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The Combat resistance group was formed in France in November, 1941. Led by Henry Frenay it gradually became the most important resistance group in metropolitan France.

Based in Lyons, the group began publishing the clandestine newspaper, Combat, in December 1941. Edited by Albert Camus, the circulation of the newspaper eventually reached 300,000.

In May 1943, Jean Moulin persuaded Combat agreed to join forces with Front National, Comité d'Action Socialiste, Liberation, Francs-Tireur and the Armée Secrete to form the Conseil National de la Resistance.

Military History

Military History is a vast topic with many specialty niches. This section of includes detailed history of World War II, Vietnam and other conflicts as well as guides to military museums and other military history resources.

"Joan of Arc Saved France" World War I poster motivating purchases of war bond savings stamps. Click on the poster image for more information and larger size.

Today in WW II: 26 Jun 1944 American troops enter Cherbourg, capturing the vital French port for the Allies. More ↓
26 Jun 1945 United Nations Charter signed in San Francisco.
Visit the World War II Timeline for day-by-day events 1939-1945! See also WW2 Books.

American Military History is Wrong

American military personnel study history as an essential component of their professional education. Military history provides the analogies by which they communicate, and the lens through which they view current military problems. Phrases such as “another Pearl Harbor” or “another Maginot Line” or “another Vietnam” convey common perceptions of the past and influence military professionals’ common thinking about the present and future.

But what if the military history they study is wrong? What if the military history they study fosters a strategic culture that is inconsistent with their strategic reality?

Central to the study of American military history in the last three decades of the twentieth century was The American Way of War, a history of American military strategy and policy written by Professor Russell F. Weigley. He argued that the American way of war is based on a strategy of annihilation: the aim of the US armed forces in war is to destroy the enemy’s capacity to continue the war, so that the enemy’s will collapses or becomes irrelevant. This is the war fought by Grant and Sherman in the American Civil War, when they fought campaigns of attrition fueled by the industrial capacity and larger population of the North to destroy the capacity of the South to continue the war. World War II was fought by students of the American Civil War. Among them were Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, and Spaatz in Europe MacArthur, Nimitz, Halsey, and Spruance in the Pacific. Our study of military history has influenced us to believe that the role of the American military is to defeat the enemy’s armed forces and destroy the enemy’s economy, at which time its mission is accomplished and it becomes a supporting player in the strategic arena. In World War I, this was actually the case. After the armistice in November 1918, the US Army participated in the Allied Powers’ occupation of Germany until the peace treaty was signed at Versailles in July 1919, and then most of the US soldiers came home to celebrate the victory (although even in this case the First Division remained part of the Allied Army of Occupation until July 1923).

The post–World War I period, however, is the exception that proves the rule. The American Civil War did not end at Appomattox, any more than the American War of Independence ended at Yorktown, World War II ended on V-E and V-J Days, or the Iraq War ended with the fall of Baghdad. After Yorktown, Washington furloughed most of the Continental Army but it remained an army in being until after the British withdrew from New York City on Evacuation Day—November 25, 1783—two years later. Twelve years of Northern occupation and counterinsurgency followed Lee’s military surrender at Appomattox, until the Northern and Southern leadership reached a political settlement in the Compromise of 1877 at the Wormley Hotel in Washington, DC. The compromise resulted in the inauguration of President Rutherford B. Hayes and the withdrawal of Northern troops from Louisiana and South Carolina. The US military occupied Japan and Germany until peace treaties were signed in 1952 and 1955, respectively. The fall of Baghdad ended major combat operations in Iraq, but martial law was not declared or established. US commanders believed their mission was complete when the Iraqi army collapsed. They ignored their legal and moral obligations to restore order and impose interim military governance over occupied territory. Despite the futile efforts of leaders like Gen. Eric Shinseki who knew better, the poorly planned and executed consolidation and stabilization effort resulted in an eight-year insurgency ending in a unilateral US withdrawal, not a peace treaty or a stable and enduring political outcome.

The “So what?” is that our study of American military history has failed our profession and our nation. American military history as taught in professional military education institutions (and more generally in our public education system) is wrong and fosters a strategic culture inconsistent with strategic reality. Here is what American military history should teach us:

1. Major combat operations are critical but not decisive. Military victories are transitory and at best establish the conditions necessary to achieve a favorable and enduring political settlement.

2. Post-combat consolidation of military gains, stabilization of the conflict-affected area, and reconciliation of the warring parties are decisive because they translate military success into a favorable and enduring strategic outcome.

3. The civil population gets the deciding vote on who wins and who loses. The struggle for legitimacy, credibility, and influence is as strategically important as the struggle to attrit and destroy the enemy’s military forces and economic warfighting capacity, and ultimately, may be more decisive.

