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16 December

The Third Mithridatic War of 74-62 B.C. was the last of three clashes between Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman Republic. A war that began in western Asia Minor ended with Roman armies campaigning in Armenia, to the east of the Black Sea and in Syria and saw Roman power extended into completely new regions

The battle of Chalcedon was a combined land and sea battle at the start of the Third Mithridatic War that ended in a crushing victory for Mithridates VI of Pontus.

The siege of Cyzicus (73 B.C.) was a Roman victory that effectively ended Mithridates VI's campaign in western Asia Minor at the start of the Third Mithridatic War.

The battle of the Rhyndacis of 73 B.C. was the first of a series of disasters that befell the army of Mithridates VI of Pontus when it attempted to retreat from the siege of Cyzicus (Third Mithridatic War).

The siege of Eupatoria (c.72-71 B.C.) was one of the shorter sieges during the Roman general Lucullus's invasion of Pontus (Third Mithridatic War).

The battle of Tigranocerta, 6 or 7 October 69 B.C., was a one-sided Roman victory over a massive army led by Tigranes I of Armenia, but one that the Romans were unable to take advantage of.

14 December

Mithridates VI Eupator 'the Great', king of Pontus, is remembered as one of the Roman Republic's most persistent enemies, despite only winning one major battle against a genuinely Roman army, at Zela in 67 B.C. During his reign he was responsible for turning Pontus into the dominant power on the Black Sea, but in the course of three wars against the Romans lost his kingdom, and died after being overthrown one of his own sons

Marcus Varius was a Roman renegade and support of the rebel governor of Spain Sertorius who fought on the Pontic side during the Third Mithridatic War.

The Second Mithridatic War, 83-82 B.C., was a short-lived conflict largely caused by the ambition of Lucius Licinius Murena, the Roman governor of Asia after the end of the First Mithridatic War.

The battle of the Halys River was the only major engagement during the short Second Mithridatic War (83-82 B.C.) and was one of the few defeats suffered by a Roman army during the three wars against Mithridates IV of Pontus.

The battle of Lemnos of 73 B.C. was a naval victory won by Lucius Licinius Lucullus early in the Third Mithridatic War over a Pontic fleet commanded by the Roman renegade Marcus Varius.

11 December

The First Mithridatic War (89-85 B.C.) was the first of three clashes between the Roman Republic and Mithridates VI of Pontus which would last for nearly thirty years, and end with the destruction of the Pontic kingdom.

The battle of the Amnias River (89 B.C.) was the first battle of the First Mithridatic War, and was the first of a series of victories in which the armies of Mithridates VI conquered the Roman province of Asia.

The battle of Protopachium, 89 B.C., was the second of two victories won by the armies of Mithridates VI of Pontus that at least temporarily destroyed Roman authority in their province of Asia at the start of the First Mithridatic War.

The siege of Rhodes of 88 B.C. was one of the first defeats suffered by Mithridates VI of Pontus in the early period of the First Mithridatic War against Rome.

The siege of Athens of 87-86 B.C. was one of the first major Roman successes during the First Mithridatic War (89-85 B.C.), and marked the point at which the initiative in the war began to move towards the Romans.

The siege of Piraeus of 87-86 B.C. was a bitterly fought clash that only ended when the defenders of the city pulled out by sea after the fall of the city of Athens.

The battle of Chaeornea (86 B.C.) was the first of two crushing defeats suffered by Pontic armies that ended Mithridates VI's invasion of Greece (First Mithridatic War).

The battle of Orchomenus of 86 B.C. was the second of two great Roman victories that ended the Pontic invasion of Greece during the First Mithridatic War.

Archelaus was the most prominent Pontic general during the First Mithridatic War (89-85 B.C.), fought between the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus and the Roman Republic.

Neoptolemus was a Pontic admiral and general of the First Mithridatic War, responsible for early victories over the Romans and their allies, but who lost a key naval battle that effectively ended the war.

Manius Aquillius (died 89/88 B.C.) was a Roman consul and general who successfully crushed a major slave uprising on Sicily before suffering defeat and a painful death at the start of the First Mithridatic War.

8 December

The Mitsubishi B2M was a Japanese biplane torpedo bomber designed by Blackburn Aircraft in Britain in response to a request from Mitsubishi for designs to replace their own B1M1 Type 13 carrier attack bomber.

Aichi was the fourth biggest Japanese aircraft company of the Second World War.

The Aichi E12A was a two-seat twin-float reconnaissance floatplane designed in response to a Japanese Navy 12-Shi specification issued in 1937 for an aircraft to replace the Kawanishi E7K2 three-seat reconnaissance seaplane.

The Aichi E13A 'Jake' Navy Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane was the most important Japanese floatplane of the Second World War.

The Aichi E16A Zuiun 'Paul' was a floatplane reconnaissance aircraft and dive bomber designed to replace the E13A 'Jake' on the cruisers and battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Aichi M6A Seiran is the only aircraft to have been designed as a submarine-based attack aircraft and to have entered service, although its only military operation was ended prematurely by the end of the Second World War.

4 December

The Hiro G2H was a Japanese land based naval bomber developed as part of the Experimental 7-Shi programme, an attempt to develop a new generation of aircraft for the Japanese Navy

The Mitsubishi G1M1 was a designation given retrospectively to the sole Mitsubishi Ka.9, the first prototype in the series of aircraft that would enter service as the G3M ‘Nell’.

The Mitsubishi G3M Type 96 Attack Bomber 'Nell' was the Japanese Navy’s main land based torpedo and high level bomber in the years before the start of the Pacific War. Although it was in the process of being replaced by the G4M ‘Betty’ at the end of 1941 the 'Nell' stilled played a major part in the early Japanese conquests in Malaya and the Pacific.

The Mitsubishi G3M1 Model 11 was the first production version of the Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber, powered by the same Mitsubishi Kinsei 3 engines as the fourth and eleventh prototypes.

The Mitsubishi G3M2 was the main production version of the G3M Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber. It was produced in two models – the Model 21, which differed from the G3M1 mainly in having more powerful engines, and the Model 22 which also carried heavier defensive armament.

The Mitsubishi G3M3 Model 23 was the final version of the Mitsubishi G3M Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber. It was very similar to the G3M2 Model 22, but was powered by two 1,300hp Kinsei 51 engines

The Kusho L3Y was a transport version of the Mitsubishi G3M 'Nell' Navy Type 96 attack bomber. It was produced in two versions, both of which emerged before the Japanese entry into the Second World War

2 December

The Japanese Navy used two main and two subsidiary aircraft designation systems during the Second World War, causing so much confusion on the Allied side that a fifth codename system was developed.

The Japanese Army Air Force used three overlapping aircraft designation systems – the Type number, based on the year the aircraft was accepted, the Kitai, or airframe number, allocated while a project was under development, and a series of popular names adopted just after the start of the Pacific War.

1 December

The Jukogyo Ki-35 was a design for an army cooperation aircraft, produced in response to a Japanese Army specification of May 1937 but which did not enter service.

The Kawasaki Ki-5 was an inverted gull-wing cantilever monoplane designed in 1933 in an attempt to produce a Japanese fighter equal to the Hawker Fury or the Boeing B-26A, and to replace the Nakajima Army Type 91 Fighter and the Kawasaki Army Type 92 Fighter.

The Kawasaki Ki-22 was one of three designs for a heavy bomber produced in response to a Japanese Army specification issued on 15 February 1936 but that never progressed beyond the design stage

The Kawasaki Ki-28 was a monoplane designed in response to a Japanese Army fighter specification issued in June 1935, but which failed to enter production.

The Kawasaki Ki-38 was an early version of the aircraft that would enter production as the Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (Nick) twin engined fighter.

The Mitsubishi Ki-18 was the designation given by the Japanese Army to a single A5M (Claude) carrier fighter that was evaluated for service with the Army.

The Mitsubishi Ki-33 was a version of the A5M Navy Type 96 carrier fighter submitted to the Japanese Army in response to a specification issued in June 1935.

The Mitsubishi Ki-69 was to have been an escort fighter based on the Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Dinah).

The Mitsubishi Ki-73 was a design for a single-engined long range escort fighter, produced in response to a Japanese Army specification issued in May 1943.

The Mitsubishi Ki-97 was to have been a transport aircraft based on the Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Dinah).

The Mitsubishi Ki-112 was a design project for a heavily armed fighter based on the Ki-67 Hiryu (Dinah).

The Nakajima Ki-11 was a low-wing monoplane designed to replace the Japanese Army’s Nakajima Army Type 91 Fighter and the Kawasaki Army Type 92 Fighter, but which lost out to the biplane Kawasaki Ki-10

The Nakajima Ki-12 was an experimental monoplane fighter aircraft produced in the early 1930s, and which gave Nakajima valuable experience that they used in the design of the Nakajima Ki-27 Army Type 97 Fighter.

The Nakajima Ki-58 was a long range escort fighter based on the Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu heavy bomber.

The Nakajima Ki-106 was a version of the Ki-84 Army Type 4 Fighter constructed with a wooden fuselage in an attempt to save light alloys

The Nakajima Ki-113 was a version of the Nakajima Ki-84 Army Type 4 fighter produced with a number of steel components in an attempt to reduce the demand for light alloys.

The Nakajima Ki-116 was the last variant of the Nakajima Ki-84 Army Type 4 fighter to reach the prototype stage.

The Nakajima Ki-117 was to have been a high altitude version of the Nakajima Ki-84 Army Type 4 fighter.

The Tachikawa Ki-72 was a design for an improved version of the Ki-36 Army Type 98 Direct Co-operation Plane.

27 November

The Hosho was the first aircraft carrier to be built for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and was one of the few to survive the Second World War intact.

The Akagi (Red Castle) was the oldest of the six aircraft carriers that took part in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and as the flagship of the Vice Admiral Nagumo became the most famous of all the Japanese carriers.

The Kaga was the third aircraft carrier to be built for the Imperial Japanese Navy, and was constructed on a hull originally laid down as a 39,900t battleship.

The Ryujo was originally designed as an aircraft carrier that would be too small to count towards the total tonnage of aircraft carriers allowed to Japan under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty.

The Soryu was the first Japanese fleet carrier to be built for that purpose from the keel up, and was the model for most Japanese carriers to follow.

TheHiryuwas a slightly larger and improved version of the aircraft carrier Soryu. Like the Soryu she was lightly built but fast and capable of operation a large air group

The two Shokaku class aircraft carriers were the first purpose built fleet carriers to be constructed in Japan after the Washington Naval Treaty expired, and are considered to have been the most effective Japanese aircraft carriers of the Second World War.

The Shokaku (Flying Heron) was the name ship of the Shokaku class of aircraft carriers, the best designed carriers to serve with the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War.

The Zuikaku was the second member of the Shokaku class of aircraft carriers, the best carriers to see service with the Imperial Japanese Navy during the Second World War.

The Zuiho was a light carrier that resulted from a Japanese attempt to bypass the restrictions of the Washington Naval Treaty.

The Ryuho was the least successful of a series of Japanese aircraft carriers produced by modifying fleet auxiliary ships.

The two Junyo class aircraft carriers were originally laid down as the passenger liners Kashiwara Maru and Izumo Maru, which were funded by the Imperial Japanese Navy as part of a scheme to provide a number of ships that could easily be converted into aircraft carriers.

The Junyo was the name ship of the Junyo class of aircraft carriers, two slow medium sized fleet carriers that were built on hulls that had been laid down as large passenger liners, and was one of the small number of Japanese carriers to survive the Second World War.

The Hiyo was the second of two Junyo class aircraft carriers produced by modifying two semi-completed passenger liners.

The Taiho was the only purpose built Japanese fleet carrier constructed during the Second World War that was finished in time to take part in any of the great carrier battles.

The two aircraft carriers of the Chitose class were the last of a series of Japanese carriers produced by modifying existing auxiliaries, in this case two seaplane carriers built in the late 1930s.

The Unryo class of aircraft carriers was rushing into production in 1942 in an attempt to increase the wartime strength of the Japanese carrier fleet, but of the seventeen carriers ordered only six were laid down and the three that were completed arrived too late to take part in any carrier battle.

The Shinano was the largest and one of the shortest lived aircraft carriers to see service during the Second World War.

The three ships in the Taiyo class of aircraft carriers were part of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s shadow carrier programme, and had originally been laid down as passenger liners.

The Kaiyo was the smallest of a series of passenger liners converted into auxiliary aircraft carriers for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Shinyo was a Japanese escort carrier produced by converting the German passenger line Scharnhorst.

24 November

The battle of the Coral Sea (3-8 May 1942) ended with the first major Japanese setback of the Second World War, and marked the end of the period of rapid Japanese expansion across the Pacific that began after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The small aircraft carrier Shoho and her sister ship the Zuiho were the result of a Japanese attempt to avoid the restrictions imposed on naval construction by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.

20 November

The battle of Gona, 19 November-9 December 1942, was one of three related battles that cleared the Japanese out of their beachheads at Gona, Sanananda and Buna on the northern coast of Papua.

The battle of Buna, 19 November 1942-2 January 1943, was one part of the Allied attack on the Japanese beach-head on the northern coast of Papua (along with the battles of Gona and Sanananda).

The battle of Sanananda, 19 November 1942-22 January 1943, was the longest of the three intertwined battles that saw the Allies eliminate the Japanese beachhead on the northern coast of Papua.

General Edmund F. Herring (1893-1982) was an Australian general who had command of all front line American and Australian troops on New Guinea during the successful Allied offensive in Papua in the last quarter of 1942.

Operation Providence was an Allied plan to land troops at Buna, on the northern coast of Papua, in order to allow for the construction of an airfield that could be used against the Japanese positions at Lae and Salamaua.

18 November

The battle of the Kokoda Trail of 23 July-13 November 1942 saw the Japanese army reach further south than at any other time during the Second World War, in an attempt to capture Port Moresby, but also marked the point at which Japan’s resources became too stretched to support further offensive operations, and ended as a clear Australian victory.

The battle of Goodenough Island, 22-24 October 1942, was a minor Allied victory during the build-up for the major offensive against the Japanese position at Buna, on the northern coast of Papua.

General Basil M. Morris (1888-1975) was the Australian commander at Port Moresby at the start of the Japanese advance along the Kokoda Trail, and played an important part in delaying the Japanese advance long enough for substantial reinforcements to reach Papua.

17 November

Robert L. Eichelberger was an American general who commanded the American forces during the battles for Buna and Gona on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, before commanding I Corps of the Sixth Army during most of the campaign on New Guinea, and the US Eighth Army during the invasion of the Philippines.

General Tomitaro Horii (1890-1942) was the Japanese commander during the fighting along the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea.

Cyril A. Clowes was a senior Australian general responsible for the first Allied land victory over the Japanese, at Milne Bay (25 August-7 September 1942).

The battle of Milne Bay (25 August-7 September 1942) was the first defeat suffered by Japanese land forces during the war in the Pacific, and prevented them from establishing a base at the eastern tip of New Guinea.

13 November

The Douglas AC-47A gunship was developed in the early 1960s for use in anti-insurgency operations, and combined a long-standing aerial manoeuvre – the pylon turn – with the use of sideways firing weapons

The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was the military version of the DC-4 airliner, and was the first truly effective four-engined transport aircraft to enter USAAF service.

The Douglas R5D was the US Navy’s version of the C-54 Skymaster, the military version of the DC-4 airliner.

The Douglas R3D was the Navy’s version of the commercially unsuccessful DC-5 short haul passenger transport. 

The Douglas C-110 was the designation given to three DC-5 airliners after they were impressed into USAAF service during 1944.

The designation Douglas XC-112 was given to two different aircraft, one a proposed pressurized version of the C-54 and the other the first military DC-6.

The Douglas XC-114 was a lengthened and re-engined version of the C-54 Skymaster.

The Douglas XC-115 was to have been a version of the XC-114 powered by four 1,650 Packard V-1650-209 engines.

The single Douglas XC-116 was a sister to the XC-114, and like that aircraft was a version of the C-54 with a longer (100ft 7in compared to 93ft 10in) fuselage.

12 November

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was the first fully militarised transport to be based on the DC-3 airliner, and was the first transport aircraft to be ordered in large numbers for the USAAF.

The Douglas C-47A Skytrain was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the C-47, and with 5,253 built represented nearly half of the total production run of 10,654 aircraft in the DC-3 family.

The Douglas C-47B was designed for high altitude operations on the “Hump” – the aerial route between India and China that for most of the Second World War was the only way for the Allies to get military supplies into China.

The Douglas XC-47C was a floatplane producing by fitting Edo Model 78 floats to a standard C-47.

The designation C-47D was given to a large number of C-47Bs that had their high altitude supercharger removed.

The Douglas EC-47N was an advanced electronic warfare version of the standard C-47A, developed in the mid 1960s for use in Vietnam.

The Douglas EC-47P was an electronic warfare version of the C-47D, developed for use during the Vietnam War.

The Douglas EC-47Q was the designation given to electronic warfare versions of the C-47 powered by the 1,290hp Pratt & Whitney R-2000-4 engine

The Douglas XCG-17 was an experiment cargo carrying glider produced by removing the engines from a standard C-47 Skytrain.

The Douglas C-53 Skytrooper was a dedicated troop transporter developed from the DC-3 airliner.

The designation Douglas C-117 was given to two very different versions of the DC-3, first to a more comfortable version of the basic C-53 and then to the Navy’s fleet of R4D-8 Super DC-3s.

