under General Edward Pakenham attacked General Andrew Jackson’s hodgepodge force of 1000 regulars and 3000 auxiliaries outside the city of New Orleans on 8 January 1815. The British suffered nearly 25% casualties while the Americans lost 81.

The War of 1812, sometimes known as the Second American Revolution, proved to the world that America could maintain her independence. It also proved that America could stand as an independent power alongside the great states of the time. While historians and reenactors enjoy the cataclysmic battles of the Civil War, they would do well to remember the War of 1812. Both have much to savor.

The Year in Military History

The Year in Military History

1-8 Jan – French forces under the Duke of Guise conquered the fortress at Calais, the last English territory in France (1558).

2 Jan – Delaware and Wyandot Indians surprised and massacred 11 eleven men, one woman and two children in the Big Bottom Massacre in southeastern Ohio (1791).

3 Jan – In the Battle of Princeton, American forces under Washington defeated British troops under Cornwallis, compelling the British to abandon most of New Jersey (1777).

4 Jan – Danish invaders formed a redoubt at Reading, Berkshire, and held off a West Saxon counterattack in the Battle of Reading (871).

5 Jan – British land and naval forces led by American Revolutionary hero and later turncoat Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia (1781).

6 Jan – British General William Elphinstone withdrew his British soldiers and civilians from their camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, resulting in total destruction of his forces (1842).

7 Jan – Vietnamese armies entered the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, forcing the Khmer Rouge to flee into exile and ending active fighting in the Cambodian Vietnamese War (1979).

8 Jan – Andrew Jackson’s 4700 soldiers and irregulars destroyed an attacking British force of over 11,000, at the Chalmette Plantation in the Battle of New Orleans, inflicting 2500 casualties and ending the Louisiana Campaign (1815).

9-11 Jan – In the First Battle of Inonu during the Greco-Turkish War, Greek and Turkish soldiers fought to a draw near Eskiehir, Turkey (1921).

10  Jan – Julius Caesar moved Legio XIII Gemina across the Rubicon River into Italy, thus beginning civil war against Pompey and the Roman Senate (49).

11 Jan – The Japanese 25th Army supported by air units captured Kuala Lumpur in British Malaya, opening the way for the capture of Singapore in February (1942).

12 Jan – US troops first saw combat in Vietnam in Operation Chopper, in which American helicopters transported over 1,000 South Vietnamese troops to attack a stronghold of the National Liberation Front 10 miles west of Saigon (1962).

13 Jan – In the only battle in Georgia in the War of 1812, 1500 British infantry and marines captured Fort Peter, later destroying the fort (1815).

14 Jan – The Maratha Empire had weakened it Mughal foes and moved against Afghanistan. In the Third Battle of Panipat, Afghans crushed the Marathan forces in what was the largest battle fought in the 18th century (1761).

15 Jan – Biafrian rebels lay down their arms after an unsuccessful 30 month campaign to gain independence from Nigeria in the Nigerian Civil War (1970).

16 Jan – Russian forces stormed the Ottoman fortress near Plovdiv, Bulgaria in the Battle of Philippopolis, capturing the citadel and driving Ottomans back to Constantinople (1878)

17 Jan – Operation Desert Storm began, in which US and Allied forces smashed Iraq armies in response to their invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 (1991).

18 Jan – A Greek fleet including three battleships, one armored cruiser and seven destroyers defeated an Ottoman task force composed of three battleships, one cruiser and five destroyers in the Battle of Lemnos, assuring Greek supremacy over the Aegean Sea (1913).

19 Jan – Rebels seeking the independence of Chile and Argentina crossed the Andes to coverage on Lima, Peru and defeat Spanish royalist forces there (1817).

20 Jan – In the Battle of Rach Gam Xoai Mut, one of the greatest victories in Vietnamese history, Tay Son rebel forces defeated loyalist forces backed by Siamese troops under Nguyen Anh (Gia Long) (1785).

21 Jan to 9 Jul – The Battle of Khe Sanh, in which approximately 26,000 US soldiers and Marines defended the Khe Sanh combat base against about 34,000 North Vietnamese troops. Both sides claimed victory. The NVA sustained far heavier losses but the US abandoned the base in late July, giving the NVA control over the territory (1968).

22 Jan – In the Battle of Isandlwana, a Zulu army of about 20,000 annihilated a British and native force of about 1500 under LTG Lord Chelmsford at the beginning of the Zulu War (1879).

22 Jan – Simultaneous with the Isandlwana disaster, 150 British and native troops in the mission station at Rorke’s Drift held off 4000 Zulu warriors, killing 10% of them, in the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. 11 Victoria Crosses, Britain’s highest honor, were awarded for this battle (1879).

23 Jan – Australian forces were defeated by the Japanese in the Battle of Rabaul, opening up New Guinea to Japanese domination and providing Japan its greatest base in the southwest Pacific (1942).

24 Jan to 1 Mar – Australian and New Zealand members of the 1st Task Force defeated Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops in Operation Coburg, hindering the Tet Offensive that would start on 30 Jan (1968).

25 Jan – In the Battle of the Zab, Abbasid rebel overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate which had ruled most of the Middle East since the middle of the seventh century and setting up their own Caliphate which lasted almost 800 years (750).

26 Jan – Mahdist Sudanese forces captured the city of Khartoum, beheading its British commander Charles “Chinese” Gordon and slaughtering 4,000 inhabitants after a 10 month siege (1885).

27-31 Jan – A large army trying to reassert the power of the Tokugawa shogunate was beaten by a smaller army supporting the Japanese emperor in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, causing the permanent sunset of shogun power and establishing imperial Japanese governance for almost 80 years (1868).

28 Jan – British East India Company soldiers held off a Sikh invasion force and then counterattacked, inflicting heavy losses, in the Battle of Aliwal in the first Anglo-Sikh War (1846).

29 Jan to 10 Feb – Mongols under Hulagu Khan besiege Baghdad, defeating the Arab army, capturing the city, killing Caliph Al-Musta’sim (1213-1258), and butchering 200,000 to 800,000 inhabitants (1258).

30 Jan to 23 Sep – North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces simultaneously attacked dozens of cities in South Vietnam, losing more troops than their American and South Vietnamese enemies but scoring a huge psychological victory that would lead to the American withdrawal five years later (1968).

31 Jan – The Germans made large scale use of poison gas (bromide) for the first time against Russian soldiers in the Battle of Bolimov. The attempt was a failure, with the wind shifting to blow the gas back against the Germans and the frigid weather freezing the gas (1915).

1 Feb – After the Swedish defeat by the Russians at the Battle of Poltava (1709), King Charles XII and a small contingent of soldiers withdrew to Bendery in Ottoman-controlled Moldova. Growing tired of their northern guests, the Ottomans attacked the Swedish camp with over 10,000 men and 24 cannon, suffering disproportionate losses but capturing the camp (1713).

2 Feb – 91,000 surviving German, Rumanian and other Axis troops under Friedrich Paulus surrendered to a vast Soviet army under Georgy Zhukov, thus ending the Battle of Stalingrad and marking the turning point in the European War (1943).

3 Feb – 18 ships of the Portugese fleet defeated 12 ships and 80 smaller boats of a combined Ottoman, Venetian, Mameluke and Indian fleet at the Battle of Diu, ensuring Portuguese and blocking Ottoman attempts at supremacy in the Indian Ocean (1509).

4 Feb to 13 May – British and Indian forces under Sir William Slim launched the final offensive in the Burma campaign, culminating in the Battle of Pakokku, the Irrawaddy River operations, and the ultimate destruction of the Japanese Burma force (1945).

5 Feb to 24 Aug – British, Spanish and Portuguese forces besieged and conquered French-held Cadiz, freeing Spain from Napoleon’s grip and hastening the end of his empire (1810-1812)

6 Feb – Confederate Fort Henry on the Tennessee River is captured by Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant (1862).

7-8 Feb – In the Battle of Eylau, French forces under Napoleon fought stronger Russian and Prussian forces, with both sides suffering heavy losses but to little practical effect (1807).

8-15 Feb – The major British base at Singapore, known as the Gibraltar of the East, was attacked and captured by smaller Japanese forces in what Churchill termed the largest capitulation in British military history (1942).

9 Feb – In the only instance of one submerged submarine sinking another submerged submarine in naval history, HMS Venturer sunk U-864 off Bergen in the North Sea (1945).

10-13 Feb – A Soviet force of over 30,000 trying to relieve the Axis siege of Leningrad suffered a tactical defeat against a combined German and Spanish force in the Battle of Krasny Bor (1943).

11-16 Feb – Confederate Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River is captured by Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant (1862).

12 Feb – Napoleon defeated Prussians and Russians under Marshall Von Blucher in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the Allied drive into France which later deposed him (1814).

13 – 15 Feb – Over 1000 bombers of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Force (USAAF) dropped almost 4,000 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs on Dresden, Germany, causing a fire storm that consumed 1600 acres of the city center and killed almost 25,000 people, mostly civilians (1945).

14 Feb – At the Battle of Kettle Creek, rebel militia under Andrew Pickens surprised and defeated a larger force of Tory militia under John Boyd enroute to British controlled Augusta (1779).

15 Feb – The battleship USS Maine exploded and sank mysteriously in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, triggering the Spanish American War (1898).

16 Feb – Lieutenant Stephen Decatur led a small force of Marines to recapture and burn the frigate USS Philadelphia, captured by Barbary forces on 31 Oct 1803, in the harbor at Tripoli (1804).

17 Feb – The CSS Hunley became the first submarine to attack and sink an enemy warship when it destroyed the screw sloop USS Housatonic. Shortly thereafter the Hunley, probably damaged in the blast, also sank (1864).

18 Feb – In the Battle of Paardeberg during the Second Boer War, British forces captured a Boer convoy, albeit at heavy cost, thus seriously weakening the Boer war effort (1900).

19-24 Feb – German and Italian forces under the Desert Fox, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, defeated a larger American, British and Free French troops in the Battle of Kassarine Pass, the first major engagement of US troops in the European theater (1943).

20 Feb to 10 Mar – Five Japanese armies numbering 281,000 soldiers rout three Russian armies numbering 343,000 troops in the Battle of Mukden (1905), the biggest land battle since Leipzig (1813) and the most decisive of the Russo-Japanese War.

21 Feb – Attempting to defeat an Ottoman invasion of Ethiopia and smarting from their defeat at the Battle of Wolfa (28 Aug 1542), a combined Ethiopian and Portuguese force smashed a combined Somali-Ottoman Army in the Battle of Wayna Daga (1543).

22-24 Feb – During the Last Invasion of England, soldiers of the French Republic were defeated in the Battle of Fishguard, Wales (1797).

22-23 Feb – About 5000 US troops under Zachary Taylor stopped over 15,000 Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna in the Battle of Buena Vista, thus handing Taylor his greatest victory and probably the US Presidency in  1849 (1847).

23 Feb to 6 Mar – Almost 2000 soldiers under the Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna besieged and destroyed the Texan mission station at the Alamo, killing every one of the 189 defenders, including American frontiersman Davy Crockett (1836).

23 Feb – Japanese submarine I-17 shelled Ellwood, California, marking the first time that the US homeland was attacked by Axis forces in World War 2 and leading to the internment of Japanese Americans (1942).

24 Feb – During the Italian War (1521-1526), forces of Charles V from the Holy Roman Empire and Spain defeated French troops and captured their commander, King Francis I, at the Battle of Pavia (1525).

24 Feb – Armies of the Afsharid Empire of Persia crushed forces of the Mughal Empire north of Delhi, Indian, in the Battle of Karnal (1739).

25 Feb – In the single greatest loss of life for the US in the Gulf War, an Iraqi scud missile hit a US barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers (1991).

26 Feb – In the Battle of Benevento, French troops bested Sicilian and German mercenaries, securing Sicily for Charles of Anjou (1266).