4. The US armed forces are legally and morally responsible for the military governance of liberated or occupied territories and their populations until a legitimate and credible civil authority formally relieves them of their area responsibility. We expect privates to obey their first general order of guard duty: “I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.” We should expect nothing less from our generals.

5. Leaders must plan and prepare for the worst-case scenario: a five-year stabilization campaign, including interim military governance, until conditions in the operational environment permit the transfer of area responsibility to a legitimate and credible civil authority. Why five years? Because that assumption requires planning for force rotations that can be curtailed or extended as the actual situation unfolds.

6. The US armed forces must structure a mix of active and reserve component forces adequate for protracted post-combat consolidation and stabilization campaigns commensurate with the major combat operations that precede them. Our nation cannot afford to maintain sufficient active military forces to conduct these campaigns, which will require a different mix of forces. Active forces should be relieved as soon as practicable to reconstitute and prepare for future combat operations. Reserve forces should be mobilized and trained as a consolidation and stabilization force to replace active forces.

7. Professional military education must place greater emphasis on the human aspects of military operations. The US Army planned for the military occupation of Germany and Japan years in advance, but the occupation forces did not have significant training in civil-military operations or military governance. The attrition rates in 1944–1945 resulted in units filled mostly by replacement citizen-soldiers who improvised within the guidelines established in War Department and theater army plans crafted by senior officers with superior professional military education than their successors receive today.

How should the US armed forces today apply these lessons to their thinking about our two great-power adversaries, China and Russia? First and foremost, the desired strategic outcomes should be indefinite sustainment of favorable balances of power and avoidance of direct armed conflict with either great power. Second, contingency planning should begin with the desired strategic outcome of the war, not how to fight it. Before asking How should we defeat Chinese or Russian regional aggression?, we should first ask, What strategic purpose is the war supposed to accomplish? and What does the desired strategic outcome look like? Are we fighting the war to prevent China or Russia from reversing a regional power balance in its favor? To prevent China or Russia from establishing a sphere of influence over its near-abroad? To preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a treaty ally? To retain the US position as the preeminent power on earth? The answers to these questions should frame the problem of how to defeat China or Russia militarily in a long-term, globally integrated campaign. The solution to this problem must include the post-combat actions necessary to consolidate military gains, stabilize conflict-affected areas devastated by combat operations and the economic consequences of the war, and foster national reconciliation with former enemies, to restore a favorable balance of power and avoid another war. Are the associated costs and risks worth the desired strategic outcomes, or must our nation reconsider what alternative strategic outcomes are acceptable, even if undesirable or unfavorable?

Outcomes-based strategies will be critical to reversing the trend of US armed forces winning every battle, prevailing in every campaign, and losing every war it has fought since 1955. The first step: fostering a more accurate understanding of American military history, especially in professional military education.

Col. (ret) Glenn M. Harned is a retired Army infantry and Special Forces officer and Army strategist. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, Army Command and Staff College, Army School of Advanced Military Studies, and Marine Corps War College. He commanded a Special Forces battalion and Special Operations Command Korea. He has worked as a defense consultant since 2000, focusing on special operations and irregular warfare policy, strategy, and force development issues.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

"Old Glory goes up on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima," by Joe Rosenthal DI-01323.

The Center for American History at The University of Texas at Austin has constituted a prime source for military history since its founding. Its earliest collections&mdashincluding the Bexar Archives and the Austin Papers&mdashdocument military affairs of the Spanish, Mexicans, Indians, and Anglo Americans in the Southwest in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Today, with its major strengths in Texas and Southern history, Congressional history, and American news media history, the Center's resources embrace more than three-hundred years of military affairs, including many aspects of America's involvement in foreign wars, from Mexico to Iraq.

Walter Cronkite with flyers, as World War II correspondent for UPI DI-03515.

The Center for American History is the most important source in existence for Texas history. Its holdings document the military affairs of the region from the earliest European contacts through the twentieth century, including the Texas Revolution (1836), Indian wars, and the Civil War. The Center's Southern history resources include the massive Natchez Trace Collection, a rich source for many different aspects of the Deep South in the Civil War era. Congressional history collections contain the papers of more than sixty former members of Congress, including Albert Sidney Burleson, Sam Rayburn, John Nance Garner, Maury Maverick, Sr., Lloyd Bentsen, and Henry B. Gonzalez, providing important perspectives on national policy, foreign affairs, and the conduct of war. Collections on American news media history include the papers of leading war correspondents such as Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, and Robert Trout, the collections of outstanding photojournalists such as David Hume Kennerly and Dirck Halstead, and the "morgues," or subject reference files, of the New York Times and other dailies and of Newsweek magazine.

The Personal Narrative of Mexican Army Officer Lt. Col. José Enrique de la Peña DI-00168.

These resources are available in a variety of formats, including institutional records, historical manuscripts, maps, newspapers, broadsides, photographs, and oral histories. Letters and diaries from soldiers in the field, combat photographs from America's leading photojournalists, reminiscences of war veterans, muster rolls of fighting units, posters, and broadsides with patriotic calls to action all form part of the Center's rich store of resources for the study of military history.