The US Navy was the third biggest operator of military versions of the Douglas DC-3, after the USAAF and the RAF, and eventually received over 550 aircraft in seven main versions, giving them the designation R4D

The Douglas R4D-8 emerged from an unsuccessful attempt by Douglas to extend the commercial lifespan of the aging DC-3.

The Douglas Dakota I was the RAF designation for fifty three C-47s received under the lend-lease scheme.

The Douglas Dakota II was the RAF designation for nine C-53 Skytroopers received under the lend lease scheme.

The Douglas Dakota III was the RAF designation given to 962 C-47A Skytrains that were received under the lend-lease scheme.

The Douglas Dakota IV was the RAF designation for 896 C-47Bs received under the lend-lease scheme.

The L2D 'Tabby' was a version of the Douglas DC-3 built under licence in Japan, and which became the Japanese Navy's standard transport aircraft during the Second World War.

The Lisunov Li-2/PS-84 was a version of the Douglas DC-3 produced under licence in the Soviet Union.

11 November

The single Douglas C-41A was the only transport aircraft based on the DC-3 to be built for the US Army Air Corps, and was a VIP transport purchased for use as a staff and VIP transport.

The Douglas C-48 was the designation given to 36 Pratt & Whitney powered DC-3s impressed by the USAAF after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Douglas C-49 was the designation given to 138 Wright Cyclone powered DC-3s impressed by the USAAF after the American entry into the Second World War.

The designation Douglas C-50 was given to fourteen Wright Cyclone powered DC-3 airliners impressed off the production line by the USAAF after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Douglas C-51 was the designation given to a single Wright Cyclone powered DC-3 impressed directly from the production lines after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Douglas C-52 was the designation given to six Pratt & Whitney powered DC-3s impressed by the USAAF in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

The designation Douglas C-68 was given to two Pratt and Whitney powered DC-3s impressed off the Douglas production line after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Douglas C-84 was the designation given to four in-service DC-3s powered by Wright Cyclone engines and impressed by the USAAF during 1942.

10 November

The Curtiss SBC Helldiver was a pre-Second World War US Navy dive bomber that remained in service just long enough to see limited use in the early days of the war

The de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk XVII was the first version of the de Havilland Mosquito to be equipped with centimetric radar, and was producing by converting 100 NF.Mk IIs to carry the American produced SCR720/729 radar

The single Douglas DC-1 was the direct ancestor of the DC-3, an aircraft that would revolutionise civil aviation, and of the C-47/ Dakota family of military transport aircraft, the most important Allied transport aircraft of the Second World War.

The Douglas DC-2 was the production version of the DC-1, and helped to revolutionise the civil aviation industry in the mid 1930s.

The designation Douglas R2D-1 was given to the first DC-2s to enter US military service, serving as staff transport aircraft for the US Navy

The designation Douglas C-32 was given to one DC-2 purchased by the USAAC in 1936, and to twenty-four civilian DC-2 airliners that were impressed by the War Department after the start of the Second World War.

The Douglas C-33 was the first purpose-built military transport aircraft to be based on the Douglas DC-2, and was thus the ancestor of the thousands of C-47s, C-53s and Dakotas that would be built during the Second World War.

The Douglas C-34 was the designation given to two military versions of the DC-2 purchased for use by the Secretary of War.

The single Douglas C-38 was producing in an attempt to improve the stability of the DC-2/ C-33 series of aircraft.

The Douglas C-39 was a military transport aircraft that combined the fuselage and outer wings of the DC-2 with the centre wing section, engine nacelles and larger tail of the DC-3.

The Douglas C-41 was the designation given to a single transport aircraft based on the DC-2 and produced as a transport for the Chief of Staff of the Army Air Corps

Like the C-41 the Douglas C-42 was the designation given to a single transport aircraft similar to the C-39, with the fuselage of the DC-2 but the tail and wing centre section of the DC-3.

9 November

The war between Rome and Antiochus III (192-188 B.C.) was the second of two wars that saw the Roman Republic, in a period of less than a decade, defeat the two most powerful of the successor states to the empire of Alexander the Great – Macedonia and the Seleucid Empire.

The battle of Thermopylae of 191 B.C. ended the Greek phase of the war between Rome and the Seleucid emperor Antiochus III, and saw Antiochus expelled from Greece

The battle of Corycus of 191 B.C. was the first naval battle of the war between Rome and Antiochus III, and saw the Romans and their allies begin to win control of the Aegean Sea.

The battle of Eurymedon (or Side) of 190 B.C. was one of two naval battles that marked a turning point in that years fighting in the war between Rome and Antiochus III.

The battle of Myonnesus was the decisive naval battle of the War between Rome and Antiochus III, and saw a combined Roman and Rhodian fleet defeat Antiochus’ main surviving fleet.

The battle of Magnesia, in the winter of 190 B.C., saw a badly outnumbered Roman army defeat the army of the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus III (the Great), forever altering the balance of power in the eastern Mediterranean.

The peace of Apamea of 188 B.C. ended the war between Rome and Antiochus III, and also ended any chance that the Seleucid Empire might ever reclaim its lands in Asia Minor. 

6 November

The Second Macedonian War, 200-196 B.C., was the first war in which the Roman Republic made a major military effort in Greece, and it marked an end to the power of Macedonia.

The battle of Chios of 201 B.C. was the first of two naval battles fought by Philip V of Macedonia off the coast of Asia Minor during 201.

The siege of Abydos of 200 B.C. was one of the final of a series of conquests made by Philip V of Macedonia around the Aegean that helped trigger the Second Macedonian War (against Rome).

The battle of Cynoscephalea of 197 B.C. was the decisive battle of the First Macedonian War, and was the first of a series of victories won by Roman legions over the Greek phalanx that ended three centuries of Greek dominance on the battlefield.

5 November

The First Macedonian War (215-205 BC) was caused by the decision of Philip V of Macedonia to form an alliance with Hannibal in the aftermath of his series of great victories against Rome in Italy.

The battle of Mantinea of 207 BC was the most significant battle of the First Macedonian War, although it involved none of the main participants in that war.

The peace of Phoenice of 205 ended the fighting in the First Macedonian War (215-205 BC).

The battle of Lade was the second of two naval battles fought by Philip V of Macedonia during 201 BC.

The battle of the Aous (probable date 24 June 198 BC) was the first significant Roman victory during the Second Macedonian War.

4 November

Although it was a short, limited conflict, the First Illyrian War (230-228 BC) is noteworthy as the first time the Roman Republic sent its armies to the eastern shores of the Adriatic.

The Second Illyrian War (219 BC) was a short campaign in which the Romans restored the balance of power they had created at the end of the First Illyrian War, ten years earlier.

3 November

The Vickers Virginia biplane bomber was one of the mainstays of the RAF in the interwar years, equipping ten bomber squadrons at its peak, and remaining in front line service from 1924 until 1937.

The Vickers Victoria was a troop transport developed alongside the Vickers Virginia bomber, and which shared many design elements with that aircraft.

The Vickers Valentia was the name given to a strengthened version of the Vickers Victoria troop transport, powered by two Pegasus engines.

2 November

The Blackburn Botha was one of the least successful British aircraft of the Second World War, suffering from a serious lack of engine power, and with a front line career of only three months.

The Blackburn Firebrand demonstrates the difficulties encountered by many aircraft manufacturers when developing new aircraft during the Second World War. When work began on the Firebrand in the spring of 1939 it was seen as a short-ranged two-man fleet interceptor, but ever-changing requirements meant that by the time it entered service in September 1945 it was a single seat torpedo-armed strike aircraft.

The Blackburn Roc was the Royal Navy’s equivalent to the Boulton Paul Defiant, and was a turret armed fighter aircraft developed just before the Second World War, and which proved to be ineffective in combat.

The Blackburn Swift was a carrier based torpedo bomber developed during 1919, and which founded a long line of Blackburn biplane torpedo bombers that remained in service for the next twenty years.

The Blackburn Dart was the production version of the Swift torpedo bomber, a private venture aircraft built in 1920.

The Blackburn Velos was a two-seater floatplane torpedo bomber based on the Blackburn Dart that was built for the Greek navy in the late 1920s.

The Blackburn Ripon was the second in a series of Blackburn biplane torpedo bombers that equipped the Fleet Air Arm in the interwar years.

The Blackburn Baffin was a radial powered version of the Blackburn Ripon torpedo bomber.

The Blackburn Shark was the last in a series of Blackburn produced biplane torpedo bombers that equipped the Fleet Air Arm in the interwar years.

31 October

The Fairey Albacore was a biplane torpedo bomber, designed to replace the earlier Fairey Swordfish. While the Albacore successfully supplanted the Swordfish on the large fleet aircraft carriers, it was not as adaptable as the Swordfish, and was withdrawn from front line service in 1944, one year before the Swordfish.

The Fairey Barracuda was a monoplane torpedo bomber designed in the late 1930s to replace the biplane Albacores and Swordfish. The Barracuda didn’t enter service until 1943, but it soon became a mainstay of the Fleet Air Arm, operating in home waters, the Mediterranean and the Far East.

30 October

The Supermarine Seagull was a biplane amphibian, originally designed to operate as a spotter for naval gunfire at the start of the 1920s. It was then almost completely redesigned for the RAAF in 1933 as the Seagull V, and this version of the aircraft entered British service as the Supermarine Walrus.

The Supermarine Seamew was a biplane amphibian designed to satisfy Air Ministry specification 29/24, but which had a low priority at Supermarine and never entered service.

The Supermarine Sea Otter was designed as the replacement for the Walrus, but although the first aircraft made its maiden flight in September 1938 Supermarine was busy with the far more important Spitfire programme, and only a small number of Sea Otters saw active service late in the Second World War

The Supermarine Walrus was one of the unsung workhorses of the Fleet Air Arm and RAF during the Second World War, operating as a fleet spotter and air sea rescue aircraft and fighting in just about every theatre of the war.

The Short Rangoon was a military version of the same company’s Calcutta flying boat. Five Rangoons were built for the RAF, and served with No.203 Squadron in Iraq.

The Short Singapore was the oldest of a group of biplane flying boats still in RAF service at the start of the Second World War, although the last squadrons to use it replaced their aircraft before entering combat.

29 October

The Fokker T.VIII-W was a twin-float twin-engined torpedo bomber and reconnaissance sea plane built for the Dutch, but that saw service in small numbers in both the Luftwaffe and the RAF during 1940.

The Supermarine Southampton was the first flying boat designed after the First World War to enter RAF service, and was the first of a series of successful military flying boats designed by Reginald Mitchell.

The Supermarine Scapa was an improved version of the Southampton flying boat, developed after Supermarine was taken over by Vickers, and using technology developed for the Schneider races.

The Supermarine Stranraer was the last of a series of large biplane flying boats designed by Reginald Mitchell, and was essentially a larger version of the Supermarine Scapa, itself an improved version of the earlier Southampton.

The Saro A.27 London was one of the last generation of large biplane flying planes to serve in the RAF, operating alongside the Supermarine Stranraer in Coastal Command in the years immediately before the Second World War.

The Saro Lerwick flying boat was one of the least successful aircraft to serve with the RAF during the Second World War, and demonstrated the danger of ordering a new design off the drawing board.

28 October

The Short Sunderland flying boat was one of the mainstays of Coastal Command during the Second World War, and was one of the longest serving military aircraft of its era, with an RAF career that lasted from 1938 until 1959. We start with a look at the development of the Short Sunderland, before moving on to look at the service career of the Sunderland. We also add a picture gallery for the Sunderland.

The Short Sunderland Mk I entered service in 1938, and was one of the few modern aircraft available to Coastal Command at the start of the Second World War.

The Short Sunderland II was introduced in 1941, and was the first version of the aircraft to carry ASV radar.

The Short Sunderland III was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the aircraft, accounting for 463 of the total of 749 Sunderlands that were built.

The Short Seaford was originally developed as the Sunderland Mk IV, and was an attempt to use the Bristol Hercules engines of the Short Stirling on the Sunderland.

The final version of the Sunderland to enter service was the Sunderland V, which remained in use in the RAF from early in 1945 until 1959.

27 October

The British Taylorcraft Auster was a light aircraft used in large numbers by the RAF for artillery spotting and communications duties.

The Percival Proctor was a radio-trainer and communication aircraft, developed from the Percival Vega Gull, and produced in large numbers during the Second World War.

26 October

The Northrop N-3PB floatplane patrol-bomber was the first aircraft to be produced by the independent Northrop Aircraft Inc after its foundation in 1939

The Avro Rota was the name given to twelve Cierva C.30A autogiros built under licence for the RAF by Avro during 1934-35.

The de Havilland D.H.91 Albatross was a pre-war passenger aircraft produced in very small numbers, and which served as a transport aircraft during the Second World War.

24 October

The Vickers Vincent was a version of the Vildebeest torpedo bomber modified to operate as a general purpose aeroplane, a role that combined army-cooperation, ground attack and light bombing functions and was designed for Imperial policing

The Vickers Type 253 general purpose biplane was the first aircraft to use the geodetic construction method devised by Barnes Wallis, and made famous on the Wellington bomber.

The Vickers Wellesley was the first aircraft built entirely using Barnes Wallis’s geodesic construction method to enter service, and is best known for establishing a new world distance record in 1938.

The Vickers Warwick was one of many examples of promising aircraft whose development was delayed by the choice of engines. It was originally designed as a twin-engined heavy bomber, and like the Avro Manchester was to use the Rolls Royce Vulture.

23 October

Private Johnson Gideon Beharry is the first British serviceman to be awarded teh Victoria Cross since 1982, and the first living recipient since 1965.

The Amistad Mutiny was a relatively small incident which was to have long term political impact on US public opinion about the slave trade and sour relations between the US and Spanish governments

The Vickers Type 131 Valiant was a general purpose biplane produced by Vickers as a private venture, and was designed to satisfy Air Ministry specification 26/27

The Vickers Venture was an improved version of the Vixen II, designed to act as reconnaissance aircraft in an army-cooperation role.

The Vickers Vespa was designed as an army co-operation and reconnaissance aircraft, to replace the First World War-era Bristol Fighter. None were ordered by the RAF, but the Vespa was sold in small numbers to Bolivia and the Irish Free State, while the original prototype, in a greatly modified form, broke the World Height Record in September 1942

The Vickers Vildebeest was a land based biplane torpedo bomber, designed in the late 1920s to defend the British coast, but which was still the only torpedo bomber available to Coastal Command at the start of the Second World War.

9 October

Today we add two picture galleries with items contributed by our readers. The first is dedicated to the StuG and StuH armoured vehicles, and contains nine plans contributed by Peter Müller and Wolfgang Zimmermann. The second contains a collection of documents related to No.215 Squadron, RAF during the Second World War.

8 October

Huff-Daland Airplanes Incorporated was formed in 1920 by Thomas Huff and Elliot Daland, at Ogdensburg, New York. It would become a key early supplier of bombers to the US Army Air Corps, although most would be better known under the Keystone name that was adopted in 1927

The Huff-Daland XHB-1 Cyclops was the only one of the three entries in the Army Air Corps’ Heavy Bomber sequence to actually be produced, and was a modified and expanded version of the Huff-Daland LB-1.

The Huff-Daland XHB-3 was a mid-1920s design for a twin-engine monoplane heavy bomber, and was the final entry in the US Army Air Corps’s short-lived Heavy Bombardment series.

The Huff-Daland LB-1 was the first in a long series of bombers better known as the Keystone bombers (after a change of company name).

The Huff-Daland XLB-3 was one of three attempts to turn the same company’s single engined LB-1 into a twin engined aircraft.

The Huff-Daland XLB-5 was the second attempt to produce a twin-engined version of the company’s LB-1 light bomber, coming between the Huff-Daland XLB-3 and the Keystone XLB-3A.

On 8 March 1927 the new owners of Huff-Daland renamed the company as the Keystone Aircraft Corporation. Over its brief five year existence Keystone would produce nearly 200 bombers for the Army Air Corps, and the Keystone Bomber was the standard American bomber during the early 1930s

The Keystone XB-1 Super Cyclops was the first aircraft in the “B” category for US Army bombers, and was an experimental bomber notable for the inclusion of two rear-firing gun positions at the back of the two engine nacelles.

The Keystone XLB-3A was the third attempt to produce a twin-engined version of the Huff-Daland LB-1 light bomber.

The Keystone LB-5 was the first of the series of twin-engine biplane bombers developed from the single-engined Huff-Daland LB-1 to enter service with the US Army Air Corps

The Keystone LB-6 was a modified version of the LB-5 twin-engined biplane light bomber, with larger wings, a longer fuselage and new engines.

The Keystone LB-7 was the highest numbered entry in the US Army Air Corps Light Bomber series to enter production, although the 18 aircraft ordered were actually built before the very similar LB-6.

The Keystone LB-8 was the designation given to the seventeenth LB-7 light bomber after it was given Pratt & Whitney R-1860-3 radial engines.

The Keystone LB-9 was the designation given to the last LB-7 after it was re-engined with geared Wright Cyclone

The Keystone LB-10 was the direct predecessor of the Keystone B-3A Panther and the series of biplane bombers that followed, and was the last entry in the LB Light Bomber series to be ordered into productionengines.

The Keystone LB-11 was the designation given to the second-to-last LB-6 while it was being used as an engine test-bed.

The Keystone XLB-12 was the designation given to the first LB-7 light bomber after it had been re-engined with Pratt & Whitney R-1860-1 radial engines.

