Military History

The Vanishing of the U.S.S. Cyclops

In 1918, a U.S. Navy collier vanished without a trace after leaving Barbados. The ultimate fate of the Cyclops remains a mystery almost 100 years later, but there are certainly plenty of theories about what happened.

The Amazons of Dahomey

The kingdom of Dahomey may have had the world's first full-time, all-female combat fighting force. How did these women rise to become some of history's fiercest warriors, and what happened to them?

The Siege of Béxar

The famed Battle of the Alamo was toward the end of the Texas Revolution - a sort of pivot just before the last battle. But at the revolution's beginning, the siege of Béxar played out in almost the opposite way. Here's a link to our show notes, including a correction to our pronunciation of "Bexar."

The Sham Battle and the Cochecho Massacre

It was half performance for the British troops, and half actual sham, and it led to an attack on Dover by the Pennacook tribe in 1689.

The Night Witches

The Night Witches were an all-female bombing regiment in the Soviet Air Force. Flying biplanes meant for dusting crops and training new recruits, they dropped 23,000 tons of bombs on German forces in WWII. Read the show notes here.

The Ghost Army

During WWII, the U.S. Army formed a top-secret military unit with one goal: Use artistic and theatrical skills to confuse the enemy. The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops turned their creativity into incredible strategic trickery. Read the show notes here.

Eggnog Riot

In 1826, liquor was forbidden at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Cadets smuggled alcohol into the barracks anyway, and a defiant Christmas party turned into a riot when two officers attempted to break up the festivities. Read the show notes here.

The Lost Roman Legion

The story of the Ninth Legion is a favorite among history fans who love a good mystery. But is there really any mystery here, or is the story of their fate more mundane? Read the show notes here.

The Sinking of the S-5

1920, the S-5 left the Boston Navy Yard on its first mission, with a crew of 36 officers and enlisted men. While performing a crash dive as part of a performance evaluation, the crew found themselves on a sinking vessel. Read the show notes here.

Walter Reed

Reed did truly groundbreaking work into the causes and prevention of yellow fever, building on a foundation of other doctors and researchers. His work impacted public health and the American military's ability to work in tropical locations.