ARVN Soldiers pull out of Xuan Loc, the last government stronghold in Vietnam E-DH-0608.
© Dirck Halstead

Recently, the Center has deepened its commitment to the field. Building on its experience as joint sponsor of a World War II scholar program since 1998, the Center now has established the Military History Institute, an educational outreach, research, and archival program. This Institute will ensure that the programs and resources in military history at the Center for American History will continue to thrive.

Women of the Israel Defense Forces: History in Combat Units

The history of female combat soldiers in the IDF can be dividend into three distinct eras:

  • 1948: Women on full combat status during the War of Independence
  • 1948-Late 1990's: No women allowed in combat roles
  • Late 1990's-Present: Majority of combat positions - including pilots and special forces - open to women

When it was first formed in 1948, the IDF was forced to use any and all available personnel as combat soldiers, regardless of gender. As Israel&rsquos first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion said at the time:

Following the War of Independence, however, and lasting until the late 1990&rsquos, no women were allowed to serve combat positions, aside from a short attempt in the 1950&rsquos to accept women into flight school. However, women did take over almost all field instructing positions in the IDF.

That all started to change in 1994 when the High Court of Justice, under appeal by a female immigrant from South Africa, ruled that some combat roles should be open to female soldiers. Three years later, in 1997, Alice Miller filed a an appeal to the Supreme Court to be accepted into the IDF&rsquos highly elite Air Force flight school. Miller won the lawsuit and the IDF officially began accepting women as flight candidates.

In 2000, the Equality amendment to the Defense Service Law stated that the right of women to serve in any role in the IDF is equal to the right of men. Soon after, women were allowed to serve in nearly all combat positions. Women recruited for combat units must serve for 30 months instead of the normal mandatory period for women of 21 months.

In early 2000, the IDF decided to also deploy women in the artillery corps, followed by infantry units, armored divisions and elite combat units. The Navy has also decided to place women in its diving repair unit. Altogether, at the beginning of 2004, about 450 women were in combat units.

The Caracal company, a co-ed infantry unit subordinate to the Nahal Brigade, was established to patrol Israel&rsquos southern border with Egypt for drug smugglers and terrorist infiltrators. The elite commando K9 unit, Oketz, also drafts females as dog trainers and soldiers.

Approximately 7% of women in the IDF serve in combat roles today, as opposed to 3% in 2012. Today, 90% of the combat assignments are open to women.

In addition to traditional roles, women serve in the IDF as &ldquolone soldiers,&rdquo taken in by Kibbutz families and tasked with monitoring border activity. Oftentimes these lone soldiers are females from other countries such as South Africa, Italy, Germany, Australia, and the United States.

Recent Developments

During the early-2000&rsquos, additional Supreme Court appeals as well as political pressure swayed the IDF to open even more combat positions to women. Today female soldiers can be found on combat status in the Artillery Corps, Combat Engineering Corps, Light Infantry, Military Police, Border Police and other units.

During the Second Lebanon War, women were in field operations alongside men for the first time since 1948. During the fighting, Helicopter engineer Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Keren Tendler became the first female IDF combat soldier to be killed in action.

On May 26, 2011, Defense Minister Ehud Barak oversaw one of the IDF&rsquos most historic internal events when he approved the promotion of Brigadier General Orna Barbivai to Major General and to the head of the IDF Manpower Directorate. In so doing, Barbivai became the first female ever to attain the rank of Major General in the IDF.

In October 2011, the 27 female combat soldiers completed the IDF Ground Forces Officers Training Course along with 369 male soldiers and were promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. The new female officers serve in a wide range of combat units from artillery to Caracal and tanks.

In January 2014, the IDF announced that Major Oshrat Bacher would be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and placed as a Brigade Commander in a Combat Intelligence unit. Major Bacher&rsquos promotion marked the first time a female soldier commanded a combat brigade.

Since 2012, the number of women in combat roles has been steadily rising. In 2012, 600 women joined co-ed combat battalions, and the following year 1,365 joined. This trend continues today: in 2017 more than 2,700 women were recruited to mixed-gender IDF battalions (an all-time high), compared with 2,100 in 2016.

For the first time in Israeli history, a female pilot was named commander of a flight squadron in January 2018. The 35-year old known simply as Major T., was trained as a transport pilot and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

The IDF&rsquos first female tank commanders began their service in July 2018. The four women will conduct border security missions with their tank squadrons but will not be sent into enemy territory.

Sgt. Jessica Klempert became the first female machinist to serve on an Israeli Navy missile ship in 2021.

The number of women in combat roles has been steadily rising. In 2012, 600 women joined co-ed combat battalions. By 2017, more than 2,700 women were recruited to mixed-gender IDF battalions.