27 Feb – A fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy under Takeo Takagi devastated a combined American, British, Dutch and Australian (ABDA) task force, sinking two Dutch light cruisers, in the Battle of the Java Sea (1942).

28 Feb – In the Battle of Sunda Strait, a Japanese task force of 2 light carriers, 5 cruisers and 12 destroyers encountered and sunk an American heavy cruiser (USS Houston), an Australian light cruiser (HMAS Perth) and a Dutch destroyer (HNLMS Evertsen) (1942).

28 Feb 1998 to 11 Jun 1999 – NATO forces and Kosovar rebels pushed Serbian forces out of the breakaway province of Kosovo during the Kosovo War (1998-1999).

29 Feb – During Queen Anne’s War, Native American warriors supported by the French troops raided a colonial settlement in Deerfield, Massachusetts. 56 villagers died and over 100 were captured (1704).

1-18 Mar – US and Coalition forces attacked Taliban and allied troops in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan, inflicting heavy casualties (2002).

2 Mar – French and Chinese troops clashed at the Battle of Hoa Moc during the Sino-French War, with the French relieving their besieged forces near near Tuyen Quang in northern Vietnam (1885).

2-4 Mar – In the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, US and Australian fighters, bombers and torpedo boats attacked and destroyed a Japanese convoy bringing reinforcements to New Guinea (1943).

3-4 Mar – Hoping to seize gunpowder and other British military supplies, colonial marines disembarked from a fleet and captured Fort Montagu but failed to advance into the town at Nassau, allowing the British to transfer the powder stores to ships of the Royal Navy (1776).

4 Mar – In Operation Claymore, a British commando raid on the Lofoten Islands off of the northern coast of Norway destroyed over 800,000 gallons of oil and glycerine stores and many factories vital to the German war effort (1941).

5 Mar – During the rebellion of the Moros against the US in the Philippines, soldiers under General Leonard Wood attacked and destroyed a Moro position on the volcanic crater of Bud Dajo, killing 800-900 Moro warriors and some of their families, including women and children (1906).

6 Mar – Soldiers of the 1st US Army captured the German city of Cologne (1945).

7 Mar to 4 Apr – US and UN forces attacked and defeated more numerous North Korean and Chinese troops in Operation Ripper, forcing the communists back to the 38th parallel and recapturing Seoul for the final time during the war (1951).

8-9 Mar – Union Monitor and Confederate Merrimac fight to a draw in the first clash of ironclad warships in history, the Battle of Hampton Roads (1862).

9-10 Mar – Mahdist Sudanese and Ethiopian forces fought to a bloody draw, but the Ethiopian Emperior Yohannes IV was killed in the Battle of Gallabat (1889).

9-10 Mar – During Operation Meetinghouse, the most devastating aerial bombing raid in history, American B29s dropped incendiary bombs creating firestorms that killed an estimated 100,000 Japanese and destroyed nearly 290,000 buildings. (1945).

10 Mar – A Roman fleet defeated a larger Carthaginian one off the western end of Sicily in the Battle of the Aegates Islands, ending the First Punic War (241 BC).

11 Mar – Sensing that Allied positions are Bataan were soon to fall, General Douglas MacArthur fled the island fortress of Corregidor (1942).

12 Mar – After a coup d etat by Austrian Nazis the day before, German troops moved into Austria in the Anchluss, bringing it irrevocably into the Third Reich (1938).

13 Mar – Islamic forces from Medina led by Muhammad defeated troops of the Quraish of Mecca at the Battle of Badr in Arabia. Muslim success eventually led to the conquest of Mecca, the uniting of many previously warring tribes, and the advance of Islam in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe (624).

14 Mar – After the German victory in the Battle of Coronel and defeat at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, the German cruiser SMS Dresden was scuttled by her own crew after being trapped at Robinson Crusoe Island by the Royal Navy (1915).

15 Mar – In the Battle of Guilford Court House, British regulars and Tory militia defeated American regulars and rebel militia. However the cost to the British was so high that their recruiting efforts for Tories in North Carolina collapsed (1781).

16 Mar – In the infamous My Lai massacre in Vietnam, US soldiers killed a 347 Vietnamese military and civilians, including women and children (1968).

17 Mar – Christian Castilian and Murcian forces routed Muslim Granadan troops in the Battle of Los Alporchones, a pivotal victory in the reconquest of Spain (1452).

18 Mar – Eighteen British battleships, mostly obsolete, and a supporting cast of cruisers, minesweepers and other vessels, tried and failed to force passage of the Dardanelles Strait in Turkey, thus setting the stage for the colossal failure of the Gallipoli Campaign (1915).

19-21 Mar – Confederate forces under Joe Johnston were defeated by Union troops under William Sherman in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina (1865).

20 Mar – General Douglas MacArthur promised “I shall return” to the Philippines after fleeing Bataan in the face of overwhelming Japanese strength (1942).

21 Mar to 5 Apr – The Spring Offensive, Germanys’ last chance to break the Allied lines, drive the British Expeditionary Force into the sea and end World War 1, known as Operation Michael, failed (1918).

22 Mar – Indians of the Powhatan Confederacy killed 347 English settlers, 25% of the population, in the Jamestown massacre (1622).

23 – 29 Mar – US and British forces defeated Iraqi units in the Battle of Nasiriyah (2003).

24-25 Mar – 76 British prisoners of war escaped Stalag Luft III in “The Great Escape”, but 73 of these were recaptured and 50 of those recaptured were executed (1944).

25 Mar – Richard I Lionheart was wounded by a crossbow bolt while besieging a castle in France, leading to his death on April 6 (1199).

26 Mar – Ottoman forces repelled British attackers in the first Battle of Gaza in Southern Palestine (1917).

27 Mar to 7 Apr – Forces of the Chinese National Revolutionary Army and the Soviet Volunteer Group defeated the 2nd Army of the Imperial Japanese Army, thus breaking the myth of Japanese invincibility and eventual Allied victory (1938).

28 Mar – British frigates HMS Phoebe and Cherub captured American frigates USS Essex and Essex Junior in the Battle of Valparaiso off the coast of Chile (1814).

29 Mar to 12 May – British soldiers besiege and ultimately conquer the city of Charleston, South Carolina, in the greatest American defeat of the Revolutionary War (1780).

29 Mar – 2000 Imperial British forces in camp at Kambula repelled 20,000 attacking Zulu warriors in the Anglo-Zulu War (1879).

30 Mar – Over 370 American heavy bombers flattened the city of Sofia, Bulgaria (1944).

31 Mar – Japanese invade and conquer Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean from the United Kingdom (1942).

1 Apr – The Union V Corps under Philip Sheridan routed Confederates under George Pickett at the Battle of Five Forks, prompting Lee to abandon Richmond and Petersburg and eventually leading to his capture and surrender at Appomattox (1865).

2 Apr – After the formation of the League of Armed Neutrality (Denmark-Norway, Sweden, Prussia, and Russia) to guarantee free trade with Napoleonic France, a British fleet decimated a Danish-Norwegian force in the Battle of Copenhagen (1801).

3 Apr – Left abandoned by Lee’s retreating Army of Northern Virginia, Union troops captured Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy (1865).

4 Apr to 18 May – Mamluks besiege and capture Acre, the last city in Palestine held by the Crusaders (1291).

5 Apr – Beginning the War of the Pacific, Chile declared war against the Allied forces of Bolivia and Peru, fighting for coastal ports in western South America (1879).

6 Apr to 29 May – Sultan Mehmed II, commanding 80,000 Ottoman soldiers, besieged Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos, commanding 8000 Byzantine troops, and conquered the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (1453).

7 Apr – Italian land and air forces attacked and overran Albanian defenders leading to the conquest of Albania (1939).

8 Apr 1232 to 26 Feb 1233 – Mongols under Subutai besieged and captured the Chinese city of Kaifeng, but suffering heavy losses (1232-1233)

9 Apr – Mongol horse archers and heavy cavalry of the Golden Horde under Subutai (1175-1248) routed a multinational European force of Knights Templar, Knights Hospitalier, Teutonic Knights, Poles and Bavarians in the Battle of Legnica/Liegnitz (1241).

10 Apr – Prussians under Frederick the Great defeated equivalent Austrian forces in the Battle of Mollwitz, Silesia (1741).

11 Apr – Troops from France and the Duchy of Ferrara defeated forces from Spain and the Papal States at the Battle of Ravenna (1512).

12 Apr – Soldiers of the Fourth Crusade conquer and sack the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (1204).

12 Apr – Confederate artillery under PGT Beauregard begins shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, beginning the American Civil War (1861).

13 Apr – Thinking that an insurrection was starting, troops of the British Indian Army killed 379 protestors and wounded 1200, primarily Sikhs, in the  Jallianwala Bagh massacre. This event is also known as the Amritsar massacre (1919).

13 Apr to 20 Jul – Over 35,000 North Vietnamese troops were repulsed by about 7,500 American and South Vietnamese troops in the Battle of An Loc (1972).

14 Apr – Bulgarian and Byzantine soldiers defeated Latins in the Battle of Adrianople, less than one year after the Latin soldiers of the Fourth Crusade captured Constantinople (1205).

15 Apr – Luftwaffe bombers began the Belfast Blitz, destroying the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland and eventually killing almost 1000 people (1941).

16-19 Apr – Over one million Soviet troops attacked and pushed back about 112,000 German defenders in the Battle of Seelow Heights, opening the way for conquest of Berlin a few days later (1945).

17 Apr – French General Henri Giraud escaped from the German POW camp at Konigstein Castle near Dresden, Germany, making his way safely to Switzerland and later rejoining the war against the Axis (1942).

18 Apr – 16 B-25 Mitchells under James Doolittle bombed Tokyo and other cities in the Japanese Home Islands (1942).

19 Apr – The Battle of Haugsnes was fought between opposing Icelandic clans, the largest and bloodiest battle in the island’s history (1246).

19 Apr – Colonial militia defeat a British column in the Battles of Lexington and Concord (1775).

20 Apr 1775 to 17 Mar 1776 – Militia from New England and surrounding colonies besieged British regulars occupying Boston, eventually capturing the city (1775-1776).

21 Apr – After the disaster at the Alamo and the massacre at Goliad, Texan soldiers under Sam Houston routed Mexican soldiers under Santa Anna, who was captured, at the Battle of San Jacinto (1836).

22-23 Apr – 1LT Carter Harman of the 1st Air Commando Group performed the first helicopter (Sikorsky YR-4B) combat search and rescue mission in history when he rescued a pilot and three British soldiers in the China-Burma theater (1944).

23 Apr – Naval forces from the United Kingdom tried and failed to close the Belgian port at Zeebrugge, which was used as a base for German U-boats (1918).

24 Apr – By tradition, the date on which the City of Troy fell to the Greeks (1184 BC).

25 Apr 1915 to 9 Jan 1916 – British and French troops invade the Gallipoli Peninsula in the Ottoman Empire, initiating a campaign that would end in disaster (1915-1916).

26 Apr – Germany won its last victory of World War 2 in the Battle of Bautzen, though it had no impact on the imminent defeat of the Third Reich (1945).

27 Apr to 13 May – A force of US marines, US soldiers, and local mercenaries captured the fortress and port of Derne, held by Ottoman Tripolitanian forces, the decisive action of the Barbary War (1805).

28 Apr – In the Battle of Cerignola, which was the first major battle involving the widespread use of small firearms, Spanish troops defeated a larger French force (1503).

29 Apr – HMS Goodall K479 was torpedoed and sunk by U-286, the last ship of the Royal Navy to be sunk in the European theatre in WW2 (1945).

30 Apr to 6 May – Confederate forces under Lee and Jackson defeat Union forces under Hooker at the Battle of Chancellorsville (1863).

1 May – In the Battle of Manila Bay, four US protected (armored deck) cruisers and two gunboats destroyed two Spanish protected cruisers and four unprotected ones (1898).