The Keystone LB-13 was the designation given to seven Keystone bombers that were originally to be powered by geared Pratt & Whitney R-1690-3 radial engines.

The Keystone LB-14 was a short-lived designation given to a version of the LB-10A light bomber that was to be powered by Pratt & Whitney GR-1860 radial engines.

The Keystone B-3A Panther was the fourth version of the Keystone bomber to be produced in significant numbers, and the first to receive a designation in the new B (bombardment) sequence, adopted by the Army Air Corps in 1926. 

The Keystone B-4A Panther was ordered alongside the B-6A, and together they were the last biplane bombers to enter American service.

The Keystone B-5A Panther was a twin-engined biplane bomber produced in 1930 by equipping the last 27 B-3A Panthers with Wright engines.

The Keystone B-6A Panther was the final development in a series of bombers descended from the Keystone LB-5, and was the last biplane bomber to enter US Army service. 

The Atlantic XHB-2 was a large twin-engine monoplane bomber designed by Antony Fokker’s American subsidiary Atlantic Aircraft.

6 October

The Curtiss A-3 was a ground attack aircraft produced for the US Army Air Corps by modifying the existing O-1 Falcon observation aircraft.

The Curtiss XA-4 was a single A-3 attack aircraft modified to test the 440hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine.

The Curtiss A-8 Shrike was a ground attack aircraft developed for the US Army Air Corps and which would eventually enter service as the A-12

The Curtiss YA-10 was the designation given to the first YA-8 Shrike when it was given a Pratt & Whitney Hornet air-cooled radial engine.

The Curtiss A-12 Shrike was a ground attack aircraft produced for the US Army Air Corps in 1934.

The Curtiss XA-14 Shrike was a two-man twin-engined ground attack aircraft designed in 1934 for the US Army Air Corps.

The Curtiss A-18 Shrike was the service-test version of the XA-14 twin-engined ground attack aircraft.

The Curtiss XA-43 was a design for a twin-engined attack aircraft proposed in 1945 as the Model 29, but which eventually flew as the XF-87 Blackhawk

The Northrop XA-13 was the first of a series of attack aircraft based on the Northrop Gamma, one of the first aircraft produced by the newly founded Northrop Corporation in 1932

The Northrop XA-16 was the designation given to the XA-13 after it was given a different engine in an attempt to imrpove visibility.

The Northrop A-17 was the standard US Army Air Corps attack aircraft during the second half of the 1930s.

The Douglas A-33 was the designation given to thirty-one Douglas 8A-5s that had been ordered by the Norwegian government in 1940, but were taken over by the US Army Air Force after the German invasion of Norway

3 October

The Sopwith 1 ½ Strutter was the first Sopwith aircraft to be produced in large numbers during the First World War, and performed as a scout, a bomber and a fighter for the RAF, the RNAS and for the French.

The Sopwith 9700 Type 1 ½ Strutter was a single-seat bomber version of the standard two-seat 1 ½ Strutter fighter-reconnaissance aircraft, produced for the RNAS and intended to operate as a strategic bomber

The Sopwith Ship Strutter was a version of the 1 ½ Strutter designed to be launched from platforms installed on top of the main gun turrets of battleships and battle cruisers.

2 October

The Sir W.G. Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Co Ltd was most famous for the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley, one of the main British bombers at the start of the Second World War, but it had a history that stretched back to the First World War, and by 1939 was part of a larger company that also included Hawker and Avro.

A. V. Roe and Company, better known simply as Avro, was one of the most famous of all British aircraft manufacturers, best known for the iconic Avro Lancaster bomber. Originally founded in 1910 by the aircraft pioneer Alliot Verdon Roe, by the time the Lancaster appeared the company was part of the Hawker Siddeley Group, while Roe himself had moved on to form Saunders-Roe Ltd.

Saunders-Roe was formed in 1928 when Sir Alliot Verdon Roe, the founder of Avro, purchased S. E. Saunders Ltd, a builder of amphibious aircraft based on the Isle of Wight.

The Sopwith Aviation Company was founded in 1912 by Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith, already a noted pioneer pilot, and in the Sopwith Camel produced the most famous British fighter of the First World War.

1 October

No.39 Squadron began and ended the Second World War as a regular bomber squadron, but spent the four years from January 1941-January 1945 operating as a maritime reconnaissance and anti-shipping squadron, serving around the Mediterranean.

No.41 Squadron operated the Supermarine Spitfire for the entire duration of the Second World War, taking part in the fighting over Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and flying sweeps over occupied France before moving to Europe to join the Second Tactical Air Force.

No.42 Squadron began the Second World War as a torpedo bomber squadron equipped with the obsolete Vickers Vildebeest, and performed that role for the first half of the war. It then briefly operated in the Mediterranean at the time of the battle of El Alamein, before moving on to Burma, where it spent the remaining years of the war operating as a fighter bomber squadron.

No.43 Squadron fought as a Hurricane squadron during the Battle of Britain and in Operation Torch, then as a Spitfire squadron in North Africa and Italy.

23 September

The battle of Convoy ONS5 of 28 April -6 May 1943 was a major defeat for the U-boats, and was part of a dramatic shift in fortune in the battle of the Atlantic.

The U-boat attack on convoy HX237 of 7-14 May 1943 was the second of a series of defeats inflicted on Dönitz’s U-boats that forced the wolf-packs to withdraw from the North Atlantic

The U-boat attack on Convoy SC129 of 12-14 May 1943 was one of a series of defeats that forced Admiral Dönitz to pull his wolf packs out of the North Atlantic.

Convoy SC130 was the last trans-Atlantic convoy to be seriously threatened by U-boat attack in 1943, and its safe arrival at Londonderry could be said to mark the Allied victory in the battle of the Atlantic

The U-boat attack on Convoy HX239 was the last big convoy battle of May 1943, and marked the effective defeat of the U-boats in the North Atlantic

While these last two statements do seem to contradict each other, the main part of the attack on SC130 happened before the attack on HX239, but SC130 reached safety second.

22 September

A brief article highlighting the actions of the Jamaican National Hero Paul Bogle and the events and repercussions of the Morant Bay Rebellion a relatively small event which was to have a large impact

Francois Mackandal was a charismatic and skilled leader of a slave revolt in Haiti in the 18th century

19 September

The T-34 Medium Tank is by far the most famous Soviet weapon of the Second World War, and has become a symbol of the Red Army’s desperate struggle against the Germans

The various versions of the T-34 have been known by at least three different designation systems in English language publications

The T-34-85 Medium Tank was the main Soviet tank in the last year of the Second World War, and was the only significantly improved version of the basic T-34 to enter production during the war.

The T-34 Medium Tank was built at seven different factories during the Second World War, starting with Factory 183 at Kharkov and the Stalingrad Tractor Factory, both of which would fall to the Germans during the war

The OT-34 was the designation given to over 1,500 T-34 Medium Tanks armed with a flamethrower in the hull.

17 September

No. 31 Squadron spent the entire Second World War operating as a transport squadron, based in India.

No. 32 Squadron was one of the most successful Hurricane squadrons of the Battle of Britain, and was credited with 102 victories in the first half of the battle. It then moved to the Mediterranean, taking part in Operation Torch, the invasion of Italy and the liberation of Greece.

No.33 Squadron began the Second World War operating the Gloster Gladiator in the Western Desert, fought in Greece and on Crete, then fought against Rommel during the see-saw battles that ended with the victory at El Alamein, before returning to Britain to take part in the D-Day landings and the campaign in Western Europe.

No. 34 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a Blenheim squadron based in Singapore, before reforming in India after the Japanese entry into the war. The squadron ended the war as a fighter bomber squadron, operating over Burma

16 September

The SU-122 was a self-propelled 122mm gun produced on the chassis of the T-34 Medium Tank, and was similar in concept to the early versions of the German StuG, designed to provide close support for the infantry

The SU-85 was a Soviet tank destroyer based on the SU-122 assault gun, which was itself built on the chassis of the T-34 Medium Tank.

The SU-100 was a Soviet tank destroyer developed as an up-gunned version of the SU-85 after the 85mm gun used in that vehicle was installed in the T-34-85.

No.28 Squadron spent the entire Second World War operating from India or Burma, at first as an army co-operation squadron equipped with the Audax and Lysander, then as a tactical reconnaissance squadron, equipped with the Hawker Hurricane.

No.29 Squadron spent most of the Second World War operating as a night fighter squadron, taking part in some of the earliest experiments with airborne radar before converting to the Beaufighter and then the Mosquito.

No.30 Squadron began the Second World War as a Blenheim bomber squadron based in Egypt, but went on serve as a fighter squadron in Egypt, Greece, on Crete and in the Far East, ending the war operating with Thunderbolt fighter bombers over Burma.

12 September

The OT-26 was the first of a series of flamethrower tanks based on the T-26 light tank.

The OT-130 was a second flamethrower tank based on the T-26 light tank, this time using the single turreted T-26 Model 1933

The OT-133 was the third of a series of flame thrower tanks based on the T-26 light tank, and was built around the improved T-26S

The OT-134 was the fourth and final entry in a series of flame throwers based on the T-26 light tank, and was the first to carry any other armament

The Soviet PPSh-41 was the best mass produced submachine gun of the Second World War, and was produced in vast numbers during the war.

11 September

The T-26 Light Tank was produced in greater numbers than any other pre-war Soviet Tank, and was the most numerous tank in Red Army service in June 1941.

The T-46 Light Tank was developed in an attempt to improve the mobility of the T-26, the most numerous Soviet tank from the mid 1930s until the German invasion of 1941.

The T-25 Light Tank was a second attempt to improve the mobility of the T-26 light tank by installing Christie suspension

10 September

The Jagdpanther was the most powerful of a series of tank destroyers produced in Germany during the Second World War, carrying the same gun as the Jagdtiger, but on a vehicle 24 tons lighter, 91cm/ 3 feet shorter and 8km/hr faster

The Bergepanther or Panzer-Bergegerät (Panther I) was a tank recovery vehicle based on the Panther medium tank, and produced to solve a problem caused by the ever-increasing weight of German tanks.

The Panther Ostwallturm was a fixed fortification based around the turret from the Panther medium tank.

9 September

The Panzer V or Panther medium tank was developed at high speed to counter the Soviet T-34, and after a unsuccessful introduction to combat at Kursk developed into the best German tank of the Second World War.

The Panther I Ausf D was the first production version of the Panther medium tank, and was rushed into combat only a year after the design was first approved.

The Panther I Ausf A was the second production version of the Panther medium tank, and was very similar to late production Ausf Ds.

The Panther I Ausf G was the final version of the Panther to enter production during the Second World War, and was produced in larger numbers than the previous two versions combined.

The Panther I Ausf F was the final version of the Panther medium tank to be developed, featured a new type of turret, and was on the verge of entering production at the end of the Second World War

The Panzerbefehlswagen Panther Sd Kfz 267 was a very successful command tank based on the standard Panther I

The Panzerbefehlswagen Panther Sd Kfz 268 “Flivo” was the less common of the two types of command tank based on the Panther, and was designed to operate as an air to ground liaison officer

The Panzerbeobachtungswagen Panther was an artillery fire direction vehicle based on the Panther and designed to operate with the armoured artillery

The Panther II was developed during 1943 as a potential replacement for the Panther I, but never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

5-6 September

Very few aircraft attracted a wider range of designations than the Douglas DB-7/ A-20 Havoc/ P-70 Nighthawk/ Havoc night fighter/ Boston bomber

The Douglas A-20 Havoc may not be one of the best known bombers of the Second World War, but it was used by seven Bombardment Groups, fought in the south west Pacific, took part in the invasions of North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, and remained in service until the end of the war

The Douglas DB-7 was one of a number of American aircraft ordered in large numbers by France during 1939 in a vain attempt to reequip the Armèe de l’Air before the outbreak of war with Germany

The Douglas A-20 was the first version of the Havoc to be ordered by the US Army Air Corps.

The Douglas A-20A was similar to the original A-20, but without the turbo-superchargers used on the earlier version of the Havoc

The Douglas A-20B was the first version of the Havoc to be produced in large numbers for the USAAF, but it lacked self-sealing fuel tanks and did not have enough armour.

The Douglas A-20C was originally produced for export to Britain and the Soviet Union under lend-lease, but a large number were retained in the United States after Pearl Harbor

The Douglas A-20D was the designation given to a lightened version of the Havoc that would have been powered by turbo-supercharged R-2600-7 engines.

The Douglas A-20E designation was given to a small number of Havocs used for experiments with lightened fuselages

The Douglas A-20F was the designation given to a version of the Havoc armed with a large 37mm gun in the nose, built on a modified A-20A chassis

The Douglas A-20G saw the biggest change to the design of the Havoc with the replacement of the glass bombardier’s nose by a solid nose carrying six forward firing guns.

The Douglas A-20H was a minor variation on the A-20G, the first solid-nosed version of the Havoc.

The Douglas A-20J saw the reintroduction of the glass bombardier’s nose, replaced on the A-20G by a solid gun nose

The Douglas A-20K was a glass-nosed “lead ship” produced to work alongside the solid nosed A-20H

At the start of the Second World War the US Army Air Corps lacked a modern radar equipped night fighter, and so it was decided to copy the RAF and convert a number of Douglas A-20s into P-70 Nighthawks night fighters.

The Douglas BD was the US Navy designation for nine A-20 Havocs, used as high speed target tugs

Forty nine Douglas A-20 Havocs were converted to act as photo-reconnaissance aircraft, under the designation Douglas F-3

The Douglas Boston was the best of a series of American light bombers to serve with the RAF during the Second World War, serving with ten RAF and SAAF bomber squadrons and three night intruder squadrons. 

The Douglas Boston I was the designation given to 20 Douglas DB-7 bombers originally ordered by France, but that entered service with the RAF

The Douglas Boston II was the British designation for late production French DB-7s, powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4-G Twin Wasp with a two-speed supercharger.

The Douglas Boston III was the most important version of that aircraft in RAF service, with a total of 768-771 aircraft produced. It was also the first British version to be actually be used as a bomber, and the first version to have come from the original British order for the Douglas DB-7B

The Douglas Boston IV was the British version of the glass-nosed A-20J Havoc.

The Douglas Boston V was the RAF designation for the glass-nosed A-20K Havoc, and was the final version of the aircraft to see service with the RAF.

The Douglas Havoc was an impromptu conversion of lower powered French DB-7s, which achieved a certain amount of success as a night fighter and intruder in 1941 and 1942.

The Douglas Havoc I (Pandora) was a particularly unusual weapon which demonstrated the urgent need for any weapon capable of dealing with the threat from German night bombers during the Blitz.

The Douglas Havoc I (Night Fighter) was one of a series attempts to make use of the relatively large number of French DB-7s which arrived in Britain after the collapse of France in June 1940

The Douglas Havoc I (Intruder) was designed to operate as a night time intruder over occupied Europe, and was produced by modifying late production French DB-7s

The Douglas Havoc II (Night Fighter) was produced by installed a new solid nose carrying twelve guns to 100 French DB-7As which reached Britain after the collapse of France

2 September

The Martin 167 A-3 was a light bomber designed for a US Army bomber contest of 1937-38, but that entered combat with the French Armée de l’Air, before becoming the basis of the RAF’s Maryland and Baltimore bombers.

The Martin Maryland was a light bomber originally developed to satisfy a US army specification and which entered British service after the fall of France.

The Martin Baltimore was a light bomber developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company from its Model 167 Maryland to satisfy a British specification.

We provide a list of squadrons that used the Martin Baltimore light bomber

The Martin Baltimore I was a light bomber developed from the earlier Maryland by increasing the width and depth of the fuselage and installing more powerful engines and more guns.

The Martin Baltimore II differed from the Mk I only in that it was delivered with two 0.30in Browning machine guns in the rear dorsal position in place of the single gun of the Mk. I

The biggest problem with the earlier versions of the Martin Baltimore had been the poor rear guns – two hand operated Vickers “K” guns which proved to be difficult to use in combat – and so the Baltimore III was equipped with a powered gun turret

The Martin Baltimore IIIA was the first version of the aircraft to be provided under lend-lease, and was armed with a different turret to the Baltimore III.

The Baltimore IV was very similar to the Baltimore IIIA, differing only in some internal equipment.

The Baltimore V was the final version of the aircraft to be produced, and differed from the earlier versions in using more powerful Wright R-2600-29 Cyclone engines.

31 August

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was the main long range reconnaissance aircraft in use with the US Navy in the first half of the Second World War

Like many American military aircraft of the period the Consolidated Catalina actually gained its first combat experience in British hands.

We also supply lists of the US Navy PBY Squadrons and RAF Catalina Squadrons of the Second World War

Canada developed a very sizable aircraft industry during the Second World War, and one of the aircraft it produced in large numbers was the Consolidated Catalina.

29 August

The Consolidated PBY-5A was the first version of the Catalina to be equipped with wheeled landing gear, turning it from a pure flying boat into an amphibian, capable of operating from sea and land bases.

The Consolidated PBY-6A was the last production version of the Catalina amphibian, and combined the features introduced during the production run of the PBY-5A with the new tail designed for the PBN-1 Nomad

The Consolidated OA-10 was the USAAF’s designation for the Catalina flying boat, used by the air force for air-sea rescue duties in the vast expanses of the Pacific.