Sources: Israel Defense Forces
Israeli Government Press Office
&ldquoWomen in the Israel Defense Forces,&rdquo Wikipedia
&ldquoOrna Barbivai,&rdquo Wikipedia.
The Jewish Week, (January 2, 2004)
Bar Ben-Ari. &ldquoA Woman of Valor,&rdquo Israel Defense Forces, (August 1, 2007)
Lauren Gelfond Feldinger, &ldquoSkirting history,&rdquo Jerusalem Post, (September 18, 2008)
&ldquoNew Female Combat Officers of the IDF,&rdquo IDF Spokesperson (October 27, 2011 January 2, 2014)
Gili Cohen, &ldquoIsraeli Woman Who Broke Barriers Downed by Hezbollah Rocket as 2006 Combat Volunteer,&rdquo Haaretz, (May 10, 2016)
Yossi Yehoshua. &ldquoNumber of female combat soldiers highest ever,&rdquo YNet News (August 5, 2016)
Amos Harel. &ldquoRate of Female Israeli Soldiers Serving in Combat Roles Doubled in Four Years,&rdquo Haaretz (October 23, 2016)
Michael Blum. &ldquoWomen increasingly join the fight in Israel's army,&rdquo Yahoo, (November 20, 2016)
Yossi Yehoshua. Number of women in combat roles reaches record high, YNet News, (November 16, 2017)
Yaniv Kubovitch. Israel Military Appoints First Female Squadron Commander, Haaretz, (January 17, 2018)
Yaakov Lappin. First women tank commanders begin their duties in the IDF, JNS, (July 8, 2018)
Record enlistment of women in combat units, Jerusalem Post, (August 8, 2018):
Yaakov Lappin, &ldquoIDF&rsquos pioneering all-women tank crews to provide protection of Israel&rsquos south,&rdquo JNS, (February 20, 2020)
Bat-Chen Epstein Elias, &ldquoIsraeli Navy embarks on new traditions,&rdquo Israel Hayom, (December 15, 2020).

Download our mobile app for on-the-go access to the Jewish Virtual Library

Dates In History

January 1957

The New Jersey National Guard ceased to be an all-male organization when the first women soldiers in its history, two nurses, Captain Frances R. Comstock and 1st Lieutenant Lucille Valentino of Paterson, were sworn in as members of the 114th Mobile Surgical Hospital.

January 2019

U.S. Army Warrant Officer Nicole C. Richardson, 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard was recognized by the NJ Assembly as the first black woman Army warrant officer aviator in New Jersey.

August 2020

CW5 Jennifer Rice is promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5 which made her the first Hispanic female to hold the rank of CW5 in the New Jersey National Guard.

Combat Tips

Learning to use thrusters, keeping the throttle in the blue, situational awareness, good pip control and learning to anticipate rather than react to a target's actions are valuable skills and habits.

Flight Assist

Flight Assist (FA) is a tool that, when used well, opens up many new abilities for a pilot in combat. It allows pilots to make sharper turns and more agile movements, and most importantly it allows pilots to decouple their flight vector from where they are aiming, which allows for much more unpredictable and evasive combat maneuvers.

Flight Assist is essential for more boom and zoom style combat where the attacker needs to turn and gain distance at the same time so that the bad pitch rate is less of an issue. Without mastering FA-off, even something small like an Eagle MkII can be troublesome when flying with a sluggish ship if it is equipped with nothing but gimballed weapons. Α]

Pip Management

Pip management (SYS, ENG, and WEP power management) is an essential skill. Know when energy is needed in shields and when it is safe or advantageous to divert it elsewhere. Assign macros if possible, such as by using the two 4-ways on a HOTAS to quickly switch pip settings. When fighting several enemies at the same time, keeping SYS at a full four pips at all times might be the way to go, but when fighting just one or two enemies, performance can be noticeably improved by using that energy elsewhere. Α]

Thrusters and Utilities

Using vertical thrusters properly can also be very helpful. They can make a substantial difference when trying to stay out of an enemy's frontal view and thus to avoid incoming damage, while still keeping weapons on target. Also know how to use the throttle's blue zone, and when to leave it and when to return to it. Α]

Mastering the Chaff Launcher, Shield Cell Bank, and Heatsink Launcher can also mean the difference between victory and defeat. Α]


It is recommended take a small ship, such as a Viper MkIII or Imperial Courier, and use it to practice combat and gain practical experience before tackling larger targets and bounty hunting for profit. Learning how to avoid mistakes in a cheaper ship can help a pilot to avoid mistakes in a more expensive one and pay for them at the rebuy screen. This can also help when flying larger ships, since pilots who start learning combat in larger ships tend to rely on their shields and firepower alone to overwhelm a target, and have no experience in avoiding incoming damage. This can be fatal in battles against well-armed foes. Α]