2 May – The German capital of Berlin fell to Soviet forces, with the final German surrender occurring six days later (1945).

3-4 May – Japanese troops invaded the Tulagi and Gavutu Islands in the Solomon chain, precipitating the Battle of the Coral Sea (1942).

4 May – In one of the most important engagements between the House of York and the House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV of York defeated Edward Prince of Wales at the Battle of Tewkesbury (1471).

5 May – Mexican forces under General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated an invading French army at the Battle of Puebla, a victory commemorated annually in Cinco De Mayo (1862).

5-7 May – Union and Confederate forces fought to a bloody draw in the Battle of the Wilderness near Spotsylvania, Virginia (1984).

6-11 May – Soviet, Czech, Rumanian and Polish forces attacked remaining German, Slovak and Russian troops in southeastern Germany and Western Czechoslovakia, defeating them decisively in the Prague Offensive, which ended after the Third Reich had officially capitulated on 8 May (1945).

7 May to 18 Aug – Spanish Christian troops from Castile and Aragon under Isabella and Ferdinand besieged and captured the Muslim-held fortress of Malaga in Grenada, marking the first battle in which purpose-built ambulances were used (1487).

8 May – A small force of Greek revolutionaries held off determined attacks by a much larger force of Ottoman soldiers in the Battle of Gravia, a key victory in the Greek War of Independence (1821).

8 May – Effective artillery fire helped Zachary Taylor to defeat a larger Mexican force under Mariano Arista in the Battle of Palo Alto, the first major engagement in the Mexican-American War (1846).

9 May – Fighting combined Austrian and Prussian ships, the Danish navy defeated an enemy fleet in the Battle of Heligoland. They were unable, however, to win the war (1864).

10 May – The Green Mountain Boys under Ethan Allen defeated the British forces and captured Fort Ticonderoga (1775).

10 May – Stonewall Jackson, Confederate Commander, died (1863).

11-30 May – US troops invaded the Aleutian Island of Attu, killing or captured the Japanese soldiers who had held the island since 7 Jun 1942 (1943).

12-13 May – In the last battle of the Civil War, Confederate forces repulsed a Union attack in the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas (1865).

13 May – With 15 other slaves on board, black slave and ship’s pilot Robert Smalls stole the former US gunship CSS Planter, navigated through Confederate coastal defenses, and surrendered the ship to the Union Army at Fort Pulaski in Georgia (1862). He was later given command of the USS Planter, the first black man to command a US Navy ship.

14 May to 19 Jun – Soldiers of the First Crusade and Byzantium besieged and captured the Turkish citadel at Nicaea (1097).

15 May – German peasants under the Anabaptist Thomas Muntzer were defeated by German mercenary armies under local feudal lords in the Battle of Frankenhausen, ending the Peasant’s Revolt (1525).

16 May – Loyalists crushed revolutionaries in the Battle of Asseiceira, effectively ending the Portuguese Civil War (1834).

17 May – The German Luftwaffe destroyed over one-third of the old city of Middelburg, prompting the surrender of Dutch forces (1940).

18 May to 11 Sep – About 7,000 Maltese, Spanish and Sicilian troops and Knights of St. John defeated more than 22,000 Turks to hold the Island of Malta (1565).

19 May – After a century of being the dominant land power in Europe, the Spanish with their famed unit the tercio were beaten by a French army in the Battle of Rocroi (1643).

20 May – The city of Magdeburg in Germany was destroyed by besieging Catholic League and Holy Roman Empire forces, who pillaged the valuables and killed 20,000 inhabitants (1631).

21-25 May – British naval and amphibious forces successfully landed on the Falkland Islands despite heavy aerial attack from the Argentine Air Force in the Battle of San Carlos of the Falklands War (1982).

22 May to 9 Jul – Port Hudson, Louisiana was besieged by and finally fell to Union land and naval forces trying to gain control of the Mississippi River (1863).

23 May – Italy defected from its alliance with Germany and declared war on Austria-Hungary in World War 1 (1915).

24 May – The British battle cruiser HMS Hood was sunk by the German battleship Bismarck in the Battle of Denmark Strait, but the Bismarck was damaged and itself sunk on 27 May (1941).

25 May – In the Carnew massacre, 38 Irish prisoners were killed by British troops during the United Irish Rebellion (1798).

26 May to 13 Aug – Spanish and Tlaxcallān (native) forces under Hernan Cortes defeated an Aztec army, besieged and captured the capital city of Tenochtitlan and destroyed the Aztec Empire (1521).

27-28 May – 89 Japanese ships sunk 21 of 28 Russian ships in the only decisive action between modern steel battleships in naval history, the Battle of Tsushima (1905).

28 May – 130 ships, 8,000 sailors and 18,000 soldiers of the Spanish armada set sail in their ill-fated attempt to conquer England (1588).

29 May – Turkish Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople, finally destroying the Byzantine Empire (1453).

30 May – 1000 British bombers attacked Cologne, Germany, in Operation Millennium (1942).

1 Jun – In the Battle of Fairfax Court House, the first land engagement of the American Civil War, Confederate and Union troops skirmished inconclusively, but Union forces soon occupied the town (1861).

2 Jun – A French fleet of 28 ships of the line defeated a combined fleet of 27 ships from Spain and the Holland while they were at bay under repairs in the Battle of Palermo, Italy. This secured French naval supremacy in the Mediterranean (1676).

3 Jun – Poorly trained Union forces defeated poorly trained and equipped Confederate troops at the Battle of Philippi, West Virginia, launching General George McClellan to national prominence (1861).

4 Jun to 20 Sep – Imperial Russian forces attacked and defeated combined German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman forces in the Battle of Brusilov. Austrian power was broken and the Germans were forced to release their stranglehold on Verdun in France, but the Russians sued for peace just one year later (1916).

5 Jun –  Having isolated British, Belgian, Dutch and French troops in the Low Countries, the Wehrmacht attacked south across the Somme River into the French mainland. French forces were destroyed, Paris fell on June 14 and France surrendered 25 June (1940).

5-10 Jun – Israeli forces launched a preemptive strike on massed Egyptian and Syrian formations, capturing the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights in the Six Day War (1967).

6 June – D-Day: Allied amphibious invasion of German-occupied France in WW2 (1944).

7 Jun – Having just conquered the city of Antioch on 2 Jun, the Crusaders were themselves besieged by relieving Turkish Muslim forces under Kerbogha until a Crusader sortie routed the Muslims on 28 June (1098).

8 Jun to 26 Jul – During the French and Indian War, British troops besieged the French fortress of Louisbourg in Nova Scotia (1758).

9 Jun – Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson defeated Union troops under Erastus B Tyler in the Battle of Port Republic, forcing the Union to retreat from the Shenandoah Valley (1862).

10-11 Jun – In the Battle of Pelekanon, an Ottoman army near Nicomedia, Bithynia routed a Byzantine force, marking the last time that the Byzantines ever tried to recapture territory in Anatolia from the Turks (1329).

11 Jun – The traditional date for the fall of Troy as calculated by the Greek mathematicians Eratosthenes (1184 BC).

12 Jun – 13,000 British and French troops, including the entire British 51st Highland Infantry Division, surrendered to the 7th Panzer Division under Major General Erwin Rommel at Saint-Valery-en-Caux on the English Channel in France (1940).

13 Jun – German Gotha G bombers raided London during World War I, killing 162 and injuring 432 (1917).

14 Jun – The Continental Army, later to become the United States Army, was established by the Continental Congress (1775).

15 Jun – Serbian forces under Prince Lazar defeated by Ottoman forces under Sultan Murad I in the Battle of Kosovo (1389). Both leaders and most of their forces were killed in the fighting.

16 Jun – French armies under Napoleon I defeated Prussian armies under Blucher at Ligny and Coalition armies (British, Dutch and Hanoverian) at Quatre Bras in Belgium (1815).

17 Jun – Vlad III “The Impaler” and his Wallachian troops attacked the Ottoman army camp under Mehmet II at night and tried to assassinate the Sultan (1462). The Sultan escaped but 15,000 of his troops were killed. Vlad III’s father was Vlad II Dracul, and the Irish novelist Bram Stoker associated him with Count Dracula in his famous novel Dracula (1897).

18 Jun – French forces under La Hire and inspired by Joan of Arc (1412-1431) decisively defeated the English and turned the tide in the Hundred Years War at the Battle of Patay (1429).

18 Jun – Combined British, Prussian, and Coalition armies crushed Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Waterloo, ending the Napoleonic era in Europe (1815).

19-22 Jun – The Russian Black Sea fleet demolished a larger Ottoman fleet in the Battle of Athos (1807).

19-20 Jun – In the Battle of the Philippine Sea, a seven carrier fleet USN fleet under Admiral Spruance devastated a five carrier Japanese fleet under Ozawa (1944). This was known to Americans as the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot because of the huge losses of Japanese aircraft, and prevented further Japanese carrier operations.

20 Jun – Hoping to capitalize on German success in the north, Italy launched a costly and unsuccessful invasion of France (1940).

21 Jun – Japanese submarine I-25 shelled Fort Stevens in Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River causing little damage (1942).

22 Jun – Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa (1941).

23-24 Jun – Scottish army under Robert Bruce defeated an English army under King Edward II and capturing Sterling Castle at the Battle of Bannockburn, thereby securing Scottish independence (1314).

24 Jun – The English fleet under Edward III defeated the French fleet in the Battle of Sluys, securing the English Channel for Britain and marking the beginning of the Hundred Years War (1340).

24 Jun – 7 Feb – French and Spanish forces besieged British troops holding the fortress at Gibraltar but, unable to block British resupply and reinforcement, failed and withdrew, securing British control of shipping between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic (1779-1783).

25-26 Jun – Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer and his detachment of the 7th US Cavalry were annihilated by Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho in the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876).

26 Jun to 22 Dec – 200,000 Ottoman troops and 400 ships under Suleiman the Magnificent defeated 7,500 Knights Hospitaller and Venetian soldiers and captured the Island of Rhodes (1522).

27 Jun – Following the crushing defeat of the Russian Navy in the Battle of Tsushima in May, Russian sailors on the battleship Potemkin mutinied against their officers. On 7 July the mutinous crew returned to Sevastopol to surrender but in harbor the Potemkin was sunk by the opening of sea valves before the crew could disembark (1905).

27 Jun – Panzer armies of Army Group Center met at Minsk in Byelorussia, encircling and destroying the Soviet 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th armies (1941).

28 Jun – Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria, and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Belgrade by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip, resulting in an Austrian declaration of war on Serbia on 28 July, a Russian declaration of war on Austria, a German declaration of war on Russia, and a French declaration of war on Germany. Thus began the First World War (1914).

29 Jun – Crusader Prince Raymond of Antioch was defeated by Nur ad-Din, losing much of the Crusader principality of Antioch (1149).

30 Jun to 1 Jul – On the “night of sorrows”, Spanish fighters under Hernan Cortes escape from the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan after fierce fighting with heavy losses in personnel and equipment (1520).

1 Jul – Crusaders defeated Seljuk Turks at the Battle of Doryleum (1097).

1-3 Jul – Battle of Gettysburg, the culmination of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s second invasion of the north, resulted in a strategic Union victory (1863).

1 Jul to 18 Sep – British and French attack German trenches, gaining a costly but small victory, in the Battle of the Somme (1916). Mechanized armored fighting vehicles known as tanks were first used in this battle.

2 Jul – Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan led a cavalry raid through Kentucky and parts of Indiana and Ohio (1863).

3 Jul – US Grant met with Pemberton, the commander of the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg (1863).

4 Jul – Vicksburg surrendered to Grant (1863).

4 Jul – Seljuk Turks under Saladin destroyed a Crusader army in the Battle of Hattin, in Galilee near the Sea of Tiberias (1187).