The Naval Aircraft Factory PBN-1 Nomad was an improved version of the Consolidated Catalina, produced by the same facility that had produced the design for the XPY-1, the first flying boat to be produced by Consolidated and a direct ancestor of the Catalina.

28 August

The Consolidated XPY-1 Admiral was the first in a series of designs that would eventually produce the PBY Catalina, the most successful fly boat ever built.

The Martin XP2M was a second prototype of the basic flying boat design first developed as the Consolidated XPY-1.

The Martin P3M flying boat was the production version of the aircraft that had first been developed as the Consolidated XPY-1.

The Consolidated P2Y was the second flying boat to be designed by Consolidated for the US Navy, and the first to be produced by the same company.

The Consolidated PBY-1 was the first production version of the Consolidated Catalina, which would be produced in far larger numbers than any other flying boat

The Consolidated PBY-5 was the first version of the Catalina to be produced in large numbers, and the last to be a pure flying boat, and yet at the start of 1939 it had looked as if the PBY-4 was to be the final production version of the aircraft.

27 August

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was by far the most successful flying boat of the Second World War, and played a major part in the both the war in the Pacific and the Battle of the Atlantic, serving in large numbers with the US Navy and RAF Coastal Command.

The Consolidated PBY-2 was the second production version of the Catalina flying boat, and was very similar to the PBY-1, the main differences being on the tail.

The Consolidated PBY-3 differed from the previous version of the Catalina in having more powerful 900hp R-1830-66 Twin Wasp engines in place of the 850hp engines used on the PBY-2.

The Consolidated PBY-4 was the last of the early versions of the Catalina fly boat, each of which was ordered in small numbers in the period before the Second World War.

26 August

Today we add a picture gallery for Japanese Tanks

25 August

We start with a look at the designation system used on Japanese tanks of the Second World War

The Type 1 Chi-He (medium sixth) Medium Tank was an improved version of the Type 97 Chi-ha, the most numerous Japanese medium tank of the Second World War, but the generally low priority give to tank development during the war meant that only 170 were built

The Type 3 Chi-Nu (medium tenth) was the last tank to be developed from the Chi-Ha medium tank, and combined the improved chassis of the Type 1 Chi-Ne with a large turret carrying a 75mm tank gun.

The Type 4 Chi-To medium tank was the most powerful Japanese tank built during the Second World War, but by the time the war ended only two had been completed.

The Type 5 Chi-Ri (medium ninth) tank was the last medium tank to be developed in Japan during the Second World War, although no complete examples were actually built.

The Type 1 Ho-Ni I was a self-propelled gun produced by fitting a 75mm Type 90 field gun on the chassis of the main Japanese medium tank of the Second World War, the Type 97 Chi-Ha

The Type 1 Ho-Ni II was a Japanese self propelled gun produced by mounting a 105mm Type 91 Howitzer on the chassis of a Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank

The Type 2 Ho-I gun tank was designed to provide Japanese tank regiments with a close support weapon to fight alongside the improved Chi-ha medium tanks

The Type 3 Ho-Ni III was a Japanese tank destroyer and self-propelled gun produced by mounting a 75mm gun on the chassis of the Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank.

22 August

The Type 97 Tankette was an improved version of the earlier Type 94 Tankette, itself the most numerous Japanese armoured vehicle of the 1930s.

The Type 95 Ha-Go light tank was the most numerous Japanese tank produced during the Second World War.

The Type 98 Light Tank was designed during 1938 to replace the Type 95 Ha-Go light tank, but despite being a superior design it did not enter full production until 1942, and never appeared in large numbers

The Type 2 Ke-To light tank (Japan) was an improved version of the Type 98 light tank, carrying a modified gun turret.

The Type 3 Ke-Ri light tank was an experimental Japanese design which matched the chassis of the standard Type 95 Ha-go light tank with a 57mm gun

The Type 4 Ke-Nu light tank combined the chassis of the standard Japanese Type 95 light tank with turrets that had been removed from the original version of the Type 97 Chi-ha medium tank.

21 August

The Dai-chi Osaka Sensha (First Osaka Tank), or Number 1 Chi-I, was the first tank to be designed in Japan. Developed in 1925-27 it did not enter service.

The Type 91 Heavy Tank was one of a series of experimental multi-turreted heavy tanks designed in Japan between 1925 and the end of the 1930s, none of which entered production.

The Type 95 Heavy Tank was the last entry in a series of multi-turreted tanks developed in Japan between 1925 and the late 1930s, none of which entered production.

The Type 92 Jyu-Sokosha/ Kei Sensha/ Cavalry Tank was one of the first Japanese designed tanks to enter production. It had a good top speed, but was so poorly armoured that it was virtually useless in combat.

The Type 94 tankette was produced in larger numbers than any other Japanese armoured vehicle of the 1930s. Although it was originally designed to act as an armoured supply transporter, it was often used in combat as a miniature tank.

The Type 89 Yi-Go or Chi-Ro medium tank was the most important Japanese medium tank of the 1930s, and was the first at least partly Japanese-designed tank to be accepted by the Imperial Japanese Army

8 August

Today we create picture galleries for the Consolidated Catalina, Dieppe, Operation Downfall - the planned invasion of Japan, Operation Market Garden, Tarawa, Shiloh, First World War Maps, Gettysburg, Guadalcanal, the Handley Page Halifax, Iwo Jima, Midway, Okinawa and Peleliu

6 August

The Sturmgeschütz IV or StuG IV was an assault gun developed at the end of 1943 to make up for lost StuG III production in the aftermath of an air raid which badly damaged the Alkett factory.

The Sturmhaubitze or StuH was a version of the StuG assault gun, armed with a 105mm light field howitzer

The Hornisse (hornet) or Nashorn (Rhino) was a lightly armoured self-propelled mount for the 8.8cm Pak43 anti-tank gun using the same hybrid gun carriage based on elements of the Panzer III and Panzer IV as the Hummel, and differed from that vehicle mainly in the choice of its gun.

The Jagdtiger, or Jagdpanzer VI, was a tank destroyer based on the Tiger II, and was a good example of the gigantism so common in Germany towards the end of the Second World War.

The Tiger-Mörser or Sturmmörser was a self propelled armoured mount for the breach loading rocket firing 38cm Raketenwerfer 61 L/54.

5 August

The Möbelwagen (furniture wagon) was the first attempt to mount an anti-aircraft gun on the chassis of a Panzer IV tank.

The Wirbelwind (Whirlwind) was the second production vehicle to mount an anti-aircraft gun on the chassis of the Panzer IV tank.

The Zerstörer 45 was a more powerful version of the Wirbelwind Flakpanzer, designed to compensate for the relatively low power of the quadruple 2cm guns used in the earlier vehicle.

The Ostwind I (East Wind) was the last of a series of Flakpanzers (anti-aircraft tanks) based on the Panzer IV chassis to enter production, albeit in very small numbers

The Ostwind II was a further development of the Ostwind I Flakpanzer, which would have carried twice the firepower, but that never progressed beyond the prototype stage.

The “Kugelblitz” (Ball lightning) Flakpanzer would have been the most advanced anti-aircraft tank produced by Germany during the Second World War if it had ever entered production, but the first prototypes did not appear until 1945, and it never entered combat

4 August

The Jagdpanzer IV was the first of a series of highly effective tank destroyers developed in Germany from 1943, each of which carried a powerful gun in a low chassis protected by well sloped armour.

The Panzer IV/70 (A) was intended to be an interim design, designed to speed up the introduction of a version of the Jagdpanzer armed with a 7.5cm PaK42 L/70 main gun.

The Panzer IV/70 (V) was an improved version of the Jagdpanzer IV, armed with a Pak42 L/70 gun in place of the shorter gun used on the earlier vehicle.

The Hummel was a fully tracked lightly armoured mount for the 15cm heavy field howitzer, and was designed to provide artillery support for the Panzer divisions.

29 July

When it first appeared the Sturmgeschütz, or as it is more commonly known the StuG III, was a unique weapon – a powerful artillery gun mounted on a fully armoured, tracked, low slung chassis based on the Panzer III medium tank, and designed to provide close support for the German infantry

The Sturmgeschütz Ausf.A was the first production version of the StuG III assault gun, designed to provide the German infantry with a fully armoured mobile artillery gun.

The Sturmgeschütz Ausf.B was the second version of the StuG assault gun, and saw the introduction of all of the improvements that had been made to the tracks of the Panzer III between the Ausf F and the Ausf H.

The Sturmgeschütz Ausf.C was the third version of the StuG III assault gun, and saw only minor modifications from the Ausf B.

The Sturmgeschütz Ausf D was very similar to the previous StuG III Ausf C.

The Sturmgeschütz Ausf.E was the final version of the StuG III assault gun to carry the short 7.5cm gun and to be designed as a close support vehicle for the infantry.

The Sturmgeschütz III Ausf F saw a major change to the design of the StuG III with the adoption of the long barrelled 7.5cm Stu.K.40 L/43.

The Sturmgeschütz III Ausf F/8 was the second version of the StuG III to carry the longer 7.5cm StuK40 L/48 gun, and differed from the Ausf F in the use of the hull from the Panzer III Ausf J

The Sturmgeschütz III Ausf G was the final version of the StuG III and was produced in vast numbers, with a total of 7,720 produced from new between December 1942 and the end of the Second World War

25 July

The Panzer IV is normally described as having been the mainstay of the German tank forces during the Second World War, but that is actually somewhat misleading. While it is true that the Panzer IV was the only German tank to remain in production for the entire duration of the war, for the first three of those years it was a close support weapon produced in relatively small numbers, before being turned into a potent tank killer

The Panzerbeobachtungswagen IV was an artillery observation vehicle based on the Panzer IV.

The Panzerbefehlswagen IV was a command vehicle based on the Panzer IV medium tank.

24 July

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf H was produced in larger numbers than any other version of the Panzer IV, and at first was very similar to late production Ausf Gs.

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf J was the last version of the Panzer IV medium tank to enter production before the end of the Second World War

The Tauchpanzer IV (literally 'dipping tank') was a version of the Panzer IV designed to be driven underwater.

The Brummbär ('Grizzly Bear') or Sturmpanzer IV was a heavy armoured assault vehicle based on the Panzer IV and armed with a short 15cm howitzer

23 July

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf A was the first production version of the Panzer IV medium support tank, and shared many features with all of the over 8,000 tanks that followed.

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf B was the second production model of the Panzer IV medium support tank, and saw an increase in frontal armour and in engine power

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf C was the third version of the Panzer IV medium support tank, and saw a significant increase in the scale of production

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf D was the fourth production version of the Panzer IV medium support tank, and saw the first increase in the thickness of the side and rear armour

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf E was the fifth production model of the Panzer IV medium support tank and saw a significant increase in the armour carried by the tank

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F was the final version of the Panzer IV medium support tank to be produced with the short 7.5cm gun.

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf F2 saw the biggest change in the design of the Panzer IV with the installation of the long barrelled 7.5cm KwK40 L/43 main gun

The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf G was the first version of the Panzer IV to be produced in really large numbers, with a total of 1,687 being completed as gun-armed tanks between May 1942 and June 1943

21 July

Admiral Philip Vian made his name as one of the most daring British naval commanders of the Second World War early in 1940 as the captain of the destroyer Cossack during the Altmark incident, before going on to hold high rank in the Mediterranean, during Operation Overlord and in the Far East

The first battle of Sirte of 17 December 1941 was the result of an accidental clash between British and Italian naval forces each escorting a convoy through the Mediterranean

Operation “MG1” of March 1942 was a costly attempt to run a small supply convoy from Alexandria to the besieged island of Malta

The second battle of Sirte of 22 March 1942 saw a British force of light cruisers and destroyers prevent a powerful Italian fleet led by the battleship Littorio from attacking a convoy heading for Malta with vitally important supplies

18 July

Today we add picture galleries for the Avro Lancaster, Bristol Beaufighter, North American B-25 Mitchell and the Supermarine Spitfire

17 July

Admiral Sir James Somerville (1882-1949) was one of the most able British admirals of the Second World War, serving at Dunkirk, as the commander of Force H at Gibraltar and as Commander-in-Chief of the Eastern Fleet, despite having only been declared fit for light duties at the start of the war.

Operation Hurry (1-4 August 1940) was a Royal Navy operation whose main purpose was to ferry twelve Hawker Hurricane aircraft to Malta, where they were desperately needed to reinforce the beleaguered garrison

Operation Hats (30 August-5 September 1940) was one of a series of complex operations carried out by the Royal Navy after the entry of Italy into the Second World War effectively split the British Mediterranean fleet in two.

Operation Squawk (31 August-1 September 1940) was a deception operation carried out as part of Operation Hats, a major fleet movement in the Mediterranean, and was designed to convince the Italians that Admiral Somerville’s Force H from Gibraltar was heading for Genoa

Operation Coat (15-20 November 1940) was the second attempt to ferry Hurricane fighters to the beleaguered island of Malta by aircraft carrier, but unlike the first attempt the operation ended in failure

16 July

The 21st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) was one of a small number of USAAF units to take part in the fighting on the Aleutian Islands, becoming one of the first squadrons to make a land-based attack on the Japanese home islands.

The 27th Bombardment Squadron spent 1942 and 1943 flying anti-submarine warfare patrols and training replacement crews before moving to the Central Pacific in November 1943 to take part in the island hopping campaign.

15 July

The 494th Bombardment Group (Heavy) operated the B-24 Liberator with the Seventh Air Force in the Pacific from late in 1944 to the end of the Second World War.

The 864th Bombardment Squadron, 865th Bombardment Squadron and 866th Bombardment Squadron were all formed as part of the 494th Bombardment Group, the last B-24 Liberator group to be deployed from the United States during the Second World War.

Despite its eventual high number the 867th Bombardment Squadron was in action almost from the start of the American involvement in the Second World War, flying anti-submarine warfare patrols for eighteen months before joining the Seventh Air Force as a heavy bomber squadron with the 494th Bombardment Group.

14 July

Sir Dudley Pound was the First Sea Lord, the professional head of the Royal Navy from early in 1939 until just before his death in October 1943.

Sir John Cunningham was a British admiral who rose to become Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean from 1943 until the end of the Second World War.

William Boyle, 12th Earl of Cork and Orrery was a British admiral who was appointed to command the Allied forces involved in the attack on Narvik in April-May 1940

Operation Collar (24-30 November 1940) was a British naval operation launched from both ends of the Mediterranean, with the intention of combining the movement of two small convoys with the redistribution of British naval forces.

The action off Cape Spartiavento (Sardinia) of 27 November 1940 was an inconclusive clash between elements of the British and Italian fleets which came about because of Italian efforts to interfere with Operation Collar.

11 July

We complete our series of articles on the Bell P-39 Airacobra

Bell P-39 Airacobra in American Service: The Bell P-39 Airacobra was the least well regarded fighter aircraft to serve in large numbers with the USAAF during the Second World War, but despite this it did perform some useful services on New Guinea and Guadalcanal early in the war in the Pacific

Bell P-39 Airacobra in Soviet Service: The Bell P-39 Airacobra had a terrible reputation amongst British and American pilots, but it rapidly became one of the favourite fighters in the Soviet Union. Of the top six Soviet air aces, four scored the majority of their victories in the Kobra.

9 July

The Bell P-400/ Airacobra I was the export version of the P-39 Airacobra, originally developed in response to a French order of 30 March 1940 for 170 aircraft.

The Bell P-39Q was the last version of the Airacobra, and was produced in greater numbers than any earlier version, with the 4,905 built representing just over half of the total production run of 9,529 aircraft.

The Bell Airacobra first entered service with the RAF, in October 1941, but only flew a handful of sorties before it was withdrawn from the front line.

The Bell P-59A Airacomet was the first American jet fighter to take to the air, making its maiden flight on 1 October 1942.

The Bell XP-83 was developed in an attempt to produce a long range jet powered escort fighter.

8 July

We start with a look at the development of the P-39 Airacobra

The Bell P-39K Airacobra designation was given to the first 210 aircraft that had originally been ordered as the P-39G.

The Bell P-39L Airacobra designation was given to 250 aircraft produced with the Allison V-1710-63 engine and a 10ft 4in Curtiss Electric propeller

The Bell P-39M Airacobra designation was given to 240 aircraft powered by the Allison V-1710-67 (E8) engine, a lowered powered model than was then standard in the Airacobra, but one that gave more power at 15,000ft than the -63 used in the P-39K and P-39L.

The Bell P-39N Airacobra was the first version of the Airacobra to be produced in truly large numbers, with a total of production run of 2,095 aircraft in three main sub-series.

The Bell XFL-1 Airabonita was a variant of the Airacobra that was produced for the US Navy as a possible replacement for its fleet of aging biplanes.

7 July

The Bell P-39C Airacobra was the first production version of the Airacobra, although only twenty aircraft were produced before production moved on to the P-39D.

The Bell P-39D Airacobra was the first version of the Airacobra to be produced in large numbers, and the first to reach the Soviet Union, where the aircraft would achieve its main successes.

The Bell XP-39E Airacobra was an experimental version of the Airacobra originally produced as a test bed for the Continental V-1430 engine.

The Bell P-39F Airacobra was produced in order to cope with a shortage of Curtiss Electric propellers and used the 10ft 4in Aeroproducts propeller.

The Bell P-39G Airacobra was to have been similar to the earlier P-39D-2 lend lease aircraft, but using a different propeller to replace the Curtiss Electric. None were produced.