Endangered Species

‘Roe v. Wade’ refers to the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
‘Right to Choose’ refers to a pro-choice stance, upholding Roe v. Wade.
‘Right to Life’ refers to a pro-life stance, seeking to overturn or limit Roe v. Wade
Pro-life advocates refer to Roe v. Wade as an example of ‘Judicial Activism’ or ‘legislating from the bench’, i.e., that judges are making the law rather than interpreting it. In these terms, pro-life advocates believe in ‘Strict Constructionism’, or a literal interpretation of the Constitution with no implied rights.
A ‘Litmus test’ requires Vice Presidential & Supreme Court nominees to agree with one’s abortion view.
‘The Human Life Amendment’ would be a Constitutional Amendment overturning Roe v. Wade. There is currently no such Amendment pending, but proponents regularly introduce ‘Human Life Bills’ in Congress.
Roe v. Wade

The essence of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is that Constitutional rights apply only after birth hence abortion does not breach a person’s right to life. States cannot regulate 1st trimester abortions states can regulate but not ban 2nd trimester abortions and states can ban 3rd trimester abortions (as many have).
The debate on abortion generally focuses on when human life begins. The courts often focus on ‘viability’, the point at which the fetus could survive outside the womb. Viability naturally begins at about 6 months of pregnancy, but with modern medical advances the age of viability is pushed back substantially. Strong pro-life advocates believe that the fetus should be protected from the moment of conception.
Abortion Legislation

The details of abortion legislation focus on what the states can regulate and what they can ban in later trimesters:
‘Partial-Birth Abortion’ refers to a late-term abortion method which induces a breech delivery and collapses the fetal skull before completing delivery. This procedure is banned in 24 states, but pro-choice advocates, including President Clinton, have sought to overturn state laws with a federal ruling. In April, the Supreme Court rejected a Nebraska law banning partial birth abortions. In June, the Court said that the Nebraska ban was unconstitutional because it had no exceptions and barred second trimester abortions.
Each state decides if ‘Parental Consent’ is required for teenagers seeking abortions. The Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that spousal consent cannot be required by the states.
Each state also determines rules about ‘informed consent’, about 24-hour waiting periods, and about when viability occurs after the 1st trimester.
Related Legislation

‘Clinic Access’ laws refer to what pro-life protesters may and may not do at the entrances to abortion clinics, and how far away they must stay. Clinic access became an issue after several abortion clinics were bombed and several abortion doctors were shot in recent years.
‘RU-486’ is a drug that induces abortion in early pregnancy. In September 2000, after 12 years of study, the FDA approved the use of RU-486 until the 7th week of pregnancy.
‘Cloning’ is a rapidly advancing technology in which a fetus develops from only one parent. It has been successful in animals, and is entering trial stages with humans. Pro-life advocates generally oppose cloning on the same basis that they oppose abortion.
‘Stem Cells’ are undifferentiated cells, which are useful in research for cloning and for treating many diseases. Stem cells are best taken from human fetuses hence the pro-life opposition. Many pro-life advocates support fetal stem cell research because of the medical potential. In 2001, Pres. Bush announced that the federal policy would be to allow fetal stem cell research on existing stem cell lines but not on new ones.
Buzzwords in the abortion debate

Describing abortion as a health issue or as a women’s rights issue is a pro-choice stance.
Describing abortion as a moral issue or as an issue of balancing the mother’s rights with the fetus’ rights, is a pro-life stance.
Any reference to “the rights of the unborn” is a strong pro-life stance, as is defining life “from the moment of conception.”
Any reference to “the rights of the mother” is a strong pro-choice stance, as is defining a “right to privacy” (between a woman and her doctor).
As mentioned above, the most obscure buzzword is that supporting ‘judicial activism’ implies a pro-choice stance, while supporting ‘strict constructionism’ implies a pro-life stance. In nominations for Supreme Court justices, asking this question is the archetypical ‘Litmus Test’ — liberal Senators spent many hours questioning Clarence Thomas on whether he held a Strict Constructionist view of the Constitution (he did not admit so).
For serious policy wonks, the most important abortion buzzword is ‘Stare Decisis’ — that is the basis upon which Clarence Thomas declined to rule against Roe v. Wade. Thomas meant that although he would have ruled against Roe v. Wade in 1973, he would not do so now because the 1973 Supreme Court ruling had been in force for a quarter century and hence has precedential weight.
Endangered Species
Endangered Species Act (ESA): 1973 law prohibiting activities that harm endangered plants or animals or their habitats. Which species are threatened & endangered are listed or ‘delisted’ by the Secretaries of Interior & Commerce. The controversy comes from limitations on private property to protect one species.
Takings: The federal government is allowed to take private property when it serves the public interest (via ‘eminent domain’) but must pay fair market value. When the ESA regulates private property use (such as disallowing development), the value is decreased even though the property is not fully taken. The ‘takings’ controversy concerns how much the government should pay to property owners when their property is only partially taken.