4-22 Jul – Hungarian troops led by John Hunyadi (1406-1456) besieged and conquered Belgrade in Serbia, destroying an Ottoman army under Mehmet II (1456).

5 Jul – Admiral David Farragut, hero of the Battle of New Orleans, was born (1801).

6 Jul – James II defeated James, Duke of Monmouth a the Battle of Sedgemoor (1685).

7 Jul – Adolf Hitler started the V-2 missile program (1943).

8 Jul – Peter the Great defeated Charles XII at Poltava, in the Ukraine (1709).

9 Jul – Confederate Cavalry led by John Hunt Morgan captured Tompkinsville, Kentucky (1861).

10 Jul – US carrier-based aircraft began airstrikes against Japan in preparation for invasion (1945).

11 Jul – American forces broke the 95 day siege of An Loc Vietnam (1972).

12 Jul – William III defeated the allied Irish and French at Aughrim, Ireland (1691).

12 Jul – British Admiral Lord Nelson lost his right eye at the siege of Calvi, in Corsica (1794).

13 Jul – Royalist forces in England defeat Parlimentarian forces at the beginning of the English Civil War in the Battle of Roundway Down (1643).

13 Jul – George Washington surrendered Fort Necessity to the French (1754).

14 Jul – The Ottomans were defeated by the Hungarians at the Battle of Belgrade (1456).

15 Jul – Jerusalem was captured by the Crusaders (1099).

15 Jul – In the First Battle of Tannenberg, Polish and allied forces destroyed a force of Teutonic knights, ending the power of the Teutonic knights in Europe, and winning the most important victory in Polish military history (1410).

16 Jul – American troops under Anthony Wayne captured Stony Point, NY (1779).

16 Jul to 17 Aug – Austrians and Bavarians under Prince Eugene of Savoy besieged and captured Belgrade from the Ottomans in the Austro-Turkish War of 1716–1718 (1717).

17 Jul – France defeated England at the Battle of Castillon, ending the Hundred Years War (1453).

18 Jul – The Spanish Civil War began (1936).

19 Jul – The Franco-Prussian War began with France’s declaration of war against Prussia (1870).

20 Jul – Tamerlane’s Mongols defeat the Turks at the Battle of Angora (1402).

20 Jul – Confederates under John Bell Hood attacked General Thomas’s Army of the Cumberland in the battle of Peachtree Creek (1864).

21 Jul – Napoleon defeated the Mamlukes at the Battle of the Pyramids (1798).

21 Jul – Confederate forces defeat Union troops in the First Battle of Manassas (1861).

22 Jul – An English army of 15,000 under King Edward I defeated a Scottish army of 6000 under Sir William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk, the first major victory of the English longbowmen (1298).

22 Jul to 2 Sep – Union forces commanded by William Tecumsah Sherman invest, besiege and ultimately capture the City of Atlanta, defended by Confederates under John Bell Hood.

22 Jul – B-52 bombers bombed the DMZ between North and South Vietnam for the first time (1966).

23 Jul – Irish patriots rebelled against Great Britain (1803).

23 Jul – Soviet troops took Lublin, Poland (1944).

24 Jul – Germans captured Rostov (1942).

25 Jul – British defeated a French army at Fort Niagara in Canada (1759).

26 Jul – British Forces captured Louisburg after a seven week siege (1758).

27 Jul – At the Battle of Bouvines in France Philip Augustus (France) defeated John (England).

28 Jul – Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, which begins World War 1 (1914).

29 Jul – The Army of the Grand Alliance was destroyed by the French at the Battle of Neerwinden (1693).

30 Jul – Confederates threw back the abortive Union attack at the Battle of the Crater (1864).

30 Jul – 3 Aug – A Tartar army from the Crimea under Khan Devlet I and a large force of Ottoman Janissaries combined to invade Russia during the Livonian war during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The 60,000 Russians smashed the 120,000 invaders, ending the hopes of the Tartars and Ottomans to conquer Russia (1572).

31 Jul – George Henry Thomas, Union General during the American Civil War, was born (1816).

31 Jul – William Clarke Quantrill, Confederate raider was born (1837).

1 Aug – Germany and Russia declare war against each other, France orders a general mobilization and the first German army units go to Luxembourg to prepare for the German invasion of France (1914).

2 Aug – During the night 820 US B-29 Super fortress bombers dropped a record total of 6632 tons of bombs on five Japanese cities including   Hachioji, Nagaoka, Mito, Toyama and the petroleum center of Kawasaki. Most of Toyama was obliterated (1945).

3 Aug – Battle of Lonato: The French defeated the Austrians (1796), Burma: Allied troops conquered Myitkyina, reopening the Burma Road (1944).

4 Aug – Two US destroyers engaged 3 North Vietnamese patrol boats in the Gulf of Tonkin; this served to spur America to greater involvement in Vietnam (1964).

5 Aug – Union forces captured Mobile Bay, Alabama (1864).

5 Aug – German army launched its assault on Liege, Belgium, opening the First World War (1914),

6 Aug – The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima by the B-29 Enola Gay (1945).

7 Aug – President George H. W. Bush ordered a military buildup (Desert Shield) to prevent further Iraqi advances into Kuwait (1990).

8 Aug – Combined fleets of England and Holland defeat the Spanish Armada in the Battle of the Gravelines (1588).

8 Aug – Soviet Russia declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria (1945).

9 Aug – Romans were routed by the Visigoths at the battle of Adrianople (378).

9 Aug – Rebels defeated Union General Banks’s force at the Battle of Cedar Mountain (1862).

10-21 Aug – Pueblo Indians revolt against Spanish rule, ultimately besieging and capturing the principle Spanish town of Santa Fe, New Mexico and ending Spanish domination of that area (1680).

10 Aug – In the Battle of Wilson’s Creek (in Missouri) Union General Lyon was killed (1861).

11 Aug – Confederate General Jubal Early evacuated Winchester, Virginia after his raid into Maryland (1864).

12 Aug – The assassination of Metacom (commonly known as King Phillip) ended King Phillip’s War (1676).

13 Aug – Eagle Day in the Battle of Britain (the German name for the first day of a major air offensive) sees a marked increase in Luftwaffe daylight bombings of Britain as well as Luftwaffe casualties (1940).

14 Aug – In the Battle of Aljubarrota, Portuguese and English forces defeated Castilian forces, ensuring Portugese sovereignty (1385).

14 Aug – Portuguese forces under King John I and Henry the Navigator defeated troops from the Sultanate of Morocco to conquer the city of Cueta and the surrounding region, the jumping off point for the Umayyad invasion of Iberia in 710 (1415).

15-20 Aug – Muslim Arab forces under Umar ibn al Khattab routed Byzantine and Ghassanid Arab forces at the Battle of Yarmuk near modern Jordan, permanently capturing Syria and Palestine from Byzantium and setting up the Muslim conquest of Egypt (636).

16 Aug – Continental troops and militia decimated British and Hessian forces foraging for supplies at the Battle of Benington, contributing to the major American victory over Burgoyne at Saratoga (1777).

17 Aug – Dakota War of 1862 began in the Minnesota Territory, with Dakota Sioux raiding white settlements and killing up to 800 settlers in response to treaty violations. The war lasted until after the Battle of Wood Lake at Camp Release in Sep (1862).

18 Aug – In the largest battle of the Franco-Prussian War, French armies managed a slim victory over attacking Prussians in the Battle of Gravelotte, but were unable to prevent the Germans from encircling and later capturing the city of Metz (1870).

19 Aug – Over 6,000 British, Canadian and Polish commandos landed on beaches near Dieppe, France, hoping to secure a port and destroy German coastal defenses. Instead 3000 were killed or captured, nearly 100 aircraft were lost and the Royal Navy lost 33 landing craft and one destroyer against the 1500 men of the 302nd German static division and supporting Luftwaffe forces (1942).

20 Aug – Germans occupy Brussels in WW1 (1914).

21 Aug – In the Battle of Vimeiro, British and Portuguese soldiers under Sir Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington, 1769-1852) scored the first major victory against Napoleon’s French forces in the Peninsular War (1808).

22 Aug – The House of Lancaster under Henry Tudor, with the help of the forces of Thomas Stanley, defeated King Richard III of England and the House of York at the Battle of Bosworth Field, ending the Wars of the Roses and the reign of the Plantagenet dynasty in England (1485).

23 Aug – Armies of Ottoman Sultan Selim I crushed a far smaller Safavid (Persian) force under Shah Ismail I in the Battle of Chaldiran in northwest Iran, beginning a war that would last 41 years (1514).

24 Aug – Selim I and his Ottoman troops crushed the Mamlukes at the Battle of Marj Dabiq in northern Syria (the Ottoman-Mamluke War 1516-1517), allowing the Turks to annex Syria and demonstrating the primacy of cannon on the battlefield (1516).

24-27 Aug – Visigoths under Alaric capture and sack the City of Rome (410).

25 Aug – Prussian forces under Frederick the Great fight to a stalemate against Russian troops under Count William Fermor in the Battle of Zorndorf during the Seven Years War (1758).  The Seven Years Wars (1756-1763) was arguably the first truly world war, pitting Great Britain, Prussia, Hanover, other German states, and the Iroquois Confederation  against France, Austria, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Saxony, and the Mughal Empire (modern India).

26 Aug – Seljuk Turks defeated Byzantines under Romanos IV after Pecheneg and Cuman Turkic mercenaries deserted and Romanos’ rival Doukas failed to support him at the Battle of Manzikert (1071). This destroyed Byzantine power in the heartland of Anatolia and began the terminal decline of the Empire.

26 Aug – English under Edward III defeat French under Philip VI in the Battle of Crecy, highlighting the superiority of the English longbow over the crossbow (1346).

27 Aug – In the first major battle after the Declaration of Independence, British ground and sea forces under William Howe defeat Continental forces under George Washington in the Battle of Long Island (1776).

28 Aug – The Battle of Heligoland Bight in the North Sea was the first naval battle in World War I. British battlecruisers, light cruisers, destroyers and submarines attacked and defeated a smaller number of German light cruisers, torpedo boats and minesweepers (1914).

29 Aug – With the fall of Belgrade (1521), Hungary had become the last Western bulwark against Ottoman expansion. Suleiman the Magnificent led an army of at least 55,000 which crushed a Hungarian army under King Louis II at the Battle of Mohacs (1526).

30 Aug – About 1,000 Creek warriors storm and capture Fort Mims, Alabama, killing or capturing over 500 defenders and other inhabitants. This was one of the greatest Indian victories against US forces during the Indian Wars (1813).

31 Aug – Polish cavalry smashed Bolshevik invaders in the Battle of Komarow, the last great cavalry battle in history (1920).

1 Sep – Nazi Germany invades Poland to begin World War II (1939).

2 Sep – 8,200 British and 18,000 Egyptians and Sudanese under Sir Herbert Kitchener defeated 52,000 Sudanese Dervishes under Abdullah al-Tashi, killing 10,000 and capturing 5,000, in the Battle of Omdurman (1898).

3 Sep – Egyptian Mamluk cavalry under Baibars defeated a Mongol army in southeastern Galilee at the Battle of Ain Jalut, marking the end of the Mongol threat to Egypt (1260).

4 Sep – The last emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Romulus Augustus, was deposed with Germanic ruler Odoacer proclaimed himself “King of Italy”. This marked the end of the Western Roman Empire (476).

4 Sep – The Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac River into Maryland in the first Confederate invasion of the North (1862).

5-6 Sep – Catholic forces from Spain, the Bavarian League, and the Holy Roman Empire devastate a combined Swedish and Saxon army at the Battle of Nordlingen (1634).

7 Sep – Richard I “The Lionheart” defeated Saladin in the Battle of Arsuf, thus returning control of the southern coast of Palestine to Crusader forces (1191).