The Bell P-39J Airacobra designation was given to the last twenty-five aircraft ordered as P-39F Airacobras.

4 July

The Bell XP-52 (Model 16) twin-boomed pusher aircraft was one of a number of unusual designs for fighter aircraft produced in the United States during the Second World War.

The Bell XP-59 (Model 16) was the designation given to a short-lived project to produce a twin-boom pusher fighter powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine.

The Bell XP-77 was a lightweight wooden fighter aircraft produced to solve a problem that never materialised.

3 July

We return from a short break with picture galleries on the Hawker Hurricane and on HMS Queen Elizabeth

5 June

The skirmish of Rio Mayor of 19 January 1811 was one of the very few significant clashes to take place while Masséna’s army was camped at Santarem, after his retreat from the lines of Torres Vedras.

The combat of El Bodon of 25 September 1811 was a lucky escape for the British and Portuguese army on the Spanish border in the autumn of 1811.

The combat of Aldea de Ponte of 27 September 1811 was a rearguard action fought during Wellington’s retreat from Fuente Guinaldo to Alfayates in the aftermath of the combat of El Boden.

The combat of Bornos of 5 November 1811 was the only fighting to take place during one of Marshal Soult’s repeated attempts to catch the Spanish General Ballasteros, who had proved himself to be a master of small scale warfare in the south of Andalusia

4 June

The siege of Tortosa of 16 December 1810-2 January 1811 was the first of three successful French attacks on Spanish-held cities that briefly appeared to give the French control of eastern Spain.

The siege of Tarragona of 3 May-28 June 1811 was the second of three sieges that saw the French seize the last major cities in Spanish hands in the east of the country in a twelve month period, an achievement that seemed like it might given them a chance to finally secure their control of the area

The combat of Carpio of 25 September 1811 was a minor clash between Wellington’s cavalry screen and part of a French army under Marmont that had just raised the blockade of Ciudad Rodrigo.

3 June

The combat of Almazan of 10 July 1810 demonstrated the difficulties the French facing in moving even quite large bodies of reinforcements to their armies in Spain.

The battle of Villagarcia of 11 August 1810 was a French victory that ended a Spanish attempt to liberate Seville, but that also demonstrated the vulnerability of the French position in Andalusia.

The combat of Baza of 4 November 1810 was a French victory won on the borders of Murcia and Granada, which ended a Spanish attempt to threaten the French position in Granada.

The siege of Cadiz of 5 February 1810-24 August 1812 was the longest and arguably most important of the many sieges that punctuated the Peninsular War.

The campaign that led to the battle of Barrosa demonstrated the weakness of the French position in Andalusia during the two and a half years that they occupied the province.

The battle of Barrosa of 5 March 1811 was the end result of one of the most significant attempts made by the garrison of Cadiz to lift the French siege of Cadiz

30 May

Throughout the Second World War No.24 Squadron served as a communications and transport squadron, operating a wide range of aircraft.

No.25 Squadron served as a night fighter squadron throughout the Second World War, first with the Blenheim, then the Beaufighter and finally with the Mosquito

No.26 Squadron began the Second World War as an army co-operation squadron equipped with the Westland Lysander, but spent much of the war as a tactical reconnaissance and daylight intruder squadron.

At the start of the Second World War in the east No.27 Squadron was a Blenheim-equipped fighter squadron based in Malaya. After only two months the squadron had been forced to retreat to Sumatra, where it ceased to exist. It was reformed later in the year and operated as a Beaufighter equipped ground attack squadron for the rest of the war.

29 May

We start today with a look at the often confusing system of aircraft designations used by the US Navy during the Second World War.

The Lockheed Ventura was a medium bomber ordered for the RAF after the early success of the Lockheed Hudson, but was not as successful as the earlier aircraft, entering service too late to serve in the day bomber role it was designed to perform.

The Lockheed Model 37 was the USAAF designation given to 264 Ventura II medium bombers taken over from RAF orders after Pearl Harbor.

The Lockheed B-34 was the lend-lease designation given to the Lockheed Ventura, but of the 200 aircraft produced under this designation only 66 actually went to the RAF or Commonwealth airforces (as the Ventura IIA), while the remaining 124 were retained by the USAAF

The Lockheed B-37 was a medium bomber based on the Ventura, produced in very small numbers for the USAAF.

The Lockheed PV-1 was the designation given to the Ventura bomber in service with the US Navy.

The Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon was the final production version of the Ventura bomber, modified to make it a better maritime patrol aircraft.

28 May

No.20 Squadron spent the entire Second World War in India and Burma, flying army co-operation and reconnaissance missions from 1942-February 1943 and ground attack missions for the rest of the war.

For most of the Second World War No.21 Squadron was a light bomber squadron, operating the Blenheim, Ventura and Mosquito, with a break from June 1940-March 1942 when it served as an anti-shipping unit with Coastal Command.

No.22 Squadron began the Second World War as a torpedo bomber of Coastal Command, before moving to the Far East in March-April 1942. After spending the next two years flying anti-submarine patrols and convoy escort missions, it converted to the Beaufighter and spent 1945 as a ground attack squadron in Burma.

No.23 Squadron spent the entire Second World War serving as a night fighter squadron, first in a defensive role, but from December 1940 as an intruder squadron, from bases in Britain and on Malta and Sardinia.

27 May

The siege of Lerida of 15 April-14 May 1810 was one of a series of sieges that saw the French extend their control over eastern Spain, and removed a major obstacle on the road between Saragossa and Barcelona.

The combat of Margalef of 23 April 1810 saw the defeat of a Spanish army attempting to help the besieged garrison of Lerida.

The siege of Mequinenza of 15 May-18 June 1810 saw the French capture the strategically important town, at the highest navigable point on the Ebro.

The siege of Fuengirola of 13-15 October 1810 was a minor disaster suffered by the British in southern Spain during an ambitious attempt to help the hard-pressed guerrillas of Granada.

26 May

The combat of Tremendal of 23-24 November 1809 was a rare French success against one of the elusive bands of Spanish guerrillas.

The third siege of Gerona of 24 May-11 December 1809 was one of the great epics of Spanish resistance during the Peninsular War, which despite ending in a French victory would act as a rallying call for Spanish resistance for the rest of the war.

The combat of Hostalrich of 7 November 1809 was a minor French victory in Catalonia, which played a significant part in their victory in the third siege of Gerona (24 May-11 December 1809).

The skirmish of Barba del Puerco of 19-20 March 1810 was a minor clash between part of Craufurd’s line of outposts on the Portuguese border and part of the French army gathering in preparation for Massina’s invasion of Portugal.

25 May

The Lockheed Hudson was one of the most important American produced aircraft during the early years of the Second World War, serving as the backbone of RAF Coastal Command well into 1942.

The RAAF was the second service to order the Lockheed Hudson, and the most important operator of the aircraft after the RAF.

23 May

The Lockheed Hudson Mk.I was one of a number of American military aircraft developed and produced to satisfy overseas orders, in this case from the RAF.

The Lockheed Hudson Mk.II was the designation given to twenty aircraft equipped with constant-speed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propellers in place of the two-position Hamilton Standard propeller used on the Hudson Mk.I.

The Lockheed Hudson Mk.III was a significant improvement on the earlier versions of the aircraft with three extra .303in machine guns, one in a retractable ventral position and two in beam positions, removing a blind spot below the aircraft

The Lockheed Hudson Mk.IV was the eventual designation given to 100 aircraft ordered for the RAAF and originally given the Australian designations Hudson Mk.I and Mk.II.

The Lockheed Hudson Mk.V was the final version of the aircraft produced under direct RAF contracts before the start of the lend-lease scheme.

The Lockheed Hudson Mk.VI was the lend-lease version of the Hudson Mk.V

The Lockheed A-28 was the USAAF designation for Pratt & Whitney powered Lockheed Hudsons, introduced under the terms of the lend-lease act.

The Lockheed A-29 was the USAAF designation given to Lockheed Hudsons powered by Wright R-1820 engines and produced under the lend-lease agreement.

The Lockheed AT-18 was an advanced trainer based on the Lockheed Hudson.

The Lockheed PBO-1 was the designation given to twenty A-29 Hudson maritime patrol aircraft that served with the US Navy.

The Lockheed Hudson served with 39 RAF Squadrons and a large number of Commonwealth squadrons between 1939 and 1945

The RCAF was the second most important operator of the Lockheed Hudson by numbers, receiving a total of 248 aircraft

The Lockheed Hudson served with the RNZAF from 1941 until the end of the Second World War, first in the general reconnaissance and bomber role and later as a transport aircraft.

22 May

No.48 Squadron served with Coastal Command from 1939-1942, before moving to Gibraltar to support Operation Torch. On its return to Britain at the start of 1944 it joined Transport Command and took part in D-Day, the battle of Arnhem and the crossing of the Rhine.

20 May

No.518 Squadron was a meteorological unit of Coastal Command, formed in July 1943 at Stornoway to fly weather recording flights over the mid-Atlantic.

No.520 Squadron was a meteorological squadron which formed at Gibraltar in September 1943, operated a mix of long and short range aircraft for flights over the Atlantic.

No. 578 Squadron was formed from C Flight of No.51 Squadron on 14 January 1944 as a Halifax bomber squadron in No.4 Group, and was part of the main bomber force to the end of the war.

No.614 'County of Glamorgan' Squadron spent the first three years of the Second World War training with the army, before moving to North Africa to take part in the fighting in Tunisia before being disbanded in July 1944. It was then reformed from No.462 Squadron RAAF, and operated as a bomber and special duties squadron to the end of the war.

No.624 Squadron was formed in Algeria in September 1943 from No.1575 (Special Duties) Flight, and flew supply drop missions over southern Europe until disbanded in September 1944. It reformed in December 1944 and flew mine-spotting missions over the Mediterranean until November 1945.

No. 640 Squadron was formed from C Flight of No. 158 Squadron in January 1944 as part of No.4 Group and took part in the main bombing offensive against Germany as part of Bomber Command's main bomber force.

No.644 Squadron was formed in February 1944 in preparation for the invasion of Europe, and towed gliders to D-Day, Arnhem and across the Rhine.

19 May

The siege of Tarifa of 20 December 1811-5 January 1812 was an unsuccessful French attempt to capture one of the few remaining Spanish-held strongholds in Andalusia.

The siege of Ciudad Rodrigo of 8-19 January 1812 was a major success for Wellington’s British and Portuguese army, and marked a significant turning point in the Peninsular War - the moment when the French lost the initiative in Spain

The combat of Navas de Membrillo of 29 December 1811 was a minor clash between a British and Portuguese expedition under General Hill and part of the French garrison of Estremadura.

The siege of Valencia of 25 December 1811-9 January 1812 was the final major French success during the Peninsular War, and saw French power in eastern Spain reach its maximum extent.

The French invasion of Valencia of September 1811-January 1812 was the last major French success during the Peninsular War, and saw them virtually complete the conquest of eastern Spain, but at the same time they were forced to weaken their forces on the Portuguese border, allowing Wellington to begin the campaign that led to Salamanca, and the beginning of the end for the French in Spain.

16 May

The siege of Saguntum of 23 September-26 October 1811 was a French victory during their invasion of Valencia, but one that slowed down their campaign and ended any chance of the expected easy victory.

The battle of Saguntum of 25 October 1811 saw the defeat of a Spanish army under General Joachim Blake which was attempted to raise the French siege of Saguntum.

The combat of Mislata of 26 December 1811 was a rare Spanish success during the fighting around Valencia in the winter of 1811-12, but failed to stop the French trapping a Spanish army in the city of Valencia

The combat of Aldaya of 26 December 1811 was a French victory during their crossing of the Guadalaviar River which saw them drive off most of General Blake’s Spanish cavalry.

15 May

The siege of Oropesa of 19 September-11 October 1811 was a French victory during their invasion of Valencia, which saw them capture the coastal town of Oropesa and remove a major obstacle on the coastal road from Tarragona.

The siege of Calatayud of 26 September-4 October 1811 was a significant victory for the Spanish guerrillas over the French garrison of Calatayud.

The siege of Molina of 26 September-27 October 1811 was an unsuccessful attempt by the Spanish guerrillas to help the defence of Valencia.

The combat of Segorbe of 30 September 1811 was a minor French victory during the siege of Saguntum.

The combat of Benaguacil of 2 October 1811 was a minor French victory during the siege of Saguntum

14 May

Frank Jack 'Black Jack' Fletcher, 1885-1973, was an American admiral who played a major part in the early naval battles in the Pacific during the Second World War, but who gained a reputation for being over-cautious and was sidelined after the battle of the Eastern Solomons.

13 May

No.433 "Porcupine" Squadron was an RCAF heavy bomber squadron that almost uniquely operated from the same base, at Skipton-on-Swale from its formation in September 1943 until it was disbanded in October 1945.

No.434 "Bluenose" Squadron was a RCAF heavy bomber squadron, formed in June 1943 as part of No.6 (RCAF) Group. It was named after the schooner "Bluenose", a successful racing ship and fishing boat, which became a symbol of Nova Scotia.

No.502 'Ulster' Squadron served with Coastal Command throughout the Second World War, and on 30 November 1941 became the first Coastal Command squadron to make a successful attack on a U-boat using air-to-surface radar.

No.511 Squadron was a transport squadron which operated on a small number of long range routes from 1942 until the end of the war.

No.517 Squadron was a meteorological squadron, forming as part of Coastal Command from No.1404 (Met) Flight in August 1943.

8 May

No.296 Squadron was an airborne forces squadron that towed gliders during the invasion of Sicily, the D-Day invasions and Operation Market Garden.

No.297 Squadron was an airborne forces unit formed from the Parachute Exercise Squadron, which took part in the D-Day landings, Operation Market Garden and the crossing of the Rhine.

No.298 Squadron was an airborne forces squadron, which towed gliders into action on D-Day, at Arnhem and during the Rhine crossings of 1945.

No.301 "Pomeranian" Squadron was a Polish-manned bomber squadron from 1940-1943, before reforming as a Special Duties squadron in the Mediterranean in 1944.

No.346 'Guyenne' Squadron was a bomber squadron manned by Free French personnel who had previously been serving in North Africa. It formed part of Bomber Command's main force from 1 June 1944 until the end of the war.

No. 347 "Tunisie" Squadron was the second Free French Heavy Bomber Squadron, to be formed in Bomber Command, entering combat on 27 June 1944

No.405 "Vancouver" Squadron was the first Canadian heavy bomber squadron to serve with Bomber Command, operating as a bomber squadron from June 1941 until October 1942, then with Coastal Command to March 1943 and finally with the Pathfinder Force from April 1943 to the end of the war.

No.408 'Goose' Squadron was a RCAF Squadron that operated with Bomber Command from June 1941 until the end of the war in Europe.

No.410 Squadron was an RCAF night fighter squadron, which spend 1941-43 operating in Scotland and the North East of England, before moving to Lincolnshire to carry out intruder missions. From June 1944 the squadron operated over the Allied armies during their advance towards Germany.

No.415 Squadron was a RCAF squadron which was formed as part of Coastal Command, carrying out anti-shipping and anti-submarine patrols from 1942 to 1944, before converting to the Halifax and joining No.6 (RCAF) Group of Bomber Command.

No.419 'Moose' Squadron was a RCAF squadron which served with Bomber Command from its formation at the end of 1941 until the end of the war in Europe, ending the war operating the Canadian built Lancaster B.Mk X

No.420 'Snowy Owl' Squadron was a RCAF Squadron that operated with Bomber Command from December 1941 until the end of the war with Europe, with a short break in the Mediterranean in May-October 1943 to support the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

No.424 'Tiger' Squadron was a RCAF Squadron that formed in Britain in October 1942. It spent most of the war operating with Bomber Command, with a short period in North Africa in June-October 1943 to support the invasions of Sicily and Italy.

No.425 'Alouette' Squadron was a RCAF squadron and part of Bomber Command from 1942 until the end of the war in Europe, with a short break in North Africa in 1943 to support the invasion of Sicily and Italy.

No.426 'Thunderbird' Squadron was a RCAF squadron formed in Britain in October 1942 that operated with the main bomber force of Bomber Command until the end of the war in Europe.

No.427 'Lion' Squadron was a RCAF squadron which formed in Britain in November 1942, and spent the entire war serving with Bomber Command's main force.

No.428 'Ghost' Squadron was an RCAF squadron which operated as part of Bomber Command's main bomber force from 27 January 1943 until the end of the war in Europe.

No.429 Squadron was a RCAF squadron that formed in Britain in November 1942 as part of Bomber Command, and operated with No.6 (RCAF) Group to the end of the war in Europe.

No.431 'Iroquois' Squadron was a RCAF squadron that formed in Britain in November 1942 as part of Bomber Command, and operated with No.6 (RCAF) Group to the end of the war in Europe.

No.432 "Leaside" Squadron was a RCAF bomber squadron, which formed around a nucleus of eighteen crews from No.427 squadron during 1943. It formed part of the main bomber force until the end of the war.

7 May

No.215 Squadron began the war as a training squadron with Bomber Command, before serving in India from 1942 to the end of the war, as a bomber squadron until April 1945 before ending the war as a transport squadron dropping supplies to the troops in Burma.

No.218 Squadron began the Second World War as a Fairey Battle squadron in the Advanced Air Striking Force, losing all of its aircraft during the fighting in France. In November 1940 it became a night bomber squadron and served with the main bomber force to the end of the war.