NATO Unit Counter Guide – Niehorster Dialect


Well, time to look at the NATO counters or to be more exact at what I called the Niehorster Dialect. For all those who don’t know, Leo Niehorster did a lot of research on unit organization specifically the German Army in World War 2. Additionally, he provides a lot of information on his homepage for free.

Now, why doesn’t he use the full NATO standard, well because NATO didn’t account for certain unit types that were common in World War 2, hence there are some slight differences. I prefer the Niehorster dialect, because it encompasses nearly all WW2 unit types and it is also well-documented and updated.

Note that these symbols are mainly NATO inspired, but there are a few but significant differences, e.g., infantry looks the same, but marine infantry looks quite different. Niehorster uses an anchor, which looks awesome, whereas NATO uses waves, which makes the counter look like hippie infantry. Yeah, well, the term Joint Chiefs of Staff probably confused some people in the design department.

Unit Types – Basics

Anyway, every symbol consists of two basic areas, the type and the size indicators. I will start with the basic types then expand a bit on them and finally give some information about the size indicator.


So, let’s start with the Infantry, a big X. Why? That is simple, those should represent the two bandoliers of Napoleonic Infantry. In general, these symbols make sense in one way or another and once you know the background or a hint, they are quite easy to remember.


Next up is artillery, one big black dot. For me that symbol is the most obvious one. And a simple way to remember it is that artillery tends to make lot of holes in the ground. Although World of Tank players have a bit of different view, they will agree on the hole part, but might indicate that it is actually not located in the ground, but about 1 meter above.


Next up, is the mighty pony force, the Cavalry, which is a black triangle that takes up the lower right. Now, the best way to remember this is symbol is that you think of it as half man and half beast.


Now, there is a very similar symbol used for recon troops, simply because to a large degree they originated or had quite many cavalry units in them, e.g., an early World War 2 German infantry divisions often contained a substantial number of cavalry units in their recon battalions.

And finally, for the last basic units, the Tank. Which looks like this, now I don’t know how to call the geometric object, but it clearly resembles the tracks of a tank. So this is probably the most obvious symbol out there.
Now comes the fun part. Combining the basic unit types.

Unit Types – Combinations

Mechanized Infantry

Now let’s take the tank symbol and combine it with the infantry, looks great, this is now an armored or mechanized infantry unit.

Infantry Gun

If we combine an infantry with an artillery unit, we get an infantry gun or infantry support gun unit, which is a specialized artillery weapon that is usually used as a direct fire weapon unlike regular artillery, additionally it is also allocated to infantry regiments or battalions and not within the artillery regiments.

Self-Propelled Artillery

Now, if we combine artillery with a tank, we get self-propelled artillery. Now, if you guessed this should be an assault gun, I can’t blame you, but an assault gun unit looks a bit different. Yeah, just one more line, but since an assault gun usually has less firepower and also a lower angle, just imagine the line limiting the power of the artillery and it makes more sense.
Now the difference between self-propelled artillery and assault guns is that the latter put a stronger emphasis on armor protection and are usually well armored and enclosed, whereas self-propelled artillery is usually weakly armored and not enclosed. There are also used differently, assault guns are used directly at the front usually in direct fire missions, whereas self-propelled artillery is used behind the lines in indirect fire missions.

Armored Recon

Next up, let’s combine the recon unit with the tank, now we have an armored recon unit. Well, I think you got the basic idea of NATO combinatorics.

Unit Types – Intermediate

So time to look at some more advanced unit types.

Anti Tank Gun

Let’s start with the anti-tank gun. Well, the dot clearly indicates a gun, whereas the two lines can be seen either as a firing arc or as an arrow directed to the ground, which makes more sense if look at the next unit.

Anti-Aircraft Unit

The Anti-Aircraft unit, because in this case the arrow is directed to the top. Additionally, instead of a dot, it has a short horizontal line, which also can be seen as a horizon.

Engineer Unit

An engineer unit, is an E turned by 90 degree, which also can be interpreted as a bridge or just a drunken engineer worshipping the porcelain god. As usual, it is your call, which hint you take.

Signals & Maintenance

Next is the Signal unit is quite simple, it is represented by a simplified flash symbol. And finally, a very similar unit, the maintenance unit, which is represented by a simple wrench.

Combinatorics short version

Again you can combine all these units, for instance a maintenance combined with a Tank symbol gives Armored Maintenance or Tank Recovery unit. Which is a unit with recovery tanks like the Bergetiger or theM32 Sherman based recovery tank.

Unit Modifiers

So, let’s add one more layer to this the unit modifiers.


If you add a black bar at the top, this means we have a headquarters unit. For instance, this unit would be an artillery headquarters battery.