7 Sep – Napoleon’s invading Grande Armee defeated Russian forces under General Mikhail Kutuzov in the Battle of Borodino, the largest and bloodiest day in the campaign (1812).

8 Sep – British and Americans fight to a draw in the Battle of Eutaw Springs, the last notable battle in the Carolinas during the War for Independence (1781).

9 Sep – King James IV of Scotland was killed leading his invading troops against the English in the Battle of Flodden Field (1513).

9-16 Sep – Italian troops attack British forces from their bases in Libya into British-controlled Egypt, capturing Sidi Barrani, an Egyptian port on the Mediterranean (1940).

10 Sep – A US fleet commanded by Oliver Perry defeated and captured a British fleet to gain control of the Great Lakes in the Battle of Lake Erie (1813).

11 Sep – 2,300 Scots under William Wallace defeated about 10,000 English soldiers under the Earl of Surrey at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297).

12 Sep – The accepted but uncertain date for the Battle of Marathon, the famous Greek victory over a Persian force over twice as large (490 BC).

13 Sep – Armies under the Byzantine General Belisarius  defeated forces of the Vandal kingdom in the Battle of Ad Decimum near Carthage in modern Tunisia (533).

14 Sep – The French Grande Armee entered Moscow.

15 Sep – In the First Sino-Japanese War, Japan defeated Chinese forces in the Battle of Pyongyang, compelling the Chinese to leave the Korean peninsula (1894).

16 Sep – American troops defending Harlem Heights in New York held off British attacks in what many historians consider to be George Washington’s first battlefield victory in the Revolution (1776).

17 Sep – Swedish and Saxon forces under the command of Gustavus Adolphus (1594-1632) crushed forces of the Holy Roman Empire, Hungary and Croatia in the Battle of Breitenfeld, a major Protestant victory in the Thirty Years’ War (1631).

17 Sep – Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan and Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee fought to a draw in the bloodiest day in US history at Antietam (1862).

18 Sep – Constantine I defeated his rival Licinius near Chalcedon in the province of Bithynia to become Emperor of the Roman Empire (324).

19 Sep – The Black Prince Edward of England led 6,000 Englishmen to victory against 11,000 Frenchmen, capturing the French King John II and plunging France into chaos in the Battle of Poitiers (1356).

19 Sep – 21 Nov – Soldiers from Bohemia and the Palatinate defeated forces of the Holy Roman Empire and captured the fortress at Pilsen in Bohemia in the first major battle of the Thirty Years’ War (1618).

20 Sep to 2 Oct – After his victory over the Crusaders at the Battle of Hattin, Saladin besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, thus ending the First Kingdom of Jerusalem (1187).

21 Sep – A combined British and French force smashed a large Chinese army in the Battle of Palikao of the Second Opium War, leaving Beijing to be occupied two weeks later (1860).

22 Sep – Iraq invaded Iran, hoping to stabilize Iraq in the face of the Shia Iranian revolution and gain control over oil fields and transport routes. The war turned into a bloody stalemate with over one million people killed, and lasted from 22 Sep 1980 to 20 Aug 1988.

23 Sep – In the Battle of Arnemuiden, the first naval engagement of the Hundred Years War, a large French fleet attacked and destroyed a small British one (1338). It was the first naval battle in European history which employed cannon.

24 Sep to 6 Oct – British land and sea forces defeated Spanish forces and besieged and conquered Manila in the Battle of Manila during the Seven Years War (1762).

24 Sep – Imperial Japanese forces defeated the last remnants of the Satsuma Rebellion in the Battle of Shiroyama (1877).

25 Sep – Combined force of French, Hungarians, Venetians, Genoans, Bulgarians, Wallachians, and others from the Holy Roman Empire defeated by Ottoman Turks and Serbians in the Battle of Nicopolis in Bulgaria (1396).

26 Sep to 11 Nov – US troops under John J. Pershing and French troops under Henri Gouraud attacked German defenders outside Paris in the Meuse-Argonne offensive near the end of WWI. They achieved a major victory (1918).

26 Sep – During the Frankish Civil War in the Battle of Compiègne , troops loyal to Ragenfrid defeated those loyal to Theudoald, the heir to the throne. Shortly afterward Charles Martel (688-741), hero of the Battle of Tours (732) which saved France from Moorish domination, seized power (715).

27 Sep to 15 Oct – 23,000 soldiers of the Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia and Spain hold Vienna against an Ottoman siege army of 120,000 under Suleiman the Magnificent (1529). The Turks had reached their high water mark in Europe.

28 Sep – Filipino guerillas in a surprise attack killed 78 soldiers of the 9th US Infantry in the Balangiga massacre (1901).

29 Sep – In the Italo-Turkish War (29 Sep 1911 to 18 Oct 1912), Italy declared war on the Ottoman Empire, conquering Libya from the Ottomans and triggering the First Balkan War (8 Oct 1912 to 30 May 1913).

30 Sep – During the War of Austrian Succession, combined Franco-Spanish forces overcame defending troops from Piedmont and Sardinia, but at such a cost and so late in the year that they withdrew west of the Alps a short time later (1744).

1 Oct – Macedonian King Alexander the Great led Greek forces to smash Persian troops under Darius III in the Battle of Gaugamela, not far from modern Mosul. As a result Babylon, Mesopotamia and half of Persia fell under Greek control (331 BC).

2 Oct – In an attempt to reassert Norwegian domination over parts of Scotland, the King of Norway invaded and fought the inconclusive Battle of Largs against the Scots (1263).

3-4 Oct – 160 US Special Operations soldiers in Mogadishu, Somalia beat off thousands of attacking Somali militiamen, losing 18 while killing hundreds of Somalis. As a result, however, the US and UN forces withdraw from Somalia, thus achieving the goal of the militiamen (1993).

4 Oct – British and Hessian defenders commanded by William Howe drove back the Continental Army attack under George Washington at Germantown near Philadelphia (1777).

5 Oct – In the Battle of the Thames, William Henry Harrison’s US militia smashed the combined troops of Britain and the Indian Confederation under the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh (1813). Chief Tecumseh was killed and the Native coalition collapsed.

6 Oct – Egypt and Syria, supported by Iraq, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and even Cuba, launched a surprise attack on Israeli forces during the Jewish Holy Day of Yom Kippur (1973). After heavy early losses, the Israelis counterattacked and destroyed large Syrian and Egyptian forces.

7 Oct – Ships of the Holy League (Venice, Genoa, Spain, Greece, and others) crushed the Ottoman navy at the Naval Battle of Lepanto (1571).

8 Oct – American SGT Alvin York killed 23 German soldiers and captured 132 in the Battle of the Argonne Forest, earning the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism.

9 Oct – Union troops fought off a Confederate attack in the Battle of Santa Rosa Island (1861).

10 Oct – St. Paul’s Cathedral in London survived a direct hit by a Luftwaffe bomb in the Battle of Britain (1940).

11-12 Oct – A US Navy task force under Robert L Ghormley defeated a Japanese task force under Gunichi Mikawa in the Battle of Cape Esperance (1942).

12 Oct – In the First Battle of Passchendale, French and British Commonwealth troops, especially from Australia and New Zealand, attacked German trenches in France (1917). They were repulsed, and New Zealand suffered almost 3000 casualties, the highest single day toll in the nation’s history.

13 Oct – British and Canadian troops defeated an American invasion in the Battle of Queenston Heights in Ontario, Canada (1812).

14 Oct – Napoleon’s French armies crushed the Duke of Brunswick’s larger Prussian armies in the Battles of Jena and Auerstadt in Germany (1806). The French were able to occupy Prussia as a result.

14 Oct – Victorio, one of the greatest Apache warriors, was killed by Mexican soldiers in Northern Mexico during the Tres Castillos Massacre (1880).

15 to 20 Oct – Napoleon’s Grand Armee defeated the Austrian army in Bavaria at the Battle of Ulm (1805).

15 Oct – After losing the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon began his final exile to St Helena in the South Atlantic (1815).

16-19 Oct – Napoleon is defeated by the combined forces of Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Saxony and Wurttemberg at the Battle of Leipzig, losing all of his possessions in Eastern Europe (1813).

17 Oct – Combined French, British, Sardinian and Ottoman forces besieged the Russian fortress and naval base at Sevatopol in the Crimea, eventually leading to an allied victory (17 Oct 1854 to 9 Sep 1855).

18 Oct – Wallachians led by Michael the Brave defeated Transylvanians under Andrew Bathory in the Battle of Selimbar, thus unifying Romania for the first time (1599).

19 Oct – Roman forces under Scipio Africanus crush Carthaginian forces under Hannibal in the Battle of Zama near the city of Carthage, ending the Second Punic War (202 BC).

20 Oct – During the Greek War of Independence, Great Britain, France and Russia allied against the Ottomans and the Egyptians, crushing them in the naval Battle of Navarino (1827).

21 Oct to 2 Jun – The Crusader armies began their siege of Antioch, defeating two Muslim armies sent to relieve the city and finally conquering it on 2 Jun (1097-1098).

21 Oct – Admiral Horatio Nelson commanding the British fleets won one of the greatest victories in naval history, defeating the combined French and Spanish fleets in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).

22 Oct – In the Battle of Red Bank, Continental Army soldiers repulsed a Hessian attack on Fort Mercer in New Jersey, thus continuing to interpret supplies to British troops stationed in Philadelphia (1776).

23 Oct to 11 Nov – Allied forces under Bernard Montgomery defeated the Afrika Corps under Georg Stumme in the Second Battle of El Alamein, which turned the tide of war against the Axis in Africa (1942).

24 Oct to 12 Nov – Italian forces are smashed by German and Austrian troops in the Italian Alps in the Battle of Caporetto (1917).

25 Oct – About 9,000 English knights, men at arms and longbowmen commanded by Henry V destroyed up to 30,000 French soldiers commanded by Charles d’Albret in the Battle of Agincourt (1415).

26 Oct – British, Canadian and Mohawk troops defeated an American attack in Southern Quebec intended to capture Montreal at the Battle of the Chateauguay (1813).

27 Oct – Ethiopian rebel forces defeated the supporters of Emperor Iyasu in the Battle of Segale, and Zawditu was proclaimed Empress (1916).

28 Oct – Battle of Milvian Bridge in which Roman legions loyal to Constantine defeated those loyal to Maxentius, thus securing the Roman Empire for Constantine (312).

28 Oct to 3 Nov – Bulgarian forces defeated Ottoman troops in the Battle of Lule Burgas (1912), causing the Turks to lose most of Thrace, the last European portion of the Empire.

29 Oct – Mamluks defeated Mongol army in Western Syria at the Battle of Homs, ending the Mongol threat to the Mamluks (1281).

30 Oct – English troops repelled a Spanish invasion to retake Jamaica in the Battle of Ocho Rios (1657).

31 Oct – In the Battle of Beersheba, British Commonwealth troops defeated Turkish and German forces in what was billed at the last successful cavalry charge in history (1917).

1 Nov – The Royal Navy lost the cruisers HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth in the Battle of Coronel against a German fleet off Chile (1914).

2 Nov – Outnumbered Greek forces defeated Italian invaders at the Battle of Elaia-Kalamas, ending the Italian offensive and later driving the Italians back into Albania (1940).

3 Nov – The German revolution began when 40,000 Kriegsmarine sailors took over the port of Kiel, thus precipitating the fall of the Imperial government and ending World War I (1918).

4 Nov – In the Battle of Johnsonville, Confederate forces under Nathan Bedford Forrest destroyed a Union supply base, slowing a Union advance through Tennessee (1864).

5 Nov – Badly outnumbered British and Australian troops defeated a Chinese division in the Battle of Pakchon, stopping the first phase of the Chinese offensive into North Korea (1950).

6 Nov – Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus was killed during the Protestant victory in the Battle of Lutzen (1632).