No.226 Squadron began the Second World War as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force, suffering heavy loses in France in May-June 1940. It reformed as a Blenheim squadron, attacking coastal targets and shipping, and ended the war as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force, back in France.

No.246 Squadron served with Coastal Command during 1942, then reformed in 1944 as a transport squadron, flying to the Middle and Far East.

No.264 Squadron began the Second World War as a Defiant-equipped day fighter squadron, but after suffering heavy loses in the summer of 1940 the squadron converted to the night fighter role, operating the Mosquito from June 1942 to the end of the war.

No.295 Squadron was a airborne forces squadron, which towed gliders during the D-Day invasions, Operation Market Garden and the Rhine crossings.

6 May

No.169 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as tactical reconnaissance unit and then as a Mosquito equipped night fighter intruder unit supporting the bomber offensive.

No.171 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, operating as a reconnaissance unit for six months in 1942 and then as a bomber support squadron from September 1944

No.178 Squadron was a heavy bomber squadron that spent the entire Second World War operating in the Mediterranean.

No.185 Squadron began the war as a training squadron, before being reformed on Malta on 27 April 1941, where it took part in some of the fiercest air battles over the island, before going onto the offensive in Italy at the end of 1942.

No.187 Squadron was a short-lived transport squadron, formed in February 1945 to ferry troops to India in preparation for the planned invasions of Burma, Malaya and Japan.

No.190 Squadron went through two very different incarnations during the Second World War, spending 1943 operating with Coastal Command, before becoming a glider-towing squadron, taking part in the D-Day landings, Operation Market Garden and the crossing of the Rhine.

No.192 Squadron was formed on 4 January 1943 as a radar counter-measures squadron. It was essentially a research unit, involved in identifying the types of radar being used by the Germans.

No.199 Squadron was formed in 1942 as a standard bomber squadron, becoming a counter-measures squadron in May 1944 after its Stirlings were withdrawn from the main bomber offensive.

No.207 Squadron was reformed in November 1940 to operate the troubled Avro Manchester, and had to use that aircraft for sixteen months, before converting to the Lancaster.

No.214 "Federated Malay States" Squadron spent the entire Second World War operating with Bomber Command, with the main bomber force from 1940 to early 1944 and then with No.100 Group

5 May

Raymond Spruance was one of the most important American naval commanders of the Second World War, taking command of the American carriers part of the way through the battle of Midway and then going on to command the Fifth Fleet for the campaigns in the Gilberts, Marshalls and Marianas as well as planning and implementing the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Vice-Admiral Robert Ghormley is most famous for having been the overall American commander at the start of the Guadalcanal campaign, a role he is considered to have performed quite poorly.

No.151 Squadron began the Second World War as a Hurricane squadron, participating the Battle of Britain, before becoming a night fighter squadron in November 1940, operating first in the defensive role and later as an intruder squadron.

No.157 Squadron was the first squadron to operation the Mosquito as a night fighter, after reforming in December 1941 for that purpose.

No.158 Squadron was formed during the great wartime expansion of Bomber Command, from the home echelon of No.104 Squadron and spent the entire war operationg with the main bomber force.

No.161 Squadron was a special duties squadron, formed in February 1942 from the King's Flight and part of No.138 Squadron to carry out a mix of supply drops and agent transportation missions

No. 166 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a training unit and later as a bomber squadron operationg the Wellington and then Lancaster

3 May

William "Bull" Halsey was a hard-hitting American Admiral who played a major part in developing the strategy of "island skipping" in the Pacific in 1943-45 which saw the United States bypass a series of Japanese held islands during their advance across the southern and central Pacific.

The MGR-1 Honest John Short Range Tactical Battlefield Support Missile System first entered US service in 1953.

The MGM-52 Lance Short Range Battlefield tactical support missile system was designed to provide nuclear fire support at Corps level and the US Army had at one point eight battalions in service.

The Circular Error Probability is a circular area around the target within which a warhead has 50% chance of landing.

25 April

The Panzer III Medium Tank was the main German battle tank for the first two and a half years of the Second World War, only beginning to lose that status after the appearance of the Panzer IV Ausf F2 in March 1942. Until then the Panzer III had been the only German designed tank armed with a gun designed to penetrate enemy armour.

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1 was the first of a series of command tanks based on the Panzer III, produced when it became clear that the kleine Panzerbefehlswagen was not large enough for the role.

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf E was the second command tank to be based on the Panzer III. It was based on the standard Panzer III Ausf E but with the same modifications as on the earlier Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf D1

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf H was the third version of command tank based on the Panzer III, and was based on the standard Panzer III Ausf H.

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf J or Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK L/42 was the first in the series of command tanks based on the Panzer III to retain the tank’s main gun.

The Panzerbefehlswagen III Ausf K/ Panzerbefehlswagen mit 5cm KwK39 L/60 was the last in the series of command tanks based on the Panzer III, and the only one to be custom built with its 5cm main gun intact.

24 April

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf J (5cm KwK L/42) saw the frontal armour of the Panzer III increased in thickness from 30mm to 50mm, and was produced with the 5cm KwK L/42 from the start.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf J (5cm KwK39 L/60) was produced after Hitler insisted on the use of a longer gun in the Panzer III.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf L was the first of two interim versions of the Panzer III produced while attempts to fit a larger gun to the tank were under way.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf M was the second of two interim versions of the tank produced while attempts to fit a larger gun to the tank were under way and was virtually identical to the Ausf L, but with the addition of fording equipment, which allowed it to wade through four or five feet of water

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf N was the final production version of the standard Panzer III, and the only version to be armed with the 7.5cm KwK L/24 gun.

The Panzerkampfwagen III (Fl) was a flamethrower equipped tank based on the Panzer III Ausf M, produced early in 1943.

The Panzerkampfwagen III als Tauchpanzer (diving tank), or Tauchpanzer III, was a version of the Panzer III modified to operate underwater for up to twenty minutes.

23 April

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf A was the first developmental version of the Panzer III, but even though only ten were produced the type still saw active service in Poland in 1939.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf B was the second development version of the Panzer III, produced during 1937 with a different suspension system.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf C was the third development version of the Panzer III, and featured another attempt to improve the suspension, the main weak point in the earlier designs.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf D was the fourth and final development version of the Panzer III, and saw a final attempt to improve the suspension system first adopted on the Ausf B.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf E was the first mass produced version of the Panzer III, after four pre-production series.

The Panzerhampfwagen III Ausf F was the second mass-production version of the Panzer III and the first to be built in significant numbers.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf G was very similar to the previous Ausf F, although most of the production run received the larger 5cm KwK L/42 gun.

The Panzerkampfwagen III Ausf H had been intended to be the first version of the Panzer III to use the 5cm KwK gun when 759 were ordered in January 1939, but the use of that gun on the majority of Ausf Gs and the imminent arrival of the improved Ausf J meant that only 308 would be produced.

22 April

The skirmish at Alcoentre of 8 October 1810 was a minor incident in the final stage of Wellington’s retreat into the Lines of Torres Vedras in the autumn of 1810 and saw the French nearly capture a British horse artillery battery.

The combat of Alemquer of 9 October 1810 was the last fighting between the British rearguard and the French cavalry during the retreat into the Lines of Torres Vedras in the autumn of 1810.

The combat of Granollers of 21-22 January 1810 was an opportunist Spanish victory in Catalonia, which saw a French detachment at Granollers cut to pieces by the Army of Catalonia.

The battle of Vich of 20 February 1810 was a hard-fought French victory in Catalonia, won by an isolated French division under the command of General Souham.

The siege of Hostalrich of 16 January-21 May 1810 was just about the only significant success achieved by the French during Marshal Augereau’s brief time in charge of the 7th Corps in Catalonia.

The combat of Villafranca of 30 March 1810 was the first of two defeats that ended a French attempt to capture the city of Tarragona, the last major fortress in Catalonia to remain in Spanish hands.

The combat of Manresa of 5 April 1810 was the second of two defeats that ended a French attempt to capture the city of Tarragona, the last major fortress in Catalonia to remain in Spanish hands.

21 April

The battle of Alcañiz of 23 May 1809 was only the second major Spanish battlefield victory of the Peninsular War, and demonstrated many of the problems that would dog the French for the entire war.

The battle of Maria of 15 June 1809 was a French victory that ended a brief Spanish threat to Saragossa.

The rout of Belchite of 18 June 1809 was a French victory than ended General Blake’s attempt to recapture Saragossa in the summer of 1809.

The combat of Valverde of 19 February 1810 was a minor Spanish victory on the borders of Andalusia at the start of General Ballesteros's raid into western Andalusia.

The combat of Ronquillo of 25-26 March 1810 was the second fight during General Ballesteros’s raid into western Andalusia in the spring of 1810.

The combat of Zalamea of 15 April 1810 was the first defeat suffered by General Ballesteros during his raid into western Andalusia in the spring of 1810.

The combat of Araçena of 26 May 1810 was a minor French victory that ended General Ballesteros’s raid into Andalusia of the spring of 1810.

18 April

The Lines of Torres Vedras, on the peninsula north of Lisbon, are the most famous fortifications of the Napoleonic Wars, and in 1810 were the only thing that saved Wellington from having to evacuate his army from Portugal during Marshal Masséna’s invasion of the country.

No.142 Squadron began the Second World War as a Fairey Battle squadron, suffering heavily during the invasion of France. It then converted to the Wellington, operating from Britain and then in the Mediterranean, before ending the war as a Mosquito equipped pathfinder squadron.

No.144 Squadron spent the first half of the Second World War as a bomber squadron equipped with the Handley Page Hampden, and the second half with Coastal Command, for most of that time serving as a torpedo bomber squadron using the Beaufighter.

No.148 Squadron went through three very different incarnations during the Second World War, first as a training unit, then as a bomber unit based on Malta and finally as a Special Duties squadron based in Libya and finally Italy.

No.149 "East India" Squadron was a mainstay of Bomber Command, taking part on the Strategic Bombing campaign from its beginnings in May 1940 until the very end of the war.

No.150 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, starting as a Fairey Battle Squadron, which later converted to the Wellington and was posted to the Mediterranean, before being reformed late in 1944 as a Lancaster bomber squadron.

17 April

The combat of Santiago of 23 May 1809 was a relatively rare victory for a Spanish partisan force over regular French troops during the Peninsular War.

The combat of the Oitabén River of 7-8 June 1809 was a victory for a largely partisan Spanish force over Marshal Ney, which played a large part in the final defeat of French efforts to conquer Galicia.

The combat of Arzobispo of 8 August 1809 was a minor French victory late in the Talavera campaign, which saw them force their way across the River Tagus.

The combat of Aranjuez of 5 August 1809 was an inconclusive skirmish between the armies of King Joseph and General Venegas, fought towards the end of the Talavera campaign.

The battle of Almonacid of 11 August 1809 was a relatively costly French victory that effectively ended the Talavera campaign.

16 April

Marshal Masséna’s invasion of Portugal of September 1810-March 1811 was intended to be the final campaign of the French invasion of Iberia, ending the Peninsular War, but instead the French ran up against the Lines of Torres Vedras, and the campaign ended in a disastrous retreat.

The first combat of Sobral of 12 October 1810 was the first of two skirmishes around the village of Sobral that would turn out to be the only French attacks on the Lines of Torres Vedras, the strong defensive position built to protect Lisbon.

The second combat of Sobral of 14 October 1810 was a skirmish south of the village of Sobral that would turn out to be the most serious attack the French would launch against the Lines of Torres Vedras.

The combat of Guarda of 29 March 1811 was a bloodless British victory in the last stages of Masséna’s retreat from Portugal.

The combat of Sabugal of 3 April 1811 was the last serious fighting during Masséna’s retreat from Portugal in 1811, and was a missed chance for a major Allied victory over an isolated portion of Masséna’s army.

15 April

No. 106 Squadron began the Second World War as an operational training squadron, only starting combat operations in September 1940. After a brief spell with the Avro Manchester, it received the Lancaster in May 1942 and operated with that aircraft until the end of the war.

No.107 Squadron began the Second World War by taking part in the first British air raid against a German target, before taking part in the battle of France, the defence of Malta and Coastal COmmand's anti-submarine campaign. The squardon ended the war as a night intruder squadron equipped with the Mosquito

No. 108 Squadron went through three very different incarnations during the Second World War, starting as a training squadron in Britain, before becoming a night bomber squadron in the Mediterranean and finally a night fighter squadron, operating in Libya, Malta, Egypt and finally Greece.

No. 109 Squadron was formed from the Wireless Intelligence Development Unit in December 1940, and spent the next three years involved in scientific development, before joining the Pathfinders at the end of 1943.

No. 110 "Hyderbad" Squadron served in two very different roles during the Second World War, spending 1939-1942 operating as a Blenheim bomber squadron from Britain and the rest of the war as a ground attack squadron operating over Burma.

No. 114 "Hong Kong" Squadron began the Second World War as a Blenheim squadron, soon joining the RAF contingent in France. The squadron fought during the German invasion of the west, then took part in the attack on the invasion ports, before moving to North Africa in 1942, fighting on Sicily and in Italy.

No.115 Squadron was as near as any a typical Bomber Command squadron, operating with the main bomber from bases in East Anglia for the entire war.

No. 138 Squadron was a Special Duties squadron which spent most of the Second World War carrying out supply drops to resistance movements in Occupied Europe.

No. 139 Squadron was unfortunate enought to be caught up in two military disasters in the early days of the Second World War, first in France in 1940 and then in Burma in 1942. It ended the war as a Pathfinder squadron, equipped with the Mosquito.

14 April

The battle of Bussaco of 27 September 1810 was the one major battle during Marshal Masséna’s invasion of Portugal of 1810, and was a costly French defeat suffered in an attempt to attack a very strong Allied position on the ridge at Bussaco.

No. 102 "Ceylon" Squadron was a heavy bomber command squadron that served with Bomber Command for most of the Second World War, equipped first with the Whitley and then with the Handley Page Halifax.

No. 103 Squadron began the war as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force, suffering very heavy loses while equipped with the Fairey Battle. By the end of 1940 it had joined Bomber Command, and took part in the night bombing campaign for the rest of the war.

No. 104 Squadron began the war as a Group Training Squadron, spend most of 1941 operating as a night bomber squadron from Driffield, before moving to the Mediterranean, where it remained for the rest of the war.

No. 105 Squadron began the Second World War equipped with the Fairey Battle, suffering heavily during the Battle of France. After a short spell with the Blenheim, it converted to the De Havilland Mosquito, first as a low-level daylight bomber and later as a pathfinder.

11 April

The French siege of Ciudad Rodrigo of 5 June-10 July 1810 was a precursor to Marshal Masséna’s invasion of Portugal.

The combat of Barquilla of 10 July 1810 was one of the few failures for General Craufurd and the Light Division during Marshal Masséne’s invasion of Portugal.

The combat of the Coa of 24 July 1810 was a rare defeat for Craufurd’s Light Division during Masséna’s invasion of Portugal.

The siege of Almeida of 25 July-27 August 1810 was a delaying action fought to slow down Marshal Masséna’s invasion of Portugal in 1810, most famous for the dramatic explosion that ended the siege.

10 April

The combat of Pombal of 11 March 1811 was a skilful rearguard action fought by Marshal Ney during the retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras.

The combat of Redinha of 12 March 1811 was the second rearguard action fought during Masséna’s retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras in the spring of 1811.

The combat of Casal Novo of 14 March 1811 was a rearguard action during Masséna’s retreat from Portugal that was notable for the reckless behaviour of General Erskine, the temporary commander of the British Light Division.

The combat of Foz de Arouce of 15 March 1811 was the least successful of Marshal Ney’s rearguard actions during Masséne’s retreat from Portugal in the spring of 1811.

The passage of the Alva River of 17-18 March 1811 was a nearly bloodless success for Wellington’s army during the French retreat from Portugal in the spring of 1811.

The Vickers Archer tank destroyer came about because of a need to make the 17 pounder anti tank gun more mobile. Designed as a stop gap measure, the Archer proved to be a hard hitting and effective vehicle.

9 April

The battle of Tamames of 18 October 1809 was the first Spanish battlefield victory in the Peninsular War since Alcaniz (23 May 1809), and the most significant since Baylen, right at the start of the war.

The battle of Alba de Tormes of 28 November 1809 was a dramatic French cavalry victory that ended the Spanish Junta’s autumn campaign of 1809.

The failure of the Spanish Junta's autumn campaign of 1809 left Andalusia vulnerable to French conquest, and in January-February 1810 King Joseph led his armies across the mountains from La Mancha, occupying Seville and forcing the Spanish Junta to flee to Cadiz.

The combat of Jaen of 23 January 1810 was a French victory during the invasion of Andalusia, fought after the French had forced their way across the mountains from La Mancha.

The combat of Alcala la Real of 28 January 1810 was a minor French victory during General Sebastiani’s invasion of Granada and Malaga.

The siege of Astorga of 21 March-22 April 1810 was a preliminary operation in the period before the start of Massena's invasion of Portugal.

8 April

Lieutenant General Hatazo Adachi commanded the Japanese forces on New Guinea from November 1942 until the end of the Second World War.

Field Marshal Harold Alexander was one of the most successful senior British generals of the Second World War, and proved to be an able commander of coalition armies.

General Korechika Anami was a Japanese general and polititian who played a part in the rise of General Tojo, but whose loyalty to the Emperor helped to foil the coup attempt of 14-15 August 1945.