Supply – Service – Quartermaster

Now, here we have transport unit, when we add the previous bar at the bottom, this indicates a supply, service or quartermaster unit.


The next modifier is important for tank units, a single vertical line on the left indicates a medium modifier, like here we have a medium tank company.


Whereas a heavy tank company, would look like this. It is a vertical bar instead of a just a line.


Now, since we covered the most important tank modifiers, time for the various infantry modifiers. A small triangle to the middle of the rectangle indicates a mountain unit, in this instance mountain infantry regiment.


Replace the triangle with simplified wings and you get an Airborne regiment.


And if add an anchor, you guessed it, it is a Marine unit.


If there are two circles at the bottom of the rectangle these indicated a motorized regiment.

Unit Sizes

Now, finally, the indicator at the top indicates the size of the unit.
If there is no indicator there, it means the unit is of undetermined size. If it is just one dot, it is a team or fireteam (Trupp). Two dots means a squad or section, 3 dots a Platoon or Detachment. Now, 1 vertical line is a company or if it is an artillery unit it is called a battery. 2 lines mean a battalion, 3 lines a regiment. Now, the next one is the brigade with one X, 2 X are a division and 3 X a corps. 4 X an Army and 5 X an Army Group or in case of the Russians a Front.

Note that although there is a clear hierarchy this is a very theoretical depiction. Depending on the time period, unit type and also country certain unit sizes may be omitted, e.g., some infantry division layouts don’t use brigades, also some nations – especially those which like to drink tea – have a tendency to use the name Brigade for battalion sized units.


Military Working Dogs: Canine War Heroes Through History

On Oct. 27, 2019, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois military working dog named Conan took part in the Barisha raid, which resulted in the death of the leader of ISIS. Conan joined a long list of heroic military working dogs.

Call ‘em what you want — war dogs or military working dogs — they have been around for centuries worldwide. The states had an unofficial canine war force in World War I, but military dogs did not become officially recognized until March 13, 1942, when a private organization, Dogs for Defense was established to recruit the public’s dogs for the U.S. military’s War Dog Program, known as the K-9 Corps.

Another key supplier of war dogs was the Doberman Pinscher Club of America, which quickly became linked with the U.S. Marines. The Dobes became a face with the Marines and were given a rank, beginning as privates.

Prominent breeders and trainers were instrumental in appealing to the American public to donate its pet dogs in the war effort. The profile included specific breeds, either sex, between 1-5 years old, physically fit and with “watchdog traits.”

But some of those mandates were relaxed as it quickly became apparent there would not be enough dogs to meet the demand. Breeds and crosses were trimmed to about 30 breeds, led by Airedale Terriers, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, and Saint Bernards.

Donors were given a certificate by the government as a means of thanks for their “patriotic duty.” Dogs were immediately sent into training, where some excelled and others didn’t. Wash-outs were returned to their owners those who passed were eventually sent into battle from foxholes to beach fronts, where they were utilized for messenger, mine-detection, sentry and scout duties.

Eventually, the military began training its own dogs, but by the war’s end, Dogs for Defense procured approximately 18,000 of the 20,000 dogs.

One of the WWII famed fur warriors was Chips, a German Shepherd/Alaskan Husky/Collie mix that was a donated New York family dog who is credited with saving the lives of many U.S. soldiers and earning a Purple Heart and Silver Star.

Korean War Dogs

Five years after WWII, the Korean Conflict triggered the need for military working dogs again. They were chiefly deployed on combat night patrols and were detested by the North Koreans and Chinese because of their ability to ambush snipers, penetrate enemy lines and scent out enemy positions. It reached a point where reports noted the foes were using loudspeakers saying, “Yankee, take your dog and go home!”

Despite the success of the canines on night patrols, the shuttling around of training duties on the home front resulted in only one Army scout-dog platoon seeing service in Korea. The Air Force, too, utilized dogs there, chiefly for patrolling air-base perimeters and guarding bomb dumps and supply areas.

Vietnam War Dogs

Fast forward to Vietnam – a totally new environment and job description for these “fur missiles,” as some military dog handlers described them. Welcome to thick vegetation, continued rain, subsequent mud and plenty of challenging heat and humidity.

In a terrific chronology, “Cold Nose, Brave Heart: Legendary American War Dogs,” by Linda McMaken in The Elks Magazine, May 2009, U.S. Marine LCPL Charles Yates of the 3rd Amphibian Tractor Battalion, 1st Marine Division, says, “Charlie hated our dogs. When the mortars hit, they went first for the ammo tent and second for the dog kennel. These dogs walked sentry and alerted us to many Viet Cong ambushes.” An estimated 4,000 dogs and 9,000 military-dog handlers served in Vietnam.

Their duties were widespread – scout, sentry, patrol, mine and booby-trap detection, water and combat. Like their predecessors in Korea, these four-legged soldiers were so hated by the Viet Cong, that they attracted a $20,000 bounty for their capture.

