Strategy & Tactics Press Briefing Room S&T Issue #337

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Cortés Wins An Empire For Spain:

Mexico, 1519–21

By John Walker


Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés sailed from Cuba in mid-February 1519, landing on the shore of Mexico with 630 men. Ostensibly he was there to carry out a limited mission that had been assigned to him by Gov. Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar of Cuba. That was to explore the coastal area, engage the locals in trade, search for gold and bring back some slaves.

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Caporetto & Italy 1917-18

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· From Caporetto to Vittorio Veneto: Italy, 1917–18: By the summer of 1917 the Austro-Hungarian Empire could be seen to be dying. Three years of war on three fronts had left the Dual Monarchy materially and morally exhausted. In particular, they feared the front in Italy might crumble and only a preemptive Central Powers offensive could remedy the situation. They were more correct than they knew.

· Cortés Wins An Empire For Spain: Mexico, 1519–21: Hernán Cortés landed on the shores of Mexico with 630 men in mid-February 1519. Ostensibly he was there only to explore the coast, engage in trade, search for gold and take back some slaves to Cuba. But he was intent on nothing less than the expansion of the Spanish Empire across the Mesoamerican mainland. The resultant campaign remains among the most extraordinary ever waged.

· Malvern Hill: A Preview of Gettysburg: In general, Robert E. Lee’s biggest failure at Malvern Hill was that he did not absorb the lesson his defeat there offered in regard to the futility of launching infantry against massed artillery. Here are the details.

· The Battle of the Paracel Islands: A Template of Hybrid Warfare: South Vietnam and China entered into a series of provocations that brought them into confl ict over the Paracels in 1973, when the Vietnamese annexed six of the islands. The Chinese rejected that claim, and shooting started on 19 January 1974. It is an episode usually left untold within the larger context of the War in Vietnam, but it remains interesting in regard to the ongoing disputes in that area.

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