General Wladyslaw Anders was a Polish general who commanded the Polish II Corps during the fighting in the Western Desert and in Italy, taking part in the final capture of Monte Cassino in May 1944.

General Aleksei I. Antonov was a Soviet general who rose to be Head of Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Red Army from 1942 to 1945.

Rear Admiral Masafumi Arima was a Japanese army officer famous for being one of the earliest "kamikaze" pilots, flying his own suicide mission just before the official start of kamikaze missions.

Colonel General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim was a Prussian general who is best known for having commanded the German forces in Tunisia towards the end of the fighting in North Africa in 1943.

7 April

The M79 Grenade Launcher is a very distinctive and simple weapon which first appeared during the Vietnam War.

The battle of Fuentes de Oñoro of 3-5 May 1811 was Marshal Masséna’s final defeat after his disastrous invasion of Portugal of 1810 and led to the fall of Almeida, the last French stronghold in Portugal.

The Spanish Junta’s Autumn campaign of 1809 was a disastrous politically motivated campaign launched in the hope that a spectacular military victory might remove the pressure on the Central Junta to put in place a more permanent government.

The combat of Astorga of 9 October 1809 was a minor French setback in the autumn of 1809.

The combat of Ocana of 11 November 1809 was a minor French victory early in the Spanish Junta’s autumn campaign of 1809.

The Battle of Ocaña of 19 November 1809 was a major Spanish defeat that ended any chance of success in the Spanish Junta’s autumn campaign of 1809.

4 April

The battle of Abluera of 16 May 1811 was one of the bloodiest battles of the Peninsular War, fought to prevent Marshal Soult from coming to the aid of the garrison of Badajoz.

The combat of Usagre (25 May 1811) was a minor cavalry battle during Marshal Soult’s retreat after the battle of Albuera.

The second British siege of Badajoz of 19 May-17 June 1811 was little more successful than the first siege, which had only lasted for one week before Marshal Beresford had been forced to lift the siege

The campaign that ended in the battle of Fuentos de Onoro was the aftermath of Marshal Masséna’s retreat from Portugal early in 1811.

The siege of Almeida of April-10 May 1811 saw Wellington’s army capture the last French stronghold left in Portugal after Marshal Masséna’s retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras.

31 March

Marshal William Beresford was one of the most important British commanders of the Peninsular War, but he only held one important independent command, in Estremadura in the spring of 1811.

The recapture of the Spanish border fortress of Badajoz was the main purpose of Marshal Beresford’s campaign in Estremadura in the spring of 1811, but would prove to be beyond his powers (first siege of Badajoz, 6-12 May 1811).

30 March

Army lists for the battle of Albuera of 16 May 1811

25 March

The siege of Campo Mayor (14-21 March 1811) was a time-consuming French victory that came between the departure of Marshal Soult from Estremadura and the arrival of an Anglo-Portuguese force under General Beresford.

The combat of Campo Mayor of 25 March 1811 was the first Allied victory during Beresford’s campaign in Estremadura in the spring of 1811.

The siege of Olivenza of 9-15 April 1811 saw the town liberated by an Anglo-Portuguese force only three months after it had been captured by the French.

23 March

The siege of Olivenza of 11-22 January 1811 was an early success for the French during Marshal Soult’s invasion of Estremadura.

The French siege and capture of Badajoz of 27 January-10 March 1811 was the main achievement of Marshal Soult’s invasion of Estremadura of 1811.

The battle of the Gebora of 19 February 1811 was a disastrous Spanish defeat that ended an attempt to break the French siege of Badajoz of 27 January-10 March 1811.

22 March

Marshal Soult’s invasion of Estremadura in January-March 1811 was a delayed response to the failure of Masséna’s invasion of Portugal in 1810.

The combat of Castillejos of 25 January 1809 was a minor engagement in the far south west of Spain that badly disrupted Marshal Soult’s invasion of Estremadura.

21 March

Eugéne de Beauharnais (1781-1824) was Napoleon’s step-son and an able soldier who spent much of his career as Viceroy of Italy.

The French invasion of Portugal of November 1807 was the first campaign of what would become the Peninsular War.

The Peninsular War was one of Napoleon’s greatest blunders, leading to seven years of warfare and ending with an invasion of France, but it began with a an almost effortless invasion of Spain, which saw the occupation of Madrid, Old Castile and the fortresses on the Pyrenees, and was followed by a cynical but well managed abduction of the Spanish royal family.

18 March

Sir Ralph Abercromby (1734-1801) was the most successful British general of the French Revolutionary Wars, admittedly not a period that saw the British army at its best.

16 March

The Talavera Campaign of June-August 1809 marked a number of important 'firsts' in the Peninsular War. It was the first time that Sir Arthur Wellesley campaigned in Spain; it saw the first great Anglo-Spain victory of the war and the first really large French defeat in Spain since Baylen, and ended with the first of Wellesley’s retreats back towards Portugal.

15 March

We look at the structure of the French army in Spain and Portugal during the spring and summer of 1808

14 March

The battle of Talavera of 27-28 July 1809 was the first of Sir Arthur Wellesley’s great victories in Spain during the Peninsular War.

We also provide an article that outlines the structure of the British, French and Spanish armies that fought at Talavera, 27-28 July 1809

The combat of Alcantara of 14 May 1809 was a minor clash between part of Marshal Victor’s corps and a small Portuguese force that had been stationed just across the Spanish frontier to watch the French army in Estremadura.

The combat of Torrijos of 26 July 1809 was a clash between the Spanish rearguard and advancing French cavalry, fought two days before the battle of Talavera.

The combat of Cassa de Salinas of 27 July 1809 was a preliminary action fought on the day before the main fighting at the battle of Talavera.

12 March

The siege of Chaves of 20-25 March 1809 saw the Portuguese recapture this border town only two weeks after it had fallen to the French.

The long defence of the bridge at Amarante was the first significant Portuguese success during Marshal Soult’s 1809 invasion of the country.

Sir Arthur Wellesley’s campaign in northern Portugal in April-May 1809 was the first success during Britain’s second intervention in Portugal, and saw the invading army of Marshal Soult expelled from the country.

The combat of Albergaria Nova of 10 May 1809 was the result of an unsuccessful British attempt to trap the advance guard of Marshal Soult’s army at Oporto at the start of Sir Arthur Wellesley’s campaign in Northern Portugal of 1809.

The combat of Grijon of 11 May 1809 was the second action during Sir Arthur Wellesley’s campaign in northern Portugal of 1809 and saw the French advance guard south of Oporto fight a short rearguard action before retreating into the city.

The combat of Peso de Regoa of 10 May 1809 was a relatively minor Portuguese victory over a French column under General Loison that very nearly resulted in the capture of Marshal Soult’s entire army.

The passage of the Ponte Nova of 15/16 May 1809 was one of the most daring exploits during Marshal Soult’s retreat from Oporto of May 1809.

The combat of Salamonde of 17 May 1809 was the only serious fighting during Marshal Soult’s retreat after his defeat at Oporto on 12 May.

The passage of the Misarella River of 17 May 1809 saw Marshal Soult’s army get past the last major barrier between them and relative safety during their retreat from Oporto in May 1809.

11 March

Marshal Soult’s invasion of Portugal in the spring of 1809 was to have been the first step in Napoleon’s ambitious plan to end the Peninsular War after his departure from Spain in January 1809.

The combat of Chaves (10-11 March 1809) was an early French victory during Marshal Soult’s invasion of Portugal of March 1809.

The battle of Braga (or of Lanhozo) of 20 March 1809 was a French victory during Marshal Soult’s invasion of Portugal, won against a large force of Portuguese Ordenanza

The battle of Oporto of 29 March 1809 was the final significant success during Marshal Soult’s invasion of Portugal.

Soult's Passage of the Ave of 25-26 March 1809 saw him pass the last barrier between his army and Oporto, the first target on his invasion of Portugal.

10 March

Marshal Victor's invasion of Estremadura (or the Medellin Campaign) of March 1809 was part of Napoleon's plan to complete the conquest of Spain in 1809

The combat of Meza de Ibor of 17 March 1809 was a French victory early in the Medellin campaign that forced the Spanish to abandon their positions on the River Tagus and retreat south towards the Guadiana.

The combat of Berrocal of 20 March 1809 was a minor Spanish victory during the Medellin Campaign.

The combat of Miajadas of 21 March 1809 was the second of two minor Spanish victories during their retreat from the Tagus during the Medellin campaign.

The battle of Medellin of 28 March 1809 was the final battle during Marshal Victor’s invasion of Estremadura of March 1809 and was one of the most costly Spanish defeats of the Peninsular War.

7 March

The combat of Mora of 18 February 1809 was an inconclusive clash between a Spanish raiding party under the Duke of Albuquerque and a brigade of French dragoons under the command of General Digeon.

The battle of Ciudad Real of 26-27 March 1809 was an almost bloodless French victory over a Spanish army that had attempted to force the French out of La Mancha.

6 March

General Westmoreland is without doubt the most famous US General who served during the Vietnam War.

The combat of Igualada (17-18 February 1809) saw the French defeat the left wing of an ambitious Spanish offensive aimed at recapturing Barcelona.

The battle of Valls (25 February 1809) saw the French defeat the right wing of an ambitious Spanish offensive aimed at recapturing Barcelona.

The combat of Alcañiz (26 January 1809) was a minor French victory over a Spanish force outside Saragossa during the second siege of Saragossa

The second siege of Saragossa (20 December 1808-20 February 1809), was an epic struggle that encouraged Spanish resistance to the French throughout the Peninsular War.

Teodoro Reding was a Swiss general who entered Spanish service before the French invasion of 1808. He was largely responsible for the first Spanish victory during the uprising, at Baylen on 19 July 1808, a victory that encouraged resistance to Napoleon in Spain and across Europe.

5 March

The battle of Ucles (13 January 1809) was a major French victory close to Madrid early in 1809. It saw a French army under Marshal Victor destroy the vanguard of the Spanish Army of the Centre, under General Venegas, and ended any chance of a quick Spanish return to Madrid.

The siege of Barcelona of August-17 December 1808 was one of the great missed opportunities of the Peninsular War - for over four months large Spanish armies sat inactive around the city, until driven away by a French relief force under St. Cyr

The siege of Rosas was the first engagement during General Gouvion St. Cyr’s campaign in Catalonia in the winter of 1808.

The battle of Cardadeu of 16 December 1808 was a French victory that ended the Spanish siege of Barcelona.

The battle of Molins del Ray (21 December 1808) was the final battle during General St. Cyr’s campaign to raise the siege of Barcelona.

4 March

General Francisco Xavier Castañas was the Spanish general who won the first victory of the Spanish uprising against French rule, at Baylen on 19 July 1808.

Don Gregorio de la Cuesta was one of the least successful Spanish generals of the Peninsular War responsible for heavy defeats at Cabezon, Medina de Rio Seco and Medellin

3 March

General Joachim Blake was a senior Spanish general of Irish extraction during the Peninsular War. He is widely considered to have been brave but careful, energetic, organised but unlucky

General Carlos Areizaga was an unsuccessful Spanish general during the Peninsular War.

General Francisco Ballesteros was a Spanish general during the Peninsular War, whose career began inauspiciously in northern Spain, but who became a very successful commander of small forces in the south of Spain in 1811-1812.

28 February

The battle of Zornoza of 31 October 1808 was a French victory that came just before the start of Napoleon’s campaign in Spain in November 1808.

The skirmish at Valmeceda on 8 November 1808 was a minor French victory in the aftermath of their victory at Zornoza on 31 October 1808.

The battle of Gamonel of 10 November 1808 was the first French victory during Napoleon’s November 1808 campaign in Spain.

The battle of Espinosa de los Monteros of 10-11 November 1808 was a major French victory during Napoleon’s November 1808 campaign in Spain.

The battle of Tudela, 23 November 1808, was a major French victory that sealed the success of Napoleon’s great plan of double-envelopment during the one campaign he conducted in person in Spain.

The battle of the Somosierra Pass, 30 November 1808, was the final Spanish attempt to stop Napoleon reaching Madrid during his 1808 campaign in Spain.

The siege of Madrid of 1-4 December 1808 was the final French success during Napoleon’s only campaign in Spain.

27 February

The battle of Evora of 29 July 1808 was a French victory during the Portuguese rebellion of 1808.

The sack of Cordova of 7 June 1808 was an early indication of the ferocity which would be a distinguishing feature of the Spanish uprising against French Rule

The storm of Mataro of 17 June 1808 was a minor French victory that came just before General Duhesme’s first attempt to capture Gerona in June 1808.

The first siege of Gerona, 20-21 June 1808, was the first of three French attempts to seize this city, which blocked their lines of communication between Barcelona and Perpignan

The second siege of Gerona, 24 July-16 August 1808, was a second unsuccessful French attempt to capture the city of Gerona

26 February

The action at the defile of Cacabellos, 3 January 1809, was a minor British victory during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna.

The skirmish at Constantino of 5 January 1809 was a rear-guard action during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna in the winter of 1808-1809.

The fighting at Lugo on 7 January 1809 was the closest that the British and French came to fighting a full scale battle during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna over the winter of 1808-1809.

The straggler's battle at Betanzos of 10 January 1809 was an incident late in Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna in the winter of 1808-1809.

The battle of Corunna, 16 January 1809, was the final fight during Sir John Moore’s retreat from Spain in the winter of 1808-1809.

25 February

We begin the week with a greatly expanded article on the battle of Baugé, a Scottish victory during the Hundred Years War, but one that was fought on French soil.

Sir John Steward, lord of Darnley, was a member of a distant cadet branch of the house of Stewart who came to prominence during the Scottish involvement in the fighting in France during the 1420s.

John Steward, third earl of Buchan, was the second son of Robert Stewart, first duke of Albany (c.1340-1420), the de facto ruler of Scotland for most of the period from 1388 until his death. He was also one of the leaders of the Scottish army that serving in France from 1419, defeating an English army at Bauge in 1421.

Archibald Douglas, earl of Wigtown, fifth earl of Douglas and duke of Touraine, was a Scottish magnate and soldier who’s most significant military achievement was the Franco-Scottish victory at Baugé in 1421.

23 February

The Panzer II Light Tank was the second German tank to enter mass production during the period of German rearmament in the 1930s and was the most common tank during 1939 and 1940

The 15cm slG33 auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II (Sf) was the second attempt to mount the 15cm sIG 33 infantry howitzer on a tank chassis.

The Marder II was a self propelled anti-tank gun produced by mounting a 7.5cm PaK40/2 anti tank gun on the chassis of a Panzer II Ausf F

22 February

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf F was the last standard version of the Panzer II light tank.

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf L “Luchs” (Lynx) was the only one of a series of reconnaissance tanks based on the Panzer II to be produced in significant numbers.

The Wespe (wasp) was the last, and most numerous, of a series of self propelled guns based on the Panzer II fuselage and carried the German army’s standard 10.5cm howitzer (the Leichte Feldhaubitze 18M or leFH18M).

The Flammpanzer II was an unsuccessful attempt to produce mount flame-throwers on an armoured vehicle, for use against enemy bunkers.

The 7.62cm PaK36(t) auf Fahrgestell Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf D was an early and successful attempt to mount an anti-tank gun on a tank chassis.

21 February

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf a/1. a/2 and a/3 were the three earliest experimental development versions of the Panzer II.

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf b was the second major development version of the Panzer II light tank.

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf c was the final development version of the Panzer II light tank.

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf A, Ausf B and Ausf C were the most common production versions of the Panzer II light tank.

The Panzerkampfwagen II Ausf D and Ausf E were virtually indistinguishable fast tanks, only very slightly related to the standard Panzer II light tank.

20 February

Sir Bertram Ramsay was a British admiral best known for his role in organising the evacuation from Dunkirk in 1940 and for planning the naval part of the D-Day landings in 1944.

Sir William Wake-Walker was a British admiral best know for his role in the hunt for the Bismarck in May 1941.

19 February

The siege of Calais of 23-26 May 1940 saw some of the most desperate fighting during the German campaign in the west in 1940. A combined French and British force was able to hold off heavy German attacks for three critical days, allowing the Allies to consolidate their hold on Dunkirk, but at the cost of the virtual destruction of the garrison.

Operation Cycle was the code name for the evacuation of British and Allied troops from Havre on 10-13 June 1940

Operation Aerial was the code name given to the evacuation of British and Allied troops from the ports of north west France between 15 and 25 June 1940.

John Vereker, sixth Viscount Gort, was a British soldier best known for his period in command of the B.E.F. in 1939-1940, which ended with the evacuation from Dunkirk.

18 February

The battle of Boulogne of 22-25 May 1940 saw a British and French garrison hold off a determined German attack, before the British were evacuated by sea.

16 February

Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk of 27 May-4 June 1940, is one of the most celebrated military events in British history, and yet it was the direct result of one of the most crushing defeats suffered by the British army. Over nine days nearly 300,000 men from the BEF were evacuated from Dunkirk, an action that allowed Britain to stay in the war.

13 February

The Gloster E.28/39 was the first British aircraft to be powered by a jet engine, making its maiden flight in 1941.

We begin a series of articles on the Gloster Meteor with a look at the development of the aircraft.

The Gloster Meteor F Mk.I was the first Allied jet aircraft to enter service during the Second World War, and the first production version of an aircraft that would remain in front line RAF service until 1961

The Gloster Meteor F Mk.II was the designation for a version of the Meteor powered by de Havilland H.1 engines. Only one was built.

