Showing posts from June, 2022

Geography of War - The Battle of Vittorio Veneto

I am currently visiting Italy and in recognition of that fact I thought it might be interesting to look at an important moment in Italian military history.  It comes from a war that receives fairly little mention in American textbooks, but is a battle of great importance to European history.  I hope you enjoy and learn something new, as I have! The Battle of Vittorio Veneto (First World War) Date:  October - November 1918 Modern Location: Northeastern Italy Combatants: Austro-Hungarian Army (led by Archduke Joseph August) vs Allied forces, including Italy, UK, France, and USA (led by General Armando Diaz) Summary: The two major armies fighting in the Italian theater of WWI had exchanged devastating victories over one another during the previous 12 months, with Austria-Hungary inflicting 300,000 casualties on the Italians at the Battle of Caporetto in November 1917, followed by Italy's successful defense in the Battle of Piave River in June 1918 that cost the invading army 118,000 c

Geography of War - The Battle of Chosin Reservoir

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir (Korean War) Date: November-December, 1950 Modern Location: Changjin Reservoir, North Korea Combatants: United Nations (including United States, South Korea, and United Kingdom, led by Maj. Gen. Oliver P. Smith) vs. China and North Korea (led by Gen. Song Shilun) Summary: In the winter of 1950, China entered the Korean War on behalf of the North, and the landscape of the conflict shifted dramatically.  After a successful invasion at Inchon in October that crippled the Korean People's Army, General Douglas MacArthur recognized that North Korea had lost the majority of their organized fighting forces and ordered the continued advance northward on all fronts.  While MacArthur led the US 8th Army north from Inchon on the west side of North Korea, forces on the east side of the Korean Peninsula pushed through mountainous terrain in an effort to sever a key supply line, seeking to end the war quickly in a move called the Home-by-Christmas Offensive.  A sign

Geography of War - The Battle of Cowpens

The Battle of Cowpens (American Revolution) Date: January 17, 1781 Modern Location: Northern South Carolina, United States Combatants: British Regulars (led by Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton) vs. American Patriots (led by Gen. Daniel Morgan) Summary: The Southern Continental army, having recently come under the command of General Nathanael Greene, was desperately in need of being rebuilt in 1781.  British forces had taken the major cities of Charles Town and Camden, and consequently expected little resistance from the rural backwoods communities as they sought to secure control of the south before returning their focus to the northern campaign against George Washington.  Greene decided to divide his army into two groups, sending half of his forces west with General Daniel Morgan to cross the Catawba River to attack British supply lines and encourage support from the population.  British General Cornwallis responded by sending cavalry and infantry led a young but capable Lieutenant Colonel

Geography of War - The Battle of Stirling Bridge

The Battle of Stirling Bridge (Wars of Scottish Independence) Date:  September 11, 1297 Modern Location: Central Scotland, United Kingdom Combatants: Scotland (led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray) vs. England (led by John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey and Hugh de Cressingham) Summary: In September of 1290, the only living heir to Scotland's recently deceased King Alexander III (a granddaughter named Margaret) died before being crowned.  When the lengthy dispute over succession threatened to escalate into civil war, the nobles invited King Edward I of England to act as an impartial mediator.  Seeing an opportunity, Edward first appointed a weak king of Scotland, John Balliol, that he believed he could control.  Just four years later Edward deposed King John when the latter signed a treaty with France, and subsequently claimed lordship over Scotland in 1296, leading to significant turmoil and rebellion against English rule throughout the country.  The largest concentrated force was