7 Nov – Future President William Henry Harrison defeated Tecumseh’s confederacy at the Battle of Tippecanoe (1811).

8 Nov – Armies from the Catholic League, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire converged on Bohemian forces, defeating them in the Battle of White Mountain near Prague (1620).

9 Nov – In the Battle of Posada, approximately 10,000 Wallachian soldiers ambushed and defeated an army of 30,000 Hungarians, thereby maintaining their freedom and foiling Charles I designs on expanding his realm (1330).

10 Nov – Ottomans under Murad II defeat Papal forces under Wladyslav III of Poland trying to relieve Turkish pressure on Constantinople in the Battle of Varna on the Black Sea coast (1444).

11 Nov – Germany signed an armistice to end World War I (1918).

12 Nov – The United States Navy pounded the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal (third and fourth battles of Savo  Island), sinking two battleships, one heavy cruiser and three destroyers while losing two light cruisers and seven destroyers (1942).

13 Nov – During the first English Civil War, the Parliamentarian army stopped the Royalist advance on London at the Battle of Turnham Green (1642).

14 Nov – The Battle of Ia Drang began, the first major engagement between US and North Vietnamese forces, ending in a stalemate four days later (1965).

15 Nov – Francisco Pizarro, commanding Spanish and native forces, defeated an Inca army and captured Cuzco, their capital (1533). The Incas would later return and besiege Cuzco but failed to retake it.

16 Nov – The Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro and almost 200 conquistadors defeated and killed over 2,000 Inca warriors and captured the Inca Emperor Atahualpa (1532).

17 Nov – The Taira clan defeated the Minamoto clan at the Battle of Mizushima (1183). However the Minamoto clan eventually prevailed and won the Genpei War, taking power over Japan.

18 Nov – 27,000 Haitian rebels defeated 2,000 French troops at the Battle of Vertiere, ending the Haitian revolution and resulting in the establishment of the nation of Haiti (1803).

19 Nov – Soviet counterattack (Operation Uranus) encircled German 6th Army under Von Paulus at Stalingrad (1942).

20 Nov – US Marines invaded Tarawa, conquering the island in three days while losing 1000 Marines and the USS Liscome Bay. 4700 Japanese soldiers and laborers died (1943).

21 Nov – Mongol leader Timur defeated Georgian King Bagrat V and captured the capital of Tiblisi (1386). However, the Georgian nation did not fall entirely to the Muslim Mongols and thereby retained its Christian identity.

21 Nov – Port Arthur in Manchuria was conquered by the Japanese in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894).

22 Nov – British Naval and Marine forces seized Portobello, Panama,, from the Spanish in the War of Jenkins’ Ear (1739).

23 Nov – Castilian Christian forces under King Ferdinand of Castile conquered the Muslim-held city of Seville after a 16 month siege (1248).

24 Nov – In the Battle of Lookout Mountain, part of the Chattanooga, Tennessee campaign, Grant’s Union forces defeated Bragg’s Confederates (1863).

25 Nov – British troops captured Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio River in modern Pittsburg, wresting control of the waterways and the resultant trade from the French (1758).

25 Nov to 2 Dec – In the Battle of the Chongchon River, Chinese armies decimated Korean and US troops in North Korea, setting up the UN withdrawal and Chinese recapture of Seoul on 7 Jan (1950).

26 Nov – Germany began V1 and V2 attacks on Antwerp, Belgium (1944).

27 Nov – 67,000 Chinese forces assaulted 30,000 US soldiers and Marines approaching the border between China and North Korea at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir (1950).

28 Nov – British and Boers fought to a draw in the Battle of Modder River in the Second Boer War (1899).

29 Nov – Natchez Indians destroyed Fort Rosalie in Mississippi, killing 138 Frenchmen, 35 Frenchwomen, 56 children, and taking hundreds of people captive (1729).

30 Nov – The Russian navy destroyed the Ottoman fleet anchored in the harbor of Sinop in northern Anatolia during the Battle of Sinop (1853).

1 Dec – With Nagumo’s carrier fleet in the Northern Pacific steaming towards Hawaii, Emperor Hirohito of Japan gave final approval for Yamamoto’s attack on Pearl Harbor, thus making war inevitable (1941).

2 Dec – At Austerlitz, Napoleon Bonaparte defeated a larger combined force from Russia, Austria, and the Holy Roman Empire, thus eliminating the Holy Roman Empire as a historical entity and setting up war with Prussia in 1806 (1805).

3 Dec – Pakistan launched a pre-emptive strike against India, beginning the Indo-Pakistani War (1971).

4 Dec – After harassing Japanese forces for almost one month and cutting off Toshinari Shoji’s withdrawal from Koli Point, Evans Carlson led 2nd Marine Raider battalion back into the US perimeter on Guadalcanal (1942).

5 Dec – Frederick the Great’s Prussian armies routed Austrian forces more than twice their number at the Battle of Leuthen, thus securing the province of Silesia (1757).

6 Dec – Troops of the Mughal Empire in India attacked a fortress held by forces loyal to Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and were driven off with heavy losses in the Battle of Chamkaur (1704).

7 Dec – Japanese naval and air forces under Isoroku Yamamoto attack the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor (1941).

8 Dec – In retaliation for their defeat at the Battle of Coronel, the British trapped and destroyed a German South Atlantic squadron, including two armored cruisers and three light cruisers, in the Battle of the Falkland Islands (1914).

9 Dec – The Khazars, a nomadic Turkic people from Central Asia, invaded Persia and defeated Arab Muslim forces of the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Marj Ardabil (730).

10 Dec – As part of the conquest of Singapore, Japanese torpedo bombers sank the HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, the first capital ships to be sunk solely by air power on the open sea (1941).

11-15 Dec – The Army of the Potomac under General Ambrose Burnside is decimated in frontal attacks against the fortified Army of Northern Virginia under Lee at Fredericksburg (1862).

12 Dec – The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius defeated a smaller Persian force at the Battle of Ninevah, ending the Byzantine-Sassanid War (602-628) but weakening both nations so much that they were overwhelmed by Muslim Arab armies within a decade (627).

13 Dec – The Massachusetts Bay Colony established three companies of militia for defense against Native Americans, the forerunners of the US Army National Guard and ultimately, of the US Army (1636).

14 Dec – In preparation for their assault on New Orleans, the Royal Navy captured Lake Borgne, Louisiana (1814).

15 Dec – The Vandals of North Africa were vanquished by a much smaller Byzantine army under Belisarius near ancient Carthage in the Battle of Tricamarum, thus ending the Vandal Kingdom forever (533).

16 Dec – At the Battle of Noryang, Japanese naval forces sent to evacuate troops from their invasion of Korea were frustrated by Chinese and Korean fleets (1598).

17 Dec – Kampfgruppe Peiper, part of the 1st SS Panzer Division under Joachim Peiper, massacred 84 American prisoners of war near Malmedy, Belgium, in the Battle of the Bulge (1944).

18 Dec – Soldiers from Portuguese Angola in Southern Africa, allied with the local Mbundu and Imbangla warriors, defeated a smaller force from the Kingdom of Kongo at the Battle of Mbumbi (1622).

19 Dec – British forces captured Fort Niagara on Lake Erie during the War of 1812 (1813).

20 Dec – The American Volunteer Group, known as the Flying Tigers, was establishing in China to fight Japanese invaders in World War II (1941).

21 Dec – In the Battle of Linuesa, a major engagement in the Spanish Reconquest of Iberia from the Moors, Castilian troops beat invading Muslim forces from the Emirate of Grenada (1361).

22 Dec – After a six month long siege against 200,000 Turks, 1,500 remaining Knights Hospitalier evacuated the Island of Rhodes and moved to Malta, becoming the Knights of Malta (1522).

23 Dec – Near the beginning of the Reign of Terror, French revolutionaries outnumbered and massacred a Royalist counterrevolutionary force in the Battle of Savenay, part of the War in the Vendee (1793).

24 Dec – George Washington’s Continental Army surprised Hessian troops employed by the British at Trenton, NJ (1776).

25 Dec – Boer commandos defeated a force of British regulars in the Battle of Groenkop in the Second Boer War (1901).

26 Dec – Patton’s Third Army broke the encirclement of Bastogne by German forces in the Battle of the Bulge (1944).

27 Dec – The schooner USS Carolina was sunk by British naval forces attempting to take New Orleans in the War of 1812 (1813).

28 Dec – Ethiopian troops supporting the United Nations Transitional Federal Government marched into the Somali Capital of Mogadishu (2006).

29 Dec – 500 US Cavalry and artillery under Colonel James Forsyth defeated 120 Sioux warriors, killing some women and children, in the Wounded Knee Massacre, the last battle of the Indian Wars (1890).

30 Dec – Troops from the House of Lancaster defeated soldiers from the House of York in the Battle of Wakefield (1460).

31 Dec – Colonial Militia under Richard Montgomery, Benedict Arnold and Daniel Morgan, and Canadians under James Livingston, were driven off from their siege of Quebec during the American Revolution (1775).

Battle Briefs

Napoleon Bonaparte and Frederick the Great agreed that to master military science, a student must study the campaigns of the great generals and admirals before him. In that spirit, this section contains slide presentations that have been used effectively in teaching military principles. They describe battles and campaigns in military history.

Trafalgar 1805

WW2 – D-Day – 6 June 1944

WW2 – Guadalcanal Campaign

Integrity and Leadership

In the fall of 1996, several allegations of sexual misconduct between Army leaders and their subordinates became public.  The ensuing investigations found many cases in which the allegations were true, and trust began to erode within and towards the US Army.  As a result, the Army sought to clarify and promote the values which have been at the heart of American military service for over 200 years.  Leaders felt that by emphasizing the values that we held, fought for and died for, they could produce a better fighting force.  The mnemonic “LDRSHIP”, pronounced as “leadership”, communicated what the Army was all about.

Loyalty – Bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers. General Washington was not the greatest battlefield tactician, but his overall strategy proved to be sound: keep the army intact, wear down British resolve, and avoid decisive battles except to exploit enemy mistakes. And if his soldiers would have not followed his orders the British would have won the Revolutionary War.
Duty – Fulfill your obligations, even if it calls for sacrifice.
Respect – Treat people as they should be treated.
Selfless Service – Sacrifice your welfare, and your life if need be, for that of the Republic, the Army, and your subordinates.
Honor – Live up to the code of a U.S. Army Soldier.
Integrity – Do what’s right, legally and morally.
Personal Courage – Face danger, adversity or death with steadfast bravery.

Shortly after these were codified, a blitz of information, including dog tag cards, posters, and media spots communicated these values to the soldiers and to the nation.  “LDRSHIP” has become an integral concept in the life of American soldiers.  Many soldiers understand that Integrity is the fundamental value of all. 

John Maxwell in “Developing the Leader Within You” says without hesitation that Integrity, the state of being complete or unified, is the most important ingredient of leadership.  The word “integrity” is related to the word “integer”, which is defined as “any number that is not a fraction”.  A man with integrity is therefore a man who is not divided in his motivations, his actions, or his beliefs.  Not only does the man with integrity know the right ways to think and the right things to do, he thinks them and does them without division within himself.  He does not pretend but is in reality what he appears to be.  The united man walks his talk and has tremendous credibility as a result. A man without integrity is divided, distracted, and ultimately disabled by the competing priorities and passions within himself, as James describes in James 1:6-8.  He is a hypocrite and will soon betray those who trust him. 

Maxwell identified seven reasons why integrity is so important.

Integrity builds trust. 

A 21 September 2007 Business Week article entitled “Where have all the leaders gone?” stated “Trust is the coin of the realm in both democracy and capitalism. Without trust, the system cannot function effectively. People become cynical, disengaged, and even prone to anarchy and rebellion.”  A poll cited in the same article said that a dismal 18% of Americans trust the values and ethics of business leaders and only 15% trust their political leaders.  Why? Because they have been betrayed so often in the past by leaders who talked a good talk but whose walk proved that their leader could not be trusted either to know what to do or to do it consistently.  Formal authority derived from rank and position is a poor and unreliable way to get things done, but authority borne from the trust of subordinates, earned by years of faithful leadership, can move the world. 

