Best Defense

Things I didn’t know, vol. infinity

A list of little known war facts from Tom Ricks.


–During World War I, “26.4 per cent of the 557,000 Scots who served lost their lives, against a rate of 11.8 per cent for the rest of the British army.” I don’t think this was just because of geographically based units, because those were from England and Wales as well.

–The British planned, for the war against Japan, to have two bomb squadrons on Okinawa by October 1945 and ten by early 1946.

–That even as the Allies called for the unconditional surrender of Japan in July 1945, they were planning for Japanese re-entry into world trade.

–The last active duty veteran of the Vietnam War may have just retired.

–More Kentuckians fought for the right side in the Civil War than fought for the Confederacy.

–David Hackett Fischer, my favorite historian, just won the Pritzker Prize for military history. If you haven’t read him, I’d start with Washington’s Crossing and Paul Revere’s Ride, and then, if you are feeling ambitious, Albion’s Seed.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at Twitter: @tomricks1

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