The Gloster Meteor F Mk.III was the first version of the Meteor to be produced in large numbers, and the first truly satisfactory version of the aircraft.

The designation Meteor FR Mk.5 was given to a single Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4 (VT347) experimentally modified to operate as a fighter-reconnaissance aircraft

The Gloster Meteor F.Mk.6 was a proposal for an improved version of the Meteor jet, using long engine nacelles and the Derwent 7 engine. None were built.

The Gloster Meteor T Mk.7 was a two seat trainer, based on the Meteor F Mk.4.

The Gloster Meteor F Mk.8 was the last and best day fighter version of the Meteor, and equipped the majority of home based RAF fighter squadrons in the early 1950s.

The Gloster Meteor FR Mk.9 was a low level fighter-reconnaissance version of the Meteor Mk.8.

The Gloster Meteor PR Mk.10 was a high level unarmed reconnaissance aircraft.

The Gloster Meteor NF Mk.11 was the first of a series of night fighters based on the Meteor and designed to fill a short term need for a replacement for the Mosquito

The Gloster Meteor NF Mk.12 was the second development of the Meteor night fighter, this time based around the American APS-21 radar (AI Mk.21 in RAF service)

The Gloster Meteor NF Mk.13 was a tropicalised version of the NF Mk.11, forty of which were converted on the production line to equip the RAF in the Middle East

The Gloster Meteor NF Mk.14 was the final night fighter version of the Meteor, featuring an improved clear-vision sliding canopy and slightly more powerful engines than the earlier NF Mk.12.

The Gloster Meteor U Mk.15 was an unmanned target drone created from converted surplus F Mk.4 fighters

The Gloster Meteor U Mk.16 was an unmanned target drone based on the F Mk.8.

The Gloster Meteor TT Mk.20 was a target towing aircraft based on the NF Mk.11

The Gloster Meteor U Mk.21 was an unmanned drone, similar to the U Mk.16 and like that aircraft based on the F Mk.8 fighter, but built for use in Australia

The Gloster E.5/42 was a design for a single engined jet fighter that saw some development work in 1943 as an alternative in case the Meteor project was delayed by problems with the Whittle W2.B jet engine.

The Gloster Meteor was sold to twelve countries, remaining in service in some of them well into the 1970s.

A list of the Gloster Meteor Squadrons of the RAF

The Gloster Meteor was the only Allied jet aircraft to see combat during the Second World War, making its debut a few days after the Me 262

The Gloster Meteor has a limited post-war combat career, despite remaining in serving until 1961

7 February

Today we complete our series of articles on the Consolidated B-24 Liberator

A look at the development of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, the US military aircraft produced in the largest numbers

We look at the service record of the B-24 Liberator with the Eighth Air Force in England, the B-24 in the Mediterranean and the B-24 in the Pacific.

We add a list of Consolidated B-24 Liberator Groups of the USAAF

6 February

More Eighth Air Force B-24 units today:

The 466th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit of the Eighth Air Force, based at Attlebridge, Norfolk, from March 1944 to the end of the war in Europe.

The 467th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit within the Eighth Air Force that was based at Rackheath, Norfolk, from March 1944 until the end of the war in Europe.

The 482nd Bombardment Group provided a pathfinder force for the heavy bombers of the Eighth Air Force.

The 486th Bombardment Group was a heavy bomber unit of the Eighth Air Force, entering combat with the B-24 in May 1944 but converting to the B-17 two months later.

The 487th Bombardment Group was a heavy bomber unit of the Eighth Air Force, based at Lavenham, Suffolk, from August 1944 until the end of the war in Europe.

The 489th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit within the Eighth Air Force, noteworthy for containing the only man to be awarded the Medal of Honor while flying an Eighth Air Force B-24 from Britain

The 490th Bombardment Group was a heavy bomber unit of the Eighth Air Force that entered combat just before the D-Day landings, attacking German airfields.

The 491st Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator group of the Eighth Air Force that entered combat early in June 1944, just before the D-Day landings.

The 492nd Bombardment Group was a unit of the Eighth Air Force, but despite being a heavy bombardment group it actually spent most of its time in Europe flying Carpetbagger missions, transporting agents and supplies to resistance movements in Occupied Europe

The 493rd Bombardment Group was a heavy bomber unit of the Eighth Air Force, that entered combat in May 1944, just in time to take part in the operations to support the D-Day landings.

5 February

The Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express was produced in response to a USAAF request for long range transport aircraft.

The Consolidated RY Liberator was the US Navy designation for transport aircraft based on the B-24 Liberator, known as the C-87 in the USAAF.

Operation Tidalwave, 1 August 1943, was a low level attack on the oil refineries at Ploesti, carried out by B-24 Liberators from bases in North Africa.

The Consolidated XB-41 Liberator was a prototype for a heavily armed escort fighter based on the B-24

4 February

The 34th Bombardment Group spent the first few months of the Second World War protecting the American coast, before becoming a training squadron. Finally from April 1944 the group joined the Eighth Air Force, operating the B-24 and then B-17 over Europe.

The 44th Bombardment Group was one of those Eighth Air Force units that flew the B-24 for the entire war, spending an unusually large amount of its time on tactical missions, as well as contributing detachments to the fighting in Italy.

The 93rd Bombardment Group was one of those Eighth Air Force units that operated the B-24 Liberator through the Second World War, taking part in the Strategic bombing campaign as well as sending three detachments to the Mediterranean and taking part in the attack on Ploesti

The 389th Bombardment Group was a B-24 unit of the Eighth Air Force that gained its first combat experience on detachment to North Africa between July and October 1943

The 392nd Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator group of the Eighth Air Force which operated from Wendling from July 1943 until June 1945.

The 445th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit of the Eighth Air Force which operated from Tibenham from November 1943 to the end of the war in Europe.

The 446th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit of the Eighth Air Force which operated from Flixton, England from November 1943 until the end of the war in Europe.

The 448th Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit of the Eighth Air Force that operated from Seething from December 1943 until the end of the war in Europe.

The 453rd Bombardment Group was a B-24 Liberator unit that was active from Old Buckenham in England from February 1944 until the end of the war in Europe.

1 February

The Consolidated Liberator III was the British designation for the B-24D, serving with thirteen squadrons, seven of them performing maritime patrol duties.

The Consolidated Liberator IV was apparently the designation given to the B-24E for RAF service, but no squadrons appear to have used that aircraft.

The Consolidated Liberator VI was the RAF designation for the B-24H and early B-24Js, the first production versions of the aircraft to be built with a nose turret and was the most numerous RAF version of the Liberator

The Consolidated Liberator VII was the British designation for the C-87 Liberator Express long range transport plane.

The Consolidated Liberator VIII was the RAF designation for late production B-24Js. The type equipped twenty three squadrons, although ten of those were post-war transport squadrons, leaving thirteen wartime operators of the aircraft

The Consolidated Liberator IX was the RAF designation given to 27 RY-3 transport aircraft. This was a transport aircraft based on the PB4Y-2 Privateer, a specifically naval version of the B-24 Liberator.

The Consolidated LB-30 was the USAAF designation for 75 Liberator IIs taken from an RAF order in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor

The Consolidated B-24G Liberator was the designation given to B-24 Liberators built by North American at Dallas. It would become the third version of the aircraft to be built with a nose turret

The Consolidated B-24J Liberator was built in larger numbers than any version of the aircraft, with a total of 6,678 aircraft being built by all five factories involved in the Liberator Production Pool.

The single Consolidated XB-24K Liberator saw the first attempt to fit a single vertical tail to the B-24 with the aim of improving the stability of the aircraft

The Consolidated B-24L Liberator was an attempt to improve the performance of the aircraft by reducing its weight.

The Consolidated B-24M Liberator was the final production version of the aircraft, and was produced by the two remaining Liberator factories – Consolidated at San Diego and Ford at Willow Run.

The Consolidated XB-24N Liberator was a second attempt to fit the B-24 with a single fin and would have been the standard version of the aircraft if the war had continued into 1946

The Consolidated F-7 was a photographic reconnaissance version of the B-24 Liberator, produced at the Army Modification Centres.

The Consolidated C-109 Tanker was a fuel transport aircraft based on the B-24.

The Consolidated PB4Y-1 Liberator was the US Navy’s designation for the B-24, used to fly long range anti-submarine patrols

31 January

No. 88 Squadron served as a medium bomber squadron throughout the Second World War, beginning and ending the war supporting the Army as it fought in Europe, although in very different circumstances.

No. 90 Squadron was the first RAF squadron to operate the Flying Fortress, but in an early ineffective version. It was later reformed as a Stirling and then Lancaster bomber squadron.

No. 96 Squadron went through two incarnations during the Second World War, first as a night fighter unit (1940-1944) and then as a transport unit in India.

No. 97 Squadron was one of the small number of squadrons to use the Avro Manchester, before converting to the Lancaster at the start of 1942.

No. 98 Squadron began the war as a training unit operating the Fairey Battle, before being reformed as a Mitchell bomber squadron late in 1942.

No. 99 Squadron (Madras Presidency) spent most of the Second World War operating the Vickers Wellington, first from Britain and later from India, where it eventually converted to the Liberator.

The six Consolidated LB-30As were the first production version of the Liberator bomber to be produced, entering RAF Service in 1941.

The Consolidated Liberator I was the first version of the aircraft to see active service with the RAF, carrying out anti-submarine patrols with No.120 Squadron.

The Consolidated Liberator II was the final version of the aircraft to be build as part of the original French order for the LB-30 and the first to feature the long nose that became a standard feature of all later versions.

The Consolidated Liberator GR V was a version of the Liberator III/ B-24D modified for service with Coastal Command.

30 January

Francois Joseph Lefebvre, Duke of Danzig, 1755-1820, was one of Napoleon's more experienced marshals, rising to the rank of general of division during the revolutionary wars. Despite this he rarely held an independent command and did not take command of a large battle until Zornoza in 1808.

Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes was a very capable French cavalry commander who fought in most major campaigns of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was present at Marengo and Austerlitz, fought in Spain in 1808, took part in the invasion of Russia in 1812 and was wounded at Waterloo.

The Convention of Alessandria of 15 June 1800 ended Napoleon’s victorious Italian campaign of 1800.

The Armistice of Steyer of 25 December 1800 ended the fighting in the Revolutionary Wars.

The Peace of Lunéville of 9 February 1801 ended the Revolutionary Wars and was a major French triumph.

The Treaty of Florence of 28 March 1801 confirmed French dominance in Italy.

29 January

No. 52 Squadron saw three incarnations during the Second World War, of which only the second saw any combat, flying convoy escorts over the Mediterranean in 1943

No. 58 Squadron spent two thirds of the Second World War serving with Coastal Command, carrying out anti-submarine patrols with the Handley Page Halifax

No. 61 Squadron spent the entire Second World War as part of RAF Bomber Command, starting the war with the Hampden before converting to the Avro Manchester and finally the Avro Lancaster

No. 63 Squadron began the Second World War as a bomber-training squadron before being reformed with fighter aircraft, performing reconnaissance duties

No. 75 Squadron was a bomber squadron formed from the New Zealand Flight in 1940 and which operated with RAF Bomber Command until the end of the war.

No. 76 Squadron spent most of the Second World War flying the Handley Page Halifax with RAF Bomber Command.

With the exception of a short time spent with Coastal Command in 1942, No. 77 Squadron spent the entire Second World War operating with Bomber Command, flying first the Whitley and then the Halifax

No. 78 Squadron began the Second World War as a reserve training squadron, before beginning bombing operations in July 1940. It remained with Bomber Command for the rest of the war.

No. 82 Squadron began the Second World War equipped with the Bristol Blenheim, taking part in the Battles of France and of Britain, before moving to the Far East in 1942, fighting over Burma from 1943 to 1945.

No. 83 Squadron spent the first half of the Second World War as a night bomber squadron and the second half serving with the Pathfinders.

No. 85 Squadron began the Second World War as a day fighter squadron, taking part in the Battle of Britain, but in October 1940 it began night fighter operations, performing that role 1944, at which point it joined No.100 Group and carried out bomber support missions.

28 January

The French invasion of Spain of 1808 began with a series of surprise attacks on the key Spanish border fortifications start at Pamplona on 16 February 1808 and then Barcelona on 29 February 1808, San Sebastian on 5 March 1808 and finally Figueras on 18 March 1808

22 January

Andoche Junot was a flamboyant but temperamental French general and was probably the most able of Napoleon’s generals not to be created a marshal.

Marshal Nicholas Jean de Dieu Soult was one of the most able of all Napoleon’s marshals, rising from the ranks to become the Grand Old Man of the French Army, and only the fourth man to be created Maréchal-général of the French army.

The battle of Rolica, 17 August 1808, was the first battle during the British involvement in the Peninsular War, and the first victory for Sir Arthur Wellesley (the future duke of Wellington)

The battle of Vimiero, 21 August 1808 was the decisive battle of the first British expedition to Portugal during the Peninsular War and saw Arthur Wellesley defeat a French attack on his position

The battle of Badr (17 March 624 AD) was an early victory for the prophet Muhammad over the Quraysh tribe of Mecca

The battle of Mount Uhud (23rd March 625 AD) was a minor Muslim defeat in the period after the battle of Badr

The battle of the Ditch (627 AD) was the largest and last attempt by the Qurayesh tribe to defeat the Muslim forces of Muhammad.

18 January

Our series of Second World War squadron histories continues with a look at No. 35 Squadron, the first RAF Squadron to use the Handley Page Halifax.

No. 37 Squadron used the Vickers Wellington for most of the Second World War, fighting in North Africa (1940-43) and Italy (1943-45)

No. 38 Squadron spent most of the Second World War flying the Vickers Wellington on anti-shipping duties in the Mediterranean

No. 40 Squadron had a varied career during the Second World War, beginning as a Fairey Battle squadron, flying the Blenheim during the Battle of France, before converting to the Wellington, spending most of the rest of the war in the Mediterranean

No. 44 Squadron was the first RAF squadron to be equipped with the Avro Lancaster bomber

No. 49 Squadron was one of the small number of Bomber Command units to use the Avro Manchester, the under performing precursor to the Lancaster.

No. 50 Squadron was part of Bomber Command's main bomber force during the Second World War.

No. 51 Squadron spend most of the war serving with the main bomber force of Bomber Command, with the exception of six months in 1942 when the squadron was loaned to Coastal Command

17 January

The battle of Medina del Rio Seco, 14 July 1808, was a French victory early in the Peninsular War won by Marshal Bessiéres against a much larger Spanish army.

The first siege of Saragossa, 15 June-13 August 1808, saw the Spanish successfully defend the almost unfortified city against a strong French attack, and was an early demonstration of the determination with which the Spanish would defend some of their cities.

The action of Epila, 23-24 June 1808, was a night battle that saw the French defeat a Spanish force attempting to raise the first siege of Saragossa.

16 January

General Antoine Lasalle was a talented French cavalry commander of the Napoleonic Wars who was killed leading his men at the battle of Wagram

The battle of Cabezon, 12 June 1808, was a crushing French victory won against an inexperienced Spanish army under the command of captain-general Don Gregorio de la Cuesta.

The action at Tudela of 8 June 1808 was the first of three attempts by the Spanish to defeat or delay a French army that was marching towards Saragossa.

The action at Mallen, 13 June 1808, was the second of three Spanish attempts to stop a French army under General Lefebvre-Desnouettes from reaching Saragossa.

The battle of Alagon, 14 June 1808, was the third of three attempts made by Joseph Palafox, the captain-general of Aragon, to stop a French column under General Lefebvre-Desnouettes from reaching Saragossa.

15 January

The action at the River Cabriels, 21 June 1808, saw a French army under Marshal Moncey sweep aside part of a small Spanish force that had been left to watch the northern route between Madrid and Valencia.

The action at the Cabrillas Defile, 24 June 1808, saw the defeat of the last Spanish attempt to stop a French army under Marshal Moncey from reaching Valencia.

The first battle of Valencia (26-28 June 1808) was one of a series of Spanish victories early in the Peninsular War. A French force under Marshal Moncey launched two assaults against the defenders of Valencia and was repulsed twice.

14 January

The battle of Sahagun (21 December 1808) was a British cavalry victory during Sir John Moore’s campaign in northern Spain in the winter of 1808.

The battle of Benavente, 29 December 1808, was a rear-guard action during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna.

The battle of Mansilla (30 December 1808) was a French victory over the rearguard of a Spanish army under General La Romana, fought during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna.

11 January

The battle of Baylen (19 July 1808) was a crucial Spanish victory early in the Peninsular War that encouraged both Spanish resistance and Napoleon’s enemies across Europe.

Pierre Dupont de L’Etang was a French general who fought in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was an able subordinate and division commander, but his first truly independent command, in Spain in 1808, led to defeat at Baylen, and to disgrace and imprisonment.

10 January

The battle of Oporto of 12 May 1809 was Arthur Wellesley’s first victory after his return to Portugal in April 1809 (Peninsular War)

The battle of Alcolea, 7 June 1808, was a French victory early in the Peninsular War won over an army of Spanish volunteers outside Cordova

9 January

Major General Isaac Brock, 1769-1812 was a British general who captured Detroit in 1812 before being killed at Queenston Heights

The battle of Lundy’s Lane was one of the hardest fought battles of the War of 1812. Although neither side won a clear cut victory on the day, the British held their ground against American attacks, forcing the Americans to abandon their campaign on the Niagara front.

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