Integrity has high influence value.  William Wilberforce and his band of political misfits outlawed the slave trade in the British Empire largely through their persistent, faithful witness, both in their words and in their lives.  Paul and Martin Luther, in their integrity, promoted the Church.  Gandhi and King, in their integrity, advanced civil rights.  Conversely, Karl Marx rejected religion and founded the Communist Movement, the cause of untold suffering and godlessness in the 20th Century, was influenced by the lack of integrity of his father. Heinrich Marx jettisoned supposedly strongly held religious views, alternately Jewish and Christian, to benefit his legal practice.  No man has perfect integrity, but the list of men who wielded great influence as a direct result of their great integrity goes on nearly forever. 

Integrity facilitates high standards. 

A man with integrity will be morally excellent and will also be outstanding in his chosen field of endeavor.  Excellence in any field of endeavor is beautiful and invites imitation. Christian integrity, a single minded devotedness to serve the Lord in His calling, will compel the Christian to be excellent in that call. A morally and professionally outstanding leader will breed morally and professionally excellent followers and the organization will flourish.  A leader who understands that his rights decrease and his responsibilities increase as he advances will breed followers who fight less for their own needs and rights and more for those of others.

Integrity results in a solid reputation, not just an image. 

In the mid 1990s, Canon ran an ad campaign for its photography line of products featuring the tennis star Andre Agassi.  The theme of the campaign was “Image is Everything”.   The campaign taught a concept prevalent in our society: that how you look and act, not who you are, is what matters.  Canon itself didn’t really believe the ads because the company continued to make cameras and lenses that were good, they didn’t just look good.   The damage to impressionable minds, unfortunately, was already done. 

People who are more interested in their image than in their integrity will talk and act differently depending upon who they are with.  When given a choice between making a decision that is best for others and one that is best for themselves, they will routinely choose the latter.  When their team succeeds, they will hoard the credit and ignore the contributions of others.  Their reputation, not their character, is first in their mind. 

A man of integrity will adjust his talk and actions to benefit those he is with but not to the point of moral compromise.  He will routinely make the choice that benefits others and only when truly needed, such as when his physiological needs must be met, make the choice primarily for himself.  He will be truthful in his assessment of credit and blame, but seek to encourage others before advancing himself. 

Integrity means living it myself before leading others. 

Parents complain that their children watch too much television, but they sit for hours every day in front of the tube.  Employers whine that their employees seem lazy, but they show up late and leave early every day.  Pastors groan that their congregants don’t take the Christian disciplines seriously, but they seem to miss their prayer and Bible study times more days than not.  Leaders who do these things fail to understand a fundamental truth about leadership…you can’t expect others to do what you cannot or will not do yourself. 

Integrity helps a leader to be credible, not just clever. 

Legitimacy in leadership suggests that the person in charge has the right to be there, both legally, in accordance with law, and morally, in accordance with what is right ethically and what is best for the organization.  It is easy for a clever man to be appointed or elected to a leadership position and therefore have a legal right to be there.  Such men, if they lack integrity, have no moral right, either because they will not do what is right ethically or because they lack the skills or character to be in that position.  People of integrity expect to have credibility, to be believed, because they know and hold to what is morally right and best for their organization.  They have courage and patience, knowing that eventually time will prove them correct.

Integrity is a hard won achievement. 

Grass grows quickly, is never very strong, and withers soon after it sprouts.  Redwood trees grow very slowly, are mighty, and live for centuries.  Anything and everything good takes time and effort to develop.    People looking for a quick success will not develop integrity, but those with a horizon that stretches to a lifetime, or an eternity, will invest what it takes.  The battle for integrity is fought and won or lost in every thought, every action, and every moment of a man’s life.  Only those who want it like a drowning man wants air will fully succeed. 

Conclusion

In 1996, the US Army realized that something was needed to combat serious abuses against soldiers and serious attacks on the credibility of those who defend our nation.  They took ancient values, clarified and taught them to every soldier.  One of those values, integrity, underlies all of the others.  Integrity is the foundation to leadership, and is well worth the lifetime it takes to develop.  

The Informative Brief

A senior civilian official in the military health system was at a surgical conference with a young Navy colleague. They chatted, and in the course of their conversation the Navy surgeon mentioned some exciting things that he was doing in his clinic to improve access, operating room utilization and quality of care.  The civilian official asked the younger man to prepare a talk to present to a group of senior leaders. Eventually word of this arrangement spread throughout the levels of command and my team was tasked with making sure that the brief accomplished its purpose.

The Navy surgeon was smart, industrious, and enthusiastic about his team’s accomplishments. Their record was impressive, providing more patient care with better outcomes, higher satisfaction and fewer resources than before. Operating room utilization improved, and the surgical fellowship, threatened by poor case mix and volume, was on firmer ground.

Their brief was less impressive, containing slides without themes, results without numbers, and a slide sequence that meandered without destination. It said some things which would better have been omitted and omitted things that needed to be shouted from the mountain tops. This article will address the need to communicate more effectively through slide presentations.

The two primary kinds of briefs in the military are the information brief and the decision brief. The former seeks to convey important information to the audience, while the latter seeks a favorable decision from a decision maker. Although not every information brief needs to use slides, the practice is common.

The Slide Show

At a formal dinner Winston Churchill was served dessert, studied it carefully, and then exclaimed to the waiter “Take it away, it has no theme!” Too many presentations suffer from the same malady; the communicator is not entirely clear what he is trying to communicate. After the title slide, the first slide in any presentation must describe the purpose. The purpose must answer two questions:

1.      Why I am giving the presentation.

2.      Why you will want to listen. This is the “hook” of the presentation; the speaker wants his audience hungry for the meal he is about to serve.

One purpose statement I saw recently, “To provide background information on the surgical services at XXX medical center in the YYY health care network and how our initiative may be expected to improve them” may elicit a puzzled yawn. The audience was from other medical facilities in the region and they were more interested in their own hospitals than in XXX. These health care executives only cared about how the experience at XXX could help them improve their facility. A better purpose statement might have been “To describe surgical services at XXX medical center and discuss how our experience could benefit others.”  This purpose statement is less wordy and emphasizes not what the speaker did but what the listeners can do. It suggests interaction and discussion rather than a one-way lecture.  This is the time to tell a short and powerful story to illustrate the purpose and why the audience should care about it. Members of the audience decide whether or not they will listen in the first 30 seconds, so the beginning must be good.

The purpose must be limited in scope to what can reasonably be accomplished in the time allotted. No 10 minute brief can convey a detailed analysis of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Even if the speaker could do it, the audience couldn’t absorb it. The purpose must be laser focused and limited to the time available.

After the “purpose” slides, the next slides should tell a story; what was the problem, what was the solution, and what were the results? Leaders rarely want to study hundreds or even dozens of slides and usually want to see fewer than 10. Since a standard brief is 10 minutes with 5 additional for questions and since each slide takes about one minute to cover, each question should be answered in one or two slides. 

1.      What was the problem? In the example above, what was operating room utilization? What were the graduate medical education implications? The slide should feature two or three key metrics and a clear graphic to communicate the problem.

2.      What was the solution? What did the team actually do to fix the problem? This needs to be specific as well. Was the solution a process reengineering, a sharing agreement, a new training program, an equipment purchase, a personnel hire, or something else? Perhaps it was a combination of these things. The solution needs to be clear at a glance to someone who has never seen the slide before. For example, one of the problems in the example noted above was unnecessary referrals from primary care. By training the primary care partners, the surgical team was able to see more patients requiring surgical intervention.

3.      What were the results?  How much did operating room utilization increase? How did the case number and mix improve? How did that impact the accreditation of the fellowship? Use the same metrics that were used in describing the problem.

The last section of the information brief, called perhaps the Application, should focus on how this impacts the audience. It bears repeating that the audience will listen if they expect to eventually get something back. The speaker needs to know the audience, what they expect to get back, and how to give it to them. The most effective speakers spend time before, during and after their briefs getting to know their listeners. Why did these people come? What do they want? How do they want it?

The last slide of the information brief is the conclusion slide. It includes only those bullets that the speaker wants the audience to remember. This is the place to summarize the talk and ask questions. Back up slides are placed after the conclusion and not meant to be shown unless someone in the audience asks a specific question that pertains to the slide. They should be held to the same standard as any other slide.

Another way to structure a brief is the Hook-Book-Look-Took mnemonic:

Hook – Something to get and hold the attention of the audience

Book – The content of what you want to say.

Look – What does the content mean?

Took – How does the content and its meaning apply to the audience?

It’s no stretch to figure out that the Hook is in the purpose, the Book and Look are in the content slides (problem, solution and results) and the Took is the application slide.

The Slide

Just as the entire slide show has a theme and a direction, each slide must have the same. Real estate in the mind of a decision maker is precious, and real estate on the slide is vital to gain real estate in the mind. The briefer must make sure that each slide, and each element on the slide, contributes to achieving the goal.

1.      The theme of the slide should be understandable at a glance.

2.      Nothing should be distracting.

3.      Use bullets rather than sentences because extraneous words make the whole thing less likely to be read.

4.      Make the bullets as short and information-packed as possible.

5.      Use high contrast colors or black and white and keep the font large enough to be read easily in the venue. Walk to the back of the room yourself and look.

6.      In general, a slide should contain no more than five to seven bullets, with each bullet containing eight to ten words. The final bullet should be a transition to the next slide.

7.      Each slide must contain new information or a fresh approach to understanding old information. Many presentations die because slide after slide includes things that the audience already knows.  A recent slide deck that I reviewed had nine slides, one of which cited a national-level survey which confirmed that patients have a choice when selecting health care. The data was too general to be useful, and the slide is gone…the speaker can “voice track” it; say it instead of having it on a slide. 

1.      Ensure that each participant has a paper copy of the brief to read before the meeting (a “read ahead”). Also ensure that each one has one during the meeting.

Churchill opened one of his speeches to Parliament by saying “I am going to give a long speech today as I have not had time to prepare a short one.” He was right. It is harder to condense thoughts into a short delivery, but that is what speakers need to do. Briefers need to use no more words than are absolutely necessary to communicate their message.

Conclusion

Many people complain that nothing ever seems to get done in government, in the corporate world, and elsewhere. One reason is that staff members do a poor analysis and give poor counsel to their leaders. Other times staff members do a good analysis but fail to communicate it effectively. After discussing the brief with the Navy surgeon, we came up with a much better product. He gave the brief to the senior leaders and the feedback we received was that he “hit it out of the park.” However, his success was not primarily because of better slides; he made most but not all of the changes that we recommended. Rather his success was because of him. This young surgeon was skilled, dedicated, and excited about his story. He believed in his work and that enthusiasm made everyone else believe in it too.  More than anything, humans are relational creatures. The right message is important, and hopefully this essay will help us all improve it, but so is having the right messenger. It is best to have both.  

 

Getting People to Answer

A Navy Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) came into my office recently. “Sir, I have emailed Lt. Col X several times and she hasn’t answered yet. All I get is radio silence. Could you help?” This young officer was voicing a concern that I hear frequently; someone that they are trying to work with, or get something from, wasn’t answering. Or at least they weren’t answering fast enough to suit us at higher headquarters. When faced with such a problem, many junior staffers go to the Boss, hoping that he or she will contact the person and get immediate results. Sometimes if the issue is urgent that is the right approach. Sometimes even going directly to the boss of Lt. Col X is the best approach. Often, however, it is better for the junior staffer to get the information themselves, and there are many ways to do that. I have been faced with similar problems in the past and have learned the hard way that, unless the issue is urgent, I need to exhaust my options for resolving problems, such as radio silence from someone I am supposed to work with, before going further up the chain.