“Surplus Equipment”

When we exited Vietnam – in a hurry – the military working dogs that served our forces so admirably and saved untold lives were left behind, as they were classified as “surplus equipment.” Despite pleas from many handlers who were willing to pay their dog’s flight home, the military would not permit it. Consequently, some were transferred to the South Vietnamese military and police units who were not trained to handle them and others were euthanized. It is estimated that of 4,000 that served, fewer than 200 made it back to the U.S.

But that should never happen again. Following a public outcry, led by many irate former U.S. military-dog handlers, in 2000, Congress passed “Robby’s Law” allowing for the adoption of these dogs by law-enforcement agencies, former handlers and others capable of caring for them.

In a New York Times Opinion piece Oct. 3, 2017, Richard Cunningham, a sentry-dog handler in Vietnam and later a New York Police Department employee and fraud investigator concludes, “I’ve heard it said that without our military dogs, there would be 10,000 additional names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. I, for one, think that’s an understatement.”

Middle-Eastern War Dogs

In stark contrast to Vietnam, the hot, dusty environments of Iraq and Afghanistan serve up a new set of challenges for military working dogs trained for explosive and drug detection, sentry, therapy and service work.
In an Oct. 7, 2018 feature by Jon Michael Connor, Army Public Affairs on the U.S. Army website, William Cronin, director for the American K9 for Afghanistan and Mali, West Africa, says, “There’s no substitute for the detection of a dog. There’s no machine built yet that can reciprocate what a dog can do.

“When you go into your grandmother’s kitchen, you smell stew. The dog goes in your grandmother’s kitchen, he smells carrots, pepper, tomatoes, and lettuce. I mean he smells all the ingredients.”

Dogs’ sense of smell is roughly 50 times better than ours, meaning they can sniff out IEDs before they detonate and injure or kill U.S. servicemen in the prolonged Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Ground patrols are able to uncover only 50 percent of these, but with dogs, the detection rate increases to 80 percent, claims the Defense Department.

Military Dogs Today

Supply and demand for military working dogs is off the charts today.

According to retired Air Force K9 handler, Louis Robinson, a fully trained bomb detection canine is likely worth over $150,000, and considering the lives it may save, you could characterize it as priceless.

To augment the Defense Department’s breeding program at Lackland, the AKC was asked several years ago to assist and then implement a plan for a detection-dog breeding program within the U.S., since government agencies have for decades relied heavily on European stock to meet their growing needs.

Consequently, an AKC Detection Dog Task Force was established to raise the awareness and alert U.S. breeders, citizens and research organizations about the organization’s involvement. Well-attended conferences were held the past two years and another is planned in August in Durham, North Carolina, bringing experts together to determine how to better get U.S. breeders involved in producing sound dogs for explosive-detection and patrol-detection assignments.

A Perspectives report from the 2017 AKC Working Dog Conference notes “today over 80 percent of working/detector dogs in the U.S. are imported from Eastern Europe even though there an estimated 73 million dogs in the United States, of which about 10 million are purebred.

“. . . The primary difference between the domestic supply of dogs and those procured in Europe is that the European bred and trained working lines have a proven history of pedigrees from dogs selected for working traits. These traits are defined by the influence of competitive dog sports and the training requirements needed to participate at regional and national events.”

Federal and local government agencies and private vendors, according to a January 2019 AKC Detection Task Force Q&A draft, seek puppies 10-12 months of age. The Department of Defense conducts evaluations at its Lackland training center and requires the seller to bring the dog there, where it will be left for up to 10 days for assessment.

The task force is working in four ways to help fill the federal government’s need for quality canines.

Scott Thomas, task force consultant, cites those directions:

  • It hosts the aforementioned conferences to create a neutral environment for the vendor, breeders and those purchasing dogs (private companies and federal government) to network and discuss issues.
  • The AKC is actively meeting with government agencies to discuss the needs and the long-term solutions both in Washington, D.C. and at Lackland Air Force Base.
  • The AKC has established a Patriotic Puppy Program to assist breeders in understanding how to raise detection dogs for sale to the government and private vendors. This system supports breeders and trainers with a website packed with current information, social-media updates and will soon be one of the largest databases for researching the genotype and phenotype of effective detection dogs.
  • The task force has a government relations element that has proven highly successful in establishing legislation to ease the pathway for domestic breeders to supply dogs to local, state and federal agencies in need of dogs.

Thomas added, “Domestic breeders are very excited. For our pilot, we initially sought out the two breeds most often in demand for single-purpose detection work – the Labrador Retriever and the German Shorthair Pointer.

“We had significant interest from breeders outside those two and just completed receiving applications from those. It looks like the initial pilot effort will have just over 100 dogs, a number we hope to expand significantly in the near future. I can see this effort being coordinated into a national breeding effort to meet our national security need.”

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