"An historically based understanding of the present can only provide dimly lit signposts to the future, but such signposts are a considerable improvement over guesses based on idle speculation."
historian and defense analyst
- Hearing a braggart boasting of battlefield exploits that had left a scar on his face, the Roman Emperor Augustus is reported to have quipped, “Never look back when you’re running away.”
- By the time he undertook the campaign that would lead to the Battle of Crecy (August 26, 1346), King Edward III of England had accumulated an enormous stockpile of archery munitions, the Tower of London alone reportedly holding 7,000 bows and an amazing nine million arrows.
- William MacKay (1876-1939), the American muralist who helped decorate the Library of Congress, the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial at the American Museum of Natural History, and many other sites, played a major role in developing ship camouflage patterns during World War I, and wrote a manual on the subject shortly before his death.
- When he ascended the throne, East Roman Emperor Anastasius I (r., 491-518) found a virtually empty treasury, but on his death left it with some 320,000 pounds of gold, a sum today easily worth over $2 billion, but in ancient times relatively much more.
- The “Combined Bomber Offensive” against German-dominated Europe in World War II cost the lives of some 49,000 American aircrew and about 55,600 British and other allied airmen, making it one of the costliest campaigns of the war for the Western allies.
- In 1675, the colonelcy of the elite Gardes françaises changed hands for 500,000 livres, more than ten times the price for that of an ‘ordinary’ regiment, at a time when 60 livres were enough to feed a person for a year.
- In the course of his service at the front during World War I, Ernst Junger (1895-1998), later a notable war novelist and anti-Nazi nationalist, rose from private to lieutenant, was wounded 17 times, and earned the Iron Cross First Class and the Pour le merite, Imperial Germany’s highest decoration.
- The first three seasons of the TV series McHale’s Navy (1962-1966), about a misfit PT-Boat crew in the South Pacific, were filmed on the set originally used for the horror picture The Creature from the Black Lagoon, while the old “Frankenstein” set represented Italy for the series’ final season.