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SPITFIRE PROTOTYPE Racer origins of the iconic fighter

nazi fortress vengeance

MONTE CASSINO Polish veteran recalls the bloody assault on Hitler's Italian stronghold

THE REAL Great escape In rare photos

Samurai Battlefield

Civil war showdown at the Battle of Kawanakajima

Issue 066

Rifle Brigade Somme valour

Inspiring Victoria Cross story of William La Touche Congreve

The Forgotten falkland guns

Royal Artillery barrage in the fight for Stanley

Bloody Origins of ‘the Troubles’ How Irish guerrillas broke up the United Kingdom

Issue 66

Image: Alamy

A knocked out Sherman and Bailey Bridge sit among the devastation, with Monte Cassino visible in the background



eventy-five years ago, the struggle to expel Axis forces from the Italian peninsula was coming to a brutal crescendo, as German Fallschirmjäger units dug in to blunt the Allied advance. The focus of this uphill struggle soon became Monte Cassino, a 6th century monastery perched in the Abruzzo mountains, and a strongpoint in the German defensive lines. Among the Allied assaults on this position was the Polish II Corps. Known as Anders’ Army,

Contributors these soldiers had travelled from the USSR, across the Middle East, and through the Desert Rat frontline in North Africa. In the Italian Campaign, the Poles faced their greatest challenge yet, and a chance to strike back at their enemy.

Tom Garner

On page 38 Royal Artillery and Falklands War veteran Tom Martin shares his experience manning the guns on East Falkland during the 1982 conflict, revealing the vital role artillery played in enabling the successful campaign.

Marianna Bukowski

This issue Marianna spoke with Polish veteran Otton Hulacki of the 4th ‘Skorpion’ Armoured Regiment. He recalls fighting at Monte Cassino, as well as his long journey from captivity in the USSR, to serving in Wladyslaw Anders’s Army (p.26).

Stuart Hadaway Tim Williamson Editor-in-Chief

RAF Senior Researcher Stuart takes a look at the racer origins of the Spitfire for this issue’s Operator’s Handbook. Turn to page 70 to discover how the S.6B sea plane broke speed records and set the blueprints for the iconic fighter.


Issue 66

Poland’s Revenge AT monte cassino 26 Polish veteran Otton Hulacki recalls his part in the bloody assault on Hitler’s Italian fortress


Irish War of Independence 14

The Irish Republican Army mounts a fierce guerrilla war in a bid to end British rule

18 Bloody Sunday: 1920

An assassination and subsequent British crackdown resulted in a brutal day of violence

20 Breaking up the UK

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 was a previously unthinkable victory for irregular rebel forces over the might of the British Empire

22 A nation divided

Revisionist Peter Cottrell discusses how nationalism has influenced the popular understanding of the Anglo-Irish conflict

24 Leaders & commanders

On both sides of the Irish Sea, the struggle for an independent Eire forged and destroyed the careers of politicians and generals


52  Receive a free book worth £19.99 with every History of War subscription! Plus receive the mag before it’s available in the shops


Great Battles

kawanakajima 62 Two powerful clans clash for dominance in Japan’s destructive civil war


06 War in Focus

Stunning imagery from throughout history

The Guns of East Falkland

26 Poland’s revenge at Monte Cassino

Read how the Polish II Corps marched from Soviet captivity to the frontline in Italy

38 The guns of East Falkland

Crucial Royal Artillery role in the 1982 war

48 Carlist Wars: Part II the ‘Carlist State’

Spain’s third civil war of the 19th century threatened to break the country apart

54 The Great Count

How Roger de Hauteville conquered Sicily

58 The Great Escape in rare photos

Previously unseen images of Stalag Luft III

62  Great Battles Kawanakajima

Blow-by-blow of this samurai showdown

70 Operator’s Handbook Supermarine S.6b

The racing plane origins of the Spitfire

76 Victoria Cross Heroes William La Touche Congreve

Inspiring story of heroism at the Somme

38 Major Tom Martin (Retd.) recalls his experiences serving in the Royal Artillery during the 1982 campaign

VC Hero

Major william la touche Congreve

76 At the Somme this Eton graduate led from the front, treating the wounded and inspiring his men

HOMEfront 82 Redefining Napoleon

Adam Zamoyski reassesses the Emperor ahead of his talk at the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival

 90 Reviews 

88 Museums & events

The latest exhibitions and discoveries A round-up of the latest military titles

94 5 best books on... The Anders Army

95  Competition Win a book bundle worth over £120

A fantastic chance to win a stack of history titles, exclusive to Subscribers

98 Artefact of War Sir John Moore’s pocketwatch

Read how this precious timepiece survived the Peninsula War





“They Agree With Sherman� Taken: c. June 1944

Four Coast Guardsmen, serving as scouts and proceeding in an LCM (landing craft mechanized) to the French invasion beach shortly before H-Hour, get their heads together and display their full accord with General Sherman on the subject of war. They subjected their heads to the shearing just to kill time in the English Channel crossing.



The fate of nations Taken: August 1943

Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mackenzie King and the Earl of Athlone pictured at the Quebec Conference, where among other concerns plans were made for the Allied invasion of France, codenamed Operation Overlord. The talks were held over the course of a week, and also included agreements on the use of nuclear weapons and landings on the Italian peninsula.


Image: Shutterstock




deadly jungle tactics Taken: c. 1965

Communist guerrillas pose brandishing crossbows and poison-tipped arrows. Although later in the Vietnam War the Viet Cong had access to a large and sophisticated arsenal, in earlier years many soldiers were left to improvise with much more primitive weaponry. As well as spears and bows, the VC also used bush craft skills to set deadly jungle traps for enemy troops.


Image: Getty





end of an era Taken: 8 July 2015

A Tornado GR4 photographed conducting a low-level flying exercise over north Wales. In 2019 the RAF retired its Tornado fleet in favour of the new F-35 Lightning and Typhoon fighter jets. It marked the end of the Tornado’s decades of service with a series of flypasts, as well as its own retirement markings. Its long service history includes missions in Iraq, Lybia, Syria and more.


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History Of War 66 (Sampler)  

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History Of War 66 (Sampler)  

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