Make sure that you are asking for the right thing

Ultimately any request, whether for information or for a task to be done, must be right. The energy that it takes to do it must be worth the value that comes out of it. We have to ask the right person; it is no good asking the chief of patient administration to do something that the chief of neurosurgery should be doing. We have to be clear in our request and respectful in the delivery. We must only make ethical demands. In medicine our requests must be the right thing to do for our patients and other stakeholders.

Give a little time

Sometimes it is a little embarrassing to remember past mistakes. Several years ago our commander at William Beaumont Army Medical Center received a suggestion to cut imaging costs by preventing physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners and primary care physicians from ordering expensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. He asked me to get information from my department, primary care, and from other departments to address the question. In the flood of other tasks I quickly forgot until a few days before the information was due. A cold knot welled up in my stomach and a sent out a flood of emails to everyone involved so that I could at least shift the blame to them if I didn’t get the data in time. Or so I thought…

There are lots of good reasons why people don’t respond as quickly as we would like. Sometimes they just don’t get the message, whether because it is lost in cyberspace or because they are out of the office. Other times they get it but are so far behind on email that they don’t see it. The more emails I receive, the more I sympathize with this problem. Everyone is busy, and an issue that I consider urgent may not be urgent to someone else.  Sometimes requests are confusing and the recipient truly doesn’t know what they are being asked to do.  

Assume the best

Most people do not want to do the wrong thing. If your request is reasonable and you ask in a timely and friendly manner, most will want to honor it and will feel guilty if they don’t. We sometimes assume that we will act with wisdom and compassion while others act with foolishness and spite, assuming the best about ourselves but the worst about others. This arrogant attitude only makes it harder to get good things done.

Even in the worst of circumstances it is usually unhelpful to assume malice. Shortly after my father died my mother received an email from her health insurance provider stating that he had technically been off of her insurance during his last six months of life. Therefore they were going to bill her for his chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hospitalizations. Mom was panicky and my brother was furious, so she asked me what to do. I replied that in situations like this you will more often be correct if you assume laziness and incompetence rather than malice and villainy.  Calmed slightly, my mother called the insurance company. After getting referred a couple of levels up the management chain, she learned that a computer error, a policy change, and an unwillingness on the part of some of their staff to look deeper had combined to generate this misunderstanding. Everything was covered.

Flip the roles

In another instance we had asked our subordinate command to provide a report about a recent mock Joint Commission inspection. Rumor suggested that the results were not pretty, and they were dragging their feet. After many weeks and many entreaties our Quality Management shop turned to me for help. I contacted their chief of staff, listened while she explained their perspective and then clearly explained ours. Then I asked “if our roles were reversed, wouldn’t you and your commander want the same thing?” The report appeared in my inbox the same day.

Name drop

Every organization is conscious of rank and position, no matter how flat they are organizationally. The larger the organization, however, the more conscious of such things it tends to be. Nowhere is this more true than in the military. Sometimes stating that a request is from a colonel or Navy captain rather than from a lieutenant commander or major is enough to get results. Even better, sending an email that has the higher ranking officer on the courtesy copy list lets the recipient know that a boss is looking at the request. More than once this has made the difference between action and inaction.

Fingers, voice and feet

It is easy to send an email, and equally easy to miss or ignore an email. It is much harder to ignore a ringing phone, especially one that rings again and again. It is hardest of all to ignore a person sitting across from your desk or in the waiting room outside your office. If the target of your inquiry is not intentionally avoiding the issue, a phone call may be all that is needed to get results. Phone tag is not a bad thing if you are able to make headway. Further, emails can be confusing, clouding the picture more than clarifying it in many cases. This is especially true for complicated or contentious issues. Even if the target of your inquiry is intentionally avoiding you, a phone call or even a visit is vital. The communication motto for my staff is “friendly, but relentless.”

In the modern day of emails, texts and web posts it can be difficult and even threatening to have tense conversations over the phone or in person, but some things will never get done otherwise. People who can handle these situations well are like diamonds, scarce and precious.

Give something they want

Everyone wants something, and the person that you need information from is no exception. Sometimes they feel overwhelmed and want less to do so if you have asked them for three things and reduce that to only two, they may be happy enough to comply. Sometimes they want an encouraging word or even a complement about them to their boss. Sometimes they just want to be listened to, and if you spend five minutes listening to their challenges they will reward you with what you need. Sometimes they need help with what you are asking them to do; the Navy LCDR offered to help Lt Col X compile the data he requested.

People at lower headquarters need to know that their higher headquarters is doing something to benefit them. Staffers at higher levels can make their work easier by being value added for those at lower levels. Sometimes giving them “something they want” means protecting them from something that they don’t want.

Think outside the organization itself. Higher levels of command have more than just money and people to give to their subordinates. They have expertise and experience to share, and sometimes people at lower commands need and even want that expertise. They also have access to media outlets, whether a base newspaper or a local radio station, where they can spread the word about the good things that their subordinate command is doing.

Double team, diversely if possible

In the introductory story the Navy LCDR was trying to get information from Lt. Col X, and was getting the stiff arm. He had given it time, assumed the best, and dropped names. He had called and gotten nothing, so the next approach was to double team her. A young active duty Navy male had tried, so he enlisted an older civilian female.

Why try this, because two can apply more pressure than one, and can apply it in slightly different ways.  Who knows why Lt. Col X was resisting his entreaties? Perhaps this officer had a mannerism that she didn’t like, perhaps she interpreted his actions negatively, or his age, race, sex, service, or something else put her off. Discrimination based on these factors exists, and we must overcome it. As rational as we like to think we are, man is an inherently irrational creature. Man is also a tribal creature, with whom identity and identification matter. Perhaps involving someone who was more like Lt. Col X would influence her to provide the assistance needed.

The 360

Those we try to influence do not work alone; they have bosses, subordinates and peers. Since Lt. Col X outranked the Navy LCDR, another possibility was for him to approach her deputy, an Army major, and ask if Lt. Col X had been out of the office or had some other reason why she hadn’t replied. He then asked if he could do anything to help the major help his boss, Lt Col X.  

This technique is useful because everyone is influenced by those around them. Perhaps convincing a certain peer of Lt Col X that this task was important would be enough to get her to do it. Even a trusted subordinate could do the trick.

The Boss 

If the request for information or the task that needs to be done is urgent, sometimes lower level staffers have to go straight to their Boss, and he or she has to go straight to the other person’s Boss. Most requests, however, are routine. If a staff member has done everything that he or she can and still gets nowhere, the Boss must act. Senior leaders have various options, including all of the ones noted above. For example, I could go directly to Lt Col X’s boss or to her boss two levels up.

There is danger in doing this in the wrong way. Years ago when I was a young Army captain I was working in a clinic in Germany and my boss had made an unpopular decision and gone to lunch. A few minutes later a brigadier general came into the clinic. Since I was the ranking officer there at the time our near-panicky executive officer came to me and said “Dr. Harris, a general is at the front desk and wants to speak to you!” When I asked the general what I could do for him, he said “Dr. Harris, someone at this clinic made a decision a few minutes ago and I came in hoping that I could influence that decision.” He never said “I order you”, he never demanded, and he was never cross or even stern. Knowing that he had tremendous power, the general was very gentle in how he used it.  I never forgot the lesson.

There is also danger in doing this too much. Leaders and subordinates grow weary of leaders who seem to be throwing their weight around. Senior leaders are generally very busy and have little time to devote to non-senior-leader level things. Getting involved in staff level work too often impairs a leader’s own ability to get other work done.   

Conclusion

Poor communication and cooperation at every level is, and always has been, a problem in and between organizations. Staffers must do everything they can to fix this problem, including asking for the right thing, allowing time and assuming the best. They can flip the roles, drop names, and use fingers, voice and feet to accomplish their mission, always being ready to give a little in order to get a little. They enlist other people to help them. If all else fails or if time is short, they ask their boss for assistance. Ultimately the mission is what matters, and everyone at every level must accomplish it.  

JTF Cap Med/NCR-MD Leadership Studies

Pursuant to the Base Realignment and Closure Law of 2005, the Joint Task Force National Capital Medicine (JTF Cap Med) was established in 2008. Its mission was to integrate military health care in the National Capital Region, including the merging of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), and the transition of the DeWitt Army Community Hospital (DACH) into the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH). On 15 September 2011 WRAMC and NNMC united to become the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNNMC) in Bethesda and the billion-dollar FBCH opened its doors. To handle the myriad of issues involved in such a major transformation, the JTF Cap Med endured.   Having completed its mission, it was disestablished on 30 September 2013.

In March 2013 the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ashton B. Carter, directed that the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and a subordinate organization, the National Capital Region Medical Directorate (NCR-MD) , be established on 1 October 2013. The purpose of the DHA was to integrate services that could be shared between Army, Navy and Air Force medicine such as information technology, logistics, education, research, and others. The purpose of the NCR-MD was to continue the work of the JTF Cap Med in integrating military health care in the Joint facilities, WRNMMC and FBCH) and optimize and integrate military medical care in the rest of the military health facilities in the National Capital Region market. This includes the Malcolm Grow Medical Clinic and Surgical Center (MGMCSC – Joint Base Andrews), the Kimbrough Army Community Clinic (KACC – Fort Meade), the Navy clinics at Quantico and Annapolis, the Joint Pathology Center, the National Center of Excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury, and their subordinate facilities.

I came to the National Capital Region (NCR) as Chief Medical Officer at the DACH in July 2007 and have been serving in military medicine in the NCR since. In January 2012 I took over as the Director for Clinical, Business and Warrior Operations at JTF Cap Med headquarters and I maintained that position through the transition to the NCR-MD. These experiences and others have provided many leadership lessons that I hope will be useful to my staff, my students, and others who have interest in these areas. I have assigned one to two readings per month to my teammates at the NCR-MD, and now make them available to all.

Month

Article

January

Fighting for Health – The Future of the Military Health System

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/06/13/fighting-for-health-the-future-of-the-military-health-system/

Encouragement When Nothing Seems Right

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/05/13/encouragement-when-nothing-seems-right/

February

Getting Things Done in Military Medicine

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/getting-things-done-in-military-medicine/

March

Communication in and Between Military and Military Medical Organizations

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/communication-in-and-between-military-and-military-medical-organizations/

The British Campaign in Afghanistan 1839-1842

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/the-british-campaign-in-afghanistan-1839-1842/

April

Using the Military Decision Making Process in Civilian Organizations

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/using-the-military-decision-making-process-in-civilian-organizations/

May

Bridging Strategic Thinking with Tactical Operations

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/bridging-strategic-thinking-with-tactical-operations/

Jonathan Potts – American Revolutionary Physician

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/06/07/jonathan-potts-american-revolutionary-physician/

June

Briefing Senior Leaders

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/04/20/briefing-senior-leaders/

The Informative Brief

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/11/22/the-informative-brief/

July

In Praise of the Battle Rhythm

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/in-praise-of-the-battle-rhythm/

Making Meetings Matter

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/making-meetings-matter/

August

The Dance of the Headquarters

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/the-dance-of-the-headquarters/

September

Awards and Recognition Ceremonies – Are They Really All About You?

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/awards-and-recognition-ceremonies-are-they-really-all-about-you/

October

The Importance of Learning Many Ways to Communicate

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/the-importance-of-learning-many-ways-to-communicate/

Formal Business Visits and Town Halls

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/10/12/formal-business-visits-and-town-halls/

November

A Sense of Time and Place

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/a-sense-of-time-and-place/

Getting People to Answer

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/11/01/getting-people-to-answer/

December

DOTMLPF-P Analysis and Military Medicine

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/11/09/dotmlpf-p-analysis-and-military-medicine/

Taking Intelligence Threats Seriously

http://mdharrismd.com/2013/03/31/taking-intelligence-threats-seriously/